Fat and Not Afraid

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Calling Bullsh*%

December 27, 2012

Trigger warning for depression, suicidal thoughts, mental health, eating disorder talk

While catching the Comedy Network's All Access Muppet Gala on Christmas Eve I saw a very interesting commercial. Check it out:

Intrigued, I went over to CallBS.ca and checked it out and learned some interesting facts about the state of youth mental health here in the Great White North; 1 in 5 youth have mental health problems, but only about 25% are getting any help. How do they define mental health? Very easily:

"Mental health problems and illnesses are disturbances in patterns of thoughts, feelings and perceptions that are significant enough to affect how someone lives their life, each day. They cause changes in a person's thinking, emotional state and behaviour and can disrupt the person's ability to go to school, work and/or deal with their usual personal relationships. (This sounds like some kinds of extreme dieting to me, an definitely encompasses eating disorders, which are mentioned in the commercial video above.)

There are many different kinds of mental health problems and illnesses. They range from more common problems such as anxiety and depression to less common conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is important to recognize that the symptoms of mental health problems and illnesses are not static and can be a one-time event or cause episodes over many years."

It's especially great to see eating disorders being taken as seriously as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Eating disorders kill more people than any other mental illness (or so says the American Journal of Psychiatry, June 1995), and this to me is where people like Michelle Obama or Oprah or others with serious clout should be focusing their attention, not on a made-up epidemic.I'd like to see Michelle do some PSAs during Eating Disorder Awareness Week (Feb 9-13th 2013) instead of plugging The Biggest Loser (which now wants to have teens on their show!) 

As someone who's battled anxiety and depression on and off since I was in highschool, and especially after the birth of my son and after my abortion, it's heartening to see mental health getting a fresh face and push to a demographic that really needs it. I was one of the people who didn't get help, and when I finally did, it wasn't very helpful. Back in the Soo I had to wait months to get in to see a counsellor to talk about my feelings post-abortion, and when I was struggling with post-partum depression to the point of seriously contemplating self harm and/or suicide, my doctor basically just wrote me a prescription for Prozac (which I didn't take). In highschool and during early university when I first started experiencing panic attacks and depression, I had absolutely NO IDEA what was wrong with me, why it was happening, or who to turn too. The net was still young in those days (turn of the millenium) and resources were harder to come by on your own, so I just figured out how to deal with it (sometimes less than successfully).

Please take the BS pledge and spread this site to your Facebook walls, Twitter feeds, Tumblrs and more. Our youth need our support.

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