This blog post is written by Drop the Mask YYC’s founder, Samantha Peck
The last 24 months have undoubtedly been some of the most difficult we have ever – and may ever – experience in our lifetimes. For two years our physical health has been threatened, economies around the world have been pushed to the brink, and life as we once knew it was turned on its head. What’s more, many of us have had to face the struggles presented by COVID-19 away from our friends, family, and loved ones. There is no question that this has all played a significant toll on our mental health.
For many of us, having the courage to talk about our mental health doesn’t come easy. But I’ll argue that it’s never been more important to do so.
In September 2019, I left a typical Sunday dinner with my family, as I did nearly every week. The evening may have been typical, but the way home was not. Instead of heading back to my condo, I made a snap decision to drive to the Sheldon Chumir Emergency Centre in downtown Calgary where I sat down in front of a triage nurse and mustered the courage to utter four life changing words: “I think I’m depressed.”
Two hours later, I walked out of the hospital with my diagnoses written on a single piece of paper: Major Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I keep this paper in my nightstand drawer to this day. To some, keeping this reminder might seem odd. But to me, holding tangible evidence that this individual I had slowly developed into and the fog I had been living in wasn’t really “me” gave me a sense of hope that I hadn’t felt in years, and honestly didn’t think I’d ever feel again. I finally had a clear path forward.
Fast forward to today, and I’ve never been in a better place mentally. I’m incredibly proud of my journey and the progress I’ve made, yet despite this, it took me over a year and a half to become comfortable enough to talk openly with others about my struggles. No matter how confident I felt in my story, there remained that nagging voice that told me it was easier to keep this part of me to myself.
On May 28, 2022, Drop the Mask YYC will be hosting a fundraising gala in support of mental health awareness, with proceeds going to the Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary Region. The event has been named as an homage to the safe lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, as well as encouraging attendees and donors to drop the metaphorical “masks” we wear when it comes to our mental health. Drop the Mask YYC aims to take what is typically a solemn topic and create a fun atmosphere where mental health becomes approachable and easier to talk about.Buy Tickets!
Our Peer Support program services can be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have teamed up with other Calgary agencies to help Calgarians quickly and easily access various counselling and social supports. Visit www.communityconnectyyc.ca, where you can book online for our Suicide Bereavement and Family Support Counselling, and other supports. If you prefer to still book through us, please phone (403-297-1708), or email (email@example.com).