I am very excited to share with you my new single S.O.S (SOcial Support) that resonates extremely close to my heart and I am SO excited that this release will coincide with one of the biggest and important national campaign to bring mental health conversations to the forefront with Bell Let's Talk Day on January 31. #BellLetsTalk
My mom struggled with depression since I was 2 years old. At that age, I of course did not know the implications, the impact nor the struggles that she was going through on a daily basis while trying to raise her family. She was not formally diagnosed until I was in university when she was prescribed medications. I was raised in a fairly traditional Chinese family where communication was very hard to come by especially when it came to emotions. Expressing emotions or affection towards family members was abnormal, weird and didn't 'feel' right. This lack of communication/empathy contributed over the years to my mom's worsening condition especially when she couldn't find support in the people she needed the most - her own family. With my healthcare background and training, I admit with a heavy and guilty heart that I could not be there most of the time when she needed me.
Cultural impact. The Asian culture undervalues mental health. If you were struggling mentally/emotionally it is at your own-doing, you are considered weak and/or crazy, you could be possessed by evil spirits and you are shameful. You have to find your own way to 'deal' with it and as such stigmas are highly associated with mental health in the Chinese culture and remains taboo.
12:41am December 10, 2017. My dad screamed by name as I slowly came out of my sleep. We found my mom lying unconscious at the bottom of the stairs and I will always remember vividly, looking down the staircase seeing my mom's motionless body and fear overtook my whole body when I was convinced 100% that my mom left us. We called 911. We weren't sure at the time if she fell, or if she had a heart attack (she was in the process of getting heart examinations done within the last few months of 2017). I diligently followed instructions given to me by EMS, and went to my mom's room to gather her medication list. That was when I saw the note my mom wrote - all in Chinese - unable to read most but I was able to read the last part where she was made an apology to me. Heartbroken. Beside this note was an empty bottle of Clonazepam - a long acting benzodiazepine used for anti-seizures, anti-anxiety and sometimes for insomnia. My heart sank further. From that night it was a whole process that got her to the professional help that she needed.
2017 was NOT a good year for me. I went through something called "situational depression or adjustment disorder" which is a short-term form of depression that can occur in the aftermath of various traumatic changes in your normal life, including divorce, retirement, loss of a job and the death of a family/close friend. I went through a cycle of ups and downs, mostly downs that saw the darkest corners of my life. I was still able to go about my daily functions but when I was alone, the recurring thoughts, memories, dreams forbid me to sleep. I was plagued by feelings of betrayal, hurt, disappointment, hate, anger and loss hope in human decency. I ended up isolating myself from my friends and family because I felt like I was becoming a burden. They wouldn't understand what I was going through. Everybody told me to get help but I kept pushing it aside. Why? I don't know. I think it was because I needed to prove something to MYSELF. That if I could get through this by myself I could get through anything else that life throws at me. But I was wrong, Very wrong. Because I didn't have to go through it myself and my friends and family wanted to be there for me but I shut them out completely. I started to feel release when I transcribed my experience into words and melody, and when I talked it out. I started to notice the importance and the huge network of SOCIAL SUPPORT I had right in front of me! I am NOT alone and I DO NOT have to be alone through this personal fight.
Today both my mom and I are at a better place. Lots of improvement still to be done but these things will take time. I learned and experienced mental health. I learned about the amazing resources that are available here to us. I learned a lot about myself and about my mom. She will be the strongest person I will ever know.
Through our story I hope this will inspire you to join me on January 31 with the release of my new single, new music/lyric video S.O.S (SOcial Support) and in support of Bell Let's Talk Day in starting conversations about mental health and making it a subject that is as easy as talking about weather!
Sneak Peak! Promo trailer for S.O.S (SOcial Support)
Become involved in the campaign by sharing your personal story, or sharing resources that are available to fellow Canadians who needs the help.
''On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell will donate more towards mental health initiatives in Canada, by contributing 5¢ for every applicable text, call, tweet, social media video view and use of our Facebook frame or Snapchat filter.'' - at no extra charge!
HOW TO GET INVOLVED!
1) Find me on Facebook HERE, Instagram HERE, Twitter HERE, YouTube HERE, Snapchat (natalia8chai), if you feel inclined to, give me a "Like", "Follow" or "Subscribe" that way when you share your stories and resources, you can tag me, and see everybody just like you across the nation, wanting to start conversations to break down barriers and stigmas.
2) On January 31, listen and watch my new single, music/lyric video S.O.S (SOcial Support) on my platforms. If you find that the song carries some relevance and connection to you, please feel free to comment and share the love, positivity and hope. Remember to use the following hashtags on your posts!
#BellLetsTalk #SOS #SocialSupport #mentalhealth #breakingstigmas #selflove #cmha
3) Encourage others to re-tweet and share YOUR posts and stories!!!
Every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada and Bell Aliant customers.
- Twitter: Every tweet using #BellLetsTalk
- Facebook: Every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video at: https://www.facebook.com/BellLetsTalk
- Instagram: Every post using #BellLetsTalk
- Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let’s Talk Snapchat geofilter
Knowing where to look and reach out for help is just as important as starting conversations about mental health. Here is #YEG we have a lot of great outreach programs, phonelines and programs geared towards someone who is in need. Find below some information you can pass along to someone you know who may benefit from these services!
1) Canadian Mental Health Association - Edmonton
The University offers so many services for its students on and off campuses. A great resource that summarizes all the important places that you can get help!