Janet Taylor
December 4, 2017

Image Credit: ©paulmaguire - Deposit Photos

All I want this Christmas

The Christmas season is upon us and I realize that there is nothing anyone can actually put under the tree for me this year that will truly make this season the "best ever".

Christmas is a time to be grateful. A time to look around and be thankful for what you have, your friends, your family, the roof over your head and the food in the fridge.

It is also a time where I find myself being grateful for my health. Mental health is something most of us take for granted and I am no different. I have however had to learn that it is also very fragile. That our mental health is being threatened everyday by everything around us and that is not counting genetics, injuries and other things....

As I have written previously, there is a piece of my heart that has been dark since my oldest daughter began her struggle with mental illness. For her, my family and our friends, there is sadly no happy news to report as yet. Her physical health is now is jeopardy, and don't for one second, mistake that I condone the majority of decisions she continues to make; but it has allowed me this opportunity.

This opportunity to ask you all that this Christmas you take a moment to really ponder what is happening in our world. A world where we are destroying our mental health and that of our children. Yes, that is a harsh statement and some of us our trying to change the conversation around mental health, but for the most part, we are simply medicating, being complacent and docile and not really asking the tough questions of the medical and social support communities around us.

This Christmas I would like us to start asking why we are medicating undiagnosed "mental illness" with different medications and using our youth as guinea pigs in determining which medication "works" for this undiagnosed illness. I would like to know why we prescribe oxycodone for the removal of wisdom teeth and other day surgeries and wonder why our society is addicted to over the counter medication.

This Christmas I would like you all to check your children's school bags, their social pages and every inch of their bedrooms. I want you to do them the favour of having a conversation expressing geniune concern at the fact that children their ages are cutting themselves, drugging themselves, beating themselves up and killing themselves.

This Christmas I want you to tell each child in your family that you love them unconditionally. That you love them for who they are, for who they will be and for what they bring to your life. I want you to hug them every day as if they were the chocolate in a giant advent calendar.

This Christmas I want you to truly look at your child and realize how amazing this little (or tall/ big) child you created or get to be a part of their life with truly is. I want you to look them in the eyes and tell them that you are proud of them.

This Christmas I want all of us to be thankful that we do have the resources to make a difference in this world we live. I want us, as parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents or friends to realize that an entire generation is hurting, they don't know why, they don't know how to fix it and maybe even they don't want to fix it, but they need us. They need us all the be the grown ups we can be and take charge again of them. Take our homes back, set the table at night and sit down as a family and talk about our day.

This Christmas I want us to put down the electronics and go tobagganing, come home, have some hot chocolate with marshmellows and watch a Christmas movie that makes the whole family laugh.

I want all these things for Christmas because there is no reason any child in this world today needs to feel they have to end their life.

Take the time to enjoy your family. If you or your children are struggling over the holidays reach out to others and ask for help. There is no shame in needing support, love and guidance. Keep the conversation around mental health going and never for any moment, think that your life and that of your child's, cannot change in an instance.

Thank you to all who have supported me and continue to support me and my family. Without you I would not be as strong today as I like to think I am. 🙂