Last night I was fearless. Last night I was courageous. Last night I was brave. Last night I was able to be all of these things because of the love and support of my family and friends by my side. Last night I fulfilled my goal of stepping up and inspiring hope for millions of Canadians who are affected by a mental illness each year. Last night with the help of friends and family I reached my target and I am so thankful for that. Last night together we had #onebravenight.
I needed to keep the evening as intimate as possible in order for me to not get too overwhelmed. It began with some of our dearest friends joining us at our home for dinner. They arrived with games and alcohol in hand and I knew then that the evening was certain to be a success. After dinner was over and plenty of alcohol already was drunk (not by me as alcohol is more of a depressant for me than a stimulant) we decided to break open the new trivia game that we recently purchased just for the occasion. We played in two teams, kids vs. adults. It was trivia from the 2000’s so I figured the kids would bamboozle us but I was mistaken because at the end of the day we all basically sucked! Maybe it was from the alcohol being consumed or the distraction from watching the Blue Jays game at the same time which inhibited our concentration, but either way it was still fun.
After we finished playing the game (or more that we all just gave up) it was time for dessert which had been baked by my kids and my husband the night before. They prepared all our favorite Passover treats (yes they do exist) one last time for the year before the holiday wrapped up. As dessert was being served we were blessed with some more dear friends to join into the mix. After the kids finished their dessert they left the adults to continue watching the Blue Jays game (and continue drinking) and they went off to play another board game, one that was probably not so age appropriate for all that participated! Our friends eventually left and we cleaned up, got into our pj’s, got comfortable on the couch (Maggie included) and spent a half an hour deciding on what movie we should watch. It was close to 1 am by this point, but we were committed to trying to stay up as long as we could. After the movie finished everyone retired to their own beds.
There is definitely a very gratifying feeling when you know that your efforts are been rewarded or benefiting others. Donating to charity or participating in its endeavors can be very empowering which is why they say it is better to give than to receive. It allows someone the power to strengthen their own personal values and belief system by helping make someone else’s life better. For me, this event definitely sanctioned a teachable moment for my children as well by having them share this experience with me and giving them the opportunity to see that they have the ability to make positive change in the world, no matter how big or small their undertaking is.
My evening was not about winning any type of race, or making sure that I stayed up all night, but instead it was about finding both my mental and moral strength and challenging myself to be a voice to a cause that is very near to my heart. Most days for me being brave is often just having the ability to get out of bed, or face another day of uncertainty. It is also knowing that there is no guarantee that I will find any sort of relief as every day feels like I am fighting for my life. That is indisputably the most exhausting act of bravery.
Having depression and anxiety is not a weakness by any means but unfortunately it is still looked upon this way by many misunderstood and misguided people who cannot see mental illness as a real illness. Knowing the battle I endure daily by the stigma of mental illness is probably my greatest act of bravery as I have opened up my world to you all by sharing my struggles and at the same time lending my voice to those who are still trying to find theirs. This courageous act of bravery definitely has made me very vulnerable and susceptible to judgment, eye rolling and backs turned but it has also inspired a great deal of hope in others. I also know that having my family with me through my journey is also one of the bravest things that they can do too and I love them all so much for being by my side #onebravenight at a time.