#BellLetsTalk (why i cried today)

I sat on my roof tonight and cried.

I wish I could capture for you how extraordinary it is up here – I can see almost the whole city, lights blinking on and off. Across the valley, the house who still has their blue Christmas lights up, the gold minarets of the mosque towering over everything, crickets chirping over the faint sound of traffic. Every so often I hear a train, or a dog barking. The restaurant I can see from my wicker chair has closed, and slowly the rest of the city is shutting down and going home. The roof of night is a place of peace, where I can connect with the wifi and with myself.

But still, I cried.

I cried because this place is so beautiful, because I’m homesick, because I don’t want to leave. I cried because I’ve been overwhelmed with work and building relationships and every day I see more news about things going on in the world that I want to change, broken hearts I want to heal, wrongs I want to make right. I cried because I am feeling everything at once and it is exhausting.

Today, in Canada, is #BellLetsTalk day. Every use of that hashtag is a 5 cent donation to mental health initiatives nation wide. Today is a day that people feel more safe to talk about their mental illness, or are more vocal about their support for those of us who are. This initiative is meant to open up the conversation about mental health and it does and it’s so important but for a lot of people tomorrow will be just another day.

Today was just another day in Sri Lanka.

People here don’t talk about mental health nearly as much as we do in North America (and the fact that we still need initiatives like #BellLetsTalk means we don’t talk about it nearly as much as we should). I had a chance to open the conversation with my colleagues today, about stigma and understanding other people’s fights. And they’ve seen the impacts of silence on their friends and throughout their country, particularly through the work they do. But, like so many other things, we don’t talk about it. And so, a lot of people face their mental health disorders alone.

Life is hard, and it can be really scary, and it breaks my heart that some people feel that they don’t have anyone to lean on when their load gets too heavy, that we need a hashtag to talk about a battle that such a huge percentage of the population is fighting. And so today I cried for the whole world. And I cried for myself, for the days I struggle to keep my head above water, and for four years ago Linneah who almost drowned. I cried for the people who I’ll never meet because the waves got too big.

I try to go sit on my roof every day. I am in constant awe of the mountains around me because they remind me of how small I am, and that gives me peace because people as small as me aren’t expected to hold everything together. I’m not Atlas, and that’s okay. And sometimes I’m not okay, and that’s okay too.

Today I sat on my roof and cried because I scrolled through my Twitter and I saw people talking, being vulnerable, being lifted up. There’s a lot of sad stuff happening right now but today the good can break through the cracks. Today maybe I’ll see more tweets about mental health than about Donald Trump. Today can lead to a project that can give people the treatment they deserve, can heal wounds, save lives. Today is important.

I wish you could all come see my mountains and feel how powerful they are, get a taste of the peace they bring me. But until then, let’s talk.

Linneah

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