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Mental Illness; It's time to talk

Good day. My name is David B. Shaw and I am 66 years of age. I sit on the Board of Directors for The MOM Society as Vice President.

Part of my large story begins in 2003 being 48 years of age. I asked my roommate to drive me to the P.L.C. Hospital in Calgary and when we arrived, I asked my roommate to leave immediately. I watched him leave and then I walked down to 36th street N.E. and stood between the hospital emergency and the LRT. I felt like a zombie, "cccccccctrain--hhhhhospital----ccccctrain---hhhhhhospital" I kept repeating over and over and over. The only thing I can remember is facing the north and speaking, "CTrain--hospital--CTrain--hospital--CTrain--hospital--CTrain--hospital".

I don't know how long I was standing there, people continued to walk by, but I somehow started walking towards the emergency department. I walked in the doors, went to the clerk, gave my name and information and was asked to wait. I was called a while later to the window and asked how I could be helped. I told the nurse my story and she smiled and said come with me, please. We walked to an area of emergency where there were three rooms. The nurse asked me to go inside and as so-on as I did, she closed and locked the door.

I saw one doctor after another and the hospital held me there with three guards watching until 9:00 a.m. when I was finally escorted to a ward - the Psych ward. I was in the Psych ward for 68 days and diagnosed with 8 complications; Multiple Sclerosis, Bipolar 1, Major Depression, Anxiety, Fibromyalgia, and three others. In 2010 I was then diagnosed with PTSD, and in 2019 I was diagnosed with Kidney disease and now seven doctors are telling me I'm fighting some kind of cancer but cannot find any.

Why am I sharing this with you?

My story and my experiences are not uncommon. Each and every human being experiences the pain of illness and the consequences of unchecked mental health at one time or another in their life. We need to do away with the pharmaceutical push and "deal with it" attitudes in response to mental health crises. Mental Health needs empathy and compassion, not pharmaceuticals.

We need better communication, co-operation, and companionship so that each person can tell their story and be understood - be treated as a human being, not something that needs to be shut away. As humans, we are social beings, no one needs to or should be or left alone. Each person is valuable, they are a: mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, friend, wife, husband, neighbour, boss, politician, priest, pastor, etc etc etc.

Some might disagree with me but I see people breathing the same air, drinking the same water, we eat similar foods, and we share the same colour blood. My body might be falling apart but my loving heart and brain live only for a day at a time and I will do what I can to help someone who has the need for a compassionate and empathetic ear. I volunteer with ten other people who give their time for a good and sustainable cause, so please join us in our quest to help individuals with their personal mental difficulties.

Thank you for reading. Take care, stay safe.

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