Tuesday, May 6, 2008

TheStar.com: Turning on the light to deal with their demons

From TheStar.com:

Seven recipients of Transforming Lives awards tell their stories of fighting the darkness
Nancy J. White
Living Reporter

Nothing about Shelagh Rogers' distinctively sunny voice sounds like depression.

But, for a long time, the CBC radio host of Sounds Like Canada has suffered bouts of what she describes as "sliding into caves of emptiness."

She'd just tell herself to buck up.

Then, in 2003, off work to deal with high blood pressure, she fell more deeply depressed and even lost her voice. "It tends to hit you where you live," she says. "I was terrified I'd never go back to work."

Diagnosed with clinical depression, she went on medication and returned to radio. Now, weaned off drugs, she talks with a counsellor, tries to get eight hours of sleep a night and can recognize when symptoms first creep in, "like a low front."

At the end of this month, Rogers, 52, is leaving Sounds Like Canada to lessen her stress and develop other projects. She has become an advocate for mental health issues, as a guest on radio shows and host of discussions. "If this convinces one person to get help," she says, "that would be marvellous."

On Thursday, she and five others who have battled addiction or mental illness will receive Transforming Lives awards from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The awards (previously named The Courage to Come Back) go to those who have used their experience to help others or to people who have contributed to advances in mental health.

One recipient is former senator Michael Kirby, head of the newly minted Mental Health Commission of Canada. He's working to change public attitudes so mental illness is as acknowledged as breast cancer, a disease once not openly discussed.

That's one reason for the awards, to tell those stories of hard-won recovery. "They strike a substantial blow against the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and addiction," says CAMH senior medical adviser David Goldbloom.

read more ...

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | cna certification