This is Mental Health Week.
Last evening I attended an event at the Burlington Convention Centre for Mental Health Awareness in support of SUPPORT & HOUSING HALTON and T.E.A.C.H...( which provides peer support throughout Halton for individuals 16 years and older who live with or have lived with mental health challenges).
This was a cocktail, dinner and silent auction affair and as my microphone/ receiver gave up the ghost before I left home I was not sure if this would be a waste of time for me. However the audio arrangements were excellent and I had no problem hearing everything they had to say. Wine was at the table and a cash bar was busy as we were introduced to the Mayors of Oakville and Burlington. It’s always good to have their support at these events.
The first speaker was Lorraine Sommerfeld who is a columnist and humourist I greatly admire. She writes weekly for the Globe and Mail and the Hamilton Spectator with regular spots on CHCH TV's Live@5:30. Mother of two teenage boys I have always enjoyed her humour and hearing of her escapades.
The second speaker was Margaret Trudeau who is a celebrated Canadian and Mental Health Advocate. Unless you have had your head in the sand for the last 30-40 years we have all heard the stories of Margaret’s life with Pierre and her partying with Mick Jagger. This mother of five, writer, advocate for mental health recovery and excellent speaker made more than a few people sit up and listen in the crowded convention hall last night.
What do these two women have in common? They both suffer from the disease we know as Bipolar disorder or Manic- depressive disorder as Lorraine prefers to call it. She says, ‘it’s much more colourful and descriptive’. Both admit to being drama queens which is part of the outcome of the manic phase. They were both bluntly honest with the grace and fortitude that they’ve needed to cope with this disease and always being thought of as “different”.
Margaret gave a good account of how this disorder manifests itself, including her own struggles coping with it throughout her life. Lorraine and Margaret are survivors and deal with everything in life and with their disease with a great deal of humour. A lesson for us all.
We wish then well as they embrace their recovery.
Margaret Trudeau’s third book “Changing my Mind” can be purchased at your local bookstore.
Check out Lorraine Sommerfeld’s two weekly syndicated columns. Motherlode and you can reach her at http://www.lorraineonline.ca/
All in all a good night. Very good dinner, excellent company and great guest speakers.