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​My Dearest Readers,

It’s been my Christmas tradition for a few years that instead of handing out Christmas cards I donate the money to a charity representing a cause I find important.

Previously I donated to Oxfam, UNHCR, Unicef, Cancer Research to name a few as they all represent causes I care for. However this year I’m more self-centered and I decided to donate to Mind (http://www.mind.org.uk)

As many of you know, I have been struggling with depression and anxiety for a few years.

I improved a lot but I’m still not ok and it will be a long way to sort everything out.

Raising awareness to mental health is a key issue. Many of us suffer from stress, panic attacks, OCD, depression, self-harming, anxiety, sleep-deprivation, shame, body confidence issues, eating disorders just to name a few. Many of these have significant impact on our physical well-being as well. Yet there are still a lot of stigma around mental health. In many cases (we’re not talking about cases which cannot be helped at all however they must not be given up on either) these conditions can be reversed, healed or managed. ‘These people’ like me can live a fairly normal life and be a valuable members of the society.

My case started with childhood trauma and parenting problems. Not everyone is impacted by this the same way. In my case I buried it deep and carried this package for decades until I was not able to sustain the life I was leading anymore. I have to re-wire my brain. I have to learn new habits, I have to change perceptions in which I lived in decades, I have to learn how to manage the chimp (my instinctive emotional side) in me. The more people know about mental health, the more opened I can  be about my struggles the easier it gets to deal with everyday hiccups of life. It doesn’t mean I am violent or mad or a psychopath. I am just broken and I’m on my way of fixing it. It’s like when you break your leg, you have to wear a plaster and it takes time to mend the fracture and a long time of rehabilitation until you can run your best ever marathon. I’m getting ready for my marathon. We are all getting ready for our marathons.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah,

Melinda

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