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An important deadline

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(Edmonton Sun, Jan,. 25)

By CAM TAIT

Some of this city’s great newspaper editors — Barb Wilkinson, Bob Boehm, Ken Younger, Randy Hardisty, Rick McConnell, Allan Mayer and Donna Harker – are hopefully enjoying retirement after skewering hundreds of thousands of words for the press that made its first rotation at 11:30 p.m.

I honestly wouldn’t blame them if, when they saw my column these days, they quickly turned the page. Chances are very good they look skyward, shake their head and mutter, “that Tait. He drove me absolutely nuts.”

They are 110 per cent correct. I did.

Over my newspaper career, I’ve been afforded the privilege of having a weekly column. That meant I had seven days — 168 hours, if you do the math — to craft some soft of 600-word piece of writing.

But that’s not the way I roll.

Call me Mr. Procrastination. Or the Last Minute Lad.

I’d file my column at the last possible minute — sometimes, right down to the second — before one of the previously mentioned editors picked up the phone to bark, and rightly so: “Tait. Where’s your copy?”

It’s still that way today: call or email Dave Breakenridge, or Barry Hanson, or Chad Huculak or Doug Johnson in the Postmedia newsroom on when I file my column.

I’ll let them tell you themselves.

I don’t honestly know myself.

Maybe …

On the other hand, there are some things in life when it’s health-related, we think if we wait long enough that ache, or pain or feeling will disappear. Because admitting we have an ailment isn’t an easy thing to do.

Especially when we admit it to ourselves.

Sharing the news even becomes a greater task when we tell our loved ones. Because, despite us navigating through our own personal hell, we don’t want to burden our family and friends with our new situation.

That’s too bad, indeed. Because those who love us want to help and often can provide solutions we don’t see, or can’t see.

I am writing this a good week before an important date — a new type of system for me.

It doesn’t feel strange or awkward. Because I’m writing from experience as someone who lives with mental health challenges.

Sure, I didn’t want to admit it, sitting in the doctor’s office when I proclaimed those three words for the first time 16 years ago.

“I’m very depressed.”

But after I did, I got help. I’m much better now, but sometimes — like a nagging cough that just won’t go away — there are feelings of sadness, loneliness and, even despair.

What helps is knowing I live with mental health issues, and knowing how to manage things.

That important date I mentioned earlier? January 31. Bell Let’s Talk day.

It’s the annual day Bell raises millions of dollars for mental health initiatives.

More significantly, it’s a welcome and safe invitation for people to accept and acknowledge mental health is a part of their lives.

If that’s you, I encourage you to talk.

Please give it some thought. The day is next Wednesday.

Take as long as you want, but I sincerely hope you share your story and get help.

Set yourself a deadline before, unfortunately, it becomes too late.

 
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