Living to tell the tale

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Lisa Shaw (at right) with her sister Lynda

That’s me on the right with my sister Lynda.

I had never been depressed a day in my life. It started slowly, when I just did not feel well and could not take control. My life began to spiral downward. I wasn’t able to eat, concentrate, or sleep and lost nearly 30 pounds. I stopped doing all the things I loved – sports, entertaining, and going to the cottage. I was withdrawing from the world, losing touch with reality and became trapped in my bed.

I don’t remember much during those dark times. I just wanted my mind to stop and did some things I am not proud of. I wandered around outside in the middle of January. I tried to slash my wrists. I smashed a picture frame and ate shards of glass. Finally, I tried to hang myself in my basement by tying a belt around my neck and stepping off a chair.

The only thing that stopped me from ending my life was the love, support, and many interventions by my mom, brother, family and friends who never gave up. Ultimately my hero, my sister Lynda, saved my life by getting me admitted to an intensive care unit in a psychiatric ward. I spent a month in the hospital.

Give Now - make a donation onlineWith Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) and medication, my condition improved dramatically. I am grateful to all the doctors, nurses, counsellors, aides and my hospital roommates who were instrumental in the early days of my recovery.

It has been a year and a half since I left. Under medical supervision, I am in full recovery, off medication and appreciate life every day. I am back to my career, playing sports, going to the cottage, playing my guitar, plus enjoying family and friends. I have laughter, love, joy and hope back in my life.

Unfortunately, many fight this terrible disease (mental illness) alone. Someone has to be there. That’s where you come in. By supporting United Way, you’re supporting programs, services, and agencies that help individuals and families cope with mental health challenges – agencies like Canadian Mental Health Association-Winnipeg.

- Lisa Shaw

Your gift – no matter the amount – will make a difference for people like Lisa and thousands of other Winnipeggers.