7 — 12
7 — 12

“You can’t start a fire without a spark” — my journey with mental health

Cam Tait is a best-selling author and award winning journalist determined to honour the dignity and nobility of journalism ON DISABILITIES ... when it mattered and how we need it today


Hello, my friend …

I wish I could have done anything to get up out of bed to listen to some music.

But I couldn’t. Not mentally. And because of that, not physically.

I share this story with you in celebration of Crescendo, a wonderful — inspirational and motivational, I suspect — Friday night at the Winspear Centre with a mix of music and people sharing their journeys with mental health.

Since I was diagnosed with depression, 15 years ago next month, I know insomnia is a symptom.

For me, my depression and anxiety comes periodically and doesn’t give any warning. Last December it set in. All I wanted to do was sleep.

Didn’t want to be with my family.

Didn’t want to work.

Didn’t want to go Christmas shopping.

Just sleep.

 Trouble was I couldn’t. I’d wake up well before 2:30 a.m. and just lie in bed, starring at the three little numbers on my clock radio. I saw every minute tick by, which caused more anxiety when I calculated how much time I had to alas, fall asleep before my 8 a.m. wake-up.

Music. It helped me in the past forget the things I was constantly, and repeatedly, worrying about: mainly my future as a husband, father, grandfather and keep on working with the current pace.

I wanted to get up. But I ached. Everywhere. All I could do was lie in bed, look at time slowly — even painfully — pass and keep thinking.

If I would have gotten up, I would have cued this song by Will Acckerman to reflect.

It helped me in the past, just listening to the guitar and then piano, give me a lift. I can’t explain why. It just did.


And, after listening to Floyd’s Ghost, I felt a sense of hope … that, indeed, I was not on this journey myself and have countless supporters ready to help me.

It’s a process: step by step.  We readily admit, and seek help, if we have a sore toe, a banged up arm, a broken leg and any other physical pain. But when it’s mental health, we are hesitant. And I was. But, then I  remembered I have family members who  are readily wanting to help. It’s something we need to remember … and, a song I listen to often.


Together, with my faith in Jesus Christ, my supportive family and my doctor who subscribed new medication, I feel like a new man.

I no longer dread getting up in the morning. I welcome it now because I now wantengaged with people and do interesting things.

I am sleeping through the night and wake up before 4 a.m. — and have reminded myself how good I feel early in the morning, and how I write my best before 12 noon. (Right, boss?)

I have my humour back.

I feel like a new man.

I still regret I forgot how powerful music can be: something I learned in the final days of my Grade 12 in 1977; something about things that happens when you peacefully close your eyes.



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