Not struggling in silence anymore
We thank this farming couple from Saskatchewan for giving us a glimpse into their wellness journey.
Weather is extremely important for growing a successful crop and farmers have zero control over it or severe weather events. This is very stressful for farmers.
We had a hard year in 2016. We had five times our annual rainfall during our growing season, and come harvest we couldn’t get into our fields because it was too wet. Then we got hit with a hail storm that decimated our crops. To top it off, we had one insurance policy that didn't pay out and we really needed it. It felt like we were digging our own graves trying to follow our dreams of farming. It was out of our control.
Turning to certain friends for support made me feel isolated, because until you have been through one of those really hard years, you just cannot get it. It hurt when they compared us losing an entire crop to hail to that time they had hail damage in their vegetable garden.
As a couple, both of us were struggling in silence trying to protect the other. We were each blaming ourselves for our hard farming year and financial stress. It felt like we had failed at farming, failed at supporting our family, even though it was out of our control. We both felt as though we were only worth our life insurance policies.
A turning point came when we started to talk to each other. We realized we felt the same way, and yet neither of us put blame on the other. So why, we asked, were we putting it on ourselves? Getting that out in the open relieved some pressure and helped us handle some of the stress. It wasn’t an easy conversation, but it was important that we were able to talk. No matter how hard things get, we learned we need to lean on each other.
Talking to other producers helped too. They’re like a safe place, a community of people who have been where you are and understand, or who have made it out the other side and can offer encouragement and support.
Writing about my feelings and sharing them on social media also helped me express myself and helped me connect with other producers. In some cases, I’ve been able to talk to their spouses and learn how they help support each other. Talking and learning to listen – really listen – helps.
As told to Owen Roberts