The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled

My alarm clock read 3 am. I lay awake, unable to sleep. It was the fifth night in a row that I’d gone without sleep. Five nights is enough to break anybody, let alone someone in the early stages of mental illness. I’d been struggling the past few months. My grades weren’t as great as … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


CBT and Me: A Toolkit for Change and Hope

I’ll admit, I’m prone to being impulsive. I tend to get caught cycling between my own maladaptive emotions, thoughts and behaviours. Often, I’ll repeat a certain behaviour, even if it’s gotten me into trouble before. It was Albert Einstein who defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


Our Voices United: Solutions to Our Mental Health Crisis

Not long ago, I published an inside look at our disjointed and underfunded mental health care system. I concluded that mental health care in Canada is generally inadequate, poorly coordinated, thinly stretched, and ineffective in tackling our growing mental health crisis. The incidence of mental illness and substance abuse is rising in Canada. Canadians are … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


How Fear Breeds Stigma

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main … And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” – John Donne We, as human beings, have come a long way. But as children of nature, we … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


4 Years Ago – In The Belly Of The Beast

“Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.” ― William S. Burroughs 4 Years Ago I stared vacantly at the open newspaper in front of me. I had stopped reading midway through a column on Vancouver’s growing drug trade. It … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


Tube Socks – When Every Day Is a Gift

“You know my feelings: Every day is a gift. It’s just, does it have to be a pair of socks?” – James Gandolfini, The Sopranos Here’s where I’m at. I relapsed recently. Over the course of nine months, I became increasingly erratic, emotionally charged, and uninhibited.  I went days – sometimes weeks – without sleep, … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


Manic

I remember how it came on. Fast. Without warning. Suddenly, I was all fired up, as if I’d just been jump started. I turned on some music, cranked the volume, and then began dancing. I couldn’t help myself. I was overcome with a desire to move. An hour passed before I finally took a rest. … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


The Right Thing To Do: Our Broken Mental Health Care System

“This is not about politics. It’s simply the right thing to do.” – Demi Lovato addressing the DNC on the need for mental health investment and policy change This system is broken. There I was again, locked in a seclusion room on the second floor of a psychiatric facility.  Trapped in a dilapidated hospital ward. I … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


The Depth of Your Anguish

Recovery isn’t without its setbacks. While I’ve managed to successfully recover from mental illness (more or less), my recovery from substance abuse has been riddled with slips. I was clean for a long time – that is, until my recent encounter with opiates. I’ve made some poor decisions over the course of my addiction, and … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


Let’s Talk: Our Collective Voice Can Conquer Stigma

“We need to change the culture of this topic and make it OK to speak about mental health and suicide.” –          Luke Richardson “Why, after so many close calls, has my life been spared?” I often ask myself this question. But I don’t expect I’ll ever stumble upon an answer. I’ve learned that life is … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


After The Detox Diaries

“If you can’t laugh at yourself, life’s gonna seem a whole lot longer than you’d like….What do you do? You laugh. I’m not saying I don’t cry, but in between, I laugh.” – Sam (Natalie Portman), “Garden State” Never mess with poppy seed tea.  While its ingredients may seem harmless, don’t be fooled. The concoction, … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


The Detox Diaries

It’s easier to believe in this sweet madness Oh, this glorious sadness That brings me to my knees Sarah McLachlan – “Angel” When I returned home from the pharmacy, I immediately popped six Loperamide (Immodium) and six Diphenhydramine (Benadryl). I washed the pills down with a tall glass of tonic water. There’s a special circle … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


The Very Gold Of Truth: Life Is a Tragedy

 Tragedy – Pronunciation: /ˈtradʒɪdi/ An event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe –          Oxford Dictionaries On any given day, we are exposed to a steady stream of tragedies. Just turn on the news or read the headlines. It’s the job of the media to depict a slew of global misfortunes. The … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


A Cold and Broken Hallelujah: Embrace Your Wounds, Wear Your Scars with Pride

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” — Kahlil Gibran I am baffled. Why is it that the most beautiful moments in life so often arise in the presence of great human suffering? I have seen it with my own eyes. A weeping homeless man smiles … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


My Big Fat Limitations: Smart Drugs Revealed

I often feel the need to make up for lost time. I lost ten years of my life tussling with mental illness. I’ve grown tired of a “two steps forward, one step back” recovery. It seems every time I push myself closer towards fulfilling my aspirations, I regress a little. So can you really blame … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


How wild it is: At peace with a troubled past

Sometimes I feel as if the burden of my past is too much to bear. I have a tendency to get caught up in the minor details of my most excruciating memories. If I could go back in time, would I do things differently? I’ve never been asked that question. Most, I assume, would expect … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


Hell on Wheels: Gambling with Substance Abuse

“The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” – Hunter S. Thompson When I left home for university at the age of seventeen, I hit the road running, followed by hell on wheels. I like the … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


Revolving Door Syndrome

“Hope” is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops – at all – -Emily Dickinson There was a time when I lived without hope. Mental illness struck me at the heart of my youth. The University of Victoria had been … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.


Lovers of the Lights: Finding Love and Meaning in the Psych Ward

“Stretch out my life And pick the seams out Take what you like But close my ears and eyes Watch me stumble over and over”  – Mumford and Sons, “Lover of the Light” The way her black hair and piercing grey eyes posed such a stark contrast to the clinical white of hospital garments and … Continued

About Andrew Woods

Having been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD at the age of seventeen (while attending the University of Victoria), my struggle with mental illness has been a full spectrum experience. I have made much progress since my last hospitalization (three and a half years ago). I returned to university, eventually earning a degree in Economics and a diploma in Business Administration. Today, I have aspirations of following a career in writing and communications. Currently, I spend my time as a mental health volunteer, working as a mental health navigator, exhibitor and communications support volunteer.