ACoA Report Card: Part 1

Once we become aware of the effects that trauma has had our lives, at what point do we progress from being victims of our circumstances to being accountable for our choices? This is a question I ask myself a lot, particularly identifying as an ACoA (adult child of alcoholic). This two part article series will … Continued


My mental health is more than what is in my head

  Since I began my mental health activism in 2008, the dialogue has been predominantly around mental health/illness as being in your brain. I do not dispute the brain’s role in mental wellness. The critical skeptic in me has wondered if the large focus on the brain is a way to avoid the social determinants … Continued


Seeking Treatment – It’s Not Always Easy

I believe that as human beings we are innately intuitive, and if we allow ourselves to be still and quiet we can figure out right from wrong, good from evil, truth from lies, the right path for us. I knew something more was going on in me when I was 15 on a family vacation … Continued


Reflections Upon #MensMHDay 2017

While #MensMHDay 2017 has come and gone, I’d like to take this moment to reflect on what we accomplished in 2017 and plant the seeds for next year’s campaign. By way of background, Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day was founded by Jean-Francois Claude in 2014. Jean-Francois has lived experience with depression. Like many men, he … Continued



Buzzword: Self-Care

I’ve been talking about buzzwords in these blogs a little bit, like mental health and suicide, but a buzzword I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is self-care. Self-care is everywhere these days, isn’t it? Everywhere you look there is a post on self-care – how to self-care, self-care routines, what is self-care, why is … Continued


A National Disgrace

On Thursday I had a direct message conversation with an old online friend. Please allow me to relay the opening parts of my conversation: OF:  hey John. Long take since we chatted. I was wondering if you could help me. I’m trying to find the national suicide hotline number. JD:  sadly there is no such … Continued


Seeking: Woman with Mental Illness

Dating is difficult enough with its uncertainties and vulnerabilities, without throwing the challenges of mental health into the mix, however, trying to build a relationship when one or both parties have a mental illness requires, I would argue, even more care and consideration. Dating in this modern day is, in a word, uninspiring. With dating … Continued


Burning out the parental units

Parenting is hard work; there is not a parent around who would disagree with that statement. You arrive home from the hospital with this tiny little being and wonder, what next? What do I do now? Very quickly, that question is answered for you as you become overwhelmed with feedings and diaper changes, recognizing this … Continued


My issue with the word issue

As a person who has faced the challenges of both open heart surgery and bipolar disorder, I am all too familiar with the kind of language we use to describe illness. This language ranges from clinical and benign to negative and charged with stigma and discrimination. My issue, the one I will tackle in this … Continued


The Mother of all Responsibilities

Hey moms, I have a favour to ask you. Yes, I know, you are overwhelmed and under-appreciated. I know you don’t want to even imagine taking on another responsibility, but this one is important. I’m asking you today to do one thing that just might change the world – I want you to talk to … Continued


Why I Can’t Take Medication

Trigger warning: Talk of suicide and suicidal thoughts/emotions The use of psychiatric drugs (psych drugs) to treat mental health concerns can be a hot topic. There is an internal and external stigma attached to taking these drugs. There are numerous posts written by individuals with lived experience stating their reasons for using psych drugs to … Continued


Understood, Heard, Validated, Accepted.

**Warning: mentions of self-harm (cutting) and suicide** When I was growing up I was the happy, quiet, smiley kid. I did well in school, followed the rules – “goody two shoes”, “jesus freak”, and “innocent” were all words too familiar to me. Looking back I think my innate need to follow rules and be in … Continued


What To Give a Hoot About

This winter was brutal. After a long and sunless couple of months, I feel like I am finally waking up. As much as I wish my spirit animal was an enthusiastic teacup pig, I know I embody many more of the qualities of a hibernating brown bear. I feel better. Between the improved weather, bedtime … Continued


Seeing

The French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote “The whole of life lies in the verb ‘seeing’.” Yet, many of us go through our lives without seeing. We flit from moment to moment, observing none of them, always anticipating the future or lost in the past. Certainly, as someone who suffers from depressive episodes, the … Continued


Access to Care in Ontario

There is a common conversation for those working in or educating others regarding the differences between equity and equality. We highlight equity is not synonymous with equality, and that we cannot expect things to be the same for every person. What happens though if neither equity or equality are present? Is that even possible? The … Continued


The Paradox Facing Mental Illness Sufferers

There is a luxury that people with well-known physical illnesses enjoy that doesn’t apply to those with a mental illness. If you are diagnosed with heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, diabetes or any other common physical illness, those around you will immediately understand what is happening to you. That immediate (and complete) understanding will allow … Continued


How I cope with my trauma

  It took me a while to come to terms with my trauma. I had always associated trauma with big events like war, natural disasters or assaults. I didn’t think the emotional abuse I experience counted, but it does (emotional abuse is a big event, just in my mind at the time it was not). A … Continued


Let’s Feel What We Feel

Have you ever felt embarrassed about something you’ve said, or something you’ve done? Probably all of us right? Have you ever felt ashamed about something you’ve said, or something you’ve done? We’re probably slower to admit this one, but still probably most of us right? Now, have you ever felt embarrassed or ashamed about your … Continued


On Seizing Opportunity

I’ve had a great deal of good fortune in my journey from the brink of death until today. I admit this. However, some of that good fortune has arisen because I’ve seized an opportunity. One such opportunity has been the privilege of writing for Healthy Minds Canada over the past 15 months. I saw a … Continued