It Takes Work

I liken my support system to the three legs of a stool. So long as all three legs are in balance, the stool – my recovery – is stable. Previously, I shared with you the roles played by psychotropic medications and talk supports. In this post, I’ll discuss the third leg of the stool, the … Continued


Being Helpful to your Mentally Ill Loved One

In writing for Healthy Minds Canada, I’ve come to realize that my honesty seems to resonate with people who may be suffering from mental illness and its associated complications. Up to this point, however, I haven’t fully engaged with a group of people who are so essential to the recovery and wellness of people who … Continued


Parents Need Support

  Mental health seems to be on everyone’s radar right now – there are fundraisers, movements, ways to change your Facebook postings. It almost seems as though mental health is suddenly….SEXY?! Can that be possible?  For caregivers, parents, loved ones of those living with mental illness we know that is not the case. Mental health … Continued


Capturing Mental Illness in Images

The cliché is old and well-worn, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true: a picture is worth a thousand words. That is why, during my keynote presentations on mental illness and stigma, I often rely on evocative images which help capture and explain what mental illness is truly like. Having experienced the dramatic symptoms of … Continued


#Lets(actually)talk: How We Can Do More

Ahh, hashtags. What a revolution they have caused, huh? Since the origin of the #hashtag on social media (likely the brain child of a Limewire Chat Room and the Facebook ‘Like’ Button), everything has changed. The way we find our information, make interpersonal relationships, and experience life has changed, thanks to social media. One of … Continued


Depersonalization

Every since I was a child, I asked a million questions in search for immediate answers. I liked to learn and I needed an answer for everything. I was inquisitive and annoying (according to my parents), so much so, that on one of my birthdays my aunt bought me a book called “A Million and … Continued


Dear Psychiatry Resident: A thank you letter

  Dear Psychiatry Resident, You found yourself sitting across from me because I had a scary episode of self-harm one night. You may not remember me but I remember you. I went alone to the mental health ER where you were working. I hoped that a mental health specific ER would understand me better than … Continued


What am I?

  When I was 16 I sat in a grey, cold hospital office where I was told in a matter of fact way, I had dysthymia and mild social anxiety. Fast forward a few years later, I’m 20 sitting in my university’s basement being told softly I have Major Depressive Disorder.   What are these … Continued


Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day

My initial plan was to complete my trilogy on mental health supports this week, but I’ve spent the last two weeks in support of a Canadian initiative that I’d like to bring to your attention: Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Consequently, the final part of that trilogy will follow shortly. Last year, I was tagged … Continued


Living Tired

Somehow, between pursuing a career and keeping up with our social commitments, being tired has become more than a feeling, but a state of being that our society has submitted to. If you ask anyone how they’re doing, odds are you will hear some variation of “tired”, and how else will you commiserate with them without discussing … Continued


Autism doesn’t end at 5!

April is autism awareness month, an appropriate time to think about the autism journey experienced by many families. Recently the Ontario government announced improvements in funding for kids with autism. The idea sounded like a good one — increase funding to support greater access to Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI). Certainly, the evidence supports the notion … Continued


Why Stigma is a F@#r-Letter Word

Stigma is a f@#r-letter word.  (I know there are actually 6, but bear with me. As a metaphor connecting stigma to the various four-letter swear words commonly used in English, it works.) I am speaking of the stigma that still surrounds mental illness, and the lack of empathy and understanding that follows. And that’s at … Continued


To Love and Be Loved

  Love will always have its share of ups and downs. Love when you or your partner, family member or friend is struggling with a mental illness is no different, but it may involve different demands. I have suffered from various mental health issues for the majority of my adult life, and so has my … Continued


Trauma, The Hidden Epidemic?

The wound is the place where the light enters you.  – Rumi   How profound. Of course, I did not always see it that way. My early years did not seem to be filled with much light or hope at all. I was abused, abandoned and neglected as a child by people who were supposed … Continued


Recovering my mental health after abuse

My ex-boyfriend of 5 years changed the way I do certain things. I used to say “supposebly” and now I say “supposedly”. I button up the very top button on collared shirts when I hang them to maintain the shape of the collar. I cut my food with my fork behind my knife instead of … Continued


You Asked: Why Do People Die By Suicide?

I’ll never forget the day I found out that Robin Williams had died by suicide. The thing is he wasn’t a childhood icon to me like he was for other people my age. I barely remember Mrs. Doubtfire; I’ve never actually watched Aladdin. And yet, I read the news that day and was hit with a … Continued


On Talk Supports

I liken my recovery supports to the three legs of a stool. Each plays its role in providing a stable base from which my recovery can grow. Remove one leg, though, and the stable base for recovery is lost and recovery falters. In my previous post, I spoke on one of these legs, my use … Continued


How Do You Describe Bipolar States?

I watched the documentary Bright Lights with my friend this weekend. Bright Lights is the HBO documentary about Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds. It is a very honest documentary. There are parts that will make you smile and laugh, tear up and possibly cry, and nod in agreement. One fan of Carrie Fisher’s said, She epitomizes … Continued


When Helpers Need Help

It makes a lot of sense to me that people who have lived experience with mental health issues, either personally or by way of their loved ones, are drawn to helping professions: teachers, social workers, public service workers, therapists, nurses, counselors, probation officers – the list goes on. Our experience has shaped our lives and … Continued


Interests – Or Lack Thereof

So here I am with my last blog post for Healthy Minds Canada. My four months of blogging for them went by way too quickly, but alas, it is time for new people to step in and take over. I had to sit and think for a while about a topic to write about for … Continued