I didn’t know I was bullied

When I little, bullying was when someone beat you up. I saw it frequently in movies. The bully pushes kids into lockers and takes their lunch money. The bully gives kids swirlies and calls them names. Bullying was very physical. Attacking someone strictly emotionally and psychologically was “kids being kids”. It was getting “picked on”. I … Continued


What I Wish People Knew About My Depression

I easily remember growing up with this idea that with mental health, you were either crazy or sane. Being mentally ill meant you were unable to function in our society and had to be shipped off to a psychiatric ward. Then, I educated myself, realized I suffered from depression and started treatment. However, not everyone … Continued


Early Recovery Successes

The month of September, 2014, found me in a very dark place. My world had been reduced to that of my mind, and my mind was ill. My thinking was extremely irrational. I was without hope. My world was stark, it was black and it was filled with pain. In an effort to end the … Continued


Be Relentlessly You

I am admittedly not a sports fan, but I did watch the Super Bowl last week, including the fantastic performance Lady Gaga put on. She performed a variety of her songs, including “Born This Way”, which has lyrics that I know resonate with many people, because of the message. Predictably, Internet trolls and people who had … Continued


Eating Disorders As Coping Mechanisms

For me, there is no talking about mental health without talking about body image. I remember feeling the pervasive desire for thinness, the necessity of dieting, and seeing food as either “bad” or “good” from as young as 6 years old. Blame fat-free food marketing of the 90s, or blame my vast collection of Barbie … Continued


#NeverGiveUp

I had the pleasure of collaborating with the Future Leaders of Ontario, an interdepartmental network of federal public service employees from across Ontario, committed to supporting professional development and growth. The end result is part of the #MinuteMentoring series and a product that I am very proud of, the #NeverGiveUp video. The video begins with a … Continued


My Life With Bipolar 1

I will start off with words I found very popular on Bell Let’s Talk Day – It’s okay to not be okay. I can say that the last few weeks have been a steadfast reminder of just that. So much so that I even had to verbally say the words “I am not okay right … Continued


I’m not recovered. I manage.

When I was in my early 20s I proudly said to a friend, “I think I’ve recovered from depression.” After many dark years involving self-harm, alcohol abuse, thoughts of killing myself and one attempt, I had emerged happy and healthy. I was in a long-term relationship, involved in mental health activism and spent more time … Continued


You Asked: Why Do People Self-Harm?

I remember the first time I heard about cutting. I was in 5th grade and some kid was singing a song he’d found on YouTube. “I must be emo,” was the chorus. I was young, dumb and eager to fit in. So, I sang along. When people made emo jokes, I repeated them. When people … Continued


On Defeating Isolation

Major Depressive Disorder is experienced by each sufferer in a unique way. Yet, within this personal experience, there’s a commonality that allows us to share with each other knowing that we each “get it”. In my case, the melancholic mood was accompanied by guilt and shame that had me questioning my worthiness. I avoided friends … Continued


Functional Anxiety

If dysthymia is persistent mild depression, is there a clinical term for persistent mild anxiety? There should be. I’ve been feeling a chronic, mild state of anxiety for so long. I’m going to call it functional anxiety. I have established a “baseline” anxiety and “baseline” depression level. I hate that they are both there daily, but … Continued


Choosing Happy

The season of #BellLetsTalk is a great time to talk about reaching out for help with our mental health struggles, and supporting one another by listening and being a friend. It’s a mark of great courage to trust someone else enough to be that vulnerable, and I certainly respect that. I have found it’s quite … Continued


How To Prepare For A Doctor’s Appointment

My last doctor’s visit for my “How are you doing?” and “How is your medication working?” appointment ended the same way as the previous visits. Me leaving the office feeling that nothing was accomplished. The same concerns brought up with similar results as the times before. Me going home and feeling that I was at a … Continued


My Invisible Illness Was Visible

*Trigger warning: Talk of self-harm* The Mighty released an article about makeup artist Yasaman Gheidi, who is using makeup to visually represent mental health experiences. Gheidi is calling it the “Inside Out Challenge”. Mental health issues are known as “invisible illnesses.” Gheidi wants to make what is invisible, visible. The support for the challenge is large, … Continued


A Guide to Heading to the ER for Suicidal Thoughts

They always tell you it’s an option, yet most of us don’t even think about it. When it comes down to suicidal ideation, you have a few options: wait it out, do it, or make your way to the emergency room to stay safe. Yet, this idea is terrifying. How do you make your way … Continued


Change

I’m in the midst of a depressive episode. Self-assessments using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) have consistently scored 20 or more for each of the last seven weeks. According to the interpretation guide for PHQ-9, this equates to my having a severe depressive episode that requires monitoring, medication and psychotherapy. The good news is that my PHQ-9 … Continued


Talking About Bell Let’s Talk

When you feel “different”, and have difficulty “fitting in”, attending social events where you know few people is difficult. You hate being left alone even for a moment, because you are unable to start a simple conversation with another person. With depression and anxiety, socializing is difficult in general, because you don’t know what to … Continued


What Depression Looks Like on Me

There are days I wish mental illness presented like any other physical illness in that its effects could be seen, validated, and hopefully understood by other people, because living with an invisible illness can be an exhausting experience, particularly for people whose depression and anxiety symptoms fall outside of how we often categorize “mentally ill” … Continued


Spirituality and Well-Being

The preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) defined health as a state of “physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” However, in the paper entitled “Spirituality in the Definition of Health The World Health Organization’s Point of View”, M.H. Khayat writes that “there was a general … Continued


Haley’s Comet

After a couple week hiatus, the holiday season and a new year, I’m back with a new blog post. I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays – I know an abundance of family and friend time can be more stressful than it is enjoyable for some. As for me, I just came back from a long … Continued