An important notice - Healthy Minds Canada has merged with Jack.org, the only Canadian charity training and empowering young leaders to revolutionize mental health. As of March 1 2018, all HealthyMindsCanada.ca visitors will be redirected to Jack.org. Please sign up to keep up to date with Jack.org’s activities.

Everything begins somewhere. So, I am going to share my story of where my journey with mental illness began. This post is a hard one for me, as I have difficult time opening up about this. I’ve said in a previous post that I’ve dealt with anxiety for a long time but it was around eleven years old that my spiral into an ongoing off and on again depression began. For me to share this story you are going to have to understand that I have a very strong opinion on addictions, and it isn’t a very popular one. But whether it’s be correct or not, I think that from my experiences it’s understandable that I feel this way about it.


I believe that an addiction all starts with an initial choice. I didn’t choose to have the chemical imbalance in my brain. My father chose to play with fire, knowing the chances of getting burned were very high. I was young, naive, and he was supposed to be my hero. I believed in him, and thought that all of our time spent together was a normal father-daughter relationship. The day I learned about the drugs, and that he was probably high out of his mind throughout that year, my world crashed around me. I was plagued with guilt, and self hate and felt like I had been manipulated. Was being my father really that bad? Was I just an excuse for him to get out of the house so he could be unfaithful? The words “don’t tell your mother” still ring in my mind. All of the hurt still pounds in my chest.

Growing up with a parent who was vacant and had an addiction really impacts your life. I’ve grown up with fear. I’m terrified of being hurt like that again. I can’t open myself up to love because all I can see is the pain that comes with it. I have a hard time trusting anyone. Ever. My mind races constantly over everything, and everyone. My father’s addiction, his choice to take a drug that is well known to frequently lead to addiction, has caused me the greatest sadness in the world. I can’t shake it. No matter how many people tell me that it is over now, and that it was never my fault, it just doesn’t go away.

I understand that substance abuse issues are classified as mental illnesses and that they frequently go hand in hand with other mental illnesses. But still, in my mind addiction is a choice that you make. There are ways to deal with pain that are healthier. I will admit that I haven’t dealt with my pain in the best ways; I’ve taken lots of things out on myself. Self destructively, but at least I try to be selfless about it. I don’t want my pain to hurt the ones I love.

I might be cautious, and I might occasionally destruct relationships out of fear. I might suffer from my memories, and old habits. It’s just that now I will allow the past to strengthen me, and give me the voice to reach out and share my story with those who are silent. My scars will remind me that I was never to blame, and that I never will be. I’m not sure if I can forget, or forgive, but I’m starting to see that I can put away the blame that I put on myself. Because realistically, I cannot control anything other than my own thought patterns, decisions and actions. 

About Emma Holden

18, tea enthusiast, animal lover, word writer, and wants to change the stigma on mental health one blog post at a time.

Connect with us