You are a survivor

January 30th is Bell’s annual “Let’s talk” mental health awareness day.

Not everyone believes in Bell’s honesty when it comes to wanting to eliminate the stigma around mental health. I still think it’s a good initiative that needs to overshadow any issues the company has.

Why do we need to talk about mental health?

Mental health is for the most part invisible to the naked eye. You can’t tell who is suffering by just looking at them so be careful when you are talking. Look around you today, odds are many people you will cross today are having a difficult time and are hiding their struggles.

Mental Health - Depression - Anxiety - Chronic Illness

Just because we hide our struggles doesn’t mean it’s not hard. Something I’ve experience over and over is that people think you are doing well when you are smiling. The truth is that behind too many smile hides a world of hurt.

As many of you already know, I have been battling with depression and anxiety for numerous years. Mental health issues run in the family.  My child is going through the same and it feels a thousand time worst. I wish I could take her pain away and add to mine, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.

We are all fighters even when we feel that we are not. We keep moving forward. We find our supporters, our tribe, our community that supports us. We preserve good energy by surrounding ourselves with good people.

“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.” – Tom Hiddleston

You can’t force someone to confide in you

Sometimes things we are going through are too traumatic to speak about in the present. It can take time and distance before we are ready to open up.

There is so much I wish I could say, that I know that I will eventually share with all of you, but for now, it’s too raw to put into words. For now, I will leave everyone with this quote:

“Some of us have been through things so traumatic that the human mind isn’t built to handle but we fight and persevere every single day and night. If that’s not strength I don’t what is. You are a survivor” – Unknown

Finally, please remember, what you’re going through right now is temporary. It may not feel like that from inside the tough time you’re in. This too shall pass and you will feel different again someday.

Burning the candle at both ends

In today’s society which values a busy lifestyle it is easy to loose sight of our physical and mental health. Everyone you speak to complains about being tired and having too much to do. How do you know when what you are feeling is more than the “normal” exhaustion? How do you know when you are heading or already are having a burn out?

Left unchecked, a burnout can wreck havoc on your physical and mental health, your relationships and your job.

Burning the candle at both ends, burn outThe first sign of a burnout is exhaustion. If you feel tired all the time, if sleeping doesn’t make you feel rested, If you feel completely drained of energy, you may want to start paying attention. This isn’t normal. This isn’t just living in the modern world.

The second sign is the lack of motivation. Of course, if you are feeling completely exhausted all the time, you may not want to do anything. It’s harder to get up in the morning because you aren’t looking forward to the day and this happens every day, not just once in a while.

The third sign is developing a negative mindset. When you are exhausted and have no motivation to do anything, it’s perfectly normal to start feeling cranky, frustrated and negative. Everyone experiences negative thinking from time to time, but its important to notice when it becomes your usual.

The fourth sign is lack of concentration. If you feel exhausted, have no motivation and are feeling down, it’s only natural for your brain to stop paying attention and to wonder. When our bodies are stress, it’s a natural reaction to concentrate on what it perceives has a threat. It’s supposed to help us deal with the problem at hand. The problem is that our bodies are designed to deal with short burst of stress, deal with the problem and find a solution. It’s not designed to be in a constant states of stress. You may feel forgetful and harder to remember things.

Stay in your pyjamasThe fifth sign is finding it difficult to take care of yourself and your hygiene. You may be forgetting to take your daily medication and don’t really care. You may have a difficult time getting yourself in the shower and skipping on your usual routine, such as putting on makeup or hair routine. You just don’t have enough energy to care.

If you are heading or are already neck deep into a burnout, you may want to reach out to your family doctor. The important thing is that you recognize the sign and that you ask for help.

Don’t quit

No matter what is your situation in life, whether you are fighting a chronic illness or mental illness or both, life can sometime feel like a burden and each day can feel like a challenge.

My struggle often makes it a challenge just to get myself to work in the morning and it can feel as if each interaction is a struggle. Each word you speak is a drain on my supply of energy.

Like most people, I have a sense of accomplishment when I finish what I start. This used to be a lot easier before mental and physical health issues made a permanent home in my body. I am still fighting never give up never surrender.

“You might be sad because you’ve been through a lot, but you should also be proud of yourself for being strong enough to make it through it.” – Unknown

Stop asking me if I’m cured

Having conversation with many family members and friends have become difficult because all the same questions are being asked over and over again. It has become clear that some people are unable to accept that I have multiple incurable chronic illness. Everyone thinks optimism is great, but did people ever ponder that maybe too much optimism can hurt you?

I’ve had to accept my situation in order to survive it. By expecting me to be cured and refusing to accepting that it’s incurable, you are not helping me.

  • Didn’t you just have a doctor appointment not long ago?
  • Do you really need to see a doctor so often?
  • Why does the doctor need to see you so often?
  • Why do you have so many doctors?
  • What is this doctor for?
  • When will you stop going to the doctors?
  • So are you getting better?
  • Did they find a cure?
  • Why is it taking so long to find a cure?
  • Why are you taking medication if it’s not to cure you?
  • I know someone who cut all gluten and got cured.
  • Are you sure they didn’t misdiagnosed you?

I have multiple incurable chronic illness. I have medication that need to be adjusted on a monthly basis and that for the rest of my life. No, they can’t just give me a prescription and send me home without follow up. Medication that affect with hormones have to be adjusted regularly because hormones levels are constantly changing, especially when you are a women about to enter menopause.

No, my thyroid won’t come back to life. It’s dead. That’s permanent. There is no way to make an impossible possible.

Yes, I really need to see a doctor. If I’m not careful or decide to go untreated, I will die. You can’t get your hopes up that an illness will magically disappear if you ignore it. No, I’m not at risk of dying, because I take care of my illness, take my medication, follow instructions from my doctors on food and exercise, etc. No, even if I follow everything perfectly, I won’t be cured.

I have many doctors, because I have multiple chronic illness and each doctor has a specialty.

No they haven’t found a cure, stop asking me every 2 minutes.

I’m not gluten intolerant. I took the test. It was negative. I am lactose intolerant and no, cutting lactose from my diet won’t cure me of all my chronic illnesses, but it does make my stomach feel better.

Yes, I’m sure they didn’t misdiagnose me. I’ve had countless test and still getting more. I’ve seen all the results. Just because my cousin has an illness, doesn’t mean I have the same one.

I wish the healthy portion of the world would stop being so optimistic and just accept that I’m sick.

For those who stay

Anyone who has been through illness (physical or/and mental) know that people tend to drift away. I’ve been living with multiple chronic illness and mental illness for a few years now. There has been many ups and downs. I am still walking along the journey, trying to figure it out, testing different treatment to see what works and was doesn’t.

Life changes when you are dealing with illness. Friendship changes. You can’t force people to stay in your life. Staying is a choice.

There is no point in chasing people. Running after people will now prove to them that you matter.

Thank you to all who have stayed with me through thick and thin.

The joys of changing medication

In an attempt to treat my Fibromyalgia, it was suggested that I change my current mental health medication for one that has a pain treatment aspect to it. First I had to ween off my current medication and then start the new medication gradually. It was only for a short period, but it still affected my mood and I found myself tumbling down into depression again.

My life was beautiful yet I kept crying and wanting the pain to go away. My husband would ask me what’s wrong and I couldn’t put it into words, because I didn’t know. I don’t know where these feelings came from.

Depression may be our second-most-common health issue. So it’s especially frustrating that so many still believe false myths about it.

World Mental Health Day

October 10th is World Mental Health Day.

Too many chose not to speak publicly and openly because they are afraid of fallout and consequences in their immediate surroundings, both personal and professional. No one should have to fear reprisal for suffering from mental illness. They prefer to remain anonymous for fear of judgment. Unfortunately, we can not bare ourselves without consequences. It’s nice to say that mental illness is like any other disease, but in reality, it is not. Society still judges and condemns far too much.

Feeling emotionally drained, in pain and like it’s just all too much sometimes?

Any behaviour that impedes our way of communicating, which generates our suffering and the inability to lead a normal life, requires a diagnosis and a type of therapeutic strategy capable of resolving the situation. Despite the fact that 1 out of 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, mental health remains one of the most underfunded parts of our health care system.

Most people with mental health conditions live alone with their trying conditions. They seldom have real and appropriate support from the health system, society and individuals.

I am very outspoken when it comes to mental health. I personally suffer and being treated for Anxiety and Depression. I’m doing it to raise awareness for mental health. I’m also speaking about my experience because it’s been proven that when you have a mental health problem, putting words on what you are living is an important step toward recovery.

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” — J.K. Rowling

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Depression, like many other diseases, does not discriminate. Depression can be treated. The first step is talking.

“Stop crying” is a way to tell someone that their feelings are wrong or don’t matter. It’s invalidating as hell and it doesn’t solve anything. No one should ever be told how to feel or what to do with their bodies.

Mental illness disorders are not fun for anyone. You know there is no logical reason for feeling this way and yet, in spite of it all, you do.

Depression is a very debilitating, scary, lonely disease and it is also a very misunderstood disease. Depression turns you into someone who you don’t even know or recognize. Physical pain from depression and anxiety is very real.

“Friendly reminder that “doing your best” does not mean working yourself to the point of a mental breakdown.” – Unknown

Please stop “pill shaming” people who take medication for mental health. Treatment for depression usually involves a combination of drugs, talking therapies and self-help. Treatment is based on the type of depression you have. When you feel low exercise seems to help some people, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Talking through your feelings may also be helpful. You may wish to talk to a friend or relative to start with, but if things don’t get better, please seek up professional help. Depression and Anxiety are treatable and anything that can keep you from hurting, emotionally and physically, is worth looking into.

Our emotions don’t just affect our mental state but our entire body. You are carried away. Overwhelmed, without agency. I was so stressed out that I’d be vomiting and having diarrhoea at the same time.

We need to let it out. It’s therapeutic. The more we avoid our pain and repress our emotions, the more likely our bodies are to rage against us later on, causing further mental and physical health challenges.

I had severe anxiety and depression. There wasn’t an hour in the day or night where I wasn’t worried about someone I love, about work and/or about finances.

You have the right to have emotions, to express them and/or to keep them for yourself.

“You are going to struggle, so you need to surround yourself with people you trust.” – Black Panther

I’ve found that being raw and real about my own struggles has helped others, so I do it for those who haven’t found their voice yet.

If you ever need help, here are some useful resources:

NWT # 1-800-661-0844
BC 1 800 784 2433
Kids helpline 1 800 668 6868
Alberta 403 266 4357
Saskatchewan 306 933 6200
Manitoba 1 855 942 6568
Ontario 1 866 996 0991
Quebec 1 866 277 3553
Newfoundland 1800 737 4668

 

Why I spend so much time on my smartphone

I spend a lot of time on my smartphone. I spend time on Facebook and games. Half the time it’s because I enjoy it, but half the time it’s because I’m too tired to do anything else, and I need a distraction from the pain.

Sometimes I  binge watch Netflix, YouTube, or mindless videos over and over, because I can’t stand to be with my own thoughts. I’m distracting myself from me. My phone has become a tool in my mental health and support for all of my health issues. Within reach are people who are going through the same issues as me and understand the struggles. It’s amazing how it can be a life saver to have someone to confide to when you are having a difficult day.

“At the end of the day, I’m a good woman. I’m not perfect by any means, but my intentions are good, my heart is pure and I love hard with everything I’ve got. And because of those things, I’m worth it. Always have been and always will be.” – An Empowered Woman

Depression is much more than simple unhappiness

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. It is much more than simple unhappiness. It hurts. Not just emotionally, but physically too.

If you think you have depression, talk to someone you trust & seek professional help.

I was barely functional when I went to see my doctor. Ever since I take depression medication, I am much better. I know there’s a lot of fear and false beliefs around taking medication for mental health, but it truly can help you get better. At least try for a few months before you dismiss it.

 

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