New Blog: A GLIMMER OF HOPE (sorry it’s so long but if you can, please read to the end and send some extra light and love my way!)

Over the course of the last few months I’ve mentioned several times that I have been waiting since May/June to find out if the specialist my Psychiatrist originally referred me to has accepted the referral he made. I’d received an email in the summer (which I shared at the time) stating that the referral would take 8 to 12 weeks just to process and then once accepted, it would take another 6 to 12 months to call me to book an actual appointment. I called the specialist’s office again last week and left a message to find out where I am in the queue at this point. I received a phone call back this morning (which I was pleasantly surprised to hear back at all) but was informed that although the referral has been processed I shouldn’t expect to hear from them for still another 6 to 9 more months in order to book my appointment. She kindly offered to put me on their waitlist to try to prioritize my queue. I accepted without hesitation. 

You can probably imagine by this point that I am beyond frustrated, well actually I’m way beyond the point of frustration now; I’m infuriated, leaving a whole other part of me now wanting to die as well. 

I can’t do this anymore. I just want to scream and cry and maybe throw something. 

But can anyone really blame me? 

In the meantime though, my psychiatrist, who thankfully has not given up on me yet, recently made a few additional referrals as well to other specalists along hospital row in downtown Toronto (ranked as some of the greatest hospitals in Canada and around the world) who had come highly recommended to him by other doctors; Urologists, Sexual Health Doctors and Gynecologists alike. Someone has to know something about this very rare disorder I’m dealing with (and without a 12 to 18 month wait time) which statistically affects only 1% of the population in the world and is completely destroying whatever quality of life I feel like I have left. Well guess what? Every single new referral he has made recently for me were all declined immediately after receiving them due to the doctor’s lack of knowledge on my condition and the lack of research that’s been done as well over the last 20 years since it first received an actual name in the medical field. 

I just can’t do this anymore. I’m overwhelmed and scared for my life but today I did finally receive a piece of positive news which I’m trying desperately to hold on to along with a last glimmer of hope in my heart. 

Throughout my journey over the last 8+ years I’ve had to fight for my life more times than I can count and have learned just how important self-advocacy is and now on this new leg of my journey I’ve found myself having to work overtime in order to try and get the help I need regarding my new issues that began at the onset of my Psilocybin treatment back in April. I’ve done hours upon hours of my own research, read many articles, gathered bits and pieces of information and treatment options through an amazing Facebook group I found and have spoken with a professor in Biochemical and Molecular Sciences and is considered a tier 1 expert and researcher in Sexual Health, Neurology, Psychology and Rehabilitation Therapy in Ontario. 

My Psychiatrist has also been doing his own diligent research on my condition and what we have both found is one treatment option in particular most consistently recommended and with particularly good results. Unfortunately though it is not covered by our healthcare system (of course) and is very expensive and therefore has not been a viable option for me financially right now but, and here is where the positive news enters the picture. 

Late last week I had my regularly scheduled appointment with my Psychiatrist where I sobbed uncontrollably and said once again to him, “I don’t think I can do this anymore.” Well first thing this morning he called me, with an answer to my statement I’d made days earlier as he spoke the words, “Let’s try one more time.” You see, immediately following our conversation late Thursday afternoon, my Psychiatrist reached out to his research team from the clinical study to discuss where I’m at in this process and to discuss this treatment option with them further. He also reached out to the clinic I was in contact with as well to gather more information on the treatment; he let me know he was doing so. He called me this morning to then let me know that the research team will be providing the funding needed for the treatment. He was so apologetic and extremely remorseful as to what has happened to me. I know it’s not his fault at all but it felt really good to hear it nonetheless and maybe, fingers crossed, by the time I eventually do hear from the referral made back in the Spring, in however many months from now that I’ve been hanging all hope on, I will no longer need their help and I can give up my spot to the next person in the queue.

*I have my first appointment already scheduled for later this week, with 8 to 10 additional appointments following. It’s a more holistic approach to medicine and takes on a neurological, physiological and psychological approach…and the best part is, I am not the first person they have treated at their clinic with my condition! 

In case you missed my blog explaining the details of my current situation please go to link below.

#Psilocybin #clinicalstudy #aglimmerofhope #funding #healthcare #ourhealthcaresystemsucks #mentalhealth #treatmentresistantdepression #sayalittleprayerforme #loveandlight

Our annual apple picking tradition continues…

Committing to spending quality time with friends and family is an important part of our social well-being and overall wellness.

One of the best ways to achieve these goals is by creating traditions with friends, family and our chosen families too.

Despite our busy schedules and hectic lives, not everyone is always available to join in so easily anymore but, nonetheless these moments are super important to me and are such a great way to nurture connection, distract from the chaos, focus on what is truly important, feel a sense of belonging and appreciation and it brings with it a sense of comfort to the unpredictability of life.

Thanks @sheriepstein for always putting in the extra effort to ensure that our special family time traditions keep going 😇

#applepicking #traditions #connection #chosenfamily #qualitytime #family #belonging #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #summerofrich/falledition #dogsarefamilytoo #maggieandperry

A gentle reminder…Words Matter

In support of National Bullying Prevention Month throughout October and World Mental Health Day on October 10th we have created a new design. 

Our words contain power and energy.  

Words can cause hurt, anger and sadness. 

Words can bring comfort, heal, validate and inspire us. 

Words can be kind and encouraging; humiliating or harmful. 

Words can uplift or leave us feeling defeated. 

The words we choose can change the direction of our relationships. 

Words can change the trajectory of your life. 

The right words make all the difference. 

Words are powerful beyond measure. 

Choose them wisely.

Now that Fall has arrived, it’s time to cozy up with a comfy @gentlereminderproject hoodie. Message us to purchase one today. Lots of beautiful affirmations to choose from. Let others know that it’s okay not to be okay. You are not alone. 

In support of Youth Mental Health

#Nationalbullyingpreventionmonth #worldmentalhealthday #choosekindness #agentlereminder #ourwordsmatter #mentalhealth #wordsarepowerful #letschangethelanguage #mentalhealth #antibullying #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok 

Everything is “Fine”

*mention of suicide*

Eventually you close your eyes and fall asleep after tossing and turning for hours. The voices in your head don’t give you much time to rest and before you know it, the sun has risen and morning has come. 

You open your eyes. 

But you wish you hadn’t. I wish I hadn’t too.

Every 40 seconds someone takes their own life. That’s close to 800,000 people worldwide every single year. In many instances a suicidal person may hide behind their “mask”, fake a smile or tell you everything is “fine” even though it isn’t. 

Too many of us feel as though we have to pretend to be the person they think others want or expect us to be so we put on our mask, fake a smile and tell the world everything is fine even though it’s not. We fear we will be judged by our friends or we don’t want to feel like a burden to our loved ones or look weak to society. 

A mask, a fake smile or a simple word can hide a magnitude of pain and sadness but it doesn’t have to be that way. I promise you, you are not alone. I know it’s scary but it’s okay to admit that life is really fucking hard. 

The last few months have been excruciatingly difficult for me and as I’ve mentioned before I’ve been consumed by thoughts of suicide. I am so beyond blessed though for all the incredible support I have at every turn and I am especially grateful to those who have rallied around both me and my family in recent weeks. I am not afraid to admit that life is really, really hard right now and as Glennon Doyle (bestselling author and activist) will attest to after recovering from an almost 20 year battle with addiction and bulimia, that not only is it okay to admit when life feels really hard but that it’s also okay to say, “actually today I’m not fine”. Afterall, we are all just human beings and we shouldn’t have to run from our feelings or be afraid of them. 

When we admit those words aloud, when we are in the most pain or darkest moments, you may be pleasantly surprised to find out just how many people will show up. 

The world is a messy place, but I’ve learned I don’t have to attempt it alone, and you my friend, neither should you.

Keep checking up on your friends and loved ones, even the strong and happy ones. 

#suicideawarenessmonth #checkonyourstrongfriends #suicideprevention #mentalillness #mentalwellness #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #lifeishard #lifecanbemessy #imnotfine #itsoktoaskforhelp #youareenough

Elephant Symbolism

Rachel gifted herself with her first tattoo yesterday to honour her 20th birthday.

She has had an obsession with elephants ever since she was a little girl. I also believe that they are truly magnificent animals and I especially love the symbolism which elephants represent (and besides, who here doesn’t adore Dumbo?).

Elephants are best known for their mammoth size and statue, both which symbolize strength and power, even though the truth is, they are really just gentle giants much like the adorable babylike cartoon elephant Rachel chose for her tattoo.

Elephants also represent true family values. They are seen as extremely protective of their young along with the rest of their herds too. They will stop at nothing to protect them. I know there are probably some humans who could learn a thing or two from elephants about putting family above all else.

There are also many different cultures and practices around the world, especially to Buddha who consider elephants to be a very sacred and spiritual creature and a symbol for wisdom, motivation, longevity, compassion, good luck and fortune as well. 

I totally get why Rachel is so drawn to elephants. And me too.

*Sidenote: Rich btw is now the only one in our fam without a tattoo, not that I ever saw myself getting one either before 6 years ago, let alone two and a third one on top of my mind. They are actually quite addictive, especially when you bring meaning and purpose into them. Maybe to honour his upcoming 60th birthday in November Rich should get one too? Maybe matching ones? What do you think?

#elephants #tattoos #symbolism #gentlegiants #magnificent #strength #power #familyvalues #compassion #spiritual #sacred #fortune #wisdom #luck #motivation #longevity #mentalhealth #mentalwellness 

No more Teenagers in da house! WOOT, WOOT!!

I can’t believe my baby is 20 years old today.

Dad and I are so very proud of the bright, beautiful, extraordinarily talented, creative, passionate and resilient young woman you are growing into each and every day Rachel. 

And now as you embark on this next leg of your journey to a new decade, I have no doubt that you will triumph through it as you figure your 20’s out but just in case you get stuck from time to time here are some important things to remember:

*Take advantage of the carefree days.

*Many amazing changes are coming your way in the next decade.

*People will start to take you way more seriously now that the word “teen” is no longer attached to your age.

*There is no rush to figure it all out today or even tomorrow; you’re only 20 afterall.

*Keep setting new goals and go for it.

*Make time for fun, for friends, for family and for new adventures. 

*Find your superpower.

*Work hard but more importantly play hard too.

*Keep learning, even when school is done.

*Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

*If at first you don’t succeed try, try again. 

*Don’t compare yourself to others.

*Learn to forgive yourself. 

*Spend time with people who lift you up.

*Nourish your body and your mind. 

*Keep focus on your physical and mental health. 

*And most important of all…never forget that dad and I will always be here to catch you when you fall.

Wishing you the happiest of birthdays and decade yet. We love you to the moon and back Rachel, forever and a day.

#happybirthday #thisistwenty #birthdaygirl #newdecade #celebrate #nomoreteenagers #chapterthree #babyofthefamily #fluxy #rachy #dreamoutloud #makeawish

End of #summerofrich 2022

*Please enjoy some of the highlights from #summerofrich 2022

Today is the first full day of Fall. 

You can already feel it in the air.

I have to say that I do love summer more than all the other seasons combined but who could argue that there is just something about Fall that gives us a fresh outlook or perspective.

Fall gives us an opportunity for change, to meet new people, to set new goals and to find ways to motivate ourselves as we dive back into more regular daily routines. 

The cooler temps and vibrant colours on the trees make us want to immerse ourselves in nature. Such incredible benefits for our mental health. 

Fall often means more time to spend with family whether it be during holidays or sipping on pumpkin spice lattes or chowing down on Halloween candy. 

With the winter blues on the horizon for many, Fall is a great time to embrace nature’s healing powers and resilience.

Describe your perfect Fall day. 

#Fall #autumn #change #goals #resilience #healingpowers #nature #endofsummer #winterblues #ilovesummer  #summerofrich #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #vibrantfallcolours #coolertemps #whatisyourperfectfallday 

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