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.
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.
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?
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.
By the time I finished writing it, it was well after 4am but I was up anyways as I’d been anxiously awaiting a text from Jacob to let me know that he’d landed safely in Israel. My imagination seems to run into overdrive at those hours of the night (well technically the morning) and is definitely when my thoughts feel most despairing which I’m sure many of you can relate to.
I’m very overwhelmed right now to say the least, and writing has become such a cathartic outlet for me so I started writing earlier that evening to help try and calm my distressing thoughts and I just kept on writing and then writing some more. I guess I just needed to get my thoughts out of my head.
I wasn’t sure the more I sat and wrote that I was actually intending to share it publicly as I wasn’t sure how it would be received, but I’m very glad I did. The outpouring of love and genuine concern I received after people read my post was immeasurable. I received messages from people asking how they can support me, others privately offering up some suggestions and resources for me and many more just messaging me to check in to see if I was okay and safe.
There was also a general theme present in many of the messages I received both on and offline yesterday which I’ve heard time and time again since I first began sharing my journey; Kim you are so brave.
I honestly don’t see myself as brave at all.
Sharing my story has become second nature for me. It gives me purpose. Being authentic and real gives me purpose. I am not ashamed to talk about the struggles I go through living with a mental illness, it’s only given me more purpose which is why I don’t necessarily consider myself brave.
I will say though that maybe it takes a great deal of courage to do what I do (especially yesterday) given how mental illness is so misconceived and misunderstood by so much of society still and the stigma that’s very much attached to it.
We all struggle with one thing or another in our lives but too many of us unfortunately still choose to do so in silence which is why I am perceived as someone who is so brave. Bravery is being afraid to do something but doing it anyways so my guess is l bet we all have the power within us to be brave!
I’m ready to share my truth (as embarrassing as this is for me) of what happened to me during my Psilocybin treatment and what it has done to the quality of my life since. It’s a long one but I do hope an educational one as well.
*may be triggering*
The clinical portion of my Psilocybin journey has now come to an end. It actually feels like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I had no longer qualified for further treatments due to the neurological damage it had caused me which has also contributed to a significant decline in my mental health too but I made a promise to my Psychiatrist several months ago to stay as present as I could in the study, just on a much smaller scale, so that they could continue to collect necessary data for their research (*I’m pretty sure I will be written up in medical journals as that one unexplainable phenomenon).
As many of you know who follow my journey regularly I have always kept a promise to be as open and honest as I possibly can and I have made it my life’s purpose to allow others who may be reading or listening to always feel as though they are not alone and that it’s ok to ask for help. Sharing my own struggles has brought comfort to so many people and although I may not share everything going on in my life, if it’s part of my own personal mental health story, I’d say it’s been pretty darn close.
As many of you also know, I have been feeling extremely defeated lately, frustrated, angry and beyond exhausted from all the added stress I’m dealing with. I’m worn out to the point that I’m barely holding on right now. I’ve got no more fight left in me and I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been consumed by thoughts of suicide day and night for weeks now because of what I’m going through mentally, physically AND personally.
The other day though, I was reminded of a conversation I’d had with a Psychiatrist I spoke with late one night while in emerg last September. He told me that it was now time for me to start advocating for myself and not just for others. I took what he said to heart and it’s been a huge focus of mine for the past year but now I feel like I just can’t do it anymore. There are just too many obstacles in my way due to our failing healthcare system and the lack of resources, understanding and research surrounding my new condition.
So to say that I am feeling very much alone right now is probably an understatement which is why I have decided that today is the day I am going to open the curtain into my life just a little bit wider and try and advocate for myself by using the same platform that has helped so many other people find the courage to ask for help or feel less alone and I know firsthand just how powerful social media can be (just know as you continue reading that this is also the hardest and honestly most difficult thing I’ve ever shared along my entire journey).
It’s actually near insanity what I’m about to share. I still can’t believe it myself. I feel like I’m living in a nightmare.
As it is, it took me the better part of a month of suffering in complete silence post treatment before I finally found the courage to even open up to my own husband about what had truly been happening to my body since the first moment my psychedelic trip began. For several weeks prior I just kept trying to convince myself that it was all in my head and I must be imagining it.
The “trip” lasted well over 6 hours in total and far longer than the doctors in my care ever expected; five and a half of those hours were spent laying completely helpless on a very uncomfortable couch, pillow under my head, my body wrapped in a blanket (that I quickly managed to unwrap) while listening to very distressing music on headphones they gave me as part of the study and my eyes covered in a dark mask all the while, convulsing non stop. Once I finally divulged everything to Rich then came the even more difficult conversations with my therapist, Psychiatrist and GP. A diagnosis was confirmed but that was just the beginning.
Suffering in silence is not a healthy way to live but as I’m sure you will be able to understand shortly, I was too embarrassed and too ashamed to share with anyone else until I began to process my diagnosis and opening up little by little with close friends almost became a necessity and the more I learned through my own research, including joining a Facebook group I found for people like myself from all over the world who are dealing with this same unrelenting, unbearable, very rare, incurable disorder was I able to slowly feel comfortable enough sharing with others as well.
But it’s not enough anymore. It’s becoming more and more concerning, without any resolution in sight and as my level of stress increases so too do my symptoms. It’s becoming more and more unmanageable and more and more difficult to hide it. I’ve seen 2 different types of Neurologists, one of whom sent me for an EEG and MRI and one of whom told me a circuit broke in my brain the day of the treatment and hopefully it will fix itself one day. I’m on a wait list to see 2 other specialists and have been told I will be lucky if I get in to see either of them within the year.
Through my own self-advocacy and Google searches I was able to find the only 2 doctors in Ontario (both of whom do research at Queens University in Kingston Ontario). They are both recognized as “distinguished” in this field of study. They were able to recommend a couple of treatment options to me but unfortunately one of which was to try taking an antidepressant to help give me some relief from my symptoms which is also unfortunately not a viable option for me given the lengthy list of dangerous side effects they have caused me in the past. I’d just be trading in one issue for another, if they’d even work at all, which is not a risk I’m willing to take any more. Their other recommendations are not ones covered by our lovely healthcare system unless I do it through one of the 2 referrals I’m hoping to see before 2024!!
I am speaking out today because I want to help normalize this disorder and spread awareness. The number of people suffering in silence right now far outweighs the statistics due to its sensitive nature which is also why I’ve chosen to use my platform to try and find other avenues to explore or doors which could possibly open up faster in order for me or someone else reading this to seek help (there is one Guru whose name has been mentioned numerous times to me by the doctors I’ve spoken to and many members in the Facebook group I’m in who have had the pleasure of meeting him but unfortunately he works in San Diego!). He’s written many research articles on the topic which is why he is so well known because there has been very minimal research done on the topic and has only been recognized in the medical field for the past 20 years, leaving what seems to be most doctors having very little to no training or knowledge on its many complexities.
I am finding myself sleeping less and less as sitting and lying down escalate many of my flare-ups throughout my day and when the flare-ups are at their peak my entire body trembles. I am experiencing a constant tingling sensation in my hands and feet, brain zaps, numbness throughout my body, nausea and a shakiness in both my arms and legs (likened to that of restless leg syndrome). I can no longer handle simple touch and sudden noises or movement like a sneeze, cough, snore or clearing of someone’s throat will trigger my symptoms as well. It is consuming my entire life and wellbeing at this point in time. Distractions throughout my day are certainly helpful but only last for short periods of time.
I think I will leave you here with an article attached to help fill in the blanks (which there are lots of). As I mentioned at the start of this please know that this has been the hardest thing I’ve ever shared, but I don’t want it to be.
If anyone would like to reach out to me privately please feel free to.
Thank you for those who made it all the way to the end. I apologize for its length but I just needed to get it all out. Thank you for continuing to come along with me on this crazy journey of mine.