The other day I posted an update about another wonderful phone conversation I’d received that afternoon from the Investigative Officer in charge of the complaint I had made to the police department in regards to their mental health policies and procedures. Yesterday I made a follow-up post about how I had shared this particular post in a mental health related group which I am a member of on Facebook where I sometimes like to share my blogs that I feel may be relevant or helpful to other members.
I received lots of gratitude from many of its members for speaking out and trying to make changes to how mental health crises are handled by the police but I also mentioned that I received some pull back from one member in particular who began spewing his hatred he has towards the police due to his own personal encounters with them and then basically implied that “ALL” police are bad and crooked and therefore we should not support their efforts in any way (https://wheredidmommyssmilego.com/2023/03/10/was-never-my-intentions/).
I did not engage with any of his hateful comments and as his anger towards the police escalated more and more, his comments were eventually deleted by the Admin.
But the story didn’t end quite there because what I awoke to this morning has left me completely traumatized and shaken. While I slept…for all of maybe two hours, this particular individual decided to invade my own personal space by going to my Facebook page and leaving approximately 15 to 20 very long and separate hate filled rants, videos and links to articles in the comment section of my post about what police have done to him, why we need to defund the police, how the mental health system has failed him time and time again and so much more.
I took screenshots of every single comment in the never-ending thread of comments before blocking him and reporting them. I wish I could say it ended there but once he realized I’d blocked him he then went over to my Instagram account to continue his rant there, this time leaving very nasty hashtags as well, all focused on his hatred towards police officers. I once again took a screenshot and reported his comments as harassment before blocking him.
There will always be haters out there but sadly this individual is not taking any responsibility for his own life and the things that happen to him, instead he has resorted to taking his anger out on me and thinks this is a helpful way to try and change my views.
I know that I can’t let him steal my purpose or derail me in my endeavors to be a voice for change but it’s really difficult not to at the moment. But also knowing that the officer in charge of my complaint could have just as easily dismissed my case from the moment my email landed in his lap back in January has instead chosen to put much thought and effort into it because he sees that things aren’t working well as they are and wants to ensure that positive changes are made across the board and believes that helping give my story a voice could do just that is truly all I need to be focusing on right now.
***update*** the dude was banned from the Facebook group!
I belong to a wonderful Facebook group called “Ontario Mental Health Support Group”.
It’s a safe space (you can post anonymously if you like) for people all across Ontario (Canada) to share mental health resources, local events, experiences, spread awareness, ask for advice, educate others, gain peer support or simply vent your frustrations. It is a much needed forum, now more than ever.
There are over 12,000 members to date.
Over the past few months I began sharing some of my blogs to the platform where it pertains to my advocacy work or what feels relevant in the moment. This has included my recent frustrations with both our healthcare system and my personal thoughts on ways we can help our police better equip themselves to handle mental health crises without stigma or intimidation.
My experiences and frustrations have been very welcomed and supported by the members of this group, many of whom have found themselves or a loved one in similar situations and have been very thankful that I am speaking out on these issues, but last night the comment thread took a turn I never saw coming by a couple of members in the group; one in particular.
We are all entitled to have our own opinions whether one agrees with you or not but last night I felt both confused and saddened which led me to once again question my purpose in life.
My post quickly turned into a debate about defunding the police. It was the last thing I intended it for and the furthest thing from my mind when I began to speak out about my experience.
I don’t hate the police at all. Are there “crooked cops” out there? Absolutely there are but overall, I still believe in my heart that police officers deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and that they truly have the hardest and most honorable job in all the universe.
I don’t want to see police budgets cut, I want just the opposite of that. Instead I want to make sure that they have the proper funding available to them in order to ensure they are given more training and proper resources to better handle mental health crises which also needs to include hiring enough social workers and other mental health professionals to accompany them on their calls whenever needed; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is my hope that this will help to alleviate the sometimes scary, forceful and often intimidating tactics being used now.
Today I received a follow up phone call from the Internal Investigations Officer I’d spoken with last month about the complaint I’d made regarding how the police department handles calls from civilians in the midst of a mental health crisis after I had been led away in handcuffs in January and treated like a criminal when Rich needed to call the police while I myself was in crisis (in case you missed it, click here: https://wheredidmommyssmilego.com/2023/01/19/cuffed/).
During our last conversation the Investigator asked if it would be okay if he reached out to the mental health support team who works with their police department to share my story with them in order to gain further incite into the role they play. In the meantime though he had also been doing his own “investigating” himself by reading pieces of my Blog and learning as much as he could about my journey. He complimented me on my bravery to share my story, fight the stigma and speak out for those who may not have quite found their own voice yet (Here is what happened during that call: https://wheredidmommyssmilego.com/2023/02/15/feeling-heard/).
Today we discussed what he had learned since our last conversation and where we may go from here, but first, he let me know that first and foremost police officers are trained to err on the side of caution when called to a home in any given situation and that given what Rich had initially told the officers on the phone that night about what I had just tried to do to myself (which I will not be sharing here) they definitely needed to proceed with caution upon entering my home. I completely respect that but once they arrived and could see I was no longer in danger of hurting myself further, their next steps were very unnecessary, including isolating Rich from me the whole time they were here and not allowing him to come to the hospital.
The officer then continued to tell me about his actual conversation with the mental health unit. They informed him that at this current moment there are only two mental health teams in place for all of York Region (but that they have recently gotten approval to hire a third team).
The teams are made up of a social worker and a plain clothed officer (I was once visited by them while at a therapy session several years ago). The officers assigned to this unit do go through special training and I can remember my experience being alot less overwhelming for me at the time and that I was taken by ambulance to the hospital after they spoke to me for over an hour; not handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser. But again, there are not enough of these teams out there to service the region and they are only being utilized for 12 hours a day, not 24/7 like they should be…and for those of you who don’t know, York Region is fricken massive!!
The officer agrees that more action needs to be taken right away and that they need to continue to look for ways to improve their system. He also said that he struggles in his own head on how to ensure that my story gets to the right people in order to help make positive changes.
He is going to begin by drafting a letter and with my permission and any further feedback I would like to add to the letter he will help make my story come to life. He told me that he does not want to abandon my thoughts and feelings and will do everything he can to ensure my voice is heard.
He hopes this will be the actual ammunition needed to have the sergeant in charge start advocating for more training of officers and put a budget forward in order to get more funding, advocacy and resources out there including adding additional teams and more specialized help.
Today I felt like I mattered and I will continue my mission because you matter too!
I swear it’s not my birthday, but it sure has felt like it this week. First by the sweet token gift I found wrapped and waiting for me on my desk when I arrived at work first thing Monday morning from one of my co-workers and now this…
The other night I received a very heartfelt email from a woman by the name of Nicole Abbott. Nicole is the owner and driving force behind “Hey Babe Cosmetics”. She is also the true definition of a Warrior Princess. Twice widowed at a young age and finding herself having to raise 2 small children all on her own she was forced to wear many different hats all at once but with time and by allowing herself the grace she so deserved she found both the strength and courage to fulfill her lifelong dream of creating her very own cosmetic line; and with great success I might add. Nicole is a truly inspirational woman who has triumphed through her pain and sorrow.
She had been following my journey for some time and in her email to me she said that she wanted to reach out to me as one fellow “survivor” to another with the hopes of adding some “shine” and “a pop of glam” to my life by gifting me with a few of her “besties” from her “Hey Babe Cosmetics” collection in honour of International Women’s Day today.
I couldn’t wait to get home yesterday and open my gift which Nicole had so kindly left on my front porch earlier in the day; and now I can’t wait to experiment with all my new goodies too.
I feel such a strong connection to Nicole and after I shared with her yesterday how I’d been good friends with her first husband’s sister for many years during high school and beyond (and who also tragically passed away just last month), I believe our connection became even stronger.
Please visit “Hey Babe Cosmetics” at http://www.heybabecosmetics.com and help support this “Badass Babe”, Mom, Entrepreneur and the Founder of 2 incredible Foundations which she created and named in honour of both of her late husbands.
I also want to give a special shout out today to all the other “Badass Babes” in my life who continue to support me on my journey, who inspire me with their strength, who empower me, encourage me, believe in me and remind me every day that I am enough.
Babes supporting Babes; that’s what it’s all about.
Anyone who knows me well, knows of my addiction to diet coke.
I could easily go a whole week without any solid foods so long as I have a can of diet coke in hand. It’s my breakfast of choice (just ask my new co-workers!) and my favourite midnight snack. Give it to me intravenously and I’d be set.
As you’ve probably noticed, I’m barely holding it together these days and I’m extremely vulnerable at the moment and even the slightest thing to disrupt my equilibrium can easily send me spiraling; yesterday evening when I arrived home from yet another stressful and overwhelming day at work was no exception.
Rich could see I was near tears and when I realized that I had only one can of diet coke left I reached my limit.
Right after dinner Rich ran to the grocery store to get me some more.
In the over 30 years Rich and I have been together (we will be married 28 years come this May), it’s never been about the grand gestures, it’s always been about the thoughtful, small acts of affection and daily affirmations that continue to remind me how loved and needed I truly am.
It’s these small gestures we do for our loved ones that increase empathy, a sense of security, wellbeing, appreciation and kindness that often mean the most.
What a sweet and kind gesture I received upon my arrival at work this morning from one of my collegues.
A gentle reminder to help motivate me as I begin a new week.
Although my job itself has been extremely overwhelming and stressful for me, I am truly grateful knowing that I have a wonderful team of supportive women by my side to help empower me and remind me that “I matter”.
It’s International Women’s Day this Wednesday, March 8th. A perfect time to remind ourselves that we need to celebrate, lift one another up and support the incredible women in our lives because we all matter, not just today but every day ❤️.
I’ve been really struggling this weekend. Too many triggers are feeding off of one another.
Dealing with the symptoms of my depression and anxiety on a daily basis is hard enough to manage but having to also manage so many other unbearable physical symptoms as well is just getting to be too much.
I’ve had an unrelenting flare-up of all my neurological symptoms this weekend, most likely in response to an increased amount of stress lately. It’s also caused sharp pains to coarse through my veins, muscle aches, nausea and debilitating exhaustion.
This is my life. It’s not easy but I need to remember that I don’t always have to pretend to be strong. I just need to be gentler and kinder on myself because being vulnerable takes alot more courage and strength than pretending to be strong. And the same goes for you too. A struggle is a struggle; not a competition.
Why have I been feeling so incredibly anxious since late last night?
It’s taken me to a whole new dimension.
Our anxiety is usually trying to alert us that something isn’t right.
It’s an indicator that we need to realign something.
It’s very intuitive.
I just can’t seem to pinpoint its actual cause.
All I do know is that my energy is in really short supply right now and I’m just trying to make peace with my anxiety tonight by leaning into the discomfort and practicing some selfcare as the blizzard of 2023 causes chaos right outside my window.
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