Sharing my story has become a big part of my healing process and it helps me feel less alone. It’s built connections I could’ve never imagined and it helps me work through many of the obstacles I face in my daily life too.
But the truth is, it isn’t who I am that holds me back, it’s who I think I’m not. “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” ~ Marianne Williamson
Battling depression makes it extremely difficult for me to see what others see in me because from where I’m standing the view is pretty distorted but whether it’s an inspiring quote sent to me by a dear friend, a sentimental painting made with love or a heartfelt message from a complete stranger who’s taken the time to reach out to me to remind me of my importance on this planet, please know that I hear you, I see you and boy do I ever appreciate you.
These gentle reminders are simple yet impactful ways to let others know (even a stranger) that you have the power to be someone who helps others who enter your life, even a stranger, feel like they matter.
Everyone deserves to feel as though they are worth it. Three years ago today I was honoured in a room filled with new friends, old friends, friends I’d never met as well as loved ones to celebrate the launch of my new children’s book. The words Rich spoke to me that night are words that I continue to hold dear to my heart still today, reminding me of all the things I can’t see in me and that there is nothing more powerful than to “be someone who makes everybody else feel like a someone.” ~ unknown
As you close the chapter on the year that’s past I’m certain you will look back on it with so much pride, remembering a year filled with some of the most incredible, life-changing memories, milestones and firsts for you.
And now as you turn the page again today to the start of another new year I will be there, cheering you on, excitedly waiting to see where your journey will take you next.
Hannah, you exemplify such strength, beauty and grace in everything you do and dad and I are both so very proud, grateful and blessed to call you our daughter.
I am so beyond the point of being just angry and frustrated with myself. I am now living with so much regret as well for ever considering taking part in the clinical trial due to the overwhelming damage it has caused my body but I also know that had I not tried it I’d always be wondering, “what if”?
I went into treatment day on April 2, 2022 with a positive mindset and set intentions. I felt hopeful after all the research I’d done on the many benefits of Psilocybin that this would finally be what could help lift my cloud of sadness and somehow alleviate my symptoms of living with treatment resistant depression for so long. I figured I had nothing more to lose and prayed for the “what if” it could help change my mindset for even just a short while or “what if” it could help better the quality of my life. “What if” it actually works?
Well five and a half months later as my participation in the trial comes to a close this week, my mental health is at its breaking point and all I do is beat myself up for believing that it was going to change my life for the better as I continue to live with the unbearable consequences and feelings of once again failing yet another treatment which is exactly what my depression wants me so badly to believe.
And to add further insult to injury after I’d made myself a promise some time ago to NEVER, EVER watch another Documentary or investigative news report on TV or watch another YouTube video or read another scientifically based article on the topic or even consider trying another psychedelic, I turned on the new Netflix limited series the other day called “How To Change Your Mind” which is based on a book by Michael Pollan. I went right to the episode on Psilocybin.
For more than a year prior to being accepted into the trial, even while I was in the midst of doing my Ketamine treatments several months earlier; friends, acquaintances and strangers alike would reach out to me with only the best of intentions and purest of hearts to tell me that I’ve gotta try therapy led microdosing, that it’s the absolute best thing in the world, that it’s been life changing for them and so healing. I was assured I’d find God, see God, talk to God and possibly even become God lol and so when the opportunity presented itself at the end of last year through my Psychiatrist to participate in this research trial I didn’t hesitate. But unfortunately this was not what happened for me and these magic mushrooms were far from magical. My body has proven to me time and time again that it is overwhelmingly sensitive to any chemicals I put into it, natural or not.
As I sat there watching the episode in its entirety, I cried, alot. My emotions rose at an alarming rate as I began to relive the events of that day in a series of flashbacks while observing others on the screen go through a similar journey as mine yet they all came out of it with a clearer mind and their cloud of darkness lifted. Watching the episode while torchering myself further only reiterated to me what I already knew; that I’m a failure.
I know, I know, I’m not a failure, it’s the system that keeps failing me. I know, I know, it’s not my fault that my body rejected the heavy dose of Psilocybin I received. I know, I know it’s not my fault that both my body and mind went into another dimension and couldn’t find its way out for over 6 hours and I know, I know, it’s not my fault that I had absolutely no therapy led guidance throughout the treatment as I lay there, beyond helpless in front of two doctors, for hours and hours convulsing and spasming while they observed me like a lab rat, taking notes and not once uttering a word to me. It felt anything but therapeutic or healing.
I share my personal experiences with you not to deter anyone from following their own path towards healing but for others to understand that the path to healing from a mental illness is not linear nor can someone just snap out of it. No two people are the same, no two experiences are the same and what works for one person may not work for someone else and vice versa. But you will never know unless you try. For now though my journey toward healing feels like it’s at a standstill as this entire experience has left me feeling as though I can’t do this anymore.
Yesterday late afternoon and well into the evening there was a large police presence outside a home down the street from me (and are still present today). It turns out that it is the home of the fallen police officer who was ambushed yesterday afternoon by a lone gunman who walked into a Tim Hortons where officer Andrew Hong happened to be grabbing some lunch while on a quick break from a training course nearby. The gunman shot one other patron in the store as well before continuing on his shooting rampage in neighbouring communities, shooting several other innocent people and also took the life of a local mechanic shop owner (unconfirmed reports say that he was the shooter’s former boss).
We owe a debt of gratitude to Constable Andrew Hong and to all our police officers who risk their lives on the front line each and every day to serve and protect their communities. Yesterday was a stark reminder that Canada too has lost its innocence.
Officer Hong leaves behind his wife, 2 teenage children, parents and a police community in mourning.
Sending my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to both of the victim’s families, friends and fellow officers as well👮♂️.
Yesterday was “National Make Your Bed Day”. I barely had the energy to get out of bed yesterday, nevermind make it.
One of the very first blogs I ever wrote and shared was back in 2017 titled “Make Your Bed”. I wrote it after watching a commencement speech on YouTube given by Admiral William H. McRaven, a retired U.S Navy Seal, in 2014 to the graduating class at the University of Texas and then reading the book which he later wrote where he expands further upon the 10 lessons he learned from his 6 months of grueling, demanding, tiring and debilitating Navy Seal training.
The number one lesson he learned; making your bed every single day can improve your state of mind and benefit your body too!
I wanted to reshare my original blog I wrote back in 2017 with you today as well as his truly inspiring speech he first gave in 2014, which quickly went viral (it’s close to 20 mins in length, but well worth the listen).
Spoiler alert: My kids were so inspired by the Admiral’s words after I shared his commencement speech with them back in 2017 that they began to make their beds every day since!
Yesterday I gave my first in-person book talk in well over two years to a very small and intimate group of people; but whether they just so happened to be very dear friends of mine or avid followers of my journey whom I’d only ever engaged with online before, their presence and support were beyond welcomed and so beyond appreciated.
Unfortunately the authors who had been booked to speak throughout the day yesterday were not the main focus of the event itself. The large crowds of people being drawn to this event were mainly coming for the gigantic used book sale and to support their local community Church.
I’ve learned over the last many years that doing events like this which are not solely focused on mental health can be a crap-shoot. But I am again beyond grateful and honoured to have been invited to speak yesterday and be given the opportunity to showcase my advocacy regardless because I know in my heart how important it is that I continue sharing my story and reaching as many audiences as possible even if fear and discomfort try to get in my way.
After my book talk was over I then spent the next few hours in the Church’s community room with some of the other authors and artisans where I continued to share my story and touch other hearts with some of the patrons wandering about; one of whom shed several tears as she stood quietly reading my children’s book to herself (which she bought to pass along to a loved one).
I was very nervous going into yesterday, I didn’t know what to expect and given the fact that I have literally been holding on by a thread for several weeks now, reaching outside of my comfort zone was hard.
But I also know that doing what’s easy and comfortable may not always be what’s best for me or anyone for that matter. The comfort zone though is where we feel most safe and in control.
More often than not I have to push myself on a daily basis to do things that I am not feeling up to doing or wanting to do but I also know that in order for me to grow I must learn to embrace the discomfort.
I know it takes a lot of courage to leave our comfort zone and step into our fear head on, it can be a very scary place but at the same time it can also be very rewarding when you are able to find the strength to do so, leading to a growth mindset where new goals and aspirations can be achieved and purpose can be found.