Over the last many days I have seen a large number of my Canadian Facebook friends posting a very important message to their personal pages to inform their followers about the new 9-8-8 three digit suicide prevention and mental health crisis lifeline and asking everyone to help spread the word.
It makes me sooooo happy to see just how many people are sharing this very important information and starting many important conversations by doing so. Unfortunately though this new 3 digit crisis line is not yet available in Canada.
It began as a pilot project in the States this past July and as I shared in a very recent blog that in the short time this new platform has been available, statistics have shown that there has been a 40 percent increase in the amount of callers. So it’s proven to work, only needing to dial (or text) 3 digits when in crisis as opposed to having to remember a 10 digit 1-800 number can be lifesaving to someone in need of immediate aid or intervention.
From what I have read, they are hoping that by November of 2023 Canadians will also have access to the same number, of course much of this depends on how much government funding and resources this project receives to ensure it can run efficiently 24/7. The other major issue that still needs to be worked out is that not all areas in Canada have 10 digit phone numbers and that some of these areas already use 988 as their first 3 numbers so they are still months away from working out all these kinks before the number can be used for its intended purpose.
Either way, thank you to everyone who have been sharing this message with their friends and helping to continue these much needed conversations talking about mental health. I look forward to the day this new and very effective pilot project makes its way across the border.
In the meantime you can still dial 1.833.456.4566 if you or someone you love needs someone to talk to.
It’s been a really busy week expressing and filling my creative soul with love and spreading it throughout the community.
Whenever I am using my creative energy it ignites a magical spark inside of me. It causes me to take pause, giving way to a flurry of inspiration, passion and purpose which I just want to share with the world.
Creative energy means self-care, self-expression, healing, outward focus and validation to me. What does creative energy mean for you?
If you would like to share some of my creative energy with your loved ones please feel free to message me to order your very own handmade, one-of-a-kind pouches from @gentlereminderproject and help spread some positive affirmations and holiday cheer around.
Great gift for teachers, collegues, loved ones, stocking stuffers, secret Santa’s or use them to stash all your yummy Chanukah gelt and dreidels in!!
Last night I happened upon an anonymous post in a community group I follow on Facebook asking if there were any other members suffering with depression/anxiety who would be willing to connect with them (in a group which has over 26k members in it, I’m gonna guess there’s probably a few people who may be struggling, or should I say it’s likely more like a few thousand 😵💫!).
I rarely comment in groups that I belong to but when I saw this particular post my immediate reaction was to reply back to the anonymous poster letting them know that I’d be more than happy to connect with them if they so choose to reach out. My number one goal for my mental health advocacy and writing my blog has always remained the same since day one which is to never let anyone suffering in silence or suffering in general feel as though they are all alone in their journey. So alongside my comment letting them know I’m here if they’d like to chat, I also decided to attach the link to my Blog site, explaining how I use my platform to chronicle my own personal mental health journey living with depression and anxiety as well as to let others know that it’s okay to not be okay. I also write to help end the stigma and shame surrounding mental illness and educate those who may not truly understand the many depths of what living with a mental health disorder feels like which immediately came to my attention as I read through the other comments on the post where one individual was quick to give advice, harmful advice in my opinion. She told the poster that the best way to “get over” your depression or anxiety would be, from her own experience, to not “dwell” on the negatives in your life because it will just make things worse and that she understands that we all have “bad days”. Living with depression is not as simple as having a “bad day” and it’s not so simple to just pull yourself out of it hoping it will all just disappear if you just stop thinking so negatively or get over your “bad day” which the anonymous poster gently pointed out to her in their reply. I on the other hand took a more passive-aggressive approach by hitting the angry face 🤬 emoji on the “like” button under her comment.
Within an hour of me posting the link to my blog, the anonymous group member praised me for being so open about my journey and at the very same moment I received a notification from my Blog site letting me know that my ‘stats’ were “booming” and that there’d been a sudden surge in traffic directed to my website. I quickly realized that I hadn’t just posted that link for just one individual to see, but that there was an even greater purpose in the back of my mind by posting my link as I know that there are so many others just like them who would be reading my comment and may have also been seeking that same human connection, comfort and support from their community to know that they too are not alone. As happy as I am anytime I see my stats “booming”, knowing that it’s reaching a larger audience, it still saddens me to think about how many countless, anonymous people there are out there who are truly suffering, many of them alone.
*As always, I am here for you if you need a listening ear or someone to connect with*.
Shabbat Shalom and have a peaceful weekend ahead 🥰
Today is December 1st which means that we have officially reached the final descent into 2023 and I am so beyond grateful to have been gifted this fabulous new journal/workbook to help ready me for the new year as soon as it arrives. This book offers me a safe space to set meaningful intentions, manifest my hopes and dreams, visualize my goals, embrace my emotions, create affirmations, prioritize my self-care and continue to focus on gratitude all throughout the coming year.
This 52 week journal/workbook begins with a personal reflection as to where your mindset currently sits in all areas of your life and ends with one final reflection as to how far your journey has come by the end of the calendar year. The pages in between are filled with guided and inspiring prompts, meaningful quotes, a place to keep track of your daily moods, regular check-ins with yourself and a space for daily manifestations.
I am always looking for new ways to challenge myself and although I know it’s not always easy for me to do, I now have this fabulous journal/workbook to be my guide toward a growth mindset and allow me to embrace any new obstacles I may face in the coming year, acknowledge my failures and find new ways to help inspire me to keep improving upon my mental health and wellness.
Anyone else wanna join me in this challenge?
***Just as a sidenote*** I know that for many of us the month ahead will feel festive, fun, magical and filled with lots of celebration and joy with family and friends but for many other people, the month of December can feel chaotic, stressful, hopeless and often lonely. So let’s spread as much kindness as humanly possible during the month ahead and remember what December is truly about; the human spirit, connection and bringing good-will and simple joy to others which is exactly what this book has done for me.
Their Zoom platform was not cooperating so we ended up doing it over the phone (maybe it was a sign!).
As I also mentioned in my previous post, I’d sworn to myself months ago that I was done ever being a guinea pig or exploring any other treatment options at this point in my journey as I just feel so done and defeated but here I am once again chasing after any help I can get while consciously considering my next options for treatment.
Today’s meeting was more of the initial intake process before any next steps are taken which would involve me meeting with the Neurologist who is in charge of the actual study. They needed me to answer a laundry list of questions first though in order for them to get a better understanding of my mental and physical health history beyond what they already knew from my Dr’s referral and his notes. General questions about myself, my previous treatments/medications, my current list of any medications or drugs I take, my prior concussion I suffered back in January of 2020 and of course a look into the neurological issues I’ve been dealing with since my last clinical trial back in April.
Then we got into the procedure itself. There are actually 2 options to consider. Both of course are experimental (hence the guinea pig!) but both completely based on research and evidence!
The Psychiatrist dove right into option number one which is the procedure I told you about in my blog called “Deep Brain Stimulation”. I knew from the brief conversation with my Psychiatrist as well as from my own personal research I’d begun doing right after my appointment that it was a pretty invasive procedure but as I listened to the Doctor explain it in a bit more detail (although he said the Neurologist could explain it better), I suddenly felt a surge of adrenaline come over me and began to feel nauseous and shaky. I wanted to throw up right there and then as I was listening to him speak. All I heard as the brain fog set in were the phrases; major surgery, drilling electrodes into my scalp, shaving parts of my head, long term up keep, regular visits to hospital and daily maintenance; to say I was done listening by this point was an understatement. There was absolutely no need to continue our conversation further but then he proceeded to tell me about option number two which is considered MUCH less invasive, “scalpless”, no surgery involved, no regular maintenance or upkeep and I would be guided through the whole procedure wide awake through a “Focused Ultrasound” where the machine itself selectively targets the regions of the brain where Depression is most known to affect. This, if I qualify given my history and current physical status would be something to possibly consider but I still need several more questions to be answered first by the Neurologist.
After our call ended, which lasted about 40 minutes, I fell apart. For the past 8 plus years now and through every new obstacle I’ve encountered I have had to continually convince myself that I can do the hard things. As humans we are wired to naturally avoid doing things that make us feel uncomfortable so how do I once again tell my brain to try something hard when my gut is telling me that it’d be so much easier to just give up.
But what if the next hard thing becomes the answer? I know in my heart that I don’t want to live out the rest of my days in this pain. I know in my heart I want to find some relief and that no one should ever be denied the opportunity or deny themselves the opportunity to find the relief they so desperately want and deserve.
I have asked myself many times, “Would I be okay living out the rest of my days satisfied with how I am feeling right now?” Well the answer is clearly NO which has to mean that I should give myself a fighting chance, but at what cost to me?; because at this very moment in time I am having a really hard time actually believing that I can overcome my mental illness and that maybe this is just my plight in life.
Today is “Giving Tuesday” which has become a recognized day of giving all across the Globe. It takes place on the first Tuesday after Black Friday and is a day for people to give back and/or volunteer for their favourite causes and Non-Profits.
“Giving Tuesday” is also the official kick-off to the holiday season, better known as the “Season of Giving”.
December is about making human connections and bringing good will and simple joy to others so whether that includes supporting your favourite charity, cause or campaign; buying or donating a hot meal/coffee/leftovers to someone in need; letting someone know how much you appreciate them; volunteering your time by helping out an elderly neighbour or listening wholeheartedly to a friend who may be facing a difficult time right now; whatever or however you so choose to honour today and the final stretch of 2022, always remember that the smallest acts of kindness can create the biggest smiles. Be the reason someone smiles today 😊.
And of course don’t forget to keep some kindness for yourself as well; Go ahead and give yourself permission to be kind to you 😊.
Merriam-Webster has chosen the word “Gaslighting” as 2022’s “Word of the Year”. It has earned its top spot by becoming one of the most searched up words on the web this year.
Gaslighting, now a clinical term which at its core is a form of emotional abuse and psychological manipulation; very common tactics used by Narcissists.
A Gaslighter will stop at nothing to spin their “negative, harmful or destructive words and actions in their favour, deflecting the blame for their abusive deeds and pointing the finger at you.” ~ Aletheia Luna. They are intentionally setting up their victims to distort their understanding of reality and make them question their own memory, perception, facts, feelings and overall sanity by being patronizing and controlling.
A victim of Gaslighting will often find themselves apologizing for something they hadn’t even done and most Gaslighters will stop at nothing to minimize a person’s thoughts and emotions, especially towards individuals who may be in abusive relationships or suffering with a mental illness by making an already vulnerable person feel “overly sensitive”, “paranoid”, “too emotional”, “mentally unstable”, “unhinged” and filled with self-doubt; they are also quick to label their victims as “crazy”, “insane”, “bipolar” or “hysterical”. Sadly, the stigmas surrounding domestic abuse and mental illness can sometimes make it very easy for people to get away with this type of emotional abuse and psychological manipulation.
A gentle reminder…if any of this resonates with you, just know that you are not “crazy” but that you are instead being manipulated by a very toxic individual and this is never acceptable behaviour.
What word(s) do you think should be added to this year’s Merriam-Webster dictionary?
I woke quite suddenly in the middle of the night after a very brief sleep.
I became disoriented and confused. My heart began pounding out of my chest, I couldn’t catch my breath, I went into an almost instantaneous fight or flight mode as the thoughts in my head quickly escalated and then, just like that…I found myself in the midst of a full blown panic attack.