Can’t Touch This

It’s no secret that the Psilocybin treatment f’d up my entire nervous system. My body and mind have been completely traumatized by the experience and has left me (as you probably already know) with daily bouts of unbearable and seemingly unrelenting physical symptoms that also include being extremely hypersensitive to any type of touch or noise (just ask my family!).

So today during my appointment with Julie she wanted to focus on touch specifically. We spent our time together practicing ways in which I can try and rewire my brain using gentle touch while incorporating some breathing exercises and repeating affirmations to myself like “I am safe” and “you are enough” while doing so.

All types of touch (and noise) have created very unwanted and distressing memories for me from the treatment, often making my skin crawl, my entire body cringe and sending me spiraling into fight or flight mode; every time reminding me of the trauma I went through on that fateful day.

It can be as simple as a tap on the shoulder or hearing someone cough that exasperates my sensitivity to both noise and touch that I quickly begin reliving my experience or associating it with trauma. I told Julie today about one particular moment during my treatment that I feel could have caused these overwhelming reactions. They happened almost simultaneously, maybe midway through the close to 6 hours of my treatment where I lay helpless and alone, convulsing and scared. Suddenly at one point, I heard a noise in the background that wasn’t coming from the distressing music playing on the headphones in my ears. It really, really startled me. I remember lifting my eye mask away from my eyes for a moment, they were blurred and unfocused but I could see an image standing nearby. I quickly covered my eyes again and then almost immediately following, I suddenly felt someone touch my arm. I grabbed my arm, screamed and went straight into fight or flight mode. If only I could’ve escaped somehow.

Touch is meant to enrich our lives whether it’s a gentle caress of the arm, a warm embrace or even a tap on the shoulder but for close to seven months now I have developed such an aversion to it all which has severely increased my level of anxiety and making me avoid it at all costs. Noise too.

I haven’t had much proof as of yet that this treatment will help me to heal my body but in the meantime I am really enjoying learning many new techniques that I can easily put into practice in a more holistic approach to healing. 

#canttouchthis #trauma #ptsd #pgad #pelvicfloor #touch #noise #anxiety #stress #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #holisticpractices #affirmations #iamsafe #youareenough 

Rebalancing Act

Yesterday Rich and I spent the afternoon rebalancing our energy on a beautiful #summerofrich; Fall edition adventure.

The summer-like temperatures, clear blue sky and fresh air allowed us to immerse ourselves in nature. It’s amazing how much beauty there is right outside your door.

Click to watch video

#ilovethesmelloffall #falledition #notacloudinthesky #fallingleaves #nature #hiking #summertemps #beauty #caterpillartobutterfly #rebalancing #humberriver #selfcare

“Connecting The Community” Podcast

I was recently invited to speak on the Podcast “Connecting The Community”. I met both the moderator Marj and her other guest speaker Kathleen a few years back; Pre Covid (is it fair to say that from now on we will always refer to stuff in terms of before and after Covid?) when I was invited to sit on a panel for an event at a local library, along with several others, including Marj and Kathleen, to discuss my new children’s book and issues surrounding mental health and stigma.

Since then I have collaborated on several other projects with both these lovely ladies. Each of us bringing our own agendas and points of view to the table but always with the same goal in mind. 

On the podcast we spoke about the important role that both family and community play in helping those like myself and Kathleen’s son who are battling mental health issues like depression and psychosis. 

Yesterday evening I went on a downward spiral. It’d been building up for days, or weeks. I liken myself to a zombie these days (perfect, I’m all ready for Halloween!). My kids were witness to part of the trauma, the hysteria and the rage; I could see the fear in Rich’s eyes as he tried to calm me down, scared I was going to cause harm to myself. In the podcast I spoke about how my family means the world to me and how blessed I am but unfortunately my illness still wants me to believe that they would be better off without me. I also spoke about the tremendous impact my illness has had on our family’s cohesiveness. How could it not? It is why it is so imperative that we (Rich and I) continue to ensure that the lines of communication with our kids, no matter their age, are always open.

We ended the podcast by spending some time addressing the long list of barriers many individuals and families face every day surrounding our broken healthcare system when it pertains to mental health and the ways in which we as a society need to fix it, NOW!!

I was extremely honoured once again to be able to share my story and perspective with a broader audience.

What is the one thing you believe our healthcare system needs to address most urgently in regards to our current mental health crisis?

If you would like to listen to the episode or follow “Connecting The Community” please click on link below:

#podcast #family #community #brokenhealthcaresystem #mentalhealthcrisis #pandemic #epidemic #wheredidmommyssmilego #blogger #author #advocate #compassion 

Mental Health Empowerment Day 2022

Last night I attended the 6th annual “Mental Health Empowerment Day” event with my girlfriend Joy. The main objective(s) of this event have been and continue to be to help educate, end the stigma surrounding mental illness and bring community together. It was sponsored by the wonderful organization “Project Give Back”. It was great seeing so many familiar faces; their hugs felt extra special. 

In 2019 Rich and I first attended the event together where I got to showcase my children’s book, Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go? while also listening to many inspirational young speakers with lived experience open up about their mental health struggles and triumphs. The last 2 years since then I have attended the event online. It was definitely good to be back in-person.

Last night the two invited speakers were a wealth of knowledge mixed in with lots of humour. First to speak was a Clinical Professor and Author of the book, “Love Builds Brains” who specializes in Child Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at McMaster University followed by the Head of Education at Mind Up/The Goldie Hawn Foundation who lives in Florida. They both spoke about the brain development in children and young adults along with the importance of how taking “brain breaks” throughout our day “can be one of the most powerful tools to promote our wellbeing”. They also spoke about ways in which we can incorporate gratitude in our daily lives.

The Mind Up program which Goldie Hawn herself founded in 2003 is an evidence based, not-for-profit organization that she created with the hope to “help kids regulate their emotions, become more resilient and learn about how their brain works to give them a road map out of despair and into a more positive mindset.” 

I took away so much from last night. I’m so glad I went (all that was missing was Goldie Hawn herself!). As you probably know, it takes a lot for me to show up, especially of late when leaving my house has become super challenging. When asked by one of the speakers before the evening was done to look at the person sitting next to us and tell them what we were most grateful for in the moment I turned to my dear friend Joy and told her I was grateful for her, for not only her friendship but for also getting me out last night and giving my brain the break I know it so desperately needs right now.

Thank you to Leanne and her team for all the hard work and dedication you put forth to bring the community together to discuss such important and relevant issues surrounding mental health. 

Check out the Mind Up program for more information. It is a platform for educators, parents, caregivers and all adults to support your child’s wellbeing, as well as your own.

#MentalHealthEmpowermentDay #projectgiveback #brainbreaks #thegoldiehawnfoundation #mentalheath #ouryouthmatter #endthestigmatogether #mentalwellness #gratitude #mindset #breathe #ourbrain @mindup

Bullied to Death

***I hope every parent and youth reads this*** Trigger Warning: talk of bullying, suicide

I tape the Dr. Phil show every day, I have for many years and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Some of you may remember my obsession with wanting to meet him several years ago. I didn’t want to be on his actual show, I just wanted him to send me to one of the many mental health facilities in the States that he works very closely with. Hey it was worth a shot! 

This week (Monday and Tuesday) Dr. Phil did a two part series showcasing 2 seperate families who lost a daughter to suicide. 

Both girls were bullied to death. 

I was quite triggered watching these episodes and cried for the pain and suffering these families are going through. I can’t begin to know how they feel but I can say that while listening to them retell their heartwrenching stories I felt every ounce of their heartache and pain coarsing through my veins. 

As difficult as it was to watch I knew at the same time how important it is for these stories to be told. These stories need to be heard. These stories are meant to make you feel uncomfortable. These stories are meant to make you feel what it must be like for every single child who has ever been bullied and for those who believed in their heart that there was no other way for them to escape their darkness, their hopelessness and their despair other than to take their own life. 

“Bullying doesn’t just happen to other people”. It can happen to any one of us and any one of our children. It’s become an epidemic and it is certainly no longer just something you fear happening on the school yard. 

Since the introduction of social media and online chat rooms, bullying now continues to happen 24/7 and goes way beyond the school yard. 

For many young people, the taunting and teasing can be relentless and oftentimes is done anonymously through private group texts, snapchat and much more. 

These 2 stories were quite different but both resulting in the same devastating outcome. 

At the end of the first episode, Dr. Phil poses the questions to his audience that so many parents have asked themselves when their child is being bullied; “do we get involved?” “Will it make it worse?” His response was simple yet stern; “Damn right you should get involved.”

When your child is under attack, don’t leave them to deal with it alone, “it’s already worse”. If your child is being bullied at school or online and it’s changing who they are or they are being “cancelled” or attacked the last thing a parent wants to do is leave their child (no matter their age) to deal with it on their own. 

When a child or teen is being bullied they start to question themselves about everything, feeling alone, isolated, scared and wondering why doesn’t anyone have their back, especially if the bullies were once their friends. 

As parents we should stand with our child and do whatever we have to do to help protect them and if the school or parents of the bully tell you there’s nothing they can do or choose not to do something, then we as parents need to do more.

A child or even an adult will never feel more alone than when they are being bullied, lied about, shamed or character assassined. Unfortunately though sometimes, even the support from family may not always prove to be enough and the hate of the child’s enemies wins over the love you have for them. Still, no matter what the outcome, even the ones who will sadly end as tragically as these two stories and so many others have; and even though you will carry such feelings as guilt and anger and despair with you forever and a day, you will also know in your heart that you did whatever you could, within your power to try and help your child.

“These parents did everything right.”

**Please feel free to share and check out Dr. Phil’s website for more tips, signs your child is being bullied or may be a bully as well as other helpful supports.

#bulliedtodeath #cyberbullyng #suicide #suicideprevention #mentalhealth #ouryouth #drphil #love #familyvalues #youarenotalone #youareenough #kindnessisfree #teens #children #itsoktoaskforhelp #epidemic #aparentsworstnightmare #socialmedia

I could use a break from…

I needed a break from…well…pretty much everything over the past many days.

I’m struggling…

to write. 

to leave my house. 

to find peace. 

to live. 

I’m feeling unmotivated, lost and hopeless.

My life is in complete chaos right now and it just keeps piling on.

Nothing seems to ever go right. Nothing. At. All.

I needed to push the pause button on my life for a moment. 

I needed to close my eyes, take a deep breath, release the guilt and pain and imagine a place I’d rather be in that moment. 

Things have to get better. 

Something has to give…

It’s vital…

I had another appointment with Julie today. As I sat in the front foyer anxiously awaiting her arrival I took this picture of the wall behind the front desk. It’s the name of the clinic and now it’s existing as a manifestation in my life. 

It’s a gentle reminder of just how vital it is to my wellbeing that I stay the course right now.

What could you use a break from at this moment?

What is most vital for your mental health and wellbeing right now?

In case you missed who Julie is, check out my blog from last week @

#icoulduseabreak #takeabreak #nothingisgoingright #breathe #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #depression #anxiety #suicideawareness #suicideprevention #pause #itsoktonotbeok #youareenough #youarenotalone #somethinghastogive #thingshavetogetbetter #agentlereminder #youvegotthis

The Coffee Bean

I recently finished reading a book titled “The Coffee Bean”, written by Jon Gordon & Damon West. It’s a very easy read (it literally took me under 30 minutes to finish) about a young boy named Abe who, while in high school finds himself dealing with some pretty difficult challenges, fears and stressors in his life; both at home and at school until one day his teacher shares a life changing lesson with him about a pot of boiling water, a carrot, an egg and a coffee bean.

First his teacher gives Abe a carrot and asks him to take it home with him and see what happens to the carrot when he puts it in a pot of boiling hot water? He reports back to the teacher the next day that the carrot became soft. The teacher then gives him an egg and asks him to do the exact same thing the next evening. The boy of course knew right away that the egg would harden in the boiling water. So on day three the teacher hands the boy a coffee bean to take home. Abe had no idea just how much this little coffee bean was about to transform his life and the way he thinks, acts and sees the world around him.

Many people may find it difficult to conceptualize just how much our environment or the conditions of our surroundings for which we live will have a deep impact on how we think, act and see the world around us.

For some of us, metaphorically speaking our environment or the conditions we live in can make us feel weak and soft and sad and emotionally drained which likens us to that of a carrot in boiling water. 

Then there are some of us who become hardened like an egg when placed in that same pot of boiling water and metaphorically speaking again, our shell (or the shield many of us wear) tries to protect us but if our heart becomes too hard we then become incapable of giving or receiving love which may eventually lead us to become mad, angry, bitter, untrusting and full of hate due to the conditions or environment surrounding them. 

The coffee bean however when placed in the boiling water doesn’t become soft or hard, it instead evolves and transforms itself into something new, which is of course…coffee. The power to make this beautiful transformation is inside of the coffee bean just like the power is within us. The coffee bean makes you believe you have the power to impact the world. 

So now imagine your life as a pot of boiling water and depending what you put into the water you can feel the pressure from your environment or the conditions surrounding you. We all have a choice whether to allow it to weaken us, harden us or transform us. 

If I’m to be completely honest right now, I see myself as the carrot who feels weak and soft and sad and emotionally drained due to my environment and the conditions surrounding it. I know in my heart I want to be like a coffee bean and that the power to become one is deep within me, I just need to believe in it, or better yet, believe in me (maybe I should start by drinking coffee first?).

Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

***A special thank you to my beautiful and dear friend @getitdonewithjoy for introducing me to this very meaningful and inspiring tale. I am grateful every single day to have you in my life and for always making me believe that I am so much more than a carrot.

#thecoffeebean #imacarrot #transformation #change #meaning #inspiration #boilingwater #mentalhealth #agentlereminder #believeinyourself #youareenough 

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

I felt as though this moment deserved a selfie today, afterall it’s a moment I feel like I’ve waited 6 long months for (and I really loved the quote on the mirror; “I am whole, perfect and complete…exactly as I am 💓.”)

I had my first in-person appointment this afternoon with the practitioner I told you I’d met with last week on Zoom who will be helping me through this next leg of my journey (see blog: Her name is Julie.

The appointment included an actual examination which I’d really been longing to have for months. This has honestly been the first glimmer of hope I’ve felt since this whole mess started with me back in April. The appointment itself went well and Julie was just as thorough, informative, patient and caring as she had been during our initial consultation last week. 

One of our most basic needs as human beings is the need to understand and feel understood. To feel heard and seen. Today I felt all that and more but I’m not gonna lie to you because I’d also been feeling extremely overwhelmed and anxious leading up to my appointment and throughout it as well which seems to have further exasperated ALL of my symptoms this evening and has now left me curled up on my couch with a horrible headache, feeling mentally drained and physically exhausted, nauseous, shaking and numb yet I know I am in really great hands with Julie and although I may be down tonight, I am not out; afterall just like the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”!

#pelvicfloor #selfie #overwhelmed #anxious #romewasntbuiltinaday #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #drained #glimmerofhope #feelingseenandheard #understood #itsoktonotbeok #youareenough #downbutnotout

⚠️Trigger Warning: Mention of sexual assault, rape, victim blaming, PTSD

This past weekend I watched the new Netflix movie “Luckiest Girl Alive”. It is a film adaptation based on the New York Times bestselling novel by Jessica Knoll.

The movie stars Mila Kunis, who I absolutely adore. I honestly had no clue what the film was about before we sat down to watch it as a family (a VERY rare occasion). I figured it was some sassy Rom-Com movie but really, all I heard was Mila Kunis and family time and I was in.

I am strongly urging everyone who is able to watch this film to please do so, especially our young adults, both male and female alike. There is a trigger warning at the beginning and may not be suitable for all audiences though as it delves deep AND quite graphically into very realistic issues surrounding school shootings, sexual assault, rape, victim blaming and PTSD.

The film is told through the eyes of Mila Kunis’s character who is just weeks away from marrying the man of her dreams and who, on the outside is seemingly living a perfect life in New York City (sidenote: it was actually filmed here in Toronto) but on the inside Mila’s character TifAni is being haunted by her past as a teenager while attending a very prestigious private school; those scenes are portrayed throughout the film in a series of flashbacks played by the young and incredibly talented actress Chiara Aurelia.

Sadly we are still living in a culture that heavily protects its perpetrators, leaving too many victims in fear of speaking their truth due to societal pressures. This film however gives you a raw and very vulnerable glimpse into what life can look like for survivors of rape and victim blaming or slut shaming who are living with the aftermath in silence, many of whom developing PTSD from their trauma yet still too afraid to share their story or seek proper counselling. 

It was uncomfortable to watch and I cried my way through the last 15 minutes but that was exactly what needed to happen while watching it, it needed to feel uncomfortable. It’s a story that needs to make people uncomfortable, it’s a story that needs to be heard over and over again. There were so many important messages in the film, including some of TifAni’s final words when she looks into the camera and says, “Nothing to be ashamed of.” 

*if you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual assault, there are many 24 hour crisis lines and local clinics available to help, including your nearest hospital. #metoo

#itsoktoaskforhelp #dontsufferinsilence
#luckiestgirlalive #ptsd #rape #sexualassault #victimblaming #mentalhealth #mentalillness #mentalwellbeing #milakunis #jessicaknoll #Netflix #bestseller #share #youarenotalone #itsoktonitbeok #worldmentalhealthday

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