Robin Williams Remembered Today and Forever

Today marks the 7 year anniversary of Robin Williams’ suicide. 

I often still find myself recalling the events that were taking place that very same evening for me. Over and over again in my mind I replay the image of me sitting alone in my car, completely distraught and contemplating my own suicide just moments before the tragic news of his death even broke.

I have since written many blogs about the impact his death had on me and on society as a whole. I have used the impact his suicide had on the world as an opportunity to educate others on the stigma surrounding suicide, the mask that many people often wear who suffer with a mental illness as well as the importance of our words and language when it pertains to suicide.

I wanted to reshare one of those blogs here with you today (see below). Feel free to search for other “Robin Williams” tributes right here in the search engine of my blog site as well.

#RobinWilliams #suicideawareness #themask #wordsmatter #endthestigmatogether #anniversary #depression #mentalhealth #mentalillness #youarenotalone #youmatter #youareenough #itsokaynottobeokay #checkonyourstrongfriends #carpediem

Four Million Reasons Why

I read an article the other day whose title immediately caught my eye. It read:

4 million cries for help: Calls to Kids Help Phone soar amid pandemic.

As I continued on to read the body of the article my heart sank further. 

Since the onset of the Pandemic last March, Kids Help Phone has seen an upsurge in calls from young people. Statistics show that calls, texts and their many other online resources have more than doubled since the previous year and they are now receiving over 800 calls, texts etc. every day from all across Canada (with Ontario making up for approximately half of those calls received each day).

Callers have been as young as 5 years old with a good majority of the calls coming in between midnight and 4 am. Many of these call are related to feelings of isolation, loneliness, self/body image, virtual learning, missed milestones and an overall deterioration of their mental health. And of all the calls received by their large team of trained counsellors per day, there is at minimum, 10 calls where police are being dispatched for “active suicide rescues”. 

These stats are truly heartbreaking but I am so thankful at the same time that our youth have a safe place like Kids Help Phone to reach out to in order to help them survive a Pandemic. Knowing just how many of our young people have become so withdrawn, angry, frustrated, anxious and sad (and rightfully so) is beyond scary. 

I hear from speaking with so many concerned parents in my community (and beyond) how their kids are staying up all night gaming with friends online just to feel some sort of connection and how so many more have completely checked out from their daily routines, especially online learning. The concerns over the emotional and financial impacts that isolation and lockdowns are having on our youth are growing more and more concerning by the day and suicides among our youth are increasing at alarming rates. 

As spring quickly approaches, (at least according to Wiarton Willie, the adorable little Groundhog that is, who just yesterday predicted an early spring, yay), I had recently been giving a great deal of thought to starting another Graduation Initiative again this year for the Class of 2021. 

I will afterall in just two short months have another Graduate in my home, who as of yesterday received the disappointing news in an email from her University informing her (what we already knew in our hearts) that they will be postponing her Spring Convocation Ceremony until such time when large public gatherings can once again take place safely. 

I know how much disappointment, anger and sadness this reality caused my other daughter last spring when both her Prom and Graduation ceremony were cancelled, along with millions of other young people’s around the world but after reading the article and taking note of the imminent crisis our young people are facing due to the Pandemic I felt a great sense of pride knowing that the 10k that I along with the help of 100’s of incredibly generous and kindhearted people in and around my community helped raise and donate to Kids Help Phone last spring, that the money went to a very worthwhile cause.

I now feel as though I have at least 4 million more reasons to take on this initiative once again and who knows, maybe with the help of my amazing community we could double the amount of proceeds we raised last spring.

Services like Kids Help Phone are needed more than ever before and even though it may only be a stepping stone toward other resources or long term services for some, our young people deserve a fighting chance and are going to need all the help they can get long after the Pandemic is over because although many of the imminent issues at hand may one day dissipate, the lingering effects and fallout from the Pandemic are sadly going to affect much of our younger generations for many years to come.

If you or someone you know needs a safe and confidential place to start please call Kids Help Phone at: 1.800.668.6868 or text: 686868

#kidshelpphone #ouryouthmatter #helplines #lifelines #classof2021 #graduationday  #grads #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #yourmentalhealthmatters #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence 

THC Hangover

On Friday evening after experiencing several heightened episodes of anxiety throughout the day, I found myself right smack in the middle of a full-on panic attack. 

I did my best to try and calm myself down using some breathing techniques but trying to distract myself from what was triggering me in that moment I could barely catch my breath long enough to take some CBD oil; something I don’t hesitate to do several times a day when needed as a therapeutic. 

As soon as the CBD oil started kicking in and my heartrate began to decrease to a more tolerable level I curled up under my weighted blanket, still fully dressed from the day but I didn’t care because all I wanted to do in that moment was close my eyes and go to sleep.

But whose kidding who? Like is sleep ever an option for me? Even if my panic attack had just taken every last ounce of strength I had left inside and crushed it with my blanket, I was still preparing myself for a sleepless night ahead.

And I knew if I lay in bed much longer I would most definitely end up having another anxiety attack of some sort, so I reached for my other bottle of CBD oil on my nightstand, the one with the THC in it. 

I regretted my decision almost immediately even though it took a while for it to kick in. It did not reduce my anxiety or relax me or even help me sleep, instead I spent the rest of the night fighting off my paranoia and hallucinations and by the time morning arrived I was still feeling the effects from the THC and spent the entire day in bed yesterday with a “hangover”.

They say it’s nearly impossible to OD on cannabis but if there is even a slight chance of that happening then I’m pretty sure I managed to do so. Cannabis is supposed to give you a feeling of euphoria but like every other prescribed medication or therapeutic treatment I’ve taken along my journey, including that of Medical Marijuana, “Shrooms”, Ketamine and Edibles I’ve experienced adverse effects from them all.

By morning my Psychosis had pretty much gone away but it left me barely able to finish a sentence or swallow. I had a headache, I felt exhausted, I was beyond nauseous and dizzy and whenever I tried to stand up I felt myself passing out on the floor moments later. But not to worry because I can always count on my family to look after me, and they did just that while between fits of laughter and snapping pictures and recording videos of me to ensure they captured all the highlights. 

I have tried and tried for years now to reap the benefits from using THC and other similar treatments but I think that after what happened to me this weekend I have tried for the very last time and I am just grateful that at least my regular doses of CBD oil still helps me in some small way.

#cbdoil #thc #cannabis #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #panicattacks #anxiety #depression #suicideprevention #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #mentalillness #selfcare  

Am I A Cold Turkey?

Today is day four since I smoked my last cigarette and I know I am a long way off from calling myself an ex-smoker however I am already feeling many of its healthy benefits. The bronchial-like cough that has been pestering me every morning for years just disappeared without a trace and the nighttime whistling in my throat and wheezing in my lungs just vanished into thin air as well (smoking is just sooooo glamorous)!

Although the health benefits should make it all worthwhile I’m not gonna lie to you because this has been an exceptionally difficult four days for me mentally. There are many moments throughout the day that I crave a cigarette, there’s also the craziness of trying to navigate my day through my trigger points and lets not forget the physical side effects that can occur when a person quits any addiction cold turkey. 

I felt like I was ready to quit smoking as I mentioned in my previous blog (Wish Me Luck Because I Quit; January 14, 2020) but I’m still not sure that quitting cold turkey is ever the smartest way to tackle it. It’s something I should know better than to do since I am very familiar with the side effects of trying to go off any type of drug including antidepressants, nicotine, opiates or alcohol that your body has become both mentally and physically dependent upon. 

Quitting any of the above substances cold turkey can actually be very dangerous and although nicotine is probably one of the safest ones to stop abruptly I’m afraid that my already vulnerable state of mind will only lead to failure.  

I’m not regretting my decision to quit smoking but I am certainly regretting my decision to do so like a cold turkey being what my mental state is like to begin with. But I know that there will never be the perfect way to quit smoking or that there may never be the perfect day or the perfect month or even the perfect year to find the courage to quit either. And maybe I’ve just come to terms with my reality that I may never find the light at the end of the tunnel that I’ve so desperately been searching for that has made me hold onto that desire to keep smoking until now.

But perhaps I may have discovered something else over the last few days, possibly more powerful than any of the above revelations and that maybe my fainting episode/concussion happened for a reason, one that is outside the realm of science. I can see now that it was my mind’s way of telling my body that I still wasn’t quite ready for the new year to begin and that I still needed a few more steps back in order to help me move forward and that both my body and my mind were in desperate need of a damn good rest in order to clear the air from all the smoke that’s been standing in my way.

#coldturkey #iquit #selfcare #smokefree #cravings #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough #courage #depression #anxiety #mentalillness #mentalhealth #mentalwellness 

Can You Tell Me How To Get to Sesame Street?

Who doesn’t love Sesame Street? I mean it doesn’t get much better than Elmo, Oscar The Grouch and Big Bird now does it? Nor would they be celebrating 50 magical years on air next month if it wasn’t one of the most beloved neighborhoods for kids of all ages!
Throughout the last 50 years Sesame Street has embraced a myriad of groundbreaking storylines on their show with open arms. Each and every year they continue to tackle topics that reflect their diverse audience with only one goal in mind; education and inclusion.
These topics have ranged from racism, adoption, autism, down syndrome, divorce, being in a wheelchair, 9/11, death, a family member being incarcerated; the list is truly endless and for each topic they tackle, millions of children and their families are sitting in their living rooms, watching and feeling less alone in their own relatable struggle.
And now this week Sesame Street has done it once again by adding to their list of inclusive storylines when they recently introduced a new character by the name of Karli who begins to open up to her friends in the neighborhood about her mom’s addiction and mental health crisis. She tells her friends that her mom had to go away for treatment and that she is now in recovery and that a big part of her recovery is attending meetings every single day with people who have the same problem as her in order to help her stay healthy while being surrounded by people who understand what she is going through and learning how to take better care of herself.
The message Karli receives from her mom and her friends is one of hope and healing and it really resonated with me, bringing tears to my eyes (not that it takes much to make me cry). The message Karli receives is the same message that “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” aims to teach children which is that Mommy’s disease is not their fault, that they are not alone and that they are safe and loved.
It is also relating another very important message to their audience which is that it is never too early to start having these conversations with children because the more we open up and have honest conversations the sooner our children will understand that they are not at fault, that they are not alone and most of all that they are safe and loved. And lets not forget that the more education and inclusion we project upon young children today, the sooner we help to end the stigma around mental illness for future generations to come!
Watching Karli made me want to reach out and hug her so tight and then curl up next to her while reading “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” together. Just one quick question though before I go; “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?”
#youareenough #youarenotalone #mentalillness #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #addictions #opioidcrisis #epidemic #compassion #friendship #itsoktonotbeok #acceptance #startaconversation #courage #wheredidmommyssmilego #amazonca #sesamestreet #inclusion #educationiskey #childrenareourfuture #endthestigmatogether #kidsarepeopletoo #speakyourtruth #honesty #elmo #happyanniversary #cheerstofiftymore #mentalhealthawarenessweek
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