Reaching Out

Why is it so hard to reach out and ask for help? Is it something to do with the western culture? Is it supposed to look like we can have a million balls in the air, and that we’re managing them all to perfection oh and if you’re a woman you also have to look beautiful while doing it. I don’t get it. I’m tired of it.

I’m not managing well right now folks. Anxiety is sky high. I keep waiting for it to pass but there it is every morning greeting me as I wake. It’s still 2017 and I still want a revolution but I’ve come to realize I can’t do it by myself. I need some help. I need your help. This is me reaching out.

I need to meet you for coffee or have you come here. I might need you to come to a doctors appt with me. Or drive me on an errand if my pain is too high. I need you to remind me that I am safe even though I don’t feel safe. I need reassurance that I’m making good choices for myself.

I need you to understand if I cancel our plans at the last minute because my anxiety takes over or if I have a sudden doctors appointment which happens on occasion.

I need help remembering that beauty comes from within, and that my ultimate goal for this year is health and wellbeing not weight loss.

I need help remembering that I’m not alone and that I have friends that care about me, maybe even love me. Even if I feel undeserving.

I need reminders every now and then that I’m a good wife and good mother despite my limitations,

I need you to be a pain warrior sidekick. And remind me that I can kick this years ass with amazingness and change for myself now and for future Jen.

I may never be able to return the favours. I may never deserve the kind of friends that I’ve been blessed with. Reaching out feels scary and vulnerable. But this is me reaching out.

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Bell Let’s Talk Day -January 25th 2017

Bell Let's Talk Day


Tomorrow is January 25th 2017 and all around Canada people will be participating in different mental health initiatives to raise awareness and end the stigma of mental illness. It’s called Bell Let’s Talk day. So let’s talk…

If you’re new to the blog, you might not know that I suffer from a few mental illnesses. I have depression, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a dissociative disorder. It doesn’t matter or shouldn’t matter how I got here. Or how I ended up with these diagnosis. What matters is where do I go from here?

What do I do? I feel like I’m doing everything I can. I’m attending weekly therapy sessions, I see my psychiatrist monthly to monitor medications- though at the moment I’m looking for a new psychiatrist. I hope to start attending weekly support groups for depression and anxiety. These sessions are offered free in our community, I just need to find the courage to show up. A lot easier said then done.

Unfortunately, there are no support groups in our community for people who suffer from PTSD, the closest outpatient one is in Mississauga and it’s far from free. I wish there was something closer as I could really use the support, but I think that’s what Bell Let’s Talk Day is also about -raising money to use towards mental health initiatives. For every call and text, for bell customers Bell is donating 5 cents. For every hashtag #BellLetstalk used on social media Bell is also donating 5 cents towards mental health initiatives. So be sure to hashtag and text your heart out.

So, getting back to me. If you want to show your support, you can by just being here for me. You could engage me on Facebook, I use Facebook quite a bit to stay in touch with friends as it feels safe. You could read my blog, my biggest outlet for thoughts and emotions. Leave a comment, ask me questions, show interest. All of these things help me feel less alone and less isolated. Sometimes going out is a challenge for me but having you over for a tea visit (if we’re friends) is also an option. Your prayers and love from afar are also much appreciated. Write me a card or letter, or just send me good thoughts. All of these things are helpful and remind me that I’m important to you.

How will you be supporting Bell Let’s Talk Day?

If you yourself are in distress and are in need of assistance please don’t hesitate to call HERE 24/7. They are an amazing crisis line with access to many services. 1-844-HERE-247 (437-3247)


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Your Brain on PTSD

Brain and PTSD

I have PTSD, and as some of you know this past summer I was in a program for PTSD Recovery. Though I’d say that it was more of an emotional stabilization program than anything, I did learn a lot while I was there. Lot’s of skills and techniques to help with my depressive and anxiety symptoms. What I found most interesting was when we learned about the ways PTSD effects the brain. It actually changes it. We also learned how PTSD triggers are processed by the brain. I felt such relief learning this, it meant that I wasn’t just crazy.

PTSD occurs because of trauma, it could be trauma from childhood, from being a first responder, a car accident and much more. This is how trauma often affects us- causing these symptoms of PTSD:


Used with permission from Janina Fisher PhD to purchase a copy and other resources visit http://www.janinafisher.com/resources.php

It’s how my traumas have affected me. There isn’t a symptom up there that I don’t have or relate to in some way.

This is how our brain responds when triggered by a traumatic memory or something that reminds us of the event.


Used with permission from Janina Fisher PhD to purchase a copy and other resources visit http://www.janinafisher.com/resources.php

I live in a world of panic, hyper-vigilance, anxiety, and depression. But it’s not something I can just snap my fingers and fix. It’s also not just “all in my head”. There are physical and chemical changes to my brain. So how do I heal from that?

I just started with a new therapist who is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). EMDR is “an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma and many other mental health problems”. (from the EMDR Canada website) It’s been proven clinically to help people with PTSD. Things are going well with the new therapist. I like her and I feel hopeful that she can help me. But I have a long road ahead.

Thanks in advance for your understanding and support.

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Crisis Line-Here 24/7

crisis line

Have you every called a crisis line? I have. In fact, I often call at least once a week.

Here 24/7 is a crisis line and a “front door to the addictions, mental health and crisis services provided by 12 agencies across Waterloo – Wellington – Dufferin.” You can call whether you need to talk to someone or if you need a referral to other mental health services across the region.

I remember calling for the first time. I was so nervous, what would they say? what would they ask? could they even help? Once I started talking though I found the people at the end of the other line, calm, comforting and encouraging. They aren’t just there if you are suicidal. You can call for all sorts of reasons. Today,  I called because tomorrow is my last appointment with the therapist I have been seeing for over two years. I’m distraught, I’m grieving and I needed someone to talk to. Sometimes they just listen, sometimes they offer advice. Today the advice was to go for a walk, then make a cup of tea, curl up in a blanket, put my favourite show on TV and just cry if I needed to. (But I’m not so good with the crying-I don’t have patience for it-its just too painful)

You can call anonymously but I’ve found it more helpful to tell them a bit about myself. They get to know you and I believe they make some notes so that if you call again you’re not starting from scratch. Calling a crisis line can feel scary but the options if you don’t call I think are much worse.

It takes courage to reach out, but when you do I think you’ll find that some else is reaching back.

crisis line

Have you ever used a crisis line or tried Here 24/7? What was your experience?

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