Oh, hello there

I’m alive. I’m well. Like, really well.

I was not for the longest time. But I am now.

I have a lot to say but every time I try, it all comes like water from a dam when the dam wall collapse at once.

So for the time being, I’ll leave you with something I made for Bell’s Lets Talk Day two days ago:

work-in-progress-02

Salud!

The one where I want to throw a tantrum

Here is something I am currently struggling with.

Well, struggling is a bit of an understatement.

As I grow old-er, I am learning to make peace with my health issues and the limitations they impose on me.

The chronic physical pain has been inexorably taking me away from all the activities I love, all the physical activities that had made me happy since childhood, such as cycling, skating, rock climbing, hiking, working out, dancing. Some days I am more successful than others in not resenting it but in general I have come to terms with it.

Same -more or less- for the chronic emotional pain.

A few years ago, I was fortunate to be referred to a four-week long day hospital program where I was trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Best thing that could have happened to me, mental health related.

I find CBT tremendously useful in my daily life. I have internalized and incorporated CBT in my coping mechanisms and my life is more balanced and happier as a result. It is not an “and she lived happily ever after” story, of course, but I am very grateful for it. Continue reading

Let’s Talk

For the third year in a row, I have been asked to join the Healthy Minds Canada Team for the Let’s Talk Day campaign Needless to say, I consider it an honour.

Last year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day raised $6,107,538 for mental health initiatives in Canada. Not a bad figure, if you ask me.

Today’s Bell Let’s Talk Day finds me in an almost non-stop 24 hours streak of nightmares and their aftermath of hypnopompic hallucinations and sleep paralysis.

I am writing this blog post with shaky hands and the room is not quite still yet. It is slowly expanding and contracting in a seemingly endless cycle.

When I was first diagnosed with a mental illness, I felt my world fall apart.

As a person, I was afraid I’d be the laughing stock of society at large and pitied by my community.

As a mother, I was afraid that should my children eventually display symptoms of mental illness, they would be unceremoniously discarded as learned behaviours displayed by their crazy mother.

As a woman, I was afraid of being labelled as simply screaming for attention. Which did happen, by the way. Of course it happened. Especially among the medical community, my professors, who were mostly men, of course.

As a physician, I was afraid of being ostracized by the medical community for being unprofessional and hysterical. In the original sense of the word, not in the sense of being ludicrously funny.

Charcot_experience_histeric-hipnotic

Professor Jean-Martin Charcot of Paris Salpêtrière demonstrates hypnosis on a “hysterical” patient

 

All those things happened in one way or the other, so I learned to keep it to myself and instead come up with societally valid excuses for my absences.  Continue reading