Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones will break my bones But words will never harm me.

From Wikipedia:

“Sticks and Stones” is an English language children’s rhyme. It persuades the child victim of name-calling to ignore the taunt, to refrain from physical retaliation, and to remain calm and good-natured.

Sensible advice that, to remain calm and good-natured.

I have no problem with remaining calm.

But the truth is – as any person who’s ever been bullied can tell you, words can and do harm you.

Words can and do hurt you.

Words can and do cause you great pain.

Words can even lead you to suicide. Continue reading

Damn You Stigma

In case you are out of the loop, I am currently at the hospital. Been here for almost two weeks now

But not just any hospital.

I’m at the 4 North Mental Health Unit of The Ottawa Hospital, General Campus.

Yes, that’s right. I am in a physch ward.

Now, there was a time when I would rather have died than let people know I had a mental illness. THAT’S THE STIGMA.

I would have not voluntarily gone to a hospital to admit myself . THAT’S THE STIGMA.

If hospitalized, I would have lied about the cause of my hospitalization. THAT’S THE STIGMA.

Well, I know better now. I know there is no shame in having a mental illness. I know that admitting my mental illness(es) sometimes get out of control is a brave thing. I know that reaching out for support when I need it, is not only good great but that is actually the RIGHT thing to do.

Continue reading

Mental Illness: An Excuse for Bad Behaviour?

This is alarming. And angering.  And saddening.

Stats taken from Canadian Medical Association, 8th Annual National Report Card on Health Care, August 2008

As you know (well, at least I hope that you know) this week is Mental Illness Awareness Week for us Canucks.

I know I’ve been rather quiet this week. Work is been kinda insane so I feel bad for not starting more conversations here but I sure have on Facebook (by the way, for those of you who follow me there, I’d appreciate your input).

And I found this statistic very appalling.

To learn that almost half of Canadians think that I may be using my mental illness to excuse any kind of bad behaviour is overwhelming.  Do they think that if I (anyone) call in sick because an anxiety attack the real reason is because I went clubbing last night, got hammered and now I’m hung over? Do they think that if I can’t keep an appointment is because I am a juvenile brat who doesn’t care about other people’s time?

What on earth are they thinking?

This is my plea to all of you who have to struggle with mental illness: Be vocal about it. Start conversations. Write about your experiences. Support your local groups.

Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and let’s show them what living with a mental illness really is about!

Let’s fight the stigma!

I am wearing my MIAW wristband. Are you?

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, we interrupt this program for a special announcement:

This year’s Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is on September 30 – October 6 for us, Canucks (and on Oct. 7-13, 2012 south of the border)

What the heck is MIAW about?

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is an annual national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness. The week was established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association, and is now coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) in cooperation with all its member organizations and many other supporters across Canada.

Campaign elements include: a grassroots public education initiative; a nationally-distributed poster and bookmark series; the Annual Champions of Mental Health Awards luncheon in Ottawa and an education initiative with federal Members of Parliament, both in their home ridings and on Parliament Hill.

As you know, Mental Illness runs deep in my family.  And after years decades of carrying the stigma, I decided to break free and become very vocal about Mental Illness and Mental Health.

Cool!  But MIAW is more than a month away, why are you telling me now?

Continue reading

[Somewhat] Exciting Blog News

I’ve had the crappiest of times for the last two days.

And of course, I have no one to blame by me.

I forgot to refill my prescription and I took the last of the pills on Thursday.  Now, as most of my followers will know, medication for mental illness will cause addiction.  And even though is not the bad kind of addiction, i.e: that of “recreational drugs”, an addiction is an addiction and I started experiencing those damn withdrawal symptoms by Saturday night.

And after that, it was all a  Series of Unfortunate Events.  

I had a guest from Boston staying with me from Thursday to Sunday.  He was here for a wedding we were both attending on Friday .  So between the wedding and entertaining, I completely forgot to call the pharmacy for a refill.  I finally got around doing it on Monday by using their automated phone system but then I totally forgot Monday was a Holiday for us Canucks and therefore the pharmacy was closing early.  But the time I remembered this, it was too late.

Last night was particularly miserable.   So since I couldn’t sleep, I did what any respectable, sane person would do: I worked on my blog.

I did a little housekeeping.  Finally published some of the pages that had been in draft forever.  I also got around optimizing the navigation so the header is not crowded.  Something I had meaning to do for quite a while.

If you look at the blog.  You probably won’t notice anything new.  The bear didn’t and he’s a web developer/designer LOL

But once you hover over the tabs, you’ll see how much cleaner it is now.  Or so says the Bear. Continue reading