Don’t mind me if I do

We have a saying in Colombia (we have a saying for every single thing under the sky, apparently) that goes something like this: “No evil/illness* lasts a hundred years”.

Then, also apparently, we have to have corolaries for the sayings. And this ones goes “nor there is a body that can endure it”.

The first part refers to the fact that no matter how bad things are, they are bound to get better at some point, even if it takes a hundred years.

In typical Colombian dry humour, the second part reminds us that if we have to wait that long for things to get better, there is no way we will survive it.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to wait a hundred years.

A week and counting…

Check my new post on Canvas to find out what the heck I’m talking about:  Don’t mind me if I do

Source: Don’t mind me if I do

* The Spanish word “mal” can refer both to evil, in the sense of misfortune and to illness or sickness.


Well, I was so tired and weakened yesterday that I fell asleep in the afternoon and it all happened again. The nightmares, the sleep paralysis, the hallucinations.

As a result, I refused to sleep last night.

Haven’t slept yet.

So I decided to make digital doodles instead.

Cat doodles, of course.

After all, I am a bona fide Crazy Cat Lady.


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.


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


Well, that was brilliant. I slept through all the alarms.

It is 10:26 am now and I had counselling at 9 am.

With a new counsellor too. 



I’m still in that nowhere space half between in a nightmare and fully awake. 


I guess I should call my counsellor.

I hate this.   



The night is here and yet my eyes

I dare not close.

Though tired I am,

sleep want not.

Will there be a time

when fears don’t come?

When rest in peace

at last I shall go?

One of several versions of the painting “The Scream” (title: Der Schrei der Natur, ‘The Scream of Nature’) . The National Gallery, Oslo, Norway.

When a mother’s heart weeps

Well, my friends, I’m out of sorts today.

My son’s depression is quickly spiralling down.   He’s been having horrible nightmares since he came to Canada.  Today, when I woke up, went to say hello to him.  He was up already (he’s sleeping on our sofa-bed in the living room).  He looked bad.  He was shaken.  He said today’s nightmare was particularly vicious.

We talked for a bit but his thoughts are dark.  Thoughts of death.

I can’t take this.

I can deal with any pain I may have.  I am strong enough.

But I can’t stand seeing my son be in so much pain.

I don’t know what to do.

Things I’d like to tell my brain

*WARNING: I’m pissed.  There will be a lot of swearing here. Consider yourself warned.

[In fact, I tell my brain all the time but the fucking bastard never listens]

  1. Yes, I know my whole childhood consisted of waking up to horrible screams, lots of blood and trips to the hospital
  2. Yes, my mother was murdered.  By my father.  Do you really think I would fucking forget something like that?
  3. Yes, seeing your mother’s blood covering the couch and the living room is an awful sight
  4. Yes, I know I am very traumatized by that
  5. No, seeing my father murdered (also shot in the head) years later didn’t help a bit

But! Must you fucking remind me every fucking night of my life?

Continue reading