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