My life, like everyone else’s, had its ups and downs. My brother and I would take turns spending weekends with both grandmothers’; go to church, to the library, do some baking and play games. We had the best time with them. While at home, everyone would be quiet, doing their own thing. Usually during birthdays or holidays is where you’d find us happy, joking and enjoying our time together.
It wasn’t until years later, I discovered why we spent so much time away from our parents. My father had been diagnosed with manic depression during his teenage years and we didn’t know this until I was in high school. My father had a back injury at work when I was one years old and became addicted to the prescription medication for 15 years. As the years went by his anger and abuse had gotten worse, suicide attempts began; therefore, we were sent away on weekends and mom told us it was to protect us.
When I was old enough to date, it seemed like my father and I fought more and more, as I wanted to live my life and I was rebelling. The breaking point was when I was 28 years old and dating a guy 14 years older. We did the opposite to what my father wanted and continued seeing each other. Eventually we asked him for his permission to get married; he said no. We refused to stop seeing each other, my parents and I continuously fought over it until my father kicked me out of the house. With three garbage bags full of clothes, which is all I was allowed to take, I left, with no where to go. I spent the night at the daycare centre I worked at. My boyfriend and I did get married a year later.
I hadn’t spoken to my family in eight months; I received a call from my mother saying dad was sick in the hospital; cirrhosis of the liver, with two weeks to live. After all the hurt, painful words, abuse my father put on all of us, he was still my father and yes, I did love him dearly. I visited my father later that day and my father and I made amends. A week later I visited him for the last time, I walked in the room just as he passed away; I felt the last twitch while holding his hand. I’d like to think he was waiting for me to come see him one last time.
Years had passed, my daughter was born, and the true colours were coming out in our marriage. For 12 years, I lived with someone who was narcissistic, jealous, demanding and controlling; my mother always told me I had married my father. We eventually separated and a few years later, I met my current partner; who also lives with mental illness, anxiety, OCD and depression. I haven’t been diagnosed but I know I live with PTSD.
I always had this thought in my head,” When is this ever going to end?” It did, 40 years later!
Here we are, in 2017, and with everything I have experienced in my life, I became a mental health advocate. Based on my lived experiences, I have been able to help people all around the world who has lived with domestic abuse, addictions and mental illnesses. I volunteer with numerous mental health organizations and write articles for mental health blogs.
My life is full of contentment, love, family and friends and now am closer than ever to my mother and brother. I’m also in a relationship where we have everything in common, we support each other, have fun and we’re living life!
When I was younger, I never thought I would have a happy life. I always thought what I experienced as a child was normal. Now I know different.
Ron Ellis started out as a professional hockey player to speaker, now speaks about his personal experience with depression.
Ron Ellis is remembered for his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs and member of the Team Canada hockey team.
During his 15 years as a professional player, he assisted in bringing the Stanley Cup home for the Leafs in 1967 and won against the Russians with Team Canada in the World Hockey Summit Series in 1972. Continue reading
Joanie Malarchuk is wife of former NHL hockey player Clint Malarchuk.
28 years ago the then 27-year-old ice hockey goaltender, of the Buffalo Sabres, suffered one of the most gruesome injuries ever seen in professional sport.
His throat cut by a stray skate, he survived thanks to his team’s trainer reaching into his neck to pinch shut the severed artery that would later need 300 stitches. Continue reading
How well do you know your friends, co-workers or even family? It would be surprising to know it doesn’t matter how well you know them, they may be hiding something from you. What you may see is a happy marriage, a great job, lots of friends. What you won’t see is the unhappiness, lack of energy, constant self-doubt and changes in appetite; a few symptoms of high-functioning depression. Continue reading
On September 12, 2016, I went to listen to former NHLer Clint Malarchuk speak for the World Suicide Prevention Day. He touched on his medication and drinking, how he mixed the two and how it affected his mental illness, himself, his family and his suicidal thoughts.
I do know, from personal experience from loved ones, how important it is NOT to mix alcohol and or drugs and certain medications when you live with a mental illness. Continue reading
Imagine having the same thoughts in your head or seeing the same visions in your head, over and over again. Now imagine experiencing this when you’re supposed to be sleeping. This happens to many people who live with mental illness and happened to me.
I remember always having to sleep with the radio on or I would have nightmares. The radio always “tuned” our my parents’ arguments and I could sleep. Not realizing I may have developed PTSD, I still had to sleep with the radio on even after I moved out of the house or I would have the same dreams over and over again. This was the case for 9 years after moving out. Continue reading
What do you do when a situation is the most positive of experiences, but your not equipped to deal with spot light or praise?
I’ve mentally beat myself up for so many years now that I don’t know any different.
I recently attended an awards ceremony where I was one of three nominees for an award that evening.
When I got the call I was happy, but not overly joyed, some friends and family said I should have been ‘overjoyed’ ‘ecstatic’ ‘over the moon’ etc.. but really, it was just ‘OK’.
I put the phone down , told my fiancée who was very pleased and carried on with what I was doing. That was normal for me, don’t get to happy, don’t get too down… Try to stay level. If I get excited, I’ll panic if I get sad, I’ll think and panic. So my place has been in the middle which kind of makes me wonder: Am I boring? Am I really living? Or just getting by? Does my fiancée think these things bout me?! She has recently mentioned that I seem very grumpy and quiet .. Ohh Fuck!!! Not what you really want to hear, but accepted and I’m working on it. It really isn’t meant.
Anyway, I took my best mate to the awards evening as my fiancée was stuck at work. To explain a little, my mate is a positive person, he’s like a real life Peter Pan, he will never ever go a day without laughter! And will do his best to brighten up the darkest of situations, a good man and a dear friend. Continue reading
First of all, apologies as I haven’t written a blog for a while. It’s down to a few reasons, work family also, I have been reading a few blogs and social media (tweets, Facebook posts) .
Everybody has their own unique way of writing and telling their stories which is amazing, it’s really helpful and takes some bottle to really open up and tell all, I have total respect to you all and thank you.
While reading them, I can see myself in most but also get why there is this stigma (which is bollocks). I tried to read from a neutral point of view and read every word as though I’d never struggled with anxiety attacks and mental health issues due to them. The words , the sentences they seem fictional!! Even though I know that they are 100% true, a ‘normal’ person reading them will think that we are lying. But why would people make things up? I write not to scare sufferers, I do not lie, I just want to let people know that it is ok, EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT!! I’m willing to tell you what goes on in my head and my life to try and help if you want to talk about or read it.
The help is great, can’t fault the blogs, however I’m going to talk about an incident, one like no other has made me think about people and my mental illness.
During the years, I must admit…. Even though the panic/anxiety has been crippling and I would not wish it upon my worst enemy, there have been some stories to tell. I cringed at the time, but when we (I mean close friends and family) talk about it them, laughter comes of it.
Which can only be good?
When I was about 25, the attacks were in full flow, I could not be left alone , never!! As you know , I was desperate , dependant on everyone and anyone. Selfishly struggling through that part of my life.
Hi, today I want to talk about medication, mania, voices and finding the right doctor.. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder about a year ago.. I have been hearing voices for two years.. well I’ve been hearing them on and off.. depends on my mood.. Continue reading