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.
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
Interview by Samina Raza
December 28, 2014
I had the great pleasure of interviewing Clint Malarchuk, NHL goalie, NHL coach, cowboy, horse dentist and now author of his first book “A Matter of Inches”, the title refers to the bullet in his head, as well as the skate that was actually a few millimeters from his carotid artery! This man is indestructible, thank goodness, knock on wood!
He suffered from OCD, horrible anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse, and finally PTSD because of a horrific hockey injury to his neck. Even dealing with all those mental illnesses, he became a great goalie, playing for, among others, the Buffalo Sabres. And then an NHL coach. While battling his demons and alcohol addiction, he put a bullet in his head and survived with no side effects! His book is a tour de force of honesty, truth and a no holds barred description of his life, good or bad, he put it all to paper. The book is a must read.
A soldier returns safely after surviving sniper fire and roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the hypervigilance and suppressed emotions that kept him alive have taken a heavy toll.
By Jeremy Profitt
I came home from Iraq in March 2004, yet I’m still fighting a war, a war here at home. It’s a war of shadows, one that no one seems to really understand. A war of anger and anxiety, fought in the recesses of my mind.
January 28, 2014
Not feeling up to going into work or school today? You’re not alone. On an average day, half a million Canadians are off with some form of mental illness.
We’re starting to see glimmers of hope, because people are starting to talk. Jim Bremner‘s started the conversation with his own first-hand account in the book Crack in the Armor: A Police Officer’s Guide to Surviving Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.