My oldest daughter struggled with mental health as a young teen. For parents who want to help, but don’t know how – please learn from my mistakes and learned lessons. Kids don’t know they have depression … it’s a slow gradual feeling, like a blanket wrapping around them, peacefully and slowly, until it’s a tight constriction that there’s no choice but to just submit to the security of complete isolation and retreat.
The flags – It’s the children that aren’t talking, the ones who are always “fine”. The ones isolating themselves in their bedrooms and seem to have lost the little sparkle in their eyes. Get them to the Dr. immediately. Avoidance and denial won’t make it go away. It’s not about you – it’s about them.
If a child advises feelings of worthlessness and general defeat in life, my advice would be not to advise them, they’re not broken and don’t want to be fixed: they want to be seen and heard. They went someone to just be there, support and empathize. They need someone to get through it with them, without judgement, advice, most importantly – not directed to “cheer up” snap out of it, walk it off.
Those we hear of that take their own life, they’re not cowards, they feel hitting the off switch is the only possible relief to make the physical and emotional heavy weight that they don’t get a moments rest from carrying. They’re tired.
Allow them whatever they need, to rest, and never stop reminding them how much you love them – even if it feels like they aren’t listening, I promise they’re hearing every word.
This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned this last year. Just because someone is in your life, be it family a partner or a friend – when someone shows you how they’re willing to treat you , believe them. We teach others how to treat us by what we’re willing to accept. In many instances, we simply dismiss negative behaviours and defend with “it’s just the way they are”. By doing this, we teach ourselves that we don’t matter. We’re making the choice to compromise our self worth every time we just “let it go”.
We tend to overlook certain behaviours with the mentality “they’ve always been this way”. That’s true, because they’ve been excused and enabled. It doesn’t matter who someone is to you or how old they are, if their words and actions hurt you, it’s not ok. just because something or someone has always been a certain way, doesn’t make it the “right” way. If it’s unhealthy for you – express it and make the boundary known. If you want change, be the change and don’t compromise your mental well-being to appease another. Not doing this, you’re telling yourself that you don’t matter, you’re compromising your integrity.
This wasn’t easy for me. It hurt badly, the feeling of being disposable to someone you love. Then I realized, the only ones who will ever leave you for setting healthy boundaries, were the ones who benefitted by you not having any. They weren’t ever truly in your life, it simply benefitted them having you in theirs. Just because someone’s always been in your life, doesn’t mean it was a healthy relationship for you. The right ones stay, the ones who don’t – were never really there. You likely just clung onto the idea that they were supposed to be.
Make the choice to stop sacrificing your emotional needs to appease another. If you feel you have to, that’s when you need to be accountable to “why” and stop permitting it. Learn to love yourself enough to excuse yourself from a table that no longer serves you. Choose whatever and whomever fuels your soul, not consistently depletes it.
The world will adjust, the right ones will remain and the ones who left – were like weeds in the garden, choking out growth to become the best most authentic, healthy version of yourself. Choose you. 💜
Bullying has been saturating the news as of late, its weighing on me heavily. We know the problem – the solution seems simple right? Understandably, when emotions are high, its easy to hate on the bullies, “lock them up and throw away the key” has pretty much been the consensus across the board. The bigger picture is so blindingly obvious and isn’t being discussed… because for generations, it truly has been the most fiercely protected secret – Bullies aren’t born, they’re created… I know, I know.. just hear/read me out, before disagreeing….
Bullying is simply a name used to excuse the mean kid, the volatile boss… this isn’t just jealousy or having a “fight” with their best friend. True bullying behaviour is when someone purposes torments, taunts, verbally attacks and in some cases, a physical assault is made. These kids feed off of another’s pain, it empowers them, sometimes laughing or smiling as they’re doing it. In many cases, “cyber bullying” is becoming a resort, advising someone to kill themselves, they’re ugly, everyone hates them, they’d be better off dead. The victims are afraid, often in tears, crying, feel isolated and extremely alone, the bad is always easier to believe than the good and the “bully” feeds off of this vulnerability, they feel more powerful. Here’s what they don’t feel; empathy, compassion or slight possibly complete void of remorse or regret, which, by definition; Narcissistic Sociopath / Psychopath personality disorders. These personalities create victims. The sugar coating of this can’t be tolerated any longer, which is exactly whats been done to date. These are extremely abusive personality traits and if appearing at young ages – are not only silent cries for help -they should be regarded as immediate flags for a child who either hasn’t received emotional nurturing by their parents or has suffered a significant emotional trauma which studies prove, at a young age can most definitely effect the frontal lobe of the brain during development (up until the age of 21). This is where emotional response is created. During a significant trauma(s) – this can shut down certain neuro-transmitters i.e.: narcissistic sociopath, or heighten them – empath. Some have an ability to disconnect from the trauma and process it without repercussions also.
“What happens in our house, stays in our house”… a term used by generations since the beginning of time. The ones saying this – are those afraid of the truths being exposed. Domestic Violence / Psychological, Verbal Abuse has been hands down, the most guarded secret throughout generations, kept by all who live within the 4 walls. This is exactly why the solution to the “problem” has been such a struggle for schools across the “board”. Social class doesn’t discriminate when it comes to Domestic Violence. Every single true “bully” or the ones labelled as the “freaks” with no friends, gamers, blending in only to stand out… were once innocent little happy babies. Parents may think they’re being the best at secrets and cover ups… kids see and hear all, if they haven’t personally experienced abuse themselves, it imprints on them – plain and simple. The children don’t dare disobey or expose their parent(s) or close family member because these are the same people that nurture them, that love them. The partners of the abuser wouldn’t dare expose the truth as plain and simply – it woudn’t be safe and no laws protect them. They’ve spent most of the relationship with the partner they once loved so deeply – now bonded by trauma and its own addiction manifests, a breakdown of reality and mental health occurs, defending and or excusing the behaviour of their partners, they feel isolated and alone, the partner’s family in almost all cases, protect their “secrets” and have likely dismissed any and all possible attempts to inquire. These victims have children together and so.. the “secret” remains. *** REMEMBER – whats posted on social media, its the hi-lite reel, what we want others to see, the bad the ugly, the truths, aren’t posted… EVER *** . If the school intervenes – in many cases, I’m advised, they fear for the child’s safety (HELLO – doesn’t that speak volumes), after brief encounters meeting the parents or the parents simply don’t care, will dismiss to “kids being kids” … regardless, what doesn’t happen, is the child receiving therapy and or counselling because the parents are the ones who have groomed this child to become exactly who they became. The child grows up, marries and continues the cycle. “Bullies” grow up – into adults who abuse.
How do I know this is factual? Because I was able to escape Domestic Abuse, after recognizing that 5 attempts later, I had no elastic left to spring back, he turned his rage on his child (that I love like my own), I stepped in and faced the wrath for the very last time. I had no idea what a Narcissistic Sociopath even was.. I felt shame, guilt, fear, I knew he was a literal Jekyll and Hyde Monster.. but I’d never heard of any story, experience, hell – even a suspense thriller – as horrifying as my truth…. until I found a support group which literally saved my sanity. It wasn’t one person that understood and could validate every single aspect… it was 10’s of thousands. All on different paths however, we all, male and female, experienced this type of unimaginable abuse. The reality is.. had my abuser, been my children’s father (he wasn’t) … I likely would go to my grave keeping his dark secret… He’d be part of my life forever. I don’t know of a single victim speaking out, when they’re immersed between the “4 walls”. It would be a fate worse than death to be truthful, and as recent Headlines have proven, is sometimes the result.
Think about the hundreds if not thousands in your own personal circle… how many are currently living in a domestic violence environment….? Likely none right, because you’d be getting them out? So if current statistics prove at LEAST 1 in 10 are living with abuse (these are just the ones reported), how realistic is it that nobody we know…. is being abused? I’ll tell you from personal experience… victims become masters at covering up. If you look into their eyes, they are pleading with others, even strangers to recognize they’re in danger.
I’ve been outspoken on multiple discussion forums as of late… for every problem, there is a solution. If the schools are held accountable to their own “Zero Tolerance” Policy Statement, this will immediately hold the abusive child & their parent(s) accountable, it is ABUSE, a report has to be made to the Police, which in turn will activate CAS (Children’s Aid Society) if the child is a minor. This WILL WITHOUT QUESTION… shine much needed light on the secrets between the 4 walls and exposing countless for being the abusers that they are. The victims NEED TO BE RESCUED… current laws don’t recognize Narcissistic Sociopathic Abuse as abuse… “Call us back if he hits you”.. leaving the Victims to Face CAS and the after wrath from their Abuser making it so much worse than before. ABUSE IS ABUSE… there is no mild form.
This “SECRET” kept for generations needs to be EXPOSED for the very real crisis that it is and hopefully with more and more victims speaking out, finding their voice again, recognizing that their silence is creating a future generation of abusive partners…. our generation can be – the desperately needed change. This cycle needs to end. Its starts INSIDE the 4 walls. ALL bullies/abusers are broken, weak, insecure individuals who have been hurt… to one, they may seem powerful, to a group, they don’t stand a god damn chance. Our children deserve better, future generations.. deserve better. WE, as a society NEED TO DO BETTER.
Mental Health, for lack of a better description is at a current global #crisis state. #endthestigma, #shame, #anxiety, #depression, #PTSD, #suicide & #addiction, in many cases aren’t because people are sick broken or weak, they’re tired from being strong for too long and are suffering. After taking a poll I posted on #Twitter, 50% say they are suffering in silence due to the fear of criticism, judgement and or possible dismissal from work. The reality I’ve learned for many, is simply this – saying #I’mFine for too long, the load became too heavy and something had to give, their mental health. This is also my personal truth. I’m part of the 80% suffering of those who took the anonymous poll. Currently, 1% of medical funding within Canada is put towards Mental Health. The suicide rate, prodominantly with First Responders is skyrocketing to all time highs. I can say from personal anecdotal experiences I’ll share throughout, its a very broken, weak system with very little accountability and direction from the relevant professionals in the field. A little personal insight, I’m 48, a Self Employed Health, Safety & Mental Wellness Professional, Certified First Aid Instructor, single Mom, on the outside, a positive, happy person with a “great life” – who hid behind the #shame of admitting to mostly myself – that it was just that, appearances. If only Mental Illness could appear on the outside – I ‘d surely have looked like I fell into a wood chipper. I managed to get to my 19th year of marriage, which came to an end, amicably, where the events, choices and experiences began to add up within the 6 years following, much of which resulted in significant anguish and multiple traumas.
It was spring of 2019 after being faced with 3 individual traumas/stressors within an 8 month period, the final one, pushing me off the “edge”, resulting in a severe anxiety attack (literally felt like I was having a cardiac episode – or dying, lasting for hours & into the next day) followed by a deep dark depression and ultimately a complete breakdown of my mental health (I’ve just recently even been able to share this with my parents – apparently I’ve mastered the coping mechanisms to hide behind the smile) I saw my physician, was prescribed medication & secured and have attended recommended therapy. For two months, I barely if ever left the security of my home, completely isolated myself from all friends and family. It was a good week if I decided to simply take a shower. It is only as of very late, I can see a little bit of sunshine through the dark black skies of depression. The reason I’ve chosen to share this insight is as follows; I have always been an advocate for others to speak up with their stories, the non-judgemental listener, advised to consider seeking medical attention for professional help, I shared the posts with the #’s supporting mental health and wellness – the reality is, I felt like a complete hypocrite & was doing exactly what so many others do – submit to the #fear of the #shame stigma. I’ve learned that speaking your personal truths, knocks walls down, it encourages others, resonates with some that “OH MY GOD, someone gets it.. its like reading my own story, I thought I was alone”, its completely empowering! I’m here to tell you that you’re NOT alone. The reality is, I feel anyway, my mind, body & soul – had to completely “power-off” to rest and heal. I don’t know if I could have possibly faced another single challenge during this time, that terrified me, how fragile I became/am. Was all I could muster just to not let my daughter’s home fall apart taking her Mother along with it, I felt grateful that my oldest daughter lives in London, Ontario so I could at least spare her.
I met with my therapist early this week (best decision ever BTW), she asked me what fuels my internal “guage”. My honest answer was – “helping others”. I’m admin. on a private Women’s Support Forum which I take so much strength from, however its intentially small. As soon as she mentioned journalling (which is a big help, just to write thoughts down – even if all you have is one sentence that day, its making the decision and allowing some of the internal chaos – out) It IMMEDIATELY resonated to share my journey on my Blog. It’s win win, I can express openly to help heal myself & even if it allows one single person to feel less “broken” and alone – to possibly allow someone else hope that they CAN get through this, aiding to smash the stigma surrounding Mental Health, be part of the solution, not add to the problem – then HELLO – this seems like a perfect forum.
Following this post, under the title The UN’Becoming Truth, I’m going to share as often as I’m able, my story, broken down into “chapters” as each one is relevant to my breakdown. The story and journey is 100% authentically mine, however, I’m not an academic in this field in any regard, I am however jam packed with real life experience, and my journey back to a stronger, healthier version of myself, along with the tools and methods that aided the process, in the hope to raise awareness – can’t learn that in a text book.
I KNOW, and have learned the hard way, you can’t possibly build a strong future, on a broken foundation. I didn’t truly think a month ago, I’d ever feel “ok” again, and a few really bad days following that, I was just too far gone – BUT, here I am, typing this blog, as effortlessly as fluid, I can validate that this has been hands down the most difficult time in my life, its not cliche’, the words we’ve all heard, that sometimes you truly have to personally hit rock bottom, and then plumet lower after that, before you can begin to rebuild. It WON’T be easy, but I PROMISE that you’re worth it, WE’RE worth it. Minute by minute, thats all it has to be – remembering to look out the windsheild ahead, the rear view – is to look back and learn from, which is also an important part of healing, at least for me, I had to look alllllllll the way back, to understand who I had become, and “UN’Become” that person to make room for who I will be …