Anxiety, Mental Health, PTSD

On the Days I Need Someone to Advocate For Me

I love being a mental health advocate.

Putting my own story out there was both the scariest and greatest thing I could have ever done. Opening up about my battle with PTSD and GAD has been both a solace and a therapeutic experience for me.

And while I am proud to stand up and fight for all those out there still suffering in silence, I realize there are days where I need the same support. There are days where I need someone to advocate for me.

I take a great deal of pride in being the first line of defence, someone brave enough to put their own pain in the spotlight to help make a difference, to help someone suffering in silence. It is a heavy burden and the ultimate reward to voice my opinions and to turn my own suffering into something positive. Being this vulnerable (and exposed) while walking this path has been humbling, but there is a price to be paid for putting my pain on display. There are sacrifices to be made in order to help someone else.

But the bigger question is this: Would someone else do it for me? Keep Reading!

Bell Let's Talk Day, Mental Health, Mental Illness, PTSD, Uncategorized

Bell’s Let’s Talk Day is Back Tomorrow!

Bell’s Let’s Talk Day 2018 is TOMORROW, and I’m preparing for an all-day event of sharing, promoting, and offering good and positive mental health advocacy!

It’s truly the best day of the year! 😀

Join me tomorrow for all the excitement and let’s raise money to support national mental health initiatives!

And as always,

Fight the good fight!

-A xo

Linkin Park, Mental Health, Music and Therapy, PTSD

My 2018 Fight Anthems

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again.

Music is one of my greatest healing tools when it comes to my mental health.

2017 was a killer year for me, especially when it came to my mental health. For the first time in six years, I felt like myself and I didn’t have any major depressive episodes (that lasted for months at a time). It was a milestone that I am so grateful for. Not that I’m trying to diminish the impact my PTSD has on my mental health, but for the first time in a long time, I’m excited about starting another year off to a good start.

Has every day been great? No. Have I had my moments where my PTSD kicked my ass? Yes! But the one thing I’ve learned about my mental healthis that I take it all in stride. I take it day by day. I can’t predict how my mental health will play out over a week, let alone a month, or even a year. That isn’t something I have control over. The best I can do is take a deep breath and keep moving forward.

But I’m still determined to make the most of 2018, regardless to what the future has in store of me. I’m going to have some crazy and wild moments this year (and I finally get to marry the love of my life!), so in keeping my best foot forward, I’ve been keeping my music updated on my phone. I’ve been creating lists of kick-ass songs to help motivate me through the battles and songs to help me when I’m feeling a little bruised and battered.

Keep Reading!

Anxiety, Mental Health, PTSD, Writing

New Year, Same Illness

I started off my 2018 the best way I know how.

By finishing another manuscript to one of the many novels I am working on. (Cue loud cheering!) After months of hunkering down and locking myself up in my writing den, I finally finished my NL novel, which is now officially titled, Where the Land Meets the Sea. Hopefully, with much luck and wishful thinking, I can get it published later this year.

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There is no better feeling in the world than holding a completed manuscript for the first time! ❤

But besides finishing another novel that I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into, I’m sure like many of you, I too sat down and wrote out some New Year resolutions and some goals I wanted to have completed by the end of 2018, both personal and professional.

And while maybe I have already broken a few of them (cutting back on Tim Horton’s ice capps…I am failing miserably so far!), there are some things in my life, no matter now much I plot and plan for, I have no control over.

That includes my mental health issues. Keep Reading!

Holidays, Mental Health, PTSD

Maybe This Year Will Be Better Than the Last

Well folks,

Here we are at the end. Somehow most of us managed to survive the Christmas season mostly intact and if you’re anything like me, you spent the last few days in a haze of confusion while filled up on too many sweets and too many home cooked meals. It didn’t even really occur to me how close New Years Eve was until my friend texted me and asked what she could bring to our NYE party.

Oops. Keep Reading!

Anxiety, Holidays, Life, Mental Health, PTSD

5 Tips to Help Your Mental Health This Christmas

This is it folks.

This time next week, the big man in the red suit will start making his rounds around the world, delivering treats and presents to everyone who was good this year. Kids will be leaving out milk and cookies (and maybe some carrots for the reindeer), and parents will be scrambling to wrap last minutes gifts and stock stuffers. (Ahem…I mean for the gifts that Santa won’t be bringing ;)!)

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These next seven days are probably going to bring around chaos, both at work, at home, and of course stores and malls will be jammed packed with people who leave their shopping to the last possible minute. Homes will be bustling with laughter and cheer, while kitchens bubble with aromas of Christmas baked goods and preparations for large holiday feasts.

And while there is enjoyment in the chaos, these last ditch-efforts to prepare for a perfect holiday experience can be overwhelming. And if you’re like me, living with a mental illness that prevents you from processing stress on a normal-functioning level, these chaotic moments are severely overwhelming. It only takes one little thing to go wrong, or too much noise, or sensing someone else’s frustrations or tension to make me waver. It takes virtually nothing to send my brain into overdrive and suddenly I’m an anxious mess. Keep Reading!

Mental Health, PTSD, Social Anxiety

Why the Holidays are Sometimes Difficult for Someone Like Me

Disclaimer: If you are really struggling during this time of the year, you can contact the NL Mental Health 24 Hour Crisis Line at 1-888-737-4668. Or if you’re not in crisis and just need to talk, call the CHANNAL Provincial Warm Line at 1-855-753-2560.

Remember to check in with loved ones who you know could be struggling.
It could mean the world to them.

Ah, December.

The one month of the year were suddenly everything turns from calm and relaxed into chaos and confusion. Where even the most organized and put-together person somehow manages to fall off the rails and suddenly there are gifts not bought, decorations not put up, and within the first week of December you’re already sick of hearing Michael Buble’s renditions of our favourite Christmas carols. (Sorry Michael Buble). In Canada, you just barely have the poppies off before Christmas is shoved in your face. Keep Reading!

Mental Health, Mental Illness, PTSD

The One Question I Wish People Would Stop Asking Me

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I really started coming into my own since I started publicly sharing my story, my battles with PTSD, and my advocacy for better mental health rights and services.

The world threw lemons at me so I decided to make lemonade. (See what I did there?) *Insert shameless book promo here!*

I started advocating for mental health in 2015, and since then I have been given and have stumbled upon some of the greatest opportunities. These past three years have been the best in my life, not because my writing career has started to take off, but because I am also making a small difference for others like me. I started doing my part to help advocate for change, for the end of the stigma, for a better understanding. I fully believe I have found my calling and that has given me great joy.

But there is one thing that happens when you open yourself up to others. You also have to endure and entail all sorts of questions from other people. Keep Reading!

Mental Health, PTSD, Suicide

Six Years Ago

Six years ago my life changed.

Six years ago I had to make a heart-wrenching phone call to my boyfriend.

“I don’t want to live anymore.”

Six years ago I had to finally admit out loud that I wanted to take my own life, that I had spent two hours contemplating swallowing a bottle of pills and ending it all.

Six years ago my life had reached a breaking point; I had hit rock bottom and I didn’t know if I had the strength to get up. Everything hurt despite my heart being numb. Keep Reading!