Monday, June 5, 2017

Mental health week

"You, there on the bridge
Where've you been, what's your name?
And you, there on the wall
Where will you go to, once you fall?
You, lost at sea
Do you need me, do you need directions?
Hey, put down the gun
What are you thinking?
You were someone's son..."
Voltaire, Feathery Wings

According to the Internet, Mental Health week is next week (or is it the first week of May?) How come there is no set date on this? Just like mental health issues, even the cause to spread awareness behind it gets muddled along the way! This only further proves that I MUST write about this because this is something that should never be muddled along the way!  I am no stranger to mental health. I attempted suicide as a teenager and I still have scars on my body because I used to harm myself. As a result, I try not to look back at my youth often because it makes me really sad. I love being me and it hurts me that there was a time in my life when I was so self destructive.

My neighbor downstairs was mentally ill and this caused some issues for us. I was annoyed at him over his behavior, especially when he took his delusions out on my son (who was a toddler at that time) by yelling obscenities at us through the walls because he was convinced we were spying on him via electronic devices. I suspect the noise from my kid playing/using his toys was what caused the delusions. Considering my apartment is on two floors, I changed the upstairs office into a play area for my son and moved all our bookcases downstairs. This way, most of the time, we stayed upstairs with the kid except on weekends when we were home. Very recently, the gentleman moved out and I was reassured that he is in a better place where hopefully he is getting the help he needs. It just baffles me that it took this long for him to get help.He was hospitalized on numerous occasions.

Originally, I was going to write a lengthy post about my views on the popular Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why and how this show worries me. While the show does an excellent job with portraying bullying/cyber bullying, slut shaming, rape, the context of this young girl taking her own life as means for revenge is what bothers me. Suicide is a permanent decision and you will not be around to see the effects it has on other people. I am not a professional but I don't think the show  portrays the psychology behind suicide correctly (or if at all) and it just shows this young girl going through one horrific event after the other. That is not a message I am comfortable with young people receiving but I think it can be used as a tool for discussion with young adults. It was a reminder to what I was feeling at the time I made attempts at ending my own life and enticed me to have an age appropriate discussion with my six year old about bullying.

In Canada, thanks to our free healthcare system, people can get help but there are often long waiting lists associated with this. Thankfully, my insurance coverage I have through my work covers a portion of this but for some people, this may not be enough.

As a result, I personally feel that there are minimal resources for the mentally ill. My own personal experiences as well as the situation with my neighbor proves that.  The Government needs to do something. Unfortunately, people who severely need help are falling through the cracks.

Life was hard for me as a teenager and it seems not much has changed from the late nineties. In fact, with the Internet and with cyber bullying on the rise, children don't have the reprieve I did when I was in school.

So yes, let's do have a conversation about mental illness. Let's use this popular Netflix show to start a conversation with the young adults in our lives. Let's help them find 13 Reasons Why NOT To do it! Let's break down some barriers, if not for ourselves but for our children. Parents, let's speak up because as much as schools claim to have an anti-bullying policy, we need to work with them. We need to put more pressure on the schools and Government to deal with mental illness or at least have more resources for children who do have problems (be it ADD/ADHD, depression, dyslexia, anxiety, etc) because the regular school system lacks funding. I have experienced this first hand. We need to stop putting people into convenient little boxes. These are complex human beings. More and more nowadays these illnesses are prevalent but there is little help for them. Public school is catered towards children who are "normal" and special needs kids are falling through the cracks. If our kids can't attend public school, homeschooling is nearly impossible here, then there should be resources to better help these kids. After all, isn't it our basic human right as Canadians that every child should be entitled to a free education?

If you come across this post because you are depressed and need help, please do not give up on life. I am by far a licensed mental health professional but having personally came out of a very negative place in my life, I can tell you that life is worth living. Please call your local suicide prevention help line. Don't give up.


  1. You're absolutely right, Sylvie. Mental health issues affect us all, either personally or through friends/family. Our Canadian healthcare system needs to put much, much more money into mental health assistance. It is chronically and shamefully underfunded.

  2. I wanted to share this with you from my other blog On Oct. 2014 I’m sent to the hospital after I burnt out at work. Dying is not always the worst, you can survive with permanent health damages!

    I suffer from severe urinary urgency combined with dysuria.

    Soon, I’m transferred to a psychiatric hospital.

    They double my AD and neuroleptic dosage.

    I also have a heavy sleeping medication.

    I keep going to the loo every 5-10min.

    I am seriously depressed.

    Drawing is my only relief. But I don’t have the strength to draw all the time.

    2014-10-10 11.56.22

    I try to bind with inpatients but I am too depressed. I can only accept my parents’ visits. I feel so bad everytime they leave to go home…without me.

    After 3 weeks as an impatient, I’m not feeling any better but they send me home. I attempt suicide.


    I spend the night on intensive care watch at the hospital. I do not close my eyes even one second despite a high dosage of sleeping medication. I pee in a bedpan every 5-10min.

    The following day, my urinary problem is miraculously gone! I feel better physically and psychologically. I’m also out of danger. I can focus on TV shows, which I couldn’t while I was sick.

    2014-10-18 19.20.42

    At night they give me the same heavy sleeping treatment as the one I had in the psych ward. Strangely I feel very bad when I wake up in the morning, can’t focus on anything pleasant again.

    I’m sent back to the asylum. I no longer suffer from urinary urgency and dysuria but I am very very depressed.

    A couple days later I run up the stairs of an outdoor emergency staircase, jump and crash down. My right femur and elbow bone are broken. I have an operation in the night.

    2014-12-05 11.40.07

    They put surgical material in my body and I learn I won’t be able to walk for the next 3 months. I am in a wheelchair. I spend two weeks in the hospital.

    I leave the hospital to be home-hospitalized. My psychiatrist changes my medication. I’m taken care of 24/7. I can’t go to the medical commode chair alone. I get a dog in December and she gives me so much love. So does my family.

    After 3 and a half months of looong immobilization at home and boredom only reading books and watching series with concentration fluctuation and moments of severe depression, I go to rehab!

    2015-02-20 10.00.49

    I can walk again!

    Soon I leave the wheelchair and then drop the crutches.

    I can walk and exercise again. But in Oct. 2015, my femur accidentally breaks again. I have to get a hip replacement in Paris.

    Since then I have been able to stand and walk as if my femur never broke.

    On March 2016 the surgical material was removed from my right arm. I am fixed.

    I have started to have groin and back pains and I'm seeing the physiotherapist again...

  3. Thank you for still being here. Thank you for sharing your issues with us. We all fall into dark pits sometimes. Everyone should ask for the help they need to get out!

  4. How did you get over it? I feel like I'm climbing up a slippery wall, so much effort and when I look around I'm only going further down.

    1. I don't think I ever got over it. I can be depressed but I can never ever take my own life because I know there are too many people depending on me (family, friends, my kid) so I think for me personally, I am in a better place. I force my ass out of bed in the morning. I smile and I try to find things that make me happy. Even if its silly like a cup of coffee. I try to take pleasure in the little things. There was a time, when my son was about 2 years old, I noticed some warning signs. I was feeling hopeless, I was having panic attacks, I dragged my ass in therapy. The last time I was suicidal was 2009 BUT I did not harm myself and I reached out. My advice is to keep talking and if someone doesn't listen, find someone else. *hugs*

    2. Thanks. I'm not actively suicidal now but there is so little help available here. I saw two psychiatrists and hated them both. I don't get much support from my family either.

    3. I am so sorry to read that. Unfortunately, there is so much stigma associated with mental illness, you are not the first one who told me that. My family only took it seriously after my suicide attempt. It is hard to find a good psychiatrist but don't give up. I am glad you are not actively suicidal. I learned that I may be depressed most of the time but I learned to live with it. I am mostly happy now but then again, I really do have a lot good going for me. I am really lucky



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