February 17, 2013 was a day quite like one we had recently here in Toronto. It was a cold, blizzard. The type where when you look out the window all you see is a sheet of white, glistening snow. Thinking back to it, it was quite a beautiful sight.
I remember sitting in a parking lot bright and early in the morning and looking out my car window. I was not in the state of mind to appreciate the beauty that was surrounding me…not that morning, and not any day leading up to it.
Within a few minutes, I was surrounded by firefighters and paramedics. I was being pulled from my totalled car and whisked off to the hospital.
How did I get here?
The fluorescent lights above beaming directly in my eyes.
I can move my neck – I look to the left, to the right. I see no one that I recognize.
I’m alone besides the doctors and nurses rushing past – the hustle and bustle that is the ER.
I hear a familiar voice, and look up to see a worried face – they come rushing to my side.
As if I have no control over myself, my body, or my emotions – the tears begin to fall, on both of our faces.
Sitting by my side cradling my tiny hand in theirs, they wipe the tears from my cheek.
Staring at me, they just kept asking me, “Why?”
Over, and over, and over.
It was more like they were pleading with me to open up, to finally open up – than it was they questioning me.
Finally I looked, and said, “I just don’t want to live anymore.”
After spending 30 days in the psychiatric ward, I was starting to finally feel better. I was able to appreciate things in life again, and was working on becoming the best version of me.
Now, there have been many, many setbacks over the past 8 years. Times I’ve slipped into old habits; times I’ve just given up on therapy or my forms of therapeutic activities. And we can’t forget about the boogeyman in my head and all the times he got the best of me. He’s a monster that will never fully go away, so I have had to find ways to cope and deal with him being there.
The moment I found out I was pregnant with RJ, something inside me changed. I knew in that moment that there was going to be someone there, needing me. I knew in that moment that it was finally time to fully commit to being the best version of myself. If not just for me, but for my new, expanding family.
At my very first appointment with our midwives, I opened up and told them about my history with depression and anxiety – and my suicide attempt. I told them I wanted to take a proactive step towards my mental health during that sensitive time.
I started prenatal/postnatal specific therapy through an amazing program at Women’s College Hospital. So thankful for my midwives and family doctor working endlessly to get me into the program as quickly as they did.
Working with the right therapists has been a massive game changer for me. I feel seen, I feel heard. I have been able to open up and we’ve been working on the past traumas that have led to my (newly diagnosed) PTSD and contributed to my anxiety and depression.
Finding the right coping mechanisms to help me through the tough times, the ones where the grip the boogeyman has on me feels so tight that I cannot breathe, has been a challenge but it’s happening.
I look around my life now and I feel incredibly grateful. I have a beautiful, supportive family. I look at RJ’s face and my heart breaks thinking that if the worst had happened that day back in 2013 – I wouldn’t have been blessed enough to have brought this amazing being into this crazy world.
I don’t think one is ever really “cured” when they’re battling mental illness. It’s a daily battle that you have to choose to fight; you have to choose to fight for your happiness.
Unlike that morning in 2013 – I look out the window at the blanket of glistening snow covering everything right now and choose to see the beauty in this crazy thing called life.