I want to share you with a bit of my recent journey with mental illness and the impact it has had on me and my family as I take the time to heal.
On Wednesday July 12th, I made a mistake.
It was an inconvenient mistake. A stupid mistake that could have been avoided, but a mistake nonetheless. It was also easily fixed. However, for me, it was The End. Sobbing and hyperventilating all I could think about was how bad I was, how stupid, how worthless, and how much my partner hates me.
I had a panic attack.
I would go on to have 2 more throughout the day. A major one at work that left me sobbing in a closet. Another was in front of a Services Ontario worker when she informed me I had the wrong information to renew my health card.
I am sick. I've been sick for awhile now.
A friend, much stronger than I'll ever be, took me to the ER that night. We sat together in the waiting room for 4 hours talking while my eyes drooped with exhaustion and my muscles remained tense, on alert.
It was strangely refreshing to see my distress described as distress from someone else. Even as the tears run and my jaw clenches and body convulses with sobs while I hold my breath as I wait to wake up or stop existing,
all I can think about is how much I'm overreacting. I'm making it up. I'm too sensitive. I'm a drama queen. I'm an attention seeker. I'm worthless and no one should believe me. No one WILL believe me.
As an abuse survivor, this is just a taste of the ongoing shame and belittlement that follows me. I find it hard to believe myself, so I assume others will not believe me.
But my friend believes me. My partner believes me. My doctor believes me. And I was sitting in a hospital room at 1:30am when I became so overwhelmed by people believing me and stepping in to take care of me that I cried again.
I am now on a 10 weeks medical leave from work. This leave first started as one week, then 4 more weeks, and now another 5 weeks with re-evaluation throughout.
I was prescribed Ativan for future panic attacks. I have an appointment on August 24th at the Urgent Care Psychiatric Clinic in Ottawa for assessment. I continue to take my antidepressants daily and attend weekly therapy sessions as I have for the last 2 years, as well as bi-weekly appointments with my Nurse Practitioner.
I am also working on new, positive habits like eating regularly, exercising daily, and incorporating meditation and yoga practices to help with mindfulness and connecting mind with body.
I have now been on medical leave from work for just over a month now and am preparing for the next month off with potential for another extension into October. I have applied for Employment Insurance (EI) and gained what financial help I could from my family, and my partner has applied for a bursary through his work.
However, losing income so abruptly and waiting for EI which will cut my income in half has left my partner and me in a very tight financial situation.
Funds from this campaign will help pay our bills, feed us and our cat, and keep a roof over our head while we adjust to a new budget to meet our needs.
This will ease our financial anxieties due to unpaid bills, the cost of therapy sessions, medications, and transportation to appointments so that I can focus on getting well instead of feeling pressure to work when I am not mentally equipt to do so.
Finally, for those who follow my social media accounts, you know that I paint and that this has been a huge help to me. I aim to continue creating with the goal of getting a shop up to sell my work as I seek financial independence. Your contribution to this fund will assist with my continued creative work.
I have to acknowledge that I am sick and that I have been sick for a long while but tried to power through and ignore it. As many of you know, ignoring a problem always makes mental illness worse.
Admittedly, I am scared about what things will have to change. But I'm more scared about what will happen to me and my family if they don't change.
So, friends, know that I am safe. Know that every day I am trying. Know that any contribution to this fund will help me on my road to recovery.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and contribute if you can. If you can't contribute financially, please feel free to widely share the link to this fund.
- Rosie LaBrecque
- Meg Ruttan Walker
- Jess Kiley
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