Most people who know me know that I have always been pretty open about my experiences with mental health, despite the stigmas so I’m going to share some personal stuff with you guys now. I just recently was discharged from an adult mental health inpatient unit at Victoria Hospital after a 2 months stay. I have suffered from mental illness all my life, but like so many others declined/resisted treatment and tried to tackle everything on my own. Many of you know I almost successfully took my own life last year and since then it has been a very difficult journey trying to seek help and go about treatment the proper way. Eventually I fell back into the same patterns of avoidance and continued to try to do it all on my own. I felt ashamed of my struggles and felt as though I was just burdening those around me, like somehow having a mental illness made me worse of a friend, worse of a person.
It became too much to try to balance school and work while also suffering to such an extreme degree without seeking proper help. Eventually the strain on myself and on those around me who were aware of what was going on led to my hospitalization. I am blessed to have had so many supportive, devoted and loving friends who despite their own lives, their own problems dropped everything to be there for me. And to continue to be there for me throughout the duration of my stay at the the hospital. I cannot imagine what it was like for them (you know who you are) and I am forever grateful, not everyone is as lucky as me to have a support system like that. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them, where I would be without them.
But the battle isn’t over, it’s far from. There are still so many steps I have to take in my life and so many ways I need to make changes and work on myself. There were many positives that came out of my stay at the hospital; a formal diagnosis, medications, referrals to therapy groups, psychiatrists etc. One thing that was highly recommended for my outpatient care was registering for a certified service dog to accompany me everywhere and help me cope with my daily anxieties and other challenges. Both my doctor and social worker consider this something that could make a monumentally positive impact on my quality of life. Unfortunately, this is a lengthy and VERY expensive process. It involves intensive training with the dog to ensure that it is catered to my triggers and will have the ability to respond to my needs.
I have been researching these dogs with the help of my social worker and am currently working on advancing this from an idea to reality. However, the expense of the dogs is anywhere from 15 to 20 thousand dollars which as a student is an unreasonable cost. Not to mention that I am unable to work at the moment and have lost money from school due to my hospitalization. This is why I have decided to start a GoFundMe, because I just don’t have the means to support myself for school and also be able to afford this dog. I am very serious and dedicated to this process, as it is something that could change my life for the better. I have already received more support and positivity from those around me that I feel guilty even doing this, but if you have any means to donate even a dollar or two, it would mean a ton. I will be posting updates as I work through the process of registering and selecting the right dog for me, and if for some reason it doesn’t work out, all the money will be refunded of course!
- Hannah Higgins
- Philip Sikora
- Love Ubro
- Carolin MacMillan
- Kayleigh Rankin