Mental Health is Not Just A Hashtag ###

Yesterday was Bell’s Let’s Talk Day, where they donated 5 cents for mass communications on their platform to Mental Health Services.

Mental Health is not just a one day event. You cannot cure Mental Health with a hashtag, nor can you pay it away either. Mental Health is an everyday part of life for many people, including myself and my husband.

Many years ago, when I first met my husband, he was a happy go lucky, smart and funny young man. We had a few months of bliss, before the gauntlet fell down, and our lives were turned upside down.

He was employed at the time but that was to end abruptly. He suffered a major breakdown and ended up falling apart. We got him the help he needed, maybe because we were lucky then, or maybe the right person was in the right place, at the right time.

Hubby was diagnosed as Bi-Polar Two Rapid Cycling. Now we knew what the problem was, we had to then figure out what we were going to do about it. Treatment was in the offing.

What I did not know on the outset of that treatment was this; the man who went in, was not the man who came out the other end.

For ten months, hubby lay comatose on the sofa. I was a full time student in university, I was hitting meetings, doing all the shopping, cooking, laundry, cleaning, bathing, dressing, and feeding my husband.

He could not do anything but lay on the sofa, till the day the doctors found the right pill to give him, to get him to rise from his stupor.

And let me tell you, I screamed from the rooftops that night when he rose from the dead !!!

Mental illness is a daily struggle. And some days are better than others. I’ve learned many things about mental illness, because we live with it. We cannot just turn the tap off when we would like, or have happy days on end. That just does not happen.

Bi-Polar is an illness that takes a second set of eyes. And I believe this with all my heart:


Thankfully hubby had that second set of eyes on him, and still does to this very day. Observation is the name of the game. Because when things get dicey, you can see it from the outside looking in. And you can tweak medication or get help, if an issue arises that needs to be addressed.

Like I said, above, the man who went into treatment was not the same man who came out the other end. When he finally got up and we assessed what was left, I found that a good portion of who hubby was, was gone. And I asked the doctors where he was, and they told me,

“Well, this is what you get, deal with it.”

I was angry for a long time. Because aspects of our relationship have been missing or gone for many years. The life I had, and thought I wanted, was not the life I ended up with. And sometimes I get really resentful at that, but it is what it is and I had to accept the outcome.

When hubby got sick, I was not going to leave him, nor toss him to the curb. I stayed with him, loved him hard, took care of him and got him the help he needed, so badly.

Yes, he is not the man I met all those years ago, but he has carved his own life out of the wreckage of mental illness that took him apart. He is a two degree university graduate with a Masters Degree in Sociology. He has a career and a life that is beyond measure now.

We built a home, and a life together.

We got married in 2004, basically as a celebration of hubby rising from the dead. He got up in the month of September 2004, and we were married in November of that year, in front of family and friends.

Many people with mental illness suffer alone, many people do not get the advantage of having a second set of eyes on them to make sure they are alright. That is a gift of relationships and friendships that we can be that second set of eyes on our fellow men and women.

I see mental illness every day in our rooms. I attend meetings at the Old Brewery Mission on Sundays, and see countless homeless men and women who suffer alone because they do not have access to the kind of help we, here at home, get.

Mental illness s a scourge on the landscape.

Kids suffer too. In school, in life and with their friends, and also on social media. Bullying is another scourge on our kids. The stigma of mental illness is a problem because if you say something, kids are more likely to begin the cavalcade of stupidity and reckless abuse of their friends, so kids suffer and many of them do not make it and end up killing themselves because of the stress of suffering and the fact that they said something and kids and others turned on them and forced them into a No Win Scenario…

We must stop this kind of social abuse.

We must help our kids.

We must change the way we deal with mental illness.

And we need MORE professionals who can help those in need. We need money to pay for those services, and for the many medications people so badly need and for the most part, cannot afford because drugs are so damned expensive.

And Firstly, getting a simple appointment for mental health screenings are so hard to get. I mean people wait for days, weeks, and months just for an appointment. There aren’t enough mental health professionals out there.

And not every mental health practitioner is the right fit for everyone. Finding the right doctor is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

We’ve dealt with major pill pushers in our day. For Real !!!

It is far too easy to push pills and abuse a patient. That happened to us and we had to find other means of treatment.

One must be picky about who treats them. Because not all doctors are created equal and not every doctor is an upstanding physician in their chosen field, and that is a FACT.

But, beggars cannot be choosers in this world, I know that. So this is my advice


Call your friends, call your kids. Ask them if they are ok.

There is NO SHAME in saying that “NO, I AM NOT OKAY!”

That’s the first thing we must teach our kids. It is OK to say, that things are not ok.


Too many people suffer in silence because they cannot talk openly or feel safe in saying that, IT IS NOT OKAY!

We must teach our kids that it is ok to talk, AND WE NEED TO SIT DOWN AND FUCKING LISTEN TO THEM.

Put down you god damned phones and take time to check on your kids, and your friends and your family members. We ignore people to our own peril, because if we don’t check up on them and they get worse,


Been there, Done that, Got the T-shirt to prove it too.

Mental illness is not just a hashtag.

Pay attention. Listen and help.

We are humans who need to be cared for and loved.

Life is wasted, if we cannot do those things for others, AND for ourselves.

If you suffer and you need to talk


Because I am Responsible.

A Story:

An elderly man walked into an emergency room, needing stitches removed from his hand. He was jittery and fumbling with his watch. A nurse was watching him fidget, and after a while, spoke to him and asked him what he needed. And the old man told him he needed stitches out.

They set down for the job. The old man was still fidgety, like he needed to be somewhere else at that very moment. The nurse picked up on that and asked him if he needed to be somewhere and the elderly man replied, Yes, I do.

The conversation continued, and the elderly man said that he needed to go have breakfast with his wife. That he had breakfast with his wife every day.

The nurse was surprised. And the man went on…

You see, my wife has Alzheimers and she does not know who I am.

The nurse was perplexed. And asked why, if his wife did not know who the man was, why was he still having breakfast with her every day?


That story changed my life, which was why I stayed with my husband, because he might not be the man I got in the end, but I remember who he was and I know who he is today …

Jan. 31 – Bell Let’s Talk, Mental Illness


Let us not be silent any longer, and we must know that mental illness affects us all. We all know someone, a son or daughter, parent, brother, sister, mother, father, cousin, aunt, uncle, friend or acquaintance, who suffers from mental illness, in some form.

We have seen, over as many months, the scourge of the suicides of young people who have taken their lives because of bullying and certain mental illness. If you bully someone long enough, they themselves will develop a mental issue, due to stress and pain.

And nobody wants to talk about it.

Mental illness is part of my life. As a man living with AIDS, depression and suicide have always been in the back of my mind. antidepressants to keep me above the water, with the knowledge that if shit got bad, and I was demented and lying in my own shit, I sure as shit will take matters into my own hands, and do the deed myself.

I had an exit plan, all those years ago, and here in Canada, assisted suicide is a right. I will not go miserably, like many of my friends did.

I believe that people who suffer from mental illness need a second set of eyes on them. We see this in the rooms today. Suffering addicts and alcoholics, who are solitary sufferers. they see a doctor and they get their pills. But, do they take them and do they get the much-needed help, each of them needs ?

For the most part no, they don’t.

Mental Health Services are hard to come by, because there is such a demand and not enough practitioners out there, for everyone to get proper, on the ground assistance. Which is why this network exists to connect those who need services with the proper people to give it to them.

As always, finding the right doctor is like finding a needle in a haystack. Any quack can dispense mends, but it takes a master to know his or her trade and do that trade well.

They say “It takes a village…”

I keep tabs on my friends, those who are in difficulty. But there is not much I can do, beyond offering assistance if needed. I have other parental friends whose children suffer from certain mental illness, and with my experience in the mental health arena, with my husband as proof, over the years, I have offered to them, what I know in a clinical format. I have printed information that I have given to each of them, telling them that their kids, if they need help, can get help, but the parents have to be proactive in making sure they have those second set of eyes on them.

All of my parental friends failed that task, miserably. Thy just fed their kids to the lions to fend for themselves, because of self centered-ness , and because they are put out because they have to take eyes off themselves, and put them on their kids.


My husband was diagnosed with Bi-Polar 2 rapid Cycling, over fourteen years ago. In the beginning it was very difficult for both of us. Because he was very sick, and ended up comatose on the sofa for more than ten months while we attempted to find the right mix of medication to wake him up and bring him round.

Meanwhile, I was hitting meetings, going to school, full-time and I was chief cook, and bottle washer. Mental illness is a full time job, and let me tell you it took more than twenty-four hours a day to combat.

Mental Illness is full-out combat. For the life of the one who is sick, and the person who becomes the caregiver.

I have to say something to all the care givers. Husbands, Wives, Families and Friends. You are the rock stars for the time you devote to your loved ones. And we must recognize the direct sacrifice we all make in the care of our loved ones.

Care Giving is a thankless job. So I thank you on behalf of everyone else.

Bi-Polar depression is a work in progress, even today. Because every day is different. Hubby has an inner tape that plays in his head. And every day that outer dialogue is different. It has changed over the years, as he has gotten better.

Problems do arise.

And from one day and one night to the next, I am not sure what I am going to get. There is a Bi-Polar Worksheet over there —> in the Pages section. it is a checklist of things that arose while treatment was began and time progressed. It is timely and pertinent. And it is useful.

After ten months of treatment, the final magical pill was found. And like Lazarus, rising from the dead, hubby got up off the sofa and became a human being once again.

Sadly, the man I got on the back-end of treatment, was NOT the same man who went in the front end.

The medication took away critical parts of who he was. And I have to say that I was terribly angry, when the doctor looked at me and said, “well, this is what you get!”

Nobody warned me that this might happen in the end.

Medication side effects are the number one reason that people will not take medication because of what that medication might do to them. In the end, a life can be rebuilt and men and women can find a new self, after treatment.

So I must stress, that if you NEED medical treatment, and medication is given, that you DO TAKE that medication.

It might not be the right solution for the right reason, but it IS a solution, in helping us combat the scourge of mental illness.

I have been in situations with people in my past, who suffered from mental illness who denied medical treatment, and took their meds and sold them one for one, for illicit drugs. Junkie Drug Dealers will trade in antidepressants, as payment for marijuana and other illicit drugs. I have seen this with my own eyes.

There is high demand for drugs like Xanax and other mood stabilizers, uppers and downers, that they seem to prefer along with the pot and drugs they peddle.

Illicit drugs and forgoing mental illness drug treatment is a huge problem. Because many think that the Herbal drug route is safer than medicinal drugs for mental health.

There is argument on both sides for the efficacy of marijuana in the treatment of certain forms of mental illness. I have to disagree with this. Marijuana is a drug, and is addictive, and will stunt who you are and drop you into a dark hole, you may never escape, the further you use.

The efficacy of very good drugs to combat mental illness is on the rise. Drugs have gotten much better over the last decade, and hubby is prime proof of just how well drugs for mental illness do work for him.

Today, hubby works a four-day work week at his job at the video production company where he is employed now for three years. On the fifth day, Friday, he works from home as a mental health day, we have worked this into our life schedule together.

Hubby still has his quirks and his problems. Sometimes he does not think through certain decisions, and puts me in certain tough situations that I had previously been unaware of, and by surprise, I stumble into a secret he had been keeping for a very long time.

Illicit drug use was one of those secrets. He miscalculated my travel schedule and had spread his drugs all over my desk one afternoon, and I happened to walk in on him as he did his thing.

Needless to say I was incensed. And Very Angry.

Now we have a work around, because his drug use, is an executive decision he made for himself that he believes helps him, and what can I say ? NO ??? So if I leave the house, I text him before I depart location B for home to advise him I am On My Way Home.

Thereby avoiding any issues between us.

I haven’t witness him doing his drugs in a long time, so I am not sure that he is still doing them at the moment. But that is one issue we do deal with currently.

Eating and sleeping are also issues. Sometimes he eats too much and sometimes he eats too little. Hubby has a nightly routine, and I put him to bed during the national news and he goes to sleep, in order to get up for work early in the morning.

The problem there is that sometimes he does not take his meds accordingly, and he lays there, awake for hours, and then gets pissy when I come to bed, when I know, certainly that with his meds he sleeps like a rock. You could drop the house around him and he won’t budge. But on certain particular nights, he is UBER hypersensitive.

That makes me crazy. Because from one night to the next, I am not sure what I am going to witness in bed on a nightly basis.

After treatment when hubby, “rose from the dead,” I had to rebuild him from the ground up. Beginning with occupational therapy. Odd jobs, house hold chores. Simple things, to bring him back around.

He later went back to Concordia University and massed two degrees, one in English Literature and a second in Sociology. With two Bachelors Degrees and then a Master’s Degree in Sociology. He barely made it out the other end, due to his Bi-Polar issues.

A little story. On the day he presented his MA thesis to his team, he was still writing the text for that presentation at home, just mere hours before he was to present.

In the end he brought the house down with rave reviews.

When hubby is on a creative high, there is no stopping him. When that trend swings to the depressive downer, life can get pretty miserable, because he ends up on the sofa comatose for days on end. Until he works himself back out the other end.

Mental illness needs a second set of eyes. I am hubby’s second set of eyes.

Today we care for each other. Both of us are committed to making sure we are both safe, healthy and successful.

  • Mental Illness is NOT a Death Sentence.
  • It is Manageable.

With the right team, the right doctors, the right medication, and the right assistance whether that be therapy or psychiatry. Sometimes we need all of that.

Hubby is managed by a psychiatry team in Westmount Square now for several years. He was weaned off of all the drugs he no longer needs, he has the right mix of this and that, and he is properly successful.

That does not mean he is out of the woods by any stretch. Every day is a challenge, like I said above. I never know what is on the tape that will play on any given day.

If you have a loved one who suffers from mental health issues, there is help. You can deal with mental illness, if you know what to do. I am here, and can help you figure out “what to do.”

You are not alone. Ever.

We can No Longer sweep mental illness under the rug any longer. We need to hit mental illness with a full frontal attack and help our loved ones succeed, in a healthy way.

Bi-Polar II Rapid Cycling Observations Work Sheet

What have we learned boys and girls about the Bi-Polar disorder. The right medication is the key ingredient to success. Finding the right match of medication to make the light go on in the tower and for life to be regained. It took ten months of mixes and matches to find the right mixture and dosages of medication, not to mention the time I waited for the medication to work.

Bi-Polar runs on the system of cycles. They do not all run concurrently and they don’t all make the whole of a person, and sometimes they don’t even make sense, but added together they will, they run on their own timetables and sequences. Every person is unique and each of us carries our own issues and dilemmas. Issues do not go away without bringing them into the light for examination and information and study. What do I know about my husband:

  1. KEEP A JOURNAL of your progress and the Bi-Polar person
  2. Journaling can become very crucial to self help and to help others like US
  3. The more knowledge you collect the better you are at predicting the future by maintenance and vigilance
  4. You are your own best physician, take the time to learn it will benefit you BOTH
  5. I learned this with HIV, I know my body better than any doctor that I will ever see
  6. It is my knowledge that helps a doctor to treat me optimally!!
  7. Therefore what you observe becomes knowledge for a Psychiatrist or Psychologist and the GP following the patient
  8. Sexual issues are at the top of the list
  9. Mommy issues are just as bad
  10. Is he sleeping too much or too little
  11. Is his mind racing all the time or not enough
  12. Is he not motivated Enough to live each day to his fullest
  13. Is he Overstimulated – therefore halting the creative process
  14. Is he depressed for longer periods of time, therefore maybe a medication needs to be removed, tweaked or changed
  15. Is he emotionally stable on a steady day to day basis for longer periods of time
  16. Is he up or down or too much or one or the other
  17. Does he eat in regular intervals or binge eats during certain hours
  18. Because he’s in recovery and not going to meetings – I have to take that into consideration because I still go to meetings.
  19. Is he exhibiting addictive behavior, food, sex, ambivalence, smoking
  20. Is he being irresponsible with money
  21. Is he eating too mcuh and not getting satisfaction with each meal
  22. Are there other medical factors we need to look at
  23. Thyroid, genetic or emotional issues
  24. Does he have enough structure to fill his day
  25. Is there too much structure for him (overstimulization)
  26. Does he feel fulfilled socially
  27. Should we enroll him in school – University – goals are important
  28. Are his classes stimulating him to his maximum potential
  29. Boredom is KEY here… Most bi-polar people are inner geniuses and don’t know whether it is mental or creational
  30. When the High is Too high, the fall is too great
  31. When the Low is too low, it will take some work to bring him up
  32. Creation at optimum levels for him is a recipie for disaster because he does not know when to shut the valve off and that creates hysteria in his head
  33. Finding BALANCE is Key to proper maintenance
  34. Making sure one cycle does not become troublesome – that’s where I failed to see the problem
  35. Making sure he has psychological support – someone other than me to talk to
  36. I can only do so much for him, the rest is up to him
  37. Medical supervision with the Psychiatrist is important to make sure we are monitoring the medication levels properly. This is very important. It takes a LONG time to figure out, most don’t know this, but the closest person to the patient should follow the trends of ups and downs to find the trend of good and bad.
  38. I spent a year studying his behavior to help his doctor find the right mix, adding to that his own observations as to how the medication made him feel and how he progresses with certain meds, throughout the medical process of divining the right medication mixture.
  39. Keeping an eye out for odd behavior is also important. Over long periods of times cycles can become natural cycles if you don’t catch the bad ones quick enough. This is not an easy task.
  40. Re-Integration has been an issue. How do you explain two lives at different stages of living after someone has been absent for months ata time, and you, the spouse and family went on with their lives, while you (the patient) were down for the count. I still go to meetings and have a life along with monitoring YOU, if YOU the patient do not take the proper steps to catch up, you will always be behind the lead runner in the race.
  41. Pushing a bi-polar person to change is useful – being angry is also useful –
  42. Responsibility is an adult necessity, and if you can’t be responsible, then we will treat you as we need to, until you can rise to the occasion. Irresponsibility with money, food and sex is Unacceptible.
  43. Bi-polar depression is a diagnosed mental problem and should be dealt with accordingly. With proper care and multi-pronged approach one finds their way. I am still trying to figure out how to be in two places at the same time, and to be in two heads at once. This is a challenge, because I am not God.
  44. Detecting the cyclical behavior is a learned behavior, just like certain other behaviors are learned.
  45. One must find the balance between a bi-polar person abusing you and taking advantage of you and the bi-polar condition being a daily handicapp and a crutch. My husband tries to do both sometimes at the same time.
  46. Whining and complaining about being forced off your ASS will not be tolerated. You want something to complain about, I’ll give you one problem to really complain about! I don’t want to hear about your complaints because you sure as shit don’t want to hear mine.
  47. Does he have occupational therapy, (The Gym, landry, house chores, getting out of the house) Sitting on ones ass or sleeping too much is problematic and can bite you in the ass
  48. A Spouse or family member of a bi-polar person needs a break at least for an hour a day or one day a week. sometimes that is impossible, so you build in structure to allow you both to have time for yourselves.
  49. Make sure you take care of your needs first, if you are sick or dead you are useless to care for anyone else, right !!
  50. Bi-Polar is just as much a mental disorder as a behavioral disorder and by watching key behavior patterns or cycles, along with medical treatment and supervision, one can manage their condition with a responsible partner to help them along the way
  51. Do not take no for an answer, fight, kick, scream, make sure he gets better
  52. FAILURE is NOT an option
  53. Treatment can work, but you have to be able to invest time and patience into wanting to find a solution and living through the darkness, because it does get light, and times will get hard, but you figure it out
  54. WALKING AWAY from a sick person is unconscionable, some people cannot hack the life of the patient spouse, this is what separates the MEN from the Boys and the WOMEN from the girls.
  55. Illness can either make or break your marriage, which are you going to choose?
  56. For Better or for Worse, in Sickness and in Health, in good times and in bad, till Death do us part, Did you say the same vows WE did?
  57. Marriage is a battle and I am a fighter. Are YOU?
  58. Never say Die, Never say NO, Never give up, there are ALWAYS solutions, IF you know where to find them
  59. Talk to everyone you know
  60. Trust only those you must
  61. Not every doctor knows his asshole from a hole in the ground
  62. Finding the right Bi-Polar doc is as important as finding the right GP or HIV doctor, half ass men in white coats are a dime a dozen, finding the right doc takes time, KNOWLEDGE and perseverance
  63. Know thine enemy frontwards and backwards
  64. To Thine Own Self Be True…
  65. Learn the signs of problems before they rear their ugly heads and tip you off balance, this is where I failed, over the last few months
  66. Every cycle has its marker tags, learn to spot them quickly
  67. Cycles can be time sensitive, moon cycle sensitive, each cycle runs on energy it comes and goes sometimes quickly sometimes slowly
  68. Cycles can last a few days or a few weeks or a few months
  69. Remember the good cycle and try to keep the bad cycles at a mininum
  71. There is a God, if there wasn’t I probably would not be here at this moment
  72. Pray, Pray and Pray some more…
  73. Find your faith, or FAITH will find you
  74. Trust me on this one…
  75. Evil exists in the face of illness – it taunts you and makes you feel small and insignificant and powerless, and useless, FIND the Path to not falling into the trap
  76. Pray, Pray and Pray some more
  77. I know this very well…
  78. Prayer – Acceptance and Powerlessness are helpful to help you stay grounded and humble
  79. Sometimes I cannot do this alone, that’s where YOU come in
  80. We can Do this Together
  81. You are not alone
  82. Bi-Polar is manageable – I am still finding our way, now 3 years after his diagnosis, we are a work in progress
  83. One Day At A Time…
  84. You are right where you need to be at any given moment on any given day
  85. Pure Intent and Open Mindedness really help ones journey of faith and life
  86. Illness either kills you or makes you stronger
  87. And That which does not Kill You makes you Stronger
  88. I am not dead yet, I am not finished living my life, So God says…
  89. It is all about the Mystical Life we each live in our own way
  90. Find your Mystical roots and you will find your way through the now and into your future
  91. I don’t live in the past – It distracts from the NOW…

Thursday: Nobody’s Listening …


I am very sad. I just cannot understand how people skate under the radar with their assorted issues, and go to their deaths, and nobody knew ???

I’ve been listening to Chester sing for years and years. I know every song, every word, and every feeling. This morning Chester was found dead, by his own hand, hanging in his home.

Nobody’s Listening …

Listen to Hybrid Theory. Listen to every word on that album and tell me, was anybody listening ???

Now Chester is gone. He took his own life. He is dead !

His new album dropped not long ago. I’ve listened to it over and over. The band was to embark on a World Tour next week. They were slated to play the Bell Center here in Montreal on the 10th of August.

Who is out there who could hold a candle to Chester’s voice ? NOBODY !

Listen to Chester sing about pain, loss, being hurt and abused. Listen to all those songs play over and over, and not think … Was anybody listening ?

Mental Illness. I know it. I live it every day of my life. Not only myself but in the life of my husband who is Bi-Polar. I am not immune to suffering by any stretch of the imagination.

I am all too familiar with mental illness.

And I also know that mental illness is not a solitary endeavor.

You cannot do mental illness ALONE.

It is so important to have a second set of eyes on you every day.

Someone in your corner who knows you and loves you and can be there when times get very dark, and things go south, so quickly, there is no time to react.

If you are alone in your pain, who is going to stop you from doing something devastating, like kill yourself !

Who was in Chester’s life ? Who was listening ? Why did nobody do something when it needed to be done ? He’s dead now, and we can ask all these questions now, since the words Molestation, Abuse, and Mental Illness have been tossed into his obituary discussions. Chester suffered greatly as a child, and I can bet that the pain of that abuse probably drove him to his death.

I know what that kind of abuse is. I suffer my own demons … Men suffer in silence because nobody wants to hear our pain. For many we sink into drugs and alcohol. Chester, they write was sober. Still he’s dead now.

It begs another question, how can a sober man take his own life ? Was he not connected to others like him, soberly ?

My demons of abuse haunt me to this day, so I CAN imagine what he was going through and just how bad the pain, suffering and RAGE can get. I’ve been in RAGE mode for a long time now. Still dealing with the wreckage of my past.

I’m sure Chester never got over his own wreckage.

Listen to Chester sing and him scream and rant and rage at abuse and sorrow.

It’s a fucking SHAME …

There are some sick FUCKS out there, who denigrate a man who suffered greatly, and sang the blood of his suffering in his music.

Listen to Chester sing now, listen to Hybrid Theory or Re-Animation, and tell me, what do you hear ? Are you hearing the same words I am ? or …

Is Nobody Listening ???

I don’t get this fascination of high powered entertainers who take the Hanging way out ?

Once you slip that noose around your neck, there ain’t no going back.

Such a Fucking God Damned SHAME …

We have the famous Twenty Six Club.

Over the last few years, we have the Hanging Noose Club.

  • Chris Cornell
  • Robin Williams
  • Chester Bennington
  • How many others can we add to this sick list of men who hung themselves ?

Mental Illness is the Scourge of the entertainment industry. Listen to Howie Mandel talk about his mental illness and how many comedians suffer from depression and use humor to bring themselves some light, fighting the darkness, bringing LIGHT in the form of comedy.

Mental Illness is such a solitary killer. People suffer in silence because the world wants to shut its eyes and close its ears because it is just too difficult to be our brother’s keepers.

Open your eyes, Open your ears, Pay Fucking attention to your brothers and sisters.

How many more really great men and women have to die needlessly when we have the power to do something for them …

I am fucking shattered.

Chester is Dead. Thank God his music survives him.

Now every time we listen to him sing, we will ask ourselves, is anybody listening ???

The songs are there, the words are written. The PAIN is real.

Now it is to late to save Chester.

He’s gone – there will never be another Chester, ever.

My heart is broken …

Wednesday: Bell Let’s Talk Day: Let’s Talk About Mental Health



Today is a very special day. The day Canada and other places, shed light on a very important topic, that still, seems to be Taboo in many places.

The topic is Mental Health.

If you’ve ever suffered from something tragic in your life, or know someone who has, or you just know someone who is over their heads in the water and they can’t seem to find solid ground, or you have that friend or family member who is suffering in silence, there is something we can do, for us and for them, We Can Talk …

You never know when a conversation will happen that might change a life in ways, we could not imagine.

I’ve just finished reading Romeo Dallaire’s book, Waiting for First Light, my ongoing battle with PTSD. War is a place we see in the movies or on the news, it does not affect us directly, but it does affect many, who have been to conflict zones, or war zones, or on peace keeping missions, war for them is real.

You cannot imagine the visuals that they have seen, the atrocities they witnessed, seeing men, women and children die all around them, and watching their brothers and sisters in arms get killed in action.

And when they come home, they are shattered human beings. And we as a society have failed these brave men and women, over and over again. The Canadian Military has continually failed their own people.

PTSD is something the military has yet to fully comprehend and do something about in concrete ways and means.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of men and women suffer with unimaginable horrors and night terrors, and addictive behavior to quench the pain with drugs and alcohol.

Some take their own lives in Suicide because they have no way out of the pain.

PTSD is an old problem. But in decades past, we had different names for it.

In the Viet Nam Era, when my father came home from the war, in stories he had told me, he and many others came back and they were Shell Shocked.

But in reading Romeo’s book, I see very similar parallels in what happened, and how my father coped with his issues. He never talked about it, until one season when I was in High School, he actually had film, photos and a story to tell.

Meanwhile at home he was drinking himself to death, and abusing his wife and children.

All those men who came back from that war, were bad mouthed, and ridiculed. What happened ? They went without, and many went to their graves mentally cracked.

Living through the scourge of AIDS, was terrible. For many of us who were on the front lines, dealing with terrible sicknesses and ailments, then watching families, churches, friends and lovers, toss their sick partners into the gutter to die alone and penniless, without an ounce of dignity, was horrifying.

I’ve witnessed my share of tragedy. And suffered my own bouts with depression due to Suicide, AIDS and almost loosing my own life. I would not say that I would call my problems PTSD, but tragic sickness and death is part of my story.

Soon after my diagnosis my doctor hooked me up with a good psychiatrist. Along with medicines, and therapy, I was put on an anti-depressant regimen, that I am still on to this day.

I lived, thankfully. I am also clean and sober, which only enhances my life and my personal well-being. I had people to talk to. Therapists, Psychiatrists, Counselors, Todd, and the myriad of people who have been involved in my sobriety.

A few months after I met hubby, he got very sick. And he was cycling rapidly, over and over again, obsessively. A few weeks in, he had a nervous breakdown, and fell to pieces. Doctors and shrinks came on board, and he was diagnosed as Bi-Polar Rapid Cycling.

For ten long and arduous months we plied him with pill after pill, trying to find the right mixture of a “Little bit of this and a Little bit of that…” until we found the mix that worked for him. For that almost year, I was chief cook, cleaner and chief bottle washer.

I got him out of bed, fed him, got him on the sofa.

And at night, I fed him, bathed him, and put him to bed.

A ritual that still exists to this very day.

I was going to school full-time, taking care of house and home, going to meetings, and taking care of hubby, who was comatose on the sofa for the entire ten month period, catatonic.

I remember the night that we had found the magic pill … The next morning he got up, he was coherent, lucid and alive.

It was like Lazarus, rising from the grave.

There was still working to do, to bring him back into full participation in his own life.
And that stared with simple occupational therapy, to get him to do simple things, that led to him getting back into the saddle and living once again.

Mental health is a top issue in our home. Having two people who have mental issues is a task in itself.

I believe that a human who suffers from a mental illness NEEDS a SECOND set of eyes on them all the time. So that they aren’t doing it themselves. That there is someone else actively involved with their daily care and to watch their medical progress with whatever medication a doctor puts them on, because we don’t necessarily catch things on our own, we need that SECOND set of eyes on the case.

I have worked with kids with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism. That is some of my most rewarding work, to date. I have sponsees who have mental illnesses as well. Depression, PTSD and Schizophrenia. Everybody needs to be loved and cared for. My time is not only invested in helping men and women stay sober, I also try to help them to stay sane.

To make sure they are on their meds, seeing their doctors and case workers and making sure that they are taking care of themselves, and each other, as well taking care that their homes are safe, clean and void of drugs and alcohol.

Mental Illness is a scourge on our city. many, MANY of our homeless men, women and kids, (read: Young People) on the street, suffer from mental illness, and they go about their lives, and nobody really gives a damn, unless you see them on the street.

We don’t have the amount of resources that the city needs to tackle that problem, because not only do you have mental illness to contend with you also have addiction to alcohol and drugs as well. So you have a triple cocktail of sadness …

Too many of our young people are killing themselves over bullying and mental illness.

What are we teaching our kids, when so many of them are dying and nobody knew about what was going on with them! We have to talk to our kids and actually give a damn about them instead of leaving them to their own devices and video games and their phones.


Give a kid a chance … talk to them for God’s Sake.

There is help. There are solutions. You don’t have to be alone. We are here.

We will help you in any way we can. All you have to do is ASK …

Let’s Talk …

Friday … Stilling the Mind



“Almost the only scoffers at prayer (and meditation) are those who never tried it enough.”

Friday the 13th began very early this morning, when I was awoken out of a sound sleep with reflux and heartburn that lasted for more than two hours. So bad, it was, that I got dressed and went to the pharmacy to get some medicine. Twenty dollars later, and a walk back home, I was feeling better.


I later attempted to go back to bed, for a medically induced period of sleep. And my phone rang right in the middle of a dream, so sleep ended abruptly, again.

People come and people go from my life so often, that I am used to being alone. I am learning that sometimes, people in my life, are only there for a short period of time, and my mourning the loss of friends is getting shorter. I am getting much better at letting things go quickly, instead of holding on to beating myself up for one reason or another.

The other thing that is meaningful to me is that, I am an emotional being. In a few days, here in Canada, another Bell Let’s Talk Day is coming. That day, is spent shedding light on those suffering from mental illness, depression or any form of mental issues.

I’ve been on anti depressants for decades. When you are going to die, and you’ve got nothing to live for, the people in my life, my doctors and my shrinks took very good care of me, so that I did not, in fact, DIE…

Last year was an emotional shit show. I lost an entire community of friends over the fact that I got angry in front of them, and that shattered the calm and sedate demeanor facade that everybody hung on to so hard.

I accept now, that yes, I can be emotional. Because when I stuff my feelings nobody wins. And I am tired of always having to be Happy, Joyous and Free all the time, when on the odd day, I want to strangle some people until they choke …

Some people, in the program, are seriously afraid of me and avoid me like the plague. Like I am just going to get up one morning, and find that I feel nothing any more and never say that “hey you are an asshole, or that is fucked up, or you are full of shit, you fake bastard.”

Tonight we read from A.B.S.I. and shared on prayer and meditation.

The little door in my brain opened and I saw something I had not noticed before. I’ve been practicing prayer and meditation, on and off, for the whole of my life. Some periods were longer than others.

The visual that came tonight was this …

When I got sick, and Todd had stepped into my life, and gave me certain directions, that that specific structuring of my life, was, in part, meditation. I went to work every day, and I learned over that time, how to still my mind. Rudimentary practice.

I had a heart, mind and soul, that was in terror of dying. The rat in my brain was spinning that emotional wheel at 150 miles per hour. When I approached the building we worked in, I had to learn how to shut that part of my brain OFF.

And when I stepped across the threshold, all I HAD to THINK about was WORK.

Nothing more.

Let me tell you, that that took a long time. But once I had the lesson, it came in handy.

I did not have to think about being sick, or how I was going to survive, or that I was going to die. I turned my will and my life over the God, (read: Todd) every day that I worked for him, until the day he left for California.

Even back then, now that I look at it now, twenty three year later, it may not have been meditation to me then, but a practice in compartmentalization. And that practice did wonders for me, because it worked.

I know, today, that I have a daily ritual. A certain order to my day. There is stillness in my life, daily. I start my day quietly. And I like it that way. I have prayer reminders all over the apartment. I see them all day and I see them before I go to bed.

Every day I have to stand in front of my medicine cabinet, for one reason or another, several times a day. And that is when my mind goes on autopilot. I see people in my minds eye. I say their names to myself. I remember them, daily. In a way, those moments standing there, are really for those who did good for me and saved me and continue to help me.

At the end of the night, I return to stillness. I do my final prayers and meditation when I shut down this box, and I go to bed. I spend an hour in bed reading, NIGHTLY.

Every night, unless I am dead tired, and I just shut off the light and go to sleep.

I don’t often think about prayer, or meditation, or gratitude, in word form, like Oh, I need to pray, or meditate, or be grateful, for God’s sake …

I pray. I meditate. And I am grateful. Every day. Those aspects of my life are integrated into how I live my life, on a daily basis.

If you take any kind of medication for any reason, you understand gratitude if you are still alive because of that medication, WE are grateful for every day those pills still work. How can you NOT be grateful for the ability to get up every morning, and know those pills are keeping you well and helping you survive.

Prayer and Meditation, the conscious contact with that, that is greater than yourself is necessary for any modicum of serenity.

I’m still here. There is still work to be done. My friends and my husband need me to be here, so in order to do that, I have to take care of me, and it begins with prayer, and a little gratitude and some meditation.

When we crank up the heat on Prayer and Meditation, our lives change.

If you don’t at least try it, how do you know, that it wouldn’t work for you too ?

There is so much shit going on in the world, and social media is rife with crap that we need not take part in. Shutting that all off for a few minutes a day, may just save your sanity.

Because, let’s face it, INSANITY is coming to the White House, and it is going to be there for at least four years, unless we find a way to get rid of that insanity, one way or another.

Thank the baby Jesus, I live above the Northern Border.