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Paramedic Nat

A Blog About My Mental Health Journey

Putting The Hero On Ice – Call For Submissions

On this episode of BrainStorm I share about my new upcoming book, “Putting The Hero On Ice” and will be doing a call for submissions from the public.

Check Out These Books Written by Natalie Harris

📚 Brainstorm Revolution: Here

📚 Daily Lessons from Save My Life School: Here

📚 Save My Life School: Here

This episode of BrainStorm is brought to you by The Homewood Health Clinic Mississauga 

➡️ BrainStorm by Natalie Harris is proudly produced by PodcastWagon.com

Putting The Hero On Ice – New Book

I am happy to announce that I will be writing a new book. And I would love your help. It will be called “Putting The Hero On Ice”, and will describe my personal experience with ”phases” through PTSD recovery to post traumatic growth. Below is a very rough list of those phases that I compiled with some friends who have been diagnosed with PTSD as well. I would love it if you could email (paramedicnat@hotmail.com) me with testimonies about your direct or indirect experiences with these phases. Please only share if you are willing to have your testimony published.

*One of the main components of my upcoming book will be highlighting the fact that PTSD recovery is not fluid or ‘curable’ for everyone.

In a paragraph or even a small quote, can you elaborate on your experiences with any of the following:

1. Denial

2. Anger

3. Self-destruction/recklessness

4. Bargaining

5. Isolation

6. Depression/physical pain from depression

7. Lack of empathy/concern for the world

8. Rollercoaster of emotions (progress to regression)

9. Diagnosis

10. Learning what PTSD is

11. Trying to return to work (if applicable)

12. Rumination/obsession

13. Shame

14. Realizing that you won’t be able to return to work

15. Worthlessness

16. Emptiness

17. Sanctuary trauma

18. Reaching out/accepting help

19. Forming a new tribe

20. Ego realization

21. Relapse (this can be anything- however YOU define it)

22. Defeat

23. Acceptance of diagnosis

24. Accepting who you are without your career

25. Finding purpose

26. Helping others

27. Clarity/enlightenment

28. Gratitude

29. Post traumatic growth

30. No regrets

It’s a long list; which makes me realize how difficult it is to battle with/recover from PTSD. The book will solely be about anecdotal experiences – it is not intended to be clinical in nature.

Thank you so much for your help!

“After The Sirens” Award Nomination

After The Sirens

I am so happy to announce that “After The Sirens” has been nominated for Best Documentary by the Canadian Academy Screen Awards! Congratulations Kevin Eastwood and the whole production crew. Also a huge congratulations to Don Devine and Clive Derbyshire who were also featured in the film. I am honoured to have participated in this amazing production; it has been a major component of my recovery.

The event date is March 26th.

Myths About Addiction

On this episode I share myths about addiction and how to get through St.Patrick’s Day as a recovered addict/alcoholic. 

Check Out These Books Written by Natalie Harris

📚 Brainstorm Revolution: Here

📚 Daily Lessons from Save My Life School: Here

📚 Save My Life School: Here

This episode of BrainStorm is brought to you by The Homewood Health Clinic Mississauga 

➡️ BrainStorm by Natalie Harris is proudly produced by PodcastWagon.com

Misconceptions About Addiction (My Opinion)

I have realized that there are still many opportunities for education surrounding misconceptions about addiction. As a recovered addict myself, I would like to share some of these with you.

  1. “Success” looks the same for addicts and non-addicts. As a non-addict, you may believe that success to an addict is recovery. When in fact, success to them may look like, having a shower, eating food, finding a clean needle, not overdosing, keeping their children safe, finding safe shelter, finding work, making it to work, not dying. We shouldn’t impose our success labels on others.
  2. Addicts just need to go to detox and they will get better. In order to be able to get a bed at a detox centre, several things have to occur. The addict needs to call themselves and ask for help (no one is allowed to do this for them), there needs to be a bed available (just today I witnessed a friend have to call back six times because there were no beds available), they need to not be intoxicated (detoxes require individuals to be clean to a certain extent, this may mean that the person requires hospitalization or withdrawal time prior to going to detox).
  3. Hospitals provide long-term addiction treatment. Hospitals are meant to provide emergent care and often do not have enough beds for patients requiring addiction related treatment. This can often lead to long wait times in waiting rooms, and with paramedics. When the patient is seen by a doctor, they are not necessarily admitted (this depends on many factors decided upon by the doctor and patient).
  4. Addiction is a choice and is not like other diseases. Addiction is a disease like any other disease. Addicts become such for many different reasons, (just like people acquire other diseases for many different reasons), one such reason being past trauma (physical and psychological). No one chooses to be an addict, it is a manifestation of physiological, psychological and social factors.
  5. Safe injection sites will encourage people to become addicts and only enable addiction. I know that this point is a touchy subject for many, but in my experience, and through listening to many lived experience stories, these sites are most often used by longterm drug users and do not encourage drug use – the use was already going to happen – just possibly not safely, and safe injection sites prevent the transmission of viruses such as hepatitis, HIV and bacterial infections that may cause heart inflammation, and localized and systemic skin infections.
  6. Addicts are dangerous and cause crime. I never broke a law as an addict. My drugs were legal and often prescribed (that’s a whole other topic of debate in itself). Yes, many drugs are illegal, but that does not make every addict dangerous. Yes, addiction can lead to illegal actions and crime, but many addicts do not fit into this category.

Do you have any points to add? I would love to hear them. Let’s all work together to educate one another and share lived experiences so that stigma can be smashed and acceptance and love can be promoted. We are all in this together.

You Deserve An Abundance Of Joy

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Did you know that you deserve an abundance of joy in your life? If you said, “no”, you probably haven’t forgiven yourself for something in your past. Guilt is a good hider of joy. You may feel like you don’t deserve happiness when you have harmed others in one way, shape, or form. Well, what if I told you that if you learn how to forgive yourself, you will be able to accept the all the joy that this life has to offer you. Rather than smothering yourself in self-pity and shame, you can forgive yourself and cultivate joy.

I know what you’re thinking – easier said than done Natalie; and I agree. Forgiveness requires patience and kindness to form an intricate dance together; a dance that represents freedom and acceptance. And sometimes patience and kindness wait along the gym wall, nervous to ask one another to dance. But when they have the courage to do so, the music of peace gets played all around them.

It’s not until you forgive yourself that you can truly be able to be happy. You are worthy of forgiveness. You are! Don’t let the liar mind of guilt convince you otherwise! When you look in the rear view mirror, all that you should be able to see is how far you’ve come. You are not supposed to be looking back in regret.

In my 12-step meetings we talk a lot about making amends – cleaning our side of the street. If we left a tornado of destruction all around us while we travelled down this road of life, we should apologize for it and then move on; not letting guilt convince us that we need to continue to carry it around like a ball and chain. And the more you practice to make amends quickly when you do wrong, the smaller the tornado will be and therefore the smaller mess it will leave behind.

Making what we call a ‘living amends’ means to live your life doing the next right thing. We can’t always apologize for our actions face-to-face at times, but we can live a better life and wish love to those you have harmed.

I make a living amends everyday to my kids for what I put them through when I was first diagnosed with PTSD. My actions are what keep them having faith in me, not my words. The rear view mirror of my life, as well as the road in front of me, are filled with joy because I choose to forgive myself and to not ruminate in toxic guilt. My kids want to see me happy, not miserable and filled with regret. So I work hard on my recovery every day and show them that they can trust that I am always doing my best to heal and to accept joy into my life. This in turn teaches them how to do the same.

What a beautiful gift recovery can be. I now know that I am deserving of an abundance of joy now, and it feels wonderful. Joy and forgiveness in, sadness and guilt out – one day at a time.

 

 

True Heroes Coffee

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I am so happy to have had the opportunity to meet the founder of True Heroes Coffee, Calorado, while visiting Grande Prairie, Alberta with my friend Wayne Jasper.

Find them on Facebook here.

Delicious coffee and hot chocolate
as we will be hosting a number of blends and similar coffee or tea related products
Our biggest goal is building a stronger community and giving back to the
True Heroes that keep the world turning and creating an amazing environment for the people around us.
We want to help our first responders with PTSD and their families who struggle with loss.
Give to charities and fundraisers or provide food for struggling families. Help build playgrounds for schools and attend events for fundraising. We want to build a community around our brand but better yet a community built around
giving back and taking care of the people that take care of us!!

True Heroes Coffee has been created in an effort to support ALL
Emergency Service personnel with a special focus on those suffering with PTSD.
As emergency responders, we feel
compelled to reach out to make a difference.
We donate a minimum of 10% of our profits into foundations and
charities in support of Firefighters, EMS, 911 dispatch, flight pilots and medics, Nurses and other hospital personnel, Police Officers, RCMP, Military, Corrections Officers. On top of all that our mission and our goals will only expand as we do so stay updated with True Heroes as our story grows. Some of the Foundations we support are the Tema memorial trust, wounded warriors Canada & similar charities a like and local community programs.

Check out their website and order here.

A Nice Day For Art

This Stethoscope…

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This Stethoscope… Was bought in 2001, when I was a paramedic student;

Has listened to thousands of lung sounds;

Has made sure the nebulized epinephrine was working on a pediatric patient;

Has listened to heartbeats after bringing people back to life;

Has been around my neck while I crawled into crushed cars;

Has pronounced many deaths;

Has listened to the cries of a newborn baby;

Has dangled around my neck while doing CPR;

Has been at a double murder, and auscultated the chest of the murderer;

Has helped to perform blood pressures on patients having a heart attack;

Has heard nothing sometimes, causing me to perform chest needles;

Has been wiped clean of blood after treating a patient with shotgun and stab wounds;

Has been around my neck while I told families that their loved one had died;

Has been dropped in a ditch where patients in a rolled over car waited for extrication;

Has been present for many air ambulance calls on the highway;

Has shown students how to trust that they hear no air entry;

Has been present in thousands of stranger’s homes;

Has been hidden under protective equipment at hazardous material calls;

Has been with me while driving lights and sirens more time than I could ever count,

Has been there when I held many patient’s hands;

Has been with me when I cried after after pediatric calls;

Has been present when I treated patients with strokes, diabetes, and amputated body parts;

Has been hidden in a box for a while now;

Has represented so much loss for me for a long time;

Has inspired me to tell this story;

Now hangs on my wall in front of Bill 163;

Doesn’t make me cry anymore;

This stethoscope will be a memory holder for the rest of my life and I will not hide it anymore.

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