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Paramedic Nat

A Blog About My Mental Health Journey

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love

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.

 

 

Where On This Earth Am I?

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I’ve been owning the seconds of my life. I’ve been embracing them like a small baby in my arms needing comfort and security. I’ve been recognizing the frailty of it all; time, love, honesty. So mush so that I often feel like I needed someone to talk me down, and get me out of the rainbow-coloured alleys, and butterfly chases – when just like that, a second happens to knock me down. There comes this second when I don’t want to open my eyes because a relationship is immanently about to change as trust goes over the edge of a cliff. I can’t stop it from going over – I’m just a spectator – the leap is not mine to be had. Then, during the next second, the universe is torn and my heart is on the floor bleeding hot, angry blood.

I need to own my seconds again – somehow. I need to stop thinking about the cliff. It’s airy silence reminds me that it’s not mine and that I should pay no attention to it. I had to look hard to find this relationship – and now everything is gone. Time to turn life off for another day. I can’t stop thinking about what we used to be. That I loved you – that I chose you. Now all I can see are stars in the sky reminding me that another second to be owned will come…eventually.

I will be thinking about us. And life moves on with yet another lesson I never asked for or saw coming. Like being sideswiped on the corner of a street by a speeding van – this relationship loss has hit me hard and fast. I have to stand my ground – trust deserves the splendour it is entitled to. Trust is everything. Until my tears have soaked my shirt with tears of truth, I will continue to look for another perfect breath. Chasing stars and hope. Backing away from the cliff at the very last second.

Why I Choose To Send Out Love – To Everyone

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As a mental health advocate, most of my experiences with people’s reactions to my ‘mental health openness’ have been very positive. But nonetheless, there have been occasions where I have had hurtful comments sent my way and have had people vanish from my life, and because of this, I’ve built a lot resiliency to said hurt over the last four years; and at the end of the day have truly become a better person because of each and every experience. Allow me to explain…

People have asked me at times how I deal with negative ‘feedback’ (to put it politely) and here are my answers. After taking a good look at myself to see if/what role I had to play in the situation, I then consider the following points:

  1. People don’t always know what to say in response to my illness/injury. If even I didn’t know what to say to others about my illness/injury for most of my life, how am I to expect others to know what to say about it to me? In actuality, (whether I like it or not), lack of education and stigma surrounding mental illness still causes confusion about how to communicate with someone with mental illness. My best piece of advice if someone asks me what to say is, “validate their concerns. Believe them and don’t offer advice if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. You don’t have to have the solution. You just need to be there for them”.
  2. Is it time to set healthy boundaries on MY terms? I used to eat, sleep and breathe perfectionism. So much so that it was my mission for everyone to like me – which was an exhausting and futile mission to say the least. I never understood until the last few years that I didn’t have to have everyone in my ‘circle’ or life. Even more so, I now know that I should be making boundaries with respect to my interactions with toxic people. These boundaries may include, limiting my contact with a person, to stopping any contact with that person all together. It’s ok to give yourself permission to choose who takes up your precious time both in your day, and in your mind.
  3. People come and go in our lives. Most of the time they are just moving with the flow of their own lives and not leaving me behind. I have heard the saying, “there’s a reason, a season, and a lifetime” for someone to be in our life, and I agree. People move fluidly in and out of our lives as our lives change – and that’s ok. And if I am to live contently with moving away from others for one reason or another, then I must  let others move away from me too. And who knows, I may be connected with them again in the future, if the universe says so.
  4. All difficult situations are providing me with an opportunity to send out love. Every situation in my life presents me with an opportunity to grow in love. When someone is hurtful I use that experience to be mindful of the love I am radiating out and make sure that I am not shutting down and reserving love for a rainy day. Sending out love always, to everyone, remedies and prevents resentment which is poison to my body and soul. If I can send out love to everyone I meet, nothing can hurt me because love is the most powerful emotion of all. This ability takes practice and patience, but over time I have come to reap the rewards of doing so, and have witnessed the love I send out reach even those who once hurt me. How beautiful is that?

Changes In Friendships

On this episode of BrainStorm: I discuss how changes are sometimes ok and do not need to be viewed as a loss. 

Books

Daily Lessons from Save My Life School: Here

Save My Life School: Here

BrainStorm by Natalie Harris is proudly produced by PodcastWagon.com

Love

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I’ve taught my kids to send love to anyone who is being mean to them. Yes, you heard me correctly – love. That is not to say that they should accept being hurt – it’s more like a love shield that I am asking them to develop. A shield that prevents resentment and hate. A shield that remembers understanding and compassion. It’s not easy. Especially when you are in the process of being hurt. But if you can actually do it, it does protect you from pain.

Not everyone likes that I write about my feelings, and that’s ok. Not everyone likes that I write the truth, and that’s ok. And when someone makes a negative comment towards me I do reflect on it however, and make sure that if I can make a better choice that I do. I am only human.

I may seem like a pretty open book, and for the most part in my blog posts I am, and that part of me has helped me to heal in ways I never could have imagined. But there is lots I don’t share. Lots of personal things that really don’t need to be shared, especially when it has to do with someone else. Like for example why I hang out with certain people and why I don’t hang out with others. Generally speaking my social life exists in the 12-step forum and that is an essential part of my recovery. Because I’m chatty here, doesn’t mean that I’m chatty out there. Social anxiety and my sound sensitivities keep me at home for pretty much all hours of my day unless I NEED to go out for something to do with my kids.

You may see a girl who smiles for cameras at speaking events, but that’s not for fame or celebrity – by far – it’s because it’s the right thing to do. But what you don’t see is that pre and post photo I am battling with anxiety and gripping firmly on any positive self-talk I can muster up so that I continue to do my speech – because doing so is the only way I still feel like I am a contributing member to society. I still miss being a paramedic every single day of my life.

My healthy boundaries with certain people haven’t been easy for me. But they are for a reason – my reasons.

Building a love shield is certainly hard at times. But I think I have to practice what I preach to my kids. If they can do it – then so can I.

I try to be there for as many people as I can. But once again, I am only human. I am only one person, and I promise I try my best.

Another piece of advice I must practice if I preach is a quote from Eleanore Roosevelt,”Do what you feel in your heart to be right -for you will be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

I wish everyone happiness and peace. I wish that for myself and for my family as well. I send out love to all of you – each and every one. The icing on the love-shield cake, is that sometimes that love actually reaches the person who is mad and hurtful, and that is the best outcome of all. I truly hope that happens.

 

 

You Can Preorder My New Book!

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Click Here!

This inspiring book of quotations from Natalie’s Harris’s raw and gripping account of her mental health journey, “Save-My-Life School,” offers daily motivational and thoughtful lessons.

 

Wish Upon A Star…

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Did you know that there was a meteor shower tonight? My kids and I just came in from watching it. We saw about four meteors (aka shooting stars) and a candlelit moth or two that tricked our ever concentrating eyes. Together we laid on blankets and pillows on the deck and starred into the satellite filled sky waiting to see the show. Like usual, Walter snuck popcorn out of the bowl as we giggled and farted and listened to Adam teach us how our galaxy is shaped like a pancake. The city sounds were muffled by my earplugs, but my anxiety still raced in unison with each motorcycle that graced us with its presence on the road out front – but that didn’t matter because nothing could stop the happy memories formed when you can ‘make a wish’ with your kids after cheering that “we saw one!”.

Starring into space tonight was peaceful overall. Normally ‘space’ and its vastness causes my brain to over think and speculate. But tonight it was just a night of citronella candles and Caroline yelling at Adam to stop shining the flashlight in her eyes – some things never change.

I can’t tell you what my wishes were, because then they won’t come true. But I can tell you that four wishes in one night will never be taken for granted by this girl.

Good night. May all YOUR wishes come true too.

 

BrainStorm – My New Mental Health Podcast

I Wish I Had Learned This As a Student: Compassion vs Attachment

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