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Paramedic Nat

A Blog About My Mental Health Journey

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STIGMA

Mental Illness Stigma Hurts

On this episode of BrainStorm I talk about the courage my daughter had to share about her mental illness and the backlash she got from someone because of it. 

 

➡️ Want to support Caroline? please click here ➡️ mental-health-for-c

 

Check Out These Books Written by Natalie Harris

📚 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

Mental Illness Stigma Hurts

Whoever made up the phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me”, is so wrong! Names (and words) do hurt, a lot. And seeing your children experience such hurt is infuriating. Allow me to explain.

There is a mask that people with mental illness wear. A mask on so tightly that even the individual who is wearing it often forgets what their real face looks like underneath. The mask is not comfortable – oh no – it is heavy and difficult to keep on. It portrays happiness which doesn’t exist. Social media pages like FaceBook and Instagram are filled with said masks. I have posted many pictures of myself wearing this type of mask – you know the kind … perfect selfie angle and filter to make everyone think that I’m happy and that life is just tickey-boo. Alas, life is hard, for everyone – I get it – but today it’s really hard for my daughter Caroline, and I’m so sad that what she experienced is even possible.

My daughter is 21, beautiful and smart. She makes a room light up and has a witty sense of humour that instantly draws people in; it captivates them. But there are many days when she wears the mask of mental illness. Her hair may be straightened and her highlights on fleek, but behind her aviators, in many of her pictures she is wearing a mask that is so hard to remove. It takes tremendous courage to take that mask off and show the world that you don’t always have it all together. It’s difficult, especially in today’s picture-perfect society, to show the tears that have washed away any trace of makeup that may once have given you a fake glow. Its difficult to peal away a mask that fits you so well for so long. And yesterday my daughter did this brave act and removed her mask for all to see, in hopes of not only helping herself, but in hopes of helping others as well.

This is what she wrote: (Papa, get a tissue!…)

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Mask. Off. Here is my beautiful daughter, brave and kind, sharing something that shouldn’t require courage, but for now it still does. Sharing with the world that she needs help, just like so many others, and that she’s ready! Amazing.

Coming to terms with the fact that you need help is one thing, being able to afford it is another. Until Canada, makes mental health as much of a priority as physical health, there are many Canadian’s who will go untreated because of lack of funding. The cost of most psychologist visits is approximately, $150/hour and without private insurance, treatment facilities that specialize in things such as EMDR, cost thousands of dollars. I have been fortunate over my recovery to have had insurance cover the cost of my care, but because Caroline is too old to be on my insurance plan, she has little to no coverage for the care she requires.

Enter Caroline’s friend Josh into the picture. Recognizing that the intensive therapy and treatment Caroline requires costs thousands of dollars, he crafts a gofundme page where people can donate to Caroline’s care. I swallow my pride and gratefully accept Josh’s offer to do so (it’s extremely difficult admitting that you may need help as a parent), and Caroline, also happy to potentially take away some of the financial burden from me, posts the gofundme excitedly and mask-free.

And then this happens:

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This person’s words made Caroline scramble for her mask. This person made her feel bad and selfish. This person caused Caroline to breakdown into tears and beg for Josh and I to remove the gofundme page. After she picked herself up a bit (mask now tightly affixed again), she reached out to this person and made sure that he was safe and tried to offer support as he is clearly hurting too – that’s just what Caroline does. Broken and in pain, she still made sure this person was ok.

But why does this have to happen? Would anyone say, “if you weren’t so flashy with your diabetes”…or “look at your insta pics, you don’t look like you have coronary artery disease…” no. But, sadly stigma around mental illness still exists and causes so many people to resort to the uncomfortable masks they wear rather than being ridiculed for their honesty. This needs to change. And Caroline, you will be a part of this change because you shared your beautiful face – mask-free. I am so proud of you.

If you are interested in learning more about Caroline’s GoFundMe, click here.

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Reframing & Vulnerability

On this episode of BrainStorm: I talk about Reframing & Vulnerability, how I had to reframe past traumas to be able to move forward, and how being vulnerable can create freedom. 

 

Purchase Daily Lessons from Save My Life School: Here

Purchase Save My Life School: Here

BrainStorm by Natalie Harris is proudly produced by PodcastWagon.com

 

Ben Dionne

On this episode of BrainStorm I speak with Ben Dionne who gives his perspective on mental health and shares about his journey. Ben was diagnosed with Schizophrenia when he was seventeen, he become an advocate for his own mental and physical health, has overcome many challenges, and now lives without the label and, has a clean bill of health. 

Ben is the host of his own podcast called Fireside Chat with ben Dionne 

Follow Ben, Instagram: @bennydjetts & @fs_chats

 

Pre-order my New Book: Here

Get Save My Life School: Here

 

BrainStorm by Natalie Harris is proudly produced by PodcastWagon.com

Michael Landsberg

On this episode of BrainStorm: Host of TSN Off The Record and founder of Sick Not Weak, Michael Landsberg shares about his battle with depression and anxiety. Get ready for an emotional roller coaster as he opens up about personal experiences. I also share about a topic I have battled with that i have never spoken of before…

Check out: sicknotweak.com

Pre-order my New Book: Here

Get Save My Life School: Here

 

Brain Storm by Paramedic Nat is proudly produced by PodcastWagon.com

My Interview On The Agenda

Thank you again to The Agenda for this amazing opportunity.

BrainStorm Bonus Episode – Learning How To Make Healthy Boundaries Using “The Four Agreements”

On this bonus episode:

-I share how I use “The Four Agreements”, by author Don Miguel Ruiz, to help me form healthy boundaries in my recovery,
-How to cope with negative support,
-and Lollers finds Walter’s bone. 🙂

I have a new book coming out that you can preorder here.

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.

 

BrainStorm – Suicidal Ideation & Relapse

On this episode:

  • What suicidal ideation feels like to me,
  • Coping tools to use when suicidal thoughts are present,
  • What is relapse?,

and more…

  • National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

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