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Paramedic Nat

A Blog About My Mental Health Journey

One Last Ride

Off to a book signing at a Chapters in Mississauga. The day was dreary. Sleet was covering the roads and threatening to freeze as the temperature read 2 degrees …then 1 degree. Ok, good, back up to 2 degrees. To be honest, and at the risk of sounding ungrateful, I wished I could have stayed in my pyjamas and blocked the cold outside world out. But, Heather and Matt were waiting for me. So, I salted the walkway and stumbled along what was left of the ice from the day before in my high heeled boots.

I got to the Chapters happy to find everything set up already – Heather is great like that. I was even happier to see Matt’s, “A Medic’s Mind”, banner and his books on the table. This moment was very full circle for me – sort of a proud mama moment. I had been introduced to Matt via a mutual friend several years ago, and we connected on Twitter. Instantly, …and I mean INSTANTLY, I was so impressed by his writing and creativity; this guy had talent – and I was happy to retweet what he shared. We became fast friends for many reasons: our love of writing, our dark humour, but mostly because we were both former paramedics now battling PTSD. Matt was a military medic. And I was a medic in Simcoe County, but the colour of our uniforms were irrelevant – we were the same.

Back then I was a bit further along in my recovery than Matt, and could tell from our conversations that he was still working through an early anger and frustration phase. (I could remember being there myself very well.) So, I was a friend and helped as much as I could while he navigated his emotions. (Once again, I could remember being there myself very well.)

Deep down, I knew there were big things in Matt’s writing future. He just needed a bit more time to get healthy enough to rip open some old wounds. He eventually did – and, “A Medic’s Mind” was born.

I was honoured to be at a book signing beside Matt today.

After I put up my, “Save~My~Life School” banner, we sat beside each other to await the interested book-lovers. Little did we know that what would ensue would be a healing and amazing moment for both of us.

With Matt in the figurative, ‘driver’s seat’, and I in the ‘passenger’s seat’, we became paramedic partners, reminiscing about the good ol’ days. It was like the clatter and busyness of Chapters disappeared, and we were back in the truck again. We instantly chatted in our paramedic lingo. And laughed so hard about some memories that will always make us smile! I had tears running down my face as he described an impromptu zombie apocalypse plan that needed to make happen on a call, and when my partner accidentally made a hoarder house, ‘a mess’. Without even noticing, we were back there, in the truck, remembering what we loved so much about being paramedics, and then, with a blink of an eye, a person wanted a book signed and Chapters had returned.

It was a magical day; I’m so happy I didn’t stay home. Being able to reminisce and smile together was super healing. We both reminded each other that we were ok with what our new futures held; were ok with that being our last ride.

We got to roll up our banners at the end of the day, and go home to our new futures. We had an opportunity to see that we were really only a moment away from laughing at the good times – all we needed to do was sit beside each other, like a driver and a passenger… and we didn’t have to do a night shift to get there.

I’m proud of you Matt! The future is so bright for you! And of course safe with your zombie apocalypse plan 😉

Video By Matt

I Could Use Those Stones You’re Throwing

To the people who love me no matter what; thank you. You remind me to smile.

To the people who love me sometimes; thank you. You remind me to self-reflect.

To the people who hate me no matter what; thank you. You challenge me to keep sending you love, even when you hurt my heart.

To the people who throw stones without even knowing me; thank you. You start conversations that cause more positive change and push me towards my passion.

To the people who hate themselves and radiate their negativity towards me; thank you. You remind me how much more love this world needs. And I’m sorry you are in pain.

Let’s have a coffee. Ask me your questions face-to-face. Please stop throwing stones. I could really use those stones to build the bridge. ❤️

Thank You Barrie Fire Department

Barrie Fire and Emergency Services donated $500 to Brainstorm Revolution and Paramedic Nat’s Valentine’s Event

Still looking for something to do this Valentine’s Day in Barrie? Well, you could win tickets to:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/a-valentines-evening-of-love-and-laughter-in-benefit-of-rvh-mental-health-and-addictions-program-tickets-84416099827

If you follow Barrie Fire @Barrie_Fire on Twitter, tickets will be given away in pairs over the next few weeks.

The event will benefit the RVH Mental Health and Addiction programs.

You can also purchase tickets via the link above at anytime, and follow the add-on directions to make a night of it with a buffet dinner and special room rates.

Hope to see you there for an evening of LOVE AND LAUGHTER ❤️

Make Addiction Get-Well Cards In The Classroom And Breakdown Stigma

People battling addiction deserve get-well cards too!

The #addictiongetwellcards call-to-action is dedicated to changing the way we look at addiction. Some see addiction as a choice and that causes many people battling addiction to be abandoned by family and friends, and feel isolated from their community. Some people believe that these individuals can “just stop”! That is not the case. Addiction is a disease with deeply rooted causes and requires treatment like any other disease.

As a recovering addict myself I am friends with many other recovering addicts, and I have seen the hurt and confusion in so many people’s eyes when they are made to feel less than other members of society because they battle addiction. Some people roll their eyes and act disgusted when they see someone who is living on the streets or not able to work or care for their family because they are consumed by the hell of this disease. Everyone deserves treatment for addiction, but we are still in need of government funding to provide this for everyone – Ontario’s Bill 116 is a great start to this effort! In the meantime, everyone battling addiction deserves a get-well card.

Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman and I with our addiction get-well cards

All you need is some craft supplies and a desire to open up the dialogue about addiction in your classroom to participate in this mission! Sharing experiences and beliefs will breakdown the walls of addiction stigma.

Barrie Fire Fighters making addiction get-well cards

After you make the cards, deliver them to your local detox centre, addiction treatment centre or hospital mental health department. You will truly help people know that they are worthy of wellness too! Their card may be the ONLY piece of support they receive from the community. You can save a life and change the way our children view addiction by participating in this simple activity.

Add the hashtag #addictiongetwellcards to your social media posts about this activity. Spread the word! The more cards the better! Thank you.

Addiction Crisis – What can YOU do?

Lots of people ask me what they can do to help with the opioid and addiction crisis? They feel like it is too big of a problem for them to make a positive impact on. They see and share the pictures of needles on our city streets and say that not enough is being done … and then do nothing themselves. I totally feel their frustration. And I believe that education is the key to empowerment and change.

Information you may not have yet:

Big changes are happening at the city level to address this crisis – many of which are behind the scenes at this time; and some will forever be behind the scenes for confidentiality reasons. Big changes take time, money, resources, policy changes, government and service buy-in, innovation, and … many actions to occur.

But small changes ALSO lead to big changes. And YOU can be a part of those small changes. Today. Here are some suggestions:

  • carry naloxone with you;
  • participate in the #addictiongetwellcards initiative;
  • have conversations with your family and friends about mental health and addiction so that stigma breaks down;
  • volunteer at one of the many social service providers in our city;
  • change conversations you may hear that contain incorrect stigma-filled dialogue to conversations of positivity and hope;
  • tell someone who you know is battling with addiction that you care about them and are there for them; and
  • write to your government leaders and share how important you feel legislation is that provides everyone with mental illness and addiction treatment. (For example: Bill 116)

Be PART of the change.

Addiction Get-Well Cards – Global News

‘Reduce the stigma’: Barrie city councillor calls for people to make addiction get-well cards

Barrie Fire Department Make Addiction Get Well Cards!

Lots of fun making these cards!
I just went to the Dollar Store and got some simple craft supplies.
Thank you Barrie Fire! Your #addictiongetwellcards will truly brighten someone’s day!
My friend Lana had a great experience delivering some cards she made to a Toronto detox. Xo
All you need to do is make some cards with friends, family, coworkers, whomever! And take a photo with the hashtag #addictiongetwellcards and post to @WellCards on Twitter or @Addiction_Get_Well_Cards on Instagram

Let’s make sure that people battling addiction know that they deserve wellness too.

Addiction Get Well Cards: Call-to-action

No one chooses to be an addict. Let’s show people who are battling addiction that they deserve wellness too. These cards don’t need to be fancy (or they can be – it’s up to you!). Some encouragement can go a long way. Add the hashtag #addictiongetwellcards and share on social media. Let’s stop addiction stigma with compassion.

Thank you!

LOVE AND LAUGHTER Event Sponsors

Fix Auto Barrie
Roberts Complete Auto
Corus Radio

Sponsors are coming in for the LOVE AND LAUGHTER VALENTINE’S EVENT! Presented by Paramedic Nat and Brainstorm Revolution in support it the RVH Mental Health and Addiction Program.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE A SPONSOR TOO? Email shelleyhofer@live.ca and we will send you the sponsorship information ❤️

FOR TICKETS:
Click Here

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