NEW WEBSITE!!

Hey there readers!!
I am super excited to introduce you to my NEW WEBSITE!!

LIFEWITHSCHYFF

WELCOME 😀

I have moved all the blogposts from http://www.lifewithschyff.blogspot.com to this new domain webpage (www.lifewithschyff.com). All the content is the same but everything will be posted here now!

There are a few new features that this website offers:

  1. You can sign up to ‘subscribe‘ to my blog! Every time I post an update it will be sent directly to your inbox!
  2. I will be starting ‘Music Mondays‘ where I make a post about a song that I think is inspiring, has a great meaning, or has a great story. That will happen every Monday!
  3. I will have a ‘Life With Summer & Zoë‘ page where I will occasionally post highlights of our life and some of the fun things we have been up to!
  4. I also have a page called ‘Inspire.’ The idea of this page is for people to leave messages of encouragement for other people who may be struggling in some way or another. You can leave short inspirational messages, scripture verses, coping strategies, short stories that offer hope or even funny quotes or jokes to just make people smile.

I will still post on my social media’s when I post a new blog (as I was doing before) but if you subscribe/follow my blog you can be sure to never miss one!!

Also, the website is not in its FINAL layout/template right now, so I do apologize in advance for a few changes that may come in the next few months, but hopefully nothing major!

Thank you to all the faithful readers who have made this website a possibility!

You ‘da best!

*Don’t forget to subscribe!!

Stay tuned for a blogpost tomorrow!

Much love,

Summer Schyff (& Zoë)

#GetLoud

The lives of people with mental health conditions are often plagued by stigma as well as discrimination. People with mental health conditions are often depicted as dangerous, violent, unpredictable, manipulative, fakers, dramatic, or exaggerated. This stigma is a reality for many people living with a mental illness, and it’s one of their greatest barriers to living a complete and satisfying life.

This week, this very stigma prevented me from getting proper medical care.

I went to see a specialist who I had been waiting a VERY long time to see. Her resident came to talk to me first then he went to talk to the Dr privately. She came in and told me that the only possible reasons my thyroid levels could fluctuating is because I’m either not taking my medication regularly or its not being absorbed properly (but she’s “pretty confident that that’s not the issue”).

I TAKE MY MEDICATION EVERYDAY-WITHOUT FAIL!!
…Sometimes an hour or so late…but I never miss it…
Then she tells me we should stop focusing on my symptoms as medical symptoms and start looking at all my other diagnosis’. (Clearly, referring to the mental health piece.) My mom asked, “So you looked at her mental health records and assume that’s all this could possibly be?” To which the Dr bluntly responded, “Yes, that’s exactly what I think.” She repeated over and over and OVER that we should get blister packs (prepackaged scheduled pill containers from the pharmacy). We told her that we put my meds in a pill organizer that is just as effective but cheaper. The Dr insisted we use blister packs because “The pharmacist puts the exact doses of medication in each day.”

Seriously!? You’re saying that you think we are COMPLETELY incapable of putting my meds in the pill container?? And WHY would I purposely take the incorrect dose!? I KNOW how sick I feel when my levels are off! And if we’re not doing it properly then why are the rest of my meds dispensed, absorbed, and working right?? If this is all a mental health problem, why am I doing so well mentally, right now, while my symptoms are so bad?

And to top it all off she told me, “There is absolutely no connection between mental health and thyroid function.” Really!? What about when my depression got really bad in December and January when both times my thyroid was extremely low? Then as soon as my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) went back to normal I was FINE mentally! How do you explain that? Coincidence? Probably not.

What doctors need to realize is that we, as patients, don’t expect them to know everything. We really don’t. However, we do expect them to listen and treat us like intelligent, rational people. Maybe some of us are square and don’t fit into the round holes most doctors see everyday; but that doesn’t mean our symptoms aren’t real.

I also believe that this Dr may not have had any other ideas as to why my thyroid levels are fluctuating and I have all these other symptoms. She may not have an answer…honestly that’s ok.

What is not ok is her treating me like dirt.

It is not ok for her to completely write me off (before she has even met and talked to me!) just because I struggle with mental illness and my symptoms and labs are not textbook.

I am not just “a mentally ill” person. I am not my illness. I have a mental illness, yes. But I am so much more than it. I will not stand to let my mental illness be all that other people, including health care professionals, see.

This stigma is NOT OK!

 

So, how are we going to change it? 

We are going to bring as much awareness to mental health as we possibly can. We are going to shout it from the rooftops! (Too much?)

You, my faithful readers, are all going to tell your neighbours, friends, brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, and especially your children, that:

Mental illness is not something to be scared of. It can be scary to go through, certainly, but it is only a chemical imbalance in a persons brain. Make sure you tell them (this is important!) that it is not a personality flaw or character trait!! It is not fake, exaggerated, or dramatic. Tell them that, any type of mental illness can be serious, debilitating, and in some cases the person may even put themselves in dangerous situations (again, remember that this is not for attention-it is a sign that a person is ill and needs some form of treatment). Tell them that mental health problems are VERY common. Try to find a story of someone who has struggled with mental health and have recovered or are recovering. It can be mine, another friends’, a family members’, or anyone’s really. Just share a story of hope.

If you have struggled with anything mental health related I strongly encourage you to share your story with people!

~If you have been open about your struggle, than I am so proud of you! I know just how difficult that can be; the uncertainty of people’s reactions can be utterly terrifying! Please keep sharing your story-make sure to keep it as hopeful as possible!!

~If you haven’t told many people about what you have/are going through, I encourage you to tell at least 2 people-anyone! Start with me if you have to. You will be surprised at how many people will be supportive, how many people will be encouraging, and how many people have their own untold stories that you would never know about otherwise.

~If you are struggling silently, please, please, please, talk to someone! It’s extremely scary to open up to someone about something so personal, especially to a stranger, but it’s so freeing. Through talking to someone you will learn ways to deal with or manage your symptoms, and that is a wonderful feeling.

 

 

It will do the world so much good if we all could talk freely about mental health, without talking in hushed tones.

It is crucial that those on the front lines, who may be working with people who have a mental illness, receive the education and support needed to help manage bias. Programs need to be developed to teach health care professionals to identify and manage their biases toward mental illness and the people who have the mental illness, so that it doesn’t interfere with clinical care.

Training more people across the medical field in mental health issues creates the possibility of incorporating mental health screening in primary care settings, promoting early treatment and emphasising the physical component to a mental illness. There also needs to be education about the physical-psychological connection of mental health conditions and physical illnesses.

People most definitely should not be discriminated against because of their mental health conditions whether past or present. And certainly not by so called “health care professionals.” It’s just not ok.

This isn’t the first time I have been discriminated against and I don’t think it will be the last time but this time, I’m not letting it just slip by.

We need change and to get there I need your help! Please do your part to help raise awareness! Time to #GetLoud!

**THIS IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK!! (May 2-8th)** So even more reason to #GetLoud!

 

Ruins

If you’ve ever felt like part of your life was in ruins, then you certainly aren’t alone. Maybe you’ve uttered things like this:


My health is disintegrating.
I’m never going to recover.
This struggle will never end.
My marriage is broken.
My finances are in shambles.
This relationship can never be repaired.
My kids are a wreck.
I’m a wreck.
I’m completely devastated.
Yes, we’ve all been in a place at one time or another when we would definitely say something or someone in our life is in ruins.
When thinking about our response to something that’s in ruins, I’m reminded about the story of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. Upon hearing the news that the walls of Jerusalem were in ruins, having been burned with fire, this was his response:
“When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4)
I think there is something here we need to recognize in how we should respond when faced with devastating news that crushes us to the core.
He acknowledged his hurt and pain.

He wept.

He mourned.
Even went without food for a while!
But he did all this…before God.
When we are smack in the middle of an impossible situation, we bring our hurts before God. We pour out our hearts to him. We don’t have to hold it all together for fear of what might come out of our mouth. I love Nehemiah’s transparency before the God of heaven! He doesn’t hold anything back. He empties himself completely before God.
But the story doesn’t stop there. If you continue reading, you’ll come to chapter 2, verse 17. This is where we gain even more insight into our next step when we are on the brink of despair:
“Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.”” (Nehemiah 2:17)
First of all, who are the them he is referring to? He is speaking to his people–fellow Israelites who were exiled with him years before. God’s people!
When we’re faced with devastation, we don’t go running for comfort and support to people who aren’t believers in Christ.
We rally around those who are on the same journey of faith.
And then Nehemiah takes a step of courage.
A step of faith.
A step towards healing.
He doesn’t stay stuck in his despair.
He begins the process of rebuilding.
To stay stuck in misery and hopelessness would be disgraceful. He doesn’t want to stay there! And he realizes he can’t do it alone.
Dear friend, if you are stuck in despair and staring at broken pieces of your life: pour out your heart to God. He knows your pain and hurt. Give it to Him.
But don’t stay there.
Just like Nehemiah, look around you. Lean on your brothers and sisters in Christ. Accept the fact that you can’t rebuild in your own strength.
It might be a long journey to recover from what you’re going through, but I can promise you God will lead you one step at a time, just as he guided Nehemiah through one brick at a time.
He’s a master at taking things in ruins and redeeming them for His glory!

Even When It Hurts

These past few months have been a roller coaster. One week I’m feeling fantastic, the next week I’m sliding into a deep pit of depression with a side of psychosis and dissociation, then the next week I’m feeling mentally well but physically unwell, into Strathroy hospital, home, into Strathroy hospital again, then home, into Parkwood hospital, then home.
It’s draining.
 But, when all hope seems lost, I remember that not all is lost to the God of the impossible. He can take us through this place of weariness, weakness, pain, and struggles, and bring us to a new life of peace. We live in a fallen world so (I hate to break it to you but…) not all things are going to work out as we hope they will. We do not know the future or what’s going to happen but we can rest assured and know that even in these terrible struggles, the worst situations, seemingly hopeless circumstances, God will work all things out for our good. That is truth.

Your struggle, situation, circumstance, however painful it may be, is the path that God is using to reveal more of himself to you. He knows you are going to need to lean on Him to get through this and that dependence is OK. In fact, that dependence on God is a wonderful, beautiful thing. Your struggles will notcannot defeat you. They may appear to be taking you down but they are actually helping you to rise above. God will shape and transform your heart through this trial…but only if you allow Him. Why this particular, incredibly painful, trial? Honestly, I don’t know. We may never know this side of heaven. We just have to trust that He knows what He is doing and that His plan is to prosper us, not to harm us, and to give us a hope and a future.

We must learn to trust Him even when it hurts.
 
We must stand in faith no matter how big the storm that is overwhelming our life.

 

 

Some days trusting God seems like the hardest thing to do, other days it’s a breeze, as if it were the only thing to do. The Lord brings the tide in and takes it out. He controls the wind and the rain. The sun rises at His command. He certainly has perfected His purpose for our lives and will provide for what we need.
 
Don’t let your weariness make you think that God does not care for you when your prayers seem unanswered. His mercy and unending love are with you even now. He knows what you are doing in your life. He sees your tears and holds them in a bottle. He does not forget your name, where you are, or any other little detail about you. He is the God of all possibility and ultimately all things must bow to His will for your life.

The days are growing short and evil is abounding. Take joy knowing that even through Satan, the hand of God is in FULL CONTROL. He will never fail you nor will He let anything in this world destroy you.

Be strong. Jesus’ promises give us peace no matter what happens here. None of these struggles we are going through – physical illness, mental illness, death of a loved one, stress, overwhelming business of life, social problems – can impede the purpose He has for us or the love He has for us. He knew our stories before the foundation of the earth.

Trust that even in this mess, God will be with us.
That is the hope that separates believers from the rest of the world.

*if you’re not a believer or you haven’t accepted Christ into your life and you would like to know more about these promises that could be for you too-contact me! Or if you would like prayer or someone to talk to-contact me…I would love to hear from you! (summerschyff@hotmail.ca)

Recovery Update: The Joys and Sorrows of 2015

It’s that time of year again when we evaluate everything we have accomplished over the past year.

 
THIS YEAR so much has changed! 


I spent the first 4 months (of a total of 9 month visit) in the new Parkwood mental health care hospital. During that time I received electro convulsive therapy (ECT-read past blogs for more info on that part of my journey). The ECT helped SO much but it was really only part of the treatment I needed to fully recover. Although my Dr. at that time thought that this was all I needed and I just needed to work out the rest with a psychologist (who I happened to not get along with…for good reasons). So, even though I was still struggling with severe OCD (that seemed no further help could be offered) and major dissociative episodes, my psychiatrist decided to send me home in May. 

I was home for a total of 3 weeks where I struggled through each and every day and night. After I had been home for a few weeks my primary contact at the hospital suddenly changed (I’m not ok with sudden changes!) and then my psychiatrist announced she was moving to a different hospital and I would be getting a new Dr. 

I felt shaken. Everything that was supposed to be my constant was shifting and the crazy thoughts in my head began to take over. Not just my mind but physically through dissociations.

So then, crisis after crisis occurred and my parents became understandably drained and had no choice but to let the crisis team to admit me to the hospital AGAIN. I spent several consecutive days unable to speak or communicate past nodding/shaking my head for yes or no. When I’m in this state I’m very irrational and tend to do things to hurt or injure myself badly or just run away, usually to somewhere unsafe (like the train tracks). I actually have very little memory of these times. I am very grateful for that but the things I do remember haunt me. Fortunately there are no full memories just little snapshots every once and a while and the memories of trying to get my bearings-calling my beyond-worried-mother when I “snap out” of the dissociation.

Once I was admitted I found out I would be put on a different unit than I had been on in my past stays over two years. I was super nervous about this move but it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened! The nurses on this unit seemed to have a different perspective and had less judgement. Along with the new unit came a new psychiatrist! Again a huge, terrifying, change! But it worked out wonderfully!! I was supposed to see my new outpatient Dr (who I hadn’t met yet) just a few days after I was admitted. So this lovely lady came to see me inpatient. She just walked into my room and started talking to me like we knew each other! Apparently she had come the day before and met me but I was in a dissociation and didn’t say a word to her! She probably had no idea how she was going to help a patient who didn’t talk! Eventually my new psychiatrist,  Dr. N, recognized my confusion and we did our introductions. I would soon find out what an incredible answer to prayer this Dr. was.

It didn’t take me long to grow attached to Dr. N and apparently the feeling was mutual because she wasn’t planning on taking on inpatients but she kept me (as inpatient then later as an outpatient!). As we got to know each other better she recognized how big a problem the OCD was and started me on Memantine: an experimental med for OCD and eventually Valproic Acid to help with the dissociations. This combination worked! Can you believe it!? After too many years of suffering my mind FINALLY had some relief!! And it took a while, but combined with individual “Dialectical Behavioral Therapy” the dissociations came to an end too.


Isn’t that a happy ending!?!? 
 
Suffering, suffering, suffering…then boom God sends some healing! 

When you think you can’t go one more step…God steps in and walks a thousand until you have the strength to go on your own again. When you think you can’t handle one more bad day…God sends someone to make you smile or laugh. If you think you’re never going to get better, you think you’re going to die from this terrible illness, you think your situation is completely hopeless…I promise you with everything in me, that God will step in and show you HEALING-but it will be on His time not yours. In the meantime He will be holding your right hand.

This time last year (it feels like so much longer than that!) I was in a really, really, terrible place. I did not have any desire to live or fight off my illness. When I reflected on the year that passed I felt like such a failure. I hadn’t done anything to get me closer to my goals. In fact, my goals had turned to dust and all I was doing was passing time. This part of my life was so terrible that I don’t even remember much of it, like I blocked it out of my memory. 

Now that I’m passed that, I’m doing everything I can not to go back, but I do need to look at this time so I can see and ponder all the wonderful ways God protected me: from cars passing when I dissociated on a street, from trains while I walked the tracks, from my countless suicide attempts, and from small things like infections from my deep cuts from the glass I picked up. It really is a miracle that I’m still here today. Now, near the end of this year, I thank God for the blessing of life. Even though it’s still tough. I’m not yet fully recovered. Far from it, actually. But I’m way farther than I was. Somedays I still have to fight SO incredibly hard. It will be like that for a while still but I believe the worst is past. This is clichéd but: because of these struggles I am stronger, my faith is unshakable, I look for blessings more, and live life fully.

I can honestly say, for the first time in quite a while, that I am REALLY looking forward to all that the new year has to bring! I’m excited to have Zoë by my side full time. I’m excited to keep working on my OCD (well…sort of…it’s the hardest thing to ever do but it has results that improve the quality of my life!). I’m excited to keep working on other aspects of my mental health and excited to (hopefully) get some answers for my physical health. I’m excited to be going to church again like normal people (as opposed to leaving the sanctuary or sitting in the balcony). I’m excited for the possibility of online courses in the fall (if things keep improving as they have). I’m also excited for small things, like, the possibility of living an outpatient life, the possibility of making new friends, and hanging out with old friends (doing fun things instead of visiting in a hospital setting).

Most of all I’m happy to just be living the life of a happy person.


So, thank you God, for an INCREDIBLE end to the year! I owe it all to you! I just want to know the person who created me and blessed me with this new outlook, better. I am fully yours!

To all those who haven’t gotten this far in recovery yet…you will get there. It feels impossible and lonely. This journey is hard, I know. The way I feel now is so worth the fight! So I can’t push you enough to keep fighting with all (even if it’s only reaching out your hand!) the strength you can muster. You’re going to make it because I am praying for each and every person who reads this blog.

Thank you to each and every one of you who have been following this journey! Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me, kept in contact, hugged me, taken time to make (temporary) changes-until I can overcome more of my OCD, to those who have gone out of their way to help me with my anxiety, or to those who just made me feel normal. I love and appreciate you all! 

I feel like a brand new person.

Personal Update and How You Can Pray For Me

Personal update and how you can pray for me: 

Right now, mentally, I am doing quite well! Praise The Lord! For the most part my OCD has been manageable and the dissociations have been minimal no big “episodes” where I run away, get lost, cut, and loose contact with reality (although at times I have to work really hard to fight them off 👊 I’ve learned coping skills that actually help!). Although things are all well right now I will still have bad days ahead. 🙏 Please pray that I will continue to take life one moment at a time. Pray that I will be able to remember the good days when I’m having bad days and most importantly pray that I have more good days!

 
I’ve been coming off of one of my main medications 💊 [nosinan-my antipsychotic] (due to side effects). The first time I came off of it I was a wreck!! I had a major dissociative episode and then almost 3 weeks of days after days of complete dissociation. So we went back on it and added a new medication that would hopefully replace the old one. I’m SO happy to say that this switch has been quite successful ! I’m almost off the nosinan (i was on 100mg now I’m down to 25mg!). 🙏 Please pray for the remainder of this switch! And that this new “mood stabilizer” continues to be effective.
 
My Dr says that if things continue to be stable and I’m feeling good we are looking at discharge from the hospital in a couple weeks! YAY! And I have a good feeling about this discharge because my team is so great, flexible, and supportive!
 
On the downside my seizures have really been acting up over the past week. They had been pretty controlled for such a long time but I’ve had 4 big ones this week and luckily only minor injuries have occurred! 🙏 Please pray that we can figure out why I’m having this flare all of a sudden. Please pray that these episodes stop happening. Pray for safety if they are to occur and pray for Zoë  as this is great training and experience for her! 🐶
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
In these troubled times (and all times) God isn’t just some far off god who created everything who now just sits back and watches us run around like maniacs…NO God is a loving humble God who actually cares for us! He can do anything in the entire universe but He chooses to come care for us and hold us up. How incredible is that?
Father, we are in awe of your love and character. We praise you for all you’ve done and all you have yet to do. Help us to love you with a passion even as we’re struggling.
 
A big thank you goes out to all of my prayer warriors out there-I have the most wonderful supporters from all over the world! God has really blessed me with the greatest friends and family, dog, Dr, rec therapist, and team ever!

Enough

Some days are just hard. 
 
I’m numb but everything hurts. I’m sick of hurting; sick of crying myself to sleep; sick of faking a smile; and sick of feeling worse. 
 
It hurts. It hurts a lot and there is so much more that I keep inside so it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Then sometimes I get physically sick because I feel so “not good enough,” because I “can’t do anything right,” and I’m too tired to go on.
 
The thing is, alone, I’m not enough. Alone, I can’t fight this, And that’s OK because, praise the Lord, we are NOT alone and with Him we are ALWAYS enough.
 
Someone, somewhere needs to hear this today. If that’s you, I just want to take a second to tell you how enough you are. 
 
You are genuine. You are wise and you are compassionate. Your struggles have shaped a kind and gentle heart. You are purposeful (trust me you really are). You are loving and you are courageous. You are intuitive (your gorgeous soul always knows best). You are capable (even when you don’t feel as if you are) and you are adaptable (or else you wouldn’t have made it this far). 
 
You are extraordinary and with God on your team, 
you are so enough it blows my mind.
 
God wants you to know that you don’t have to fight alone. 
Give in to the loving arms He’s reaching out to you. 
 
You have the Holy Spirit here to comfort you, teach you, and help you. 
 
Now go take some time to go love yourself and the wonderful God who created you.
 
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. “(Psalm 139:13-14)

A Moment In My Mind

I was asking myself “what’s wrong with me?” Why do I always have such awful thoughts? Then, in that moment, my brain chatter went completely quiet, like somebody pushed the mute button. What is this….silence? Total silence. At first I was shocked to find myself in a quiet mind and then I was immediately captivated by this unusual happenstance.

It was a rare, short but beautiful, moment because the internal dialogue that anxiety creates is unique to anxiety sufferers and it never ends. We are always worrying about something, anything, and everything. This is why I wanted to create a brief window into my life, giving people an idea of what its like to live with anxiety.

Then, the next moment, it was gone. All the brain chatter came rushing back.

What if I get sick? What if I die? What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t get accepted? What if I fail? What if I hurt someone? What if I mess up? What will they think of me? What’s going to happen if I go? I’m hopeless. I spend too much time thinking about my thoughts. I could slice that persons face.

Suddenly, my brain shoots into overdrive. Whats wrong with me? Who thinks thoughts like that? Why do I have these thoughts? Maybe I’m a murderer. I should go to hell or maybe I should die. 

What if I die now that I’ve thought that? ok. ok. ok. We’ve got a problem! *Heart starts racing* I’ve got to get help! I need to text my mom. So, I reach into my pocket and pull out my phone. I search for my moms number but all I can see is pixels, even though I can see clearly in my mind where my moms name is, my eyes just can’t focus on the task at hand. I’m still to worried that I’m going to die.

I could stab that person walking by.

WHAT?!?! Summer!! How could you ever think something so awful?! I must be the worst person on the planet! No one else would ever think something like that. 

The Dr. said lots of people have these thoughts occasionally…but that can’t be true. Nobody thinks like that. I must be a psycho-murderer at heart. 

I could punch that person.

WHAT?!?! NO!! 

I NEED TO GET RID OF THESE THOUGHTS!!

3

6

9

12 

15

18

21

24

27

30

33

Still there…

3

6

9

12…

You have now survived just 10 seconds in my brain. For anxiety sufferers this continues for hours and hours on end.

Although my mind is a crazy place at times, I find comfort knowing I don’t need to battle alone. 

“Moses answered the people, “Stand firm and you will see the the deliverance the Lord will bring you today….The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.” (Exodus 14:14) 

I feel as though I fight anxiety every moment of my life but what a comfort to know that God’s got it all under control, I need only be still. The people were despairing but Moses encouraged them to watch the wonderful way the Lord would rescue them. Moses had a positive attitude! When it looked as if they were trapped, Moses called upon God to intervene. WE may not be chased by an army but we may still feel trapped by anxiety. Instead of giving in to despair when all these thoughts are rushing through our mind we need to only “stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will bring…The Lord will fight for you you need only be still.”  

No Mistake

Sometimes our walk with God is not so much a “walk” but rather a weak, tired, crawl; sometimes its a climb up mountains of trials. This year has been packed full of trial after trial. Every single day has been a struggle. Some days I see no point in existing. This is when God grabs a hold of my heart and gives me purpose, reminding me why I’m here. Then I continue trying to live for Him. I try but so often I get distracted by c o m p a r i s o n.  I start comparing my life to the lives my friends have: going to school, going out, making new friends, having fun, working. 

Twenty-year-olds should be either working or going to school…certainly not spending two years in a psychiatric hospital. How am I supposed to be setting an example for younger kids when I can’t even stay home alone and how am I supposed to shine a light for Jesus when my life is in shambles and I’m surrounded by darkness? I even question God: “How am I supposed to continue living for you when for three years I haven’t felt you moving?”

What do you do when your whole world continues to fall apart? You either hold on to your brokenness and let it consume you or you turn back to Jesus and let Him calm your storm.

I guess I forget that God can use us wherever we are because He placed us here. Somehow God is going to use me right here in Parkwood hospital, even when it feels like the only thing I’ve done all year a survived. The ALMIGHTY God did not make any mistakes when He planned our lives. We are the right person, in the right place, at the right time. God designed us and our lives perfectly for the race laid out for us. God has fully equipped us for this life and His mercy is far greater than any mistake we could ever make. The same God who holds the stars in place is holding my life in place. He can use a broken life if only we have faith. Faith in God includes faith in His timing. I may not be doing what other twenty-year-olds are doing but I will get there eventually.

Sometimes our walk with God is not so much a “walk” but rather a weak, tired, crawl, sometimes it’s a climb up mountains of trials…BUT it doesn’t matter if we’re walking, crawling, or climbing, God is right beside us faithfully leading us through.

It’s Okay

These days people seem to make a big deal of telling people to “hold on” or “be strong”…but you know what…? 

It’s okay to not always be strong. 

It’s okay to break down and it’s okay to cry. 

Some days are just hard and we need to accept them as they are. Some days all I can do is cry out to God to come save me from this mess of a mind I carry on my shoulders. Some days my heart is in such a shamble that I wonder how I managed to get dressed in the morning never mind survive the day…but you know what…? 

                                             That’s okay too. 

Some days are just hard and that’s okay. 

Having a bad day and breaking down doesn’t mean you’re going to have a bad day everyday. 

It simply means that you had a bad day. 

Crying on a hard day doesn’t make you weak, it simply makes you human. 

It’s okay to not always be okay and it’s okay to not always be strong. 

Fight when you can but relax when you need to. It’s okay to be scared and overwhelmed just don’t let it consume you. 

Let it be okay to not be okay and okay to not always be strong. When we are so weak we feel like quitting we must allow God to continue to carry us through no matter how badly you want to give up. Gods power is made perfect when we are not enough.

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

  ~2 Corinthians 12:9New Living Translation (NLT)

Personal Update-January 2015


Over the past year and a half I have been battling severe depression (which leads to suicidal thinking)-along with psychosis (Which is mainly controlled with medication now) and severe OCD. In that time my depression has been in a downward spiral.

Even with each medication we tried I’ve just been feeling worse and worse. Medications were making me feel hopeless. I felt as if every few months my Dr would say, “Here’s another medication to try. It may work but probably not so welcome to your life for the next two months while we wait to see if this works,” (OK, maybe they didn’t quite say it like that…)

Then every few months I would report “No change” (in fact, I was feeling worse). I’ve been stuck in a hopeless downward spiral of depression. All I ever feel like doing is sleeping but the OCD makes me need to try and distract myself  from my thoughts. No matter how hard I’ve tried to make myself feel happy I’m just not. Happiness feels so distant; out of reach.

Because nothing is helping my depression we are trying electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday they put me to sleep and then shock my brain into a controlled seizure. The weird thing about ECT is that no one knows exactly how/why it works. All they know is that it “resets” the chemicals in the brain. 

I started ECT on Wednesday (Jan. 21st) and I’ll have up to 20 treatments. There is a lot of hope that ECT will work for me. I’ve seen a few other people have really great results from ECT and I’m hoping to see the same for me. So far I’ve only had two treatments so it is too early to see a change but the treatments have gone really well-my body is responding well to the treatments.

After the ECT is finished we will still be going to Toronto to get assessed and get some treatment for the OCD.

In the Bible, Canaan was a land with giants. The Anakites may have been 7-9′ tall. Many of the walls around the city were up to 30′ tall! The Israelites fear was understandable but not justified because the All Powerful God had already promised them victory. Sometimes I find myself fearful of the war raging inside my heart. The battle of good & evil; joy & sadness. I focus on the negatives and doubt God will actually pull through and help me find victory. 

“Where can we go? Our brothers made us lose heart. They say the people are stronger and taller than we are with walls up to the sky. We even saw Anakites there.Then I said to you ‘Don’t be shocked or afraid of them! The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you just as you saw him do in Egypt and you saw how The Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you travelled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.”  Deuteronomy 1:29-33

Although the road God wants us to take is sometimes scarier and harder, God has promised to lead the way and take care of us just as He has brought us this far in our journey.

Please pray that I will trust God when he says He will win the victory in my battle. Please pray that the ECT works and for as few side effects as possible.  

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