Plant me, 
watch me grow. 
Water me, 
nourish my soul
love and tenderness. 
Let my leaves and
petals fall;
I am meant to wither
from time to 
Give me your
allow me to 
be reborn.
I will always 
push through the
constraints of 
the gardens of life.
Shine your sun

onto me, 
as I sprout through
the tightly packed
earth formed
by my mind.
Be patient with me, 
I need time to 
come home. 
But I promise, 
I always will. 

Survivor’s Lament

They told her
run, run, run,
but not too fast,
you should
let them chase you.

They urge her to 
quiet, quiet, quiet,
tell no one of 
this battle.

She wanted to
go, go, go,
anywhere other than
where they were,
and to hold onto
her innocence.

All they do is
take, take, take,
everything from
the ones they catch.

But frozen she
stood, stood, stood,
her brain unable
to tell her lips.

She longed to
scream, scream, scream,
but she could not
find the words.

They looked at her and
laughed, laughed, laughed,
her lament providing
them with a sitcom’s
worth of humor.

Eventually they
lost, lost, lost,
interest in her
and walked away.

They left her there to
melt, melt, melt,
away with her memories
of her ordeal. 

She finally
screamed, screamed, screamed,
but she
knew, knew, knew,
that it was in
vain, vain, vain, 
because it was her word against their’s
and who would they
believe, believe, believe?

An Open Letter of Thanks to my Friends

Dear friends,

I want to start this off by saying that I am a handful. There are times that I honestly can’t even imagine being friends with myself. I am aware that I am far from the easiest person to be in a friendship with, and I wanted to explain how thankful I am for the friendships you all give me.

I am blessed with some truly amazing people in my life. I want to tell you all why I’m thankful for you, and I what it means to me to have you all be the people you are.

Thank you for tough love. Seriously. Thank you for being strong enough to tell me the things I need to hear even at the times I don’t want to hear it. This may sound trivial, but it honestly makes such a difference in my life. I have a tendency to build things up in my life and put myself in a sense of denial. I tell myself, and the people around me that I am okay and that my life is okay; even though I am drowning. You all notice this, and you tell me when I am not okay. You show concern, and you tell me. The fact that I know I can count on you all to be honest and give genuine advice and help, it means more to me than you know.

Thank you for letting me be vulnerable. I have a lot of baggage (it’s all designer though…) and a lot of emotions. There are times when I feel like I’m falling apart, where I cry so hard that I can’t see or where snot is just pouring out of my nose, but you never turn me away. You let me have those moments where I wallow and where I just need to be sad. This ties back into the giving of tough love, and it’s crucial. You know when to give tough love, and when to be soft and gentle. You can distinguish between scenarios and you give me what I need. Sometimes I just need to cry, and I can do that with you. You all accept me even when I’m messy; it means a lot.

Thank you for listening and hearing. When I tell you anything, from he big stuff to the small, I always feel heard. Genuinely and truly heard. What I mean by this is that I always get more than a generic response from you guys, more than a “I’m so sorry you’re going through that” or “I’m always here for you.” I always get a response that is thought out and meaningful. The way that you can show me that you are taking in what I say and really appreciating it, and then giving me a well thought out response, it’s just priceless. I feel worthy, validated, and meaningful.

Thank you for understanding that I can’t aways be “on.” I’m constantly working on myself, and how to deal and cope with my issues. I process things differently and I go through a lot of trial and error. Sometimes it all just gets to be too much and (despite my best efforts) I just shut down. Now, I can understand that this would be frustrating in a friendship. You guys just get this. You let me take my time to recharge, you put up with the times I’m high strung and needy. Basically, you ride the ups and downs that comes with my living with both anxiety & depression. You understand that sometimes it’s all too much and I just need to be “off.” The understanding you all display to me means more to me than you can ever know.

Thank you for teaching me. You are all so brilliant. I learn so much from all of you each and every day. You bring such unique gifts to the world and I am so thankful for the wisdom I have gained from all of you.

Thank you for laughing at my lame jokes. This one doesn’t need much of an explanation. But basically, I’m ninety percent sure that I’m never half as funny as I think I am, but you guys always laugh anyways. It’s just nice. You’re good people.

Thank you for always being my cheerleaders. No matter what it is I may be doing, you always support me. Thank you for believing that I can do anything even at the times when I don’t believe in myself and for always reminding me that I’m stronger than I think I am.

Thank you for learning with me. In the years you’ve all been in my life, I think I’ve been thrown some curve balls. There have been many times where I am just completely at a loss of how to handle things. There have been many learning curves and you’ve all been willing to learn with me. You have all taken a seat  on the crazy train that has been my life and you’ve never once asked to get off the ride. Your willingness to learn, understand and adapt is probably one of the most comforting things I’ve ever experienced.

Thank you for reminding me what I deserve. In the past, when my self esteem was basically non-existent, you have all never failed to remind me just how amazing I am and in turn remind me what I deserve in life. Whether it’s been in relation to romantic relationships, bad work situations, school or anything, you all have always been there to pick me up when I’m too low to do it myself. I can’t say thank you enough for that.

Thank you for showing me that friends don’t care how you look. At a time when my appearance has changed drastically, and so did my mindset that my value was dependent on how I looked, you always reminded me that I am more. You showed me that I am more than a dress size, or a number on a scale. Recovery wouldn’t be the same without you.

I like to think that I’ve got one of the best #squads around. I also like to think that people should take pointers from you guys, not only when it comes to being a good friend who lives with mental health concerns, but just in general. You’re all the best people I know, and I’m so happy to know you. You all make me better. I can only hope that in some ways I repay your goodness.

All my love,

The Magician, The Enemy & The Warrior

My mind is a magician, a wizard if you will. But not the kind like Harry Potter, if that were the case then perhaps I would enjoy the curses I have been afflicted with. My mind is well versed in tricks and spells alike, it has no problem keeping me up at night. 

My thoughts are my enemies, they pit me against myself and seem to enjoy watching the chaos that ensues. My thoughts are not always my choosing, sometimes I wish I could just turn them off. 

My body is a warrior, and sometimes it feels like I am fighting a losing battle. I take up proverbial swords and weapons, trying to ward off the thoughts that my mind conjures up; but to what avail? Because, even when I successfully fight off these thoughts, they always manage to come back again. 

I was first diagnosed with depression at the age of fifteen, generalized anxiety at seventeen and developed an eating disorder at nineteen. This is what my life has felt like since then. I feel that I am constantly afraid of the things my mind can do to me, the thoughts it can produce and the horrors it can wreak on my body and my life. Living with multiple mental illnesses is a daily struggle, and I wish I could say that I’ve come up with all the answers, but I have not. I am learning things about myself day by day, and I am hoping that these sometimes small lessons are enough to continue fighting my battle.

My mind is skilled at casting spells and controlling the thoughts that flood it. There are days when my mind is the scariest place on earth, so I sleep to avoid confronting it. I am never sure of what version of myself is going to wake up; this is a fear that is so paralyzing that staying in bed all day out of fear has at times become the easier option.

My body tries to fight against my mind and thoughts. There are days where this fight seems totally doable; like I am Harry Potter, I am the chosen one and I can take on anything life throws my way. But there are also days where the fight seems like I am a single feather in the direct path of a tornado; a fight that is over before it starts. On these days my body feels like a shell of which the contents are completely detached.

Everything is impossible to explain, so I don’t even try to understand. Nothing seems reparable, so my toolbox collects dust.
On these days, I feel like a stranger to myself.
On the good days, I know and understand every last bit of myself.
On the good days, I am Harry Potter. On the good days, I win.
On the good days, I fight hard enough to accept the bad days where
even the idea of 
fighting is too much.
I have accept that my life is about give, and take.
I have accepted that there are times that the hand I have
been dealt seems like it is the worst possible hand.
But I have learned to make daring plays,
I have learned to cast counter spells,
I have learned to combat my enemies,
and I have learned that this battle is mine to win. 


You Are a Candle

You’ve pushed yourself to the point of breaking. You’ve put your blinders on and you can’t see anything other than your pain. You told yourself it would be different this time and that never again would you allow yourself to get to this point; yet here you are.

Burnt out.

When we push ourselves over and over again and we refuse to listen to our bodies, the only possible outcome is burn out. We crash and burn and we think that it is the end. We get to the point of breaking and we break and once we are broken we fear that we will never be put back together again.

There are two things that I have learned about burn out over the years, and honestly, I have found them to be quite helpful.

The first thing I have learned is that burn out is avoidable. When we learn to listen to our bodies and our minds and the cues that they give us, we can learn how to notice when a burn out might be coming. When we know the cues and the signs to look for, we can notice them, and adjust our lives accordingly. Let me give you an example. Something that I know about myself is that when I am close to a burn out I have absolutely no creativity. Now I’m no Picasso to begin with, but I love to write and read and let that side of my brain get some exercise. However, if I am close to a burn out, that side of my brain, and the interest I have in those things completely shuts down. I have no desire to write or create, nor do I have the ability to focus on something long enough to read it. Historically, I would notice these things and I would shrug it off and attribute it to being tired and needing some sleep and nothing more than that. Now I know that those things are ways of my brain telling me to slow down because it can’t take anymore. I don’t always life recognizing these things, because it can cause me to feel like I’ve failed or to think that I should be able to do better. But now that I am more aware of these signs and what they are a precursor of, I am more likely to head the warnings. I would much rather be forced to take a single mental health day than find myself out of work for months (yeah, I’ve been there). There are other ways that both my body and mind can indicate to me that a burn out is coming and if I don’t do something soon I’m going to break, and I am learning how to recognize these things every single day. The more I listen to my body, the more avoidable burn outs will become.

The second thing I have learned is that a burn out is not the end. Candles can be blown out, but they can also be reignited. Humans are no different. Sometimes we need a break, that is completely normal. We need to give ourselves breaks, and if we happen to need a break because of a burn out, then so be it. There is no shame in your mind or body needing a break from the struggles of life. We live in a world that tells us that we have to be on our A Game every second of the day, but that’s simply impossible. We will have times that we need to step back from things and recharge our batteries, and there is not a single ounce of shame in needing to do that. Please remember that we blow candles out before we go to sleep, but we can always light them again in the mornings. We, as humans, are the same. We can allow ourselves to rest and it is not the end.

Burn out can happen. It is just a part of the fast-paced world we live in. But if we learn to listen to the cues that our minds and bodies can give us, we can learn to pre-emptively combat burn outs. But, sometimes we will fail to catch a burn out, and that is okay too. Humans are candles, we will need breaks sometimes, but we can also always be reignited.

Surf’s Up

“Ride the wave. One day it will be over.”

The world is an ocean. It is wide, vast, and infinite. Sometimes I feel like we get thrown into this ocean of a world with no tools, no lessons, and no metaphoric flotation devices. Just like an ocean, the world has incoming and outgoing tides. There are times when the waves seem insurmountable, and there are times when they seem small enough to walk over; but the one constant is that life will have its waves.

People tell us about the waves that life can throw at us. They have no problem explaining the potential difficulties we may encounter, but they neglect to tell us what to do when we encounter them. They tell us that all of life’s waves will one day end, and to simply ride the wave until its end.

Which, for me, begs the question: How can I ride the wave if I was never taught to swim?

Before parents let their children swim in the deep end by themselves, they enroll them in swimming lessons. They prepare them for the dangers that the deep end can possess. I think there is something to be said for preparedness. I think that it makes logical sense that people are better equipped to swim through the deep ends of life when they have been given the proper tools and training to do so.

Like the ocean, life is an unpredictable beast. It can throw things at us that we never even thought possible, it will try to drown us. But would we not be better suited to handle these challenges if we were given proper tools? I understand, the unpredictable nature of life makes it hard to prepare for the unknown. I don’t even think that’s what I’m suggesting. It’s impossible to prepare for the unknown, that’s the very premise of unknown things. But when it comes to things like death, and grieving, why are we never taught how to cope? Why are we never taught to swim?

I look at my life and there are times when I would love nothing more than to simply ride the wave. The problem is that the world never taught me how. They never gave me floaties, swimming lessons, or a fludder board. They sent me into the world’s ocean and told me to ride the wave. But I never learned how to swim.


Where is the Light on Men’s Mental Health?

“Be a man.”
“Men don’t cry.”
“Men are strong.”
“A man does what he must- in spite of personal consequences.”

Why do we tell men that feelings are these awful things and that crying is bad? Why do we teach young boys to shut their feelings out and ignore them in the spirit of “being a man”? We live in a world that values braun and bravery over sensitivity and emotional intelligence and it is an extremely harmful way of thinking.

The world has made great strides with regards to the conversations surrounding mental health, but I believe that there is still a long way to go, especially when it comes to men’s mental health. We have come a long way in terms of our thinking surrounding mental health, it is not always looked at as a weakness or something made up. But there are still some really negative thoughts and voices out there in the world.

Something I have noticed is the drastic differences in the ways women’s and men’s mental health are looked at. Women are typically seen as fragile, or delicate (I don’t agree with this but that’s for another time and place), and it’s almost like these stereotypes make it easier for people to hear about women living with mental illnesses.  Men are typically seen as strong, brave, and without emotions. They grow up being told to “be a man” and that “men don’t cry.” What kind of people does this breed? This teaches young men that their feelings and emotions are things to push away and that they are bad. This teaches young men that they have nowhere to go to ask for help if they need it because they will be seen as weak, or scared. It’s stereotypes like these that seem to make it difficult for people to understand that men can and do struggle with mental illnesses.

Why do we send children into the world thinking that they will be looked down upon or seen as less than for reaching out for help? Why do we do this and then wonder why they encounter problems?

This is something that I struggle to grasp. Mental illness does not discriminate when it comes to the people it affects, men and women can and do both suffer from all mental illnesses- and we know this. We have been shown the statistics, and we have heard people speak out. So why do we continue to perpetuate stereotypes that encourage men to hide their problems in secret?

In recent years, there has been an onslaught of women of notoriety coming forward with their stories of living with mental illness. While there have been a few men of similar statuses to share their own stories, there seems to be a far smaller amount. Where is the voice for men’s mental health? Where is the voice telling men that feelings are okay and that it’s okay to cry or ask for help? Where is the voice telling them that those stereotypes, and those moulds they were told to fit into are wrong? Where is the voice telling them that their feelings are valid and that they are just as worthy of support as anyone else and that if they reach out for support it doesn’t make them less of a man?

I don’t know where the voice is that can give us an updated definition of a man, but for the world’s sake, I hope we find it soon.

The Queen of the Castle

I sat in my tower, 
way up high
and I watched the scene
with a smile on my face. 

I watched the bridges 
of our past
go up in flames. 

I smiled because
even though you lit
the matches and started 
the fires all those
years ago, 
I threw gas on our fucking 
bridges, and I was happy
to watch them burn
worse than the hell
they were made of.

The Self Care Paradigm

Have you heard the term self care? What does it mean to you? Do you think of face masks, shopping, pedicures, and bubble baths? Do you think of seemingly simple things, like brushing your hair, eating breakfast, brushing your teeth, going to the doctor, or doing laundry? Chances are, when you hear the term self care you think of the former as opposed to the latter, but what if I were to tell you that the latter is in fact sometimes more important than the former?

When I was in school for my undergrad in social service work, I had many professors talk to us about the concept of self care, and usually to them it included things like watching a movie, eating their favourite snack, or having a glass of wine. Now don’t get me wrong, I love all of those things, but hearing this from so many people caused me to buy into the notion that self care is glamorous and fun. I love a bubble bath and a face mask as much (probably more) than the next person, but what I have learned in recent months is that sometimes self care is so much more than that.

In recent months, my definition of self care has drastically changed. I now consider my self care to be things that are bettering me and my life, and that truly benefit me. I used to think that self care had to be fun and a treat, but I’ve learned recently that the stuff that really matters for my self care usually is not fun. For me now, self care is things like trying to wash my hair more than once a week, brushing my teeth twice a day, keeping my room clean(ish), doing laundry on a regular basis, going to therapy, going to doctor’s appointments, and yes… even the occasional bubble bath.

To sum it up, my definition of self care has now grown to mean that I do things that I need to do but that my depression/anxiety/body image issues make it hard for me to do. I push myself to do the things that my mind tries to tell me aren’t worth it or are too hard to get done. I still like to treat myself to things every once in a while, but I now feel that for me, self care goes a bit deeper than that.

Self care isn’t glamorous. To put it simply, it is taking care of yourself, and if that means doing the bare minimum when it comes to some things (like cleaning, or exercising or hygiene) but pushing myself to do that bare minimum, then you bet your ass I’m going to be proud of myself for pushing to get there.

Self care looks different to everyone, but I urge you to not get caught up in the notion that you have to treat yourself like a movie star in order to achieve it. Sometimes you just need to make sure you treat yourself like a human; and not only is that good enough, it’s pretty damn great.