So if you’re out there barely hanging on;

Yes, the title of this blog post is a Nickelback reference. I was just listening to Lullaby so maybe that’s why I’m so sappy currently. Also, I just really love Nickelback 💕

Hi, everyone!

Wow, it’s been so long since I last blogged. I can’t believe it. I’ve been super busy with work and school and just haven’t had a spare moment to sit down and write a blog post.

I’m one course away from my communications degree! It’s been a long road, almost 5 years of post secondary, but in that time, I have gotten my journalism diploma (with honours) and have almost reached my goal of my communications degree.

I’m writing this blog post not only for myself but also for anyone else who is struggling with the same things that I am.

The idea for this post came from when I was swiping my way through Tinder. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I actually use Tinder but hey, it’s 2018.

So anywho, I swiped right on very few men. Maybe like 5 or 6 and I think only 1 was a match. And they must have unmatched me right away because the little red notification dot at the top right disappeared a few moments after matching.

I don’t know why I use Tinder, to be honest. It’s a bit degrading and I just don’t thing it’s a highly reputable place to meet men. But I digress.

For those of you who have never read my blog before, I have a rare neurological condition called Moebius Syndrome. It causes me to have facial paralysis, along with a speech impediment.

Dating apps are generally not kind to who of us who look different. These apps are so superficial and generally based on how good looking you are. They’re pretty demoralizing because people are so shallow. I guess I’m bitter.. does my bitterness show through? Haha.

Anyway, swiping through Tinder and I just thought, as I do many times a week, will I ever find someone who can look past the Moebius? Someone who won’t judge solely based on appearance? Time and my life experiences have told me no, but I keep opening these apps hoping to be proven wrong. I mean, being single is good because I can do whatever I want whenever I want and have no one to answer to but I guess having a partner would be nice. Someone to travel and see the world with. Someone to watch sunsets with. Someone to just be with, someone to love. Someone to do little things with, like go to movies or for dinner. My friends are the best ever, but there comes a time in life where you find yourself wanting more. I feel like most men judge women based on appearance alone and it grinds my gears. Is there someone out there who will love/want me for me, who I am and what I stand for? I have big dreams and ambitions and I want someone who will help me chase them.

Another disappointment as of late has been job hunting. I’ve had 5-6 interviews and they haven’t ended that well. Interviews are a means to an end, and that end is obviously getting a job but that hasn’t happened for me yet.

I guarantee that employers are at least somewhat put off by how I look or sound. I can’t delude myself into thinking that they don’t notice my lack of facial expression, my drifting eye or my speech. I know they do. I want them to see more, though. I want them to see my passion, my ambitions and my goals. I want them to see what I, as a person, could bring to a communications team. It makes me emotional writing this because I am so angry that prejudice is still such a huge issue in our society. Okay, yes, I look a little different and sound slightly different. Yes, and I also got myself through college and university. I can write, and I know that because people tell me on the daily. They tell me that I have so much to contribute but I’m not able to because Moebius puts people off, I guess.

Just because I (or ANYONE) look different doesn’t mean that I have a mental disability. God. THAT is the prejudice that needs to go. People assume that about me all the time and it seriously makes me angry. I’m trying not to swear right now.. that’s how angry I am when I think about the prejudice that I and so many other people have faced. Educate yourselves, please. Don’t assume that because someone looks different, they must have a mental disability. That is just the worst.

Job interviews haven’t gone super well. I’m internally worried that I’ll never make it in this communications field after so many years of putting my heart and soul into post-secondary. I’m internally worried that I’ll never find someone who can look past my outward differences. I’m internally worried about having to move out in the new few months. I’m internally worried about finishing this course on time. I’m internally worried about my current job. I’m internally worried about my pony who continues to decline health-wise.

I’m internally worried about a lot of things, and very stressed out, as I know a lot of people are. Having a physical difference adds a whole other element that most people do not understand and probably never will, unless they have experienced adversity physically as well.

However, as I listen to the lyrics of Lullaby, I hear the lyrics,

“There’s no need to blow the candle out,

Cuz you’re not done, you’re far too young,

and the best is yet to come”

And I know that:

A) I am not the only one struggling right now and

B) the best is yet to come. There are so many opportunities on the horizon that I haven’t even acknowledged and I have got to keep reaching for them. It would be so easy to sit back and give up, but then what’s the point of life? You’ve got to make the most of the life that you were given and giving up hasn’t crossed my mind. I’m still putting myself out there because I know there’s a difference to be made in this world and I was given this life to make those changes. Society needs to change their views on differences and disabilities. I know that I have the life experiences to propel that change. I have to do it because I have to make my life count. What good are all these negative experiences if I don’t use them to change society for the better? There’s many things out there for me to do and even if I have to do them alone, I’m still going to do them. Because I have to make my life count for something more than just existing.

So, to anyone out there who is barely hanging on, please know that I’m here for you. I probably have been where you’ve been and I know what a struggle life can be, especially if you’ve got any kind of difference. I get it, I’ve been there.

But the best really is yet to come and there is SO much out there for all of us. We are so much more than what we look like, sound like or what people perceive us to be. We are so much more. We have so much to offer. My dream is to live in New York City and be super involved in the communications field there because to me, NYC is the journalism capital of the world. Also, I’m so in love with that city.

To my Moebius friends, I’ve definitely been where you have been or maybe where you are right now. It’s a daily struggle and I 100% get it. No one has inspired me more than the Moebius community. You guys are my family and I would not be who I am without you all. Good lord, we have so much to offer this world because we know what this world needs. It needs more compassion, tolerance and acceptance and I know that we all can teach that.

Don’t ever give up, keep fighting and know that there are people that will always be there for you.

To my amazing friends, family and support system.. you guys are the ultimate blessing and I’m so incredibly grateful to have my Global friends/mentors, my work friends, my family and my long time friends. Everyone in my life plays such an amazing role.

Let’s get out there and change the world. We all have that power. Harness it and embrace it, and the world will be better. Do good, always.

💕

🇨🇦

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The mental health stigma

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Awareness&Self Acceptance; Why these words are important to me and my journey

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Memories & Sorrow

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Mental illness doesn’t make you crazy

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Sleepless Nights, Slightly Better Days

So, I have this new thing where I can’t sleep at night. Yeah, it’s great. I’m just a university student. Why would I need sleep? I’m awake till 2 in the morning and then wake up for an hour and then get like, another hour or two of sleep. This has been the trend for the last week or so. It is really starting to get to me and I am feeling the effects of the lack of sleep. Ugh. I just want a good nights sleep!

What better to do when there’s nothing else to do than blog? I feel like I need to be blogging a lot more. It’s a way to get my thoughts and feelings out and it is so incredibly therapeutic.

Big news first: I am going to be featured in Chatelaine magazine! If you’re Canadian, you’ll have heard of it. If you’re not Canadian, Chatelaine is a women’s magazine that is published in both English and French and is a nationwide magazine. They are featuring my story about living life with Moebius syndrome. I am super excited to see the article! I had a photo shoot this morning for the magazine, and it was amazing. I felt like a famous model. My best friend, who is a hairstylist, came to do my hair for the photos and it looked fantastic. I am so excited to see the photos and the article when it is published!

Another cool thing that is happening is that I got a message on Facebook a few months ago from a girl in the journalism program at the college that I went to. She had heard about my story and wanted to know if she could do a documentary about Moebius and how it affects me for one of her courses. I obviously said yes! What a fantastic opportunity and great tool to raise awareness! i’ve met with her a few times now and she is such a lovely person to not only work with but to just hang out with. I love people that don’t judge me or treat me different upon first meeting me, and she didn’t. So, on Sunday, we went out to where I board my pony Snapple so she could film some video footage for the documentary. It was such a fun day. I got to spend it with my pony and two amazing friends. I am really lucky to have the people in my life that I do. I don’t know where I would be without my lovely friends who have never given up on me and support me no matter what. When I think that I can’t go on, they are there to tell me that I can and for that I am grateful.

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I know I mentioned this in my last post, but I am continuing to see a psychiatrist at the university. Honestly, two years ago, I would not have been able to admit that to anyone nor would I even probably be seeing him. There is still a stigma connected to mental health and while I can say that I don’t understand why, that also makes me a hypocrite. Even saying the word psychiatrist is taboo to most people, myself included. A lot of people don’t want to admit it. I don’t fully understand why it is such a taboo topic but mental health is so incredibly important, we need to bring it to the forefront. People need to know that there is NO shame in seeking help. I couldn’t do that for the longest time because of the stigma that continues to surround mental health but I finally did. I could not be happier with that decision. I am not going to lie, I have seen some pretty shitty psychiatrists. Maybe they weren’t actually shitty but I just did not get along with them and I find that chemistry is so important with therapists, psychiatrists included. If you don’t get along with someone or don’t like their vibe, you’re not going to feel comfortable talking to them. I am so incredibly lucky that the psychiatrist at the university is freaking amazing. So personable, relatable and laid back, which is honestly what I need if I am going to spill my deepest, darkest secrets to someone. I never feel judged by him, ever, even though I feel completely nuts when I tell him some of the stuff that I tell him. It’s such a relief to have someone to tell these things to, because some of the things I have said to him, I have never told anyone else. Why? Because of the stigma. I felt crazy, and honestly still do at times. I am in a constant battle with myself, day in and day out. Literally. It’s like my brain is against me. This is why I participated in the Canadian Mental Health Association’s #NowImStronger campaign, which is meant to bring mental health to the forefront of everyone’s minds and to let people know that there is no shame in talking about it. Mental health is just as, if not more, important than physical health and it is time to start openly discussing it. Everyone needs to know that if they need to seek help, there is absolutely no shame in that. I can’t stress that enough. It might take a few tries, but you will eventually find a therapist that you will connect with and who will help you immensely. I don’t know where I would be without the support of my psychiatrist and I hope he knows what a fabulously amazing person he is. I feel like I’m gushing a bit here but for real, he has changed my life and my outlook on life. I still struggle daily but just the fact that I know he’s there and knows what’s going on is a huge relief for me. How do you thank someone for giving you your life back? I feel like this is what he has done for me, despite some of the struggles that I continue to have. I’m so grateful to have someone like him in my life, i honestly can’t stress that enough. My point here is that if you need help, please seek it. Don’t ever be ashamed.

That’s what’s been going on lately. Just university stuff, and my awareness campaign for Moebius which continues with the article that will be in Chatelaine! I could not be more happy or excited.

To my friends and everyone who has supported me along the way, thank you. I would not be here without you. I would not be the person that I am. I’m proud to be on this mission to raise awareness of Moebius and that will never change.

Find your passion, have goals and never lose sight of who you are and who you can be.

Breaking the stigma

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Hey everyone.

I hesitated writing this because it’s a personal thing, but I think that the message is SO important and if I can help others by telling my story, that is what this blog is all about. I made a vow to be transparent and open when I started writing this blog so I will continue to endeavour to do so.

As some people know, I wrote an article for the Canadian Mental Health Association for their 60 Conversation in 60 Days, #NowImStronger campaign. This campaign really endeavours to raise awareness of mental health and get people talking about it. Many people suffer in silence because of the stigma attached to mental health and I really want to help break that stigma. There is NO shame in seeking help, which is something I have recently learned.

I started seeing a psychiatrist at the University. Originally, I went because I was referred to him. I didn’t want to at first, because I didn’t want to admit that I was seeing a psychiatrist. I didn’t want to admit to myself that maybe I did need help. I know the stigma; you feel embarrassed that you are seeking mental health treatment and you feel crazy. At least I did. Though, when I think about it, I’m not sure why I felt that way. I’m not sure why there is such an overt stigma surrounding mental health and seeking help. If I had cancer, I wouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed to seek treatment. It’s the same with any other physical ailment; people generally aren’t embarrassed to seek help if it’s a part of their body that needs treatment. Well, the brain IS a part of your body. It is an organ, just like any other, and sometimes, it is sick and needs treatment. I have been struggling more than anyone knows for the past few months, and I wasn’t able to tell anyone because I felt crazy, and that no one would understand. My psychiatrist knows this now and he was really thankful that I divulged to him what I was going through.

Even if you aren’t comfortable with talking face to face about your troubles, (I am absolutely NOT comfortable doing this) there are so many different ways to communicate with your therapist. What I did was I wrote a note saying everything that I needed to say that I couldn’t say to his face. At our first appointment, I didn’t divulge much but I wrote him a note afterward and dropped it off for him. At our next appointment, he was stunned and he had no idea that things were so bad and he was happy that he had the information that he needs to help me.

I won’t go into the details of my diagnosis, as that is private and I want to keep it that way but I am so incredibly glad that I did go to that initial appointment because my psychiatrist is freaking amazing. We spent the last like, 10 minutes of my appointment yesterday talking about Dr. Phil and My 600 Pound Life which, admittedly is my favourite show at the moment, He doesn’t judge me, even when I do feel completely nuts and I know that I can tell him anything which, believe me, is extremely gratifying. To be able to get something off your chest that you’ve been carrying alone for so long is almost freeing. I still struggle but I am so, so glad that I have him to go to.

My message is that there is absolutely no shame in seeking help or treatment. Your mental health is just as, if not more, important than your physical health. We need to break down this stigma surrounding mental health and let people know that it’s absolutely okay to talk in the open about it. If we start the conversation, people will continue talking and that is the best way to break the stigma.

Continue talking about it, and never feel shame in seeking help. It will change your life for the better.