Listened as someone I love told a doctor that they wanted to die.

Sat beside someone I love as they were told it was a miracle they were still alive given their level of substance abuse.

Co-signed a mortgage to help someone I love leave an abusive relationship.

Weathered a broken heart as they went back to their abuser.

Visited someone I love in jail.

Helped someone I love write a pardon letter . . . at work . . . while my colleagues teased me about being a workaholic when I said I had “one more thing to get done” before I would join them at our office holiday party.

Got too involved.

Got not involved enough.

Got too involved again.

Got not . . .

Felt:

alone.

scared

anxious

helpless.

Harboured a level of on-again, off-again resentment tied to a level of on-again, off-again self-judgement that I work hard to manage, but is often bigger than I know how to handle.

Raised awareness.

Raised money.

Raised hell.

To get those I love the help they need.

Because while I am so grateful for the many caring and committed professionals who have helped the people I love, I also know — as does anyone who has navigated the mental health and addiction system in Canada — that the wait times are far too long, and the level of crisis needed to get the system to kick in is far too high.

Cried.

Cried some more.

Couldn’t cry anymore.

While sitting in the waiting room of an emergency department in a mental health hospital holding her hand and thinking, unaccountably, “I was supposed to go to the farmer’s market tonight and cook a big meal. Now what am I going to eat all week?”

Sought counselling.

Sought supports.

Helped others to seek counselling and supports.

At 3 am on a Friday night while volunteering on a crisis line.

In my own network of family and friends —who sometimes need to be nudged to reach out for professional help, and sometimes just need a really big hug and for someone to say, “I understand. You’re not alone.”

Talked about it.

Because you’re not alone.

And neither am I.

[Things I have done because of the mental health and addiction issues in my family.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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