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Mental Health Awareness: Don’t Let A Diagnosis Define You


Originally posted on “Bell Let’s Talk” day January 29, 2020 to my private community for Soulpreneurs, Coaches, Activists and Seekers – check it out, read this post and comment below what it means to and for you. We’re here to learn and grow together and can’t do that if we don’t connect! Let’s Talk!

Last year I went through the craziest time in my life to date, pun fully intended.

On September 26 (ironically, my original due date) my experience with the Mental Health Act began and lasted until October 15 when friends brought me home and I spent 4 nearly sleepless nights getting off the medications I’d reluctantly taken for my two week involuntary stay. I had realized early on that if I didn’t play by their rules I didn’t think I would be getting out of there so I took the pills, attended the programming, let them check my vitals, and cooperated with room check ups every 15 minutes or so.

I may have just been paranoid or maybe I was right? My strategy for getting out was to learn the rules of my environment and to play by those standards and expectations to the best of my ability, without compromising my dignity, like we do in our ‘regular’ lives too!

While I was in there I saw several professionals who made their own hypothesis’ about me and one of the Doctors at the first hospital, whose name I didn’t catch, suggested that I look into Dr. Grof’s work in Holotropic Breathwork® for the ‘trippy’ experiences this type of altered state can create, such as enhanced clarity that seems mad in the confused world we live in.

I can only speak for myself but I remember being in the psychotic or super manic part of my ‘awakening’ and getting locked on the ever-present fight for territory between the fearfull and the faithfull.

In the end I was discharged against Doctor’s recommendation so received no follow up support, apart from my Psychiatrist’s personal guarantee that I was going to fail if I went off the medication he had prescribed and that I should stay in-patient longer. His blatant declaration that I would fail to self-regulate and that I would find myself right back where I was when I entered was not helpful but his diagnosis of bi-polar was and it explained some things I hadn’t been able to fully understand about myself during my teens and twenties.

It also made it easier for me to access services and when you’re in crisis that’s exactly what you want and need, but often can’t get quickly, in a system that is backlogged and waitlisted for weeks and months at a time. The wait times were especially shocking to me when I’d tried to get help for depression brought on by my circumstances in May 2019 but that’s a topic for another day.

My experience in the mental health system was an eye opener to say the least, and if we were connected during the time of my ‘unraveling’ then you’d have seen it live because I did several Facebook Live videos whilst in the first (Simcoe) and third (Hamilton) hospital where I stayed… videos which I deleted a month later upon the urging of a well intended loved one but for which I kick myself for not downloading and saving access to; I’d recorded those videos as much for others to see what I was going through as it was for me to be able to look back and see what I went through and how I viewed it at the time. Such a shame to have lost such valuable ‘evidence’ after having done the damage of recording them in the first place but what is done is done…

I learned, grew and gained a lot of awareness about the nature of institutions whilst held as an involuntary patient for two and a half weeks under the Mental Health Act and during my stay I took what the Doctor prescribed because a Pharmacist friend said the dose was too low to have any significant effects right away, and because I knew that if I didn’t cooperate it was within their power to restrain me and force the medication into me. But it fortunately never came to that and the moment I knew I was eligible for release I stopped taking them. I made that Psychiatrist right 11 days after my release from Hamilton St. Joseph’s Mood Disorders Program and checked myself into a different hospital (this time Brantford General) to get a new prescription, hoping for a faster solution than what rebuilding my life was proving to be,  but stopped taking those ones two weeks later too and haven’t been taking any prescription drugs since (nor had I before that experience).

I have been doing my best to learn about bi-polar and how to better self-regulate, and I’m doing well. I can also tell when things start changing and it’s usually because I’m not getting enough sleep or looking after myself well enough. These things I can look after without medical assistance.

I don’t believe disorganized thinking should be treated with emotion suppressants that numb us instead of helping us make sense of the stories those emotions bring up in us. I do believe medication has a place in some people’s care plan, but I also think it’s far too easy to get prescribed a suppressant when energy work and talk therapy can be drastically more effective, on their own or in tandem.

All of that said though, and despite this message being about my experience in the mental health system, what I hope was that it’s clear that despite the diagnosis I have not let it define me, and neither can you.

We are wholly beings having a human experience and sometimes the mind takes us to interesting places. Learning techniques we can use in those moments helps bring us back to the present, as does having access to a community of people who can support us through it like you now have here. Welcome!!

Comment below what you got from this message or be brave and share your own experience with the mental health system below. It might help me or someone else reading it more than you could possibly know, so just give it a go and know that every time we write or share our story we learn more about ourselves and it in the process.

Blessings + Namaste,

Laura JeH – The light in me honours the light in you <3

PS. This message was originally posted on “Bell Let’s Talk” day January 29, 2020 to my private community for Soulpreneurs, Coaches, Activists and Seekers ready to connect with other high level thinkers about relevant topics like #mentalhealth #selfimage #selfbelief #selfawareness #consciousness #conscience #culture #community #leadership #empowerment and the like… there will be courses and opportunities to work with me on a deeper level in group or privately too so please bookmark the page and come back often! It’s time to start a full-out conversation about what really matters in life! #bellletstalk

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