when you can’t be in crisis.

I wish that I could accept support when it was offered to me. I’m engaging in a lot of behaviours, even as I reassure all of my friends that I am completely fine; that I am in a good space to be the support.

Some context is that for the past 3ish months, I have been the main support of some close friends. And I have done as much as possible to do this. For the past month specifically, I have held myself together in order to hold all of them together. And it’s exhausting. It wasn’t until this weekend that I realized I couldn’t keep going like this.

I have what’s called Dysthymia or what some call “High-Functioning Depression” and oh I am so high-functioning. So much that I like to deny it most of the time but I recognize the dangers of that because of the lack of care I have towards myself. For the past month, I have been doing everything at 100% full-throttle in fear that someone may see through a crack or I may have too much time to think. Basically, if I’m not moving forward or being productive, I’m not doing anything worthwhile.

So imagine the dangers of when your friends are in crisis and you put all of your mental strength into supporting them because it’s all you know how to do and then you are running low on steam but have a full time placement (starting tomorrow) AND a part time job and parents to keep happy and friends to reassure. Would you be able to do it all? Probably not…

Yet here I am, trying to do it all. And I am breaking. I have not been in crisis for months…minus one night when my drug use got really bad.

For the first month or so after treatment, I was living with my parents and spent most of my time in bed with little to no energy.  And then I left for the youth shelter where I spent most of my time sleeping in a commons area or searching for jobs…and using drugs. And then I moved back to my parents for 2 weeks and forced myself to get a part time job so that I had a reason to leave the house and I was miserable. And then I moved back into the shelter, worked my job, used almost everyday, and supported my friends. And then I quit my job, began using everyday…basically, got introduced to harder drugs; used to not feel and then crashed so badly that I would use right after. And then I applied for a full time job training/placement program, slept everyday, and tried to cut down on using. Eventually, I got so high that I couldn’t feel my face because it was so numb from being so high…it was terrifying.

And then I got sober because of the job program, because my friends needed me, because I was so tired of trying to numb everything and FINALLY had some goals.

Here is my current list of goals:

  • College in the Fall (2018)
  • Recovery from my eating disorder
  • Housing/Save for an apartment
  • Hold at least 1 job
  • Continue photography
  • Work for at least 1 publication
  • Rebuild my relationship w/ parents
  • Work through trauma
  • Visit my grandfather
  • Stay out of the hospital

Seems pretty easy but it’s actually terrifying how difficult this feels right now. I feel like I’m climbing the side of a cliff. I can’t be in crisis because others need me right now. I hate when people ask me what I need because I honestly don’t know. I can’t express my depressive thoughts because they don’t exist. My passive suicidal thoughts are second nature to me at this point. Nothing is changing but I have to stay okay because I don’t know what else to do.

Here are some webpages that might help you understand what this is like or maybe you can relate to:

What Are the Signs of ‘High-Functioning’ Depression and Could You Have It?

Read This If You Say ‘I’m Okay’ (And You’re Not, Really) Because You Don’t Want To Be A Burden

The Dangers Of High-Functioning Depression And Anxiety




When I was in grade 12, I missed four months to attend a day treatment program at the local hospital. I can’t decide if the worst thing was the meals we were forced to eat or the groups we were forced to sit through. My least favourite group was called Coping With Chaos because we had to role-play scenarios we faced outside of program.


According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Chaos is defined as:

a state of utter confusion OR a confused mass or mixture

These days, I’m not sure where I stand with coping. I definitely know where the chaos lies though. Everyday feels chaotic but that’s probably an exaggeration. Being realistic and taking a step back, I know that things are tough right now because the semester is ending, finals are in 2 weeks, and I have so much to do. Not the forget the fact that I have a “planned” relapse in the works; or not….

Coping Strategies. They come in all types of themes. There are the strategies where you sit down and comfort yourself but there are also the coping strategies where you push out of the comfort zone and complete something. I guess it also depends on what you are coping with. Here are some coping strategies that I have tried to use in the past.

1. Log out of social media, put on your favourite playlist (currently) and have a 10-sec dance party to let go off stress.

2. Snuggle up under the covers with Netflix and a cup of hot chocolate/tea.

3. Set a timer and see how many sudoku puzzles can be completed in 20 min. (My current score: 15)

4. Take a shower.

5. Get outside and walk to the park for a bit.

6. Block all distraction websites and write 2 pages of an assignment.

7. Clean your room.

8. Edit photos.

9. Watch funny/cute animal videos (x, x, x, x) or this.

10. Hold ice cubes in your hands.

11. Reach out to a friend or hotline (x, x, x)

You can find more resources here.


it’s true. i’m mental.

Mental. Health.

When brought up, these two words instil a fear. You can see it in the persons eyes, their body language. Have you listened to the talking in a room stop? Have you felt everyone’s eyes on you? Have you wanted to scream at them? Tell them to turn around? Same.

I guess it makes sense. The stigma around mental illness is so large these days. We spend these special days like ‘#BellLetsTalk’ or ‘#NEDAW’ or ‘#NSPW’ trying to battle the stigma but that’s not going to change much. My mental health doesn’t just show up on days when it chooses to be heard. It’s heard all the time. Most of the time, it’s the centre of attention, the prima ballerina while we dance through the Nutcracker over and over again. It’s exhausting. My mental health is exhausting.

Often people tell me they understand. And they do. Sort of. They understand the parts that I choose to share with the universe but really, it’s not that much. My mind is lock and key. I am not sure what is acceptable to share these days. My constant fear is triggering someone else so I don’t share. The fears eat me alive almost as much as bottling it all up does. And most of the time this ends with me bursting at the seems, full of too much.

Too much hurt. Too much anger. Too much.

I’ve been fighting my mental health for almost seven years now and it hasn’t gotten much easier. I’ve overcome the impulsivity of just turning to self-harm the moment something difficult happens however I still don’t get out of bed before noon because my mind is exhausted. I don’t eat three meals a day and I’m lucky if I manage to get in one. Food is a constant topic on my mind. My jeans seem to fit one day and not the next. I am happy one day and not the next. I can get out of bed one day and not the next.

Some say that medication is the way to go. For others, it’s exercise and meditation. For me, it’s freedom. Not being stuck. A simple idea right? Wrong. I am constantly stuck. Stuck living at home with a curfew. Stuck going to school for a degree I no longer want or can enjoy. Stuck in a place I don’t want to live. I want to travel the world and tour with bands and open my own music venue and find peace within myself but right now? All I’ve got is my mental illness. A tasking thought that I try to push away with everyday that I move forward.

Resources in Toronto seem to be difficult to find. Especially once you turn 19 and you are an “adult”. The world gets turn upside down all over again and you are left to fend for yourself. Practitioners won’t force you to go into anywhere. They will leave you until you are sure want help and with mental illness? When do you really ever want help? THE WHOLE TIME BUT YOUR MIND HAS A MIND OF ITS OWN AND IT FIGHTS YOU ON EVERYTHING. Trust me when I say that I know.

I recently came across a post in the Bunz Mental Health Zone on Facebook and thought I would share this here. It’s a list with an interactive map of mental health resources in Toronto. It’s accurate and helpful. Check it out, here.

header by: hana