Dear Nicole Arbour…

Trigger warning: depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, foul language, whiny memories from being bullied in my childhood.

By now you all know about my demons I suffer from. I am an advocate for mental health awareness. I am pro-pharma. When people say “big pharma…” I shake my head and that’s the end of that conversation for me.

Yesterday I watched a video that a friend shared on Facebook. I try to avoid people like Nicole Arbour because of their PHDs from the university of google make their heads so big that pure fucking garbage spews from their mouths.

I tried so hard to ignore this video because I knew she would just upset me, yet I eventually clicked on it anyway.

I can admit that she has some valid points on “how to not be depressed!!”

  • Remove toxic relationships
  • If your job doesn’t make you happy, find one that does
  • Be honest and surround yourself with honest people
  • Exercise
  • Socialize

But then she said it is my choice to be depressed. That maybe people like me just like to be the victim. That is the farthest thing from the truth. In my head the only thing playing when I see her is “she ain’t pretty, she just looks that way!” Her personality is as ugly as her opinions.

All my life I have had anxiety and depression. Who knows why? I never talked about it as a kid so I guess my parents never thought to get me help.

Here are some of my adult thoughts as to why I think my life turned out the way it did:

I was bullied a lot growing up. I was a year younger than everyone else in my class because I started school early in Alberta and later moved back to Ontario (worst decision my father ever made). Here my peers bullied me for things I couldn’t control; how skinny and lanky I was, how much body hair I had that wasn’t growing on my head, and my name (I always secretly despised my parents for giving me a first name that was so old fashioned, followed by a middle name that no one could ever pronounce unless they actually knew how to say it). I shook off most of it.

(Picture circa when I was 10 or 11 years old).

My personal favourites in my highlight real include:

  • Being cornered and told that I was so skinny that I was going to die soon. (Bitch, please! I could out eat a teenage boy in any eating competition and still have room for more.)
  • Having the lasting nickname “Medusa,” extra emphasis on the DU. Losers. They came up with that one because I have slightly curly hair that frizzes to no end in humidity. It also kinda sounds like my middle name which I went by at that point in time. I’m in my twenties now and a few years back I saw one of these winners who still referred to me as Medusa. At least then I could laugh and actually tell them to grow the fuck up to their face.
  • Sitting outside on the playground, reading a book, and having a boy come up to me, get in my face, and scream “YOU’RE RIGHT! SHE DOES HAVE A MOUSTACHE!!!” That was the day I got my first lip wax, 13 years ago – age 10.
  • Not being able to walk down the street without older girls referring to me as “Gorilla.”
  • Walking past a group of boys only to hear giggling and one say “yep, there goes the lead star of planet of the apes!”

( yup, they nailed that one for sure!!)

I will admit that I was an annoying child. So I guess I brought the negative attention on myself despite the fact that I just wanted friends.

Despite the fact that I have mad social anxiety from my childhood, I rally. You wouldn’t know it if you saw me. Yet when I finally let someone in now, close enough to call them my friend, I always wonder how I am going to fuck it up or if their intentions are true. C’est la vie, I guess.

When I was 12 though, my Dad had a mental break. He was a soldier and peacekeeper. He stayed strong long enough to get us where we needed to be. That was the year my Mom had a breast cancer scare, that pushed him over the edge. After that I had to step up. I took care of my brother while my Mom worked two jobs. I made sure everything was done before I went to bed. I always made sure that my Dad was okay. I stayed strong for everyone. Things weren’t always positive at that time, but we made it through.

Being from a small town, public school was rough. It was the same people day in and day out. High school though, I loved it! They sent me to the city and there was so many new people. I think my graduating class in 2011 had over 200 people. It was great. Everyone had their niche. There were so many new boys to crush on and the Internet was in its prime ( or so I thought). I thrived in high school. My depression got put on the back burner, only coming up again when I got home from school and had to turn into Mom 2.0.

I was still the weird girl in high school but I just took that as a badge of honour. I didn’t let people get to me. I made friends and got average grades. I “loved” one boy from the beginning to the end. At first he didn’t acknowledge me. None of the boys did in a serious, romantic, way. In our senior year I spent every free moment I had with him in school and we chatted on MSN through the evenings. I thought it was the start of something until another guy friend told me that (let’s call him Romeo) Romeo told him that he would never date me because I was too skinny. 6 feet tall, 115lbs, and flat as a board. I get it now, I wasn’t the typical teenage material for a wet dream. It still hurt though.

(Dad and I, Cuba 2009)

Despite the influx of hormones and physical changes, I managed to get through high school unscathed, my depression dipped and off I went to university at the ripe age of 17.

I was so not ready for university at 17. I made one choice in particular that opened my rabbit hole nice and wide with just enough room to spartan kick me in. When you are neglected emotionally by the opposite sex during your prime years of puberty, you take the first chance you can get – even if that chance is a 5’6 narcissistic, cheating bastard who was 4 years older and had no moral compass when it came to psychological abuse. I managed to cut that off after a year of my life had been sucked away. It was then that I was at the end of my rope, unmedicated still, and having urges to throw myself in front of the city bus. Everything was always my fault. By that time Romeo resurfaced. I guess you could say we dated for a few weeks and things were amazing. Everything was perfect and it felt like a dream. Then the previously mentioned bastard snuck back and ruined my chances with Romeo. I still hate myself for that. I have anxiety when I think about it, but you can’t change the past.

I promise, I’m almost at the end of my tale. I mean, I’m only 23.

In that sinking ship I called my love life, I met my “Husband” a month later and it has been smooth sailing ever since. Thank fucking god.

(Top circa 2013, bottom circa 2017)

Mind you, at that point I still wasn’t being treated for anxiety or depression.

For the remaining 4ish years of university, things were good. Every so often I would dip into depression but my “Husband” always pulled me out.

Then. I got pregnant. You wanna talk hormones? You don’t know hormones until you are in teacher’s college, sleep deprived, food deprived ( pregnant and only available to small meals is not a good thing), being taught by pompous professors degrading your every thought, and growing a small human who pulls every heart string and pushes every rage button. Nevertheless, I never used my pregnancy as an excuse and I motored on. At 5.5months pregnant and 1 week away from graduation, I got kicked out of teacher’s college. No one ever said it out loud. They called me “unprofessional” for forgetting important paperwork, for losing my positivity, for being angry at my superior “mentors” when they didn’t pay attention but then deemed me “incapable” for “not doing” the things they didn’t see because they were too busy gabbing about their upcoming holidays. The last one wasn’t my fault at all, but if you put two and two together – my pregnancy ended my teaching career.

I was bedridden for 2 weeks. I cried for two weeks straight. The doctors wanted to put me on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds. I refused to keep my son from having to go through withdrawal at birth. Things were really bad for me, but I didn’t need to add guilt of an infant going through withdrawal because of me onto the list of things why I hated myself.

Once my son was born. It was the beginning of the end. Within 3 weeks, post partum depression set in and I went downhill fast. If we hadn’t of intervened with medication, I don’t want to think about what would’ve happened. My son deserved a better mother in my eyes, I was ready to force myself out of the picture so my “Husband” could find another more capable individual who could care for our son. Yet my “Husband” and my family rallied for me. They did not leave me alone to give myself the chance. They held me up when I needed it. The meds began to work and I got a job. Getting a job meant time in an adult only restaurant work environment with a bomb diggity co-worker. I began to find myself again. I became a better mother with those few hours away from him. I then started my own business, left my old job, and have never looked back.

I see a psychiatrist now who told me I had severe depression, that the meds my family doctor gave me were simply patting me on the back. He gave me a higher dose. Now I’m on the second highest amount you can take and I finally feel like myself again!

But it’s all in my head right? I can fix this without medication? All I need to do is exercise ✅, socialize ✅, get a job I love ✅, and surround myself with people who are positive and supportive ✅, right?

Then why was it that the day before last, I missed a dosage of my happy pills because I forgot to refill my prescription, and as a result I had the biggest anxiety attack of my life? I haven’t cried in almost a year and yet last night I bawled like a baby with no control of my thoughts or tears.

The medication doesn’t work right? It’s all in my head, right? I’m just playing the victim and looking for attention, right?

Dear Nicole Arbour and people who think like Nicole Arbour;

Shut the fuck up! You don’t know what the hell you are talking about.

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