Closing the Door on Cycle 4 2011

By Aryssah Stankevitsch

Last time, the Cycle 4 Team and I were continuing our journey across Canada –remaining kilometers: 1500, Toronto to Digby. We had already completed roughly 5500 from British Columbia. So no sweat, right?

Well, no. There was sweat. Plenty of it. Half of the reason cyclists always wear glasses is to avoid rain, bugs or dirt in their eyes. The other half is to avoid sweat splashing from the rider in front of them.

No matter the amount of perspiration, the next few hundred kilometers would be extremely special for me. I was fortunate enough to bike through my hometown in Toronto’s east end, and enjoy seeing all the places that have meaning to me; my grandparents’ street, the Tim Horton’s where I usually meet friends, the mall where I had my first job.

My second “hometown” of Kingston, where I spend more than half the year as a student at Queen’s was also one of our stops. To see my friends and family welcoming me home, in both cities, just spurred me on to pedal faster and harder for the last few legs of our ride into Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

I can firmly say that no other region [...] continue the story

The Journey Continues

By Michelle Lemme

A major part of my journey back to mental health is “self care” which includes dragging myself to the hospital every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning to attend/participate in Day Treatment.  Wednesday’s tend to be the most draining, as we cover self-esteem, depression and anxiety. One thing I now know to be true is that you can be depressed and not have low self- esteem, however people who suffer from low self-esteem almost always suffer from depression.   I happen to be one of the unfortunate ones to have low self-esteem, depression and severe anxiety.

Honestly, if you were to meet me or ask anyone who knows me, to describe me, they would not use the words “low self-esteem“; which makes me feel all the more like an”impostor”, which, it turns out is one of the many aspects or types of anxiety that I suffer from. Needless to say, I am learning a great deal about myself.

At the heart of self-esteem lies the central bottom line or core beliefs that we have about ourselves. These are almost always deep-seated, basic, negative beliefs about ourselves and the kind of person we are.  These beliefs are the result of experiences in our lives, particularly those that occurred in early life. [...] continue the story

What is Major Depression?

By Michelle Lemme

Webster’s dictionary defines major depression as “a mood disorder having a clinical course involving one or more episodes of serious psychological depression lasting two or more weeks each with no intervening episodes of mania”.

I realized, only recently, that what happened in May (see blog archive) was, in fact, my fifth episode of major depression, this time with psychotic features. My first episode occurred when my girls were just 2 and 6 months old. My then and now ex-husband confessed to me that he had been having an affair, on and off, with his best friend’s wife for the better part of our 6 year marriage (wonderful news for my already low self esteem).  His confession came just as I was returning to work after having our second daughter and 2 years after I lost my father to cancer (while I was pregnant) at the young age of 60.  I felt completely alone, isolated and ashamed.  I was embarrassed and scared; I could see no way to survive outside of the marriage and so I stayed, despite ongoing and continuous “mental abuse” suffered at the hands of my narcissistic husband; I could see no financial way for me to leave him and take care of my young children. I stayed [...] continue the story

Into the Dark

By Michelle Lemme

Friends,

Thank you all for your positive thoughts and prayers during, what has been the most difficult period of my life.   I will do my utmost to provide you with an informative and accurate picture of what recently took place and where, in my journey, I am at the moment.  What I cannot do, is provide you with an accurate depiction of our lives with my 20 year old daughter (SA) for the better part of the last 7 years.

I was officially hospitalized on May 2nd, committed to the psychiatric ICU; I was admitted after having been brought to emergency, for the third time.  At that point, I was absolutely positive, in my mind, that my youngest daughter (LA) and husband were trying to kill me in an effort to cover up, that it was really LA who had done all of the really awful things that my oldest child had done herself and our family.

Believe me, I was unable to articulate any of this “crazy” thinking to my sobbing 18 year old child and loving husband.  Both of them just knew that I needed to go to the hospital.

We were still reeling when after a brief encounter with [...] continue the story