So You Think You Know Me? Mental Health & Her Many Masks

Posted by Heather Kehoe on Monday, April 27th, 2020 at 2:07pm.

I’m back!!! How is everyone doing? I hope everyone is hanging in there—I know it has been a wild couple of months! Who knew 2020 would start off as a three-ring shit storm? Aside from the obvious pandemic pandemonium, there has been a lot of emotion and energy flowing, both positive and negative. Social media has been out of control, mainstream media is now only about 50% believable, and people have shown their true colors. 

If you are anything like me, you may have realized that any crisis either brings out the best or the worst in people and, let me tell you, there are some of you that I would definitely want as my wingman going into battle. On the other hand, though, there are also some that if I never speak to them again...well, it will be too soon. 

There is so much negativity, fear, and anger right now and it has gotten to the point where some people just shut down and internalize everything. This my friends, is a ticking time bomb for those with mental health issues.

Wired But Tired

Anyone who knows me, understands that I am a huge advocate for mental health. I have been on my own “awakening journey” for many years, but I can honestly say that 2010 is when shit really hit the fan. Back then, I really thought I had it all together—I had a beautiful family, a gorgeous house, a great career, a decent marriage, lots of friends, and money in the bank. On the outside, everything looked perfect. But on the inside—and I mean inside my heart, soul and mind—it was anything BUT perfect. 

Have you ever heard the term “wired but tired?” It’s basically when you are running full speed ahead but burning the hell out of your adrenal glands. Your cortisol levels are at an all-time high which literally burns out your nervous system. I started waking up in the middle of the night short of breath with my heart racing out of my chest, but just chalked it up to nightmares. I later learned that these were panic attacks. 

I had ringing in my ears, was severely irritable, and could not fall asleep. But, like many, I pushed on and chose to ignore all of these signs and symptoms that something was wrong. But, let me tell you something—the universe God, or whatever you want to call it, is only going to give you so many warning signals. And if you choose to ignore them, then they will take you down and they take you down hard.

The Take Down

I remember it like it was yesterday. I went to the gym in the morning like I did every day before and, as I was leaving, a guy backed into me. This was the moment everything changed.

The small accident triggered something in my body to send me into a downward spiral. I completely lost all control and started bawling like a baby. I cried all the way home, and when I got into the shower, I cried even more. That day, I cried harder than I had before in my life. It was as if years of tears, trauma, and emotion had all bubbled to the surface and were overflowing at rapid speed. And the only thing I could do was pull myself together just enough to make a call to my husband to ask him to take me to the doctor because I knew that something was very wrong.

Soul-Searching & Accepting Help

“Depression. Anxiety. Nervous Breakdown.” Those words rang in my ear. Say what? What the hell are you talking about? There is no way someone like me could have gone off the deep end. It must be a brain tumour, an autoimmune disease, an allergy to gluten—anything but a mental illness!

My doctor knew I was not ready to take his advice or the medication and he knew me well enough to know that I needed to do my own research and soul-searching to get the answers I needed. He wished me well and told me he was available at any time if I changed my mind. So off I went—paranoid, depressed, anxious, and determined to prove him wrong.

Here is the coles-notes version of that year:

I met every holistic practitioner known to mankind.

I met with shamans, priests, herbalists, and neurologists (because I swore it was a brain tumour causing this). 

I had live blood analysis and colonics (which I definitely do not recommend, lol).

I met mediums, had reiki, bodytalk, and numerous other body treatments.

I spent months locked in my house because I was afraid people were after me.

I couldn't eat and had no appetite.

I had horrific hallucinations.

My nervous system was so screwed up that it hurt to hear.

I couldn’t cope with even the simplest of tasks.

I had family come stay with me because they were afraid for both my safety and that of my girls.

I had appointments with psychologists and psychiatrists.

I had the darkest, most horrific thoughts running through my head 24/7.

I almost swerved in front of a semi...over and over again.

It was like I was living in a bubble and everything was going on around me but voices were muffled—like I was watching my life from another person’s view.

I was messed right the hell up and it was scary.

One night, after about a year since my first trip to the doctor, I remember lying on the bathroom floor, crying and yelling hysterically at God to take away the pain. To please end this personal hell I was living in. I cried, I screamed and then something inside me told me that I had done all I could and it was time to start my life again. So, the next morning, I finally went back to my doctor. He smiled and asked, “Are you ready for me to help you now?” My answer? “YES!”

Lifting the Fog & Becoming Heather

About 3 months later, with the help of my friend Effexor, the fog slowly started to lift and everything started to clear. My emotions started to balance, sleep came back, and so did my appetite. But I knew that in order to truly “come out on the other side,” I still needed to do some major soul-searching, as I still felt like I was keeping something buried.

For my 12th grade graduation, my Dad gave me a bracelet, and inscribed on the back of it was, “Always be true to yourself.” I knew that in order to be my truest, most authentic self, I needed to make some changes. So, I used all the tools I had learned throughout the past year to meditate and really challenge myself to be Heather.

I ended my marriage of 13 years, I got rid of many so-called “friends”, I changed careers, and I confronted family and friends who had hurt me, either making peace or severing ties. 

I started to tap into my intuition and not just follow the masses. I started to study energy and subconscious work, and I learned to protect my energy and delete the energy vampires from my life.

Fast forward to 9 years later, I am married to an amazing man who loves me for who I am, not what he wants me to be. I am part of a wonderfully chaotic blended family that I absolutely love. I have a successful career as a Saskatoon real estate agent and many new adventures coming my way. 

I live a life with zero tolerance for bullshit, fake people, liars, and energy vampires. I speak my truth, which might piss some people off, but we were not put on this earth to please everyone. I speak open and honestly about my “mental breakthrough” to my kids, friends, family, and strangers. Not everyone likes me and I am okay with that because I don’t like everyone. I know how to manage stress, how to cope with adversity, and how to protect my energy. Every day I take time to meditate, be grateful, exercise, read, and learn. And sure, there are some days I feel nuttier than squirrel shit, but that is okay.

I am thankful for 2010 because it was both the worst and best year of my life. I am thankful for everyone I met on my journey, as you each helped me in your own way and I am forever grateful. My life has been changed for the better.

 

So you see, mental illness can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. I am thankful everyday that even in my darkest hours—and there were many—that I had my 2 beautiful daughters who gave me a glimmer of hope that I could get my quality of life back. 

Everyone has a story and it’s okay to have shitty days. But always remember that with darkness, there comes light, and there is always hope. Be who YOU are, not who the world wants you to be! You can only pretend for so long!

Speak your truth, honour your soul, and keep kicking ass! 

xo 

Heather

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