Paramedic Nat

A Blog About a Paramedic's Mental Health Journey


January 27, 2016

From My Rock, Mandy


My sister-in-law Mandy, is my rock. But she’s not like any rock! She is the kind of rock you find while you’re alone on a beach and the sun reflects off of it just the right way for you to be able to find it. She’s beautiful, and doesn’t ever push her way onto the shore. She is content with shining in the background, compassionately allowing the other rocks to enjoy the view too. Peacefully glistening on a path less travelled, she blesses the earth wherever she lands. She’s a tiny rock, but she is strong! And I am so lucky to have her in my life.

Today Mandy dropped a birthday gift and card off for me, and I wanted to share what she wrote in the card because it means so much to me. So, with permission…

“Natalie, Natalie, What a tear 2015 was! In hindsight it was…I think…your best year ever. You packed a lot into those 12 months, you learned a lifetime’s worth of lessons, you ran (and won) more ‘mental marathons’ than any Olympian, you forgave and you were forgiven, you set boundaries and stood your ground, you rekindled a love for your profession, you made plans and released them to God, you saved countless, faceless lives and also a few you knew too…But most importantly you saved yourself, your family and your future. All the best for 2016 Nat! Namaste.”

mandys gift

“P.S. Here is your very own Buddha journal. I can’t bear to see you take notes on your grocery receipts anymore! LOL!”

man and I

Thank you Mandy! I love you! xoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxodoxoxoxoxoxoxo

…And Then Listen.


Happy #BellLet’sTalk Day! Yes, I know that it is somewhat commercial with ‘Bell’ in the hashtag, but the reality is that this day raises millions of dollars for mental health research and treatment (over 100 million to date if my memory serves me right), and is donated by Bell – to me that deserves a huge THANK YOU…commercial or not.

Thanks to champions such as Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes, we are learning how talk is the key to the initiation of mental health illness diagnosis and treatment, and what a tremendously important awareness that is! But what happens when a loved one or friend does talk to you? What do you do? Take it from this mental illness survivor when I say that now that we’ve encouraged the discussion, the correct action is essential! But don’t worry, the answer may be more simple than you think. It goes like this…are you ready?…LISTEN!

Family and friends are often so well intentioned and hate to see their loved one in pain -of any kind. But when it comes to mental health, the often stigma-filled invisible pain which is associated with it makes for an uncomfortable conversation between people because of two factors. 1) the person talking about their personal concern is afraid of being judged, and 2) the person being told about the concern doesn’t know how to help. Well let me ease some minds out there on #BellLetsTalk Day and say to you that if you are on the receiving end of the talk, you don’t need to know how to fix the person at all, you just need to listen!

Refrain from saying, “You just need to do this or that“… The person suffering would if they could. Refrain from saying, “Don’t worry it will pass”… The person suffering won’t believe you. Refrain from changing the subject because YOU are uncomfortable!… The person suffering may not open up to you again if you do. Refrain from diagnosing, or changing the subject to something about yourself… The person talking has probably went over what to say to you a million times and has finally gotten the courage to talk…so just LISTEN!

You don’t need to have the answers right away! The person talking doesn’t expect you too; they are just as confused as you and I can tell you from experience that at the point of first-conversation, the ONLY thing on the sufferers mind is hope that they will be listened to!

Don’t minimize their feelings…just listen. Give your FULL attention to them! Because sadly, the reality is that on this #BellLet’sTalk Day, people will still die because no one listened.

Open your ears today, this may be the only chance you get to listen.

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