Paramedic Nat

A Blog About a Paramedic's Mental Health Journey


September 2019

Treatment For Addiction Does Not Equal Treatment For PTSD

Friendly reminder and/or educational information sharing moment: (With all due respect).

PTSD is NOT fixed if I fix my addiction. PTSD has caused physiological changes to my brain. Three parts (hypocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex) have been physically altered. This is proven in MRI’s. PTSD requires different focused treatment separate from addiction treatment. Yes, both conditions OFTEN go hand-in-hand, but NOT all the time.

My disease of addiction became active when I developed PTSD. Some of the symptoms of my PTSD and addiction include depression and anxiety and all affect different parts of my brain. But, you and I can also suffer from depression and anxiety SEPARATE from PTSD and addiction.

Please don’t imply that if you treat addiction, all other mental illness/injuries will follow. This is scientifically not true and can make those who are in recovery from addiction feel less than if they still battle with mental illness/injuries and “practice the principles in all their affairs”.

The brain is a complex organ that science still has much to teach us about. My recovery WILL present differently from everyone else’s because we are all separate human beings with different neuroplasticity and treatment options available to us.

Let’s give each individual’s recovery from all mental illnesses/injuries the acknowledgement of difference it deserves. ❤️

Redefining What Success Looks Like To Me

On this episode I share about a recent relapse and how I have to learn that what success looks like to me can change from day to day. 

Check Out These Books by Natalie Harris

📚 Brainstorm Revolution: Here

📚 Daily Lessons from Save My Life School: Here

📚 Save My Life School: Here

This episode of BrainStorm is brought to you by The Homewood Health Clinic Mississauga 

➡️ BrainStorm by Natalie Harris is proudly produced by

Why Did I Relapse?

Why did I relapse? I stopped taking care of me; plain and …well not so simple. I stopped doing the work my recovery requires of me to continue it. I was at a meeting tonight and I was sharing with a friend whom I haven’t seen in a while about how disappointed I am in myself and my illness/injury. She looked at me and said, “Natalie, if you had diabetes and didn‘t take care of yourself for months, you would get sick from that too”. So true.

After being elected as City Councillor, I dove into the role to be the best I could be. No topic/crisis was too big that I didn’t want to tackle (and still do). I was FINALLY employed again and feeling like I was contributing to society and helping my community. But alas, in typical Natalie fashion, I focused so entirely on my new role, that I forgot that I am still sick/injured – and that that’s ok. I forgot that I still need to do the work I have learned to do through treatment programs. I stopped going to meetings, stopped seeing my psychologist, stopped eating healthy, stopped meditating, stopped going to the Buddhist Centre…and on and on. So no wonder I gained 20 pounds, caused my hormones to go all over the place, let my depression creep back in again (it’s a sneaky bugger), and had a massive relapse that led me to the hospital. NO. WONDER. 

Life is a series of evolutions. At one point I evolved and let go of the paramedic dream I had; it was time to move on from that. I learned how to not see that as my identity anymore. But what I failed to do at the same time is learn that ALL of me is new during this new evolution in my life. Being sick/injured doesn’t mean that I can‘t be successful and healthy. But it does mean that what ‘success’ and ‘health‘ are to me are different now – and that’s ok. One day at a time.

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