Paramedic Nat

A Blog About a Paramedic's Mental Health Journey


November 2014

Thank you Clara Hughes!


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And one for Caroline!


Thank you so much Clara! You are truly an inspiration to SO MANY! I feel like it’s my birthday! ūüôā

This Is A Good Day! – Tattoo Update Included :)


This morning was like any other morning…I had no idea what the day would have in-store for me. At first it was a regular day. It started with AB and I shoveling her driveway while I told¬†her neighbour he was a douche; he has the worst driveway shoveling etiquette I’ve ever seen! And this was all in the first hour of waking up. Totally normal.¬†(PS. I had AB’s seal of approval to knock on his door with an ice-pick in my hand…that sounds horrible…anywhoo…). Then after having pretty much the best cozy warm post-shoveling nap ever, Ian called me to let me know that Homewood had called.¬†Eeek!¬†I called them back and learned that my file had been approved and it was just a waiting game as to when I would get a bed! Great news, but everything seems to be another “2-4 weeks” lately, and I had been feeling pretty antsy the last couple days now that ‘save my life school’ is weaning me from their program.

Then after AB got ready for the day she told me she had a surprise for me.¬†I LOVE surprises!¬†She asked me if I knew the date today? I said yes and that it was November 19th. She nodded then turned her head to the side as if to say, “Yes, that’s right Meatball…but what else?” I was stumped. “Today has been one month since your last overdose and we need to go out and celebrate your progress!” I was so excited! She continued on to say, “And we still haven’t officially celebrated your acceptance into the Master’s program at UBC so we need to do that too!” I was pumped!


So after I got ready we hopped in the car and made our way to the mall. “I have $75 set aside for you to use on YOU!” AB excitedly said. (It may sound silly to be excited about 75 bucks, but it’s a big deal when you’re on short term disability. Why does AB have my money? I’ve asked to take care of my finances when I’m away because she is amazing with budgeting, and after my last overdose, she got an early start on it – Thank you AB!). “Ok awesome!” I replied while clapping my hands like a kid in the candy store. “I don’t know what to buy, but will love looking around anyways!” I hadn’t been to the mall in what felt like forever! And I do love a good trip to the mall.

The first course of business was to get a Starbucks,¬†(nice!)¬†Then I tried some awesome clothes on at H&M. But while I was trying on a beautiful jacket, my tattoo artist called to tell me he had some time available if I wanted some work done on my sleeve. ¬†Again, a totally normal thing to¬†have happen ūüėȬ†¬†What perfect timing! He could fit me in at 18:00. SWEET! I don’t need another jacket…my $75 had a new home!

Getting work done on my tattoo is still very emotional for me. As I’ve said before, each piece represents a life changing event I’ve experienced. Not only do I think the¬†art¬†of it is beautiful, the whole tattoo perfectly reflects my journey so far; life, death, beauty, demons…and hope.

My daughter Caroline kept me company while I got¬†probably the most painful part of my tattoo done so far (under my arm) and she even shared her deep fried pickles with me!¬†Thanks Loon ūüėČ

All-in-all it was a pretty kick ass day! So I’m off to bed…wait, I think I’m forgetting something…what was it again? Hmmmmm…. Oh right!

I’M GOING TO HOMEWOOD ON TUESDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_7790This is one excited girl! AB snapped this pic just as I got the amazing news from¬†Homewood on the way to the mall. On to the next chapter guys! I’m feeling very grateful! XO

Class, You Have a Snow-day Homework Extension ;)

Hey Everyone!

I didn’t get to posting the ‘You’re Up!’ blog on FB until late last night, so you get an extension ūüôā I will be collecting the emails until THURSDAY now and posting them that night.

Keep them coming!!! Your words will inspire others!

Big hug ~Nat

You’re Up!

pencil and paper

Hey Everyone,

I’ve been blogging for about 2 months now and you’ve heard LOTS of my opinions and thoughts. But now it’s time for your views to be heard! I would love if you could email me your thoughts and opinions on anything to do with my blog or mental health in general. I will let the emails build up for 2 days then add them to a post essentially written by YOU. I think it would be so helpful for everyone to grow from your ideas and points of view. If you would like to remain anonymous just let me know and I will respect that when I post your comment(s). But try your best to shout out your views loud and clear. Let’s crush the mental health stigma!

My email is

I will be posting YOUR blog on Wednesday ūüôā

Be as candid and honest as you can be!

Can’t wait to get your emails. ~Nat

Exhausting Dreams


Dreams in general are exhausting for me; both the ‘aspiration’ kind, and the ‘bedtime’ kind… most likely¬†because they are both so intangible to me. They are out there, but so out of my control. I’ve noticed that ever since the Travelodge trial, and especially since my last overdose, my bedtime dreams have been¬†completely absurd!… And night by night the level of the absurdity¬†is progressing. Allow me to explain. I know that most dreams don’t make sense anyhow, but lately mine are off the charts outlandish! Screaming Wizard of Oz witches fly over my head while I try to jump off a Disney cruise ship because a gang of prisoners are chasing me. Like seriously?¬†Or I’m frantically selling mashed up paper in a mall as a meal replacement. What the hell is up with that?

Then when crazy witch dreams aren’t enough, I’ve been adding a night terror or two to my nighttime regime; a new unwanted¬†reoccurrence in my life. I wake myself up screaming, covered in sweat, often scaring my family in the next rooms. A terrifying feeling…for everyone! Even worse than that, the other day my daughter asked, “Mom what were you doing downstairs at 0330 for a half hour last night?” WHAT? I was never downstairs! All¬†I could remember was that a night terror woke me up, and I thought I went right back to sleep. But no…I was sleep walking…TOPLESS! I had no shirt or bra on that night because I took them off after finding them soaked in sweat post night terror. (Gross but true). Thank goodness Caroline wasn’t having friends over late that night! Could you imagine!?¬†AB also remembers me walking around one night outside of my room and I don’t recall a single second of it. (Luckily¬†with¬†a shirt on).

I’ve had reoccurring tornado dreams for as long as I can remember. (Probably 100 times without exaggeration). In that dream I’m always yelling at my family to go in the basement, but everyone ignores me. I can see the tornado, huge and dark, right behind them. So I scream some more, but they still¬†don’t look my way. Then, just at the last minute, they¬†slowly¬†follow me to the basement where we can look out the window and see that it’s about to hit our house. It feels SO real!…Even after the 99th time. The bricks in the wall start to shake while the wind howls!¬†I try to cover everyone with stuff or my body as the roof rips off. I can see the swirling darkness coming our way. Even in my sleep I feel sick to my stomach. Then just as the tornado is about to lift me away…I wake up…every time.

I researched what the tornado dreams mean, and according to the dream dictionary, ‘we have dreams of tornadoes when we are experiencing powerful emotions brewing (sounds familiar). It may also suggest that perhaps there is a potentially destructive situation in your waking life, or maybe you are feeling overwhelmed or lack control (my life to a tee). A¬†tornado can represent a difficult period you are trying to get through (pretty much all the time). They can also represent general stress and huge changes in your life’ (BINGO!).¬†My waking life has pretty much been a tornado, so it’s fitting to add tornadoes to my sleeping life as well I suppose. (Screw you Dorothy!)¬†

Moving right along…I’ve now done a 180, and for many nights now, I can’t sleep at all! (That is without medication). Maybe it’s because having horrible dreams is exhausting. (Ironic?..possibly.¬†Oxymoron…most likely.) So the only dreams I have¬†lately are my aspirations…I have a lot of those. I dream that I will be healthy one day and that I can return to work as a kick-ass Paramedic. I dream that this nightmare (pun intended. Ok, I really have to¬†stop this… lol) will end and be nothing but a tiny memory in the past for my family, friends and myself. I dream that I will fall in love again one day. I dream that mental health illnesses will lose their stigma in my lifetime. I dream that Paramedics, Dispatchers and First Responders of all kinds will never be afraid to talk about what’s on their mind, good or bad. I dream that I will one day fall asleep forever, when my time comes…not because of my actions. And most of all, I dream of peace and serenity.

Sweet dreams ūüôā

Rambling Confessions of Confusion

So AB says I have to blog tonight…don’t worry, she’s not Chinese water-torturing me to do so…she just knows it will be good for me and I needed a push. In fact, she actually offered to give me ALL of my responsibilities and freedom back (I think it was a test), but I declined. I’m not sure how I would handle being on my own all of a sudden;¬†I like feeling safe with someone always with me. So while I’m indeed weaning myself off ‘save my life school’ next week, I’m not ready to be completely released into this mad world; it feels too, ‘weird’.

Ok, back to the ups and downs…I skipped school on Friday. Yup. I said it. And it didn’t come without its ‘disappointments’. I couldn’t sleep all Thursday night…I tossed and turned to no avail. So when Walter reminded me in his snuggly way that it was time for his morning pee at 0715, I had managed to get about 2 hours in total…sigh. I had a headache from hell and I felt like a zombie, which probably didn’t help my mental tug of war between the ‘you’d better go to school or you’ll disappoint people’ and the ‘but I feel horrible and not having a day to myself will make me feel worse’ emotions. I wasn’t feeling depressed or anxious; I simply felt like crap! But now that I have a mental health label across my forehead, I find it very difficult to explain to people that some of my choices are purely human necessity choices; anyone would be frustrated with not sleeping at all! But alas, now that I have a list of ‘bad decisions’ longer than Santa’s naughty list, I’m not easily trusted. Touch√©.

So I decided to stay home.¬†Oh, God. I SO hope everyone will understand my decision and not give me a hassle. I hope they believe I’m actually feeling physically sick.¬†Well I would soon find out that my loved ones were NOT impressed…and I felt horrible. And to top it all off, my confused brain thought that ‘not-impressed’ meant MAD…but it didn’t. Use your tools Natalie…you have no¬†proof of them being mad! They simply want the best for me ALWAYS! ¬†Over all, I had very mixed emotions about this outcome. One side of me was mad because I knew in my heart I made the right choice for ME, but no one (except my friend, Caroline) would believe me (again, I had no proof). The other side of me doubted all of my instincts and second guessed my decision. I still have SUCH a hard time not fully understanding where my distorted thoughts cross over into healthy thoughts; and it pisses me off.

Being a ‘normal’ girl feels as far away as the next galaxy to me. It frustrates me so much that my actions have caused me to not be trusted by my loved ones,¬†and¬†by myself. (Those damn consequences again). I ‘feel’ like I’ve disappointed so many people, and that weighs so heavily on my shoulders and makes me second guess my confidence in…me . What ‘normal’ is, I have no clue. But¬†I use to feel like I had some idea. So I tried to do ‘normal’ things the past couple of days, and it felt great. My friend and I picked Adam up from school on Friday then went to the BulkBarn for treats (and a bone for Walter). Fun ‘normal’ thing to do – check!¬†I had a lovely girl’s dinner with my daughter the night before. Awesome ‘normal’ girl”s-night thing to do – check!¬†Then we all hung out and played video games (well Adam played video games).¬†Super fun ‘normal’ thing for Adam to do – check!¬†And I made pasta for dinner.¬†Yummy, ‘normal’ dinner choice- check!¬†I felt all sorts of normal…and it was amazing. I really needed it. Fast forward to today… I wanted to hang onto that normal feeling for as long as I could! I loved watching Adam play in the snow with his friends. I loved just sitting and chatting with my friend. I loved doing laundry (I can’t believe I just said that), and I loved learning with 100% certainty that my broken heart would eventually heal. This normal girl was kicking ass with commonplace!

I also went and looked at condos. I need to downsize eventually and I’m actually really looking forward to it. I still have a lot of research to do…but it was nice feeling out my options. It will also help me find another piece to the healing-heart puzzle I’m slowly putting together. I’m not running away from things (I have been known to do that from time-to-time), but rather I’m seeing that a fresh new start is what I really need…eventually.

No sad poems or posts tonight…just rambling confessions of confusion…and I’m damn sure¬†that’s¬†normal. ūüėČ

“Mad World” ~Gary Jules/REM

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere

Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head, I wanna drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

And I find it kinda funny
I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very mad world, mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
And I feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen

Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what’s my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me

And I find it kinda funny
I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very mad world, mad world

Enlarging your world
Mad world

ems world

I wish…

I wish you’d see, but never feel,

This illness dark, to some not real.

I wish you’d know, it hurts to breathe,

My lungs collapse, when comfort leaves.

I wish you’d cast¬†my scars away,

Repair the marks I formed each day.

I wish that answers existed near,

To rid my soul of unfound fear.

I wish each tear was never there,

They drown my courage left to care.

I wish I’m brave enough to smile,

Sustain down heartache’s¬†endless mile.

I wish you’d camouflage each sting,

The blackness seems to always bring.

I wish I knew I’d be ok,

Believe tomorrow’s another day.

But I can wish with all my might,

It won’t discount this ceaseless fight.

This wish will sail up to the sky,

With all the rest who’ve said good-bye.

I’ll wish tomorrow, just for hope,

Or conjure up some way to cope.

Through darkness black, I’ll make my way,

Exist again another day.

I wish…


girl holding head

Sorry guys. No post for me tonight.

Hey. Sorry but its been a long couple days. I’m not really able to concentrate on blogs. Don’t worry I am trying to work through this crappy time with my tools etc. I will be ok. Just need some good nights sleep. I have amazing people with me. Night.

I Hate This. I Really Do.

Well it’s official everyone, I have writers block tonight and my brain hurts. I’m in layer 1 (bordering into layer 2) of my depression. It started while grocery shopping. The ‘off’ feeling settled in like the dark cloud it is, and all the world seemed weird to me. I just feel bored with this world. Have you ever read the ‘Berenstain Bears Don’t Talk to Strangers’ book? If you have, can you recall the page when sister bear sees everyone in her town as dark and mean looking? THAT’S how I saw people at the store today. Everyone just walking around like ants, monotonously searching¬†up and down isles, trying to calm their kids, complaining about prices, waiting in line-ups and worrying about what to make for dinner…again. Probably just like they did a few days ago as well. Ugh. Then I get to walk outside in the bitter cold with the wind pissing me off…and why? Honestly, I don’t know why. And I hate it.

I get to just walk past the wine store when all I can think of is smelling a beautiful glass of red wine and taking that first sip…it would be heaven. (Figuratively…don’t get the wrong idea). All I do is look at the clock. I wait until I can go to bed…how exciting. I just don’t get the point of it all. Depression is a horrible demon.

I could probably stay in bed for days right now. I’ve accepted the fact that I will probably have a headache for the duration of this slump. I don’t have too much to get excited about these days. So it’s hard to smile. I have barely enough money to pay my bills now that I’m on disability. I can’t see my son whenever I want to because CAS intervened the last time I overdosed. My relationship is over with Ian. I feel so far away from my daughter. I have so much more exhausting mental health ‘work’ to do. Important and amazing people are dying (2 in one week). I can’t look forward to having a drink at night. I don’t have energy to go to the gym or yoga. I see so many people battle this disease at school every day. I have nightmares EVERY night…and now night terrors where I scream myself awake. I don’t have my phone, and I can’t be anywhere alone. I miss my dog Walter. And I don’t know who I am anymore. It all pretty much sucks.

That’s all I have to say tonight.

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