Things are really good right now. I haven’t felt this at peace in a long time.
Last week was #BellLetsTalk and while I have some issues with the campaign, I did share a little part of my story because I think talking about mental illness helps end the stigma. It was people who shared their stories with me that helped me get help, and I hope that one day my story can do that for someone. Even if it just helps one person, it is worth it.
I thought I would share what I shared on my personal Facebook page with you all:
“I was in grade nine the first time I went to therapy and got prescribed medication. I spent the next five years trying to find a medication that worked for me. I eventually gave up and stopped taking things all together.
About a year ago, I decided that I needed something to help when things were really bad, as they often were. I got prescribed an anti-anxiety that helped in the moment, but the benzo was only a temporary solution; it was not the right treatment for the mental illness I live with. It did not stop the lows from being too low, or the highs from being too high.
A few weeks ago I decided that I needed to do something. I couldn’t go on the way I was living. My doctor prescribed me something new. It was scary to re-enter the world of medication. It took me a couple days to work up the courage to swallow one little blue pill. But I did it.
Today I had a check up to see how my new medication was going. Today, for the first time in about a year, I did not leave my doctor’s office crying and feeling helpless.
I only had moments, brief moments, where I actually felt like myself this past year. Brief moments when I did not have to pretend, where I didn’t have to actively think about presenting myself in a ‘normal’ way. Brief moments where I could actually breathe and take a break from the exhausting work that was surviving in my own body.
But the past couple of weeks, with the help of a little blue pill, I’ve been reconnecting with myself. I’m finally starting to feel like me again. This little blue pill is my life saving medication.
One of the main reasons I did not want to take medication again was because of the stigma, stigma that I internalized. Stigma that told me I was weak for needing medication. Stigma that told me that I am overreacting, that everyone has it just as hard or harder. Stigma that told me that big pharma is actually just trying to make money off me (which, yah it is but it also doesn’t mean that I don’t need medication).
Being able to open up and talk about living with a mental illness helped me reach out and get the help I need. It gave me the courage to get the medication that I need.”
I really do believe that sharing these stories–the bad ones, the good ones, and all the ones in between–helps. It helped me. It was just a couple months ago that I shared how bad things were in this blog post. But things have really improved thanks to getting the right medication. Tonight I danced in the kitchen and made one of my favourite recipes: this chickpea peanut stew with apricots and raisins.
This stew is actually something my mom would make all the time, but she used chicken. When I went vegan, she replaced the chicken with chickpeas and the result was fantastic. I have taken over making this recipe, although she still does offer to make it for me on occasion. So, this isn’t really my recipe but I don’t think she’ll mind that I share it.
chickpea peanut stew w/ apricots and raisins
total time: 60 minutes, ish
This chickpea peanut stew with apricots and raisins is one of my favourites. It is warm and cozy, perfect for a Sunday night dinner. Serve it with rice and garnish it with cilantro and peanuts.
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 cups veggie broth
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 1 19 oz can of chickpeas
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
2. On medium heat, add the oil to a medium sized pot and cook the onions for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes, or until the onions are transluscent.
3. Add the spices and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add the broth and peanut butter. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil.
5. Once the mixture come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and let it cook for about 5, or until the peanut butter and broth become a creamy sauce.
6. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well mixed.
7. Place the pot into the oven (alternatively, place the stew into a oven-safe pot).
8. Cook for 30 minutes. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro and peanuts.