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Grief has been looking over my shoulder for a long time now. At age 19 I suffered the loss of two people whom I loved dearly within seven months of each other. Lines from a diary I kept at the time describe how ‘I am full of emotions that I do not understand’; ‘my moods are very variable, one worse than the next’; ‘I sometimes wish I could die’; ‘I feel so lonely’; ‘I seem to be able to handle things for a while but after a certain amount of time I feel like exploding’. I felt as though I was being selfish having these strong emotions months after the bereavements. Writing gave me an outlet to express myself (as in the poem above) without having to burden others. I did not know it then but all those feelings were normal. Grief is a very individual experience and does not travel on any one particular course. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.

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The reason I have decided to write this now and not last year or next year, is because I feel strong emotionally and mentally now – and I credit this to being sober. // Post natal depression followed along with trying 4 to 5 different types of antidepressants to see which “worked” best, I decided in the fog of being a new-antidepressant-taking-mom with racing hormones, that it might be an even better idea if I drink alcohol to self-medicate.

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Stephen asked me a couple of years ago would I be interested in doing a blog for his webpage to which I quickly replied “Jeez I can’t expose myself like that”…and then for a long time after I thought to myself, well why can’t I expose myself? For fear of being judged I shamefully admit. What has changed? I have no idea but today, I feel compelled to write. To try portray mental health in such a way that perhaps my story might resonate some familiarity or understanding in someone else. That I might have the power to help someone, even just one person. I have touched off mental health topics very lightly over the years but only through my own social media pages, Instagram mainly. I might stumble upon an inspiring quote or a funny statement which I can relate to on such a level that I almost feel it is my duty to share it with others, to reach out to others. Yet it has always been a difficult part of my life to look back on - to speak of something that at the time was just so awful, so bleak, a time in my life where I felt nothing would ever change for me.

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If you’re an open-minded creative that thrives on ideas with a lust for things of beauty but have an insatiable thirst for perfection and innovation, but your mental state flutters and wobbles like a plastic bag caught in a tree, then there might be a hint of useful here for you.

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