MY EXPERIENCE WITH A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS AND WHY WE STARTED THE BAND TOGETHER COMMUNITY
I remember it like it was yesterday. Driving back to the station following my nightshift at 1 AM when out of nowhere a sense of disorientation and panic came over me. My mind went from first gear to overdrive in a heartbeat and suddenly I felt I was either going to faint or have a heart attack. A foreign sense of deep darkness and dread came over me like nothing I had ever experienced before.
The next 8 days I experienced everything from nausea, lack of focus, unexplainable fear of the dark and being alone, perceived heart racing, shortness of breath, fatigue and worst of all, the feeling of going crazy and not being in control of my mind. I was in fight or flight and I could not figure out how or why I was there.
In the midst, I began to realize I had experienced severe anxiety, culminating with several panic attacks. I began to see a counsellor in an attempt to undercover what was responsible for my new perceived reality. Thankfully I had a huge support network around me to help throughout the recovery process. I made progress and returned to work feeling better.
Fast forward 6 months and the severe anxiety returned. This time it was even worse. Fear took hold of me and I began to wonder what this meant for the rest of my life, my family and my work. Hearing the joyful squeals of my three young girls would launch me into irritability and reaction. A seemingly insignificant and simple issue with the dishwasher turned into a full-fledged panic attack landing me in the Hospital. It was debilitating, embarrassing and most alarmingly it seemed out of my control.
I ended up seeing a psychologist, reengaged with my counsellor for additional sessions, started journaling, focused on personal development and began taking medication to ease the anxiety. For the next month and a half I was off work on short-term disability. Slowly the panic diminished and the anxiety lessened as I learned valuable lessons about control, rest, routine, grace, forgiveness, stress and most importantly the role of community support.
I gained a true appreciation for mental health and the unique journey each one of us are on. I realized sharing my story gave others the freedom to share theirs without shame. I began to understand there was liberty in knowing I was not alone in my struggle. I had a story to tell and it was part of a bigger story; a bigger struggle- the struggle to connect, relate, empathize and overcome. There was healing in banding together as a community by being open, honest and vulnerable with each other. I recognized holding shame in my circumstance and hiding in isolation within my struggle was the biggest hindrance to my healing.
Out of this experience I felt the need to form a community where shame and isolation were replaced by vulnerability, openness, acceptance, empathy and encouragement. Band Together was formed with the mission to create and cultivate a community of solidarity and support to those who are on the journey to pursuing healing in mental, emotional and physical health.
I believe there is a capacity to overcome in each of us but we can’t do it alone. I encourage you to share your story and join the band of people authentically pursuing health through vulnerability, connection and community!
Ultimately, we’re glad you are here. We’re in this together.
A place to anonymously share your mental and emotional health journey in order to break through fear, shame and isolation. You can also read the stories of others. There is significant healing in taking the vulnerable step to share your experience and put words to the journey you have walked. All stories are received and posted anonymously.
Band Together bracelets give you a tangible reminder that you are never alone in your struggles and that at your core, you are an overcomer. The bracelets were created with significant intention, right from the design including three white beads to the colours of the beads themselves. Wear your band with purpose and for solidarity – you are never alone!
A place to dive deeper into conversation and content to help support you in your mental health journey. Our podcast, blog post and community forums offer a place for you to connect with others who are facing similar struggles. We want you to experience authentic connection with the Band Together Community and receive support as you pursue your mental and emotional health.
A podcast focused on breaking the silence and bringing hope to the Mental Health Community. Join us weekly for captivating interviews with experts in their fields as well as members of our community. This raw, authentic and thought provoking content is meant to support and encourage on your path to positive mental health.
Weekly thought provoking and informative blog content from contributors including a mindfulness expert, counsellor, dietician as well as our community. We have partnered with a diverse group of blog contributors including counsellors, a family and marriage therapist, a mindfulness and meditation expert as well as members of our community. Read up on a variety of topics or use the keyword search to find topics of interest.