As a current Acupuncture student needling on friends, family and in student clinic- the topic of disclosure has become president for me as a future licensed practitioner. Some may wonder why they think I have a right to touch on this topic, but I will say this now and I will say it again- HIV+ is not a certain population issue HIV+ is an everyone issue. Although I do need to highlight that in my day-to-day life I am fortunately not disclosing my status to others (I am also not blind to the fact I could contract it just like anyone else could), but I am definitely asking individuals to disclose to me if they are.

Disclosing ones status is a scary thing, the fear of judgment, devaluation, discrimination, even criminality are very real fears. It is because of this anxiety that some individuals choose to not disclose, to test anonymously, and only tell a select few if anyone. However, being HIV+ does not define you as a person. It does not mean that your blood is dirty, that you are less then, or lived some sinful lifestyle. Literally anyone can contract HIV, I’ll repeat that- LITERALLY. ANYONE. CAN. BECOME. HIV+. I have heard of so many girls who have NEVER even been tested for this on their blood work. I blame our sexual education classes or lack there of, that did not educate FEMALES that HIV is an EVERYONE issue. The HIV rates in Toronto are increasing (probably hook up culture could contribute/lack of protection/lack of testing/ lack of communication). In my opinion not getting testing is just as bad as not disclosing. If you as an individual are not checking in with all areas of your health, you are being negligible. 

If I were to contract HIV (I tested negative a couple months ago) I would have to disclose this to all of my patients, legally as a practitioner I would need to tell anyone who walked into my treatment space. And I will expect the same, if anyone comes to be treated by me I will have the option to disclose privately on an electronic intake form only viewed by me. This is to protect me, my family, and all future people I needle. 

It is only by normalizing the conversation about HIV+ (pos) can we start to fathom the idea that it is apart of everyone’s check-up. It’s so sad to still hear girls say ‘why would I need to test for HIV’- this only shows a lack of education. Furthermore, speaking about anyone’s status, sharing anyone’s status is also a criminal offense. Having more respect for those diagnosed, and also realizing that person could be you is where all of our mentalities should be at now. If someone discloses their status to you be kind, thank them for their trust, and help to encourage them to share with their other partners, friends, and family. Encourage medication adherence, listen when they’re having a hard time accepting this diagnosis. Most of all do not judge.

Illness in Society and the System: Why the Questions Need to Change

Okay so here goes me having to explain myself publicly because so many people are so far off, that I’m so beyond offended and sick of feeling like something is wrong with me. This blog is not gonna be sunny, it’s gonna be true, it’s not gonna be a pity party or how I’m the victim. This is for the uneducated, for the ones putting down those suffering. We’re gonna go deep, into why people who call others crazy are crazy and likely have a personality disorder. And how suicide, anxiety, depression, mania, schizophrenia, autism, transexuality, bisexuality, gay, queer, whatever label is not crazy these are the real ones.

Let’s dive in shall we? Cause if you have ever bullied I get you and if you have been bullied I get you. We act from our childhood trauma and pain and learned behaviour. It’s rough in school- we’re asserting dominance trying to learn our place. The key is learning though- if you don’t evolve and you’re your high school level maturity in your 30’s good luck! What I don’t get is girl vs. girl. Slut shaming, miss labelling, thinking that because I’m bipolar type 1 that must obviously mean I sleep around, spend $1000’s+, gamble, am crazy for my actions etc. I have a brain neurotransmitter disorder between my serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline etc. they are out of balance and go out of balance… and Lithium salt, salt water, sweat, tears the whole sea keep me sane (where’s the mermaid emoji?). Nat Mur/ phosphorus in Homeopathy, and just a salty person in general.

As someone who studied 1.5 years of Naturopathic Medicine (0.5 for general/ organic chemistry cause I didn’t take them in my Kinesiology degree at Western) and 1 full year/ 4 $20 000)- I have learned that we can go natural, treat ourselves to a point away from the MEDICAL. HOWEVER, we ALWAYS NEED THE MEDICAL. I got so sick when I was studying Naturopathy. Like to the point where I may legally pursue. I’ve spent $80 000 on education to tell you I know we need both. And putting down the other is gonna lead to more sickness. The sick are in power and making us sicker. We need to wake the fuck up and think maybe theres bigger issues than accepting a Mental Health Diagnosis or treatment. Maybe trying to self treat with marathons, binge drinking wine, spending insane amounts isn’t the healthiest or should be the most accepted way.

It takes both Medical for acute/ emergency and the alternative for complementary treatment to mitigate symptoms and side effects. I am so sick of everyone blaming ‘big pharma’ all the money they generate and AVOID as if you’re an activist? YET you go to the mall drop $$$, do coke drop $$$, go to the bar drop $$$. You put money back into systems of consumerism and unethical treatment. Are you also Bipolar? Are you living with an unlabelled illness? An illness in your brain?

When walking on the bridge everyday from North York General Hospital studying on my breaks in the hospital cafe back to CCNM the Naturopathic college across from it- at my darkest I was like this is the bridge I would jump. If the two don’t come together we’re all going to continue to suffer. And by come together I mean you the people, think for yourselves. Denying medication to someone is taking away a RIGHT and PRIVILEGE. Removing our personal opinion allows the option for someone to receive treatment. Everyone deserves CORRECT assessment, medical doctors/ practitioners, ethical treatment, bed side manner, a support system. Suddenly you’re so much better than all the money our taxes generate in Canada for paid health care? You want to put down getting checked by your doctor? Your medical doctor is the one making sure you don’t have HIV, STI’S, pregnancy unless wanted, injection shots to prevent tetanus etc. Do the people in the states live with the luxury we do right now?

I was living with Type 1 bipolar disorder for 24-25 years before it was diagnosed properly. Because no one believed me when I told them I felt something was really wrong. I saw probably 8-10 practitioners all saying different things. From probably 13 to 28 I have felt off. 18-28 were intense but whats weird is that 10, 14, 20, 24, 28 I got depressed. My brain works on these cycles of mood. For me though it’s also the fact that I couldn’t accept pharma until I was 25 and since then have struggled to accept it fully although it does make me feel better, BUT  those around me being like ‘pharma is a business’, ‘you should try to live off of it’, ‘you just need to be sober’ (which I do because I have substance abuse too) but the thing is I am Bi polar. I was first told at 20 and then it was denied by me and my family. But I knew she was right, this intense Russian doctor filling in who stacked her papers and left after she heard how much money I spend (that I make myself), how much I drink and that I had slept with more than 2 people. None of these questions equal bipolar. Bipolar can lead to impulsive behaviour like these but no it is not dependent on this judgemental checklist. Bi Polar disorder is an energy imbalance. It means that individuals with this disorder can feel the full spectrum of emotions as well as energy. When we get pulled to too far of an extreme on the spectrum polarity is created which is not functional. And I am sorry but it truly is not my fault and this is the first time I have ever said those words. I’m not happy about how my ‘illness/darker side’ comes out. It is usually after extreme stress and exhaustion- I get short, mooooody, bitchy. I turn on a dime, and suddenly can’t calm myself down. Although I know what helps now and that is taking my medication every morning, seeing my psychiatrist monthly, checking my blood work quarterly, my support system of my family who I am sooooooo grateful for. They literally do not judge and do not see it as an illness. I’m also so thankful I was born the year I was because my Grandpa is also Bipolar and his treatment included electric shock and far from acceptance- except for my saint of a Grandma who has stood by him and supported him his whole adult life since they met in high school. It is truly human connection that can ‘cure’ the ailments of this illness. But having people look at you differently, walk on egg shells around you, whisper untrue commentary that can deter healing. Judging out of lack of knowledge and understanding is so transparent now. Calling anyone crazy is finally starting to fall on deaf ears, there is ALWAYS a reason for someones behaviour- and if that behaviour is coming from unwanted impulses in their brain maybe let’s not add further shame to this persons emotions.

1/5 Americans suffer from mental illness- that’s 1 out of your 5 friends at the bar. Who is undiagnosed bipolar? The person everyone thinks just does coke and parties 5 nights a week and then gets super depressed is in a normal funk and is just going through it and living their life. This illness manifests differently for everyone. But I can tell you if someone self sabotages and then drags themselves through life yup that’s unlabelled mental illness. Maybe caused from trauma, sexual assault, drugs, genetics who cares IF mental illness wasn’t of some benefit to our progression as humans it would be extinct. 

So what can you do if you sense someone is struggling?

Asking the RIGHT questions. Literally, simple, direct, protective energy and behaviour. 

Ask can I get you anything? Call me if you need to talk IF someone struggling says no maybe still do it anyway? Maybe just text your friends get over your ego or fear of insanity and just be like holy shit all of Toronto does cocaine, is in this weird ‘hookup’ culture, the bars feel like they’re full of dark sticky pulls to old behaviour (ew). Everyone is suffering so I personally am way beyond being judged on top of that. And maybe lets just ask someone how they are? Turn to someone anyone because right now the level of emptiness I can feel in people is terrifying. I’ve been there, and don’t want to go back. You must seriously heal yourself before you can anyone else. How can you turn inward and own your story, actions, self, dark, personality because it’s at this point that you will not even want to judge someone or call them crazy for their behaviour, because you’ll be educated. 

Uneducated people call everyone else crazy but themselves. People who suffer feel crazy all the time and that’s why they try to do behaviours to numb ‘the crazy’. It is only though once we feel the pain that the numbness and emptiness will lift. A wise teacher in my life told me at twenty after my first manic episode and psychotic break over my whole life falling apart really that ‘the only way out is through’, meaning the only way out of the pain is through it. It’s so hard but this is why we need support systems, why there’s alternative care, why we must create our own system. Medical mental health hospitals are C0-ED- they blame it on funding? That young sick females are around disgusting very sick ill and insane males lingering around. Part of my life purpose is system change supposedly in case you can’t already tell. And blame the Eastern European side of me but I am ethical in treatment but when I sense an unjust system the fire/ craziness/ mania/ rising yang lift. 

I’ve been told by healers that I am a healer which is so hard to hear- it’s a gift but it’s a double edged sword. It’s walking into my own pain and authenticity everyday and showing it to others. Here’s my super broken heart on my sleeve and face. I struggle so much as someone who’s Bipolar 1 and who feels the whole human range of emotion, from suicide and death to kanye level tweets. For me I can be doing so well killing school then suddenly I take on so much I go at 1000, and then burn out and spiral go dark. When I was younger I would binge drink to deal with the energy and emotions I felt, and get so empty after.

All I ask is that if you’re gonna call people crazy if you’re gonna judge take a step around and fall back, cause my level of craziness will not stand for it. I am here to heal myself and others- and will literally risk it all to better this world. Because I have seen the dark and I will always choose the light.

Pink Is For Pussy’s

For the last year I’ve been teaching pre-school/toddler yoga. One main thing that showed up in classes wasn’t bullying, it was the fact that the pre school boys wouldn’t accept a pink bubble wand, only blue – I didn’t pick these two colours it came in a set. At first I almost gave in to giving the colour each boy requested, but I stopped myself and would move on to the next child beside them. The teachers and I started only repeating ‘you get what you get’.  I’m the type of  yoga teacher that doesn’t ‘baby’ no matter the age, I treat you as a human even if you can’t speak words to me. The saddest part about me trying to teach breath exercises with dollarama bubble wands was the horror on the boys faces, that at 3-5 years old choosing pink was shunned so badly it made them squeal in complete refusal. Not at the colour but at what the colour means. Pink is literally a colour. The colour that is required to fully draw in certain fill in the photo blanks in colouring books. I am not kidding that at THREE years of age, little little baby boys would not accept anything pink.

I also teach the toddler 18 month to 3 years classes- the difference? The boys are in princess dresses, carrying around their ‘babies’, setting them up to do ‘baby and me yoga, little toddler boy and doll style’. They have no awareness at 2-3 years of age that wearing a purple dress with sparkles sums them up as a person. 

I want all boys and men to know that yes we shunned your feminine, we confused you. I bullied my brother, and guy friends for sure over something that was claimed as ‘mine’. Because I was taught that girly, and pink was for girls. I think that as we’re trying to raise babies to equally know regardless of gender, they can choose what they like we have to maintain a solid perspective. Our bigger work is embracing the boys, men, dads, grandparents who were told pink (or purple) is gay, touching another boy is a sin, and who were all called a faggot (at least) once. The insecure feminine and unhealthy masculine in men we have now is not their fault entirely. They didn’t choose it, just like females didn’t choose to not vote, stay at home, bully themselves and other girls for their looks etc. we have all been taught untrue, unhealthy, toxic traits that we point at either genders. Let alone the thought of inclusion about how it is no longer about male or females solely. There’s your sex and then your gender. There’s how you identify and then there’s social constructs of what boys, and girls should be doing. 

Whether in the future I become a mother or not does not matter. I have mothered children my whole life. I’ve babysit since I was 11, camp counselled, babysat, nannied infants. I know that childhood trauma happens from day one. And what I know more than that, is that we’re all creating more of it. Calling boys ‘f*** boys’ allows them a space to exhibit this toxic FEMININITY, because expressing your FEELINGS in an unhealthy way taking advantage of others is NOT HEALTHY MASCULINE, it’s toxic, sad and from an empty hole inside of you. It’s due to the fact boys and men do not and are not taught how to exhibit healthy emotions. 

So, where does that leave any of you (mostly female) readers? Well I ask you are you allowing space for the guys in your life to mess up? To show emotion? To come towards you in the most awkward foreign way they know? OR are you judging? Are you asking for more perfection? For more materialistic things and dinners out? Or are you CREATING HEALTHY SPACE?  Guys expressing emotion which in nature is feminine energy is not ALLOWED, and then on the spot we’re requesting it. 

This is long hard work, that maybe can’t be done alone as a couple, or as a family with a small male child but all these boys really want is to know that they’re loved, no matter how many times they mess up. And maybe if we allow this we wont feel like we need to mother. We will see them step into healthy, protective masculine energy and instead want to LEAD, to care, to provide. It’s not one gender vs. the other it’s the fact no one in our society was told HOW. We’re all left guessing and blaming. I am not here to say how some of these guys act is okay, but how can we as women gain some clarity into WHY they are all hurting so badly. WHO in your life isn’t expressing themselves? And instead of demanding more, can you just create space, can you allow a gap, can you step back and be like ‘okay I need you to show me you care and I know you weren’t taught how but this is a safe space, I allow you to f*** it up but just express anything that shows you want to do and be more’. I am such an advocate for boys and men, I love all of the ones that have come and gone in my life. I grew up with boys, they taught me respect, dynamics, how to lead, how to stand up for myself, how to show pride. I learned healthy masculine energy from my Dad, brother, uncles, cousins because the women in my life were strong enough to take the generational pain. They knew that sometimes guys screw up, but that does not mean that they do not care. They care so much, and are trying so hard. They just have no leaders, no one truly guiding, no ushering from boyhood to manhood. And yes the world we live in now, this role is left up to the women. The ones who have suffered so much at their expense that we are the stronger race, we can take it. We will stand by their suffering, and we will wait until they finally re-align to their true voice, power, calling and rightful position in society. From a place of healthy strength, not taking their insecurities out on us. It is only from us asking them to shift, to do better will they. Sadly hookup culture revolves around the fact that girls and women give their power away, they let guys act from a less than powerful state. They let them act from their trauma. A male in his TRUE POWER, would never put down another woman, he would only want to protect. 

If you want feelings, true vulnerability, you need to be vulnerable yourself. Coming towards one another from a place of true, honest connection is not easy but for any of us to grow in to the whole individuals we are meant to be we must all work on our feminine and masculine energies.

Why miscarriages need to be talked about

A combination of things have happened lately to make me feel compelled to write about this topic. The main one is that I’m starting my acupuncture internship at a fertility focused clinic. Other more personal recent events around me also sparked this conversation for me. Forewarning that this content may be triggering for you if you have experienced this, or someone close to you.

I definitely think that even the term ‘miscarriage’ implies that the fetus was ‘miss carried’ by the holder. I cannot touch on this topic without addressing that most girls and women feel that when this happens to them it was their fault. That they did something incorrect, that their body is faulty, their less of a woman with damaged infertile soil.

When I was six years old and my brother was four, my Mom got pregnant again. I begged her every night for a year when she tucked me in to bed to talk to my Dad about having another baby. Then one day by some miracle, she was expecting a baby. This news made me feel like it was my child too, that I had manifested a being into the world with my wishes. I think this was the first time I ever felt like, ‘okay yeah maybe god is real’.

And then one day I walked into my room, and it was the first time I saw my own Mother crying. And by crying I do not mean tears, I been bawling her soul out. She was trying to put my laundry away and couldn’t.

I asked her what was wrong and she couldn’t even speak, she lead me to her bed where my Dad, brother, and I all sat down. She told me the baby was no longer inside of her.

This was so confusing. Suddenly it went from picking names because she was in her second trimester, SIX months pregnant- everyone knew. To radiophone silence, after that day we never spoke about it again altogether. My parents divorced four years later, and these two experiences were my first life lessons at 6 and 10 about loss and grief. Even then I knew it was so bizarre, where did the baby even go? The soul? I felt so strongly it was a little girl, my first sister I even named her Emma (most likely because even at six I was watching Friends and Rachel had named her baby Emma).

At 28 I’m writing this with tears in my eyes because a month or so ago my friend had a miscarriage. I’ve had this happen around me many times but it always feels the same. Especially the time a friend of mine had a still birth. That woke my childhood trauma right up. A book that I highly recommend for anyone with this trauma is ‘Spirit Babies’ by Walter Makichen. It really helped me to spiritually understand the options that are possible.

The only thing that helps is talking about it. Being able to say I am scared, nervous, this happened to be before etc. To allow the conversation about the fact that life and death run hand in hand. We never know what is going to happen, our breath is precious and fragile.

Thinking about starting my internship next week my intention is to learn how to hold space for whatever comes up. Whether that’s someone trying to get pregnant, is pregnant, or recently miscarried. I want to learn how to be able to create space between myself and the experience emotionally so that I don’t cry every time a patient experiences loss. I am curious about doing this kind of work but I also know it’s going to be a combination of opposites whether thats excitement, nervousness, fear, or grief.

I do really believe now from healing this for myself that sometimes something shifts, the environment isn’t right, the divine plan changes. It can be really hard to just trust and to try to just focus on creating the best environment internally and externally too bring life into the world. A huge burden of stress can be lifted if women feel that they can more easily speak about the fact that miscarriages are very common, happen daily around the world, and that it is never one persons fault if they do.

A Safe Space For Healing

Firstly,  thank you for visiting- and secondly if you keep coming back to my page, thank you for trusting me, my voice, and my views.

“A healer does not heal you. A healer is someone who holds space for you while you awaken your inner healer, so that you can heal yourself.” – Maryam Hasna