Losing Braedon was a complete shock to me and to everyone who loved him. What many people don’t realize is that Braedon before he passed he was a living miracle. In 2007, Braedon experienced his first life-threatening illness and doctors didn’t think he’d make it. He had a rare blood infection that caused him to go into septic shock. His liver failed, he lungs were close to failing as were his kidneys too. He had to go on dialysis, he had so many IV’s they were running out of places to put them. They coming out of his neck and chest; everyone piggy-backed with multiple medications and IV strands. He even had a stroke at just seven years old.
Out of nowhere though he just started getting a little better everyday. So yes when he had to go for surgery this time we were scared; yes. We were terrified actually but our unwavering belief told us he would get through this to just like he had before. He was a living miracle after all.
On May 16th my world was forever changed when the universe had different plans and Braedon was called home. I remember being so scared in those early moments of his passing; wondering how I would carry on without him. How would I ever pick up the pieces. How would I keep going, how would I catch my breath or breathe with ease ever again.
Life without has been incredibly difficult and taking care of my mental health has become crucial to my survival. So I wanted to share some of the things I do/ have done to take care of my mental health for anyone else out there who may be dealing with trauma, grief, depression or just life building up and boiling over.
Six Ways to Care for your Mental Health!
- Move your body. Exercise is one of the most underutilized forms of medicine. It helps reduce stress and anxiety. Aim for getting in 30 minutes everyday. I’m currently on day 21 of my goal of 100 of exercising for at least 30 minutes and it feels good.
- Lean on friends and family. I am very blessed in my life to have an amazing family and incredible friendships. When things get really hard I reach out to someone who can be there for me and just listen. If you don’t have a strong support system perhaps you can look into finding a support group or an online community where you can connect with others who have had similar experiences.
- Journal. I know some of you are probably thinking lame but hear me out. Journaling can be powerful; it can really help you sort through your feelings and process your experiences.
- Counselling I started talking to a counsellor shortly after losing Braedon and it was one of the best things that I did. It was incredibly comforting to have someone to listen to all the things I was feeling and experiencing. I really believe that everyone can benefit from having a counsellor and know that I will 100% be back for more sessions. I also attended a grief camp and a grief support group.
- Meditation-Again this might be one that some people roll their eyes at but I promise everyone can benefit from meditation. It helps quiet the mind and again helps us process events in our lives. The list of benefits from meditation is long so give it a try.
- Take medication when needed. There can be a bit of a stigma when it comes to taking medication for our mental health. We wouldn’t bat an eyelash at taking medication for an infection or a major illness but when it comes to our mental health we tend to think we should suck it up and deal with everything ourselves. Not everyone will need medication but I just want to put it out there that if you do, that’s ok. I started taking medication for depression almost a year ago because I felt I couldn’t get a handle on things on my own. Talk to your doctor or therapist; if it’s right for you; it’s ok.
How are you taking care of your mental health? I’d love to hear your tips!
Where you can get help:
If you need immediate assistance call 911 or for other support:
- If you’re local to the Saint John Area reach out to Laura Gatien & Associates for their free support group.
- If you are the parent of a child with life-threatening/ critical Illness (in the Saint John Area) reach out to tiffany@thebraedonfounation for information of The Braedon Foundation Free Support Group.
- Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868.
- Saint John Mobile Mental Crisis Services 1-888-811-3664
- Mental Health Support in Canada
- Camp Kerry (Grief Support for families)