Welcome Back

Hey Folks! Lady D here, my apologies for the long break.

I have been on a bit of my own journey lately and really struggled with being able to write. It is much more Momma Bear’s gift than mine, but yet I have so much I would like to share with you all.

Its been quite a journey the past year and a half, and although I thought I had come to terms with the craziness in my life, I realized that I most certainly have not dealt with some of the hurt I have experienced. Instead I threw myself full force into work…See although I have anxiety, I seem to be able to deal with it most of the time without it affecting my day to day life… Or so I thought… instead I have realized I just pushed aside the emotions and went full force into work, and silly me thought that I had sort of “dealt” with some of the trials, but I have come to realize that I most definitely have not dealt with anything.

Like many of you can likely relate to, I don’t deal with my emotions well, and I certainly am not good at being vulnerable, it scares me. Instead I seem to convince myself that I am totally fine…However, there is a great deal of strength that comes from dealing with your issues instead of pushing them aside….Let me tell you, they do eventually catch up with you, and when they do, its tougher to deal with months…or years later than it would have been just to deal with it at the time.

Life is such a blessing in so many ways, and I am blessed enough that when I get in these “ruts”, it serves as a reminder to take a step back and really evaluate where I am at and how I am truly feeling. It reminds me that perspective is important. It reminds me that sometimes I need to remember the things that bring me joy, and happiness, or to start looking for what new things bring joy. Its not always easy, and sometimes getting out of the rut takes much longer than other times. Sometimes, we need to consider professional help, and other times we need to just work at shifting our perspective and working through the emotions and challenges, depending on the season.

Life is short…We really don’t know how long we have, so it is important to learn to live a more balanced life. To learn to love ourselves where we are at…To be patient with outselves, to learn to grow and prosper and not stay stuck in the pits of our emotions. To remind ourselves that we are WORTHY, we are LOVABLE, and we are UNIQUE.

Understanding & Accepting Your Diagnoses

Well… I have to say… I have been an extremely slow learner when it comes to taking the responsibility of learning what my mental illness was all about. I’m talking about 35 years SLOW…. LOL

All my life… I have simply accepted that I suffered with Severe Chronic Depression… Many years later… I was re-assessed in a psychiatric ward… and was given a further diagnosis of Dysthymia.

I am not sure why I did not ask questions or do my own research… Maybe I was just too sick to bother or care. I think part of that answer is that I was in such a deep and dark pit… that I truly did not have the energy for anything extra except trying to survive. 

A year ago… I had what I am going to call a “controlled” nervous breakdown… When I say that… I mean… I was not hospitalized… my meds were not changed… I did not tell anyone that I was spiralling down a black hole… I just shut down… I completely shut down… and stopped participating in life.

I had one friend who I confided in… someone I would email on a daily basis… Someone who was in the same dark place as me… Fast forward to a year later… I can see the beauty was that we carried each other through a very terrible time. We sort of kept each other going… making sure that each of us was safe. It was like being in the desert and only having one glass of water… Somehow we just knew what to do to make sure the other got what they needed. I am very grateful to this friend… She is my best friend… and has been for the last 10 years…

Anyways… I have learned so much in this last year… Because I was in a place that I had never been before ( I had never completely shut down on life before )… I really did not know what to do to get out… For months… I just stayed there in the dark… and I woke up each morning… counting the hours until I could simply go back to sleep. One day ran into the other… and this lasted almost 9 months… I am not sure what it is that changed… But I remember simply not being able to take it anymore… I knew something had to change… That is when I guess you can say… I came to the end of myself… I finally said ENOUGH… I was so tired of being sad… so tired of hurting all the time…. I was simply SICK and TIRED of being SICK and TIRED.

From that point on… things for me began to change… and they began to change quickly… I took the time to look up the definition of Chronic Depression and Dysthymia… and I finally understood what it meant… It was like the lights being turned back on… It gave me a starting point to work with… and from that I began to understand that there were REAL and RELEVANT reasons WHY I was not coping with life… I suddenly wasn’t this awful FREAK anymore… I was legitimately someone who was ill…. with an invisible disease that others could not see.  Oh the relief I felt… 

After this… came the courage to slowly look at my life… to look at all of it… at least all the parts I could remember… I came to see that many parts of my life are gone… as I cannot remember a great many things… I think that is a gift actually… I don’t try to force memories… and to be quite honest… I really don’t want to know… I don’t want to remember… because I know it was NOT GOOD. 

What was left was the knowledge that due to my traumatic childhood… I was unable to develop normal and meaningful relationships with people in the world.

This was another lightbulb moment for me… I knew that if I was going to live the rest of my life OUT of my STUPID PIT… I was going to have to face and deal with the relationships I had with my mother and father… This was the KEY to all my other problems. Those two were the hardest and once I dealt with those… I truly believed I would be set FREE.

In the last three months… I am happy to report that I have done just that… I have FACED and ACCEPTED the trauma of my life… and I have FACED and ACCEPTED both my parents… This was perhaps easier for me to do because both of them are deceased… I did not have to face them head on… but I was able to put them both at REST where they belong. 

At this point… I would simply like to ENCOURAGE anyone who is reading this to take an honest and full look into your own mental illness… Understanding what you have is IMPORTANT because it is the KEY to learning ACCEPTANCE… You can’t change it… I am still sick… but because I understand the terms of my illness… I am better able to understand what that means for me…. And that means that I am better equipped to fight the battle that lies ahead.

~ Momma Bear

Self Discovery

DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE?

For those of us who suffer with mental illness… I think one of the biggest problems is that we do NOT know who we are… We are so busy trying to figure out why we can’t seem to fit in… and this takes up ALL of our TIME and ENERGY.

Well… let me tell you… YOU are SPECIAL… there is NO ONE else like YOU… You were created with your own unique gifts… gifts that the world is waiting to discover and see…  This is not a commercial trying to sell you on buying something you really don’t need… IT IS THE TRUTH…. WE are ALL SPECIAL and UNIQUE… we ALL have things within us that ONLY US can do.

Learning to find our unique giftings is the KEY to finding our purpose… and I don’t care who you are or where you come from… YOU have UNIQUE gifts.

This world revolves around DRAMA… and the world is VERY JUDGEMENTAL… There is so much pressure on all of us TO BE SOMETHING… and so many people fall into the trap of trying to be something they are NOT! There is such STRENGTH and FREEDOM in ACCEPTING that we are who we are…. JUST AS WE ARE… with all the good… the bad… and the ugly… Everyone has all these sides… we are no different.

My challenge is to rise above all the labels that society places on me… and to SHINE MY LITTLE LIGHT… in my own little world… There is a saying… Bloom where you are planted… You may not be able to change the world… but you can change the world of someone you know… your neighbour… your family member… your work place… your hang out place… all the places you belong to… You have a special invitation to make something nicer… happier… brighter…  by smiling… giving a compliment… doing something nice… Small things matter… they really do matter to someone who is hurting… someone who is having a bad day… someone who is losing hope… YOU have the power to change a bad day into a beautiful day… Discover what you are good at… and you will find that it helps you even more than it helps someone else. 

~ Momma Bear

Momma Bear & Lady D

The most exciting part of agreeing to do this blog alongside my daughter is that we can look back and see how different our stories are. I truly am so very excited about this… and I am also READY to ACCEPT that her story will be different than mine… her story IS DIFFERENT than mine.

Quite honestly… the story of us is a very difficult one… I was NOT a good mother…

My daughter was clothed… fed and sheltered… but I was emotionally absent much of the time… MOST of the time… I was in my own dark world… unable to give her the security and love she needed… Somehow… we got through childhood… the teenage years and then she left home… As I sit here today… I am shocked to realize that my daughter has been living on her own for 9 years… WOW… the time sure has flown by.

Two years after my daughter moved on her own… I left the city we were both living in and moved up North… The first time I lasted 3 months and then I returned… this time… I have been gone for 5 years… and I am staying here… I live in a beautiful little apartment on the edge of a lake… we visit at least once a year… which is not much… but we also keep in touch by email…  Her life is full… busy… and constantly changing… I am finally at a place where I can see the BEAUTY of that.

Now that everything is over… and done with… I am able to see very clearly that not only has my daughter SURVIVED a very difficult upbringing… she has turned it all around and made something positive of everything that was negative… I have no idea how she managed to do that as I WAS NOT able to… I am in AWE of her.

For all my life… I carried nothing but guilt and shame… and when I moved away from my daughter for the first time… for three months… that is when EVERYTHING changed for us… Once she was FINALLY free of worrying about me all the time… ONCE she tasted FREEDOM to simply be and do what SHE wanted instead of WHAT I NEEDED…. She began to blossom and I continued to DIE…

It is at this time… ( I believe ) and I think she will agree… that a deep ANGER introduced itself to her… Something had changed in our relationship… and I did NOT LIKE IT… IT PETRIFIED me… When I moved back after three months of being away… I became QUICKLY AWARE of the fact that things were different between my daughter and I…  I cannot begin to express the EXTREME FEAR and DREAD that I experienced at this time… It was like a constant feeling of being sick to my stomach… My daughter seemed so ANGRY with me… and although I knew it was normal… It was so deeply painful… It was at this time that I truly knew I had to return to the NORTH and give my daughter the FREEDOM she needed.

In these last five years… I have been able to learn how to cut those apron strings and let my daughter be her OWN PERSON… with HER OWN FEELINGS…

That my friends was NO easy feat!!!

There were so many things I had to learn… Because of my illness… I was not able to meet her needs emotionally… so she became the mother… the adult… This actually has a name… It is called Inverted Parenting… You hear about it a lot… children taking care of their brothers and sisters because mom or dad is an alcoholic or drug addict… and not around to do their job… well.. It also happens with mental illness.. When the sick parent simply cannot parent… Everything gets turned upside down and the roles get all mixed up… It’s part of survival and dysfunction… and it is the source of GREAT PAIN… Many families are NEVER able to break free of this… as it is a cycle that goes on and on… UNLESS someone addresses it and stops it.

I did a great many things wrong as a parent… but I also did some things right… Most importantly… I believe the fact that I was able to HONESTLY and COMPLETELY apologize to my daughter for EVERYTHING wrong I ever did… NO EXCUSES… NO BUTS…. NO EXPLANATIONS…. Just PURE ownership of the fact that I was WRONG in how I parented and a SINCERE… I AM SORRY… It is what laid down the foundation of FORGIVENESS and GENUINE HEALING… for both of us… I am certain my daughter will agree on this one.

It has taken years to change my bad habits… a lot of things I did were things that needed to change… Such as “dumping” on my daughter… Learning that when my life is out of control and a mess… it is NOT my daughter’s responsibility to FIX me or EVEN have to listen to me… That was a hard one quite honestly… I was so used to telling her EVERYTHING… but I finally got it right… and after many mistakes… I learned to keep my own life and problems to myself.

Another thing I had to learn was to ACCEPT that my daughter does things differently than me… she handles things differently than me… For example… if we had a disagreement… I had to take care of it right away… but she was one who needed to process things and work them through… OH my goodness… this would drive me crazy… I did not have a phone… and so I would wait and wait for that email to come in saying she LOVED ME… or that WE WERE OK…  and I would make myself sick… Those are only two examples of things that needed to change in me… there are many more things that I STILL need to work on… It is going to take a life time. I will say this… the hardest thing for me was ACCEPTING and BELIEVING that my daughter actually LOVES me and has FORGIVEN me… Oh my goodness… what a difficult journey that has been…. But… I am getting there… 

I am so very happy  to report that we NOW have a very loving and healthy relationship… despite all the trials and tribulations… we have overcome and we are closer than ever.

We have established boundaries and both of us have come to accept and appreciate the other for who we really are.

This blog is truly born out of LOVE… It is a testimony to what love… understanding and acceptance can do for even the most broken of people.

I am BLESSED… and I am GRATEFUL.

~ Momma Bear

Welcome to Safe Haven!

Hello Friends, Lady D here…… I want to welcome you to our Safe Space.

I am just a regular 27 year old Canadian Gal who thrives on helping others.

For years I struggled to accept the fact that I did indeed struggle with anxiety, and periods of depression, however once I was able to accept and embrace what my mental health journey had become, I was able to work on learning how to live a productive life despite what struggles surfaced.

After having numerous conversations with close friends, I realized there is still NOT enough discussion or education surrounding mental health, and I want to help change that!

Safe Haven was started out of the sheer desire to share stories, and create a support system for those who are struggling or know someone who is struggling with various forms of mental health. Our goal is to encourage and spark conversations about mental health and to normalize the conversation.

I hand selected my wonderful mother whom has struggled most of her life with severe depression, among several other diagnosis, and she has learned to live her best life despite all the struggles. She is extremely gifted with not only writing but with loving and encouraging others.

Our stories are very unique and different from one another, but throughout the journey, we have seen much healing, love and learning and we are so blessed and excited to begin to share our stories with you.

It is our hope that sharing our journey will inspire others in some way.

We want YOU to know that you are LOVED, you are WORTHY, you are SPECIAL & UNIQUE and you are WELCOME HERE!

Let the journey begin!

House Rules

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

The purpose of this site is to promote and maintain a SAFE place to discuss issues regarding mental health and wellness…

We are a mother/daughter team who have personally been affected by mental illness. This site is NOT affiliated with any religious, political,or activist group.

We are PRO-ALL PEOPLE. 

Although we absolutely believe that spirituality is hugely important for mental health… we are deeply saddened by the very dangerous views and mis-information many religious people have regarding medication and treatment. Therefore… we have decided to make this place a NO RELIGION ZONE. 

We believe that EVERY single person is precious, unique, and of great worth… We also understand that those who suffer with mental illness often feel alone… desperate… exhausted… and frustrated with life. WE will accept you as you are… no need to pretend that all is well. 


We are NOT professionals… and are unable to give medical advice. We also ask that others follow the same rule… NO MEDICAL ADVICE please. However we are here to support one another during what can be a lonely and scary period.

Our hearts are to remove the stigmas associated with Mental Health.