FINDING MY PURPOSE

It’s been a pretty bumpy few weeks for me which kind of feels like being on a roller coaster of
emotions with many steep slopes and sharp twists and turns and has caused me so much pain
and anguish leading to a mixture of scary and intrusive thoughts. The thing is though, I’m used
to it by now because you see, I’ve been on this same roller coaster ride for the last six and a
half years which equates to 2,372 days, 56,928 hours and approximately 3,415,680 minutes (so
it’s no wonder why I feel nauseous all time).

It began on a beautiful Spring day in early April, 2014 when I headed out the door for work that
Friday morning. It started out like any other seemingly normal weekday, but by five o’clock that
afternoon my entire world came crumbling down and I have been trying to put the pieces of my
life back together ever since.

That Friday morning, April 4, 2014, I was doing what I had been doing for several
months; heading to a job that I hated. A job that made me doubt my self-worth. A job that
made me uncomfortable. A job that made me question my integrity. A job that made me
compromise my morals. A job that made me feel unsafe and a job that made me feel like I no
longer had any purpose. Ok so it wasn’t so much the job itself that did all that, but in actuality it
was a boss who did.

I was so excited when I started working for him earlier that year and I thought I had finally found
a job that I could build into a thriving career but instead I fell head first into his trap (stupid,
stupid me) and on April 4, 2014 after he asked me to do something that I felt was both morally
and ethically wrong I packed up my belongings one last time and high-tailed it out of there. I got
into my car shaking and completely terrified and by this point in time, completely broken and
defeated. I drove around for hours on end as my entire family and many of my friends frantically
drove around the city looking for me because the last thing I did after I left my office that
afternoon was text my husband telling him I wanted to kill myself before turning off my phone.
It was on that day that I lost my will to live. It was on that day that I became overwhelmed and
hopeless. It was on that day that I felt worthless. It was on that day that I realized I was a
failure in every sense of the word and it was on that day that I discovered just how much of a
burden I truly was. Something inside of me snapped that day or so it might’ve seemed like at
the time, but what I didn’t know then was I had truly been suffering in silence for a very long time
and didn’t even know it.

I have since learned so much about myself through the help of my wonderful therapist (who I
have been seeing now for almost 3 years on a weekly basis) as I slowly began to delve further
into my past with her and I now have a much greater understanding of my pain and suffering.
I’ve come to realize over the past few years through my weekly therapy sessions that many of
the regrets I’ve had in my lifetime or the wrong paths I should never have taken or the lack of
empathy and guidance I had during my formative years led me to that very moment. Over time
these emotions built up inside of me and finally broke me that day back in April, 2014 which very
soon after, led to my diagnosis of Major Depression and Severe Anxiety and a roller coaster of a
journey toward Mental Wellness ever since.

My journey has been long and burdensome which has included daily thoughts of suicide,
several attempts of suicide, numerous hospital stays (one of which was over three months in
length). I’ve tried over twenty different concoctions of medication, all of which caused severe
physical and mental side effects and a weight gain of 100 pounds, at which time I needed to
stop taking traditional medications all together and was further diagnosed with Treatment
Resistant Depression. I completed 8 sessions of ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) back in 2015
during a hospital stay which proved to be unsuccessful and has left me with memory loss and
other issues as well. Some other attempts at treatment have also included Ketamine through a
clinical trial, Neurofeedback, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and the list goes on and on.
During my very first hospital admission back in the fall of 2014 I began to journal daily and I fell
in love with it. I’d forgotten just how much I loved to write as a child and teenager and eventually
through my writing I started to share my story on Social Media which I eventually turned into a
Blog called YouAreEnough. Right away I received an overwhelming amount of support by so
bravely sharing my journey and it has allowed me to identify my purpose along the way. I’ve
been given a voice (one that I do not take for granted) to help others understand that Mental
Illness is not a weakness and has also allowed me the opportunity to become an advocate for
change and help reduce the Stigma that still surrounds Mental Illness today.

Continuing to share my journey on a very regular basis has felt triumphant and has shown so
many individuals that it’s okay to not be okay, giving them permission to start important
conversations themselves about their own struggles with Mental Illness. My story has also
allowed many individuals and their loved ones some much needed strength and courage to ask
for help and to feel less alone.

Last summer I took my love of writing and my passion for helping others one step further by
self-publishing one of my pieces of writing into a children’s book which helps guide parents,
caregivers and loved ones how to help children cope with and understand their feelings when
someone they love is suffering with Depression. It is titled “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” and
it’s a labour of love. It’s a story that affects millions of families each and every day, including my
own.

My children are now 22, 21 and 18 years old but six and a half years ago when I first became ill
they needed more than anything to know that they were not to blame in any way for my illness
and that they were safe and loved no matter what. The story was written (in rhyme) through the
eyes of a young girl who like millions of other children may need to hear that they too are not to
blame for their loved one’s illness and that more than anything, they are safe and loved no
matter what, which are the three vows I promise to keep to my own children until the end of
time.

Everyday is a learning curve for someone like myself and their loved ones when battling a
Mental Illness and finding the right strategies and tools to help get me through the difficult
moments in my day and reach mental wellness are imperative. I have had to accept the fact, as
difficult as it is to follow through with sometimes, that taking care of myself first and creating
healthy boundaries will help to minimize many of the stressors in my daily life. Self-Care is not
selfish, in fact, it’s selfless. I have learned that for me self-care includes writing, journaling,
taking bubble baths, going for long walks, finding a safe place when I am feeling unsafe, always
keeping open communication with loved ones as to my thoughts and feelings and having a
great therapist to talk to on a regular basis who can give me important tools and resources to
help with my daily struggles.

These strategies and tools allow me the strength to continue to fight but there are many, many
other ways for individuals to make self-care an important part of their daily lives as well and
below are just a few more to add to my list above:
Regular exercise
Proper diet
Practicing good hygiene
Getting a good night sleep
Escaping in a good book
Staying away from drugs and alcohol
Reaching out to a loved one

Bio: Kim Fluxgold lives in Vaughan, Ontario with her husband, 3 children and her precious dog.
She is a Blogger, the Author of the children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” and
Mental Health Advocate. You can continue to follow her journey at:
youareenough712.wordpress.com or on her Instagram and Facebook pages. If you would like
more information about her book please email her at kimfluxgold@gmail.com.