I felt a pain, an emptiness began to overcome me as I began to feel what I knew in my heart was about to occur. It’s 2001, our daughter is two years old, and we are pregnant for the second time. A year earlier we had lost a baby at 13 weeks to miscarriage. I was at work, Sandra and I were doing the monthly blocking (scheduling) of pilots and flight attendants. I knew something wasn’t right, I went to the bathroom and there was blood.
I came back to my desk, and said to Sandra “I think I’m miscarrying again.”
“Lee, you need to go home or go to the hospital.” she said with a worried and concerned look in her eyes.
Sadly, I was unable to go home as there was no one else that could do my job, I was told I needed to stay. As I scheduled the pilots, I miscarried what I had hoped would be our second child. Tears streamed down my face, as I grieved. Not long after, the emotional strain was too much and I fell into a deep depression, and took a three month stress leave from work.
The reason I share this with you, is in this scenario my health and safety was put second to a job. The choice was made that scheduling pilots and them having their schedules on time was more important than the pain, grief and suffering I was experiencing. Now, today I have a similar sense of pain, grief and suffering. Yet the difference this time, is I am in control of the outcome.
Over the past six months, my daughters lives have been threatened – which resulted in me deactivating my personal facebook account; I have received numerous hate messages, and have learned of many people speaking ill behind my back. I have watched friends not invite me to gatherings both personal and professional, have sat back as I have heard others speak negatively of someone and then turn around and be their best friend. The icing on the cake came when I received a message this past week that included the following comments:
“You seem to only focus on what others do or do not do for you. And that is something that lots of people have commented on. When you decide to give your head a shake, listen to your head and heart together, get off your one-way street, then we will have a conversation.”
I am grateful for this message as it opened up my eyes to what I have been pretending not to know for some time – judgement from others and myself, and the judgements and expectations I have on others. A humbling awakening.
I was at a party on Friday night with our dearest friends. I was enthralled with how beautiful my friend looked, as I looked at her past the external beauty, what I saw was an internal radiance of pure joy, pride and love for her children. I watched her and how in love she is with her family. I felt an ache in my heart, a sense of shame and guilt that I have let outside passions get in the way of what matters most to me – my incredible husband and my beautiful daughters.
And then it came to me – “Lee your own desire to be a face and voice of mental illness is ego driven, (no not the big ego, the small ego – an ego inside of me that continues to tell me I’m not good enough, that I need to prove myself.) You are not capable, nor willing to keep facing the walls you continually face.” The painful truth I need to face is SimpLee Serene and Going Blue 4 U are a manifestation of craving recognition, acceptance and feeling important. I have sacrificed the unconditional love and support of my husband, and my beautiful daughters working hard to “be the change I wish to see in the world” which was to “have mental illness openly talked about and accepted as cancer.”
The change I wish to see in the world right now is being kind to myself, and to be a positive role model for my 12 year old and 9 year old daughters. They need me to be a model of healthy choices, and living a life of values and integrity. Something I have not been to them, as I abuse my body both physically and mentally. Our lifestyle as a family unit is unhealthy, it is one I do not want for them to model.
So as I did after my miscarriage I am taking a stress leave, granting myself the time and space to adopt a healthy lifestyle and be with my family. I do not know at this moment if it is temporary or if it is permanent, all I know is I need to give up on what’s not working (click on the link, an amazing blog post written by Danielle LaPorte.)
A Quiet Strong Voice – My journey through depression, anxiety and attempted suicide will be my legacy for mental illness awareness. It will be out on Amazon sometime in late October, early November. I will honour the commitments I currently have for speaking engagements and my personal commitment to the Distress Centre. I have created FREE downloads for you to utilize, and there are mental health resources HERE.
I am so grateful to you for your grace and understanding.
With that, I stand tall, in the pride of knowing I have made an impact on many lives. I am a role model of resilience, courage, generosity and integrity. I pride myself in knowing I always give of my heart, have supported others in their journey, and been true to my word. I am grateful for the courage to face the truth, however painful it may be.
Always remember: You are not alone. You are loved.
Be true to you, and those you love.