Stigma Fighters: Cat G.

Hi! I’m Cat, and I’m very happy to be sharing my testimony! The words I will speak here today are the words that God has given me. I have come to know and love Jesus Christ on a deeper level in the last several years.

In December 2012, I tried to take my own life. But here I am today, stronger, happier and grateful to God. I want to give you some background information about me that took me to that day in December of 2012.

I grew up in a loving Catholic family. I went to St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church. I always went to church but sometimes it was a fight to get me there. I found church boring. I attended Sunday School and took part in all the milestones – first communion and confirmation.

My mom, Georgie, was a teacher. My dad, Bill, served his country for 35 years in the military. Dad was away at times for 6 months and mom basically was a single mom during these times. For this reason, mom and I are closer. Mom is actually my hest friend…and we bicker like best friends do. Dad are I are very similar in that we are both stubborn. We butt heads often but I know he loves me. He just doesn’t understand me the way mom does although I often think that if I just gave him half a chance we might have more in common then we realize.

I always believed in God but didn’t always practice being a good Christian. I just went about my day and when I was faced with obstacles in school I would complain and worry…and sometimes pray. I became a worrier at a very young age and teachers said I was too hard on myself.

In Grade 7, I was bullied by some of my “friends” and this experience damaged my self esteem. I believe I was singled out because my friends were jealous…I had developed and they didn’t. I struggled with confidence issues and even though I still had some very good friends, I was very insecure. Eventually, we all became friends again but it was never quite the same. I wish them well today but I don’t really talk with them.

I graduated from Prince Andrew High School in 1993 and worked various jobs until 1998 when I went back to school. I attended SMU university and received my B.A in 2002. During my time at SMU I had my first major depressive episode and I was introduced to medication and the Mental Health System for the first time. I think being in University and living on my own was too much. During my worst times, I would miss lots of class time and even missed exams. I did successfully graduate from SMU with my BA.

I later tried getting my Education degree at Fort Kent in Maine a few years later, but I made the mistake of stopping my meds because I was feeling better and ended up coming home from school. I got a degree in University studies from Fort Kent which I finished through distance. Because of my confidence issues I struggled with finding a job that I felt I was good at.

I also found myself in some bad relationships with men…we would be here until next Sunday if I told you about every Tom, Dick and Harry…and some Elmer Fudds that I dated. The important thing is that as my confidence and self esteem grew and my relationship with Christ did as well. I found myself drawn to the man I am with today and I’m so happy! He accepts me and loves me unconditionally. He has two incredible children and I’m blessed that we have all become very close :)!

Fast forward to present day and in October of 2012, I lost a friend to suicide. This really rocked me to my core and I so wish I had been able to say something to help him. He was just 36 years old and the father of 3. I have known his wife for 30+ years and yet she didn’t feel she could confide in me about Trent’s illness. This is the stigma of mental illness and I wish it would change. You may have seen me on the news telling my story about my disheartening experience with the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team. I called this 24/7 help line around Easter of 2014 and no one answered my call. Our mental health system is flawed and maybe my purpose in life is to try and fix it by sharing my story and helping people know they are not alone.

We all need to talk more and judge less. I’m not saying YOU judge, but society as a whole looks down on people with mental illness as people who are weak and just need to ‘” snap out if it.” As someone who has struggled with mental health issues I can tell you it’s not that easy. In December of last year after Trent’s death I became very depressed. Three weeks after we laid trent to rest, mom and I went on a trip to New York City. I was fine in NYC but I knew that on our way home in Boston I was starting to spiral downwards.

I came home and realized I didn’t have my job waiting for me and I withdrew. In a moment of despair on December 4th, I took pills. Once again, I took more pills on December 6,  because I was crying out for help. Only by God’s grace am I here today. I never lost consciousness,  so I wasn’t hospitalized. My mom and dad helped me get through that horrible time.

My friends, family, church family and my support group have all been an amazing source of encouragement and I thank you all. My friend, Nancy Wilson is an angel that calls me on a weekly basis and she gives me strength. I hope I am the friend to her that she has been to me!

I can happily report that I am now on medication that is working. It’s an on-going process to stay happy and healthy and I work at it daily.

I think of Trent often when I hear this particular song. It’s called “Say Something.” Lyrically the song is about letting go of someone you love. And “I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you” makes me think of Trent. The second song is “How Great Thou Art.” God is great and he has great plans for us all. I came across a quote I wanted to share: “The meaning of hope isn’t just some flimsy wishing. It’s a firm confidence in God’s promises — that he will ultimately set things right.” – Sheila Walsh

In closing, please don’t be afraid to talk about mental illness. Thank you Stigma Fighters for keeping people talking:)

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Cat is a 39 year old woman  from Halifax NS. She currently is working at “being awesome” and wants to start a small business. She has two cats, Sonny and
Lucas.

  • John Abbott

    Cat, would you consider please posting this on the NHCC FB page? It is really inspirational, and I love you more for finding the strength to write it. This Sunday will be three years since our Andrew’s suicide because of his deep but never properly managed bipolar disorder. Loved, missed, but NEVER forgotten. No matter how bad it gets, please remember you are loved; everything else is a lie from the Enemy of our hearts. Blessings Sista’!

  • Alicia Munroe

    I am so proud of you for doing this. It is good to see things like this, especially when it pops up just at a time it is needed. Maybe we can talk sometime soon 🙂 I suffer from depression and anxiety disorder. It is so nice when people let you know you are not alone. Prayers and hugs to you 🙂