Setting Boundaries and Staying Whole

Hey there, 

Thank you so much for your podcast. I love listening to it and I love this 3rd episode!!! Like, I really love it! Cause I have come to realize how important Self-care is.  I would like to share an experience/story about how important it is to put your health first and how your experiences as an indigenous person might make you do the opposite. I apologize for the long email. lol 

I work at Laurentian University as well as started a graduate program this pas fall in Interdisciplinary Health part-time. Beginning in the summer I have been feeling overwhelmed with work and this past fall I was getting noticeably depressed. After telling my mom, I found out that I could see a psychologist to talk more about it and realized I needed to talk to someone about the amount of crying I was doing at work. I booked a Psychologist's appointment and I booked a doctor's appointment and both I had to wait 3-4 weeks to see them. My doctor's appointment was first and a week later the psychologist. I told my doctor that I have been feeling terrible, very sad and I completed a survey that she diagnosed me with mild depression and burnt out. She talked about exercises and meditation, which I told her that I used to do both often but fell unmotivated. Then she said she is going to prescribe me anti-depressants. I thought about it and said I didn't want to start there and that I was seeing someone the following week to talk about it and wanted to wait till after that. Then my Doctor insisted that I start the pills right away to help ease into them and then said to get blood work so she knows that there isn't anything else that comes up. I felt weird that she wasn't listening and that she wanted to start me on pills before even seeing what might be in my blood. I left and I haven't filled the prescription. 

A week later(this past Wednesday) I see a Psychologist and talk for an hour and a half about work, home, school and everything in between. I was explaining that I used to be able to manage work and health but now has become overwhelming. She said that I was burnt out because I don't know how to say "no" and am not setting boundaries with myself. This made so much sense because I knew I was someone who always has a hard time saying no and was quite excited to understand more and practice. Something else came up in the conversation and something I didn't expect. An experience I had in a Northern Ontario First Nation Community that changed and traumatized me. A little under two years ago I had experienced a visit to a community that was grappling with youth suicide while we were there and I was witness to inequities beyond my wildest dreams. 100% disappointed in Canada. ever since then, I have been putting all communities first and that meant my job was the priority. I didn't care if I just worked 9 hours, if I was connecting with a community that wanted help understanding the health of their youth, I would stay an extra hour. whats 10 of my time? I would sacrifice my lunch, my spear time my friend and family time, all for trying to help and not realizing the long term impact.

This is something that I think all Indigenous people face and why they have a hard time setting boundaries. Our Experiences may shape why we are not saying "no" and how we may sacrifice our own mind, body, and spirit to help. Intergenerational Trauma, what we experience will all impact how we might not say no. 

My next steps are to recognize the times where I am not setting boundaries, write them down. I will try my best to put my health first. :-) 

Written by:

Marnie Anderson

MA Student

Interdisciplinary Health

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