Day 23-35


Long time no talk…or write.

So I just got back from Costa Rica serving on a Global Health medical mission! It was an awesome experience and I learned so much from the people in those communities and got to immerse myself into a new culture. It’s so refreshing to see how people can persevere and still be happy with what they have, even if it doesn’t equate to much. Seeing how families would put their kids first when it came to distributing appointments, even if it meant that they couldn’t be seen for their own medical issues. We went to two under served communities where we were able to do house visits to distribute appointment times and then we did clinic days where we were able to diagnose and treat patients for their illnesses and ailments. It was an awesome experience, especially since I have always considered doing something health related, so it helped give me a bit of perspective. I also had the best team to work with, I really lucked out. We were all so different, but yet we all were able to build meaningful relationships and learn from one another and share this experience of a lifetime. I really do think that the connecting point for all of us was our passion to make a difference in the world and or big hearts. It was so refreshing to meet such people and grow as a person. The food there is also really fresh and healthy for the most part. We had a lot of fresh fruits and rice and beans. It was nice to not eat processed or imported foods for a change and just stick to eating local grown foods. Makes me want to continue that at home, however it can get kind of pricey to do that on a student budget. I would like to try to eat healthier this year though, it’s good to keep your system clean.

In the picture below I really enjoyed connecting with these 3 kids, even though it was hard to communicate at times. They really enjoyed playing games on my phone and I ended up giving them a small gift of Canadian and American coins since they had never seen them before. They were really grateful for everything even though it was just a tiny gesture.  They were really good at Temple Run and Flow, even though it was their first time playing the games!


The weather there was beautiful and warm, compared to the extremely cold temperatures we are experiencing in Toronto right now. It also never rained once the 10 days that I was there. It’s so cold it’s been advised that people stay indoors if you do not have to go out. Luckily classes were cancelled today. While in Costa Rica, I was tired at times but not because of my depression, but because the days were so packed, it was nice to do something I love and move around. I also felt a little down at times, but mostly I felt fine, especially once i took my medication. Being back, I have felt a little more down, I think the lack of sun and being exposed to people constantly and lack of movement has played a part. It’s honestly freezing here, I went from +25 degree Celsius weather to -25 degree celsius weather! It’s back to reality for me, I still have to write my finals that I postponed which is a little worrying since I didn’t get as much studying down in Costa Rica as I would have liked. We’ll see how it goes. I need to stop being so hard on myself and breathe to stop feeling so anxious. I think honestly that the medication has kind of plateaued, I might need to discuss this with the doctor and see if it needs to be increased. Hopefully next week when I get access to the gym again, that will help my mood and depression/anxiety levels.

I thought I would add that Costa Rica has a beautiful saying called Pura Vida, meaning pure life. They use it in the context of when someone asks how they are doing. They often respond with the saying to reference “life is good”. I thought it was really beautiful. People there are so relaxed and friendly. Even if they are burdened by their illness, they seem to radiate happiness. I hope that one day I can be like that too and not let things get to me. It really puts things in to perspective for me and resonated strongly with how I have been fleeing the past few months. You don’t need to have everything in the world to be happy. It really is something that comes from yourself and a way of thinking, you really can’t buy happiness. It’s truly a way of thinking.

I did buy another 1000 piece puzzle while I was on my trip. Hopefully I will build it sometime this term as a way to relax and take time for myself.

Happy belated New Year to you all! Here’s to Hoping 2014 will be a better year for us all 🙂

Here’s a picture from a community clinic day in La Promesa, Costa Rica with one of the community’s children. I also attached a few more pictures that I took on the trip


IMG_3061 IMG_3228 IMG_3212 IMG_2952 IMG_2971IMG_3164 IMG_2479 IMG_2529


– Megan

Day 18-22

Well it’s been awhile! Toronto had a major ice storm come through and create havoc for thousands of people across the region. Lost power for two days! I did get a bit lazy though when the power did end up coming back haha. I was fortunate though, there are some people that I know of that have lost power for longer and still don’t have it back. It’s a pretty rough time to have something like that happen, not everyone was fortunate to have a Christmas dinner and it’s really cold these days. The house at it’s lowest went to 10 degrees Celsius. Luckily I could crash at a family friend’s house who still had electricity. Luckily, being around other helped to keep my mood up in some ways. Although it did wreak havoc, it did look very pretty with all the trees being iced over. Many trees were severely damaged though, thus branches snapped off and trees wilted and hit power lines across the city. I think over 250,000 households at one point were without power. Hopefully people will get power back soon, it’s extremely cold even inside.


My mood has been okay the past few days. I felt a little depressed a few nights ago, the thoughts that tend to cycle in my head revolve around the comments that person made to me. It’s kind of like a vicious cycle. Other than that I did manage to get a tiny bit of studying done (when there was light). Also had a chance to catch up with an old friend over sushi and coffee which was nice. Plus we went to get my nails done 🙂 Other than that it’s been pretty uneventful the past few days, with much of the power being out. It does appear that my medication is working better now that it has been increased, my score went a lot down. I still have a ways to go, but things are looking better which is a good thing I guess.  Plus, I was fortunate to not have any side effects on the medication such as nausea. Although my sleep schedule is still a bit wonky so i’m still quite tired a lot of the time, even if I try to aim for 8-10 hours a night. Usually i’ll only end up getting 6-7, which isn’t bad but it’s still not great.

Hopefully 2014 will be a better year~ Looking forward to seeing what it has to offer me.

I won’t be able to update much for the next 10 days, off to Costa Rica to help out with a medical volunteer trip 🙂 Looking forward to the sun and warmth, compared to the dreary snow and cold weather we currently have here.

Merry Christmas to those that celebrate and Happy (early) New Years!

Day 17

Today was pretty quiet, went out for a quick all you can eat sushi lunch. I didn’t feel as “depressed” today, just kind of neutral I would say.  Not so much anxiety either, which was kind of nice. I mostly feel stressed when I think about going back to school and having to write the finals I postponed. Hopefully, i’ll be able to get in some study time when I get back to school. I don’t think I will have much time to study when I am in Costa Rica.

For the most part I was incredibly tired when I woke up, even though my sleep wasn’t too bad. Ended up taking a nap after the lunch for a couple hours. Not much else to report on today I guess, I’m still kind of tired for some reason. Hopefully i’ll be more refreshed tomorrow. On a side note, I did catch up to Scandal, it got so intense! Can’t wait for it’s return in the new year.

Christmas is creeping up quickly!

– Megan

Day 16

Finished my puzzle today! Took three days and 1000 pieces later + a sore back and bruised knees. It feels nice to accomplish something like this though 🙂

Here’s the finished product:

Also saw my counsellor today. Mostly talked about how things were going and what some of my thoughts were. He suggested I would be a good match for peer support groups, but he will need to get back to me on a group in London. There’s a nice program called WRAP ( that would be beneficial for anyone experiencing any form of mental health issues. It’s for both recovering and current people experiencing these issues. Not too much else, but he did recommend a workbook for me to read and do some of the activities. It’s called Mind Over Mood and it’s used for Cognitive Behavioural Therapists. It helps to get to the root of your core thoughts and values and try to change them. It’s like I either see things as black or white, there is no grey area for me. In terms of perfectionism or even trying to get everyone to like me. We want balance in our thought processes and that’s what CBT tries to work on changing. I think i’ll give it a quick read before I go to sleep.

I feel somewhat okay today. Went out and bought a cute pair of moccasins from Winners. Not really as anxious today or depressed. I did get a good sleep as well which was nice, hopefully will sleep nice again tonight 🙂

Day 15

Feeling a little less depressed today and not much in terms of feeling anxious. Saw a psychiatrist today. Seemed like a pretty good fit for me. He talked about how he will use some hypnosis, as well as some cognitive-behavioural therapy. We also discussed some of my thoughts including my need to want to be the “best” or “perfect”. Almost like God, like nothing is ever good enough or I have to be better than other people. We also talked about how I have a need to get everyone to like me, so I go out of my way to be extra nice. But then he spun it back to me and asked if I liked everyone I met, and I said no. I guess it’s in the thought process though, so we are planning to work on these for 2-3 sessions. He said usually treating a first bout of depression takes about 6 months. Hopefully, it’ll only be 6 months with my depression.

Mostly been working on my 1000 piece puzzle. I think it was a little ambitious, there’s like 100 pieces that are the same shade of red. It’s kind of frustrating! Pretty much worked on that the whole day and continued to watch Scandal.

My knees and back are so stiff, it’s almost like a workout in itself to do this puzzle.

Day 14

Two official weeks since being diagnosed with major depression have passed already. It’s crazy to think how far i’ve come in these few weeks. The tears and negative thoughts have stopped for the most part. I have a little bit more energy and my concentration is slowly coming back. I still feel kind of isolated and withdrawn, but hopefully that will change in the next bit. I definitely don’t feel anxious today, I haven’t really felt that depressed either. I also kind of got a good sleep yesterday for the most part too, which was a nice change from the past few nights.

Been working on a 1000 piece puzzle all day, almost took out my back yesterday working from a stool. It’s still a work in process. I’ll have to take a picture when i’m done 🙂

Also been watching Scandal non-stop for the past two days. It’s so addicting. Already halfway through season two.

Day 13

Woke up a few times throughout the night as usual. Still rough trying to sleep through most of the night, miss those days.

Saw the family doctor today though, she decided to up my dosage since the two week mark is when you know whether or not how effective the medicine will be usually. It has been positive so far in stabilizing my mood maybe moving me from a 5 to a 6.5/10, but thats as much as it will probably go on 10mg, so now we’re on to 15mg. She did a depression test like thing and I was still not in an ideal range, I got a 22. I probably would have been a 25 before I went on the medication though. I would think the scale would be out of maybe 30 or 35, so not much of an improvement, but still better than nothing at all. I just have to prepare myself that this is not going to be a short term battle. It took a long time to build up, so it’s going to be awhile before I feel “normal” again. Or so I hope….sigh.

Other than that, don’t feel as much anxiety today, but I just don’t feel like i’m in a mood to talk. Saw a counsellor right after the doctor and kind of filled him in on everything. I don’t know a lot of the depression seems situational with work, school, people, and other things. He did suggest to take sometime and so something that I enjoy. I told him I would watch TV, so he gave me that to do as my homework until I see him on Thursday again.

Went to Wal-Mart and bought some cute Winnie the Pooh Christmas pjs. Excited to wear them. Also bought a 1000 piece puzzle to work on for some “me-time” while I watch my “homework”. Maybe i’ll do some of my readings tonight and work on the puzzle. Was thinking of watching Scandal or House of Cards.

If anyone has good recommendations on shows I would gladly take them in, or even books!


– Megan

Day 12

Woke up bright and early to meet a family friend, who was going to take me to meet her trainer friend. He was supposed to teach me some exercises to elevate my mood and energy levels, as well as learning some ways to eat healthier. However, plans fell through so it will be rescheduled for sometime later this week.

I feel a little less tired today, but I didn’t really sleep that well last night. Not as much anxiety today wither, more just feeling down still. Will probably bring it up to the doctor tomorrow when I see her and ask if there’s anything she can do to help with that. It might be related to the medication i’m taking. I just don’t feel as talkative as I used to these days. I feel like I lack in conversation skills it’s been so long since i’ve been able to hold a decent conversation with people. I feel bad sometimes having other’s do “most of the work”, but honestly I always feel so tired and “empty”, like I have nothing to say. It’s kind of defeating in a way and makes me want to go out even less sometimes.

Did a little bit of retail therapy, courtesy of the mom. She wanted to try to make me feel better so she gave me and my sister some money to spend at the mall. It was really busy with all the last minute Christmas shoppers. It felt nice at first, but as I’ve said before you go through periods where you do feel joy and “happiness” and then it kind of disappears after a bit.

I also had a massage appointment and then my mom obviously convinced me to do acupuncture. It was the weirdest thing, they poke you with the needles (a little sore) but then they hook you up to this machine which makes you like do some twitching movement. It felt so weird, but they said that it will help me sleep better tonight. We shall see tomorrow when I wake up. Now I just have some small red dots where the needles were placed. I do feel a little sleepy now though…

Day 11

Hello there!

These are the flowers I was talking about yesterday. They look prettier in person, but the colours were really nice to wake up to this morning. I love the smell too haha. It was a really nice gesture by my mom to welcome me home and try to lift my mood since I told her about my depression.
Today is pretty much just a lazy day, haven’t really done too much. The weather outside just makes you want to curl up into a ball and sleep. The roads are extremely slippery too, so many accidents on the highway today. Luckily I got picked up yesterday and beat the snow. Hopefully, those that are driving out in this weather today stay safe! Drive slow and make sure to leave with giving yourself lot’s of time to get where you need to go.

Sometimes I feel like the depression has passed, but then it comes back in waves. I feel either really sad for no reason or really empty these days. Occasionally i’ll get some joy out of something like watching my dogs try to walk in boots, but it’s temporary. I don’t know, sometimes it feels like i’m going to be stuck feeling this way forever. It’s kind of like my brain goes back and reflects on moments where i’ve been hurt or let down by people or things. I wish my mind wouldn’t do that to me. I don’t feel as much anxiety today, but I do feel more “down” than the past couple days. It’s like they take turns or something.

All I want for Christmas is for this depression to go away. I don’t want money or gifts, just to be healthy and truly happy again. I want myself back. It’s so hard for me to hear from other people “oh, what do you want for Christmas this year?”, because in all honesty i’m not even looking forward to it. I just want to feel free from all this and get a sense of enjoyment out of things.

I really don’t feel too motivated to do any work today, but I know I have to start soon or else i’ll be even more screwed when I go back to school and write my exams. Hope others are faring well though!

– Megan

Day 10

Home today! It’s nice to be home and have actual home cooked meals once again. Plus I got to see my other dog since he’s to hyper to sit in a car for two hours to come stay with me at school.

My mom bought be flowers for my arrival home, I will take a picture tomorrow. They look really pretty. I’m still pretty tired, hopefully this will subside soon because it’s pretty exhausting being tired all the time. I still need to work on making my sleep schedule more consistent and stop waking up in the middle of the night. Hopefully I can take the next few days to do that before I go to Costa Rica. Other than that I bought my textbooks for next term, still debating whether to take a full course load, but I guess we’ll see how i’m doing more towards when the term starts up.

Last appointment with the psychologist here for 2013 today. I think it went pretty well, we did a relaxation technique to help me reduce my anxiety. It’s cue related so eventually after practicing it for a couple weeks, I will be able to say a cue word like “relax” and my body will feel relaxed instantly. You kind of need to tense groups of muscles to get that “stressed” feeling and repeat the cue word when you release and then eventually you won’t need to do the tensing anymore. It’s pretty cool, but I must say when she was walking me through it I got extremely relaxed and fell asleep for a bit….

– Megan