The Gratitude Book Series: My Journey Into Gratitude

Updated: Jan 15

Hello, beauties! My name is Madison and I'm the creator of Mental Alchemy Wellness. I am a Queen's University student in the field of psychology, and am a Crisis Response Counsellor with Kids Help Phone. Right now, things are pretty wonderful. I just released: The Gratitude Book Mini: Vol. 1, I have added many more offerings through the website, and am on a clear and happy path filled with creativity and drive. However, this was not always the case. Up until recently, I was battling with substance abuse issues that had been haunting me for years. I was into the local party scene; participating as a regular fixture, and one bound to make the party go hard and go long. This was a fun lifestyle in my early twenties. Come 25, this was just not feasible at all anymore. I was majorly addicted to recreation drugs, I drank far too much, and I risked it all with my irresponsible behaviours. For quite some time, I had been battling depression as well, with bouts of suicidal thoughts at its side. I was prescribed a low dose of Cipralex which improved moods but could not compensate for the damage I was doing with drugs and alcohol. Here comes the inevitable sad part of the story, one evening, in a drunken stupor, I had had just about enough, and jumped out a window from the second storey of a home. When I hit the ground I heard a sound that I still cannot wipe clean from my mind... **CRUNCH**

Rushed to the hospital, I laid alone and in pain waiting to go through tests, in pain and afraid. A huge dose of intravenous Adavan later, and I was told I needed to have surgery as soon as possible. Two vertebrae exploded and a disk slipped into my back where it shouldn't have gone. In I went, and had the procedure. Five nights in the hospital, with a catheter, my period (the hospital had no pads for their patients or anything else to offer other than a maternity diaper), and ridiculously terrible pain. Nurses came to check my feet around the clock incase of paralysis. Incessant beeping constantly, uncomfortable or lack of clothing at times, people poking and prodding at you to get blood work done... It was nothing short of a nightmare. One of the most desperate feelings I did not think would rank among the top of this whole ordeal was the inability to drink beverages before surgery. I laid in bed for hours and hours, day after day, in terrible pain, but let me tell you, those hours when I was so extremely dehydrated, unable to have anything but a rogue ice cube when a nurse could manage it... was hell.

Leaving the hospital, walker, cane, and risen toilet seat (lovely) in tow, I stayed with my mother to heal from the surgery. The first days were so incredibly hard. I hadn't lived with my mother in years, I felt so embarrassed and ashamed, I couldn't bathe, hardly could walk, and I definitely couldn't get out of bed on my own. But, as usual, my mother rose to the occasion and cared for me so so well to help me heal. Meds around the clock for the first month, made my mind hazy, I couldn't be productive and work on university studies which usually would ease me because at least I was doing SOMETHING. So I had to amuse myself in other ways, and there's only so much Netflix... So I dove heavily into a gratitude practice and journaling. It changed my day. It gave me something to do before bed and reminisce on my day, and something to wake up to in the morning to reflect on the day to come and how I could make the best of it. This tool was so integral in my recovery process. I am now walking, walker and cane free, and that raised toilet seat disappeared... Actually... From this journal I created for myself in my gratitude journey I give you: The Gratitude Book series. I want everyone to have access to the tools that helped me overcome so much. Each sale of any item in our Wellness Market benefits mental health charities as well. I wanted to make sure that our customers were doing something good for themselves, and the greater community of mental health advocates & causes when they make any purchase. The offerings now live and to follow will always have these core values. I promise!

Love & Light,

H. Madison


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