Well, I have never been in a foster home or had a foster parent. I do not know what it is like to have been taken away from my family.
I do know what it is like to be denied my culture and its traditions. When I was 14 years old, I tried to commit suicide. I had a lot of pain inside me. Feelings that I could not deal with. I just wanted the pain to end. At the time, I was taken traditional Aboriginal medicines to help with some of the things I was going through. Medicines which included St. John’s Wart which is used or recommended for people with depression or sleeping problems. It helped somewhat.
I was in the hospital for quite some time. I remember the doctor had asked me about things that I was feeling all the time or things that I thought. Even if I had hear or seen things that weren’t really there. I just wanted the pain to end. I was angry. That’s all I would say. Then he would say I was depressed. And that was when I prescribed my first anti-depressant. My only anti-depressant. I was told that I had to take this medicine, go to counseling once a week and see a psychiatrist for my anti-depressant prescription renewal/monitoring. It sucked but you know what sucked even more than all of this being told that if I didn’t take this medication and stop taking the Aboriginal medicines, or stopped going to counseling, or stopped seeing the psychiatrist that the doctors and counselors were instructed to call CAS and that I would be taken away from my parents.
There was nothing wrong with my parents. They loved me. Me and my sisters got along like normal siblings would. Sure we fought, but that was normal.
When I was told all of this, I was scared, fearful. What’s worse than having intense feelings of pain or anger inside: being threatened to be taken away from your family, the ones that love you unconditionally.
So there at the age of 14, scared, angry, living in fear, threatened by hospitals, doctors, and counselors, and on top of it all being prescribed a drug (as opposed to allowed being able to take my traditional medicine) that is now supposedly only recommend to for people over the age 18 (and still they tell doctors to take caution when prescribing this pill to young adults, thats people who are 18-24).
Then when I was 15 year old, I was in a car accident. I don’t remember what happened. In fact, I don’t remember for about 2 days before the accident and drifting in and out of consciousness, maybe 2 days after the accident (that’s right before I went into a coma, approximately).
I remember being in the hospital, strangely, and I remember a relative helping me take some Aboriginal traditional medicines. Then… I woke up in Sudbury. I don’t really know what happened in between all of then but I remember my mom telling me that the hospital called the police on my parents and family because the hospital felt that my family tried to kill me. Police, detectives, CAS. So I was told. You know what, I believed it. There are 2 reasons why I believed what she told me:
- She is my mom and I trust her and love her.
- Look at what the hospital did to me only a year before
So, no I don’t know what it is like to be taken away from my family or live in foster homes with foster parents. I do know what it is like to live in fear at the age of 14 and I do know what it feels like to be denied my cultural rights and beliefs and its traditions, all because of institutions that exist right here in 21st Century Canada.
Inspiration for this post is found here: