About Me

I reside in Ontario, Canada, married over 35 years, never had children but do have one ‘spoiled’ dog named “Emma”.  

Intense psychotherapy began in 1994 (at age 38) to deal with PTSD (childhood sexual abuse), which ultimately led to years of major depression, hospitalizations, ECT treatments and unemployment.  Throughout these years, I journaled daily, and thankfully I did as ECT robbed me of considerable long-term memory.

Those journals were of such assistance,  I was able to compose articles to articulate and express all of the emotions felt in areas of my life that were explored in therapy.  Writing has always been my passion.

I returned to work for about 6 years, however, presently life is still a struggle with bouts of depression, coupled with chronic migraines and unemployment.

At this moment, I remain in therapy dealing with the sexual abuse caused by a neighbor when I was 6 years old, and especially the harmful emotional abuse from my narcissistic mother.  Her hurtful words, lack of empathy and constant criticisms have had such an impact on my life.  I question which abuse was worse.

This blog started in 2007.   What exactly will you find while you scroll through these posts?  Good question:

I post articles in a “what comes to mind that day” or if I’ve discovered an editorial which relates to mental health that peaks my interest. A variety of various topics, beautiful poetry, quotes for inspiration, images and reblogging from other blogger’s incredible posts.

Mental Health/Illness topics addressing: Stigma, PTSD, childhood sexual abuse, depression, bipolar disorder, narcissist parenting, narcissism, migraines or chronic pain, eating disorders, other mental illnesses, psychotherapy, or abuses.  Also, personal articles about my own journey through depression, the healing process of PTSD and maternal narcissism with therapy etc..

With “Living in Stigma”, opportunities have come my way in the form of a series of articles on mental health on the website “Mind Your Mind”.

In 2011, I was interviewed via podcast on “Safe Space Radio” from Portland, USA on the topic of “Mental Illness Stigma“.

Invited as a “guest” to write various posts that relate to mental health on other sites.

  • Join me at another site: “Deb-Living in Stigma” where I include some posts from this blog, as well as, a hodge-podge of other topics.
  • You can take a peek at some of my replies to questions asked on Quora.com.

I also ventured into the world of writing children’s books.  On Storybird.com, (my username is skyblue79) I’ve created a few children’s picture books and poems as a start, and thoroughly enjoy this unique form of writing.

Also, I’ve merged a blog launched in Feb/17 called “Lady with Migraines” (now closed) to connect with people, like myself with chronic migraines, who also suffer from chronic pain and invisible illnesses. I became aware that with some individuals it intertwines with feelings of depression, relates to feelings from PTSD, anxiety, stress etc. so decided that blog would be more advantageous merging with “Living in Stigma”. 

Thanks for stopping by, if it wasn’t for all of you this blog wouldn’t be the success it is with over 444,000 visitors.



Twitter @livinginstigma

113 thoughts on “About Me

  1. You’ve had a rough childhood (I can relate), but you are bouncing back. I love that. It hasn’t been easy and it won’t be, but you have to keep moving forward. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story with us. It touches the hearts of many.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your life has been made more miserable because of the attitude of your parents. Luckily you bounced back because you have taken up the cause of giving support to other victims.


  3. Thank you for posting that you follow my blog and for following my blog. Kudos to you for your willingness to discuss your mental health issues and for trying not only to help others but also to provide them with hope that they too can get through whatever their mental health and/or physical health issues are. What I am about to say next is not meant as a criticism in any way; instead it something I feel strongly about out of respect for others. I’m 74 years old and have struggled with daily physical pain issues since I was 25 years old, first with migraine headaches much more frequent than many and now with arthritis so bad in my feet that many days it’s all I can do to stand and walk from room to room in my house. And as a young child I suffered some emotional abuse from one of my parents. But that is my story to tell, and mine alone, and though I sometimes talk about it to others and even sometimes on my blog, I would not want see my name published on any list anywhere. And it is not because I ashamed of what I have to endure or I’m fearful of talking about it, or I’m afraid of derision about it, it is just that it’s my story to tell when and if I feel like discussing it with others. In addition to my own story, my oldest grandson has recently spent 5 months in a mental hospital coping with sexual abuse, not by a family member, but by a supposedly trustworthy individual which I am not a libertly to reveal at this time, nor would I for this is his story to tell to whomever he chooses or not tell if he chooses. He is and will be the rest of his life dealing with PTSD from the sexual abuse as well as the abandonment issues he has concerning the biological mother who gave him up for adoption. So please don’t share what I’ve said here. I just wanted to make my point that for each of us, whatever our life’s story is, it is ours alone to tell only when and if we choose. Hugs and blessings, Natalie 🙂 ❤


    1. First of all, thanks so much for sharing and commenting. When I launched this blog in 2007 and began to publish my articles dealing with sexual abuse and emotional abuse from my narcissistic mother, I wrote as ‘anonymous’. My mother and father made me apologize to my abuser and my mom never showed any empathy, swept it under the rug, and I was left at 8 yrs. old to deal with this on my own. Throughout the years, I withstood her cruelness, nasty words telling me I was fat, unworthy, and useless. She didn’t care or love me.

      With many, many years of therapy and diagnosed with PTSD, I finally got it through my thick skull that I wasn’t to blame for the sexual abuse, and certainly not to be treated like I was with a mother who gave birth to me. She ruined a huge part of my life and I spent most of that trying to please her. You can never please a narcissist and they will never change. They only know cruelness. So now I want my name out there, I don’t care who knows and I’m so proud of myself that I don’t have to hide my mental illness and people are aware of my upbringing that crushed my self-esteem and self-confidence.

      I went No Contact with her 3 years ago, and I can breathe and get on with my life. I will never forgive her, she just doesn’t deserve it. I hate when the religious folks try and tell me it will set me free. No, it won’t. I’m 60 now, she ruined 55 of those years.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m so sorry! You have suffered egregious abuse and I am so glad that therapy has helped you realize that none of it was your fault. These abusers will be held accountable for what they have done. I pray that your willingness to openly talk about what you have been through will help countless others to heal in some way. We all have stories that should be shared and you are very brave to share yours. Hugs and blessings, Natalie 😊❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am the mother of a victim abused by her biological father from about 7 to 18. She took some control back in her mid teens but he still pursued her until finally she reported him and straight away he went to jail and prison (due to photographic evidence he kept…).

    My daughter is a high-functioning victim. Valedictorian of her class, MBA grad, owns her own home at 29…has a great job. But she has never really sought help as she was too busy studying and working. During the time she was being victimized, the first couple years of her abuse I was basically absent (believe me this is the worst thing I know) and after I returned she would not see or talk to me. When she came forward at 18, I swooped in to do everything I could think of to help her. For 9 years we were close. It was so wonderful to have her back and we talked though so many things. She knew I was writing about my time in the Japanese culture (her dad was Japanese…and in Japan child commodification and sexualization is normalized…) and seemed supportive of my efforts.

    Then, there came a couple of men in her life and I worried about her with the last one. He was around a long time and the relationship was odd to most who saw them together. Finally, when he broke off their long time engagement, I tried to speak to her about the man…but she instantly flipped on me. Everything from the past came pouring out of her in the most vulgar way. And that is the last time I heard from her 8 months ago. Most of what she was saying was true; but some of it was quite confusing– but her truth nonetheless.

    I wonder what to expect now. This estrangement is like death to me. I lost her as a child which was horrible, but she was living with a controlling person. Now it is all on me. God I pray she returns. I keep reaching out but no response. I know she is physically safe and “faking it to make it” as she says. I wonder what I can expect.

    Thank you for speaking up about these things. Does it help you? I had always hoped she would one day become involved as victims speaking up seems very important to me in the healing process. I know though it is at the victim’s pace.


    1. I’m not a therapist, but I’ve been in therapy for many years. In my opinion, she may be pissed off at you for not being there when she needed support, validation and motherly time and love. My mother is a narcissist, a woman who loved to spew cruel words that would crush my soul, making me feel worthless, ugly and stupid. When I was sexually abused by a neighbor at 6 years old and told her and my father about it, she was more interested in what the neighborhood would think, therefore, I had to apologize to him. Who cared about me? I had no empathy, love or support throughout my lifetime, always had to figure out things on my own. It’s not until I was 55 yrs. old, that my therapist validated my feelings, encouraged me to talk about it, and at least showed some empathy. I still miss the mother I wish I could have had. I assume I disappointed her, yet she disappointed me even more.

      Hope I didn’t get too preachy on you. I’m 60 now and am still in therapy dealing with her narcissistic abuse that has impacted my life considerably. Hugs to you 🙂


      1. Not preachy. I received a 4-page letter from my daughter a few days ago. It listed 17 ways in which I failed her after she came froward. It ran the gamut. Everything from not helping her move apartments (I thought her friends were already helping, we live across state, my husband was working seven days and I don’t drive…) to not helping her pick out a wedding dress (I asked about the dress and she said she mail ordered…). But it doesn’t matter what I think…what I did or didn’t do…what I said or didn’t say. She is the victim and these things are her truth. So I replied that her list was very helpful and I’ll do better…if she allows me back. There is however a tiny portion of me that thinks she is trying to hurt me and it can’t be good for her. I have no idea how long it will go on, but I sure as heck will be extremely careful if she let’s me in.


        1. This is tough on both you and her. The problem is when we’ve been emotionally abused we learn to cope and go on with our lives without the person we longed for love and care all of those years. We miss them terribly, but what are you going to do, the word is survival and you get on with life, possibly go for therapy to heal the wounds and you begin to feel alive again. But, now the person who you craved for all of these years who wasn’t there for you shows up and wants an instant relationship, but you don’t want to connect, you reflect on too many hurtful times that you had to deal with.

          She’s doing just fine without you, and she’s feeling ‘how dare you show up’, she’s angry and bitter, maybe she will let you in when she’s ready. The worst mistake you can make is to push her, then she will be gone for good. Just going by what I’ve been through with my mom. Hope it helps. I have quite a few posts on this blog dealing with this same issue. I’m hoping it works out for you, it’s a sad situation on both sides. All the best, Deb

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I am twenty four and I have PTSD I hate it so much it is so difficult to cope with Ive been in therapy for three years I feel haunted every day by my past memories like I am still there half the time. flashbacks are my worst to cope with as I feel it all over my body, keeping distracted and doing a blog is good for my mind, and I love to write but it is hard especially feeling the terror and pain that go with the memories.

    I think whoever writes about PTSD and is willing to share their experience is very courageous xxx it should be talked about more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing. PTSD, memories, triggers, and flashbacks all suck! Life is hell that we must keep reliving the past. The only way I survived this mess was through therapy (years of it), to get to a place where I didn’t break down crying when I typed my posts or talked with my therapist. I consider you courageous, brave and strong to be able to withstand what has happened in your life surrounding pain and abuse, and calling yourself a ‘survivor’ and not a ‘victim’ is a fantastic achievement. Writing is cathartic and sharing is terribly brave, so kudos to you. Continue on, it really does become easier, but at your own pace. I always say “the abuser sleeps peacefully at night, while I have my nightmares”. If you need help, just contact me via comment or email: livinginstigma@mail.com . Big hugs, Deb


  6. We need more blogs like yours. Plenty of good information in a non-judgemental environment. Will follow.


    1. You are too kind, but I am now an award free blog. Thanks for the RT’s, appreciate it so much. That new site I was telling you about requested an “interview of the week”, and I’ve only been on it for one week. So far I’m liking the exposure and freedom to write on a variety of topics. Deb xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you Cherished for following my blog MEMOIR NOTES. As an ACoN, your blog is invaluable to me! I would love for you to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my upcoming memoir about growing up with a narcissistic mother. If you’re interested, please send me an email (reflectionsbooks@gmail.com) and I’ll get the link to you. Thank you. Feel free to edit this reply.


  8. HI, Deb, Thanks so much for visiting my site and choosing to follow along. It looks like we’ve travelled this journey together an never even knew it! So much of your story is my story. It’s wonderful to meet another Bipolar Warrior Princess.


    1. Yes, love connecting to another blogger who has invested her time and emotions with eloquent writings. We are both Princesses aren’t we, what a beautiful way to word that. Hugs, Deb 🙂


    1. Thanks so much for the nomination, but sorry I won’t be a able to carry it out now that I have this blog, Twitter and now took on my newspaper, wow, maybe I took on too much? You think? Appreciate it 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I so love the name of your site. I still have the need to be cherished. I was as a child but my parents were so self absorbed and dysfunctional that I didn’t feel or benefit from it. If you read some of my posts, you will come to know how much I love my mother and loved my father. I have struggled with my emotions about them but made the effort to understand why they were as they were and that they did the best they could with what they had to work with. I had dealing with my mother’s alcoholism and my father’s co-dependence to add to the mix.

    I spent two years volunteering for and then employed by Crisis Intervention of Houston answering hotlines. It was the most rewarding thing I ever did. I talked to many, many people with PTSD and was surprised to find that the diagnosis has been extended to Sexual Abuse and so many other traumas. It makes sense, I just didn’t realize. I am humbled by your courage to keep fighting not only for yourself but others. Writing my blog is giving me confidence and support that I am so grateful for. I think I just found a real gem when you responded to my post. Thanks again.🌹


    1. Thanks and you’re the first person since starting this blog (2007) that has ever commented on my blog username “cherished”. I always wanted to be cherished when I was a child, but never felt it from my parents, nor even while as an adult either. Not until I met and married my husband in 1979 (hence the name ‘cherished79’) did I feel that I mattered to anyone. We are still married and he has been my rock through all of this PTSD hell, what with the sexual abuse and emotional-narcissistic abuse via my mother.

      Your blog is lovely and eloquently written while appearing that writing for you is cathartic also. Stay strong. Hugs to you. Deb

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Deb, your blog is beyond inspirational. I am honored that you are following my blog. You are very gifted. I am so glad I have started this journey. Connecting with strong people such as yourself is just the beginning!


    1. Thanks for the huge compliment and makes me proud that I’m getting the message across about stigma. I love your blog, you should be proud, an artist and a writer, pat on the back for you! Happy we’ve connected. Deb 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi, there. I found your blog via a reblog on Just Plain Ol’ Vic. Mental health is one of my areas of interest, so I’m glad to have found another blog on this topic to follow. So many people struggle with mental health issues for so long, and despite many advances in our society, it is still a very taboo topic. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts. I really liked the recent infographic on bipolar Vic reblogged on his blog.

    Take care.



    1. Thank you so much, unfortunately, your comment landed in my spam folder. Sorry for the late reply.
      Mental illness stigma is a huge problem, that’s why when I set up this blog my hopes were to bring to light how it affects all aspects of physical and mental health. I appreciate your comment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You should look at http://www.maps.org. I think it might bring you alot info, that you might not know about. If I was in San Fran i’d be there. If you think my post that mentioned Uncle Ernie is too strong.. You can take it off without me feeling bad.


  13. Deb:

    Thank you for choosing to follow my blog. I too would like to remove much of the stigma associated with mental illness. I think I will give your blog a follow because I still have so much to learn! There can never be too much support.


  14. Hi Deb, What part of Canada are you in? I’m near Toronto. I’m happy to have found your blog today. I look forward to spending more time here. Be well 🙂


  15. Loved reading about your story. As a person who struggled with depression in my teenage years, I will always have an affinity for anyone struggling with these circumstances. I look forward to reading more about you and your very astute insight. I too found solace in my writing as a young child. I have more diaries then I care to count 🙂 When I was teaching I used to have my students write as a form a therapy but I fell away from doing it myself. I just discovered WP and have used it to express feelings about my current situation, but am excited to use it as a platform to write from my heart about other things. Hoping things feel a bit better soon, continue writing, no better form of therapy


  16. Hey, just wanted to say how inspiring it is to look around your blog, and learning more about mental illness through someone else. Thank you for sharing you story!



  17. Hi Deb,

    I hope this finds you well. I represent Healthline, a medical website dedicated to providing trustworthy health news and advice.

    We just launched a new product with our partner TrialReach that allows you to search for clinical trials in an area for a specific medical condition.

    I thought you would be interested in our ADHD clinical trial results: http://www.healthline.com/health/trial-reach-adhd-clinical-trials

    I am writing to ask if you can help spread the word about this great new tool by including it as a resource on your page: https://cherished79.wordpress.com/

    Please let me know if this would be possible. I’m happy to answer any other questions as well.

    All the best,

    Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager
    p: 415-281-3124 f: 415-281-3199
    Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
    660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hello!
    I just wanted to say thank you for liking and reblogging my post from AnchoredinKnowledge.com. I appreciate that.
    You also have a great site and I will certainly pass this on to clients who are looking for such sites.
    All the best

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment, I changed my mind and decided to “un” reblog your post due to fact that, although full of information, it contained too much advertising. I did however place you on my links. Sorry about that, but just letting you know.
      Note: an e-mail was sent today just in case you missed this comment. Cheers, Deb


  19. Hi, thanks for liking my post. Just wondering how you found my blog? (I’m new to this whole blogging thing and struggling to find good blogs I want to read with some humour in them). I too have experienced mental illness so my heart goes out to you and your current struggles. I’ll definately be stopping back in here to see how you’re going and read your entertaining posts! Thanks!!


    1. Hi and thanks for responding.
      When you put “tags” on your blog, it goes into a “reader”. You can view the reader (I found) on the front page of WordPress on MY BLOG. I happened to look under the tag for “embarrassment” and your blog came up; I was able to write a comment, or reblog or “like” or click onto your entire blog, because you used that tag. If your keep your tag as simple words, people will find your blogs easier on the reader and possibly “follow” your blog. Words that you used for your tag in your latest article: “writing”, “embarrassment”, “retail”, are GOOD words for tags, but words like “cool kids”, “brain cells” “not so good” are not common words so not so good. Hope this helps. Deb


  20. Hi Deb,

    We were wondering if you could include http://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder as a resource on https://cherished79.wordpress.com/

    Healthline provides a very comprehensive overview of bipolar disorder as a critical starting point for individuals and/or their loved ones.

    For more information, visit: http://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder

    Also, Healthline just launched a photo contest “What Does Happiness Look like to You”: http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/pinterest-contest We encourage you to share the contest with friends, family & anyone you believe would be interested in participating.

    Thank you in advance for your consideration.

    Warm Regards,



  21. Deb…I’ve not stopped by your blog in several months…glad I did…sounds like 2012 had some “speed bumps.” Hope that you are entering May on more solid ground…I didn’t realize that you were N of the border. I hope that spring is treating you well.

    Best wishes,



    1. Thanks so much for your kind words. These have not been great months, nor was last year. Still living through a bad depression coupled by suicidal ideation at times. I was on short term disability for 6 mos. and now approved for long term. Unfortunately, the monthly benefit amount is very low and would be difficult to live on if I were a single person.

      In March 2012, I was in the hospital for 3 weeks on the mental health ward, as things were going from bad to worse. But I do think it helped a bit and while in hospital it was a nice break from thinking of the things that were triggering everything. Also, I had a very good pdoc.

      I sometimes don’t even have the energy to keep up this blog, so there will be gaps in posts.

      Take care and thanks for your note.



  22. Dear Deb,
    I read some of your posts, and I felt sad because your mental illness lasted so long and that impacted your life so profoundly.
    I think that you should be aware that your therapist is exploiting and misleading you. That stops you from taking fresh perspective and healing.
    I was depressed at one time and everything seemed hopeless, but now I see how damaging was impact of those people. You should let yourself heal.
    Your blog reminded me on that time and made me sad. I felt that I have to tell you this.


    1. Thanks for your thoughtful post. The therapist I currently have has been excellent in walking me through the PTSD for childhood sexual abuse, and not misleading me. I will continue with her as her methods work. I’m happy you’re not in the throes of depression; what a feeling that is.


      1. Hi Deb,

        I was reading your reply and I was just wondering what type of treatment your therapist is using with you. I have just started CBT(cognative behavior therapy), I think its also called Prolonged Exposure Therapy. I am also dealing with PTSD as a result of being sexually abused as a child. Have you heard of these types of treatments? Do you know if they are effective?


        1. Kudos to you for stepping into the therapy world for tackling PSTD, as I feel that is the only way to work through guilt, resentment etc. It took many, many years to believe it wasn’t my fault of the sexual abuse, however, at times, I still think so.

          The therapy that my psychologist I am seeing now (for 3 years) uses, as far as I know, is just “psychotherapy”. Maybe it is CBT. It’s really working; she is very good. The first therapist I had in the 1990’s was way over her head with me and the PTSD and used psychodynamic psychotherapy. I became too attached to her and that was a major mistake. Also I pushed myself to learn more of what happened that I ended up in a mess and the start of years of very black depression and hospital stays. The flashbacks and memories were excruciating to go through and drained so much of me I eventually lost my job. I’m not saying that would happen to everyone, but for me it was a disaster.

          I hope this helps. Keep me informed on how you are doing, and pat yourself on the back, this is tough, draining work.

          All the best,


  23. Hi Deb, I am 33 years old and was diagnosed with PTSD almost a year ago. Thank you for posting your story. I recently started my own website. http://tamingthehamster.weebly.com/index.html
    Feel free to visit and comment. I’m a rookie writer so any feed back would be great.

    I haven’t finished reading your website yet, but have added it to my favorites. Thank-you for sharing your story – it helps to know I’m not alone, and that there is a real living example of dealing and healing. I will definatly keep following you.

    Keep up the great work!


    1. This is excellent that you are keeping a journal as that was my savior at times and, although sounding bizarre, gave me comfort. The PTSD is horrible to deal with, but a word of advice – find a good therapist. Give it some time with this person and if you are getting nowhere, look for someone else. I made the mistake of holding on to my therapist for over 5 years and I think it made me worse. A therapist must be qualified to deal especially with PTSD.

      I really like your blog and you are doing great.



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