kristen bellows


Dialectical Living answered our seven questions about their workshop and Mad Pride. Check out the Introduction to Mindful Living workshop at Mad Pride Week Toronto on Friday, July 15 at Ryerson University (4:30-5:45 SHE 660 (99 Gerrard St E, near Jarvis)) [Full event list]

Mindfulness by
Mindfulness by

Q. What are you most excited about with your workshop at Mad Pride?

1. Dialectical Living is most excited about sharing with Mad activists and allies the innumerable benefits of mindfulness in everyday life on July 15th at Ryerson University (4:30 – 5:45 pm SHE 660 (99 Gerrard St E, near Jarvis)). Thanks to Mad volunteers for setting up this great space.

Q What do we need to know about you and your Mad Self (as a group or individual)?

2. What you need to know about Dialectical Living is we are a peer based organization. That means all Dialectical Living employees and volunteers have lived experience.

Q How do you describe your experience with madness?

3. Our peers have various experiences with madness. One of our peer workers, Kristen, wrote a great piece on being a mother with a mental health history. Check it out!



The relevant question in psychiatry shouldn't be what's wrong with you, but what happened to you?

Editor: Do you, or people around you, blame yourself, others, diagnosis, society or do you recognize that “Something happened to me”

It took me a long time to acknowledge that I had been through multiple traumatic experiences. The first time I heard a therapist refer to my emotional reactions as the result of trauma I stopped seeing her. I wasn’t ready to acknowledge that people had done things to me that have left a lasting mark. I wasn’t taught that people could or had hurt me. I was taught that I was hurting myself. The message that I received, loud and clear, as a teen was that everything was the fault of my mental illness and that I was solely responsible for everything that had happened to me.  I was on a constant quest to fix myself so people would like me. I believed that people treated me poorly because I was difficult, sad, annoying, and impulsive. It never occurred to me that the poor treatment I received meant there was something wrong with them and how they saw me as a person. (more…)