Shelley Hofer has been a tireless supporter of CAMH and many other mental health organizations and causes over a period of many years. She has also had major depressive disorder since she was a young child and has been an Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) and Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) patient at the CAMH Temerty Centre for Therapeutic Brain Stimulation.
After decades of dealing with mental illness, Shelley says she can now predict fairly accurately when her mental health is starting to deteriorate again and it is time for another maintenance treatment of rTMS, usually about 7 or 8 months later.
Since she had her last treatment just a few months before the pandemic began, she says she is actually feeling mentally healthy so far, indicating a resilience that surprised even her.
My mental health issues aren’t necessarily caused by situations like the one we are in now. I didn’t grow up with any childhood trauma and I was a straight A student and I still had depression. I worked very hard to hide it because I learned very early that people felt uncomfortable around my tears. I wanted to protect them.
I have my bad days but I’ve been feeling super fortunate in terms of my mental health right now. Sorry I’m being so positive but this time has been kind of reaffirming for me. I always used to think I was a weak person – the whole sick not weak thing. But this pandemic has reminded me that I’m actually a really strong person. Throw a problem at me when I am healthy and strong and I will step up to the plate and do anything I can.
Yesterday my son Zach and I stepped out at 2 pm and walked over to a retirement home near us. We call it a love parade. We went with a bunch of people from the neighbourhood and waved to all the people in the windows.