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Suicide Zen Forgiveness

I want to share this #GiftFromAndrea and my #gratitudeAttitude

Elaine says “I have learned that sharing your story can be a way to lighten your burden. My guests all have a story. Come listen in, it may be similar to your own story. You may find a helping of hope for you or someone who matters to you”.

In Season Two we branch out to cover mental health, depression, anxiety and all the myriad bits that make life as we know it.. challenging, some days more than others. 

Trigger Warning:

Suicide Zen Forgiveness podcast is for education only. Some of the subject matter could be triggering for those newly grieving, or in a poor state of mental health. Please call you local suicide hotline, or mental health office if you need immediate help.


Nov 22, 2022

This episode is about delving into my self-limiting beliefs and finally finding the root of a really huge one…Being locked away. I always thought you could get locked up for your weirdness or negative thoughts... I unravel the story of that belief and mourn the consequences of the actions of society back in the 60s and 70s. 

My friend Michel was one such casualty. In this episode I discuss the Rideau Regional Centre,known to me as the Rideau regional Hospital School: located in Smiths Falls, Ontario, opened in 1951 as the Ontario Hospital School. Along with similar residential institutions throughout Ontario, this was the largest such facility. On approaching the semi-circular drive that curved up to the front entrance it was an imposing sight.

The abandoned Rideau Regional Hospital school after it was closed on March 31 2009 - photo by Freaktography

RRHS was designed to house individuals who were deemed to have cognitive and physical disabilities. Individuals could be admitted by parents and guardians, training schools, or the Children’s Aid Society. 

This institution left its mark on those who lived there and those of us who worked there as well.  In researching for this episode I came across a number of articles that actually reinforced my silence and aversion to authority and authoritative decisions. 

Rideau regional Hospital School full arial view of the complex

I do not know where my friend Michel was sent once the facility closed.. nor do I know for sure he was there until the end.

I simply know the injustice of him being dumped at a facility, stuck in my craw, and added to the litany of things that made me question all i knew in terms if authority, religion, and what was right  in my heart, my mind, my soul) 

That first day of work in the Summer of 1970, I had to traverse the entire length of the main building the minute we arrived. That buildings’ corridor was an eighth of a mile long!

I was to check in at what was called Female Admission although, truth be told some of the residents, like young Lizzie,( I met her when i was a volunteer) had been there for years. (Lizzie was about 11- 13 at the time. Lizzie was unaware of her own strength and had a mercurial temper. When she was happy there was sunshine radiating from her smile)

Remember I said the main corridor was an eighth of a mile long. Only 2 days before I started my summer job there, I had the cast on my leg,(hip to ankle), removed after eight long weeks.

 My leg had required a meniscectomy, and at the time, after surgery, the surgeon placed your leg in a cast to restrict movement. Two months had gone by with my knee unable to bend.

This long trudge a few times a day was definitely trial by fire.. an eighth of a mile one way, 4 to 6 times a day. The photo below is only one small section of one of the corridors which were endless. 

Rideau-regional-hospital school-corridor-image

Suicidal ideation like any other uncomfortable topic, was not something we ever spoke about like so much else in the sixties and early seventies. 

I am so enamoured of millennials and gen Z who are taking out all the hidden, taboo subjects and working through their feelings in the open, more and more. 

This is why this podcast exists.. to continue the much needed, often difficult conversations.

Thank you for tuning in...

Make the most of your today, every day!

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