Ashley L. Peterson, Blogger & Author
Welcome! My name is Ashley L. Peterson, and I blog under the username ashleyleia. Mental health has played a huge role in both my work and personal life for many years. I live on the west coast of Canada with my pet guinea pigs, who like to make an appearance on the blog now and again.
A person living with chronic mental illness
I have treatment-resistant major depressive disorder, for which I’ve been hospitalized multiple times. I’ve had several suicide attempts, which I wrote openly about. I’ve tried a number of different forms of treatment, including electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Medication plays a very important role in managing my illness.
While I was once able to achieve periods of full remission between episodes of depression, that’s no longer the case. Now, I’m continuously affected by symptoms of my illness, and it’s a matter of just trying to manage as best I can.
A mental health professional
I’ve been a mental health nurse for 15 years, and I’ve worked in hospital and community settings. I have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of British Columbia, and a Master of Psychiatric Nursing degree from Brandon University. For my Master’s thesis, I used a research method called autoethnography to examine my own experience as a nurse with a mental illness in the broader context of nursing culture. Three papers based on my thesis work were published in peer-reviewed nursing journals.
I’m a former pharmacist, and I have a BScPharm from the University of British Columbia. Having in-depth knowledge about how medications work contributes to my stance of being strongly pro-medication (as an option, not as something that’s the right fit for everyone).
I began Mental Health @ Home in October 2017 when I wasn’t working much because of my illness, and I wanted something to do that would give me more of a sense of purpose. I began blogging with no real idea of what I was doing, but I was quickly hooked by the therapeutic power of writing and the amazing online mental health community.
My blogging approach is to be as genuine as I can be and cut through BS, with a mix of personal and informative posts. I’m very pragmatic; I’m not interested in shoulds, I’m interested in what works. I have a strong science background, and I’m pretty skeptical of things that don’t have solid research evidence to back them up.
It’s important to me that this blog be a safe space both for myself and for those who visit it, regardless of disability, gender, race, or any other characteristic. Comments that attack or discriminate will not be tolerated.
I’m the author of three books:
I was also a contributor to The Silent Scream: An Anthology of Despair, Hope, and Struggle by Maria Alfieri.
A stigma warrior
A big part of why I’ve chosen to share my own experiences is to help raise awareness about mental health issues and combat stigma. Our voices are the strongest weapon we have in the fight to stop stigma. Let’s start this conversation and keep it going strong!
Together we can empower one another!