I am talking to Jocelyn Bystrom today, teacher on medical leave, turned writer and mental health advocate. Jocelyn will take us through her 7-year struggle to get answers to troubling medical symptoms. Eventually progressing to seizures, cognitive decline, and central apnea and the loss of her driving privileges. Jocelyn truly hit rock bottom before she found a way forward and is now writing a book about her medical journey and the road to recovery.
Jocelyn graduated at the age of 17, knowing she wanted to go to university but not knowing what to do. Once she got into every program she applied for, she had to make a decision. With her mother being a teacher and growing up around the world of education, teaching seemed like the right fit. She was inspired by many different teachers and eventually ended up in the role of gifted education teacher after completing a masters in gifted education.
In 2014, she lost that job and was blindsided by her own response to the loss. She didn’t have the tools to cope and grieve for the position that she loved. When she started having symptoms, she largely ignored them and never even considered that her mental well-being could be playing a part.
The stigma around mental health and wellness too often stops people from seeking help. It initially stopped Jocelyn too, so she is advocating for change and wants more education surrounding mental health. Jocelyn reveals her difficult journey with medical issues, caring for a loved one with dementia during a pandemic while also dealing with complex medical issues herself and her eventual diagnosis and miraculous recovery.
To end the episode, Jocelyn explains how trauma affects everyone differently. She also talks about the silver linings to come out of the last few years and the gift of gratitude.
Find out more about Jocelyn and her journey: