Kelsey Harris, MA, RCC

My Story

This feels like I’m about to start a grade-school essay, but here we go. My name is Kelsey and I’m now 36! (holy smokes how did that happen) and I live in British Columbia, Canada. I’m a writer (pretty much everything from this blog to screenplays, and yes I’m even currently writing a self-help book). A previous filmmaker, I now have a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology and am a registered clinical counsellor in British Columbia, Canada. I am passionate about helping others.

My own chronic pain journey began in February/March of 2015. If we were to look at the stressors in my life at the time, I became separated from my spouse (we later divorced) and had recently moved from Winnipeg to Toronto. Neither of these things felt overly stressful at the time, though in retrospect, both are stressful events and my body likely took the toll more than my mind. Fast forward to October 2015, and I was diagnosed with gout by my primary care physician (this was a misdiagnosis). Then in February 2016 I was diagnosed with SLE/lupus by my new rheumatologist (also a misdiagnosis). In June 2016, fibromyalgia was added to the diagnosis. By 2017, my rheumatologist rolled back on the lupus diagnosis and eventually it was classified as undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD), which has been my diagnosis since. I definitely have experienced my fair share of body-wide chronic pain in the past several years. 

What Happened Next

After a bout of anxiety and the breakup of yet another relationship in the fall of 2016, I started down a healing journey. My new PCP set me up with a physiotherapist, chiropractor, naturopath, massage therapist, and psychotherapist (my rheumatologist had also suggested I look into these alternatives). Through these, plus a lot of self-reflection and personal growth (reading blogs, listening to podcasts), engaging in mindfulness meditation, and eventually starting up with exercise and yoga, I found my pain – or at the very least, my relationship with my pain – had lessened/changed. In May 2019, I enrolled in a Masters program because I wanted to help others struggling with their chronic pain/illness and mental health. Today, I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor, working with 2 integrated health clinics, using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help clients.

Why I started this blog

Initially I began to blog in order to share my experiences, thoughts and feelings about having chronic pain and illness. As I grew personally and professionally, I decided to share strategies, ideas, research, and still my own experience, in dealing with pain, illness, and mental health. I hope that people can learn from this blog, and I welcome a discussion with me about anything you agree or disagree with, or want to know more about.