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Monday, 11 September 2017

Amazing Grace

I am just sitting here trying to figure out how long it has been since I posted here. Months, maybe years?  I can go back and check on the date of my last post, but the fact that I can'talk remember at all has me vexed. This was to be the space where I documented my journey. That sole place where I would tell the world to go to hell and feel free to speak the truth. The truth as I see it I suppose, but my undiluted opinions and my struggles and triumphs. How did I let my voice slip silently away? Why did I allow my last vestige of honest discourse for life to fall into stillness, the quiet enveloping of my worst fears taking the very thoughts from my mind.

.....or why did I.

Part of the answer lies in the duplicity of our societal biases about mental disorders. Everyone likes the idea of a world where people are accepted as a whole, rather than the sum of our flaws. A person with mental health issues is a great thing to have when you are trying to improve your public image to a kinder, gentler less corporate, money hungry entity. At that moment everyone is all "Let's talk". In the harsh reality of the real world no one wants to know. It will be held against you. You will be judged for the very thing that you work hardest to overcome. In time you feel unable to raise your voice to bring awareness to our plight. In time you will have barely enough energy to rise from your bed in the morning.

I mistakenly viewed the long road to recovery as a long winding country road with hills and valleys, shadowy patches and passages where you can feel the warm sun on your face. I realise now it is a treadmill. You are not able to stand still for fear of being thrown but as you continue to run your body begins to tire and you have to recognize that you are going no where. 

I am tired, so very tired of this run. My mind is no longer a friend to me. It teases me in my dreams with visions of people I miss only to tear them away again when I wake. Every bit of strength I have left I try to give to my family. Hoping that somehow it will be enough, knowing full well my mind will use my shortcomings to torture me further. When I have barely the strength to face a new day I hold on knowing that I can still pray. No judgement from society can ever silence my prayers.  "and faith has brought me safe thus far, and faith will lead me home".


Thursday, 2 June 2016

The Scent of Lilacs

Hello stranger. I am pulling myself out of the darkness bit by bit. It has been a rough few months to say the least. Our world was turned upside down almost a year ago when someone we loved and trusted violated our family in a most heinous manner. It left us believing that there is no one in the world that is above suspicion, everyone has evil in them waiting for the opportunity to take hold.

An interesting point came out in the course of our ordeal and the ensuing legal battles afterwards: The Elephant in the room is there to protect us. All the "Let's Talk" and "Mental Health Awareness" campaigns mean nothing when you are called to testify. I was advised not to seek accommodation for my anxiety disorder (which was simply being interviewed via closed circuit rather than in front of the entire courtroom) and also cautioned about attending my regular counselling regime as it could be called into the case. The victim in question was due for a psychoeducational analysis to help diagnose a learning disability and that too was put on hold.

How is it that people who have sought medical intervention for their mental health can have it held against them, yet the people that quite obviously have untreated mental issues allowing them to behave in such moral less ways do not have it held against them?

Anyway, it's all over. The judicial system has shown once again that those preying upon the most vulnerable in our society have no fear of recourse as they will have no one to testify against them. That is why 1 in 4 Canadians with disabilities will be sexually abused in their lifetime. They are easy pickings thanks to a judicial system that has no safeguards to protect them.

My only consolation is that God promises that "vengeance is mine". So I will leave it to him to metre out the consequences of all this.

I admit it has all weighed heavily on my mind. It's so hard to let hatred and vengeance go, but I know that they will not serve me well as we continue on, healing as a family, supporting the victim, learning to trust again.

The other day I was outside waiting for my youngest to get off the bus from school. As I stood in front of my house, the sun shone brightly, the birds were singing and the breeze carried the sweet fragrance of the newly blossomed lilacs. It reminded me of a passage from a story I used to read to my children, The Selfish Giant.

"though winter came to the garden, every year the spring returned"


Sometimes it feels like our lives are stuck in perpetual winter, until one day we make it outside and can feel the breeze, enjoy the sunshine and take in the scent of fresh lilac. Then, we are able to realize that it has been merely a season in our life, and that it will have an ending just as it had a beginning. "This too shall pass."

I pray that if you are still feeling the crushing force of winter in your life, that you are able to find your way to the springtime. I am praying for you, today and always.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

A note from the lighter side

So, yesterday I had a marathon session at the Early Treatment Centre. It started with Occupational Therapy, then Physio, then working with OT assistant in gym and then I met my RMT. People are usually like, "awesome, I get a massage". Remember my friends that I would rather be at home than some clinic, and an all afternoon marathon of seeing professionals is not in the least my idea of a good time. Anyway, I end up with the massage therapist, who is a perfectly lovely young lady. She says "ok, strip down to your bra and panties and then hop up on the bed and I will be right back".

Really, does the girl not read my file??? I am a known runner. If I get an attack I bolt. No time to stop and think "Gee I am basically naked". So I look at her and said, "Nope that just ain't happening, there is no way you want to chance having a crazy naked woman running through the halls of the clinic." So she looks at me like I am from another planet and says "so what is going to happen?" I removed my hoody and my shoes and said "This is my compromise". Yah, all you clients at the clinic you are welcome! No one needs to have that sight added to their afternoon.

Hope your day is filled with laughter as you commend yourself on the mini steps you take to get back out in the real world.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

When there are no more tears too shed.

Happy New Year. That's what we are supposed to say right. I am struggling with that right now. It feels a whole lot like the same old crap as last year. Don't get me wrong, I have some glimmers of hope for exciting things to happen this year but right now I am feeling so impossibly worn out by life.

I was called as a witness to an abuse trial which heads to court next week. I certainly want to testify but I am also aware that it may be a huge trigger for my anxiety. The solution that I suggested was to let me make my testimony via closed circuit tv. In order to do this I need a letter from my psychiatrist saying that I would be unable to take the stand in a traditional way. That being said the crown needs the letter not to open a can off worms about my mental state. That really undoes all the antistigma efforts that have occurred over the past few years. Just because I suffer from anxiety and depression does not make me an unfit witness, rather it just means that I require a small accommodation.

My daughter and I were in a car accident before Christmas and I am in quite bad pain still. When I drive the small car riding mere inches from the ground (or so it feels) I have visions of all that debris coming up on the windshield and the panicky feeling that my daughter will be killed. Ironically, thanks to this accident I have to drive twice as much to keep up with physio, insurance and getting my car fixed on top of all the regular appointments for the kids and now the court preparations.

I know I need to look at it all and remember that I am blessed to have a great family, warm home and amazing friends. I know that, really I do. All I ask is for a time of quiet. A time to rest. A time that there is no more need for me to shed tears.


Thursday, 3 December 2015

Occupied Thoughts

Its been some time since I posted here. I think I have just had a mental block about what to say. Do you ever get that way? I am doing ok. I know that I have not been in the forums or checking in with you all lately but I hope that you are all doing well and managing your symptoms as best you can.

I am in a really strange place in my life right now. There are some extremely exciting things happening for me, but also some very life shattering as well. The exciting things are keeping me busy, making me stretch my boundaries and constantly push myself out into the world. The hard stuff makes me want to curl up in a ball on my bed and just let life pass by.

When I was a foster parent as soon as a child would leave I would have another within hours. That's how I liked it. No time to dwell on the loss or the grief, a new child that needed me to be active and present in their care. I did that for a really long time. Skipped the agonizing pain of having child after child that I loved and often they called my Mommy leave my life. People would always say, "I don't know how you do it, I couldn't give them back." Each time someone said that I felt a tiny prick in my heart that reminded me that the grief was still there, waiting to be dealt with. When the floodgates of grief finally swept over me I was drowning in it. I was fortunate that there were very talented professionals that did not give up on me.


Now I am bit gunshy. I want to enjoy all the new things that have come into my life, but I am afraid that they are mere distractions from the hurt and pain my family is enduring. I don't know that I am capable of dealing with this stuff head on, but I certainly don't want to let is fester either. As with all things I guess the solution is in finding the balance between the two situations and hoping for the best.

My thoughts and prayers are with you always.

Tracy

P.S. The good stuff is I was hired to do the social media management for a band, I am a 2016 Design Team member for two companies. Wish me luck.


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Guest Post: Kim Belanger-Mills Holistic/Vegan Lifestyle Consultant

Got Stress?


Kim Belanger-Mills Holistic/Vegan Lifestyle Consultant
I was asked to be a guest blogger on tips for those with stress. I'm not a doctor or therapist but stress is my business, "Helping those with stress in their life to feel more peaceful and grounded". Why stress? Because I've dealt with my fair share. Here's my story and how I keep on top of stress.... 

I grew up in a very... intense...household. My father was old-school military and made no bones about letting me know that he never wanted me, found me to be a burden and loved his car more than me. My mother was always the victim who couldn't leave my father because she had me. Both angry and depressed.

My childhood was anxious (obviously) and I remember having night terrors. Speed ahead to my teen years I had high anxiety and panic attacks daily.  I asked my parents for help but they just stared at me like I was an alien. I was on my own.

The mental and emotional abuse at home didn't get any better and when I was 19 my mother attempted suicide in front of me. This is when I started to lay down some boundaries with my parents and others.

Here's what I learned... EVERYTHING can be a learning experience and the most important thing is to start with self-respect and boundaries from others. You teach people how to treat you and you deserve your own life  and to be happy. Not 10 years from now. TODAY.
So, fix your relationship, get rid of those who don't positively enhance your life. Parents, siblings, friends, spouse.... *gasp* yes, anyone. It may not make you very popular with those who only seek to control you but that's their business. Your business is being happy, plain and simple.

Something else that helped me immensely is to find things that give me joy. Sounds easy, eh? It's not. First, stop listening to others. You can't find YOUR joy if you are constantly listening to others in what THEY want you to do or negativity about what you "can't do". It might be gardening, walking, running, training for a race.... oh, and remember, there is no such thing as failure. Only failure to try! 


Replace stress and anxiety with something better. Healthier. 

Here are some ideas...

-use essential oils
-meditate (count your breaths, do yoga, do dishes with the tv off)
-exercise (walk, run, bike etc)
-read (as in fiction, for fun)
-get up a 1/2 hour earlier to journal and plan how wonderful your day will go (it's mostly an intention, after all)
-eat more raw food (smoothies are amazing)
-smudge (changes the energy of the room and even yourself)
-find a life purpose (my family and I are planning to buy a farm in 2016 and to open a farm sanctuary)
-receive Energywork (such as Reiki)

I'm not going to tell you that once you have a system of tools in place that your life will be all roses and sunshine. Nope. (2003 my dad died, and 2005-2008 my mom died, I was laid off from my job, started school, was separated, was divorced, had a miscarriage, gave birth to a daughter, was remarried) BUT, I will tell you that you will bounce back quicker and easier. You will feel more confident that you can handle just about anything and you will worry WAY less and hopefully enjoy your life WAY more. Because that's what life is all about, right? Enjoying it!! 



If you would like further information about any of the tips given (essential oils, meditation, Reiki, smudge etc) please visit www.VeganKim.com or information about our farm sanctuary journey can be found at http://www.greenerfarmsanctuary.blogspot.ca/ 


Kim Belanger-Mills
Holistic/Vegan Lifestyle Consultant

Monday, 26 October 2015

Shadows of Me

Spoiler Alert: Don't read this post if you are already depressed. This post is really just about me excising some ghosts that I have carried for too long. The weight of them is crushing me today.

All my life I have tried with every ounce of being to be the perfect child, the best student, the ideal employee, best wife, super mom. I have used all my strength and resolve to keep everyone in my life at the time happy. Unfortunately it has drained my cup to the point where I am not sure it will ever be replenished.

Most of the time I was in survival mode. Be a good child so as not to make my father angry, be endearing so that my mother would still want access to me. Do well in school so that my Dad would not be displeased. Work hard so that I could move up the ladder and make my parents proud. Put my husband and family first in all things and put everything I have into making their life the best it can be.

Lets do a tally of how it worked out:

My Dad is dead, even though I sat with him the entire day before he passed, I was the only one that was not at his bedside when he took his last breath. I was taking my son to his specialist appointment in Kingston at the the time. The doctors had said he was stable and that i should go. I drove back as soon as my sister text me and missed him by 5 mins. I never got to resolve anything with him. Just a big black hole of emptiness, of not knowing why I was never good enough.

My Mommy dearest who I have a spent my life trying to be supportive of and hide her mistakes to make her feel like she was a good person. Guess what, she made mistakes, we all have. Her mistakes have cost me so many times and her line is "But what would my life have been if I had stayed?" What was our lives like because you left??? Was her life so much more important that the lives of three innocent girls? So I stood beside her through all the years while my sisters took decades off to pout and vent their displeasure with her actions. Not me, not old faithful obedient one. Now every chance she has to get in good with the prodigal daughters I am tossed to the side until she requires my reassurances again. My kids are not as important, second rate, adopted kids. No need for her to disrupt her singing career to be there to build a relationship with them.

My career, well how fast your skills and achievements are forgotten once you become "Mentally Ill". At one time I was the golden woman. Asked to participate in any number of projects. Now, it seems my phone never rings.

My husband and kids. Well that's all I have left. He has never tried to understand what is wrong with me and resents how the medication has changed me. My kids are all high needs and I hear almost daily how one or another of them hates me, wants to kill me, is running away as soon as they are old enough. Usually due to my asking them to brush their teeth or go to bed.

I was told recently by a loved one that I am not even a shadow of the person i used to be. My question to them is "where do you think that light went?' Keeping everyone else burning bright has cost me my own flame. I feel it burned out inside of me. Nothing left but sooty coals. Nothing left to fuel the fire.

Hoping that your life summation is less bleak than mine. My thoughts and prayers are with you always.

Tracy