Thursday, 7 May 2020

For once we are just like everyone else

Who would have thought 2020 would have shaken us from every illusion we had about our lives. Job security, family connection, health, wealth or even that our modern world would never be brought to its knees by any type of virus.

Every day I see news headlines about the state of everyone's mental health. The government's are pouring billions of dollars into improving access to mental health services. I am hopeful that this new awareness of what it feels like to be isolated, anxious, depressed....falling....deeper and deeper into despair...that it is not forgotten when the rest of the world returns to their regular life and those of us who battle this everyday are left behind.

My hope for this period of history is that we all take note of the lessons we have been given. Our air can be clean, our waters fresh, our cities safe and our loved ones connected, people looking out for each other, our seniors our neighbours. 

It's unfortunate that it took a deadly virus to show us these things, but now that we have seen it, how will it change us? Will you continue to take being able to hug your Mom for granted? Will you still roll your eyes when a friend cancels going out because she has too much anxiety to get out of bed? If you do, well, then you missed the opportunity to grow. You missed the lesson. You missed the point.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Brain Hacks: Life Changing Strategies

If you are like me you have read countless books on CBT, Self Esteem, Happiness etc etc.bI liked this book because it was really none of those things. It had simple exercises to do in a journal that will help you find out what your goals really are and what matters to you. It's refreshing to have a list of items to focus on rather than the regular mind bending idiocities that our mind chooses to ponder.

Check out this book on Goodreads: Brain Hacks: Life-Changing Strategies to Improve Executive Functioning

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Did you pick your theme song for the year?

As I have said before I am not big on New Year's resolutions. To me they seem futile attempts to do things you already know you should do but dont want to. I get it. It's like a reason to hold off on starting something new and then an excuse why you didn't follow through.
No thanks.
The last few years there has been a movement away from resolutions in favour of using a new year as an opportunity for fresh inspiration. The practice of choosing a new word for the year, creating a vision board and choosing a theme song are all positive ways to fill up your motivation tank.
Last year I shared my theme song for the year on facebook. Hedley's Brighter Days really resonated with where I was in my mental health journey ...unfortunately soon after Hedley band members had to face some dark days of their own.

This year sucked for me. Things happened in my life that I could never have imagined in my worst nightmares. Ironically, this year I am feeling stronger and more empowered than I have in years. Every day I struggle with the symptoms of my Mental health. I often feel like I am losing ground. Its seems though that the darker my life gets the more I can see how I am being held up by God. This year my theme song lets me feel like it's ok to admit I am not ok in order to show Gods strength and love.

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know (ooh oh)
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
I believe
The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity, (ooh oh)
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
Oh, I believe
Taking all I have and now I'm laying it at Your feet
You have every failure God, and You'll have every victory, (ooh oh)
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
I believe
Oh I believe (I), yes I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
Oh I believe (oh)
Songwriters: Paul Mabury / Lauren Ashley Daigle / Jason Ingram
You Say lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Firestorm and other Pieces of Wind by Christopher Dutton.

Firestorm and Other Pieces of WindFirestorm and Other Pieces of Wind by Christopher Dutton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I read the cover of this book I braced myself for the dutiful reading of what I thought would amount to little more than a park brochure with a few colourful characters to differentiate it. Instead I was launched into a series of emotional portages that dealt with grief, loss, self discovery and love. The depth of the characters draws you in and holds you captive much like a small vessel held fast by the currents of the rivers that are the canvas on which this masterpiece was written. This collection has become one of my favourite books and a must read for every person who has ever dealt with the ongoing challenges and victories that life brings. The author brought the very feel of the air and smell of the earth that I had stored in the recesses of my memory back to life and I felt that I had returned to the my youth and back to the sanctuary of Algonquin Park.

View all my reviews there something on your mind. Feel free to share it.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

The Mindfullness Workbook for Anxiety

The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety: The 8-Week Solution to Help You Manage Anxiety, Worry & StressThe Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety: The 8-Week Solution to Help You Manage Anxiety, Worry & Stress by Tanya J Peterson

When I first received a review copy of this book I flipped through it and nothing really spoke to me. When I had the opportunity to actually try the program as an 8 week journey rather than just reference reading I realized what a gem I had been given. The steps are all laid out for you. Not every suggestion will be your cup of tea but going through the process at least once will help you build an arsenal of tools that do work for you.

As a long time combatant of anxiety and depression I would highly recommend trying this program. Actually give it the full 8 weeks and be sure to really commit to the process.

View all my reviews ">Read my review on goodreads

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Roots of the matter

Last week I received a review copy of
The Self Esteem Workbook for Women.

That is not earth shattering news as I receive books to review almost daily. The significance was the way the book resounded with me.

For the last seven years of this Mental Health journey I have been tapping every tree in search of a cure for my anxiety and depression. You have all travelled along the path with me through countless counsellors, therapies and pills. Many times I have been asked if I love myself. No one ever asked me why I found it hard to answer.

When I think back to those dark days last December when I was ready to give up and end it all I remember thinking about how I was a burden and the world would be better off without me, my family would be better off.  Then this book arrives. On page 3 the Author Megan MacCutcheon tells us:

"Self-esteem isn't about being perfect or about having the approval of others around us. Rather, it's about accepting yourself the way you are and maintaining an intrinsic belief that you are a good and worthy person simply because you exist as a human."

Shut the front door! We are worthy just because we exist. BAM! Take that world that tells us we need to be skinny, beautiful, young, smart......anything that we are not. After 43 years of being on this planet I have finally been told the secret to surviving my mental health challenges "I am worthy just because I exist!" So there voices from the past telling me I need to be the perfect daughter, sister, student, mother, wife, employee, boss,......I am worthy, and now I know it. So now I have a clear path on how to face each day. Whatever I do, what ever happens, my value does not decrease because I am in charge of setting the value knowing that I am enough.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Imprints on our mind or heart?

Last week I began working with a new counsellor. This particular counsellor has vast experience working with Women who have experienced significant trauma in their lives. It is still a form of  talk therapy but it seems more structured.  I really like structure. The more rules and regulations the better. I won't even walk in an exit at Wal-Mart.

Last week's homework consisted of using two images (one of a young girl and another of a young woman) and I was to write the things that each had been told that influenced my self image.

I of course spent the first hour avoiding the task by convincing myself it was important to colour in the images in order to relate to them.  When I finally picked up my pen and began writing I was shocked at how fast all those hurtful words came rushing back. It was like I was there, reliving each moment of it. When I had finished the assignment I was a bit dismayed at how my brain had held onto those moments of my life. Like some sadistic author writing the very worst moments of my life into an autobiography.

I wondered since my brain had all these memories what else was hidden in there. I went back to the picture of the little girl and let my mind drift back looking for happy moments it had recorded for me. It was a struggle. That is not to say that my childhood was not filled with many happy moments. Why then was it so hard to pull those memories back?

The only two memories that I could reach for that little girl was a sunny summer day,  my Mom was with me out behind our house. Our cat had kittens and I picked them all up in one armfull and hugged them close to my chest. They were so soft and cuddly and the day so perfect.  Then they peed all down the front of my one piece orange and yellow terrycloth jumper. All I could feel in that memory was the bliss of  the sunshine, the kittens and the safety of my Mother's watchful eye.

My second memory is of my maternal Grandmother. I remember being in her apartment and she had a birthday party for me. It was the first time I learned about sticking balloons to a wall by rubbing them in your hair. I can smell her cold cream, her thick red lipstick,  the faint smell of cigarette smoke. I could feel how special it all was. How special I was to her. That's it.

Then I remembered the passage in the bible that said "and Mary carried all these things in her heart". I was mistakenly searching for my happy memories in my mind, when they were in fact stored in my heart. I hope after all the doctors and therapists are done excorcising all my warped perceptions of the past I will find someone who can teach me how to unlock all those good ones locked away in my heart.