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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Guest Post by The Brilliant Shawngela Pierce

Meditation and Mental Health Issues

Before we get into our discussion about meditation and mental health issues, let’s first discuss meditation and its many benefits. While there are many ways to define meditation, I like to define it as focus. It is focus to the extent that all external stimuli diminish outside of where your focus is directed. Whether you are focused on your breath, a mantra, a visualization, your movement, a scripture, etc., you are still focused on just that.

Now, what is the purpose of this “extreme” focus. This extreme focus causes your mind to quiet. Now why is that important? Well, your thoughts affect your health, physically and mentally. Your body doesn't know the difference between what it sees and what it is experiencing. If you are lying in bed or just wake up in the morning thinking about a stressful situation, your body is undergoing physiological changes. Your heart rate is increasing, your blood pressure is rising and other sympathetic events are occurring. The same physiological reaction occurs if you were actually in the situation. As you can clearly see, your thoughts are affecting your health. Which means all of your thoughts from the moment you awaken to the moment that you fall asleep.

Meditation affects the body in exactly the opposite ways that stress does. When you meditate on a regular basis, your body will be restored to a calm state, your mind clears, the body will repair itself, your immune function will increase and new damage due to the effects of stress is prevented. As you meditate, your heart rate and breathing slow down, your blood pressure normalizes, you use oxygen more efficiently, you sweat less and your adrenal glands produce less cortisol. When you meditate, you learn to ground yourself and literally get out of your mind. This releases you from the borage of negative thoughts that cause a stress response. Overtime, there is a shift into a more quiet, focused and tranquil mind.

In addition to all of these benefits, there is recent evidence that meditation effects your gene expression. In the study a group of experienced meditators practiced mindfulness over an 8-hour period while the control group simply engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. The genes of both were tested beforehand with no differences, however, after the 8-hour period, there was a decrease in expression of inflammatory genes for the experienced meditators. Despite having the same genetic makeup the expression in the region associated with inflammation was decreased. That is pretty amazing to me and something I have held as true for many years. Meditation can affect your genes. Now that is something you cannot bottle in a pill.

It is in my opinion that all mental health issues can benefit from meditation. The extent to which one will benefit can, of course, be debated. Despite this, meditation should definitely be in your "toolbox" that you use to treat your mental health issue. Meditation does not have to be the soul treatment, it is a good idea to use meditation as a complement to whatever treatment you are undergoing or that you plan to undergo. Many causes of mental health are exasperated by your thoughts and stress. If you learn to dissipate those thoughts, you will feel a tremendous benefit in your mental health.

I will caution though that people with depression, past experiences of trauma or mental illnesses that often lead to addictions, may find themselves feeling increasingly anxious during meditation, no matter how much they try to focus on the moment. Or they may be plagued by intrusive thoughts, feelings and images of the past during their meditation exercises. For these individuals or for those who feel they need more guidance, it is best to find an experienced meditation instructor. There are ways and techniques that you can use to help guide you through these moments of getting “stuck” in ruts like rumination. An expert can let you know what to expect and offer emotional support to help you get through the rough spots.

About The Author
Shawngela Pierce is an educator, author, reiki practitioner, business owner and meditation instructor who specializes in mindfulness meditation and qigong (chee gong). She is an avid meditator with a daily meditation practice of over 2 hours. She has a masters degree in the field of education with 3 1/2 years of post-masters education in naturopathic medicine. This includes mind-body therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), botanical medicine, nutrition, hydrotherapy as well as other healing modalities. She loves teaching, which is something she has done for over 15-years. She designed the Meditation for Health Program to help people utilize the benefits of meditation as well as other holistic lifestyle changes to live a harmonious and care-free life. 

You can find Shawngela at +Seek Within You | Meditation for Health

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Thursday, 12 December 2013

Guest Post Monday by Shawngela Pierce

Do you remember when I told you that someone had suggested adding Omega-3 Fatty Acids to my diet to help with my arthritis pain. If you did not have the opportunity to read that post..you should...it was brilliant :)
Omega-3 Post The person that had given me that little bit of advice, little meaning it absolutely changed my entire quality of life, was Shawngela Pierce. I had hoped that we would be able to have Shawngela join us at some point as she is just an absolute font of information.  Shawngela has been extremely busy with her own business but graciously agreed to pop by Monday for a discussion on the benefits of meditation.  If you have not tried meditation yet you should. It is extremely hard at first but with time you will find it gets easier and pays huge dividends in your well being. Please stop by next Monday and be sure to leave Shawngela a comment about your experience with meditation. I am sure if you post any questions she will be glad to answer. Have a wonderful weekend, take care of yourself out there! My thoughts and prayers are with you always.
If you want to learn more about Shawngela Pierce or meditation please visit her +Seek Within You | Meditation for Health

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Doctor's Office

Oh come on, really? You believed that title? I am disappointed in you.  You should know by now that I hate, hate, hate the drive to Hotel Dieu. That being said, i did like my new therapist. His approach to the entire first appointment made me know that he and I would work well together.  First of all his office was not all plush and overly designed to make you almost forget someone was picking your brain,. I like that. There were no fluffy pillows or plump chairs that you sink way to far into. He did however sit in a regular chair, not in front of his computer screen taking notes or checking email. Another plus. Ok, so the man had a leg up on the situation since he already knew that I am very interested in learning about Acceptance Commitment Therapy and he is an expert in that field. We will overlook that for now.  I think that I had set myself up to think that this Dr. was going to dispel my enthusiasm for this therapy by somehow popping the bubble of hope I had been allowing to build in me since learning a tiny bit about ACT during my summer reading.  He didn't! He seemed to think that I was a very good candidate for it. So now I have to wait until there are enough people with anxiety disorders to run a group. That should be easy right? If you know of anyone with these disorders in my local area please send them to this guy!!...(just kidding)...So he is projecting February should be the start date of the group. This is the best part. He gives homework! That means that I will have an organized path to recovery. Whatever that recovery may look like.  So once again I feel that I am moving in the right direction. I will share anything that I learn as we progress through the program. He mentioned that the book that the therapy is based on is "Get out of your mind, and into your life" by Stephen C.  Hayes. I am hoping that your life is heading in the right direction today. If it's not, tomorrow you will have the chance to try again. My thoughts and prayers are with you.-Tracy


Steven C. Hayes (born 1948)[1] is Nevada Foundation Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is known for an analysis of human language and cognition (Relational Frame Theory), and its application to various psychological difficulties (his work on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy).

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The View From My Window Today

So much for meeting the new therapist  today. As predicted, we were deluged in mountains of snow during the night. The weatherman got it right for once. Although I think, if given satellite feeds, computer analysis  and a clear view of the sky I might have been able to see that massive snowfall coming too.

Its disappointing to have to delay moving forward with the Acceptance  Commitment Therapy but I must admit I love being snowed in.The children are home,  playing blissfully in the snow, just outside my window. The trees are heavy laden with fluffy white snow. Everything is so peaceful and serene, it feels like God wrapped our little family up in a big white cozy blanket and said “take rest”.

My new revised plan for the day includes fuzzy slippers, hot cocoa, a potential Disney Universe grudge match and gratitude ……lots and lots of gratitude . For in this moment I am free of panic, depression  and despair . This moment I will cling to in times that feel much darker. My thoughts and prayers are with you .

LiveJournal Tags: ,,
win5e4day

Monday, 25 November 2013

Monday Madness

Hey guys. I have an interesting update for you. I will be starting a new group therapy session soon and I am going to meet the new psychologist on Wednesday. The sessions will be an introduction to ACT which I have been very interested in learning more about.  I had shared that I was reading a rather large book on the subject over the summer. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been such a lifeline for me on my journey thus far and I am hopeful that this new approach will build on that.  If you have not tried CBT I encourage you to invest some time in finding out about it. There are many resources available online about it.  You can even do counselling online if that is easier for your situation.
A good place to start is LearntoLive they offer a free questionnaire about social anxiety as well as online services.

I am really looking forward to receiving additional information about Acceptance Commitment Therapy and I will share the information with you as I am working through it.  As my friend +Michael Ballard  would say "What your repress, makes you regress." So it is time for me to move on with life and not let things I can't change hang around me like a heavy anchor. I am hopeful that this is a step in the right direction. I will keep you posted...oh, no pun intended. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The Story of A Life

Wow, emotional day here. It seems life just keeps handing them out. I literally just walked in the door.  My hands are even now shaking madly while I try to type this post. I know, go have a break and a cup of hot tea (+John Litzenburg) but truly I wanted to write this post while everything was still fresh in my oh so cluttered brain.  Did I ever tell you that I am a card carrying member of the CWL? OK, it's not that big of deal I guess but I do have one of the fancy plastic cards not the flimsy paper kind that the casual members get. Today we stood as honour guards at the funeral of a women that inspired me immensely. Helen Mary Callaghan...could you get a more Catholic name.  Helen passed away on Saturday in her 93rd year of life. Until her heart started to fail her earlier this year she attended Mass every Sunday with her special needs son whom she cared for until she could no longer stay at home, again earlier this year. I remember vividly the day she fell ill. We were all singing during Mass when suddenly Helen drooped forward, the parlour of her skin a dusty white. Immediately the entire congregation dropped to the kneelers and began to pray. The silence enveloping the church I will never forget. After about 20 mins of this deafening silence I saw Helen gesture to her daughter. Preparing myself to hear Helen's final words being relayed to the priest I waited. Father Dale nodded and announced to the congregation that Helen said to get going with the Mass. What fortitude. As the paramedics rushed into the back of the church I saw Helen's children arrive and silently take their place in the pew behind their mother.  That was the last time I saw her alive. The CWL doesn't really call on me anymore. Its pretty well know in my community that there is something wrong with me. Something huh...lol...So they politely overlook me when assigning tasks. When I heard Saturday that Helen was gone I needed to be there to don the CWL stole and stand guard for this amazing woman. At 90 years of age she was still the very active President of our League. She was even still driving at 90 (which I think if she had lived anywhere other than Read the police would have wrestled her license away). Whenever she wanted your attention she had a way of just walking up beside you and taking your arm. She pretended to use it for support but really she used it to hold you in place until she had finished what she wanted. She was truly a Matriarch of our community. When I thought about attending the funeral I started thinking of course about having social anxiety. How it limits my interaction in the world and how it sort of isolates me from being too close to the world. Safe...that's what I call my house. My safe spot. My sanctuary. Less outsiders to care about means less opportunity to feel the pain of the loss.  The absolute sorrow in that church today and the funeral home last night was palpable. I think I cried more for the hurt of the ones left behind then the woman we were there to celebrate. Her work was done. Her reward in hand. But oh the legacy that stood there today. 8 children, 10 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. All loved with her every breath and best of all...they knew it. She showed them all how to love without reserve, how to serve others with dignity...how to live their faith. As I said, what a legacy. So I wonder....is my house my safe place...or is it my hiding place. If the worst of my anxieties came true and some catastrophe occurred that took my life or worse still my family, is that chance any worse than the world I miss out on hiding behind my window? My thoughts and Prayers are with you all and especially the loved ones of Mrs. Helen Mary Callaghan.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Kerry Connelly Interview for Her New Book Shaken

Kerry; Your first book Observation City was such a witty entertaining read, what inspired the drastic move to such a deeply personal book? As people can see by your Facebook, Google+ and blog entries, your book Observation City is popping up all over the world, with fans sending in pictures from around the globe. Who do you hope to see as the audience for this book? What type of feedback are you expecting as it will be less likely that people will feel at ease sharing photos of Shaken.

Very true. I hope that shaken is able to resonate with an audience of people who can take from it something useful and use it in their own journeys.  Even now during the books pre-release I have been receiving emails from people in my Google plus community and website visitors who have bravely shared their experiences with me. I hope that readers are able to take out of it something that they can use in their own lives. Of course I welcome people to send me in their photos with ‘shaken’ as many did with ‘Observation City’ if they would like to, but it isn’t something I expect. I do however encourage readers to feel free to send me an email if they would like to.

If you could press rewind and go back to the time before the abuse and depression (not the acts itself but rather to the person you were) would you? Or are you happy with the person you have become through overcoming these trials?

I believe everything happens for a reason, even if you don’t know it at the time. Do I wish I hadn’t been subjected to an emotionally abusive relationship. Of course. Would I erase it if I could? No. It has taught me so much and from that experience I’m standing on the verge of releasing an important book which hopefully will be able to help others.

Writing such a personal account of your own life is extremely courageous. What has been the feedback from friends and family about sharing so much of yourself in this book?

My partner has been incredibly supportive and encouraging, he can already see the impact the book has been having pre-release on people’s lives through my interactions with many kind and courageous people of my online communities. He encourages me every day, even when I am going through low points myself that the book has been written for a reason.

When can we expect to get our hands on "Shaken"? Where will it be available?

Shaken will be available in paperback and digital formats THIS NOVEMBER from amazon.com and publisher direct. Easy purchase links will be added to my website and updates on various book retailers that will be stocking Shaken, will also be added to my website as they come.


Kerry thank you for taking the time once again to join us here at http://www.aworldoutsidemywindow.blogspot.ca

In closing; if you had the chance to speak with one young person struggling with abuse or depression what would you tell them?


Depression doesn’t discriminate, don’t feel ashamed because you are not alone, so many of us have been through it or are going through depression at this very moment. And for those who have find themselves the subject of emotional or other types of abuse- speak out, know that you are worth so much more than the treatment you are being subjected to. Reach out to those around you that you can trust, seek help. Read shaken and feel free to email me. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Shaken is out this week!

Several months ago we were fortunate to have Author Kerry Connelly provide a guest post on this blog. During those months the effects of Kerry's courageous battle with living with the aftermath of abuse and mental health struggles have forged several new forums for discussing mental health issues. I have been privileged to be apart of several of these groups and discussions and I am so proud of Kerry's ability to turn her personal struggles into a beacon of hope for others to follow. Be sure to get your hands on Shaken this week and come back here November 8th for Kerri's reasons for writing Shaken, the effects it is having in her own life as well as words of wisdom for others that are suffering and feeling like they are alone.

Meet Kerry Connelly

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Time to toot my own horn

So admittedly I have been in a funk lately. Maybe its the grey weather.....maybe its just learning to be home alone without my kidlets. I started sliding back into the pattern of staying home all the time again. Some days I was not even combing my hair in fear that my hubby might request that I go out....and to be fully honest with myself...I was just getting to depressed to care what I looked like. Well Thursday being Halloween I had to take my kids out trick or treating. Friday and Saturday I took my small business on the road and was a vendor at a local craft sale. Guess what....I did not even shake until after 3:00 on Saturday and the show was over by 4:00.  My Mom went with me to the show and I suprised her by how outgoing I was with the customers. I was fearless! Of course I got to talk about something that I am passionate about so that certainly helped. Today the numbness in my back and shoulders were my evidence of three days out in the world. I almost gave myself permission to crawl back under the covers but instead I got up and got ready for Mass. To my suprise I did not shake or have a panic attack today. I felt almost like me again. I think this is the first time in a very long time that I have been out four days in a row. I am so glad that I pushed myself past what I thought I could do. My confidence is at its highest point in recent memory. I won't lie...I feel pretty rough tonight.....and have no plans to leave the house until maybe mid week....but oh it was so worth it!  What can you set as a goal today? My thoughts and prayers are with you every step you take towards your goal today.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Mental Health Day- Caution Woman on the Edge

Today feels like a Monday to me. Long weekends always seem to throw my mental calendar out of whack.  I think I will stick a post it note on the fridge today to remind me that it is in fact Tuesday.  Do you feel like your week has started on the wrong foot when a holiday steals away a day that you could not work towards your to-do list.  That is how I am feeling today.  My next show is November 1st and 2nd and I am supposed to be hosting workshops in my new studio by …now really.  I feel everything backing up into a big unmanageable mess.  I think that as important as crossing things off my list today I need to stay focused on my anxiety level.  Perhaps the things that I am worried about are not worth the weight that I am attaching to them in the whole scope of things.  I am going to take some time today to go back and reread my old posts….find some tidbits to help me reorganize my thoughts and priorities and get me moving forward again.  I am going to spend some time brushing up on my CBT exercises and also some of my relaxation techniques.  I have mentioned a few times that I am trying to compile a list of Android Apps that help with Mental Health and I have to say I am really impressed with a few that I have looked at already.  There are allot of crappy ones out there that are clouded with ads that make me feel overwhelmed to even look at but then there are several that are very clean and user friendly.  I can’t wait to share them with you.  Unfortunately it won’t be today.  As I said….I am taking a Mental Health Day today! Maybe you should commit a few hours of your schedule today towards helping your mental health journey. My thoughts and prayers are with you always. Tracy

Mental Health Vacation

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Life's Little Hurdles

I am writing this post in follow up to my earlier post about my struggles to have my disability accommodated by a bus company. I spent the entire afternoon talking with various branches of the goverment that deals with human rights. In Ontario every business, service and acency has a legal duty to ensure that they accommodate persons with disabilities. ....to the point of undue hardship.  It does not just mean visable disabilities. The act specifically speaks to people with mental or intellectual disabilities.  I was just getting off the phone with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal Legal Defense Team (by the way there is a favourable decision in a very similiar case from February) when the bus stopped in front of my house. Really. The kids (not munchkin he goes tomorrow ) triumphantly waving their amended bus planner forms. Thank you all for your tweets, fb shares, googling and most of all prayers . Thank you to all the people that helped strengthen my voice. Thank you Gail McCullough for reconsidering my needs. This one decision will  impact my life and ability to deal with daily functioning in exponential ways. I hope that whatever hurdle you are trying to get through today, that there is someone there to help lift you up....I promise you my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Life's Hurdles- Please Help Me!

Sometimes it feels like this blog is a rollercoaster and I feel like I am dragging you along on all the ups and downs of my life.  Then I remember that is what I said it was likely to do way back when I began this.  My journey in all its failures and triumphs.  I think todays post probably falls into the first category.  My little one started school last month you may recall.  That in itself has been a rollercoaster but now a new bump in the road has emerged.  I am not sure if I ever told you but my children all have pretty horrific stories of origin and as a result they all tend to exhibit some pretty significant behavioural challenges. We knew that would be the case each time we applied to adopt them.  Something I will never regret.  Unfortunately I did not plan to become a social phobic, agoraphobic....whatever phobic resonates with you to describe my complete and utter inability to function on a regular basis in the world.  Who would know to plan for that?  So back to my bumpkin....he has to ride the bus.  This requires me to walk the three children down the gravel road to the neighbours...who i don't know....and stand there trying to overcome my innate desire to escape and wrangling a very strong behavioural 4 year old. I requested to have the bus stop at my home but because of the proximity to the stop at the neighbours it was declined.  How do you tackle something like this.  I understand fully the position of the transportation guru but she has no idea how big that distance is from my safe spot...my home.  How can I convey to her the depths of anxiety that I experience when I have to walk those 3 bus lengths to the stop.  How can I make her understand that those few steps are the difference between my functioning as a normal member of society or being a big shaking mass of nausea and and horror.  Not the safest situation for my child.  This is the email I sent in response to the denial of my initial request:

Accessibility for People with disabilities.
Inbox
x

Tracy Sagriff <tmsagriff@yahoo.com>
7:34 PM (17 hours ago)
to mcculloughg


Dear Gale
I was informed today that my request for a transportation change for my children was denied. 
It is a concern to me that my request was denied even though I clearly stated on the form that
 I am a person with a severe disability preventing me from continuing to take my son to a 
neighbours to catch the bus. I would have hoped that an organization responsible for the 
transportation of thousands of students daily would be more accommodating and at least 
gather more information before denying the request. Though the safety of my four year old
 as well as my safety do not seem to fall into your balance of schedule vs accessibility it is 
paramount in my mind. Ontario has laws in regards to requirements for accessibility to 
services. Now that I know the position of your company in regards to people with 
disabilities I feel the need to contact appropriate government agencies in ensuring 
your company is not able to deny help to people who require assistance. Please be 
advised that as my disability limits my ability to contact these agencies in person I may 
be required to use social media to raise awareness of the level of accessibility in your 
organization.. I would have appreciated being able to discuss this with you but I 
understand your office is very busy as it took 3 weeks to deny my request without so much
as a cursory discussion about it. I pray that you and your family is never hit by a 
disability and if you are I will pray that you are allowed more dignity than to have to walk your 
child to a bus stop trying to hold him from running into traffic while trying to overcome your 
own weaknesses.
Kindest regards
Tracy Sagriff
#InvisibleDisabilities are real, you just can't see them.
Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android





Ok so it may sound a bit harsh but I was really unwell after receiving the denial 

and I really did not know where to put that excess energy.  This was her reply:



Good Morning Mrs. Sagriff
Thank you for your email message. May I impress on you that this office did investigate
your request. We noted that the bus stop location assigned for your family is 
46 metres from the end of your driveway and along with your JK student, you also 
have two grade six students getting on and off the bus at the same location. The safety 
of all children is paramount in all the decisions made at Tri-Board Student Transportation 
Services. As stated the existing stop location is very close to your address – about three 
bus lengths away. This is too short of a distance to safely establish a second bus stop 
location.

Gail McCullough

Gail McCullough
Transportation Supervisor
(613) 354-1981 ext 325
Fax # 1-866 697-0719
mcculloughg@triboard.on.ca        

cid:image001.jpg@01CD2202.17ED7790


Thank you Gail. I am aware that the distance is quite short.  However I have a feeling that 
this very professional person has never tried to deal with children while experiencing a 
mental health meltdown. 

And finally this was my response:


Dear Gale
The distance could be 100 miles away and it would not have been any different. I am being treated for severe 
social anxiety, panic attack disorder, clinical depression and ocd. I don't know if you have much experience 
with mental health issues but in my case I am agoraphobic. My house (sometimes only my laundry room in 
the basement) is my place of safety. If I leave my home for even a few moments my brain gets overstimulated 
and produces chemicals that tell my body I am in imminent danger and kicks in what is referred to as the 
fight or flight reflex. If you can imagine trying to control a behavioural special needs child while battling this 
chemical mess in my body it is very dangerous. As for the two other children being of any assistance they 
are also special needs. You may remember me from fostering as I recall we interacted several times on 
various children's behalf. I am no longer able to foster as my mental health has deteriorated and my ability to
function outside my home has disappeared. These last three I adopted prior to getting sick. I understand your
perspective completely but it is one of those situations where you have to look beyond the mathematics and 
look at the functionality of the matter. Please talk to the bus driver or I can give you a list of 10 doctors and 
counselors that I work with to deal with this illness. I am not asking for the bus to stop here every day. Only 
when Isaiah attends school. The family next door is only riding the bus 50% of the time as they are at their
fathers the rest of the time. That means it only affects them 1/4 of the time as Isaiah goes every other day. 
Less than that even as the neighbours play hockey some mornings and are driven to school please help 
me to come up with an amicable solution to this. It may seem trivial to you but the distance is like an ocean 
to me and I am truly concerned that I am not capable of keeping Isaiah secure as it currently stands. It will 
be even worse when it is all icy and snowy but also the lack of sunshine increases the symptoms of 
depression. I am earnestly begging you to reconsider declining my request. I am not trying to be pushy or 
unkind I am just trying to function as best I can outside my home.
Thanks for your consideration of this matter.
Tracy
Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

So now I sit and wait.  My mental health and my child's safety in the hands of a 

woman that rarely looks beyond her spreadsheets to see how her decisions affect 

the rest of the world.  Where do I go now? What do I do? I am not able to advocate 

for us any further than this keyboard. I feel defeated and helpless and really just 

like giving up. If I can't even get my child safely to school in the morning how can 

I say I am making strides in my recovery.  Its all for nothing.  I need someone to 

help me. To fight on my side.  To give me a voice so that I can make the world 

hear that #InvisibleDisabilities are real and need to be taken into consideration.  

Please help me gain a voice.  If you are affected by an invisible disability either 

personally or someone in your life please help me to make the world understand.  

Would she understand that 46m is an impossible distance if I was missing my legs 

or unable to move.  Its a similar sensation when your brain decides to tell your 

body not to move.  Please email this woman and let her know how 

#InvisibleDisabilies affect your daily life. Her email address is

mcculoughg@triboard.ca. Please help me! Please share this email address with 

everyone you know that needs a voice.  We can't let people who suffer with 

Mental Health Issues be swept into silence! Tweet this message! Facebook it! 

Google + it! We need a voice. We need support.  We need to be heard. In the 

words of the great story Horton hears a Who...

"WE ARE HERE! WE ARE HERE! WE ARE HERE!"


My thoughts and prayers are with you always! Also a special shout out to 

@StrokeDan for his encouragement and prayers last night as he tweeted me

through it all.  Thanks Dan!

Please feel free to visit the Triboard Transportation Site for more information 

about this wonder of modern efficiency









Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Find Some Inspiration

Do you ever notice how when you are around positive people you just feel more.....well...positive. Not exactly ground breaking news there but this post is really just about encouraging you to step out there and find people that are inspiring to you.  I don't suggest that you have to go out and actually meet the people...you know that I am all about the baby steps.  Go to youtube or facebook and poke around and find the people that listening to their updates and videos gives your day a lift.  This has become my evening ritual. Instead of watching tv or mindless mishap videos online I try to spend the last hour of my day watching videos of people that inspire me.  Usually I am following the brilliant exploits of My Sister's Scrapper or the amazing Kathy Orta but lately I have been looking for more.  Inspiration to get back into crafting is wonderful but I am looking for inspiration to get back into life.  One of the people that have been inspiring me lately is motivational speaker +Michael Ballard . He has overcome allot in his life and he carries on with an optimism and general happy demeanor that should encourage each of us to re-examine our lives and find ways to cope with our circumstances.  Do yourself a favour and find an inspiration hero.....or you can borrow mine. Check out his YouTube Channel to hear all that he has to say about resiliency. (This is not a sponsored ad....lol..I really just think he is very inspiring). Take time today to be inspired. My thoughts and prayers are with you as always. -Tracy

Friday, 27 September 2013

Is Social Media a Band-Aid for Social Anxiety or Is It A Possible Treatment

The thing about social anxiety is this...it's really hard to find people struggling with it because we are all shut up in our houses. Daily I am bombarded with studies about Social Media and how it is creating an environment of anti-social behaviour among families.  It is not uncommon to see people walking down the street checking their online presence or sitting in a restaurant with each person peering at their phone.  I agree people are getting to engrossed in the virtual life and not engaging in the real world enough.  That being said, without social media I would not be making the strides that I am in my own journey.  The people that I have met through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other sites have encouraged me and inspired me through things that people in my "real world" could never truly understand.  Without social media to give me a soap box to stand on to shout out my discontentment at the world I might feel smaller than I do.  Without social media I would not have to strength to tell others what I am struggling with and in turn listen to their concerns with their own lives.  I think of the famous recluses of the past Greta Garbo, Emily Dickinson, J.D. Salinger and Harper Lee, what effect would social media have had on their lives. Would their work have been more brilliant from the benefit of being able to share ideas with others, or does their genius stem from their isolation.  I think social media may be a double edged sword. For those individuals that are out there in the world able to socialize and have a life it may be stunting their social skills. For those of us that are forced to observe life from the sidelines I think it is a lifeline, forever pulling us back into society.  I am hopeful that whatever tool you have at your disposal today, be it social media, a phone or the opportunity to get out of the house...use it.....push yourself...my thoughts and prayers are with your always.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Getting Stronger Every Day

Well my friends I have been MIA again. My apologies. I have exciting news to share though, so perhaps that will help you to overlook the entire absence.  On Saturday I participated in my first craft show. Really! I even have pictures to prove it. I, Tracy Marlene Sagriff packed up my little craft stash and headed out into the big bad  world. From a fiscal prospective it was not a very lucrative venture but from a therapeutic standpoint it was a pivotal moment for me.  Sure, I felt like I MIGHT die several times during the day....and nearly threw up a time or two...I remained. Better yet, I smiled and was engaging. It may surprise you to hear that I even forced myself to make the loop around the show to interact and establish a rapport with the other vendors. I paid a hefty price Saturday night and Sunday but I think it was well worth it. My confidence in my ability to move past this debilitating disorder is at the highest point it has been in a really long time. I planned the excursion out beforehand to ensure that I had supports in place just in case. I made sure that the woman running the event was aware that I needed a booth near an exit and I also had my Mom and great friend stay with me. Knowing that these supports were in place gave me the courage to push myself. We are all stronger than we think. Sometimes we just need to prove it to ourselves. My thoughts and prayers are with you - Tracy

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Running on Overload

Hello Friends. I apologise for my absence the last couple of weeks. Last week my youngest child started Kindergarten and I was struggling with having him go. I don't think it is a matter of my anxiety issues (though I am sure that did not help) but rather just the regular empty nest thing. It is so hard for me to let them go out into the world without me. Of course I don't want to be out there and they need to be so I guess I have to just let go. I am also struggling with readjusting to life at home vs the trailer. Transitions seem to be a challenge for me anymore. I have nearly stopped shaking most of the time. Even out in the real world people are noticing that my tremor is less pronounced. I am feeling good about that as now I don't feel like everyone will be looking at me. (Not that they ever really were) just my insecurity on how the shaking made me look. This week I had the best of intentions of returning to the blog but then guess what I did. Tuesday night when I went to take my night meds I accidently had the pill minder backwards in the dimly lit kitchen and I took my Wednesday AM meds. My daily dosage of Zoloft is 175 mg and I ended up taking it twice. Add to that the fact that I took it instead of the Zopiclone I should have been taking and you have one sick Mamma. Obviously I did not even close my eyes on Tuesday night. I sat and watched the clock move excrutiatingly slow all night long. I got really annoyed several times during the night at my husband. It felt to me that his snoring was just some way of rubbing it in that he was asleep. It was not until Wednesday morning that I realized what I had done. By then my husband was gone to work and the kids were at school so I just lay on the couch and hoped the ill effects would pass. Of course I still could not sleep until later afternoon and then I did not want to because I knew if I did I would be up again all night. Nausous and headachy I was determined to stick it out. I went through the whole gambit of side effects that I have gone through each time my meds were increased and I was in misery. I am thankful to be feeling much better today. I can't believe I made such a silly mistake. It scares me to think how one blip like that can wreak such havoc. Have you ever made a mistake with your medication? I wonder how common it is. I wish I knew of a better way to keep track. Oh well. I lived to fight another day. So I guess the post has a happy ending. My thoughts and prayers are with you. P.S. I am going to do a post on the most helpful mood monitoring apps for Android phones. If you have a favourite that you would like me to include/ check out let me know.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Finding my limits

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you decided just to say "To Hell With It" and just go out and tackle something? Well I am at that point. In a good way I think. I know that I shared with you earlier my plans to start my own small craft business. Well, that is in full motion now. My business is registered, my tax number obtained, my domain name secured and my business plan in the draft stages. Allot of the issues that I have had surrounding my mental illness has been my loss of identity. I was no longer a productive member of society. I could almost see the terse words forming on my father's lips. Dependant. Helpless. I took an inventory of my skill set and came to the astonishing discovery that I still have marketable skills. I may not be able to go out and manage a team of technicians in a call centre anymore but my management and computer skills are still valid. I may not be needing to create life books for foster children anymore but I can still make memory books for other people. Admittedly there will be some hurdles to overcome....like the fact that I will need to leave the house to attend craft fairs and workshops but I will have the flexibility to build buffer days around those occasions so that I will have time to decompress. The point of my long winded rant is this: Don't sell yourself short. You are capable of more than you think. Take time today to do a self-inventory and find a way to use those skills. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

http://www.universityaffairs.ca/uploadedFiles/Documents/PDF/Careers/CareerCorner2008-Job-Skills-Self-Assessment-Tool.pdf

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Moving Forward One Step At A Time

Wow, this summer has gone by incredibly fast. I have to say that I did not do as well this summer as I did last. Last year my trailer was an oasis of tranquility for me. I felt safe and secure there and felt that I had achieved something for myself by leaving the house and going there. Somehow that lustre has worn off. This year it seems like all the commotion of other campers and just the business of the camp itself has me hiding inside more often then I would like. How do you explain to your children that they can't go swimming on Saturdays because there are too many people in the pool area. I told you that I had been taking the Omega 3 pills and I have stayed on track with that. My shaking has calmed down considerably and the joint pain has lessened as well. I have been able to stay out until around eight o'clock most nights which is a huge improvement over my previous six o'clock exodus. I feel like everyone is expecting me to just wake up one day and be back to the me I was 3 years ago. I know that is not going to happen. My life has changed, I have changed, but I still feel guilt over letting others down. I will be home from the camp in about two weeks and then I will start putting my very predictable schedule back in place. I will return to whatever therapy options are available. I will push on. But I am tired. No one here seems to understand how much energy it takes to just leave my bed in the morning. No one seems to see how hard I struggle each day to get out there and be part of the world (even if only for an hour). I am so thankful that I have made such good connections in the Anxiety Forums and Google+ groups or I might think I was alone in these struggles. My thoughts and prayers are with you always. -Tracy

Saturday, 3 August 2013

More Tangled Thoughts

Ok, Ok...enough of the disney flicks....I know! This is the last one I promise. Just a thought though: Rapunzal  spends her entire young life wondering about the beautiful paper lanterns she sees illuminating the sky every year on her birthday. She dreams about seeing them up close and discovering their mystery.  She is however trapped in a tower which she never leaves as she feels she has to protect her very long magic hair.  As she finally sets off on her adventure she is weighed down by the lengths of hair.  She uses the hair to her advantage at several points in her journey but she feel that is is the magic hair that is the important part of who she is. Ironically it is when her hair is cut off that she is free to realize the life she dreams of.  I can empathise with this poor girl. No I don't think I am a long loss heiress....though I can hope....but I understand the feeling of needing to stay shut off from the world. To protect those things in my life that I feel define me.  What a liberating thing it would be to be able to let go....to cut off my hair so to speak and have the courage to see who I would become.  I think I better cut back on the Disney flicks...they may be getting too deep for me. I think its time to turn back to some mindless comedy that won't provoke my overactive analytical mind.  My thoughts and prayers are with you always and I am praying you are able to liberate yourself from whatever is weighing you down.
 




Friday, 2 August 2013

Tangled Thoughts

My family has started a Saturday tradition of watching movies out on our lawn curled up under our coziest blankets.  We of course watch only family friendly flicks and last week's selection was no exception.  While watching the adventure seeking Rapunzel fleeing the bad guys with her dashing cohort Flynn Ryder I stumbled upon a message that struck me straight to the heart. After being asked something about his past Flynn simply replies "sorry blondie, I don't do the backstory thing". Think about that for a minute. Imagine if we could stop replaying our "backstory". Why do we feel the need to share the very things in our past that have caused us so much pain. I am imagining a world where I don't feel the need to tell people I can understand because I have been there.  Why can't I just understand and offer them a friendly ear and open arms.  I am totally getting a new mantra. If it was something in my past that made me stronger I am just going to be thankful for the gift of strength, if it is something that wounded me.....I am just going to try to let go.  The people that are gone now I will decide if its worth the energy to keep them alive in my heart or if it is time to just let go of the things that will never be.  I am tired of living my life looking in the rear view mirror all the time.  I want to focus on what is going on around me.  Maybe if I "don't do the backstory thing" I will open up new world where I can't hide behind what has happened in my life and I will have to tackle the job of daily life.  My thoughts and prayers are with you and I hope you are able to lower the volume on your backstory today and focus on the blessings around you.


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Bursting With Excitement

How time flies. It's almost time for our friend Kerry Connely's second book Shaken to hit the shelves. Guess what! She has been in contact to say that she will be stopping by to do an interview early in August. I don't know about you, but i can't wait to get my hands on this book. Kerry had become such a hero to me as she puts herself out there to raise awareness about the effects of abuse and depression.  Keep an eye out for her upcoming interview. Better yet, sign up for updates through google plus or bloglovin and you will be sent the update automatically. Take care and enjoy the weather. My thoughtts and prayers are with you.

Tracy

P.S. I REALLY AM SO EXCITED +author KLC


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

This idea seemed to fishy to work....but it does!

Whew I am so glad that the humidity has let up for a few days. I just wanted to pop in and let you know about a suggestion that I was given in one of the google plus groups to help alleviate my joint pain in my hands and feet. My anxiety issues sometimes...ok pretty much always have me shaking and twitching and it has begun to result in osteoarthritis. To the point! +Meditation for Health | Seek Within You  suggested that essential fatty acids such as flaxseed or fish oils would help reduce the pain and inflammation as well as help reduce my anxiety effects. I was admittedly doubtful that this would work. I grew up choking down halibut oil capsules all winter as my Grandmother insisted that it would ward off colds. After suffering yet another night of nauseated stomach from the Tylenol Arthritis I had taken I was motivated to give it a try. I bought Jamieson Brand Omega 3 with Flaxseed Oil and read the label carefully.  It said to take 3 capsules 3 times a day. Ok, so I am not that thrilled with the idea of choking down these monster sized footballs of smelly oil so I decide on a compromise with myself . I will try 2 capsules, twice daily. Within a couple of days my husband noticed that I was able to do more without my hands bothering me. I also started staying out of the trailer for longer periods of time and I actually went to a fish fry that had me sitting wedged at the back of a deck with at least 8 adults all conversing wildly beside me. I am not saying that this is going to cure all that ails you my friend but it is certainly worth a try.  I have been taking it for a few weeks now and I am no longer taking the Tylenol.  Thank you so much +Meditation for Health | Seek Within You  this was such a helpful suggestion.  Maybe we can sweet talk our new google + friend and have a new guest blogger.
My thoughts and prayers are with you always.

Tracy



Read more about Omega 3 and Flaxseed Oils at
Jamieson Vitamins

Friday, 5 July 2013

Alone In A Crowd

So its laundry day today. That is why I am home and not at the trailer. Once I figure out where to stick a washer and dryer in my paradise on wheels I won't need to traverse the country for clean socks. Did you have a good holiday (July 1st for my Canadian pals or July 4th for my American friends). Well, I dreaded Canada Day weekend since...well...last Canada Day probably. My husband's family seem to feel the need to congregate around this time of year. Usually it lasts for days and days but this year the bulk of it occurred on Sunday. The children and I decided to stay in the trailer in the afternoon and catch up on a few kid flicks but it was inevitable that they would be coaxed outside by the smell of bbq and the commotion of tents being erected. I ventured out onto the deck and it hit me like a mack truck. The attack. You know it. I was paralysed and barely made it to my comfy deck chair. They were all there, the Aunts and Uncles and Cousins all toting what seemed to be endless acquaintances and their offspring. Thank goodness that my husband built me that fence around our site last year. It kept the well meaning relatives at bay. The children went off to the celebration leaving me alone with no cover for my absence from the party. My husband was good enough to grab a plate of food at supper and wrangle the kids back to our trailer to eat with me. Once the sparklers and glow bands came out though I knew they would run off to be with the group. Not that I don't want them to. Of course I want them to have a wonderful time, but I selfishly also wished they would stay with me. Don't leave me there alone and exposed. At 9:00 the entire clan mounted the golf carts and went to the site of the fireworks. I was left alone at the edge of my fence looking out to see if I could catch a glimpse of the show. As the fireworks began to fly I could hear the ooohhhs and awwwws from the crowd and I shrank back feeling so low, so alone, so pathetic. What was stopping me from going. It is crazy. I am a grown woman and I can't leave my fenced yard? I think that this was the lowest moment I have had in a very very long time.  As I stood alone in the shadows of my tree hoping not to be noticed by any stray party goer I watched the fireworks as they lit the sky over the treeline. When I think I reached the bottom of my self indulgent pity party I lifted my heart and prayed for God to tell my WHY! Then I noticed in the dim light the soft glow of a firefly. Then another, and another. The entire tree was lit up in that eerie iridescent glow emitted from the tiny bugs. I felt a sense of peace rush over me and I knew I was not alone. I am never alone. I just have to take the time to listen to the whisper in my heart. Even though I would have loved to be with my kids as they watched the display of pyrotechnic genius, I am grateful that I was given that moment of   solitude to experience the love that will always be with me.  My thoughts and prayers are with you today and always.

Tracy