Wednesday, 29 May 2013


So I am sitting here feeling a little hung up in my own brain right now.  My therapists always say that I live in my head too much.  (Of course if I knew how to fix that I would not need them would I!) Anyway, my aunt died yesterday after a battle with brain cancer. I had not seen her in quite a long time and though my heart aches for my cousins I can't decide whether to go to the funeral.  Even knowing that she has passed has reopened so many wounds of loss I can't imagine what attending yet another funeral might dredge up.  As I was trying to decide what to "label" this post I wondered where does grief fall.  Is it under mind as my mind is certainly spinning with all the memories or is it spirit since the anguish I feel is most certainly deep within my soul.  I recall talking to the counsellor at Hospice and she told me once that we are not promised that things and people will never be taken from us, the promise is that the memories of the time we had can not be taken.  I grieve for the time I did not get to spend with my Dad making amends and finding answers.  I grieve for the plans I had with my best friend, plans to travel and experience, things that I will never do without her.  I grieve for my stepsister, for the relationship we never had and the loss of the opportunity to know her family.  When I am able to reflect on the memories of all these losses and smile at the moments I was given, rather than pine over the ones I had convinced myself were owed to me, I think I will be on the road to recovery....I think of the song "God Blessed the Broken Road" as it will lead me back to the joy that each of these people made in my life. I hope each of you is able to see the road ahead as being easier than the road behind you.  My thoughts and prayers are with each of you.

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has left the world better than he found it;
Who has looked for the best in others and given the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration
Whose memory is a benediction

Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, 27 May 2013

Humbled to say the least!

I was shocked last night when I came home from camping and found the message from Jamie (Jamie@beingpositivewithadepressivesoul) saying that she nominated me for an award.  Thank you so much Jamie.  This blog has become very important to me, not only as a record of my own journey but also as a means to meet other people who are struggling with the same issues.  I am very honoured to receive:

Jamie's blog has become one of my go to sites lately and I would encourage anyone struggling with mental health either personally or through caring for a loved one to visit her site.

My Nominees for Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award are

If you choose to accept the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award all  you need to do is make a blog post like this one I just did and include the Award Badge (copy or save the Award Badge) in your post.  Then add a link back to me thank me, and also encourage your readers to visit my blog.  List around 10 blogs that you read and really enjoy. When the post is finished, then notify your list of bloggers by copying the permalink from your post, paste the link with a short message congratulating each nominee in a comment on their blogs. Viola, that is all you have to do. 

I hope you accept this token of my appreciation for the inspiration you bring to me through your blog.  Thank You for all your hard work!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Mind, Body and Soul

Well we have talked about things that I have done and thought about doing for my mind and my may have noticed that I am more thorough on my follow through with my mind than with my body.  I'm gonna work on that.  Honest! The part of this process that keeps me moving forward though is the section I call soul.  Throughout all the turmoil of the last few years, even in my darkest moments I always had the reassurance of the presence of God in my life.  Many may scoff at me and think how could I possibly believe in a God that allows bad things to happen to good people.  I say "how do I go on when bad things happen without the promise that everything will work out for the good in the end".  My faith has been the light I cling to when all hope seems lost.  When I felt that the darkness was overwhelming me and I was alone I could find comfort in his presence. I will share a little bit of personal history with you to illuminate the foundation on which my faith has been sustained.  In my 38 years on this earth I have witnessed God's plan unfolding in my life.  I was born with a rare syndrome that left me no chance of conceiving a child.  God brought me 45 wonderful (ok some were more wonderful than others) children through being a foster parent.  Through his love I was able to adopt 4 of them.  I was mentally and sexually abused as a child and as a result I was able to understand the special needs of many abused kids that arrived in my home.  My parents divorced when I was 6 and my father gained custody of me and my sisters.  As an adult I was able to reach out to young mothers who were struggling because they had not had a mother figure in their lives.  My father died before I could find out why he never loved me and almost immediately I was placed on this path through anxiety and depression which has shown me what my father endured during his lifetime and has allowed me to reevaluate my perception of our relationship.  My best friend was killed days after celebrating my son's baptism (she is his Godmother) and rejoicing in the news that after many many years of infertility treatments and agonizing tests she was pregnant with her first child.  This taught me the depths of grief that we can experience and the need to reach out to others in their pain.  So now I sit here....waiting....praying...Lord I know you have plans for me.....please help me to be patient while you show me what this Social Anxiety and Panic stuff is all for.  Maybe his goal for me is just to reach you.  To let you know that you are not alone in all this.  My thoughts and prayers are with you. -Tracy

Teach me, my Lord, to be sweet and gentle in all the events of my life, in disappointments, in the thoughtlessness of others, in the insincerity of those I trusted, in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied. Let me forget myself so that I may enjoy the happiness of others. Let me always hide my little pains and heartaches so that I may be the only one to suffer from them. Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path. Let me so use it that it may mellow me, not harden or embitter me; that it may make me patient, not irritable; that it may make me broad in my forgiveness, not narrow or proud or overbearing. May no one be less good for having come within my influence; no one less pure, less true, less kind, less noble, for having been a fellow traveler with me on our journey towards eternal life. As I meet with one cross after another, let me whisper a word of love to You. May my life be lived in the supernatural, full of power for good, and strong in its purpose of sanctity. Amen.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Wall

As you know from my previous posts I have been hard at work with my CBT and ACT practices,trying to overcome the gut wrenching fear I have every time I leave the house. Well, I have been really pushing my boundaries trying to kick this thing in the butt but the last several times I have been out I hit what I call "The Wall". I liken it to that "wall" that athletes talk about when they reach their physical limit and seem not to be able to surpass a particular point. I will be going about life in the big bad world, contently running errands with my husband (this is really the only time I push myself to the limits) then out of nowhere the panic hits me like a cement truck. What happened to the warning bells I used to get. The predictable rhythm of my anxious self? I am not saying that the precursory heart palpitations and heaving stomach was fun but at least I had time to run for cover. This new sensation of out of nowhere panic is awful. Have any of you experienced this change in pattern? What did you do? I find myself second guessing what I am trying to achieve. Wondering if its not better to avoid the chance of attack. I guess it comes down to whether I want to be absent and strong or human and present. I think I choose anyway....I may have a different answer tomorrow. My thoughts are with you - Tracy

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Meet Kerry Connelly: Author and Survivor

As promised Kerry Connelly is guest posting today! I must admit Kerry's bravery in sharing her story makes me feel rather inadequate in my efforts to raise awareness about Mental Health.  Hopefully, as people read her story there will be new discussions about what it is like for people who suffer in silence and solitude out of fear of judgement.  Many people would rather seal themselves off from the world than tell someone that they need help.  If you or someone you know is suffering from Mental Health issues please read Kerry's book.  We are stronger when we share our stories with the world.  

Thanks for joining us today Kerry I will look forward to hearing more from you as your book launch gets closer!


Candid Introduction/Shaken pre- release promotion and depression/emotional abuse awareness.

Hi ever body, My name’s Kerry Connelly, You may be politely scratching your head thinking, ‘Hmm should I know her?’  No need to rack your brains… no you ‘shouldn’t’ know me – but hopefully you will.
I’m an author and an education assistant. I’m also a sufferer of depression, panic and anxiety disorder. At 28 yrs old , I published my first book ‘Observation City’ – a witty and relatable tongue- in cheek collection of pieces on human behaviour and life situations – I got in just before my 29th birthday and am about to release my 2nd book which is  much different to the joyous manifestation that became ‘OC’ (available now in paperback).

Not so long ago I was in a pretty bad place, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship and suffering terribly from depression and other mental health issues, apart from that I was in a job that was contributing to my depression. I was basically fed up and feeling so far past low and lonely that I thought I may end up in a loony bin!

I started to change my circumstances, I quit my job – yep that’s exactly what I did, -You know it’s got to be bad when the only light there was to quit.  Now don’t think I took immense pleasure in quitting– I actually liked my job in the beginning and quitting brought a flood of tears, but I knew it was contributing to the deterioration of my mental health, which is an extremely important issue – so I took a casual position instead while I cradled my dream to learn and write and also get involved in education.
And so - I studied and obtained my certification in education support.                                                                          I left the emotionally abusive situation I was in, but continued to struggle, as I still sometimes do, with my mental health and the understanding of both myself and the situations I have been in
Anything there sound familiar?

What I started to realise is that I want and always have wanted to feel ‘something more’. I remembered back to my primary school graduation, where a 12year old girl in a bright green dress with matching lime green pumps, stood on the assembly stage while the principal declared that ‘When she grows up, Kerry wants to be a writer and a kindergarten teacher’ – maybe kids have it right in the first place, before they’re tainted by the outside world of adulthood. That’s what I realised and that’s what I started to do – in the simplest of terms, - chase my dreams.

‘Shaken: A story of emotional abuse and depression’, is inspired by personal experience, which I hope serves not only as a good read, but as a self-help book of sorts. Interspersed with checklist material and signs for the emotionally abused/depressed as well as their friends to look out for, and to understand the topic better – I hope to help at least one person gain some comfort in what may be a confusing situation.

Yes it’s a scary venture, but I believe things happen for a reason, - maybe just maybe, one of the reasons I went through such depression (Which you will learn about in ‘Shaken’) was to help me on my path of becoming a published author- who knows?

‘Shaken’ is due for release in the coming months and I would appreciate all the support that I can get as the release date draws nearer. You can show your support by joining me via my official Facebook and website pages for upcoming release information.

I hope readers will enjoy it and be able to take something personal away from reading it. I sincerely hope to connect with readers and hear your feedback and stories. Please feel free to contact me on the listed sites, and I look forward to hearing from you!


Saying Goodbye is Never Easy

Today was the last day of my group therapy session on CBT. I did not realize how invested you get in other members lives when you spend a couple hours for a couple months picking through your every thought. I thought I would be relieved to have the sessions end. No more driving on the highway, no more crowded elevators and parking garages. I suddenly feel a void in the shape of the people who have explored this mile of my journey and I feel like I will never know how their stories unfold. Each one of them brought something special to the group that helped me learn more about myself. To my "bike riding" friend, thank you for your unsinkable attitude! You taught me perseverance in the face of life's challenging moments. To "Mr. Collectible" you taught me that there is a place for caring and sensitivity in the world and your skills at handling difficult situations with character and integrity inspired me. To "Mr. Analyzer" you highlighted areas of our lessons so perfectly sometimes I felt that you could read my mind! Of course I am not able to articulate my thoughts the way you can. You taught me to look at situations from different perspectives. "Mr. Shades" you reinforced in me that no matter what else we do in life, the time we spend with our children will be our greatest accomplishment. "Mrs. Fit Master" you inspired me to look at my life with a larger lens and to figure out where life will lead if I don't make changes now. "Fearless Leader" your patience and calm demeanor helped me to grasp the concept of not allowing your reactive mind to run the show. You were an endless wealth of information and I look forward to joining a new group with you in the fall. "Miss Go Getter" I will look forward to seeing your name announced someday for a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and stories as well as all your support. My thoughts and prayers are with each of you as we start the next chapter in our individual journeys.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Excitement and Frustration

I am just a ball of emotion today! Perhaps because I stayed up too late watching YouTube...again.  Maybe because I woke up way too early this morning, for no apparent reason other than I was unable to sleep. Regardless, today was a mixed bag of chaos and nonsense.

 Let me explain: in recognition of Canadian Mental Health Week Author Kerry Connelly has agreed to guest post on Friday!!!!! Yay! She is going to discuss her own struggles with mental health as well as her new book "SHAKEN". I hope you are as excited as I am.  I think I am doing well writing this itty bitty blog to discuss my journey and here she is publishing a book.  Her second actually, Observation City is available in paperback now.  Please show her support as she draws the spotlight onto her own life in an attempt to raise awareness for a cause near and dear to us all.

Secondly, last night I found a really good YouTube video on Journal Therapy.  I did not get a chance to view the rest in the series but there seems to be allot of great information here. The video is short and sweet but packed full of writing prompts for different types of journalling.

She calls it Therapeutic writing in this video but its all the same thing.  Diaries, journals or therapeutic writing...tomAto...tomato...

And finally as though you thought this post was long enough I feel the need to share my day! Picture this: I dropped my little boy off at preschool and was in the car again by 8:50 am.  My appointment to have maintenance on my car was at 9:30 am.  Trying to be as efficient as possible I decided to get my hair cut before the appointment for the car thus freeing me up to get back home sooner. -you know how important that is for me! If you have Social Anxiety like me you know how long it took for me to decide to get my haircut rather than my usual flip upside down and trim the ends.  Well the place was packed....strike 1....then there were only 2 stylists on and one was in back doing a perm. When it was finally my turn the stylist from the back runs out and says "just a cut right...thats all I have time for". Really?....strike 2.....I should have left right then...but of course that would mean I would be running away again and I have been trying so hard this week to acknowledge the anxiety and stay the course.  Sometimes Anxiety is really just a warning bell to tell you really really really should just get the heck out of there.  I timidly showed the stylist the picture of my desired cut which she did not even look at.  If you check out my profile picture I have...had really long naturally curly hair.  Before I could stop her she took a razor comb to my hair as well as thinning shears.  She chopped and sliced and left my hair a million lengths. I left the salon in shock.  I was then late for my appointment at the dealership so when I arrived there was no courtesy driver to take me to my Mom's to wait for my car. So they put me in a crowded waiting room.  Guess how that went.  I ended up calling my Mom and asking her to pick me up.  When I got in the car and she saw my glassy eyes and chopped up hair she drove me to her stylist to repair the damage.  It took a really long time to undo the massive horror of the cut but eventually the stylist turned it into a lovely shaggy bob reminiscent of Meg Ryan in years gone by. It was a horrid experience for sure but if I had not stuck with it and seen it through I would have had to deal with the horrible style that would have left me hiding indoors for the next few months.  It sucked...but i survived. It reinforces the idea that crap happens but I can keep going.  What obstacles did you overcome today? My thoughts are with you....Tracy

Monday, 6 May 2013

The Value of The Written Word

Hello Friends. The warm weather has had me outside allot these past few days so I have not had much of a chance to post. I wanted to share with you the ideas that were presented at our therapy session last Thursday. Journaling. Pretty easy right. If you are like me you have heard this tool repeated by countless therapists and counsellors in the past. Its not really a new concept but have you really given it a thorough try? I have tried journaling over the past few years. Several times in fact. Come to think it this blog is the most consistent journaling I have achieved. My thought is how much effort have I really placed in my journaling. If nothing else it will serve as a guidepost for measuring my ups and downs. Why then do I have such a hard time committing to the practice. I tell myself that its because I am on the go with my family from the moment my eyes flutter open until they close again at night. That being said I still manage to fit in all the other things that I have labelled as a priority. Why not this? I think it scares me a bit. What is someone found it and my innermost thoughts were revealed? What if I write something that delves too far into my hurt and despair? What if it reveals I am not making the progress I am thinking is occurring? Interestingly I think it comes back to my fear of people judging me. Perhaps a fear of my being able to further judge myself. Am I afraid of the metre stick I am using to gauge my healing? Will writing it down make it a tangible scale with which to weigh my mental health? Probably! So I am going to commit to trying harder to journal. There must be a reason all those well educated individual keep telling me to do it. Are you interested in therapeutic journaling. I have found a few resources for you. My thoughts are with you today! -Tracy

 Excellent article on Journal Therapy A list of Journaling Resources and Prompts PDF about the value of Journaling