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. 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 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.

Tracy Sagriff <>
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 

Gail McCullough

Gail McCullough
Transportation Supervisor
(613) 354-1981 ext 325
Fax # 1-866 697-0719        


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.
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 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...


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 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 really just think he is very inspiring). Take time today to be inspired. My thoughts and prayers are with you as always. -Tracy