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Posted in Mental Health, Reflections, senryû

misunderstood (troiku)

innuendos 

mixed messages 

guilt ridden 

 

drives one crazy !!

 

innuendos 

brewing questions 

so much guilt 

 

drives one crazy!! 

 

mixed messages 

unfinished texts 

crafty and skilled 

 

drives one crazy!! 

 

guilt ridden 

peppered with niceties 

plastic and fake 

 

 drives one crazy!!

 

all a ruse 

crafted to dig 

heartstrings torn to shreds 

 

never ENDs

 (c) Tournesol ’18/11/07

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Posted in anxiety, Chronic Pain, Depression, Mental Health, narrative

Emily, Take One (1)

 

Image may contain: one or more people and close-up

Worrying, ruminating, obsessively imagining scenarios, procrastinating because of those unfounded scenarios and then you finally do what you have to do after spending days or maybe weeks imagining all sorts of “what if’s” and it all turns out just fine!  Boy, that really bugs her when she does that.  Does that happen to you too sometimes?

Emily calls it overthinking, daydreaming of things that escalate  into screenplays that keep her awake and during the day on her days off from work leave her paralyzed.

Lately, Emily has been trying to observe her thinking patterns more, such as what starts that tiny thought that turns into a saga.   So far she is noticing  that the worrying or dwelling is getting worse and she is not appreciating the “present” enough.   She avoids seeing people who may upset her and make me feel guilty about any passed decisions. She does not really avoid friends but she doesn’t reach out  to them much either and she knows that is silly because she knows many of her friends would drop everything to be there for her if she asked them. So why the hell does she do this to herself?!

Today she called her friend who flew from overseas and she made travel arrangements to see her on the weekend. She will be seeing another friend in the same city as well.   After she hung up the phone after speaking to her friend, she felt so pumped!! It was as if she  had just had an shot of serotonin.  Really! She was dancing and singing and jumping.  She was so happy and relieved to be  getting out of her cocoon.

And yet, here she is, two days after that same phone call to her friends, calling to work sick because she just could not get out of bed due to migraines and chronic joint pain.   She had only worked one day but with all the changes to her work, she is wondering now…for the past five years if her doctor is not “a bit” right in suggesting she retire.

Emily still has so much drive to go out in the world and still work…either teach or anything that has to do with people.  She is actually a people person.  Also she cannot afford to retire yet since she has not had the chance to put much money aside and has no company pension.  Living off the government pension will be surviving but no more travelling ever.  She still wants o visit so many places.

Is it possible some of her problems have to do with her work?  And yet, Emily doubts that since she knows she has had bouts of withdrawing even when she was younger and working elsewhere but she did not miss work then.  Also her work helps her get her mind off all the past decisions her children blame her.  No, it is not just her work but what her work once provided a workaholic, her nature may not have the same stamina it once had.  What to do?

Emily has always felt she did not fit anywhere.  Growing up she was faced with being told over and over that  “her kind” had no place here.  Even in her family she often felt displaced.  If you thought differently than the rest of the family you were judged, teased or criticized. That part will never change, so it is Emily’s job to not react to it or just steer away, but how do you steer away from people you love?

Her first trip on her own far from her family was eye opening.  She could see there was so much to discover and since then she has always felt one foot in her current home and the other ready to run off somewhere but where?

This is where she is now, contemplating on what to do, how to do it and when?  Have you ever felt this way before?  If you have, how do you manage those thoughts that take over your life?

(c) Whispering insights ’18

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Posted in Dementia, Mental Health, Stigma Talks, video

A word about World Suicide Prevention Day

Mural street art – Montréal ~photo:Çlr’13

Another glorious day, he thought, looking out the window when he pulled his thick drapes in his studio.   Shuffling to the kitchen to make his coffee, the same thoughts come flooding his mind.

“Yep, today, I need to get out. I need to pump air in the tires of my bike and get off my butt and greet the world!!”  He snickers at that thought, picking up his laptop and sits in the darkness of his studio apartment.  He knows he will probably not go out…again.  He will probably not do much but sit, read the feeds on social media and try to distract the gnawing voices in his head that weigh so heavily on his spirit…

Sound familiar?  Been there, you are thinking, bobbing your head?  If you know someone may be going through something like that, send them a friendly text…just a heart or two maybe…tell them they matter before it’s too late.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD).

[…It is estimated that each day in Canada, 11 people end their life and 210 make a suicide attempt.”] read more here -SuicidePrevention

Suicide is very inclusive.  Did you know that?  It includes anyone regardless of age, culture and socio-economic status.  A person can be loved by friends and family, have good grades in school or college, have a great job and still become another tragic statistic.

So today, think of something you can do for WorldSuicidePreventionDay (WSPD)…like the link says above , take just one minute to do something…share a story, an awareness post, call a friend, text a friend…just one minute.

I am ending with a song that has saved many lives. My friend, Sue, shared this song in memory of her son, Adam.

©Cheryl-Lynn Roberts 2017/09/10

CMHACanadian Mental Health Association

Canadian Crisis Centres – resources and helplines

Canadian Crisis Centres – resources and helplines

National Suicide Hotline U.S.A.

Kids Help Phone – Canada

Child Helplines around the world

 

“Adam’s Song”

I never thought I’d die alone
I laughed the loudest who’d have known?
I trace the cord back to the wall
No wonder it was never plugged in at all
I took my time, I hurried up
The choice was mine I didn’t think enough
I’m too depressed to go on
You’ll be sorry when I’m gone

[Chorus:]
I never conquered, rarely came
16 just held such better days
Days when I still felt alive
We couldn’t wait to get outside
The world was wide, too late to try
The tour was over we’d survived
I couldn’t wait till I got home
To pass the time in my room alone

I never thought I’d die alone
Another six months I’ll be unknown
Give all my things to all my friends
You’ll never step foot in my room again
You’ll close it off, board it up
Remember the time that I spilled the cup
Of apple juice in the hall
Please tell mom this is not her fault

[Chorus:]
I never conquered, rarely came
16 just held such better days
Days when I still felt alive
We couldn’t wait to get outside
The world was wide, too late to try
The tour was over we’d survived
I couldn’t wait till I got home
To pass the time in my room alone

I never conquered, rarely came
But tomorrow holds such better days
Days when I can still feel alive
When I can’t wait to get outside
The world is wide, the time goes by
The tour is over, I’ve survived
I can’t wait till I get home
To pass the time in my room alone

 

 

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Posted in Mental Health, Stigma Talks, video

A story about a “Pill Journey”.

How many of you have gone through months of feeling more than sluggish and deep inside you know it might be depression because the symptoms are there?  Insomnia at night and wanting to bury yourself under that duvet when it’s time to get up.  What about loss of appetite?  For some it is eating and eating and eating some more to fill that void.  Why is an “emptiness” so painful?  Shouldn’t one feel relieved to not feel a heavy weight pressing on our shoulders?  Oh wait, what about feeling like a truck drove over you and decided to park on your chest for a few hours a day.  Ever feel like your mind is racing so much with “What if”s” you feel like you are on an out-of-control merry-go-round and you’re afraid to try and get off because you may NOT survive the fall?

Adults worry.  Mothers worry about the safety of their children. Fathers worry (working moms too) if they will be able to maintain a decent home; Parents worry when they have to say “no” to private lessons in this and that.  Not all kids have the luxury of playing sports.  But do children worry too?  Sure they do.  They are little sponges soaking up all the vibes in the home, at school on the playground and unfortunately on the bloody tube…internet, tv, computer, tablet…heck, even on their Ipod!  All things that were made to entertain youths has drawn them into another world…of hopelessness.  Children sure don’t see the world the way I did as a kid.  Heck, at five I just wanted to be Dale Evans riding into the sunset with RoyRogers and when I really fantasized, I was Marilyn Monroe in a pink convertible Cadillac!  But did I worry?  I guess I did too when my mother looked sad or cried but I quickly forgot about all that when I watched Mighty Mouse or Donald Duck.  Television was monitored in our home so we did not watch violent shows.  The news? It just was not graphic as it is today.  My first memory of a “sad news” was watching the funeral procession for John F. Kennedy and feeling so sad for the children.  I could not imagine losing a father so young! Gosh, I was still missing my grandfather I had lost at 6!!

These days, through my work, I am aware how children and teens worry and many do suffer from depression.  Some are lucky and get the help they need but as they share with us, it certainly can be a long journey before they get a proper diagnosis and the proper treatment required.  It gets complicated with youths.  Their brain is still developing and once a health care profession finds the right dosage of a particular medication, their brain tweaked a little more.  I admire anyone (youths and adults) who continue to get the support they need for their mental health and become more self-aware so they are part of the equation in their treatment.  That’s right, they are the expert on what is going on in their mind, their body and their spirit…what they contribute only gets them that much closer to finding a proper treatment leading to recovery.

I just saw this video I am going to share here and it says it so much better than I could ever, so, take a look and listen. You may have to watch it a few times to allow the “common sense” to sink in.

This is a testimonial of a person’s “Pill Journey”.  I have listed mental health resources below.

©Cheryl-Lynn Roberts 2017/07/26

CMHACanadian Mental Health Association

Canadian Crisis Centres – resources and helplines

Canadian Crisis Centres – resources and helplines

National Suicide Hotline U.S.A.

Kids Help Phone – Canada

Child Helplines around the world

Other links and resources on my Page here

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Posted in senryû, troiku

Rage ~ Six Word Story Challenge & Troiku

I usually post six word story challenges on my other blog but it also inspired a haiku poem, so here it is.  

The prompt at Six word Story is RAGE.  I’ve written a sentence telling a story  that ten inspired a Troiku, which is a new form of Haiku created by Chèvrefeuille at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.

RAGE

Pray for nations whose leaders rage!

(Troiku)

good leaders listen

 pulse of a nation

sifting thru filters

good leaders listen

 people speak openly

together they build

pulse of a nation

 erratic can turn to calm

sign of good counsel

sifting thru filters

 taking down walls that block

communication

©Tournesol’17/02/11

Written for Six Word Story Challenge

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Posted in Bullying, Learning Differences, Reflections, senryû, Stigma Talks

Embrace your differences

cropped-me.jpgI am sharing a mother’s plea for parents to talk to their children about embracing their differences as well the uniqueness of others.

The video was made after her nine year old son came home upset that he was the subject of racial jokes.  Listening to her plea made me think how we, as adults, need to be better models not just in how we interact with different cultures, races and religions but also in the face of any differences. I love how Dianne does not talk about “tolerating” but embracing our differences.

A child growing with a learning difference , a teen experiencing a mental health condition, a youth struggling with his or her sexual orientation or sexual identity or a youth growing up with physical or intellectual challenges should embrace their differences and other youths should as well.

Children are not born prejudice…it is learned…modelled.  I’m not saying all children learn this from their parents.  We all know how our children learn and change when they go to school.  If they have learned a biased way of looking at the world through jokes or racial slurs they heard on the playground, then we, as adults, educators and parents have a responsibility to talk to them about this on so many levels.

Perhaps we, as adults, need to take a moment or two and take inventory on our own beliefs and feelings before speaking to our children.  Children are sensitive and savvy and can see through what is real. So take your time to reflect on your thoughts first.

We are not perfect but let’s try to be the best human we can in this imperfect world.

Who am I but me?
in all my imperfections,
I am perfect!

 

(c) Cheryl-Lynn ’17/02/06

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Posted in Did you know?

World Galgo Day

Yesterday ws World Galgo Day to create awareness to Galgo Greyhounds (Spanish greyhounds) who are used for hunting and too often mistreated or killed. Read more to see how perhaps you or someone who can, can help.

Whippet Wisdom - a Highland Journey

lr-1030215-ww

Today is World Galgo Day. Galgos or Spanish Greyhounds are gentle sighthounds who are used by ‘galgueros’ (hunters) in Spain during the hunting season which ends on 1st February. The number of galgos who are well cared for by their galgueros remains small. The majority of galgos are poorly treated during the hunting season and will be abandoned or killed as soon as the season is over.

A number of concerned and kind-hearted souls have begun to bring light into this shadow. They have created shelters where abandoned galgos can be cared for and rehomed into loving homes. They put pressure on governments to protect the galgos and have them recognised as sentient beings. When people come together in love and kindness miracles can happen. We pray that all galgos will be able to enjoy the kind of blessings that have come our way.

gentle hounds
deserve a soft landing

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Posted in Did you know?

Your words, not mine; your stories, not mine.

A story of human kindness
reaching out and caring
filled with such tenderness
your hearts will melt, I’m sure
but please,
do
read on about this moment.

The Gifts That We Share

Sunset over Charlottetown HarbourI am watching my resident sleep. I’ve been sitting beside her for fifteen minutes now, and the staff members assure me that she will be awake shortly. She doesn’t usually nap at this hour, they say.

I don’t mind as I am narrating a story in my head – all quiet moments are gifts of time.

The last couple of weekly visits have changed – the routine of greeting my resident, talking for a few minutes to reassure her of the reason for my visit (I am recording and writing down her life stories and memories), turning on the recorder, and prompting her with a few questions to stimulate her life stories has disappeared.

Lately, during our visits I notice that she is either very drowsy or somewhat confused, and conversations about her family, childhood, school antics or young married life have dried up.

I have had to adapt…

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Jane Goodall: A New Kind of World

Each and every person in the world CAN make a difference…

Living, Learning and Letting Go

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Photo Credit: Jeekc on Wikimedia

“I think one of the most important things for people to understand,” says Goodall, “is don’t feel helpless when you look at all the problems of the world.

Realize that if you think about the consequences of the small choices you make each day — what you buy, what you eat, where did it come from, how was it made, did it harm the environment, cruelty to animals, child slave labor — [you] make more ethical decisions.

It’s not just you. It’s more and more people around the world. In the end, it’s hundreds of millions of people making small choices, that are the right choices, that leads us to a new kind of world.”

Source

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Posted in Did you know?

Acceptance: Skin-Deep and Empty Words

A must read about love and acceptance.

aliisaacstoryteller

Today is a significant one in world history. No matter which side of the fence we stand on, we have no choice but to accept. Around the world, governments are also preparing to show acceptance. And yet, there seems to be a global sense of uncertainty, and fear.

I fear for the minorities. I fear for acceptance. For tolerance. And I am reminded of something I wrote a few years ago for 1000 voices speak for compassion, which I think is as relevant today as it was then, if not more so.


I don’t like moths. I don’t like how they enter my house uninvited, fluttering blindly about, and cluster in a seething panic around any available light source. The frenzied flapping of their dull, tattered wings gives me the creeps.

But I love butterflies. When they gate-crash, I feel privileged, blessed, and patiently herd them out to freedom for…

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Posted in Compassion, Did you know?, Grief, Haibun, haiku, Reflections, Tournesol whispers

Welcoming the new year 2017

This is the time when one thinks back on the year that has just passed. For some they may feel they have barely survived this past year, having struggled through many difficult passages and obstacles.

For others it feels like a chore mixed with very brief moments of light to make them smile. Perhaps it is the giggle of their child, or watching an old lady with a hunch back hanging onto the arm of an old man with a cane…watching them shuffle in the mall together, giving them hope.

Some have had a year filled with pleasant surprises…a child has learned to walk, another has made his first goal, a daughter copies you when you put on your make up and whispers in the mirror next to you, “I want to be beautiful just like Mommy!”

Teenagers are faced with a rollercoaster of life mixed with raging hormones and still have to try and concentrate in high school! Imagine a woman in menopause or a man in mid-life crisis trying to learn new things and cope with an ever-changing body! Now add to that, personal strife and home
life that can, for some, be challenging!

There are children and youths of all ages as well as adults who may be passing through difficult times before walking into the realm of a new year; they may be missing a loved one…a sibling, a parent, a grandparent or a spouse either through death, separation or moving far far away. One cannot shake off the grief, the loss and pained memories of this loved one. And one doesn’t! His or her memory walks along with them, stepping into the new year. That person is smiling and laughing when they are happy and weeping when they are sobbing.

Some may find solace in a higher power and an afterlife that comforts them, thinking angels and the Great Spirit have welcomed a new member into their paradise. Others are lost and confused and are not too sure, yet, the memories still hold strong and carry one over to the next day and so on and so forth, day after day, month after month.

remembering
sting of loss and regrets
untold narratives

Time is often their sole consolation. In time the sting lessens, but the memories of “what was” still keep them company and warm through the cold winter months of January and February. The blossoms, however, are also figments of these memories in springtime turning into new promises. Hang on to some of those memories that soothe you and let the March winds eventually take away any disappointments.

Perhaps someone has promised to be there for them and “life” got in the way, leaving them bereft and empty but mostly disappointed and alone. That may also be an opportunity to depend on one’s own strengths and reach out to different acquaintances, slowly turning them into real friends.

Relationships change as one grows just as their needs do. As a single person, their perception of the world is so very different. As a couple it shifts and blends and as a parent it opens up to a whole different world…someone else matters just as much as they do! One now focuses not only on their individual needs but more importantly on the wellbeing and happiness of their children who are a part of them. Children help them open their eyes to another sphere. Children allow them to grow and open their hearts to “others”. Let’s face it! It is rewarding to give, is it not? And through some of these challenges in life, one also learns to look beyond the people who have received from you and find comfort when someone “new” gives to them…take it, for this is also blessing that person’s need to give.

Change is the only thing one can truly count on in life and with it comes other kinds of losses. It could be the end of a career, a promotion, the end of a relationship or moving to a new home or city. Despite the positive and wonderful aspects of any change, there is still a letting go of a life that was. Embrace it, look at it and only then can you adjust and welcome these new life changes.

untold narratives
lost in the wind
silenced
locked in the heavens
angles singing ballads

Wishing you hope, faith and peace in the new year for you and yours.

© Cheryl-Lynn 17/01/01

 

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Posted in Depression, Did you know?, Mental Health, Self-care, Stigma Talks

CURTAIN CALL

The approaching holidays can be a difficult time for many and even moreso for anyone suffering from a mental illness. Don’t let social stigma prevent you from getting the help you deserve.

HASTYWORDS

Maybe you feel alone? Maybe you feel worthless? Maybe you think you waste everyone’s time with your problems/feelings. Maybe just breathing fuels your feelings of despair and the only thing you can manage is sleep.
 
Congrats…
 
You probably won the depression lottery. It is estimated nearly 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression according to the WHO.
 
Social stigma is one of the biggest factors preventing effective care.
 
Do the whole world a favor and be proactive with those you love. Let them know they are NOT alone.

Depression doesn’t respect the holidays.  It is the Grinch.  It is the Scrooge. It is the devil in a red Santa suit come to steal all your beautifully wrapped silver linings.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number

1-800-273-8255

cl-yn0nvaaamgzxAll the channels

Dance with static

As she sits silent

Inhaling the dark

Perspective fuzzy

And Vodka blurred

Turning memories

Of…

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Posted in Did you know?

mysteries of grief (troibun)

Tournesol dans un Jardin

Grief can be quite mysterious. One day it can feel like you are wrapped in a prickly shawl that makes you uncomfortable only now and then, when the prickles pinch you. Other times it can weigh you down like an iron wrap and slow you down for no reason at all. It snakes around and hides a spell and you may think that all must be fine, until it crawls out at the most inopportune time.

It is a slow process and not one person experiences it exactly the same way but the roller coaster of emotions can make you nauseous sometimes and other times angry, sad, guilty and salty tears return again cleansing your heart.

Sometimes I find grief is a bit like a leaky faucet. You know when, all you really need to do is change those worn out washers, but you don’t get around to it.   The…

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Posted in Sexual orientation, Stigma Talks

Coming out (SoCS October ’16/29)

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Oct. 29/16 is in/out.  This past week I reread a book I had purchased about five years ago about a young man “coming out” to his family.  “Vivre avec l’homesualité de son enfant” by Sylvie Giasson. 

The book is very well written as each chapter shares the thoughts of his parents, his sister and partner. The reaction of the parents touched me more in this second reading.  But, let’s be honest, this young man was not the only person to experience many coming outs in his life, among family, friends and work but his parents and sister as well.

Discussing this book with my supervisor who is a sex therapist, I was talking about how this is a book that should be “required reading” in schools and parents should read it as well to be better informed. Who would think that better informed on sexuality for parents and youths could actually save a life?  Of course I am dreaming in living colour thinking this could happen here…well, maybe in some schools…one must hope.

I decided to reread this to be more in touch with the reality of many of our callers and since this time of year until late February, many youths struggle with suicidal ideations.  We did a survey last year asking youths on line to answer several questions and the results were quite astounding. What I am more focussed on is that one in five teenager reported to having had suicidal ideations or attempted suicide. What I want to add to this is that about 30 to 40% of these teens are probably related to LGBTQ youths.

My heart goes out to youths who call and are so happy because they have come to terms with their sexual orientation…they talk about feeling relieved and want to scream it to the world and we all know that that is nota possible…yet…not in the world we live in.

I am shocked to see that it is only in 1969 in Canada that homosexuality was decriminalized and in 1977 Quebec was the first in North America to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. It took almost twenty years for The Supreme Court of Canada to catch up on this in the Charter of Human Rights.

We have come a long way but still, as I read this slow evolution all I can think to myself, shaking myself is “Shame on us as human beings…shame on us!”

© Cheryl-Lynn’16-10-29

October 11th was National “Coming out” day and here is a link of stories youths have shared on the youth website.

 

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Posted in Did you know?, Mental Health, Stigma Talks

A conversation on stigma

me
Yes, this is a caricature of me a long time ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So much training is needed on educating our youths and adults on mental health. I know people still say the “R” word and think nothing of it, calling a bad joke “gay” and asking someone if they are “borderline” or “bi-polar” when they are in a bad mood or upset about something. It still bothers me, sometimes it discourages me and many times it angers me.
I suppose getting angry may give the impression I am feeling powerless, giving into my frustration. But sometimes I think you have to get a bit angry or raise your voice to show people it is NOT okay. I am NOT saying it is not politically correct, I am saying it is cruel and ignorant!
A few weeks ago I was listening to a few younger college girls talking on the bus. They were about 18 or 19 and they were gossiping about a friend (who was not there to defend herself) and complaining about her bad moods but more specifically her mood swings. They never referred to “mood” but kept saying, “she flips” or “bi-polars”. Wow, now Bi-polar is a verb!  Who knew?!  It  is often used as an adjective as well. I could not help but bend over and ask them what the heck they meant by the term “bi-polaring”. A few faces looked stunned and pink and the one who said it was more a crimson tone.

“Um, I meant she flips a lot.”
I said, “You mean, she changes moods a lot.”
A sigh of relief from crimson face, “Yeah, that’s what I meant. I didn’t mean to sound rude. I actually know what Bi-Polar means and I know several Bi-Polars.” She seemed quite proud of herself as if saying something like, some of people with Bi-polar are my best friends.
I respond with my soft daycare attendant voice (since they are acting like toddlers),

“Oh, actually there is no such thing as a bi-polar just like there is no such thing as a Schizophrenic or borderlines for that matter.”
Her pink face started darkening again…I continued…
“There are, however some people who may have a bi-polar condition but that does not define them just like some people who may be suffering from depression and so on.”
Crimson face bobs her head quickly, “Yes, I totally know that.”
I just smiled and went back to reading my Kindle feeling a little less agitated.

©Cheryl-Lynn ’16

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Posted in Bullying, Compassion

Parents, have your say on cyberbullying before October 21st!

Parents, now it’s time to have your say on cyberbullying. Take the parent survey which ends Oct 21, 2016.  Click here for survey

The mission of PREVNet is to develop a national strategy to reduce problems of bullying and victimization throughout Canada. Recognizing that bullying is a community problem evident across the lifespan, and not just a problem in schools, PREVNet utilizes a collaborative model that establishes partnerships with researchers from universities across Canada, national nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and governments in order to create safe, healthy environments for all Canadian children and youth.

Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet)

PREVNet is an umbrella network of 126 leading Canadian research scientists and 61 national youth-serving organizations. Launched in 2006 with the Networks of Centres of Excellence, PREVNet’s mission is to stop bullying in Canada and to promote safe and healthy relationships for all Canadian children and youth. Created and led by Scientific Co-Directors, Dr. Debra Pepler of York University and Dr.Wendy Craig of Queen’s University, this national network is the first of its kind in Canada, providing an unprecedented opportunity to change the way we understand and deal with bullying problems in this country.

Everyone who is involved in a child’s life, and every place where Canadian children and youth live, work and play, needs information about bullying problems and strategies to promote healthy relationships. Before PREVNet, there were a number of different bullying prevention activities in use at local, provincial and national levels, all of which operated in isolation without an evidence-based national platform for coordination and implementation. As a national network, PREVNet is now bringing together researchers and national organizations to enhance awareness, build research capacity, assess bullying problems and promote evidence-based programs and effective policies across Canada.


Bullying Policy & Legislation

How the Law Deals with Bullying Across Canada

Want to know more about Bullying and the Law in your province?  Check out this link with an interactive map of Canada giving you information on where your province stands on Bullying.

Check out their Blog here

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Posted in Did you know?

searching your path(troibun)

Some journeys seem insurmountable…you don’t have to attempt these on your own.

Tournesol dans un Jardin

When I see the word “climb”the image of Maria (Julie Andrews) comes to mind and I hear the finale of The Sound of Music,  “Climb Every Mountain”. In life, we are presented many mounds and foothills to surmount…some seeming too difficult to climb. Some do not always see the different paths to get to the top; others do not realize they don’t have to do it all alone…

********

looking wide-eyed
yet – time moves at a snail’s pace
eyelids beckon

child looks wide-eyed
mound of sand with tiny holes
tiny critters climb

yet-  time moves at a snail’s pace
despite grappling wit
millimetre steps

eyelids weigh
resolutely reach the top
misses finale

(c) Tournesol’16

Haiku Horizons “climb”

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Posted in Did you know?

5 Reasons why I don’t like psychiatric medications – but I still take them

There are many reasons one might NOT want to take medication for their mental health condition…here are a few that are explained so well by Amy Gamble at Shedding Light on Mental Illness opening a dialogue to help remove the stigma on mental illness.

I remember taking blood pressure medication for a few months and feeling like I was walking in sand…so slow until we adjusted the dosage. It as so tempting to stop those first weeks.

Years ago I worked in home-care and a client with Parkinson would sometimes hallucinate due to the medication she was taking to manage the shaking of her limbs. It was not perfect but it enabled her to have some control of her body.

After reading this post, have a visit on the various helpful topics Amy shares with her readers.

Shedding Light on Mental Health

Overview

I am guessing you may have heard the reasons why people don’t like to take medications for psychiatric conditions.  It all sounds so easy, “It’s just like taking a blood pressure pill.”  “It’s no different than taking insulin for diabetes.”  Well, the truth is it is very different and there are several reasons why.  Here is the top 5 on my list.

#1 – They make you gain weight

There are few classes of psychiatric medications that do not cause weight gain.  With the exception of some medications for anxiety, almost all the medications for depression, bipolar and schizophrenia cause weight gain.  I managed to gain a slim 80 pounds!  It seemed like every time I was put on a new medication I gained 20 pounds.  I don’t know anyone who likes to gain weight.  But the reality is medications made me feel better and if I have to work…

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Posted in Stigma Talks

World Eating Disorder Action Day!

©Clr’15   You are unique!

This video, below, about the nine truths about eating disorders is what we need to hear …out loud!  Check out the website of WorldEatingDisorderDay

Speaking with youths and young adults, I may say eating condition more often.  Some say disordered eating.  I just have a hard time with the word “disorder”.  Maybe it’s due to the stigma that seems to “stay permanently” when you use disorder. Or perhaps, it’s just me.

Mental health condition is another term I feel more comfortable using.  I find when speaking to someone who is struggling with, for example, the pain of depression or someone meeting the challenges of anxiety and how it can create hurdles in their day to day life, are suffering enough with moods, feelings and uncomfortable behaviours, without being wrapped in a huge blanket that may discourage them more and scare them from getting help.

I often say, there is treatment for so many emotional and mental health conditions AND there is recovery.  Although it may be present on a daily basis in the lives of some people or resurfaces now and then under certain circumstances, it still does not define any ONE as a person.  There is so much more more to your relative, your friend, your peer, your colleague or YOU,  than a label.

On the positive side, a diagnosis (for some can be scary) can also be a relief.  Finally, there is  a reason for this or that mood or behaviour.    At last, there is also treatment which puts you on the path of healing…recovery…an encouraging thought, don’t you think?  Some journeys are longer than others…

I remember returning to university to get my degree in Applied Human Relations and Social Science.  Most people get to their destination in four or five years. It took me nine years!! But along that journey I learned so much, met amazing people.  Some take the expressway or highway and some take the scenic tour…I enjoyed the latter.

Let’s be more open on learning how to stay healthy…take care of one’s Overall health and encourage and help others who are on that path.  Remember…

Mental Health +  Physical Health = Overall Health

We are like a daisy; the petals represent the multiplicity of one’s personality.  The row of petals underneath are facets that are still to be discovered throughout life…what a delightful journey!

© Cheryl-Lynn  2016/06/01

 

The list of the nine truths taken from WorldEatingDisordersDay’s:

Truth #1: Many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.

Truth #2: Families are not to blame, and can be the patients’ and providers’ best allies in treatment.

Truth #3: An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.

Truth #4: Eating disorders are not choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.

Truth #5: Eating disorders affect people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, body shapes and weights, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.

Truth #6: Eating disorders carry an increased risk for both suicide and medical complications.

Truth #7: Genes and environment play important roles in the development of eating disorders.

Truth #8: Genes alone do not predict who will develop eating disorders.

Truth #9: Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Early detection and intervention are important.

The “Nine Truths” have been translated into multiple languages and were produced by the Academy for Eating Disorders in collaboration with Dr. Cynthia Bulik, PhD, FAED, who serves as distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Nine Truths” is based on Dr. Bulik’s 2014 “9 Eating Disorders Myths Busted” talk at the National Institute of Mental Health.

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Posted in Depression, Mental Health, mindlovemiserysmenagerie, poetry, Reflections

free at last (free verse)

Tethered

– Oleg Oprisco
This photo challenge was posted at MindLoveMiserysMenagerie to inspire a writing of any genre…this was my attempt.

Leave me alone!
she shouted aloud
but her weak screams
could barely be heard.

it all started last year
when claiming to be
a new born vegan
her excuse not to hear
is that all you’re eating?!

First mother haggled
offering to drive her
to her favourite gym
if just for one meal
it seemed to work,
or so Mom thought
not noticing her
running to the loo

Leave me alone!
she’d shout aloud
but her weak screams
could barely be heard.

Then even at school
became a new problem
friends were no fool
noticing her body shrink
just wasting away
before their own eyes

They would then nag
offer their snack
others would rag
make her feel wacked
staring, eye rolling
she felt they were controlling
meddling in her affairs
giving her evil stares.

Leave me alone!
she shouted aloud
but her weak screams
could barely be heard.

in time there were no friends
only her boyfriend remained
pleading with her
worrying about her

until one day
an ultimatum
he had to say
either get help
or I can’t stay

Leave me alone!
she shouted aloud
but her weak screams
could barely be heard.

she turned to self-harm
to ease her pain
self-injury
her new found friend

she wrapped her wrists
to hide her scars
except when alone
she’d go for long walks
out into the woods
unraveling
long bindings
stretched to forever

she loved these walks
alone and free
just she and nature
it heard her pain
did not have to strain
when she would say

Leave me alone!
in her weak screams
the birds would chirp
the hare would dance
the doe would prance
her new found friends

free at last
she never returned
no longer an outcast
became one with nature
free at last

© Cheryl-Lynn 2016

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Posted in Did you know?, Re-blogs

FORGIVE TO HAVE INNER PEACE

This IS so beautifully penned…forgiving actually does set us free. Forgiving oneself may be harder (I know I struggled with this one) but this poem is a good reminder why it is important that we do. Thank you, Wendell

Where Words Daily Come Alive.wordpress.com

7aa8271fb15a13e5eecbe209d5172651

There are many alive among
us who live embracing certain
unhappiness each day

They are so full of such
hatred for another who may
have hurt them in some way

They find they can never
release the pain inflicted
deep within their lives

They hold onto that hurt each
day as they live never letting
hatreds flame To die

They want them to suffer much
each moment of their daily
lives in many ways

Only finding in the end the only
ones who suffer are those whose
hearts became hatred’s lasting
slaves

Many say by their words they love
God above all, yet they still allow
the hurt in their lives to stay

When there is One who paid the
ultimate price casting away all
of hatreds most painful chains

Many still are turning away from
the living One who died setting
all of their lives free one time
instantly

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Posted in Depression, haiku, Mental Health, troiku

Tragic Losses (Troibun)

Originally posted at Tournesol dans un Jardin under Daily Moments

It is tragic when depression wraps a person so tight with layers and layers of prickly wool. A person falls victim to that predator who distorts their lens and forges their vision seeing no way out.

lost in the darkness
never sees the right bend
veiled from the light

lost in the darkness
never thought there was help
suffering alone

never seeing the right bend
turned to the left
that cul-de-sac

veiled from the light
obscurity snickers
`til that last breath

© Tournesol ‘16/05/10

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Posted in Chronic Pain, Haibun, haiku, Music Video, narrative, Reflections, Tournesol whispers

befriending pain (haibun)

This is journal entry I wrote today…sharing parts here in case it helps those who suffer chronic pain.

Pain penetrated  my every fibre. My chest felt like my duvet was made of iron weighing me away from life. Breathing turned to heaves of a chronic smoker and my head felt like the regular common cold…sinuses squeezed my cheeks like that aged old auntie who never heard the word, no! Nothing to do but call into work and take a sick day…crawling back into bed, my Bette snuggles next to me keeping watch on my breath…in…out, in…out.

Every time I turned over I felt more pain as if I had gone to the gym for a complete workout for the first time in years.

like the common cold
hits you when you least expect
no cure

© Tournesol ‘16-03-06

It was half passed five and the sun was setting. How wonderful that the days are longer now.  I chuckled at the fact that I am getting up at sunset rather than sunrise.  Oh well, c’est le monde en envers…who the f cares?  My body guides me at times.  I know now why I was aching…sort up. I walked a lot yesterday…maybe a bit too much…I vacuumed only half the apartment but the walk was the over exertion.  Gawd! I hate this condition…I love to walk for hours…it clears the mind…it ties up so many odds and ends and it feeds my creativity too.  Maybe if I lived in a warmer and dryer climate I could manage this so much better.

I know that will never happen at my age nearing retirement with little money set aside…I won’t be able to  afford travelling.  It’s as if my body needs to live in a desert, now that is odd, non?  Does my body remember a past life perhaps?

I am rereading John Kabat Zinn’s Mindfulness for Pain and listening to his CD.  I need to be reminded how to befriend my pain. I used to be more mindful that my pain was simply a sign I was alive…I can feel!! and to embrace that rather than tense my body and challenge it.  So I cuddled with it all night and all day today.

Listening to music is helping. I discovered Kimbra recently listening to my Jango Indie Radio  and am enjoying her Studio sessions.  And that is what is soothing me…a little of Kimbra…Tristan Prettyman and Regina Spektor keeps me company this evening.

I have already written a Daily Moments post for today, Baby Girl Blessed thinking of my upcoming anniversary…mostly missing my mom. My second birthday without her. Every year until she could no longer remember me or herself, she would repeat the events leading to my birth.  Every year, nothing changed in the story…the long walk to her sister, the agitated feeling she had and impatience with my sister who was only two at the time. Her visit to GrandPapa, her father at his workplace, the filtration centre behind the town park.

I used to love going there too later. That is where he pulled my first front tooth before he got sick.  I remember the string he tied around my front tooth and the piece of string to the doorknob and then he slammed the door so fast I never felt a thing except my heart jump from the BAM.   I wonder how much I got for that tooth I left under my pillow…I used to be half a sleep when I felt a hand slip under my pillow and saw the next day a whole DIME!! That was two bags of chips or two ice cream cones!! I was rich!

Then Mom would say how she did not make it to the hospital and the taxi dropped her off at her mother who was a midwife…lucky me, eh?  Imagine being born in a loving home in your grandparents’ bed! All the loving, holding, hugging within seconds I took my first breath. In those days if you were born in hospital you rarely saw your baby for long periods of time and you were in bedridden up to 10 days!  I was so lucky to have bonded with my mom as well as GrandMaman.

Yes, missing her and feeling lonely…missing family…just missing being a part of something this weekend…maybe that is why work or volunteering is so important to me…I am a part of something very special.  My heart, my mind wanted to be there,  but my body forced me to pay attention…feel the pain, befriend it, coddle it, it will stop working against you…and I did…trying to make sense listening to the sounds of silence in my home…

I resist too much
your familiar touch
a love that throbs

a love that throbs
learning new dance steps
to our slow dance

(c) Tournesol’16-03-06

 

“Eet”

It’s like forgetting the words to your favorite song
You can’t believe it; you were always singing along
It was so easy and the words so sweet
You can’t remember; you try to feel the beat

Eee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-
Eet eet eet
Ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-
Eet eet eet

You spend half of your life trying to fall behind
You’re using your headphones to drown out your mind
It was so easy and the words so sweet
You can’t remember; you try to move your feet

Ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-
Eet eet eet.
Ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-
Eet eet eet.

[musical interlude]

Someone’s deciding whether or not to steal
He opens a window just to feel the chill
He hears that outside a small boy just started to cry
‘Cause it’s his turn, but his brother won’t let him try

[musical interlude]

It’s like forgetting the words to your favorite song
You can’t believe it; you were always singing along
It was so easy and the words so sweet
You can’t remember; you try to move your feet
It was so easy and the words so sweet
You can’t remember; you try to feel the beat…

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Posted in Did you know?, Self-care

Challenge for Growth Prompt #8- Stop (Repetitive) Thinking

See the tips below the challenge…Great tips on how you can stop that mind from worrying and repeating over and over…you know when it just won’t shut up…read on… Tools for Dealing with Repetitive Thoughts by Karuna Poole

One of the main ways we make ourselves miserable is by repetitive thinking. Very few of our thoughts are new; we recycle them again and again. We ruminate about past traumas, feel indignant over ways we were slighted, or obsess about possible future problems. Repetitive thinking can lead to depression and anxiety.

Below I am going to list many tools you can use when you find yourself trapped in this cycle. They are not listed in any particular order. If one doesn’t work for you at a given time, try another.

1) Say “Be here now” to yourself and shift your focus to the present. Do that every time you find yourself thinking about the past, worrying about the future, or into repetitive thinking of other kinds. You may need to say the phrase hundreds of times a day when you start, but if you continue saying it and bringing your attention to the present, the repetitive thoughts will stop. Remember that you are working to break an old habit and build a new one, and that takes time.

2) When you find yourself into repetitive thinking, bring single-minded focus to every moment. For instance, say to yourself “I am picking up my fork,” “I am holding my fork,” “I am picking up food with my fork,” “I am bringing my fork to my mouth,” “I am putting my food into my mouth,” I am chewing my food,” “I am swallowing my food,” etc.

3) Pick an affirmation and say it at least 1,000 a day, or more, for 21 days. Say your mantra internally, going as fast as you like. If unhelpful thoughts start coming at the same time, speed up the affirmation You can use any kind of affirmation. Some examples are “Be here now,” “I’m competent and capable,” “I let go,” “My needs are important,” “I am enough,” “I am smart,” “My life is unfolding as it should,”etc. Pick one affirmation and stick to the same one for the entire 21 days. It doesn’t matter if you believe what you are saying. What matters is that you want to believe it. If you say the affirmation in the 10,000 a day range, it may start flowing through your mind automatically, during the day and possibly throughout the night as well.

4) Make a 3 second contract with yourself. Since repetitive thinking is a habit, you will probably find yourself in the midst of it without being aware it had started. You don’t break the contract when you find that you have been obsessing or over thinking for some time. You break the contract when you realize you are doing it and don’t start working to disrupt the thinking within 3 seconds.

5) Distract yourself. Go for a walk, exercise, read, talk to a friend, etc.

6) Write lists of what you are feeling mad, sad and/or scared about. Don’t spend time thinking about it; just write whatever comes to your mind in the moment, even if you end up writing the same thing over and over.

I am mad that _______

I am mad that _______

I am mad that _______

I am scared that _______

I am sad that _______

I am mad that ______

I am scared that ______

I am scared that ______

etc.

7) If you are angry with someone and obsessing about that, do some anger work. Journal about your anger, write a poison pen letter telling the person off (and then destroy it), twist a towel and imagine yourself yelling at them, scream into a pillow. Stop when you feel a shift in your energy. These techniques are for the purpose of releasing the angry energy in a way that doesn’t hurt yourself, others or the environment.

8) Write a list of your scares in one column and in a second column write the truth about each situation. For example:

If he leaves me I will die If he leaves me I will feel very sad but I will not die.

I have done nothing with my life I have done many things with my life (and list them).

9) Write a list of all the things in your life that you are grateful for.

10) Each time you have a negative thought about someone else, write or say three positive things about them.

11) Each time you have a negative thought about yourself, write or say three positive things about yourself.

12) Most often fear needs information. If you are feeling afraid, ask yourself what information you need and then go get it.

13) If you find yourself obsessing about a negative event from your past, write a list of the things you learned because that happened to you. Also, identify the skills you have today because that event occurred.

14) A friend recently told me about a process she finds very helpful:

The moment you get a repetitive thought, write down what scares you about that thought; i.e., what is behind it that worries or frightens you? In a stream of consciousness way (don’t go back to read what you write), write down everything you’re afraid of that comes to mind until you run out. Then wad up the paper and burn it [or tear it up] and go about your business. Do this process daily and/or every time you get a thought you don’t want.

15) Think what your life would be like if you were able to stop most of your repetitive thinking. Hold that vision in front of you as you make moment to moment decisions about where you put your focus.

I hope you find these tools helpful. I wish you the best on your journey towards a peaceful mind.

Written for Challenge for Growth Prompt #8: Stop (Repetitive) Thinking

Living, Learning and Letting Go

20150726_193656

Stop Thinking

This week’s challenge is:

“Today I stop my repetitive thinking.”

So few of our thoughts are actually new; we recycle most of them again and again as we ruminate about past traumas, feel indignant over ways we were slighted, or obsess about possible future problems.  Overthinking keeps us trapped in our heads, rather than living from our hearts.  It also leads to depression and anxiety.

We may believe if we think about a problem long enough, we will figure out what to do about it. The reality is that inspiration is much more likely to come when our minds are silent than when we are in a never-ending cycle of analyzing.

This week, for 1, 2, 3 days or longer, commit to stopping your repetitive thoughts. One way to do that is to say “Stop…..Be here now” and then focus solely on the present moment whenever you find…

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Posted in Did you know?

Running from the Urges

Wonderful tips in postponing urges and dealing with recovery.

Rose with Thorns

What do you do when you have the urge to use a symptom? When suddenly, you feel like you must cut or you will die? When purging seems like the only option? When isolating for a week sounds like the only thing that will keep you safe?

You have to run. Run to a coping skill. Run to a loved one. Run to your recovery.

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Posted in Mental Health, Stigma Talks

Bell Let’s Talk about Mental Health

Today is Bell Let’s Talk...trying to remove the stigma on mental health.

Today, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives for every:

 

 

 

McGill University ‏@McGillU 54m54 minutes ago What are your reasons to talk about mental health? 

A sense of community is part of healing – recovery.

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Posted in Did you know?, Stigma Talks, video

Sir George Williams Riot

Concordia professor Clarence Bayne (left), director Mina Shum and producer Selwyn Jacob across the street from the Henry F. Hall Building of Concordia University. (National Film Board of Canada photo.)
Concordia professor Clarence Bayne (left), director Mina Shum and producer Selwyn Jacob across the street from the Henry F. Hall Building of Concordia University. (National Film Board of Canada photo.)

 

On this day, January 15,  Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, the “Ninth Floor” will be shown at le Cinéma du Parc tonight in Montréal. It is a documentary on the events that took place at Sir George Williams University (now part of Concordia University) in 1969.   

 I was going to O’Sullivan Business College, just a few blocks away at the time. I remember the computer stand-off.  I was boarding  at my aunt’s in Montreal at the time, and still a very naïve small town girl.  I was uneasy speaking English in public at that time for tension was mounting with the Separatist movement and later on was the October Crisis with the FLQ (Federation Liberation du Québec).  I remember tucking away the Montreal Star in my bag when traveling on public transit to avoid any possible confrontation.

In the spring of 1968, six Black Caribbean students at Sir George Williams  accused a biology lecturer of racism complaining the teacher was handing out failing grades to all his Black students, regardless of the quality of their work. (Credits: Black History Canada

I remember my family telling me not to walk by the Henry Hall building on boulevard de Maisonneuve, in case there would be riots.  And there was a riot!

Reading more about the events back then, today I shake my head in disgust at how our city, our province and our country mistreated students standing up for justice.  It IS fitting that this film be viewed tonight.  It shows events never seen or reported (so much was distorted) to the public of the largest student uprising in Canadian history, the Sir George Williams Computer Riot, February 11, 1969. February, which is also Black History month…interesting how history plays out.

Read more here:

Concordia University Archives

Nouveau Cinéma, Ninth Floor

The Montreal Gazette

Mostly Movies

Rosie Douglas

 

 

 

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Posted in Did you know?, Stigma Talks

Dear Amazon,

Thanks to this brave teen who spoke out from Calagary reported by CBC News

Dear Amazon, (their response follows)

I realize you are running a business and you respect freedom of speech. I get that.  You probably get plenty of hate mail about certain books people feel offended that is even in print…but that IS what we mean by freedom of speech.  But I wonder if Amazon could use some discretion, scrutinize what can damage their reputation. After all, Amazon is known worldwide, right?

screen shot - Amazon
screen shot – Amazon

I am not only offended but shocked that Amazon allows the sale of T-Shirts that scoff at mental illness. Oh, there are several and you know as well as me, many of these t-shirts are geared to teens. Teens who are vulnerable and many may be suffering with mental health issues and afraid to get help.  Many people are afraid to be stigmatized or not taken seriously.  Well, think again, dearest Amazon, think again.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Toronto “… suicide accounts for 24 percent of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16 percent among 16-44 year olds. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24.8 Seventy-three percent of hospital admissions for attempted suicide are for people between the ages of 15 and 44.”  

I don’t care of some people say, “Hey! At least it’s a shocking way to get a message across.”  Really? And what message might that be?  Will someone suffering in silence with depression with suicidal ideation, find that life changing?   We sometimes joke around about subjects that makes us feel uncomfortable…okay, I get that.  But when a person makes a joke, hopefully with more awareness campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk this month, misconceptions will be changed.  

“A complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses.

Almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem.

Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community.

Mental illnesses can be treated effectively. “

*Fast Facts, Canadian Mental Health association

People will learn that Mental Health + Physical Health = Overall Health and that one is equally important as the other.  The awareness is to remove that stigma and especially to inform people that there is help…treatment and yep, even recovery.   Too many people fear they are given a death sentence if they are diagnosed with a mental health condition…there is recovery in so many cases. Would that not encourage someone to finally get help?

But bad jokes, generalizations and misinformation sets us back to times people equated mental illness to a person wearing a straight jacket…no wonder one did not seek help.

So, dearest Amazon, would you think again about selling these T-shirts on your website?

Cheryl-Lynn Roberts

An hour later I am pleased to share this email I  received this from Amazon:

Amazon
Your Account Amazon.ca
Message From Customer Service
Hello from Amazon.ca. 

I completely understand your concern in this regard. 

Please accept our sincere apologies for this listing on our website. 

Customer feedback like yours really helps us continue to improve our store and provide better service to our customers 

This being the reason, I’ve forwarded the information regarding this listing to the appropriate people internally to investigate further and to take appropriate actions to remove “Suicide T-shirts” from our website as soon as possible. 

We realize this incident reflects negatively upon Amazon.ca and the feedback you’ve provided has been passed on to the relevant people. 

We do want to make sure that our site is safe and convenient for all buyers, and for that reason there are rules governing the listing of certain items. 

Since, I’ve forwarded this to the appropriate department I can assure you that soon we will remove this item from our website. 

In addition to a wide selection of items, one of our aims at Amazon.ca is to provide a convenient and efficient service; in this case, we have not met that standard, please accept my sincere apologies. 

I’m very sorry about all of this. I hope you’ll consider this an isolated incident and give us another chance in the future. 

Thanks for your patience and understanding. Thanks for giving us time to find the best solution.

We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today.
Best regards,
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Posted in Reflections

Slim Pickins’

Tis the season to be Jolly, Fa la la la la la la la la…

Spreading a bit of light and joy is the true spirit of Christmas.  It doesn’t have to be a purchased present.  I remember feeling such joy with hand crafted gifts my children gave me for the holidays. Some of these treasures are still out on display at home.  I understand now, why my mother looked so happy when I wrote a poem in her cards as a young child. No English teacher could ever convince her the poem needed work…no indeed!! I could do no wrong.

A whole year since my mother’s passing and still her absence is felt especially on holidays and birthdays.  Her outrageous laughs, her off-key singing (like me…I think I’m worse) and her dancing like no one is watching, brought me such joy!   She made us laugh until our bellies ached…really.

How many mothers would tell the following story with a straight face?my mom could!

Years ago, when she was a hairdresser, her customer arrived with a new seal coat?  (This was before Brigitte Bardot started her crusades ). Mom, whose mother tongue is French, squeals with joy, “Oh!! I love your f….cking coat!”

The customer who is a very conservative social worker gasps, “No, no, Mrs. Roberts, we don’t say that!”

Mom’s eyes widen, “No, no, I know what this is…let me show you my f…..cking boots.”  She runs up to get her seal boots.  “See!” she says proudly. It took awhile to sort this whole thing.  Finally another customer who is more fluent in English and French than my mom explains that Phoque is the French word for seal but pronounced like that 4-letter word.  Everyone had a good laugh and I still do sharing this cute story.

Well, now that was just one of many moments that my mother brought light into our lives.  And that brings me to a prompt at the Carrot Ranch asking us to write a story in 99 words (no more, no less) about “spreading the light”.    Check out the post  and prompt here where the writer shares a moving story about her friend as well as beautiful message for those struggling with the holiday season  written on the wall where Mother Theresa cared for Calcutta children.

Now here is my short story of 99 words:

SP pushes her cart past the shelter, and then stops to admire the trees for sale. The man selling Christmas trees, asks her, “How come most people call you SP?”

She chuckles, “Well now, that’d be due to my slim pickins’ all day.”

An older woman on her way to the shelter stops, “Hello, TJ! we’re counting on you to play piano at Christmas dinner.”

The man looks puzzled, “TJ?”

“Oh, Sister Mary Mona calls me that.”

She picks up fallen branches behind the trees and adds them to her pile, whispering, “ Yuppers, slim pickins’ turning to joy!”

© Cheryl-Lynn 2015/12/18

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Posted in Dementia, Haibun, haiku, Mental Health, narrative

Be Real (haibun)

The Velveteen Rabbit

People laughing. Some are talking about parties they will be hosting or attending. Others are smiling as they share the cute anecdotes their young children have said as tension is mounting until Santa arrives. Workplaces are bustling with holiday rush deadlines; retailers are on robotic mode trying to exceed their quota for the extra “end of the year” bonus; some are talking about the baking they have been doing for the past few weeks leading to THE Day,  anxious to welcome their family and friends.  So many caught up in the holiday spirit, it can be contagious yet for others it can be a turn off for some…

Many young children are not so excited about the holidays or rather they have disturbingly mixed feelings. They may welcome the time off to relax or cringe at too much time at home where there is tension and conflict among siblings or between parents.  Some worry about the over indulgence of drinking or worse.   What about Uncle so and so or Aunt what’s her name?  The last time they saw him or her, they still cannot wipe away the memory of what happened…  Some children have to become the parent because of the drinking…It’s not always what it’s all cracked up to be.

The holidays can also be just any old day for some because their life is “same ol’- same ol’” and dark clouds are permanent fixtures that hover over them.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Stop it!!

Why? it’s relaxin’ and a no brainer. I don’t have to even try to think!

Stop it, I say!! Your brain is turning to mush sitting there, watching flic after flic on the that screen!! Can’t you see?

Oh, is that what it is? “Mush” is it? I thought it was called depression.

Oh…(person silently ducks away)

Ever have a conversation with a friend…well, not a best friend but the many friends and colleagues/peers/classmate, where some have become closer, who confide in you and you sometimes in them, ask you how you are?  That conversation above is a snippet on how they can be cut so short, whether you are a student, a worker or person meeting someone at a coffee shop or on the street.

What is the politically correct response when someone appears sad, depressed or mourning a loss for example?  Some may say, “Well, you have to be able to listen and be there for the person”.  Okay, I can see that happening but for many individuals, there is an internal clock they have and it individually sets an alarm when “enough is enough” to listening.  It can go like that snippet above or like this:

How are you doing today?  You look kinda glum, what’s going on?

Nothing and everything I guess. I feel a bit lost.

Hmmm, how does that feel to feel lost?

I’m sorry it’s been so challenging for you lately.

Hmmm, gee I’m sorry! Is there anything I can do…?

Here! have a chocolate that’ll perk you up

 

Which response would you feel is helpful? Don’t know? You found the real you in one of these? Great!  There isn’t really any right or wrong answer…okay, I take that back, saying “buck up” would probably be a no-no.  But ultimately what you say is not always what is important but how you say it, how you feel…just be genuine. If you really don’t have time to listen…be careful what you ask to not give the pretense that you have the time to listen because when you open that door and give the impression to someone that you intend to be there to listen for a moment, then slam the door back in their face with a “buck up” or “that’s too bad…umm, I gotta get back to work now.”  That is of NO help whatsoever.  Don’t pretend…just be real.

For those of you readers who are not too sure what “real” is I have a great book to suggest and it is clear as water flowing in a brook.  For the well read and articulate person who comes up with “genuine” or “authenticity”…um, just read the damn book.  I am referring to one of my all time favourites, The Velveteen Rabbit  by Margery Williams

child looks up in awe,
lines mock her whithered face,
snuggling in her arms

(c) Tournesol’15

A warm smile or a hand on a shoulder left one second longer are examples of “real” holiday blessings.  Happy Holidays!

 

 

The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams,Illustrated by William Nicholson

 

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Posted in Depression, Did you know?, Grief, Re-blogs

melancholy (haibun)

Some call it Seasonal Affective Disorder. Others call it pre-holiday blues and some simply acknowledge how much they miss that significant other. It is sometimes like missing a limb or a deflated lung…we all have our stories.   What helps you through these times?

Tournesol dans un Jardin

This is a time of year a virus peaks its ugly head around mid-November.  It  spreads its infections to those most vulnerable. You may not “catch” it at the same time; you may not catch it every year and yet, there does not seem to be guaranteed antibiotic to cure its infective powers.

September days start waning as the sun sets sooner; October days rob you of nature’s dinner’s sweetest and most potent “digestif”.  November drops its veil of hoary matter and thickens day after day, week after week hiding nature’s Monet, slowly slipping into Picasso’s  Blue period.   Nights are longer than days and symptoms of this virus multiply

Humans are deprived of nature’s nutrient feeding brains with hope and cheer. Life, death, separation and loss blend.  Waiting, as it stings open wounds and those who’ve barely healed  are reminded  of life’s demises.

Children as well as adults struggle…

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Posted in Bullying, Compassion

Be the change!

We often advise youths how powerful bystanders/witnesses of bullying can be. It has been proven on school playgrounds, in school hallways, if a group of bystanders spoke up about their disapproval of any kind of intimidation or cruel bullying, it usually stops within seconds.

True, many are afraid to get bullied in retaliation if it is only one or two who speak up. I get that. In fact sometimes it is safer to walk away but sometimes even speaking “after” the bullying is helpful too. Telling a person that you feel bad for them or that you understand how difficult this must be.  That can go a long way, telling a youth, they were acknowledged.

As adults we are not much different than youths on playgrounds. On the subway, bus or train, what do we do if someone starts making rude, racist comments to someone?  Do we look the other way?  Do we move to another seat to get away from the person?  Anyone who takes public transit, has witnessed this more than once.

Here is a video that restores hope…it shows how much power we can have in situations like this.  A group of people who know what it means to “be the change”

 

Muslim woman tells how Newcastle passengers
ejected racist from train

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/video/2015/nov/24/muslim-woman-tells-how-newcastle-passengers-ejected-racist-from-train-video?CMP=share_btn_fb

 

 

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Posted in Did you know?

Would You Be Interested?

A great idea for weekly prompts that look like fun and involve personal development! Write your comments at Livinglearningandlettinggo.

Living, Learning and Letting Go

I’m considering offering a weekly Challenges for Growth Prompt.

If there is interest, I would post a focus weekly.  For example:

  1. This week I focus on meeting my needs instead of my wants.
  2. This week I focus on finishing things I haven’t finished
  3. This week I focus on walking my talk.
  4. This week I focus on making time to play
  5. This week I do not gossip
  6. This week I remember that “trials and tribulations” help me grow.

People could participate in different ways.

  • Everyone can consider it a challenge for the week and make it as much a focus as they want to.
  • Some bloggers could write a post about their experiences during the week.
  • Other bloggers may choose instead to write a post about the topic rather than make it a week-long focus.
  • Bloggers and non-bloggers would be welcome to write about their experience in the comments section…

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Posted in Bullying, Did you know?, Reflections

Digging graves with racial panic

face of canada
10 Photos of Canada That Will Make You Feel Lucky You Live There

 

I am relieved I don’t have cable or satellite.  I listen to Netflix and many videos on YouTube. If I want to know what is going on in the world, I know soon enough from fellow bloggers. Other news I flip through my Twitter feed and scroll down reading one or two articles. I find I can function better this way and do the work I am paid to do calmly and with compassion.

I could pick up a local newspaper and every day I would probably find some comment with a racial slur; too often I hear or overhear comments that intensify entitlement, ownership and intolerance.

The other day we were discussing among friends on cultural differences and how this has impacted us on the way we were raised in our families. One person referred to a person of a specific cultural descent and made a “You know how They can be” comment which I inquired, “what do you mean by “they”” This person you refer to is Canadian, born and raised.” He sheepishly responds, “Well you know what I mean.”

Well unfortunately I do know what they mean when they make comments like that but in fact, I stressed, most of us here, in this province, are from European or British heritage. And the only people who were here FIRST were First Nations People. The conversation died quickly as he turned off to do something else or probably to get away from me. I guess, I can be a pain the arse sometimes.

When does this way of thinking end? My experience is nothing compared to so many people who immigrated here two and three generations ago. I only had to deal with silly comments like “well, you’re not of Quebec roots.” Oh no!? My maternal grandfather’s family came here probably 200 years ago from France. And yet many cultures of “visible minorities” have been here longer than that and still are slighted with ignorant comments and insults.

Whenever there is a national or international crisis people seem to regress back to bad old habits. Why can’t we offer our sympathy and compassion to those touched by tragedy without spewing hatred and vengeance?

I am so relieved I do not have television and do not listen to radio either. Just scrolling through some Twitter and Facebook feeds is enough to give me nightmares. To read the comments of some, however, can be more frightening.

What worries me is the reaction of people these days after the Paris tragedy.   I worry about the Canadian Syrian refugee plan and hope this will not be delayed. I even hear among acquaintances about their mixed feelings. I am shocked at the loud outbursts voicing their opinions. Having read an interesting article about Racial Panic, shared by a fellow blogger on Facebook, I remind them of historical events in 1939 about Jewish refugees and most people look at me with a blank stare. How do I read this poker face? Is it lack of knowledge or hatred? I am praying it might be ignorance and now they will be curious to research this. Yeah, that’s right, they will Google this and learn more …right? Or am I being naïve again?

If not, then perhaps we should all consider finding a place like Michael describes in his story of 100 words or less for Friday Fictioneers titled “Below the Grid”

The End

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Posted in Bullying, Tournesol whispers

sitting alone (Troiku)

http://www.prevnet.ca/bullying
© Prevnet

(troiku)

sitting alone
echoes of laughter afar
I see darkness

sitting alone
daydream of my homerun
I smile

echoes of laughter afar
thinking of Grandpa’s riddle
I chuckle

I see darkness
eyelids getting heavy,
sitting alone

© Tournesol ’15

Originally posted at Tournesoldansunjardin {Touronesol is my pseudonym for poetry)

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Posted in Depression, Mental Health, Stigma Talks, video

Aiming for hope

Teenager sitting on floor of tunnel looking down
Photo credits: CAMH

Youth in Depression – CAMH

They call in the evening.  They call late into the night. They cannot understand why they feel so depressed.  They are teens and young adults…some are even pre-teens.  They ask me why they should continue?

The pain travels through space into my ear…they are misunderstood, treatments keep changing with little or no windows of sunshine peeking into their long dark lives. Some are even told, it’s just a teenage phase…get over it…pull it together!

 Too often, I hang up feeling powerless, wondering if they will heed  our verbal contract …to hang in one more hour, one more day…to reach out one more time. 

Many adults finally get treatment for their mental health only discovering many times it started when they were teens.  Experts in psychiatry say if a teen gets treatment for depression, for example, the recovery can be so much shorter than, if they wait until they are adults, the recovery is longer.  This information sometimes gets a youth’s attention and I am hoping they will find the help they need…deserve.

This morning,  I read this article on my friend/colleague’s Facebook page here about people from all over the world coming together to share their findings…professionals going back to the drawing board to study, do more research; to connect with those who have been working in isolation… to listen and try to find better treatments for depression in youths…to prevent suicides. 

It only makes sense that a youth may not manage well on an “adult’s cocktail” even if  professionals keep tweaking it.  “Trial and error”,  I sometimes try to explain the complexity of a youth’s unique, amazing and ever changing brain.” What do I know? I am not a medical or psychiatric expert?   And, deep down in my heart, I am frustrated.

And then this article I just read  by “Toronto’s CAMH (Canadian Ass. of Mental Health)  who have launched a new centre dedicated to child and youth depression.”  Let`s hope this video also reaches people to raise awareness…raise funding so researches globally,  can find better “cocktails” and treatment geared to youths, come to understand the complexities of their brains…finally give them hope…their friends and family hope…

© Cheryl-Lynn R. 2015/10/09

Resources: Youth and Child Depression CAMH

Centre Dedicated to Youth and Child Depression

Young Minds’ Stigma Keeps Youths Suffering – Global News

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Posted in Depression, Mental Health, Music Video

The tragedy of suicide

Suicide is a tragedy that affects the family, friends and the community in so many ways. It takes time to heal and everyone heals in their own way, in their own time…but never EVER “gets over the loss”. People learn to move forward despite the loss, the emptiness.

At first there can be a celebration for having  found the strength and courage to get out of bed; others it’s to put one foot in one shoe on at a time and shuffle into another room. There is no right or wrong way. There is no such thing as “they are stuck in the past”. Some do not acknowledge the grief until years later, because it is too painful to make sense of such a tragedy.     It is eventually walking, shuffling or limping forward with the memory imprinted on your heart that is a success.   Prints on a heart are made with indelible ink…

Sometimes it’s the guilt that tears one apart for the longest time…guilt, an emotion with sharp teeth. Other times it’s the anger that consumes one…anger sucks the energy like a vacuum. The sadness, the pain, the hurt can be felt differently by any one person…it can burn. It can feel like your gut was cut out, a limb torn off, a Mack Truck parked on your chest…and the list goes on. Why? Because it’s different for each person. There is no ONE size fits all.

There is no perfect “How To” instruction manual but there are many places that offer support. Sometimes it’s trying to find the right fit for a person. It can be reading stories of people who have experienced the same type of loss and tragedy. Other times it is seeing a grief counsellor or a family doctor. Some have found going to a bereavement group helpful. Others have a supportive network of friends “who DO get it”.   These are only some ideas and whatever has worked for one person may be different for another person.

Hopefully more people will learn through the experience of friends and family who have lost someone through suicide…so we can still keep talking about it and keep it out of the closet.

Here is a song that inspired me to write this little piece tonight.

© Cheryl-Lynn 2015/10/04

Resources: Bereaved Families of Ontario – Toronto  Grief after Suicide

Suicide Prevention  Suicide Action Montréal  Kids Help Phone talks about grief

Here is a link to Brandi Carlile who performs That Year LIVE (with interview)

BRANDI CARLILE LYRICS

“That Year”

I must have been sleeping
I must have been drinking
I haven’t been dreaming about you for years
There was a sharp turn and a sunburn
I was too cool for high school that year

It must have been New Years
No one invited you
You took things too far
But I missed you
And your antics
You were lonesome
And blue eyed
And so special to us

You should have taken a long break
Instead of a long drop from a high place
Ten years I never spoke your name
Now it feels good to say it
You’re my friend again

He said he forgave you
I said I hated you
He was the bigger man
I was sixteen
All the innocence
It took for
You to finally make your year book
That year
That year

You could have taken some time away
Instead of a long drop
Instead of a leap of faith
Ten years I never spoke your name
Now it feels good to say that
You’re my friend again
You’re my friend again

I was angry
I was a Baptist
I was a daughter
was wrong

Thanks to Michy for correcting these lyrics.
Writer(s): Timothy Jay Hanseroth, Brandi M. Carlile, Phillip John Hanseroth
Copyright: Southern Oracle Music LLC
 
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Posted in Did you know?

Mental Health Friday #5

A candid article about steps taken when diagnosed with a chronic illness. This writer talks about processing this and taking the taking time to grieve and taking your life back. Wonderful write!

Randoms by a Random

image

Imagine receiving a surprise invite to an amazing dinner at the most exclusive restaurant in your city. You know, one of those invite only establishments. The dinner is for the “who’s who” of the world…but somehow you received an invite. Excited about this unbelievable opportunity, you arrive to the dinner early and wearing your best attire. When you walk up to the registration table to find out your seat assignment, you are given an empty name tag. You quickly try to give your hostess your name, but she replies “oh no, names don’t matter here.” Baffled, you scowl and wonder what type of place doesn’t take names. The hostess notices your confused scowl and says “once you put the name tag on, it will display the current state of your mind; and that’s your seat assignment.”

If you had to wear the current state of your mind like a badge…

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Posted in Did you know?, Learning Differences, Re-blogs, video

Introduction to Cri du Chat Syndrome

A mother’s love, a daughter’s strength in the face of challenges, and lots more I’ve learned here.  After you read this reblog, here is the  School Presentation our writer talks about which I would subtitle, “After you say Hello, what do YOU really think of me?”

Lessons from my daughter

A month ago, I shared the Cri du chat awareness video with Emily’s resource teacher.

Emily appears in this video 4 times which, to her, is the equivalent of being a movie star!

……

Since she was little, I have allowed Emily to make her own decisions.  I have allowed her to fall, to get hurt sometimes, to taste vinegar and lemon juice…..  but most importantly, I have allowed her to learn how to make a decision!

Within a couple of days of us having the awareness video, she told me she wanted to present it to her class….

Wow!!!

I didn’t see that one coming.

Emily knows she has a rare syndrome, she knows she is different and she knows that different is awesome because normal is boring!!!  🙂

Sometimes, she is sad about being different… she wants friends and a boyfriend but quickly she’s back being her happy…

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Posted in Did you know?

poem- stand up

Shawn L. Bird

“Why are teachers even bothering to picket,

when you aren’t getting strike pay any more?”

he asked.

I told him it was because teachers are moralists

who are defending democracy

and fair working & bargaining conditions

against a corrupt government.

A government that ignores the court rulings

spends billions of tax payers’ dollars appealing

judgments by the Supreme Court

and the United Nations saying they

are WRONG to steal from our kids,

They’ll pay for a stadium roof,

but will not pay for educating its children.

I told him that in such a war,

pay is a small thing.

We will fight, because if our government

succeeds in destroying our union

then every other working person in this province

is in peril.

If our contracts can be shredded with impunity,

so can YOURS!

We are fighting for YOUR rights

and for our students’ right to a funded education

against a government with…

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Posted in Did you know?

Allstate Wants LGBTs to Be #OutHoldingHands

The New B.P

The video promoting LGBT acceptance is set to music by out singer Eli Lieb. The video promoting LGBT acceptance is set to music by out singer Eli Lieb. Allstate has released a touching video ad that promotes acceptance of LGBT people.

Set to the music of out singer Eli Lieb’s “Safe in My Hands,” the video short is an animated ode to tolerance, telling the allegorical story of a man who is ostracized throughout his life for having an unusually large hand.

After enduring stares and discrimination for his unusual trait, the character’s feelings of shame dissipate when he falls in love with another man with the same physical characteristic. By finding each other, they are able to proudly walk hand in hand in public.

“We believe everyone should be treated with respect and without judgment no matter who they love,” Allstate captioned beneath the video, which concludes with a visual transition to a real-life gay couple.

Last year, Allstate ran a print…

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Posted in Did you know?

A Child’s Note to Parents

Wise Words for parents of school age children.

Stories by Shivangi

Dear Parents,

Soon you would be having conference regarding my performance in school. As you listen, please remember that what my teacher might be describing may not be the complete truth. So, do not get uptight if you hear any blemish. I hope you will accept me as I am as long as I am trying.

Remember that all children do not walk or speak at the same age, nor do they learn math, reading or science at the same rate. Please do not compare me to my brothers, sisters, cousins or friends. I am unique to this world. Be realistic in setting my goals. Challenge me but do not push me beyond my abilities. Please let me be a child first before labelling me as a success or a failure.

The conference would be a picture of me at school. I am very different at home. In school, I…

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Posted in Did you know?

LIVING WITH BI-POLAR PEOPLE by ELLIN CURLEY

Are you a caregiver, friend, relative, parent, sibling of someone who struggles with mental illness, then you need to read this. Written from experience, with compassion from the heart…

Serendipity - Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Carrie Fisher was bi-polar. To her credit, she talked about her condition openly and honestly. She brought attention to the disorder and tried to reduce the stigma associated with this, as well as other, mental illnesses. It’s sad that we need celebrities with diseases to increase public awareness about their given malady. But mental illnesses are inherently hard to diagnose, treat and talk about. So as long as people get educated about them, I guess it doesn’t matter how or why.

I have an unwanted and involuntary expertise in Bi-Polar Disorder. Both my ex husband and my son had/have the disease (my ex is deceased). Each of them manifested the condition differently – my ex was mostly manic and my son was mostly depressed. One of the most difficult aspects of this disorder is the fact that it can look so different in different people. It makes it much harder…

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