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

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.

 

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

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.

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

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

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…

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.

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