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 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 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 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 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

 

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…

View original post 137 more words

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

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