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

Emily, Take One (1)

 

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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

 

 

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

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 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…

View original post 49 more words

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