Posted in Did you know?, Learning Differences, Mental Health, Reflections, who am I?

Why do I blog?

Why do I blog?

Interesting question, I am so glad you asked! I started to blog here, at StigmaHurtsEveryone after reading HerdingCats  She writes about the day-to-day life of her family of 2 boys and 2 girls. She was first in Ireland when I started following he and she has since returned to America; check her out, she is an amazing writer and I love her choice of music too she shares on Music Mondays.

That blog allowed me to write about persons with special needs, mental health and how we need to get better acquainted with various conditions that affect more people than we are willing to admit. ONE in FIVE persons will be faced with at least ONE mental illness but out of that many people, not many will ask for help due to the stigma and misunderstanding on mental health.  That is A LOT of people, don’t you think? And then the blog evolved to allow ME to stand on my soapbox and talk about bullying, violence, child abuse, racism, homophobia and any other “isms” you can think of.

During that time I had started writing more, privately and noticed that I was enjoying poetry and dabbled in flash fiction too. And so I started Cher Shares  which has enabled me to develop my writing skills and I have grown to love writing Japanese forms, Haiku, Senryû and Tanka…and so I chose a nom de plume, Tournesol, for these short form poems and  changed Cher Shares title to Tournesol dans un Jardin; I had started a blog at blogspot Tournesol dans un Jardin to facilitate those readers and poets who are on blogspot but it is getting time consuming.  Although I find blogspot more user friendly, WordPress is community based and I like my community:)

So… which direction did I finally take?

© C.L.R. 2014

I may pause Tournesol dans un Jardin and continue at Cher Shares but change it to Tournesol dans un Jardin so I can stay in the WordPress community

Should I get my head examined?  I did and that`s why I have simplified things.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, 2014/10/14

Posted in Did you know?, Stigma Talks

Let’s Talk about mental health

Photo: Cheryl-Lynn Roberts - Bromont, Qc. My wishing well, wishing for more openness about Mental Health.
Photo: Cheryl-Lynn Roberts – Bromont, Qc.
My wishing well, wishing for more openness about Mental Health.

It is that time of the year again. Remember last February the campaign to try and break barriers on mental health?  You know, there were ads on television, Facebook and Twitter as well promoting that day where the motto went like: Bell Let’s Talk and in French Cause pour la Cause.  Well, this year it is January 28th. On January 28, Bell Let’s Talk…


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

Text message sent

Long-distance call made*

Tweet using #BellLetsTalk

Facebook share of our Bell Let’s Talk image”


One in five Canadians will be confronted with a mental health condition and too often, very few, will actually seek help.  It is bad enough to suffer from the pain of a mental illness and not get help.  There are treatments and there IS recovery!  Why don’t people seek help?  Unfortunately, many fear they will be judged because of the stigma associated with mental illness.  Mental health is as important as physical health.  Bell Let’s Talk is an initiative to help break down the barriers of this negative stigma…label.

Did you know that Mental Illness is the most widespread health issue in the country?  Some people are embarrassed to admit they may be suffering from a mental illness and they wait and wait and suffer and wait some more.  Did you know that the shorter the wait, the treatment is shorter? The longer you wait, the longer the recovery?  The problem is that so many people do not want to publicly admit they may have suffered from a mental illness. If more people TALK about it, more will get help.

I personally suffered a burnout many years ago…that’s a nice word that covered the real issue…situational depression.  Did I tell many people about it then? Nope!  I was afraid to be judged and have people point their finger at me, “Oh, she’s has major issues!”  or felt ashamed as not being strong enough to cope. Had I known at the time, it’s okay, and that talking about it actually may encourage someone else to get help, I may have been less inclined to hide it.  I remember a co-worker at the time telling me she felt relieved to see that I was not super-woman and that I had ups and downs like everyone else.  You see, my trying to appear as super-woman, only discouraged her rather than have her admire me.  Go figure, eh?  I got closer to several people after that difficult time in my life. I also learned a lot about myself and learned how to cope during difficult times.  I also know the signs so if it came up again, I knew to get help.  Just think about your physical health for a moment.  If you are sneezing a lot, start feeling a bit sluggish, you know that those are the signs of a cold. You may rest a bit more and if the symptoms get worse or last a longer time, you will probably go see your doctor, right?  Why not do the same thing when you feel emotionally down for weeks at a time?

The way my illness peaked was my body was affected. I woke up one morning and my back just went out. I had so much pain, I could not go to work. I later discovered I was overtired and I had been burning the candle at both ends keeping busy trying to “avoid” facing my internal cries.  I saw my family doctor who put me on medication for a year and saw a therapist for about 4 months.  I came out a different person and the experience was humbling. More friends and colleagues felt comfortable talking to me about some of their personal struggles.  I appeared for once, “normal” because I had ups and downs like everyone else and I learned to manage them better. I did not have to feel like a failure or put a label that I was weak…I was a normal human being who had encountered some mental health issues that needed to be addressed.  Just as physical health needs to be monitored so does mental health.

You need to exercise to stay healthy.  Well, guess what? Physical exercise also boosts your mental health. It releases tiny chemicals in your brain {neurotransmitters} that make you feel happier…endorphins…I call it the exercise to produce the natural happy drug.  Try walking or jogging just for 15 minutes and notice your mood change slightly. Cool huh?  Yoga is a great form of exercise that has actually proven to improve physical and mental health.

Any kind of sport is great but not everyone has that ability or opportunity…so walk, jog, swim, cycle, dance, put in those ear buds and dance to music. I work late hours and walk home after 11pm. most nights. I have to cross a huge Mall’s parking lot to get to my home. So I often sway my hips and move my feet a bit to the music and use that parking lot as my giant dance floor.  It may seem silly but most people are asleep by the time I’m on my way home, so I just move to the groove {yep, I’m that old, so I can use those expressions}.

Walking, music, dancing, cooking, reading and writing are my therapies. What do you like to do? Oh, I forgot, I love to sketch and colour. Granted I am not a great artist but it feels good and it is actually using a part of my brain I don’t use much, so it is really calming.

Working on a help line for youths, I hear lots of teens and young adults call in saying they don’t want to tell their friends or family they are struggling emotionally because they don’t want to worry them. I’m really relieved they feel comfortable to reach out to our anonymous helpline. There are helplines for adults as well and so many places to get help.  In many provinces across the country if you dial 211, you may be able to reach an agency that can look up community resources for you.  In many provinces including Quebec you can dial 811 to get a tele-health line that sometimes also have resources to direct you to mental health supports.  At the front of your phone book there are emergency numbers and often a distress line is included.  In the next few weeks, I will be updating my page RESOURCES and if you have any resources you feel should go up there, please comment here or send me an email at

Remember that date now, January 28th, 2014 Let’s Talk – Cause pour la Cause.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, January 7, 2014

Posted in Bullying, Re-blogs, Stigma Talks

Oh, so typical

Lovely post and would make anyone cry happy tears:)  I have to repost it …it’s just to lovely and some may have missed this.

Autobiographical Reflections

First day of school 1st grade

This morning, on the way to school, we ran into Wil’s friend Seeger.

She took his hand, and they walked into school together as she chatted him up about all sorts of things, like how her Grandma’s dog just died, but she lived a few days longer than she was supposed to, and how the shoes she’s wearing give her blisters if she doesn’t wear socks, and oh, watch out, Wil, there is some dog poop on the sidewalk, and how she stepped in dog poop once and now her shoes are in the dump.

Typical 6-year-old kid conversation.

So, if this is so typical, why am I sitting here typing this story through the blur of happy tears?

Because my son is not a typical 6-year-old, and for that matter, neither is Seeger.

The reason my son is not typical, is because he has 47 chromosomes, while all the other 6 year olds in his classroom…

View original post 219 more words

Posted in Bullying


young teen thinking of problems SILOUETTECyberbullying

Bullying is certainly most youths’ nightmares at some point in their lives. Usually the bullying stops when you are in the privacy of your home. The problem with Cyberbullying is that it NEVER turns off…EVER!

Cyberbullying is repeated aggression using electronic devices such as computers, cell phones and tablets. I was checking on Sick Kids’ website in Toronto and was shocked to see these stats. This article was dated 2011 so it has mostly likely increased since then!

These are stats for 8 to 11 year olds {I still cannot believe this…shocking!}
– 18% use social networking sites such as Facebook despite meeting age requirements!
– 58% communicate through internet or cell phone and 31% have their own cell phone!
– 28% of those who own a phone send and receive texts and 21% have internet on their phone
– By age 11, children text an average of 80 minutes a day!

Cyberbullying is upsetting because it is so invasive filtering in the homes of youths and young adults.
50% of victims do not even know who their aggressors are. Lots of youths remain silent for fear of having their personal electronics removed!

Parental monitoring does not help
Children may be too savvy for parents because monitoring apparently shows little results according to Burr J. Correlates of electronic aggression in elementary school students. Montreal 2011
Open communication is key to protect against cyberbullying. So talk about it! Not just one sit down discussion about it but ongoing communication…open dialogues!

Cyberbullying is powerful because the person bullying is able to hide behind a monitor, smart phone or tablet and most times he/she can get away with it. Things get blown out of proportion pretty quickly too. We call that viral…you know when you see a comment along with a photo about someone on Facebook for example and someone clicks “like”…worse yet, others “share” that status and it has gone viral within minutes!

Bystanders/witnesses ARE guilty too! If you clicked “like” or “share” on an insulting comment on someone’s Facebook page, you are saying you agree with the “bully”. Yep, just as guilty.
You get an email with a compromising photo of a classmate. Your hand goes to your gaping mouth and seconds later you have forwarded to 10 of your buddies. You have just implicated yourself as being connected with this “bully”.

You get a text message of a friend who is at a party and took a few shots of peers in embarrassing positions that make them look worse than what really was going on at that party. DON’T you dare press FORWARD…ah, geez, you did…too late…you are now part of a team of “bullies” who have made the life of a young girl miserable…so much so that she is suffering depression and has suicidal thoughts. Now you hear about this girl has quit school or moved to another town and you think to yourself, “Gee, we were just clowning around.!” Oh, yeah? Think again!

What can adults do to help? Well, for starters, parents may give their children some guidelines on etiquette; consequences of spreading rumours is 1,000,000,000 times worse than word of mouth. Teachers may include in their language arts classes, etiquette on the internet {gee that rhymes!}
It would be great if some of these tips were offered in an interactive way and made to have some fun. If youths interact with new information, chances are they will retain.

There are laws now regarding to Cyber bullying and don’t kid yourself, the police CAN trace who is the bully…so watch out! Oh, and no need to say it is a free world and you have freedom of speech. Once you have denigrated, shamed, humiliated and hurt another person and their reputation…all that goes out the window and in the huge garbage bin. GET IT!?? Sorry if I seem a bit snarky. I hear too often from youths who suffer at the hands of those “cruel” digits clicking on their cell phones, tablet or computers way too many times in any given week…really!

It breaks my heart and frustrates me to no end to get a phone call from a youth that is devastated by some kid who decided it would be cool and fun to put up a web page and have their peers comment on one that youth. How cruel is that? How can that be fun? I don’t care if you say, “I didn’t know it would go that far.” IT DID go too far!

The media talks about way tragic losses through suicides…youths have taken their lives due to the persecution of cyberbullying. I spoke with a mom in June whose daughter did take her life due to bullying. It broke my heart. I feel so powerless when a youth calls…I wish I could do more. When they hang up, I worry that kid may not pull through. I cannot even fathom how a parent must feel having to experience such a tragic loss. Can you?

The media is covering this topic more and more lately. Is it because they care? Well, let’s be frank now, tragedy sells papers. That sickens me, yes, but good reporters, I believe, have a moral responsibility to inform the public…we do need to be aware of the dangers of this to prevent it from happening over and over. More importantly as parents and responsible adults don’t we want to protect our children?

Social networks do have means to help curb or even stop cyberbullying from propagating. Many youths who say they keep seeing negative comments on their statuses, I usually tell them to report! It is getting even easier now I noticed on Facebook this week, you can obviously “unfriend” a person by going on their FB page, click “message” at the top right hand side and a menu drops down and click “unfriend” BUT, on this same menu, just above “unfriend” is “Report/block” and THAT is where you can so easily report the abuse. Twitter, Tumblr and so many others are similar…so parents, who are aware your children are on these sites, perhaps before they get on, it would be great to navigate the sites with your child to see what the safety precautions are.

There is so much I could talk about but I’ll end here and list a few articles/sites you can get more information.

Oh, by the way, I was interviewed last with by the Montreal Gazette on Cyberbullying so I’ll add that as a resource too…what the heck {Wink}

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts,, August 30, 2013

Related Articles:

About Kids Health – Sick Kids
 Kids Help Phone/Cyberbullying
Child Porn Teens Arrested
Montreal Gazette – Searching for an effective way to fight bullying

Posted in Mental Health

You’re Beautiful!

Image source:

Life was so much simpler as a child

You could play and just go wild

Seeing only laughter and beauty

around you and then you grew up.


Do you know how beautiful you are?

the last few years, I could barely see you

you were so tiny, I feared hugging you,

crushing your bones, you were that small;

I remember seeing you back then…

the wind was blowing and I could swear

it was pushing you farther from where

I was sitting on the park bench waiting

watching, silently observing you wasting

away and praying for a miracle.

That was two years ago my friend,

now the miracle did transcend

you are beautiful just as you are.

Too bad you don’t see that far

and that soon you will eat a little…

purge a lot, and you will never settle

for healthy,  because you don’t see

YOU as you are, you miss all that beauty.

Alas, I pray that someday your insight

will see beauty within, as well as in the light

of day…blessings my friend.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, October 24, 2013

Posted in Bullying, Reflections, Stigma Talks

Same Love

Human rights, cultural diversity
ending all discriminations.
Understanding it’s not a choice
it’s natural sexual attraction
Mutual respect, the right to feel safe
anywhere and everywhere,
should not just be a person’s dream but right,
(Y)our rights to civil liberties.
Each child and youth and teens especially
and every man and woman too
you’d think should expect nothing less
anywhere, everywhere…same rights, same liberties…Same Love!

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, Stop the Stigma, August 27, 2013



Published on 12 Feb 2013

When I was in the third grade I thought that I was gay
‘Cause I could draw, my uncle was, and I kept my room straight
I told my mom tears rushing down my face
She’s like “Ben you’ve loved girls since before pre-k tripping,”
Yeah, I guess she had a point, didn’t she?
Bunch of stereotypes all in my head.
I remember doing the math like, “Yeah, I’m good at little league”
A preconceived idea of what it all meant
For those that liked the same sex
Had the characteristics
The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing god, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And god loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago
I don’t know

And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
I can’t change
Even if I try
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me
Have you read the YouTube comments lately
“Man, that’s gay” gets dropped on the daily
We become so numb to what we’re saying
A culture founded from oppression
Yet we don’t have acceptance for ’em
Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board
A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
Gay is synonymous with the lesser
It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself
When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same, but that’s not important
No freedom till we’re equal, damn right I support it

And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

We press play, don’t press pause
Progress, march on
With the veil over our eyes
We turn our back on the cause
Till the day that my uncles can be united by law
When kids are walking ’round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn’t gonna solve it all
But it’s a damn good place to start
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us
Whatever god you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it’s all the same love
About time that we raised up

And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
I can’t change
Even if I try
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
Love is patient
Love is kind
Love is patient
Love is kind
(I’m not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(I’m not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I’m not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(I’m not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I’m not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(I’m not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I’m not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
Love is kind

Posted in Stigma Talks

Reach out

reach out
when all seems bleak stigma-and-suffering8
when times you seek
a listening
compassionate ear
reach out
you’ll be surprised
life’s better here
than you realized
reach out
you’ll see
you’ll feel
you’ll know
when you’ve reached
out to that caring soul.
reach out.

© Cheryl-Lynn @Stigma Hurts Everyone, September 22, 2013

Posted in Did you know?, Stigma Talks

Can you tell just by looking?

What a special treat to read this lovely poem Today. Sunday, September 15th, people around the world preparing for the Terry Fox fun…Terry did not just do this run to raise money, it was to create AWARENESS…read this poem and it creates such an awareness so much better than I could put in words…it gives it a voice …

Posted in Stigma Talks

Adam’s Song

This song actually saved some lives according to comments I am seeing on Youtube.  A great example how the media can help to raise more awareness on depression and mental health issues.  I am posting this on the day after World Suicide Prevention Day in memory of Adam, my friend, Sue’s son. Namaste, Sue xx

blink-182 – Adam’s Song

“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

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

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