Posted in Bullying, Depression, Mental Health, video

Thoughts on Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two Days, One Night)

I just watched Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two Days, One Night) with a 2014 joint Belgian-French-Italian production starring Marion Cotillard (La vie en rose), who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Sandra, a Belgian working mother /wife who is faced with a  simple and time sensitive challenge. Within two days, Sandra must reach her 16 co-workers and organize them for an important vote.

From the start we feel for Sandra and her pain realizing that after being off work for depression, management realizes they can be more competitive with one employee less which gives the remaining employees a bonus and three hours weekly overtime to compensate for abolishing Sandra’s position.

I keep vacillating between wanting to shout for the rights of people who have suffered mental illness and screaming in the faces of working class employees who are not  showing their solidarity.  It angers me, it frustrates me to see how management can entice people with money and scares them about their job safety.

And then there is the flip side where this woman, who has battled mental illness and feels like giving up but at the risk of allowing her colleagues to get their “promised” bonus she questions her rights and self-confidence starts to slip.  Her husband continues to encourage her.

This movie is so real…we see the struggles and how families are all impacted by mental health and it warms my heart to see Sandra’s husband root for her, believe in her and encourage her.  I keep thinking that if she does not get her job back, this is a human rights issue but then again, how many have the time and money to fight cases like this.

Management and some greedy employees threaten others to vote for a bonus which is the same as voting Sandra out of her job.  A manager scared employees by saying if they did not vote Sandra out, they would lose their job.  It is sad to see the “divide and conquer” approach and I can see how the company is trying to remain competitive but their tactics are so very wrong.

The movie hits many nerves…human rights, mental illness, human greed, abuse of power but mostly I was proud to see a show of integrity by some humans who know what is important in life.

The movie brought up old memories of a steel company where I worked and the employees voted for their raises which would lay off many employees…they were going through a rough patch and if everyone would have worked 4 days a week (and believe me, they had great salaries!) they could have weathered through that economic crisis.

They show working class as the targets of such issues and we all know it happens everywhere but in other places employees do not EVEN have a say.  When some companies have to eliminate a few jobs during financial difficulties, they rehire new people a year or two later with just a new title for the same job.  Meanwhile, do they know how it impacts on the people they let go?  If a person is 20 or 30, it is tough but they will find something eventually but what happens to people over 50?!! We are seeing more and more of this and I find it sad…very sad.

To read  more about this movie here is a link Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two days, One night)

and here at Film Review: Deux jours, une nuit (Two days, One Night)

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

Hope and recovery with BPD

 

Hope by Hengie at Deviantart

Borderline Personality Disorder does not have to be a life sentence! So many people are misinformed especially professionals and I feel it is a disservice to persons afflicted with this disorder including their family and friends to think there is no hope. There is! It is challenging finding the right treatment let alone even finding the medical, psychiatric and psychological professional who is up to date with the most recent information and wants to work with a person with BPD.

I am not talking about studies in professional journals and NOT at all talking about books…some are great reads and informative but the danger in many cases is that the reader may not realize that as they reading the “perspective” of a few people that may or may not be valid…it is often outdated. That’s right no longer the “whole story”, there are missing pieces.

~
I have been working on a youth crisis line for fifteen years, have volunteered in various capacities in mental health  and most recently in 2013 I followed an educational training for caregivers at AmiQuebec. The clinical psychologist giving the training had over seven years experience working with persons troubled with BPD and over fifteen years as a clinical psychologist;  she was the first professional I have ever heard speak in such a positive and helpful way. I hear many professionals as well as any other person making blanket statements like, “Oh, she/he will never get better…may improve a bit but never get better.” Many doctors are exhausted treating patients with BPD and too often over medicate them which may exasperate their condition furthermore.

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Dangers of over-medicating a “personality disorder “ that is NOT a brain chemical imbalance such as bi-Polar disorder or Depression for example can all too often make things worse and more difficult for a therapist to find the proper treatment. I understand that some medications are prescribed for the symptoms and yet it would probably be more effective treatment done in a multidisciplinary form with psychiatric, psychological and behavioral approaches…everyone working together to help this person.

~

The article I am referring to discusses the success rate at over 70% will recover completely. To me, when you say no one with BPD will recover is like saying a child with a short temper will never become a emotionally stable adult.

~
Dr. Butterworth was able to give caregivers tools to help their loved ones, create boundaries and help their relative learn to manage their condition on their own eventually. What astounded me was hearing that it is not always necessary to dig deep to find out WHY a person behaves like this…not all persons with BPD have come from families lacking attention, love or have experienced trauma. Really!! What I learned in this training was the “perception” of a young baby, young child and older youth can be unconsciously be interpreted one way and it may not have been the “real” or “whole” story.

Imagine a young toddler is sleeping in her crib and suddenly the family cat jumps in the crib.

Scenario I:  The parent rushes in to the room shouting at the cat and shoos it away, waking up the child who is screaming from sheer fright.

Scenario II:  The parent tiptoes gingerly into the room and takes cat in his/her arms and walks out of the bedroom of a “still” sleeping toddler.

I found that very interesting and encouraging;  yes, I truly believed it for I know of persons personally who were raised with love but how the person’s view on his past was not what most family members remember being that way.  We  know now, in fact, when siblings are discussing their family past how different or slightly different each interpreted their past.

~

I also saw the majority of persons in attendance were caring caregivers who would come in the worst winter weather, slippery roads many couples, siblings, grandchildren…It is not a surprise to see this since mental illness affects everyone.

~
Learning more about true facts and how to help someone with Borderline Personality Disorder has allowed me to be more helpful to persons reaching out to our service.
I encourage you to read some of the articles below especially this one as a start here and you will want to read more.

~

© Cheryl-Lynn 2015/01/20

Articles:
Living with Borderline Personality Disorder 

Increasing Hope in the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder 

Various treatments

Self-Harm and Sucide

Resources: AmiQuebec – Montreal – Support for English population, for caregivers in Quebec.

Canadian Mental Health Ass. – What is Borderline Personality Disorder (a must read to remove the stigma on mental health and BPD)

 

Posted in Depression, Did you know?, Mental Health

Does time heal all wounds?

© MeSadChild at Deviantart.com
“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” Rose Kennedy

Time heals they say and I have to say I agree only to a certain point. Time allows a person to process the pain, the hurt and grow through it. I don’t believe anyone “gets over” intensely difficult times.  I don’t believe it helps when someone says, there are starving people in Africa…that sure does not heal any wound but adds guilt and shame for feeling the way you do.  Okay, enough with what I don’t believe as this post is getting to be a bit negative and that was not my goal.

Moving right along on the word at hand here on my stream of consciousness, “heal”, let’s look at what that means.  We can heal from many diseases, illnesses and yes many mental illnesses as well. Perhaps I will delve more into the latter.  Since we are nearing the Bell Let’s Talk day soon to remove the stigma of mental health, it may be an appropriate time to discuss this.

So many people still today are not comfortable with the phrase “mental illness”.  I am well aware of that when I speak to youths at work.  I say mental wellness, emotional illness, mental health and a new one that is more positive “mental ill-health”.  Why all the fuss for Pete sakes?  Well, if you have ever suffered from a mental illness or are being treated for some form of mental illness, you know darn well why we are sugar coating it …to make it enticing. We need to add lovely superlatives to entice the non-believers and especially to lure mentally ill persons who are not getting treatment so they can finally recover from their illness.   Mental illness can be treated and yes, many can be “healed”…recover .

So much is still misunderstood even by many professionals.  I remember going to a lecture at the Douglas Hospital a few years ago and the topic was Schizophrenia.  A guest speaker was a person who took years of misdiagnosis year after year after year of her condition…until finally she had a serious episode of psychosis and another doctor diagnosed her with Schizophrenia.  I won’t go into the details and yes, I realize not all people affected with this illness can recover completely, but they can live healthy lives with proper treatment.  This speaker was sharing her experience and told us she no longer had to take medication.  I was shocked.  I thought it was not possible.

I later spoke to a brilliant professor from Queens University in Kingston on the train to Toronto several years ago.  I was going to Toronto for a job interview related to Bell Mental Health project. I told her about this woman who spoke at the lecture and added how rare this must be. She shook her head and said, “Actually it is not as rare as you think.”  Well, there you go…another condition that can be treated and some may even recover…be healed.

Depression is one mental illness that I hear about day after day.  So many youths are afraid to reach out for fear of being labeled.  Many times they don’t want to worry their family and friends. I hear this so often from youths and what breaks my heart is when some parents tell their teens they will outgrow it…it will go away like it came…it is part of being a teen. Really?  They will outgrow feeling sad when it lasts months and years?  Some don’t get help for they are not permitted to get treatment because some adults/parents believe there is no such thing as mental illness such as depression.  “Just stop feeling for yourself and get over it.” Yes, we do hear that again and again.

Recently I heard someone say that psychologists and psychiatrists are just out there to invent illnesses to make money.  I suppose many do believe this.

Lastly I would like to talk about grief for  a moment. I often say that Grief is a necessary depression only it is time that alleviates the pain.   Grief and loss are difficult events in a person’s life and they are not easy to process especially when you don’t know too much about it. A teen is grieving the loss of a boyfriend for example…that is a huge loss and it hurts A LOT for a while. It feels like your heart is literally broken and science has proven that parts of the brain are triggered in the same areas where you  feel pain. So yes, grief and loss hurt a lot.

Do you heal from such losses?  I believe it hurts less and less each day and in time, in your own time, you learn to move on despite that loss. A wound is healed but you are left with a scar…there that sounds better.  Scars are reminders of past hurts…not to feel sorry for yourself but to be reminded of what was, what you learned and how you grew through those difficult times.  Soldiers have scars when they come back from battle…well, yes, I realize they have huge emotional scars too but here, I am referring to the physical scars. They are somewhat like a badge of honour for the bravery they had to go to battle and fight for their country.  So if you finally “heal” from a loss, depression, a difficult patch in your life, any other emotional mayhems you have experienced, your wound will heal and a leave a scar.  Wear it with pride for the courage you had to survive that ordeal as well as reach out to get support to get through it.

I have a tiny scar on my right shoulder that is barely noticeable. It is from sailing when I was doing trapeze on our catamaran. I feel pretty good when I share that story and carry that shiny scar with pride.

Healing is a process…not everyone has the same time clock but you still get there eventually.

© Cheryl-Lynn ’15/01/17

Stream of Conciousness Prompt “heal”

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Posted in Chronic Pain, Compassion, Depression, Grief, Homelessness, Mental Health, poetry, Stigma Talks

A holiday haibun with a smile

© Clr - Christmas Eve dinner with my children 2014
© Clr – Christmas Eve dinner with my children 2014

Ah!! the holidays are among us, where many families and friends get together. Notice I said “many” but not “most” or “all”. For many people and children, it is a day like any other day except the stores are closed, restaurants are too…eateries and diners where one might want to kill a few hours before going back home alone. What happens to those soliciting for “spare change”? Well, now the only people at subway entrances coming and going are people “usually” going to meet family or a friends or just a friend to share a bit of holiday love…cheer? I worked Christmas Day early in the morning and was surprised to see so many people at 6am on the subway and then it dawned on me that many revellers from the night before were coming home on the earliest subway after 5:30am. No one looked cheery though except the bus driver when I wished him Merry Christmas. And why must everyone be cheerful on this day? That is being presumptuous now is it not? Sure, we can feel blessed, heart warmed by a card or smile that week, we can feel lucky to be healthy enough to get around be if on foot, car, on scooter or wheel chair and able in some way to get OUT of that condo/house/flat. Connecting with people even silently is connecting and that is what I felt sitting in the food court December 23rd.

I needed a few spices to add to my turkey dressing…it tastes almost like my grandmother’s…you see she never gave her recipes. But I taste, add a dash of this and that and taste several times until it seems pretty darn close AND my adult children love it! That IS the strongest motivator to cook anything. Bake? Um, not really because I am not much of a baker but I may try a pie or two this coming week…

I purchased the items at Loblaws and crossed the street to the mall that is situated right across the street from my home. I wanted to get a few small gifts to give to the adults since my majour gift for the past few years is my Christmas meal and gifts for the children, currently, 3 boys and 2 german shepherd sisters. Ah, yes, nice socks are always needed because almost everyone I know gets a sock or two eaten up by the dryer (where else does that lost sock go?) It was already five and I thought I might get a cuppa or get a nice buttery and salty giant pretzel and sit to people watch. A line up at Mr Pretzel made me think of those long dreaded line-ups, Christmas shopping and the whole commercialization or C.S. {croc of shit or capitalism snares…take your pick} so I moved over to Thai Express…one person waiting, so I thought, that would be fine. Wait, wait, wait…I ask the woman at the counter if they were closing, she shakes her head, no smile and does not take my order…wait, wait, wait…a woman goes up to the cash and gives her order…I am stunned, frustrated and just leave…why should I give my hard-earned money to a business who cares less, right? On to another fast food place, order to eat here and find a most comfortable place with chairs with armrests…wow! and relax. I love to eat but you know, it is a social thing…so it is nice to be among people even if we aren’t talking. Not much different from some couples we see sometimes who eat and never look up at each other or talk, not much different from a parent sitting with their teenager who thinks talking to anyone 10 years older is uncool…and the list goes on…so sometimes our own individual self is just fine.

© Clr '14
© Clr ’14

I pretend to be looking at a text message on my camera and take a few photos of the group of men playing cards in front of me. It looked like a serious game and I wonder if they were regulars here. I mean, I see early morning regulars of older adults who come before the shops open to have their walk and by 9:30am. they are sipping coffee, reading the paper and many are in groups chatting about their plans for the day. But now it is after 5p.m. so I figure they are a group of men who are single for a few hours with their wives busy shopping or cooking a day before the eve of Christmas.

I am not much of a card player and wonder what game they are playing with soooo many cards. The only game I know of with that many cards is Canasta but I doubt these men are playing this. When they end the game one of the men who was just watching folds up his book where I wonder if he is entering scores for later payment…I wonder. Now that would be a cool story, eh?

Walking out the food court, I pass couples sitting, staring…no one talking, a woman with her little girl and the woman looks totally exhausted, a bunch of teens giggling and taking pics of each other and at the entrance of La Baie, in the comfortable overstuffed armchairs, two elderly men reading a news paper and one either sleeping or daydreaming. I wonder what their stories are. Being in the suburbs, people are often living with family…but there are many alone and I wonder if aloneness is more painful here or in the city. In the city we are closer to one another; in the burbs there are so many different stories but closeness and collaboration may be in clusters…I don’t know. Where I live in my 8 apartment building, the only people who were friendly lived on the second floor. Three different tenants and they were the ONLY tenants who talked to me, helped me with heavy parcels and always asked how I was….they were from Portugal, Florianópolis, Brazil and the most recent from around here. My next door neighbour never says hello unless I do first, his 20+ yr old son smiles and moves off even when I trying to lug my 17-inch tires with hubs to my car…no, “need any help”…nope…and that same neighbour who asked our landlord to take my parking spot so his son could take his…yeah, well, I must say it is not that friendly here either. Walking to the grocery store last week with bags in hand, that same neighbour just drove by me…could have saved me a few minutes …oh well.

As I left the mall to come home, I used my usual short cut walking down the tiny slope before getting to the sidewalk across the street from my building. It was not slippery at all but my ankles just gave up…down on I felt flat on the sidewalk trying to hurry to lift myself off the sidewalk but no feelings but pain in my ankles, and my right knee was already throbbing from the fall and I knew my left knee was bad enough…{had not knelt on it since last May!}…so wait a few moments, whimpering like a big baby…hearing cars go by and whimpering more for cars who had not EVEN slowed down. All I needed was a hand to get me up and I knew I could cross the street just fine…slowly …but fine.  But no cars stopped even if my winter coat was white…so puleeze do not tell me they did not see a human being flat on the sidewalk. I was careful as I worried I might fall again but this time on the street with my luck no one would stop…even after.

I made it home feeling so sorry for myself, limping and then examining the damage when I got home thankful I wore an old pair of leggings since that big hole could not be mended now.  Sure the aches and pains came later stronger but what hurt the most was the “laissez-faire” of folks…have we come to this now in our world? That makes me very sad and not safe at all.

Christmas Eve was lovely, eating good food…{well, harrumph…I made it (smiles) } and it was nice resting on the sofa admiring the fire, listening to the children play with my son, having my daughter take care of the planning, picking me up, setting the table and taking care of timing everything so we could all eat  and serving as hostess…thankful for my grandsons who were amazing considering the hype and anxiety before Christmas morning…grateful to my son who seemed to have fun playing with the boys and my son-in-law who is an amazing person, man, partner and son.

 

© Clr '14-25 6:40am.
© Clr ’14-25 6:40am.

 

The next day I left for work at dawn and hoped I would get a few pics of the sunrise before getting into the office at 6:45 a.m. …but nope…it remained dark. Well, then at least I made up for lack of nature’s beauty with an amazing sunset at 3:45 p.m…so gosh darn early!! on my way home.

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Today I am relishing the peaceful feel of the day  and missing my mom; wishing I could have been there more, said more things to her, yet I think she is hearing and feeling it now; however sometimes the silence is deafening and wonder how it is for many who have no choice but to sit in this painful dark place day after day even during the holidays. There can be many reasons … financially strapped, family and friends estrangement, a recent loss, a loss long ago that ripped their spirit, physical illness, mental illness and the latter sometimes being such an invisible disease no one can understand…unfortunately, too many do not try.

The next time you are out, if you see someone alone why not smile and say hello, offer him or her a good day…offer your seat with a smile…open a door with a smile…you have no idea how that may enrich a person’s day!   Our good memories are what soothe us, wrap us up like honey for a bee, warm our hearts like a duvet cover and make us smile like looking at a newborn baby or puppy tilt his head to the side.

Blessing and happy holidays to this amazing WordPress community and my readers. ((((((hugs)))))

Cheryl-Lynn

kindness
heartwarming like a duvet
honey to a bee

© Clr 2014/12/26

Posted in Mental Health, Reflections

Does the world need to know details of a suicide?

© Clr Wishing for advancement in mental illness
© Clr Wishing for advancement in mental illness

I was watching a news video from California yesterday detailing how Robin Williams took his life. The more graphic the person got, the more my mouth opened in shock! Why must anyone hear these details? I don’t think I have ever heard news reported in such an intrusive and detailed way here at home, but then again, I try to stay away from the news.

I was looking for lists of movies and comedy shows to watch and be reminding of Robin Williams’ LIFE and not how he ended it.

The WORLD is WATCHING and listening to these details, young and old, vulnerable people in excruciating pain are watching too. I find this terribly inappropriate and extremely invasive on his life. I can’t even imagine how close friends and family feel about this. Why make a circus out of this tragedy?

Do you know how close thousands of people come “this”  to succeeding in taking their lives? I only speak to a handful of people compared to the world that suffers from various degrees of mental illness. I hear youths give me details and I weep at the image of this at the same time am thankful an angel led him or her to phone our service.

In the old days, we did not say if a person had taken their life and I had mixed feelings about that. Of course it is no one’s business who did not know a person personally, but for family at least, that truth needs to be dealt with, the grief, the guilt and agony of knowing how much their loved one was suffering. So I thought, “Well, we do need to talk about it. It does happen. But WHY the details?”

I don’t get the purpose if not only for the media to sensationalize AGAIN and profit from this tragedy. Shame on YOU!

I was sad two days ago driving home hearing of this tragic death; I searched the net for movies and sitcoms and fired up my Netflix to watch a few clips and laughed. It felt good for I don’t think he would have wanted the world to remember how he ended his life but more HOW HE LIVED IT and what he gave to the world.

I cringe thinking the negative impact the media is giving to those who suffer day after day…when that thought lingers for many ALWAYS at the back of their minds. And all I can say is please don’t give in to that gnawing thought…as a youth, you can reach out in Canada to Kids Help Phone 1 800 668 6868,(24 hours, anonymous service)  which also offers Live Chat Thursday to Sunday from 18:00 to midnight. For adults there are many resources but since this blog reaches all over the world, I am not going to add any except for 911.  If anyone wants to add, feel free.

I have always called the youths who call here my heroes for they have the strength to reach out for help and I can only imagine how difficult that must be.  The true heroes all over the world are those who fight their battle of mental illness that drive them to such darkness we cannot comprehend and still manage to get through yet, another day…many times it is one hour at a time.  They are true heroes.

© Clr 14-08-13

 

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

Stigma hurts everyone

Like the title says and the name of my blog, Stigma does hurt everyone.  Stigma is a label, a judgement endorsement we give that comes from “misinformation” on something such as mental illness, a culture, religion, sexual orientation, poverty, homelessness, classicism and any “ism”  you can think of.  And yes, we even place a label on people of wealth.  Go figure eh?  We point fingers at those who oppress others BUT we also generalize. But, I digress, for this is not to talk about acceptance and being aware on how we do discriminate.  It is to focus on stigma and mental illness.  The poem in my previous post The Stigma of Despair was a bit raw and intense.  I am aware of that and I apologize to anyone who may have been hurt in any way. I certainly know that parents suffer when their children do. How parents sometimes wish they could carry the burden of their children.  But they can’t.

I remember speaking to a youth who was possibly suffering from depression or anxiety. She had reached out to talk about this on a youth line because she felt no one really “got it”.  When she mentioned that she had been sad, feeling apathy towards life and her parents kept telling her it was just an “adolescent phase”, I had to smile inside as I listened.  I asked her if I could explain what I thought “some” parents mean when they seem to minimize a situation. This time she listened for a while.

Sometimes parents want to take away the “bobo” so their child does not hurt so much.  Like a toddler who falls for the first time. I remember when my son fell down 4 steps with his walker. I had forgotten to close the door in the entrance. He had a scrape on his forehead. I picked up the wailing toddler, called my husband, crying and saying how I was a terrible mother.  My son and I cried together.  And minutes later, he was having fun playing, I still felt sad and so much remorse.

Remember when your child fell and scraped his/her knee?  Is that not when you said something that sounded like, “There- there, we will clean it up, put a pretty Band-Aid and it will be all better.”  Right?  That is often our way of trying to make a child feel better and also to make US feel better.

That teenager whose parents told her it was just a phase to feel sad all the time, was probably doing the same thing…I say “probably” because most parents don’t want their children to suffer and do care!  I explained to this teen that sometimes, parents hate to see their child suffer and by minimizing the situation, they hope that it might help to “diffuse” the intensity of the problem.  It is usually NOT that they do not listen; it is that they do think this is helping or that they do not always want to accept it.

In this case the youth was over 14 years old and in Canada, youths may consult a medical health professional without parental consent.  So we explored several options.  A trusted adult like a school counsellor, teacher, family friend, extended relative or the parent of one of her good friends, might be a good “go to” person to start with.  That person may actually help explain to her parents that perhaps this should be looked into.  OR, she could see her family doctor or a doctor at a walk-in-clinic and explain how she has been feeling. Doctors ask specific questions before diagnosing a mental illness and will do some tests to examine the physical health of a patient. Sometimes a person may be low on some vital nutrients, vitamins such as B-12 (which coincidentally gives symptoms of lethargy, sadness etc.) hormone imbalance (such as Thyroid etc.) and then will assess if the patient is suffering as well, from depression, for example.  A doctor can help a teen explain to her/his parents and offer treatment.

I remember another youth writing on-line to our service feeling distraught, crying all the time, starting to self harm and was frightened by her suicidal thoughts.  The thought of telling her parents was too daunting.  “How can I tell my parents when they are the best parents on earth? They would feel guilty when they never did anything but love me and do wonderful things to make me happy?”    And that is when I tried to explain that parents are there to worry, love and nurture their children…that’s their job. They would feel so much worse knowing their child felt they could not go to them when in need. She did write back to say she broke down and finally told her mother who had a good cry with her and they were making arrangements to see a doctor the next day.  See!! There are happy endings!

Many people think that someone who worries a lot is just allowing her/himself to fret so much.  “Ah, she is making a mountain out of a mole hill again!” Maybe she is but perhaps she is also going to bed at night with her mind worrying about so many other things.  Maybe she is waking up mornings and cannot move for hours before getting the courage to get out of bed.  And with medication and therapy, she may manage to get out of bed in an hour, get to the bus stop in another hour and that to get to work it may take her all of 2 to 3 hours compared to most folks!  Does she tell you about it? No! Why should she if she is going to be shot down that it is all in her head. WE KNOW IT IS!!! and that is why she needs help to manage it better BUT it is not always about mind over matter.  We are complex species.  Sometimes it can be a chemical imbalance in our brain.  People who suffer from anxiety certainly do not want to feel this way.

I hear from teens and young adults who often say, “Well, I’m not going to take medication and pollute my body with chemicals though.”  Well, what do I know?  I am just a humble counsellor without a medical degree. So I just try to explain as best I can the way I understand this.

Sometimes your body needs help.  How many of you take Vitamin C when you have a cold?  How many of you take multivitamins especially during the cold weather season?  How many take Calcium for your bones?  And how many doctors, nutritionists and specialist insist that passed a certain age, everyone should take Calcium supplements to avoid Osteoporosis?  How many take a synthetic hormone for a low or high functioning Thyroid?   How many take insulin for their Diabetes? Okay, let’s stop there.  I think I have made my point.

Maybe taking medication for a certain amount of time is a way to “balance” those neurotransmitters in the brain…sort of like taking a vitamin to boost those chemicals and along with therapy/counselling (like exercise for the body, this is a work out for the mind and soul).  BUT, if medication is really out of the question, then you have to be prepared to make some majour lifestyle changes…like eating healthy, sleeping enough hours and exercise. Physical activity (walking, jogging, dancing, swimming…sports) you don’t have to jump hoops, just move that body enough to jiggle that  amazing happy drug, endorphins are released and can actually alter your mood.

It is sort of like someone who suffers from certain joint problems may require regular stretching several times a day….ice packs and heat at intervals with swollen joints rather than taking anti-inflammatory medication.  Sometimes there ARE alternatives to take medication…but not all of the time.

“The meds are going to change my personality and I am going to be a zombie.” Um, that might have been true in the days of Valley of the Dolls in the early to late ’60’s when too many people (especially women) were prescribed anti-muscular medications like Valium…boy oh boy, have we come a long way since those days…thank goodness!   I won’t get into details on the affects of medications and SSRI’s (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) because I am not a health professional.  But please DO read up how these work even if you are not suffering from any mental or emotional ailments. Who knows, you may be the one to inform/educate a friend who will tell another friend who will tell a relative who may finally GET help.

© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/06/21

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bullying, Mental Health, Stigma Talks

The Stigma of her despair

 

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The stigma of her despair

She struggled every day at school

dragging her feet there anyway

life at home was not so cool

she rarely talked to anyone

at school they called her emo

she always dressed the same

black shirt, black jeans without a logo

a long black trench coat too

all clothes she got at Sally Ann

she died her hair jet black

painted her nails and lips

black with hints of maroon red

to match colour of  blood,

it looked like her uniform

a suit of raw despair

because no one did care.

she tried to ask for help

saying she felt so sad

whenever she couldn’t stand

the pain, she chose to hurt herself

then students saw her marks

and bullied her some more

the teacher called her parents

so she could seek some help

but they screamed with such fury

for shaming the family.

And then one night

she found a way

to finally see some light

she’d leave this world

when school was out

her parents were at work

they found her in her bedroom,

a letter by her bed,

her parents cried

this tragic loss

and read her words in shock,

“I’m sorry that I shamed you

the stigma of my despair

appears to hurt you two

so now you’ll soon be blessed

not burdened with disgrace;

forgive me for this act

but finally, death will end my race

I’ll be in everlasting bliss

no pain, there, will exist.”

© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/06/21

This is one prompt I am pleased to write about. It is the basis of this blog.   Write about “stigma”, Pooky Poetry Prompt 52

Addendum:  I realize this is quite an intense and extreme poem.  It is meant to send a powerful message that mental illness is not something to be ashamed of!  There is help, there is treatment and there is recovery.  Mental anguish, pain and illness is not caused by children teasing, taunting, parents who are at a loss in understanding…they may hurt a person more who may not have the strength emotionally and mentally to spring back.  Please read the next post where I will talk more about getting help…reaching out. Cheryl-Lynn

Posted in Compassion, Homelessness, Mental Health

Heroes of the city

La nuit des sans abri

They don’t need your pity

they’re heroes of the city,

pounding pavements

searching for hope

some ask for endowments

not all take some dope

yet, helps them forget

their pain for a while

families and friends

employers long gone

just hard on their luck

they don’t hurt anyone

a meal for a buck

never hurt anyone.

© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/05/06

 

Posted in Compassion, Reflections

Do you even see me?

 

Do you even see me? You walk by me every day on your way to work and back.  Sometimes you bump into me and sigh out of frustration, look shocked, surprised or have this guilty look on your face but you still don’t look me in the eye…well, I have two so you could look at both of them actually. HaHa, that’s a joke by the way. I’m not mad or anything you know. I’m just sayin’…

Sometimes I bring my best friend, Roger. He’s a Golden Retriever mix…like me I guess. But you DO look at him and his eyes do speak to you.  What difference does it make?  You don’t even respond to Roger’s pleas.

You know, I’m just ordinary …nothing special.  But I am alive!  I breath, I talk and I feel just like you. I bleed if you cut me, I thirst just like you, my tummy grumble but a lot more than you I bet. {sorry, that was a wise crack.  You might say passive/aggressive. You see, I am impoverished but I am not stupid…I am smart actually. I have a degree actually.  Bet you didn’t know that, eh?  Yeah, back at the bunker, they call me The Philosopher King}

I don’t bug you. I don’t even beg for your money. I just sit by the railing of the upper level subway at the Bonaventure winter when it’s too cold and hot, damp summers…just a few hours to get my bearing.

Sometimes I meet up with my buddies and we laugh a bit about life. You know, funny things that would probably tickle you too. Actually I think we laugh at simpler things. It doesn’t take much to make me smile. And patience? Well, you know what? I have more patience than most of all of you who never see me. 

It’s sad really that humans don’t see humans.  Don’t get mad or impatient with me for being here. You actually don’t own this part of “my world”.  You just rush by every day.  I often hear, “Get a job”…hmmm, well, some of us did make choices.  You are probably right there but lots of us did not make the choice to live below the poverty level; and our options are not very encouraging. They are more like take bad, worse or the pits. Some of us are forced to take meds that make us drool or give us dry mouth; most of us don’t like to go to shelters because they may have showers and food but YOU try sleeping there, man, woman, person when the city has an epidemic of bed bugs! And that is not the worse part because some folks are sicker than me and some are dangerous.  I have to sleep on a thin mattress with my shoes on and they still get stolen!

Have you noticed I am not addressing to children or teens. Youths are okay. They have not been bitten by the virus yet. But just because you have been attacked by that virus, you needn’t spread it. And Puleeeze, if you can’t look at me in the eye or eyes, do NOT breathe near me or on me. I don’t need your friggin virus either. I have enough to deal with like finding food for one meal every other day and a clean spot to snooze in peace.  Yep keep your own infectious disease of “indifference”.

© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/04/26

Photo: Bonaventure Metro Station, where I pass every day. It is 2 levels down from a posh floor of eateries, waterfalls and indoor skating rink.

 

“This post is part of SoCS: http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-2614/

 

 

Posted in Stigma Talks

The message I am selling

The message I am trying to share…

Tournesol dans un jardin

2014-04-14 20.21.10

What am I selling? Well, when I first started my blog Stop the Stigmait was to get on my soapbox and bitch about stuff. You know, those who used politically incorrect words to identify people with special needs and people with any kind of mental health condition. I had followed a few blogs on various topics and the first one that stirred me to start this was Herding Cats.

I am not an expert but yes, I am an advocate and realized Stigma went a long way and I wanted to also talk about racism, bullying, sexism, homophobia and any label we put on anyone to discriminate them. And whether it is intentional or not…it is still NOT okay.

We often talk about the misunderstanding of mental health because we do not see it but there is also the misinterpretation of chronic pain. There are so many physical ailments…

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