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Showing posts from April, 2013

"Fight or Flight"

"A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety." ~ Aesop I have experienced something new. Or, perhaps, I just recognize it now for what it is: anxiety. I am well acquainted with my old nemesis, depression. After many years of battle I understand it to be the enemy that it is. I am quick to recognize the clothes it wears and I can see it out of the corner of my eye, as it begins to sneak back to lay it's claim on my life. As for it's partner in crime, anxiety? Well, that's been trickier to spot. I am currently recovering from what I now understand to be a combination of these two illnesses. At first I thought it was just (I can't believe that I am saying "just") depression. But I knew that this time around the block was a bit different.  But what is anxiety? And what is the difference between everyday stress & anxiety and illness? Good question (!) - I wanted to know so I did a little research...

Anxiety is the natural ev…


“If youknow someone who’sdepressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.

Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”

Stephen Fry Why do people undervalue and underestimate the power of a small gesture of kindness? How come we can't seem to find a moment or two in our busy lives to let someone that we care about know just that - that we care? One of the wonderful benefits of being open about my diagnosis of depression and building strong social networks is that I get support from some really wonderful people.: family, friends, work colleagues, and my Partners For Mental Health community.  By its very nature, depression is isolating. It pulls you away fro…

"Deja Vu (Here I Go Again)"

Déjà vu, literally "already seen", is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced had been experienced in the past.
It all seems so familiar. The fatigue and lethargy, the aches and pains, the trails of tears and the sadness. It's almost like I have been here before.

Well, I have been here before - many times. Where is here? Here is depression - a sad, dark place. But this time is a little different. Hmm. Interesting twist on things.

“That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.”
― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation  You know the old visual of the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other shoulder? That's how I can best describe depression in my life. For the better part of 20 years, the devil has been there. Sometimes he rests in the background. Sometime he inches closer. And sometimes he grips me tight, lowering a heavy cloak of sadness over me.

While I have been busy blogging …

"You're Fired!"

"You're fired!" ~ Donald Trump Week after week we can tune into The Apprentice and watch business and real estate tycoon Donald Trump fire his apprentices, one by one with dramatic flair. Entertaining? I'll let you be the judge of that. The reality is that it's much harder to get fired in the real world. It is, isn't it? Um, yes and no. Legally, the correct answer to that is yes. We have federal and provincial laws and a Human Rights Code to protect employee rights. The fact of the matter is that either many employers are ignorant of these or they choose to ignore them. Subsequently, many people lose their jobs without sufficient cause every day in Canada. So why am I talking about termination of employment and labour law? This is a blog about mental health, right? You bet - I am getting to that. A friend of mine, Melanie, was fired from her job two days ago. This friend of mine is also a mental health advocate who fights her own battles against mental illne…

"How Do You Know?"

“When you're surrounded by all these people, it can be lonelier than when you're by yourself. You can be in a huge crowd, but if you don't feel like you can trust anyone or talk to anybody, you feel like you're really alone.”  ~ Fiona Apple The person who sits at the desk next to you might be one. Your boss might be one. The colleague with whom you worked on that six month project could be one, too. Or maybe you are.

One what? The one in five Canadians who will experience mental illness in their lifetime. That's a pretty big number - one in five. That means that out of the 60 people that I work with, 12 of them will go through this. At my office, I am the only one who is "out" - the only one who talks openly about my experiences with depression. But I know who those other 11 people are. I know because they confided in me. One by one, they shared their story with me. I am grateful for that for a few reasons. First of all, it has made me feel less alone.…

"Not Myself Today - At Work"

“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.” ~ Laurell K. Hamilton, Mistral's Kiss
I have been thinking a lot lately about mental illness and the workplace. I think about how depression impacts me in all facets of my life but maybe I think mostly about how it impacts me and my work. I think about how it may or may not affect my performance and my relationships with colleagues. Yes, I think about it a lot.

As I have written before, I am in a very unique situation - I work for an employer that values diversity and people with disabilities (under the Canadian Human Rights Code, depression is considered a disability). Sadly, this is not the case for the majority.

In particular, I am lucky that I have a manager who seems to intuitively understand how to manage an employee who has chronic depression. I say intuitively because as far as I know, she has had no formal training on the subject. Yes, she and I work in Human Resou…