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Showing posts from March, 2014

"Baby Steps"

So here's something that I learned today: I am not alone. OK, I didn't really learn this, it's more like I was reminded. And I received this vitally important reminder because I reached out to my Partners for Mental Health (PFMH) Community Correspondents (CC) family.

It's been a challenging and hectic few weeks in my life: work is busy, I am planning & saving for a trip, I lost an old school friend unexpectedly, and I had the flu. Basically, normal life - stuff that everyone experiences. For me, however, it all came with a bonus: the recurrence of depression and anxiety.

I am getting much better at managing stress in my life, both the good and the bad stress. But for some reason, when I catch a cold or the flu the depression starts to worm its way back in. I am not really certain why but it could be that my daily routine gets upset. And here's the real thing that I learned today, my aha moment: I need to build more structure and routine into my life.

The thing…

"Brene, Bob & Blue Cars"


Have you ever noticed that if you buy a blue car suddenly you see blue cars everywhere? Lately I have been seeing my own version of the 'blue car' - discussion around the topic of vulnerability.

Vulnerability is something that we so often shy away from in life. We take pains to protect ourselves from feeling vulnerable. And it's no wonder. Here's the Merriam-Webster definition of vulnerable:

vul·ner·a·ble
: easily hurt or harmed physically, mentally, or emotionally
: open to attack, harm, or damage Sounds like a pretty bad thing, doesn't it? Anything that can cause us harm, either physically or mentally should be eliminated from our lives, right? Maybe not. The great Brene Brown, whose quote I used above, has built a career around encouraging people to be vulnerable. Brown argues that "vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change." Absolutely true. Without vulnerability in our lives we would have no art, music, technological adva…

"Happy?"

"Clap along if you know what happiness means to you." ~ P. Williams
Do you want to know what I value most of all? It's not my Bon Jovi concert ticket stub collection. It's not my shoe collection either. It's this: my happiness. You see, I understand the true value of happiness. I also understand how fleeting it can be.

Today is International Happiness Day and I had a happy day. It was hectic at work and I was running from meeting to meeting but I was happy. It's a feeling that I am lucky enough to experience on a regular basis these days.

Happiness has also been impossibly out of reach to me through much of my adult life. I have experienced three major depressive episodes and, if I am being completely honest (and that's the point, isn't it?), the majority of the past ten years have been spent in a depressed state. Moments of happiness, short periods of happiness, but most of my life during the last decade was spent in darkness, under the heavy cloak…

"What Matters"



What triggered it? That's what people want to know.

What was it that caused my depression? With that question comes a lot of baggage on both ends of it. The person asking may be coming from a place of genuine caring and a desire to understand. They may also have some preconceived notions about depression, that something bad has to have happened to bring it on. And when I hear that question, I inwardly cringe. I cringe because the answer is not an easy one. I cringe because I am asked to explain a complicated illness.

And there's another reason why I cringe: society dictates that depression and other mental illnesses require an explanation.

It's fascinating to me that in this new millennium, we still don't accept mental illnesses as that - illnesses. The last time you had the flu did someone ask you how you got it? If someone told you that they have MS  or Cerebral Palsy would you ask them what triggered it?

I recently watched a profile of Canadian Olympian and men…