Archives for posts with tag: depression

We have now officially ushered out 2017 and introduced ourselves to 2018.

I’m not sure how old i was when I remember I expected to feel something different when I woke up after my birthday, or on New Year’s Day. After all something defining had occurred right? Another year older, another year past.

I realized then it wasn’t the magic of the clock turning to a new day, there wasn’t a wham bang sudden change. I grew another year older day by day and 2017 passed day by day like every other year. Today is just the day after yesterday. Just like every other day. It’s what we choose to do with that extraordinarily ordinary day that matters. Every one of them.

Some of us are bounding in to 2018 with smiles, hope, plans and attitude. Rock on. Make it your year. Fly! Learn, love, grow.

Sometimes it seems there is only hardship and sadness on the road ahead of us. But, in amongst the challenges life puts in front of each of us right now, may we also find our way to see the beauty, feel the joy, hear the music and be touched by the love hidden in each day that dawns before us.

And I say to you as well,

Rock on. Make it your year. Fly! Learn, love, grow.

Wishing you a blessed 2018! Every extraordinarily ordinary day of it.

©️2018 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I love sitting in my reading nook under the stairs. I feel a bit like a glorified Harry Potter. Except I chose to make this my space. I didn’t get cast away under the stairs. Quite a difference there. Really, it’s all I have energy for right now with this lousy cold in my nose. Grateful that’s the worst of it. At least it’s not in my chest.

Feeling a little sorry for myself. Needed and wanted this week off so badly and then to be sick sorta sucks.

But I’m one of those annoying people that actually believes everything happens for a reason even if I don’t ever see the big picture. I really do. So I’m grateful for my cold even tho I don’t see the purpose and maybe never will. For one thing it’s giving me the perfect reason to do nothing except enjoy my new nook. Maybe that’s as simple as the purpose needs to be. Else I know I’d be running around

Which, by the way, my niece tried out the nook on her own over Christmas and liked! Made my day. So much better than the disorganized messy storage area it was before. It only took me about 12 years to get it ready. Some projects take a little extra love and time. And sometimes you just have to get off your butt and make it happen. A thought to take you out of 2017 and into 2018.

Happy Wednesday! Take time for you. Find your own nook and make it yours if you haven’t already.

©️2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

I am honoured to share this essay by an amazing, bright, witty, kind, thoughtful, talented, strong, funny young woman who navigates her beautiful yet challenging path living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I am so proud to know Corey and if you think “everyone is a little OCD” she will kindly begin your education on the subject.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life, and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.

Most people have obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviors at some point in their lives, but that does not mean that we all have “some OCD.” In order for a diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder to be made, this cycle of obsessions and compulsions becomes so extreme that it consumes a lot of time and gets in the way of important activities that the person values.  – International OCD Foundation

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image courtesy of The Mighty

In the essay, OCD and Me, Corey describes life with OCD as her constant companion.

A mental illness’ strong grasp unfortunately can easily grab hold of someone and never let go. Living in their head every waking moment for the rest of their life. The world of mental illness is a dark and scary place that many people have to experience. Unluckily for me, I drew the short end of the stick and have had to live every second of my life since I was in the fifth grade battling against my own brain with the constant voice of obsessive compulsive disorder. For me, always having an outrageous fear in my head and wanting to hide away from the world have become major aspects of my life and are my version of normal. These voices control every thought, feeling and movement that I have, slowly destroying the world around me that took so long to create. OCD has shown me the struggles that everyone can go through and the different battles we all are fighting.

At the age of eleven I was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. At that time I knew very little about it, but I soon came to learn about the extreme stigma and stereotypes around it. The people around me most often would say things to me such as “just stop” or “we all have a little bit of OCD,” however it seemed that no matter how hard I tried I could not just stop the OCD in my head. This realization was what truly made me understand that not everyone had OCD and that not everyone was the same.

OCD deals with severe obsessions and compulsions that often are referred to as rituals. My rituals often consist of counting things, not being able to write with one hand, having to jump over cracks and click my heels together and much more. One of my most harmful rituals involves looking at the sun or lights depending on where I am. Although I know the danger that many of my rituals put me in, I can not stop doing them. There is a constant fear in my head that if I stop doing them, something even worse will happen. I know that this is silly but the thing with OCD is that, even if you know that your rituals cannot change certain events in life, the voice that is trapped inside your head screaming at you, refuses to leave.

As of now, I don’t often realize that I’m doing a ritual and it just seems like everyday life. In the past six years since being diagnosed, I have taken over six thousand pills to help manage my symptoms. However, even if the medication helps with my rituals they often bring other side effects as well. I’ve had to go to the hospital several times due to medication problems, and they have worsened some of my other mental conditions.

In the past years OCD has changed me a lot. It has taught me to keep my head down and to be quiet, and to avoid certain situations, people and places whenever I can. However, OCD has also taught m that we all have our own struggles, and that mine are just located directly behind my eyes.

©2017 Corey

To learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder from everyday people living and succeeding with OCD every day.

 

 

 

 

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Today and everyday, we celebrate everyday people, just like Corey, living their lives, following their paths and facing their challenges as they grow into the amazing awesome people they are.

With love, support and determination, we are able to choreograph each step and stumble into our own beautiful and graceful unique dance.

©2017 J Fries/Rise Like Air

Many people reading this will have heard of online therapy but might find it hard to imagine how it works. What better than to hear from someone who has been there and done that. Here one of my former patients shares her experiences of life in online therapy. I was a reluctant client at first […]

via Being An Online Therapy Client — Dr Nicholas Jenner

I don’t know Dr. Jenner and am not advocating his services. However, online therapy is  one more option available to help us get through whatever it is we’re challenged with. It’s an option, a viable one. All I can say is you don’t have to suffer alone. There are professionals available who care, who are willing to help and are also willing to find a way to make it work.  Don’t give up before you start.

 

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I’m reading Brené Brown. I recently finished The Gift Of Imperfection and immediately ordered all the rest.  So now I’m on I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) .  Guess what?

She’s right!!!! It isn’t just me!!! Spoiler alert – the glow of that realization only lasts so long.  I’m glad I’m not alone. I’m glad I’m so abnormal and dysfunctional I’m completely normal.  Doesn’t change a dang thing about the process though… Still gotta walk the walk, talk the talk and get moving. Sigh. Note: Always read the fine print which says something like “I never said it would be easy, but it will be worth it.”  Oh Fine!

Shame. It’s something we’ve all experienced numerous times in our lives. And it’s something most of us would really rather not talk about it seems. So I’m grateful that Brené Brown has removed the stigma from the topic.  She defines shame as,

the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection. I don’t believe shame is helpful or productive.

While discussing Shame Screens, those screens we put up to protect ourselves when we feel that burn of shame creeping into us, – which another spoiler alert –  don’t work by the way (to be honest, I’d already figured that one out… ) Brené references the work of Dr. Shelley Uram, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist.

“But Dr. Uram points out that we tend not to recognize the small, quiet traumas that often trigger the same brain-survival reaction. After studying Dr. Uram’s work I believe it’s possible that many of our early shame experiences, especially with parents and caregivers, were stored in our brains as traumas.  This is why we often have such painful bodily reactions when we feel criticized, ridiculed, rejected and shamed. Dr. Uram explains that the brain does not differentiate between overt or big trauma and cover or small, quiet trauma – it just registers the event as “a threat that we can’t control.”

In her work on “remembering the wound” versus “becoming the wound,” Dr. Uram explains that most of the time when we recall a memory, we are conscious that we are in the present, recalling something from the past.  However, when we experience something in the present that triggers and old trauma memory, we reexperience the sense of the original trauma. So, rather than remembering the wound, we become the wound.  This makes sense when we think of how we are often returned to a place of smallness and helplessness when we feel shame.” page 89  I Thought It Was Just Me – Brené Brown

That was a little mind blowing for me. And it made perfect sense.

My first thoughts were about empathy and compassion. Maybe there  really is no scale for trauma at all. Trauma just is – regardless of what caused it, or how “big” or “small” we may think our own or someone else’s trials and tribulations are, the size of the emotion we feel, the reaction we have – are the same.  That’s it. It’s the great equalizer for me.

It…

wait for it….

Changed my perspective and perception.

Yup it did. Here’s the thing, it made life a whole lot simpler. No analyzing or measuring required.  We’re equal.  We are in it together. It hurts. It’s painful. Its frustrating.

And that’s the catalyst for me to build my resilience. There are tools to do it. As Harriet Lerner, author of The Dance of Anger reminds us, “Shame is a profoundly debilitating emotion. It drives our fears of not being good enough.” And here’s the kicker, we are good enough. So let’s start moving toward believing it and living it. I’m worth it. So are you.

Rise on.

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Today I’m home from work sick and I really don’t feel good. But sometimes opportunity comes in the form of what we initially think isn’t so great.

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day too.

And I so want to talk. Anyone who knows me even a little isn’t surprised by that I’m sure. I want to talk about Mental Health. I want to talk about the fact that people you know well, people you walk by the street every day, total strangers that smile broadly at you SUFFER from mental illness, things like depression, OCD, anxiety and a plethora of other ones and YOU probably know nothing about it.

I want to talk about the myths, assumptions, stigma. I want to talk about the far too many lives lost every day to mental illness. I want to talk about the families and friends, lovers and children left wondering, trying to make sense, trying to carry one. I want to talk about the hopelessness and the hope. The fear and the courage. The present and the future.

But most importantly, today…

I WANT TO LISTEN…

I WANT TO UNDERSTAND…

I WANT TO SIT WITH YOU…

I WANT TO LEARN…

I WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND…

I WANT TO BE QUIET…

I WANT TO BE LOUD…

I WANT TO BE THERE…

AND I AM.

I ask each of you to take time not only today, but everyday to really look, seek out and listen. For those needing help, don’t give up… find it. Talk to someone. And keep talking and keep trying. Please.

I don’t want add any more names to the list. It’s too long. It’s already too personal.

A young man took his life in our area just this week. A friend of his had posted on FB earlier in the summer “My biggest fear is losing people.” A cyber friend had a “lovely smiling” previous coworker taker her own life this past week.

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Bell Let’s Talk

So take the time. Don’t assume. Ask a friend. Be a friend.

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I am here. Reach out. I mean it. Whether you know me or not. I’m here. Please let’s talk. I will listen. You are not alone. Honest, even if it feels that way. Let’s work to change it together.

In memory of all those we’ve lost and in eternal hope that we lose no more.

Related blog: Out Of The Ashes We Rise (in memory of Todd Pidhorodetsky April 21, 1970-March 6, 2010)

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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To anyone ready to give up today I have one huge favour to ask.

 

Please don’t 

Don’t give up
Don’t be alone
Don’t hide it
Don’t feel ashamed
Don’t believe your negative thoughts or pretend

 

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Please

Do keep going
Do ask for help (as many times as it takes!)
Do be open
Do accept where you are, but be willing to change it
Do know it will get better and so will you

 

 

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We care

 

Life has plenty of challenges and it’s easy to find ourselves in overwhelming circumstances feeling alone and unworthy, not knowing where to turn. It can happen to anyone at anytime. But there is ALWAYS hope. Whether today is a day you find yourself short on hope, or with a little extra to share, check out Project Hope Exchange. It’s a unique project that enables people to share hope. Give a little, get a lot.

Think you’re alone? Think again.

 

Give hope. Get hope. All in 30 seconds! What if we could do just that and start spreading hope around the world? We at The Adversity 2 Advocacy Allianceand Life Vest Inside believe we CAN, and we’re thrilled to be partnering to offer you this unique and powerful opportunity. Through Project Hope Exchange, we are collecting, aggregating and sharing 30-second audio messages fromindividuals who have survived some kind of adversity to others who are currently facing that same adversity. And at the heart of our exchange are real human voices. We hope you’ll add yours! (from the PHE website)

 

A closing thought.

Often we are consumed by “what if’s”, all the things that we worry and overthink about.

Today…

what if…

everything you’re going through right now 

is preparing you…

for a dream bigger than 

you can imagine…..

What if……

Just maybe…

Maybe so…

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I happened to be in one of our local small cafes the other day, called the Blue Rooster Cafe and Studio. It’s a quaint, eclectic little place that serves up great service, lots of smiles, fresh food not to mention whipping up one of the best London Fogs around,  and I happen to know these things.

I was checking out the notice board about upcoming art classes (after all it is a cafe AND studio) and I noticed a rather simple piece of paper.

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Souls Harbour Rescue Mission in Regina is committed to helping people survive and escape the cycle of addiction and poverty through various programs and services.

What a simple yet incredibly impacting way to get involved.  Simply take a travel mug and fill it with warm drink mixes, instant soup mixes and other non perishable yet nourishing items.

How many of us don’t have an eclectic assortment of hardly used travel mugs neatly (r not so neatly) tucked away in the back of a cupboard? Why not put them to good use and help out a person in need this winter?

Just one more way for everyday people to make everyday differences every day. What difference will you make today?

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I’ve been doing extensive reading about how our beliefs affect our thoughts which affect our outlook on life which affect our perception of our experience. It’s not only interesting but has the potential to create the change in mental health treatment globally that is so desperately needed, but that’s another topic.

In “My Happiness Project” Gretchen Rubin says, “It takes at least five positive marital actions to offset one critical or destructive action, so one way to strengthen a marriage is to make sure the positive far outweighs the negative. When a couples interactions are usually loving and kind, it’s much easier to disregard the occasional unpleasant exchange.”

Wow, if that doesn’t say something about the power of actions and words and what we do with them.

In the TED talk, “Getting Stuck In The Negatives (And How To Get Unstuck) Alison Ledgerwood’s research found that negative information trumps positive information given to us regardless of which information is given first. Failures stick with us longer than our successes.  Positive versus negative framing matters. (10 minutes)

My good friend Debbie Hyde wisely reminds me regularly, “We all have a choice. We can let go of what we don’t need. Or we can hang on and be dragged.” She believes this so strongly that she wrote a fantastic book about it (yes, free plug, my blog, I can do that. Trust me, I personally think the book is really well worth reading.) You can check it out here.

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The last while letting go has been on my mind a lot. I’ve got too much clutter of all sorts in my life and at some point you have to do something about it or keep tripping over it.  As always, when you need something, I’m a firm believer it shows up. Although I’ll be the first to admit that I get anxious and doubt my own wisdom about that when I happen to be the one having to patiently wait. Human. Masterpiece and a work in progress. Yep, that’s me. What happened was a brief piece that came across one of my feeds. What caught my eye was the phrase let it go. As I scanned it  a technique to “let go” intrigued me.

  • Simply tear up pieces of paper.
  • On each piece write something you are willing to let go. For example: anger, hate, jealousy, judgement, labels, neediness, chasing people, self harm, my job. You get the picture.
  • Light a fire (nice, piece it emphasized safety first. The internet isn’t all bad)
  • Put a slip of paper into the fire one at a time as you say “I release -fill in the blank- because -reason why-.

I added the reason why part. It came to me as I was throwing my first piece. “I willingly and happily release anger because it hurts everyone.”

Heck it was garbage burning day anyway so why not. It seemed appropriate to throw what I wanted to let go of into a fire fuelled already by things that were being let go of. My son can thank me later for doing one of his chores. I’m a nice mom some of the time.

My envelope was filled with slips of paper. It took me a while in the peace of a beautiful morning to complete what I had set out to do, to let go. When the last piece had curled into white ash I said, “I let go of all that does not serve or is harmful to allow for the space to embrace all that does and is helpful.” I was actually very surprised at how light and peaceful I felt when I was done, even if I smelled more than a little smokey.

I’m glad I saw that little blurb the other day. My son should be too since it got him out of a chore. I think I’ll do it more often, maybe even make it a habit. Maybe it’s one of those things that’s supposed to fill up that space I just made.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Sometimes things just come to you, and they make sense.  And then you have to stop what you’re doing and write it down.  That’s what happened to me yesterday when I was feeding the chickens.  Yes, feeding the chickens, all 25 of them. And the duck.

My brain tends to work in metaphor and analogy a lot. Apparently yesterday was no different.  When the boat is rocking you have to find your sea legs and sometimes what we need to do seems to be counter intuitive to everything we think we know.  But sometimes…. that’s exactly what we have to do.

 

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Depression and anxiety are like being on a ship in rough seas.  All of a sudden your whole world, literally the deck beneath your feet is lurching to and fro, throwing you around mercilessly.  Unable to keep your footing, you’re getting drenched by the crashing waves. Your stomach matches the lurch of the deck as you slip and slide, feeling like you have lost complete control over everything including yourself. All you want to do is make it to the head and die but here’s the thing…

While every fibre of your being is screaming get below deck to the head… any sailor will tell you the solution is actually to

  • Stay above deck
  • Stay in the fresh air
  • Take deep breaths
  • Keep your eye on the horizon where you want to go
  • Don’t fight the lurch Rock and Roll with it
  • Vomit over the rail but not into the wind

It probably won’t be fun or easy, but when the sun comes out, which it will, and the waves recede, which they will, you’ll walk the deck sure-footed again in warm gentle breezes with  a grin upon your face.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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