#TalkAboutItTuesday #BaltimoreRiots #WhatsGoingOn

It’s so sad to see the eruption of violence that has occurred due to the frustrations of voices going unheard.  So much could be said but will it only fall onto deaf ears?  To watch people tear apart their own city is heart breaking but what’s even more disturbing is knowing that after the cameras have gone and the hype is over, who is going to build the city that was just torn down?

All that said, communication is a vital component to potentially defusing explosive reactions. Not just talking but also listening to another person’s view.  You may not agree but in fairness everyone has a voice, everyone should have an opportunity to be heard. Though we often let our emotions guide us in life, talking about matters is better than looking for a rug to sweep matters under.  #TalkAboutItTuesday #AllLivesMatter

#MajesticMondays #BeautyWithin #HoldOn

Flowers don’t truly serve a utilitarian purpose yet they’re one of the most valued items on our earth.  We’re fascinated by the unique beauty each one holds.  What I find fascinating is how they’re delicate to touch yet resilient enough to endure the most extreme weather conditions. Blue_Bird_of_Paradise_by_Massano

We often go through situations in life that will test our endurance and strength.  Much like the flower, in order to make it through trying times and the storms of life, we need to root ourselves to stay grounded, bend and twist to make it through and hold on till the bitter end.  We may get tired along the way but if we take courage and flow with the wind instead of against it, we can make it through the most treacherous conditions.

Stay faithful that the sun will shine again and you’ll look back and see how strong you truly are. #BeMajestic


#SaturdayMorningSpecial #NewDayNewStart

If you’ve been reading my blog all week you’ll notice I’ve had a main focus on #MentalHealth. Why? Because, from stress to emotional imbalance to depression and everything in between, it’s something we deal with every day. I want to let people know that they’re not alone in this great big world. There is someone in the world dealing with the exact same issue you are facing. It may differ slightly, it may be called something else in another language, regardless the minor differences, the issue is the same.

Today as I was reflecting about the past week and thinking about what I’m grateful for and what I could do different, this thought ran through my mind.

We often beat ourselves up about past choices and missed opportunities or when an experience feels difficult, we may think about how things use to be ‘easier’. The long and short of it is, we spend time thinking about situations we cannot change and worry about the ‘what if’s’ that haven’t happened.

Try this; take a new sheet of letter sized paper and crumple it up into a ball. Now take that crumpled sheet, straighten and flatten it out into a new piece of paper. You can flatten it out so you can write on it again but you can’t make it look or feel new again. At that point you can make a choice to write and rewrite on that once new but now crumpled sheet of paper or you can get a new sheet and start fresh.

The way I see it is this, the moment we open our eyes to a new day, those first few thoughts when we wake will decide if you should reuse a crumpled sheet of paper which represents past pains and worries or grab a new sheet to organize our thoughts clearly and efficiently.

Too often we reach for that crumpled reused sheet and keep re-writing on until it becomes illegible making it difficult to tell the difference between an old thought from a new experience.

I’ve been guilty of letting negative memories consume me in the past. Thinking of all the things that I didn’t do and concerned about getting an opportunity to do them in the future. Thankfully I’m able to stop the crumpling effect, recognize there is a new sheet and invest time in the moment. It’s taken me my whole life of *classified information* years to learn this. Hopefully it has helped you too! #Thankful #FeelingBlessed

#BeCourageous #BeKind #YoureNotAlone

#FreeUpYourselfFriday like @AntoniqueSmith #HoldUpWaitAMinute

The word Friday always puts me in a great mood! Why? It’s the introduction to a couple of days of rest and relaxation or the prelude to celebrating life with family and friends.  Either way, it’s a welcomed feeling!

Take time to #FreeUpYourself for a moment and let the stress of the past week become a distant memory and the concerns of the week ahead remain a mystery.  Enjoy the moment you’re in, you will never get another one like it….or maybe you will, what do I know?  Either way, #FreeYourself #EnjoyTheMoment #BeHappy!

#FreeUpYourself with Antonique Smith’s ‘Hold Up Wait a Minute’

#ThankfulThursdays – #MentalHealth #CountingMyBlessings #StandUp #StandOut

I’m thankful for all of my experiences; the not so good times and all the great ones.  More than anything, I’m thankful for knowing my worth. It took some time but once I started valuing my life as the precious jewel that it is, I started to enjoy every moment. It’s when I stopped looking for ‘something’ or ‘someone’ to make me happy that I was able to allow myself to be happy – now I am able to find positivity and happiness in so many things everyday.  Like anything of value, I am a ‘work in progress’ (as most of us are) and I know I’m not quite finished but at least I’m better than I was before.

My faith in God is what keeps me going. Though there are daily reminders of the hurt and pain in the world, it’s through faith that I keep hope alive.  Some people would rather push you down then help you up and compete against you when they’re not even on the same level as you.  My suggestion, let them keep doing what they do, just keep yourself focused on what you’re doing.  Never try to out-shine someone, just strive to do better than you did before and you’ll shine naturally.  If someone is busy watching what you’re doing, then they’re not paying attention to what they’re not doing and missing out on the same opportunities they’re trying to take from you. #ThankfulThursday

#WeAreOneWednesdays – Bringing #Awareness to #MentalHealth

It’s important to remember that, apart from our obvious visible differences, we are the same on the inside.  For this reason, it is so important to treat each other with love and respect.  We may not agree in opinions and beliefs but we can agree to disagree and keep the flow of life going.

Let’s encourage each other to be the best person we can be and let’s celebrate the life we’ve been given.  Don’t wait till someone has passed away to say how important they were to you.  Share your love with them and tell them how important they are to you now. #WeAreOneWednesday

#TalkAboutItTuesday – #MentalHealthMatters #TenCommonMyths @CMHA_NTL @CMHAOntario

Tuesdays are #TalkAboutItTuesday!  So let’s talk.

There are a number of myths and false claims about #MentalHealthIllnesses – Let’s shine a light on this matter and let’s work at developing an environment where people feel comfortable to talk about their issues.

Here are Ten Common Myths about mental illnesses (from Canadian Mental Health Association)

Myth #1: Mental illnesses aren’t real illnesses.

Fact: The words we use to describe mental illnesses have changed greatly over time. What hasn’t changed is the fact that mental illnesses are not the regular ups and downs of life. Mental illnesses create distress, don’t go away on their own, and are real health problems with effective treatments. When someone breaks their arm, we wouldn’t expect them to just “get over it.” Nor would we blame them if they needed a cast, sling, or other help in their daily life while they recovered.

Myth #2: Mental illnesses will never affect me.

Fact: All of us will be affected by mental illnesses. Researchers estimate that as many as one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness at some point in their life. You may not experience a mental illness yourself, but it’s very likely that a family member, friend, or co-worker will experience challenges.

Myth #3: Mental illnesses are just an excuse for poor behaviour.

Fact: It’s true that some people who experience mental illnesses may act in ways that are unexpected or seem strange to others. We need to remember that the illness, not the person, is behind these behaviours. No one chooses to experience a mental illness. People who experience a change in their behaviour due to a mental illness may feel extremely embarrassed or ashamed around others. It’s also true that people with a history of a mental illness are like anyone else: they may make poor choices or do something unexpected for reasons unrelated to symptoms of their illness.

Myth #4: Bad parenting causes mental illnesses.

Fact: No one factor can cause mental illnesses. Mental illnesses are complicated conditions that arise from a combination of genetics, biology, environment, and life experiences. Family members and loved ones do have a big role in support and recovery.

Myth #5: People with mental illnesses are violent and dangerous.

Fact: Some people try to predict violence so they know what to avoid. However, the causes of violence are complicated. Researchers agree that mental illnesses are not a good predictor of violence. In fact, if we look at mental illnesses on their own, people who experience a mental illness are no more violent than people without a mental illness.Excluding people from communities is linked to violence. And people with mental illnesses are often among those who are excluded. It’s also important to note that people who experience mental illnesses are much more likely to be victims of violence than to be violent.

Myth #6: People don’t recover from mental illnesses.

Fact: People can and do recover from mental illnesses. Today, there are many different kinds of treatments, services, and supports that can help. No one should expect to feel unwell forever. The fact is, people who experience mental illnesses can and do lead productive, engaged lives. They work, volunteer, or contribute their unique skills and abilities to their communities. Even when people experience mental illnesses that last for a long time, they can learn how to manage their symptoms so they can get back to their goals. If someone continues to experience many challenges, it may be a sign that different approaches or supports are needed.

Myth #7: People who experience mental illnesses are weak and can’t handle stress.

Fact: Stress impacts well-being, but this is true for everyone. People who experience mental illnesses may actually be better at managing stress than people who haven’t experienced mental illnesses. Many people who experience mental illnesses learn skills like stress management and problem-solving so they can take care of stress before it affects their well-being. Taking care of yourself and asking for help when you need it are signs of strength, not weakness.

Myth #8: People who experience mental illnesses can’t work.

Fact: Whether you realize it or not, workplaces are filled with people who have experienced mental illnesses. Mental illnesses don’t mean that someone is no longer capable of working. Some people benefit from changes at work to support their goals, but many people work with few supports from their employer. Most people who experience serious mental illnesses want to work but face systemic barriers to finding and keeping meaningful employment.

Myth #9: Kids can’t have a mental illness like depression. Those are adult problems

Fact: Even children can experience mental illnesses. In fact, many mental illnesses first appear when a person is young. Mental illnesses may look different in children than in adults, but they are a real concern. Mental illnesses can impact the way young people learn and build skills, which can lead to challenges in the future. Unfortunately, many children don’t receive the help they need.

Myth #10: Everyone gets depressed as they grow older. It’s just part of the aging process.

Fact: Depression is never an inevitable part of aging. Older adults may have a greater risk of depression because they experience so many changes in roles and social networks. If an older adult experiences depression, they need the same support as anyone else.

These myths—and many more—exclude people with mental illnesses from our communities and create barriers to well-being. If we want to reduce the impact of mental illnesses on our communities, we need to learn the facts and start with our own assumptions and behaviours.

What can I do about it?

Changing attitudes and behaviours takes time, and it might seem like one person can’t possibly make a difference. Actually, we can all find small ways to help.

First, we can all think about where our information comes from. News stories, TV shows, movies, and other media don’t necessarily give you the whole story. These stories are usually sensational or shocking because that’s what sells—but they don’t necessarily represent most people’s experiences. Thinking critically about where our information comes from can help us separate sensational stories from balanced points of view.

Second, we can all support laws and practices in our communities that stop discrimination against people with mental illnesses and promote inclusion.

Third, we can all spend time with people who experience mental illnesses to share and learn from each other. This is best when everyone is in an equal position of power. Volunteering with a community organization is a great way to connect with others.

Do you need more help?

There are many organizations and groups that offer support and resources worldwide.  The Canadian Mental Health Association is one of them.  They have locations across Canada with a caring team of people who are able to help you!

Source: Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)