#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)

#MajesticMondays – #MentalHealthMatters #YouAreNotAlone #FreeYourMind

From the time we take our first breath to the moment we take our last, we are constantly affected by #MentalHealthMatters.  Experiences in our lives will either motivate us to aim for higher heights or de-motivate us towards rock bottom. Either way, it’s not the situation that’s the issue, it’s the choices we make in how we deal with them.

This is a topic that’s close to my heart as I’ve previously shared my brush with depression.  I never use to talk about it because it’s something that I was a bit embarrassed about and to be honest, though I was going through some things, I didn’t know why I was so down at that time. I still remember the many times I would tell my sister and friend that ‘I don’t feel like myself’ but never truly knew why.  They didn’t know what to do because really, how do you respond to something like that if you’ve never experienced it before?

After months of having a heaviness in my heart, I started drinking regularly which was uncommon for me. I would often cry without knowing what I was crying about and I couldn’t find humor in anything (which, for anyone who knows me, I love to laugh). I never wanted to be around anyone and understandably it felt like no one wanted to be around me. The scariest time is when I understood why people would resort to drugs or worse, why they would want to take their own lives.  Needless to say, times got worse before they got better but it was my faith in God that carried me through it all.  It took me about a year and a half before I started feeling like myself again and though it wasn’t easy I’m grateful I made it through.

You may wonder why I’m talking about this at all.  Well, I feel that more awareness needs to be brought to this matter as it can (and may) touch all of our lives at one point or another. If by sharing my experience will help someone feel like they’re not alone, then I’m happy to talk about it. It may not be you but you may know someone who is affected by it, even a child.  My goal is to share stories, experiences and words of encouragement with anyone touched by #Sadness #Depression #Addiction and any other #MentalHealth issue out there.

My two cents: We weren’t provided with a life manual so even though people can tell you how you ‘should react’ or ‘should handle’ situations, everyone’s experience is different so you take your time and find out what works best for you. The one thing that is certain, you are not alone. You’re able to conquer any ordeal, experience or situation you are faced with.  Fear is just an emotion that we give life to when we think about it for too long. If you can face what scares you, you can overcome and do anything. If you’re afraid of drowning, learn how to swim and combat that fear, if you’re afraid of public speaking, speak to a crowd about your passion and combat that fear. If you’re afraid of dying, embrace every moment, live each day to the fullest and combat that fear. You are in control of your life. You can make a choice, exist or live.

I’m claiming today as #MajesticMonday because it’s time to show the world all the beauty in your heart and soul!   It doesn’t matter where you came from, it’s how you finish.  We all have the opportunity to fulfill our dreams and be the change we need in our own lives and others.

Let me know what are you going to do (or what you did) today to make it Majestic?

#BeKind #BeCourageous

Speak out about #MentalHealth #ListenToSomeonesActions #YouCouldSaveALife

There’s no hiding, denying or ignoring that mental health exists and is a serious problem.

People can tell you to medicate it. Not talk about it. Stop worrying. Snap out of it. They can say anything they want to make themselves feel better being around you.

What needs to be said is…You are not alone.  Everybody hurts sometimes. Everyone feels unexplainable pain and sorrow at times. Everyone has their heartbroken at least once in their lives, maybe more.  What needs to be said is ‘take courage, you can get through it, the days may seem dark and may become darker but there will be a point when it will become brighter, just hold on. Time can heal wounds. Your life does matter.

It saddens me to hear more details about Flight 9525.  Recent news announced that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz told his Lufthansa flight training school in 2009 that he had a “previous episode of severe depression”.

If doctors diagnosed him with depression and he said things that indicated he had issues, could more have been done to help? Just like your body will tell you when something is wrong or your car will make noises when there’s an issue, people’s actions will let you know when something’s not right.  I understand everyone is responsible for their own actions but at some point in time we need to be understanding to others feelings and help them with their load. Not carry it for them but some how help them ease the burden until they can get back on their feet.

Listen to other peoples actions. If someone is acting ‘strange’, hear their cry for help.  For me, my faith in God has always been my source of light. My belief in his everlasting love and promise to always be there is what gets me through the times I call tough. Though there were some times when I felt as though no one was understanding my pain I still prayed for strength and made it through.

If you were suffering, wouldn’t you want someone to help you? Listen to other people’s actions. You could save someone’s life today.

The world is on fire with @JullyBlack #Fever (Produced by @ypalexander of @officials_mg)

Since it was first released, Jully Black’s latest track produced by Super Producer YoungPete Alexander from the Officials Music Group, “Fever” has been blazing and continues to blaze the blogosphere and radio internationally!

From the moment I heard the needle drop on this record, I was hooked!  It’s an incomparable sound with a hint of nostalgia that is sure to captivate hearts of every age.  True to Miss Black’s style, it’s sultry and sexy sound will delight your ears and satisfy your soul. She’s proving that Rnb/Soul/Urban music exists and will thrive in Canada!

What’s the only cure for this Fever? More groundbreaking music by this Canadian Icon, Jully Black!!