One woman’s 52-minute crisis

I haven’t always been challenged with directions. Reading signs and understanding where I’m going was something I did easily when I was young. I remember driving with my father and looking at the map. Usually, it was somewhere up north. He helped me understand how to read a map and the street signs. We never did any driving trips to Quebec so there was no need to learn or understand the Quebec road maps. I could have used some of that Dad support today! You see my Dad is originally from Val D’or Quebec, speaks perfect French and always knew what to do when we were lost. (more…)

4 Steps to Achieving Your Goals

Course corrections can only come from deliberate reflections!

June is the halfway mark in the year. Six months have passed, and we have six months still to go. I’ve often wanted to review my goals at this time and have either forgotten, or it was too late when I remembered. This year is different. Looking at what we have done in the 1st half year will give new insights into what needs to be focused on for the remainder of the year. This is all in service of achieving our goals and outcomes.

Use these three simple questions:

  • What has worked?
  • What has not worked?
  • What do you need to have in place for those things that didn’t work to work?

I believe reviewing the last six months might just be the piece that has been missing for me. There is research that shows the link between how often reflection is done and the ability to lead more effectively. Those who engage in reflection are said to be more grounded, able to handle a crisis effectively, are empathic with their peers and more successful in their stated personal and business goals. I believe this can be used in our own lives. We are all leaders of something, our lives, our family, our mental health, and our physical health. (more…)

When Open Hearts Connect

Open your heart and experience all the emotions. It’s a gift that I seldom open. Most of the time, I’m scared and afraid. I’m scared you will break it, I’m afraid we won’t be connected anymore.

I opened my heart this past week and here is what I found.

Open heart.
Tears in my eyes.
Moved beyond words.
Heavy heart for those who came before us.
Aching love for all that have been affected
Family, friends, strangers, professionals, caregivers.
Stopped in mid sentence by overwhelming emotions.
Caught off guard when I least expect it.
Move through it  – breathe deeply.
Balancing between incredible outrage for those who suffer and the love I experience for all of us,
even those who dishonour us,
even those who stare and call us crazy.

My experience tells me we are all the same, we come from the same place and we have the same needs;
connection,
love,
even if I don’t care to admit it.

Fear stops me from talking, it stops me from connecting, it stops me from loving. (more…)

Hall Pass

When you have been diagnosed with mental illness, life doesn’t stop giving you obstacles to overcome. Life doesn’t give you hall passes, get out of jail free cards or golden tickets. We deal with and work through all the same challenges as people who haven’t been diagnosed.

 

There is no Difference

We get married and divorced; our loved ones die, and there are wonderful births in our families. Our children do well in school, and they fail. We get jobs, and we lose jobs. We are no different from anyone else. Except, we are susceptible to being triggered by any one of the above listed events. Research has shown that anything that puts a stress on our brain (positive and negative) can affect our mood and our stability. It is critical to have support around you and a way to manage these kinds of changes in our lives. (more…)

A Leap of Faith – Disclosing Mental Illness in the Workplace

Telling a potential new client that I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder 17 years ago was the farthest thought from my mind last Friday. We were sitting in their boardroom hammering out the final details of our contract. Our next step was to review and agree on what both parties had put forward and sign off on the 1-year agreement. Still not a done deal.

I’m not sure how this happened; we started talking about our personal lives, and suddenly my partner looked over at me and said “what’s your passion, Leslie?”

Time slowed down; my heart dropped to my stomach, I felt a tightening in my chest; my mind started racing from one thought to the next, and as I looked at the clock on the wall, I realized I had three minutes to share my commitment and passion in transforming the Mental Health system in Canada. (more…)

Compromise for the sake of what?

Sleep

I won’t compromise my sleep for anything else. Sleep is the most important activity I can do for my health. Some say you can sleep when you are dead – I say you are going to be dead sooner if you don’t sleep.

Fitting in with the crowd

I no longer compromise my true self in order to be like the crowd, doing the same as the rest. Even if I know it would help the situation in the moment, I know it won’t in the long run. This lesson took longer to learn than I would have liked. I no longer try to fit in, even when that voice in my head erodes my confidence in the moment nudging me, asking me to conform, I won’t budge. (more…)

The Art of Living with a Mood Disorder

 Mental Health Manifesto 

 A healthy relationship with your mood disorder must be created and nurtured

In a healthy relationship the little things are the big things

It is never being hard on yourself for having one

It is remembering to say ”I’m powerful and will not be disempowered by my diagnoses ” once each day/hour/minute  – whatever it takes

It is never going to sleep without your medication or support managed

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives with your doctor and care providers

It is standing together and facing the world with your family and others that support you

It is forming a circle of love and support around you, and finding those individuals who accept you, no matter what

It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude to yourself in thoughtful ways

It is having the capacity to forgive and let go of the past

It is giving yourself an opportunity to become self aware and compassionate

It is a common search for peace and freedom

It is not only letting go of the meaning you have attached to your diagnosis,

it is being fully self-expressed and creating a future to live into.

 

Letting the Dragon Out…..

As I stood in the warm kitchen with my back up against the sink for support, trying to contain my anxiety, the voice inside my head  kept repeating:

  • ” You can shut this down right now”

  • “The escape is the backdoor, 2 steps to your left”,

  • “Don’t tell him you are crazy, he won’t want to be in a relationship with you”

This repeated in my head over and over and over again.

The warm breeze of late summer was making everything hotter than it should be. I kept reminding myself that there is an escape plan – the back door and my freedom was just steps away. I could be outside away from this conversation in less than 3 seconds. (more…)

A Lesson from Mother Nature

I love metaphors. Especially when I’m trying to sort something out that doesn’t feel so good. Living and speaking about mental health doesn’t always feel so good to me. The constant background conversation in my head says over and over again that ”they are going to judge you and think less of you if you let them know you have Bipolar Disorder” over and over again.

Frustrating,  so back to my metaphors. Today I was completing my patio garden and I began to think about how this year it’s has been very different for the deck and flowers, even my attitude. (more…)

Unleash Your Mental Wellness!

Unleash Your Mental Wellness!

If you have a been living with a mood disorder you might be feeling like you are alone, you might be afraid of asking for help or disclosing you have a mood disorder, you might even be frustrated with the lack of strategies and tools available to support you making real progress with your mental wellness goals. I know this because I’ve been there, I’ve felt alone, frustrated and afraid of anyone finding out my secret. (more…)