This ongoing COVID-19 situation is a prime example of something that can threaten or erode a person’s sense of comfort, safety, belonging, and fulfilment to varying degrees and at different times. In the last blog entry, awareness of one’s breath was addressed as a first step to regaining those valuable feelings. The difference between this first step and ‘step one’ of a true baked-in-the-kitchen recipe is that in the kitchen you don’t expect to come back to step one until the next time you decide to create your culinary masterpiece. In our process, it is not uncommon to return to step one every time we falter, or every time that we pull ourselves out of the present moment with worries about the future, distressing feelings about the past, or both. In that way, it is more like getting up after falling off a bike, and rebalancing ourselves so that we can continue on our way. [Read more…]
If you’re ever in an airport, you might find yourself stepping onto one of those moving platforms to shorten the time to get from one place to another within the terminal. You might even walk along the moving platform as you would strolling down a corridor. If you’ve ever tried to keep the same pace, even a slow one, as you transition from moving platform to non-moving land, you have probably experienced that momentary ‘whoa’ as you strive to regain your balance and your world swiftly grinds to a slow crawl around you.
Congratulations! You have begun to make personal behaviour changes in order to ensure a bright future for the planet! You have faced the psychological barriers that came up and implemented new regimes into your lifestyle. But the idea of so much change seems scary, and there are also big changes happening beyond your control. So, you might have begun to ask yourself: [Read more…]
We often hear the phrases, “They run towards danger when everyone else is running away,” “They put their lives on the line every day,” “They saved my child’s life.” These statements are true of all first responders. They are the ones who devote their lives to saving others. They are the ones who are first to respond on scene to tragic accidents, assaults, murders, search and rescue operations, and other major crimes.
Once they have completed a call, they get another one and move on. There is no real time to process what they have seen, witnessed and heard. They take these images home with them and are left to process them on their own.
Many first responders find that over time they are not able to sleep or function normally through the day, and are haunted by nightmares and flashbacks.
Unfortunately there is still a large stigma around PTSD and first responders. Many do not feel that they have support of their colleagues or of their superiors and therefore they suffer in silence. They may feel that they are supposed to be strong and do not report the symptoms they are facing. They may feel like these symptoms will subside and they suppress their thoughts and feelings until they reach a boiling point. They may feel like if they come forward, they will be ridiculed or will lose their job.
Suddenly I felt like I could no longer breathe; it was as if someone had placed a heavy weight on my chest. There were no tears, and I wouldn’t describe the feeling as sadness but instead, more as an overwhelming sense of numbness. Infinite thoughts seemed to be stirring in my brain, bouncing around from side to side, but the main thought that pushed through the chaos with clarity was one question, one word…. Why?
Perhaps it is cliché to say, but my mom is my best friend, my rock, and truly my guardian angel on earth. So, logically, the day it was confirmed that my mother had breast cancer was the day I felt that my whole world became uplifted, shaken upside down, and scattered anywhere and everywhere.
I did realize that this was bigger than me; I knew I would have to step up and become her rock like she had always been mine. I knew I would have to take over responsibilities that she would no longer be able to attend to; I knew I would have to take care of her. [Read more…]
Do you have money stress? Charmaine Huber is a certified money coach with Money Coaches Canada. She helps individuals, families and entrepreneurs by making money management easy to understand, and most of all, simple to do. She believes it is never too late to take control of your finances. We asked Charmaine to share her best money-saving tips.
1. Switch your bank accounts to a bank that respects you. You shouldn’t be spending your hard-earned money on bank fees – why are you paying the bank to keep YOUR money? They should be paying YOU some interest on your checking and savings accounts.
2. Turn off the television. One big way to save money is to watch less television. There are a lot of financial benefits to this: less exposure to guilt-inducing ads, more time to focus on other things in life, less electrical use, and so on. It’s great to unwind in the evening, but find another way to do that.
3. Master the thirty-day rule. Whenever you’re considering making a purchase you think you just have to have, wait thirty days and then ask yourself if you still want that item. Quite often, you’ll find that the urge to buy has passed and you’ll have saved yourself some money by simply waiting. [Read more…]
This is a guest post by Wendy Hunter.
As a parent of a 15-year-old boy, I never would have believed that he would be diagnosed with anorexia. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened 10 years ago to my son Steven. Initially we thought he had mononucleosis because he was always exhausted and didn’t want to eat much. I suspected it was something else, especially when he told me he thought he was fat! At the time, he was about 115 pounds and 5’10”. I contacted the eating disorders program at Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) in Barrie and the journey to get him well began.
As a parent, I moved into action. We began working with the RVH eating disorders Program. My son and I both received individual counselling and both participated in group counselling with other families who were struggling like us. It was quite helpful, especially for me because I kept wondering what I did wrong as a parent. How did I fail my son? [Read more…]
The following is a personal story from someone with an eating disorder:
I can start off by saying that my story is probably not unlike many other stories of people who have suffered from an eating disorder.
I can say that I truly do not believe that anyone can understand what it’s really like to have an eating disorder unless you yourself have had one as well. Many people simply think that it is an issue with food and that the person can be cured if they would just eat.
That is so far from the truth and probably the smallest component of an eating disorder and is the easiest part to treat. Most treatment programs do focus on eating and food consumption because this is obviously important as the body needs food in order to sustain itself.
However, any good eating disorder treatment will need to focus on the inside, the psychological aspect of the disease in order to fully treat it and be successful. [Read more…]
The three main types of eating disorders
Anorexia nervosa: People with anorexia tend to have a distorted image of their bodies, believing that they are overweight even if they are dangerously thin. They refuse to eat, often count calories obsessively, and exercise excessively. Generally speaking, those with anorexia tend to be perfectionistic and often come from families where there are high expectations.
Bulimia nervosa: People with bulimia tend to eat excessive amounts of food and then purge the food from their bodies through the use of diuretics, laxatives, vomiting and exercise. There tends to be a great deal of guilt and shame attached to this disorder, therefore their activities are done secretively. People with bulimia often tend to be impulsive in nature.
Binge eating disorder: This is the same as bulimia to the extent that people tend to eat excessive amounts of food and often experience episodes of “ out of control” eating. However, they do not purge their bodies of food. Again, as there tends to be a great deal of guilt and shame, and their activities are often done in a secretive fashion. [Read more…]
The goal of any treatment is to help the patient in their effort to build a life that they feel is worth living and encourage their feeling of self-worth. The idea behind dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is to create a dynamic that promotes the two opposing goals of change and acceptance.
By helping the patient change and accept what has happened in their past, they can move forward with greater ease and accept their new “normal.” This also balances the patient’s desire to eliminate all painful experiences and accept life’s inevitable pain.
How DBT is used in addiction counselling
DBT has typically been used to treat patients who suffer from multiple severe psychosocial disorders and those who are chronically suicidal. DBT has been also designed to promote abstinence from drug and alcohol use and to reduce the length and impact of possible relapses. In addiction counselling, DBT teaches patients to envision, articulate, pursue and sustain the goals they have set in treatment. [Read more…]