What I wouldn’t give to feel normal again!

Sometimes we lay in bed and as we awake to our alarm clock, before moving an inch, we think we are going to feel normal again, pain-free. We roll over and as we attempt to get up, BAM! We are reminded by the strike of pain sent to an area of our body like a lightening bolt strikes trees.

It is difficult to explain people’s experiences with chronic pain. Some are “lone”parents, some have to manage going to work, some become addicted to pain killers, and some have broken relationships due to the difficulty coping with their chronic pain. Each person suffering from chronic pain will have different experiences; however, some of the thoughts associated with chronic pain are still similar:


  • “Why me?”
  • “I can’t take it anymore!”
  • “I wish this never happened!”
  • “I will never feel normal again!”
  • “No one understands what I’m going through!”
  • “I feel alone. Just me and this pain.”
  • “How am I going to manage?”


These thoughts lead to feelings of worthlessness, exhaustion, stress, depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. Without a consistent support system and appropriate coping strategies, the behaviours associated with dealing with chronic pain can be quite alarming: addiction (to prescribed medication or substance abuse/misuse), separation and divorce, suicidal ideations, unproductive behaviours (such as refusing to wake up or work), and anti-social behaviours such as shutting out family and friends.

It is very unfortunate that people endure chronic pain hardship for any length of time. However, there are resources available to help those suffering. Families and friends struggling due to another’s chronic pain experiences can also get help.

Call us today to find out how we can help you and your family cope more effectively with chronic pain.

“Mark was 38 and after earning his M.B.A., he joined the marketing division of a large conglomerate. He worked his way up the corporate ladder. His talent and long working hours was rewarded by his promotion to lead his division.

The promotion left him with mixed feelings. Soon after the promotion, during his routine check up, Mark was informed his blood pressure had rocketed to the borderline hypertension range (around 150 over 100). He was given an ambulatory monitor which provided 20 blood pressure readings per day.

The first day of monitoring, Mark had a staff meeting to lead. As he was preparing, the monitor recorded his reading which was 195 over 140. The following day, Mark resigned from his managerial role and returned to a less stressful position” (Davidson, Neale, Blankstein, & Flett, 2002).

At some points of our lives, we can all relate to Mark’s story. We set goals for ourselves, aim high, and take the necessary steps to achieve BIG goals. This hard work and dedication can take a toll on our lives, our bodies, and our well-being. How many times have we ignored the subtle signs of stress that our bodies bear? We sometimes feel the need to push ourselves beyond our limits, often to the point of exhaustion, because we believe this is what it takes or means to become successful.

Even Mark, early on, ignored his inner voice, his real self. Those “mixed feelings” were his body’s way of trying to fight his stinkin’ thinkin’; providing some sort of sign for him to sit and wait and consider all aspects that this promotion can bring to his life (healthy and unhealthy). In business, this may be referred to as a “cost-benefit analysis”

For Mark, and for most of us, we often wait for our body to give us a sounding alarm that a change needs to happen. This occurs although our inner voice/spirit has been with us all along.

At Jeff Packer MSW & Associates, we help people uncover or rediscover their inner voice/spirit and more effectively use their emotional guidance system. This helps those we work with gain the strength and confidence to trust themselves even more.

Seeking counselling for work-related stress helps develop healthier balancing of personal and career goals. Contact us today!

Changing The Way We Think About “Diet”

Everywhere we turn, we are hearing about a new diet craze. Whether it be endorsed by a favourite celebrity or health professional, or it seems to produce fast results. However, we quickly come to realize that after trying about a dozen of these fad diets, the results don’t last. So on to the next one, right?

We tend to dread hearing health professionals and personal trainers use the term “life-long change” when it comes to losing weight and looking great. Why? Well, perhaps because of the word “LONG!” It seems like a lot of work. When we consider other aspects of our lives that take up so much of our time (e.g., education, working, or raising our children), we often desire something that will be quick and come easy to us.

So are you ready to “just do” this new diet view? I hear that its success rate is 99.9%. Most people who have done it report that it wasn’t easy, but it changed their lives for the better.

Consider this interpretation of the word DIET:

D        – Distinguishing between

I          – Intentional

E         – Effort and

T         – Trying

We try the latest fad diets. We try to be better people. We try to maintain healthy relationships. We try to raise our children the best we can. We try to perform well at our jobs. We try to be the best partner in our romantic relationships. We try, we try and we try.

Do we try to pee? lol… Think about it… do we? Do we try to pay bills or our mortgage? When our furnace breaks, do we try to fix it? When we fall, do we try to get up or do we just get up?

Most of the time we do not try any of these — we just do it! The results indicate that when we just do things (i.e., when we set an intention to take action), it will work. So what is holding us back from doing (with intentional effort) rather than attempting or trying?

Intentional effort involves actively changing our thinking (catching and replacing negative thoughts) in order to improve our feelings and behaviours or habits. When we learn how to do this well, we can change our lives, our relationships and our health.

Effectively shifting our behaviours from attempts into action allows us to take control of our lives. It allows us to think and plan accordingly and execute a new way of behaving. It inhibits us from giving up. When we are driven to positive action, our thoughts and feelings are also more positive and solution-focused. An intentional approach to change significantly improves our emotional state, providing more balanced emotional sense and expression.

So are you ready to take action and apply this new attitude about the term “DIET”to your life? We can provide you with the support and guidance you need to be a part of that 99.9% success rate. Call us today!


The United Nations (UN) adopted World Diabetes Day as a UN World Day in 2007. Although the day has been commemorated by IDF and the World Health Organization since 1991, this adoption catapulted the campaign to a global scale previously unmatched.*

“We need to communicate to those in a position to make improvements to the living environment so that they can reduce diabetes in future generations,” Phil Riley, World Diabetes Day director for the IDF said. “Any investment will pay dividends in good health and, subsequently, economic growth.”

“This was a tremendous achievement and gives us a key to unlock doors and a way to involve more people than ever before,” Riley said. “The level of participation in World Diabetes Day last year was tremendous and we expect even more involvement this year.”

The campaign has and will continue to raise awareness of the rising prevalence of both type 1 and 2 diabetes in children and adolescents,” Riley said adding that early diagnosis and education are crucial in reducing complications and saving lives.

Do your part

Getting involved in World Diabetes Day does not necessarily involve a lot of work or effort. It all depends on how much you or your business wishes to contribute. Riley suggested some small commitments that can mean all the difference in the future of the diabetes epidemic.

You don’t have to own a tower, waterfalls or a castle to make a difference… lol . The following poster board was prepared locally by a mother of a child with Type1 diabetes for education at his school. It was also used at the local Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre’s World Diabetes Day 2013 Celebration Night.unnamed


* reprinted from an article by Jennifer Hoydicz O&P Business News, October 1, 2008


I’m emotionally spent. Enough is enough. Don’t talk to me. I’m done. I’m exhausted. I feel like people and my environment are draining the life out of me.

If we can relate to any of the above statements, we may want to stop for a moment and breathe. Like this picture above of a sink drain. When we feel like we are spiraling rapidly down a small hole, it may be time to see things a little differently.

The above comments describe a state of panic and physiologically, we are doing more than just speaking out our frustrations.What do our bodies feel like when we panic? Some of our body’s responses may include increased heart rate, accelerated breathing and sweating to name a few. Share with us what your responses to panic are.

When we stop and take some time to regain our normal breath, we are taking care of our bodies, not just physiologically but mindfully as well. Being mindful is a spiritual and physiological pathway to become aware. Aware of how our body is reacting to external stressors as well as being aware of our own thoughts and feelings influencing stress on our bodies.

Mindfulness techniques involve attentive awareness of our day-to-day lives; allowing us to attain a calm awareness of our bodies, feelings and minds. A therapeutic approach of mindfulness (Bishop, et. al., 2004), involves two components:

“The first component [of mindfulness] involves the self-regulation of attention so that it is maintained on immediate experience, thereby allowing for increased recognition of mental events in the present moment. The second component involves adopting a particular orientation toward one’s experiences in the present moment, an orientation that is characterized by curiosity, openness and acceptance.”

Listen to your body. If you find that you are getting sick more often than normal. If you are feeling like you’ve just had enough. If you are feeling so drained that all you want to do is sleep the day away; reach out to us today because we can help you!



Body Image and Self Esteem Matters

Shopping for new clothes can be a fun trip to the mall, every girl loves sporting a new look at school, work or around friends, but sometimes once we start trying on clothes things can take a turn for the worst.

Clothes may look great on the hanger and we begin to imagine how it would look on ourselves, but once in the change-room our desired outfit may not fit the way we wanted it to.  Women of all ages get down on themselves when they become fixated on their “problem areas” and the sizes of the clothes they are wearing.  It feels embarrassing to ask the change-room attendant for a larger size and we stress over if it is even in stock.

While in a change-room, not too long ago, I was struggling with finding the right size and was beginning to get down on myself about the fact that maybe this store didn’t carry the one size bigger that I needed.  While waiting to be brought a different outfit I overheard a girl in the next room going through the same problem except she was having trouble finding an outfit small enough to fit her.  No matter what our size we are all experiencing the same struggles while shopping, we wish we were just a size smaller or just a size bigger because that’s when we could fit into the outfit of our dreams.

The only way to rock a new outfit is to forget what “size” the brand decided to classify it as, and love how you actually look in it.  If you can’t get the right size in one outfit there will be another one just as good and we have to fight the urge to let “stinkin thinkin” take over our shopping trip. Don’t let sizes bring you down, or be consumed by thoughts of becoming something you aren’t. Embrace your body for what it is !

Managing Type 1 Diabetes is Complex!

People who have type 1 diabetes spend significant energy and time considering food, eating and energy expenditure (note: type 1  is totally different than type 2 diabetes). Paying close attention to carbohydrate intake helps more effectively determine how much insulin to take.

In addition, people with insulin-dependent diabetes check blood sugar levels regularly (between 4 and 8 times per day minimum = 1400 to 1600 X per year), and account for many other variables in order to accurately calculate the amount of insulin to be injected.

Insulin works to pick up glucose (sugar) from the blood and carry this throughout the body, providing energy to the cells. Higher blood sugar levels can lead to urinating frequently, flushing important nutrients, contributing to weight loss.  This means a person with Type 1, who does not get enough insulin will drop weight, be able to eat extra food without gaining weight or a combination of the two; eat more and even lose weight. 

Diabulimia – a rare eating disorder

The term refers to people with type 1 diabetes managing weight and body image issues through missed or reduced dosing of insulin. Research indicates prevalence rates close to 30% of people with type 1 diabetes. This disorder impacts both genders and all ages, however, there are increased prevalence rates among adolescents and females as is true with most eating disorders.

Informally named diabulimia, this disordered eating behaviour (DEB) can be quite harmful and disruptive to the daily functioning for people managing type 1 diabetes.  While this behaviour may involve intentional insulin omission, this may not always be the case. Science has more recently helped us think of the stomach is like a second brain. We also know the body and mind can develop habits that are not necessarily driven by conscious thought.

Given this knowledge, it is very important to refrain from blame in efforts to help those with this highly addictive behavioural pattern. Imagine if you could eat all kinds of food, much more than your friends, and through missing insulin not gain any weight? No purging, excessive exercise, laxative use or other behaviours required.

It is very important to watch for the following symptoms of diabulimia

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased appetite, even binging behaviours
  • High blood glucose levels (HBA1c often higher than 10)
  • Lower energy levels
  • Lower sodium levels
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating (increased work or school challenges)
  • Severely imbalanced ketones
  • Increased mood swings (agitation, grumpy)


  • images-1If these sound familiar for you, or someone you know, it is important to seek professional help from specialized, multi-disciplinary diabetes teams which include, nurses, dietitians, doctors, social workers and others. A team approach works best for any eating disordered recovery.

Working together, the person with type 1 diabetes can develop healthier management techniques, eating patterns and mental health strategies to improve health. Including other family members can also increase the healthcare team and speed up recovery from this difficult and rare disordered eating behaviour.

For more information contact us today !