Resiliency – Perseverance 

Going into the New Year, I find myself again reflecting on all the ups and downs over this past year. Every year it amazes me to watch not only myself but others go through so much in a year and to keep pushing on. Through all the ups and the downs, I am always amazed at the strength I and others all have to keep moving forward time and time again, even after experiencing a year of hardships.

I love the concept of resilience and it has been something I have always taken a fascination too. Resilience is the process of adapting in the face of adversity. I know throughout my life, it has given me a lot of strength and hope. I have been through some really difficult times in my life and struggles and knowing that I have gotten through tough times in the past, with help of course, always gives me some hope that I will be able to get through tough times in the future, whatever life throws my way.

I learn a lot about human resilience not just from myself and my own experiences in life but a lot from others and the world around me. I think it can be really easy to focus on all the negatives in our world and around us, as so much negativity is focused on throughout media, but I like to seek out the positives, light out of the darkness, silver lining etc..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For me, seeing and hearing stories of resilience is a way to get a small glimpse into the vast array of positives in the world. This has a way of lightening up my heart, my thought life and even my soul or spirit. Hearing peoples stories of resilience and their strength always makes me reflect on just how strong we can be in the face of adversity, even within those dark moments when life itself often hangs in the balance. There is also a hint of humility and of my own mortality when hearing about the really terrible things that people around the world experience, manage and overcome.

I encourage others, like I do myself, to seek out and share stories of resiliency… including our own. It is easy and even natural to focus on negatives (for survival), to sink into negativity during tough times, dwelling on the times we failed at something, the times we could have done more and those times we could have done or said less. It is naturally and socially more challenging to see and recognize the amazing capacity, strengths and courage we all have in these moments and the resilience and perseverance adversity has built into our character.

Many of the most difficult and painful moments in my life have taught me my most cherished lessons for living – such as lessons about human relationships, honesty, compassion, trust, grieving and loss, kindness, forgiveness and love.

Moving soon into this New Year, I hope to continue to strive daily to see the strength and courage within myself, through both the difficult and the good times no matter what comes my way. I know that it is not always easy to see these positive, colourful and beautiful things clearly, in oneself and in others. I also know that it is quite often a struggle in life, yet, through every struggle I know there is a story of resilience to be told when we are open to accepting help and willing to persevere.

 

Submitted By: Mallory (masters in counselling student)
photos by J. Packer

 

(submitted by a wife and mother)

When Life Throws A Curve Ball???

Why are we always faced with some really tough decisions in life?  Life threw me a curve ball back in April and I had to re-evaluate what is really important for me and my well being.  My husband and I separated and I had to make some pretty fast financial decisions.

I parked the truck, started taking transit and decided to start seriously looking for a job in Oshawa where I live.  I had been travelling to Pickering and back at least 3-4 days per week, often times working into the evenings and not getting home until 9:00 p.m.  My travel took 4 hours in a day, what a waste of time!!!!  I applied for a job with excellent hours in Oshawa and I got the job. I was so very excited.  I would miss my co-workers in Pickering but I am so happy to be working near my home.

When I get stressed, I want to keep my mind occupied but I was getting a little too carried away.  I had five jobs (3 at-home dicta-typing jobs) and I also wanted to sing on the weekends.  I had to put a stop to some of these chaotic behaviours because I knew if I wore myself too thin, I would end up getting sick.  What good would that be?  I now realize how hard it was for my spouse because when would we actually get to see each other and have quality time together?  Most of the time, I was too tired to do anything, I just wanted to sleep on my off hours!!   We hardly communicated because we were like two ships passing in the night.

The past few months have allowed me to reflect on what is really important – my family.  My husband is in an addiction rehab residence and he is doing well.  Oh, it WON’T be easy, trust me, I know this!!!  I also know that we are married and my spouse has an illness – actually two of them –  which both affect his mood negatively.  It takes two to make a marriage work and we both have to work at it. For now, because of our poor decisions months back, we are working at it from a distance.

My goal is to be healthy and happy, that is all I want out of life.

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For more information on “How to Communicate Effectively with your Spouse” and also “How to Manage Stress”, please contact one of our counsellors today

Photo credit: cbcs from morguefile.com

Photo credit: Pwin from morguefile.com

Narrative Approaches Help Conquer Disordered Eating

The approaches found most effective to recover from eating disorders and “disordered eating” behaviours include (but are not limited to) cognitive-behavioural, narrative, family systems and developmental theories. These knowledge bases help those struggling with body image issues and eating disorders to work alongside mental health therapists, dietitians and doctors to improve health outcomes. Today’s blog post provides a sample of the approach in one homework assignment completed by a teen girl. She was asked to first write from her perspective and then, second, re-write the story from the perspective of a five year old.

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1-      “Stinkin Thinkin”

Once there was a girl named Rae. She went into the front doors of the school and walked up the stairs alone. When she got to the hallway of her locker, she stared down it and looked behind her. ALONE, she thought. She turned the combination key until it was open, and began organizing her locker and getting the books that she needed.

People started filling into the halls, some would say hi but they would still leave. They don’t really want to be with me anyways, she thought. The halls were now crowded and she just wandered until the bell rang, When it did, she walked into class and sat down. She acted happy and engaged in conversation; meanwhile she was feeling like complete crap.

At lunch time she debated on eating. DON’T EAT, you’ll lose weight, she thought. But she was hungry, so she ate anyways. Don’t eat when you get home, she thought. But she did, and became into a binging session, which lead to purging. PurgepurgepurgepurgepurgepurgepurgePURGE. The voice inside her head was loud enough to make her listen. She didn’t eat for the rest of the night.

After her shower, she regretted glancing in the mirror because now she was sad and angry. She grabbed the fat on her stomach and began to cry. I hate my body, she thought. She looked away, put some pj’s on and cried herself to sleep. I can’t wait until the day that I can love myself, she thought.

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You can see here a small sample of how pervasive the thoughts can become underlying disordered eating patterns. Of course, the feelings of disgust, loneliness, anger, confusion, worry, anxiety, sadness and isolation will drive and increase the negative behaviours of over exercise, laxative use, food restriction, binging and purging. With these thoughts, feelings and behaviours the person’s story about themselves, their bodies and their options  for recovery, worsens.

When taking a narrative approach, combined with cognitive-behavioural strategies to change, people suffering are asked to consider the perspective from a five year old’s vantage point. In order to contemplate change and re-writing of the negative story, clients are to ask themselves; What would a five year old me say about eating, body, exercise, food etc.? The following is the second part of the teen girl’s homework; narrative “re-writing” of disordered eating from the five year old’s view;

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2-      “Five year old”

Once there was a girl named Rae. She went into the front doors of the school and walked up the stairs alone. When she got to the school, she looked around her and thought, people will be here soon, I’m just early. She played and waited for people to arrive.

People started arriving, some would say hi but they kept walking past her. They’re just busy, she thought. The halls were now crowded and she just wandered until the bell rang. When it did, she walked to class and sat down. She acted happy and engaged herself in conversation, meanwhile she was feeling pretty badly.

At lunch, she debated on eating, if you’re hungry eat, she thought. So she did. You can always have a snack when you get home too, she thought. She felt guilty for eating and was contemplating purging. Ew don’t do that, that’s gross, she thought, so she didn’t.

After her shower, she looked in the mirror and felt confused about her body. Every body is different and unique, she thought. She looked away, found some pj’s and went to sleep.

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Thanks to this courageous teen author for sharing her narrative homework above in her efforts toward a healthier and happier future.

For experienced, professional guidance in this area, book your appointment today.

“How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You”

Sound too good to be true, impossible or unlikley? I’m here as a witness that the “Truly, Madly Deeply” lyrics can come true. Is that just too many trues in one paragraph already? In a world where we hear of so many tragic endings in relationships, sooooo much drama and innumerable breakups, what can be so wrong about hearing about a relationship soooooo right?

I finally regained the courage to go out again after a few years of not really bothering; just going to work, seeing family and maybe having the odd “not-amounting-to-much” date or two. I set a goal to meet “Miss Right” only to realize a short while later, I required much renovation and repair to become the “Mr Right” that might have a chance of attracting such a young lady. One wonderful night I, along with the neighbour guy (didn’t really know him), went off to the Warehouse; a local bar.

Within minutes, as the Beatles say, I saw her standing there. From a glance to the request to dance took only a moment. She and I set out to dance the night away (Van Halen), exchanging humourous quips, flirtatious eyes and stimulating conversation… yes conversation. Three splendid hours later, having barely stood in the presence of the friends we arrived with, we danced out to “New York, New York”.1383267644h2fym

As she “left the building“, not unlike Elvis, I revealed puppy dog eyes politely requesting her number. She, ever so apprehensively, called it out from across the room and I immediately began repeating it over and over (no cell phones back then eh!). As I sit here on the eve of what will be our thirtieth Valentines Day, I shudder to think a few “what ifs”. You know, those negative thoughts we sometimes call the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” or “Stinkin Thinkin”.

No… I’d rather dwell on the positives. True romance is possible! It begins with a spark that you carefully build into a flame. It can then, with regular tending, develop into an all-encompassing bonfire. A magnificent romantic relationship truly does require consistent care, work and a great deal of support and learning (kind of like adding new logs to the fire). Romance, like a great bonfire, requires tending so it neither burns out nor burns so out of control that it burns those involved. Happy Valentine’s Day!Flames

 

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

 

LEST WE FORGET:

…three words to show our remembrance of those who have fought and died fighting for our freedom. It means we will NEVER forget.

On November 11th, we Canadians are brought together to remember the battle in 1813 that is sometimes referred to as the war that saved Canada. We are also brought to reflect on the wars and modern-day conflicts that have existed since and still exist today.

The sacrifices that our Canadian troops have made all these years are nothing but outstanding. We are triggered on this date to take time to reflect and show the utmost gratitude. Share with us how you celebrate this day.

While we celebrate and honour this day, we are currently aware of the devastation in the Philippines. Just as we have seen the battle grounds during World War I, we now view the destruction and eradicated lands of the Philippines.

How do we Canadians pay it forward? Not just to the veterans who sacrificed their lives for us but also for those who are less fortunate than we. Displaying an attitude of gratitude often involves helping those around us.

Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

It is proven that there are many health benefits associated with helping others:

  • It increases our social and relationship skills.
  • Volunteering helps us make new connections and friendships.
  • Helping others combats against depression, stress, and illness.
  • It brings fun and fulfillment into our lives and increases our life expectancy.

It is the divine within us that motivates us to show gratitude for those who have fought for us many years ago and those who choose to do so today.

On this Remembrance Day, we also extend our thoughts, prayers, and efforts to those in the Philippines who have lost so much in this recent tragedy. We hope that each and every one of us can show gratitude for what we have by helping others in need the best way we can.

Sometimes a new diagnosis for your child may release certain feelings: guilt, shame, embarrassment, or regret. We might tend to push these feelings aside and focus on the “main concern,” that being our child. Getting counselling or therapy help for our children is great, yet, this is not necessarily the only strategy for our family’s overall health and improvement.

Family systems theory points to the interconnectedness of all family members. We don’t always feel connected so how is it family members are connected? This “umbrella” theory suggests that we are connected by the vast array of rules and roles members have in the family and also by the emotional intensity so apparent in family relationships. Following this, one person’s diagnosis then impact us all, thus, is actually kind of a diagnosis for the whole family. 

This is a very positive and optimistic perspective that implies a change in one part of the system or family member will actually change all members. A difficult concept given all the negative press or thinking that states you can’t change other people.  False!  According to the science behind family systems theory we can. In therapy or counselling, when one person comes in to improve (thoughts, feelings and behaviours), we can expect to gradually also see a change in others in the family.

Rather than just wanting one person to get help, we may want to include as many family members as possible in the counselling or coaching process. Thinking systemically requires us to acknowledge that a health diagnosis, major event or situation can and will have an impact on the entire family.

We at Jeff Packer MSW & Associates Inc. encourage all family members to join counselling sessions when and where appropriate, while also understanding one person can begin the process.

Why?

  1. By addressing the impact of the diagnosis for the entire family, it provides a better understanding of each member and the role they play in their family system.
  2. The more family members work together on solutions, the faster and more effectively we can adjust and/or improve.
  3. Increasing the communication of the diagnosis can create a stronger support system for the person diagnosed.
  4. Because family members have a profound impact on each other’s thoughts and feelings, learning how to cope with the negative thoughts and difficult feelings will create unity and promote teamwork.

Invite as many family members as you want, yet be ok to start the change process on your own. Remember, change is happening all the time. Our decisions influence the direction of change; either toward better or worse relationships. To change for the better... contact us today !