I am not enough

I am not enough

I am not enough.

It’s belief that many people with PTSD hold. A wish that somehow, they could have/should have done more. It’s only by seeing the enormity of a problem that we are able to truly appreciate how big it is. Suddenly our efforts feel small.Those who are injured in war or times of conflict tend to be quite silent about their experiences. So deep runs the shame that they wanted to do more. Recently a veteran shared a wonderful Helen Hayes quote with me:We relish stories of our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to someone too.If you were injured in service to your country, whether at home or overseas, you have been part of a united contribution that defines the Canada we are proud to call home. We can never truly know how efforts may have shaped our lives. Your contributions did matter, and you are someone’s hero.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.Executive Director, Landing Strong

Love letters to our veterans

Love letters to our veterans

Love letters to our veterans

This is a hard week for many veterans and their families. During training exercises, deployments and times of conflict, unspeakable things take place that are not readily shared. Although others may not know the exact details of what happened, please know that there is an acute awareness within the community of the cost of service, both to you and your families.This week, Kristy from Serenity Acres brought in a bundle of letters written by students from the West Hants Education Centre for members of our Veteran community. We have included excepts below, copied exactly as written:“Thank you for your service for our wonderful country. You are the reason I am able to find happiness and security in my life! I wish you the same happiness and security because you deserve it.”“We see you. We hear you. We thank you.”“Thank you for your serves!”“I hope you know we care. We understand that you have sacrificed your lives for us and we are so thoughtful for what you guys and girls did for us. Lest we forget.”“Thank you for allowing everyone to live in peace without too much risk of war. I want to let you know that you are not alone and there are support programs you can join to talk to for support.”“At West Hants Education Centre, we have educated students about the sacrifice and service you have given for our country. You are an important part of our history and our current society today.”“Students and Staff at West Hants Education Centre want to thank you for your service. Your unmatched sacrifice is why many people are able to live the lives they lead. Thank you, WHEC”I am told that leadership is best exemplified through service. Our veteran community stands as a strong example of this, its members having unquestioningly put themselves at risk so that others might be safe.  We thank you for the powerful positive role you have played in shaping this country.Today we remember military members and veterans, both past and present.Thank you for your service,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.Executive Director, Landing Strong

Paying attention to what’s working

Paying attention to what’s working

Paying attention to what’s working

It’s often much easier to notice what we’re doing wrong, rather than what we’re doing right. Military and first responder roles rely on critical analysis of potential shortfalls in order to maximize safety. Even when our actions are not motivated by the desire for recognition, it’s always satisfying to know when we got it right or that our efforts are making a difference. The problem of focusing on our missteps and passing over successes, however small they might be, is that is fosters a bias to overlook the good when we are confronted with challenges.I like to think of the person who came up with the idea of building the first boat.  They may have thrown many items in the water and examined what made them sink, but chances are they spent more time examining what made things float in order to come up with the winning formula. It can often be easier to focus on our weaknesses rather than our strengths. But how much healthier would we be if we mastered the habit of noticing what we do well?How might your day be different if the focus was on all the little things you are doing that are having a positive impact?  Can you identify three in this moment?

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.Executive Director, Landing Strong

What does it mean to be Canadian this year?

What does it mean to be Canadian this year?

What does it mean to be Canadian this year?

There are many things about this country that I’m proud of.  This hardly feels like a time for celebration, though, as deep penetrating sonar unearths our nations darkest secrets.  

Today, on Canada Day, I choose to focus on the beauty and diversity of our country.  I celebrate tolerance, respect and understanding.

I celebrate compassion and education.

I celebrate the richness of the culture of our First Nations people.

I celebrate a day and time when we view one another as equals, regardless of race, gender and ability.

I envision a country where all this is possible.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

How do we make a difference when the problem feels so big?

How do we make a difference when the problem feels so big?

How do we make a difference when the problem feels so big?

Over the past few weeks, the very foundation of our country has rocked with the discovery of 1,323 bodies of First Nations children at various sites across Canada.  It’s believed that there are many more yet to be found. 

I’ve hesitated to write about this.  It’s incredibly important and I don’t want to get it wrong.  How do we possibly come to terms with this level of atrocity?  The genocide of a generation of our First Nations children: are we glimpsing the ugliest part of humanity? 

I’m reminded of a discussion I had many years ago following news of the tragic shooting at Montreal’s École Polytechnique where innocent lives were taken.  During a National conference of 1000 psychologists, we sat in a room together and asked ourselves the question: How to we respond to such atrocity?  How can we prevent such horrific acts of violence from reoccurring?  There were no quick answers.  We all felt powerless.  Eventually one of the speakers stood and spoke in a tentative voice:

“I don’t have the power to change the world, but I certainly can have a significant impact on my immediate circle within my community.” 

Others chimed in:

 “If each of us has a voice and speaks out, we are 1000 strong in this room alone.  If we all speak to 100 people that’s 100,000 minds that we have the power to change.  We all have an immediate circle of influence.  If we all commit to being part of the solution, demanding change, that has to have an impact”.  

I don’t pretend to have the answers.  Nothing can make this right.  We can’t go back and undo the harm that has been done.  I was taught that Canada is a mosaic woven of many different colours and fabrics.  I believe the diversity is what provides richness to our Country. 

We don’t heal from our past by looking away.  If there is to be hope for a version of Canada where all are treated with dignity and respect, we need to witness even our nations darkest periods.  

Ignoring pain does not allow for healing.  It prolongs it.  Let’s strengthen our circles, making sure the steps forward are meaningful and lasting.

This is news that needs to be felt.  Only then can we ensure it never happens again. 

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong