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Managing Triggers

Managing Triggers

“I’ve learned how to be in the present”
“How?” Asked the boy
“I find a quiet spot and shut my eyes and breathe”
“That’s good, and then?”
“Then I focus.”
“What do you focus on?”
“Cake” said the mole.
 
True confessions time.  When I’m in yoga, trying to clear my mind, I may not think about cake, but I do contemplate having a lovely London Fog at the café next to the studio when class is over.  It’s usually when I am really uncomfortable, experiencing the full force of my cardboard stiff body that I allow my mind to drift to more pleasant things.
 
It’s normal not to think about the things that are uncomfortable.  When we are at work doing uncomfortable tasks, that’s an essential skill.  Knowing how to unpack it at the end of the day, though, is often a skill that needs to be developed.

Warm regards,

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

What is love anyway?

What is love anyway?

It’s hard not to ask the question, especially at this time of year. The following answers were offered by young children in response to a survey by the Couples Institute regarding the question “What is love?”  

Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your fries without making them give you any of theirs
– Chrissy age 6

Love is what makes you smile when you are tired
– Terri, age 4

Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day
– Noelle 7

Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken
– Elaine age 5

Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day
– Mary Ann age 4

You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it,  But if you mean it, you should say it a lot.  People forget
– Jessica age 8

 
Perhaps the best example of love wasn’t something that was said, but done. Leo Buscaglia shared this special moment he witnessed:

A four year old child had an elderly gentleman as a next door neighbour who had recently lost his wife.  Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.  When his mother asked what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said “Nothing, I just helped him cry”.

For me, love is an action.  It’s about moving toward rather than moving away.  It’s about staying present, even when it’s uncomfortable.  It’s about patiently waiting through silence, until emotions can form.

Love is what keeps us whole, allows us to heal, giving the walk forward meaning.

Warm thoughts and lots of love on this Valentine’s Day,

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

Being there for one another the best way we can

Being there for one another the best way we can

“I got you a delicious cake,” said the mole
“Did you?”
“Yes”
“Where is it?”
“I ate it,” said the mole
“Oh”
“But I got you another.”
“Did you? Where is that one?”
“The same thing seems to have happened.” 

-The Boy, the Mole the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
 

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to show up for someone even if we might not know what to do.   Or maybe we try to say something and it comes out all wrong.  

Many people are hesitant to join group because it can be scary. 

“What if I say the wrong thing? What if I don’t belong?”  Or even worse, “What if I say something that injures someone?”  

Being in group is about meeting people where they are at.  Everyone starts in a different space, and goes at their own speed.  We aren’t supposed to all be the same. We don’t always say or do the right thing. But somehow we work it out.

I can promise you one thing …we won’t eat your cake!  Give us a call and join us for a group program this spring.

Warm regards,

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

What if people really saw us

What if people really saw us

Isn’t it odd.  We can only see our outsides, but nearly everything happens on the inside.
      – The Boy, the Mole the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

If people could see us, truly see us…what would they think?  Would they see honour, integrity, courage, and loyalty?  Or would peeking behind the curtain reveal things that we may be hesitant to acknowledge: sadness, exhaustion, guilt and loneliness.   

Anger is the easy emotion- the suit of armour-  but it’s not what lies underneath.  

What strikes me, is that we wouldn’t feel the hard feelings if the good ones weren’t also true. 
We can’t feel guilt or shame if we don’t have integrity
We can’t feel loneliness if we haven’t known teamwork.
We can’t feel fatigue if we haven’t worked hard.
We can’t truly know sadness if we haven’t known love.
We are all these things. 

Perfect is overrated.  It’s the knocks and bruises that make us real.

Warm regards,

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

The bravest thing you’ve ever said

The bravest thing you’ve ever said

“What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said?” asked the boy.
“Help” said the horse.
“When have you been at your strongest?” Asked the boy
“When I have dared to show my weakness”

  • The Boy, the Mole the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

 
I used to belief courage was about doing things that involved incredible risk:  Running into burning buildings; putting oneself into the line of fire; more recently caring for those with contagious diseases.  

These are indeed acts of courage.

What I have learned to appreciate though, is a quieter more invisible form of courage.  It’s the force that motivates us to speak when it’s easier to remain silent.  To stand up and be seen when we can blend in or remain invisible.  To ask for help when in many ways it’s less effort to simply carry on.

Asking for help may be one of the hardest and most courageous things we can do.

Warm regards,

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

We’ve got this

We’ve got this

The wonderful thing about starting a New Year is that it’s a fresh start.  

This is the time of year when we reflect on who’ve we’ve been this past year, and who we want to be in the year ahead.  The ritual of making New Year’s resolutions is a cultural tradition that normalizes the act of publically declaring our intention to change- identifying the ways in which we hope to grow, and asking those around us to support us. 

Implicit in this is the notion that change is more likely to occur when we don’t do it alone

The trick is starting small and doing it in good company.  Together, we’ve got this.

Consider making us part of your change. Give us a call to see which programs might be best for you. There’s always room for one more.

Warm regards,

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

Quiet Connections

Quiet Connections

Every Christmas Day I know two things will be true: 

  1. I will likely eat chocolate for breakfast
  2. I’ll spend time connecting with people I love.  

This year, although I’m fairly certain a Toblerone bar will make its way into my stocking, I also know the way I’ll connect with others will look different. With some people, I’ll connect with by phone, others by computer.  

The largest community, though, I’ll hold in my thoughts. 

When people are thinking about us, we often feel it.  Even when we may feel alone, our community is still there.  The connection is simply quieter… but not forgotten.

Know that each and every one of you are in our thoughts.  

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season and looking forward to connecting in the New Year.

Warm regards,

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

How trauma defines us

How trauma defines us

Post-traumatic stress isn’t about what happens to us.  That’s only part of the equation.  It’s more about how we understand and react to life altering events that determines our path.

For decades comic books and stories have been used to show the struggle between good and evil, and the human response to trauma.

Darth Vadar witnessed the brutal murder of his parents by Imperial Forces.  Not having completed his Jedi training, he joined the Dark side as a way of regaining strength.  His trauma got the best of him.

Superman, as a child, was abducted from his alien planet, brought to earth, and re-homed with human parents.  Truly an illegal immigrant and refugee, he learned to hide his differences knowing that he was only safe by blending in to the dominant society.  Showing his differences (and strengths) made him vulnerable, yet he did so anyways, allowing him to be his true self.

In many ways, we are all characters in the story of our lives.  Although we may be injured from things that happen to us, we have the power to regroup, and find the strength to continue and move forward.  The more we are supported in this, the more likely we are to succeed.

We developed PTSD Hero comics to address themes of trauma and recovery. Although the stories are fictional, the characters experiences are based on the actual themes and events facing veterans and first responders.

This week, we are proud to release our newest video based on the second novel, Hero to Zero of our three part Stranger Returns series. Please enjoy this animated adaptation of Jay and his friends continued journey towards health.  Please share this with others to help spread the word of hope, resilience and recovery.

Stranger Returns Book 2 Video: Hero to Zero

If you missed the first video adaption of the Enemy Within, and want to catch up, we’ve provided a link below.
Stranger Returns Book 1 video: The Enemy Within

Warm regards,

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

The discomfort of being in transit

The discomfort of being in transit

Have you ever noticed the expression on people’s faces when they’re riding the subway?  It’s a specific look: slack face, eyes downcast staring intently at an imaginary object on the floor.  Some people wear ear buds, some read their digital novels, others close their eyes and escape to their thoughts to pass the time.  There’s something about being in transit that’s uncomfortable.  We’re willing to endure it, because it doesn’t last and it’s taking us somewhere we want to be.  Like an ill-fitting coat, we’ll put up with it temporarily because we know that, in a short time, we’ll be able to take it off and be somewhere better.

If you’re feeling a bit uncomfortable with the spot you’re in, know that it’s normal.  It can feel like a long dark tunnel, where you’re impatiently waiting to get to your destination. It’s good to remind ourselves that any good trip has periods of discomfort.  It’s the nature of transit.  Don’t let it scare you.  It’s worth the journey.  

Warm regards,

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

Every cloud has a silver lining

Every cloud has a silver lining

Have you noticed that time passes differently now that we’re not going anywhere?  Normally, holidays mark occasions where we reunite with family members.  This year it’ll be quite different.  Instead of travelling cross country, our cars overloaded with gifts, food and luggage, we’ll be spending time in smaller circles.  I’m sad I won’t see my extended family, so I’ve been making an effort to touch base more frequently by phone.  This week I was speaking with my father.  You’ve met him before: an interesting combination of artist, intellectual and eccentric.  He’s constantly searching for new and interesting ways to stay healthy. This week he shared that he’s experimenting with eating crickets to boost joint health.

“Crickets?!” I exclaimed, wondering what on earth is possessing him.

“Yes, they’re ground up into protein powder.  Can’t even taste them. I just add them to my stews” he explained in a self-satisfied tone. “I pick them up at Loblaws.  Expensive, but high quality and convenient.”

Suddenly the thought of not having the opportunity to fly to Toronto to share cricket stew with my father doesn’t seem so heartbreaking.  In fact, I’m increasingly experiencing the sensation of relief.

So when I feel those pangs of sadness, I’ll imagine my father happily slurping up those crusty insects.  Maybe I’ll even explore new and interesting ways of getting healthy over the holidays.  Although I don’t think I’ll be trying crickets anytime soon, I’m inspired by the way my father continues to focus on his health, knowing that he is not too old to find new growth.  

As we all think of ways to maintain or improve health, a gentle reminder that we are running our Emotions program: Stop Faking Good and Start Feeling Good this January.  Enrollment is strong, so we’re forming two groups: there’s a choice of Wednesdays or Fridays.  We’re also taking names for our Trauma Recovery Group: Your Past is not your Future, starting in late March.  And as always, anyone who has taken a course is eligible to attend our monthly Maintaining Health Programs: the third Thursday of each month.   Come jump on the train of recovery.  There’s a seat waiting for you!  Just drop us a line.

Warm regards,

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