Beneath the shell

Beneath the shell

I recently visited someone I love in a dementia ward of a care facility.

I took a deep breath as I walked in the door. It was suppertime and a large group of seniors were gathered at tables awaiting their evening meal. Some were talking quietly; a number were staring into space.

I joined one of the tables and learned through a caregiver that one of the seniors spoke French. Trying it on for size, I threw them a line in my best attempt at bilingualism.

The man to whom I had aimed the comment suddenly sprang to life, his eyes lighting up and he blurted out a lengthy response to my simple question.

As though a sleeping clock had suddenly sounded, all the members of the table perked up and a second person joined the conversation in French, only to be followed by a third…and then a fourth.

When I commented on how impressed I was by their fluency with language, one exceptionally charming elderly man turned to me and said, “My dear, it’s one of the four languages I speak.”

With the prompting of their caregivers, I learned that two of the five people at the table had published books. I congratulated them on this accomplishment of publishing a book. Again, the stately gentleman gently corrected me letting me know he had in fact, published three.

One member at the table was a retired psychiatrist, another was a former CEO of an international corporation. I never got to learn what the women that didn’t speak French did, because she insisted on speaking to me in Italian
After lots of teasing and laughter, I left the facility with my heart full.

I am reminded that though at times, we may seem to be only shells of our former selves, inside each of us lies a passion and a rich interior. The fact that we are no longer practicing it, makes it no less interesting.


Warm thoughts,


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

Meet my friend Mayan

Meet my friend Mayan

Following injury, many veterans and first responders are faced with the dilemma of whether they will return to their former occupations.

During my trip to Tanzania, in a remote community on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, I met Mayan, a local goatherd. Even at the age of seven, he understood his destiny.

Shy at first, he quickly warmed up when he saw his 40 goats surrounding me in an attempt to snag my bowl of afternoon popcorn. Grateful for his assistance I rewarded him with half of the bowl, and we happily sat on a large rock, watching the sunset, sharing the crunchy treat.

I can’t help but wonder at the vast difference between our two worlds. The choices we have in comparison to the predestined fate of the Maasai people.

I’m grateful for our choices, but appreciative of the simple and happy life they lead.

Warm thoughts,

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

It takes a community

It takes a community

Photo left to right standing: Ben Wallace, Pam Turcotte, Tara Burley, Deb Eaton, Adrienne Oldham,
Sara Gray, Mackenzie Seagram, Chair of the Board – Shawn Hiscott
Photo left to right on floor: Dr. Petra Woehrle, Mark Larkin, Julian Young, Dr. Belinda Seagram, Dan Mowatt-Rose

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to move mountains.

We see it within our group programs, as Landing Strong members come together to support one another through good days and bad.

We also witness it through the actions of our Board of Directors, who work tirelessly to ensure Landing Strong is the best it can be. We remain committed to providing programs to anyone in need regardless of their funding status; the commitment of our Board allows us to acheive this.

Why would someone volunteer to be on a Board of Directors? The answer is simple; on some level, we all hold on to the same thing…Hope.

Hope is about not giving up, even when you feel beaten down.

It’s about extending a hand to someone who needs it.

Hope is about advocating for change and ensuring no one is left behind.

On a snowy Saturday afternoon, we recently gathered with our Board of Directors to envision our future; dreaming up strategies to ensure Landing Strong and the community we serve continues to thrive.

Many members of our Board have lived experience. We are grateful for their passion, insights, and dedication.

Together we remain strong.

Warm thoughts,

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

Warm thoughts,

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

We have your back

We have your back

This week, the residents of Kansas City struggled to come to terms with the horrific outcome of what was supposed to be a joyous event. One person was killed and more than 20 wounded following a shooting during the Super Bowl parade. This was the 48th mass shooting in the United States since the beginning of the year. That’s more than one a day. What used to be an outlier event has now become alarmingly normal.

While we might get used to hearing about such events on the news, it is never normal for those who are called to respond. Our hearts naturally go to the victims and their families. What is often overlooked is the devastating impact it has on the first responder community. We rush to treat those who are physically wounded, not always recognizing the psychological devastation left behind by these incidents. Often, they are hidden or take time to surface.

Seeing this event, I am reminded of how many Nova Scotians may be living with invisible injuries. We remain committed to ensuring that we have your back; that no-one who is injured is left standing alone.

We are immensely grateful for the work our first responders do.

Warm thoughts,

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

Recovery is a Journey not a Destination

Recovery is a Journey not a Destination

Recovery is a Journey not a Destination

Many people when they face a setback in their recovery may think, ‘Oh I’m not as far along as I thought I was.’ When in fact, its simply a bump on the road. Not an indication that they weren’t where they thought they were.

There will be many bumps, that’s natural. Just like how an athlete won’t run their best run every day, you too will have ups and downs on the road of recovery.

How do we stay strong when the journey feels so long? By simply taking note of small wins, we fuel ourselves for the longer journey.

One of the unique things about group therapy is newer members get the chance to meet people further along the road. It helps to trust the process, knowing that if you just keep walking, you’ll get to where you want to be.

Warm thoughts,

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

We’re all in the same storm.

We’re all in the same storm.

We’re all in the same storm.

We’re all in the same storm, just different boats. It’s not what happens to us that’s important, it’s the meaning of it within the context of our lives.

Before Dorian, Fiona or our recent flooding, we may have been buying storm chips and dare we say even a bit excited about the possibility of a storm. This doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Because we are so connected to one another and are aware of the hardships our friends and neighbours have experienced, these weather events take on new meaning.

If you’re looking for support, we’re only a call away. You don’t need to “earn” your spot in counselling or our programs. If you’re ready there is a seat waiting for you. There’s currently no wait list.

Warm thoughts,

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