Finding light in a dark tunnel

Finding light in a dark tunnel

We don’t reach the light through endless analysis of the dark. We reach the light by choosing the light.
               – Marianne Williamson

True confession: when I swim over dark water, I’m overcome by fear of prehistoric creatures rising from darkened depths and grabbing me.  It harkens back to days as a young girl, reading through glossy prints of terrifying prehistoric fish.  Imagine a piranha, and multiply its size and number of teeth by 100.  You get the picture.  

For some reason, if I swim with someone beside me, I’m safe.  A magical band of protection unites us and protects us from harm.

Trauma recovery is like that.  Alone, in the dark, it’s terrifying.  Together, by shining a light on it, somehow it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

Warm regards,

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

Noticing the things that bring us joy

Noticing the things that bring us joy

The key to joy is being easily pleased.
               – Mark Nepo

Let’s take a mental vacation. You’re enjoying one of nature’s greatest views, but the person beside you is struggling, noticing instead everything that’s missing from the experience.  Perhaps it’s too hot, or too cold.  Maybe they wanted to catch the sunset but just missed it. Maybe they think of the people who are not there to share it with them. 

They are trapped in the land of expectations.

What would happen if we stopped to notice each moment without expectations?  Relinquish judgement and focus on those things, here and now, that bring us jov.

Injuries from trauma involve judgement.  Usually against ourselves, sometimes others. 

An essential aspect of recovery involves living in the here and now.  Noticing, appreciating, without judgement, all that is beautiful in our day.

Warm regards,

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

What if we embraced change

What if we embraced change

How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change.
               – Elizabeth Lesser

I was speaking with a government employee some time ago.  She identified the stress she experienced working in an environment that was constantly changing.  Every year, new procedures were brought in to address workplace challenges. It struck me that she was in for a hard road, since the only predictable thing about government is change.    

I was reminded of Kodak.  Remember them?   The former photography giant who missed the digital train because they were so resistant to change. Now the Kodak name is barely recognized by the younger generations.  

Recovery and growth are all about change.  Letting go of the familiar, and embracing the unknown: being willing to view our experiences from a different perspective.  By sharing our experiences within safe communities, we allow ourselves the opportunity to view things differently.  Our world expands, and recovery becomes real.  

Warm regards,

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

Beauty sometimes lies in the hardest moments

Beauty sometimes lies in the hardest moments

To listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.
              – Mark Nepo

I love what I do.  Perhaps it’s because every day offers the opportunity to learn something new.  If I approach a situation thinking I know the answer, this can prevent me from truly seeing, listening, and understanding.  

In truth, the more I learn, the more I realize how much there is that I really don’t know. 

There’s something incredibly freeing in that. 

It’s often in the hardest moments that we discover life’s true beauty: courage, compassion, sacrifice, and love.  I want to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what am witnessing, and hearing.

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

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