“Hi Sandy – I just spoke at the Winnipeg Mental Health conference – May I Please Link In with you?
– Stuart Ellis-Myers”
After connecting, he immediately followed up:
Winnipeg . . . . icy cold brrrrrrr
the conference focus was on suicide
I live with Tourette’s and the buffet table of disorders that comes along with the diagnosis so know the depression driven suicide experience well
The audience were awesome, everyone from parents, practitioners, government . . even a school district leader I shone the light of recognition for attending.
may I send you a YouTube shot from the conference? I just need your real email
mine is firstname.lastname@example.org
cheers and all the best
would love to speak with you sometime soon
The first thing that jumped out was that Stuart said he “lived with” Tourette’s rather than “suffered from” it. I loved that.
He signed his note “Twitchy.” I loved that, too.
This means I haven’t been walking my dogs or lifting anything heavier than 10 lbs. for weeks. I’m immobile. For the first time in years, my favourite exercise, walking my dogs, is verboten.
I don’t enjoy solo walking. Furthermore, the weather has been anything but walkable, so I’ve stayed home and fallen off my eating plan for my eating disorder.
Then, at my annual physical last week, I had a chat with my GP. I stepped on the scale backwards, so I couldn’t see the number. I didn’t have to. Although weight is one number you don’t need to know, I know I’m heavier and I don’t like the way I feel. I hate it.
My doctor didn’t recommend a diet, which for anyone with an eating disorder is a dirty word and a dangerous pursuit.
“Just get back on your eating plan and get out and walk, without the dogs if you must, but not too much,” she advised me sternly.
She knows how easily I can get obsessed and addicted to exercise, my form of purging.
Yesterday was my birthday. I’m not sad. Not manic, either. Just celebrating aging and a joyous day. Here are 10 reasons why:
1. It went on for three days, beginning Saturday. I had my hair cut. Very short. It’s a brush cut. I love carefree hair. Who has time to fuss with hair, so every eight weeks, I’m buzzed.
2. Then, I met my closest girlfriend and we walked to a tiny perfect new sushi spot for a delicious Bento Box lunch. Very intimate. We had the place to ourselves. This is our annual ritual because our birthdays are three days apart, though I’m one year older. We exchange small gifts ~ I knit her a scarf in her favourite colours ~ and we celebrate our friendship. Without fail.
3. Then I went home, worked for a bit – I never feel right unless I work everyday. We watched a great HBO documentary about Ethel Kennedy, made by Rory Kennedy, her 11th and youngest child born six months after the 1968 assassination of her father, Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
You may have thought that and I wouldn’t blame you.
Work is the greatest therapy of all. Here’s why:
Last summer, before beginning his first year at Robert Land Academy 15-year-old Peter Darwin (who requested that his real name not be used) weighed 360 lbs. Since then Canada’s only military-themed school for adolescent boys with multiple challenges has transformed him.
Darwin has dropped 105 lbs., and now weighs 252 lbs., since boarding at the 33-year-old school in Southern Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula. This summer he hopes to continue losing weight and ultimately reach his 210-pound goal.
Morbid obesity, an increasingly critical societal, cultural, medical and emotional concern, especially for young people, jeopardizes every sphere of their lives.
“At home, I used to raid the fridge whenever I wanted and I used to think I ate pretty healthy,” Darwin said, at this year’s graduation ceremony. “When I got sad, though, I’d eat a lot. Emotions controlled my eating.
“Robert Land Academy taught me a lot. It taught me how to set goals properly, to value my nutrition, to work out properly. Now, I eat three times a day. I like the food here. It tastes good. They don’t give you too much or too little. You control your portioning. Learn to make choices.”
Another class of mature, respectful, goal-oriented and successful young men completed their high school education at Canada’s only military-style boarding school for adolescent boys, some as young as 11 years of age.
Nestled in southern Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula, these boys flourish in a school environment unlike any they’ve previously attended.
It stresses academic excellence, athletics, leadership and teamwork. Extracurricular activities “make it worthwhile,” said class valedictorian Paul Burrill, 17, from Burnaby, B.C., describing games and sports of every kind, plus rock climbing, boxing, wrestling, “even jumping out of a plane.”
Their family relationships heal. They develop confidence while achieving top academic marks that open doors to any university, college and career they choose.
Hailing from all over North America, Europe, Hong Kong and the Middle East, they arrive with a rash of challenges and diagnoses.
ADHD, ADD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and different learning disabilities. Some have critical physical problems demanding lifestyle regulation. Morbid obesity. Diabetes. Others have abused alcohol and drugs or flirted with the law.
Dandies have tiny and fragile litters. Usually only two or three puppies. One of Lucy’s litters was a singleton. The only litter Riley has ever sired was four puppies, but one of them died.
Dandies, with their distinctive white topknots, black button noses and penetrating black eyes, are so beautiful, they’re a natural people magnet. We’re often stopped in the street.
They are sweet-natured, loyal, fun-loving, mischievous and very sensitive little animals. They wag their tails in circles. It’s the most charming thing to watch. Often, Riley’s goes so fast I can barely see it. He’s won tail wagging contests.
The most wondrous thing about my dogs is their innate “cuddle-ability.”
Riley and Lucy love nothing more than to be held and petted. They beg for it. And who can resist a face like Riley’s?
This is a Dandie Dinmont Terrier trait. They so love to cuddle that at all our Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of Canada public events we have a special “Cuddling Parlour” where anyone can sit down and “cuddle a Dandie.”
It’s no secret that petting any dog or cat, for that matter, creates a magnificent neuroscientific reaction in the person doing the cuddling and petting. A bonding hormone is produced called Oxytocin, the same hormone nursing mothers produce when they are breast feeding their children.
It’s also called the hormone of love.
“My exit strategy”…
We’re spacing out our appointments. Seeing each other monthly. This is all part of my “exit strategy” from my psychiatric psychotherapy.
Dr. Bob and I began seeing each other in 1990. That’s 22 years of life-changing therapy.
This past February he spent six weeks at Addis Ababa University teaching psychiatric residents through an exchange program with the University of Toronto. Initially I was concerned about him being so far away for so long.
I was meeting with my psychologist Kim Watson and working on recovery from my eating disorder. So I was not working entirely without a net.
When Dr. Bob returned he couldn’t believe the change in me…
“You’ve done it,” he said during our first session on March 29. “You’ve been working very hard.”
That was when I began for the first time in my life to entertain the idea of what until now was unthinkable for me.
Those were the unforgettable words of one of the brightest City Editors I ever worked with at The Toronto Sun. And he’s right.
Lately, I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing and blogging, so I’ve decided blatantly to copy Margarita Tartakosky, an associate editor and Weightless blogger here at Psych Central, and blog every day for 31 days.
Margarita is my muse and my constant source of support and inspiration. Her blogathon ran during the month of May 2012 and was carried on her personal website here. It’s definitely worth a gander.
Today is the first day of my Blogathon…
Mine is beginning today ~ Monday, June 11. There is no significance to this date. It’s simply the day I’m beginning.
Some of these Blogathon posts will be short and spontaneous.
Writing to be another of my self-soothing activities as long as I don’t get too perfectionistic .Perfectionism invariably blocks me and stops me.