Ask Why?


microphone     Did anyone else watch the Golden Globes last Sunday? Even if you didn’t, you have surely heard about the event. Almost all the women wore black, some of the female stars brought women who work in the field of anti-violence as their dates instead of boyfriends or husbands. Oprah accepted her award with a speech that made some people feel like she should run for President. She discussed the #Metoo campaign and spoke of how long women have been dealing with abuse, degradation and relationship violence. This is no secret or surprise to many of us women, we talk to each other, we listen and watch our friends and neighbours. Some of us work in the field and are constantly reading industry books and emails to learn about the newest ways people have found to hurt each other.

My question is, why are men so uncomfortable with this topic? Very few, if any of the male stars discussed the evenings theme, not one mentioned the reason their co-stars were dressed to protest sexual assault by wearing black. Does the topic make them vulnerable? Do they worry they might not get a part if they’re thought of as being too controversial? Women deal with that threat all the time. In 2018 we are still considered as the sex that should just show up and look pretty. Discussing the power differences, wage inequity, and anything else political isn’t considered feminine. There are some movements towards getting men on side, “Be More Than A Bystander” is a good example. It started out as a campaign by the BC Lions and the Ending Violence Association of BC to get young men to consider how they and their friends were treating girls/women. A group of football players go around to different high schools throughout the province and talk to the males about how to step up when they see a guy abusing a girl in some way. This movement has spread to other CFL teams. I’m glad that it’s taken off, we sure do need more though. What do you think? Do we have enough power, a strong enough voice? Tell me what you think the next generation of females need from us. Take care of you.

 

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New Year, New Promise(s)


115px-Portable_violet  I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions because I get too bummed out by failure. If I make one, then break it I feel like I’ve disappointed everyone; even if it’s just me that knows about it. I did start on a healthy eating/exercise/Weight Watchers program back in September, and doing fairly well on that. My next ‘non-resolution’ is to get back to things that make me happy; like writing and getting pieces published, and reading some books recommended to me. Travelling more as well, and if that can be combined with spending time with family, all the better.

Small goals are often more satisfying as they are easier to manage, and that can help with the feelings of accomplishment. What about personality change type resolutions? “I need to work on my patience, sense of humour, boundaries” etc. These are big chunk type of goals and harder to change the older we get.

Try to find small steps within each one. Let’s take patience for example. In my current and recent occupations patience is not only a virtue but ‘necessary to good mental health’. I try to break the situation into manageable chunks. “What would I gain by blowing a gasket? How would that be supportive to the client? Or effective to the solution? So, I look for ways to regain my equilibrium. For example ‘I take 5 minutes to myself’ or ‘do deep breathing exercises’, or ‘watch/recall a funny stand-up routine’ and if possible, debrief with another staff. Then, when I’m calmer I can head back into the fray in a stronger frame of mind.

What are your coping techniques? What are your promises for 2018? Not resolutions remember, just little chunks of self-improvement.

Seasonal flashbacks


wreath  

So back to work after a lovely weekend. Along with some friends we attended the local ‘Carols by Candlelight’ performance on Saturday afternoon. It really gets you in the mood for Christmas. As I mentioned in my last post, music is a powerful force and at this time of year the history behind each seasonal tune can be strong. As I type this blog post I’m listening to the Vince Guaraldi Trio album on YouTube. They are the jazz group that did the music for the Charlie Brown’s Christmas special. (This show came into being the same year I did, so I’m kind of attached to it.)

If you’re a certain age you’ll also remember Jimmy Durante’s version of Frosty The Snowman, or Gene Autry doing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, both in the soundtracks for the television specials way back in the 60’s-70’s. These songs have the ability to conjure up much more than 1/2 hour specials. Grandpa’s aftershave aroma, the red and green balls on grandma’s tree, getting a book of lifesavers every year from our uncle. So many good smells and tastes, people dropping by, high school students outside caroling, it seems magical now.

What are your holiday memories, have any of them defined your beliefs or framed your own traditions with your kids? Are there things you do each year that starts the season for you? “It can’t be Christmas until_____________happens?” kind of things? It’s a good time to reflect on what it all means. It’s not about shopping, racking up credit card bills or arguing about whose family you’ll be visiting this year. Take the time this season to look around at the faces of friends and family you have around you. When things get a bit hectic and you’ve just eaten your body weight in shortbread remember to take care of yourself. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The soundtrack of your life


ipod picture   If you’ve ever been at a stop light and ‘that song’ comes on the radio, it can often send you back in time. If at 50, you’re talking to a friend and you start reminiscing about the bands you liked when you were 16, if you’re dancing in the kitchen without realizing how you started until the dj comes on and announces a tune you’d totally forgotten about, congratulations you have a soundtrack!

Not all the tunes are happy ones, and not all the memories they evoke are positive, but they mean something to you either way. Songs that played at your first wedding may bring some bitter emotions to the surface years later. Perhaps hearing bagpipe music reminds you of a grandfathers’ funeral. Just as those Madonna lyrics from 1985 make you shudder thinking of all the lace gloves and jumpsuits you squeezed into. Music is a great tool to bring people together; choirs, Christmas Carol sing-a-longs, etc.

If you had to come up with a playlist for your life, for each part of it that is, what would be on it? Songs from your teen years, adulthood, parenthood, songs from family car trips (Nana Mouskouri will live on my childhood tape reel for ever. ‘Love is a rose’ specifically). Here’s an idea for a wet weekend, compile all those special songs on a piece of paper and try to write a few lines about the memory it brings up.

Shoe Memorial 2017



 

 

 

Community Services Association, Powell River & Region Transition House Society, and Powell River RCMP present the Sixth Annual Shoe Memorial.

It will be held at Town Centre Mall on Wednesday, December 6th. This is an event designed to increase awareness as part of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

The shoes; women’s and children’s will be displayed at the Walmart end of the mall, the staff of the victim service agencies will be on hand to answer any questions. Each pair of shoes has a story attached that relates to a woman and/or children who died as a result of family violence. It’s an important but sad memorial.

Nasty?


verbal abuse     I’m reading a book at work called ‘Nasty People by Jay Carter. Surprisingly it’s only 100 pages. I can think of a lot more nasty folk than that! The sub-title is ‘How to stop being hurt by them without stooping to their level’. That part makes sense to me. I remember as a child and young woman being told not to ‘stoop to their level’ if someone at school was being mean or dishonest in some way.

The primary message in the book is about those invalidators in  our lives, those people who bully and cajole, they are sarcastic and misogynistic. They could be romantic partners, bosses or parents. The book also talks about the people on the receiving end of this emotional abuse. They are the victims. Either willingly or unwillingly, they don’t know how to react politely to someone who has obvious control issues. It’s a good book, and I think quite well written. It sets out the message in a folksy kind of way, it’s not a technical book for people ‘in the business’ but speaks to everyone.

He does cover personality disorders and chemical imbalances as possible reasons for this nastiness, but the overarching message is that these folks are ‘little hitlers’ they cause immeasurable grief to those in their path and seem to have no remorse. I have mentioned the concept of victims in this blog and it seems to be a bigger conversation in the media lately. We all know what a victim is, do you know how not to become one? Stay tuned and take care of you.

16 Days of Activism


16 days of activism

2017

From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.

Orange the World 2017: Leave no one behind

This year, the UNiTE Campaign will mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence under the overarching theme, “Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls”— reflecting the core principle of the transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls” reinforces the UNiTE Campaign’s commitment to a world free from violence for all women and girls around the world, while reaching the most underserved and marginalized, including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters, amongst others, first.

As in previous years, the colour orange will be a key theme unifying all activities, and buildings and landmarks will be lit and decorated in orange to bring global attention to the issue of violence against women and girls.

Join us!

Share your photos, messages and videos showing how you orange the world at facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE and twitter.com/SayNO_UNiTE using #orangetheworld and #16days. For more information about the theme, download the Action Plan. For more information about Orange Day, please contact Natalia Tuerogerman, natalia.tuerogerman@unwomen.org [at]unwomen.org

‘As part of the 16 Days of Action, the Powell River Community Services Association program Police Based Victim Services, along with The Powell River and Region Transition House Society, and the Powell River RCMP is presenting the Sixth Annual Shoe Memorial at the Town Center Mall. They will be at the mall from 9:00-6pm on December 6th. It is a powerful display that brings home the realities of violence against women and children. Each pair of shoes represents someone who was killed as a result of that violence.’

‘Like busboys in a restaurant’


In the movie ‘Stand By Me’ the older version of one of the young males, has a flashback to his 12th summer. One of the lines in this flashback part of the film says something like, “I never had friends again like the ones I had when I was 12, does anyone?” It got me reflecting on my own circle of friends, and more importantly about the ones who have passed away since junior high.

At 52, obviously there have been many a year (nearly 40), since my attendance at Oceanview Jr. Secondary was mandatory. People move away from small towns to make their way in the big wide world, we lose touch and wonder what ever happened to them; until Facebook came along that is. We need friends in our lives. Family and a spouse are great, but having someone in your life that you’ve known for awhile, someone you can talk to about that same spouse or family member is essential for peace of mind and life satisfaction.

Think about your friends, what do they bring to the table? Why did you click with them and do you still know in your heart that they’d be there in a crisis? I challenge you to think about that. “People come in and out of your life like bus boys in a restaurant” (another quote from the same movie). How did you make the decision to keep the good ones from leaving?

 

Treadmill of Life?


treadmill    Yesterday I decided to do a 5k walk on the treadmill at the local recreation complex. As with most of my decisions, it seemed like a good idea at the time but after a half hour I started to question my own sanity. I had my tunes, there was a hockey game on the t.v. above my head and some seemingly nice people doing their own thing. I should have been happy….and I was, when at the 56th minute mark the ‘journey’ came to an end.

It got me thinking of blog posts, and how I was going to turn my decision to tackle 5k’s into a piece on domestic violence, or bullying or self-care, topics that usually get covered on this website.

Self care is the obvious choice, deciding to drop some weight and get healthy was necessary for my physical and mental well-being. Everyone has something they would like to change about themselves, especially women. We see magazines and shows and even acquaintances we would like to look like. Being happy with ourselves is sometimes difficult. Having someone in your life who is telling you that you aren’t good enough, is tragic.

If you are being bullied or abused by anyone call someone here at the agency or talk to a friend/family member who isn’t involved. When I’m having some personal doubts I list 5 things I’m proud of and it puts things in perspective. Whether I’m on the treadmill, at work or at home I remind myself that I’m the best version of me there is! 

Shelter from the storm


snow-in-pr    So this is what my blood felt like this morning; COLD! I was out de-frosting the car (at 5:15am so I could come to work) using my little spray bottle of magic. It sure speeds up the process of de-frosting, de-icing and de-lighting in general. I had the time to sit and listen to the radio while the side windows warm up enough to see out of and heard a story about the urgent need for ‘warming centers’ around the lower mainland.

This kind of story breaks my heart. If you have nothing, or very little. If you have no where good to stay, no warmth in your life of any kind, not even a pet, how do you cope?

If I’m having trouble reconciling my lifestyle, my warm home, my family, when I hear about these issues, how do really rich people deal with it all? I remember hearing about some Vancouver City Councilors and media personalities deciding to ‘sleep on the street’ to raise awareness and maybe some funds too, about homelessness. That’s great that they did that, but where did they sleep the night before, and the night after? Did the group camping trip change anything? There are still thousands of people in downtown Vancouver, (and other cities) sleeping rough in all weathers. I don’t know what to do about it. If you have any answers, drop me a line.

Scissors up!


afterglow-hair-lounge     This piece taken gratefully from the pages of the Powell River PEAK. Grace House staff and clients thank the stylists at Afterglow for their generosity in planning this event, and thank all those with stunning new hair styles for their support as well.

Stylists at Afterglow Hair Lounge have set a specific day aside in order to give back to their community. During regular business hours from 10 am-6 pm on Wednesday, November 8, four stylists will be on hand at 7075 Alberni Street to offer haircuts at a charity Cut-a-Thon for a minimum $25 donation. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Grace House.

 “We’ve been wanting to do something that involves what we do on a daily basis to give back to the community, and this is the best fit,” says owner and lead stylist Holly Lowes. “We’re all pretty excited to do something we do every day for a really worthy cause.”

Anyone interested in booking a time at the Cut-a-Thon can make an appointment online at afterglowhairlounge.com, but appointments are not necessary, says Lowes.

 

 

Brenda Lee revived.


sorry  There is nothing, well almost nothing, more annoying than someone continually apologizing. Especially if they continue to talk or behave in the same manner later. Are they apologizing that they got caught, did they really mean what they said, was their “I’m Sorry” heartfelt or just a way of appeasing the wronged person?

There’s a character on one of my favourite shows, he’s a self-admitted alcoholic but before he got sober he continued to apologize to everyone for hurting them; even if he didn’t remember the situation. He was so used to owning up for some irresponsible action that it was an automatic response. It loses it’s power; healing and forgiveness powers the most. What’s the alternative? Well, having the person think about their words and/or actions before they hurt us would be great, but beyond that? Aside from the sincerity infused into the apology there aren’t too many other ways of saying that you regret hurting, disappointing, or wounding someone. Own up to what you did, be sincere and do your best not to repeat the action. That’s how someone learns to trust you again.

On the other hand, if someone is trying to apologize to you for something, take it in the spirit it was given in, but set limits. If they’re ‘I’m sorry-ing’ you every day, you might want to look closer at their motivations. If this blog went on to long, well….I’m sorry.

Social Media ‘shout outs’


cell phoneAt the moment, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, there is a ‘hands up all those women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted’ trend on social media, it’s labelled as  #MeToo.

There are already thousands of women who have added their names to the list, and I’m sure it will hit millions by midnight. It does help some women to know they aren’t alone. I knew I wasn’t alone the first time it happened, it was in junior high and I saw it all around me. I figured it was a nasty case of testosterone poisoning and let it go. Same in high school and college; different men, same attitudes. When an older man, a friends dad, made some disgusting comments to me (and my friend at separate times), it made me feel exposed and confused. What was he saying to me? Did he think it was cute or sexy or that I would jump at the chance? I was stunned and didn’t have a smart come-back. Is that even something women feel safe doing in this day and age? Or do we still have to sit and take it so that we don’t lose friends, our job, our ‘nice girl’ rep in 2017? The power and control that men like Harvey Weinstein have held over women is mind-boggling. Every step that we take forward in society, things like equality in the workplace, maternity leave, political office; and we still have to take two steps back for every man who thinks they have the right to cross our personal boundaries for their own gain.

 

A following!


115px-Portable_violetHello followers, all 80 of you! Once in awhile I check the stats for this website and am thrilled to see how many people have checked in, over 8,043 people have clicked on to the ‘Transitions’ blog so between the two, I am one happy web woman.

Knowing the reason why you chose to click on this site is none of my business, I’m just glad that some of you stayed and decided to continue on the journey with the PR and Region Transition House Society. Adding new information, updated transportation schedules and local events is important. Nothing worse than clicking on to a website and seeing it’s content dated to 2007!

If you have any issues or questions about our programs, either read the individual descriptions or send me a query email and I’ll try to get the answer to you asap. If you have any ideas for future blog posts or local events that you think our target group would be interested in, please let me know. I’m always on the lookout for ways to keep Powell River in the loop. Thank you for your continued support!

Keeping things private


I am just back from two weeks off, and I feel great! I started on a diet plan, (for lack of a better word) and have dropped 10lbs already. It was overdue and the weight was adding to some stress I already had. I was generally unwell and feeling kind of bad/sad about myself. Just making that decision has helped a lot, although I did miss the mashed potatoes, gravy and dessert at thanksgiving dinner yesterday. 😦

The reason behind the blog title is a nod to a stand up comedian that the spouse and I saw at the end of September. He was opening for the woman we paid to see, it’s always cool to get two acts for one ticket price so we were open minded about the material…at first. He made a multitude of allusions to his dating life, quite graphic ones at that. I’m not a prude and I have few issues about the physical side of relationships but some things need to stay behind closed doors. There is wayyyyy too much openness about people’s personal lives, the reasons behind decisions they made, people on talk shows revealing details that only they, their spouse and maybe their physician need to know.

The various social media apps let us keep friends and family updated on our every movement; we take pictures of our meals, we let people know when we’re heading for the shower, (in case they need to reach us in the next 10 minutes), when is it going to end? Where is the mystery? I can’t even ask someone what they’ve been up to lately as it’s all out there for me to see. Does anyone still have secrets? Do you ever just put your phone away for the day and pretend it’s low on minutes/battery power and be out of touch for 12 hours? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for keeping in touch, I just signed up for Instagram on Sunday, I’m not immune, but remember you have the right to keep some things to yourself; your weight, your age, the physical side of your relationship, etc. Nobody needs to know everything about you, trust me on this one, I’m old and I remember writing my secrets in a diary, (not on Facebook) and being out of touch for hours at a time, (it was really freeing), So take care of you.

Reactionary? Maybe…


angel-wingsI’m no angel. I try to be a good person, to say hello to people on their own in a public place, to do kind things, to let people in line at the grocery store if they just have a few things etc. My biggest battle as a human being is avoiding the slide into a reactionary frame of mind. As a woman in the social services field and the oldest child in my family of origin it’s a slippery slope some times. Yesterday, the blog post was about rescuing people, today’s subject is kind of the flip side, it deals more with how to rescue yourself. It’s taken from the same book but a different chapter.

If you’re seeing any of yourself and your relationship, or maybe someone close to you is exhibiting some of these behaviours, it might be time for some counselling or just picking up the book. (It’s called ‘Codependent No More’) if you aren’t ready to talk to someone else just yet. It was published in 1987 and again in 1992 so it may seem dated, but even with all the new technology since then, human beings haven’t changed much. Below are some phrases followed by a summary of the author’s points.

-We don’t have to be afraid of people: They are people, just like us.

-We don’t have to forfeit our Peace: It doesn’t help. The same facts and resources are available to us, whether we are in chaos or in peace. We are probably better in peace though as we have the time and clarity to think things through.

-We don’t have to forfeit our power to think and feel for anyone or anything: It’s also not required of us!

-We don’t have to take things so seriously, (ourselves, events and other people): Don’t blow things out of proportion, lighten up and give yourself and loved ones the space to talk, move around and just be. We often take on other peoples problems and add them to ours and it just becomes a big mess.

-We don’t have to take other people’s behaviours as reflections of our self-worth: If someone close to you acts inappropriately that’s up to them, you don’t need to apologize to others or take it on in any way. Each person is responsible for his or her own behaviour.

-We don’t have to take rejection as a reflection of our self-worth: You are still real and ok. Don’t give too much power to other people’s opinions because that’s exactly what they are, someone else’s opinion. Not fact, just opinion.

-We don’t have to take things so personal: If someone has serious issues then it’s themselves they don’t love, not you. Giving them ultimatums isn’t healthy for either of you, you’ll never win and it’s unfair on the other person.

-We don’t have to take little things personally either: Usually, things that others do; their behaviours, their anger has far less to do with us than you think. Don’t take on the bad moods of others.

*Anyway, these are just a few notes. Take it from someone who actually struggles NOT to help others right away, it’s a process. Your friend or family member will be stronger in the end, in the meantime,  Take care of you (you know it by heart already!)

Detaching


d4b7b9de6c26419619267ae5a3aa306d--the-notebook-quotes-notebooks    In her book ‘Codependent No More’ Melody Beattie discusses the concept of Detachment. To quote her (pg 62)

“Detachment is based on the premises that each person is responsible for himself, that we can’t solve problems that aren’t ours to solve, and that worrying doesn’t help. We adopt a policy of keeping our hands off other people’s responsibilities and tend to our own instead. If people have created some disasters for themselves, we allow them to face their own proverbial music. We allow people to be who they are. We give them the freedom to be responsible and to grow. And we give ourselves that same freedom. We live our own lives to the best of our ability. We strive to ascertain what it is we can change and what we cannot change. Then we stop trying to change things we can’t. We do what we can to solve a problem and we have done what we could, we learn to live with, or in spite of, that problem. And we try to live happily-focusing heroically on what is good in our lives today, and feeling grateful for that. We learn the magical lesson that making the most of what we have turns it into more.”

It’s a difficult thing to do for many people, to take care of yourself instead of the addict in your life. To let them make their own mistakes and to do the cleaning up afterwards, to make their own apologies, to seek their own counselling. It is not for us, even parents to rescue others who are walking an addicted life. See below for Melody Beattie’s list of ‘rescuing behaviours’.

We are rescuing when we;

*Do something we really don’t want to do

*Say yes when we mean no

*Do something for someone even though that person is capable of and should be doing it for themselves.

*Meet people’s needs without being asked, and before we’ve agreed to do so.

*Do more than our fair share of work after our help is requested.

*Consistently give more than we receive in a particular situation.

*Fix other people’s feelings, or speak for another person.

*Do other people’s thinking for them.

*Suffer other people’s consequences for them.

*Solve people’s problems for them.

*Put more interest and activity into a joint effort than the other person does.

*Don’t ask for what we want, need and desire.

 

If any of these sound like you, (and I believe we as women do at least one of these at some point), it might be time to consider the reasons you feel you need to rescue someone in your life! As my sign off line says; Take care of you.

Changes


leaves As we head into fall, (yes we are, don’t try to fight it). I can tell we are because the morning air is decidedly cooler, the school zone speeds are back and some people are already changing over their closets to sweaters and jeans.

O.K. one of those people is me. I can’t help it. After summer I’m ready for a weather rest, some home-made soup and fall programs. This autumn I’m going to be making another change. I have signed up for a healthy eating/exercise program, it’s been too long since I felt really good about myself, and I’m a proponent of self-esteem for women. Too many of us doubt we’re good enough, thin enough, sexy enough etc. etc. It’s hard to accept that I’m not at my best health wise. There has been some self-exploration going on and while I encourage that for everyone woman I meet here at work, it’s been a tough go.

Not being happy with the way your life is going can affect so many other aspects. If you are broke, and driving a 5th hand beater, it’s hard to feel strong about your ability to teach, if you’re living in a tense and/or dangerous marriage it’s difficult to see how brilliant your art work is. We need a catalyst sometimes, something to break up the perpetual grey clouds we’re under. For me it’s losing weight, getting a healthier cholesterol number and maybe break the pattern of kidney stone occurrence with a better diet. What can you do? Do you need help to move beyond the brick wall? There are programs, counsellors and activities galore in Powell River. Whatever it takes, remember to take care of you.

‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ Coming to PR!


 

Please click on the link above for a poster detailing a new event coming to Powell River in October

The Family Safety Committee invites you to join us at The Patricia Theatre on Sunday, October 1, 2017. Guest speaker Jill Cory, co-author of When Love Hurts, will start off the event, followed by the film Fried Green Tomatoes. Admission is by donation. We are raising funds for the Victim Crisis Fund.

Victim Crisis Fund is used to support victims of family violence in meeting personal safety needs: such as purchasing a dead bolt or changing locks on a door, paying the installment fee for a land line for priority response, curtains, or other items pertaining to personal safety. Please see attached poster and circulate it to your clients and colleagues.

 

Sunday October 1st – Screening of “Fried Green Tomatoes” with Guest Speaker Jill Cory. Doors open at 1:15, Show Time 1:30. Admission by Donation. Concession will be open to purchase popcorn and snacks for the show!

 

Hope to see you there!

.

 

Get together!


logopr  Tonight is the Blackberry Days Street Festival; the night where you walk from Alberni to Duncan seeing and talking to people you literally haven’t seen since last year at this time. Tasting all types of food, listening to music, watching the belly dancers and chatting with friends. It’s generally a good time and a celebration of our home town.

In light of all the events from the last year, (from the last week actually) it’s a good idea for us to appreciate what a wonderful part of the world we live in. Yes, there is poverty, homelessness and drug issues, family break-ups, child hunger and isolation of seniors, but in the grand scheme of things we are closer to the top of the ‘favourite home towns list’ than the bottom. We have amazing support agencies, an ever-improving food bank, a wide selection of 2nd hand stores to access and mental health and addiction services to help. It does seem like things have flipped considerably since my high school days, but I’m glad that if we have social issues, we have the social agencies to step up in response.

To tie in with the Blackberry Days, there are a few high school classes having their reunions this weekend. These gatherings are a time for reflection. When all around the world people are being hurt by strangers because of what they believe, or because of the colour of their skin, it’s almost a breath of fresh air to be able to cast your mind back to the heyday of Max Cameron’s hallways. When you were 17 or 18 and you had your entire life ahead of you. Whether you stayed and worked 30+ years in the mill or ventured off to university or a job elsewhere, Powell River was your home! So welcome reunion attendees, enjoy the weekend, there’ll be time enough to rail at the news when you get back to reality. Take care of you.

S.O.S-Signs of Stress


“It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.” Hans Selye

            On page 59 of the ‘helping abused women in shelters’2 workbook there is a list that lays out various physical signs of stress. Some of them might be obvious, some might be a surprise to you.  They are messages that your body is trying to send you, are you ready to listen?

  • inability to concentrate or focus on one thing
  • trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, sometimes called insomnia
  • being irritable or having a short temper
  • over-reacting to small problems/snapping at people for no reason
  • feeling sad or hopeless
  • changes in eating patterns (not eating or eating too much)
  • feeling that your heart is beating too fast
  • smoking more than usual or starting to smoke after you quit
  • pacing or finding it difficult to sit down for very long
  • having the urge to cry or crying at small things that don’t usually upset you.
  • feeling anxious or afraid for no particular reason
  • being easily startled by sounds
  • drinking alcohol to try and calm down or relax
  • abusing prescription or illegal drugs
  • having a nervous, upset or queasy feeling in your stomach
  • finding it difficult to stop thinking about the stressful thing in your life
  • trying to avoid things that remind you of that stress
  • having difficulty remembering things
  • focusing on the negative and thinking negative things about yourself
  • strong desire to run away or leave your life behind
  • not wanting to be around other people
  • grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw
  • sore muscles, pain, headaches, etc.
  • shortness of breath
  • being accident prone
  • feeling of weakness or dizziness or of lift not being real

Obviously having one or two of these symptoms could point to generalized job stress, over active children in your life, or just feeling the blues. If however, the list looks like your typical weekday, you are probably seriously stressed. The construct of stress will be different for each of us, and each person handles it in their own way.  I won’t tell you that all you need is a bubble bath and some candles, or a trip away. If you could afford to get away or even afford candles you might not be in this situation right? I will suggest talking it out with a friend, going for a walk, or just take 5 minutes to do some deep breathing. If things are beyond the in and out of air, please call someone professional. If the stress is a result of relationship abuse, don’t wait. There is a list of numbers on this website, many of them are no cost to you. Take care of yourself.

Here to Help


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This website is about 2.5 years old now so some of the websites and links included have been sitting there unnoticed by yours truly. One of the mental wellness sites we have a link to is called ‘Here to Help’. When I clicked on it this morning it was exciting to see just how many useful links, articles and quizzes they have for people to check into. There are Mental Health topics, Personal stories, Addiction topics, and screening self-tests for depression, alcohol use, well-being etc. I took a couple of them while I was looking around; don’t worry I’m fine.

If  you’re wondering how you’re doing generally, I suggest you take the well-being quiz. It doesn’t send your information to anyone, it will just let you know how you’re handling life at the moment and give you some pointers on how to improve things. (If you need them). The link is on the ‘Websites and Resources’ page, or you can go to http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca

If you want to talk to someone about the results of any of the tests there is likely someone in Powell River who can help. Mental Health & Addictions are on hand, AA or NA groups hold several meetings a week, and there are also life coaches/counsellors listed in the phone book. (Some may even be on your workplace health plan, check it out). In this day and age it would be unusual for someone not to feel overwhelmed with life. If you’re not coping like you used to, reach out and talk to someone.

Take care of you.

Deep Freeze


snow-in-pr  Does this picture cool you down a bit? If so, you’re welcome. I added it because of the blog post title. The ‘Deep Freeze’ actually refers to cleaning the ones here at work, but it served a dual purpose to me.

Cleaning out freezers can be somewhat like an archeological experiment, you never know what you’re going to find. Sometimes the identifying ‘left-over’ labels fall off making it difficult to identify the contents of a bag. Sometimes you find 10 loaves of bread at the bottom so you realize you have to make stuffing soon. I took everything out, defrosted it and organized the food before returning it all to the interior. It started me thinking about how often we should do this kind of reorganization in other areas of life. (You knew I was going to tie this freezer excavation in with soul searching didn’t you?)

So, what’s hiding in the bottom of your ‘deep freeze’? Ambitions, hopes and dreams, plans to return to school? Why are they sitting down there with all the old ice cream? (You know the tub that has been softened and re-frozen so many times it’s probably not even good anymore?) Bring your ‘stuff’ from the floor of the freezer and put it in the basket so it’s at the top; the first thing you see. This way you can’t keep ignoring it. As women we have a way of stuffing things down, we do what’s best for other people first. We eventually ignore the longings and aspirations that we had as young girls and replace them with jobs, partners, kids and pretty much everything else. So next time you’re looking in the freezer for dinner options, don’t forget to make sure your ‘stuff’ is still where you can see it, better yet take it out and de-frost it, bring it back to life! Take care of you.

 

100 reasons


empty purse   There was an announcement recently that the newly elected NDP are raising the income assistance rates by $100 per month to $710, and the disability pension will go to $1,133 per month. At the same time, many landlords have raised the cost of rent by, you guessed it $100 per month. I understand that those folks that have rental properties need to ensure their costs are covered. I see the bills that come into our place. I know how much hydro, natural gas and cable set us back. The costs are climbing just where you live. This doesn’t cover the price of food, transportation, or entertainment.

I’m trying to look at the bright side of this financial rise, it can’t be any worse for the poor and disenfranchised in this province. They have been stuck at $610 per month for way too long and many of them lost access to bus passes last year. It’s a vicious circle and as in most situations it’s the children who suffer. Thank goodness for school breakfast programs, clothing for kids concepts, food banks etc. All of which were supposed to be temporary solutions, now far too many families depend on them to scrape by. What we see in our corner of the world is women often staying in abusive situations because it’s too expensive to leave. With zero housing, little money and fading hope for either on the horizon; sometimes it’s just easier to coast through. As I’ve mentioned lots of times here, if you want to talk to a counsellor, get help with any of the legal processes or just ensure that your child is dealing with life please contact one of our free programs (numbers above in the agency list). Take care.