Victims and Survivors of Crime Week

May 27th-June 2nd is Victims and Survivors of Crime Week. It’s not a light 7 days but people need to be recognized;not only those who were victimized in some way, but also those who step up and help out during and afterwards.  This group includes, but is not limited to; RCMP, Community and Specialized Victim Support Services, Transition House staff, Therapists (including therapy animals), and Restorative Justice workers. 

For the victims of crime, to become the survivors of crime it’s essential that they have their say, their day in court or in a support circle. Crime covers so many areas, and therefore encompasses a wide range of reactions. From being a store clerk robbed at gun point to someone stalked by an ex-partner, from having your house vandalized to being raped at a party, the victim is the one who deals with the feelings for a long time afterwards. If you’re interested in more information about what communities are doing to honour the week, check out the link below. If you are a victim of crime, either recently or historically and you’re having a hard time coping, see the links on the website to our agency’s programs and others in the area.


Change isn’t just good, it’s essential

change     Writing this blog sometimes requires coming up with new topics/ideas that reach out to people on a weekly basis. Trying not to be preachy or counselor sounding while sticking to the website’s purpose is not always easy. My main audience is women seeking help (or their support system) so the topics need to be streamlined and informative. Doing research through industry manuals and handouts, and pulling articles from other resources that address family violence come in handy when the information in my own head has taken a day off. 

Change is integral to growth, it’s also one of the hardest things many of us do. It’s especially hard when it’s out of our control or at a time when we weren’t ready to change. Moving apartments or jobs, becoming parents or trading in your beloved vehicle are all big decisions, but they are often things you’ve given some thought to.  Leaving an abusive relationship comes with a lot of painful choices. After all, you loved this person, it’s hard to reconcile the person you knew with this one who continually hurts you. Leaving or having them leave means the kids losing their father, changing neighborhoods and schools, reduced household income, trying to find a place to live in the first place, explaining to friends, family and co-workers why you split up the family, going to court for family or criminal matters. It’s a big, scary decision and perhaps the reason so many women are staying and trying to work it out?

The quote above makes changing sound easy, we know it’s not in most circumstances. Humans as a species detest change, comfort and routine help us know that nothing scary is going to get us. Eating the same food at the same restaurant means we don’t have to try something different and maybe be disappointed. If you never do anything different though, if you never climb outside your happy space, how will you know what else is out there? As I write this a couple of women I know are moving on in their lives, both are doing something positive for them but scary and full of change nonetheless. I applaud them both for taking a look over the cliff and deciding that now’s the time to leap into the unknown. For the rest of you, if you’re looking to make a similar leap, call someone at the agency for the use of our parachutes!

Re-reading and reaching out.

I had a bit of time on my hands this morning, not much just a little. I decided to re-read some of the old blog posts, to see how often I repeat myself theme wise. It’s not too bad actually; my worst fear is boring people to tears, seriously. I’m not really afraid of spiders or snakes or heights. I am afraid of people thinking I’m pedantic and repetitive.

As a former speaker/stand up comic and current writer/blogger I’m probably more aware of it in others. I listen to people speaking all the time and can almost hear my own eyes roll when a story is told for the eighth time, or when a sports announcer seems to get stuck on the ‘amazing’ page in his thesaurus.

That being said, we all roll out favourite tales and anecdotes when a subject comes up we know something about; a guy brings up his recent fishing triumph and the rest of the party interject their own. A woman relates how long she was in labor and the other mothers in the group try and top her time. It’s basic human instinct. In my mind I know that, my patience isn’t always tied to my brain though.

What I noticed about the over 100 blog posts is that in several of them I have asked people to comment, suggest, opine, and only one person has. My good friend will often send me messages with her take on a subject, as a fellow writer she has an understanding of my need for feedback. (Immediate gratification if you will). So is it just good manners, is it that old phrase ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?’ Anyway, my ego and my computer keyboard will go on. 




Motherhood, a day late.

tc-mothersquotes-0005-6-1492117084    Some of my favourite women are mothers. My own mom of course, my sister, most of my friends and quite a few of my co-workers. It’s a combination of challenges, jobs, roles, and responsibilities. I didn’t have children, not for lack of wanting them, it just didn’t work out. I am a caregiver though.

I know from watching my own mother that the definition of motherhood is a vast one. How much she’s sacrificed for the three of us, worried about us in and out of relationships, supported the grandchildren and welcomed a variety of in-laws throughout the years. She’s an amazing role model, outgoing and kind, continually researching things she’d like to learn about, she’s volunteered for a lot and has taught us all that giving back to the community makes you a better community member. I have people telling me all the time what a lucky woman I have to have her as my mom, I couldn’t agree more! 

In my job I see some women struggling to just get through the days, they’re emotional and overwhelmed and yet still spend time with their children. Some have their kids stay with relatives while they try to figure life out. Some are reluctant to go for treatment as they’ll miss their children, maybe not realizing that by going and succeeding at recovery they’ll be that much stronger for their kids in the end. Not everyone has a healthy relationship with their mother or with their kids, some people have lost their mother to death, or family separation. Whatever the case, I hope you took the day to appreciate some woman in your life yesterday.

Grief comes to us all.

Kerzenlicht   This past weekend my mother, some friends and I joined in the ‘Hike for Hospice’. it wasn’t a long hike, but being there was necessary as we wanted to help raise awareness and money for the program. We had really positive experiences with the hospice/palliative nurses at the end of dad’s life. The walk through the Willingdon Beach Trail was as beautiful as ever, and as my parents used to enjoy that walk it was even more poignant.

This post is geared to helping those who are grieving, the most common issue we have as humans is ‘not knowing what to say or do’. The most important thing you can do for anyone who is grieving is LISTEN and not judge!

It is helpful to:

  • Allow them their feelings rather than trying to talk them out of the feelings or tell them they shouldn’t feel that way.
  • Let them be how they are instead of trying to judge or fix them.
  • Let them know that you can see and hear their pain, anger, frustration, guilt and that you think it’s okay for them to have those feelings.
  • Let them tell you how they feel rather than telling them that you know how they feel.
  • Talk to them from your perspective rather than using cliches such as, “it was their time.” You might say something like, “it’s hard to understand why these things happen.” Or, “I can see you’re really hurting.”
  • Be honest. If your grieving friend asks you for information that you have, tell them the truth.
  • Share stories about the person who died. Something funny or a wonderful memory can be a very positive experience.
  • Be patient with them. Give them space and time to do their grieving. However, it is usually difficult for grievers to reach out because of low energy and difficulty concentrating. Calling them and initiating getting together for coffee and a chat is very helpful.
  • Know that it may seem they are being inconsiderate of your feelings for awhile. Don’t be too offended. They may be feeling overwhelmed and not aware of what is going on for other people around them.
  • Talk about the person who died in a natural way. Don’t avoid the topic but don’t go on and on about it either. It helps to share memories, even if your friend cries or is sad. They appreciate that someone will talk to them about the person who died.
  • Provide food, run errands, mow the lawn, clean the house, take over a job they don’t have the energy to do. Call and ask if you can do a specific job. Don’t wait for them to call!

*This list was found in a folder at work. It’s not my original material, but it does all make sense. 


Restorative Justice Training

Hello gentle readers, I am taking this opportunity to let you know of some valuable and amazing training coming to Powell River. There has been a lot of interest in Restorative Justice in British Columbia of late. This may be due to concern over court room backlogs, or just a desire on the part of the population looking for alternatives to ‘just jail’ Please read the information below and sign up for the workshop. Thank you. Maureen
WHEN:             Friday 1st June to Sunday 3rd June 2018
TIME:               9.00 TO 5.00 PM Friday and Saturday, 9.00 – 4.00 PM Sunday
WHERE:           Board Room School District 47, 4351 Ontario, Powell River
COST:  Pay what you can between $30 and $75. This includes a copy of the book “Peace Making Circles – from Crime to Community” and lunch each day.
Learn the advantages of restorative justice and how you can contribute to RJ in Powell River Region, from one of the best:
BARRY STUART—former Chief Judge of the Territorial Court of Yukon
“I found as the Chief Judge the use of Restorative Justice and particularly the use of Peacemaking circles made an enormous difference in all crimes in achieving all justice objectives. Particularly in serving the needs of victims, in the rehabilitation and accountability of offenders, and in engaging the essential resources of communities. The most important contribution of peace making circles arises from generating collaborative partnerships among all agencies and the community, and in raising the awareness within communities of the instrumental changes they can make in building healthy families and safe communities.”

A little grape, hops or juniper berry?


There’s been a lot of talk in the industry, media, and where ever people gather, about Fentanyl, Opioid, and Methadone addictions. I agree wholeheartedly that we are over-medicating some people (and I’ve alluded to that in a previous post). I’m worried that we’re leaving another social issue behind, addiction to alcohol is on the rise, especially for women.

As a result of it being legal (and strongly encouraged in some commercial spots), over-imbibing isn’t a real worry for society until someone gets hurt or killed as a result. We laugh at movies like The Hangover, (or if you’re aging yourself, Arthur). Movies that show the humour that can ensue when you and your buddies have a few too many and forget an entire evening. Oh, the laughs we had, or did we?

I encourage you to watch Lee Remick and Jack Lemmon in the 1962 film ‘The Days of Wine and Roses’. It’s an older film but the issues are relevant today. A woman starts to drink with her husband, she’s reluctant at first, she has a career of her own and doesn’t want to try keeping up with a man who drinks to stay in with the big boys at work. She eventually joins in and it becomes a problem for her, them and the family unit.

An article I read just yesterday noted the number of successful, busy women who are feeling they “need to do it all” are falling into a dangerous pattern of drinking after work and/or after the kids are in bed to just ‘relax’.  It’s true that for every 3 drinks a man can have, we’re told we can only have one. We have a higher chance of getting cancer and liver disease than men with less intake. Of course there’s also the prevailing, (even in our own minds) belief that it’s shameful, not lady-like, poor mothering etc. All I’m saying, and ever will; be careful when you do drink. Follow the obvious rules; don’t drink and drive, don’t go home with someone you just met, go out with a female friend or a group, try not to drink too much when you’re home alone, don’t mix medication and alcohol, and for the love of Pete, stay off all forms of social media when you’ve had too many shots. Take care of you.

Charity begins at home

piggy-bank-pic      For the last two years, Royal LePage has been hosting a garage sale in May and forwarding the proceeds to Grace House. They are continuing the tradition this year. Last year they raised just over $3,000.00! 


When: May 12th, 9:00 am-12:00 pm

Where: Royal LePage parking lot-4766 Joyce Avenue, Powell River.

Why: To raise funds for donation to Grace House programs. 

Please take your piggy bank coins, pop by the office parking lot on that Saturday, say hello to the volunteers and support a great cause! (P.S. You don’t have to buy a house while you’re there!)


royal lepage

“I’m a travelling (wo)man”

suitcase So just back from vacation, (followed by a week off due to tummy/travel bug) and it was just the rest I needed. A person needs to re-energize in this kind of work. When I returned I received a call that I was accepted to a fully financed workshop in Ottawa in June, Yippee! Maybe nobody else says Yippee about Ottawa, but as my New Year’s Resolution had the word ‘travel’ in it, things are looking up, and it’s only April.

The workshop is focused on Transition Houses, which is apt considering where I work, and will include speakers and attendees from all across the country. What a great way to find out what the new trends and issues are, how we compare to other agencies and meet other women doing this job….did I mention it’s all paid for? The Scot in me appreciates that aspect, as does my ED I’m sure. 

Did you come up with any resolutions at the beginning of the year? Maybe attend some classes, quit biting your nails, quit smoking? How are you doing on them? I believe that if I pick something I have control over it makes it easier to succeed. I’ve had ‘quit biting my nails’ on my list since 1975, guess what, yep I fail every year. How does that make me feel? Weaker than others, defeated by my own lack of willpower? I choose to look at the positive aspects. Since last September I’ve lost 40 lbs, continue to be a decent person, good wife and daughter and to research courses and personal interest projects like writing workshops. I want to be the best me I can be, if that person has slightly ragged fingernails, I can live with that. Take care of you.

What Next?

Some of the women we support talk to us about the day they realized they’d had enough. Nothing was working and while they tried their hardest to ‘fix things’ at home, it became apparent that there was nothing left to say. All the conversations were strained and hurtful, maybe they were reduced to ‘day to day’ statements at each other about bills and the kids. They didn’t feel the respect, the love and adoration that was there at the beginning. They spent months wondering what they had ‘done’ to lose his interest. At the same time, the feelings they’d had when the relationship was new had disappeared. He didn’t even try anymore, all they did was argue. No dinner dates, no soft stroking of their cheek, no patience with family life at all. Where had it all gone?


His voice, when he talked to her at all was different. He practically growled at her, gave orders, issued complaints and doubted her sincerity if she told a story. The tears that didn’t fall were causing her throat to hurt, her stomach ached from stress and she finds herself getting short-tempered with the kids. She swore she wouldn’t go down that same road as he seemed to be on. She’s a young woman still, she has dreams of life when the kids are older and don’t need her as much. She always wanted to go back to school, wants still to take up a hobby. Her teachers used to tell her she had talent. She looks around her at other women her age, friends with careers because they didn’t hook up with the first guy who got them all twitterpated. What’s the next step? How could she leave anyway? He has the job, his mom got them the apartment, could she survive on her own and would they take the kids from her? A lot of decisions to make, things to think of. It’s not an easy choice but someone at Grace House could maybe help see options available. 


                                  Grace House: 604-485-9773 24/7  


Eggs and a wedding dress

daffodils   So is everyone over their sugar shock yet? Easter has come and gone, (almost) and it’s time for us to start getting into summer shape. At least that’s what the magazines are telling us. I seldom pay attention to what they say; since I was a child I’ve been a pretty independent (or stubborn) thinker, and to buy something because someone in a famous family all starting with the letter ‘K’ says I should, just sends me in the other direction. That being said, healthy is a good place to be. If you’re hips and knees don’t ache anymore, you can breathe at the top of a hill and you can bend over to tie your shoes without going into cardiac arrest these are all positives, and they are all now applicable to yours truly.

I went to a wedding this past weekend, it was lovely, the bride was radiant. I know they all say that, but this one really was. It prompted people to ask if A and I will ever tie the knot. Marriage is a personal decision and it has to be made for the right reason. If you do it properly it’s supposed to last a long time. I’ve been in my current relationship for 17 years, and was in the first relationship, including marriage for 15 years so I’m aware that marriage can be hard work. You have to compromise and continue to learn about each other along the way. It’s not all about the wedding and honeymoon, as fun as those are. It’s the stresses about money, in-laws, children and house repairs that ultimately test a couple. We all have ways to get over the rough parts, (and remember there will be times when you can’t believe you married this person) but it’s the respect, love and liking each other that will bring you back together. Where I usually end with ‘take care of you, I will add, take care of each other. 


Can you see the wolf in sheep’s clothing?

(Excerpted from ‘Profiles of an Abuser’ on articles-information)

No one ever plans to venture out into the dating world and choose an abusive partner. No one goes on a blind date hoping for red flags that signal this new romantic partner is potentially controlling, obsessively jealous or has a penchant for violence. And yet, statistics show that 1 out of every 3 women, and 1 out of every 4 men will experience a violent partner at some point in their life. Countless others will be subjected to nonphysical forms of abuse by an intimate partner, such as mental, verbal, psychological or financial abuse. 

Survivors often look back and wonder how they could have missed the signs. But this blame game isn’t fair—abuse is never a survivor’s fault, nor their responsibility to prevent. 

Unfortunately, abusers aren’t branded with a scarlet “A.” Many are hiding in plain sight, disguised as some of the most charismatic people you’ll ever meet. In a 2013 Psychology Today article, “Behind the Veil: Inside the Mind of Men That Abuse,” author John G. Taylor writes that men who abuse are “very clever, smart and extremely charming. Most of these men have a personality that draws people in because of their level of charm. This is part of their art to deceive and manipulate.”

And yes, statistics show that most abusers are men. An estimated 85 percent of reported domestic violence cases are men abusing women, while 5 percent of reported cases are women abusing men. Though, this doesn’t take into account abuse in same-sex relationships, which can also occur.

Predictive Indicators for Abuse

As survivors well know, the transition from love to control to violence can be slow and inconspicuous. And while domestic violence is a choice that abusers make, there are a number of factors suspected to contribute to the likelihood of someone becoming abusive. Knowing these factors may help identify risks related to potential partners:

  • A history of abuse in one’s family or past
  • Being physically or sexually abused as a child
  • A lack of appropriate coping skills
  • Low self-esteem
  • Codependent behavior
  • Untreated mental illness
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Socioeconomic pressures (studies show a higher incidence of abuse in lower-income communities)
  • A prior criminal arrest history

Of course, it should be reinforced that just because someone has endured one or more of those factors, it does not guarantee they will become an abuser. However, on the other hand, abusers may try to use one or more of the above as excuses for their behavior, negating responsibility and even using these reasons to justify their abuse. But as social worker Larry Bennett, PhD, puts it: “A batterer who quits drinking is a sober batterer.” 

Do You Recognize Abuse?

People often think about abuse in the context of physical violence, such as slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, hitting, choking, strangulation, beating, or at its most grave, assault with deadly weapons. However, it is common that physical violence is foreshadowed by other patterns of behavior and forms of violence, such as:

  • Calling someone names or putting someone down
  • Shouting and cursing
  • Making threats
  • Extreme jealousy and suspicion
  • Keeping someone away from their family and friends
  • Throwing things around the house or at another person in a violent manner
  • No one ever plans to venture out into the dating world and choose an abusive partner. No one goes on a blind date hoping for red flags that signal this new romantic partner is potentially controlling, obsessively jealous or has a penchant for violence. And yet, statistics show that 1 out of every 3 women, and 1 out of every 4 men will experience a violent partner at some point in their life. Countless others will be subjected to nonphysical forms of abuse by an intimate partner, such as mental, verbal, psychological or financial abuse.Survivors often look back and wonder how they could have missed the signs. But this blame game isn’t fair—abuse is never a survivor’s fault, nor their responsibility to prevent.

    Unfortunately, abusers aren’t branded with a scarlet “A.” Many are hiding in plain sight, disguised as some of the most charismatic people you’ll ever meet. In a 2013 Psychology Today article, “Behind the Veil: Inside the Mind of Men That Abuse,” author John G. Taylor writes that men who abuse are “very clever, smart and extremely charming. Most of these men have a personality that draws people in because of their level of charm. This is part of their art to deceive and manipulate.”

    And yes, statistics show that most abusers are men. An estimated 85 percent of reported domestic violence cases are men abusing women, while 5 percent of reported cases are women abusing men. Though, this doesn’t take into account abuse in same-sex relationships, which can also occur.


    Do You Recognize Abuse?

    People often think about abuse in the context of physical violence, such as slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, hitting, choking, strangulation, beating, or at its most grave, assault with deadly weapons. However, it is common that physical violence is foreshadowed by other patterns of behavior and forms of violence, such as:

    *Calling someone names or putting someone down
    *Shouting and cursing
    *Making threats
    *Extreme jealousy and suspicion
    *Keeping someone away from their family and friends
    *Throwing things around the house or at another person in a violent manner

    Whether you’re being abused or are recognizing abusive behavior in yourself, talking to a trained domestic violence advocate is a free, confidential and potentially lifesaving place to start. Contact your local transition house or advocacy group.


window     It’s not just a song by John Lennon, it’s a request for you, faithful readers to try and imagine a life so different from your own, just for a few minutes.

*People brought in to care for your basic human needs DON’T.

*You are told what to eat, when to sleep, when and why you need to take your pills.

*You are given mere minutes to use the washroom, if you can’t on demand then you have to wait until next time someone else is available to help you. If it becomes a problem you will be provided with protection pads or the like so as not to be a bother.

*Any contributions to society, thoughts or opinions on current events, any interest in world issues are dismissed, ‘how could you know anything?’

*Favourite foods, music, books or movies are a rarity, your personal space for such items is minuscule anyway, if they didn’t get pilfered. Do you have anyone close by to bring in these items anyway? What happened to the people you used to spend time with? Why don’t they bother with you, and where are your kids, don’t they visit at all anymore? What happened to your life, your spouse, your social circle? 

-In case you think this is a commentary on the prison system, think again. There have been many documentaries and social commentaries on the state of senior’s residences lately. I’m not talking about the local care homes, and I hope I never have to, but just in case. If you have a friend or family member in extended care please pop by and see them, take 15 minutes out of your weekend. Put yourself in their slippers; 12 long hours of seeing no one they know, television and reading hours limited as if they’re doing time? Few freedoms or treats, is that how you want someone you loved all your life to spend their days?

No thanks, I’m full

120px-Woman_reading_at_the_beach One of the expressions I use when my mind and heart have heard enough is, “I’m full”. It means that my soul can’t stand any more hurt. I need to shut down for a little while and get some balance back. It’s a self-preservation technique, learned somewhere, and in my current job, it’s essential. Being balanced doesn’t require meditation, it’s just re-connecting with the woman in me who decided to work with people to start with. Having a healthy approach to work means leaving something for your family and friends on your days off. 

Finding your inner strength takes some doing some days. Laying in bed on a work day, thinking of all the things that need to get done before you can come back to your little linen paradise can be exhausting. Try to just focus on one hour at a time, relish your alone time and let it rejuvenate you. Don’t take on tasks that aren’t yours to take on. Delegate or ask a co-worker to pitch in. If you feel like you’ve had enough of the human race take your break away from them once in awhile; play a game on your phone, write a poem, go for a walk, listen to Andrea Boccelli on your iPod. We are all human, that’s right all of us; so cut yourself some slack when your feeling stressed. It’s not an excuse to not do the job you’re being paid to do, but in a social service field you usually have someone nearby that understands what you’re going through. 

As my tag line goes, ‘take care of you’ but if you struggle with that, find a friend, family member or counselor who can help.

Tech at the beach?

cell phoneA couple of posts ago I noted how damaging technology can be to our young women and men, due to online bullying and the sharing of sext’s. I think I noted how technology can be at the same time useful, and harmful. Given that two-pronged concept, I continue to debate with myself about taking my cell phone when I’m out walking. I know that as a woman it’s essential to have it if I’m out by myself after dark. (This rarely happens as I can’t usually stay up that late anymore) but what if I just want to head out for a stroll unencumbered by anything aside from my iPod and a $20 in my back pocket? 

AK and I went for a stroll down the beach trail, and along to the log pond by the mill. They were dumping the logs into the water and I thought to myself that it would have made a cool video, but alas I didn’t have my cell phone. Why? I had my hubby. If something happened to me, he was along for the walk. He would protect me and/or run for help. The only person I call when I’m out walking is him, and he was with me, logic dictates therefore, I didn’t need my cell, (we were having quality time anyway).

Has our dependence on our cell phones created a different mindset? Are we as women becoming less reliant on the observation skills and ‘creep alert’ sensations that have served us well in the past? Are we so mired in the selfie culture that we don’t put our phones down and look around for potential dangers? Do you know that with GPS apps on our phones we can be stalked and found anywhere we go unless we uninstall it?Why not enjoy the feeling of being free of interruptions, pretend it’s 1999 and no one knows where you are for a couple of hours, it’s quite liberating! Whatever you decide, phone or no phone, take care of you. 

Today of all days.

THS Logo, hires  Today is International Women’s Day. Around the world there are rallies, concerts, demonstrations and plays, all celebrating women. Our sex has been in the media quite a bit lately with all the #MeToo conversations, Oscar speeches and the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls investigations. This is a good thing, kind of sad that in 2018 we still have to have marches for our rights, it makes a person wonder if we’ve really come that far in the last 100 years. Yes we have the vote, and more women are making a mark in corporate offices; but we have yet to hit pay equity and there are still women being hurt, put on display, and treated like trash. I would love to not have my job. I would love to have transition houses and programs shut down from lack of need, but that seems to be a long way off. 

In the meantime we do our best to support the women that we see in our programs. Grace House has been in the community for over 20 years now, quietly caring for those women who need a break from their own chaos. Along with our other agency programs; Stopping the Violence Outreach, and Stopping The Violence Counselling, Specialized Victim Support Services, Police Based Victim Services, Poverty Law and PEACE Program (formerly Children Who Witness Abuse) there are many ways we can help. Take today to appreciate the women in your life; mothers, sisters, daughters and nieces. 


Without Meds


Most humans, (and some animals) will require medication of some type, for some condition in their life times. We have been using pills, ointments, injections and herbal remedies almost since the first sun rise. There is no reason to feel shame about needing medicine, but we need to question our GP’s a little more about what each drug does and how it will affect our lives in the long run.

Speak to your pharmacist about doses, interactions and side effects so you know what to expect. Don’t discount other health advice like exercise and stress relieving activities to help the medications work. It’s possible that getting a few more walks in a week could help bring down your blood pressure. A few years ago I asked my doctor for an inhaler because I was having trouble breathing. When I started eating right and exercising, eventually losing 50 lbs, lo and behold I didn’t need the inhaler anymore! 

The above suggestion relates to mainly physical issues, obviously you aren’t going to just Zumba your way out of an OCD or borderline personality disorder diagnosis. The point about keeping tabs (pun intended) on your medications still applies here however. It would be difficult for women trying to deal with end of relationship issues while over-medicated. It would be difficult as well for a woman who is over-medicated to make thoughtful decisions about her life and relationship needs. There are people out there who find someone addicted to substances; prescribed or not, easier to manipulate. That’s often where we come in. If you or someone you know is finding control difficult to attain, call us or one of our support programs.

Where’s the balance?

120px-Balance_justice     I’m not talking about a bank account, or a trapeze act here. Having a good work-life balance is essential to becoming a healthier person. When your employment and your home life are both chaotic it’s difficult to manage either one effectively. If you have children that adds a new element to the mix. They come with their own set of needs, responsibilities, and expectations. You as the adult are expected to deftly manage your life, work and family without complaint, purchase the groceries to feed the hordes, keep the house clean, get the bills paid and maintain your equilibrium. (That trapeze thing is starting to sound easier isn’t it?)

A few blog posts ago I mentioned stress and the effects it can have on us. When all of the above starts pressing on your temples, you need to find an effective way to deflect the stress. A friend of mine wrote about trying painting, others have noted that exercise is the only thing that works for them. As part of an online weight loss group I see others struggling with not eating their way out of a bad mood as it’s the way they ‘cope’. We all have those moments, days, months when things appear out of control. It’s how you learn to respond to the situations that define you. Ask for help, see a counselor, talk to a friend or go for a walk. Try to avoid drugs or alcohol as a choice, they tend to just add to the ongoing situation. Just take care of you. (That way you can be healthier and handle stress, when it comes along, better).

Still in crisis

verbal abuse                     The link below lays out the response to the recent budget, from the B.C. Society of Transition Houses. The Society acknowledges the positive steps and promises, but still sees a gap in the funding for Transition House programs themselves. Take a look and see what you think. No matter what your particular interest is; children and child care, housing, mental health & addictions or other social programs. Our province is struggling to meet everyone’s needs at the moment. In many ways these issues are tied in a bundle, and one often leads to another. 

BCSTH budget response



Why you gotta be so rude?

ipod pictureThe title of this blog comes from a song by the group called Magic, (I already liked them for their tune ‘Red Dress’). It’s one of the tunes I sing in my mind when someone is being incredibly disrespectful. I guess I’m just one of those people that believe assertiveness and aggression are not found on the same plain.

Some people think that demanding services and material goods for themselves is the same as self-reliance. Self-reliance means ‘ a reliance on one’s own power and resources’. So by asking/demanding/expecting others to rush to your commands or wants is not being self-reliant. I’m not sure how that aggressive and rude personality trait develops. Has it ever really worked for anyone? Most folks, if asked will tell you that it turns them off and they are less likely to help someone who won’t use their manners or express appreciation after the fact.

The cliché goes, ‘the two most important words are please and thank you’. Another appropriate one is ‘you catch more flies with honey than vinegar’. I’m not talking being sickly sweet and fake, (most of us can spot that a mile away), the honest appreciation of someone else’s support goes a long way towards getting it again. Obviously there are rude people who don’t care what you think about them, they think they’re within their rights to treat others poorly. Some others are just in a bad mood, and don’t realize how their actions/words affected  you. Perhaps a quick question could help you decide what you’re dealing with. “Did you realize that what you just said could be construed as rude?” How they respond will tell you pretty quick which one you’re dealing with. Take care of yourself and other’s this weekend.

In preparation for pink

bullying  I don’t want to have to say this again, but when I was young….OK, yes it was some time ago, but I can still remember the way I felt when someone said something mean about me. Back in the 70’s it was more likely a comment about my adoration for the Bay City Rollers, or my gauchos. In the early 80’s a girl had the audacity to make a comment about the new appliqued flowered purse I had picked out in Disneyland. (We’re still friends today, so no worries.)

For young women today it’s at a nasty and potentially suicidal level. The addition of cell phones or social media to our youths daily existence has elevated snarky comments. Young men are at risk as well. Who are these cyberbullies and what’s their motivation?

What is cyberbullying? Bullying through electronic means. There are many forms, including harassment, impersonation, outing, cyberstalking, and denigration, but all exist – at least in part – in the digital world. Cyberbullying can often feel even more overwhelming than traditional bullying, because access to a target is 24/7. If you think you’re being targeted online, or know of a friend who may be involved, take a look at the following steps to help you stay safe online. And most importantly, THINK before you post.

Please click on the link for more information; and please be kind to others, you don’t know what they’re dealing with. Do you want to be the person that makes it worse?

Love, a day late.

daffodils   Well, it looks like Spring is coming, as I opened the door at work I noted some blossoms in the garden, just little buds but still, they are a promise. Yesterday involved Valentine’s Day activities; present/card exchange, a favourite breakfast cooked and then a walk for me while A watched his football team win a game. Everyone has their own V-Day traditions, some people ignore it altogether! This is fine as it’s taken on a heart-string tugging dimension, hard when you’re single or unhappily hitched.

The boss and I were just having a discussion about weddings, (it was work related, trust me). How big and expensive everything is, have you watched ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ or ‘Four Weddings and a…..?” These shows seem to encourage one-upping the last bride, spend more money, hire more bizarre entertainers etc. What happened to family and friends witnessing the love between two people? When a young couple tell me they’re separating after they’ve ‘tried to make it work’ for six months. I wonder how much of the break-up is owed to two self-involved individuals who wanted a wedding party and didn’t think about the years of communication and work that comes after the confetti.

Love of any kind is not to be trifled with, it’s a serious emotion. It can be very painful then, when the person you love and who swears they love you hurts you in some way. It becomes hard to trust anyone after that. Lack of love can change a person, it can make them suspicious, angry, even aggressive. They start to doubt their own worth, ‘if no one loves me, there must be a reason.’ Take care of you, and remember to show love and appreciation to those around you, it can make a difference!

Family Day

listening ears   I’ve heard that family are the people that know all about you, but love you anyway. There’s also an expression about ‘home is a place where you can go, and they’ll always let you in.’ I’m not so sure about either one of those phrases. They sound like they were thought up when family life was more ‘Leave it to Beaver-ish’.

The format of families has changed in so many ways, step-families, single parent families, gay couples with or without children, grandparents raising grandchildren, the list goes on. The whole heterosexual couple with 2.5 children is a minority in the 21st century. The important thing about families though is that a healthy one can help shape you.

So, given the change in the definition and expectations, what does the future of the family unit look like? What do you consider family? Are they there for you, or have you come to a tragic (or necessary) parting of the ways? With B.C.’s Family Day Stat Holiday coming up on the 12th this will be a good opportunity for many of us to consider what the word means, and for those of us lucky enough to still have some around, perhaps spend some quality time with them!

Hard to define

assault  There’s been a lot of talk lately about sexual misconduct. Everyone from Hollywood personalities to the President of the USA, to Canadian politicians are being called out for some form of it. What is sexual misconduct? And is it me, or does that word sound pretty tame? A hockey player can get a 2 minute misconduct, that doesn’t help define the word though. It lacks precision, and doesn’t appropriately describe the seriousness of the violence. The Ottawa Citizen newspaper had a piece on February 3rd discussing the terms. Read below for their definitions of each.

“Sexual assault is a legal term and constitutes a criminal offence. In the criminal law context, sexual assault means non-consensual touching of a sexual nature. Sexual assaults are prosecuted by the Crown. One can also be sued civilly for non-consensual sexual touching. This is called sexual battery.”1

“Sexual harassment is a form of workplace discrimination. In Ontario, it’s defined as engaging in a course of vexatious conduct that is known or ought to be known to be unwanted. It includes making sexual jokes, asking for sexual favours, unnecessary physical conduct, demanding hugs, repeatedly requesting a date, using pornography at work etc. These claims are dealt with through a complaint process conducted by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.” 2

Sexual misconduct is a social issue and not a fixed line-it shifts as women gain access to economic and political equality. It’s not found under law, in human rights codes, or collective agreements. It might be found under professional disciplinary codes. It’s clear we don’t have a consensus on it, either. I can give you a clear definition of sexual assault. But for sexual misconduct, I don’t think I could give a clear definitions, except that there are three key considerations. First, a power imbalance. Second, coercion, whether implied or explicit. Third, predatory behaviour.”3

1 and 2. Elaine Craig; associate professor at Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie

3. Elizabeth Sheehy: Shirley Greenberg Chair for Women and the Legal Profession at the University of Ottawa.

I hope these definitions help differentiate between each type of assault.

The right road

images4FT2D52W     For some reason every person on the face of the earth has a road they have to travel. It could be a literal road; such as the highway to their workplace, or it could be an emotional road, such as the path to wellness, or sobriety. There are an awful lot of metaphors involving roads so it’s obviously on our collective minds. Just consider the following sayings;

-‘End of the road’-It could indicate the final stages of life, employment or marriage.

Road not taken’-I feel a sense of missed opportunity when I hear this one.

‘Fork in the road’-This screams choices, go with your gut and decide your path.

-‘Road less travelled’-This is the road a lot of us chose not to take for whatever reason, it’s often the one that would have challenged us the most.

“Straight roads do not make skillful drivers”-This is my favourite quote because:

If you’ve never faced debt, substance abuse, divorce, sadness/grief, or any other human frailty, how can you support others going through tough times? How can I as a human services worker grasp what my clients are struggling with if there isn’t an Achilles Heel of some kind in my own past? Having curves thrown at you is essential to learning how to handle them, and if you can master the curves you can ace the straight lanes and be in a better position to teach others how to drive!