Monday Musings...Staying Afloat on a Sea of Suffering

Round Two. As I sat in the ‘Bubble’ with the one that I love, a steady stream of paramedics and long board stretchers surfed into the already overcrowded beach party. The music of sirens, saline drips, and wheeling sonogram carts flowed steadily through the mosh pit where everyone was clambering for a front row seat. Apparently they call the north, south, east, and west areas beyond triage the “Bubble” zones, instead of “Pods”, believing it has a friendlier tone. I'm not sure a change of verbiage could change the tide of overwhelming pain, grief and suffering that kept rolling in. In came the elderly woman, whose pallor indicated she was not far from death, only to be told nothing could be

Monday Musings....God Doesn't Give You More Than You Can Handle…

Most of us have probably heard this expression whether you have any church background or not. Usually these words are uttered from well-meaning people who want you to feel better about the circumstances you are in. They might follow it up with: “Tomorrow will be a better day.” “Things will get better.” But for those who live with a chronic mental or physical illness, it’s often hard to believe that there is a limit to the pain and stress - that there is a shut off valve, controlled by God, who watches as the barometer rises and then says: “Ok that’s enough for that person. I’ll move on to the next.” Instead things just seem to keep happening, with little reprieve in between. Or just when yo

Monday Musings...Duck, Duck, Goose!

How many times as a child did you hear the words: “Think before you speak”? Or after some epic fail moment from a reckless choice: “What were you thinking?!” And as you hung your head in guilt and shame (or not because it was too fun in the moment), you processed your words and actions and realized that in fact you were thinking! What you do or what you say are products of your head space. Our mind is an amazing engine that is fuelled by memories from learned experiences. To help you understand this, I'm going to give you a brief PSY101 lesson to show you (and your mom) that you are in fact always thinking. At birth, humans have over 100 billion nerve cells that, for the most part, stand as

Monday Musings...When All You Own Goes Up in Flames

Here we are in Ontario sitting on our comfy couches, peering at our computer screens following in real time the blaze that is raging through Fort McMurray and edging ever closer to the Saskatchewan border. As we watch with curiosity and shock at the sheer power of the flames and the path of destruction they leave, we can’t help but wonder about all those who had to evacuate their homes and leave behind all the material conveniences we take for granted. What would you take with you? What would you be willing to leave behind? These are questions that we might do as an exercise in school. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three objects would you want to have with you? But we never t

When You Feel like Screaming…Help for Frustrated Mothers

You have to admit it. Most mothers are guilty of losing their temper and hollering at the top of their lungs. Usually the moment you let loose, you instantly regret it. So on a weekend where we honour mothers and remember all the amazing things mothers do, let’s be realists and address a topic that exists, but few people talk about it. The title of this blog is actually the title of a book by Pat Holt and Grace Ketterman M.D. (2001) that I picked up when I was a young mother with a quickly growing brood of children. To be honest, I wasn't a habitual screamer, at least out loud, rather, I screamed a lot inside my own head. You see, I spent a great deal of my time in my head space just trying

Monday Musings....Sticks and Stones Can Break My Bones, but Words of a Song Can Soothe Me

As a child did you ever lie down in the middle of a grassy field on a summer day and stare up at the clouds in the sky and just let your mind wander? You looked up and you thought about the vast expanse of blue and it just seemed limitless. The clouds provided countless opportunities to configure the meaning of the shapes and sizes; you even imagined feeling the texture of the clouds if only you could reach out and touch them… but you couldn't. Ever reaching, but never finding. And yet there was a strange sense of peace. When Kelly Clarkson wrote her latest chart topper Piece by Piece, it moved me. The poetry of her words birthed from a history of pain, loneliness, and rejection capture the

How to Find Your Happy

I could definitely go to school forever! I am continually thirsting for new knowledge to fill up the many portals of my head space, so I was thrilled that I got to go to a mental health conference this week and hear Dr. Amy Banks, who specializes in the neurobiology of relationships. In other words, she studies how we are hard-wired for connection, and how connection can lead to positive emotional and physical health. According to Dr. Banks, relationships live inside of us. If we have been fortunate to have had positive connections, this will provide us with the fuel to restore a sense of balance when life is dragging us down. She had us think back to a ‘positive relational moment’ and then

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© 2016 Head Space: Charlene Mahon