When Reducing Meds

Messily put-together-tips from personal experience on what to do during a reduction of medication.

When decreasing any amount of psychological medication, it is really important to rememeber you are not going to feel well for a while. It could be several months depending on how much reduction you need. It is important to talk to your loved ones to let them know you may seem “off” for a little while and maybe ask them to keep an eye on you incase widthdrawl symptoms get worse. You may feel more depressed, anxious, fidgety, irritable, impulsive, tired, emotional. You will most likely feel much worse before you feel better.
It is also okay to decide to go back on the medication/increase if you need to.

Practicing a lot of self care and positive self talk is essential. Having patience with yourself and being as self aware as possible when a symptom does arise is also great to help you through it. Name the emotion and where you feel it in your body. ex: “I am feeling very irritable right now. I feel a tightness in my chest, throat, and a dull ache in my forehead.This is most likely due to my medication reduction. I am going to take a nice, hot, relaxating shower to make myself feel better.”

If you end up losing your temper and snapping at someone, try your best to apologize immediately and recognize it is not their fault you are experiencing this. Recognize the emotions and thoughts you are feeling and seperate the feelings from the facts and use i statements. “John didn’t get me a glass of water, he’s a jerk (not fact).”is not helpful to you or him. Try: “John did not get me a glass of water(fact). I feel upset (fact)because it makes me feel like I am not important.”(is that true? That you’re not important just because john didnt get you a glass of water? No, it isnt and you can talk to John about how you’re feeling) Much easier to solve the issues with a partner if youre not just blaming them when you’re angry. Try sticking to “I feel… when you…because.. what i would like is…” instead of “you big jerk, you suck.” Lol

Practice more self care and maybe some mindfulness practices and meditation. Mindful eating, mindful walking, body scan meditation, etc.

Remember it is temporary and you will eventually feel better again.
And if you need to, you can always go back on them if it gets too difficult.


Assertive Rights and Responsibilities

1. I have the right to put myself first. In fact, my 1st responsibility is to myself. Only when I am meeting my own needs adequately, can I give to others freely, without expectations.
2. I have the right to be treated with respect.
3. I have the right to decide what to do with my own property, body, and time.
4. I have the right to evaluate my own behaviour, thoughts, and emotions, and to take responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon myself.
5. I have the right to make mistakes and be responsible for them.
6. I have the right to make self-evaluations without worrying about what other people think.
7. I have the right to not offer reasons or excuses for justifying my behaviour.
8. I have the right to make my own decisions, to make illogical decisions AND to change my mind. I have the right to change my mind after I’ve said YES.
9. I have the right to say, “I don’t know, ” “I don’t understand,” “I don’t care.” and “I don’t want to be involved.” Without feeling inferior.
10. I have the right to say “no” without feeling guilty or selfish.
11. I have the right to ask for what I want (realizing that the other person has the right to say no).
12. I have the right to have, and express my feelings.
13. I have the right to consider my own needs and to express my needs. I have the right to ask for help.
14. I have the right to judge whether I am responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems.
15. I have the right to self fulfillment.
16. I have the right to be independent.
17. I have the right to dignity and self-respect.
18. I have the right to privacy.
19. I have the right to accept, or to refuse, challenges.
20. I have the right to change.
21. I have the right to choose not to assert myself.
1. To assess my true feelings without exaggeration or under-estimating; to express my feeling(s) appropriately without demeaning someone else in the process.
2. To act in a responsible manner as much of the time as possible.
3. To think through my opinions and realize others can disagree with them.
4. To learn from mistakes, rather than punishing myself or others because of mistakes.
5. To reply as soon as possible or as soon as I am able, and without taking unreasonable amount of time.
6. To accept others’ answers respectfully.
7. To respect commitments to others as well as to myself; to allow sufficient time to fulfill commitments.
8. To think through my responses before answering.
9. To not impose my own values on others.
10. To express my needs and, if appropriate, work out a compromise.
11. To avoid “boxing in” myself or others by labelling or making judgement.
12. To acknowledge other’s choices and accomplishments.
13. To feel appropriate anger and sadness and to assert these feelings with the people involved.
14. To recognize anger, sadness, and joy, and see that these feelings do not interfere with others’ rights and responsibilities.

My needs are equal to the needs of others
My needs are different from yours and need to be respected.
My recovery is the most important thing.
I can be assertive without being aggressive.
I’m moving forward in my life despite setbacks
I have the right to my own time.
I am not alone.
I am learning to cope with problems I cannot change/fix.
I am learning who I am and I give myself permission to do that.
I’m okay with nurturing myself.
I am learning to walk away from people and situations that no longer serve me.
I will be kind to myself.

I can see you are angry/upset right now/and/or/ I am upset right now.  I need to take a moment away from this conversation.
That is a harmful comment.  That is a hurtful comment.
Will you lower your voice?  If you cannot lower your voice, I will
have to end the conversation.
Please take a  few deep breaths – you may not realize but you’re talking “at” me.
That makes me uncomfortable.
That’s unkind.
That’s not very nice.
I don’t appreciate…
That’s personal.
Wow, that doesn’t make me feel good at all.
That’s too far.

**step down approach – what your body language, and lower your voice, space the words out.**

Remember: It’s not selfless or selfish its self care.


Relationship Needs

Emotional needs

Things to think about.

How do you and your partner/friend/parent/child etc, show respect for each other? How do you not?

In what ways do you and this person show appreciation for one another? How do you not?

How do you and this person meet each other’s emotional needs?

How could you and this person meet each other’s emotional needs?

In what ways do you and this person show trust for one another?

In what ways do you and this person not trust each other?

Sense-of-security Needs

How do you and this person support each other?

How can you and this person support each other better?

How do you and this person help each other feel secure in the relationship?

What else can either one of you do to help the other feel more secure?

How do you and this person show loyalty and commitment to each other?

What else can either one of you do to show loyalty and commitment to each other?

Financial Needs (if applicable)

What kind of financial goals do you and this person share?

What money issues do you disagree about most?

How do you manage the daily money issues? (paying bills, etc?) with this person?

How does that work for both of you?

How are your spending habits the same? Different?

How are your saving habits the same? Different?


Sharing Needs

Describe how you and this person share household and or other types of responsibilities?

In an ideal world, how could you and this person be more responsible?

How do you meet this person’s sharing needs?

How could you better meet this person’s sharing needs?

How does this person meet your needs?

How could this person meet your sharing needs?


Social Needs

What types of social situations do you and this person share?

What types of social occasions do you and this person enjoy and have fun?

What social happenings do you like that this person does not?

What social happenings does this person like that you do not?

How do you and this peson meet your social needs?

How could you and this person better meet your social needs?


Spiritual Needs

How are your spiritual needs and those of this person’s the same ? Different ?

What types of spiritual activities do you like to do together? (church, meditate, nature walks)

In what ways do spirituality and spiritual issues interfere with your relationship?

What spiritual values do you share?

What values do you each have that the other does not?


Dealing Effectively with Needs Problems

A simple process that can help you and this person more effectively with differences in your needs-sets include the following steps which can help you to understand each other’s needs and learn to accept and embrace your differences.

1) Understand your own Needs.

Partners who fight often fight over the same issues repeatedly. It is important to first understand what your needs are. Now that you have completed the assessment/reflections, what would you say are your greatest needs in your relationship?

2) Permit Yourself to Express Your Needs to the Person.

My needs:

Ex: I need him to WANT to know my feelings.

How can I express this need to my partner?

Ex: Since he doesn’t always listen to me, I’ll write him a note explaining how I prefer sharing my feelings with him more than anyone else.

3) Understand The Other Person’s Needs.

It is also important to understand what the other person’s needs are. Look back at the assessment you completed. What would you say are the person’s greatest needs in your relationship?

4) Listen To What The Other Person Needs.

Think about things that this person says that should give you insights into your partner’s needs.

My partner’s needs:

Ex: To spend an occasional evening with friends.

How My Partner Tries to Express This Need:

Ex: Makes excuses about why his friend’s need him to come over.



The present was in the potato (literally) :D

img_4093I admit, the 9 year old I reside with can gift wrap better than I. My skills aren’t lacking, there just burried under a thick layer of laziness and impatience 😉 . Who has time to cut neatly? Hand-eye coordination– who needs them when you have massive amounts of tape?! My priority was time management. I usually sandwhich a gift between two poorly, zig zagged, hand- ripped decorative paper and then I over indulge in tape to the point that even if there were 2 or 3 or 10 spots where wrapping paper did not reach, the thick layer of tape makes for a cool, foggy glass look 😉 it’ll keep the receiver teased. I also rarely ever wrap a present in its original box or form. I like to add random things like an oven mit or some random ornament I already own along with the real Christmas present as a way to distort the shape of the gift to keep people guessing 😉

This year– I was even more lazy. I was sooo lazy I decided to put my roommate’s present 🎁 inside—- a potato. 😉

I was unpacking groceries and thinking about what ornament/trick I would use to distort the shape of the bracelet pendant I was going to wrap for my friend. As I reached into the shopping bag, a potato rolled out. Inspiration began to spud!! 😀

So here is what I did:

I searched my bedroom and found an old decorative German beer stein as well as some marbles that I use for sound therapy. I found some paper and a pen and wrote a note in Japanese for my friend to decode (we are both interested in the Japanese language ).

I inserted the message into the stein, filled it with marbles, tossed it into a spare gift bag I had laying around, taped it up and put the faux gift under the tree to wait for its pray. (My lazy was was becoming a more thought-out plan as I went along)

Next, I took the pendant out of the original  ring box, wrapped it in Saran Wrap , aluminum foil, shiny paper, etc.

I got some of my roommate’s fav chocolates from the grocery bag

I found a book of mine

I got the potato, cut it in half, then carved a deep square into the middle of one half of the sliced potato. I stuffed the Saran/foil-wrapped pendant into the potato to check the size. It fit. I removed the pendant again and put the potato together and wrapped it in aluminum. I wrapped the book and the chocolates separately in aluminum foil too and put them in the fridge. The next morning (aka Christmas) I snuck into the fridge and placed the pendant back inside the potato.

When my roommate opened her faux gift , she had a priceless and very much confused expresseion on her face as she stared down at her stein full of marbles.

I said:”You lost your marbles! I found them for you!!” (Ref: the older gent who lost his marbles in the old classic movie, Hook/peter pan))

Eventually, she found the note.  I helped her decode it and off to the fridge she went. I told her two gifts in there were hers and they were in aluminum foil. She picked the book-shaped one (decoy/faux gift) and the weird, lumpy one (her chocolates) . The chocolates she loved and had a slight relief look on her face, which changed back to confusion when she unwrapped my book on G.I. Diets (lol) I almost lied and said “oh? Is this not one of the books on your wish list?” 😉  instead I just laughed at told her to keep looking. All that was left was a blue container and a wrapped potato. She asked nervously “um. – are you sure it’s in foil and not in this container?” I told her to take a look for herself and inside the container she discovered my delicious leftover lunch from the day before. So she picks up the only thing left (the foil potato) and looks at me amused and perplexed and laughs, “so my gift is a potato?” My eyes shine and I excitedly yell out in a AHA I pranked you accomplished tone — “NOPE It’s IN the potato!!!”  Mind apparently blown she looked down at the potato a little stubbed and pulls off the foil and the potato splits in half in her hand and voila!!!! Her little package with her pendant inside 😉  Hahaha 😀

We had a good laugh at how random and strange that whole experience was, but not before I told her husband that his gift (a gift card to Tim Hortons) was in the freezer .. gift card wrapped in Saran Wrap, foil, paper, ziplock bag, inside of a toothpaste box, tape, inside of a water bottle that was filled with water , inside of a bigger ziplock bag filled with more water which was now ice 😂

It was deff a strange adventure, but it sure kept the morning fun 🙂 I believe my expected ugly gift wrapping days are behind me and more amusing prank wrapping days are ahead 😉

Merry Christmas/Boxing Day!!!

Happy Holiday

Seasons Greetings To all non-Christian holiday goers 🙂






Grief and Loss


What is Grief?

The experience of one who has lost a loved one.

A natural and unavoidable response to any type of loss.

Unique to each person and each loss.

Affects us physically, socially, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

Usually associated with death, however there are a variety of losses that a person may grieve.

What is Bereavement?

“Means to be deprived by death. Someone whose spouse has died, for example, is said to be bereaved.”

The loss to which the person is trying to adapt.

Reference: The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving, Debra Holland, M.S., Ph.D.


What is Mourning?

“is when you take the grief you have on the inside and express it outside of yourself.”

Process that one goes through in adapting to a loss.

Reference: The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving, Debra Holland, M.S., Ph.D.


Types of Loss Examples:

End to a relationship

Job loss

Death of a loved one

Death of a pet

Change in physical or mental health

Loss of financial stability

Miscarriage (all involved- parents, family, etc)

Change in future hopes and dreams

Loss of feeing of safety after trauma

Loss of identity or sense of belonging


New job

Moving to a new house, town, province or country

Changes in life after birth of a child

Child graduating elementary, highschool, etc.


Myths about grief and loss

Something you “get over.”

There is a right and a wrong way to grieve

Grief can be avoided

It’s linear with a beginning and an end.

it’s time limited

I must be strong

Don’t feel sad

Replace the loss

Keep busy (short term relief doesn’t work)


Types of Grief

Anticipatory Grief

Disenfranchised Grief

Uncomplicated Grief

Complicated Grief


Anticipatory Grief

Mourning that occurs before an impending loss

Much more common with the advances of healthcare and medicine

May change the dynamic of grief after the person has died

Examples: Family Member diagnosed with terminal cancer, dementia/Alzheimer’s or any other terminal or degenerative condition, process of going through a separation or divorce.



Grief that is not generally acknowledged or that is minimized by society.

Makes it difficult for the bereaved to mourn publicly, receive social support or to have loss acknowledged

Examples: Miscarriage, death of an ex-partner, death of a pet, end of an unhealthy relationship.


Uncomplicated Grief

“For most people, grief never completely goes away but recedes into the background. Over time, healing diminishes the pain of a loss. Thoughts and memories of loved ones are deeply interwoven in a person’s mind, defining their history and coloring their view of the world. Missing deceased loved ones may be an ongoing part of the lives of bereaved people, but it does not continuously interrupt life.” (The centre for Complicated Grief Columbia University School of Social Work)


Complicated Grief

Refers to factors that interfere with the natural healing process such as characteristics of the bereaved person, to the nature of the relationship with the deceased/lost person, the circumstances of the loss, or to things that occured after the loss.

“Knowledge that the person is gone however, still can’t believe it. They say that time is moving on but they are not. They often have strong feelings or yearning or longing for the person who died that don’t seem to lessen as time goes on. Thoughts, memories, or images of the deceased person frequently fill their mind, capturing their attention. They might have strong feelings of bitterness or anger related to the death. They find it hard to imagine that life without the deceased person has purpose or meaning. It can seem like joy and satisfaction are gone forever.” (Handbook of Bereavement; theory, research and intervention. Margaret Stroebe, Wolfgang Stroebe, Robert Hansson.)







Chronic Grief

Prolonged, unending and unchanging

Associated with depression, guilt, withdrawal and preoccupation with the lost

Not the same thing as Anniversary reactions which can happen even a decade after a loss


Delayed Grief

Inhibited, suppressed, post-phoned

Can be delayed for weeks or even years

Upon experiencing a future loss grief reaction may be exaggerated

May be stimulated by future losses ie: Triggered by divorce


Masked Grief

Quote from a Comicstrip:

“Sure there’s traditional therapy, Mr.Wayne, but how about this? You get a costume, some gadgets, maybe a sidekick, and you fight crime. See how that works.” (Mark Anderson)


Masked Grief

Symptoms are not recognized as related to the loss

Generally turns up in one or two ways; a physical symptom or a maladaptive behaviour


Exaggerated Grief

Intensification of a typical grief response

Person is aware that it is linked to the loss

Includes major psychiatric disorders that develop following a loss

Clinical Depression, Anxiety Disorder, Phobias, Substance abuse issue, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


“5 Stages” of Grief

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance

Proposed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

More of a guideline to normalize what you might be feeling vs. concrete stages with beginning and an end that everyone will experience

Keep in mind- all people grieve differently



Our brains attempt to protect us against overwhelming information and pain until we are ready to process it.

Feelings include shock, disbelief, numbness, feeling surreal, confusion




Numbness wears off and pain resurfaces and the pain is deflected and redirected

Often involves looking for someone/something to blame for our pain

Anger at a person for leaving us, the doctor who couldn’t create a cure, the counselor that didn’t save the marriage, God, other family members, inanimate objects and at times ourselves.



Reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability, trying to regain a feeling of control

Often accompanied by feelings of guilt

Lost in a maze of “If only…” or “What if…”

“If we had only sought couples counselling sooner.”

“What if they had gone to the doctors the day before.”

“Maybe if I had called them that night to talk they would have avoided that accident.”

“If I had only played with my pet more often.”

“What If I promise to never get angry at my child again?”



Sadness and regret predominate

Reflection on what the loss might mean and its practical implications

Starting on the path towards letting go

Feels as if it will last forever

Withdrawal from life, have difficulty socializing and engaging in self-care

Normal and not something to be “fixed” or something to “snap out of”



Accepting the reality that things will not be the same and that this new reality is permanent

Not the same as feeling “All right” or “okay” with the loss

May feel as if we are betraying the one we lost at times

We learn to “live with” the loss, having more “good days” then bad


Resolving Grief/Grief “Work”

“Most, if not all, bereaved individuals never totally resolve their grief, and significant aspects of the bereavement process may go on for years after the loss.” (Handbook of Bereavement. Maragret Stroebe, Wolfgang Stroebe, Robert Hansson)


Ways to Engage your Grief

Talk about the person who was lost

Acknowledge and work through the feelings (experience and work through the pain)

Talk to the person who was lost, either by speaking to them aloud when at home, when visiting their grave, by writing them letters, etc.

Create meaning: Create a memory book, go through old photos, create anniversary or commemorative rituals

Do not avoid reminders, engage in them

Engage with and build on your support system; Join a grief support group; Get Counselling

Engage in self-care



Centre for grief and healing

Bereaved families in Ontario- halton/peel

Supports groups for: children, youth, young adults, and adults

Specific groups for : General grief, child loss, spousal loss, infant loss

Other services: Grief workshop for teens , Art therapy, corporate education, commemorative events, grief library

Contact information:

Website: www.bereavedfamilies.ca

Email: info@bereavedfamilies.ca

Phone Local: 905-848-4337 or Toll Free 1-877-826-3566

Main Office location: Bereaved Families of Ontario H/P. 33 City Centre Drive, Suite 610, L5B 2N5 Mississauga, ON Canada

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse Programs for Grieving Children provides support groups for children, youth, and their families following a death in the immediate family

Location and contact:

82 Wilson St, Oakville, ON




Reasons for Loneliness


😦 Reasons People Experience Loneliness 😦

Life Changes Loneliness often occurs in the midst of major life changes such as loss of loved ones, moving to a new city, or not being able to work because of an illness or disability.These types of major life changes often encourage people to meet others.

Getting Older – As people age, they experience death of friends and family, and often feel as if they have fewer people who share their life experiences.

Inadequate Social Skills – When people are unable to communicate with others, because they have weak social skills, they are at risk for loneliness. A lack of adequate social skills can make it difficult for people to develop and maintain relationships with others.

Personality Characteristics – People often are shy or lack the power of self-esteem to make friends easily, and therefore receive fewer responses and less supper from other people.

Situational – People often experience loneliness when they are surrounded by people who have different ideas, values and interests. Therefore, when people do not have friends, family members, and acquaintances with whom to share experiences, they perceive themselves to be different, and feel lonely.

😦 Symptoms of Lonely Feelings 😦

Loneliness is an extreme emotional state in which people experience powerful feelings of isolation from others, it is accompanied by a variety of thoughts, behaviours and feelings.

  • Crying a lot of the time
  • Feeling alienated from other people
  • Feeling you are not accepted
  • Feeling cut off or disconnected
  • Feeling damaged or unloved
  • Feeling as if you are not as worthwhile
  • Feeling as if you are alone, even though you are surrounded with/by others
  • Feeling as if you do not have the same interests and values as those around you
  • Feeling “hollow” inside
  • Feeling empty
  • Feeling lost with no direction
  • Feeling physical “broken heart”
  • Feeling sad
  • Feeling as if you are not loved
  • Feeling as if you cannot make friends or build stronger relationships with acquaintances
  • Feeling as if you have nobody with whom to share personal concerns and experiences

😦 Negative Effects of Chronic Loneliness on Mental and Physical Health 😦

Mental Health

  • Loneliness has a big impact on one’s mental health.
  • Increase your risks of clinical depression and suicidal thoughts.

Physical Health

Chronic loneliness is associated with:

  • Greater risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
  • Suppresses the functioning of your immune system.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns.
  • Addiction.
  • Various forms of anti-social behaviour.
  • Shorter life expectancy.


Next Posts will be: How loneliness entraps us. What can we do? 🙂

Resource: Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital

Helping GTA’s Homeless

Helping the Homeless

And getting over the stereotypes

(See bottom of post for useful links and statistics for Halton and GTA areas)


The Stereotypes

I can understand a person’s fear when it comes to the homeless, because I’ve been afraid too. When I first moved to the GTA area, I was full of assumptions and stereotypes about homeless people being dirty, crazy, alcoholic, drug users and all ex-murderers. That was not progressive nor productive. It made me afraid and avoidant of my favourite hang out spots, and it wasn’t helpful to others because I was too afraid to help.

Alternatives and a new outlook

The truth was, I didn’t know and I still don’t know why a certain person is homeless. Back then, I needed to find some alternative reasons for homelessness. Here are a few: A severe mental illness, poverty, identity theft, new refugees, house fire with no or little insurance and no family, avoiding deportation to an unsafe homeland, a run away from an abusive home or foster family, previously committed a minor offense and are without support. The list goes on.  I eventually decided to stop over analyzing ‘WHY?’.  My newer motto is that if someone needs help, help.. and that kindness and compassion does not need questions answered.

Cash Donation Alternatives

Cash isn’t the only way to assist someone. We can offer our time with a local organization, donate clothing and other needed goods to a local shelter or charity (Call ahead and ask what they need). We can also directly offer someone items such as a bottle of water, beef jerky, umbrella, or winter gloves, gift cards (for a store in the area- otherwise, how will they get there?)  transit day pass, etc. We can also offer to buy them lunch, or ask them what they need. Offer to wash their bedding or replace them with clean ones. Ask if they would like a care package.  Ask them what they need.

Equality and Compassion

Ask them what they need. Do NOT allow the mindset that people in need are second-class citizens who should be more than grateful for anything you give them. Do not allow negative perceptions that this person whom you’re trying to help cannot be in need if they aren’t going to take anything and everything. Do not let your motto be “Beggars cannot be Choosers”. Like us, they have preferences, personality, rights and dignity. They are our equals who are in need of assistance as we all need help sometimes. They’ve also been through their own personal struggles so be mindful of that.:)


“Hey, I don’t have any change/cash, but can I’ll buy you lunch (on debit). Is Subway okay? What kind of sandwich would you like?”

“Your shoes are falling apart, my friend. If you’d like, tell me your shoe size and I can get you some newer ones.”

“I’ve got an extra umbrella, bottle of water and a few extra pairs of socks that may fit you. Do you need any of these?”

♥♥ Note: For safety -I never offer and rarely allow a person to accompany me to a store. After all, they are still strangers.  I never approach anyone I feel may be dangerous or physically harm me, nor do I travel down any dangerous or unknown routes in search of someone in need. As the old saying goes, ‘Safety First.’ ♥♥



Halton and Peel Region

If you are in the Halton Area (Ontario) and you need Emergency housing, please dial 311 and ask for emergency housing options. Click here

Apply for Social housing in the Peel region. Click here

Read Peel Regions Housing and Homeless Plan. Click here


Apply for housing in Toronto. Click here

Finding Solutions for Homeless (Canada). Click here

Toronto’s Homeless Twitter Page. Click here

Toronto’s City Homeless Shelter. Click here

Toronto City’s Guide for Homeless. Click here

Toronto’s Covenant House (Shelter). Click here

Toronto’s Red Door Family Shelter. Click here

1st Stop Woodlawn Shelter for Women. Click here