Choosing Freedom

Yesterday was a pretty amazing day in Canada. Bell Let’s Talk day raised over $6.2 million. Just one call, text, tweet, and share at a time, Canadians coast-to-coast helped to break the stigma surrounding mental illness in Canada. I am proud to have participated in this initiative. I believe in it because mental illness has touched my life in many ways. I have lived with depression and anxiety for 28 years, but I didn’t always know what it was. Others in my family have also had bouts with depression or anxiety, but it was never talked about. How can you get better if you never talk about what is wrong? And why must there be shame in the struggles that can’t be seen?

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There is power in numbers, as we saw in the 126 million #BellLetsTalk communications yesterday. But more than that, there is power in voice. It takes just one person to speak up for a ripple effect to begin. Start talking in your family, school, office, or community and see what happens. If you are struggling, isn’t it nice to have someone there to talk to? Well, maybe someone in your life just needs to know you will listen. Open the conversation and see who jumps in.

Earlier today, I read a wonderful article in Chatelaine Magazine. Stephanie Reidy wrote about her 20 year battle with depression, and it really resonated with me – the feelings, the denial, and the ultimate choice of getting help or losing everything. Stephanie’s story is similar to a lot of people; one big difference is that she got help and now tells her story to others in the hopes of connecting with at least one person meant to hear it that day. This is the piece that resonated with me the most. I, too, have told my story of abuse and pain to others in the hopes of making a difference in just one person’s life. I may never know who I may help, but I feel that everything I have gone through in my life will be worth it if just one person hears my story and speaks up about their own.

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I am just one person in a sea of many, but I am ready to start the ripple effect. Who will be the next to tell their story?

As always, it is Passionately Written.

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Wading Through The Darkness

Feel Better

I have mental illness. I fight to see a brighter side to the darkness each day, and sometimes each minute. Laughter, newly fallen snow, and beautiful bright sunny days are the best canvas for me to paint my smile. Writing is my drug of euphoria. My daughter is my daily gift. I have mental illness, but you may not ever see it unless you know me. There is no better way to combat stigma than with education and using your voice. Write it; speak it; whisper it; scream it; sing it; sign it. Any way will work if you just keep the message going. Mental illness sucks; let’s beat it at it’s own game. Don’t be silent! Be proud, be courageous, and be healthy! #BellLetsTalk

Now, shall we start the conversation? Who feels brave enough to say that mental illness has touched their life? It isn’t something to be ashamed about. Saying it will give you the empathy to be there for your loved one, the courage to stand and fight your own battle, or the chance at eradicating the stigma of mental illness in your own community. Stand up and be heard. I’m listening. You aren’t alone.

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Passionately Written by yours truly…

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Journey Into Many Faiths

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Multi-Faith

Welcome to my journey into different faiths and cultures from around the world throughout the 2016 year. I intend to explore a new-to-me faith every month and hopefully share with you this great experience as I go. Through reading, music, movies, discussions, and even some in-person stories, interviews, and field trips into each faith and culture, I hope to bring you some fun posts that you can enjoy, and maybe learn a little while you are here.

The reason I am doing this multi-faith journey is to explore history, learn about food, clothing, and traditions, and try out experiences that have been calling to me for years. I am intrigued by other faiths, what things might mean, or how they work. I am very excited for this experience and I look forward to the adventurous 11 months ahead. Here is a run-down on what I will be exploring each month:

  • February – Buddhism
  • March – Catholicism
  • April – Judaism
  • May – Greek Orthodox
  • June – Muslim
  • July – Mennonite
  • August – Scientology
  • September – Islam
  • October – Wicca
  • November – Hinduism
  • December – Anglican

There are so many more faiths, religions, and cultures to explore, but I deemed it better to give more attention to a few than to barely touch on a lot. I have included certain ones because they have intrigued me for quite some time, and others because I know nothing about them and I felt they deserved my research. If you would like to name other ones that you feel would be good to explore, I may consider extending my faith journey into following years.

Now, I would like to invite you – my readers, friends, and family – to leave me positive comments, resources, webpages, books, names, and more. I am just one person who is starting an inquisitive adventure through an infinite amount of information, and I could really use some of your help.

I hope you will join me on this great pilgrimage I am starting. Maybe we will all learn a little from each other, and gain insight from our brothers and sisters around the world.

It is excitedly explored and Passionately Written.

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Lest We Forget

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Remembrance Day is a time for us to remember those who fought for our country’s freedom and who answered the call to be in the Canadian military. In honour of the brave men and women who were injured or died in World War I, World War II, Korea, Afghanistan, Peacekeeping missions, and all missions since 1914, November 11 is a day to pay respect to those who put on the uniform each day. The pride of the Canadian people is with those who have fought, continue to fight, and will fight in the future. We are blessed as a country because of those we will never forget.

More Than the Written Word

What are those things that cross the page in neat little sentences? Words? No. Dare I say thoughts and emotions? Why, yes. They glide smoothly from the mind to the fingertips and are lightly punched into magical realms that cross the screen for all to see. But what kind of sorcery might this be? I’ll let you in on a little secret.

Words on a page

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Words are very powerful. Individually they may seem somewhat odd, weak, or even insignificant. But when time is taken to properly, painstakingly knit them together into a fabric, the power behind each word is incredible.

My love for words can sometimes be overwhelming. The act of writing brings about a heady excitement that one might find while taking drugs or during an exceptionally intimate moment. I can’t say I have experienced either of those particular events lately so writing is my adrenaline rush as well as my romantic liaison. And yes, I am sober and lonely. So very, very lonely. So lonely that…well, let’s not get into that right now.

Being a writer as a child was an incredible feeling. I wrote the things that were in my head and heart and they came out as stories filled with magic, emotion, and realism. It didn’t take much effort to write for much of my youth. But as I hit my early adult years the realization that words could raise a person up as well as cut them down became a shadow lurking around the corner. I have experienced both the positive and the negative that words can create. I have watched as people are cut down with one statement and expected to forgive and forget with the next. Judgement, anger, and pain are written in the same manner as that of optimism, happiness, and healing – one word at a time.

I am not sure what thoughts will come, what stories will unfold, or what statements will be made. But I am sure that I have lot of things in me that need to be put on the page, that deserve to be read and heard. I hope some of those things will make you smile, laugh, think, and maybe even cry. As I feel the emotion that my words bring to me, I will do my best to portray it to you with honesty and care. Writing is both my gift and my bane…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

From me to you, it is Passionately Written.

Reading The Pain Away

My Mantra

My Mantra

I just read a wonderful post about why a woman chooses to read romance novels to get her through chronic pain. It moved me so deeply that I wrote the following comment in response. And I realized that this comment explains so much about me and who I am that I wanted to include it on my Passionately Written page. I want so much to tell my stories because I know somehow I will help someone else, as the writer of the linked post did for me. Please read her post as well:

http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/blog/chronic-pain-and-coping-why-romance-novels-are-my-equipment-for-living

And this was my response to her:


Wow, Elyse…it’s like you lived a chunk of my life. I was a competitive figure skater until I was 17 years old. At 16, I had yet another skating injury, wrist tendonitis, but it wasn’t going away. It then went to my left wrist, and over the next 4 months went throughout majour parts of my body. While this went on, I experienced head pains that would bring me to my knees. After giving up skating to concentrate on my last year of high school, the pains were unbearable and I did much of my schoolwork at home. Tests, pleading with doctors, being ignored, and the phrase that stuck with me the worst was “It’s all in your head.” Yes, that’s right. The headaches are in my head. Now if you could fix them and give me my young athletic body back, I’ll be happy to leave.

A rotten year later, I heard from a muffled unbelieving voice that I had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. My “old English” doctor didn’t believe it, and I left unfulfilled and questioning what it all meant. Within a month, a neurologist told me I had “common migraines” which are bad headaches every day. Medications came and went over the next several years, little relief, and ulcers became my painful friend in my stomach. Needless to say, I sucked up the pain, got a job in retail, and became an insufferable workaholic for the next decade.

Age 29, I got married, pregnant with my daughter, and learned that the pregnancy was not a fan of Fibromyalgia. Most wonderful, and yet painful time of my working life. My daughter is about to turn 13 years old in a week, and I have spent that last decade of her life in constant pain, limping, crippled up some days, and have now been diagnosed with my third type of migraine. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t love the strength this pain has given me to become the strong person I am, but I hate it for denying my daughter the pleasure of running, playing, and some days even hugging without discomfort.

I have led a great life up to today, and I wouldn’t change anything because of what I might lose if I did. I’m a divorced single mom who homeschools my daughter with epilepsy. But I have given my daughter the love of reading, books, and writing as well. The adventures through the words on a page can give you the intelligence, emotions, and strength to make it through another bout of pain or depression. It is in many ways a prescription that can be filled infinitely and used as often as possible. I thank the books that I read, the authors that I review for, and the blogs that I write that allow me to stay in the comfort of my home with pain and depression, but I can still make differences to my daughter and the people I connect with online. Never has reading and writing meant so much to me than now, when disability comes knocking but it doesn’t have to rule my every moment.

Thank you so much for this post. I think it’ll become a post of my writing blog. Much love and healing thoughts.


Do you have anyone you know dealing with chronic pain or any other chronic health problem? How do you deal with the stress, pain, depression, etc? What are your go-to distractions from what you are dealing with?

Let me know your thoughts of what is Passionately Written…

The Essence of Gliding

ImageThe feel of the cool air blowing on my face always gave me a burst of energy. It was time to skate. Lacing up my boots, double knotting them to ensure it holds, I begin to stand. A little knee-bend creates that lovely pressure around the ankles and base of the calf. A deeper knee-bend cracks the knees and stretches the calf and thigh muscles. Warmth flows through the body as the blood begins to pump. Swinging arms, bending at the waist, and upper body stretches. A neck crack each direction. It’s time.

The silver blades touch the smooth ice and I push off. Each stroke I make sends me further across the glassy surface and faster into the cool wind. As I round the corners, my knees bend more and my strokes dig into the ice making a slick soft crunch as my blades carve and anchor me for the next push. The speed is exhilarating. I feel like I am flying, my arms the graceful wings of an eagle, and my legs the intense power of a jet engine. As I sail across the ice rink in simple movements, my heart continues to soar with the love of life, the voice of poetry dancing with each twist and turn. It is through this simple act of figure skating that I speak my true self. It is within the walls of this building that I am most free. I am powerful, unstoppable, and unbound.

I am, and always will be, that irrepressible skater. The skates hung on the wall will not hold back the skater that still glides within me. It is a grace that moves me from within, finding moments to slip through in my dreams, in my thoughts, in my written words. It is a love so pure that very little can touch. It is the essence of me. It is me.

And it is passionately written…