Don’t Beat Yourself Up

From my experience with my own mental health struggles and interacting with others who also struggle, beating yourself up is a common characteristic among us. It is also one of the most damaging. Often we are chastising ourselves for having the feelings we are experiencing. Have you ever questioned your own feelings in comparison with others? I’ve got it better than that person laying on the street; why should I be so unhappy or discontented? Or, I make more money than she does, why am I struggling with my finances? And then there’s this one: I haven’t been through what he has in his life, I don’t have the right to be this angry! And we use exclamation marks in our thinking, while continuously hammering into our heads that we shouldn’t be feeling this way–whether it be unhappy, angry or fearful. And the hammering goes deeper. I’m bad for feeling like I do. I must be a terrible person to be feeling this angry, sad or afraid. Or, I’m less of a person because I feel the way I do. I’m not good enough. I don’t try hard enough. And the “shoulds” begin to bang away inside our minds: I should be able to handle this; I shouldn’t be so lazy; I shouldn’t be so scared…so ashamed…and so on. I’m sure you can fill in anything I have neglected to mention.

What’s really happening when we beat ourselves up for having the feelings we are having, is that we are actually comparing ourselves to others. Once you start “shoulding” on yourself, you are creating fantasies in your mind about how you think others are dealing with their battles when, in fact, you have no idea how they are really feeling. We play a guessing game inside our heads that becomes real instead of the illusion it truly is.

These Mind Games, I believe, are symptoms of mental illness. They are rapidly moving thought patterns that keep us from achieving our full potential. Recognizing them as such is a huge step in the recovery process. But it is not easy. In fact, it takes a lot of hard work and mental exercise to overcome the wizardry of our mentation. We seem to be extremely attached to the imagery that we conceive ourselves to be in. It is “our” perception, after all, and we find it very difficult to eliminate it from our minds. There is much more to delve into here, but I think it is extremely important to pause and consider our options. We are continually inundated by our thoughts. Our thoughts drive our perceptions. Our perceptions affect how we behave. Our behaviour drives our feelings which, in turn, propels new thoughts or, as is often the case, the repetition of old ones. What can we do, moving forward, with this understanding and knowledge as it relates to our mental health? Is there any new learning? Have we rehashed old lessons? Do we need to change in any way? Do we even want to change?

Up Next…CHANGE and ACCEPTANCE

What is Mental Illness?

According to the American Psychiatric Association: Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behavior (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities.

You are not alone. You are not your illness/disease. It’s okay not to be okay.

Before you make your own diagnosis, remember there are professionals out there who can help. There are an insurmountable number of self-help books, articles and web resources available to you. You do not have to do this alone; in fact, it is best if you can share this journey with someone, anyone, you trust and feel safe with. Your safety is of utmost importance. If you are feeling unsafe and/or overwhelmed please call or text one of the many crisis lines out there. Here is a link to Mental Health Support in Canada:

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/mental-health-services/mental-health-get-help.html#a1

For all other countries, you can visit:

https://www.opencounseling.com/suicide-hotlines

For a detailed list of the different types of mental illnesses and their symptoms, go to:

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-types-illness

Covid Kills Hockey

I’ve been waiting to write this post until I calmed down. I was so angry that we had once again allowed Covid to take away something that touched so many lives for the better. I have to wonder when we’re going to stop letting the fear of this thing take away quality of life. Is it just going to “go away” one day so we can get back to the things that matter in our lives? When will “quality” out-weigh “quantity”? Is this just another disease that is going to take lives or is it actually going to disappear? So many questions that can’t be answered. Responses to covid that make no sense at all. Confusion and fear that attack our mental health and leave us without control over our own lives. This “disease” has taken so much from us–being with loved ones dying in nursing homes and hospitals, gathering with friends and family for celebrations of life and occasions of death, the social interactions that we, as humans, need and crave. Meanwhile, we continue to die slowly. Time is moving forward but life is not. Can we really just wait for life to catch up? How do we, as individuals, face the current situation and deal with it without destroying ourselves and the relationships with the people we love?

Winning Cleanly

Well the Canadian boys did what was expected of them and won a clean game against a much weaker opponent. It always scares me when they have to play a full 60 against such a team as I believe they get a bit ‘off’ their game. Lets hope that doesn’t happen to this team. Germany should clean their game up a bit and the trial against the Fins on Friday should trim them down into perfecting their talents and bringing it altogether before their entrance into the quarterfinals in the new year. Notably on the scoreboard was a young Connor Bedard who led the team with 4 goals becoming the youngest Canadian player ever to achieve such a feat.

Connor Bedard of Canada in action in the first period against Russia...  News Photo - Getty Images
Bedard leads Canada to 11-2 win over Austria

Let’s keep watching and cheering on our boys up in Edmonton as they pursue their dreams of winning gold for Canada. What are your thoughts on how Canada is fairing out on the ice? Do you think we’ll be celebrating Gold? A lot of pressure is on their shoulders. Hockey is OUR game, afterall!

Those Boys

The game last night had us on the edge of our seats. Were they really going to lose? How could they be down by two goals? This wasn’t the team we were expecting! But there it was, a score of 3-1 for Czechia. Well, they were soon to get our hearts pumping again with two quick power play goals on a 5 on 3 to tie the game up. But we still wondered, could they finish 5 on 5? And where was the defence on this team as the Czechias came out and scored three times on 6 shots! But they held their own and potted two more goals to complete the game and finish with a win of 5-3. Good old Canadian World Junior spirit won out in the end but do we still have questions? I know I do. How will Canada’s defensive side match up against some of the higher offensive teams they will face? Tuesday’s game should be a walk in the park, but will it be? We will have to watch and see! Scoring for Canada was Mason McTavish-1, Owen Power-4 and Olen Zellweger-1.

2022 World Jrs

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World Juniors odds 2022

According to sportingnews.com

CountryOdds to win gold
Canada+125
United States+379
Russia+498
Finland+697
Sweden+747
Czech Republic+2391
Slovakia+4383
Germany+8870
Switzerland+9860
Austria+50000

As you can see, Canada is favoured to win gold at the U20 tournament being held in Edmonton and Red Deer this year. But what are the daggers and the brilliance that could change all this? Teen spirit is number one on my list. Any player at this age could make or break a team especially when placed between the pipes. I’ve watched goalies steal games, robbing high end offensive teams of medals, or, at least, the illusive one–gold. Teen spirit turned into rage is often the second make or break of a team. Time spent in the penalty box because of retaliation or aggressive behaviour has been detrimental to teams in the past. Finally, watching the underdog shine as spirit turns determined goes into action. An example of this is Jordan Eberle (one of my favourite players, of course) in the 2009 World Juniors competition, who stole the hearts of Canadians everywhere with his teen spirit and dedicated play. Who will make or break this years tournament? Do some research and let me know,. I’m always ready for a good discussion on rising talent as it shines during World Junior Hockey.

The tournament begins tomorrow and finishes on January 5th. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the games, especially Team Canada, as it tries to win its 19th gold medal, leading all countries since it began in 1977–I was 15 years old! That makes me…?

Enjoy the games! Leave your thoughts here and I’ll try and keep up with you!

There’s a First Time for Everything

And here is mine…a blog? I ask. Why would I want to write a blog? Well, for fun, of course and then to share my perspectives and fantastic life adventures with the world. What a great endeavour! I explain to myself. Of course the world wants to know all about ME!!!!! Why wouldn’t they? You do, don’t you? Well, I’d like to know a little bit about you! Where are you in the world? What are your likes? your dislikes? I like my dog! Have you had a chance to meet him? Look for “Meet Taz” on my page. He’s a standard poodle. A parti poodle as he’s black and white. He’ll be 2 on February 12th, 2022. He is my rock. My emotional support guide dog. And I love him the way other people love their kids of which I have none. My choice and maybe a topic for another day. I like hockey. The NHL, world juniors and all international Canadian teams. My faves are Edmonton and Toronto. I love all the young talent and the fervour with which they demonstrate all their skills. I love to travel and want to do more of it. I hate COVID and all the trouble it brings into people’s lives–another topic for another day! I live with mental illness; it is my partner in this life and I’ve gotten to know it pretty well. It will be mentioned a LOT, I believe, as I share my stories and my poetry with you. So, enough about me, what about you???