Tedx Chilliwack Audition

Tedx Chilliwack Audition

I am thrilled to have been chosen as one of the applicants who will be moving forward to the Tedx Chilliwack audition stage. I will be presenting at the audition showcase on Monday January 31, 2019 between 5pm – 7pm at Cottonwood Cinemas in Chilliwack, BC.

My talk, in line with this year’s subject of “on purpose”, is about how we can utilize technology and innovation to use iPads and stop-motion art therapy to help children recover from trauma, grief and loss. It’s a big topic, but I’m hoping to break it down for everyone so that we can bring art therapy into the 21st century and think about how it can play a role in how we continue to approach child development.

I’m very excited to a part of this showcase, and grateful to selection committee for giving me the chance.

5 Self-Care Tips for the Holidays

5 Self-Care Tips for the Holidays

No matter where you’re from or what your cultural background is, the holidays can bring immense joy – as well as immense stress. In fact, it’s so common for great life events to feel even more stressful than negative life events. Our bodies and minds are intertwined and react to each other constantly when presented with a strong enough stimuli. The holidays can be a time where dreams come true, or when nightmares manifest in real time. We reunite with loved ones, receive gifts of all shapes and sizes, and we reflect on the year that is coming to a close.

In building this list, I have pulled from both my personal experiences and my professional toolkit in order to create a guide that will hopefully help you keep a sense of peace over the coming season. Some of it may be common sense, I know, but I like to remind myself of the stuff I’ve already learned so that it’s ready when I need it.

1. DON’T LEAVE YOUR SHOPPING UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE

This might be obvious, but I’ve done it more times than I care to remember and every time I have been left feeling rushed, tired and second-guessing my choice of gifts. December 3rd is still early. Purchase all that you need now so you can spend more energy on everything else later on – particularly if you are introverted.

2. PRIORITIZE YOUR TIME

On average, you are not going to have time to see everyone who wants to see you or get everything you wish you could, done in time. If you work, have children, or any other type of obligation, December is a time of multi-tasking in a way that is almost an art if you can do it well. Dedicate your time to what is most important and save the rest for January. The fast road to feeling overwhelmed is doing too much too soon, which leads into my next point…

3. PRACTICE SAYING NO

This is a hard one. It never comes easy. Particularly when you are surrounded by people you love. But saying no is not about disrespect, disloyalty or acting out. It’s about knowing when you reached your personal limit, which is different for everyone. So, check in and ask yourself how you’re feeling. What is your body telling you when you’re asked to do something? Your gut is wiser than your brain likes to let on.

4. TAKE SPACE WHEN YOU NEED IT

For many people, the holidays are busy and the one time of year where everybody gets together. That sounds amazing on paper, but the reality can be a lot – especially if you’re still processing the year you are coming out of. If you’re feeling tired, like you can’t think properly, or maybe you can’t stop thinking (and feeling), step out of the room and find somewhere quiet to sit by yourself for 10-15 minutes. It doesn’t need to be a Pinterest-styled Zen garden, just somewhere you can come back down to Earth and process what you’re feeling.

5. SET BOUNDARIES WITH LOVED ONES

Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s the ones closest to us who say the meanest things?” Family have a weird get out of jail free card. We can say the worst things to each other, but if someone else says it, we’re out for blood. Sometimes boundaries get blurred. For one reason or another, the holidays this year might be the best for some people in the house – and that’s okay. But it also means that communicating this – in some way – might be necessary to avoid any unnecessary frustration. You don’t have to confess your deepest, darkest secrets to your younger brother. But if a joke goes too far, or if a conversation knocks on a door you don’t want to open, be sure to set a boundary so they know you’re not going there this year.

Living with Primarily Obsessional OCD

Living with Primarily Obsessional OCD
(Illustration by Victor Abarca / Fusion)

It has been almost 4 years since I first wrote my article about living with Primarily Obsessional Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for Fusion, now Splinter News. It was the first time someone had sought me out to write a paid piece about my mental health. I had contributed a blog to Time to Change and spoken openly on my own social media to help others understand, but this was by far the biggest platform I had stood on in terms of speaking out about what had been causing so much chaos within.

I wrote about the misconceptions of OCD in the original article. About what people assume it is and how the term “OCD” is tossed around as much as other vague descriptors for unusual behaviour, such as “awkward”, “binge” or “addictive”. The reality is much less vague. It can be as debilitating as it is misunderstood, and in reflecting on my own past experiences and the pain it put me through, which in turn caused pain for those around me, I am curious as to whether much has changed in terms of how OCD is digested from the Internet and in popular culture and whether more is known about its true nature.

The DSM-V in North America recently moved OCD from being under anxiety disorders to a section of its own, the same way Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has its own unique place in the manual. To me, this speaks volumes to how complex this condition really is – and how much psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors and therapists alike are still striving to uncover.

As we move into 2019, I am intrigued – both personally and professionally – as to how we can better assess and treat obsessive behaviours. In a world where “obsession” is the behaviour that feeds growing consumerism (technology, fashion, food for example) I am eager to research how the future may start to shape our mental health – and what effective measures we can take to safeguard our minds and demand greater responsibility from businesses sell us these life changing products.