Please take a moment to go to:
There you will see information on each candidate and you will have the opportunity to vote for up to nine candidates. Voting will remain open until the end of the month at which point, the candidates with the top nine vote totals will be elected to serve on our board for the next 12 months.
A quick note on the election:
On Thursday May 12th, Don gave us a presentation entitled; “ Processing Loss “
Don’s topic of discussion this past Thursday most likely hit home with a lot of those in attendance.
For those of us that struggle with mental health issues, and even those of us who don’t, dealing with loss is never easy.
Don began by quoting that old saying “ nothing is ever certain but death or taxes “. But he corrected this statement by saying there is only one thing certain in life. Loss. There are all different kinds of loss. You may experience the loss of :
-normalcy; due to Covid
– a family member
– your independence
The moment that the loss happens, it takes your breath away and you may shut down. But you must move on, adjust, and feel the feels. Returning to normal can take time, or it may go quickly.
When it comes to grief, there are five phases of grief.
1) Denial …this denies the overwhelming and emotional pain of loss, and finds you wondering how to move forward. If you have broken up with someone, you may be convincing yourself that your partner will come back to you. Or if you have lost a job, you might be convinced you’ll get a call from your old employer asking you to come back. Denial is a natural reaction that helps you process your grief in your own time.
2) Anger….This anger serves a purpose. You may find yourself thinking why me, what did I do to deserve this? You may find yourself angry at life itself. You may start feeling guilty about your anger, which may make you even angrier.
3) Bargaining…this will help you hold onto hope during intense pain. You may find yourself thinking, what if I had done something differently to prevent the loss? Guilt may become part of your bargaining, as you may think if only things had played out differently.
4) Depression…..during the processing of grief, eventually things will start to slow down and we start to process the grief more fully. During this time you may tend to pull inward.
5) Acceptance…reaching acceptance isn’t about being okay with what happened. It’s more about accepting, not struggling, and acknowledging what has happened.
When you are processing grief, you may start questioning yourself, and worrying what you’re doing is not enough, or that you are doing it wrong.
There is no correct way of dealing with grief, no set list of steps. We all unique and process grief differently.
You may ask yourself, how should I be feeling? Your mind and body will be telling you what to do to process the grief. There is no specific or linear order of grief. There are no deadlines or timeline to your processing of grief.
If you find yourself depressed when dealing with your grief, just remember that dealing with depression during your grief isn’t equivalent to clinical depression. People that do not have clinical depression will come out of grief depression. Eventually the good memories you have of the person you lost will squeeze out the pain.
Most of grief is short term. Just remember to be gentle with yourself.
Not every day will be better than the one before. After all of this, no matter how deep the valley, you will be okay!
On Thursday May 5th, Miriam gave us a presentation entitled; “ Adding Tools to your Toolbox”
Miriam’s topic of discussion this past Thursday gave us a lot to think about.
For those of us that struggle with mental health issues, those coping tools that we have in our tool box are very important to us. If we are having a bad day, or maybe even a bad week, very often we rely on our coping skills to get us through.
Miriam tells us If you are having a day when you are feeling lonely or sad, then think about calling a friend or try doing something you enjoy. Anything to keep your mind off your troubles.
Or if you have a day when you are too depressed to get out of bed, then while you are laying there in bed, make a list of things you need to do and check each one off as your day progresses. It can even be as simple as;
1) get out of bed
2) brush your teeth
3) take a shower
4) wash a load of laundry
Then you can consider giving yourself a reward for completing one of the items on that list. Maybe a piece of chocolate?
Or, if you are having trouble getting motivated to clean, say the bathroom or kitchen, Miriam suggested setting a timer for ten minutes. Once you have completed cleaning for 10 minutes, set the timer again for another 10 minutes of cleaning. You may be surprised at how much cleaning you get done.
Miriam also touched on what you can do when dealing with difficult people.
If you are in an argument with someone, and you are dealing with someone in a difficult situation, or it’s someone you deal with on a daily basis, you can;
1) physically walk away from the situation.
2) actively listen to them
3) cut them out of your life
4) or excuse yourself and go to the restroom, and never come back! ( this one is my favorite)
Or maybe you are in a bad situation at work. If something like this happens at work, carefully evaluate the situation, and try not to blow up at work. If needed, physically remove yourself from the situation and go outside and take a walk. Or talk to another co-worker to gain some perspective.
Miriam went on to share a new tool in her toolbox that she has discovered.
This is a tool to use during a confrontation with someone. If you are with someone and they are verbally attacking you, try to just sit there and let them vent, and don’t say a word. Let all of their unkindness just flow around you, without any response. And when they are finished, acknowledge their feelings, and maybe even apologize for what they think you have done, and then move on from the situation. This is definitely a new tool that we could all use and add to our own toolbox.
If you’re in a difficult situation such as this, who knows, maybe a new skill could come from out of the blue when you least expect it. One final quote from Miriam for us to ponder;
“ just because someone says it, doesn’t mean it’s true “
On Thursday April 21st, Steve gave us his presentation entitled “ Letting go and Forgiving “
Steve began by giving us a definition of what forgiveness means; forgiveness means different things to everyone. In general, it’s basically a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. Whatever it was that hurt or offended you may always be with you, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you, and allow you to let go and move on.
Sometimes forgiveness can be challenging, and might be confused with accepting something wrong that someone has done to us. It’s important to remember that forgiveness will allow you to let go of that connection you have with the person that hurt you, and to move on with or without them.
“ Its good to remember that forgiveness benefits the forgiver more than the one who’s forgiven “.
There are seven steps to true forgiveness;
1) Acknowledge…learn to acknowledge the hurt, try to understand the person who hurt you and why did they do it?
2) Consider…..think about the pros and cons of forgiving and letting go, maybe consider how the hurt and pain has affected you. How has the pain changed who you are?
3) Accept..that you have a choice in forgiveness, and accept that you cannot change the past. Maybe it’s time to admit that your anger towards that person who hurt you won’t change anything.
4) Determine…whether or not you will forgive this person, and try and empathize with the one who hurt you. This decision may determine the future relationship you may have with the one who hurt you.
5) Repair..maybe it’s time to repair the relationship you once had with the person who hurt you. Before forgiveness can happen, try and rebuild the relationship you once had. Remember to focus on the present, and not the past.
6) Learn..what forgiveness means to you. Try and feel compassion towards the one you need to forgive. Once you’ve given yourself time to forget the past with the one who hurt you, forgiveness will be a way for you to find closure.
7) Forgive…decide to forgive the person who hurt you. Sometimes this may be a silent forgiveness, maybe something you will only acknowledge in your heart.
Steve also talked about forgiving yourself. Sometimes you may find it hard to forgive, if you blame yourself for what has happened. This is where some self-compassion and self-forgiveness may need to happen before you can forgive another. Just try to remember if someone decides to hurt you, it’s never your fault.
Once you’ve forgiven someone in your life, it’s also important to move on. If you practice forgiveness it will help you;
1) Focus on everything good you have in your life
2) It May teach you more about the importance of compassion, and having empathy towards others.
Some more tips for letting go;
1) Try creating a positive mantra, to help you reframe your thoughts and to move on.
2) Practice mindfulness, if we try harder to bring our focus to the present, our past will have less of an influence on us.
3) Be kind to yourself
4) Remember to practice self-care
5) Be with others who make you feel good!
Most importantly. allow peace to enter your life once you have forgiven someone.
Well, it’s that time of year again. Time to elect our new board of directors!
You may have a few questions such as:
What does a board member do? Board members collectively manage our group. They set policy and make decisions regarding all aspects of our group. Basically, the board is the engine that makes our group work!
What is the time commitment? The board meets monthly, usually on a Saturday morning, ideally the second Saturday of the month at 10am. Meetings are usually 60-90 minutes with a separate meeting of facilitators and presenters that follows for about another hour. You do not have to be a facilitator or presenter to be on the board and you do not have to be on the board to be a facilitator or presenter. More on that below.
What are the qualifications for being a board member? Simply a willingness to help. Whether you are new to the group last week or have been a member for many years, it does not matter. Enthusiasm is all that is required! New people and new ideas are always more than welcome.
What are the benefits to me of being on the board? Being on this board is a super positive experience. Like our group in general, we have fun at our meetings. We talk things through and are not divisive. We reach a consensus rather than have an argument over issues. And most importantly, we become friends. Friends working toward a common goal, to make this group the best it can be.
What are the opportunities for me to serve the group? Each member of the board brings different strengths and experiences to the meeting. We try to use the talents of each member while remembering why we are all here. Taking on responsibilities is always optional. No matter if it is a board office like president, or a more informal position like webmaster or blog writer, it is up to you to decide how much you do.
What if I want to help the group, but being a board member is just not who I am right now? We get that and there are other ways you can help without being a board member.
Great! How do I get started?
On Thursday, April 7, Amber gave her presentation entitled, “Somantics With Breath” which was an experiential adventure into using Somantic (body movements) with breath to calm an anxiety attack.
Amber told about her life experience where as a massage therapist in California working for chiropractor she could not get her patients to heal with just touch massage along. Something was still impeding their recovery — the willingness to drop their beliefs, judgments, thoughts and negative emotions about their illness or injury.
Amber’s class started with shaking off the stresses of the day and then she walked us through the 5 stages of healing an anxiety attack. They are:
Recognize the symptoms of an anxiety attack
Find your self love which so you can start your healing journey
Set an intention to heal this anxiety situation
Find the inner courage— Your “why” you want to heal this situation
Doing the techniques that work
To help us remember the characteristics of a anxiety attack, Amber played several minutes of comic, Adam Ferrari doing a sketch called It’s Scary in Here from YouTube.
This was followed by a few minutes of an anxious cat acting out and attacking a dog from Cats Being Superjerks on Youtube. This was to illustrate the anger and crazy behavior that can follow not effectively dealing with your anxiety.
Amber explained that the most immediate concern in conquering an anxiety attack is calming down the panicky mind, restoring some balance to the brain and integrating the Left and Right Hemispheres so you can find a solution to the problem causing your anxiety.
The group shared their symptoms of an anxiety attack which involved feeling warm, spinning mind, shallow or lessened breath, hypertension, headaches, tight neck & shoulder muscles & queasy stomach.
The various breathing techniques—deep abdominal breathing, and expelling the anxiety—that she demonstrated energetically relax the body and brain and help it to release anxiety.
Then Amber said it was important to build the self love, strong intention and inner courage to deal with the anxiety situation. She demonstrated several imaginative and body focused techniques to deal with this.
Amber said we have to rebuild our self love and willingness to overcome the anxiety challenge so we have the momentum, stamina and courage to deal with the situation.
Then she walked us through some movement exercises from Brain Gym called Cross Crawl, walking backwards, and Brain Buttons which also coordinate the Left and Right hemispheres of the brain and promote problem solving.
She ended the evening with a song, Brave, by Sara Bareilles also on YouTube.
Amber loved the laughter, sharing and open mindedness of the group.
On Thursday March 31st, Becki gave us her presentation entitled “ Mindfulness “
Becki’s presentation on Mindfulness was very informative, and explained to us that when it comes to mindfulness, there are three states of mind;
1) Emotion mind- is where you make snap decisions, and tend to have lots of judgment of others
2) Reason mind- Uses facts, acceptance and observations
3) Wise mind- Is a balance of Emotion and Reason mind.
Becki advised neither emotion mind or reason mind are sustainable, and it’s better to have a balance of both with Wise mind.
She advised that awareness is the first step to becoming more non-judgemental. That trust begins with having basic trust in yourself, and you should honor your feelings, and take responsibility for your own well being. In life there is no goal, but to just be yourself. When it comes to mindfulness, we need to use acceptance and acknowledge things as they truly are. We all have to learn to let go of the negativity, and just notice, observe and cling to nothing, and decide what comes in and what goes out.
Becki advised when it comes to mindfulness, it’s important to practice being grateful, and pay attention to the small moments. Don’t take life for granted, and learn to notice your environment more. Try to be still and completely open to your field of awareness, and learn to stay centered!
She also advised mindfulness is a way for someone to gain awareness of their feelings, so that you can help make more informed choices. Becki encouraged us to develop mindfulness to use as a tool in our own tool box of coping skills. She advised we should use it as a tool to slow down and center ourselves.
Also when it comes to mindfulness, there is what’s known as a Beginner’s Mind, where you should train your mind to be willing to see anything, and maybe next time you are talking to a family member, take time to listen to their voice, and take each experience with them as unique. Practicing Mindfulness will allow us to be mindful in nature and play everyday. Learn to not take everything so seriously, and pause and respond to nature. Most of all. how we center ourselves will bring us wisdom and peace.
Make sure and join us next Thursday at 7pm, when facilitator Amber will be presenting “ Somatics with Breath”
On Thursday March 24th, Steve gave a very informative presentation entitled “ Stress vs. Anxiety “
Steve began his presentation by discussing what the basic differences are between Stress and Anxiety. Steve advised usually the origin of stress is external, whereas anxiety is internal. Stress tends to be short term, and anxiety can be long term and persistent. Stress has a recognizable trigger, however a trigger may not be identifiable with anxiety. The basic emotion of stress is feeling overwhelmed, and the distress caused is mild. The basic emotion of anxiety is feeling worrisome and fearful, and anxiety can cause severe distress. The outcome of stress can be burnout, whereas you may experience some form of panic attacks with anxiety. Treatment for stress is building healthy coping skills, and coping skills along with therapy and medication may be needed for anxiety.
Steve advised that he has been experiencing a lot of stress at his job recently, and that he was grateful for his many outside activities that help him to balance out the stress. He advised that anxiety is often a response to fear or uncertainty, or doubts you may have about something that’s causing you stress. Anxiety normally will not stop when the external stressors stop, and sometimes more stress may cause more anxiety.
Steve also talked about differences between everyday anxiety, and a possible anxiety disorder. He advised normal anxieties can be a reaction to difficult times, and extreme anxiety usually comes out of nowhere. Everyday anxiety has a start and an ending point, where extreme anxiety can be ongoing and last for weeks or months, interfering with day to day life.
Steve gave a few techniques/ reminders to help reduce stress and anxiety;
1) limit caffeine and alcohol intake
2) make sure you’re getting enough sleep
3) get regular exercise
4) meditate or do yoga
5) set aside time for hobbies
6) practice breathing exercises
7) try keeping a diary of your feelings and things that cause you stress
8) open up to loved ones about your feelings
Also, Steve gave us a few fast-acting stress relief ideas that work well:
1) Get a hug from a loved one, or anyone you know who doesn’t mind hugs. Just the act of physical touch can relieve your stress. When you hug someone, oxytocin ( aka as the cuddle hormone) is released. This hormone is associated with greater happiness, and can lower stress levels.
2) enjoy aromatherapy…as it has real benefits of stress relief. It may help you feel more relaxed, and more present in the moment.
3) Meditation…can bring short term stress relief, as well as lasting stress management benefits.
4) Create artwork ..sometimes getting in touch with your creative side may be a great way to reduce anxiety or stress, such as adult coloring books, or maybe take up crocheting.
Steve advised the most important thing is to have social support, and having supportive people in your life is very helpful with stress management. This may mean reaching out to your network of friends, or if you don’t have a good support group, go find one, such as our great friends here at DBSA!
Make sure and join us at 7pm on Thursday March 31st, when Becki will present the topic “ Mindfulness “
On Thursday March 17th, Carolyn gave a very informative presentation entitled “ Decluttering at the Speed of Life”
Carolyn began her presentation by giving her definition of clutter;
What is clutter- a confusing, disorderly state, and anything you can’t keep under control. She advised time can be cluttered, as well as your mind. If you happen to have a space that gets out of control and is closing in on you, or maybe interfere with your life, that can be clutter.
When it comes to clutter, just knowing that you’re not alone, does help with the struggle. Dealing with the clutter won’t be easy, and you do have to be ready and in the right mindset. Carolyn advised that we don’t know what causes us to hold onto certain items. A lot of us tend to focus on the future rather then focus on the current, which may be one reason clutter develops.
The Container Concept;
Carolyn went on to say that the purpose of a container, is to keep things under control. Each room in our houses is a container, and consider your entire house as a container as well. However our houses, rooms, closets, drawers and cabinets all have limits as containers. Carolyn said it never has occurred to her before that there could be limits on space in your house. Once you learn to accept these limits, it can be very freeing.
So, how do we de clutter? You begin by focusing on one room at a time, doing what you can, when you can, or “ decluttering at the Speed of Life “
Decluttering is simply getting rid of stuff you don’t need in your house anymore. You will be functioning better with less, and realize less is good.
Also go by the visibility rule, and determine what does a guest see when they come into your home? Start by decluttering the most visible room first, and then work onto the next room. Carolyn advised the two most important things you need are a black trash bag ( to throw things away) and a donate box, for the things you will donate.
Also when it comes to decluttering, don’t think about being perfect, just give yourself permission to declutter. Clutter can give you anxiety, and may interfere with your relationships and make you not want to have people over.
1) first step, pick up trash and remove
2) do the easy stuff now, once you remove the trash
3) de-clutter, these items go into a donate box
4) ask the question, if I needed this item, where would I look for it? And if you don’t have space for the item, just make it fit!
Carolyn advised that the best thing about de-cluttering is that it will make it easier to clean!
Make sure and join us at 7pm on Thursday March 24th, when Steve will present the topic “ Stress vs Anxiety “
On Thursday March 10th, Don made a presentation entitled “ Overcoming Failure “
Don began by sharing a personal story with our group, a story of failure.
What Don has learned is that failure can rear its ugly head at any time. So, what do you do when you fail?
1) For the first 24 hours, just accept how you feel. Remember to eat, and get your rest. You can actually grieve over your failure. Let it hurt for awhile and process the hurt. Your job is to feel the feels, and get through the first night.
2) You are not a failure, you had a failure. A rejection may become a feeling that all people are rejecting you. You may have failed, but you are more than your failure. Start an argument with those negative voices in your head.
3) Processing the situation is essential, and the past is what we evaluate and learn from. Think about what part of your failure you can control, as you are not responsible for it all. When you have the answers you are looking for, forgive yourself and don’t look back.
4) Remind yourself anyone who wants to do anything of value will fail.
5) Let it out into the light, don’t keep it bottled up inside. Talking with others releases that inner pressure. Share your story, as it can help others.
6) Make an action plan. It’s where you start, if you don’t make a plan and start down the path, you may have a fear of failure. The important thing is that you start!
7) Realize while today is painful, tomorrow does not have to be. Tomorrow is about hard work and faith. Work to make changes where you have failed, so you don’t fall again. Just keep going and keep trying and failing in new ways.
When you fail, just walk on!
As always, a great presentation to reflect on from Don. Please join us next Thursday March 17th, when Carolyn will be presenting the topic” Decluttering at the Speed of Life”