Sunday, 13 October 2019

Car Crash Follow Up

Car Crash Follow Up

As promised, I am providing a follow up on the car accident. As mentioned in my previous post I have been participating in Physiotherapy and Therapy. I am currently attending Physio to help heal my ankles and upper and lower back. I have been going twice a week since my previous post. My doctor uses a series of techniques to help heal my injured body parts. My muscles have been feeling better, but I think the emotional piece is what is bothering me the most. 

Originally I  thought that I was doing better than I actually was. This was not the case. In actuality, I was so focused on my mom and dads feelings to notice what was going on with me. My first time doing EMDR with my therapist we worked on the main piece that was bothering me, which was that I could have done something to stop her from hitting us which from your perspective seems silly. I realize that now since I have been doing this emotional healing. Recently, I had missed a few sessions of Therapy and my negative emotions began to bottle up which made me feel really sad and depressed. I found since the accident I no longer enjoy the things I used to enjoy. Spending time with friends and family is not as meaningful and I don't like getting up and doing things. I recently had a session and i have been feeling much better.

Since I have been feeling better my mood has been better and my anxiety has decreased. I still have some bad days, but don't we all. I do my very best to stay positive. I have been spending more time doing the things I enjoy and the fun has been coming back. I find distractions help. I enjoy painting and binge watching shows on Netflix, my personal favourite is The Office. I have hope and I know it is only uphill from here.

Sunday, 1 September 2019


Car Crash 

Over the summer, my family and I went on a camping trip in a rented motor home. We do not go camping very often so this was very exiting to me. Last year we went camping in a motor home but it was not a good time for anyone because I was off my medication, therefore I was struggling with my OCD and anxiety. I figured because I was in a good state of mind and also because my medication was working fairly well that this would be a good camping trip. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Approximately 2 days after we hit the road we reached our first camp ground in the Shuswaps. We had a long day ahead of us so we decided that we were going to grab some fire wood and relax. The campground that we stayed at was out of firewood, so we needed to go buy some. My mom, my dad, my dog+cat, and I got in the motor home and we drove to get the firewood. We couldn't find any, so we turned around to head back to the campground. We were driving on the road just about to cross a bridge when I felt us stop. I had my little dog in my lap and I heard my mom yell  "they're going to hit us!" I tucked my head down and held on to my dog really tight. We got crashed into head-on by a lady in a tiny car.  Everyone was fine in our vehicle, but my mom was worried about the lady who hit us. Her car was totalled and she was sitting in the car. I called 911 and the ambulance arrived shortly after. The lady who had hit us was not seriously hurt, but she was intoxicated. The paramedics examined everyone and told us we were free to go. 

After the accident, I held onto anything I could when we were about to stop. When I hear someone's tires screech, I panic. The image of us crashing plays in my head. Even thought I am angry at the lady who hit us, I still feel for her. For the first few days I was scared to drive because I was worried we were going to crash again. I called my therapist and she helped me get through some of my fears. We also have an EMDR session coming up this Monday. I will be able to work on my anxiety towards the accident a little more. I will update you guys as soon as I can. Hopefully I can restore my feeling of safety while in the car. I know in scary situations it is hard to be positive, but as long as you keep your face to the sun, you can't see a shadow.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Using Books as Support

     As a person who enjoys reading, I often find myself looking to read a new genre or type of book that I have not tried to read before. During the last month of school, I was browsing some of the books in my school library. I happened to notice that in the section of books called "staff picks", was a book called OCDaniel.  I had never heard of books on OCD for kids, I usually only heard of ones my mom read to me as a toddler or the ones she read at her job. Seeing something like this was a very exciting experience for me. I decided to check the book out and take it home to read. 

    The book was about a boy named Daniel who has not yet been diagnosed with OCD. Daniel is often bullied because of his OCD behaviours. He often has trouble meeting new people and has almost no friends. That is until he is summoned by a girl named Sara to help with the investigation of her missing father. While investigating a possible murder case, Daniel has to deal with many issues of his own such as, avoiding numbers, counting, and a 4 hour bedtime ritual. Daniel thinks he is a psychopath, until Sara helps him become aware of his strange and unknown condition that he has kept a secret all his life.

    I found this book to be very relatable and I was able to compare his experiences to mine. Even though this book is intended for children ages 8 to 11, I found it intriguing and would even encourage parents to read it in order to gain a better understanding of what may be going on for their child. This book sparked my interest, so much so, I decided to look into other OCD books. I recently finished another compelling book on OCD called, The Goldfish Boy. These books make me feel less alone in the world and they give me hope. 
   I recommend that everyone should at least look into some OCD books. You might find yourself enjoying them much more than you expected to. Thats all for today! Thanks for reading and remember, If you keep your face to the sun you can't see a shadow.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Treacherous Test Taking  

Math class is one of my favorite subjects. No, I am not joking. I actually enjoy math quite a bit. Out of all of my subjects including options, Math is my second favorite. I enjoy Language Arts the most, but that's not what I am here to talk about. Today, I had a math test in the fifth period. We had a whole period to work on this test which was eight questions long. The topic was an easy one but yet it took me two whole periods to complete it.  Almost everyone completed the test in the one period that they were given except for five of us. I was one of those five. I missed half the school year because I was in a hospital for my OCD. The period that I had after math class was my study block, which is the time that I use to catch up with the schooling. 

Anyway, I took almost two whole periods to complete an eight-question math test. When I was finished, my teacher told me that I needed to practice my test taking skills because it shouldn't take me this long. I knew that I was taking a while and I knew why it was taking so long. It was mostly because I had erased and rewritten a bunch of my answers because they were too messy in my opinion. If you ask anyone else they would say that I have incredibly nice printing even when I write my messiest. I also have to check my adding several times, or else I think I will get the answer wrong. 

On this test, I have to use a calculator. When I use a calculator, I have to hit the clear button a certain amount of times before I allow myself to start typing anything else. I ended up finishing my test, which is the most important part, but I definitely need some practice on my time skills. I think next time I do a math test, I am going to limit myself to only erase one time and then move on. I may not be saving a lot of time by doing this, but baby steps are a good start. That's all for today guys. Thanks for reading and remember,  If you keep your face to the sun you can't see a shadow.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Hair Hazzard

 Sunday, April 21, 2019                               Shae Shares

Hair Hazard

   Do you guys ever have those days when you are trying to do your hair and you just can't get it right. That's how it was for me today except way harder.

   I was over today at my best friend, (lets call her Veda). We were getting 
ready for the day ahead. My morning normally consists of the following steps: use bathroom, get dressed, take pills, brush teeth, style hair, put on makeup, and eat breakfast. That is my routine and that is how it is every morning. I was on the hair styling step and I decided on space buns. My hair only comes down to my shoulders, and it is layered; so I can only put half of it up into spaces buns. Doing my hair is the part of my morning routine that I dread the most. I wake up and try to flat iron my hair, which is not that easy. This morning, I had my hair almost finished when I realized my buns were not exactly four fingers apart. I took them out and fixed them so they were even. Next, I noticed one had a slight piece of hair that was sticking out, so I took my hair out and did it again. I thought they looked good until I started to wrap them around onto the circular shape. Now this is when I started to loose my marbles. One was more flat, one was more round, then one was too tall the other too short. I went on for about 25 minutes putting them in, and them taking them out, until I got really angry and decided I would just stick to one bun. When I do my bun(s), I have to apply a generous amount of hairspray and vigorously back comb it to make it thick. I had repeated the same process with my singular bun until I was about to reach for Veda's scissors and chop my hair off. I took my hair out and went to the bathroom. I closed and locked the door and did my figure 8 breathing. Breath in around the top of the 8 and out around the bottom while tracing it on my leg. I had calmed down and told myself I was going to pick a hairstyle and stick to it. I washed and conditioned my hair in the sink to get the knots out from the backcombing. I combed it and then went down stairs to take my mind off of my hair. I just ignored my hair and turns out it looked fine. I don't need to be so concerned  about something so little and un-important. Note to self, I am going to limit my time that I do my hair so I don't get stuck. The figure 8 breathing really helped and I managed to carry on with life and the rest of my day was great.
Hair is nothing to stress about it. It will all fall out one day anyway and then it won't matter. My daily advice is to use figure 8 breathing when you are flustered about something. It can help bring you back to a calm and collected state. That's all for today guys. Thanks for reading and remember, If you keep your face to the sun you can't see a shadow.

How to practise figure 8 breathing: 

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Shaelyn: A Prisoner in Her Own Mind
In light of February's mental health month and the upcoming "most depressing day" of the calendar year, I have decided to share my daughter’s story with the hope that it may help another mom, dad and child. Please feel free to share
My 11-year old daughter is kind, loving and compassionate. She is the one who will stand up for your child if he/she is being bullied, or help the special needs child in the classroom. She will eat lunch with the child who has no friends, and collects her birthday money to donate to charity. My daughter is the best thing that's happened to me. She has taught me what life is about.
Many of you may not know that I am a Registered Psychologist. I’ve worked within children's mental health and youth forensics systems for many years. There are few things that surprise me about people. Fortunately for me, my training and colleagues have allowed me to better understand and identify my daughter's struggles. However, no crime scene or working with families and their children/teens would prepare me for what I would and will experience with my daughter. It really is a precious nightmare.
Since the age of 4, my daughter has struggled with Separation Anxiety Disorder; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)-which was recently diagnosed as treatment resistant with a co-morbid diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). This means, standardized treatments do not work for her. What has caused this? The medical field is still unsure. However, there seems to be some suggestion of a biological predisposition with a possible environmental trigger. If we truly knew the cause, we could look at opportunities for prevention or effectively treat the condition.
What I can tell you: this disorder is not caused because of my parenting practices. It is not a result of me “not spanking her enough”, or “not loving her enough” or something that I, or she, has done wrong. This is just how her brain is wired. There is no blame or finger pointing here!
Unless you live in our home, or are one of her teachers, you would assume that she is your "typical 11 year old", but she's far from what YOU would consider "typical" but she is "typical" to me. This is how I have always known her, but you will never see. Why? Because she is clever and is very private about her thoughts, obsessions and routines.
What people don't see is her excessive fear of germs- washing her hands until they bleed, or intrusive thoughts that she has in her head about how she believes her dad wants to kill her, or the likelihood that I am going to die on my way to work-which leads to struggles for me to leave her side.
Then there's her need to check the doors because someone will kill me while she sleeps. Or, her extraordinary levels of guilt when she's gets into trouble-and she actively thinks about different ways to kill herself. There's also her constant need for hugs and to be told that she is loved, repeatedly. She studies for hours on end and when you try to redirect her, she breaks down sobbing. Everything HAS to be PERFECT. When it's not, the tears flow uncontrollably and sobbing can last for hours. Interestingly enough, these are some of the behaviors of a child who is on antidepressants. Antidepressants help her to function. Without them, she would be a prisoner in her head and in her house. Her obsessions and rituals have "gotten better" with the various medications that she's been on over the years, but far from where she needs to be. Or, where she would like to be.
Recently, she made a decision to be hospitalized for 3 weeks. She is desperately trying to find some source of relief. She knows she's different. In fact, she can identify anxiety and OCD patterns in others. She helps other children at school to work through their own anxiety and some of their “sticky” thoughts.
I can't imagine what it's like to be an 11-year- old girl and being a tortured prisoner in your head. Understanding that your thoughts are irrational, but feeling completely helpless every day to stop those thoughts. I frequently have to listen to my daughter say "mom, what's wrong with me, why do I have to live like this?"
Unfortunately, in our province, no one specializes with this diagnosis and the recent hospitalization wasn't as successful as we hoped. She has seen various occupational therapist’s and psychologist’s since the age of four, has a mom and grandma who loves her dearly, and lucky for her, a mom who is a specialist. But she will forever be battling her mind…..and I will be beside her every step of the way!
Despite being a Psychologist, I have run into periods where I have felt hopeless and helpless and wondered is this the “life I wanted to live”. Weeks and weeks without sleep, a distraught and inconsolable daughter and a lack of services and relief available has pushed me to the brink on many occasions. There were many occasions when she was younger where I would lock myself in the bathroom, only to have her scream “mommy don’t leave”. But, I knew that for her safety and mine, this was the decision I NEEDED to make.
I often wonder why and how my child has been given this unique set of characteristics. It’s always interesting to share my daughter's challenges with family and friends, many who feel they are in a position to critique my decisions or impose their uninformed views about how the "doctors are just drugging her up", or imply I am a bad parent, "how could you medicate your daughter". I have lost friends and family because of their harsh judgment and criticisms. My decisions don’t make me a bad parent. I have made the best decisions for my daughter in consultation with numerous professionals.
One in 5 children suffer from OCD. Unless you have either been in this position, or have the knowledge and training, please don't judge people decisions. It is YOUR JUDGEMENT THAT PUSHES PEOPLE TO LIVE IN SILIENCE!
While being a parent of a child who has unique challenges offers so many gifts and rewards, it can also be extremely challenging and can leave you in utter despair. Instead of judging and basing those judgments on ill-informed information, open your heart and minds, and learn. Learn that these parents and child will spend their life grieving and trying to understand "why me". And remember, most of us, at one time in our life will struggle with a mental health issue.
So, next time a colleague calls in sick for the fifth time, or you see a child having an outburst in public, stop and think- maybe, this dad, mom, child or family, is struggling with much more that what I can see. Maybe offer a helping hand. Cause, at the end of the day, don't we all just want the same thing-to be happy and healthy? Children don't deserve this! They too, deserve to NOT be judge. Cause god knows they don't understand this world anymore than you or I.
Mental health starts at birth! That's right! There is such thing as infant mental health and toddler mental health. Mental health is across the lifespan and it doesn't just inflict adults. It also doesn’t discriminate! It carefully chooses you and can rear its ugly head at any point during your life: from 0 100+ years of age. It doesn't care what your gender is, how much money you make, what religion you are or your education level. In fact, some of these descriptors may place you at an elevated risk!!
When we stop judging people's actions or inactions, it is only then that we will truly understand how many individuals- including children, are suffering within their own private hell. Children too, can struggle with mental health issues. IF YOUR GUT TELLS YOU THAT SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT ABOUT YOUR CHILD, REACH OUT!