Thursday, May 30, 2013

Race Weekend Wrap Up

What a weekend!  Yes, the Ottawa Race Weekend was this past weekend, and with an awesome group of staff, volunteers and community members running various races, and raising funds for our 24/7 crisis line services, it was a weekend to remember!

We'd like to give a huge shout out to not only the people who trained hard and ran the race, but to the people who donated, and came out in the less than ideal temperatures (it was so cold!) to cheer our group of runners on!

We were able to raise $1610 for our phone lines, which goes towards us answering nearly 40,000 calls for help, support and community referrals every year.

Running, like any exercise, is such an excellent outlet for aiding in symptoms from depression, stress, anxiety, and more.  When you run, your mind belongs to you, and you are controlling your body and how fast or slow you go.  As the old saying goes "No matter how fast or slow you are, you're still lapping everyone who's sitting on the couch".  There are many training programs that will help you reach a 5k run in 8-10 weeks, with 3 runs a week.  Check out the Couch To 5k program (C25K) online, or via an app on your smart phone.

We can't wait to do this all again next year.  Registration for the 2014 Race Weekend opens September 1st, giving you 8 months of training time for whatever race you want to run!  We'd love to see you on the course :)

Our Community Relations Coordinator, Leslie, finishing the 10k on Saturday

Ottawa Race Weekend 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Today is Schizophrenia Awareness Day in Canada. While you may have heard about this disorder, there is much to learn about what Schizophrenia is, and how a person can deal with having it.
The brain is a mysterious organ. Throw in some unbalancing of its function, and you have a disorder. Schizophrenia is a biochemical brain disorder that affect one's perception of real life and what is being made up inside the brain. Delusional periods are a major factor in Schizophrenia, and can often be frightening. Visual halluncinations, as well as hearing voices talking to them or about them, are also very common occurances, and can be so terrifying that they may be telling the person to injure themselves, or that they will hurt them. This can all result in paranoia (thinking that they are being watched, that people are out to get them) withdrawl from family, friends & social circles, and potential suicide ideations.
How does one know they have Schizophrenia? Usually it starts off slowly, in pre-teen/teen years, and may just seem like "mental growing pains". In the beginning, people may find themselves unable to have downtime or to relax, have difficulty sleeping and concentrating on easy tasks. This may result in them distancing themselves from others. They may start speaking in terms others won't understand, due to episodes.

Those who are "in remission" (ie: not experiencing epsisodes) are able to function well in their day to day lives. However, during a time where episodes are happening, one may find themselves in a depression, seeing & hearing things that aren't real, and these can be very disheartening for the person suffering.

How does one live with Schizophrenia? A trip to the doctor is the most important thing to do first, if Schizophrenia is suspected. There are medications that help those with the disorder, to feel closer to themselves. A doctor and/or specialist will determine what type and dosage will work best for each individual, depending on the severity of episodes. Medication must be taken as prescribed to help create a liveable balance. Going off medication without consulting a doctor can be very dangerous for the person living with the disorder.

Do we receive calls from those living with Schizophrenia? Absolutely. Do we hear from their family members? Sure do. Families that have a Schizophrenia sufferer in their lives can learn all about this disorder by visiting Our phone line is always available as well if you have concerns or questions, or just need someone to talk to, at 613-238-3311.

Remember that Schizophrenia doesn't mean that the person living with it can't live a happy life. With proper medication and understanding of the disorder, one can function in society, just like anyone else can.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Infertility And Depression

You know how the song goes..."First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage!"  This doesn't ring true for everyone out there, and the results can be literally depressing.

Diagnosed infertility is on the rise, and affects 1 in every 5 women.  While is it completely normal to feel terrible sadness surrounding infertility issues, depression goes deeper, lingers, attacks.  You're reminded of it when you go to baby showers, when a friend announces her pregnancy, when you see countless photos of your friend's children on social media sites.  While treatments can be helpful to some, they aren't always affordable for others, and this can cause depression symtoms to worsen, thinking there is no way to get pregnant.

When dealing with hormones it can be awfully tricky to undestand the difference between sadness and depression. 

Signs of depression include:

  • Sadness that lasts for weeks or months
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Frequent crying or tearing up
  • Frequently irritated or intolerant of others around you, specifically people who you used to enjoy being around
  • Lack of motivation, struggling to get work done at the office or around the home
  • Difficulty sleeping, either sleeping too much or unable to sleep well (insomnia)
  • Difficulty with eating, either overeating or experiencing low appetite
  • Struggling with experiencing pleasure in life, including a low interest in sex
  • Frequent feelings of anxiety or worry
  • Thoughts of dying, self-harm, or suicide (If you're considering taking your own life, please get help immediately!!)
Part of this blog post comes from Marie, one of the "Win A Baby" winners from Hot 89.9's 2011 contest, where couples applied to be lucky receipients of IVF treatments.  This is Marie's story:

"It's hard to get myself back into the headspace I was in before my daughter, Faith, was born. When I look at her now, I feel such an all encompassing joy, that it's hard for me to imagine there was a time when I described the way I felt as "numb to joy". It's the best way I can describe how I ended up feeling after struggling with infertility in the years leading up to her birth.
Infertility took me by surprise. It sent me into denial, it took me for a ride on an emotional rollercoaster that seemed to have no direction. "I am young, this does not happen to people my age" I found myself saying, over and over, in my head. Just a bit more time. A bit more time became a year, and then two, and then three and four. In this time, my husband and I had been to see many doctors, undergone many tests, answered many questions, and yet our biggest one took that long to answer .... "why can't we have a baby"?

Because I held out hope that one day I would get pregnant, and prayed that hopefully the magnitude of unpleasant feelings I felt during our struggle to "have Faith" ( in more ways than one) would slowly disappear from my mind, and from my heart, I kept a journal during that time. I didn't intend for it to be something negative that would induce feelings of sadness in me when I looked back at it. I intended it to be something that, if I was ever blessed enough to have a baby, I could look back at and feel an amazing amount of gratitude that my child exists after such a heartache. I feel that the best way to paint a picture of how infertility made me feel, is to share one of those journals. It's something I never imagined to be public, but with the rising rates of infertility, I am sure there are women out there right now who feel exactly the way I did when I wrote it.

" Sometimes the time, the years I have spent hoping and praying and trying don't seem real because I have trouble believing this is happening to us. All of the many times I have allowed myself to hope for the best only to be let down and somehow I still hope. I feel my hope is running out now like a battery losing it's charge and the light is dimming. I don't know how to pray anymore for something that doesn't want to come true for me. I know that people feel sorry for me and I feel watched and pitied and it adds to my hurt. I want to not hurt anymore. I want to believe that I'm not being selfish when I regret that this is my life right now. I want people to know that I am not ungrateful in any way. I just want to not hurt. I want to be able to lay in bed at night without wanting a baby so badly that it turns my stomach in knots when I remember my reality. My daydreams drift me off to a place where my dreams have come true, and when I remember that those dreams just won't come true for me my heart breaks, over and over again. I don't know if I can count how many times I have broken my own heart this way, and I don't know how to stop. I don't know how to stop dreaming of holding my own baby in my arms, I can't even imagine what that would feel like because it seems it will never be mine. I want to be able to get through a day without hearing about some unwanted, unplanned pregnancy that makes me want to scream in anger. I want to not be angry that an unfit mother gets pregnant by accident when I will likely have to pay big money to even have a hope in the world. I want to know how to let my anger go, it's eating away at my soul, at who I am and I don't want to lose myself in this. I want to know how to pray for my dreams to come true without feeling like I'm praying into nothingness. I just want to believe".  - Marie

Marie took to writing to express her feelings during the depression she faced, alongside of the infertility issues - an excellent outlet for depression.  Baby Faith was born on November 11, 2012 to Marie & her husband Chris, and is an amazingly beautiful girl with quite the personality. 

What can you do to help battle this depression?

  • Exercise.  Getting even 30 minutes a day will stimulate endorphins and  your physical well-being
  • Eat well.  Eating a proper diet helps with energy and increases mobility
  • Creative outlet.  As Marie did, she wrote out her feelings. Writing, singing, dancing, running, are all positive ways to get your emotions out
  • Aim for 6-8 hours of solid sleep every night
  • Join a group for individuals facing the same problem.  There are strength in numbers, and you may find that you have new friends and hope through others
  • Speak with your doctor or medical professional

Chances are, you know someone or know someone who knows someone facing the same infertility issues - and our volunteers are here for you, at any time day or night to talk, to listen, to support you in your journey.  You can call day, or night, when you are down, or have questions, or are looking for a community referral.  We're here for you.

When we say that any issue you are facing is worth talking about, we really mean it.  If you know someone who is experiencing depression from infertility, please pass along our 24/7 confidential phone line to them: 613-238-3311.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Eat Healthy to Battle Depression

Nevermind that bikini season is right around the corner - if you suffer from depression, stress, anxiety, eating healthy takes on a whole new meaning than just bathing suits.

You've heard it all before, how eating healthy is the number one way to keep weight down, and energy up, but did you know that it also helps to improve symptoms of mental health disorders?
Remember the Canadian Food Guide you learned about in health class during your public school years?  A well-balanced diet of the four main food groups provides you with the proper energy, vitamins and minerals that your mind needs to be at its absolute best. 
Skipping meals is a big no-no, especially if you're on medication to help you.  Breakfast, lunch & dinner are an absolute must, as well as healthy snacks throughout your day.  Ever miss a meal and notice how crummy you feel a couple hours later?  Missing that chance to eat can cause mood swings, irratability, fatigue and restlessness.
We all love a treat once in awhile...but the junk food is something to limit if you're dealing with one or more disorders.  Having high refined sugars and fats can lead not only to a sluggish feeling, and again, mood swings, but also weight gain that could potentially affect your medication and dosage.
Go fish.  No but really, the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are one of the easiest foods to eat to stimulate our brain cells, and make them happy.  Our bodies cannot produce Omega-3, and so it must come from fish and other foods.  There is evidence stating that having 2-4 portions of fish a week can help improve symptoms of depression.
Above all, keep a healthy weight.  Not only can a healthy weight help you physically, but it can also boost your confidence in yourself.  Eat well, exercise (even a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day) and sleep 6-8 hours a night to keep a healthy weight.  Your body AND mind will thank you!
As we always mention at the end of our posts, we're always here for you.  Call us anytime of day or night to talk things through.  613-238-3311.
Be well.