Share Your Recipe

The Window: Marcia Fisher

In a reaction to the loss of a loved one, I decided to switch gears within my practice and focus on creating pieces that allowed myself to work through the grief. This work took shape and resulted in The Window: multiple weavings which are all roughly 6’ in length. The weaving process was repetitive and therefore held a meditative quality. This work has as much emphasis on the process as its concept; though the completed work is a physical representation of the internal battle of a loss, the process is what guided me through the grief in real time.

The strong importance of this process came to me only after the work was completed. Through reflection, I saw that The Window was an important step towards facing what I did not want to; in the weeks between losing my loved one and beginning the weaving process, I inadvertently kept myself busy with activities which would not bring up thoughts of the loss. Starting and following through with the weavings put a personal pressure on dealing with every aspect of my grief. It was my personal method for nursing the emotional exhaustion I felt.

 

A loss never leaves you. It is possible that it becomes more comfortable and familiar to your being, but it never leaves you. These pieces stand for what cannot be put to words. They stand for what is gone, but not lost. It is a physical recognition of the internal struggle that cannot be seen to the outside observer. It is a meditation on loss and a material representation of the ability to come to terms with it. It is an attempt to put to materiality what cannot be seen or touched, but is certainly present. It is an ode to the elusive, deep understanding that the loss of a loved one is only a physical loss.

Marcia Fisher

My Recipe: Jenna M Warren

Understand Us, the mental health initiative has started a campaign trend called Share Your Recipe as well as Vulnerable Is Beautiful. Ending the stigma against mental health is life changing, literally. After spending almost 27 years of my life with undiagnosed depression and anxiety, the battle wasn’t always easy, but I was always learning and sometimes barely surviving. Here’s my vulnerability.. I mean recipe.

Let’s Talk: Braedon McLeod

This is an important day for many, many people, including myself.#BellLetsTalk day is a chance to start a conversation about something that affects millions of Canadians — and people around the world — every single day.

My struggle with mental illness, namely anxiety, started in the fall of 2014 at Thanksgiving dinner with my family. Out of nowhere I just felt trapped, scared, and like I couldn’t breathe. I’d never experienced something like it before. It lasted for 17 hours. I had to miss work the next morning, which snowballed into me being fired from my job. Since then, there are some days where I’m short of breath, stuck in my own head, and constantly worried that everything is out to get me. There are some days, too, that I am completely content and ready to tackle the day ahead. You don’t know when it will rear its ugly head. It just does.

A little more about how it affects me. I’ve had times where I’ll be driving from Saskatoon to Regina. Suddenly I’ll feel panicked and like I am in immediate danger. My chest will tighten. I’ll feel trapped and like I’m going to pass out at any moment. Seemingly irrational to you; very real — in the moment — to me.

One thing I’ve learned though, is that it all passes. I feel like I’m dying in the moment, but it passes.

I would not be able to battle this alone, and I am thankful every day for the support group that I have.

Naming the Elephant in the Room: Victoria Sutherland

 I have depression. There. I said it. Holy shit, the elephant in the room has been named! I won’t tell you that I suffer from it, but instead I’ll say I deal with it. Much like an addiction, admitting is the first step and it’s taken me two decades to finally do it. I, along with many other people had bought into the stigma. I spent 6 years obtaining a psych degree (yes, I see the irony in this) so I knew all about the signs, symptoms, treatments and knew that someone with depression isn’t broken or fucked up. Yet, I didn’t want to be labeled as someone with a mental illness. So, instead I gave excuses for my illness – “I’m just feeling down for some reason”, “it’s just a bad day/week/month”, “I’m fine but I just need some time away from everything”. Not once when I had an extreme reaction to a negative event did I think “hmm maybe this is something bigger.”

Team 20/20 Runs for youth mental health in Toronto

UnderstandUs is excited to sponsor team “20/20” in the RBC Run for the kids.   These individuals are located in Toronto and their view and care for youth mental health was so aligned with our vision that we are honoured to feature them on our site.  Please take a moment to donate to their team or share their stories on your social media outlets.

DONATE TO THE RUN

Karen Jacoby

Although I consider myself  philanthropic, the RBC Run for the Kids is the first cause I have personally championed and team I have captained. In partnering with ‘Understand Us’ I hope to not only bring awareness to youth mental health challenges locally but nationally. My recipe for bringing calm to my life is becoming active in charitable pursuits and setting goals to improve the world we live in and the people we share it with.

Michelle Tiangco and Matthew Lawrence
After a mentally exhausting day, our go to remedy is turning off all the lights and meditating. No cell phones, no talking, and most importantly breathe. It helps us feel grounded and in control when things around us are chaotic!

Susan Sun
As a teacher many of my students come from cultures that still view mental illness as invisible or non- existent. Their language barriers make it harder than ever to reach out. I wish every parent and teacher would look just a little harder to see the signs and every child would feel comfortable enough to open up. We all need to work together to reach the unreachable and understand. My recipe to destress and unwind is almost a ritualistic night routine of: imgur to see the humor, beauty and kindness of the world; one form of tea or another and a far fetched novel to escape into a different world.

Matthew Kim
My recipe for mental wellness is focusing my day by turning my phone on silent, plugging in my music and reading an inspiring book about some of my favourite sports legends.

Alexa Arquhard
This race and cause is important to me to create awareness and help for those in need like myself. I suffer from anxiety which has only become manageable through the right support and aid. I hope to bring solutions through the Sunnybrook Hospital Navigation Project to other children and families who are at the beginning of their process and make a difference in their health and quality of life. When I am feeling overwhelmed I focus my energy on physical activity- and preferably a good dance.

Yoga at the Park: Sol’s fitness & UnderstandUs

What: 1 hour yoga session to raise money for mental health.

When: Wednesday August 19 6pm – 7pm.

Where: The park behind Royal Saskatchewan Museum.

How:  Show up with friends and enjoy yourself.  Any donation is accepted but not mandatory.

Why: Sol’s fitness and UnderstandUs believe that mental health and physical health impact each other in positive ways.  We want to offer tools for everyone to live a happy and healthier life.

Thank you for your continued support.

Share Your Recipe: Seven Stones

A group of fourth year nursing students from the Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at the University of Regina were placed at Seven Stones Elementary School for their community rotation. They wanted to implement mental health into their educational time with the students. They narrowed in on this issue as being something that is not talked about enough in a positive way within the community and also a topic that many students struggle with.

 

UUs

 

Share Your Recipe: St Matthew School

We all know the things that we need to do to improve our physical health, but we often lack the tools to improve our mental health.  Whether it is going for a walk, playing your favourite sport, or reaching out to family or friends in times of need we all have ingredients to improve our mental wellness.  These recipes need to be shared.

The students at St. Matthew Elementary are asking you to share your mental health recipe so they can cook with it. Be a leader and share your ingredients for positive mental health so those who are struggling with the same barriers can use those tools to live a more fulfilled and healthy life.  Use the pictures below on your social media outlets to share your ingredients with friends using #ShareYourRecipe.

 

Go to ShareYourRecipe.ca

 

Break the Stigma: Kirstin Kuka

My name is Kirstin Kuka. I’m 22 years old and I am a University of Regina student. I am currently finishing up my last year of my undergraduate degree in Human Justice with a specialized concentration in Criminal and Restorative Justice. Try telling your family that long title every single family gathering! Human Justice and Criminology in general are my passions and I am so truly blessed to have found something that I love so much to fulfill as a field of work and study.

 

I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression at the age of 19. But in all honesty, I had been dealing with both of these mental illnesses long before my diagnosis. As a child I was one of those kids that constantly worried about other people, especially my family. I remember seeing a counsellor regularly for the first time in elementary school at the age of 8 and as I grew older I continued to see someone off and on just to stay on track.

 

One hours time: Riley Lawson

In one hour’s time in Grade 7 at the age of 12, something happened. I didn’t know it at the time but it would shape my entire existence, influence my every decision, and affect the rest of my life…

 

I had been sick with the flu for a few days at home prior to the day that began it all. I was in music class and was not feeling well so I asked to go to the bathroom. The teacher told me to sit back down and wait the 5 minutes until the film was over, so I did as I was told. I remember sitting there thinking about how embarrassed I would be if I got sick in front of all these people but dismissed it and tried to watch the film. Not more than 2-3 minutes later I felt a wave of sickness come over me,

Surviving Trixie: Heather Ashton

Surviving Trixie

 

Part I: The Joys of Dieting

 

Now that I look back at what I’ve written, it’s occurring to me how sick I really was. “What brings you to the ER this afternoon, sweetie?” The triage nurse looked at me with the most beautiful eye creasing smile. “An eating disorder, I guess.” I mean, I didn’t think I was that sick. I still could walk, I could still stand. But you see, thats the vile thing about eating disorders. They somehow deny you the fact that you are even remotely ill because theres no problem in being thinner, right? Everybody wants to be a size 0. Everyone wants to see there protruding collarbones. As far as I knew I was a perfectly normal teenager. Because everyone wants to be slim, right?

 

Which glasses do you wear?: Carleen Desautels

Understand is an action word. A verb that means to interpret the meaning, significance, explanation or cause of something, it demands that to understand we have to “do” something. But what is it that we have to do? I would propose that the do part of understanding is the ways we choose to look at things, people and situations that we aren’t familiar with, that are different than us. Differences are a part of our everyday lives. We have different tastes in clothes, different jobs with different demands. We look different, think different and act in different ways. Facing differentness is not an option, but HOW we face differentness is. When faced with things, people and situations that are different, ask yourself;