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What is Mental Health? How to solve the current epidemic | State Of Mind Podcast Episode #1

February 10, 2020


hello world I am going live for the
first time ever for the state of mind radio podcast and it is pretty amazing
it’s been a long time coming and I’m really excited to be sharing this air
wave in this room with the wonderful people at Radio region and here we go so
I’m a bit of a rookie so please bear with me and otherwise I’m gonna get
right into it so my name is Mike Stroh I started something called starts with me
which is a mental health advocacy education and event business and we do a
lot of work with schools in the workplace with nonprofit organizations
and families and individuals and our main purpose is to increase people’s
capacity for well-being and what we are going to talk about on this show is what
is mental health what is mental illness what is recovery what is well-being
what is addiction and what do all these things mean and what do they look like
in people’s lives and I think that conversation doesn’t have much depth to
it in today’s I guess hoopla around mental
health and the importance of it so that’s what I’m gonna try to do I’m
gonna try to bring that to everybody in a different way and I hope that it is
helpful we will have a lot of guests from individuals who’ve gone through
their own struggles to medical professionals doctors nurses social
workers occupational therapists and etc and also
family members and parents and we really are hoping to deepen the conversation to
help people identify with others and hopefully through that identic
identification seek hope seek inspiration and possibly also resources
and insights and help find a way through their struggles or share their joys
whatever the case may be and the name state of mind is named after our annual
festival which is a culmination of all the work we do with the kids in high
school and increasingly into the junior school grades and we have over the years
with teachers created curriculums so we come in do work in schools and the
students get graded on it which is really incredible then they submit that
to the festival and then they come and have a celebration during mental health
awareness week and that’s we’ve had – thus far and that’s super duper exciting
another thing we’re doing with Radio Regent we are partnering with the youth
run catch the flavor a radio which is also really cool so all of the starts
with me speakers are going to be supporting a portion of their weekly
radio show discussing all things mental health well-being substance use sexual
behavior all the things that young people are dealing with today and so
that is also Tuesday evening so if anybody has more interest in following
the conversation with more of a youth lens I suggest you check that out
so because it’s the first time ever I’m just going to
go through our general outline presentation of what this looks like
when we’re presenting our work and since I am all by my lonesome I won’t have a
guest today but I’ll tell you a little bit about my own story and then we’ll
probably be done so the first thing we always say when presenting or when
talking about mental health to an audience is until me personally until I
could understand that I really was the ultimately responsible
for taking care of myself I had no chance and I often like to use the quote
or at least the quote attributed to Gandhi be the change you wish to see in
the world I used to point the finger in every
direction you know it’s my parents fault it’s my teachers fault it’s the
government’s fault it’s capitalism’s fault whoever it is that I wanted to
blame for my problems instead of you know having the opportunity to
understand that really at the bottom of it all it was up to me and so that is an
incredibly difficult lesson to learn and if I didn’t have a tremendous amount of
support to help me learn it then I wouldn’t be sitting here today so
there’s a balance between you know people being responsible and taking
agency over their lives and the need for our people to help them along to do that
and now over the years I think personally I am and also the sort of
crew that’s developing around starts with me
I think we’re in a position to start doing that and that’s really exciting
and that’s what we’re I would hear to do so be the change you wish to see in the
world it’s a good place to start rather than expecting other people to do it for
you okay so I guess outside of this radio booth
we work with both the school board’s in the city we as individuals do a lot of
work at CAMH for a high school program called beyond the Cuckoo’s Nest which
was the foundational program and I always bug them about it but probably in
the world certainly I would say in Canada 30 years ago nurses and
clinicians partnered with clients to help reduce stigma in high schools and
30 years later wonderful still a wonderful program still you know they
see gosh probably a few thousand kids a year and share the message is really
awesome so beyond that we’ve worked with the schizophrenia Society of Ontario st.
Michael’s Hospital Canadian Mental Health Association the mood disorders
Association the Mental Health Commission of Canada as you know collectively we do
a lot of stuff now in the corporate world which is super exciting and we are
just on the tip of doing a really amazing
workshop or training with some City of Toronto staff who work with young people
and that is also incredibly exciting and it’s a it’s another sign that
collectively we are understanding how important this stuff is and we’re trying
to figure out the best way to go about helping people learn about it so again
it kind of goes back to I’m in an interesting position I’m I have personal
experience our family experience I’m also a parent I’m you know engaged with
the schools as a parent as I guess an advocate and educator
I’m sort of come at this from lots of different angles and so sometimes I have
to remember what hat I’m wearing and what perspective I’m trying to advocate
for but primarily I always advocate for either people taking it upon themselves
to help themselves first so that they can help others and then using that
strength to help other people do the same and if we look at globally okay
the World Health Organization says depression is the number one cause of
disability worldwide depression is the number one cause of disability worldwide
and that is hard to believe knowing that and also knowing how I guess you would
say unbalanced wealth and security and access to resources and all that thing
is across the world it’s hard to grasp that you know in certain areas of the
world no doubt particularly in places that are experiencing war or environment
like serious environmental degradation or lack of food and etc the rates are
higher but generally it doesn’t matter where you live the rates of depression
are pretty consistent across the world and that is astounding to me so I do
think for the most part you know people doctors the medical system academics you
know everybody is doing the best they can with what they have and that is
something that I often have to remind myself of when I get caught in those
patterns of second-guessing or wondering how and
why and all this stuff why is it happening why aren’t things getting
better but if you stop and think things actually are getting a lot better
and the Mental Health System seems to be changing and a lot of that’s because of
wonderful advocates and wonderful people that they’re working their butts off to
make it happen a big word you’ll often hear in the
mental health space is stigma stigma is sort of the big you know I don’t know
what the Boogie word for mental health and to me well first of all first of all
stigma is just another word for discrimination basically and in a mental
health context that means you know prejudice or treating people with mental
illnesses differently than you would treat a quote-unquote normal normal
person I think the stigma discussion could be a little more thorough and a
little more have a depth to it that’s not currently happening so how I would
add to that is here’s how I see stigma play out in this you know replace the
word stigma with prejudice discrimination whatever it is but in
terms of mental health or mental illness you see somebody on the street who is
behaving in a way maybe it’s not on the street maybe it’s in your family in the
school whatever you see them behaving in a certain way you don’t like how they
are behaving so instantly your mind creates a judgment about them and in
this case usually it’s bad other person bad I don’t like it so then the next
stage of that is you make more judgments or kind of you create ideas about what
that person is why you don’t like them what may
see better than them or what makes you need to move away from them and so you
start to create a story in your head that creates a separation between you
and them then you can justify putting them down you can justify you know
possibly a negative way of treating them and then you just go on with your life
and that’s kind of how stigma plays out in the mental health context and you
know one thing that doesn’t enter the conversation is our brains have evolved
to label people that’s what our brains do or that’s one of the jobs our brains
are constantly thinking non-stop all day long thoughts thoughts thoughts thoughts
judgments interpretations we’re judging the world we’re doing all those things
non-stop so it’s actually quite normal to have judgment and I don’t I’ll talk
about it more later but I don’t like this idea of don’t be judgmental your
brains job is to be judgmental so I like to say when you notice yourself being
judgmental that’s where you have the choice or that’s where you have the
opportunity to then take different actions or say different words or you
know whatever it is and that’s how we create a better world that’s how we
become more compassionate it’s not about telling each other what to do so back to
the stigma where we’re judging this person we’re creating stories in our
head we’re separating them from us and then we put them down and what that does
is it makes us feel better about ourselves and what’s really going on is
that we see someone behaving in their way and our evolved animal brain says
that is dangerous and we put up the defenses and then we go on with our life
and that’s a very normal thing to happen for the brain and so when as we sort of
evolved or as you know depending on how you look at it
as we become more thoughtful and compassionate and etc in this world and
as our prefrontal cortex the front part of our brain or the higher thinking part
of our brain develops and evolves the hope is that we can behave in more
compassionate ways so when we are we see these people or we see someone who does
something that we don’t like and it scares us the more evolved part of our
brain which is called the prefrontal cortex shuts down and our animal
instincts take over and we can’t be compassionate and we can’t be thoughtful
and we can’t be caring so it’s actually quite normal when people get into
hostile situations or when they get angry or anxious or scared or whatever
that they behave in these ways it’s actually very normal and it’s to be I’m
trying to film this on and I just screwed something anyhow so that’s what
happens and that’s my little spiel on stigma so stigma is kind of the normal
process of your unconscious brain and when we become more conscious and become
more self-aware we can start to notice when we’re being judgemental and by
doing that then we can start to make different choices about how we’re
treating that person or whatever it is so what starts to happen personally at
least for me I’ll get into my story a wee bit
I’d say about around the age of 12 was one the first time I really started
noticing that I felt different I felt uncomfortable in my own skin and I would
when I went to school or when I was around my friends I would look at them
and I would think to myself wow that person has something that I don’t have
or those people know something that I don’t know and what I thought they knew
was how to feel okay I thought they knew how you ask their
teachers questions or how to speak up in class or how to
you know just navigate the world in a way that made them feel okay and I
certainly didn’t think that I knew how to do that and I was so young and these
conversations weren’t happening and so I thought gee I did have an older brother
and so generally when you have an older sibling you potentially can be
introduced to things sooner than other people and I thought it was a brilliant
idea to start experimenting with drugs because I didn’t know what else to do
and I desperately wanted to know how to feel better and I experimented with
marijuana that didn’t work the first time so then I decided I’m gonna try
magic mushrooms I don’t even think I knew what the hell they were but I
basically had a drug-induced psychotic episode on magic mushrooms
when I was 12 years old and that paved the way for ha the rest of my days
dealing with drug addiction and mental illness and what happened at that time
was I learned or sort of another one of my coping skills or learn behaviors was
to lie so for anybody out there who has kids or anyone who’s familiar with kids
you know when when kids learn to lie or that it’s even possible to manipulate
reality it’s actually quite an incredibly profound experience oh my
goodness I can manipulate the universe Wow and then you know hopefully we
learned that that’s probably not the best thing to do but for people in my
situation at least for me I was so scared of getting in trouble I was so
scared of being honest in dealing with my problems
that lying became a quick fix it’s almost as if it’s an addiction it offers
instant relief although you feel awkward while doing it to get away from your
problems or avoid facing consequences so that’s when I started to learn
to lie as a coping skill and throughout my journey the person I lied to the most
was certainly myself but that was kind of how I got through difficult times and
of course you know 12 13 year-old kid to deal with my problems
I needed some revenue and you know I could only steal so much money from my
mom without getting in trouble I could only you know manage to do a
little bit of part-time work so I basically started selling drugs and I
was then arrested and convicted of trafficking marijuana when I was 16 and again got in trouble and just lied I
lied because I didn’t know how to face my issues and at the time we didn’t you
know in fairness to the adults in the world at that time at least we didn’t
have these conversations we didn’t know how to deal with this stuff our approach
was always you’re bad you need to be punished and you need to deal with the
consequences of that now I do think that that is important but what is more
important especially with young people is that we try to understand why they
are behaving the way they are behaving doesn’t mean we condone their behavior
doesn’t mean we let them off the hook but if we don’t understand why and if we
don’t help them try to understand why then nothing gets better
no one gets anywhere and we’re still not great at that and so that’s part of
that’s part of what we’re trying to do is help people understand the why behind
the behavior and it kind of goes back to that stigma thing you know we see people
behaving in a certain way we don’t like it we’ve pushed them aside we create
judgements we create labels and then we live out this story in our heads or in
our thoughts that creates a separate other
and it allows us to dehumanize our relationship with them and in which case
we can’t treat them in a way that is most helpful to them and to us and in
the bigger picture to everybody so after I got convicted I was still sort of
selling drugs and in deep deep darkness personally a lot of the people around me
were in similar places and I started to while now looking back basically the
people I hung out with the places that I went and the things that I did were
pretty much entirely based on whether or not I could get and stay high and that
is a horrible horrible way to live now I primarily was high on marijuana
literally 24 hours a day from about 13 to 30 years old and with the coming
legislation it’s just interesting I am 100% in favor of legislation I think
it’s definitely long overdue I don’t think marijuana is bad I just
think for people like myself it was bad and I couldn’t you know smoke it like a
normal person there’s a funny joke some people say if I could smoke weed like a
normal person I’d smoke it every day and so anyhow I just I can’t I can’t and
that’s okay with me I’m actually quite happy of the way I lived my life today
and I did lots of other drugs and I tried desperately to be an alcoholic but
for some reason you know people differ in their substances of choice alcohol
made me sick all the time and I vomited and I prayed to the porcelain gods over
and over that I would never do it again and of course you know the next weekend
if I could stomach shoving it down my throat
drink it and you know I did other drugs but I do distinctly remember this is
another sign of somebody who’s likely has some substance use issues at least
in my case and in many other people I know is that we we rationalize justify
and minimize what we’re doing so my justification for being hide 24 hours a
day was at least I’m not going to die because I know if I get high 24 hours a
day on the other substances that I occasionally did that I would probably
die and so that’s a good example of really dysfunctional thinking and that’s
how it kind of went about my merry way and any time that I would that this sort
of behavior or this addiction would get in the way of my life I would
rationalize that or minimize its negative effects and I would always
basically live in the future or I would live a lie that said it’s okay that I’m
doing this because one day I’ll be better or one day I’ll get my life
together or one day I’ll do this or one day I’ll do that and it basically keeps
you stuck in denial and a great acronym for denial is don’t even notice I am
lying it’s beauty so there I was in denial in a cloud of smoke I was asked
to leave my first high school I went to a second high school where if you showed
up you would pass if he did a tiny bit of work you’d probably get a C and if he
did a tiny bit more you’d maybe get a C+ or a B and I lied my way through oh I
see so I was one of the later grade 13 people squeezed into University and that
is sort of when more of my mental health or mental illness symptoms if you will
started to influence my life I went to a
university that was quite politically active in Montreal Concordia and the
9/11 attacks happened and then I started obsessing about the world and politics
and why everything was going to hell in a handbasket and then my brother my
older brother had his first psychotic episode and became I guess was diagnosed
with schizophrenia so all these things are happening my world is crashing in
around me and I guess this is maybe when other symptoms or diagnosis of mental
illnesses started to become a big part of my life so depression anxiety
obsessive compulsive thinking and you know drug addiction in my opinion is a
form of obsessive compulsive disorder although I should probably look in my
dsm-5 which is the book that psychiatrists use to diagnose people to
see if that if they would agree I don’t know and I was really scared I didn’t
know what the hell was going on my brother was quite ill at the time and it
was really scary and again these conversations weren’t happening I had no
coping skills I didn’t know what the hell to do and I do remember going to my
university counseling office I guess it was and this was my only excuse me this
is my only experience ever with a mental health professional I guess up until the
day that it all ended for me and I remember going into his office and
talking for a little while and I sort of to me the problem was I finally got a
date with this girl that I had been I guess pursuing in my thoughts
she was the lovely person and quite beautiful and I for the first
time in my life couldn’t get an erection and just wasn’t working and obviously
that had a lot to do with the personal issues and family issues that were going
on and to me though I had nothing to do with that I just didn’t get it it’s like
why isn’t this working this should be working it’s always work this is really
annoying and so the dog I think he was a psychiatrist because he offered me
medication but you know he said to me you know maybe something’s going on
maybe there are other issues happening in your life that are influencing your
sexual performance or whatever and I you know he mentioned antidepressants and
some other things and I just wasn’t hearing it and so this is another
example of somebody who is not well is that I thought my problems were that I
couldn’t get an erection and get with this girl but really my problems were
deeply rooted mental illness and mental health and addiction problems and but I
just couldn’t see it I couldn’t accept it what not I just sort of thought to
that you know why isn’t this guy just helping me get with this girl I mean
that’s what I want I don’t want to deal with my issues and so literally I I
basically just walked out of his office and I never sought support again until I
like I said the very end so another example of you know when we’re in real
distress or when we’re in rough shape it’s so difficult for us to see things
clearly especially when you’re high all the time I mean you’re basically living
in a mild form of drug induced psychosis a break from reality you’re kind of just
in la-la land all the time and you can’t see things for for how they really are
so off I went you know I managed to at the end of it
sort of cheated my way through the end of University and then off I went into
the world which I think was around the time that Radio Regent Park started to
become something and I sort of was caught in this weird place
of trying to pursue interest in the world but just being shackled by my need
to be high 24 hours a day because I couldn’t stand one second in my skin
without self medicating through drugs I was so uncomfortable I don’t you know it
was just horrible and so I couldn’t really pursue anything because anything
that got in the way of me getting high 24/7 had to go and usually to pursue
things of interest in that are meaningful chances are being high all
the time is not gonna help at least certainly for me so it was also a time
that I started learning about my family history so it is important to know about
family history when you know for any health issue okay it’s helpful to know
so that when signs come up for you or somebody else in your family you can say
oh that might look like this you know if you have diabetes in your family you
know what to look out for so my paternal grandfather died by suicide and he had
had a lobotomy so back in the 50s I think it was you know that was how they
thought they could help people with mental illness and evidently that didn’t
work and he took his life you know shortly after that as far as I know time
lines might be a little bit skewed but then and also my mom said she had seven
sisters and my maternal grandfather I think had some alcohol issues and I’m
sure there were other mental health things going on but so it’s kind of in
my blood it’s in my genes it’s in my family so
that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen to you or your kids doesn’t mean that at
all it just means that you might want to be a little more aware of what’s
happening because that can can make a big difference so you know at the same
time I’m trying to make my way through the world and my brother’s sort of still
in and out of care he would get apprehended by the police
sometimes and I would often have to go with my mom to the hospital or I go on
my own to convince him to seek you know take care or get help if he was
apprehended by the police sometimes I’d have to go see him in jail and convince
him to transfer the mental health courts and you know just total madness
absolutely madness was really rough and I also lived with him for quite a while
and it’s kind of you know just the definition of madness and again on the
surface I could pretend things were okay I would compare myself to my brother and
say well at least I’m not like that all kinds of really dysfunctional not good
ways of looking at yourself or the world and things did not get better but one
thing that at this point did start to happen which was you know a big turning
point I guess for me as my brother and I one of the few things we could do
together was play cards so we started playing cards or started playing poker
this is sort of around the time of poker being what ever popular and we started
to win and then my brother said we should put some money on the internet
and we did and so fast forward five years or so I had become a really good
online poker player and I started to make pretty good amount of money and I
started to sort of travel around dead poker tournaments and I spent a lot of
time in Las Vegas and it kind of actually helped me quite a bit I started
to have some sense of self-worth self-confidence I thought wow I actually
am NOT a pathetic human being and I actually can’t do something with my life
or if I put my focus and energy on something that maybe I’ll get somewhere
so it was kind of a weird contradiction because it allowed me to stay
hi all the time because I had money it allowed me to lock myself in an
apartment basically and not have to engage with the world which is something
I always really desperately wanted to do but it did allow me to sort of build up
some sense of you know self-confidence and I was pretty good and I had friends
that were really good and you know with their help and my own intense work ethic
I started to think that I didn’t have to be a miserable drug addict anymore
and what fast forwarded that whole process was I met a girl I had a
friend’s wedding and through that relationship again I sort of came
face-to-face with denial you know I would behave in certain ways and she
would say what the hell are you doing you said you were gonna do one thing and
you’re doing the opposite and that kind of made me look a little bit more
honestly at myself and you know I’m a sensitive person for the most part and
all I ever wanted in life was to feel okay
just like everybody else we want to feel okay we want to know that we have
community that we have loved that we have you know friendships and etc and
without that we’re pretty miserable so I kind of thought wow if I don’t change I
may not have those things and because I was making money and on the surface I
could hold it together relatively well relatively we thought it was a good idea
to get married and somehow we got married
and anyway you know fast forward not too long into the marriage it was clear that
I was a real bloody disaster because now I had more responsibilities we had
bought a house and my wife was trying to start a business and so I was just
swimming or drowning in responsibilities that I couldn’t handle and I started
needed to get it was just a bloody mess so for the first time in my entire life
I asked for help you know I had had suicidal thoughts
throughout my life I had had you know moments of real fear
and terror of what might happen to me and those started coming back and I knew
that this was potentially my last chance or who knows so I I called somebody who
I knew was similar to me and now he was a drug addiction counselor and he helped
me it was quite amazing so we got together and he brought his little
checklist he’s like we have to do a formal assessment and so he’s Jack Jack
Jack Jack Jack Jack yeah it seems like you have a problem Mike yeah no kidding
so he said call this number I have a hospital I checked myself into a an
outpatient program at st. Joe’s hospital and I’ll never forget the conversation
with this lady at the program she said Michael you have to be sober for 72
hours before you come here and I thought to myself Jesus
72 hours I can’t be sober for 72 minutes and if I could I would not be calling to
get help but for whatever reason that was the first time in my entire life at
least that I can remember where that sack of bricks that I’ve been dragging
around my whole life started to loosen it was really just such an incredible
sense of relief and I tried to stop so many times I thought I did everything
that you know a lot of people described in these environments of flushing it
down the toilet stashing it in the backyard giving it to friends you know
whatever it is I’d done all that over and over for years and it didn’t work so
for some reason this felt real and I gave this guy a really big hug and I was
crying intense sort of joy and relief and hope and whatnot and that was sort
of when it all began to change which was jeez it’s on
November 2nd it will be seven years and that’s a pretty miraculous thing so I
can’t you know I waved the white flag I decided to stop digging my own grave
and off I went to get help and early on in this process I met this guy named
Jeremy and this guy Jeremy saved my life he really did I owe pretty much almost
everything or a huge incredible debt of gratitude to this guy and he taught me
how to start taking responsibility for myself and it goes back to what I was
saying earlier we have to teach people that they are ultimately responsible for
themselves and how they engage with the world because that’s the only place in
my opinion that real substantial change happens and when we change as
individuals from the inside out then the world around us changes and that is
something that people just can’t seem to get it’s very difficult to understand
that but once you experience that truth life will never be the same and you’ll
feel quite liberated and empowered and so that’s what we have to help people do
in my opinion so this guy Jeremy you know he held my hand like he was just I
hey I owe everything to that guy so I literally called him every day for a
couple years I would have fallen at all temper tantrums I was just a bloody mess
I was a 13 year old kid in a 30 year old man’s body and I had to learn how to be
a human being and I slowly you know I got on a wait list for government
covered psychotherapy which took them I think it was about 18 months around 18
months two years I don’t remember exactly
I got a psychiatrist I got a marriage counsellor because you know people in my
situation often have those issues and that was incredibly helpful and I
also found a mindfulness doctor so I started to build what I like to call
this sort of superhero squad I’m the superhero squad of people that
have helped me tremendously along my journey and because of that I’m now able
to help other people I’m also currently studying a master’s in counseling
psychology which is somewhat hard to fathom considering where I’ve been and
it’s amazing and so those are kind of the things you know I the the main
things that are most important to me are if I don’t take care of myself first
then I’m of no use to anyone else it’s kind of the analogy of the airplane
going down you know put your air mask on first before you help your neighbor
because if you can’t breathe then how the hell are you gonna help somebody
else another thing that Jeremy drilled into
my head early on for me was if you don’t make taking you care of yourself the
most important thing you will ever do then you’ll lose everything else in your
life so that means if I put my job in front of taking care of myself or if I
put my relationships or friendships then I’ll lose them because I won’t be a
human being that’s worthy of those relationships or I’ll be behaving in a
way that I wouldn’t expect anybody to want to have a relationship with me so I
took that SuperDuper seriously I’ve been in in incredible suffering for way too
long and I really would have to I’d still to this day do anything I possibly
can to take care of myself and that’s kind of the message that I
hope to pass on to other people and that I hope other people learn so the the
foundations of that for me are number one honesty if we can’t be honest with
ourselves then we have no chance so how can we help each other become more
honest with ourselves and again it goes back to this you have
to embody the things that you expect other people to do and that’s what I I
think is lost a lot in this mental health conversation is that a lot of the
advocacy or a lot of the conversation is on you know the system has to change and
this has to change and that has to change but nobody ever talks about they
have to change you have to look in the mirror and start there can’t go and fix
a broken system with the broken people that created it so you know that’s kind
of a spin on I think it at least a quote attributed to Einstein you know we can’t
fix today’s problems with the same thinking that created them so I don’t
necessarily align myself with this whole cry for more funding and this and that
because it’s sort of the way the system is structured and the way we as humans
think and interact with each other that’s the problem so pouring money on a
broken system is not gonna help so we got to change ourselves first and by
doing that and the things that we create are thus different and that all starts
with honesty and so if we can be honest then we can have hope you know wow I am
changing I am a different person through this practice of honesty and I actually
can believe that I have hoped that things will be different and change and
that’s pretty exciting hmm I wonder what that could be like over the span of many
years you know I love this quote from Tony Robbins people overestimate what
they can do in one year and they underestimate what they can do in 10
that’s a wonderful quote so you got honesty we got hope and then we can
start to build faith so faith in this context personally means even though the
practice of honesty and help doesn’t always bring me what I want it to bring
me and it doesn’t mean the suffering goes away and life gets horrible and
awful and just you kind of want to crawl out of your skin or whatever it is you
know the suffering doesn’t go away but our
ability to deal with it gets stronger and so the faith kind of helps hold on
to that or believe that that is the best way forward because going back to how we
were in the past is not a good option at least for me so we got honesty we got
hope we got faith then we can start to have courage we think oh my gosh this is
working I can do something and I’m gonna do it and that courage is big and for me
the courage meant looking in the mirror and emptying out that closet emptying
out that skeleton closet of all the past shame all the past guilt all the remorse
all the horrible things I had thought and done and experienced it that has to
get cleaned out and that’s another thing that I think the mental health system
particularly the peer support world don’t you know which I’m in many ways a
part of we don’t hold each other accountable for these more serious more
deeply rooted methods of healing which I think we need to be doing but anyhow
that’s another conversation for another day so we need that courage to face
ourselves you know I guess this Carl Jung says what does he call it our
shadow self or our darkside or I can’t remember exactly what he calls it but we
need to face that stuff and we need to learn to figure of ourselves which is
another big thing and by doing that we start to build integrity right I’m I’m
living my life according to these guidelines honesty hope faith and
courage and by doing that I’ve become an expression of integrity and that’s an
incredibly powerful thing for people to experience at least I know it is for me
and it’s not I’m better than you are better this I’m better than that it’s
I’m living in accordance to these values because I know it’s the best thing for
me and I think that it’s going to be helpful for other people and by doing
that practice and having guidance from people that are maybe more advanced in
it than you are you start to learn some humility
humility is probably that and gratitude or might just be some of the biggest
things missing from I don’t know how to say it
Canadian society maybe we have it so good yes there are problems yes there’s
all kinds of things we need to fix absolutely
but compared to history and just you know how things have been in the past we
have a pretty darn good so let’s show some bloody gratitude for that and
humility in my case means not thinking I have all the answers you know listening
to people shutting my mouth taking advice dealing with criticism all those
kind of things you know I really had to learn that lesson big time so we got
honesty hope faith courage integrity humility and maybe another one is
willingness I’m doing all these things but the main reason they work is because
I’m willing to continue doing them and when things get hard I have the
willingness to keep going to keep asking for help to keep checking myself to keep
you know a self reflective process of oh maybe I did make a mistake and maybe I’d
better go freaking say sorry for that or whatever it is and that sort of the next
thing is responsibility we got to get responsible for our behaviors and our
actions so start to take responsibility for things I start to make amends start
to live in a way that embodies these principles and life continues to get
better now an apology is I guess saying sorry but the difference between an
apology and an amends is that an inmense is living in a way that no longer makes
it necessary to apologize these are two really big things and we don’t have the
time to talk about it now but I will spend a lot of time talking about those
things so we got honesty hope faith courage
integrity willingness humility responsibility what do you got number 9
on the list is practice you got to practice these things every day you got
to live these things they’re not just nice words that come out of your mouth
because that words don’t mean bleep actions do okay
actions speak louder than words the last thing for me is service being of service
to other human beings being of service to the world giving back from a world
that I in some ways sucked from when I was not well so that’s where I am today
I do everything I possibly can to give back I try to embody these principles
and everything that I do and nobody’s perfect I make mistakes all the time I
say things that aren’t nice I screw things up but that’s okay because at the
same time I have this body of evidence that doesn’t allow my itty bitty itty
committee of negative self-talk to get in my way because I know that I’m not
like that anymore and I know that I’m now like this and if I live by these
guidelines my life is gonna be okay so that was me rambling on for quite a long
time this is really exciting my time is kind of up although I don’t have to shut
her down right now I think I’m going to so yeah you know I’ll be back again next
week pulse will be back tonight with the catch the flavor radio show you know the
thing is if we can learn to practice some honesty with ourselves first that’s
the first step that’s the first thing we need to do and hope is there you will be
incredibly surprised by what might happen if you ask for help or if you
start to be honest with yourself because the pain of not changing is way worse
than the pain of change and the discomfort of asking for help so
we’ll be back again there’ll be more info on the website about what we’re
trying to do here but this was a good first test run if anyone was listening
thank you so much with sincere gratitude I sign out and what I’m gonna sign out
with every time I hope to remember so I’m gonna put my hand on my heart I’m
gonna take a nice deep breath and I’m going to say my state of mind starts
with me peace out world! Until next time.

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