The Secret Dual Lives of People Living With Mental Illness

This article made me think of my own struggles and how I could easily create 2 pictures of myself when I am doing well and when I am struggling.

“I hope to give a glimpse to the viewer about the internal lives of people who struggle with disorders that are often misunderstood,” she wrote in an artist statement about the series “Dualities.”

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Canadian Speakers List

As a full time speaker who travels across Canada I am often asked for names of other speakers. I thought I would collate a list of speakers from across Canada for people to use. If you are (or know of a person) who is interested in speaking for a church, conference, school, camp or other event please send me their information (Name, website, topics they speak on etc). You can add their information on the comments in this blog or email them to me at


Dear World: Let’s stop giving our crap to the poor.

Powerful article on what we give and why we give. Please check it out!

The poor may not have wealth, but they have dignity. I’ve met people without electricity or running water who swept their dirt floors daily, pressed their clothes neatly, walked miles to work on muddy roads, dodging sewage, and never had a speck of dirt on them. They value their own worth, we should too.

It’s time to think about not only what we give and how we give it, but also why we give it. Just because it makes us feel better (and cleans out our garage at the same time), doesn’t mean it’s the best for those in need. Perhaps we should look a little deeper into our hearts and wallets when we can say, I don’t have money to give to the poor, but I have a lot of stuff. Maybe we need to buy less stuff, so we have more to give?

“We’re not giving what we’re called to give, unless that giving affects how we live—affects what we put on our plate and where we make our home and hang our hat and what kind of threads we’ve got to have on our back. Surplus Giving is the leftover you can afford to give; Sacrificial Giving is the love gift that changes how you live—because the love of Christ has changed you. God doesn’t want your leftovers. God wants your love overtures, your first-overs, because He is your first love.” —Ann Voskamp

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Are you making a life despite limitations?

After having my breakdown in 2012 I have had hundreds of conversations with people who are going through similar struggles with burnout, breakdown or other forms of suffering. One of the themes I often hear is the idea of being “stuck” and not being able to do the things we want to be doing. I fully understand this thought. I was at home for almost a year dealing with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. I get the idea of being stuck and feeling like your life is over. I recently read an article that rocked me a little as it talked about how Pope Francis said that “recovery is about making a life despite limitations.”

Stigma against people with mental disorders has been around even longer than the Catholic Church. Blame for being ill or behaving oddly has accompanied that stigma. As a young doctor, I was taught to forecast to young people with a serious mental illness (and their families), like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or post-traumatic conditions, that they never could achieve lasting relationships or success in a career. It was a message to those ill that they should resign themselves to a bleak life and a fate that could not be countered. It was, as well, a clinical stance that, ironically, kept good clinicians from providing what may be more important than anything else — fostering hope and helping to heal the wounds of illness.

Francis’ message is clear: as people and institutions, we need to be welcoming (not judging); not defer to the dogma of powerful, hierarchical authorities (“Excessive centralization… complicates,” he said); serve those in need (the wounded); and practice what we preach. This is more and more the lesson taking off in my field as well, where a powerful concept of recovery is spreading. Recovery means sustaining hope, inclusion, finding strengths, building resilience and valuing, most of all, the patient’s needs and wishes first — not the convenience of practitioners or organizations, nor the mandates of received teachings or hallowed theories. Recovery does not deny illness. That would not help either. Recovery is about making a life despite limitations, which seems to have far greater application than just to those with mental and addictive disorders.

This quote is one that I have said to myself daily since I heard it. For me I am still on my road to recovery. I continue to struggle with sleep issues from waking 3-6 times each night and anxiety is a daily struggle for me no matter where I am or what I am doing. The question I now ask myself is what can I do today  in this moment to make a life despite my current limitations? Life is made up of small simple decisions each day and I am trying to see which things that I can do instead of worrying about what I can’t do. Read More