Saturday, April 28, 2012

Satisfying a desire

If you have followed my deep blonde thoughts for the past couple of years, you will be aware of my efforts to downsize my family's home, my attempt at living a more minimalist lifestyle after moving to a small apartment. You may also recall my 2010 post about coveting furniture.

Last weekend, I succumbed to the siren call of that desk (or his cousin) while passing by an English Butler outlet.  I saw the object of my desire. It was signalling to me from inside the store.  "Remember me?" he whispered, "Come closer.  Play with my pull-out writing surface.  You know you want to play with my drawers."

I paused in front of it.  I stroked the dark wooden surface, opened the drawers and pulled at the knobs with visions of getting this beauty into my bedroom. All I had for a writing surface in my tiny room was a folding table which had recently disappeared, being borrowed by a resident budding artist. 

This was not an impulse purchase, dear readers.  It was more of ... an obsessive love affair.  

I had been coveting this desk for years, every time I'd walk by that store.  If it wasn't near the front, I'd find myself craning my neck to see if it was somewhere at a side wall, hidden by the frivolous ornaments, candles and tapestry. 

Once the sales clerk confirmed that they could deliver, I was at the precipice to purchase.  My justification?  I had recently come into some coin plus needed a private place to write in my journal, to store stationery and books that were cluttering my tiny bedroom. 

My other justification was that due to the other procurement demands and errands of the day, I did not have time to study the PMBoK - something I tried to do on a weekly basis after escaping our crowded apartment for a visit to the local library.  Other than the dining table, there was no other decent place for studying.

So there it sits, waiting for me to organize my books, stationery and files into its mouth and belly.  I'll save that  activity for tonight - in-between loads of laundry.  I lead such an exciting life... 

Thank you for reading this far.  If you like my writing style, you may also enjoy reading "The Year of the Rabbit - a novel about Fate, Family and Forgiveness".  



Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lean on Me

"I'm so relieved to know that I am not alone."

That is a statement I have heard often over the past fifteen months.  I have also shared it with teared-up eyes while sitting around a table or in a circle of couches and chairs.  

It's good to know that you are not alone in a struggle and that your troubles sometimes seem few compared to others' when they're facing addictive, harmful behaviour.

We each experience a variety of challenges throughout our lives and I believe that it's how you face them that contributes to your character - and skills for survival.  There will be times when one cannot be strong and has to realize that some life challenges cannot be faced alone.  There will be times when we each need the meaningful support of family, friends and community.  

We all need somebody to lean on. 
I have memories of living with a mentally ill person who was emotionally and verbally abusive to our family.  We were "walking on eggshells" so as to avoid an outburst or angry tirade.  After he attempted to kill me, I remember using that term while testifying at the criminal trial - even before I knew there was a book whose title contained the same phrase.

It's bad enough if the affected family member was your former spouse who through denial and controlling behaviour could make you doubt your own sanity.   It's a different story when a parent sees it happening with a child. 

After years as a single parent dealing with PTSD, my family's emotional roller coasters and attempting to cope through writing therapy, I was very thankful for connecting with a group that helps friends and family cope when someone they love suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The twelve-week course was led by volunteers who tirelessly coordinated the weekly sessions and provided participants with documents and articles, building a "toolbox" of skills for coping and understanding affected family members. We were also reminded that we, as relatives have rights. 

I am not shy to share this part of my life with the world. Some of the details are on public record anyway.   If this blog entry can reach one person who is experiencing the same conditions as I did over a decade ago, wondering "Why is this happening?", then I feel that I have connected with and helped another human being along the bumpy road on the journey of life. 

It was during the final session of our program last spring that some of us expressed an interest to continue meeting - at least on a monthly basis.  We wanted to review the notes, refresh ourselves on the communication and coping skills.  We needed to keep on connecting, listening and sharing

Some of the people could not make it to the monthly gatherings.  I often think about them and hope their struggles have lessened over time.  

In addition to the monthly support sessions, I have continued to review the courseware and perform research online.  It's not difficult to find credible, clinical sources and... blogs by others who have endured family members with these same disorders for a long, long time.  I consider myself very lucky.

Last month, a group of my lady writer friends finally agreed on a convenient date to meet for dinner.  In addition to sharing updates on our lives and clinking our glasses in a toast, we consoled each other on our various challenges.  We agreed on the importance of the gathering of friends and taking advantage of available support systems. 

In addition to professional services, support groups and healthy communities, it's good to have friends - real life and yes, even supplemented on social networking platforms like Facebook. On the latter though, one doesn't (and shouldn't) reveal dark, personal details.  There is indeed a feeling of connection and support when sharing photographs or "what's on your mind?".  

After a "like" or a comment from a true friend across the city, the river or across the continent, you can feel assured that you are not alone. 

- - -

The Ottawa Network for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Spring is here and it snowed in the Ottawa Valley - on April Fool's Day. 

That's okay, it already melted and is providing water for the grass, flowers and trees. I hope we get more rain.  Yep, this is one of my favourite seasons - except for the muck and smell of dog pooh around our neighbourhood.  

In case you weren't aware, the Christian holiday of Easter occurs during spring.  Since I'm a lapsed Catholic, I shouldn't attempt to provide any insights.  I just like the timing of this meaningful religious holiday with the pagan celebrations.  I respect the theme of revival and renewal. 

I cherish the bursting greens and pretty blossoms, cool days and nights before the sticky, humid days of summer.

I also like the opportunities for consuming delicious chocolate.  As for the little chicks and bunnies that have wiggled their way into this holiday, please resist the urge to give a bunny rabbit as an Easter gift.  

What you could do is give yourself a copy of The Year of the Rabbit ebook.  One of the main characters is a priest.  Another is his daughter. 

Curious? Thought so. Write to Florence T. Lyon before April 30th and she'll send you the secret code to obtain a free copy from Smashwords

Have a wonderful Easter week and enjoy what time you can get with your family.