The Journey and the Dream still continues…

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Twenty years ago, I made the first journey to Assisi on my own. I was young, healthy and carefree imitating the life of St. Francis, poor in spirit. Alone I was, I met a lot of strangers along the road. … Continue reading

Special Report

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Katie Stubblefield lost her face when she attempted suicide at 18. The images that tell her story are difficult to look at—but her remarkable journey reveals something profound about our humanity. It’s a story of trauma, identity, resilience, devotion, and medical miracles. … Continue reading

Finding Advent at the Inn

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Yesterday’s destination at the Quay is to attend a conference at the Inn. It’s a conference that most people would shy away from attending since the main focus is people with (dis)abilities. People with vision impairment and hard of hearing, with walking … Continue reading

What Lies Behind the Wall

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Here I stood at Mount Olive, I could see the structure behind the wall with an onion-shaped golden dome. It’s calling me, and I wanted to visit the place, but it’s not part of our itinerary. Long after I came … Continue reading

Oh, What a feeling!

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There are many smiling and happy faces when #BellLetsTalk January 28 mental wellness dialogue was a huge success. It resulted over 122 million talk.text.tweet . Translating that in dollars and cents that’s about $6.1 million for mental health funding. We could never been … Continue reading

Talk. Text. Tweet

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Her athletic journey captured our hearts not just by winning in Olympics also by speaking about mental health.  Behind this beautiful smile, she suffers from depression. One of the best way to rise above depression is by talking about it. … Continue reading

From Illness to Independence

Bipolar

Source: International Bipolar Foundation

This week I will be posting a series of awareness to advocate for people who suffer mental illness. As much as I would like to discuss my experience, I would rather share what is happening NOW.

I want everyone to know that a lot of people are striving to be back in the main stream and live a so-called “normal” life with the help of caring people and  communities.

It pains me to read and hear that these people are called “selfish” because of the illness especially one committed suicide.

The other night, I was watching the news how a boy raised funds to help his friend received the operation his friend badly needed. His friend is suffering from cerebral palsy and can hardly move. He raised more than enough money for the operation. The main question for the boy was what made you do it.

His answer was: “If you see someone needs help, you just help them.”

Yes! Just help. It’s that simple from the mouth of a boy.

The world would be better if we can help one another.

Thousands of people with chronic mental illness live productive lives in Metro Vancouver thanks to the support offered by Coast Mental Health. The non-profit organization provides housing, vocational training and employment opportunities, and community resources to over 4,200 people with mental illness every year. In recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 6 to 11) Coast strives to spark meaningful discussions about mental health.

Mental illness is a thief. It can rob you of your identity, take away your livelihood and isolate you from friends and family. It can leave you a shadow of yourself – alone and hopeless. And if diseases like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia were not bad enough, add to that the pain of stigma and discrimination.

Coast Mental Health is a non-profit private organization that supports recovery from mental illness by providing intervention and care. From our meal and clothing programs and supported housing, we see restored dignity. And from our life skills training, education and employment programs, we see reduced poverty and increased security.

With the right supports, people can and do recover from these illnesses. Mental illness is simply another obstacle in life.

Find out what Coast Mental Health does to help individuals suffering from mental illness and homelessness, click here.

Source: Coast Mental Health and International Bipolar Foundation

 

Between Mom and Dad

Between Mon and Dad

Between Mon and Dad is Abby.

Abby is a rabbit. In the eyes of these homeless couple coming from Toronto, Abby is their baby. Having Abby in their life brings out their humanity to extend their love to take care of an animal even though they are homeless.

I took this photo in between times on my way home carrying with me a Canon PowerShot SD1000.  It’s just an ordinary camera that helps me get out of my head and self.  Having a camera focuses my thoughts outward rather than inward. Photography is a beautiful technique to relieve mental illness.

Just for fun, I submitted it to National Geographic’s assignment “The Animals We Love” titled Mom, Dad and Baby Abby.

Yesterday, I received an e-mail stating “a National Geographic editor favorited your photo, Mom, Dad and Baby Abby, on Your Shot. Robin Schwartz added your photo Mom, Dad and Baby Abby as a favorite.”

Needless to say, I am elated.

Out of 14,953 submissions, this is one of her 1,401 favorites.  Thank you, Robin!

Genie in a bottle or 12 Steps program

Did you say major changes? Sure, I want to have a baby, let me go window shopping and buy one.  Sure, I will visit the a sperm bank to find good genes.  What a silly decision. 
I made a 360 degree turn yesterday and I am still thinking about the what if situation.  
Yesterday was Sunday and I left the mass early because the priest is boring.  I could have easily changed the situation but I stayed until closer to the end.  I did not wait for his blessings. 
Walking as fast as I could in a cold rainy February zigzagging around people, I made a 360 turn.  What made me do that?  My peripheral vision saw a person sitting on the cement outside the mall.  
Meet April in February 3, 2013.  
I asked are you ok?  Then she started crying.  She’s a new face in the block.  I recognize most of the street people in Metrotown Mall.  April made a wrong decision last night according to her, was accused of lying and hates being called a liar.  She left the facility where she stayed for two months to change her life, slept on the street last night and unfamiliar with the city. She came from the Island, up north of BC.  The time was about 2 pm. 
All of this happened out of a blue, don’t ask me why I paid attention to this stranger.  I don’t like WHY question.  Therefore, I did not ask April the why question. 
Did I make a conscious decision to help her?  Yes or No? No. Did I hesitate?  There was no hesitation in my part, I just acted.  She needs a place to stay for one night; she’s looking for the Aboriginal Lodge. 
I’ve asked April only one thing.  April, I want you to pray to your God to help us find you a place.  She sheepishly said yes with a worried look on her face. 
Skipping all the details, I found her a place to stay by 7:30 pm.  An emergency shelter.  We were wet, shaking like a leaf, tired, cold.  We shared a cigarette before we parted and made sure she was inside this beautiful blue looking mansion in a residential area that I’ve never thought it existed closed by where I live. 
This is in response to Daily Prompt: Changes.  Come and join us, it will change your life.