This Is The Face Of Depression

This is the face of depression, anxiety, panic attacks and suicidal thoughts.

It’s not what you would expect, is it? It usually isn’t…You may be aware that today is National Suicide Prevention Day. It’s a day to honor, recognize, talk and gain knowledge about a silent killer that affects our youth, seniors and everyone in between. There are no barriers with suicide when it comes to race, gender, religion or status. It hits those who are wealthy, poor, talented, brilliant, charismatic and shy.

I can guarantee that you have someone in your life right now who thinks about SUICIDE…who feels HOPELESS…LOST…in such PAIN they feel suicide is the only way out of it…their world is DARK, yet they SMILE and LAUGH like nothing is wrong…their ANXIETY may be crippling and yet you may think they are just too busy to come out for dinner…they may be highly functioning on the outside but their inner world is in CHAOS…the FEAR builds to OVERWHELMING degrees…the SELF LOATHING, WORTHLESSNESS and HOPELESSNESS consume their thoughts…

They become NUMB…not feeling anything…food has no taste…life has no meaning…they sleep for hours or have insomnia lying awake staring at the ceiling…

They may SELF MEDICATE through drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, gambling, sex or self harm (cutting or burning)…

They are the great pretenders. They show up, they pretend, they go home and they think about ways they could end their life…

They may choose a date of death and begin preparing by getting rid of their belongings, meeting for lunch and telling you how much they love you. They may have mood swings, no appetite and have lost interest in things that used to inspire them.

All of this thinking, planning, isolating and avoiding is done with a mind that is not well.

It’s crucial to understand in that state, the brain is not a healthy brain.

It has NOTHING to do with strength of character or level of intelligence. It may be triggered by a loss of a loved one, financial burdens, relationship problems, job/career stress or other health issues (chronic pain for example) but ultimately a healthy brain is not a suicidal brain.

We ask people to reach out, but I know from personal experience and speaking to those who have suffered and who have lost a loved one, it’s much harder to ask for help than it seems…this could be because you don’t want to burden someone else with your own problems…you feel you should be able to snap yourself out of it…you can’t see how it will improve…you are ashamed…

Again, this is all done with a brain that is not healthy and that is what we have to remember. With a healthy brain but an injured back, we would reach out if we weren’t functioning well on a daily basis…we would alert our friends if we had cancer or any other illness yet we HIDE when we suffer with mental illnesses…

There are no fundraisers for people when they are losing work because of depression and yet if they had breast cancer we would rally together and have a barbeque or sell 50/50 tickets to raise money to help during their treatment…

What is the difference?

One is accepted in society and the other is not…both are illnesses…both affect their ability to work, care for their family and pay the bills…

National Suicide Prevention Day is today but ultimately it’s a conversation that needs to happen on a regular basis…open dialogue, removing stigmas, sharing feelings, listening, giving hope, offering love, support and reaching out with compassion and empathy are some ways to help those suffering.

I want you to know I have personal experience with suicide. I have supported many loved ones through their suicide attempts…I understand the depth of pain…I have been there, I have thought of ways to end my own life…I have gritted my teeth through days and nights choosing sleep so I silence the loud, all encompassing voices in my head telling me how useless I am…I get it…but I also know that by REACHING OUT, even though it was hard, I got through it and today I am HAPPY to be ALIVE. See yourself in me and grab onto that HOPE.

AVOID ISOLATING. Seek help immediately by contacting a mental health professional at 310-6789 or calling 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433). Reach out to someone you trust such as your doctor, family, friends, therapist or spiritual adviser.

I know it’s hard, but I also know YOU. ARE. WORTH. IT.

With a smile and deep compassion,


PS. Please share, you never know who might need to read this today. xo


The Importance Of Community

I have been spending time reconnecting with friends, former students and new acquaintances. It’s been awesome. I love connecting with people. I have been re-evaluating my life and realized my social connections needed some attention.

Community has always been important to me. It’s something that impacts your life in a positive way unfortunately due to my work schedule, I was missing opportunities to be involved.

Having a community means you have a support system, a network of people with common interests, beliefs and goals.

This past Sunday, I met with a friend whom I’ve known through Facebook but we’ve never sat down and chatted in person. She is also a singing teacher and we both embrace each other’s work and share the same values regarding our students. We SUPPORT each other instead of viewing each other as competition. It is my belief we will both have greater success because of our ATTITUDE towards each other.

Yesterday, I met with a friend from high school. It’s been well over ten years since we last spoke yet we effortlessly jumped into conversation like no time had passed.

Being social is an important component of being HAPPY. Isolating and being lonely is proven to hinder your health.

Ultimately it’s your relationships that carry you through life. Friends and family step up and help you when you need the support and later, you will return the favor. It’s checking in on your friend’s Mom while she’s in the hospital, sharing a meal or playing a board game. It’s hanging out and just enjoying each other.

These moments are the GIFTS of life.

My new neighbours came over to introduce themselves offering a bag of delicious garden tomatoes, friendly hellos and fresh ripe plums. Another helped me carry a love seat into the house and another signed up their grandson for Musical Theatre classes.

They instantly helped me feel at home in my new home.

All week I have meetings with people and I’m thoroughly enjoying supporting the small businesses, getting to know the owners and spreading the word about how great their food is or how awesome their service. It’s about reaching out and connecting!

How are you involved in your community? Are you attending events and socializing with others? Are you reaching out to new people and sharing your interests? Are you volunteering? How about taking a course or workshop? There are so many ways to get involved.

It’s good for your health. It’s good for your mental and emotional wellness. It’s good for your community.

I’m looking forward to the next few months and all the possibilities in front of me. I embrace my current relationships and I’m excited to nurture new ones.

Life is an adventure and it’s much more fun when you bring others along for the ride.

With a smile,



Jog4Joy – Canadian Mental Health Week 2014

After careful consideration, Jog4Joy Wellness Association has made the strategic decision to move the second annual Jog4Joy presented by Wells Fargo to May 2014.

We are very excited about this decision as May is a great month to hold the event for it coincides with Canadian Mental Health Week. Along with other Canadians, we will raise awareness around the issues of mental and emotional health.

Our event will continue to have the fabulous JOY AMBASSADORS inspiring you as you walk/run the gorgeous route in the May sunshine! Many more opportunities have also opened up for schools and youth programs so please contact us for more information!

Please Note: Registration is currently closed and will reopen in September when we’ll have more details and exciting announcements.

For those of you who have already registered, an email was sent to the email address you used at the time of registration. If you did not receive that email, please contact Tina at

We look forward to continuing to raise awareness for mental and emotional wellness and we THANK YOU for your continued love and support!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Tina at

With a smile,


Jog4Joy presented by Wells Fargo – 2013

Today is a very exciting day! The Jog4Joy team are working extremely hard behind the scenes to bring you our SECOND annual Jog4Joy 5k walk/run event to raise awareness for mental and emotional wellness!

WHERE: Beautiful Devonian Park (Stanley Park) at the corner of Georgia / Denman in Vancouver, BC.

WHEN: May 2014 at 9:30 a.m.

HOW DO I REGISTER? Just click the button below!


Jog4Joy is thrilled to be presented by WELLS FARGO, our title sponsor again this year. We appreciate their COMMITMENT to mental and emotional wellness in our community and beyond!

This year we’ve teamed up with The Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre which provides mental health and substance use information and resources to children, youth and families across B.C. The Centre is a program of BC Mental Health & Addiction Services, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority.

Jog4Joy is proud to embrace the centre’s Youth Ambassador Program . It is a volunteer opportunity for youth and young adults from across BC to engage in promoting mental health and well-being amongst their friends, family, peers and community. They will share ideas and connect with other youth participating in a number of different projects and events. YOUTH SUPPORTING YOUTH – WE LOVE IT!


Jog4Joy presented by WELLS FARGO is a JOYFUL event for a serious issue. Our core theme is “Believe” and each year we have a new word to inspire mental and emotional wellness. This year the word is “COURAGE”.

We believe:

  • It takes COURAGE to speak up!
  • It takes COURAGE to speak out!
  • It takes COURAGE to ask and receive help!
  • It takes COURAGE to create change!

Through this event, we enCOURAGE participants to believe in their COURAGE to create and embrace a better future by making their mental health a PRIORITY.

This year’s collector’s medal will not only be a symbol of completing a goal and supporting an important event/cause; it is a lasting reminder of how much “COURAGE” you possess.

The beautiful 5k walk/run in Stanley Park focuses on positive, joyful and supportive energy for your community, family/friends and the new friends you’ll meet along the way! We also like to have a lot of FUN!

Our amazing JOY AMBASSADORS will enCOURAGE you along the route and cheer as you cross the finish line!


All pre-registered participants receive an awesome swag bag AND adult participants will receive a long sleeve tech shirt and students under 18 receive awesome t-shirts!

• Shirt size guaranteed if you register before September 2nd

• Shirt received but size is NOT guaranteed after September 2nd until October 11th

• Shirts NOT guaranteed on day of registration (but we’ll do our best!)

**First 200 participants will receive an amazing umbrella! Although it will be a beautiful sunny day, if it does sprinkle, we’ve got you covered!**

Registration Fees:

$35 Jog4Joy Juniors (18 and under), $45 adults until March 1st

$40 Jog4Joy Juniors (18 and under), $50 adults March 2nd – May 9th

$45 Jog4Joy Juniors (18 and under), $55 adults May 11th (day of registration)

Can’t make the event yourself but still want to contribute? Last year was such a success; we’ve kept our SPONSOR A STUDENT program. Your sponsorship allows a student to participate and benefit from the experience of reaching a goal, celebrating that goal and raising awareness for a cause that directly affects their age group.

Your $35 sponsorship also affects YOUR community even if you live in Northern BC because the charity reaches ALL communities across BC so by supporting Jog4Joy; you support their programs and invest in your community. It’s a win / win for all of us!



From my heart, thank you.

With a smile,



Gifts of Gratitude

Today I am grateful.

I am grateful for sunshine as we’ve had a lot of rain in Vancouver.

I am grateful for the color of the sky because it’s a lovely shade of blue.

I am grateful for my dog sitting by my side, keeping my feet warm.

I am grateful for the hummingbirds that love this tree beside my deck. They dance in the sky and create music with their wings…

I am grateful for good friends and family. It’s amazing how a loving hug, a listening ear or words of wisdom can completely change your perspective.

I am grateful for my journal. It is a place where I dump everything without judgement.

I am grateful for change. It may not be comfortable but I don’t think the bird is comfortable in the egg once it’s outgrown the shell…it’s time to break out and learn to fly…

I am grateful for INSTINCT. It’s quiet, calm and sometimes difficult to hear but it is always correct, leading me towards a life of growth, knowledge and understanding.

I am grateful for OPPORTUNITIES sometimes disguised as hardships, challenges or “failures”.

I am grateful for LAUGHTER. I laughed so hard I cried this weekend. Connecting through laughter is such a gift.

I am grateful for a calm heart, a quiet mind and a steady trust that everything will be okay.

I am grateful for right NOW, this exact moment.


What are you grateful for today? Once you start noticing, you’ll realize how much you actually have and what you focus on, expands!

That is the GIFT OF GRATITUDE. That is the GIFT of LIFE.

With a smile,