Showing posts with label depression. Show all posts
Showing posts with label depression. Show all posts

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Dog Medicine - How My Dog Saved Me From Myself - Book Review

Dog Medicine - How My Dog Saved Me From Myself - Book Review
Dog Medicine by Julie Barton
Most of us have so much going on in our own lives that we seriously question reading a book that will immerse us in someone else's unrelenting anguish.  Why would we want to do that?  We already know from reading the reviews that Dog Medicine is going to make us cry.  When reviews use words like raw and brutal honesty, we know we are in for a read that will demand something from us.

Perhaps that is the point.  Could it be that the demanding, heart-wrenching accounts most grow our humanity, our compassion, and our capacity to connect with others in the ways that are most authentic and useful?  In a genre overflowing with I-was-saved-by-my-dog books, what does it take to transcend it — the genre and what cynics would say is the same old, same old story?

Well, here's the thing: this story matters because Julie Barton and Bunker matter.  Without Bunker, the author's Golden retriever puppy, Julie would surely not have lived to write this book.  And this book needed to be written just as much as we all need to read it.

When initial therapies failed to lift Barton out of the deep, dark depression unleashed by long-term childhood trauma, it took the powerful medicine of Bunker—his unfailing solace—to bring Julie back from the brink.

It is in how the author captures the first glimmers of healing that this book soars.
Perhaps what began to save me was that I started creating this sacred, safe space where he and I met.  In this space, there was no ridicule.  There was no doubt or loneliness.  There was no sorrow or anger.  It was just pure, beautiful being.  It was looking at the world with wide-eyed, forever hopeful puppy wonder.
Could it be that we share in vicarious healing in reading about the transformation brought about by the kind of love that can only be known in relationship with a dog that has chosen his human?  Ultimately, I chose this book because I cherish my animal relationships and the healing they bring me.  I deeply related to the purpose Barton found in caring for a dog with special medical needs.  When Julie's broken psyche bound up Bunker's broken body, the result was a unified whole that the two of them could not have found by any other means.  We are all broken in ways that call for us to find our healing in offering up the gift of compassion... in being the sacred space needed by another.

Given my recent launch as a therapy dog team member, I found inspiration in knowing that, like Julie, the good medicine in my life, in the form of my dog Finn, will make itself manifest in the lives of those who enter the sacred space he and I share.  For what is the sacred, if it is not that which exists to bless others?

It is my hope that Julie and Bunker's story will bless you in whatever way you most need at this point in time.  I will close here with a reviewer's blurb that I found compelling when deciding whether or not to read Dog Medicine:
Read it for the voice, read it to savor the power of love, read it to enjoy an inspiring, hopeful story, read it to learn about healing, read it if you're depressed and want to get better, read it if you're happy and want to stay there.  Whatever else you do, read it.  ~Peter Gibb
Yes.  Read it and savor the power of love.




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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

December 26th, Time to Write a Thank You Day

Boxing Day Blues can sometimes strike when all the awaited  festivities are over.  

And they do seem to be over so quickly.  All the hustle and bustle of preparing for the BIG day gives way to feelings of let down and down right depression.  Knowing this before hand might just help you to get through those feelings and come out the other side with a new sense of wellbeing and a new purpose too.


thank you note, mental health, Christmas let down, coping mechanisms
Christmas time and all the build up to this holiday can make some people really "crazy".  There are all the lists for food, drink, presents, guests and so much more to attend to.  Then there is the cleaning and other preparations for the BIG day.  

By the time it arrives you are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.  And just when you think it's perfect, it's  over in a heartbeat.  

The let down can be so significant, that many mental health agencies start to prepare for the fall out early as well.  But it doesn't have to be this way if you do just a little more preparation for this amazing holiday gathering.

Having a plan in mind to help you cope with the let down will significantly make the holidays much happier.  To that end, I am going to make some suggestions that just might help you, or someone you love, get through that post holiday let down.

Today, on the Calendar of Days, is Write a Thank You Note day.  Now, you may not think this is a good idea, but I'm here to suggest it's a great way to relive the excitement, joy, and happiness of the Christmas gathering.  It will help you to capture what was really important and let go of the myriad of small disappointments that may have happened to make the day less than perfect.

After all, getting the family together and enjoying each other's company is the real beauty of Christmas.  The gifts and the food and everything else is secondary to just being together.  

Sitting down and writing a thank you, will let you put into words how much you enjoyed and appreciated all the efforts everyone made to make this Christmas special.  It really acts as a way to relive the excitement and the funny things that happened during the previous day.  

If that doesn't work for you there are many other ways to get through that post holiday letdown.  Here is my list of ways to do that and maybe you can add some of your own ideas.

  1. Write that Thank You note to someone who went out of their way to make the holiday special.
  2. Plan a trip to the zoo. Christmas antics aren't just for people.
  3. Arrange some time to go for a walk in the neighborhood to enjoy the lights, decorations and all the sights.
  4. Let yourself relax with a good movie or go out to a show.
  5. Invite someone you haven't seen in a while for coffee and a good chat.
  6. Go out and play in the snow (if you have any).  Bundle up with those new scarves, hats and mitts.
  7. Start a new hobby.  Scrapbooking, knitting, crocheting, drawing or woodworking.  Coloring pages are still a great way to relax too.  
  8. add your own ideas here.......

dealing with emotional let down, Christmas let down, emotional exhaustion 
All the expectations, disappointments and let downs seem to disappear when you have a plan in mind.  Just writing a note can help you get through that emotional build up of the past month.  Going out to park, zoo, or being with a good friend,  can give you a release for all the frustrations you may have felt or are still feeling.  It's hard to stay disappointed when you are at the zoo checking out all the Christmas treats the zookeepers have in store for the animals in their care.  Just watching the Polar Bears, penguins, monkeys and more,  get their treats can be a delight for your overworked body and spirit.  The walking and exercise are good for you too.  Too much food and drink can be the trigger to make some people feel cranky and "out of sorts".  Drinking water and walking can help undo all the overeating and indulgences that took place the day before.  If you can't do the exercise, then just sitting back and watching a favorite movie, with full permission to just enjoy it, can also revive the drooping spirits.  A new hobby will keep your mind and hands occupied while you try to figure out just what you are supposed to do. An active mind doesn't have time to dwell on things that didn't go as planned and that's a good thing.   

If this all fails, then you can always go to the internet and start planning something different, a vacation in the new year, places you want to see or books you want to read.  On Review This Reviews, you can find lots of book reviews, Do It Yourself projects, movie reviews and more.  I dare say you could spend the better part of a day just checking out all the articles and I'm sure you will find a few that will trigger some ideas of your own.  


The most important thing on December 26th is to relish and relive, enjoy and form the memories of the day before.  Writing that note may be the first step in some well deserved "self-care" that will keep you from drowning in some very powerful negatives that could be plaguing your spirits.  Don't let Christmas let-down, get you down.......there are plenty more good times coming your way. 

don't let Christmas let down get you down......coping mechanisms, depression,

**Olivia is not a health care specialist, if you are feeling down or depressed, please check out your local  health professionals.




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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Why Should You Have a Beautiful Advent Wreath?

We are in the full season of Christmas and part of that in our family is lighting the Advent Candles on our Christmas wreath.

The meaning of the candles and the wreath as a meditation for Christmas and beyond.  


Most people recognize an Advent Wreath when they see them.  They can be made out of many different types of materials.  The most common are evergreens, but there are many other beautiful options.  The wreath (round just by it's name)  usually has 4 candle holders spaced evenly around the wreath.   These four candles are usually in purple and pink( 3 purple and one pink), for religious celebrations of Advent.  Some have a central larger candle in White.  Other Advents wreaths can have red or white candles or whatever color you happen to like.

What's the significance of the colors in a Religious Advent Wreath?

Advent is a time of waiting and preparation.  Purple is the color of both Advent and Lent in religious ceremonies.  Both  of these seasons Liturgically are waiting periods.  Advent we wait for the coming of the Saviour in the stable and Lent we wait for the Resurrection from the Grave.  Let's focus on Christmas and Advent right now.

Each candle has it's own meaning.

  1.  The 1st Sunday of Advent is for Hope (purple)
  2.   The 2nd Sunday is for Peace (purple)
  3.   The 3rd Sunday is for Joy (pink)(it's pink because the light of the two other candles illuminates this week a little bit more and joy is bright)
  4.   The 4th Sunday is for Love (purple)
  5.   Christmas Day the center candle is lit, if you have an Advent wreath with 5 candles.  This central candle (usually in white) represents the Christ, the Saviour whose birthday we celebrate at this time.
The way we use our wreath, is to light one candle on the first Sunday, two on the second Sunday, three on the Third Sunday and all four candles on the Fourth Sunday.  For this reason it is advisable to use a good sized candle or long tapers.  After 4 weeks the first candle will be considerably smaller than the other 3.

If you want to increase the religious aspect of Advent, you can use Bible verses as a meditation for each of the four weeks, or sing some Christmas carols that speak more to the coming of the Saviour rather than  Santa Claus.  There are also some lovely Advent prayers to be found on You Tube and I have selected one for you with music.  The sound is soothing and a reminder of what Christmas is all about!  Check it out right here, and bookmark it if you like so that you have it for all 4 weeks.



Quiet Meditative Time 


Christmas with all it's hustle and bustle can sometimes overwhelm children, parents and other members of the family.  Do you ever wonder why you seem to see so many children having emotional meltdowns at this time of year.  I personally think it has a lot to do with sensory overload and children not having the coping mechanisms in place to deal with it all.

You might find yourself in that position of having to back away from all the noise, lights, music and people.  Taking some quality quiet time for yourself during this hectic time, is not only a great idea, but a necessity for some.  Everyone is different and will relate to the stimulus differently too.  One thing I do know from my own experience is that taking the time to light one candle for every weekend before Christmas is necessary for my well being.  It's a quiet meditative time for me and a way to refresh and renew my sagging spirit.

If you want to know more about sensory overload or aren't sure if that's what has you in it's grips, there is a great article here on Healthline.  It's worth the time it takes to read it. Not only will it help you to understand this malady, but it will also give you some coping mechanisms.  If you are looking for a more "spiritual way" to cope then I would recommend this article on Seasonal Depression and coping.

When you are faced with this "overload" and you know which methods of coping work for you, then it's time to put it into practice.  This is where my Advent Wreath plays a central role.  For me, coping with the seasonal overload means finding some quiet time, and meditating(some might call it praying).  Christmas for me has always been a "spiritual time" and while I love some of the more secular things about Christmas, I still try to keep it as a spiritual time in my home.  I have to do this for my own peace of mind and you might just find some peace if you try this too!



Why Should You Have a Beautiful Advent Wreath?  www.reviewthisreviews.com




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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Reviewing The Reflections Of Queen Snow White

Snow White The Woman

I just recently read the book The Reflections Of Queen Snow White and wanted to share my review with you all. I think that we all have grown up with the fairy tale of Snow White, her friends the seven dwarfs and of course Prince Charming. I am sure we read the story in a the fairy tale books and have watched the movie version by Walt Disney. Those two versions leave us with Prince Charming and Snow White living happily ever after once the Prince kisses her back to life after having eaten the poisoned apple. For most of us that is where the story ends but what was their lives like after that life awakening kiss? 

The author, David Meredith, has written an insightful tale of what life might have been like for Snow White after she marries Prince Charming. Mr. Meredith takes us to a realistic world of the woman Snow White that is not meant as a continuation of a child's fairy tale but more a story for adults to read.

I am going to admit that there were parts of this book that were difficult for me to read, not because they were poorly written but because they touched a nerve in my soul. The original fairy tale only insinuates that the evil Queen mistreated dear Snow White but this book tells in realistic detail the abuse that the young Princess suffered under her step-mother's tutelage. The story shows us vividly the mistreatment and the scars left locked away in her mind many years after the abuse was over. It was hard to read but it was so very accurate in the damage done to one who has suffered abuse. One who has suffered from abuse recognizes the truth in the story.

"Mirror, Mirror on the wall. Who is the fairest of them all?"

Mr. Meredith writes this book with the premise that Snow White is depressed after her wonderful Prince Charming dies from old age. This isn't just the veiled suggestion of depression but a very accurate depiction of what deep disabling depression can be like. Having experienced the depths of depression myself, the author describes it very well which makes me think that he writes from what he knows. It is honest, heart wrenching and realistic. Depression isn't pretty, not even for a Queen but it is real and not portrayed often enough for people who haven't walked in those shoes to comprehend. The author did a fine job, even though it is hard to picture Snow White that overcome with despair. Depression knows no boundaries, it doesn't come to just one sector of a culture; it can touch any life from the poorest of souls to even a Queen. 

I referenced the mirror above that the evil Queen step-mother used. It is a huge part of this story. I don't want to give a lot away about the book so I will be careful about what I say from here. Suffice it to say, we can see a lot in the reflections of a mirror. If we look hard enough, we might even be able to see our soul, troubled as it might be. 

So far, I have painted a rather dark description of this book. It is dark in several places but life itself can be a dark and frightening place. This story needs to touch on the darker parts of a human's life in order to also show hope. There is hope or at least there should always be hope in one's life. Sometimes it may be hard for us to see a glimmer of hope but it is there; we just have to dig really deep to find it. 

The story is also about inner strength, something that many of us fail to see in ourselves. When we have suffered abuse, lost a loved one or any of the other things that life throws at us that causes us to fall into a deep depression; we feel that we are weak and can't possibly get through this dark journey. Are we strong enough to face those inner demons that torment our soul? Can we let go of the anger and bitterness we feel from the mistreatment, the feelings of abandonment when a loved one dies and heal the wounds of hurt? Can Queen Snow White? Does she have the strength to look in the mirror at herself? Will she find her happily ever after in a new way? 

We often gush over a book that was light and fun to read. This isn't a book that you will gush over but I can say that I liked it. It hurt to read some of it, it brought back some of my old demons or at least the memories of them. It also reminded me of the strength it took to overcome my own depression. It reminded me of hope. It made me stop and think about life and the souls who might be next to me who are battling their own demons. It reminded me that the answers are always within us; we just have to have the courage to look inside and deal with what we see. It is a story that will stay with me for a long time. It is real, it is a bit raw but most of all it has a good strong message about life and all of the hurts we can encounter and overcome if we choose to.



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