The Transition Game – Week 3

Welcome back!

So what’s new? Well since I last wrote I completed the online portion of “Defining your Role”, had another meeting with my facilitator, and completely went off the rails with all my new self-care habits.

The online portion was great, it helped me solidify the lessons I learned in the book and allowed me to add more to my strengths and weaknesses as a family member. An area that I have struggled to define my role and find my identity within. The facilitator meeting was a highlight as always, these meetings bring so much clarity, direction, and energy. I’m always ready to run through a wall by the time I complete my course work and have that discussion. It has kept me far more accountable than anything else I have ever tried.

Why did I completely go off the rails with my self-care? I thought about omitting this, but the whole point is that I’m real with what I experience and how I feel. We had to say goodbye to a dear family member, Trooper. Those of you that are close with me know all about Troops and what he meant to our family and those that know me at all know I’m a crazy dog person. Those of you who were lucky enough to know Troops, well you know why his name was Trooper. From being dumped in someone’s back yard with a massive gash across his face and eye, multiple eye surgeries, knee surgeries, and cancer. Troops went through a lot in his 13 years, and man did he ever live up to his name.

The loss rocked me, you’re never ready for that kind of thing, but I really wasn’t ready. I don’t know if it’s just that I have been very lucky and not suffered much loss in my life. Maybe it’s because I’m an only child, Trooper was the closest thing I ever had to a brother. Maybe I am just a crazy dog person, whatever it is dogs are the key to my heart, whether it’s filling it or breaking it. All this made me realize I hate the word pet, I don’t know about you but “pet” sells every relationship I have ever had with a dog so incredibly short. In my crazy dog person opinion, there is only one word worthy of the unconditional love and joy we get from dogs… FAMILY. So needless to say I have been a bit of a mess. It has been cry, then work, then eat, then cry and repeat, nothing else. Should I have kept working out? Yep! Should I have continued to practice gratitude? YEP!! Should I have pushed extra hard to use my scheduler? For sure! I did none of it, not even one of them one time. From the time I got the news that he was starting to go until a week after he was gone, I didn’t even try to do any of these things. All I wanted to do, all I still want to do is sit, process, cry, and remember. I let it cripple me, and honestly, it wasn’t until I started writing this that I realized the best way I can honour him is to be a trooper myself.

I’m ready to get back to my new routines and I’ll remember this the next time life squeezes a lemon in my eyes. During those hard times is when I need to put in an extra effort to stick to my workouts, gratitude, and scheduling. Have I been told that before? Yes, of course! My facilitator even gave me plenty of reminders but I have a bad habit of learning things the hard way which is another item on my long self-improvement list. Funny enough, my next lesson is “Habits – Why Do You Do What You Do” which I am quite enthusiastic about as I am such a creature of habit. Whether they are healthy or unhealthy, I’m notorious for my habits and looking forward to finding out why and better yet finding out how to break those unhealthy ones!

Write you next week! Till’ then, keep on being a Trooper!

Esty

The Breakdown – Shari

The Breakdown
I was 49 years old and was ready to head back to school (I am a teacher at a K-12 school). I went to work and I couldn’t breathe. I was dizzy. My heart was skipping beats (which it did for years and I didn’t know why). I was nauseated. I was afraid. I felt like someone was choking me only allowing me to breathe enough to stay alive. I went home that day and in the middle of the night I had a severe panic attack. I was suicidal. I wanted the pain to stop. My mind was racing. I wanted everything to STOP – just stop even for a minute so I could get my shit together. JUST STOP! I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up again to the pain. I called my sister and my uncle for help. My sister came and got me in the middle of the night. The next year was the most difficult of my life. For the first few months I was immobilized. I couldn’t drive, watch TV (too much stimulation), be alone (loneliness) because it brought on panic attacks. I wanted it to just stop so I could catch my breath.

The Diagnosis
I had been diagnosed with Bipolar II five years previous to the breakdown. I was put on Lamotrigine but at the age of 35 the doctor had put me on Celexa, then Effexor, then Wellbutrin, then back on Effexor. I had tried many types of meds, as most of us do, but none worked. Lamotrigine worked but only scratched the surface of my mental health issues.

IT FELT SOOTHING TO MY MIND AND BODY.

Looking Back
Throughout the year of my breakdown I began Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and I was put on Seroquel to help me sleep. As the therapy progressed I began to realize that I had been suffering from mental health issues as far back as 10 years old. I was brought up in a home where there was a great deal of physical and emotional abuse. My father would beat my mother and threaten to kill us kids. So of course I suffered from PTSD as well. I was suicidal most of my life and I always knew something was wrong with me. I started playing basketball at the age of 10. I became very good at it and I put all of my time and energy into the game. At the same time I discovered alcohol. Mom was 16 and dad was 18 when they had my older sister. I was born when they were 18 and 20. They would party and drink a lot so I would go around and taste all of the left over drinks. I liked the feeling I got when I drank it. It felt soothing to my mind and body.

My basketball career began to take off. I was playing up with the senior high school team when I was in junior high. I started representing my province at nationals when I was 15. I moved from my small town to a bigger centre in grade 11 to play. I played university basketball for 5 years as well. My goal was to make the Canadian National Team. I accumulated many MVP, Player of the Game and Hustler awards. Everyone thought I was on top of the world but I was suffering horribly. I put a mask on every day and went out to face the world. Throughout my basketball career I would have episodes of anger, explosiveness and crying spells. I was having panic attacks before practice, before games and during games. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. The only relief I found was when I drank alcohol and partied on weekends. I didn’t drink much during the week because of the training schedule I was on.

After my basketball career ended I got married and had two beautiful daughters. I started coaching at the high school I taught at. I couldn’t shake the suicidal thoughts so I drank. My high and low cycles ended up killing my marriage and it made it extremely difficult for my kids.

I AM ABLE TO REGULATE MY MIND AND BODY NOW.

I Got Better
I have been a single mom for 18 years. I am healthier and happier than I have ever been. I take my meds every day and continue with my therapy. Through exercise, guided imagery, yoga, diet, and continued reading and learning about the brain I am able to live a more balanced life. I still struggle with the manic highs and the depression but I am able to regulate my mind and body now. I have started speaking to young people about my struggles and how suffering in silence is not the way to go. I talk about the stigma surrounding mental health and how we need to work together to get rid of it and educate people.

The more I share, the better I feel.

 

 

Check out the original article here: https://www.sicknotweak.com/2016/06/1735/

The Transition Game – Week 2

Welcome back!

Since last Thursday I have received my PES (Profile Evaluation System) results, had my kickoff meeting with my facilitator, and completed lesson 1 in my workbook. Let’s start with my PES results, this is the most accurate and insightful personality evaluation I have ever done. Some of the results caught me off guard but after reading the explanations and having a discussion with my facilitator things started to make sense. Going through the results with my facilitator was awesome, it helped me see where these things pop up in my life and what they can cause me. We highlighted a few scores that I need to be mindful of which helped me connect the dots to some of my past experiences. I was very nervous before we started but as soon as we started discussing it, I found myself having fun, laughing and telling stories. My facilitator got to know and understand me on a much deeper level while I gained a clearer picture of who I truly am.

The scores that surprised me at first were in dominance and competitiveness. On a 1-9 scale I scored a 9 assertive in dominance (the opposite end of the spectrum is 1 cooperative), and 8 winning oriented competitiveness (the opposite end of the spectrum is 1 team oriented). These threw me off as I always thought of myself as a team-first guy who was very cooperative. After digging into it, I realized that what was going on in my head was this: “Hockey is a team game, I want to win, so we need to play as a team”. I’m not team oriented, I’m winning oriented, but I need the team to achieve the win. Here is where my 9 assertive dominance score kicks in “if you aren’t being a team player, you don’t care about winning, so f*** you why are you even here?” which explains all of the conflicts I had with my teammates. I only see one way to get the win and anyone who isn’t thinking the same way pisses me off. Another example of these scores shining through in my career is my “practice how you play” mentality. I believed this with my entire being, and I was a very physical player. For me, that meant never letting a teammate off the hook in practice because I would never let an opponent off the hook in a game. If I had a chance to throw a hit, I was throwing it, as hard as I could. That was my job, that’s what I needed to do so we could win. More hits in practice, for me, meant more hits in games. Yes, this often made it difficult to make friends but I didn’t care, I wasn’t there to make friends, I was there to win. My friends were typically guys who thought the same way as me, we’d laugh about running each other in practice, we loved the battle and to us, it was just iron sharpening iron. To all my former teammates that hated me or just hated when I ran them in practice, sorry man, I just wanted us to win.

Lesson 1 Defining your Role was interesting and a bit frustrating for me. it exposed some insecurities and honestly really made it clear that I don’t have a solid identity when it comes to my family or work life. I was asked to list my strengths and weaknesses as an athlete, student/employee, and family member. It is further broken down into the categories leadership, mental strength, communication, and habits. I rattled off my answers as an athlete with no problems. As a student/employee, it was a bit of a challenge. As a family member, I was completely stumped and I’m still trying to put some answers down. Makes sense why I feel so lost since I hung up the skates, at least now I know I need to find my identity and focus on defining those roles for myself and it will make a huge difference in how I feel day to day. I’m really looking forward to my next facilitator meeting and finding even more clarity. The workbook helped me to draw some parallels between how I felt in certain roles on certain teams and how I feel in certain roles in my life today which is what clued me in. The moral of the story, define your roles! ALL OF THEM, or you’re going to have a bad time. If someone gives you a role, have a deep and meaningful conversation about it. Maybe you are a little nervous to have that kind of conversation with that specific person, but trust me just do it. What you’ll feel if you don’t is far worse than the anxiousness before the conversation.

Thanks for the support!

Write you next week,

Esty

The Transition Game – Week 1

Welcome back and thanks for being here!

So what’s new since last week? Well, I just went through the Profile Evaluation System which essentially builds a psychological profile that will help me and my facilitator identify my strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. This is the first step in the Success Strategies Program.

How’d it go? Well, my incredible lack of basic math skills shone through in the beginning and got me sweating. I didn’t realize the kind of questions I’d be asked in the various sections and oh man it was embarrassing even though I was alone in my office. I ran out of time on the first few sections (even with leaving many of the math questions blank) so that made me even more anxious. Once I made it through to the vocabulary and more personal behaviour-related questions I relaxed and it was a breeze. I’m excited to see my results and I will share them with you once I have them. Although I think of myself as someone who is very self-aware I’m hoping it brings some new things to light that will help me shift my perspective.

My Success Strategies workbook has arrived so next week I’ll detail how the first lesson and facilitator meeting go! I’m excited to have some tough conversations and take a hard look in the mirror. In the meantime, I have still been trying to solidify a new workout routine, 30-45 minutes of dumbbell work weekday mornings as soon as my alarm goes off at 6 am followed by shoulder rehab until 7 am. I’m now consistently getting that done 4 out of 5 days and striving for 5 high-intensity efficient lifts per week. I am eating way healthier and more consistently, I signed up for Hello Fresh to help which has turned out to be a great investment. Those two things combined have made a huge difference in my overall mood. However, I have had days where I didn’t stick to these routines and paid the price in terms of mood and energy. My biggest struggle of late is focus and motivation. I have struggled to use my scheduler and notebook effectively, I seem to spend way too much time planning only to not stick to the plan or I forget about the planning entirely and spend a day shooting from the hip. Oddly enough I have been getting way more done when “shooting from the hip” for some reason those days I can focus on individual tasks better. I’m not giving up on it though, I think these are just growing pains.

I am still trying to practice gratitude as well but have been very inconsistent. My new plan is to work it into some positive self-talk during my morning lifts. I will put a sticky note on my weight rack as a reminder. This should help with the self-doubt and my tendency to disassociate and live in a fantasy world in my head. Focusing on the great life I have instead of daydreaming about a different one is my goal with the gratitude practice.

Thanks for checking in, write you next week!

Esty

The Transition Game – Week 0

The Transition Game

Week 0

Estevan Hale

Welcome to The Transition Game blog series! Every week I will make an entry to summarize and reflect on my experience as I go through the I Got Mind Success Strategies Program. I will do my best to be entirely open and honest about the experience and how it affects me. I hope through reading this series you will gain a better understanding of what I Got Mind does and learn some things that you can apply to your own life. What I really want is for this to inspire you to be open and vulnerable about your own experiences.

So, why am I doing this? Well, I have plenty of answers to that question but the simplest way to put it is I feel like shit! Now, I’m not here to vent or complain, I’m here to learn, grow, and feel the way I want to feel. Let me give you a bit more background on who I am and what led me to be writing this blog today. I’m a Hockey guy, I just finished playing five years of college Hockey. Always known for my work ethic, dedication to the weight room, and being an absolute grinder. My almost non-existent point totals throughout my career will back that up.

Hockey and the weight room have been my two main outlets almost my entire life. If I had a bad day, you’d most likely find me in the weight room or on the ice trying to hit every single person who touched the puck. This kept me going and feeling great for many years but once I got to the college level, things started to change for me. I found myself struggling with confidence on the ice, which meant I got to play less, which meant I spent even more time in the weight room. Of course, I always found time for a heavy bench press or squat day, but stretching and mobility… managed to mostly avoid being placed in my daily schedule. I started to struggle with injuries due to the way I played and the way I was “taking care” of myself. I struggled with injuries and confidence my entire five-year college career.

My two outlets began to slowly fade and it took a toll on my mental health. The first time I saw a counsellor was in my second year of college Hockey. Things were bothering me in my personal life at the time on top of my athletic struggles. It was a good first step, but it didn’t last long, and I didn’t commit to it fully, so I saw few positive results.

These same things plagued me for the next three years, but at the time I didn’t realize, I just kept doing what I had always done because it got me where I was.

Then Covid-19 arrived, cutting my final season short, cancelling my last Athletic Banquet (The best night of the year every year as a student-athlete), and of course my grad. I remember watching my virtual grad ceremony and seeing my name scroll across the screen, I’m not sure what it was, but I just broke down. I couldn’t believe that’s how my five-year journey ended, all the work, injuries, and pressure for what? I felt like a loser, I felt like I put myself through so much for nothing.

Then I was faced with a question I had no clue how to answer… “now what?”. I didn’t want to start my work career… all I ever really wanted was to be a professional athlete. I needed reconstructive shoulder surgery from countless dislocations and my groin was hanging on by a thread. I still lacked confidence and I had grown quite bitter when it came to Hockey. So, I hung up the skates but I still didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do.

I floated around, worked part-time hours consulting for some small businesses and got my shoulder surgery. The combination of surgery and Covid ended up being quite hard on me, but it was a good time to do it as I didn’t miss out on anything. However, going from an extremely active and social student-athlete to being trapped in a small condo in a sling affected me in ways I never imagined. I started to spiral, more and more negative thoughts every day, no purpose, no socialization, no motivation. I just let myself rot, I felt stuck, and I felt like “what the hell is the point”. My attitude and mental state started to affect the people closest to me. It caused friction, fights, and further isolation. I continued to spiral. I finally recognized that this was more than just “a Covid year” and that I needed some help. I found a counselling service and started that process again, this time determined to really commit and see the benefits, and pull myself out of this black hole I was letting myself be sucked into. I half-committed and saw positive results, but they didn’t last long.

I continued to spiral, more negative thoughts invading my mind. I dreaded hearing the alarm go off in the morning, I never wanted to leave my bed. I didn’t want to deal with life, it started to feel like a burden I didn’t ask for. Everyday tasks became harder and harder and I recognized myself in the mirror less and less. Every once and a while I’d have a day where I felt motivated to make some change and pick up some healthy habits, from journaling to a new workout routine. But, I could never seem to make any of it stick, which isn’t like me… especially when it comes to working out.

Finally, one day on my way home from work I broke down again, this time I called my Mom. I vented to her, I told her how hopeless and lost I felt, how stuck I felt. She was unreal, Mom of the year, it was a conversation I don’t think I’ll ever forget. After I finished venting and she calmed me down, she told me about some other family members who have struggled with depression. I had no idea that those family members had struggled, but it gave me some hope. I thought okay if they can get through something like that, I can get through this. Unfortunately, that thought was followed with little and inconsistent action.

For a few more months I stayed that way, some good days, mostly not so good days. I had a really hard time taking care of myself physically, not eating, not working out, I couldn’t sleep without cannabis, all of which made me feel even worse mentally. Most days the only thing that got me out of bed was my puppy needing to go for a walk. I honestly don’t know where I’d be mentally without the little guy. I became very self-destructive which I had struggled with in years prior, but never to this extent.

I am incredibly fortunate to have the support system I have. Someone finally just called me out because it got to the point that I was bringing other people down with me. People I deeply care for. Sadly, that’s what it took for me to ACTUALLY do something about the way I have been feeling.

I called my doctor and officially was diagnosed with depression, checked off every single box. This was actually a huge relief. I finally had an actual explanation of why I felt so stuck, why I kept feeling the “call to the void”, why I couldn’t commit and pull myself back up. Now I just had to decide exactly what I was going to do about it.

The IGM Success Strategies program was the first thing that came to my mind. I need structure to keep me accountable when I am in this state, something more than just a Zoom call with a counsellor. I knew it would be at least a month before I could start. So I came up with a few ways to get back into working out, my boss gave me a great workbook to organize my days and set both personal and career goals, my girlfriend and I came up with a plan to eat better and more consistently. Essentially, I’m trying to reinstate my student-athlete lifestyle but in a sustainable way. I spent so long focusing on building the racecar (my body) but never once thought about the driver (my mind). I was the athlete equivalent of a Formula 1 racecar being driven by a gorilla. This time, my focus is balance, and mental wellness above all else. It’s time I truly practice what I preach.

Wish me luck, I’m nervous as hell, but I’m excited to share what I learn and how it affects me.

Write you next week,

Esty

I Got Mind Inc – Best Sport & Lifestyle Mental Health Programming Specialist – Canada

We are honoured to have been presented with this award from the prestigious LUX Global Excellence Awards from LuxLife Magazine for the second consecutive year! We want to thank our clients, sponsors, supporters, teammates and LuxLife magazine. We wouldn’t be here without any of you.

What a year it was, filled with ups and downs, growth and change. We came out the other side better than before despite any challenges we faced. We found opportunity in the chaos; the best kind of opportunity, the kind where you get to help others.

We are grateful for the ways 2020 pushed us, it has helped us be better for you. We discovered new ways to support our clients, ways to touch more lives, and new issues that need to be addressed. We have seen reduced stigma and more courage, but the job isn’t done yet and we will continue to fight for mental wellness for all.

2021 is off to a great start and we have no plans to slow down, keep your eyes peeled for more events, revamped programs and courses, new tribe members and more! See you all this time next year when we complete the threepeat!

Unemployment: New Beginnings

By David Torrealba, a Venezuelan journalist, illustrator, and SEO writer. He has been creating content for blogs, social media, newspapers, and websites since 2016.

The year 2020 shook us all to the core, with the pandemic disrupting our way of life. Unfortunately, many lost their jobs amid the economic recession, even some people who felt very secure in their work positions. Nothing in this world is certain, but don’t let that get you down.

Whatever the reason for your unemployment, surely the situation has rocked your world in more ways than financial stability. However, focus on this very encouraging fact: losing your job is not final. Yes, it’s a rough time, but you need to get moving again, and soon enough you will be back on your feet. Here are some aspects to consider.

Why It Happened

This does not mean blaming yourself or wondering what you could have done to prevent the situation. What you need to define is the motive for your employer’s decision. Is the company going through a rough patch? If so, is this due to their particular circumstances, or is it an industry thing? Has your specific work position been affected by the current world situation? Why did your job become disposable and not somebody else’s?

Once again, this is not for you to dwell on your mistakes. These questions will help you understand the state of your industry within the pandemic, and thus give you a realistic perspective in your job search.

What Needs To Change

After having analyzed the logic behind losing your job, turn that information into concrete facts. Then use that information to trace your new career path, adapted to the times we are living in.

Let’s say, for example, that you lost your job because your place of work did not survive the blows of the pandemic. This happened to a lot of people in the restaurant industry, for example. What is this telling you? You need to move on to an industry that survived the pandemic.

The safest bet right now is tech. It doesn’t matter if you want to join the team of one of the big players in the game or combine your current skills with the tools of the future. Acquiring tech skills is going to guarantee you work in the future.

Reconsider Everything

If you’re looking for a new position, this is the time to consider where your career is headed. It’s now that you must consider whether you liked your old job if you saw opportunities to grow. Ask the hard questions, and something good will come out of this terrible situation.

Take this time also to think about what exactly you are looking for in a job, besides a good salary and fulfilling work. Perhaps you are looking for a position that leaves you with more time for yourself so that you can spend time with friends and family or explore a new hobby. Maybe you want a job that doesn’t involve the same stress levels as the previous one. Whatever the case may be, this is the best time to decide what your next job must look like

While you might feel a sense of urgency in finding a new job, there’s no point in finding something that will make you miserable. Allow yourself to stretch beyond your comfort zone. Besides, in the current state of things, it’s more than likely that you will have to be flexible to find a position. So, get ahead of the game and define what else you can do.

Stay Open to Opportunities

It may take you a couple of months to find the type of job you’re looking for. In the meantime, you must reach out to your network, and let everybody know that you’re on the hunt for a new position.

When you tell people about your situation, make sure to highlight your skills, assets, and expectations. Do not focus on what position you held before. By doing this, you might find occasional odd jobs to work from home or online. Don’t close yourself up to those opportunities. Besides adding to your income, this will allow you to explore other career paths. Stay open-minded.

Self-care

Now you have the time to do all that important personal work that you were ignoring because you lacked the time. Use this time to develop healthy habits that will help you cope with your current situation and thrive once you find a job and resume a normal life. Do you have a good morning routine? If not, now is the time to develop it. This morning routine can include meditation, reading an inspiring book, and writing in a journal.

Developing healthy habits won’t just benefit you at a personal level. Employers are looking for individuals with positive habits because they tend to be more stable and productive and improve the office environment. We recommend that you come up with a list of the habits that you want to develop and that you start practicing right away. Trust us; you’ll feel the difference.

Conclusion

Losing your job is not easy. It’s a forced change in the delicate balance of life, on top of all the things Covid-19 has made us deal with. But it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. You need to hold on to your confidence, work on your patience, and get moving. Keep calm and learn the lessons you need from these situations. Eventually, when you least expect it, what you need will come along. Your task now is to be ready to receive it. We don’t control what happens to us, but we do control how we handle it. There lies your power.

The Way Out, Is In

Today is March 21, 2020. The World is in a state of emergency in regards to a virus called COVAD19. A strain that is causing severe infection and high death rates. But you know all of that already.

We are all in a part of history. We have not heard from anyone who has not been infected in some way. There is so much information to process, everyday things change and we have to react to the new news.

This process will and is taking a toll mentally on a lot of people. Loss, Trauma, Anxiety and Stress are a part of daily life at a much grander scale than ever before in recent history.

We are here to help you manage all of the challenges you are facing. We are mental health professionals, advocates, and survivors. We have compiled information for you. To help you learn or enhance skillsets that you possess that allow you to think rationally, to manage and process your emotions. To provide information of how to communicate your feelings, setting boundaries. All of these skills will have the opportunity to stregnthen from use. Everyday the challenges can be more emotional than you have experienced.

Mindset is everything – motivational message

We know these struggles from personal experience, we know these issues professionally, and we have access to leading edge information on trauma and the brain provided by education of Hull Services staff (Shawn O’Grady – our mental health clinician) by Dr. Bruce Perry.

We have put together educational informaiton in conjunction with Hull Services. There are 12 topics and we will release 2 topics per week. We will support the lesson plans with follow up webinars to discuss the lesson material. We will have special guests on the webinars as well.

Business woman in Stress moment sitting on stair outdoor, hands on head with bad headache, Surrounded with Negative and depress wording

Webinars will always be on the most recent topics. We will record and post everything here.

Please give it some of your time. Even if you are doing ok, it is better to be prepared and confident, than scared and uncertain.

We look forward to meeting you at one of the webinars.

Sincerely,

Bob Wilkie

President – I Got Mind Inc.

Course Available – March 30th

A discussion of the pitfalls of trying to make sense of the events that are happening. Trying to make sense is dangerous to our mental health depending on how far we take it.

Live Webinar – April 1st 6:30 pm MST

Special Guest – Kelly Hrudey

Lesson release – April 6th

With so many emotions occuring each day during this time, we can become overwhelmed. If we can communicate with those around us how we are feeling it can help diffuse situations before they happen.

Live Webinar – April 8th

Special Guest – Shaun Clouston Head Coach of the Kamloops Blazers, NHL player TJ Oshie.