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Messages - paulm

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General Discussion / Re: Marriage problems
« on: February 03, 2015, 12:58:59 AM »
Hello Dragonfly. I split this off of the original thread as I thought that the topic was very important and that it deserved it's own thread. Plus you had asked for any ideas and I didn't want it to get lost in the middle of another thread. If I shouldn't have moved it, please let me know and I can reverse it.

 What follows may be painful for you to read and you may disagree with some or all of what I have said. You will almost certainly say that parts of it are not fair. However I mean no disrespect and when it comes to marriage breakups, the law is not always fair. 

 I certainly can sympathize with you and your family over this matter, it will be tough on everyone

 I can't give you great advice, but I would suggest that your son immediately find the best divorce lawyer that he can. Often the one who gets the best lawyer and gets to the lawyer first has a much better chance of a good outcome.  (well there are no good outcomes , only some less worse than others). I've seen far too many people A) wait and see if they can get back together before they get a lawyer B) figure lawyers are too expensive.

 Going to see a lawyer doesn't mean that they can't get back together,separation agreements can always be ripped up, but it does give you an early start on what to document etc.

 Plus if she is feeling the least bit guilty over her part in this(and she may not be) , the chances are that she may sign a more favourable separation agreement. Later on,  when words get bitter, that's when lawyers really get expensive.

 As much as anyone would feel bitter in your shoes, I've found that the best outcome is when the adults don't show their bitterness or anger around the kids. I've seen that boomarang and the ex-spouse use comments made by family members in court to alter visiting priviledges.  And the kids will tell mommy what someone said about them. Whether Mommy is right or wrong, young kids still love mommy and tend to tell her everything that they find worrisome.

 In today's world, there is no person who was right or wrong in the marriage breakup, unless some form of abuse can be proved. Judges tend to split things 50-50 and it doesn't matter who paid for what or how much income someone has or doesn't have. For that matter your son may be called on not only to provide child support, but also spousal support while the kids are young.  Doesn't always seem fair when one person left to go live with someone else, but as I said, what the courts have determined to be fair, is far different than what someone else might think.

 Tell your son to see a lawyer before he starts to split anything 50-50. Several of my friends did that, without proper documentation and later when the short of money ex spouse dragged them into court, they then had to pay more.   One guy I know even lost 50% of the value of his house a second time as he had no proper documentation as to what he had given his ex wife the money for the previous time. 

 Look after yourself. Hopefully your grandkids will still get to see you, maybe even more so when the ex daughter-in-law and new boy friend want time alone together.  It's fun to play, but moving down in the world and not having much money can bring a harsh reality to a person life. Grandma's is a great place to dump kids when you are broke and still want to go out.

  Be there for your son and provide emotional support, but be careful about the advice that you give him in regards to what to do with their combined assets, income, support payments etc. .  The law is so complex and tangled, a lawyer is the only one that can advise him properly.  I hate paying the fees that they charge, but I could write here forever about people that I have known that ended up paying far more than a lawyer would charge, because they thought they could handle it on their own.

 Once again, look after yourself. Good Luck and don't hesitate to vent out here. Take Care. paul m


Hello Soozan. I'm glad that you asked.  Most times you can find a crisis/distress/warm line by calling 211(no charge) and sometimes by looking in the front of your phone book.

 I"ll explain the basic differences, although each one may be a little different.

 Crisis Line, is exactly that, a crisis line. They have the means to put you in contact with various emergency services, shelters etc immediately. They are also mostly paid employees and they will call an ambulance/police etc if they think that you are suicidal. They do record what you say and who you are and they do have call display and while they do allow repeat callers, generally they really limit how much time they can talk.

 A distress line generally means that they are volunteers and that because they are  not paid professionals, they cannot give out medical advice. However they do have a lot of local knowledge, they have more time to spend with repeat callers and they are very compassionate. 

 When you said  "I needed someone to talk to and didn't know where to turn, I felt I was exhausting my family and friends and even my counselor, I was even exhausting myself! But I needed a way to talk out the pain. "

 That is one of the types of service that distress lines can be good at offering. I know that at the centre in my area some people do call up to 5 times a day and spend 80-90 minutes on the phone each day with various volunteers, because they have exhausted everyone else or have no one  to exhaust. We can also offer crisis services, but as a volunteer we can only link you through to someone who can call an ambulance etc(the crisis line can do it while talking to you by sending an email direct to emergency services like 911).

 Other services that we offer that a crisis line won't. Your cat/dog dies and you are extremely upset, we will listen and
 commiserate with you. Your husband abuses you, we may advise you of your options, but we will also just listen if that's what you want.
 Family problems, we can listen and if you wish advise where to get counselling.  The only thing that we won't listen to are obscene items. Items that are offensive to the volunteer(some people will try and get their jollies by telling the volunteer they are F***ing idiot because they didn't answer the phone cheerfully enough). Anyone who advises that they have abused children in any way isn't allowed to talk (we get some weird phone calls).

 I've done over 250 shifts and I've taken well over 5000 calls and I would estimate that 60% of them are regular callers.  I can't think of too many situations that I've dealt with where I wouldn't listen confidentially, without judgement and if the occasion call for it, with sympathy. I only mention that as I'm just an average volunteer, we have people who have been doing a shift a week for 35+ years.

 Distress and warm lines are not in the business of making judgment. Whereas a crisis line does.  Crisis lines provide a valuable service, but they are forced by cost constraints and the law to operate in a much different manner. What they are really good at is if someone is in an immediate crisis and need direct help getting that help, they are the best. Of course, in my area, they have a budget if about 1 million and take maybe 3000 calls , whereas we take 12,000 calls a yr on a budget of 35,000.

 Warm lines can be great too. Most warm lines are not open 24/7 and most don't offer the crisis services that we do. For example the MDAO operates a warm line called T.I.P.S. M-F  9.30-5.00   1-866-363-MOOD (6663).   The Krasman operates a unique warm line . The support line is answered by individuals with lived experience with mental health concerns, addiction, and/or trauma. I have never called it, so I don't know what what their quality is like. 1-888-777-0979

 Most distresslines are listed either under DCO , although there are some operated by a variety of other places.

Telecare of Greater Simcoe. 705-325-9534 or 705-726-7922
Telecare Peterborough 705-745-2273
Telecare Cambridge 519-659-5455

Toronto Distress line is sort of a hybrid distress/crisis line, they do have call display and they will call emergency services 416 408 4357 

 NISA warm line covers from Parry Sound to Sault St Marie and Timmins 1-866-856-9276 

 Sorry to be long winded, but they do provide a good service. Take Care. paul m

General Discussion / Re: What did you do today?
« on: January 31, 2015, 01:22:51 AM »
Hello Rich. Great idea for a post. I don't know why more didn't reply, but that sometimes happens. I didn't post right away because I had a terrible day that day.

It started out with me trying to make a campground reservation at 7am on line with a provincial park.  I'm not my best at 7am. Between that and trying to figure out exactly what all the person who programmed the new reservation system was talking about didn't help my mood. It took me till 7.45 to get it done and only after repeated failures. (the province brought in a new and improved system this yr to replace the old one that had worked well for yrs and usually takes only 5 minutes)

 Then I had some breakfast, bacon and eggs, then I did some errands and shopping till about 11am and then I took a nap. My alarm woke me up at 1.30 when I was supposed to go and play hockey. Except I felt horrible. Took blood sugar reading and realized that bacon, plus donut while shopping plus too rich of lunch = too high of blood sugar readings.

  Went back to bed, got back up at 5.30 and frittered away most of the evening. But I did manage to facilitate our peer support group that night so my day wasn't a total waste.

 Next time, please pick a day where I am exceedingly productive LOL.   Thx for the post, even if it wasn't my best day. Take Care. paul m

Hello Dragonfly. I'm glad that you had success. Also thx for posting about your experience as it helps others learn about what's available. I'm going to take the liberty and ramble on a bit about distress lines as I think that they can be an important tool. Take Care. paul m

 Hello everyone. I volunteer at a distress line and we welcome all calls, we don't have call display(although you can always ask to make sure). We may ask for a name to call you by, but it doesn't have to be real and we don't want last names. We may ask what city you are calling from so that we know where to focus our energies,but we never ask for a last name.  All of our calls are kept confidential.  Of course it's easy to be confidential when all we know is that a Paul is calling from someplace in Ont.

 We are open 24/7 and like anyplace else it's easiest to get through quickly at 2-5 am, so don't be afraid to call at anytime. (also 7-8am is often slow). 

 We are well trained and our training never ends,but we are not medical professionals. We do take crisis calls, but we will try and get you to allow us to conference call you through to a medical professional.  Our mandate is provide caring and sympathetic conversation and /or listening which ever the caller wishes. 

 We talk with the lonely, the abused, those who can't sleep, those in pain, the paranoid, the frightened, the grieving, those with family problems, those suffering from a mental/physical illness, people in unhappy marriages, people who can't find or keep a partner or those who have lost a partner through accident, illness or divorce , people with family problems , people with financial problems, in fact just about anybody.   We take them all without making judgments or being critical.  About the only calls we won't take are obscene calls.

 If you get a volunteer that you are not happy with, try calling at a different time or a different distress centre. Long distance plans means that we sometimes get callers from all over North America. Very few volunteers can satisfy 100% of the people 100% of the time.  I've had people call me every shift I done for 5yrs, others hang up at the sound of my voice.  Some people will complain that when I say hello that I don't sound cheerful enough, although I don't understand how they can deduce that when I just say one word.

 Each distress centre sets their own limits, some allow one 20 minute call a day, ours allows up to 5 , 20 minute calls a day, although that may be curtailed a bit during busy times.  We never hang up or limit the time on someone who is suicidal, so other calls may have to wait when that happens.

 So give your local distress centre a call. You may be surprised.  Take Care. paul m

Hello Peter. Glad that you are feeling better. I have no idea about lipitor.  Fortunately that is one line of meds that I haven't had to take. Take Care. paul m

General Discussion / Re: Introductions
« on: January 24, 2015, 02:44:19 AM »
Hello Everyone.  People like Dragonfly, Daniel and everyone else on this forum are pretty nice people. We've all had our fair share of problems (to say the least :) ) . Some of us(all perhaps) still have some sort of struggle with our lives, some are better (as in more well) than others and some are watching and trying to help loved ones. Some can work and some can't. Overall everybody is pretty understanding, which is why I'm still posting on a MDAO forum after 10yrs.

 Myself, I've had a lifelong struggle with bipolar, anxieties and other problems, both mental and physical. Some of my life has been bliss and some has been a living hell.  Sometimes I've been lucky as heck and other times I couldn't win a lottery if I was the only one entered.

 In the past, my illness, has caused me to create a lot of  heartache for a lot of people. I also rec'd a lot of help over the years from anonymous strangers who passed on tips on how to get better. So as I can no longer work, I do a lot of volunteering, partly because of the satisfaction helping others gives me and partly to help keep kicking a few skeletons to the  back of the closet :).

 I 've been married for 38 yrs (yes to only one woman!) and have 2 kids and a grandchild and my one son also has bipolar and some physical challenges.

 I've been a professional and at times my illness(es) have caused me to be almost a professional bum.  I enjoy the outdoors, reading, and so may different things that I haven't even turned on my TV in over a year. (except to watch the occasional DVD).

 Depending on who you ask,I'm reasonable stable these days. I'll never be well, but I really enjoy life and that wasn't always so.

 I'm definitely a dog person, but we currently also have a cat.  I tend to be a bit wordy, but I'm pretty friendly (these day  :) )

 I've been doing things with or for the MDAO for 20+ yrs now and I can tell you that they are a pretty good organization and if anyone reading this has any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. We on the forum, do not have all of the answers, but we can listen, sympathize, sometimes point you in the right direction and above all, you'll know you are not alone. Take Care. paul m

General Discussion / Re: Online Support Groups
« on: January 24, 2015, 02:06:09 AM »
Hello Peace. I can understand and sympathize with you.  I think that you were smart not to go shopping.  Generally my anxieties are under control these days, but I still have to be careful.

  The other day I had to go to the dentist, interview a potential volunteer for an organization I'm with, see my brother about a family issue,  do a little shopping and I thought while I'm in town I'll also get my vehicle e-tested.  I know all of those things can cause me a certain amount of stress, but when I laid out my schedule, I never thought anything about it. That was a mistake.

 Each item piled on a bit of stress and by the time I got to the e-testing place, my anxieties were starting to mount and the place was running 30 minutes behind schedule. I should have just cancelled my appointment when they said I would have to wait. Instead I started to overly worry about the vehicle not passing and if it failed what would it cost to repair it, where would I get the work done etc etc. (I've never had one fail and I had no reason to think that this one would fail, so my thoughts were irrational to start with).

 My heart started to pound, sweat started to roll off of me and I must have looked ill as when the tech guy finally came he asked if I was ok. Well the vehicle passed with no problems, but I had to take a break before I drove home and I was still shaking when I got there 45 minutes later.

 In reality, what had happened was that I already had, had a stressful day and I should have known (from past experiences) that I had too much going on that day and it would only take a little to trigger an anxiety attack.

 So you were smart not to go shopping and I was dumb in not cancelling something on a day where I knew my stress level was already too high.  I know I got a lot done that day, but once upon a time doing that much would have been easy for me. I have to realize that I have to live within my limits as they are now. That doesn't mean that I can't strive to do more, but allowing myself to get into uncomfortable positions only sets me back.

 So don't feel guilty about something that is too hard to do at this time. It doesn't matter whether it seems simple or not, if you are not up to it, you are not up to it.  You made the smart choice and cancelled. Take Care. paul m

Depression and Bipolar / Re: What's in our feel better Tool Belt?
« on: January 24, 2015, 01:03:26 AM »
Hello DaniAle. Welcome to the forum. Great list. Please feel free to ask questions, answer other people's questions' and/or use the forum to vent.  Sometimes I find venting out a few of my frustrations is a good way to keep healthy. Take Care. paul m

General Discussion / Re: Online Support Groups
« on: January 19, 2015, 10:10:43 PM »
Hello  Peace. Good for you for getting out 3 days out of 5. It can be tough to go outside. Keep working at it and don't get discouraged if you   have weeks where you don't do as well as other weeks. Good Luck and Take Care. paul m

General Discussion / Re: What's your definition of acceptance?
« on: January 19, 2015, 09:58:47 PM »
Hello Peter. Acceptance is one of those words that future archaeologists are going to wonder what in the heck it means when trying to translate our language.

 It can mean many things, such as (as taken from the free on line dictionary)

 1. the act of taking or receiving something offered.
2. favorable reception; approval; favor.
3. the act of assenting or believing: acceptance of a theory.
4. the fact or state of being accepted or acceptable.
a. a pledge to pay an order, draft, or bill of exchange when it becomes due.
b. an order, draft, or bill of exchange that has been accepted

 Wikipedia says that  acceptance in human psychology is a person's assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest.  The article goes on to talk about how acceptance is the core dogma of many religious faiths is an interesting article.

 If you google acceptance psychology you will get a lot more definitions.

 I also don't dispute what Determined Jay or Lucky Lou, you had to say on the subject.

 For myself, I would say: My acceptance of having to pay taxes, doesn't mean that I won't use every available legal means to pay as little as I can or none at all if I could.  Or for someone the acceptance of having a terminal illness, would not necessarily stop them from continuing to seek out ways  to extend their life.

 Ok I'm done babbling and cutting and pasting. Take Care. paul m

General Discussion / Re: Goal Driven Chaos
« on: January 12, 2015, 09:51:04 PM »
Hello DeterminedDay. I'm sorry, but I don't know of any funding places, but I wish you luck with your project. Take Care. paul m

General Discussion / Bell's "Lets Talk"
« on: January 09, 2015, 11:46:51 PM »
Hello Everyone. This is some info on Bell's "Let's Talk " 2015 campaign. It contains some interesting info

  Part of the website states  "“Ending the stigma of mental illness depends on building greater awareness, acceptance and action."

 They have testimonials, which can be found on Utube, in connection with this campaign, with celebs such as Clara Hughes

Michael Landsberg

Mary Walsh

Howie Mandel

and many other younger celebs such as Lauren Toyota 

 Phoebe Dykstra (MTV)   

   Each utube video takes about a minute to watch and some deal with stigma and others give ideas about better habits that we can use to help ourselves.  I'm unsure how many there are in total.  I think that some are better than others, but as a whole, between the webiste and the testimonials, I think that this will raise awareness.

 What do you think of them? Take Care. paul m

General Discussion / Re: Check In
« on: January 06, 2015, 02:11:14 AM »
Hello NeitherHereNorThere.  You pretty much nailed it with your comments, except for the part where you are expecting too much.   I think that you may be underrating yourself, there is nothing wrong with wanting to live a reasonable life(or even a great one). Bipolar can take a long time to get a handle on and a lot of getting better and staying better comes from experience. Unfortunately that experience isn't something that is easy to come by.  It took me a lot of years to get all the combos of diet, exercise, medication, lifestyle, how to deal with well meaning people who try to tell me what I'm doing wrong, who don't have clue etc etc. 

 For myself, my recovery took years and I used to set tiny goals that I would try to achieve on a yearly basis. I also tried setting large goals at the beginning and all that did was frustrate me.  However some people do get better quickly, it's just that type of illness.

 Eventually you will learn which wave to ride and which one to avoid. I also used to find it really difficult to tell when I was heading towards mania, then I started to learn about my symptoms and triggers and what they meant.  For example if I start to notice that the grass looks a really nice green or that someone has an exceptionally  pretty flower garden, then for me those are signs of heightened awareness and I'm probably starting to get manic . Everybody has different little symptoms that indicate mania, the trick is to find out what ares and then pay attention to them. 

 I can be triggered into mania quite easily, all I have to do is drink a lot of coffee and not get enough sleep for a week and bingo, drugs or not, suddenly I don't need much sleep.  I actually track how many hrs of sleep that I get a week, but again, everybody is different.

 I have many other symptoms or triggers that I know about, but because they are different for each person I won't list them all here. That's where a good WRAP course (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) or a good CBT course can come in and be really helpful. WRAP especially teaches you how to learn about your signs, symptoms and triggers and how to self correct.

 You said " In my experience; once people see that you are making a little progress, you start to hear "it sounds like you have it together" and then you become wallpaper."  One time a psychiatrist told me that she was cutting loose as a patient as I was progressing so well and she only had time for the really ill. (there's a shortage of shrinks in our area. ) I broke down in her office and pleaded with her to keep me on. She was so surprised to see me go from calm to blubbering in an instant that she kept me on for a while longer, but it scared the heck out me. Appearances can be deceiving.

  In order to qualify for many mental health programs, you have to be "bad " enough to get admitted to that program.  Which seems odd to me, because I have better things to do then to take a program that I don't need to take and who determines what bad is.

 In regards to other people having it worse. My own position is like yours "seriously" . I believe that there is no hierarchy when it comes to a serious and difficult  illness, whether it be physical or mental, suffering is suffering.  Plus there will always be people better or worse off than someone else at any given moment. Besides who gets to judge who is worse off. I've known several people who appeared to be happy, were wealthy and appeared to on top of the world, yet they committed suicide. 

 Good post, thanks for sharing your opinions with us. Take Care. paul m

General Discussion / Re: Check In
« on: January 02, 2015, 11:17:12 PM »
Hello Peace. It may be hard to word in an email and I don't know your family, but we all used to meet at my mother-in-laws(including some of her siblings). However as families grew up, moved away and had kids of their own and then some of those kids had kids, it became too big for one person to host. If all of my ma-in-laws kids, grandkids, great grand kids and spouses, boy friends etc showed up their would be about 84 of us. If you included my Mother-in-laws siblings all of their kids etc then we would be looking at 300+ people. So obviously what worked for my mother-in-law in her younger years would no longer work, so no matter how good a tradition is, it sometimes has to be broken.(not to mention the fact that people are scattered all over Ontario). 

 You find that out yourself as your children grow up and have B/F's and spouses of their own as well as children and then they all have to spend time at inlaws places as well

 I don't know how you would word it in an email, but basically we just suggested that due to cost, time of preparing the food, time it takes to travel and the time of year perhaps we could all make just agree to bring something. We would still get together, but perhaps everyone could just bring a dish or desert next yr and all that the person hosting it has to supply is the turkey(or ham etc).  That way we can all spend more time enjoying each others company and have less stress. We also precook the turkey the night before and then debone it and seal it up well and just microwave it the next day. 

I agree with LuckyLou that if sent out as a suggestion it may go over better. Good Luck and Take Care,

 Hello Dragonfly. Sorry to hear about  your Daughter-in-laws bad experience, I can see how it would cast a pall over Christmas. Take Care. paul m

 Hello LuckyLou. As other have said this can be a difficult time of year and I can understand and sympathize with your suffering and longing not to be ill.

 I can't say that I enjoy having bipolar and I certainly wished that I didn't have it. However we don't usually get to chose 
what illness we get and I've come to accept that.  While I still battle my illness I have few fond memories of the good old days. Having bipolar caused me to do a lot of things that I wouldn't have otherwise done and most of them weren't good.

 Sure there were some times when I was the life of the party or super productive on the job. However would I have had those good times, been the life of the party or been able to be the star of the workplace because I didn't need sleep and could work super fast for 70 hrs a week if I hadn't had bipolar?  Not very likely.  I've also learned that depression keeps me thinking bad and unreasonable thoughts.
 As well, even when I'm not depressed I can allow super negative thoughts to lead me down the road to depression.

 That isn't a criticism of anyone and I'm certainly not saying that thinking happy thoughts will make me feel better, it doesn't work that way. But I do know that thinking bad thoughts will make me worse. Sometimes I can't help but think bad thoughts, but I really try hard not too.  I hope that you feel better soon. Take Care. paul m

General Discussion / Re: Happy New Year Everyone!
« on: January 01, 2015, 11:12:05 PM »
Happy New Year to everyone as well. Take Care. paul m

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