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If I asked you to close your eyes and imagine a car crash, it might play out like a movie scene in your mind: a car skidding down the road on dark, stormy night or rain pelting the windshield of an out-of-control car surrounded by darkness.
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The main problem I faced was a distorted belief system. I felt that love came with accomplishments and accolades. I didn't believe that I was good enough to love as is. When love is missing, a lot of negative stuff comes out of the woodwork: anger, resentment, fear, jealousy.
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I am looking for a light at the end of the aisle. This light is where consumer racial profiling is no longer part of the daily shopping experiences of many racialized and Indigenous consumers in Ontario. Each CRP story ends with the targeted person describing feeling left stripped of their dignity, humiliated, embarrassed, fearful and vulnerable.
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Resilience has very little to do with surviving, and everything to do with awakening into where you are at this very moment. When we distance ourselves from, or anaesthetize ourselves against trauma and loss, we inadvertently diminish the potential breadth and beauty of our life.
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We often think of resilience as a manifestation of the human spirit's ability to survive the unfathomable -- those grand disasters and tragedies that populate news headlines and our social media feeds. It's as though we don't believe resilience could possible be at play in the midst of our own "mundane" life.
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When I meet people and tell them what I do, they often ask what the most common accidents and injuries are. Those who watch a lot of American TV imagine it might be gunshot wounds. Many people assume, particularly at this festive time of year, that the majority of victims end up in emergency due to alcohol-related car accidents. But even traffic accidents pale in comparison to holiday falls.
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As a therapist, I help people to recognize their patterns of defense, their habitual ways of responding: their default mode. We all developed ways of adapting and protecting ourselves in our early years when our brains and nervous systems were developing. These ways of coping can become hard-wired.
Writing saved my life. Without it, I wouldn't be here. It's really that simple. While that may sound a little somber, stay with me as I elaborate. Last year, I fell into a deep depression. The deepest...
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We as a diaspora, watched the curtain fall on a decades-long conflict we could never fully understand. And although the impact of the war varies drastically between us, what remains consistent is the recognition of a profound loss and the silent mourning of a forgotten identity.
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Teal Swan was only six years old when she found herself in the hands of her abuser and forced into a nightmarish world that a lot of people were unwilling (or unable) to believe. For the better part of 13 years, she was was raped, beaten and psychologically tortured by people who she was told to trust.
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I really didn't understand why I was so sad all of the time. It was a whirlwind of overwhelming emotions of loneliness, frustration and annoyance with everything. It's these times when you need to recognize what's happening with yourself and discover and use the tools to help you get through it.
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A characteristic of resilience is having an ability to make decisions without having all the answers figured out first. I believe this comes from a faith that no matter how something works out, you will either have success or you will learn something important about yourself.
Welcoming refugees into our communities implies a responsibility to provide a safe environment for rehabilitation and integration. Yet this weekend thousands of our neighbours will be exposed to trauma in a spectacle many of us would do away with in the first place. The air show is nothing like a charity bike ride. In a city with a large population of refugee newcomers and people who have experienced the trauma of war it is insulting, invasive, and violent.
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I think it's safe to say that as a society, we are rather risk-averse. We are eager to walk a smoother path, and are naturally drawn to life hacks, shortcuts and workarounds. But are we doing ourselves, and more importantly our children, a disservice by sidestepping the lessons of adversity?
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Have you ever wondered what separates those rare individuals who are able to step forward after trauma and adversity from those of us who are stunted, derailed, or in some way consumed by similar life circumstances or events? As a society, we tend to gravitate to the "bounce back" narrative so often espoused in the media, and one that is particularly true of the stories most commonly shared on social media.
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If you drop me, I bounce. In fact, as crazy as that sounds, for much of my life it certainly felt like that was true. As is the case with far too many children around the world, I grew up in a violent home and it was within this violence that a nascent spirit of resilience began to germinate.
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Childhood sexual abuse is a perpetual, ongoing horror which leads to many years, if not a lifetime, of sleepless nights, flashbacks, nightmares, body memories and triggers that can send a survivor into a well of despair, physical pain, and unrelenting panic and terror.
As our muscles respond to stress by becoming at first strained and later stronger, so too do we build up our tolerance for withstanding adversity by allowing it space in our life. Courage rises to the fore when we adopt a new mindset, a new lens from which we approach our life.
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Over the five years I spent seeking treatment, my family and I encountered a seemingly endless series of obstacles -- from programs that couldn't accommodate me, to waiting lists that lasted much longer than my desire to get clean -- all of which combined to feel like the treatment system was designed for me to fail.
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There is no one common reaction to sexual assaults. Survivors' behaviours following such traumatic events can vary from minimizing the incident and pretending everything is fine (e.g. kissing and cuddling in the park, or writing gushing love letters, as DuCoutere did following the assault); to suppressing the incident altogether, essentially blocking it from your memory; to blaming yourself, somehow, in an attempt to rationalize the trauma. It is not unusual in my caseload to see women, years after the fact, still believing they were somehow responsible for the incident.
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It has taken me almost my entire lifetime to realize that what I thought was the "worst of me", was in fact the "best of me". And all those years I spent escaping to the margins of society have been a beautiful blessing in disguise.
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For the survivors left behind, suicide is unbelievable and surreal. It is a game changer. Your life is permanently altered. It is the day time stands still. It is the day you stop taking a full breath. It is, alas, the day people can avoid you, talk about you and even blame you.
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In the wake of Paris, employers must remain alert to the potential "emotional aftermath" of terrorist attacks among employees. Such events can cause considerable potential trauma and anxiety for workers, and employers have a responsibility to ensure that the workplace remains a venue of safety, security and open discourse.
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The film is, on the surface, about a botched space mission that leaves Matt Damon stranded on Mars. It's also a film for anyone who's found themselves thousands of miles away from the life they'd planned. If you've lost a child, lost a spouse, survived a crime, been disabled, been diagnosed with a critical illness, you likely have had moments when you feel alone on a strange planet with no guarantee of making it back home.
LeiLani Kopp is a paramedical makeup artist and cosmetics manufacturer who, through countless hours of volunteer work with cancer patients and burn victims, shows that beauty is definitely more than skin deep. Her business, Sweet LeiLani Cosmetics, subsidizes the volunteer work that makes a difference in the lives of those who have been through incredibly difficult experiences.
As a little girl growing up in the 1980s during the final years of Lebanon's 15-year civil war, my family often had to take shelter underground from these attacks. I can remember the sting of my fear, how I could almost smell it in my mother and father and siblings.
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There's no question that children are resilient, and are often able to laugh and play under seemingly impossible circumstances. But as we've learned at World Vision, they are also far more vulnerable to pain, abuse and terror than most of the adults around them.
Over the past few years, I've written extensively about, and on many occasions have spoken candidly of my struggles with addiction, mental health issues, and sexual violence. I have grown to believe that the greatest antidote to fear is honesty, and it's with this in mind, that I share the following with you. For the past few months, I've engaged in a convoluted relationship with time. It all started out rather innocent. Hours were slipping away from me, and I had absolutely no idea how to account for that lost time.
Scholars, lawyers, and governments will no doubt weigh in on whether or not the residential schools experience in Canada officially constitutes a cultural form of genocide. In the meantime, it is important to create a cultural and intellectual climate in this country that is flexible and sensitive enough to recognize the depth of suffering experienced by traumatized people and their children without ranking it on a destructive hierarchical scale.
As a scared child, I ran away from the abuse around me, and as an adult, I used drugs and alcohol to run away from the trauma inside me. But here's the interesting part -- shortly after I got clean and sober, I actually took up the sport of running. This fall, I will be running the Toronto Waterfront Marathon three times in the same day (126.6 km), not as a fundraiser, but simply to show others how resilient we are, even after the trauma of sexual violence. But most importantly, I hope that my campaign will build upon the momentum we are starting to see in the media about the prevalence of sexual violence and the need to address the countless lives that lay in its wake.
The truth is, I've never watched the Duggar family on TV. Still, with all the current media coverage, it's impossible not to be aware of the fact that the eldest son Josh has confessed to inappropriate sexual behaviour, as a teenager, toward four of his sisters and a babysitter. I work with victims of sexual abuse every day in my psychotherapy practice, so I feel I have some insight into the subject at hand. Instead of adding to the judgements in favour of or against the family, I thought that it would be a good idea to look for the learning opportunities here.
My name is Jean-Paul, and I am in treatment for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Hearing me say that usually elicits one of two responses in people -- abject pity or recoiling fear. I want you to know that I understand where you're coming from, but allow me a few minutes to see if we can change this dialogue.