The truth about trauma:

Trauma kills. Let’s not mince words here. If you’ve experienced trauma, some part of you has died. You can survive the experience of trauma, but you can’t come away unscathed. Like mountain-climbers who’ve been rescued from disasters, the frostbite has ravaged their fingers, noses and toes.

Like frostbite, trauma destroys your most vulnerable parts — killing your hope, optimism, trust, and certainty. Most of all, it annihilates your innocence. You might survive the ordeal but these parts of you are dead and gone and they can’t be resurrected.

How, you might ask, could a psychiatrist say such things? How could…

Grief. Not a monster be trifled with. When it jumps into your lap you have two choices: confront it or run away. Both have consequences.

Whether it’s grief from a sudden, shocking loss or a slow, agonizing death; whether grief arrives at the tail end of a betrayal or in the swirl of a disappointment, it gets right up in your face and says, “ignore me at your own peril.”

But grief is a cruel beast. It sucks your time and energy. It stomps its feet like an angry toddler, saying, “attention must be paid!” And when you finally acknowledge…

Anticipatory dread:

Confrontation. Doesn’t the word send chills down your spine? When you contemplate talking to a friend, family member or romantic partner about something they did to upset you or something you need them to do differently, does it fill you with dread?

You might imagine the other person becoming upset or angry — even rejecting you. You might imagine saying the wrong thing and inadvertently causing offense.

There’s not a lot of information available these days about how to engage in constructive confrontation — the type that’s more likely to result in a good outcome than a bad one —…

Effective communication is crucial, in the post-pandemic era:

Over the years, I’ve written a lot about effective communication. These skills are more vital than ever before, as we’re living in a time of rampant misinformation, misunderstanding and miscommunication. And now that we’re starting to come together after many months of social isolation, effective communication is essential if we want our relationships to thrive.

Effective communication is being able to simply and concisely convey the message you want to get across as well as understanding exactly what someone else is telling you. It’s about speaking clearly and listening carefully. …

Socializing is a skill:

With the mass distribution of vaccines against COVID, the world is slowly re-opening. Many of us have spent the last sixteen months relatively isolated. Those who live in a family unit have only been in contact with the same few people all this time. Those who live alone have had minimal contact with anyone.

Socializing is a skill that we develop over time and it’s a skill that we can lose if we aren’t practicing it. After all this time with hardly any in-person connecting, our social skills could be pretty rusty. …

Time for a wellness tune-up:

Summer is here and it’s the perfect time for a health and wellness tune-up. We’ve been cooped up indoors for so long that we could all benefit from a check-in. It will help us to clarify what we need in order to feel better, moving forward.

Whether you’ve decided on a staycation or a vacation this summer, you can decide to take that time to prioritize your self-care. The sun is out, literally and figuratively, and we’re all emerging from the darkness of Covid

The past fifteen months have been incredibly stressful — filled with pain, anxiety and loss. It…

We’re on an emotional roller-coaster:

I was so excited to get my second vaccine, this month. Finally, I thought, life can start opening up again. But when I started hearing about how the Delta-plus variant has been infecting fully-vaccinated people, my happiness dissolved.

It turns out that this new “variant of a variant” is extremely infectious and can penetrate the defenses of people with supposed full immunity. So far, the infections are mostly mild or asymptomatic, but it’s entirely possible that an eventual variant, let’s call it “Delta double-plus,” could take on a more deadly form. …

Summer is finally here:

Summer has arrived and with it, a lessening of the COVID restrictions. Here in Canada, there’s minimal guidance about how to socialize with people outside of our own households.

One important issue is risk tolerance, because it’s different for everyone. Some people have a low tolerance for health risks and are extra-cautions. Other people have a higher tolerance and are somewhat less vigilant. Some people can tolerate a whole lot of risk.

As a person who tends to be more cautious around health risks, I’m not comfortable socializing with people who are a lot less cautious, because I see them…

Gruesome murder in London, Ontario:

The murder of a Muslim family — Salman, Yumna and Talat Afzaal, and Madiha Salman, and the attempted murder of Fayez Afzaal — in London, Ontario on Sunday, June 6th was a shocking event that has left the city, and the entire country, reeling.

London, Ontario is a quaint city with a small-town feel. It is mainly home to university students and retirees. When a twenty-year old man ran down a family who were out for a Sunday-evening walk, it sent shock waves throughout the community and through the country as a whole.

It would be disingenuous to say that…

Naomi Osaka puts mental health front and center:

Tennis phenomenon Naomi Osaka is the biggest name in sports these days, and it’s not just because of her prodigious talent.

According to an article on Mashable, when Ms. Osaka decided to skip a post-match press conference during the recent French Open Tournament, she was fined $15,000, despite the fact that she cited mental health reasons for opting out.

Ms. Osaka posted on Twitter that “I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes [sic] mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one.”

In announcing her departure from the tournament…

Marcia Sirota

Writer, speaker, MD, and author of the Short & Sweet Guides to Life book series

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