ACT: A Mental Health Strategy for Overcoming Obstacles

Sometimes you are just rolling along and – WHAM! – you are broadsided by an unexpected obstacle. It might be a physical obstacle, such a being stuck in traffic. Or it might be another kind of obstacle, one that is more ‘internal’, an emotion or a way of thinking that is having a negative impact on you.

No matter the obstacle, there is a simple and practical strategy that can help you move through the obstacle and either get back on track, or find a new track all together!

Continue reading “ACT: A Mental Health Strategy for Overcoming Obstacles”

Run Towards The Danger: Informing Your Relationship To Your Memories

Run Towards The Danger

Sarah Polley‘s recently released book is titled ‘Run Towards the Danger: Confrontations with a Body of Memory“.  One particular line stood out for me in the Winnipeg Free Press article and interview with Polley by Deborah Dundas:

“In order for my brain to recover from a traumatic injury, I had to retrain it to strength by charging towards the very activities that triggered my symptoms.”

It resonated with me because of the experience that I shared in my recently published book, ‘Not Crazy, Just Human: Moving Through Trauma to Healing‘. In March of 2020, a shocking phone call from a friend about her son’s suicide triggered a trauma – a distressing memory – of a suicide in my life. What transpired was 14 months of physical and emotional pain. My body and brain seemed to ‘shut down’.

I ‘ran towards the danger’ during my EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). “This therapy involves focusing simultaneously on spontaeous associations of traumatic images, thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations and bilateral stimulation that is most commonly in the form of repeated eye movements.” (WHO Practice Guideline) 

I was referred to Dr. Kelly Penner Hutton by another therapist. The name of her business was very appealing: Peace of Mind Therapy and Consultation. I was in desperate need for some ‘peace of mind’!

As we processed my distressing memories – or confronted them, to use Polley’s word – the bilateral stimulation allowed for the gradual desensitization of them.

I have not read Polley’s book yet, but I will. Even the subtitle has meaning for me: ‘Confrontations With a Body of Memories’. The operative word, I think, is ‘Body’, because that is where memories live.

Interviewer Deborah Dundas writes, “When I …remarked that the exceptional trauma she’s experienced in her life could have broken many people, she said she’s also been ‘absurdly lucky’.”

Polly responded by talking about the people in her life who have been there for her, making her life feel ‘charmed’, rather than hard.

In Not Crazy, Just Human, I do the same thing. The good humans in my life have been, are, and will continue to be, the ones who ‘anchor’ me back to who I truly am. I hope I do the same for them, as they ‘run towards the danger’.

At the end of the WFP article, Dundas quotes Polley, “I think the hard experiences you have early in life make you who you are and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. ” Dundas adds, “You become someone strong and resilient. If you dig deep enough, if you run towards the danger, as Polley does, the advantage might just be a life that, in the telling, makes a difference.”

I could not agree more!

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity! 



Live and Let Live, A Short Love Story on Valentine’s Day

Reading Shelly Cook‘s article in the Winnipeg Free Press today reminded me about Randy Pausch‘s The Last Lecture. Pausch was facing his imminent death, and delivered a message filled with optimism and  hope – with a focus on living life.

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love. With all the divisiveness and conflict in the world, I think we can all use a little love right now.

I am currently in Puerto Vallarta with my husband. It is a long-planned get away in which we are able to relax, explore, and connect – with each other and with friends who are likewise in this area of the world. We are also able to do some remote work while we are here – a gift of our collective COVID experience.

Our condo is located in ‘the romantic zone’ in PV. “Zona Romántica is a trendy area filled with lively expat and LGBTQ bars, plus restaurants serving global fare. Quaint courtyard cafes and contemporary art galleries sit alongside boutique hotels on cobblestone streets.” It’s a pretty cool place.

And, it is filled with love, mostly from the LGBTQ community. I am sure this community is like any other, and has all sorts of humans who are part of it. What I have witnessed, however, in this short period of time that we are here, is a group of people (mostly men) who are joyful, fun-loving, and very affectionate. On several occasions, even chilling in the pool, I have enjoyed listening to spirited conversations filled with laughter. I find myself compelled to jump in and join them!

What’s even more cool is that I think most of them would be more than happy to include me. I ‘see’ inclusion in their eyes. Perhaps people who have experienced not being included are more aware of the importance of it!

I have also noticed nothing but kindness. Even toward this clearly hetero couple. One evening we attended a Drag Show with friends at ACT2PV. As we enjoyed our cocktails awaiting the start, four very large men took the seats directly in front of us. ‘Oh my’, said one of them, ‘I hope we aren’t going to block your view!’. After I said something like ‘no worries, all good’… one of them said ‘Well if we do, you know you can just come and sit on my knee.’ After which all four of them lol’d, as did we. Just playful fun!

Beyond that occasion, there have been several times when I have observed a real ‘joie d vivre’ in this community. Now, one might argue… Hello? It is warm and beautiful and vacation, who wouldn’t be joyful? True enough. But I think there is something more. I think there is a real ‘acceptance’ in this community – of everyone – even a spiky-haired Manitoba girl, who just wants to hang out with nice, positive people, filled with love. Ya know what I mean?

Maybe a lesson that we all need right now is one of acceptance. Of each other. Of our differences. Of ourselves. Randy Pausch accepted his fate in 2007, and delivered a message that still resonates today. It reminds me of something my mom said a lot when we were growing up, ‘live and let live’.

Let’s do that.

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity!