Writing Myself a Letter – the BounceBack Program

BounceBackI’ve decided to give the BounceBack program from Canadian Mental Health Association another try.

My first attempt a few years ago was not successful as I just couldn’t get myself to sit down long enough to finish reading a booklet. It’s more of a concentration and comprehension problem than anything. I’ve always had issues with this but it is exaggerated when I am feeling anxious and depressed.

Having received a couple booklets in the mail yesterday I decided today to open the first one. Having the power go out created a great opportunity. What else was I going to do? 🙂

I actually got through the first booklet and started on the second one. The second booklet is titled, “Write All Over Your Bathroom Mirror”. Getting to point number 10, out of 15 things to do for myself, it was time I actually had to think.

Point number 10 suggests to “Sit right down and write yourself a letter”. We are to imagine it’s ten years from now and I am sitting down to write a thank you letter to myself. Taking pen in hand I started writing. The first sentence was provided for us, and my letter went like this:

December 20, 2026

Dear me,

I want to say thanks for being strong 10 years ago.

It was five days before Christmas and you were thinking about buying that lottery ticket, even though you knew you couldn’t afford to do so. The jackpot and odds of winning were huge, but the chance of winning and the desire for a better life for us was too strong and you bought the ticket anyways.

Well, I’m so glad you bought that ticket because life couldn’t be better for us now. We are enjoying our lives. There’s no worry about not having money for necessities or becoming homeless again because we have just what we need.

We couldn’t possibly spend all that money on ourselves after buying a comfortable home in a quiet, seaside forest surrounded by wildlife, and I’ve been busy helping those who are in need. I still volunteer my time with my favourite causes and some take up quite a bit of my time. I built some low-cost housing for single parents and I’ve helped to put solar power and water wells in a number of northern and foreign communities. That makes me feel so good. Oh, and I bought a few pieces of local land that contain sensitive ecosystems so they can never be exploited. We also own a small chunk of the Brazilian Rainforest and we saved a small Indonesian forest from being burned to the ground for a palm oil plantation. The orangutans live happy and safe on our property! It feels so good to help.

Shortly after our win I started seeing a physiotherapist. I get regular massages and exercise everyday now that I can afford to. Ten years ago the way things were going I thought I’d be in a wheelchair by the time I reached 65. But here I am. We no longer have to worry about having enough money to live and we are healthy and happy. I feel much better now. There’s no depression and anxiety. I’m in a better place. I’m in my happy place.



So, after I wrote this, it hit me that this is not what was being asked of me. Although, writing this took me away and made me happy for the time it took, it’s not reality. There is no lottery win and I still feel stuck.

Some might wonder why I am writing this. Well, I thought about that myself, but I know there are others out there who are suffering. So, I’m putting this out there, very much out of my comfort zone. If it helps even one person to get some help for their depression and or anxiety then it was worth putting myself in a vulnerable position. People have been hiding in silence way too long.

There are many external influences that alter our thinking, our feelings, create physical symptoms, and alter our behaviour. It happens to everyone at some point. Some factors I feel are much easier to address than others. Exam anxiety or getting that business presentation just right is a passing thing, while others cope with daily stresses that build and can become unbearable. This time of the year is particularly hard for a great many people. If you feel you need help, please do not wait. Reach out to friends, family or a crisis centre. I know how hard it can be. Do not struggle alone.

My journey is not going to be an easy one. Overcoming poverty, dealing with unemployment, and accepting disability and stigma is difficult. There is no pill to cure that. But I’m ready to try the self-help reading materials and telephone coach sessions through BounceBack once again. It may not help directly with my external stressors, but I can only try to make the best of my situation.

Have you taken the journey? Where did you end up?

You can try the BounceBack program by contacting your doctor. More information can be found through the Canadian Mental Health Association website.

Our local office:

cmha logo

Canadian Mental Health – Cowichan Valley

Let me know how you are doing!

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It’s Been a While

It has been a while since I’ve posted here. Over the past year and a half I have been busy with my education, looking for work, and working on my new blog.

Oh, so many things that I want to write about, it’s just getting it on paper. There is so much going on in the world. I find it overwhelming at times and just want to shut it all off: turn off the TV, leave the social media, and move to a small town away from all the hustle and bustle. That is likely not going to happen any time soon and I am going to try to write more often (and I need to start painting again too).

I am rusty in my writing but I really wanted to start a Frugal Living blog because I like to share information with others, and I’ve been living the life for a long time. My site and blog are a work in progress. Please, leave a comment or a suggestion. Have a great day 🙂

Frugal Living Vancouver Island

Frugal Living Vancouver Island blog

To disclose or not to disclose disabilities in the workplace

people at job interview

An interesting article on disclosing your disabilities in the workplace.

I sat on edge somewhat while reading the post hoping there was something in there that would speak on behalf of the disabled person, but none was found.

It’s easy for an employer to say they support people with disabilities but it’s another thing to actually do it when the situation arises. I’m not saying all employers are like that. I hear the odd story of someone who is successfully employed in a supportive workplace. It warms my heart to know that some employers out there truly care and follow through with what they say they will do.

I agree with the writer that speaking to your employer or potential employer about your disability could open some doors. And while there are many progressive employers who genuinely try to accommodate disabled employees’ needs and restrictions, it has been my experience that the only door disclosure opens is the exit door.

Having more inclusive workplaces would be a dream come true for so many. Credit to those employers who are willing to open those doors and keep them open. Let’s break down those barriers!

Have you or someone you know disclosed their disability to their current or prospective employer? Hopefully you had a positive experience. Please feel free to comment below, your thoughts on disclosure.

The following is Republished: Financial Post-Careers – Megan Santos, Special to Financial Post | November 13, 2015 4:04 PM ET

Making the decision to disclose and discuss disabilities in the workplace

As companies continue to implement and promote diversity efforts within their recruitment strategies, accommodating employees with disabilities remains an important focus. About four million working-age Canadians identified themselves as disabled in 2012. While it could be obvious if a candidate is in a wheelchair, or visually impaired many people live with invisible disabilities as well. Attention… Continue reading “To disclose or not to disclose disabilities in the workplace”

12 Grocery Shopping Tips to Save Money – Frugal Living Vancouver Island

So, you are here because you have been thinking about saving money. Are you ready to take on the frugal living lifestyle? Saving a little or saving a lot, for whatever reason or circumstance, can be a rewarding experience for some and a revelation for others.

I have 12 money-saving, grocery shopping tips to share with you to get you started, and a good place to start saving money is with grocery shopping. If you are not quite sure of yourself, just pick one area to start with and see how the money savings goes. You might be surprised.

You can read more about my “12 Grocery Shopping Tips to Save You Money!” on my Frugal Living Vancouver Island blog. Please feel free to share some money-saving stories and tips of your own while you are there.

Happy frugal shopping! See you in the bargain area.

Frugal Living Infographic

When it’s time to update the old cell phone

old phone technology
Old phone technology


Well, it’s been over a year since my post below. Funny how things change over time.

My dinosaur had to be put out to pasture shortly after I posted. Not because it quite working but because Telus decided it was so. I was irritated because they forced me to upgrade and I still wasn’t ready. Anyways, my daughter bought me a used LG from her friend.

The changeover wasn’t too bad but I was still resisting. I did not want to become just like everyone else. I liked my texting and I didn’t need internet to take more of my time. Besides, I had my computer for that. But me being me, yes, I am the curious kind, I had to start figuring out what this new piece of technology was all about. The next thing I know I had Twitter and Facebook set up and the rest is history. Thank goodness I don’t have data and just rely on wi-fi.

To my dismay the phone started screwing up and I was ready to throw it out the window. After losing a few hundred strands of hair and finally finding a great customer service rep with Telus we figured out that it was the Facebook app that was creating havoc. So, I deleted the app and carried on. Well, it never did seem to work well after that and I was offered a nice deal for a new Samsung 5Neo so I upgraded.

This phone seems to work well and I just love the camera. It’s better than my point and shoot camera. I haven’t installed the Facebook app and just login through the website. Not taking any chances. And I use as little apps as I can get away with and disable what ever else that is not needed on my phone. I guess I am still resisting somewhat, but I do not trust the security on computers or phones (having a bit of a technology background).

So far all is going well. I love my Twitter and my earthquake apps and they both allow me to post to Facebook. Especially helpful, I can post local earthquakes, as I am a co-admin for the BC Earthquake Early Warning page for an engineer at UBC. If you happen to have an interest come on over and join us.

More proof that resistance if futile 🙂 I caved, but if my old dinosaur was still working I’d still be using it. Be well and please do not use your phone and drive.


I was talking to a friend about cell phones and how some of us, not many I assume, hold on to our old technology for as long as possible. My phone is over five years old now. I’m a little older, not too keen on changing if I don’t have to, and I save money too. Ok, call me cheap, but I have other things to spend my money on than upgrading my phone regularly! 🙂 Some day real soon I guess I will “have” to take the plunge because Telus doesn’t want to support the old network anymore. I guess I can’t blame them. Technology waits for no one they say. I just hate getting rid of something if it still works. But, then again maybe it’s way past time, as on July 1st I am sure somehow, someone, hacked the network because I got some weird happenings in my calendar.

My calendar reminded me of an appointment that I had the next day. I opened the reminder message and I was jettisoned off into the year 3318, I think it was Nov. 27, 3318, and someone was trying to communicate with me through the year field! Go figure that one out! I clicked on edit to reset the reminder and in the year box there was text. A whole long string of text. I couldn’t read it other than the odd word or persons name, not familiar to me, as the text box is too small to read more than 5 characters at a time. I tried to enter a date but it wouldn’t let me. Only did it work normal after I closed and reopened my calendar.
It has worked fine the past few days. Kind of strange someone would hack into an old network but I guess it happens. Weird I tell ya. But then again, I am sure it was the mother ship trying to get a hold of me to tell me they missed coming to get me again! I couldn’t pick up their message in my phone, but I heard they were seen shooting across the eastern sky just a few nights ago. Sigh…

“It’s no longer enough to shake our heads and make concerned grimaces at the news…”

Definitely the most inspiring post and replies I have read in a while. Thank you Laila and followers.

No Strings Attached: Laila Yuile on people, politics and life in B.C.

“Because it’s no longer enough to be a decent person. It’s no longer enough to shake our heads and make concerned grimaces at the news. True enlightened activism is the only thing that can save humanity from itself.”
― Joss Whedon

I worry. A lot sometimes.

I worry about the price of produce at the veggie market every week. It’s getting more and more expensive and I worry that the drought in California will drive that price up even more.

Then I worry that California will figure out how little B.C. values it’s water supply,show up here like it’s a modern gold rush and tap into some trade agreement that leaves British Columbian’s paying through the nose for a resource we own…while entitled Hollywood types are lavishing in their pools,drinking BC water while California shrivels under drought.

I worry about the safety of my community right now, while young men…

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Presumed Ocular Histoplasmosis is real but why does CNIB not offer information?

Living with vision loss

Well it’s been a while now since I’ve written (January 8th) to the President of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)​ asking why they have not provided any written and online information about Presumed Ocular Histoplasmosis (POHS).

Why did I write the president? Well over the past 20 years or so I have asked the CNIB, a number of times, if they would offer materials for those people (and their families) suffering from POHS. I even offered to do the research to put together this info with no interest or acknowledgement from them. I spoke to employees and emailed their offices, including head office, and received no replies. So I emailed the president last month as I felt I had no other option. All I have received is a read receipt from him. I have to wonder why CNIB is reluctant to provide this information.

This vision loss is real and the people who are living with it have little information to go by other than American (mostly) online information and support groups. Last I knew, treatments offered in the US were not necessarily the same here in Canada. There is no organization in Canada offering this information to Canadians that I know of (in doing some more recent research I found a couple but I had to do some digging). I have yet to see ophthalmologist offices offer any information.

Canadians living with POHS deserve to have available to them information as do people suffering with vision loss from other disorders. I see us as being no different only that we are a lone bunch of people with a rare disease, with no cure, offered little help. Please offer us some information. Being diagnosed with this disorder is bad enough. We don’t need the added burden of feeling like we are the only ones experiencing it.

Sunlight – another potential

As children I am sure we have all played with magnifying glasses and mirrors at least once during our summers. Sometimes we went a little too far with our wood burning and flashing the sunlight in our friends eyes, but at that age I never really thought a whole lot more about how a mirror and sunlight could be used past the fun part.

solar alternatives
Solar alternatives

I had a bit of a wow moment today while trying to direct a little sunlight on to my houseplants. Having a tiny apartment with only one medium-sized window in my living room (small one in the bedroom but no room for anything near it) and a regular-sized, solid door to my small deck, my plants rarely receive a good dose of sunlight at any time of the year. Well aside from my huge pineapple that takes up most the space in front of my only window.

Thinking about how I could direct the sunlight on to my plants I grabbed my full-length mirror and laid it across my couch and rocker and stuffed a pillow under it to direct the light towards my near 7″ Hawaiian Ti plant (tree!) that I have been babying since it was a stick brought back from Hawaii in 1980. As I was doing so the reflected light hit the roof in my kitchen and the room lit up like someone turned on a runway light. It was brighter that if I had my fluorescent lighting turned on and more! I thought wow, if a series of mirrors could be incorporated into new buildings via the roof or walls, including office buildings, just how much power could be saved during the daylight hours! Skylights are one thing but this would take it to an all new level of lighting. Incorporate this with solar; what potential!

If only we had the power to change things for the better, over a shorter period of time, we may not be facing some of the issues we face today when it comes to pollution, climate change, and the dwindling of our resources. We can go green, what the heck is taking so long?