Tag Archive | guest authors

Debbie Sesula Receives the Courage to Come Back Award

Courage to Come Back Winner, Debbie Sesula

Congratulations to longstanding CMHA volunteer and Past President of CMHA White Rock Branch, Debbie Sesula, who has been named as the 2008 Courage To Come Back Award recipient in the Mental Health category. Each year, Coast Mental Health honours six people for their courage to overcome and recover from illness, injury or adversity. Debbie will receive her award May 8, at a gala dinner at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver.

Debbie first began suffering frightening symptoms while nearing completion of her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. A very outgoing and bubbly person, she became withdrawn, depressed and scared, obsessed with ending her life. Struggling daily to complete her education and “be normal” Debbie began to inflict tiny scratches on herself to ease her emotional pain. Good days were followed by bad days – she found herself losing touch with reality, once hearing cars telling her to end her life. Finally, she attempted suicide. A year-long cycle of hospitalization, medication, release, re-hospitalization, and new medications began. Debbie decided to fight the illness, the depression anxiety and psychosis, and refused to give in. She challenged all her symptoms one by one and graduated with her degree. The fight was far from over. Debbie would land a job, only to quit it, convinced the staff were “after her.” She enrolled in an employment program and learned computer skills, all the while increasing her self-harming. Eventually, through the help of a counselor, Debbie gained control over her self harm. She learned new ways to cope with her feelings, to challenge her thoughts, and gradually gained control over mental illness instead of letting it control her. She obtained her Reality Therapy Certification and later developed a program to teach others how to take control of their own recovery – a program that has been consistently running, with a waiting list, since 2002. “I am extremely grateful to Coast for recognizing the positive aspects and contributions of people facing adversities,” Debbie says. To others who are struggling, “Don’t give up on yourself. There is help, there is hope – reach out!” Debbie has overcome her illness with flying colours and stands as a beacon of hope to others facing similar struggles. She is currently the Coordinator of the Peer Support Programs at Vancouver Community Mental Health Services and Fraser South Health; Provincial Coordinator of BRIDGES Support and Education Program through BC Schizophrenia Society; a WRAP recovery-oriented program Facilitator; and she teaches Consumers In Action, a leadership skills training program. If that were not enough, Debbie was recently accepted into the Masters in Leadership program at Royal Roads University. Photo credit: Jason Payne, The Province
For more on Debbie’s remarkable journey, read “How to battle a broken brain,” at www.canada.com.
To learn more about the Courage to Come Back Awards, visit www.coastmentalhealth.com.

Poems by Susan Trapp

A friend in the Coffee Shop
Susan Trapp

A dream took me away
from the present moment
I brought me back
to a time I love to remember
My friend was with me
In a coffee shop
the sound of the traffic
Very distracting
Straining to each others’ words
What had her father done?
What was her mother like?
How had her mother died?
Questions connecting in new ways
Our brains fired up
Alas the dream was fading
the memory was dimming
Suddenly I was back
By myself in a coffee shop
A cold cup of coffee in my hand.

the Rant
Susan Trapp

people giving their power away
not owning themselves
wanting someone to save them
someone to do it for them
denying the secret
which makes life worth living
denying themselves
and their right to live
as they see it.

not being someone else’s life
but their own
neglecting themelves
denying the work they need to do
which is sometimes hard
wanting the easy way out
denying the person
that is themselves
their own person
their own life
their own soul
when will they get it?
the power is within

The Blessing (to the Rant)
Susan Trapp

People who know the secret
who know the power is within
who toil each day
to make it better
who toil
to make others better
who have good will
and care for each other
Not always without attachments.

The Garden (Before the Fall)
Susan Trapp

Luscious and tempting
green and red
and many coloured.

the smell of apples
And roses
Mingled in delight.

Wonderful and glowing
with oozing smells
growing together
with sights and memories

Oxygen and more oxygen
Outright consumerism

Appetite satiated
No hunger
Always full

No pain
Sounds of waterfalls
drumming on my ears
an ecstasy
what more can there be?
All senses attended to
All needs (the same)
a new Earth yet very old
remade again
in our image
or God’s image
or both intertwined again
an Eternity

What poetry should be
Susan Trapp

Poetry should sing the song
that needs to be sung
In our hearts.

Poetry should celebrate
Our successes and our failures.

Poetry should be the prayer
our soul needs to pray
In the darkest moments
of our lives.

Poetry should remember
the happy times
as well as the sad times.

When we are trying to cling to
the moment
poetry should give us
the strength to see it through
to the other side.

When we think poetry should
It already has.

YOU AND ME by Debbie Sesula

Debbie Sesula

If you’re overly excited
You’re happy
If I’m overly excited
I’m manic.

If you imagine the phone ringing
You’re stressed out
If I imagine the phone ringing
I’m psychotic.

If you’re crying and sleeping all day
You’re sad and need time out
If I’m crying and sleeping all day
I’m depressed and need to get up.

If you’re afraid to leave your house at night
You’re cautious
If I’m afraid to leave my house at night
I’m paranoid.

If you speak your mind and express your opinions
You’re assertive
If I speak my mind and express my opinions
I’m aggressive.

If you don’t like something and mention it
You’re being honest
If I don’t like something and mention it
I’m being difficult.

If you get angry
You’re considered upset
If I get angry
I’m considered dangerous.

If you over-react to something
You’re sensitive
If I over-react to something
I’m out of control.

If you don’t want to be around others
You’re taking care of yourself and relaxing
If I don’t want to be around others
I’m isolating myself and avoiding.

If you talk to strangers
You’re being friendly
If I talk to strangers
I’m being inappropriate.

For all of the above you’re not told to take
a pill or are hospitalized, but I am!