Let’s Talk ~ The Morning After

I support this initiative to shine a light and to generate funds that are for: “Fighting the stigma, improving access to care, supporting world-class research and leading by example in workplace mental health.”

Five years ago, I was literally brought to my knees by events in my life that escalated my Depression and Anxiety to a level beyond my ability to cope. How humbling for someone who has always considered herself and been considered “the strong one”.

I have never spoken about this at any length to anyone other than my best friend, who’s intervention saved my life.  In fact, for the first two years, I did everything to hide my struggle but it’s time for any and all mental health challenges to come out of the closet.

This year, I had the courage of my convictions and my diagnosis, adding the Bell “Let’s Talk” frame to my profile photo on Social Media. I meant what I said. I will listen. How disappointing then, to see the number of short-sighted and erroneous comments made by many people, “Scam” being among the most prevalent. Let’s start with this:

  • Scam 
    noun informal
    a dishonest scheme; a fraud.
    “an insurance scam”
    fraud, swindle, fraudulent scheme, racket, trick; More 
    “a guy that scams the elderly out of their savings”
    swindle, cheat, deceive, trick, dupe, hoodwink, double-cross, gull

Now, here is a link to the results of this initiative:

Clearly; not a scam by any stretch of a narrow mind. See the entire initiative at this website:

Someone needs to explain to me the hostility and spreading of misinformation that this particular campaign engendered. There are many fundraisers out there that benefit the sponsor as much and sometimes more than the cause. The annual CHEO, Heart & Stroke and Dream Of A Lifetime are some that are better known. Why the backlash against Bell? Is it because their marketing team scored big with harnessing the power of social media and is highly visible? Shouldn’t that be the point – especially for the historical stigma that is attached to Mental Illness?

Social Media works. In generation “Click and Care”, to which the vast majority of us belong; this is a brilliant strategy. At the end of the day, 31 January 2018, more people became aware, more funds were donated and yes, Bell may even have scored a handful of new customers. Tell me how this could possibly be a bad thing.

To the linear thinkers who were so eager to jump on an idealist bandwagon – do your research before making such blinkered comments. This campaign is far larger than Ma Bell and if you can’t see that, you need to reexamine your compassion. To the folks out there who say “why doesn’t Bell just donate a large sum of money…” you missed the point. For those individuals with a large audience of people who are inclined to agree because they think a “popular” person must be right, you missed an opportunity.

Let’s talk.
~ kei
1 February 2018

Blogging – And How I Got it Wrong

I’ve been really feeling this concept for a long while now. Judith’s post is en pointe with regard to managing blog followers and she is using ideas that Hugh posted about recently – I hadn’t had a chance yet to pull Hugh’s post out of my saved “Press This” file – links to it are in Judith’s post. I highly recommend reading both posts.
I am utterly overwhelmed with blogging at the moment – I have four blogs, work, home business, family and life. Oh! I don’t just joke about ADD / OCD – that’s for reals.
I think it’s time for a little “ghost busting” and for any of you who are feeling the same, there’s some great advice here.
Wishing you all a peaceful Sunday. K~xx

Judith Barrow

I think I’ve had the wrong idea about blogging. When I first started writing a blog it was to introduce myself to others and to get to know other writers/ authors/poets/artists. Oh and to find different genres of books.

One of my first blogs that disappeared into the ether and was apparently seen by no one! http://www.judithbarrow.co.uk/11-random-facts-about-me/

But I’ve been lucky; I’ve made some online friends along the way who, I hope, would be the kind of friend I’d like to have in ‘real’ life. Some, especially, have been so supportive.



/ http://bit.ly/1KvuYJR




And I’ve tried to help and support in return.

But lately I’ve noticed two things. There have been posts asking for more followers (one in particular was asking to raise the numbers because it was her/his birthday). And the others have been blogs to celebrate that a certain number of followers has…

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Stood Up

This story was originally a letter that I wrote to my then-boyfriend. It was after yet another failed attempt to come see me and seal the deal on our long-term, long distance relationship. The excuses were simply becoming too outlandish. What I didn’t know then was that he is a Narcissist Predator. There was no intention of coming here, it was just another in a litany of lies. He liked me spread eagled on his computer screen like some bizarre foreign butterfly in his collection. I rewrote this, softening it a little for inclusion in “A Grain Of Truth”, published last year. I think I wanted to spare my feelings, I felt raw, stupid and over exposed with the real version. I didn’t want anyone to think I was some sort of loser. This is the reality and legacy of being targeted by a Narcissist.

Anne Lamott wrote: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

This is real. It happened to me. Someone tore me and my world apart for their enjoyment and I am still trying to pick up the pieces. This could happen to anyone and it is but one incident in a two-year relationship. I was left emotionally and physically destroyed. My lack of enthusiasm for the “reason” that this callous twat gave for his not showing up, was further cause to be subjected to his rage and abuse.

This story is ugly and the repercussions of the relationship continue with innuendo and slander whispered still. Truth however, defends itself, thankfully; so does evidence. 

This was a day in my life last year, with the painful and embarrassing bits added back in. They are the True True…


When I woke, I was baffled in the muzzy, “not on all thrusters’” way that one sometimes is upon waking. I just couldn’t figure out why it was so hard to lift my head. Then I realized it was because I wasn’t in bed with my face on my pillow. I was lying on my living room floor and my cheek was stuck and sticky on the hardwood.

I spent all day at work, trying like a maniac to clear my desk to have no worries for the weekend and daydreaming about the evening. I scurried home to clean and do dishes and to shower, then went to a little style shop close by to get my hair done because I wanted to look my best for our first Real Life face to face. I carefully applied my makeup, praying that I could disguise the strain that is showing around my eyes and mouth from the stress of the last week. There’d already been two failed attempts to get here and then finding out about the “No Fly” ban that you were informed about by the US Border guards. All the hassle, calls to your lawyer… we’d both had several sleepless nights over that.

I put on new lingerie – matching, a luxury I rarely indulge in and a new dress, that I can ill afford. Stupidly, I bought you flowers. I had it in my head that no woman had done that for you and I wanted to be the first. So when you finally decided to allow me to know what was going on – after my several texts and many calls to you through the day – it was 4:30 or so.

The time that you said you’d be landing at Toronto.

When I jumped out of my chair to grab my phone, jumped because I’d been running on adrenaline and excitement all day, what I was expecting was you saying “Here safe and sound baby.” I had been in the middle of searching the taxi schedule to surprise you with my bravery and with my stupid flowers.

Instead, what I got was a text to say you weren’t coming. You never even got on the plane.

Have you had a panic attack? Of course you have. You mentioned it a few times in the last couple days. That feeling of terror and disorientation? The roar of an ocean pushing against your eardrums? Of howling loss the week before when you were held back at the gate? The fear and the wish to die that you told me you felt? Just like that P____, only it wasn’t circumstance or a crazy stranger that caused it for me. No. It was you. You made me feel like this on purpose.

No warning, no discussion. Just “I’m not coming.”

And that’s what happened. Panic. The ground opened up and it was like I was on a runaway elevator, the faster it fell the hotter I got. Staring and staring at those words, while my eyes were trying to push out of their sockets as the symptoms started, as the heat built up from my feet to my head, and the intense pressure. I was dizzy and disoriented, I dropped my phone and fell, trying to hold back what would have been vomit if I’d eaten anything all day. Thank god I didn’t, I had been too excited and busy. When I fell, the tears were starting and my heart had started to race and skip, wanting to jump track like a runaway train, I could feel the pressure in my head get worse. My nose started to bleed, all over my new dress. I panicked as the drops fell faster, and then started to stream. I ran the back of my hand over my nose, in a vain attempt to stem the flow, got blood all over the bouquet. At the same time, I could feel a warm trickle down my thigh and blind fear joined the disorientation and disbelief. In the last two months, as you know, every time we’d have fight – or more correctly, when you’d rage at me for no reason; I would start to bleed as if I was having my period. My OBS/GYN was worried and a round of blood test and biopsies had been started to determine the cause. I wasn’t actually very aware of all of that because I was tying to wrap my head around grief that was like broken glass in my guts that you were pounding with a baseball bat, gasping for air because I couldn’t even cry, my body was so pulled into itself that the tears couldn’t get out… and then I fainted.

I came to on the floor, in a mess of blood, snot, tears and crushed flowers.

Roses. I’d chosen a bouquet of three each of red, white, pink and yellow; passion, purity, perfect happiness and friendship. A kaleidoscope of meaning and intent… They looked how I imagine a bird of paradise in flight might look, when I threw them off the balcony…


The original ending: And that was my Friday night P____. The night that I was supposed to be meeting you for the first time, the beginning of my new life. So pardon me if I’m not exactly jumping for joy at your great success but don’t ever dare try to say that I haven’t supported your career or that I held you back.


~ KbT

Excerpt from “A Grain Of Truth” ~ Book Two by Karin Bole Tupper


For information and help should you suspect that yourself or someone you care about is being targeted / victimized by a Narcissist, please visit and read Kim Saeed’s blog “Let Me Reach” and also the books and Facebook page of Sam Vaknin.

Falling Stars

I met a man today.

Not what you think. Not even a little bit.

I had spent this morning packing up the glittering detritus of The Christmas That Never Was. One more act in this tragicomedy that has been our relationship.

Wrapping carefully, as has always been my way; the inexpensive, rather shabby trinkets that I had purchased and put out with much excitement and anticipation just a few weeks ago.

On that evening, one of the last weekends before Christmas and the day of my only pay cheque before Christmas; they had seemed so beautiful in my eyes. Every gold or silver star I hung was a wish and a promise for us, for our future. Together. I wanted to give you the kind of Christmas that you told me had passed you by this year.

As I stood observing the little box of finished packing, I couldn’t help the clutch of pain round my heart, or the tears that it caused to appear in my eyes all of a sudden. “Falling stars, broken dreams”, crossed my mind. I knew I’d never be able to look at these trims in the same way. I threw on my coat and boots and grabbed up the box along with the bag of the little gifts that I’d bought for you.

He was behind the counter of the charity shop that is a short walk from my home, dusting some shelves. I rather burst through the door of the otherwise empty store, allowing my hurt and anger to carry me forward to follow through. Plopping down my box of broken dreams on the counter and then the bag of gifts.

Brilliant blue eyes, widened in surprise as he turned and looked down at my offerings. I jumped back from the evidence of your rejection and our demise, like a scalded cat. I felt as though I cast about wildly, all big eyes and flying hair, looking for escape and a way to cover my shame.

As I turned quickly to make my exit, I heard his voice. Gaelic lilt, soft and yet reaching my ears at the front door from his position at the counter. “I had a Christmas like this a long time ago. It wound up being the best gift I ever received.”

I hunched my shoulders against the words, half turned with a tiny wave of my hand to acknowledge he’d spoken. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Still isn’t.

I’m sitting here now, with a big mug of tea; in my quiet living room. It seems rather austere, with the holiday trappings gone. I hurt. I hurt and I am so damn lonely, I don’t know how I will get through the rest of my life.

I am surprised though, by how the thought of how brilliant blue that man’s eyes are, keeps running through my mind…

~ ket

06 January 2013



The last week or so, I’m feeling so uninspired. I can’t be sure if it’s the weather, which is utterly brutal cold in my country at this time of year. We are the chosen frozen. Maybe it’s that the eight-hour a day, five days a week is wearing me down. To be fair, I am the Master of my own disaster. I didn’t have to be going this alone, I guess perhaps in the back of my mind, I didn’t really expect to be alone. Not for this length of time.
There are perks. No one to cook for, clean up after or work my plans – such as they are – around. I miss the sound of another voice, “in” jokes and a body to keep me warm at night. There’s that issue with the cold again. Cold temperatures and artist ennui seem to go hand-in-hand for me.
My writing suffers, my art does too and it occurred to me this morning that for creative people their chosen medium, is like our own little personal fire. Burning bright, steady and warm when fed.
It would seem that I am in need of fuel. Tinder. Anything to fan the coals of heart, soul, imagination.
I find myself calling, searching with words that I know will go unread, not felt. Yet, the compulsion to keep seeking that flame, feels like the only thing I am capable of doing at the moment.
So I wait
I tend the coals, I nurture this hunger
I’m waiting for you
Don’t leave me here in the cold much longer…

~ kei
23 January 2014

I Really Loved That Stove…

It’s the little things I realize, as I look at the shiny, angry burn on my right knuckle.

I’ll never put a pan of cookies into this oven again. The oven I coveted so much, with its sleek white exterior and high tech, one touch buttons.
(They don’t work anymore)

And I think to myself how disposable appliances have become.
(Like lighters and goldfish… and people)

I stand in something of a daze of thoughts, pushing the timer buttons for an increment of a half hour. Pushing again because it comes up as “three, nine, nine, nine”. The timer has decided to dispense with zero for months now.
(Like we have dispensed of each other)

These are the times that I seem to cry the most. Each time another tiny piece of me shakes free and shatters on the ground.

In honesty, I cry all the time now. I had no idea that I had this many tears. My second child almost died at birth and I don’t remember crying then, not like this… I only remember frozen, creeping dread and numbness.

Now though, I cry so much I am afraid I’ll never stop. And I am beginning to feel a little desiccated. I guess its inevitable… all that flowing water leaves me feeling like a desert. My eyes have become sunken, my cheeks too. I pass a mirror and see Cleopatra’s mummy… all dark hair and big, staring eyes.

The tethers of my old life are snapping like high-voltage guy wires in a tornado.
The cobwebs of my new life are as yet so tenuous and fragile.

And when I let the tears take me for a ride, let insecurity and doubt have the wheel for a while, the thoughts that keep revolving like tires on endless miles of blacktop are:

What am I doing?
What have I done?

~ kei
27 August 2012

Bicycle Races

“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”

I have no idea who made up that quote but right now, it sounds like the second stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
I’m leaving room for a first stupidest thing based on the year that I’ve just barely survived.

Not to knock feminism and all that awesome good girl stuff.

There is no requirement for a dude to be in this house. I can fix my own brakes on my bicycle. I can get my empties to the beer store, even though I feel as though the world is staring at me when I do. I can even do my own minor plumbing repairs.

What I can’t do is wrap my arms around me.

There is no amount of anything that stops this fever, stops this ache, stops this need. There is no replacement for the hard planes and angles of a you, wrapped around the softness and curves of a me. Nothing to stop the screaming in my head when it starts, no one to grab me and hold me tight when I can’t stop the hurting and start punching walls.

The scorch of my desire has me wanting to crawl out of my own skin.

And don’t tell me I’m pretty and that I’m smart and that all the boys are just dying to get into my backyard. I barely got out of high school alive and…

I don’t believe you.

I’ve seen how humans replace humans with a word, a keystroke, a signatory line. If we’re all so damn wonderful, why are half of us still alone? Even the halves that are part of a whole?

I swear to whatever, this happily ever after is the worst fucking bill of goods ever foisted off on idiots that want to believe it.

Has anybody seen the key to my bike chain?

~ kei
5 November 2013


It still catches me at least once a day…

This horrific loss, like a severed limb, haunts even my physical being.

As if Life – the fucking bully – has just punched me so hard in the solar plexus, that it’s all I can do to stop from vomiting up my guts.

I wanted to believe in happiness, to be loved, to share my life.
I wanted to believe that the girl who didn’t get asked to Prom could grow up to be somebody’s princess.
I wanted to believe that the bad guys – or girls – get what they deserve, that the good guys win and that faerytales come true.

Even to me, I sound like a plaintive, perfectly ridiculous teenage girl.

I want my soul returned.
I want my heart unbroken.
I want my dreams untarnished.

Meanwhile, the haemorrhage continues.
I feel my heart, so recently fuelled on endorphins,  fire and hormones, slowly decelerate.

Stuttering back to idle, slipping slowly to full stop.
One of the walking wounded.

Fitting, I suppose. The year winds down, dying in a brilliant blaze of fiery colour, giving way to Sister Winter and her funereal coldness. The leaves make their own grave and so too does my heart.
Here lies the wild, the untamed, the untrained. Now left unclaimed and maimed.
I think I’ll just kick some metaphorical leaves over this useless bit of me and leave it’s lonely resting place unmarked.

~ kei
27 September 2013


I’ve been trying to come to terms with the crash that occurred this Wednesday past between an OC Transpo bus and a VIA Rail train. It happened about 10 minutes from where I live and work in the early morning rush hour.

I heard the emergency vehicles go out, sirens wailing, but that isn’t so very unusual. It’s only in retrospect that I realize there were more than what you’d expect to hear for the fender benders, barbecue fires and cats up trees that are the usual reason.

Six people died. Six. In a little city like ours, where so many of us take the bus everyday, this is almost unfathomable.

We all of us are taking this personally. I’ve been a “bus person” all my life by choice. Ottawa is a “green” city and OC Transpo has in the past been known as the best bus service in North America. We’re a Government town so a large segment of the population makes the daily commute from the ‘Burbs to downtown offices. Me? I got my first bus pass with my first full time job. My Dad was a bus commuter, determined to keep his “Betsey” of the moment in pristine condition. My friends, my kids, my nieces… all regular riders.

I can’t help but think “There but for the grace of a higher power go I” or someone I love…

This has put many things in perspective for me. I’ve been going through a personal crisis that has consumed my thoughts in the past couple weeks. The tenuous threads that bind people and events though, have helped me to pull my head out of my arse, as it were.

I’m not dead. No one that I know and love in my immediate circle, was lost in this horrific collision. It has touched me deeply and personally in that, I know I’ve been a passenger on a bus that Dave drove at least once and my cousin Matt – City of Ottawa Police Force – was a First Responder. Even knowing that Karen was a fellow knitter and Ottawa Knitting Guild member with two children, makes me pause. I didn’t know any of these folks other than Matty, who ironically I don’t talk to all that much except for family get togethers and yet I’d called him just the night before for his steady advice.

What’s my takeaway from this? The same lesson that we’ve all heard so many times and in so many different ways:

Life is too short to hold grudges, to not love and dream, to be angry, to not try, to self-harm, to give in to depression… to not live.

I will survive. I will carry on. I will acknowledge this stumble in my life and I will learn and grow from it. I am alive.

Life is a gift.

I’m going to live mine.