We’re moving today…

At last.

The day has finally arrived. I’m so relieved. And excited. And scared. And so many emotions.

Also, I am honoured, thrilled to announce that at precisely 1 p.m. today, Coming Out Crazy launches at Psych Central and our new home at this address: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/coming-out-crazy/

And isn’t it perfect that this is the beginning of National Mental Health Awareness Week ~ what could be better, more auspicious for our success.

I’m a little nervous breaking into the big U.S. blogging market, but…

I’m a little nervous about breaking into the big American blogging market but Founder and CEO, John M. Grohol, Psych.D is treating me royally. He’s a pioneer, a visionary in internet mental health awareness and community building. He’s assigned me a terrific and very gentle, experienced new editor, too. She has a great eye for design.

Plus there’s loads of blogging support, which I desperately need.

As I’m doing everything myself for the first time.

We have a different look, but our soul and spirit hasn’t changed…

My new blog will look quite different, but as is this one, it’s WordPress. Easy for me to use. I will be posting three to four times a week. Shorter posts.

Psych Central is giving me complete control and freedom. More than I ever had at The Toronto Star.

I am beginning with some material that may be familiar to you, though my take is always a little different.

I’m reintroducing myself down there…

No knows me in the U.S.A. for the most part, so I must gradually introduce myself, my themes and philosophies. This new frontier is a little daunting for me.

I hope you will be coming along to support our common goals and purpose. Exploring a wide variety of mental and emotional health and wellness issues from diverse perspectives.

That has never changed from my first blog post on April 9, 2008.

Let go together.

Let us continue to grow, together.

Learning. Sharing. Growing. Evolving.

I’m focussed forward, in the present and grateful for the past.

It’s been quite a trip, so far.

I’m so excited to be beginning again.

With you…

Now, it’s late. Already tomorrow. I still have some last-minute packing to do and I’m exhausted, so I’m turning in. I hope you sleep tight.

See you and speak soon.

xox

sln

Exciting news…

Here’s what I posted on Facebook and Twitter today.

Great news! The next incarnation of this blog, “Coming Out Crazy” is now in development at Psych Central. Looking great. And, I can keep my  Canadian spellings, too. Should be up in about a week. Thanks to Dr. Grohol and your team.

And thanks to you, for taking a chance on me and moving here with me. I hope you will follow me and our community when we make our move.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, it turns out we were simply “waiting” for the universe to unfold, here, at this address.

I didn’t have a plan, but I did have a dream. I had no idea any of this was going to happen when I launched this incarnation of “Coming Out Crazy” on Wednesday, April 14th from my final post at The Toronto Star.

Your comments there warm the cockles of my heart. They mean more to me than my replies can ever possibly express. I’m speechless. Rare for me. :)

All I did was keep churning out my lemonade and working like I’ve never worked in my life. Hard and Fast. There was no time to worry or brood. That’s not my style. I accept the past. Stay in the present. And, somehow, the future takes care of itself.

So, have a great day and speak soon. When we launch, I’ll be signing off here and continuing to post on Facebook and Twitter just like I do now. All that stays the same.

Nothing will change. This is my blog, our blog, and always will be. Things are just going to get a whole lot better. More freedom. Shorter posts. At least three or four times a week. Maybe more.

Plus I’ll have lots of blogging support for WordPress – which I’m just learning to use – and a lovely editor with a “light touch” – we’ve already started corresponding. She’s not unlike my beloved Toronto Star editor Brandie Weikle.

She and I are still working together, by the way. I’ll be writing features for her at Healthzone, where Coming Out Crazy originated.

At our new address, I’ll be joining a fascinating and eclectic party of Psych Central bloggers with a delicious smörgåsbord of intriguing perspectives and assorted specialties ~ to suit every interest and taste. I’m joining a vibrant community. The first mental health website on the planet. Fifteen years old. Leading the way. A team. Like the newsroom of a big urban daily newspaper.

We’re retaining our name and our ethos. Coming Out Crazy and community development. Conversation. Discussion. Disagreement. Freedom to be who we are. To evolve and practice using our voices in a safe haven.

“Share. Learn. Grow.”

I’ll have complete freedom to continue our conversation. Continue with my mental health advocacy. Continue my teaching. Continue my commitment with my commitments to social change through public education.

I have to confess, I’m daunted by all this. A mite nervous. But I’m not going to think about it right now. I’m pulling a Scarlett O’Hara, who famously said in the final paragraph of Margaret Mitchell‘s romantic Civil War classic, Gone with the Wind, “I’ll think of it all tomorrow… After all, tomorrow is another day.”

So bye for now. Today, I’m offline so I can finish my end-of-term marking/grading.

The clock is ticking.

Sending you all my affection and gratitude.

Speak soon!

“Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.” ~ Groucho Marx

And finally, thank you, Mr. Marx, wherever you are ~ for defining our spirit with your vivid wit and wisdom.

xox

sln


“How many 15-year-old websites do you know?”

While your wracking your brain trying to figure out the answer to that question, here’s the deal.

Despite our imminent move to PsychCentral and its stellar blogging team, I’m still here. Just packing up, so to speak.

I’m still responding and still keeping an eye on things at this address. Your comments, for instance. And this peculiar feature that tracks “stats” and  traffic, which I never had at The Toronto Star. I never knew who or if anyone ever dropped by. And no one ever told me. So just to let you know, I’m watching. It’s a little weird, like being Big Brother/Sister ~ with sincere apologies to all literary purists and fans of George Orwell‘s classic novel NIneteen Eighty-Four. I mean no harm, but I couldn’t resist that. The feminist in me made me do it.

By the way, today, PsychCentral is celebrating its 15th Anniversary. How many 15-year-old websites do you know? That’s the question CEO and Founder John Grohol, Psych.D posed in a Tweet today. They’re all partying down there. And so they should. What an achievement.

A little closer to home, you wouldn’t believe how much end-of-term marking I have to do. It’s going to be a little quiet over the next few days, so I’ll try to post during my marking fatigue breaks. Yes, teachers get marking fatigue a.k.a. grading fatigue. In the U.S. “marking” is called “grading” and soon I’ll be blogging “primarily for an American market,” so that’s another little change you’ll notice.

No more “honour.” Once we launch, it will be an “honor” to write this blog and I hope you’ll visit us in our new “neighborhood.”

Also, you should know that I’m going to continue writing for Brandie Weikle, the editor of Healthzone and Parentcentral at The Toronto Star, who started me on my blogging career in the first place. A mental health and wellness blog was her vision. I just collaborated with her and it turns out we’re a magical match, editorially speaking. She approached me cold.

This serendipitous pairing of editor and writer happens rarely in one’s journalistic career.  I’ve been lucky. My first editor at The Toronto Sun, Kathy Brooks was just such an editor for me. But I’m sure every writer she ever edited would make that claim.

For Brandie, from now on, I’ll be writing feature articles, not blogs. I already have my first assignment and it’s going to be such fun to write.

But right now, it’s a very busy time for all college and university professors, everywhere. The busiest. Plus, I’m squeezing time in to prepare for my next term which begins less than two weeks.

This is what happens when you wear are few hats at the same time.

By now, you must realize enormously big-headed, I am. :)

So, speak soon and here’s to a sensational meantime.

“Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.” ~ Groucho Marx

On the move, again…

About an hour ago, I got off the phone with John Grohol, Psych.D.

He’s the CEO and Founder, soul-owner and independent-operator of the first mental health website on the Internet, 15-year-old Psych CentralLearn. Share. Grow.

You may be familiar with his World of Psychology blog because I often link to it. There are many other treasures at PsychCentral, including Quizzes, News, and a diverse Community of forums and discussions. Even more. Plus blogs. Lots of intriguing blogs.

We spoke for an hour and I felt I’d found a soul mate in John. He’s open-minded, curious, willing to share. Our philosophies are remarkably  similar. We’re committed to community. To social change and public education. To reporting unbiased and balanced mental health information from a rich and diverse pool of sources and resources. To making a positive difference in the world.

To Recovery. Self-Determination. Hope.

I enjoyed our conversation thoroughly. Bottom line? He cares.

So, in about a week, Coming Out Crazy will be launched there. I’ll join his eclectic team of bloggers. I certainly do not have to submerge my Canadian identity. Rather, I’m joining a global endeavour to learn more and share more about vital mental and emotional health and wellness issues that touch all of us, directly and indirectly.

You’ll notice a few differences. I’ll be posting shorter and more frequently, at least three to four times a week.

Linking will continue as will engaging you  in a dialogue with me and I hope with each other.

I’ll even be staying on WordPress. John and his team will be provide editorial and blog support.

So, who knows? You may be seeing more art and more videos. And maybe I’ll summon up the courage to post a video of me talking to you!

What I like best is that I will belong to a community of bloggers, writers, resources ~ professionals and patients ~ sharing my voice and joining their conversation and continuing ours. Opening a window to new voices, too. What an adventure we’re beginning.

Can you believe we launched here exactly one week ago, today?

My head is spinning.

I’ll keep you posted. Wish me luck.

Speak soon!

The gift of life…

On March 7, 1994, my youngest sister Glorianne, then a 37-year-old single mother of three-year-old twins, was wheeled into an operating room at Toronto General Hospital, where urologist Dr. Michael Robinette began the two-hour surgical procedure to harvest one of her kidneys, which he then transplanted into my right groin ~ kickstarting my life again.

“IT’S ONE OF THE MOST AWESOME EVENTS OF MY LIFE.”

Glorianne and I celebrate that anniversary every year. She often says, “It’s one of the two most awesome events of my life.” The other was the birth of her glorious, now 21-year-old twins.

It’s mine, too. The gift of her kidney ended three and a half of the most torturous years of my life ~ two were spent on dialysis. Hemodialysis, then when I ran out of accessible veins, Peritoneal Dialysis. Neither worked well for me.

My kidney had failed due to iatrogenic end stage kidney failure caused by Lithium Toxicity.  Doctor-caused. This particular doctor, my psychiatrist at the time, neglected to monitor my lithium levels carefully enough. It’s rare, but it can happen. No one knew I was born with only one kidney, though that wouldn’t have made any difference. That’s ancient history.

But it’s also important to keep in mind – have your lithium levels checked regularly, if you take that drug.

SOME PEOPLE NEVER STOP WAITING… THEY DIE WAITING

I managed while waiting for a kidney. Some people never stop waiting. They die waiting.

This is National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week ~ April 18-25.

When I went to see my psychiatrist Dr. Bob the other day. I wanted to talk to him about resilience. In the lobby of TGH, there was a big white and green display table surrounded by people. One recognized me. She was one of my transplant nurses 16 years ago. “You never forget your transplant patients,” she said.

An ebullient  fellow was sitting behind the table handing out pens and green lapel ribbons and pamphlets.

“I’m an organ recipient, too,” he announced, beaming. “Two and a half years ago. Kidney and pancreas.”

It’s amazing the instant connection that springs up the minute two organ recipients meet. We’re all siblings under the skin. He told me his story. I shared mine. All in the space of two minutes. He’s doing well, two and a half years after his transplant. Me, the old-timer, at more than 16 years, I’m doing fine, too.

What we share is the genuine thrill it is to wake up feeling good every morning and for us, feeling good is simply waking up. That’s all it takes. Because we’ve known days of uncertainty and in my case, endless nausea, when waking up wasn’t a given.

This changes your perspective on life forever. You never forget that feeling.

Glen was handing out all kinds of information about the Trillium Gift of Life Network. He was also selling pretty little orange butterfly pins for $3 each. I’ve always loved butterflies because they’re such exquisite and fragile creatures. What they symbolize is freedom and transformation. I bought two. One for Glorianne. Another for me.

TURN YOURSELF INTO A BUTTERFLY

That’s exactly what the gift of life can mean for an organ transplant recipient and the donor, too. Glorianne and I have a bond unlike any other in my life. It’s miraculous. One day, I’ll post about our unique and profound intimacy and trust.

Today, more and more people are becoming Living Donors of part of their livers, lungs, small bowels, pancreas and as well as one of their kidneys.

Before I sign off – and I could write a book about this and maybe I will one day – please consider Registering Your Consent to save lives. It’s so easy. Just click here. You cannot imagine how exquisitely beautiful you’ll feel. It’s like emerging from a chrysalis and turning yourself into a butterfly.

It’s positively transformative.

Where have I been? Practising resilience…

In a whirlwind of chaos, that’s where. And missing you, big time. You’re on my mind all the time.

Talk about resilience. I’m working on that, too. (I have two posts in the works, but somehow life keeps getting in the way. This has been a week of constant distractions and interruptions. All of a sudden. Go figure.)

So, here is another postcard from me to you ~ between exams for my students today. I’m really on the run.

For the rest of the week, I’m finalizing marks. Please, never underestimate the work teachers do on their own time.

Plus there’s some curious interest in this blog and several bittersweet farewells at The Toronto Star. Must not cry over dried up milk, but carry on ~ that’s my attitude and that’s why you’re here with me. We’re the future! Right now…

I’ll have a lot more time for you next week!

So please, I hope you will be patient. Things will settle down. I’m not far away, just preoccupied and adjusting to a new blogging routine.

Also, training for the “Resilience Olympics.” So, away I go. :)

Off to my next exam at another campus.

Speak soon. Promise. These are slightly crazy days, but after all, at “Coming Out Crazy” that to be expected, right?

sln

Bulletin ~ Psycho-Babble…

Have a look at Virginia Heffernan’s “The Medium” column in today’s New York Times magazine titled PharmVille: Dr. Bob’s Web Site” ~ and thank you Susan of If You’re Going Through Hell Keep Going for your heads up. You’re on the ball, my friend.

Check out Psycho-Babble Medication by Dr. Bob ~ it’s friendly and very informative  – an online peer support discussion board with lots of tips and other helpful links if you’re taking psychoactive drugs. Tons of info. Cannot wait to explore.

I hadn’t gotten around to opening the paper this morning.

I’m late. Must run.

Hugs,

sln

“Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.” ~ Groucho Marx