Acceptance and Forgiveness: Changing Perspectives
Mental Health has become so prevalent today. With our world as unpredictable as it is, it’s so great to know that there are truly smart people out there to help us navigate our fears, anxieties and worries. Tonight’s featured guest is a deeply admired and sought after expert in this area. Dr. Martin Katzman M.D. F.R.C.P (C) is a founding member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada, now known as Anxiety Canada. He has published numerous papers in the area of Anxiety, Mood, Pain and Attention Disorders and he is the Clinic Director and Psychiatrist of the S.T.A.R.T. Clinic. The list is long when speaking about the achievements of Dr. Martin Katzman.
Ellen met Dr. Katzman when his daughter, Jessica was in grade five and participated in Project Give Back. Jessica chose Anxiety Canada and explained to her classmates the difference between a worry, anxiety and a fear. She also brought in her father as a guest speaker. Now, 13 years later, Dr. Katzman was here to speak to all of us.
Dr Katzman began by explaining how daily actions drive uncertainty and stress. The more uncertain things are, the more anxiety there is. With social interactions and the pressure to live up to unrealistic standards, it’s no wonder so many suffer from some form of anxiety. People who suffer with anxiety disorders try to make uncertainty go away, by following habitual patterns or trying to be ‘perfect’. While we can decrease uncertainty by following rules or trying to be perfect, that’s just not realistic . It’s the cost of using these tools, that causes stress and anxiety.
So Dr. Katzman gave us some sage advice. He said that worry is the game people play to manage uncertainty, but since you can’t control everything, it doesn’t work. What works? Staying in the moment; Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga. Feel your body. You can’t change the past, but you can interact with the ‘NOW’. Some people require medication to help them focus on the now. But, you can learn behaviours to change anxiety or depression by using the right psychotherapeutic tools. You can focus on acceptance and forgiveness. Accept that you are in the moment and the control you have now, can help to reduce stress. Great advice that we can all put to use on a regular basis! Thank you, Dr. Katzman.
Next, we were treated to a performance by Skyler Wexler, a 16 year old mental health advocate, who uses her talents to help others. Skyler spoke about self acceptance and forgiving oneself. Then, she performed an original and truly personal song called, “Beautiful”. She closed out her set with a famous quote, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift, that’s why its called the present.”
Last season we met Ella Frankel Picov in one of our PGB CONNECTS Episodes. Ella had written a powerful poem on what it is like to live with anxieties and shared that poem with us. She spoke about ‘wonky’ thoughts that she began experiencing at age 8, at which point she opted to work with a therapist and start medication. Since then, Ella has been determined to break the stigma surrounding mental health. This young social entrepreneur has taken that passion and put it into action. Ella started her own initiative called, ‘Mental Runway’; a customized clothing brand for a cause. A portion of the proceeds goes to Sick Kids Mental Health. So far, this small business has raised and donated $1200! Ella shared that no matter how old you are, you can make a difference! Way to go Ella! We are certain that this is just the beginning for your altruistic journey and we can’t wait to see what you do going forward.
We ended the evening with Kindness Corner and final words from Lindsay at One2giveto. Similar to last year, they are continuing to crowdsource essential items and are seeking school supplies for remote learning. They are specifically focusing on one school in particular, Grenoble; a school within the Thorncliffe community. This community was hit hard with COVID cases and as a result, they have many students who remain remote learners. Students are learning on old and inefficient equipment. One2giveto is collecting gently used laptops for these students. They are also collecting toys, to use as prizes, which act as incentives to get these kids to get tested and help them to wear masks regularly.
Thank you to all our guests for helping us learn how to navigate our fears and anxieties and showing us how we can support each other. Tonight’s Episode helped us to realize just how lucky we are to have such professionals and inspiring young advocates to help guide us through these difficult and challenging times. We never know what someone is feeling on the inside, but now we have gained a little more insight.