The creation of this SilverLiningFrog represents the fulfilment of a dream for me. Having had the privilege to be a Mental Health Blogger with Healthy Minds Canada for the last year, I have come to love being able to share my thoughts, ideas, and understanding related to mental illness from the perspective of someone with lived experience.
In my first post, I wanted to provide a little background regarding the origins of my site name. I have closely identified with the frog as my symbol for many years; my favourite Muppet is, of course, Kermit, and, over time, as people came to know my interest in frogs, the number of stuffed animals, pictures, and figures I received filled my home and office. But, over the years, I experienced my share of life challenges and the frog became more than just something to collect; it came to be my animal totem. The frog represents metamorphosis; it supports clarity and the ability to accept the changes that come with life transformations – the good and the bad. On my 46th birthday, I had a frog tattooed on my ankle (I have told my young adult sons that they, too, can get tattoos on their 46th birthdays) to remind me that life is all about growth and change.
The “silver lining” comes from my choice in seeing opportunity in the wake of most challenges. While my issues with depression and anxiety have been debilitating at various points in my life, living with mental illness has also allowed me to examine my life and my priorities and I believe I know myself better as a result. And, although I don’t believe that things happen for a reason – there are too many terrible things that happen for me to understand the world in this way – I do think you can create meaning and purpose from difficult situations. According to Sonja Lyubomirsky in The Myths of Happiness, the greatest adaptive strategy for traumatic situations involves dissecting and systematically analyzing painful times in order to better understand them, gain some meaning from them, and thereby, get past them.
I hope that through SilverLiningFrog I will be able to continue my life’s journey by sharing my passion for mental health education, advocacy, and stigma elimination. Thank you for those who choose to join me in the next stage of my adventure.