DJ Scratchley Q – Official Worth Living DJ

I am 23, from Ontario. I have been DJ’ing in Toronto and throughout Ontario since I was 18.

I joined Worth Living because I wanted to be able to share my mental health journey. I wanted to share to the public my struggle with mental illness and how I have found my life that is now worth living. I wanted to be able to raise awareness about mental health and end the stigma that is around mental illness. Knowing that I might help even just one person that may be struggling is a wonderful feeling.

I love being a Worth Living Ambassador because as the Official DJ for Worth Living, I get to bring people together with music and raise awareness at the same time. Music is something everyone can relate to. I’m a true believer that music can help people though the dark times and can be a major asset in the recovery process. Sometimes music can speak words and show emotions that we can’t always express on our own.

Being a member of the Worth Living Team is amazing. It’s great to know that there are other like- minded people that are willing to share their stories and support others. Together we all share a similar goal but we express and share our thoughts and emotions differently. Whether it be though music, writing for the blog, photos on social media, it’s a strong community that is growing each day.

Why not raise mental health awareness with some MUSIC! Check out  my Worth Living BPM Therapy Mixes Vol. 1, 2, and 3.

Go to http://Worth Living BPM Therapy Mixes

Worth Living Ambassador Lisa Anderson

My name is Lisa. Formerly a successful marketing manager for Fortune 50 corporations, I am now passionately dedicated to advocating for mental health awareness, chronic pain education, and suicide prevention

Sure, you could do flowers, candy, dinner – maybe even a little champagne and Victoria’s Secret. All great. But, if you really want to get romantic, try this out on the object of your desire.

Be fully and authentically present with them. It means I see you. I hear you.

At the end of the day, that’s what we all want. To be acknowledged. It’s an affirmation that we are here and that we matter.

The greatest gift that you can give is you. Your undivided attention. Eye contact. Active listening. Put the phone away. Forget your to-do list or the score of the game. You are 100% there, fully engaged.

Yep, that’s it. Mindful LOVING. It’s quite simple really, yet profound.

Today, the world is almost completely at odds with this behavior. Think back to the last time you were at a restaurant. How many people were mesmerized by their phone instead of their dining partner?  Is “quality time” spent in front of the TV? Even walking down the street, our focus is rarely on those around us. How many people do we look at each day without really seeing them?

Now, what if you expanded your intentional focus beyond your sweetheart? Perhaps a neighbor, a co-worker, or a perfect stranger? It may be a brief interaction at the market or the time that you spend at the family dinner table.

Teachers, parents, grandparents – consider your interaction with the children in your lives. With so many distractions, our minds are divided at best. Are we raising a mindful  generation? When our children mirror our actions, which they inevitably do, what does it look like?

Fewer than 24 hours left until valentines are exchanged and adoration is passionately expressed. In the spirit of devotion, extend yourself. YOU are a beautiful gift. Immerse yourself in the present moment with your beloved. Try it and see if that doesn’t melt your lover’s heart.

I see you. I hear you. You are worthy. Spread the love.

Please visit my facebook page – http://Power Not Pain

Worth Living Founder Keith Anderson

Whether it’s the angst of Eric Clapton’s Layla, the bluntness of ZZ Top’s Legs, or the joy of The Beatles’ Love Me Do, love and music have always gone together.

When I would meet a woman, one of my ‘get to know her’ questions was, “What kind of music do you like?” For many years, it was simply a question, one of many. Though some responses were certainly indicative of how short the relationship would be. That question carries more relevance for me now given the role music played in the dark days of my depression, and then in my recovery. I find now that lyrics have become very important when I am listening to music. Certain songs are not only enjoyable, but provide some significance for me, and can have the power to change the course of my day.

I met someone a woman few years ago – EM, as she prefers to be called. The afternoon after we met, we got together at a Halifax coffee shop. We found ourselves discussing many topics from my journey through depression to her studies at Dalhousie University. We talked for hours. Though healthy, I hadn’t spoken with a woman one on one with that sparkle for many years.  OK, 12 years!  Those years were spent getting healthy, learning how to re-enter the world. But onward I went, talking, laughing and getting to know her.

Though there were certainly differences between us but there was far more in common. I quickly discovered that one of her favourite artists is Van Morrison. Van ranks high on my list as well.  We both know Van is an acquired taste, and he is certainly not a Top 10 hit maker nowadays. So for EM to have been exposed to Van at all, let alone enjoy his music, spoke a lot about her.  So, I ventured back into the relationship world with music as one of my key reference points.

A few weeks later, I noticed a post  EM made on social media  listing albums that had impacted her.  The list, of course, included Van’s Astral Weeks, but then I noticed Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours was also listed. That album was huge when I was a teenager just starting to listen to music. I remember playing it the summer I was 16. I had just gotten my driver’s license and so cruising with Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow cranked up was too cool. Great memories! I was both pleased and impressed  with her   musical taste. It gave us more in common. It helped me appreciate and understand her better. It also made me feel comfortable in talking with her.  Given the time since my last relationship, I needed things in common. We shared something that was important to both of us.

I presented at a local university a few months after we met. I invited EM to join me and she readily accepted. As we drove the hour to the school, I suggested she find some music for us to enjoy. She chose Alt Nation – not a channel I would think to check out. The music was certainly different, but actually rather good. It was something new for me to experience musically. Well done, EM!

EM spent the following summer at home in Ontario and so we were apart. One summer day,  as I was driving the 5 hour trip from my hometown of Sydney to Halifax, EM and I texted most of the trip (yes, I pulled over each time to read and respond!).

About half way there, I thought it was time to hear some music. I turned on Classic Vinyl and Bob Segar’s You’ll Accompany Me was playing:

I’ll take my chances babe I’II risk it all
I’ll win your love or I’II take the fall
I’ve made my mind up girl it’s meant to be
Someday lady you’ll accomp’ny me

Someday lady you’ll accomp’ny me
Out where the rivers meet the sounding sea
I feel it in my soul, it’s meant to be
Oh someday lady you’ll accomp’ny me”

Music can define a moment and even a relationship.

A version of this post previously appeared on http://BringChange2Mind

Worth Living Ambassador Jessica Rodarte

Hi world! My name is Jessica Rodarte. I’m just a normal 24-year-old discovering my purpose in life. I am currently on the pursuit of happiness after being diagnosed with a mental illness earlier this year.  I’ve overcome many obstacles throughout this journey by turning my negative into a positive for others.

My life completely changed when I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety last year. Going to therapy, starting antidepressants, and learning how to live again became my main focus. I had to adapt to my new normal. It was hard the first couple of months, but eventually I adjusted. Therapy was helping tremendously, but finding the right medication for my body took some time. After trial and error with three different medications, I finally found one that worked (or so I thought).

I am currently experiencing a relapse with my depression and anxiety. It is very hard to understand. I have been on the same medication since mid-November and believed it was helping me with my recovery. Life was going great; everything was falling into place. I was finally taking back my life and showing my depression who’s boss. I did not think relapse was possible for me.

When I was first diagnosed, I was oblivious to all the symptoms I was experiencing. Loss of appetite, too much sleep/lack of sleep, irritability, social withdrawal, fatigue, and being in a daze were just some of my symptoms. Once I was aware of my mental state, it all made sense. Unfortunately, for the past few months I was again oblivious to what was happening to me. I was slowly going back into the deep, dark hole of depression I thought I had survived.
I have many emotions about my relapse. I feel stupid, embarrassed, and ashamed for not realizing my mental and physical health was once again declining. How could I not recognize the signs? I thought I had everything under control! So once again, here I am trying to understand why this is happening to me. I was on a great road to recovery, what happened? I guess deep down I knew something was wrong, but I just didn’t want to face it. I failed at my recovery.

So here I am back to square one. Do I change my medication again? Do I start going back to therapy every week? WHAT DO I DO? I honestly HATE being on medication, I just want to be done with it. I need medication to be “normal”, I need medication to sleep; it makes me feel pathetic. I don’t remember the last time I was able to sleep through the night on my own. When I sit back and realize how my life has changed over the past year, it amazes me. Will I ever be okay?

So here I am back in the crossroads of recovery. As hard as it is for me right now, I have to keep going. I have to keep fighting! I can’t let depression get the best of me again. I have worked too damn hard to give up. I came across this saying, “Healing is Not Linear” and it couldn’t be more true. Healing is unpredictable. I took 100 steps forward toward my recovery and now I am 50 steps back. I have to embrace the healing process. With this new understanding that healing is not linear, I am ready to take on round two of my battle with depression and anxiety.

You can follow my personal blog at http://Beeing Less

Worth Living Ambassador Harry Westall

I’m passionate about reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and also finding new and interesting ways to help those who suffer. I am currently studying music at degree level, with my main research area being the different ways music can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. I’m also in the process of releasing music that inspires and encourages sufferers, helping them feel less alone.

For my first post for Worth Living, I wanted to write  about my experiences of losing the passion, inspiration, and motivation for my dreams and my life in general. But also how I’m slowly clawing those things back.

From the age of ten years old, my sole goal in life was to become an international rock star. It kinda sounds funny when you say it aloud. But it’s the only thing I ever wanted. Through my high school (UK 11-16) and College years (UK 16-18), I was so driven towards my goal. I lived and breathed it, there was nothing more I desired from life than this.

Over the last year or so, I noticed my depression taking its toll on my life again. It’s always affected things since being 16, but I would usually manage to pull through and get back on track eventually. However, this last year, I would avoid music completely, because all of a sudden I presumed I would be a failure. I thought ‘it’s best off not trying and having the happy thoughts and try and be disappointed.’ I would turn to heavy amounts of alcohol and binge eat, sit in front of the television and do nothing all day. As well as treating my then partner in such poor ways hoping she’d one day just leave and eventually she did. I had lost my drive, because well, what was the point? My mind was telling me that I was never going to get what I wanted, that basically everything within me was wrong and useless, that I was a horrible person, that I don’t have the talent, and that I didn’t have a life worth living.

I was lost in numbness, with no direction, and I didn’t want to be here anymore. I’ve felt like this multiple times before, but this time, things just didn’t seem to shift.

Eventually, after I lost too much from my life, I began to really want to change. I realised how depression had ruined so much for me, how it consumed every part of my life, and I didn’t want that anymore. But it wasn’t easy to begin the change. In fact, every day of my life I have to at least try to push through those feelings of dread, numbness and pain, it’s exhausting. And some days, the depression wins. But you know what? That’s ok. It’s ok that your mental illness gets the better of you sometimes, or the majority of times. It’s completely normal. Something which helped me get out of the further feelings of self- loathing from ‘allowing’ my mental illness to win, was to just accept it. Accept the moment as it was. When you accept the moment as it is, you don’t meet it with resistance, and when you don’t meet it with resistance, further pain won’t come as easily.

Every day is an uphill battle, but for me, remembering to count the little achievements along the way makes a huge difference. No matter how small they are. They give you a sense of achievement, which helps you push through the day that little bit easier.

So that’s what I started to do and before I knew it, I was slowly back on the road again with my dreams. Although another niggling voice was inside my head, telling me that it was pointless to keep making music, because what’s your purpose? Why are you doing it? It’s just for your own selfish reasons, you’re so selfish. It stopped me in my tracks again.  I could feel myself sinking lower and lower, until one day when I had an idea. An idea to create inspiring, motivational music FOR people.  Music that people could listen to in their time of need, and feel uplifted. The drive to help others going through similar situations helped me hugely, it has inspired so much creativity and passion again that I once thought I’d lost. As of recent, things have been hard, I’m struggling. But when I remember the intention of why I began this project, it helps guide me through the darkness a little. My dreams of being an ‘international  rock star’ may have been humbled slightly, but a new dream for helping others has surfaced to re-ignite my flame and put me on the right path once again.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t worry if your passion for your dreams is gone because of your mental Illness. It will come back, maybe in a new and exciting form based on your current experiences. Accept where you are, celebrate everything, however small. This is not the end. You really do have a life worth living.

I would love it if you chatted to me over which ever social media you please! Let me know what you thought of the post, and keep up to date with the music that will soon be released!


Social Media Links:

Worth Living Ambassador Ruairi McEnroe

My name is Ruairi McEnroe, an ultra-runner from Ireland.

My mindfulness journey started in early 2015 after having watched my wife benefit from the practice. Anxiety had cropped up in my life and something needed to change. I started meditating using the Insight Timer app and joined the wonderful online community. I also wanted to understand my practice so I completed an eight week MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) class.

What I got out of it was that I have the necessary tools to stay in the present, whatever way I am feeling. I am more focused and see things a little clearer. When I am out having dinner, I am able to enjoy the meal fully instead of thinking where I need to be next or where I must go. Think of the possibilities here and how this could benefit your situation. I have completed some silent retreats and practice daily. It has helped me with running in a big way.

There are inevitable disappointments and it helped me realize that it is okay to have these emotions and sensations but if anyone can practice mindfulness in a few easy steps, there is no  better place to go or state to be achieved.

Find a quiet space and time to be by yourself. This only takes a few minutes.

Get into a comfortable position, close your eyes if you feel okay otherwise find a spot to focus on.

Observe what is going on, paying attention to what is happening in the body, without judgment.

The mind will wander, this is what minds do. When you notice this happen, just acknowledge and move on. Use your breath as an ‘anchor’, feel the rising and falling of the belly.

Instead of fighting them, invite them in. Say, ‘I am here’ and welcome what is there, good and bad.

Be kind to yourself, don’t be bothered if you get distracted by your thoughts, take a deep breath, following it through the nose and out the mouth. Notice when your mind has wandered to and bring it back by focusing on your breath.

That’s it! The important part is to keep doing this practice regularly, three times a day is effective.

Worth Living Ambassador Marissa Panè

As a teenager I was diagnosed with clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder and my life was almost cut short due to a crippling battle with anorexia nervosa. Since restoring my mental health, I made it my mission to help anyone and everyone avoid the suffering that accompanies mental illness.

When I began my journey of recovery in 2012, I had no idea what to expect. I was young, naive and believed anorexia was going to be the end of me because fully letting go of my mental demons seemed like way too difficult of a task.
There were family, friends, therapists and even strangers on the internet that believed recovery was possible for me. The only problem was, I needed to believe there was hope in recovery and I didn’t.

It seemed so scary. Give up what was giving me a sense of identity? No way!

Ultimately I made the correct choice and embarked on this new chapter of my life.

What I wish I knew then are these few things. It would have helped me to see that recovery was possible and worth taking the leap far sooner.

Recovery, in any sense, is a great achievement to unlock.

You can be recovering from a drug addiction, an alcohol addiction, an eating disorder, a suicide attempt or any other event that requires returning to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.

Recovery, as great as it is to reach, isn’t a linear path. It’s a lifelong event with relapse knocking on your door every day. No matter how hard it knocks on your door, don’t let the destructive behavior back into your life!

Your mind’s in full workout mode, doing an intense exercise circuit – all day, every day to keep your perceptions aligned with reality.

Your mental strength increases every moment you keep the door to your past shut. Recovery is based solely on your mental strength so as long as you keep the addictive demons at bay, you’ll have the power to stay in recovery forever.
Something I wish people told me prior to beginning my recovery from anorexia, was that I would be recovering for the rest of my life. You can be in recovery for 80+ years, but you’ll never be able to claim that you’re fully recovered.

No matter how much mental strength you gain, demons of your past are always waiting to spot a weak moment so they can barge into your life again.

As soon as you believe you’re fully recovered, no longer worrying about relapse or using daily recovery skills, you become a sitting duck. Relapse is waiting for that moment to pounce.

If you relate the idea that recovery is a mental workout, it makes it easier to adjust your lifestyle appropriately. If you were going to work out physically, you’d stay hydrated, eat healthier and probably aim to have a better night’s rest. Do the same for your mind!

As humans (sorry fellow robot readers) we’re mostly made up of water – so keep water flowing and help your body replenish what it uses. That same idea applies to what you’re eating. Fruits and vegetables are mostly made up of water too, so be sure to include those in your diet.

The more you help yourself in an external sense, the more your body will reciprocate and help you in an internal sense.
I notice the effects of diet and water consumption in my life, only when I neglect my body of what it needs. If I’m eating pizza, chips and beer all week, I start to notice my depression cycling in and I usually feel a HUGE force of eating disordered thoughts swarming in too. It’s an instant note to self to give my body what it wants by cutting back the junk.

No one cares about your past and if they do, they’re not worth your time in the present.

Before I entered the recovery stage of my eating disorder, I was constantly plagued by the idea that ‘all my hard work would be erased’. As in, all the weight I had painstakingly lost would’ve been wasted time because as soon as I’d begin recovery, I’d be forced to re-gain weight.

I was also plagued by what others would think. I was terrified by my own disillusions. I thought people would see me as a failure, someone who lost weight but couldn’t keep it off.

I thought I’d be seen as ordinary and boring as soon as I chose to give up anorexia. My eating disorder gave me a sense of identity in my disillusioned mind.

I was stuck in a ‘what if’ mindset for far too long. I denied my own health because of my personal conversations with delusional thoughts.

Once beginning to recover from my eating disorder, I noticed that nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. The world didn’t end, the sidewalk didn’t split into two, and no one seemed to care or notice my return to health.

Here’s the thing, people are so wrapped up in their own minds and their own ‘what if’ problems, they have no time to care about anyone other than themselves.

That means you’re in the clear! No one cares about what you’ve done in the past, no one cares what you’re doing now and no one cares what you’ll do in the future. As long as your plans don’t personally affect them, you’re free to put on a purple unicorn suit and do the cha-cha. (Or whatever else you may have had in mind!).

On the off-chance that someone IS paying attention and caring enough about what you’re doing that they take the time out of their day to comment on it, they have unresolved issues of their own. When we negatively project onto others, we’re showcasing our inner struggles.

When someone talks negatively about another person, it’s because they are seeing the negative aspects of themselves in that other person. As opposed to fixing the problem within oneself, they criticize others who exhibit the behavior they dislike in their own life.

Stay in tune with your own mind and you’ll start to see you exhibit this behavior too.

Recovery marks the start of a new life. This new reality makes your dreams and desires seem so close but your constant anxiety is holding you back, making everything seem unobtainable.

Talk about a buzzkill.

A life in recovery is rooted with hope and personal growth. It provides you with a sense of protection, that you can do whatever you set your heart on. If you can conquer recovery, anything is possible!

Well, that’s until your anxiety starts to kick in. Depending on your skills to combat anxiety, the uneasiness and the fear may try to take you backwards in life. I’m not talking about your anxiety leading you away from recovery, but instead, your dreams.

I noticed this happen within myself! When I had a strong handle on recovery from anorexia, I directed my passion towards helping others. I dreamt of owning my own company. I wanted to help others who struggled with body dysmorphia to see how truly beautiful they are.

I began to work towards my dream, but the closer I became to obtaining the reality of it, the more my anxiety told me no.

My anxiety wanted me to stay where I was. I was doing great in recovery, resulting in my subconscious becoming terrified that if I were to progress into the stage of helping others, I would be free from my mental demons.

This was, as the book A Course In Miracles describes, my ego, screaming for me to choose fear over love.
Our ego can only exist in fear, as soon as we choose love, we deny the voice of our ego which destroys its existence. The ego’s only purpose is to convince us that love isn’t real so it can destroy us. The ego produces all of our fearful thoughts. According to The Course, “It is your thoughts alone that cause you pain”. Once we distance ourselves from love based thoughts, our ego thrives and pushes fear into our path.

If you are unfamiliar with A Course in Miracles, this may be super overwhelming and confusing. Don’t worry! I will be using the information in The Course as a guide in much of my future writing so please hang in there.

To recap: I was able to choose love over fear. During my quest for a life based in love and recovery, SPIES  ( Support People in Every Situation ) was created  It’s not exactly what I had in mind five years ago, in fact, it’s so much greater!

When you choose love, you’re allowing the universe, a God if you will, to lead the way.

The universe has a plan much bigger and more complex than what we can understand. By surrendering, believing, and allowing the universe to take control of your life, amazing things can and will happen.

In my case, it led to the creation of SPIES. On my own I would never have dreamt of an idea this magical, but here I am living a wonderful life with the universe guiding me forward.

I hope this post served you well!

Please visit my website http://SPIESFitToFight