Hang in There

Everyone is fighting a battle. Some have a tougher battle than others. But the good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not a train. With time, anti-depressants, cognitive therapy, support of family and friends, there is hope.

As a matter of fact, according to the National Association of Mental Illness, 1 in 5 North Americans suffer from depression. The numbers are substantial, however, the good news is that anti-depressants are effective 85% of the time. Approximately 60% of people respond favorably to them within a 2 month period.

It’s hard to have patience but it is a neccesity to heal. I ran a support group for 10 years and experienced a lot of positive outcomes. However, there were some sad stories as well. One member of our group hanged himself in his garage. Another called me and said he had a knife in his hand and was going to stab himself. I kept him on the phone until I got to his house and took the knife.

The reason I share my stories of depression is in the hopes of helping others. There is nothing to be afraid of. We have to fight the stigma and the more we talk about this phenomen, the better off the world will be. The other ohphenomenon that converns me is homelessness. The vast majority of homeless people suffer from mental illness. The next time you see a homeless person, stop, look them in the eyes and treat them like an equal. I give every homeless person I see a $20 bill. Some people say they will use it to buy drugs or alcohol. Not my concern. Give to give and never judge.

Customer Service Stories

The Best of the Best

1. Godaddy – their telephone customer service is stellar. I have been a Godaddy customer for years and anytime I call, they solve my problem. And they have a pleasant disposition.

2. Walmart – anytime you return an item in Walmart, there is never a problem. Look below.

3.Telus – my Apple phone had the grey screen of death where the screen bleeds grey and is unusable. I contacted Apple (they are in my worst customer service stories) and they were of no help despite manufacturing the product. I called Telus and asked for the President who passed me tona VP. The next morning, I received by courier a brand new phone at no charge. Now that’s cutomer service.

The Worst of the worst.

1. National Bank – the story is too long to recount but the essence is not to complain if you have a problem, just keep quiet and accept the incompetence which runs rampant.

2. Apple – they will play games in order to outlast you. They refused to accept responsibility for a phone that they made. And when you travel up the ladder to Tim Cook you will be blocked by Brandi Garcia who is the worst cutomer service person in North America.

3. Hotwire – be sure not to have a car breakdown when you book a Horwire hotel. They don’t care. They continue to talk about policy. By the way, policy is what ruins customer service.

Stories from Ogunquit

My recent trip to Ogunquit was absolutely phenomenal. I have visited Ogunquit every year for the past 25 years. I love the ocean, the people, the lobster, the great restaurants and most of all, Marginal Way and Perkins Cove.

Imagine watching the sun rise over the Atlantic, with only sand and water between you and the horizon: another day begins here in Ogunquit, Maine. The Dunes on the Waterfront is just across the tidal river from Ogunquit Beach on twelve quiet, secluded acres selected by our founders in the 1930s. You’ll notice that most of our land is undeveloped, so our Ogunquit cottages and hotel-style guest rooms can be spaced comfortably apart. Spectacular ocean views can be taken in from practically anywhere.

My trip started at the Dunes on the Waterfront where the people are friendly including Katie Keene, the GM, whose hospitality is stellar. I had the pleasure of meeting Seth Zimmerman and was fascinated by his stories of working with the Rolling Stones along with Jimmy Miller, a record producer and musician.

The cottages are spectacular and are great for families. Ogunquit means beautiful place by the sea. Ogunquit is a town on Maine’s southern coast. Ogunquit Beach, a long, sandy peninsula with grassy dunes, lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ogunquit River. Nearby, Marginal Way is a cliff walk with coastal views, benches and a lighthouse. Musicals are staged at the Ogunquit Playhouse summer theater. The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is known for its waterside sculptures and works by Maine-related artists.

In terms of restaurants, every trip starts with Barnacle Billy’s. The food is excellent and the view is stellar. My lobster sautee was delicious and the chef did all the heavy lifting. You should dine outside in order to enjoy the view.

In terms of shopping, Ogunquit is sprinkled with lovely shops. My favorite was Celtic on Main due to my Irish background with all 4 grandparents born in Ireland. The owners, Lisa and Percy and Theresa, were wonderful in helping me buy a claddagh ring. The Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring which represents love, loyalty, and friendship (the hands represent friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown represents loyalty).

The next store that you have to check out is Mim on a Whim. The owner, Mim Karlin greets you at the door and welcomes you to shop her wares. The shop is whimsical and has a variety of unique items including mugs with comical sayings.

And finally a store with a wonderful vibration, Art and Soul Gallery owned by Whitney. The shop is unique and I found a framed quote of my favorite saying, ” Everything is going to be all right ”

Now not every trip is perfect. For example, I walk into 2 banks and ask for my Canadian currency to be converted to American. Both ask me if I have an account with their respective bank. If I did, I wouldn’t be asking for American money. The answer was no account, no exchange. Where else should I expect to get this done?

And avoid the Van Ward Art Gallery. The owner is very suspicious and asked if I was there to sell him something. I said no, I was going to blog about your art gallery but now I will suggest you avoid it. Bad vibration.

Other places to avoid are The Crooked Pine Restaurant where I was yelled at for parking in their parking lot.

Avoid at all costs. Another restaurant to avoid is Food for Thought. I pulled into the restaurant parking lot and several of the spaces were blocked with orange cones. So some kid comes out and says I can’t park there since they are reserved. Reserved for who? Apparently for the patrons of the Air B N B. But there’s a parking lot 1/2 mile down the street. So if you want to walk to dinner, it’s the perfect place. Otherwise it’s to be avoided. Another bad vibration.

Finally why would you go to the beach and look at your cell phone?

Enjoy Ogunquit.

We live in an ocean of motion

As I sat admiring the ocean and the sunrise, I came to the realization that this is the essence of life. The ocean is always in motion and so is the human race. But the ocean has a calmness about it that brings inner peace. E.E. Cummings once said ” for whatever we lose, its ourselves we always find in the sea.

Of course there is that song by America ” the ocean is a desert with its life underground and the perfect disguise up above ” from A Horse with No Name. There is a tranquility that emanates from the ocean that you cannot feel from anywhere else on this universe.

By the Sea by Emily Dickinson

I started early, took my dog,
And visited the sea;
The mermaids in the basement
Came out to look at me.

And frigates in the upper floor
Extended hempen hands,
Presuming me to be a mouse
Aground, upon the sands.

But no man moved me till the tide
Went past my simple shoe,
And past my apron and my belt,
And past my bodice too,

And made as he would eat me up
As wholly as a dew
Upon a dandelion’s sleeve –
And then I started too.

And he – he followed close behind;
I felt his silver heel
Upon my ankle, – then my shoes
Would overflow with pearl.

Until we met the solid town,
No man he seemed to know;
And bowing with a mighty look

At me the sea withdrew.

One final thought. There is an organization called 4 ocean and their mission is ocean conservancy. They want to end the ocean plastic crisis which is endangering the lives of all all animals in the ocean. Each uniquely-colored bracelet represents an animal or ecosystem threatened by ocean plastic pollution and helps raise awareness to support and protect them.

Check them out at http://www.4ocean.com

The Law of Vibration

The Law of Vibration was taught to me by Bob Proctor. He is an American author, motivational speaker and success coach. I had the privilege of of seeing him on stage about 25 years ago in Toronto.

His teachings are simple. The law of vibration is one of the basic laws of the universe. It decrees that everything moves, nothing rests and we live in an ocean of motion. If you really want to master the art of selling, vibration is essential. And yet all the sales training that are done worldwide have nothing about the law of vibration.

Robert Louis Stevenson said everyone’s selling; you’re selling an idea, product or service, and it’s true. The teacher is selling the student, the parents selling the child, the child selling the parent.

So what does selling mean? The professional salesperson understands that selling is doing something for someone, not to someone. They will sit down and they will get to know the prospect. They will find out as much about the prospect as they can and they’ll have permission to ask the prospect questions in order to gather a lot of information. They will find out where the prospect wants to go and what they want to accomplish. They mentally get on the prospects frequency and help them go to where they want to go.

I think we all know and understand this phenomenon. But the challenge is living it every day. But I have noticed recently that if I project a positive and energetic, it will flow back to me. Simple but true. Just try it. Spend the next day in a positive vibration and watch what happens.

Enjoy your day and check out my book which is available at http://www.amazon.ca



We all work hard and tend to run from one appointment to another luncheon to another charity event with ever really taking the time to relax and berate. Although I am not into meditation ot yoga, just the simple are of a cappucino on a beautiful sunny morning is just as good.

And of course the second part of peacefulness is a dog. Dogs will help you in the following areas

  1. Improve heart health
  2. Keep you physically fit
  3. Help you lose weight
  4. Improve your social life
  5. Reduce stress
  6. Add meaning and purpose to your life
  7. Stave off depression

Anxiety is your body talking to you and saying that something is wrong. But that’s not necessarily true. It could be that your body is in cognitive dissonance. In other words how you are living your life is not in tandem the way you want to be living your life.

Are you working 80 hours a week, making six figures plus; and hating it? You have 2 choices – continue to line your bank account and be miserable or shift paradigms and do something yiu love for less money.

I recently reduced my work week from 5 to 3 days per week in order to focus my energies on some new projects that I am passionate about. So far, so good.

And help others because there is nothing more important in life than this.

Good Customer Service Snippets

I thought that I would share some short stories on positive customer service.

First, TD Bank. The manager of the branch, Vanessa Cox, on St John’s road welcomed me when I had an issue with my credit card. She sat me down, explained exactly what happended and fixed the problem to my satisfaction. But the most important part was the fact that she was both energetic and enthusiastic in her willingness to help. Remember, customer service is an attitude, not a department.

I met with Jeff Quenneville of Raymond James in Hudson. They are affiliated with Quenneville Walsh Private Wealth Management. Not only am I welcomed with open arms, the meeting is with the whole family including Jeff’s wife Carole and son, Mark and partner Richard Walsh. They have my portfolio to review, update all my files, suggest a new strategy moving forward and they make it SIMPLE. And so far my returns are excellent. I used to work with another financial advisor, who shall remain nameless, and I never once heard from him.

This week I am broadcasting live from Trevi Pools. What an incredible experience. When you walk into their store on the Tcan just east of Sources you feel as if you’re walking into a tropical paradise. The sales team is friendly and they know their stuff. And you can buy a pool or spa today and only pay in 2021. What a tremendous opportunity. Drop in and say hi today from 4pm- 7pm or Saturday and Sunday

Warning – The Visa Desjardins Disaster

Stellar customer service is hard to come by. But bad customer service happens every day. Companies blame the economy for falling sales. But they should look within to find the answers.

Visa Desjardins is now rivaling the National Bank as the worst customer service provider in Canada.

I recently purchased furniture from the Brick which is a great store and has nothing to do with this story. I was sent a Visa Desjardins credit card and decided to use it temporarily as I was transitioning from the disaster that is the National Bank to the stellar TD bank.

The first problem was when I drove from Hudson to the casino and tried to take $500 out and it was declined. I drove back home and dropped in for a quick bite to eat; once again declined. So I called the bank and they increased my credit from 5k to 8k. So the next day I spent 2 hours shopping at the Brick to buy some additional furniture and it was declined again. I call back, by now I know the phone number by heart. I am received by Simon whose employee number is R47.

He says that he is from the security department and is freezing my card immediately. He says he has the right to do this and gives me huge attitude. Over the next 4 days, I call daily and am informed that a supervisor will contact me.

Finally, I call and ask for a supervisor who listens to my story and puts me on hold and comes back to inform me that they are not prepared to do anything.

I give up and hang up.

And live to fight another day.

The Story of My Depression

Depression and anxiety go together like birds of a feather. When I was first diagnosed with depression, my family doctor administered a Beck Test. The test is available online and is the best predictor of depression. There are no clinical tests that you can take to determine if you suffer. Actually, there are brain scans that will indicate the serotonin levels in your brain.

My doctor prescribed Paxil, an antidepressant. I also began seeing a therapist and these are the two most common steps taken when someone is diagnosed with depression.

Unfortunately the Paxil worked but it worked so well that it punched me into a hypomanic state. My psychologist, Dr. Lorrie Merriot called it ” medication induced mania “. Some people are manic depressive and others are simply depressed.


The percentage of the U.S. population over age 12 who took antidepressant medication in the past month, according to an analysis from the National Center for Health Statistics. Most antidepressants are used to treat depression, while some are prescribed for other conditions.1


The increase in the perecentage of people using antidepressants between 1999 and 2014. In 1999, 7.7 percent of the population took the medication.


The percentage of older adults (over age 60) who took antidepressants in the past month. Antidepressant use increases with age. These medications are used by 16.6 percent of people ages 40 to 59, 7.8 percent of those ages 20 to 39, and 3.4 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 19.

2 times

Women are twice as likely as men to take antidepressant medication (16.5 percent compared with 8.6 percent). Women are more likely than men to take antidepressants in every age group.

Mania is divided into three stages: hypomania, or stage I; acute mania, or stage II; and delirious mania (delirium), or stage III. This “staging” of a manic episode is very useful from a descriptive and differential diagnostic point of view.

How common is depression?

  • By age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness.
  • Schizophrenia affects 1% of the Canadian population.
  • Anxiety disorders affect 5% of the household population, causing mild to severe impairment.
  • Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16% among 25-44 year olds.
  • Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age.
  • The mortality rate due to suicide among men is four times the rate among women.

  • Abnormally upbeat, jumpy or wired
  • Increased activity, energy or agitation
  • Exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence (euphoria)
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Unusual talkativeness
  • Racing thoughts
  • Distractibility
  • Poor decision-making — for example, going on buying sprees, taking sexual risks or making foolish investments

The 3 things that indicated that I was hypomanic were that I was in the home of an Australian couple in Florida talking about multimillion dollar investments when I had no money. Second, I bought a pair of Nike’s for $250 and when I left the store they got sculpted on the sidewalk, threw them out and bought another pair. And there was the $10, Amex bill that my father had to pay.

So the next step was Lithium which is a simple sea salt which is prescribed to cut out the highs and compliment the antidepressants. It worked and so oddly enough the Paxil lifted me and the Lithium brought me down. The combination proved to be successful and to this day, I continue to take both.

From time to time I cycle through depressive times, especially during the winter and manic times sporadically. But the balance is the key and for the most part, I am balanced.

When I got through my major depression when I was 40ish, my psychologist asked me what helped me get through. I said her, my MD, my parents and friends and the medication. But she said that I failed to mention the main reason; that is, me.