Monday, March 22, 2010

The Healing Process (Part Two)

My list of things that have been assisting me in the healing process:
1. Books: I highly recommend "Broken Open," by Elizabeth Lesser. In this book Lesser bravely explores the "Phoenix Process," or positive life change that can emerge from very difficult life events. I also would recommend "I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What it Was," by Barbara Sher. In this less intimidating version of What Color is Your Parachute, Sher reveals how to "recapture long lost goals, overcome the blocks that inhibit your success, decide what you want to be, and live your dreams." It is the perfect book for anyone trying to make a fresh start in any area of their life and needs inspiration to do so. 

2. Intuitive Healer: Last May, my friend Kacey Goodman Siskind suggested I go see an intuitive healer named Tara Antler. She rents space out of Spynga, a yoga and cycling studio in Toronto run by Sari Nisker and Casey Soer. The session consists of a healing massage where she reads your energy and instills light and guidance in you. Every time I go to her I come out feeling like a million bucks, with restored faith and a great energy. 

3. Fish Oil and 5HTP: Before two weeks ago I was popping a mixture of atavan and chlonazapan in the same way one would devour a large layered butter popcorn at the movies. My panic and anxiety have been so out of control the past few months that those were my only saving graces. However, after a conversation with my wonderful naturopathic doctor, Dr. Regan Tessis, she suggested I try a mixture of fish oil and a supplement called 5HTP. Both help to combat anxiety and have dozens of other health benefits to them. I am proud to say I am now two weeks drug free of my anxiety meds, and am definitely noticing a change with these supplements. I do suggest you go and see a naturopath doctor before starting on any supplements, to make sure you get the right ones for your body. 

4. Exercise: I mean it's a no-brainer right? As Reese Witherspoon said in Legally Blonde "Exercise gives you endorphins-- endorphins make you happy and happy people just don't shoot their husbands...they just don't." Everyone has their own thing they like to do. Mine happens to be swimming and most recently yoga. I try to do both as much as possible, but here is a tip....if you are suffering from anxiety, do NOT do Hot yoga. I made this mistake when I went to a class with my good friend Elise. I ended up puking my guts out after. The two do not mix well, unless you are also looking for a get-skinny-quick regime. 

5. Talk to the Right People: In other words choose a few people that a) you feel comfortable talking to about whatever has happened and/or  b) people who have gone through what you are going through.  For the latter, these are the people that  understand. They can assure you everything will be okay and  share their own experiences and give advice. Let's face it, there's never the right thing to say and always the wrong thing. Since my Dad died, I have heard it all from...."It must be extra hard to be going through this when you don't even have a husband." to.....(freaking out) "OH MY GOD, I CAN'T EVEN IMAGINE IT HAPPENING TO ME.", yeah, so when you have come to the fork in your road, try and stick with people who can sort of keep it together and offer a stable shoulder to cry on.

6. The Russel Hill Chiropractic Clinic: When I hurt my lower back while skating, back during the Christmas Break, I was referred to Dr. Michelle Fagen, an old friend of mine who owns The Russel Hill Chiropractic Clinic.  I have always been skeptical about doing icky things like having my back cracked, but I can assure you that I have barely felt pain since my series of sessions with Michelle. I highly recommend her. After telling her about what has been going on in my life, she referred me to Lisa Quaning for accupuncture, who also works at the clinic. The few sessions I have had with Lisa have been very therapeutic and if you have a fear of needles, take note that you can barely feel them. Go see Michelle and Lisa. Run!  

7. Pets: Robert Bault once said "The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude." If you've been following along with my previous blogs, you will have learned I'm an animal lover. Dogs happen to be the pet of my choice, however, cats, snakes, birds, fish...whatever pets you may have, seek comfort from them during hard times. Sometimes they are all we need to get out of bed in the mornings.

8. Kids: No matter their age, they always know what to say because they are so in touch with their feelings. They name their emotion. If they are happy, they say they are happy. When they are sad, they say they are sad. Adults don't do this. Due to my job, I happen to know a lot of kids of all ages. Nothing touched me more than when the little girl I was tutoring on "Happy Town," Sophia Ewaniuk, didn't want me to drive home from St. Catherines one morning after we finished filming because I wasn't feeling well. She told me that "You need to listen to what your heart is telling you to do, and not your head." I ended up staying over in a hotel and going home later on that day because I didn't want her to worry. There is also the little boy who lives on my street, named Victor, that made me something at school because he knew I was "sad" when my Dad died. You can read that story here

9. LA: Everyone has their get-away of choice where they seek solace. Mine happens to be with my LA family. These are friends that I have accumulated over the years starting with one of my best friends Jonathan Bennett, who I met on the set of Mean Girls six years ago. LA has been a great escape for me over the past few years. Whether I am lounging by the pool at Sky Bar, managed by my beautiful friend Ali, spending a day in Venice with my talented friend Liz, tearing up the town with one of my favorite partners in crime Sarah, or begging the hottest Jewish guy I know, Jesse, to propose to me, I am guaranteed happiness whenever I am there. I highly recommend a vacation to help you de-stress from whatever you may be going through.

10. Time: Last but not least, as cliche as it may seem, "Time heals all wounds." These were the words of a friend that had emailed me when my Dad died. His own Dad had died when were were in High School, so I know those words of advice must ring true. It becomes a waiting game, this time thing, but I've learned now that as I'm waiting for it to pass the most important thing I can do is try and become stronger so that next time I'm knocked down, it will be a little easier for me to get up. Last night, as I got weepy when I bumped into my friend Leah at a play, she reminded me that "this too shall pass." They are words to cling to throughout this healing process and perhaps will continue to guide me in finding these silver linings, as well.

Please feel free to share your own thoughts or experiences in the comments section.

Love and Silver linings
 Andrea Dana


  1. Love your candid comments Andrea... thx for sharing! xoxox Stacey

  2. Hey Andrea, I love reading your blog. It is so refreshing. We really should see each other more (and not just at shivas). Call me anytime you feel like seeing someone who will consistently try(and fail) to say the right thing. (case and point, I was about to suggest we meet up for a hot yoga class!)

  3. Always an interesting read.
    I think i need to hear about this HOT yoga..not the first time its name has passed my ears in the last
    I'm very happy to hear you are finding some balance in health and emotion. Good for you..I have started a weekly workout each week with my sister as a start to a healthier more energetic summer.

    I am Appauled but not shocked that some people said those things to you..a prime example of the reason i keep the small group of friends i have and don't share to much with those who are emotionally retarted when it comes to sharing more personal stuff. I mean do they think at all? having a husband or children are extentions of who we are they don't define us or make us stronger or weaker or anything ridiculous..I am who i am before i am a wife, a mother..I was a friend before i was any of those things..I was me and that is absolutely okay. i would say the me before kids, before my husband, before a lot of things is the best part of me. But although i came into this world an individual..i was a daughter first. Just like you ...and I will to one day grieve the loss of my father and my mother so why anyone could be that insensitive ..well it always siezes to amaze me. However, i am no longer shocked by it. sending Big hugs to you from London as you continue your journey forward.

  4. Thanks everyone.....Tanya, I couldn't agree with you more. Well said!!