Fearless, mixed media on Canson Canvas paper

A new style for me that I am trying out.

I basically took some canvas paper and did a quick sketch of the horses mouth and body and then just added tones and values. A new style for me that I am trying out. I basically just took some canvas paper and did a quick sketch of the horses mouth and body and then just added acrylic paint.

I’ve never had success with acrylic paint I just never liked it so I thought I would give it a try but I just couldn’t get the detail that I wanted so I ended up adding coloured pencil, pastel pencil and pastels to it so in other words it’s a mixed media.

Because of all the encouragement I thought from the other participants in the musical ride program I just decided I am an artist and I’m just going to have at it and just paint on the canvas.

I have to say that this is one painting that I actually love. I can’t say that about any of my other paintings are use me just do them and throw them on the side.

This one made me feel like a real artist and that I am much freer and looser which is what I’ve always wanted but with enough detail to make me happy.

I was in the army the last six months I couldn’t paint anything, I couldn’t finish anything really. I’m so glad that I had the courage to start up again but it’s because of encouragement from other veterans and soldiers like me.   They believed in me and they told me to keep at it even when I couldn’t see it and I didn’t see any point of painting.

it feels like a whole world opened up.



Keep painting no matter how you feel!

These are a series of paintings I did when I was depressed. Even picking up a crayon is hard! You tell yourself… What’s the use???? And all sorts of drowning thoughts.

But keep at it. Don’t you quit! It WILL come back. I promise.

via PressSync

The Treatment of an Injured Reservist 

This is an earlier painting I did depicting my treatment by my Chain of Command while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. It still applies today, nearly 2 years later.

My story: I was deliberately targeted by my supervisor while working as a full time Reservist in the CAF. He has PTSD and anger problems, which he directed at me. He would scream and pound his fist at me, and other threatening behaviour. Although I complained to my C of C, nothing was done other than he would apologize each time later, but the passive aggression got worst, ignoring me, leaving me out of information, preferential treatment to another of my equal rank, and slowly turning others against me. I felt very isolated and alone and constant fear of his explosive behaviour.

Finally, when  I went to the highest in the C of C, who assured me he would take care of it, this supervisor and his supervisor suddenly took me in a room and berated me with lies, threats and charges ( none formal) of insubordination and disrespect to my supervisor! He was so agitated and angry he couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t understand why they were so angry to me, I’ve never been anything but professional at work.

It felt like a verbal rape. I couldn’t feel my legs and my head was pounding. At the end, even though I insisted on a solution, they simply got up and left me sitting in that room. I went back to my desk, it was near the end of my day, I couldn’t even complete a thought, I felt dazed, so I sent an email to my supervisor telling him I had a migraine and was going home. I don’t even remember how I got home.

I went home and was a zombie. My legs wouldn’t stop tingling. I couldn’t sleep anyways ( I hadn’t slept in months)  and as it happened, a former officer I used to work for suddenly made a comment on one of my paintings. I hadn’t seen her in years, but I witnessed her being targeted by someone in her C of C and what she went through. I knew I could trust her. I sent her a desperate email asking to talk to her. She replied with her phone number and we talked til 1 am.

She told me to go to sick parade and tell them exactly what happened and my physical symptoms ( I had others,but the tingling wouldn’t go away). I really couldn’t think for myself and didn’t want to go, but it was like a zombie and just followed her advice. I did go, saw a nurse, she consulted a Medical Officer and they immediately pulled me out of my work and told me not to go back, not even for personal things.

And so it began. I was put on medications and cut off from everything I’d known for 13 years.

Through the next year I coped with a total breakdown and meds that kept me stable but zombie like.

And through that year I coped with my C of C accusing me of theft, constantly trying to contact me ( which caused the symptoms to return) and ending my current contract and position. In fact, they had switched my position with another to accomplish this. In other words, Fraud.

Through no fault of mine, my Reserve contract was ended maliciously. The Goon in my C of C harassed me to sign away my leave, but I was advised not to. He bullied me, but I wouldn’t sign. Although they promised Compensation, they purposely delayed the paperwork for 4 months where I received no pay. I couldn’t pay my mortgage.

I finally went to the DND Ombudsman. He really listened and within 3 days ( because of deliberate delays by my C of C) , I had my back pay reinstated. I had a $1000 penalty for non payment of my mortgage that I had to pay myself.

Finally, the Ombudsman intervened and even though the C of C tried more stall tactics, the Ombudsman and Primary Reserve List came through for me and Compensation was approved. I was exhausted and so mentally I’ll from all this.

I have been told, as a Reservist no longer with a contract, I have no rights to health or dental care other than something that occurred while I was on contract. Confused? Try living through a breakdown and dealing with this obscure concept.

Fast forward to yesterday. I have a medical appointment with the doctor. She only approves my anxiety pills, but she doesn’t approve meds for IBS which started in the military after another stressful incident. I am not going to beg for them.

I tell her my knee is really bothering me since I tried to work out more. In 2002 I snapped my Plantar Fascitis on my foot during a march and never got proper footwear for it through the years until about 4-5 years ago I started getting physio and proper inserts for my footwear and proper fitting shoes.

The doctor writes me a script for Physio and specifically puts on it that it is attributable to military service, just so they are clear, she says. She examines it, then sends me for X-rays. By then my knee is throbbing !

I take the paperwork to Physio. They refuse me, saying I must have a CF 98 on file or they won’t see me. I never needed that before.

You know what? The hell with them.

I’m a soldier, I don’t beg. I say fine, and leave. I left with my DIGNITY attached for once. I am no longer begging for anything. I’ve had to beg at Pharmacy, Dental ( for a filling that fell out that the military did) for everything. I’m not begging anymore. I will fix my damn knee myself and take painkillers. I don’t need them anymore, losing your pride isn’t worth it. No more.

For the first time I walked out of there feeling better. No healthcare, but I had my dignity!

This is the life of a full time Reservist who served faithfully for 14 years. I can no longer work full time, i now stammer and stutter, I’m exhausted mentally and physically and I’m a shell of the person I was. I live with nightmares and panic attacks.

WHY am I denied healthcare and dental while my Reg Force buddy, same as me, doesn’t worry about that, she has a toothache, she gets it fixed. Me, I can’t afford dental, so I take painkillers. And now I have to do my own physio!

It all comes down to money, the system chooses money over their own soldiers. It is not my fight anymore. I am not alone, this is repeated on all Reservists. Policy and culture need to be changed and I have no control over that, I have my own battles.

I would have given my life for my country. How stupid was I?



Update and good news

It Is really difficult to put into words all that has happened in the last couple of weeks. Let’s just say that the ombudsman kicks butt. Their staff accomplished more in one week then the unit and the IPSC pretended to do in the last three months. In fact all the stalling was nothing more than more bullying on the part of my unit. And they continued to get away with it.

It was obvious from the very beginning that the unit did everything they could to stall, and make things more difficult for me for the reporting of my injury. They gave me the wrong forms, they filled them out incorrectly, they didn’t send them to me, they did everything wrong. The IPSC was useless in all of this. They never stepped in, just made more excuses.

I’m ashamed that I ever worked for these people. In the middle of all of this, three months without any salary and about to lose my house, the IPSC had the nerve to send me an email telling me to come in to sign my PER. I sent them back an email telling them that I didn’t have enough gas to get it and they should be working on my file and the priority should be to get my compensation. I never heard back from them.

But I sure heard back from the ombudsman. He followed up on everything and he called everyone on my behalf and believe me they suddenly found my file and suddenly could get things done.

Another big surprise in all of this was the primary reserve list (PRL). They had a captain assigned to me and he got everything investigated. He met with me and my assisting officer and went through a checklist of items that should have been done a year ago. He told me that I should receive a cheque within a week if not a few days. I have to say that I didn’t really believe him because I’d heard this from my unit so many times. I didn’t really understand the purpose of the PRL, but I see now that they really stepped up and made everything happen.

Not only did I receive a cheque of backpay for three months, but I received it exactly as I wanted it. Some cash, some deposited in my bank account. I had actually missed over $2000 in house payments. And this included charges for nonpayment. I will be discussing this with the ombudsman to correct this.

Although the CO at my unit did not want to sign for my compensation, he had no choice he had to rely on the recommendation of the ombudsman and the commanding officer of the PRL who authorized it.

I know it sounds very smooth reading it here for the outcome, but in reality this involves multiple signatures from so many different people in so many different areas of the city and many phone calls to get doctors appointments and other things done very quickly so that my pay could be done quickly.

You should go into this with the idea that YOU are the priority for the entire base. I know is very difficult for us to believe that, but it is very necessary that you put forward that everything needs to be done now as if that your case is an emergency and needs to be dealt with at this moment.

I am exhausted mentally just doing all of this and trying to keep all of this straight. It was really my husband who took over and demanded everything. Because despite feeling better all of this is all too much for me all at once. I feel so bad for those military members who have to go through this on their own with no advocate on their behalf. It is so unfair how we are treated after our service to have to fight for compensation when everyone knows that we entered the Canadian forces perfectly healthy.

I didn’t serve overseas, but I sure supported those who did go. I supported it with overtime weekends working so hard doing more than was asked of me during OP TEMPO. And all it took was one insecure jealous person with a little bit of authority and convincing the rest of the chain of command , that’s all it took to take all of that away from me.

Bullying is so commonplace in the Canadian Armed Forces it is embarrassing. As long as the chain of command continues to tolerate the behavior and the excuses by the perpetrators it will continue. How can I go from having an excellent PER one month and then one month later suddenly I am a problem and insubordinate and need to be gotten rid of?

If this were an isolated case it would be sad. But it isn’t. I know so many other people that the Canadian forces loses every year because of intense bullying that is tolerated. It is evil and insidious and must stop now.

I hope someday that I can be proud to be a member of the Canadian forces, but for right now I am not. Unless something is done about this and I will do everything I can to try to stop it. For now I have to concentrate on getting better and not having to fight these ridiculous battles of compensation.

If you are being bullied in the Canadian forces please do not give up your rights. You have a right to a safe workplace. Even though your chain of command may support the other person, you still have a right to a safe environment. All I can say is if you know you are right please contact the DND Ombudsman.

The best compliment the ombudsman gave me is this: “I knew that everything your unit said didn’t add up and were all excuses. But everything you said made sense after I investigated it. I knew you were honest.”

I know it is hard to be honest in the beginning. In short term it may seem like the bullies are winning because they lie and they make up things for their advantage. But in the long run your character will show through and your honesty will be rewarded.

Did I do any painting during this? You bet! It was either that or go insane. Here is one I did one night when all of this was getting to be too much. I call it caring for Our own and is a representation of the people at my unit and how they treated me. And all the other ill and injured that they deal with every day. They are only pieces of meat that they fight over for their own advantage.


My Medical experience

There have been 3 separate reported suicides within the CF this week. This affects us all. My condolences to the families left behind.

It’s disturbing for me to see all the reports condemning the Canadian forces in the treatment of the ill and injured within the Canadian forces. I can only speak of my own experience.

When I finally told a trusted officer ( she is now my Assisting Officer) I followed her counsel to go to sick parade immediately. I did not want to, and imagined I would get no support. I did not realize that my thinking was so affected. Thank goodness I did, and I immediately received the help I needed. I have received tremendous support through this, and now I see how my thinking was so skewed at the time. I trusted no one and thoughts fired at me so fast I couldn’t grasp anything clearly.

If you are hesitating to get help, please talk to a trusted officer, even retired, who can help guide you. Think of yourself as a vision impaired person. Would you expect them to get across a strange city by themselves????!!! Of course not! You will not always be impaired, you just need a little help til you can cross that area yourself.