By Ellie Advice Columnist Wed., Jan. 9, 2019 Q: My younger brother has been suffering from depression for the past few years. Last year at Christmas time he was at an all-time low, talking about suicide. My family and I were able to get him some help with a doctor we know, and with the help of antidepressants he was doing well. A couple of months ago he was injured in a sports accident and hasn’t been able to work. He and his girlfriend moved into my parents’ house with us and there’s been a steady decline in his mental health — very withdrawn, sleeping a lot, short with us, low appetite, apathetic. We’re trying to make him feel good again by getting him out of the house to do something fun, but he keeps turning us down. My father recently made him come back to work, at his company. He was initially excited about this but when my father said he was starting right away, he became extremely upset as he didn’t have … [Read more...] about My brother is talking about suicide. How do we talk to him about it?: Ask Ellie
How do weddings go
By Zoe McKnight Special to the Star Fri., Oct. 19, 2018 Weddings are all about the spectacle and a promise of forever love. But actually getting there is something all married or otherwise committed couples wrestle with once the honeymoon is over. Decades of relationship research offers evidence-based insight, alongside all that homespun advice bestowed on newlyweds. You can debate that relationships are an art, not a science. But maybe love is best understood as a philosophy. Married couple and co-authors of the recent book Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts, Suzann Pileggi Pawelski and James O. Pawelski frame their work around Aristotle’s notion of the good life. The ancient Greek philosopher argued that the ideal friendship is based on virtue, a message that translates to marriage as well. In a successful marriage, both partners should strive to be considered “Aristotelian lovers” who see — … [Read more...] about How do you make love last?
By Ellie Advice Columnist Wed., Sept. 26, 2018 I’m a woman, 29, who is academically accomplished, financially secure and well-travelled. I’m told I’m attractive and I have a good close-knit, educated family. I finished high school and went to England alone to study at university at 17, when I had no experience with men. Immediately, I met a fellow student from a totally different background, culture and religion. I fell in love. By second year, we’d moved in together. We travelled, I visited his family, and he visited mine repeatedly over five years together. Article Continued Below The relationship was volatile because he cheated on me. I tried to leave him numerous times, but I couldn’t. When we graduated, as international students we each had to go back to our home countries. We promised each other that we’d get engaged and married in the next year or two. We visited each other often. On his … [Read more...] about How do people move on after a traumatic breakup?: Ask Ellie
By Rania Mirza Special to the Star Wed., June 20, 2018 The end of the school year is a special time. As a teacher at an elementary school, my colleagues and I are busy making our way through our lists of to dos to close off the year. With two weeks left, the laughter on the playground builds as our students dream of adventures to fill their summer days. The final countdown to summer vacation is on. Although there is excitement in the air, for some it can be scary. And sometimes, I think adults underestimate the pressures that children feel and how they internalize their emotions. Instead, we reduce their worries to insignificant complaining. “Grad is going to be fun mostly.” I work with our Grade 8 valedictorian helping him to edit his speech for the graduation ceremony. “Why mostly?” “My mom’s side of the family and my dad’s side of the family are going to come. They don’t get along. I just hope everything goes … [Read more...] about How do you help kids navigate the leap to high school?
By Heather Mallick Star Columnist Fri., March 9, 2018 Define normal. Justin Altmann, mayor of Whitchurch-Stouffville, 50 kilometres north of Toronto, thinks it’s normal to assemble a link chart — you know, the kind police use for crime scene investigations — of more than 30 local people, including staff, on his office washroom walls. OK, then. The photos, which include one of Toronto Star reporter Noor Javed, were connected by black lines and arrows along with Trumpish handwritten signs such as “You’re Hired” and “You’re Fired.” They’re called Crazy Walls and TV shows use them to explain a complicated plot to viewers without putting them to sleep. There are several kinds of Crazy Walls, as always-useful TVTropes.org explains. Altmann’s wall sounds a bit like the Room Full of Crazy in which a conspirer or a victim fills the entire room with images. Then there is the Stalker Shrine, all about … [Read more...] about How do you solve a problem like Justin Altmann?