Hello, welcome to cope with life (CWL), a website designed for helping introverts (and everyone else) learn how to cope with life obstacles.
You can read my manifesto here. I am here for peer support, to advocate and raise awareness on the social stigmas and contributing factors for some of the problems we face in society.
My name is Stephen Grose (I know, great name, huh) and you might know my online presence simply stephen on my personal blog where I talk about simplicity and minimalism.
I’m an introvert (INFJ) and proud of it.
I’m excited you’ve landed here and decided to explore. Let me tell you my story and how I can help you.
foundations in life
My grade 4 teacher wrote, “Does the sunny weather improve Stephen’s disposition?” , an odd remark for the 1970’s. Depression and winter blues, known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), were not talked about much. But what a great insight. If only the tools and resources had existed to address the problems.
Born, adopted and raised in Toronto to a Canadian father, a dentist, and British mother, a hospital administrator. The relationship with my parents was difficult, which led to an intervention from Children’s Aid by the time I was 13.
I had a difficult time coping with life obstacles, keeping friends, communicating and managing my emotions. I got into fights. I was bullied and never really felt like I fit into society.
I spent much of my time alone, ruminating in my thoughts.
Yet my life was full of plenty.
I lived in a safe neighbourhood.
I spent wonderful summers at the cottage.
Camp. Sports. Music. Crafts. Animals. Vacations.
Despite it all, I was an outcast; non-conformist, rebellious, anti-social and angry.
Yet I couldn’t grasp the necessary social skills to fit in and succeed.
Perhaps this stemmed from my adoption as a baby. Maybe my introverted and sensitive nature contributed to my problems.
People treated me differently and I was aware of this.
The result, I lashed out.
continued struggles in early adulthood
We didn’t have the Internet. You couldn’t find answers at your fingertip. Society treated problems differently. One didn’t talk about mental health and so you silently moved on, alone in your troubles.
I worked with animals in my 20’s and moved onto office, tech and writing support in my 30’s.
Now, almost 50, I’m a writer and advocate for social change.
Relationship after relationship had failed, including a marriage ending in divorce. One more child in a displaced family, my daughter. It was not pretty and it cost me my strength and hope.
I had to start over.
I have never stayed in one place for very long, always looking for an escape.
The grass must be greener somewhere else, I thought.
It wasn’t the grass. It was me. I needed to change things. But where do I start? Decisions came out of desperation. Finances and friendships suffered as I moved into a different direction from many of my peers.
the straw that broke the camel’s back
In 2005, the massive mergers and takeovers at the turn of the century paid their toll. I was laid off 5 times. I was disheartened and could take no more.
Poor relationships. Huge Debt. The constant effort of looking for work. Distance from my daughter living in England.
I finally had a total break down.
One morning I woke up in a basement apartment in Ottawa and sat in my chair. Suddenly, it was night.
Where had the day disappeared to?
It seemed like only a moment had passed.
I needed help.
Something had to change.
I moved home to my parents in Toronto, sought help and enrolled in a web design course. Than the global markets collapsed. That was the tip of the iceberg.
I continued my treatment and ended up on social disability for chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression.
I could no longer function. My health, mind and heart were broken.
Fast forward to 5+ years of treatment without medication, only therapy with a depression counselor. I looked deep into my past. The causes. The issues.
…and I changed.
I’m still changing, growing, learning, building character and looking for better solutions.
I went to a Vipassana 11 day silent meditation retreat, further embraced simplicity, positivity, and gratitude. I became (even more of) a minimalist and sought solutions for a better life. I lived off the grid without power for two summers to seek solitude.
Now, I advocate for social change, write, explore new cultures and continue to grow. I continue with a simple life.
The struggles continued but the outlook had become much brighter.
That’s enough about me. You’ll notice I’m very transparent. It’s important to share the reality. I am not ashamed. We all have life struggles.
does this sound familiar?
Maybe it’s a different combination of contributing factors for you, but it’s the same result.
Exhausted. Vulnerable. Depressed. Confused. Sad. Lonely. Angry. Low self esteem. Lack of confidence and focus.
Not knowing where to look for solutions. Grasping at straws and struggling to keep your head above water.
Sorry, for the cliches.
And that’s where YOU come in. You are looking for solutions.
I want to help you find your answers, so you can suffer less, even if it’s just a little bit less!
there is no magic pill
Your road may not be easy, but we can make it easier.
There’s no quick fix.
You have to want it and you will have to work at it, like anything else. You will have to change and grow.
It will take your awareness, willingness and determination to find a better path. But it can be done.
- I want you to have a more meaningful, prosperous and happy life
- I am here to help you find the right solutions for you
- I want to help you feel better every day and to struggle a little bit less
- I want to raise awareness and reduce the stigmas and social barriers
To learn more please visit the start here page so you can get started.
If you want to get started sign up for subscription only content with a mini guide coming soon.
If you are looking for a writer or want to help with awareness please visit my writer for hire page.