“ I – for Jan. 27, 2011

had someone ask me this week what my goals were for five years down the road. I gave it some careful thought and realized I probably did not have any goals past the next 24 hours.

“So it made me think. Is this really a bad thing? Why get caught up in the future when it is difficult to live in the moment? But I also got to thinking about how I could gain better control of my life so that I could focus on enjoying life, enjoying family and friends and grow as an individual in my own community – a community that includes many of the people I spend time with, work with and deal with on a regular basis,” posted by the Recovering Farmer at 6:50 p.m. on Dec. 3, 2010.

It is no secret in the farm community that Gerry Friesen has suffered from extreme stress that led to depression. He helped establish the Farmer to Farmer series, which is a combination of workshops and seminars reaching out to farmers and helping them deal with the many stresses in their life.

In June, Friesen decided to put his thoughts and feelings on paper, or actually online, by starting the blog Recovering Farmer.

“I felt that I needed to put myself out there,” said Friesen. “I thought it was a good way to connect with others and it was a way for me to pass on my experiences.”

Although Friesen does not have an exact count on the number of visitors to his blog, the reception has already been great. “The feedback has been incredible,” said Friesen. “Someone from Saskatchewan even emailed me and was like, ‘we follow you and like what you write.’”

Friesen knows first hand how the day-to-day worry and stress of farming can damage a person’s mental health and can lead to irritability, chain smoking, impatience with family and clients, and an ever-deepening feeling of being overwhelmed, all things that Friesen himself experienced.

Now he is getting his story out there, and not only through his blog. Last year he started the Farmer to Farmer program, which is a series of workshop seminars focused on helping farmers deal with their daily stress. Friesen’s farmer-to-farmer program will continue this year. To access Friesen’s blog go to, http://therecoveringfarmer.blogspot.com/.

This year’s seminars are taking place in March and April. Dates and locations have yet to be finalized.

All workshops/seminars are free. For more information or to register contact Gerry Friesen at (204) 725-6704 or [email protected]

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