Saturday, March 23, 2019

Be Happy for this Moment

Be happy for this moment.
This moment is your life.
 - Omar Khayyam

I have not done a free-flow random act of posting in a while.

So this is what I do. I just write and the only things I fix are major spelling mistakes but I really just keep on writing stopping as little as possible.

OK so I have been back to work on a very graduated 10-week transitional schedule and so far so good! 

Well….I think so. 

So far I have been doing mornings on some days and the last week I had two full days (and a few half days). But I felt good. I felt more in my zone this week. That felt good.

My direct boss is nice. I mean…she is young enough to be my daughter…but she is actually very much on point thus far. I give her props. I also give her props for understanding my limitations and letting me go at my own pace within reason. It has been super helpful and I expect to be back at full speed sometime soon!

Seeing my friends at the office is so great. My social world had been limited during my illness and I really did miss a few people who are still there.  Also met some really nice new peeps so I am not complaining. I have a really nice and hardworking team…which is amazing. 

Well enough about work…I will talk about my boys for a sec. 

My eldest Julian, has been accepted at a couple of colleges for their electrical programs. He had high enough grades for university, but he found something he really enjoyed and hopes to be an electrician and perhaps own his own business some day. I'm proud.

Noah is hunting for his first job. He has handed out his resume at a local baseball store. I'm really hoping he gets or - or at least something. This was all his idea and he said he wants to start saving money. Sounds like a good plan. I'm proud.

My teenagers are both kind, generous, helpful, smart, athletic, handsome boys. Not that I am biased or anything. But they are. They also can give off attitude like the best of them so don't get it twisted sister.

Drew continues to be my wonderful, difficult, sweet, stubborn, beautiful, non-stop boy. He is still only 8 and in case you don't know…8 year old boys tend to have a great deal of energy. So he keeps me on my toes and makes me melt and drives me crazy all at the same time. I'm proud.

Ahhh…motherhood. It's fun - and so much more - but I don't discuss my boys in great detail as often as before because (at least two of them) are older - teenagers - and don't necessarily want their lives discussed online all the time. I get that. Drew deserves a certain level of privacy as well.

So then…I digress.

What else? I don't know. I have generally had a good week for which I am grateful. Let's hope this trend continues.

And may your days be filled with sunshine.



Sunday, February 24, 2019

I Can't Remember What I Was Gonna Call This Blog Post

"She would grab whatever she could - a look, a whisper, a moan - that she could salvage from perishing, to preserve. But time is most unforgiving of fires, and she couldn't, in the end, save it all."
 - Khaled Hosseini, a Thousand Splendid Sons

So, my short-term memory kind of sucks.

So, my short-term memory kind of sucks.

(And I'm fucking hilarious).



Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Keep on Keeping On

"If you're going through hell, keep going."
 - Winston Churchill

So I sit here alone…on my bed…sobbing.

But this is just a rough day.

I tell myself again that I've got this. I can do this.

I am doing this.

The thing is…it doesn't just go away. This anxiety…this feeling like my heart is racing...that I can't catch my breath…that it is all too overwhelming…that I'm going to lose my lunch…it still pops up out of nowhere.

I am learning not to panic when this happens. It doesn't always work but I've become much better at it.

Being anxious about being anxious is probably one of my biggest challenges. When I start to feel anxiety coming on, I have to use my tools to calm down and get the snowball rolling in the right direction, as it were. If I don't…the feeling can get easily carried away and I usually feel much worse. Ya know…that whole self fulfilling prophesy deal.


So I'm trying to breathe. Slowly. Slow down. Everything is gonna be OK. You're gonna get through this. You're strong. You're a warrior. You're a survivor.

I'm a survivor (what), I'm not gon' give up (what)

I'm not gon' stop (what), I'm gon' work harder…


Sorry - I digress.

(Now I can't get that frickin' Destiny's Child song outta my head - but that is the least of my problems).

I remind myself that I have gotten through times like this a million times over with a 100% success rate.

In case you're like me and are not a math wizard…100% is a pretty damn good number.

I'm still here. I'm still breathing…I'm still wagon-training.

I have to keep on keeping on.

I'm fighting.

And I'm fighting mad.

But that's OK. It's OK that I feel mad sometimes. This is not easy shit. Trying not to let my anxiety get away from me takes one part focus, one part distraction and a little luck doesn't hurt.


I went back to work last week.

And a lot of people have been encouraging and supportive and want to know how it went.

Well…all in all, I'm happy. It felt so good to be back. I did have some anxiety about returning after two years away from the office, but I went in for three mornings and I felt good.

I felt ready.

I felt determined.

But this week…I came upon today…and today was a more difficult day.

I woke up really anxious. Something new? No.

Was it about work? Not really.

I often don't know what my triggers are.

But it continued - despite my best efforts.

I went to work. I kept it in. I focused on the job at hand. I did what I needed to do. I focused on my work and distracted myself with all that I need to re-learn to perform my job.

I got through my morning at the office without any spinning. I kept it together.

And that is something to be celebrated.

But I got in the car to leave and my stomach was turning.

Then I got home and ate a healthy lunch - a chicken salad - knowing that I needed to get something into my stomach besides the butterflies.

Just in time to lose it all.

Yeah…I got sick.

Now I'm writing a blog post to try and divert my energy and attention to something other than my anxiety.

And I'm slowly calming down.

Why am I writing about this? Well, I know I sort of sound like a broken record talking about my struggle…but that is part of it…the fact that it IS a struggle and that I DO feel like I'm on a merry-go-round sometimes.

Life isn't perfect and I'm no exception.

It is all part and parcel to my recovery. Because my condition is chronic…I am probably not going to just "get better".

I mean…better…yes!

But it probably won't ever be totally gone.

And I need to continue to embrace this fact because you can't do anything about things you don't acknowledge.

Day by day…sometimes hour by hour….sometimes minute by minute…I have to keep going.

And I get tired. I get so damn tired of the fight.

But I am determined.

I will continue and I will prevail.

One moment…sometimes even one second at a time.

I'll keep ya posted.



Sunday, February 03, 2019

Taking the Leap: Moving Forward with Chronic Illness

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly."
 - Buddha

Yeah, so it has been a while again. But I'm sorry…I've been focusing on other things. Like my heath.

And I am hanging in there.

As you know if you read my blog on a semi-regular basis - I have had struggles with my mental health for most of my life. I have suffered from chronic clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder for a very long time.

And I'm about to hit a big milestone.

I'm going back to work after almost 2 years away from the office!

Am I anxious about it? Well honestly yes. I am a little anxious about it.

But I (I am starting sentences with "but" but I say sue me)…but I just can't wait to get back to my routine. I'm doing a lot better and look forward to getting back to my job…to my work friends…to my life.

Does this mean I'm cured?

No, it doesn't.

I wish.

Does it mean I have had treatment and have fought my way to get to a point where I feel I am ready?

Yes it does.

But (there I go again!) here's the thing.

My illness is chronic.

It's not gone.

It is being managed.

Oh how I wish it was gone forever…but chronic depression and/or anxiety does not totally go away.

That's what chronic means. It is an ongoing struggle.

Like any other chronic illnesses, there are many tools but no magic cure.

And so I (start sentences with "and" - don't tell the grammar police!)…and so I move forward. I take my toolbox of tricks and I take a leap while managing my condition as best I can and with a fighting attitude.

To try and resist the fact that I do have a chronic condition is like resisting the truth - it often causes more problems and is a set up for failure. It can also manifest the self-fulfilling prophesy that focusing on something negative can bring.

This is the reality of my illness - this is my truth.

But as I have said before and as I will say again…my illness - no matter if it is chronic…does not and will not define me.

Making big steps in overcoming the depths of depression and/or anxiety takes a warrior spirit.

I'm not saying I am any more special than anyone else.

I am simply saying that I - like so many others - am brave.

I have been to hell and back. (Voluntarily) hospitalized four times in less than 2 years. Electro-convulsive therapy. Intensive, every-day, group therapy programs. Doctors and councillors and therapists and social workers. Other brave souls. Countless hours of personal work. Help from a strong support system I am so lucky to have.

It takes a village.

It takes blood.



Anyone who has suffered from a serious illness - chronic or not - knows how difficult the fight can be.

But I'm still here. I'm still fighting. I have been taking baby steps (two forward and one back in many cases) to improve my health.

Am I scared about this big step of returning to work?

Yeah…I'm a bit scared. But I enjoy my job and I love the people I work with.

I'm ready.

Do I still have a chronic illness? Yes I do.

But I am going to fight like hell to keep travelling forward and focussing on the NOW.

Now I am feeling better. Now I am feeling stronger. Now I am feeling braver.

It is not perfection. I will still be challenged by my illness.

But it won't stop me.

And for others who are also in my shoes - the same goes.

You may struggle - but you are not alone. You are stronger than you think. You are braver than you ever thought possible.

You are special. You are your own person. You are NOT your illness and you do not need to hide.

You're an amazing and awesome individual just as you are.

Yes you!

You, like me, are a warrior.



Friday, November 16, 2018

The Invisible Illness

"Pain is real. But so is hope."
 - Unknown

I really don't want this to become a "mental health" blog - and I know I have been talking about my battle with depression and anxiety a fair bit - but the struggle has been a part of my life for a long time and this is becoming a run-on sentence and sorry if you don't like it - if so there are many other blogs out there for you to enjoy.

So depression and anxiety are considered "invisible" illnesses because you can't see them outright. For example - one can't usually tell if I am feeling depressed or anxious simply by looking at me.

In fact, sometimes I use other aspects of my personality to try to counter act how I'm feeling.

For example, if I am feeling low, I may not come out and tell you - because who wants to hear depressing shit all day? I do have a sense of humour…and sometimes it is my saving grace to be honest.

Making other people smile and laugh is great medicine for my soul - and for my mood - so I try and make others - and hopefully myself - feel better with a funny quip, witty banter or a silly joke.

Now does that paint the picture of someone who is suffering?

No. It doesn't.

I know this all to well because I am very familiar with letting the tears flow in the bathroom or somewhere private.

And it feels very lonely.

To outwardly present oneself as fine when you really are not is sometimes self-preserving and sometimes it hurts like hell.

By self-preserving, I mean that sometimes forcing myself to look like I am fine actually makes me feel somewhat better - and so it goes.

But when you feel like you are crumbling inside…when everyone is laughing and you feel like crying…it's frustrating.

I'm sure people look at me sometimes and say,"How could she be depressed? She is smiling and laughing and having a good time".

Well…often I am. I am not feeling sick all of the time. I am learning to manage my illness and use the tools that work best for me. Being social and laughter are two biggies for me.

But…I'm a decent actress.

I mean...I know how to act the part. I know how to make others feel comfortable so that they don't have to see the real me.

The thing is…when I am feeling like myself - when my anxiety and depression are under control - I am a pretty happy, good-natured, goofy person who loves to laugh. So I'm not always acting.

It's hard when people don't know how you are feeling. Parenting is difficult - I want my illness to touch my three sons as little as possible.

And there are many other invisible illnesses.

All I ask is that people be sensitive to others and know that things are not always as sunny as they look. Sometimes people need support but feel they can't ask for it.

Don't be afraid to ask me how I'm feeling.

And don't forget to laugh at my bad jokes.

Because while my depression and anxiety are difficult, they do not define me - regardless of what I am saying here.

And laughter is my best medicine.

A goof-ball at heart



Friday, October 19, 2018

Of Babies and Pets

"With eye upraised his master's look to scan,
The joy, the solace, and the aid of man:
The rich man's guardian and the poor man's friend,
The only creature faithful to the end." 
- George Crabbe

A lot of people say that their pet is "like their child".

OK...fair enough.

If you don't have children of the human kind, I suppose if you have an animal "child" he or she IS your baby.

But at the risk of being criticized, let's get real here for a sec.

Being a "parent" to a dog or a cat or a hamster is quite different than being a parent to a human being.

And I have been both. Sort of.

I had pets before I became a mother.

I know that the love between a human being and their pet(s) is indeed, very real and very strong. To say that your pet is "like a member of the family" does not even say it.

They ARE a member of the family.

True love.

But it kinda bugs me when I hear people say that having a dog or a cat is like having a child.

I'm sorry, but it's not.

Can a pet compliment your family? Of COURSE it can! It complimented mine when I was living with my parents and we got our dog Toby (RIP).

Toby was a pure-bread, American Cocker Spaniel that my parents surprised my brother Matthew with on his 14th birthday. As Matt is eight years my junior, I was 22 when he arrived, but I was there at the breeders when "Matt picked him out".

I put that is quotations because if memory serves, I kinda picked him. Amongst the litter of tiny, little puppies, I saw little Toby and knew that the first puppy Matt held would be the I quickly handed him to my brother...and the rest, as they say, is history.

My bro Matthew with our beloved and much missed dog Toby.

Toby lived with my family long after I left the nest and started having human babies. My older sons grew to love Toby as well. He was a member of the family, after all.

But my boys...well...they are not dogs. Or cats. Or hamsters.

Raising children is nothing like raising a pet.

And raising a pet does is not a preparation course for raising a human child.

They are quite simply two different things; two different types of relationships.

I probably would have a pet if I lived alone. Probably a dog as opposed to a cat - simply because I am more of a "dog person".

They involve more work, yes, but that is just my preference.

And cats have caused me allergy issues in the past. (Thankfully my boyfriend's cat - while she sheds like a mo-fo - white hair on everything…and of course I am usually wearing something black - she is a good-natured feline…and very pretty to boot - even if a little needy. Her meows in the early morning? OK…that is like having a baby sometimes! But at least she doesn't make me sneeze.)

My pants usually look kinda like this after a visit to my bf's place.
You'd think I would have smartened up by now - but I refuse to give up my beloved black pants.

But I know she gives my bf a lot of joy and simple companionship. Like me and my three "human babies" - she is part of his family and I have grown rather fond of her.

Now don't get it twisted sister.

 I'm not here to preach about having kids versus having pets. Many people have both and if I had the time, money, space and lifestyle for a dog (that my boys keep telling me they want - a Golden Lab puppy if you please) - I could see myself getting one.

I love me a Lab puppy.
But how can you not?

But I'm a single mom and I'm busy and it's just not feasible for my family now.

But having a pet will not prepare you for having a baby. I'm sorry peeps.

Nothing prepares you for having a baby.

Even having a baby does not prepare you for having (another) baby!

And don't get me started on having baby number 3.

That is just for nutty people like me.

The other side of the coin I want to mention here is that having a pet(s) rather than children - whether my choice or otherwise - is a wonderful way to compliment a life. As I said, I would probably do it myself. Some people revel in having several pets and get tremendous joy from them - and I think that is awesome.

But it does not prepare you to have a baby.

It prepares you to give and receive love.

And isn't that what life is really all about?

(Wow. Cheesy blog post ending alert!)



Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Thank You

"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
 - Melody Beattie

A smile always helps as well

We just celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada a couple of weeks ago and this year I am especially thankful.

The last couple of years have been long and hard - and while I continue to fight - I have fought enough to come out the other side feeling much better than I have in a long while.

And instead of focusing on the rough road it has been - and the small battles I will have to fight along the way to remain mentally healthy - I am choosing to turn my attention to all of the many amazing and wonderful people and things in my life.

Gratitude is a great way to keep things on a positive note and give perspective.

There are always at least little things to be thankful for. Some days it will feel difficult to have an "attitude of gratitude" but it is always possible.

Even if it is for the ray of sun beaming through your window or the smile that the man on the train gave you on the way to work…there are aways things for which to be grateful.

Of course there are the biggies - like the people with whom you share love, your health, etc - but on a bad day, when things seem to be a never ending road of bad - just remember the little things that make life a little better.

And if all else fails, eat chocolate.

Works for me.