Wednesday, April 27, 2016


"I think we are living in selfish times. I'm the first one to say that I'm the most selfish. We live in the so-called "first world", and we may be first in a lot of things like technology, but we are behind in empathy." 
- Javier Bardem

Oh the ever-popular hashtag.


I use it all the time.

I use it to remind others that what they are complaining about is minuscule compared to what is happening to so many other people.

And I am sincere. I really am.

But I have to stop and remind myself that some of the things I find very challenging at the moment can certainly fall under this category.

Making lunches for three boys when I'm tired.

Going to the third hockey rink of the day when I already have a sore throat.

Finding that someone left a handful of kleenex in their pocket before I do a huge load of laundry and then have to pick little pieces of white facial tissue off of every piece of clothing I pull out of the dryer.

Seeing that it is snowing in April. Again.

I know we had a mild winter, but it's almost May people.

Oh boo fucking hoo…I know.

But I am reminded lately that while in the grand scheme of things these are, in fact, first world problems, to me…lately…they are difficult things to deal with.

This is what depression can do to someone.

And here I will interject that I'm sorry.

The Hugging Home is not a "depression blog". Far from it.

It is just what I am working through right now and so it's what I'm writing about. Eventually I hope to be back to other subjects - but I think some of what I am saying these days can resonate on some level with anyone.

But as I always do…I digress.

So back to the "first world problem" thing. I need to watch what I say. I need to be mindful that everyone has their own, personal daily struggles - as I do.

I mean, if I complain on, say, social media, that my son wet his bed yet again…and someone responds with "Ahhhhh…first world problems", I am generally the first to laugh it off and agree. Because it is true.

But at the same time I may be crying because I have not slept in three days.

The key, I know, is to adjust my reaction to such things - and trust me - I am working on it. But some days it is really hard.

I know. Boo fucking hoo.

There are wars going on. There are terrorist attacks happening left right and centre. There is global warming. There are people fighting terminal cancer and ALS and countless other horrible diseases.

There is Donald Trump.

Now this guy has the potential to be a big problem.
His hair? #firstworldproblem
Actually, I lie. It is also much more serious than that.

But to be serious…the above are massive problems. Tragic problems.

But I fight my own battles.

And so does everyone else.

It's OK to have a bad day. It's also OK to express that.

What we need to do is balance that all with perspective.

I have three healthy and beautiful boys. I own a house. I have amazing family and friends. I have a supportive partner. I live in a wonderful country. I have a job. I have food to eat. And I could go on.

Many people have these things. But many people have their struggles - be it with depression or just being overwhelmed by the pressures of daily life.

Life ain't always easy. And we need to realize that a gentle word or a kind gesture could make all the difference in someone's day.

Does this mean we should turn a blind eye to the bigger-picture issues of the world?

Of course not.

We need to examine the problems of the world that need work - pick the ones that are important to us - and then DO something about them. Do your part.


But in the meantime…let's simply be kind.

And I send this as a reminder to myself as well - because sometimes I get egocentric and in my own head with my own struggles so much that I  - often subconsciously - brush aside the struggles of others with the old #firstworldproblems reminder.

Now I have a sense of humour. If I ever complain that there is a baby crying in my first-class airplane flight to my 5-star resort in the Bahamas, please tell me to shut up.

But more commonly, we are all looking for a little validation that we are not alone. That parenthood, or single hood, or living in the hood, or being little red riding hood all have their shit-ball moments. It's OK to say "I'm overwhelmed!" - in search of someone to tell us that it's OK.

Life is beautiful. And life can suck.

And that IS life.

Let's all try to make it a little easier for each other by offering a friendly smile. A hug. A random act of kindness.

Because what we give…we will get back in spades.



Friday, April 22, 2016

The Dichotomy of "More"

"When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you."
 - Unknown

There is the wanting of more…and then there is the searching for more.

Is there a difference?

Does it matter?

Do you have any clue what in the name of Moses I am talking about?

Well…I've been thinking a lot about this of late.

Actually…I have been trying to separate these two meanings of "more" for a long time.

But I have a little…well…more…time on my hands these days and I have been looking…well…more…closely at the apparent chasm between the two.

Yeah. I know.

What the fuck are you talking about Lora?

I have always been a thinker. An over-thinker.

Sometimes it is has served me well. And…well…more…often than not…it hasn't.

One thing I know is that as for as long as I can remember, I have been on this seemingly elusive search for this "more".

And I think it is all in how you break it down.

Why do I hear a funky drum beat in my head now?

But I digress.

In my recent post Being Logical: It's Not So Easy For Me Apparently, I discussed my recent (and on-going) struggles with depression and anxiety and how I am often very hard on myself and often think I can and should be doing better - even though philosophically - I know I'm doing a pretty damn decent job in life given the hand I've been dealt (which at times has been challenging but at the same time is full of amazing blessings to be clear).

(And just so you know, I realize that was a run-on sentence. I just felt the sentence needed more.)

Because of this little monster in my brain that tells me that I can do more and be more and achieve more and la la la…there is absolutely NO WAY of attaining that "more" - because there is always more to attain.

That is, according to my little brain monster.

A lovely clay model of my brain monster.
You're welcome.

Then there is the other "more". This is the "more" that when I am in a good mind space, is a healthy thing - if kept in perspective.

It is the "more" that makes me the type of person who seeks to strive for personal growth. To challenge myself. To learn. To have new experiences. To set realistic and attainable goals and take action to reach them.

This is the healthy "more".

But there is a line - and that is where the dichotomy lies.

There is the constructive "more"…and then there is the "destructive" more.

Let's discuss this more, shall we?

For example, there is wanting to live a healthy lifestyle through eating the right foods and moving my body. This is constructive.

But then there is that little monster in my head that is rather unrealistic. I look at the chaos of media bullcrap that is thrown at us women constantly and my monster buys into that shit sometimes. This is where my wanting more becomes destructive.

"I want to look like her. And by "her" I mean Gisele Bundchen.

Yeah. Her.
The highest-paid model on the planet.
Because that's fucking realistic.

Now I know I will never look like Gisele or anything close to that…but I kinda obsess about it sometimes. A little too much.

And so I cut carbs and eat veggies and drink water and la la la. And ya know what? I've lost weight in the past. Several times. But even at a healthy weight…and I can generally accept a healthy weight…I'm still kinda thinking, "But oh that face! That hair!

Those perfectly perky boobies!"

I exaggerate a tad. But I just have trouble being comfortable in my own skin sometimes because there are always others who are skinnier, prettier, younger…not to mention photoshopter (Yes that is a word - I just made it up yo.)

Then there is the whole being the "Martha Stewart - Pinterest - bake from scratch - PTA - moms" who make it all look so easy while they make their homemade, organic, gluten-free, vegan cookies from scratch for the bake sale I didn't even realize was happening. And if I do…I buy the Pillsbury ready-made dough and "BAM!" - best damn cookies you ever tasted. (My secret? Add an entire extra package of chocolate chips. Trust.)

But yet again…I digress.

Striving for a healthy and constructive "more" is setting a goal to lose 20 lbs in 3 months with a balanced diet and a healthy amount of exercise.

It's putting plans into place and talking to the right people and networking to get to the next level of my career.

It's trying something a little out of my comfort zone that I have always kinda wanted to try.

It's reading about something I've want to learn more about…visiting places I've wanted to visit…trying foods I've always wanted to taste.

Expanding…not plateauing.

Growing and nurturing myself…not pushing myself back into the fucking ground.

Wanting more is a good thing as long as it is kept within the realms of reality and attainability.

Stretch goals are fine - but not all at once.

You wanna train for a marathon? Amazeballs! But start with a 5K. Then maybe a 10K. And…well…you get it.

Realistic. Constructive.

I think my thirst for personal growth is covered in awesomesauce. But it is a challenge for the person who gets more...and then still wants more.


Because when we realize we can't possibly be perfect we sometimes freeze.

We stop all together.

We give up. We feel like it's no use.

We get anxious and/or depressed.

If I can't be Michael Jordan I'm not gonna play basketball. If I can't look like a supermodel I'm gonna just wear track pants and eat ice cream and watch TV all day.

Again…I exaggerate to make my point - but that is the dichotomy of the search for more.

Constructive versus destructive.

I need to learn to look at the positives and not focus so much on the negatives.

I need to realize that there is always more to learn and experience - but that what I have NOW is enough to be happy about.

Strive…but don't constantly push.

Don't settle for less than you deserve…but have gratitude for the many blessings that you already have.

These are the things I'm working on.

And with each day of personal growth - I'm starting to get it.

More…and more.



Sunday, April 17, 2016

Anxious, Nightime Self-Talk

"Mario, what do you get when you cross an insomniac, an unwilling agnostic and a dyslexic?"
 "I give." 
"You get someone who stays up all night torturing himself mentally over the question of whether or not there's a dog."
 - David Foster Wallace

I know how difficult it is to struggle with depression and anxiety.

I also know it is very difficult to understand either one if you have not experienced them at a certain level.

So I thought I would give you a little taste of what my inner-voice sounds like when I am having a rough night.

I totally can't fall asleep. I'm never gonna fall asleep. Did I lock the front door? What time is it anyways? I'm so fucking tired but I can't relax. When will this stop? Oh shit…is there a PD day for the kids this week? Oh my God do I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow or is it the next day? I know I wrote it down but I can't remember where. What did I eat today? Did I have too many carbs? Did I drink enough water? Oh my God I didn't even shower today. Or yesterday. Or did I? That is so gross. I am so gross. I am fat and gross and ugly. I wish I looked like a Victoria's Secret model. Can you imagine what life would be like to be that beautiful and that rich? Oh fuck - when am I getting my next cheque? I have the mortgage coming out and my Roger's bill is overdue and oh shit I forgot to pay that energy bill that I meant to yesterday. Maybe I should get up now and do that. But I'm too tired. I'll do it tomorrow. I will totally do that tomorrow. And go for a walk. Why is it so hard to go for a fucking, God-damn walk for 30 minutes? I'll put on some tunes and walk around in the sun. Ya know I wish I understood iTunes better. My playlist needs updating and I have no fucking clue how to do that. I'm afraid I will lose what I already have on there from, like, 6 years ago when my ex-husband did it all for me. Shit I'm so stupid. How dumb does someone have to be not to know how to do that? It's like I'm 90 years old. One day I will be 90. Or maybe I will die sooner than that. Life is short. And here I am lying in bed talking to myself in my head and not sleeping because my brain will not fucking shut the hell up. Oh shit. Hockey. When are all the games and practices this weekend for the boys? How will I get through this logistically? I will have to contact some people to see if I can get back-up if I need it. I wish I could do it all alone. I wish I were able to juggle all of this. I wish I were a better mom. If I were a better mom I would already have this all figured out on some spreadsheet or something. And tomorrow I know one of the boys has a practice around dinner time. How the hell am I gonna get him there on time and feed everyone dinner? I'll get hot dogs. And a salad. Because with a salad it is kinda healthy. Hot dogs and salad. The dinner of fucking champions. I wish I had the energy to cook a meal from scratch each night. I wish I even had the energy to go grocery shopping. Do I even have hot dogs? I think maybe in the freezer but those probably expired in 2013. Man…mother of the fucking year right here people. But how can I cook gourmet meals if I can't even remember to comb my hair these days? My hair is falling out. I'm convinced I am gonna be bald in a few years. Shit I hate my hair. So flat and blah. Maybe that haircare line I saw on that infomercial would help. Maybe I should get that with the money I don't have. Oh how I wish I could afford a vacation right now. An all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean where I don't have to lift a finger. But how selfish would that be? I couldn't afford to take the kids. But going on my own - that's not what a good mom does. Plus the mere thought of packing just makes me tired. And yet I am still awake. I might as well get up and write a blog post. At least then I will be doing SOMETHING productive. Sort of. I mean - who reads my bullshit writing anyways besides my mom? Well I guess I have a fair number of hits for someone who has been AWOL for a few years for the most part. Why did I stop blogging for so long? How lazy am I? All I want to do Is sleep to make this go away and then I can't sleep. Until the day. And then I have to run around with the kids or go to work - if I'm working - or OH SHIT! My dad's birthday. I forgot to buy something for my Dad. Like…I have the best dad ever. How selfish is that?!? What a crap daughter I am! I will set my alarm and get up and spend 5 hours doing a drawing specifically for him. That is more personal than the Chapters gift card I was gonna get him anyways. And then I won't have to leave the house. I will just use a new frame already on my wall and replace that later when I can deal with it. What time is it now? Oh fuck, why did I even check? Now I'm even more stressed out and…oh what? Oh you had an accident and wet the bed little guy? FUCK MY LIFE! And of course I didn't do the laundry from the last time he wet the bed (last night) so now I have to wash him down, bring him into my bed and deal with the impending tantrum because I will have to remove his beloved Star Wars PJs and put on less cool sleeping attire. Please oh please let there be no pee on his bear. Please God. And so much for blogging now. I have a 5 year old with 2-sizes too small PJs on beside me sleeping and kicking me in my God-damn ribs. Oh that helps little buddy. Thanks. So now add a few loads of laundry to my list and FUCK. My older boys asked me to get their skates sharpened before their playoff games. But one of their hockey bags is at their dad's. Dammit. OK. Remember to get hockey bag tomorrow after school from dad's. Shit. I need, like, one calendar instead of 3 that I only use sporadically and 1,247 post-it notes stuck to every surface of my living space that it could probably become a pretty interesting modern art installation. Ya know what? I should paint more again. Where are my painting supplies? Probably in my garage which is a mess. I can't even cope with that thought. Ya know what else? I'm gonna take another sleeping pill. But then I will never get up in the morning which is pretty much almost now. And on that note, I really, really hope there is enough Nutella left so I can just give them that for breakfast because then there will be no complaining. Please Nutella Gods…let there be at least enough for the morning. Nuts are healthy, right? Then I will pick some up more and some fruit after I get the skates sharpened along with some hot dogs. But when am I going to do that? Screw this. And screw this blog post. My fingers are even tired. Oh man...I think I could actually fall aslee……ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. 

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. 

Oh shut the fucking fuck up! Where is that God-damn snooze button?!!?!?!!

Smiles (sarcasm font),


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Being Logical - It's Not So Easy For Me Apparently

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, 
the master calls a butterfly." 
- Richard Bach

Well here the hell I am again.

I don't know why I have had such writer's block for so long but dammit I love to write and I love to share and yes…I am giving this ANOTHER go.

And I'm only prefacing this post with this AGAIN because I know I have exclaimed "I'M BACK!" about 347 times of late…or not so of late if you will…but life happens and mine has been busy.

So here's the low down peeps.

Admittedly, I am very good at giving out all the great motivational pep talks and inspirational quotes and yadda, yadda yadda…but lately I have not been very good at following my own advise.

It's now April, 2016 and things have been busy - as I said - but off balance.

Depression and anxiety have reared their ugly heads again and here I am in one of the places that I often find solace - The Hugging Home.

So what am I gonna talk about today?

I'm gonna talk about how it's OK.

I know many of you out there are struggling too - and I want you to know you are not alone. I know I have written about this before on several occasions - but the conversation needs to continue.

The stigma of mental illness needs to stop.

"Mental illness".

Fuck I hate that term.

Why do I hate that term? Because of the stigma attached to it.

Many people hear it and visions of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" pop into their heads.

"Mental illness" as a term, has been very closely knit into the fabric of our language along with words such as "crazy" or "nuts"…and ya know what?

It's not true and it's not fair.

Now please don't get it twisted sister. I'm crazy. I'm a total nut-bar. But not in the "I'm going to grab a weapon of mass destruction and go postal at the local mall" kinda way.

I'm crazy as in "kooky. I'm a goof-ball. I have an off-side and very sarcastic sense of humour and it is one of the things that I really like about myself quite frankly.

Part of the problem is that "mental illness" is such a broad term. Do the rare people who go out and commit heinous murders suffer from mental illness?


But the majority of us who struggle with mental illness are not psychotic. We are not dangerous (although let me be clear that depression can be very dangerous in some cases. Suicide is an epidemic and it's main root cause? STIGMA!!!)

And this is why I share.

The majority of people who struggle with depression and anxiety are high-functioning, are often very bright and tend to be highly sensitive.



Sometimes to a fault.

And by that I mean that many people give and give and give and give and then suddenly realize that they have nothing left to give.


The well runs dry and then we feel as though we are dying of thirst.

Women are especially prone. (Not to say that men do not suffer. I know MANY men who struggle with depression and anxiety - as do you. And their struggles are just as real and as difficult as those of women. But being a woman - and a mother - and a single mother at that - I am sharing MY story. I simply don't want to discard or diminish the struggles of those who are not in a situation - or of a gender - that is not mine).

I am incredibly hard on myself. I take a lot of pride in being a good mother, a good employee, a good friend, a good partner to my boyfriend…and just a good person in general.

But the standards I set for myself in my head are often based on the chaos of what I see and hear beyond myself and what I do. Someone else is always "doing a better job" at any of these things. In my head, I am often telling myself that I am NOT a good enough mom…that I am NOT a good enough employee…that I am NOT a good enough…well…you get it.

My negative self-talk does not end there. I'm not skinny enough. I'm not pretty enough. I don't make enough money. My house is not tidy or clean or big enough. I could go on but I think this is enough to make my point. (Or is it enough?)


Clearly…the main message in my head is that I'm just not good enough. And no matter how "good enough" I actually am (because I philosophically know that I am)…my brain distorts this truth and it makes me anxious because no matter what I do, I can always do BETTER.



Now there's a fucking word and a half.

I'm a Virgo so this is classic. But I was that student in school who would get 98% on a test and instead of being proud, I would stew about the 2% that I screwed up on.

And just as yet another aside - I want to be clear that I put this pressure on myself. Some people become this way because they are endlessly criticized by others - like their parents for example - to be perfect.

I was - and am - lucky that I am not that person. I was encouraged by my parents to try my best and work hard - like any responsible parents do - but even they would have to remind me to put things into perspective.

They still do.

So I've gotten to the point - again - to where I've run myself into the ground by not giving enough care to MYSELF.

And it's time to make a shift.

I have not yet totally figured this out. Far from it. But I know I need to be as kind to myself as I try to be to others. I need to give myself a break.

I need to take time to feed my soul.

Mind, body and spirit.

So this is a start. Writing feeds my soul. Being creative is like water to me - I NEED it. I also love to perform and have not done that in many, many years (unless you count drunk karaoke in which case…well…never mind.)…and so I am looking into finding an outlet for that again.

I am still learning to find the peace and joy in being alone.

And by alone, I don't mean not having close relationships - because I have lots of those. But I need to be more at ease with enjoying solitude when my boys are with their dad and when I am not with my boyfriend and when I am not with friends.

I lived so long trying to be the perfect mom and (former) wife and employee that I slowly but surely lost myself along the way. I sacrificed my own needs and happiness to try and please everyone else.

And that is what I need to change.


I have made some progress over the years and for that I am proud of myself (when I am thinking logically - which is not so easy for me apparently).

I left an unhappy marriage despite having three beautiful sons (who their dad and I are co-parenting quite successfully - when I am thinking of it logically - which is not so easy for me apparently).

I have taken steps to move my career back up to a level where I can feel challenged and stimulated (so far this is a work in progress - but I know I will get there - when I am thinking logically - which is not so easy for me apparently).

A few years ago when I was going through a similar bout of depression and anxiety - I finally took hold of my health after getting pneumonia and finding out my body was physically wearing out. So I changed the way I was eating and treating my body by taking the time to take better physical care of myself - and it helped me tremendously. And again…I know I can do that again - when I am thinking logically - which is not so easy for me apparently.)

I'm a critical, decisive and logical thinker in the workplace - but personally - well…apparently not so easy.

I think I've made my point. (Oh but have I made it well enough??)

And I bet if you are suffering from depression and/or anxiety you are hard on yourself too.

Way too hard.

I remember when I went through depression and anxiety as an adult for the first time. I never thought I would get through it. I was never suicidal (thank God) - but I was a mess. But I DID get through it.


And because of my past experiences I know I will prevail once again. I just need to work on how my brain processes and reacts to situations. I need a re-boot. A cleanse.

I need to shed my skin like a snake.

So please.


If you are one of the millions of people struggling with depression and/or anxiety in silence - please see you doctor. Reach out to a friend.

You are not a burden. You are a human being.

You're worth it.

And when I'm thinking logically - which is not so easy for me apparently - I know I am too.