Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Dad is the Best

"I am not ashamed to say that no man I ever met was my father's equal, and I never loved any other man as much.
 - Hedy Lamarr

My Dad

My dad - Robert "Bob" Breakey -  is one of the most lovable people on the planet.

He is kind, thoughtful, supportive and generous. I guess it makes sense that since my mom is so great - so is my dad.

I really lucked out.

I can talk to my dad about anything and I get his emotional support. Now, part of this has to do with his years of being a Guidance councillor as well as a distress centre hotline volunteer for many years - but he knows how to listen and how to respond.

I feel totally safe with him which helps me immensely.

Me and my dad painting my first rental house at University.

My dad also has this gift. He is funny without even trying to be funny. He has always had this quality and it has made me wish I had written down every funny thing my dad has said and written a book.

My dad has provided me with so many belly laughs I can't even tell you.

He is just a "say it like it is" kind of guy and sometimes he is just so hilarious. He has no airs about him.  He just is who he is - and because he is such a good guy…well…it is hard to explain but he is just one of the funniest people I know.

He was always there in my childhood - ready to read funny stories or have fun outside.

My Dad with my brother Paul and me.

He is giving. Right now, he is driving all the way from Toronto, before rush hour, in order to take my three boys to school because my mom is so busy taking care of the boys and me after my leg accident. He is the ultimate Tim Horton's gifter - and is a wonderful "Papa" to my children. They love him to death.

Two of my boys a while back with their "Papa".

He's an awesome BBQer. He vacuums and dusts and cleans. One of the most common things he says is "I don't mind" - and he means it.

He love me unconditionally and he has never, ever made me doubt that. He is encouraging and positive. He treats my mom the way she deserves to be treated.

I love my dad more that I could ever put into words.

Happy Father's Day to all the hard-working dads out there.

I love you dad.

You simply are the best there is.



Monday, June 13, 2016

Break a Leg

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings."
 - William Arthur Ward

Just because my life needed a little extra pep to its step, I went out and broke my leg.

Like, really bad.

It's been a difficult couple of months, but I was out at my boyfriend's place where a few friends had gathered for a casual, evening BBQ.

The sun was shining, the tunes were playing and glorious steak, prawns, sweet potatoes and veggies were grilling.

I was sitting taking it all in and remember thinking to myself, "This is so nice. I actually feel contentment and joy."

I was having a really nice time - which was a really great feeling.

So much so, that I decided to join in an ongoing pick-up game of badminton taking place in the backyard.

We rallied a bit and then the birdie came towards me - albeit a little too far ahead of where I was standing. Now I may not be an athlete, but I can get pretty competitive - so I lunged forward to try and make the return swing and then…boom!

Down I went, onto the side of my face and shoulder which somehow caused my knee to make a loud cracking/popping sound.

I grabbed me knee and shouted in pain. I knew this was more than just a minor deal.

It hurt like fucking hell on fire.

My boyfriend and another friend helped me over to a chair and quickly got my knee elevated and iced.

It was feeling worse just as dinner was being served and my boyfriend said he should get me to the hospital.

My disappointment went beyond the pain of my leg. The feeling of joy I was experiencing that evening  was so refreshing and now my evening was to be cut short (or long…as it turns out).

I had a few bites of food before my boyfriend decided it was time to go. I was reeling with pain. It took three guys to try and move me - trying not to move my hurt leg - out of the backyard to the car. The pain was so excruciating that I insisted they put me down as I felt faint and sick to my stomach. Anything I had managed to eat came right back up.


Now here is where the story gets long and drawn out - as hospital ER visits tend to be.

It was packed. We waited a few hours and the pain continued to worsen. My knee was swollen to almost twice it's size. All I wanted was pain relief.

After what seemed like forever, my name was finally called and we went in and I was transferred to a gurney which hurt so much I yelled as though I was in labour. I was finally able to use the Lamaze breathing I had learned in classes before my first born son arrived - by c-section…like the other two after him.

The doctor came and took a look and said he thought it was probably a torn ACL - not good - but I would be having an x-ray to check my bones. He also told the nurse to give me some Percocet.

Thank you baby Jesus.

By the time the x-ray was done, the meds were kicking in. It became obvious when I went from crying in pain to saying hello to a police officer I was passing in the hallway and thanked him  for his service with a smile.

As it turned out I had broken a major bone just under my knee pretty badly. ACL damage was not assessed at that point - I was told I would be getting a temporary, full-leg, plaster cast and would be given an appointment to see an orthopaedic surgeon the following morning to take a closer look and get a permanent cast.

My massive, blue cast.

By the time my boyfriend and I got home and got me very slowly up to my bed it was past 5:30am.

My parents came out and now my Mom is practically living with me.

My Dad comes out on the days when I have my boys. My boyfriend comes and helps when he can.

I have a portable toilet - or commode - right beside my bed. I give myself blood thinner injections daily. I have a nurse that comes three times a week to give me a sponge bath and wash my hair.

And I was just starting to feel as though I could see that light at the end of the tunnel. After a couple of tough months battling depression and anxiety, I was finally starting to feel more at peace…more in the mood to socialize a little. More in the mood not to spend all day in bed.

And so I was at this BBQ. And I broke my leg.

And now I'm stuck all day in bed.

For weeks. Possibly months.

But here's the thing.

I can still see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Is this a setback?

Yeah…it totally sucks. But I think it has also helped me in an interesting way.

I can't do very much for myself and therefore I have no choice but to rely almost entirely on my parents, my boyfriend and even my ex for help.

Rather than feeling sorry for myself - which I do from time to time…don't get me wrong…what I feel more than the depression or the anxiety from which I have been suffering…is intense gratitude.

Now with this gratitude comes some guilt - because my folks' - especially my mom's - lives have been turned upside-down. I am completely reliant on them to feed me, help me go to the bathroom, let the myriad of nurses and therapists into my house and make me as comfortable as possible.

They are also making it possible for me to continue to see my sons as much as I can. My boyfriend relieves my mom from having to help me when he can and my ex takes the boys more than his share to relieve my mom and dad from the craziness that dealing with three boys (and their bedridden mom) can often be.

I am grateful. I feel lucky more than shafted. I feel hopeful more than hopeless.

The pain I feel is more physical than emotional - and that is a step in the right direction. Not that I'm taking any actual steps these days - but you catch my drift.

I'm lucky.

My leg situation is bad, but could have been much worse according to my orthopaedic surgeon. I am uncomfortable and bored and in pain and all those things but I know I will get better.

My loved ones have rallied to help me and I can't help but feel warmth in my heart.

Perhaps this happened for a reason. Maybe I needed this lesson…this reminder.

I would have preferred something a little less arduous than this - and I can be sure that my mom would agree - but when other people are picking up most of my slack because I just can't do it…well…it provides perspective.

Gratitude is really central to happiness.

I have wonderful people in my life. My family and friends are awesome. I always knew that - but when you become almost helpless, it becomes magnified. And that overshadows the sadness.

I still have a ways to go to heal.

But gratitude keeps that light in sight.

Gratitude is light.

And it feels comforting.



Friday, June 03, 2016

Sharing is Caring

"There is a surrendering to your story and then a knowing that you don't have to stay in your story."
 - Colette Baron Reid

OK. So that was a cheese-curd title to this post.

Sue me.

Moving on.

Some may wonder why I write so much about my personal struggle with depression and anxiety - especially now.

I have written about it before - but not in so much detail. Kinda skimming over it - not really digging deep to express what I am truly going though.

People tell me I am brave and courageous for being so open. Many of these people are suffering or have suffered in the past - be it from similar conditions or other "invisible" illnesses or disabilities and feel they can't speak out. Which sucks.

And I get that. It is hard to open up about something that still has some stigma attached to it. Things are better - but there is still work to be done.

I just feel that as much as this is a difficult time for me…and as much as I want to hide sometimes…that I am at an age where I feel a certain sense of responsibility to share.

Again, part of this comes with the passing of time. I read a great article about women in their 40s and how there are certain things we no longer have time to give a fuck about. Well…clearly…if you have been reading…I still have some personal work do do on the fucks I choose to give…but this is an area I excel at. Or at least I am told.

Helping people through the written word.

And so here I am. I have a blog. I have a fairly strong social media presence and readership…and so I am trying to be as open and honest as I can.

Just remember everyone is different. Mental illness is such a broad term. I would consider myself a high-functioning person - and so I am usually able to manage my condition(s) and carry on a busy, fulfilling and happy life.

Me looking happy and fulfilled.
And having a good hair day.
But as I write this my hair looks like shit if you must know.
I will return to work as soon as I can and I will continue to try to build my career and raise my children and grow my relationships and try new things.

I am also aware that part of that - a big part - has to do with my life circumstances and my amazing support system and I can't emphasize this enough.

My folks are amazingly supportive. As are my friends. My boyfriend - who has never really had to deal with someone he cares about so much going through this before - has and continues to prove himself to be someone who asks a lot of questions - seeking to understand- seeking to be as supportive as he can. And he is showing me that he is a real man. An intelligent man who understands life is not perfect and neither am I. And I love him for that.

My kids are healthy. I have a home and food and a job. Even their dad - my ex - is helping me so that I can get better (and he knows I will because he has seen it before) and so that his kids have a healthy mom.

Some people don't have the support - and that is why I feel I have a responsibility to reach out. I know I don't have to, but I feel that I can and that I have a platform. So why not do something positive with a shitty situation?

I am not brave. Well, I guess I am because I'm fighting a difficult battle.

But I mean in terms of sharing. I just have the tools, the people (my "village") and somewhere in me…still the confidence to speak.

And if you know me well enough…I'm a talker…and if I believe in something I will tell you. And I believe the stigma of mental illness needs to be shattered. So for those who can't speak…and that is totally OK…I will because I feel that I can.

Everyone has personal life challenges - be them health, work, family or otherwise related.

We need to be adults and understand this. We adults also need to educate our children. The schools are getting better - but for those of us who are parents - we need to do our part too.

So this is why I keep on going.

And I am trying to live in the present. I have written a lot about that too.

And this is my present.

It is not my favourite time…but I am doing what I can with it - and as I said I have family and friends who surround me with love and support.

This blog is morphing a bit - I know - because my older two boys are now 14 and 12. They really don't want me sharing major details of their life within the blogosphere - which I understand. My little guy Drew is only 5 - but I have written about parenting little boys for so long, I feel like I have already covered a lot by writing about my older two.

Just an excuse to share a cute photo of my boys.
Yup…they are getting older and bigger!
Single-motherhood is a topic I could go on about. But again…a lot of that is centred around my children, my ex and my long-term boyfriend - and much of that I choose to write about sparingly and more generally - mostly because of their tendencies to be more private. Also OK.

My blog will continue to morph and diversify as I get back to my best health and move on to other changes and challenges in my own life.

But I really do enjoy writing and I prefer to write as myself - not under some fake name. I am who I am and you can take me or leave me.

It's a fuck I choose not to give anymore.

But here you are reading…so thanks. Thanks for visiting. Thanks for listening to me repeat myself a few many times during this difficult period. It's therapeutic for me as well - and again - my main goal is to make others who struggle feel a little less alone.

We can all do our little part in making the world a better place. Many of you do already…for me. Even those of you who have reached out to me to offer encouragement and support. Please know you are making my world a better place. So thank you.

Thank you smooch!
And see…the sun shining. I know it's there.

And if you have another friend or loved one who is going through a difficult time - be it through illness, loss of a loved one, life transitions, whatever - don't hesitate to just let them know you are thinking of them even if from afar. It helps…and it will come back to you some day.


I have seen that the universe naturally sends you back what you give.

It's hard to lose that way.