Three Little Birds-W.I.S.E Project 2017 #tenacioustuesday

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A few years back, possibly more as I am at the age that time is flying by in warp speed; I used to love the waterslides at World Water Park. They were exhilarating and I felt a sense of freedom and abandon as I was rushed feet first at insane speeds into the cool water. With age comes an awareness of our mortality and that feeling that we are invincible begins to fade away. Some people are very successful in defeating that feeling and proving that age is nothing but a number but as I stood at the top of the slide uneasily awaiting my turn to go on the slide aptly named “Are you fucking kidding me?” I imagined nothing but terrifying things and plunging feet first to my tragic death. My turn came way before I was ready and as I pushed off the side I was thrust into immediate darkness as the sides of the slide were completely enclosed. I struggled with several feelings that rushed to me all at once and though my mind and my body seemed to be going at a wild speed, some things seemed to be happening in slow motion. I coped by balling my hands into fists and squeezing until I was white knuckled, closing my eyes and bracing for the worst. Seconds passed which felt like years and I decided that if I was really going to die right now this would be the last exciting thing that I ever got to experience. I willed myself to open my eyes and embrace the darkness, I took a deep breath and un-clenched my fists and felt my body being rocked from side to side, the rushing water lifting me to the right side and then the left. Within seconds my entire body was dropped into cool water, rushing around my body and head. I felt this feeling of relief mixed with euphoria that filled my lungs and my limbs and shone through my heart. I didn’t just survive, I thrived. I had stared my fear in the face and on the other side of my fear was joy.

So many times over the years I have told my daughters that joy is on the other side of their fears. My oldest seemed to be so unwilling to embrace uncertainty and looking back seemed to have all sorts of irrational fears. Little things would cause an argument or a great deal of anxiety but for the most part she seemed like a loving, smart and athletic girl who had big plans and hopes for the future.

At ten years old when I couldn’t help her with math because she became too frustrated, once flipping the coffee table over or kicking the walls in her bedroom repeatedly when put on a timeout I assumed that it was goddamn hormones. Watching her struggle through the teen years was difficult and I accepted the therapist’s recommendation that she was a normal teen who just needed coping mechanisms. I agreed with that advice and would hear it and agree with it several times over the years; from therapists, doctors, school counselors and friends. I never once considered that my only coping mechanisms were tears, white knuckles or wine.

In her early teens she fell in with a group of girls who had little to no supervision so when I said No to her and we ended up in a screaming match and she later crawled out her bedroom window making me frantic with worry I cursed the damn hormones and those other parents who didn’t set boundaries for their children. At fourteen she struggled with her sexuality, but we loved her no matter what and genuinely just wanted her to be happy. We prepared for struggle as she found her way in the world and a therapist would assure all of us that she was going to be fine. She just had to learn to cope.

Over the years she would suffer ups and downs, I would see her dedicate herself to a sport she loved fully and completely and be filled with immense pride. I would see the amazing things that it did for her self esteem and her confidence but it all seemed like it hung in a very delicate balance, as if one bad game, play or unkind word from a teammate or coach could take it all away. Through it all I tried to encourage her to be herself and embrace her individuality and learn to love her differences and she did for some of the time…and then she didn’t. I saw as friends came and went and I told her that if she became the kind of person she would want to be around the right people would come to her life at the right time. She welcomed new opportunities and challenges; growing and learning new things and finding new passions, but on some of the days everything was wrong, very very wrong. She called herself ugly and stupid and she directed a great deal of her anger at me. She became disconnected from the things she loved and I blamed it on Netflix binges and encouraged her to leave the house and be active. I took her to the woods on a hike recently and she said how great it made her feel. The earth, the air and the trees reconnected her to something she had lost. Her anger in the weeks following seemed to worsen and those in between times when she was my sweet young lady seemed less and less. She started to lash out at her sister and what we perceived to be small things would make her feel rage. She told me she wanted to talk to someone, that she just had a lot to get out. I encouraged her to do her research and find someone she thought she could connect with as she had called the other Therapists stupid. One afternoon she called me after leaving the doctors office and said she had finally found a good doctor that listened to her and he was referring her to a Psychiatrist. We lucked out being the first people to answer the phone on a forty person waiting list and she got in to see the Psychiatrist without the typical five month wait. I took her to the train and she went by herself so she could feel confident in being completely honest about how she was feeling. I held back tears as the Psychiatrist called me and told me that he was shocked that Morgan had not been diagnosed sooner and that his diagnosis was clear without any uncertainty all. My heart broke as he told me that she had ADHD with underlying depression and anxiety, that untreated had also led to conduct disorder. The screaming anger, bad decisions and struggles with school and self esteem were all a part of a larger issue. The diagnosis was a bit of a blessing, but the fact that she had suffered for so long caused me an immense amount of pain. I should have known. I know that we cannot go backwards and we decided together that we would go forward. The doctor said that there was no way around medication; though he fully supports and encourages a holistic lifestyle he believes wholeheartedly the medication is needed immediately to help her, especially in school. She and I both believe that our Western society is way too medicated but we are also both tired and hopeful for a reprieve from the daily uphill battle that rages on and on.

We have been on this road for several years but our journey has just begun. Everyday brings something new and we are trying to find a way to stay connected as a family and face our challenges head on, without curling up in bed with ice cream and tissues.

There are things that are hard for her, things I cannot quite understand but I am trying my best. She is going to meditation classes with me and the first one she was so incredibly anxious I did not think she would make it through it but she was able to control her breathing and her anxious mind and find a little place where she felt safe. She actually fell asleep in class, which was the most amazing result for a first time mediator. She now refuses to go to any classes that are not facilitated by this instructor, she found a bit of safety and I am trying to understand.

She allowed me to share our story with the instructor, who is also a mom, and such a warm and genuine woman that people gravitate to her. When I explained to her that she had been told for years that she needed coping mechanisms she took a thoughtful pause and said “coping mechanisms? I don’t like that. I don’t like that at all. How about thriving mechanisms?”

That moved us and encouraged us at a time when we needed it. We do not want to move through our lives white knuckled, squeezing our eyes shut, binging on ice cream and wiping away tears. We want to be fully engaged in our lives, to encourage and support and love each other, even when things are hard.

When she is ready, my daughter wants to get involved on this blog and in the Podcast so that she can be a voice for other people that are struggling and do not know why. Right now she is busy learning how to thrive.

“Every obstacle is an opportunity in disguise”

~Deepak Chopka

 

I have been working extremely hard on my own mental health, I know that if I am not healthy than I will not be good to anyone else. I find that floating (sensory deprivation) is an amazing way to clear my troubled mind and reset. I go to Modern Gravity in Edmonton Alberta. I have amped up my daily meditation practice by attending unlimited classes with Lifestyle Meditation here in Edmonton. They have a variety of different classes for relaxation, stress relief, movement, creativity and balance. I try to get enough sleep; the absence of good and restorative sleep can be harmful to our bodies and our minds. Our minds are powerful messengers and if something is wrong it will tell us. Stress can manifest in all sorts of ways and make us ill. Not enough sleep can keep us from leading full and happy lives. I do a sleep mediation nightly and I created my own Guided Journey Sleep Meditation as a gift to my Mom but I am hoping to convince my daughter to do it with me tonight after our hike in the woods.

The keys words in the dictionary definition of Cope are struggle, deal and face. The key words in the dictionary definition of thrive are prosper, grow and develop. Which would you rather do in times of stress? The answer is clear for me, even through my instinct during times of stress has always been to curl up in the fetal position and hope for it to pass I am finding healthier ways to deal with burdens and I am hoping to be an example to my family.

This morning I woke to three little birds outside my window singing a pretty song. I know that was the great Bob Marley’s way of reminding me that every little thing is going to be alright.

 

Be WI.S.E. friends and take care of yourself.

Our minds are powerful messengers and when the burdens that weigh us down rob us of the healing and restorative power of restful sleep we find ourselves sick with stress. Join me for a guided journey to create calm, inviting you to a deep and restful sleep.

 

Hand in my pocket-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

They will not give us back the times we have lost battling them but what it will give me is the certainty that they cannot overtake me, they cannot take what is mine

What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be fine, fine, fine
‘Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five

~ Alanis Morrisette



I woke up this morning feeling well rested and I thought I can be anything I want to be today so I decided to be grateful. It is October, there is snow on the ground, it feels more like Christmas than autumn, my husband just went back to work in another province, my house is in the the “disastourous aftermath” stage of my busy week, my laptop is not working, I took my vitamins on an empty stomach and all I can taste is fish oil, my coffee is cold, my yogurt is warm and my day is passing by too quickly for my liking but  even still I am feeling incredibly blessed. 

It has been a difficult month but there have been some bright shiny moments that have reminded me of my resilience and the fact that the most important things can never be taken away from me. 

My beautiful friend Ashley @photoswithashley recently captured my strength and spirit in some photos she took for me to update my blog. She made me feel beautiful and brave. I was holding back tears that morning because I felt choked by the uncertainties of life and I was struggling to be in the present and remind myself that worry takes the joy out of today but not the troubles out of tomorrow. 

Ashley is not only good at her job but she is a fantastic person to be around. She radiates a positive energy and gives me that gentle reminder that my time is valuable and it is ok to spend it alone or choose to be around people that leave me feeling energizied not drained. 

I have been suffering the devastating effects of depression for the past 18 years and there are many times that I feel like I am walking around in circles beating my head off of walls. There are many times that I have had to scoop my crying carcus off the floor and press the reset button. There are times that I have felt like an empty shell of a person walking around in a body. 

The biggest problem with the depression is that I don’t understand it. Not from lack of trying. I have read a thousand and one books, I talk to people, I read psychology today and I frequent online support groups but I will never have all the answers. The depression lives with me, around me, wraps its strong arms around me as I lay down to bed. It doesn’t live in me though. It has not invaded my insides. Its demons try to smother me and make me insigificant but they can’t enter me. They live inside the person I love, screaming at him from the inside. They are there all the time! Sometimes he can keep them at bay, their voices are a dull consistent hum like a fan in the background waiting for the right time to strike. When he is overworked, stressed and weary those demons are lurking around in the shadows like thieves. Stealers of joy. You can’t drink them away, they love self medication, it helps them to prey on insecurities and construct inpenetratable walls of doubt. 

Unfortunately you cannot love away depression either. Not your own and not anyone elses. Somedays it is hard enough to be your own cheerleader so being someone elses can become tedious. 

A therapist told me recently that I had to focus on me. She didn’t want to talk about my love, she wanted to know about me, my support system, my hobbies, my frame of mind. 

I hated her. I didn’t want to talk about me. I wanted to help the person I love. I wasn’t willing to talk about anything but so I decided she sucked. 

It took me some time to realize that I did have to focus on me. I needed to be strong and realize that depression could not rob me of who I am. It can take my tears and multiply my insecuries and amplify my fears but at the very core if I am certain of who I am depression cannot take that from me. 

Those realizations will not cure my loved ones depression. They will not take away his childhood trauma, his fears, his doubts or his loneliness. They won’t take the lives of the demons but they will diminish their power over me. They will not give us back the times we have lost battling them but what it will give me is the certainty that they cannot overtake me, they cannot take what is mine. 

If I can take care of me in the darkness and in times of stife  if I can remember that the light is in me than I can be stronger and I can face anything.

In relationships there are times when your partner will need you to be strong. There are times you will need them to be strong. I think it is one of the most important parts of marriage in fact. Relationships are like navigating a ship only when the waters get rough and too much to bear you don’t let the Captain go down with the ship. You grab the wheel and you hold on tight because four hands are better than two. 

When you truly love someone you would no more judge their battle with depression than you would if they had a brain tumor. You would be strong for yourself because during the times that they use all of their energy to struggle through their days they cannot carry you or comfort away your fears. You need to set boundaries and lovingly encourage them to be healthy and get the best possible help to keep them in the light. Demons hate the light. 

Depression and Mental illness affect your friends, your loved ones and your neighbors. People often suffer in silense. It is an illness that well meaning loved ones pat you on the back and say “perk up” Nobody brings you a casserole or offers to pick up some things for you at the grocery store. Survivors and their loved ones don’t wear brightly colored ribbons to let you know that once again they survived, they made it through the darkness. Lets start a conversation, lets talk about mental illness. Lets support each other and let people know that they don’t have to suffer in silence. 

Fast Facts about Mental Illness

http://www.cmha.ca/media/fast-facts-about-mental-illness/#.WAPPkr1rnqA

Who is affected?

  • Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
  • 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.
  • Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives.
  • About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).

How common is it?

  • Schizophrenia affects 1% of the Canadian population.
  • Anxiety disorders affect 5% of the household population, causing mild to severe impairment.
  • Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16% among 25-44 year olds.
  • Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age.
  • The mortality rate due to suicide among men is four times the rate among women.

What causes it?

  • A complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses.
  • Almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem.
  • Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community.
  • Mental illnesses can be treated effectively.

March Madness-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

I want to truly and eagerly accept and support myself and everything that makes me ME.

 

Acceptance

I realize it is the third day of March and I haven’t posted the W.I.S.E. Principles for March. I am not a fan of excuses so let me explain. I was half thinking of ditching this project and starting the donut a day challenge, I would challenge myself to indulge daily in the yummy goodness that are donuts and post scrumptious pictures and  delicious reviews. My ass woke me up in the middle of the night with a stern “C’mon dude, you tried that with a bottle of wine a day challenge, a cupcake a day challenge and Eat an Entire Pizza Fridays and what did we get out of that?” Sometimes that ass of mine has a strong argument so I decided to stick with something for a change. I am excited to tell you a little bit about my W.I.S.E. Principles for March and the goals I have set for myself. As always I would love it if you challenge yourself, your goals will be different and your interpretation of the W.I.S.E. Principles may vary…that is OK and encouraged.

February was a bit of a Cha-cha month for me, a step forward, a step backward but all in all it was a learning experience for me. I am learning a lot about myself, a lot about the way I feel and what it takes to make me feel the way I want to feel. Recognizing real happiness and what it takes to achieve that feeling is a work in progress, and so important to me. I am an emotional person, I cry at sad movies, I cry at happy movies. I cry when my feelings are hurt and I cry when I am feeling euphoric. As an emotional person who is an emotional eater I have realized that ice cream does not make me happy…shocking I know!! It seems like a little thing but we (the human race) often use things like food (shopping, sex, drinking, gambling etc.) to try to make us happy and once we realize that they cannot possibly make us happy we can figure out what does…and do it! Instant gratification is not happiness, the ice cream may satisfy you for a moment but you won’t wake up in the morning feeling the lasting affects of the pleasure the ice cream gave you.

My W.I.S.E. Principles for March are:

Well-being– I want to be healthy and happy and live a fulfilling life, to do this I need to experience more feelings of contentment and joy as well as being confident and engaged in my own life and interacting positively with others. I want relationships that are positive and that cause happy feelings.

I know that experiencing well-being does not mean that I will never experience times of sadness, hardships or discontent but in being well I can recognize my resilience when times are tougher and I can clearly see the choices and the people that bring me the most happiness. I am learning to accept myself and all of my emotional mania because I am a person that feels a great deal, invests my feelings and in doing that I often feel hurt. I am learning to let go of my need to control all situations and realize that even though some things will be entirely out of my control, I can control how I respond to these situations. I will invest in my physical and mental well-being, to do so is akin to making daily deposits in my bank account of life that I will be able to draw from for years into the future. No one can give you well-being, you need to take action and make your own choices to find wellness. For years I wasn’t aware that it was my job to make myself happy. I thought it was important to make sure everyone else was happy. Trying to take care of everyone else and not yourself is impossible and it will leave you empty and unfulfilled.

Here are some of the ways I intend to continue to work on my well-being.

Connect-Relating with people, friends, family, colleagues, taking the time to nurture and develop these relationships. Surprisingly (for someone who writes down all her thoughts and publishes them) I am a private person and if I am struggling with something I often do so alone. I need to remind myself that everyone has struggles and people who are meant to be in my life will share in my joy and not judge my struggles.

Be Active– Being active doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. It can simply mean moving, go for a walk, take a dance class, get moving. This is a struggle or me, after walking around work all day I really just want to go home and not leave. I need to come up with a good, yoga-wine-sofa work-out!

Educate– I have always loved learning. I love knowledge and learning about people, places and ideas. In Fiction writing I have to do a fair bit of research and when I am immersed in that It really gives me a sense of achievement. My kids activities make it difficult for me to take a cooking class or a dance class (on my list) but I am going to actively seek learning opportunities.

Give-I try to go out of my way to give to others. I used to spend a great deal of time volunteering and I find that I am happiest when I am making some sort of contribution. I find more and more that I am picking and choosing where I give my time because my free time is pretty restricted as it is and I am also happiest when I do not put too many demands on my time. I think even the smallest acts can count, lend a helping hand, giving a smile, a thank you, a kind word to someone that needs it. When someone is kind to me it makes my whole day and I want to continue to pass that along.

 Mindfulness-The whole purpose of this project was mindfulness, being more aware in the present moment and being aware of my thoughts and feelings, even being aware of my body and what it takes to make my body happy. I think this awareness has had a positive affect on the way I feel on a daily basis and how I respond to life’s challenges as they are  presented. It does require constant work so I will continue to practice it this month and hopefully always.

Inner-

I want to pay attention to my internal strength; characterized by my mental, physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual life. I want to work on my internal struggles and take the power away from them so that I can strive to achieve inner peace. I think to achieve inner peace you need to find a way to have your mind, body, and soul work as one. Sounds easy enough but it is definitely something that takes a lot of work.

Strive-

verb: strive; 3rd person present: strives; past tense: strove; past tense: strived; gerund or present participle: striving; past participle: striven
  1. make great efforts to achieve or obtain something.
    “national movements were striving for independence”
    • struggle or fight vigorously.
      “scholars must strive against bias”
      synonyms: try (hard), attempt, endeavor, aim, venture, make an effort, exert oneself, do one’s best, do all one can, do one’s utmost, labor, work; More

Need I say more?

Embrace:

I want to truly and eagerly accept and support myself and everything that makes me ME. I want to embrace change and opportunities to be better, physically and mentally and realize that being ME is the best thing ever (besides, everyone else is already taken!)

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance ~ Oscar Wilde

Be W.I.S.E. friends, take, care of your well-being, strive for inner peace and embrace all of the rare and silly things that make you, uniquely YOU!!

P.S. Have some fun!!

 

xo

Michelle

Eternal Optimist -February Journal Notes -W.I.S.E Project

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Someone once referred to me as  “Michelle the Eternal Optimist”, in the context that it was said it was hurled at me intending to be an insult. Once I tripped the offender, tied them up with dirty socks and made them sniff dog farts they changed their mind and decided it was a compliment. I like being an Optimist, I think pessimism is a really unattractive quality and I prefer to be around hopeful people.

I put the above quote on the white board in my office and it has been so helpful to me. In doing this project and I think this applies to any  lifestyle change; you will experience  ups and downs and what can feel like two steps forward and three steps back at times. I went into this so excited and I made a bunch of changes immediately, kept up on my journal and then some things changed. Not all of it was bad, I am still proud of the changes I have made and honestly I am proud of where I am at. I started writing again, I started a book several years ago and I was inspired to pick it up again. It’s fiction which I have always loved. I love creating characters, giving them personalities, bringing them to life through their experiences and their struggles. The largest problem I have with writing fiction is that I tend to get pretty involved in the characters lives, if they are happy I am happy and if they are struggling I feel that stress. I set a goal this weekend of 10 000 words, which I am happy to say that I exceeded by 11 words. Some of it was pretty emotional and every night I was mentally exhausted by 8 pm. I need to complete this book, for myself. These characters mean something to me (which I know sounds silly), but several times over the years I have picked it back up. Maybe seeing them through their struggles is therapeutic for me, I can’t say for sure but I know that they are important to me and I feel that I need to give them closure someday.

I feel like spending all my free time writing has taken me from other things but one of the biggest things I have done for my mental health in the past 6 months is to change my expectations. I have tried to eliminate the expectations I have of others so that I am continually surprised pleasantly instead of disappointed. I feel I owed myself the very same courtesy. I don’t feel that I have failed myself, I just feel that things look differently this month then I set out for them to be.

One of my wise principles for this once was INSPIRE and something inspired me to write again and that is a beautiful thing. I remember 23 three days ago searching books and documentaries wanting so badly to feel inspired. Sometimes inspiration comes from unlikely places and may not look like you intended.

Worthy-I continue to treat myself like I am worthy by treating myself better, choosing food, activities and hobbies that are good for me and spending time with people that are a positive influence on me. I also take time for me when I need it. My kids continue to be mystified as to why I would want time to myself and they are very persuasive when they want ‘Mom’ time. I know that a day will come when I wish I could have them with me playing scrabble or curled up watching mindless TV so I am learning to put unimportant things aside and embrace the opportunities now to be with them. Being their Mom makes me feel extremely worthy!

Simplify- I have simplified by taking on less and only doing things that I truly want to do, saying ‘No’ more and enjoying my free time without guilt. I have also simplified by pre-prepping meals for the week and making shopping easier by buying mostly fresh. I spend of most my time in a circle at the outer edges of the grocery store. I always felt I bought convenience foods because they made my life easier but I am now positive that that is something that media leads us to believe. Fresh is easy, simple and the better choice.


 

Empower- I hope to touch even one person with this project, to empower them to make changes and lead a better, more mindful, more positive life. I started this project because I felt like everything was a chore, I was going through the motions without truly enjoying my life and it wasn’t a good feeling. I feel so much happier and much more fulfilled.  There is not a perfect life, choosing to be happy does not mean everything is superb, it means you are grateful and appreciate what you have and make a conscious effort to lead a positive and fulfilling life.

In being more mindful I have learned to un-complicate things. There is a certain beauty in simplicity.

We never noticed the beauty because we were to busy trying to create it.

We are nearing the end of Fabulous February. Be W.I.S.E. Remember that you are worthy of happiness and a fulfilling life. Find inspiration in unlikely places. Save complicated for someone else and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Empower yourself and take a moment to share that power with others.

P.S.

After I stopped trying to find inspiration, it fell in my lap in many different forms. I was at a Combat Crime evening with my daughter who was presenting for ‘Bright Ideas’ a text a buddy app to help youth who were being bullied, suffered depression or simply needed a friend. I was inspired to tears by her and all of the other youth leaders. I spent some time with an inspiring friend who runs a heart warming project called Love Letters 2 Strangers that never fails to remind me about the good in people.

I was sitting in my truck waiting for my daughter and mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. I saw that my friend Robb Scott had posted a video. Robb is a talented artist but he also has this insatiable need for attention. I always describe him as ‘sideways’ and I mean it in the best possible way. His antics have made me laugh till there are tears running down my cheeks. The video he posted that day was not funny, but it was one of the most honest and heartfelt things I have ever seen. I love the real emotion that he captured sitting in his vehicle telling the world about something very important to him, Down Syndrome. I cannot tell you how much his words touched my heart. The video has gone viral, as it should, it is a positive and uplifting message. I was sharing the video on twitter and what struck me when using the hashtag #DownSyndrome was how many people use that hastag to insult others. The ignorance is astounding. I read a post from a mother whose friend said “How’s your down’s girl?” Not, “how is your daughter or how is Bethany?” I can’t imagine how hurt I would be if someone said “How is your gay girl?” How ignorant to not see someone for their abilities, their strengths, their individuality. To look at someone and only see their differences or their limitations we have failed ourselves in my opinion.

This video has really opened my eyes wide and I hope that you will take a moment to watch it and please share it with others. In my opinion we are a society that is way to quick to share hate…spread some love and knowledge today.

Father’s emotion defense of Down Syndrome sparks outpouring

UNWELCOME- W.I.S.E. Project 2016

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I have been absent from here for 11 days, not a long time realistically but to me it feels like forever because I have been absent from my own life for at least half of that time. For some of the time I was reconnecting with friends and spending special time with my family but I had an unwelcome and unexpected visit from an aqaintance that knocked the wind out of my sails. This guest was as unwelcome in my life as your troublemaker Aunt Jean showing up at the potluck with her not so famous bean dip!

DEPRESSION. MENTAL ILLNESS. YOU WERE NOT INVITED!

I am not a sufferer but I do have people that are so very dear to me that struggle and it affects me more than I care to admit. After about a week of not feeling myself and coming to the realization that a plateful of namaimo sqaures is not helping me I decided to try to figure it out with my fingers and this keyboard. I spent most of this Family Day in tears, in my jammies, trying to find something to eat that will make me feel how I want to feel (*emotional eating*)

I came to the conclusion that the only way for me to feel how I want to feel is to do the things I did before I was knocked off the horse. Be enaged in my own life and CHOOSE to be happy.

Depression is cruel and unfeeling and it preys on amazing and intelligent people. Unlike me, those that suffer cannot just choose to be happy. They know how much they have to be grateful for, how much they are loved, how good that life can be, but when depression has a grip on them they cannot control how they feel. It is a sad, terrifying and helpless feeling to see someone you care about struggle with something they don’t understand and cannot control.

In my last post I said that misery loves company but it won’t get mine. I didn’t invite this misery in, but I am going to try my best to usher it out. I know that I am worthy of the happiness I want to feel and I know that for me it is a choice. I had a dream the other night that an elevator door opened and I stepped in and fell down the shaft. I could look up from the bottom and see how far I had to climb to get out but part of me just wanted to rest at the bottom. Even in my dream I knew that saving myself was a choice. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to wake up everyday and feel like you had to drag yourself up that elevator shaft only to get knocked back down halfway. To work through that pain everyday and suffer it in silence so that nobody thought of you as “different” or pitied you.

I know how fortunate I am in that regard because that luxury that I have is not afforded to everyone.

That alone makes me feel ashamed that I have chosen to waste this day on Netflix, chocolate and tears but I guess we are all entitled to a moment.

It certainly reminds me of why I started this project, it was to live in the moment, to be more mindful and choose happiness always. To choose it every single moment of everyday. There will be good days and bad days, that I know. I just need to put on my big girl pants and get back on the horse and hold on tighter this time!

I am going to go dress up, and spend the rest of this beautiful family day with my youngest daughter. She gives me a million reasons to smile everyday!

For those of you that are suffering in silence, please don’t. You are worthy and loved. Love yourself enough to seek help.

If you or someone you know has a mental disorder, there is help available. Use these resources to get general information and find treatment services near you.

Canadian Mental Health

National Institute of Mental Health (U.S.)

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Depression and mental illness doesn’t only affect those that suffer, it invades the lives of their spouses, children, family and friends. More people suffer from Mental Illness than Heart Disease, Cancer and Diabetes yet it remains an illness that is not discussed and often not treated.

Just a reminder the Februarys W.I.S.E. Principles are Worthy, Inspire, Simplify and Empower. Be good to yourself. Take care of your health. Be W.I.S.E.

“We get up every morning and we do our best, nothing else matters”