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.

 

Learning to fly-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

A soul in tension that’s learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try

~ Pink Floyd, Learning to Fly

My husband always tells me I have a beautiful soul. He said if he could describe me in one word he would use sunny because I always try to bring the light and see the bright side. I do try to be careful about that when the darkness comes, when the demons of depression have their arms around him, because I know that sometimes looking on the brighter side of things is just not a choice for him the way it is for me. Also, nobody likes a Pollyanna. Pain matters, sadness is for a reason.  If we constantly brush off our pain and don’t allow ourselves to feel sadness we will dismiss the lessons that those feelings bring.

I asked him this morning if he thought that the intensity of our love for each other has to do with living through the dark days of depression and learning to solidly grasp unto the good times. He thinks our tendency to love each other so profoundly has more to do with us living a great deal of our lives separately due to work.  I think there are elements of both in the way we relate and he is certainly right that we spend too much time apart; this conversation took place over text from separate provinces.  It really is a challenge and a choice, at the best of times to live our lives “together” while living separate.

Over the years, a lot of our friends have seen us in a certain way, they see this deep and passionate love that they envy, they see a couple that laughs together at ridiculous things, dances cheek to cheek to classic ballads, makes each other handmade cards, and goes on romantic getaways at a moments notice. They don’t see the other side of that. There is loneliness and a sadness that is not portrayed in our social media feeds. If what you see is a couple that is unbreakable; that loves each other but disagrees on almost everything social, political, economic, parenting, morality…I could go on. A couple that carries the scars of our histories together and separately, and even though most wounds have healed the pain sometimes bubbles to the surface, a lingering pain that reminds us that we are alive, and that we feel.  A couple with longing and regret and struggle than just maybe you are seeing us. That is how we see us, as beautiful survivors.

I often wonder if other couples feel the same way. I have talked about the space and the distance that depression puts in between us.  It’s excruciating and strange and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I have woken up and had my husband looks right through me like I am a stranger and nothing hurts more. It never gets easier, but there are other times that even living and working provinces apart you couldn’t put a handkerchief in the space between us. We are fully engaged in each others lives, we fill each others spaces with light and hearts with love. We are lovers, friends, cheerleaders, champions.

My husband sent me a picture the other night and I wanted to touch his face so badly. When things are ‘normal” and I use that term loosely, there is a comfort and warmth between us that feels impenetrable. Do the rest of you feel that belonging?  Certain  you are where you are meant to be and you are safe and happy there?

Life is so goddamn weird, it really is.

In 2016 we talk a great deal about being authentic, being true to ourselves, being real. We talk a good talk as we post flawless selfies of ourselves sipping Starbucks lattes, on our beach vacations with the perfect Margarita, our bedhead and make-up free selfies that we primed and prepped the greater part of half an hour for. This realism, this credibility that we speak of has become a bit of a joke quite frankly and it incites comparison. I think there is a lot of unnecessary comparison among friends, family and co-workers. The way we portray our lives or better still perceive the lives of others can separate and segregate us.

I want to be genuine and to do that that I have to be honest.  I do my very best to stay in the light. I choose happiness at every opportunity and sometimes it is really friggin hard. Some days I would rather stay in my pajamas and eat chocolate bars and cry because adulting sucks. Some days I don’t feel that confident and I want to hide from the world’s judgmental eyes. We should start an honest movement that when challenged you have to post a selfie of what you are doing that very moment. “Dear World, this is me, I am sad today and too emotionally drained to make supper, I have managed to feed the dogs and cat, the kids are having Kraft Dinner and  I just polished off a 250 gram bag of sour cream and onion chips and a glass of cheap Merlot. I am now sad and bloated and I have a pimple.” hashtag #truth

We follow the unspoken rules of the world to be polite and go along with the crowd as to not rock the boat.  We proceed, like good little soldiers, one foot after the other, and left over right, heal, and toe. Smile, look pretty and never let them see you sweat. What a load of authentically revolting bullshit. When did we become so afraid to shine, to fly, to reach for the stars? Probably the same time we became afraid of being different, afraid of failing?   This is the reason why the world is  sadly lacking in original content. We are remaking movies and songs because everyone is afraid to step out of the box and present new ideas but people are buying memoirs as fast as fiction because we are craving something real and we desperately want to know that there are people out there that are just as fucked up as we are! It reminds me of the Dr. Seuss book “Good people don’t” It’s about farting. We all fart. We all love, we all struggle, and according to REM everybody hurts…sometimes.

Let the world know you fall, show them you have learned to get back up again, show the world that it can knock you down ten times and you will get up 11. Sometimes you will fight a losing battle, but if you keep fighting you will never fail. You are enough, you are more than a perfect selfie on a white sand beach, you are a warrior and sometimes warriors have pimples and messy hair. Some days are hard and some days the sun is on your face and the wind at your back. These are the days of your life, full of hope, full of wonder, full of struggle. Be grateful for your life, it is not a retouched photograph, it is real and honest. It is beautiful even when it is callous. The days full of sunshine make incredible memories; the darker days are full of lessons. Breathe it in, every bit of it, live your life, moment to moment. Today is a gift, tomorrow is gone, the future is uncertain. You have today, this very minute. Embrace it, and don’t be afraid to step out of line, fight your way out of the box,  and  be you!

xo Michelle

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”

~ Peter Pan

DISCLAIMER “A couple that carries the scars of our histories together and separately, and even though most wounds have healed the pain sometimes bubbles to the surface, a lingering pain that reminds us that we are alive, and that we feel.”

When I speak of wounds and scars I am speaking metaphorically, there has never been any physical aggression, wounds, scars or the like in my marriage.

Goodbye Stranger-W.I.S.E. project 2016

And I will go on shining
Shining like brand new
I’ll never look behind me
My troubles will be few

~ Supertramp

Since I wrote a post about my struggle with depression I feel like I have come out of the ‘proverbial’ closet. I feel like I have shed a skin, taken off a mask, exposed a deep dark secret and the heaviness that has gripped my heart for years has loosened significantly.

I felt like a bit of a fraud to be honest, always taking about happiness and how it is a choice that we make everyday  when some days I was shackled by fear and uncertainty, holding back tears, just like the rest of you.

I have always disliked it when people air their dirty laundry all over the internet but I do love good stories. The problem with a good story is to tell it authentically can be tricky because often our stories are so tightly woven around the stories of others  that it is hard to separate the two and sometimes people don’t want their stories told. Some people are fiercely private and others worry about being scrutinized if they allow their feelings to show. I am not among those people. I am more concerned about presenting a story that is not true, a story void of struggles and tears, a story where I breathe sunsets and piss rainbows. That is far removed from my story.

I know that for many people all they know of depression is what they have learned from movies and metaphors. It can almost look beautiful in the right light. It’s like seeing a stunning portrait in black and white. The entire feeling of the portrait would change if it was concluded in color. The great photographer Robert Frank once said, “Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.”

Imagining a torturous life, wrought with days void of color is not as beautiful.

I think all of our stories of struggle and fear are eerily similar but the problem is that we compare our truth to each others highlight reel. My Facebook story, my Instagram feed represents some very wonderful times in my life with some very wonderful people but it is very far removed from the whole story. These perfect images which scatter our feeds are a very tiny glimpse into the very best of peoples lives, they do not look into their hearts and souls. They should not give anyone the feeling that they are not enough, that everyone knows something that they don’t know and that they are living a better life.

Even though the depression I struggle with is not my own, even if the racing thoughts, the dread, the gloom, the fear, the anxiety, the love, the hate, the emptiness, the fear, the horror, the tragedy, the deceit, the betrayal  and chaos is not happening in my mind  it robs me just the same.

I have always been fiercely protective of my marriage, we have tackled some very hard times, often pulling ourselves up by the straps of our boots and starting over again, but there are days that my mind is plagued by doubt and sometimes the certainty I feel about the strength of our union betrays me. I have always affectionately described my marriage as enduring but this illness plants and waters seeds of uncertainty, delighting in their steadfast growth.

My marriage is like that black and white portrait, full of wondrous hope and agonizing despair. The human condition that plagues all of us. We live this life full of incredibly beautiful moments, moments of enduring love and friendship, moments of feeling safe and adored. There are moments that we are captivated with each other and excited for our future, but just as quickly as these moments envelope us in warmth and cheerfulness they can turn and smother us with panic and uncertainty.

Depression is a thief. It is a prowler that lurks around in the dark shadows of your mind and snuffs out the sunshine. It has a tenacious and heavy hand. It strengthens all of our fears and uneasiness and nourishes your insecurities. Occasionally it loosens its grip on us just enough to make us think that we are going to be ok. Randomly these times can be so intense that you feel like you are on top of the world looking down at all the sad stick figures walking around. Life is a precious gift and yours is the best. You are invincible. You radiate sunshine and rainbows. You are higher than Johnny Cash on a Sunday morning. You are sitting on top of the roller coaster. You have a great view and you are never coming down. Inevitably you do though…and it is a long way down. I want to be the parachute that breaks the fall for the one I love but how do I do that without getting knocked down?

Depression is a bumpy ride. I cannot make sense of it and though it dwells in my space I cannot imagine what it would feel like if it was living in me, if it invaded my mind and my thoughts from the inside.

We have made our way back to each other many times, through rain, snow, sleet, fog , we have traveled washed out roads slowly but surely to get back to that place where we feel safe and right together. I have always thought of safe as an everlasting feeling but in my experience it is a transient excitation at best. The seeds of uncertainty have rooted and grown making the thoroughfare a merciless trek, but we make it time and time again. For the in betweens are a precious gift.

We work tirelessly to tear down walls, to be vulnerable and convicted in our love for one another only to have our sentiments be obliterated, our affections conveyed as weaknesses by the monster that comes knocking periodically.

Sometimes I am scared and not scared to say that I am scared. I am scared to allow the person that I have loved for almost half my lifetime slip away and just as scared that my earnestness will push him away.

I am a lover, afraid that my love is no longer the answer or the question. It is a maze, a riddle, a puzzle with a missing piece.

There is this person I love more than anything in the world but over the years there are times it feels like there is a whole world growing in the space between us. It is hard in those times to remember that it won’t last, to keep fighting. From experience we know that our love can slay dragons, even the fire breathing monstrosity that is depression and that knowing keeps us rooted. We bounce back stronger and we learn. We try to stay in the light!

A belief in ourselves is at the very heart of this hope. For me, it is rooted in knowing that I am enough, that I am loved, that this beast can strip me of everything but my worthiness.

Sometimes fighting the beast makes me feel like a stranger in my own skin. Small and afraid, clinging to to the threads of a life I built to last. Recently I was on an online support group based out of the U.K. and this woman wrote in asking for help because she was struggling in her marriage and her husband suffers depression and he was pushing her away. She was scared and distraught. I felt compelled to write to her and it made me feel good. I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination but I can speak from a place of experience. It helped me and I hope it helped her. It made me want to be honest in the hopes that if even one person was suffering they would realize that they were not alone. It made me realize that my vitality, my unwillingness to give up, my willingness to choose and cultivate happiness every damn day, even on the days when the world feels dark and cold makes me pretty damn close to a super hero. We are all heroes in this big , heavy world and if you can’t be someone else’s you better be your own.

xo

Michelle

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.

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”