Brave Face

*May be triggering for some*

I had another really bad evening last night and as my anxiety began to escalate and the tears began to fall I was led into another very dark abyss. It felt claustrophobic and I just couldn’t find my way out. 

I feel as though I am having more and more bad days of late and that the stress and overwhelm in my life right now are really taking a toll on both my body and mind which in turn are also creating uncontrollable flare ups at times from the many physical issues that I’ve been dealing with for the better part of two months now since taking part in the clinical research trial on April 2nd. I feel like I’m in a constant fight or flight mode and I don’t know if many people can truly understand how tiring it can be to have to put on a brave face while pretending to be okay half the time or to try and stay strong when you are so close to the edge.

I have not shared with too many people to what extent I have been suffering right now physically as some of it is really quite personal and difficult to talk about but I will say that some days are extremely unbearable for me and I am scared. 

As I mentioned a couple of days ago in my blog:  https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2022/06/07/5782/ I had an EEG done as requested by the Neurologist under my care and I have an MRI scheduled for this coming Saturday night at 11:50 pm as first steps into the investigation process. In the meantime I had an appointment with my Psychiatrist this morning and he did inform me that he had already received a copy of the results of my EEG. He said I would need to speak with the Neurologist further (as Neurology is not his expertise) once both results have been calculated in order to get a full picture into what is going on but he wanted to let me know that a part of the EEG test did show some abnormalities (he gave me the technical term for it, which of course I googled right away). 

For now though as I anxiously await my MRI appointment on Saturday night I will just continue to put on a brave face while pretending to be okay and try to stay strong!

#eeg #mri #neurology #clinicaltrial #Psilocybin #treatmentresistantdepression #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #itsoktonotbeok #strength #youareenough #braveface #wheredidmommyssmilego

EEG

Last Friday I received a phone call from the Neurology clinic to schedule an appointment for an EEG in a few weeks time which the Neurologist I saw recently had requested, along with an MRI that I am still anxiously awaiting upon. They told me that they would put me on their cancellation list in case an appointment came up sooner. I thanked them, not expecting any small miracles.

But sure enough the clinic called me again this morning saying that they just had a cancellation for early this afternoon if I’d be able to come in today. I had some prior commitments on the go this afternoon, all of which I knew could easily be rescheduled and not as imminent.

I’m not very good at making decisions, especially ones that require last minute disruptions to my day but I also knew that somehow in that brief moment on the phone I had to make it work; which I did, even as my anxiety began to skyrocket I quickly tried to figure out how I was going to make this appointment happen with the greatest of ease.

When I arrived at the clinic, the technician took me into a small room right away, he had me lie down on a table, gave me a blanket and proceeded to explain the procedure to me as he pasted an abundance of wires to my scalp. He then asked that I relax, take several deep breaths, close my eyes and try to fall asleep. To no fault of his own he obviously didn’t know who he was dealing with because relaxing and sleep don’t co-exist in my vocabulary but it was very cute that he even tried! 

If only the EEG could actually read the thoughts that were going through my mind during the procedure, now that would be next level. In the meantime though I’m just so appreciative that they called me today and that I was able to go; it’s now one less stressor in my life and I’m also really, really grateful that I hadn’t washed my hair this morning!

#eeg #electrodes #cancellation #needtowashmyhair #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #neurology #psilocybin #researchtrial #nextsteps #convulsions #spasms #brainzaps #brainfog #tingling #numbness #shakiness #brainwaves #needtogowashmyhair

What A Bad Day With Depression Looks Like

*Trigger Warning* 

When battling Chronic Depression like I do, some days are more manageable than others but some days are just simply really, really bad. 

Yesterday was one of those really, really bad days for me. I can’t recall the last time I felt this bad. I’m very overwhelmed by so much in my life right now. It took everything in my power to make it through the day. It started with a trigger in the morning. I spiraled quickly from there. It hit me really hard and really unexpectedly, although I do feel now like it may have been building up all week. Suddenly I was paralyzed by fear. I felt helpless and worthless. I was angry with myself and as the day went on I felt more and more like I was drowning, gasping for air; trying desperately to stay afloat.

Sadness took over my entire body and mind yesterday. I couldn’t control my thoughts that just kept escalating with each passing hour. I couldn’t control my tears which came on at a warp speed and wouldn’t stop from dawn til dusk. I felt completely broken and was left wishing I could just go to sleep and never wake up again. Nothing seemed to help me. I just had to get through it, somehow.

The problems of yesterday haven’t disappeared but I am grateful to have somehow gotten through a really, really bad day. Today I was able to step outside long enough to breathe in the warmth of the sun and the sights and sounds of nature for a #summerofrich adventure in the city. Yesterday’s problems may not have disappeared but at least today I was afforded a fresh start. 

*Thank you Rich for continuing to hold my hand while I get through those really, really bad days. 

#itsoktonotbeok #abaddepressionday #nature #tears #mentalhealth #depression #mentalwellness #yesterday #today #afreshstart #suicideawareness #youarenotalone #youareenough 

Ontario Election

Niagara Falls

Yesterday was election day here in Ontario. The current Provincial government won by a landslide. I’m having a difficult time understanding how.

Back in July of 2018 shortly after Doug Ford was elected Premier I wrote a blog (https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/distress-centers-demi-lovato-doug-ford/). It was not specifically about him but it did however include my anger towards him and his government for just having cut 330 million dollars in funding per year that had been originally allocated for mental health services. 

Fast forward two years later to another blog I wrote in April of 2020 where I praised Doug Ford for his quick, take charge, no nonsense response to the Pandemic (https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2020/04/10/things-change-people-can-too/).

We were only 3 weeks in. What the heck did I know? What the heck did any of us know at the time? I may have been a bit too quick and a tad too naive to think that some people can change? I admit I may have jumped the gun on that one.

Well another two years have once again passed since then and my praises for the current government have long fallen back by the wasteside. 

I’m probably the least political person you will ever meet. I’m really just a very compassionate and empathetic advocate who feels big feelings for other people’s sufferings. I am also beyond blessed to live in an incredible country such as Canada  and a Province like Ontario that are both filled with so much beauty and diversity. 

As I begin to process my feelings of what the next four years could potentially look like for many of us and as I shudder to think what I will be writing about next  for now as we head into the weekend I am choosing to focus my attention on selfcare instead and some much needed #summerofrich time to remind myself just how incredibly blessed we truly are to be living in this beautifully diverse Province of ours.

What is the one thing you look most forward to about the weekend?

#electionday #electionscanada #provincialgovernment #healthcare #ouryouthmatter #education #environment #yourmentalhealthmatters #yourhealthmatters #ontarioproud #ohcanada #feelingworried #selfcare #beauty #diversity #mentalwellness #weekendvibes

Poetry Contest

That little but very boisterous voice inside my head, the one that is constantly telling me that I’m not good enough tried to stop me once again from fulfilling a dream of mine but somehow I found the strength to fight back this time just long enough to submit a poem I wrote to this year’s “CBC Poetry Prize” contest. 

I’ve known about the contest since it opened on April 1st, 2022 and I also knew that the deadline to enter was on May 31st at 11:59 PM. I finished the application process last night with TWO full hours to spare; I guess as they say, better late than never, right?

“The winner will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have the opportunity to attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and have their work published on CBC Books“. Four additional finalists will also be selected and receive $1000 each along with their work published on CBC Books as well. 

My chances of winning are probably slim to none (there’s that voice inside my head again) but today I’m just gonna give myself a pat on the back anyways and gently remind myself once again that no matter what happens I’m already a winner just by finding the strength to shut off the noise in my head long enough to hit the submit button before midnight! 

#cbcbooks #cbcpoetrycontest #strength #courage #poetry #contest #patontheback #noiseinmyhead #mentalhealth #iamenough #grandprize #creativity #writer #blogger #childrensbookauthor #agentlereminder

Is It A Panic Attack?

Today I needed to tune out the rest of the world somehow, even just for a short while. I needed to escape to the one place I find brings me the most peace and tranquility; hiking in nature.

I had a really trying week and by Friday night I was so mentally and physically exhausted. After we finished watching a movie I took a sleeping pill to ensure that I’d get some much needed rest which my body and mind were both screaming for. About 30 minutes later, still wide awake my heart began to race, I felt like I couldn’t swallow, I tried to get up but felt dizzy, my eyes blurred, my body was shaking all over, the tingling sensation I regularly feel of late in my hands and feet were suddenly pulsating throughout my entire body and then my body suddenly felt a numbness and my limbs felt heavy. By now I’d convinced myself I was having a stroke or something of that nature and tried to convince Rich as well as he caressed my arm to settle my panic. 

Panic attacks can often mimic themselves as something more alarming. As my panic attack grew more intense and more debilitating I feared that I needed immediate medical attention and that the sleeping pill I’d taken had now been wasted. I experience panic attacks a lot so I should be used to them by now but over the course of the past 2 months I’ve been living with many of these symptoms on a daily basis on a much different scale and so when they intensify to a level where I begin to panic it’s so hard to tell anymore if I’m in a fight or flight mode or if something else is causing it. But as the symptoms began to subside after about 20 to 30 minutes I knew it was a panic attack and nothing more. I could finally take a deep breath and allow the sleeping pill to work.

We’ve been finding trails close to home lately as the price of gas is just fucking insane right now but luckily there are many places to hike nearby. Sadly though there was a lot of damage in the forest from the storm last weekend. I was still feeling a bit off from last night but I knew how badly I needed it. 

Today’s #summerofrich hike reminded me of all the uphill battles and downward spirals I’ve endured over the last 8 years. It reminded me how many times I’ve lost my way over the last 8 years. It reminded me how many wrong turns I’ve taken, how many times I’ve felt so lost and how breathless and exhausted its left me but I was also reminded as we finished our hike that no matter how hard it gets, somehow I find the strength to climb the mountain tops, stepping over many broken branches along the way. 

#hiking #panicattacks #clinicaltrial #brokenbranches #mountaintops #nature #alltrails #peace #tranquility #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #strength #youarenotalone #youareenough #itsoktonotbeok 

Actively Listening

I have very regular interactions with my Psychiatrist. He actively listens and supports me and continues to play a crucial role in managing my health.

As I mentioned recently I have developed several neurological issues that came about while taking part in a clinical research trial for Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms) close to two months ago where I literally convulsed and spasmed for nearly six hours during the treatment. Some of these issues which are rare, difficult to treat and almost unheard of have become increasingly more concerning, unmanageable and very difficult to talk about. These physical setbacks have also helped play a role in the decline of my mental health over the last many weeks. 

I am so incredibly grateful though to have such an amazing team of caring doctors and mental health professionals in my corner who continue to actively listen and support me through every step of my journey and especially at times like this when I am feeling extra scared and embarrassed. 

Knowing that I have such a wonderful team behind me who actively listen to me feels good. When someone is actively listening it means their attention is focused on the other person with the intent to understand, ask questions, interpret, reflect on what they hear and evaluate all aspects of what you are telling them; with empathy and without judgment. These types of communication skills can be very interchangeable and beyond beneficial to have.

I had an appointment yesterday with my Psychiatrist where I updated him on where I was at with my physical and mental health since we last spoke. I also updated him on my appointment I’d had several days earlier with the Neurologist he had referred me to and let him know I am awaiting upon appointments for both an MRI and EEG scan. He spent our entire appointment actively listening to everything I was telling him and was already thinking two steps ahead with other treatment options and referrals in hand.

Active listening builds trusting and strong relationships, it enables you to better identify problems and helps you build more knowledge of a situation. My journey toward wellness over the last 8 years has taken me on a very winding road with a great deal of trial and error but as I said above I am so eternally grateful to have such an incredible team of caring doctors and mental health professionals in my corner, as well as a loving and supportive group of friends and family who are always looking out for me and actively listening in order to ensure that no matter what, I continue to move forward ❤️. 

#activelistening #supportteam #nextsteps #clinicaltrial #Psilocybin #mentalhealth #physicalsetbacks #Neurology #depression #anxiety #suicideawareness #empathy #trust #mentalwellness #trialanderror #windingroad #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #youareenough

Facebook memory repost: May 25, 2020

This day, two years ago I experienced one of my proudest moments. It was no ordinary day, infact it was an extraordinary one. 

As I look back today on what I accomplished that day two years ago and ever since then with my graduation lawn sign initiative I am gently reminded that in a world filled with so much darkness and hate there is still so much kindness and compassion. 

Today, as we come to terms with the grim reality of yet another senseless and tragic school shooting in the US yesterday, the world is standing together to mourn the heartbreaking loss of 19 precious and sacred young lives lost along with their two beautiful and heroic teachers in Ulvalde, Texas I wanted to dedicate this moment to them, their families and their community who in the face of evil and lives cut short will never be given the chance to celebrate a graduation ceremony or any other milestones or rites of passage that they so deserved.

As we all go about our regular lives today while still holding this senseless tragedy in our hearts I also wanted to leave you with these heart-wrenching words which were posted last night on Facebook by a father mourning the most unthinkable trauma imaginable after losing his daughter in the massacre yesterday as a gentle reminder to all of us; “Please don’t take a second for granted. Hug your family. Tell them you love them.” ~ Angel Garza, father of 10 year old Amerie Jo.

#heartbroken #senselesstragedy #kindnessandcompassion #enoughisenough #guncontrolnow #agentlereminder #hugyourfamily #tellthemyoulovethem #mentalhealth #schoolmassacre #ouryouthmatter #itsoktonotbeok #youareenough @agentlereminderproject

TOXIC FAMILY; THE TIES THAT UNBIND *may be triggering for some*

Some of my writings come more easily to me than others. This however was one of those times it did not. I’ve been really struggling to finish this blog for quite some time now, mostly because in my heart I kept hoping there could be a different ending to it but for my own mental and physical health which have both been equally suffering of late I somehow needed to close one of the chapters of my story that triggers much of my distress.

I am surrounded by so much kindness and support in my life both from loved ones and strangers alike, it truly is immeasurable, but what if the one place you expect it from the most is just too far from your reach?

I grew up in a home with two parents who showed their love in two very different ways through two VERY different styles of parenting (I wrote about one of those parenting styles several months ago: https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2021/12/15/helicopter-parenting/). They clashed constantly over their parenting styles (I guess it’s no surprise they are no longer married!) and as a result I found myself caught in the crossfire. Unfortunately though it was only after I became ill and began to untangle many impressionable memories from my childhood through hours upon hours of therapy that I finally began to understand how much of my upbringing left me feeling so inadequate and unworthy later on in my life.

Family bonds us and is also supposed to keep us strong and safe. Unfortunately though not every family unit follows that same pattern and sometimes it may mean having to cut ties with a loved one. That is not to say that you ever lose that yearning for their love or approval, it just means you can’t have a relationship with them. Removing yourself from a toxic family relationship is sometimes the only way to help you heal; and sometimes in order to move toward that place of healing you may have to leave some things or some relationships behind in order to do so. 

The wounds that get left behind may never fully heal but the boundaries you set are a great first step toward forgiveness in your heart which in itself I know can be very healing.

You can’t change someone who doesn’t see any issue with their actions which is why sometimes you have to take that first step on your own and if I’ve learned anything over the last many years it’s that if you allow yourself to live in a world filled with guilt or continually let things slide to keep the peace it will only create more hurt inside of you. 

Sometimes our loved ones who we believe should protect us or love us unconditionally may not have it in them or have the capability to be what we need them to be or like them to be but we can respect them for who they are which sadly may need to be from a distance. 

There comes a point when the relationship may be causing you more harm than good, when plenty of chances have been given, when you are made to feel like everything you do is wrong, when you feel abandoned, when they are constantly criticizing you behind your back, when it’s difficult to communicate your feelings for fear of being criticized to your face, when nothing you say or do is ever good enough, when they make you feel guilty, when they manipulate, blame or gaslight you, when they can never apologize for their mistakes, when you’re always feeling let down, when you have to beg them for their time or never make you a priority, when you always feel like you are walking on eggshells and can never just be yourself around them, when they don’t hear you, when they violate your boundaries or can’t respect the word no, when your feelings are ignored and your limitations invalidated or when seeing them only sparks negative emotions or leaves you more emotionally drained after an encounter with them then as difficult as it may be, cutting off contact all together may be the healthiest thing for you to do. 

I’ve experienced a wave of emotions while writing this; relief, sadness, anxiety, guilt. I’ve given up hoping they’ll change. I’ve given up fantasizing that one day they will see how much they have hurt me or made me feel unworthy of their love. That is beyond my control. I’ve told them how I feel too many times to count. I’ve told them how they make me feel more times than I can remember and more importantly I’ve told them what I need from them. 

I know many people will read this and think, “but they’re your family”, or “life is too short”. Toxic is TOXIC whether you share the same DNA or not and you are right, life is too short, too short that is to do anything other than what’s best for you, especially when it comes to your mental and physical health. 

You don’t owe anyone an explanation and no one gets to decide what is best for you, afterall you are the CEO of your life which means you are the only one who gets to promote, demote or terminate the people you choose to surround yourself with. 

*thank you to my friend who had sent me the original quote by Tony Gaskins a while back. I’ve read it a thousand times since and have been saving it for just the right moment*.

Original quote ~ “Evaluate the people in your life; then promote, demote or terminate. You’re the CEO of your life!” Tony Gaskins, Motivational Speaker.

#toxicfamily #toxicrelationships #selfworth #selfcareisnotselfish #empowerment #youarenotalone #youareenough #itsoktosayno #familymatters #DNA #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #yourmentalhealthmatters

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