I Need To Climb That Mountain First

It was exactly one year ago today that I made one of the most courageous decisions of my life. I should be shouting from the rooftops today that I am one year smoke free but instead I am sitting here beating myself up (as usual) as I write this because at some point in mid July after being smoke free for 6 whole months, I gave into my urge to smoke and gave myself yet another reason to feel like a failure. 

A great many of you have probably already heard this story many times over the past year so bear with me as I tell it one more time for those of you who haven’t heard it before. It was a year ago today that I lay in bed on day fourteen of 2020 (you know, that time when we still thought 2020 was gonna be a great year). I  was recuperating from a concussion that had occurred the day after New Year’s Day from a fainting episode (see I already knew better than to think 2020 was gonna be a great year).  By now, smoking was becoming less and less enjoyable to me as I continued to battle the ongoing symptoms of my concussion and just knowing that the last thing I had done before the concussion occurred was smoke a cigarette (well only half to be exact since I had to put it out quickly as I was feeling like I may faint) it was also beginning to cause me several symptoms of PTSD as well every time I attempted to light up.

I know from everyone’s words of encouragement and supportive dialogue back in July when I told you that I started smoking again that I should not be beating myself up today or any other day for that matter and that I should also not be seeing it as yet another failure in my life but my depressive mind just won’t see it any other way. 

I was quite proud of myself when I quit that day and for several months that followed I hardly missed it at all but like with most addictions or addictive behaviours, sometimes we may have to try many times before we can actually get it right. 

By the time July rolled around I was in a very dark place and the cravings were overwhelming me and so I gave in or as my inner critic would tell me, I gave up. You see, smoking is, in it’s own sick way very soothing for me and it helps to relax me when I’m feeling conflicted or anxious but still I can’t help but feel like I have not only failed myself but my husband and children too every time I light up.

I think about quitting every day and just about every time I have a cigarette.  The effects that come from smoking are back to where they were a year ago and you would think that would be a good enough reason to quit, but unlike a year ago I’m just not in a place right now that I feel I could be successful if I tried.

At least I know that when I’m good and ready to that I can always try again since I’ve already done it before (and more than once). But for now I just have too many other mountains I’m trying to climb first and the thought of not having that pack of cigarettes in my pocket as I attempt to climb to the top of that mountain is like forgetting to put on your helmet or tie on your harness as you start to climb.

Thank you for continuing to follow my journey and for not giving up on me as I attempt to climb that mountain.  

#climbingmountains #addictions #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #dontsufferinsilence #yourmentalhealthmatters #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #panicattacks #selfcare #suicideawareness #endthestigmatogether #innercritic #bekindtoyourself

Tied Up In Knots

*I just thought I’d preface this Blog by letting you know that it has been a particularly hard one to write.*

I’ve mentioned recently that I’ve needed a break lately because my mental health has been on a downward spiral. Since I began sharing my journey with you I have done so with the utmost honestly that which has always included open conversations about many of the most intimate and raw moments in my life. But there is still so much I don’t share with you or won’t share for that matter and lately it’s just been so difficult to share much at all (good or bad).

Right now I feel as though both my body and mind are tangled together in one gigantic ball of knots which feels like it’s getting harder and harder to undo each day. I do have moments where I manage to unravel some of the knots or at least loosen them up but before I can catch my breath again they just tighten back up, somedays even more than before.

If I can quote myself here for a brief moment from a Blog I wrote last week titled: Give Me A Break where I said “Everyone has varying degrees of stress that they deal with but when battling with daily symptoms of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideations at the same time can make it particularly difficult to manage.”; and sometimes when this is happening we feel the need to turn to a place of comfort to help us heal and unfortunately that can sometimes include old habits, which is exactly where I found myself at about a week ago.

I hate myself more than ever right now for writing this or for even thinking it out loud, but last week I bought my first pack of cigarettes in almost six months. This week I should be celebrating that I haven’t had a cigarette in six months but instead I am sitting here in shame (and with tears in my eyes) telling you a very different story.

To think that I had made it almost six months without lighting up a cigarette even though I’ve wanted to many, many, MANY times makes me just want to throw up. I feel like an even bigger failure, I mean who wouldn’t, right?

When I made the decision to quit smoking on January 14th while still recovering from a concussion that had occurred on the morning of January 2nd no one could have ever imagined what lay ahead. 2020 has pretty much sucked for most of the world but the Pandemic alone is not what led me to go buy that pack of cigarettes seeing as most of what is going on in my life presently began way before the Pandemic ever did.

Has the Pandemic amplified the urgency of certain issues, 1000 percent it has and smoking had always been there for me in the past to help calm me and although I have reaped the many benefits from the nicotine withdrawal itself, the actual habit of smoking a cigarette has always been on my mind.

Research shows that it can actually take an average smoker 30 attempts before they quit. The good news is that I’m not really enjoying smoking like I did in the past, nor am I smoking nearly what I used to so my plan this time around is to take it slowly and try a different approach, one which allows me to unravel one knot at a time before I even attempt to try and loosen up another one.

Please continue to follow my journey at:
https://youareenough712.wordpress.com

#youareenough #bekindtoyourself #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #mentalillness #suicideprevention #selfcare #allinknots #smoking #imsuchafailure #addiction #comfortzone #oldhabits #theguilt #feelinghelpless

Our Own Walk

About a month prior to the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic I had registered my family to participate in a Walk for CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) in support of #MOBYSSinmotion; a confidential mobile Walk-in-Clinic for Youth and a wonderful resource for our young people who may be facing crisis right now.

CMHA has played an important role in my life over the last 6 years and I had donated some proceeds from my book sales last year as a thank you for the services they provide to both adults and youth in Canada which was why I wanted to participate in the event and why I didn’t want today to go unnoticed so I found a picture perfect place for us to enjoy a beautiful hike on our own in honour of the walk/run/bike event since it was of course cancelled. 

Oh and I should also mention that it was 5 months ago today since I had my last cigarette!

#cmha #cmhayorksimcoe #MOBYSS #hiking #waterfalls #felkersfalls #waterfallsinontatio #niagaraescarpment #ontarioisourstodiscover #thegreatoutdoors #mentalwellness #selfcare #ichooseme #youarenotalone #youareenough #ouryouthmatter #wereallinthistogether #strongertogether #summerofrich #summerofrichcoronastyle #family #familymatters #nosmoking #wheredidmommyssmilego

Will The Cravings Ever Stop?

It’s been a hundred and thirty something days since I’ve had a cigarette, not a hundred and thirty something days since I’ve desired a cigarette but a hundred and thirty something days since I last smoked one. There are many days (and nights) that go by now where I barely even think about smoking anymore but the days that I do are fucking hell and last night was probably the worst I’ve experienced, even more so than the first few days after I quit back in January. You all remember January; that cold, dark, dreary month of the year that we all wish we could go back in time to right now. Boy what I’d give to go back there now in a heartbeat, with my concussion and all!

Last night I had a panic attack which only exasperated the exhaustion and overwhelm I was already experiencing and I suddenly felt like a junkie who would do just about anything to get their next “fix”. If you have ever suffered with an addiction of any kind before (drug, alcohol, gambling etc) you can relate to how out of control I felt from my “need” to smoke NOW. I begged Rich to get me a pack of cigarettes and I began envisioning myself sitting on my front porch enjoying the beautiful spring air and thinking that having just 1 cigarette wouldn’t be a big deal at all. 

It’s nights like this that have me thinking I will never be free of cigarettes. But then again is there really a specific timeline as to how long it should take a smoker of over 30 years to fully stop having the desire to smoke?

#iquit #smokefree #youareenough #panicattack #anxiety #depression #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #ahundredandthirtysomethingdays #nonsmoker #cravings 

Who’s Counting?

It’s been 4 Months, 121 Days, 2,907 Hours, 174,240 Minutes and 10,454,400 Seconds (give or take!) since I smoked my last cigarette; but who’s counting? 🚬🤷‍♀️🤦‍♀️🙋‍♀️

#thelongestfourmonthsever #concussion #quitsmoking #coldturkey #smokefree #covid19 #coronavirus #mentalhealth #physicalhealth #youareenough #istillcraveiteveryday #holdingmyselfaccountable

One Hundred Days

It’s been ONE HUNDRED days since I smoked my last cigarette. By my own calculations (I’ve never been great at math) that’s approximately 1200 cigarettes I haven’t smoked and approximately 725 dollars in savings. 

Both are quite significant achievements don’t ya think?  Both are definitely noteworthy right? Then why is it still so hard? Why is it that I just want to smoke one more cigarette even though I can see (and feel) all the incredible benefits from not smoking. And if there is to be a #summerofrich this year (an abridged version would do!!) that means that physically there will be no mountain I cannot climb and just hearing one of my daughters tell me that I am now that much less vulnerable to the risks associated with Covid-19 if I were to (G-d forbid) contract it should be reason enough to never want to smoke another cigarette ever again, but mentally of course, mentally, I hear a much different story in my head.

Cigarettes had become a crutch for me over the last 6 years, a way to release stress, manage an anxiety attack, quiet the thoughts in my head (I never hesitated to step outside at 2am for a cigarette to help “quiet the thoughts” when I couldn’t sleep) or calm the panic but what would happen if I were to give into my triggers or mental cravings right now?

Would it take away the overwhelm or change the situation we are living in or make everything better? Or would it simply just give those nasty, vicious voices dancing around in my head another reason to make me feel like a complete failure and a worthless human being?

So my question is; if timing is everything then was my choice to quit smoking ONE HUNDRED days ago one which was made with “infinite possibilities” or some kind of “meaningful coincidence”? 

#smokefree #onehundreddays #onedayatatime #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #2020sucks #iquit #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #covid19 #itstheclimb #lawofattraction #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #selfcare #ichooseme 

Things Change, People Can Too

Two years ago this coming July I wrote a blog titled “Distress Centers, Demi Lovato & Doug Ford” that I wanted to share with you again today because I feel like it is quite relevant to our life right now. A lot has changed since I first wrote this blog including my reference to being a smoker for over 30 years because as you all know by now, I no longer am! 

Something else that has changed since writing this blog on July 29, 2018 was my great dislike at the time for our then newly elected Premier of Ontario; Doug Ford, but over the last six weeks he has really grown on me ALOT as he continues everyday to prove to the people of Ontario (and Canada) what the true definition of a leader and a mensch are.

He has stepped up to the plate and  gone above and beyond what’s in his actual job description and shows his genuine concern and compassion “for the people”.  I can’t say for sure I will continue to feel the same way about him after the crisis is finally over but for now I don’t think we could ask for a better man (or woman) for the job.

Something else that this particular blog touches upon is addiction, our mental health and asking for help. Our mental health is imperative right now and figuring out ways to ensure that we take the very best care of both our bodies and minds. 

I fear that more and more people are going to come through this Pandemic with new or worsening addiction and mental health issues, both young and old. And being in quarantine many may not realize that if they are feeling vulnerable, alone or scared that help is just a text or phone call away. 

But taking that first step to reach out to someone can feel next to impossible for many, but will also be the greatest thing that you do for yourself so if you are feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed and need to talk to someone, Kids Help Phone and 310-COPE are just two of many helplines that are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; they are the definition of an essential service!

https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/distress-centers-demi-lovato-doug-ford

#dougford #demilovato #kidshelpphone #helplines #ourpremier #essentialservices #addiction #mentalillness #mentalhealth #selfcare #ichooseme #youarenotalone #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence #masksoff #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #endthestigmatogether 

Life is a Gamble

Boy did I pick the wrong decade to quit smoking. I came very close to caving today, probably the closest I’ve come in the 2 months since quitting. My mental health has gotten the best of me. I went to the store today where I’ve been buying my cigarettes for years, the woman working behind the counter asked me how I am doing and of course the tears began flowing down my cheeks as I stood there staring right through her at the shelving of cigarettes mounted to the wall above her head. I wiped away my tears, took a deep breath and decided maybe winning the lottery was a better choice for me today instead.

#ourluckhastochange #lottomax #olg #lottery #addictions #cravings #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough #covid19 #coronavirus #anxiety #depression #masksoff #smokefree #sixtytwodays

The Big 5-0

Fifty days smoke-free today! 50 is a pretty big number don’t ya think? But I’m not gonna lie, the road to get here has not been an easy one. There has been an exorbitant amount of overwhelm in my life over the last 50 days. Many days I’ve wanted to “quit” quitting smoking, many days I’ve walked by second hand smoke and inhaled it, only dreaming of lighting up myself but the cravings are getting less and less each day and so too are my triggers.

Addiction of any kind is difficult to maneuver and is a constant battle; kudos to everyone who conquers their quest every single day. I don’t know if there will ever be a day where I don’t think about smoking but for today I choose to crush my cravings and not give into temptation!

So for today can I get a Woot Woot or a high five please!! 👐🤜🤛🙌✊

#fiftydays #nextgoalonehundreddays #smokefree #crushyourcravings #iquit #youareenough #ichooseme #addictions #highfive #wootwoot

Day 40

Day 40 smoke-free; I think a victory lap is definitely in order today!

#smokefree #iquit #nosmoking #fortydays #timeflies #victorylap #selfcare #ichooseme #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #youareenough

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