Monday Motivation: Crushing Your Dreams

Two years ago today, August 16th,  2019 was one of the happiest and most fulfilling days of my life when the first ever copies of my brand new, hot off the press children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” arrived on my front porch. 

I had just spent the previous year and a half working on it from start to finish which included writing, editing, working with my fabulous illustrator and finding the “perfect” and most patient company to help me self-publish it. 

For the next four plus months I worked non stop trying to get my book into as many hands as possible. I attended one event after another, reached out to  Mental Health Advocates on Social Media, got it on the shelves of some independent bookstores in Toronto, sold it at large retail chains, made several National Television and Radio appearances, was interviewed by local Newspapers, gave book talks at Preschooler/Mommy & Me programs and I had just begun filling up my calendar for the new year with book talks on Mental Health at Elementary Schools as well. 

And I had endless possibilities still up my sleeve.

I met so many incredible people along the way. I also had such incredible support from so many fantastic friends, family, acquaintances and strangers alike.

It felt like my dreams were coming true. I felt like I had purpose and I even felt like royalty somedays, especially when I attended my fabulous book launch party that Fall in my honour, hosted by a friend and her husband.  

And then, BOOM💥, 2020 hit and it hit hard. I got a concussion on day two of the new year which put me out of commission for close to a month and then the Pandemic hit us all in March and then in June of 2020 I found out, just by dumb luck that my Publisher had closed his business after 35 years, without any warning to his clients or a simple courtesy email or thank you.  Instead he disappeared without a trace and took with him, several thousands of dollars of Grant money which had been gifted to me by a prominent Mental Health Organization along with any additional inventory of mine they had held on to for safe keeping for my personal use and my Amazon account.  

To say I felt defeated is an understatement. One obstacle after another left me feeling purposeless again and very broken. It was the final blow. My dreams felt crushed.

I wanted to give up completely. I didn’t see any point in continuing.

How was I ever going to move forward from this especially knowing I now needed to somehow find a way to republish my book. We were in the midst of a global Pandemic and money was extremely tight.

But how could I give up on my dream that I’d worked so hard for and wanted more than anything? How could I let anyone dull my sparkle?

Surrendering to my current situation was difficult to accept. The “what ifs” controlled my every waking moment, making it even more difficult to forgive myself and somehow find the strength to move forward. 

I took some time to figure out if I could somehow save my dream even though it felt too crushed to repair. 

I leaned on my support system for encouragement and reassurement even more. I didn’t want to give up on my dream even if it felt crushed beyond repair and that my anxiety and depression had taken over my ability to pivot my way through this, especially during a global Pandemic. 

I began slowly trying to rebuild my dream by learning how to use technology I’d never even knew existed before in order to keep my book relevant. I knew that with each passing month of the Pandemic there were more and more people in need of my voice and my book.

I kept reminding myself this was not my fault. 

I am still actively looking to republish my book when I am ready and able to and this time I plan to take everything I have learned through this process into account when choosing a new publisher to work with. I am wiser now.

I am also so grateful to still have copies of my book in my possession which has allowed me to continue promoting it in the meantime. And of course with the help of technology and social media I’ve found so many new and innovative ways of doing so during a Pandemic through guest spots on Podcasts, Book Talks and Conferences on Zoom, pre-recorded story times, Google meet-ups with Non-Profit Organizations and Facebook/Instagram lives.

These obstacles I’ve endured since January 2020 have taught me many important lessons. My dream has never changed. My vision hasn’t either.

It may feel crushed beyond repair but like so many of us have had to do over the last 17 months, I am learning to pivot. Pivots in life do not equate to failure. Pivoting simply allows new doors to open and new dreams to come true.

#crushingmydreams #pivoting #childrensbook #author #dreamsdocometrue #selfpublishing #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #depression #anxiety #failure #mentalhealthadvocate #blogger #youareenough

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

Que Sera Sera

As the new year quickly approaches I’m not gonna lie to you and say that I have very high hopes or any sort of expectations for the year ahead and if I’m to be completely honest here, I’ve felt like I’ve been walking on eggshells as the previous six new years approached too, so why set myself up for any further disappointment. 

Around this time every year since my illness began in 2014 I have received countless, well intentioned end of year messages of hope and healing from friends, loved ones and acquaintances alike, all of whom confidently assure me that this next year things will be better for me or promise me that this is going to be my year!! 

And I do sincerely appreciate each and every one of these messages (I really do!) because I know that they are all coming from a place of love and a kind heart but my track record thus far has been 0 in 6 and so when the end of each year nears and I reflect back on these words of hope and healing I can’t help but feel in a sense like I’ve let everyone around me down, AGAIN.

In all fairness though, this year has fucking sucked for all of us. It hasn’t been a very promising year for most of us and instead it was met with tremendous loss, uncertainty and immense tragedy for many more. 

2020 has taken a lot out of us all and who could have ever imagined what was to come as the clock struck midnight on January 1st and we kissed and hugged our loved ones and sent messages of hope and healing for a better year than last.

I do want more than anything for 2021 to be my year, I truly want it to be a better year for me (I mean who wouldn’t), and for EVERYONE else too, but 2020 has broke me and it wasn’t all Covid-19’s doing. 

By the time the Coronavirus was declared a world wide Pandemic in mid March I had already spent close to a month in bed with a concussion (starting January 2nd) during which time my mom then broke her hip, needed surgery and spent 6 weeks in hospital/rehab but the icing on the cake came when Rich lost his job.

Yup, all this happened before March ever even rolled around and it’s been one big shit show ever since including several new obstacles we’ve had to face recently, just as the year is finally coming to a close.

So maybe it’s best for now that we don’t make any special promises or declarations or speculations to one another; at least not yet. Lets see how 2021 looks upon first glance, at least give it a few days to settle in, let it get comfortable, ease it in slowly and take baby steps so we don’t frighten it. Maybe if we don’t make any sudden moves or let it see us coming with our overly confident promises, declarations or speculations, maybe if we just let it do its thing, then maybe we will all be pleasantly surprised!

Thank you all once again for your continued love and support through this past year and beyond. You will never know how much your words and actions truly touch my heart.

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and safe New Year and oh ya, please stay home too!

#happynewyear #goodriddance2020 #queserasera #whateverwillbewillbe #walkingoneggshells #youareenough #youarenotalone #wereallinthistogether #strongertogether #kindness #mentalhealth #checkonyourlovedones 

My Silver Linings Playbook Of 2020

In case you didn’t get the memo, 2020 has been a pretty rough year for all of us in some way or another. For myself, this year started off with a great big bang and it honestly feels as though it never lets up. Infact, just days ago Rich and I found ourselves taking note of this after facing several new challenges of late which have only added on to the many recurring and verifiably overwhelming obstacles we have already been facing this year; all of which seem likely to follow us right into the new year.  

Life fucking sucks right now in more ways than you can possibly imagine and in more ways than I’m willing to share publically at the moment. But as mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting as this year has been, today I am going to focus on the “Silver Linings” that have come about while being smacked in the face by so much adversity in 2020.

As I mentioned in a recent Blog (https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2020/12/09/noone-knows-what-the-future-holds-valuable-lessons-learned-from-2020) this year has taught us many valuable lessons and given us many teachable moments as well and many of these lessons and moments have given us opportunities to create a silver lining during the Pandemic too.

For starters the Pandemic gave me the push to get out and start walking almost every single day and explore my surroundings more than ever before. It also gave me the incentive to go on probably double, if not triple the amount of hikes than all the previous years combined and for a good 8 months I walked between 5 and 12 km almost every single day since the original lockdown began in mid March until about a month ago when the weather began to change. I don’t do winter very well!

Another silver lining and great accomplishment for me this year was when I decided to create my “Class of 2020” Graduation lawn sign Initiative back in April to celebrate our very deserving 2020 Graduates and give many, many families and friends a way to honour them as well. And thanks to the incredible generosity of so many of those friends and families in the GTHA I never could have imagined that I would also have successfully raised over $10k for Kids Help Phone at the same time. It was definitely a very proud moment for me in my lifetime. 

It also led to several other accomplishments as well, like the opportunity to share my story to many platforms and with many amazing non profit organizations as well and one such piece of my writing was recently published in a new book called “The Corona Silver Linings Anthology” where others just like myself from all over the world got to share some of their stories, experiences and life lessons during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The book was just released a few days ago and is now available for sale on Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/Corona-Silver-Linings-Anthology/dp/149583090X/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_pl_foot_top?ie=UTF8&fbclid=IwAR15369DXWJcmlYdbEVKpLtl1S6frObLa2cwQIJbhQ4IeRItDONNABJe2y8

And finally, 2020 has also given me the opportunity to spend actual quality time with my kids, something that as many of us know all too well becomes more and more challenging as they get older.

We have watched many movies together, taken several hikes together and engaged in many valuable dinnertime conversations together too. My kids have been great teachers for me this year and have taught me a thing or two about the true meaning of resilience.

What has been one of the silver linings in your life this year or one of the best things to have happened to you or for you this past year?

#silverlinings #2020 #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #selfcare #happynewyear #soulsearching #spiritualhealing

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

A Labour of Love

In mid December shortly after I did my interview on Global TV’s “The Morning Show” to discuss my children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go? and the impact that Mental Illness can have on a family I decided that I had to take a much needed Mental Health break to regroup as it had just become too much for me (which I wrote about several times in late December and early January on my Blog). 

I figured it was the perfect time to take a break right before the start of the busy holiday season and right before the start of a new cycle of upcoming events I had booked for the new year. One of the first things I wanted to do at the beginning of 2020 (after my much needed rest) was to start exploring more ways to market my book; my list I had made months earlier was only getting longer and it felt endless and mostly unattainable to me that I began a downward spiral and giving up seemed like the best option.

January hit me like a ton of bricks and literally knocked me off my feet and there I was on the first of the month stressing out that I needed to get back to my list like I had promised myself three weeks earlier and then BOOM; January 2nd the stress and overwhelm of so many things combined turned to panic and before I knew it, February was here and I had just spent close to a month in bed recuperating from a concussion caused by fainting 3 to 4 times the day after the new year began. And aside from the personal marketing I was still doing on my social media pages and Amazon account, February was no better for several other reasons and then before I knew it another month was gone and I really began feeling like giving up was truly the only option.

But there I was, heading into March and finally starting to tackle my list once again and rebook events and book talks I had to cancel because of my concussion and well at this point in time the next one hundred plus days of 2020 need no further explanation. When I decided to create my book from a poem I had written as nothing more than an ode to my children, I never really considered trying to have it published through a “Traditional” publisher. I knew that by trying to go that route could take years and I also knew that I would have to basically give up all my rights and vision to it. 

I’ve had a really difficult week and a bit just now and I am feeling very defeated, worthless and sad and once again giving up feels like the only option more than ever. My book was written as a “Labour of Love” and I never set out to publish it with the intention to become a New York Times Bestseller. My best intentions were to help other families like mine feel less alone in their journey and help children understand and cope with their feelings when someone they love is suffering with Depression, which I believe I have done. 

Albert Einstein once said “Strive not to be a success but rather to be of value.” which has always been my main goal since the beginning by striving to help others. With every single page (from the front cover to the back) I had a vision that was brought to life by my incredible illustrator; the bright, colourful and truly inviting illustrations represent each one of my family members and the story itself is so personal to me but recently I did speak with a “Traditional” publisher who basically wanted to take my “Labour of Love” and recreate it for what they promise to be “A New York Times Bestseller”.

Here’s the thing I told them that I will never change the integrity of my “Labour of Love” and take away from my vision or intent no matter what. This conversation set me back, I mean it set me way back, but it didn’t end there because the other day I went to look something up on my current Publisher’s website and saw that they were “temporarily closed” due to Covid-19 which I found odd but it was only upon reopening their website again that very same day that Google told me that they were now “permanently closed”.  36 years of self-publishing books, gone or more like disappeared I should say because their phone number and email addresses have both been disconnected and they still hold money and product of mine!

Is someone trying to send me a sign? And if so is it a good sign???

#wheredidmommyssmilego #amazondotca #childrensbook #author #blogger #youareenough #children #bekindtoyourself #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #mentalillness #mentalhealth #itsoktonotbeok #suicide #alberteinstein #givemeasign #concussion #selfpublish #2020sucks

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

So Long January

January is behind me now and all I can say about that is good riddance to you and don’t let the cold air hit you in the face on the way out.  I had big intentions for January which included great forethought and planning after purposely taking some much needed downtime for myself for much of December. Yes January, you really let me down big time but you also taught me a thing or two about myself as well. 

I spent the month resting and for the better part of it I needed to do so in order to recuperate from my concussion but at the same time I got quite comfortable doing so, possibly too comfortable. As someone who battles with depression everyday, it’s not ideal to want to be in bed all day and night, even if you may need to.  I have to say though that one thing that helped me survive the month of January was believe it or not, Social Media.

I’m not afraid to admit it but I love Facebook and I’m not gonna apologize for it either, nor do I have any intentions to use it less, in fact I need to use it even more… intentionally.  Facebook and other forms of Social Media have become a place for me to express myself, engage in meaningful conversations, inspire and be inspired, motivate and be motivated and a place where I have created many genuine and intentional friendships as well.  

Social Media has allowed me to speak my truth, help others speak their truth and when I need a little extra emotional support I know that my online community is always there for me. Trust me I have lots of emotional support from my “real” friends and family too but just knowing how many people I have cheering me on from the sidelines is a true blessing.

Since starting my blog and publishing my book I’ve needed Social Media more than ever and I have learned how to navigate it with the greatest intent of continuing to keep building a bigger and better platform to ensure my message is heard and heard loudly. I’m having a hard time getting back on track and just so overwhelmed right now but hopefully February has much better intentions for me!  At least there is one thing I know for sure that February has in store, only 47 more days until Spring!

#bekindtoyourself #startaconversation #socialmedia #facebook #twitter #instagram #blogger #childrensauthor #wheredidmommyssmilego #amazondotca #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough #courage #goodriddancejanuary #intent #intention #buildingaplatform #mentalillness #selfcare #mentalwellness

Holding Myself Accountable

So I’ve made it 12 days now without smoking a cigarette. The first week was pretty easy compared to the days that have followed. I thought it was supposed to get easier over time but clearly I was wrong. Maybe it’s because during that first week I was much less mobile still due to my concussion and once I started to feel better I began to miss it more?

That first day I quit smoking it wasn’t a rash decision, it was something I had been thinking about for quite awhile, well probably for years but that day I finally felt ready. I hadn’t discussed my decision with anyone, not even Rich because I didn’t want to disappoint him if I didn’t follow through with it but once I smoked that last cigarette in my pack and did not attempt to purchase a new pack I felt like the only way I was going to make it through day one was by holding myself accountable. 

Holding yourself accountable for something is more than just taking responsibility for your actions but in the long run it’s more about being able to answer to those actions. That is why I didn’t just send Rich a quick text message that morning while he was at work letting him know the good news, I also took to Facebook, WordPress, Instagram and Twitter to let everyone else know too! 

If I didn’t tell anyone my plan to quit smoking that day then I’d have had no accountability for my actions, I’d have had no one to disappoint if I didn’t follow through with my actions and I’d have had no real incentive for my actions. By telling you my plan to quit smoking that day has helped make the process and my progress much more meaningful knowing just how invested so many of you are in helping me achieve my goals successfully. I’m glad I have so many of you in my life to help motivate me and always keep me accountable. 
#accountability #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #depression #anxiety #mentalillness #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #youarenotalone #selfcare #ichooseme #concussion #quitsmoking #daytwelve






Puzzle Time

Now that my concussion symptoms have subsided what better way to work on improving some of my cognitive skills that have been severely lacking over the last few weeks than with a brand new puzzle!

#itsbeenawhile #ilovepuzzles #cognitiveskills #itsoktonotbeok #ichooseme #youarenotalone #youareenough #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #fifteenhundredpieces #ravensburger

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