After The “But”

As my “Class of 2021” graduation initiative comes to a close this week I will have sold AND delivered over a thousand lawn signs since it began last spring and raised over $15,000 for youth mental health. 

During this time I’ve been blessed to meet so many amazing and kind people, some of whom I now call my friend. 

I’ve also made some incredible connections along the way. 

I’ve started relevant, much needed and VERY important conversations. 

And I’ve listened as many others have shared with me some of the most heart-wrenching struggles they’ve faced or are currently going through with their own mental health or that of a loved one. 

Overall this has been one of the most purposeful, meaningful and rewarding experiences of my life, especially knowing that I have helped bring smiles to so many faces (both young and old alike) and maybe even brightened up their day. And it also feels really good knowing that in some small way I am helping to make a positive change for our young people today.

BUT, (and there is always a “but” with me), there have also been many, many days throughout this process where the overwhelm of what I do behind the scenes and the hours upon hours I’ve spent making sure that my campaign is the greatest possible success takes a gigantic toll on my mental health. 

And this past week while already feeling vulnerable and defeated has been no exception. 

As many of you already know, I was placing my final order to go to print earlier this week. This included a sign for someone who had literally contacted me last weekend only hours prior to my twelve midnight cutoff. 

We ended up having a friendly chat back and forth for a good hour during which time she chose which sign she wanted to purchase for her son who is about to graduate grade 8 from the same elementary school that I attended, she gave me her address for delivery and before we signed off for the night (which was now midnight) she asked me if it was okay if she sent me her payment in the morning. I said sure, not a problem.

So, in good faith I put her order through with the rest of them first thing the next morning which she knew I would be doing. After our friendly chat the night before I saw no reason not to trust that she would pay me as she had promised (which I’ve done before for others).

Several days lapsed and my shipment would soon be arriving for delivery (which it did this afternoon) and I still had not received her payment so I followed up with a friendly reminder (people forget or get busy etc., I get it) and as though it was no big deal she told me that she had decided that she didn’t want the sign anymore and could I cancel her order. Like WTF! 

She knew I was placing her order first thing the next morning.

Did she just think the sign and me would miraculously disappear?

Did she not think it would’ve been a nice and simple courtesy to let me know she had changed her mind at some point before I would have possibly delivered it to her?

Does she not have a conscience?

Did she not care that the money from the purchase of the sign was being donated to charity?

In case you’re wondering, I confronted her and asked her those exact questions and guess what; she didn’t care! I’m sure you’re not surprised “but” I trust too easily I guess.

It really set me back even though this had been my first time experiencing this during my entire campaign so I guess that’s pretty good odds eh?

I was really trying through all of my upset and anger to remind myself of all the positive experiences I’ve encountered talking to well over a thousand people over the course of my campaign “but” instead there I went right down the rabbit hole again.

I wish that the word “but” didn’t even exist in my vocabulary and that I could finish both my thoughts AND sentences before the “but”; “but” it always feels like an impossible task. 

By connecting a sentence or statement with the word “but” for me is kinda like deflating a balloon with a sharp object. 

Those words before the BUT, you know the ones I’m talking about, the ones where I praise myself, see my strengths and acknowledge all the good I try and do for others just end up feeling completely meaningless. 

“But” I will argue that I have a really good excuse for it, I swear I do!

Or at least that’s what my depression and anxiety seem to want me to think.

#afterthebut #depression #anxiety #suicideawareness #gradsigns #mentalhealth #classof2021 #graduationday #stayathomeorder #lockdown #forouryouth #ouryouthmatter #campaign #initiative #lawnsigns #kindnessmatters #itsoktonotbeok #bekindtoyourself #selfcare #letitgo #selfdoubt #justbreathe #startaconversation #endthestigmatogether 

First Shipment

The first shipment of my “Class of 2021” Graduation lawn signs have just arrived and I couldn’t wait to install the very first one on my own front lawn and show off how proud I am of my “Awesome Grad”.

And thanks to the incredible generosity and support of so many families and friends in the community (and beyond) I have sold close to 200 signs thus far and I am looking forward to delivering each and every one of them to so many other “Awesome Graduates” and proud family and friends. Just knowing that we are all working together to achieve the same goal of helping all children and adolescents in the GTHA have better access to more affordable and attainable Mental Health services and supports that they so deserve warms my heart. 

It also just so happens that today is “National Child and Youth Mental Health Day” (May 7, 2021) so what better way to celebrate today than to help brighten up our neighborhoods, start some caring, stigma-free conversations in the community and let young people everywhere feel seen, heard and supported. 

If you would like to honour a very deserving “Class of 2021” Graduate in your life or help make a difference in the lives of so many other young people who may be feeling vulnerable and alone right now please email me at: youthareenough@gmail.com. 

*Proceeds to be donated to Youth Mental Health programs*

#nationalchildandyouthmentalhealthday #childrensmentalhealthawarenessweek #mentalhealthawarenessmonth #strongertogether #payitforward #mygraduate #middlechild #proudmama #classof2021 #ouryouthmatter #endthestigmatogether  #graduationday #youareenough #staysafe #empowerment #empathy #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence #suicideprevention  #suicideawareness #mentalillness #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones

The Corona Silver Linings Anthology

I am so excited to finally receive my very own copy today of the book I was so honoured to be published in a few months ago.

It’s a compilation of stories, poems and images from individuals around the world.

“The Corona Silver Linings Anthology” captures real life experiences, raw emotions, meaningful issues and life lessons that we have all been challenged by or have had to face in one way or another during this past year while looking for those silver linings.

“The Lifewrite Project” is a non-profit initiative which publishes anthologies “encouraging people to tap into their power to write and share their unique stories” while collaborating with different charities related to the topic at hand and raising funds for many initiatives in the process.

The proceeds from this book are being donated to a variety of charities including “The First Responders Children’s Foundation”.

Check out their website for details on any of their upcoming projects. After all there’s an inner writer somewhere inside of us all just waiting to share our own unique story with the world.

#thecoronasilverliningsanthology #thelifewriteproject #author #writer #blogger #advocate #wheredidmommyssmilego #youareenough #silverlinings #grads #covid19 #coronavirus #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #yourmentalhealthmatters #kidshelpphone #lawnsigns #initiative #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #amazondotcom

Giving Tuesday

Today is “Giving Tuesday” which has become a recognized day of giving all across the Globe. It takes place on the first Tuesday after Black Friday and is a day for people to give back and/or volunteer for their favourite causes and Non-Profits.

“Giving Tuesday” is also the official kick-off to the holiday season, better known as the “Season of Giving”.

December is about making human connections and bringing good will and simple joy to others, however this December is sadly going to look and feel a whole lot different than in years past for much of the world.

So as we begin this final stretch of 2020 today (yay!) let’s all start by spreading as much hope and kindness as is humanly possible to others during the month ahead, and of course don’t forget to keep some of it for yourself as well. Remember that “no act of kindness is ever too small”.

http://www.givingtuesday.ca

#givingtuesday #spreadkindness #givehopetoothers #youareenough #selfcare #selflove #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #togetherapart #wereallinthistogether #strongertogether #FU2020

Unsinkable

A big thank you to Founder @silkenlaumann (four-time Canadian Olympian Rower) and @unsinkablestories for sharing my story with your audience. 

Unsinkable is a Not-For-Profit Organization whose mission is to “connect and empower people to achieve better mental, physical and spiritual health”. They “share stories, amplify voices and offer a community of support, resources and programs built with your wellbeing in mind”.

Feel free to follow them and their youth chapter (@unsinkableyouth) on Instagram and Facebook where my story is also featured: https://weareunsinkable.com/finding-my-purpose/ 

Here is my story below!

FINDING MY PURPOSE

It’s been a pretty bumpy few weeks for me which kind of feels like being on a roller coaster of
emotions with many steep slopes and sharp twists and turns and has caused me so much pain
and anguish leading to a mixture of scary and intrusive thoughts. The thing is though, I’m used
to it by now because you see, I’ve been on this same roller coaster ride for the last six and a
half years which equates to 2,372 days, 56,928 hours and approximately 3,415,680 minutes (so it’s no wonder why I feel nauseous all time).

It began on a beautiful Spring day in early April, 2014 when I headed out the door for work that
Friday morning. It started out like any other seemingly normal weekday, but by five o’clock that
afternoon my entire world came crumbling down and I have been trying to put the pieces of my
life back together ever since.

That Friday morning, April 4, 2014, I was doing what I had been doing for several months; heading to a job that I hated. A job that made me doubt my self-worth. A job that
made me uncomfortable. A job that made me question my integrity. A job that made me
compromise my morals. A job that made me feel unsafe and a job that made me feel like I no
longer had any purpose. Ok so it wasn’t so much the job itself that did all that, but in actuality it
was a boss who did.

I was so excited when I started working for him earlier that year and I thought I had finally found
a job that I could build into a thriving career but instead I fell head first into his trap (stupid,
stupid me) and on April 4, 2014 after he asked me to do something that I felt was both morally
and ethically wrong I packed up my belongings one last time and high-tailed it out of there. I got
into my car shaking and completely terrified and by this point in time, completely broken and defeated. I drove around for hours on end as my entire family and many of my friends frantically drove around the city looking for me because the last thing I did after I left my office that
afternoon was text my husband telling him I wanted to kill myself before turning off my phone.

It was on that day that I lost my will to live. It was on that day that I became overwhelmed and
hopeless. It was on that day that I felt worthless. It was on that day that I realized I was a failure in every sense of the word and it was on that day that I discovered just how much of a burden I truly was. Something inside of me snapped that day or so it might’ve seemed like at the time, but what I didn’t know then was I had truly been suffering in silence for a very long time and didn’t even know it.

I have since learned so much about myself through the help of my wonderful therapist (who I
have been seeing now for almost 3 years on a weekly basis) as I slowly began to delve further
into my past with her and I now have a much greater understanding of my pain and suffering.

I’ve come to realize over the past few years through my weekly therapy sessions that many of
the regrets I’ve had in my lifetime or the wrong paths I should never have taken or the lack of
empathy and guidance I had during my formative years led me to that very moment. Over time
these emotions built up inside of me and finally broke me that day back in April, 2014 which very
soon after, led to my diagnosis of Major Depression and Severe Anxiety and a roller coaster of a
journey toward Mental Wellness ever since.

My journey has been long and burdensome which has included daily thoughts of suicide,
several attempts of suicide, numerous hospital stays (one of which was over three months in
length). I’ve tried over twenty different concoctions of medication, all of which caused severe physical and mental side effects and a weight gain of 100 pounds, at which time I needed to
stop taking traditional medications all together and was further diagnosed with Treatment
Resistant Depression. 

I completed 8 sessions of ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) back in 2015 during a hospital stay which proved to be unsuccessful and has left me with memory loss and other issues as well. Some other attempts at treatment have also included Ketamine through a
clinical trial, Neurofeedback, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and the list goes on and on.

During my very first hospital admission back in the fall of 2014 I began to journal daily and I fell
in love with it. I’d forgotten just how much I loved to write as a child and teenager and eventually
through my writing I started to share my story on Social Media which I eventually turned into a
Blog called YouAreEnough. Right away I received an overwhelming amount of support by so
bravely sharing my journey and it has allowed me to identify my purpose along the way. 

I’ve been given a voice (one that I do not take for granted) to help others understand that Mental
Illness is not a weakness and has also allowed me the opportunity to become an advocate for
change and help reduce the Stigma that still surrounds Mental Illness today.

Continuing to share my journey on a very regular basis has felt triumphant and has shown so
many individuals that it’s okay to not be okay, giving them permission to start important
conversations themselves about their own struggles with Mental Illness. My story has also
allowed many individuals and their loved ones some much needed strength and courage to ask for help and to feel less alone.

Last summer I took my love of writing and my passion for helping others one step further by
self-publishing one of my pieces of writing into a children’s book which helps guide parents,
caregivers and loved ones how to help children cope with and understand their feelings when
someone they love is suffering with Depression. It is titled “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” and it’s a labour of love. It’s a story that affects millions of families each and every day, including my
own.

My children are now 22, 21 and 18 years old but six and a half years ago when I first became ill
they needed more than anything to know that they were not to blame in any way for my illness
and that they were safe and loved no matter what. The story was written (in rhyme) through the
eyes of a young girl who like millions of other children may need to hear that they too are not to blame for their loved one’s illness and that more than anything, they are safe and loved no matter what, which are the three vows I promise to keep to my own children until the end of
time.

Everyday is a learning curve for someone like myself and their loved ones when battling a
Mental Illness and finding the right strategies and tools to help get me through the difficult
moments in my day and reach mental wellness are imperative. I have had to accept the fact, as
difficult as it is to follow through with sometimes, that taking care of myself first and creating
healthy boundaries will help to minimize many of the stressors in my daily life. 

Self-Care is not selfish, in fact, it’s selfless. I have learned that for me self-care includes writing, journaling, taking bubble baths, going for long walks, finding a safe place when I am feeling unsafe, always keeping open communication with loved ones as to my thoughts and feelings and having a great therapist to talk to on a regular basis who can give me important tools and resources to help with my daily struggles.

These strategies and tools allow me the strength to continue to fight but there are many, many
other ways for individuals to make self-care an important part of their daily lives as well and
below are just a few more to add to my list above:
Regular exercise
Proper diet
Practicing good hygiene
Getting a good night sleep
Escaping in a good book
Staying away from drugs and alcohol
Reaching out to a loved one

Bio: Kim Fluxgold lives in Vaughan, Ontario with her husband, 3 children and her precious dog.
She is a Blogger, the Author of the children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” and
Mental Health Advocate. You can continue to follow her journey at:
youareenough712.wordpress.com or on her Instagram (www.intstagram.com/kimfluxgold) and Facebook pages. If you would like more information about her book please email her at kimfluxgold@gmail.com.

#unsinkable #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #endthestigmatogether #ouryouthmatter #strongertogether #myjourney #author #blogger #advocate #wheredidmommyssmilego

One Final Thank You

Just one final thank you to @cbcthenational for sharing my story so perfectly.  Thank you to @kidshelpphone for making a difference in so many young lives and thank you to the “Class of 2020” Graduates for teaching the rest of the world the true meaning of resilience while learning to face adversity head on in a time of so much uncertainty. You may forever be remembered as the “Graduating Class of Covid-19” but the lessons you will take with you as you transition into the next phase of your journey will carry you far beyond what any classroom ever could.

#classof2020 #graduationday #grads #strongertogether #togetherapart #wereallinthistogether #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok  #makingadifference #ouryouthmatter #pandemicdiaries

Afraid to Disappoint

My final delivery of Grad signs is set to arrive some time later today and then my final delivery will begin. I’m still receiving emails daily from people wanting to order a sign for their Awesome Graduate but I’ve had to tell them “No”, and it’s been really, really hard. My responses to each message have been overloaded with one apology after apology because in my mind I’ve let them down, I’ve let a Graduate down, I’ve let Kids Help Phone down and once again I’ve let myself down too.

I know what you are gonna say but still it’s a constant battle I have with my mind and my heart. I don’t want to disappoint anyone and I need to constantly ensure that everyone else’s happiness comes before mine. My head knows that it’s impossible to please everyone all of the time but my heart is often willing to sacrifice it so that I don’t let anyone down.

But I have said “No” this week too many times now to keep count, I kept my word to those who help me set healthy and emotional boundaries and I stuck to them and with each message I returned in fear of disappointing someone was answered with nothing but respect, understanding and the utmost of support…and of course a tad bit of disappointment too but in themselves for having waited so long to reach out! But hey, life gets busy you know; even during a Pandemic.

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

#selfcare #selflove #ichooseme #youarenotalone #justsayno #healthyboundaries #itsoktonotbeok  #youareenough #togetherapart #itsoktosayno #yourhappinessiskey

Stop The Presses

I placed my final order of signs first thing this morning which will be printed and then delivered later this week. I knew a week ago that I needed to wrap up my Initiative for the sake of my mental health but as I wrote in my blog last week “How Can I Say No?” I struggle a great deal with saying No.

Yesterday the emails were still pouring in non-stop; and even as I took some much needed time for myself to go for a hike I panicked at the thought of all the emails I would have to return when I got home. And knowing that I was taking my final orders that day made the panic worsen at how I could possibly get back to everyone on time. 

I did get back to everyone and when I told them it was to be my final night to take any new orders, everyone responded very quickly but it still didn’t help the fact that I would be letting many others down who would continue to contact me today, tomorrow or even next week. 

I knew going in that my Campaign would only be short term but now as the school year is beginning to wind down I feel like I am letting so many people down and disappointing so many others by simply saying No. 

I truly never imagined 5 or 6 weeks ago that my little idea would take on a life of its own, a life that has now exceeded every expectation I had and crushed every goal I made; but then why do I feel so guilty, why do I feel like it’s never enough or that I should be doing more?

There is still time to contribute to my Class of 2020 Graduate Initiative and help make a difference in a child/youth’s life. Please feel free to make a donation at: youthareenough@gmail.com.

All of the proceeds will go to @KidsHelpPhone 

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

#lifewithdepression #lifewithanxiety #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #guiltfree #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #mentalillness #itsoktonotbeok #negativeselftalk #selfcare  #ichooseme #youarenotalone #graduationday #grads #classof2020 #ouryouthmatter #lawnsigns 

Haters Gonna Hate


As of the end of day today I, along with my Co-Pilot Rich will have delivered approximately 300 lawn signs (give or take a few) across the Greater Toronto Area (and beyond) and we still have lots more to go. It’s been an incredibly overwhelming experience for me so far but more importantly it’s been an incredibly successful and rewarding one too. 

Every time I drop off a sign on someone’s front lawn (or porch) honouring one (or more) of our “Class of 2020” Graduates I have either been lucky enough to witness the surprise and gratitude on their face myself when they first see the sign or shortly thereafter I receive some of the most amazing and heartfelt messages and pictures of both support and appreciation from the recipient’s family where I find myself imagining the moment instead.

Either way I can tell you that it feels amazing knowing I have in some small way made a young person smile (and even do cartwheels). But yesterday someone tried to knock me down and when you’re already feeling vulnerable, it basically leaves you completely deflated (see blog: “Yesterday”; May 23, 2020)
Shortly after I delivered one sign in particular yesterday a woman messaged me to say how disappointed she was at the size of the sign (insert SMH) and then continued by saying how the sign looked much bigger in the photo that was taken for our local newspaper (SMH again). I politely replied to her that I’m sorry she felt that way but I guess the editors of the paper purposely enlarged the photo of the sign to get the readers attention (I’m also pretty sure there’s a name for that, however I’m no expert in the field of Marketing and Advertising). 

I guess that now I know for the next time there is a Global Pandemic and our kids have to endure more loss and disappointment in their lives I would insist that there be a Legal Disclaimer attached to any pictures in the paper saying “Size May Vary”. 

I continued to tell “The Hater” that the lawn signs are all a standard size and if you are to compare them to every other company lawn sign in your neighborhood it is the same size and maybe even a bit bigger than others. But I also told “The Hater” that the point of the sign was not for its size but rather a small tribute to their child (or children) who are missing out on so much in their lives right now. I also told her that sadly she has forgotten what these signs were meant to represent in the first place and that I have only received kindness and support from 300 other families thanking me for doing what I am doing for such a great cause (SMH). @kidshelpphone

I know I shouldn’t let this “Hater” take up space in my head or try to knock me down. You can’t please everyone all of the time and some people get satisfaction from being hurtful and what’s even worse is that some people live with so much hate in their hearts which is just so sad, but besides all that, haven’t we always been taught that “Size doesn’t matter”!!! (SMFH)

#kindness #kindnessmatters #graduationday #lawnsigns #classof2020 #ouryouthmatter #hatersgonnahate #youareenough #nowords #shakemyhead #smh @bellletstalk 

Giving Back Feels Good

“It’s better to give than to receive”. I placed an order this morning for another 100 +++ more “Class of 2020” lawn signs which are set to be delivered later this week to so many deserving Graduates…and I’m not quite done yet. You still have a bit more time left before I place my final order so contact me if you would like to honour a special Graduate in your life.

Giving back feels good and whether you’re giving of your time or giving of your money, if giving back has the potential to change even just one life for the better it’s all worthwhile. @kidshelpphone