A Thirst For The #summerofrich

I had planned to give this as a gift to Rich for Father’s Day but (spoiler alert) I guess I just couldn’t wait that long, LOL!

I made it for him and in honour of him. 

So from now on whatever trails our #summerofrich adventures lead us to Rich will always be well hydrated with his new, “one of a kind”, personalized and insulated water bottle that will keep his drinks really cold and refreshing no matter how lost we may get or how hot it is outside.  

Every summer since its conception about five years ago now I like to give a brief synopsis of what #summerofrich is for any newcomers to my page who may be wondering what the heck it is exactly. 

It began with a simple exclamation one (very) early Friday morning at the end of June as we stood waving goodbye to our three kids as they drove away on the bus to camp for the next seven and a half glorious weeks (I actually think 2 of them were staff at the time and may have already left for camp, but not important!).

They were barely out of the parking lot yet when Rich turned to me with the biggest smile on his face and shouted “It’s the Summer of Rich”!, and wasted no time at all getting started. Our first activity on the #summerofrich agenda that year (and every year after that until last summer) was already scheduled for later that morning. We were off to the spa for pedicures.

The #summerofrich meant that he now had a seven plus week break; a well deserved, much needed and VERY much earned break from the burdensome (I use that term, not him) role he plays as both mom and dad, chef, psychologist, schlepper, grocery bagger and much, much more for the other forty something weeks of the year; a role which he has so selflessly taken on for the better part of seven years now.

Last summer when the devastating (yes it was devastating to many) announcement came that overnight camps would not be running due to Covid-19 I thought for a brief moment that we should cancel the #summerofrich all together seeing as Rich would not be getting his well deserved, much needed and VERY much earned break. Then I realized that we don’t have to cancel it at all, we just needed to pivot somewhat, after all we no longer had all three kids away for the summer anymore anyways.

And tada, the #summerofrich 2.0 was born. This past year we pivoted a lot due to Covid restrictions. And although our summers may not be as carefree as they once we’re, the #summerofrich has become an incredible outlet for the both of us. If you were to tell me 5 years ago that I’d be enjoying the great outdoors, hiking trails all over our beautiful Province of Ontario and exploring the beauty of nature I’d have said you were crazy.

It’s now become the perfect way to take care of our mental health, have fun and discover places we never imagined before. 

What a healthy outlet we have found to do together and I’m so glad that sharing our adventures brings so much joy to others as well. Hashtag #summerofrich has created quite a following!

I’m a planner and I love spending time researching and finding new and adventurous things for us to do. I take my job very seriously (hey, you never know but maybe one day we will even complete the entire length of the Bruce Trail, all 900 KMs of it!).

But most of all when we needed to pivot last summer, the #summerofrich 2.0 took on a whole new life of its own and has made many of our adventures that much more meaningful and memorable too. Our kids have even learned to embrace our passion in small doses, call it “Pandemic boredom” but hey, I’ll take it! 

Yes, the #summerofrich may have started out as a well deserved, much needed and VERY much earned break for Rich during the seven or eight weeks that the kids were away at camp but it’s become so much bigger than that, so much so that as we pivoted this past year we also continued to discover even more adventures with every changing season.  Me and winter do NOT get along but if you add the hashtag #summerofrich next to it then count me in! (And it’s a good thing that his new water bottle can also keep his drinks nice and warm as well!!)

#twopointoh #learntopivot #insulatedwaterbottle #earlyfathersdaypresent #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #nature #hiking #getmoving #yourmentalhealthmatters #youareenough #family #relationshipgoals

The Gift of Family Time

Is it pretty safe to say that if you are a parent you have probably doubted your role as one at one time or another?

You are not alone. 

Parenting is hard work, it’s a huge responsibility and quite possibly the most thankless job ever, yet it also comes with the greatest rewards. 

As a parent we find ourselves second guessing every decision we make or questioning each and every behaviour of ours which only escalates further doubt. 

We worry we will somehow screw up our kid’s lives forever.

We worry that they won’t love us or that they will actually grow to hate us.

This has been a daily battle of mine over the past seven years and I blame my illness. 

It makes me believe all the doubt and lies. 

Even though I have three amazing kids (more like young adults actually) who are all very busy these days discovering who they are and what they need in order to become their best self. 

They are finding their place in the world.

They are chasing their dreams. 

In fact I’d say they are all killing it right now despite my feeling like I have failed them in every way possible, despite my feeling like my illness has taken away a big part of their innocence, despite my feeling like I’m the worst parent ever, despite my feeling like I’m a complete burden to them, despite my feeling like I have scarred them for life and despite my feeling like they hold so much hate and resentment toward me.

It’s been a really difficult week for me. I’m beyond overwhelmed right now and in a pretty bad headspace, (see blog .https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2021/05/24/suicide-can-be-a-silent-killer/) but despite all that it’s moments like the one we had on Sunday evening that remind me that maybe I haven’t failed them after all, maybe I haven’t actually screwed them up completely and maybe, just maybe I’ve even played a role in them becoming those amazing, generous, loving, kind young adults.  

Maybe I need to be more aggressive when I try telling my depressed mind to fuck off.

I’ve needed a few days to process the emotions that overcame me on Sunday evening when my kids excitedly presented me with an early birthday present (they wanted to give me enough time to prepare for it). 

They handed me an envelope and before I opened it they told me that they wanted to get me something they knew I’d cherish forever and something that I crave more than anything else in the world. 

As I anxiously opened the envelope I could not imagine what it could be. I unwrapped the piece of paper inside and saw a picture of a cabin on a lake. 

Their gift to me was exactly what they said it was as they handed me the envelope to open. They had wanted to get me something they knew I would cherish forever and something that I crave more than anything else in the world so as they so eloquently put it, they gave me the gift of time; quality family time that is.

They have rented a cottage for all of us for the weekend of Father’s day, just days before Hannah “hopefully” heads off to camp for the summer and just days before my 50th birthday. 

There will be canoeing, campfires, roasted marshmallows, self-care, sunbathing on the dock, laughter and a special #summerofrich “Father’s Day” adventure included in our weekend away but most of all there will be picture perfect memories made that we can all cherish forever.

I love you to the moon and back, forever and a day. 

#familytime #familymatters #youareenough #depression #anxiety #suicideprevention #yourmentalhealthmatters #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #cottage #cottagelife #selfcare #mindfulness #therapeutic #beinginthemoment #escapefromreality #weekendaway

A Mother’s Day Hike

After finishing up the last of my deliveries early this morning there was nothing more I wanted to do today than go on a #summerofrich adventure with my family.

A few years ago I made the unselfish decision to choose “me” on Mother’s Day (https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=3218956211472176&id=100000734852540) and even though we haven’t been able to completely reinvent that day for a second year in a row now, I will always cherish these precious moments I get to spend with them just the same.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my warrior moms! 

#dundasvalleyconservationpark #happymothersday #familymatters #preciousmoments #memoriesthatlast #youareenough #youarenotalone #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #selfcare #therapeutic #nature

Living Inside My Suicidal Mind

***WARNING: Content may be triggering***

I know that Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

But what if your problems keep adding up and what if they no longer feel temporary?

But what if you can no longer shake off those unrelenting thoughts?

But what if you believe that suicide is your only option in order to feel any kind of relief or be at peace?

But what if you feel like your mere existence is hurting those around you, especially the ones who love you the most? 

But what if the pain in your heart is too intense and overwhelming to stand for one second more?

But what if you’ve made a plan and just want to figure out a way to execute it?

But what if you can’t close your eyes at night because you’re too afraid of what you might see?

But what if you’re anxiety is paralyzing you with fear and keeping you from living? From breathing? From loving? Or from finding hope?

But what if your depressed mind keeps telling you that you are helpless? Worthless? And have no purpose?

But what if all this sadness and despair are so completely unbearable and feels as if it will last forever?

If you or someone you know is in crisis please reach out to a trusting friend, therapist, counsellor, loved one or call Canada Suicide Prevention Hotline @ 1.833.456.4566/ Kids Help Phone @ 1.800.668.6868 Help is available 24/7/365

#itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough #checkonyourlovedones #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #mentalhealthcheckin #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #mentalillness #dontsufferinsilence #yourmentalhealthmatters #youmatter #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #BellLetsTalk

THC Hangover

On Friday evening after experiencing several heightened episodes of anxiety throughout the day, I found myself right smack in the middle of a full-on panic attack. 

I did my best to try and calm myself down using some breathing techniques but trying to distract myself from what was triggering me in that moment I could barely catch my breath long enough to take some CBD oil; something I don’t hesitate to do several times a day when needed as a therapeutic. 

As soon as the CBD oil started kicking in and my heartrate began to decrease to a more tolerable level I curled up under my weighted blanket, still fully dressed from the day but I didn’t care because all I wanted to do in that moment was close my eyes and go to sleep.

But whose kidding who? Like is sleep ever an option for me? Even if my panic attack had just taken every last ounce of strength I had left inside and crushed it with my blanket, I was still preparing myself for a sleepless night ahead.

And I knew if I lay in bed much longer I would most definitely end up having another anxiety attack of some sort, so I reached for my other bottle of CBD oil on my nightstand, the one with the THC in it. 

I regretted my decision almost immediately even though it took a while for it to kick in. It did not reduce my anxiety or relax me or even help me sleep, instead I spent the rest of the night fighting off my paranoia and hallucinations and by the time morning arrived I was still feeling the effects from the THC and spent the entire day in bed yesterday with a “hangover”.

They say it’s nearly impossible to OD on cannabis but if there is even a slight chance of that happening then I’m pretty sure I managed to do so. Cannabis is supposed to give you a feeling of euphoria but like every other prescribed medication or therapeutic treatment I’ve taken along my journey, including that of Medical Marijuana, “Shrooms”, Ketamine and Edibles I’ve experienced adverse effects from them all.

By morning my Psychosis had pretty much gone away but it left me barely able to finish a sentence or swallow. I had a headache, I felt exhausted, I was beyond nauseous and dizzy and whenever I tried to stand up I felt myself passing out on the floor moments later. But not to worry because I can always count on my family to look after me, and they did just that while between fits of laughter and snapping pictures and recording videos of me to ensure they captured all the highlights. 

I have tried and tried for years now to reap the benefits from using THC and other similar treatments but I think that after what happened to me this weekend I have tried for the very last time and I am just grateful that at least my regular doses of CBD oil still helps me in some small way.

#cbdoil #thc #cannabis #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #panicattacks #anxiety #depression #suicideprevention #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #mentalillness #selfcare  

Sleep Is Beyond Overrated

Yesterday I was feeling a bit under the weather and BEYOND exhausted. All I wanted to do was sleep but as physically exhausted as I felt all day I knew that as soon as I were to get into bed that all bets would be off. So I decided to take something to help me fall asleep because I needed to sleep BEYOND badly. 

I’ve been prescribed sleeping pills in the past but like all other medications I’ve tried they really never worked properly and within days I would build up a tolerance to them anyways. This did eventually lead me to start abusing some of my prescribed meds, taking upwards of 8 to 10 pills a day, just so I could feel numb and maybe get a few solid hours of sleep at night.  

Well that didn’t end well at all on so many levels and once it was discovered that I had been stashing away certain medications in my home Rich began having to hide all my prescriptions and distributing them to me every day and I guess it’s a good thing that I have also since been flagged from being prescribed certain medications all together unless under proper supervision.

But that’s okay because they never really helped much anyways and so nowadays when I do take something for sleep I go for more of a natural remedy instead. I fight with myself to take anything most nights because truthfully they don’t really help much either.  

It’s almost 4 am as I am writing this and I should be fast asleep since I was so BEYOND physically exhausted yesterday and I did take a sleep aid before I got into bed but my case in point, sleep remedies don’t work for me.

Ok maybe I’m lying a bit because after taking something to help me fall asleep last night I did in fact fall asleep within an hour of taking it and I got a solid 1 hour of sleep!!! 1 whole glorious hour of sleep! And then I woke up and have been up since before 11 pm, which is about the same time most of you reading this were just about to doze off to dreamland for the night! 

I’m starting to think that sleep is kinda, sorta beyond overrated anyways? 😢😢😢

#sleeplessnights #beyondexhausted #insomnia #youareenough #youarenotalone #mentalillness #mentalhealth #depression #anxiety #suicidalthoughts #sleepingpills #cbdoil #mentalexhaustion #physicalexhaustion

Happy Covid-Halloween

Halloween, like every other holiday or celebration since March is going to look and feel, well, in Halloween terms, something like that of a “Ghost Town” around here tonight.

The Government and Health Officials in Ontario have “strongly recommended” that anyone living in a “hotspot” area (which I do) refrain from taking your little “Witches and Goblins” door-to-door Trick or Treating this year or give out candy as well (and just to add further salt to the wound, it’s finally on a Saturday night!!!).

Well even though my 3 little “Pumpkins” may be young adults now and well past the “battiness” of Trick or Treating, I can’t help but feel a “haunting” sense of sadness today mixed with a “monstrous” dose of nostalgia. 

Have a sweet and sugar-coated Halloween today everyone, however it is you may be celebrating! 👻🍫

**Feel free to share some of your favourite Halloween memories and pics!

#covidhalloween #makethebestofit #youcanstilleatcandy #halloween2020 #fullmoon  #totrickortreat #staysafe  #mentalhealthishealth #kidsjustwannahavefun #ourkidsmentalhealthmatters #simplertimes #memories #youareenough

Reality TV Show: The White House Unvensored

Let me first begin by reiterating to you just how much I love Reality TV (Read my Blog “I’m A Reality TV Junkie”; Aug 5, 2020). It’s one of the greatest escapes ever except lately I think I may have crossed the line between Reality TV and real life.  

Each week my PVR is set without fail to record many (many) hours of the chaos and drama of someone else’s life as a way of trying to escape from my own daily chaos and drama. It’s become a welcomed distraction and has also become a perfect way to escape from my own burdensome thoughts and refocus my attention somewhere else. 

However, for the last week or so I have found myself engrossed in a new Reality show of sorts, only this time it appears that while watching this show I am unable to distract myself from my own life and it has quickly turned into a very toxic and burdensome obsession.

In all honesty I have a very addictive personality and I am very prone to “Behaviour Based Addictions” which according to Wikipedia is when you “combine a behaviour with a mental state and the repeated routine is therefore associated with the mental state”.

This very toxic and burdensome obsession has now left me with even more sleepless nights than usual, anxious beyond words, crippled with fear, angry as f*ck and not to mention very behind on my nighttime viewing of the many (many) Reality TV shows I tape each week because I just can’t stop watching CNN or checking my Twitter feeds in order to find out what the President of the United States has said or done now. 

My intentions for writing this is not to start any kind of a political debate or a war of words between friends but I just wanted to share my thoughts with you because it’s probably safe to say that I’m not alone in how I am feeling right now; shit I’m not even an American citizen, yet I’m feeling quite traumatized and very, very sad. 

This is not a Reality Show that any one of us can truly watch these days in order to escape from their own real life and must be especially hard to watch for those who are living right inside the walls of this reality. I will say however that it certainly is oozing with more drama and chaos than even “The Khardashians” or any of “The Real Housewives” franchises but I am really looking forward for the season finale and “Tell All” (reality tv jargon!) to air already! My PVR will be set for sure!

#realitytv #behaviourbasedaddiction #thewhitehouse #donaldtrump #cnn #anxiety #mentalhealth #presidentoftheunitedstates #sleeplessnights #youareenough #youarenotalone 

A Purposeful #Summerofrich

The “Summer of Rich” began a few years ago as nothing more than a silly declaration from Rich one early morning at the end of June as he waved goodbye to the kids (with tears of joy in his eyes) as they boarded a bus for the entire summer away at camp. 

For Rich that moment meant he now had 7 glorious weeks ahead of him to catch his breath and push the reset button because as I have mentioned many times before that for the last 6 years he has had to take on both the roles of Mom and Dad, along with that of chef, maid, chauffeur, Psychologist, designated Schlepper and countless others too.

But this past May right after we found out the girls (Jacob now works full-time as an Electrician) would not be going away to camp this summer due to Covid-19 I wrote a blog titled “Should The #Summerofrich Be Cancelled Too?” (May 27, 2020) and what it meant for the #summerofrich this year. 

Since its conception a few years back, the “Summer of Rich” has evolved in many different ways; it’s even got its own hashtag which often gets special shout-outs by its many “adoring fans” who seem to genuinely enjoy following our adventures; so how could we disappoint them?

I may have needed to make several amendments to our itinerary this summer and we definitely had to adapt to many other changes because of Covid-19 and having the kids home all summer which also meant that there was much less of an opportunity for Rich to have some well deserved time to breathe or a push of the reset button but through the many amendments and other changes this summer I truly believe that in many ways, the #summerofrich may have actually evolved into something much deeper and with an even more meaningful purpose.

#summerofrichcoronaedition #labourdayweekend #itsstillsummer #youareenough #nature #hiking #therapeutic #selfcare #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #depression #anxiety #nationalsuicidepreventionawarenessmonth #silverlinings #iloveyoutothemoonandback #silvercreekconservation #brucetrail

Going On A Bear Hunt

Today’s #summerofrich adventure was quite the adventure.  We headed to a trail near Port Perry and when we got there it was closed (the website gave no indication that it was closed), so we went to another trail a bit further away; and guess what? it was closed too! (Again no mention of it on their website; but it was under construction).

By this point we figured since we had come all that way we might as well venture to yet one more trail (I mean what are the chances it would be closed too!). Thankfully it was not; Yahoo!!! As we reached the start of the trail we saw a sign that read (in pics) “beware of bears”! Ya well who doesn’t like to be a bit “risque” sometimes so off we went into the forest, but with every step we took we started to get more and more nervous (well Rich did lol) which was only about 5 minutes into our hike.

There were no other hikers in sight (maybe they had already been eaten by a bear) and we tried hard to ignore every rustling sound coming from the woods but THEN we came upon piles and piles of bear poop (Don’t worry I saved you from any pics!). So it was at that very moment that we hightailed it out of there and back to safety!

It looks like a hike just wasn’t in the cards for us today (good thing I did an aqua fit class this morning) and instead we headed to Port Perry’s Main Street and walked along the Pier and did some window shopping instead (that’s pretty mindful in my opinion, wouldn’t you agree?) which is where our adventure continued.

Once we had enough window shopping we decided to grab a quick bite to eat on a patio close to the water which was also our first time doing so since patios opened back up. We placed our order and THEN came the lightening, the thunder and soon followed by a terrestrial downpour!

Luckily the umbrella over the picnic table kept us pretty dry for most of the time (and it was too late to make it back to the car anyways), but then the wind turned directions and we were getting soaked! 

You can’t fault us for trying today, it was certainly a memorable day and nothing a big scoop of peanut butter and chocolate ice cream from one of the local shops couldn’t fix.

#summerofrichcoronaedition #nohikingtoday #bewareofbears #imisspatios #portperry #scugogtownship #icecreamyouscream #peanutbutterandchocolateicecream #thunderandlightening #youareenough #mentalhealth #mentalwellness