Through the years…our love story has not been perfect but what we’ve shared together for over 30 years now is far more valuable than perfection; and besides, we all know that perfect relationships don’t actually exist in real life anyways. 

Through the years…each new chapter of our love story has been built on a much deeper foundation; one that allows for acceptance, unconditional love, trust, understanding, compromise, connection, forgiveness and nurturing.

Through the years…our love story has brought with it lots of laughter and plenty of tears, both joy and sorrow; it’s brought out the best in one another and it’s seen each other at our worst. 

Thank you for continuing to move mountains (#summerofrich) for me each and every day Rich, especially when the struggle to get up the hill feels too steep to climb and thank you for always taking hold of my hand and knowing just when to squeeze it a little bit tighter whenever I feel like letting go.

Our love story may not be perfect but the love we have for each other is so perfectly imperfect.

Happy Anniversary my 💕. I hope you enjoy this video montage I made for you celebrating us and our perfectly imperfect family through the years…

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

#tobecontinued #summerofrich #ourlovestory #throughtheyears  #togethersinceninetyone #marriedsinceninetyfive #victoriadayweekend #holdon #movingmountains #mentalhealth #youarenotalone #youareenough #happyanniversary #iloveyoutothemoonandback #foreverandaday 

The Importance of Self-advocacy

In a recent blog: (https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2022/05/06/has-the-system-failed-me-again/) I mentioned that for more than 4 weeks after my (macrodosing) Psilocybin treatment I was too scared and too embarrassed to tell anyone, including my husband and therapist as to how I was truly feeling both mentally and physically. 

How could I though when some of my symptoms I’d been experiencing were too awkward to even talk about (I won’t be surprised if one day I’m written up in The New England Journal of Medicine! lol). Once again I felt like such a complete and utter failure and I felt very much alone.

It’s so much easier for me to advocate for others than it is for myself but I knew I needed to speak up (besides the fact that I’m now part of an ongoing research study!) but more importantly my symptoms were becoming too unbearable to live with and my mental health had started to take a very sharp decline. 

I’m glad I finally did. 

The conversation may have begun from within but once I got the courage to release the words from my lips, it quickly set off a domino effect and within days of me finally opening up to my Psychiatrist in particular he had reached out to his colleagues in the Neurology department at the hospital he works about my symptoms and an urgent referral was then made to a nearby Neurology clinic for me to be seen and within 24 hours of doing so, an appointment was scheduled for the following week (which is where I was today).

Suffering in silence, no matter what, is no way to live, trust me. I really do have a difficult time asking for help or accepting help because more often than not I can’t see my own self-worth but learning self-advocacy skills can sometimes be the difference between life or death, trust me on that too. 

Self-advocacy takes lots of practice which I’ve sadly had plenty of over the last 8 years. I’ve needed to learn how to navigate my way through our very broken healthcare system too many times to count (I could teach a course by now!). It’s not an easy skill to aquire but a very important one to have. Essentially self-advocacy involves learning how to speak up for yourself, knowing your self-worth, communicating it, asking questions and problem solving (hmm…could that be the course outline perhaps?); I’ve definitely got the asking questions part down pact! I’ve always been very inquisitive and I have a yearning for detail and knowledge; I guess that’s the creative writer in me (I’d also make a damn good Investigative Journalist!).

I asked lots of questions today. I retained lots of information too. I took lots of notes. And for now I will take some much needed time to privately reflect upon and process the information I received today while I await the next steps.

I really appreciate all your continued support and encouraging words. I am truly grateful. Hopefully one day I will finally get this right. I’d just like to finish off with an extra special expression of gratitude to a few of my many incredible friends who in particular didn’t hesitate to offer to help me out today as Rich was unable to drive me to my appointment and knowing that navigating my way through the congested streets of Toronto can cause me severe panic attacks, especially when I’m already in such a vulnerable state. It wasn’t easy, but I accepted their help!! And I’m sure glad I did.

#neurology #thebrain #psychedelics #treatmentresistantdepression #selfadvocacy #psilocybin #macrodosing #clinicaltrial #labrat #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #nextsteps #youarenotalone #selfworth #itsoktonotbeok #itsoktoaskforhelp #friendship #youmatter #investigativejournalism

A Gentle Reminder…You Are Not Alone

“You are not alone” is one of my favourite mantras. It’s something I so passionately try to express in my writings and it is also why I especially enjoyed making this “gentle reminder”… hoodie for a very special customer last evening. 

We all go through our own set of experiences and challenges which can oftentimes leave us feeling isolated, disconnected or alone. 

Maybe it’s the overwhelm we experience from the pressure of a new job or becoming a new parent.

Maybe it’s the trauma we are facing from a relentless bully.

Maybe it’s the grief we experience after the loss of a loved one.

Maybe it’s the emotions we go through when we feel like no one truly understands our mental health struggles. 

Maybe it’s fearing we are stuck in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. 

Maybe your feelings aren’t being  validated or your needs aren’t being met by those who are closest to you or maybe you truly believe that no one cares at all. 

But the truth is, no matter what challenges you are experiencing right now “you are not alone”. If you just go looking for it you are sure to find many more people out there who can relate to your own challenges or experiences you are going through.

You don’t need to carry your burden all alone.

Support is available. You are not alone. 

Ask for help. You are not alone.

Reach out (right now!) to the people in your life you care about and let them know that no matter what, they too are not alone. 

And as one final gentle reminder…if you are unable to reach out to those closest to you or someone you trust, help is still available in other ways as well through 24/7 distress lines, your local emergency room, mobile crisis response teams, online forums and more (see full list of resources available below). There is always someone out there for you. You are never alone.

https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/crisis-resources (link in my bio)

*if you would like to purchase your own gentle reminder hoodie, onesie, tshirt or lawn sign please contact us @agentlereminderproject on Instagram or DM today!

#youarenotalone #agentlereminder #youareenough #mentalhealth #apparel #mantra #camh #startaconversation #itsoktonotbeok 

Monday Morning Superstitions

I got into bed last night anxiously awaiting to hear from Hannah that she’d landed safe and sound in Israel. 

The text came in around 12:15 am. 

I quietly breathed in a big sigh of relief (for anyone who may not know this but flying is my number one biggest fear in life ever since a very young age and has only gotten worse over time as my anxiety disorder progressed; thankfully I have never projected this fear on to any of my kids even though they are very much aware of it, but they are also very respectful of it which is why they always text me the minute that their plane hits the ground 😇!). 

The week had now officially come to a close. I tried to rest easy. It had been a particularly tiresome and emotionally draining week for me and I was so glad for it to finally be over and was actually looking forward to the week ahead which was showing some signs of positive light for both me and my family as well; something I normally find quite difficult to see.

But by 11am this morning I was ready to call a truce. I just wanted to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head because the start of the new week, the one that found me wishing away the beautiful weekend in exchange for the heavy rain and thunderstorms as the energy of positive light radiated throughout my body for the coming week had already been met with not one, not two but three bad omens, one of which included Maggie taking a big tumble down the stairs first thing this morning (she was very shook up for quite a while afterwards but she seems to be okay otherwise 😇). 

Before noon today I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach and that these events and happenings that took place were further signs of something worse to come.

Well hopefully the week is still young and that positive light can once again be restored to where it was early, early this morning and that even though they say that all bad things come in three’s there is also the belief that all good things come in three’s too!

I’m not one who usually believes in superstitions but especially of late I’d have to say that “if it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all” but I did take this pic (see attached) yesterday afternoon of our car thinking it was possibly the sign we’ve needed that our luck may be changing?

Do you believe in superstitions?

#mondaymotivation #omens #positivelight #superstitions #mondaymorning #goodluck #badluck #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #anxiety #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #maggie 

What Does A Good Day Feel Like When You’re Depressed?

Today this memory popped up on Facebook https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2020/05/14/honour-thy-graduate/. I remember it well. I felt so proud and beyond grateful at the same time to be standing beside my youngest daughter on our front lawn to take our photo for an article that had been written up in our local paper about the launch of my “Class of 2020” Graduation lawn sign initiative. 

Living with Depression on a daily basis as I do is more than just a feeling of sadness and for someone who has never experienced it before it’s often difficult to understand because many days there is no clear explanation as to why I am feeling the way I do. I can only tell you that it is a feeling I don’t choose to have, a feeling I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy and it’s a feeling I can’t just snap out of because Depression is an illness and sometimes just being able to achieve the simplest goals like getting out of bed or putting one foot in front of the other can give you a huge sense of accomplishment. 

Yes there can be good days or moments in your day that feel good when living with Depression. 

I cherish these good days or the moments in my day when I can actually get shit done, catch up on everything I have avoided or procrastinated about for days or possibly weeks or even months and I especially cherish the good days or the moments in my day when I can show up and just be in the moment with the ones I love.

*FYI I am awaiting the delivery of my first order of “Class of 2022” lawn signs this week. If you would still like to purchase one I will be placing another order soon. Thank you to everyone who has already contributed to this year’s initiative and supporting my continued efforts to help change the conversation and make a difference in the lives of our young people. 

#gooddays #goodmomentsinmyday #classof2022 #lawnsigns #ouryouthmatter #familymatters #yourmentalhealthmatters #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #itsoktoaskforhelp #youarestrongerthanyouthink #startaconversation #thankyou #mentalhealth #depression #goals #gettingshitdone #sicknotweak #kidshelpphone 

Compassionate York Region

I have been invited to speak this coming Thursday night, May 12th at 7:30 pm for the “Compassionate York Region” Initiative  (http://www.compassionateyorkregion.ca/) which is under the umbrella of  “The International Charter of Compassion” movement; their mission is to see to it that every community around the world “be committed to living by the principle of compassion”.

Compassion is one topic that I am… well…very compassionate about and on Thursday evening I will be sharing the story of my tiresome journey over the last 8 years that has left me yearning for self-compassion but has also led me on a pathway to a deeper more meaningful purpose; one that focuses on helping others and one that is done with a pure heart and lots and lots of compassion through my Blogging @ youareenough712.wordpress.com, my children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” and my Mental Health Advocacy. 

If you live in the York Region area and would like to learn more about how you can get involved in “enhancing the narrative of compassion” and connecting with others in our great community as well please join me (message me for Zoom link) and the Founders of “Compassionate York Region” along with other community members who share the same passion for “creating conversations for compassionate communities”. 

If you live in another Region, Province or Country and would also be interested in learning more about this wonderful initiative for your own community please go to: http://www.charterforcompassion.org/ for more info.

#internationalcharterforcompassion #compassionateyorkregion #compassion #selfcompassion #myjourney #mentalhealthadvocate #blogger #childrensbookauthor #tellyourstory #compassionatecommunities #initiative #mentalhealth #mentalwellness

My Monday Motivation

Someone very near and dear to my heart sent me this earlier today. I may not always be able to see it for myself but a gentle reminder sure feels pretty darn good 😊😇

#mondaymotivation #agentlereminder #chosenfamily #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #kindnessisfree  #itsoktonotbeok #youareenough #mentalhealthadvocate #blogger #childrensbookauthor

Mother’s Day 2022

My cherry blossoms

My #summerofrich Mother’s Day; It’s the one day of the year they can’t say no!!!  

Thank you for all the gentle reminders today and for making me feel extra special. Looking forward to spending our Anniversary on the 21st at the Jay’s game with you Rich (just so you know Jacob, Hannah and Rachel, I would not have objected had you got me Leaf’s playoff tix either 😁🤣 😆)! xoxo

You continue to amaze me more and more each and every day as I watch you grow into the remarkable, kindhearted, hardworking young adults that you have become. 

You are my 💛. My 🌎. The 🍎🍎 🍎 🍎’s of my eye (one for Maggie 🐶 too).  

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my babies you’ll be.” ~ Robert Munsch.  

Run Maggie Run

I love you all to the moon and back, forever and a day. I am truly blessed that you call me mom. 

Thanks for the beautiful crown Shira 👑 😘

#cherryblossoms #alltrails  #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #happymothersdsay #wearacrown #springtime #mythreereasonswhy #youareenough #gentlereminders @bluejays @agentlereminderproject

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