Facebook memory repost: May 25, 2020

This day, two years ago I experienced one of my proudest moments. It was no ordinary day, infact it was an extraordinary one. 

As I look back today on what I accomplished that day two years ago and ever since then with my graduation lawn sign initiative I am gently reminded that in a world filled with so much darkness and hate there is still so much kindness and compassion. 

Today, as we come to terms with the grim reality of yet another senseless and tragic school shooting in the US yesterday, the world is standing together to mourn the heartbreaking loss of 19 precious and sacred young lives lost along with their two beautiful and heroic teachers in Ulvalde, Texas I wanted to dedicate this moment to them, their families and their community who in the face of evil and lives cut short will never be given the chance to celebrate a graduation ceremony or any other milestones or rites of passage that they so deserved.

As we all go about our regular lives today while still holding this senseless tragedy in our hearts I also wanted to leave you with these heart-wrenching words which were posted last night on Facebook by a father mourning the most unthinkable trauma imaginable after losing his daughter in the massacre yesterday as a gentle reminder to all of us; “Please don’t take a second for granted. Hug your family. Tell them you love them.” ~ Angel Garza, father of 10 year old Amerie Jo.

#heartbroken #senselesstragedy #kindnessandcompassion #enoughisenough #guncontrolnow #agentlereminder #hugyourfamily #tellthemyoulovethem #mentalhealth #schoolmassacre #ouryouthmatter #itsoktonotbeok #youareenough @agentlereminderproject

TOXIC FAMILY; THE TIES THAT UNBIND *may be triggering for some*

Some of my writings come more easily to me than others. This however was one of those times it did not. I’ve been really struggling to finish this blog for quite some time now, mostly because in my heart I kept hoping there could be a different ending to it but for my own mental and physical health which have both been equally suffering of late I somehow needed to close one of the chapters of my story that triggers much of my distress.

I am surrounded by so much kindness and support in my life both from loved ones and strangers alike, it truly is immeasurable, but what if the one place you expect it from the most is just too far from your reach?

I grew up in a home with two parents who showed their love in two very different ways through two VERY different styles of parenting (I wrote about one of those parenting styles several months ago: https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2021/12/15/helicopter-parenting/). They clashed constantly over their parenting styles (I guess it’s no surprise they are no longer married!) and as a result I found myself caught in the crossfire. Unfortunately though it was only after I became ill and began to untangle many impressionable memories from my childhood through hours upon hours of therapy that I finally began to understand how much of my upbringing left me feeling so inadequate and unworthy later on in my life.

Family bonds us and is also supposed to keep us strong and safe. Unfortunately though not every family unit follows that same pattern and sometimes it may mean having to cut ties with a loved one. That is not to say that you ever lose that yearning for their love or approval, it just means you can’t have a relationship with them. Removing yourself from a toxic family relationship is sometimes the only way to help you heal; and sometimes in order to move toward that place of healing you may have to leave some things or some relationships behind in order to do so. 

The wounds that get left behind may never fully heal but the boundaries you set are a great first step toward forgiveness in your heart which in itself I know can be very healing.

You can’t change someone who doesn’t see any issue with their actions which is why sometimes you have to take that first step on your own and if I’ve learned anything over the last many years it’s that if you allow yourself to live in a world filled with guilt or continually let things slide to keep the peace it will only create more hurt inside of you. 

Sometimes our loved ones who we believe should protect us or love us unconditionally may not have it in them or have the capability to be what we need them to be or like them to be but we can respect them for who they are which sadly may need to be from a distance. 

There comes a point when the relationship may be causing you more harm than good, when plenty of chances have been given, when you are made to feel like everything you do is wrong, when you feel abandoned, when they are constantly criticizing you behind your back, when it’s difficult to communicate your feelings for fear of being criticized to your face, when nothing you say or do is ever good enough, when they make you feel guilty, when they manipulate, blame or gaslight you, when they can never apologize for their mistakes, when you’re always feeling let down, when you have to beg them for their time or never make you a priority, when you always feel like you are walking on eggshells and can never just be yourself around them, when they don’t hear you, when they violate your boundaries or can’t respect the word no, when your feelings are ignored and your limitations invalidated or when seeing them only sparks negative emotions or leaves you more emotionally drained after an encounter with them then as difficult as it may be, cutting off contact all together may be the healthiest thing for you to do. 

I’ve experienced a wave of emotions while writing this; relief, sadness, anxiety, guilt. I’ve given up hoping they’ll change. I’ve given up fantasizing that one day they will see how much they have hurt me or made me feel unworthy of their love. That is beyond my control. I’ve told them how I feel too many times to count. I’ve told them how they make me feel more times than I can remember and more importantly I’ve told them what I need from them. 

I know many people will read this and think, “but they’re your family”, or “life is too short”. Toxic is TOXIC whether you share the same DNA or not and you are right, life is too short, too short that is to do anything other than what’s best for you, especially when it comes to your mental and physical health. 

You don’t owe anyone an explanation and no one gets to decide what is best for you, afterall you are the CEO of your life which means you are the only one who gets to promote, demote or terminate the people you choose to surround yourself with. 

*thank you to my friend who had sent me the original quote by Tony Gaskins a while back. I’ve read it a thousand times since and have been saving it for just the right moment*.

Original quote ~ “Evaluate the people in your life; then promote, demote or terminate. You’re the CEO of your life!” Tony Gaskins, Motivational Speaker.

#toxicfamily #toxicrelationships #selfworth #selfcareisnotselfish #empowerment #youarenotalone #youareenough #itsoktosayno #familymatters #DNA #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #yourmentalhealthmatters

Not exactly the romantic candlelit evening I was hoping for on our anniversary. Power has been out for over 10 hrs now with absolutely no end in sight, food is rotting away in our fridge and freezer as we speak (fml), lost part of our fence in the storm, Maggie is anxiously barking away at the firework display outside our open window cuz it’s too warm to close it!, one kid is down for the count with a stomach bug and my phone is about to die and I’m blaming mother nature for all of it but at least not all was a loss today as we got to see a great win from the Blue Jays live and in person this afternoon for the first time in 3 yrs (thanks again to my kids for the perfect mother’s day gift)!

Thanks everyone for all your kind wishes today, it definitely added another point to the win column for sure.
*see post from earlier today for my video montage tribute to my #summerofrich 💕

#yousuckmothernature #bluejays #countyourwins #happyanniversary #tou #poweroutage #mentalhealth #twentysevenyears #romanticeh #romance #youarenotalone

HAPPY 27TH ANNIVERSARY R💟CH

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 

%d bloggers like this: