World Suicide Prevention Day 2021

I hear you. I see you. I feel you. I appreciate you. 

I am truly blessed knowing how many people I have in my life who genuinely care about my well-being. 

I’ve read each and every message (both from my Social Media feeds and those who messaged me privately as well) probably a dozen or more times by now since sharing with you a very heartfelt and vulnerable blog I wrote yesterday.  

I cried alot.

I smiled too.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I know I am struggling alot right now and I’m finding it more and more difficult to cope with my very dark and overwhelming thoughts of suicide.

I want you to know that it’s okay to acknowledge that things may not be okay. That you may not be okay. 

Just know that YOU are not alone.

Yesterday one of the private messages I received from a friend was a short animated video clip written and narrated by Brene Brown (who I admire so much) after reading my blog because she thought it perfectly summed up what I had written. The clip emphasizes the important differences between empathy and sympathy and how showing empathy towards others “fuels” connections, whereas sympathy does not. Empathy is about feeling “with” people. It’s about reaching out to someone for help and having that person say “hey, here I am”. “You’re not alone”. It’s not about looking for the silver lining (a perfect example from my blog yesterday would be someone saying to you “well at least you don’t have Cancer” when you tell them you are feeling depressed). It’s about being honest and saying I’m glad you told me. It’s not about the response, it’s about the connection.

As difficult as this week has been for me I know in my heart that I need to keep writing and sharing my journey, probably now more than ever.

We all need to do our part to raise more awareness, educate others and help reduce the stigma; and yes we NEED to talk about suicide too. 

Asking someone about suicide will help break the silence and can save a life. 

Take a moment today to connect with someone who may be struggling right now. Let them know you hear them. You see them. You feel them. You appreciate them.

Start a conversation and then keep it going; today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and the day after that too. 

I also wanted to let you know that my book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” is now available for purchase at Batner Bookstore at 180 Steeles Ave. W. in Thornhill (or through me as well). They specialize in new and used textbooks, workbooks, study guides, course materials and literature. It’s a perfect addition to any classroom, library or children’s bookshelf especially as we begin another uncertain school year ahead and when so many children and caregivers are facing the worst mental health crisis of our lives.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of my journey. The good, the bad and the ugly. I love you all so much. #shabbatshalom

#worldsuicidepreventionday #startaconversation #youmatter #youareenough #youareworthy #suicideprevention #mentalhealth #yourmentalhealthmatters #empathy #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone @the_batner_bookstore @brenebrown

Tips For Easing Back To School

Here we go again. 

Another school year is about to begin (well here in Ontario that is). 

Another school year in the midst of a Pandemic and now kids and parents are once again facing those same fears, stressors, uncertainties and anxieties they did at the start of the last school year (but maybe a bit wiser).

Parents are worried about their children’s health and if they will be safe in class or how long it will be until they receive that email from their school board letting them know that schools are shutting down ONCE AGAIN.

And many, MANY kids are feeling those same worries as well which is making the transition back into the classroom this year even more trying on their mental health and wellness.

Here are some tips that I wanted to share with you on how to try and make this year’s transition a little bit easier.

Get back into a routine, especially with your older kids. 

But give them time to adjust.

Change can be very scary.

Help them lay out their clothing, knapsacks ready and lunches made all the night before if possible. The less chaos there is in the morning the better. 

Check in with your child(ren) regularly. Daily, if not more. Ask them questions. Listen intently.

Let them know that what they are feeling is okay and that you are there for them. 

It’s been a very LONG time since many children have even seen the inside of a classroom or a school yard.

Let them know that it’s okay to feel scared and nervous.

Reassure them that they are not alone. 

The unknown of what’s to come can sometimes be the hardest.

None of us truly know for certain what is going to happen this coming school year.

Promise them though that you will get through this together. 

Focus on what is in their control right now.

Watch out for any sudden changes in their behaviour.

And lastly, if your child is dealing with any type of mental health issues, communicate this to their teachers or caregivers right away.

Working together from the start will help to ensure that your child’s needs are met and that their feelings are always validated and hopefully it will ease whatever bumps in the road that may lie ahead feel a bit less scary for everyone. 

Wishing all the teachers, caregivers, administrators, parents and students a safe and successful year ahead.

#backtoschool #mentalwellness #transition #change #herewegoagain #fuckyoucovid #mentalhealth #suicideawareness #communicationiskey #youarenotalone #youareenough #ouryouthmatter #childrensmentalhealth

My Tribe

Just got home from a long and very invigorating walk with our friends.

As we passed this tree in the forest my girlfriend stopped to point out to me the words which had been spray painted on the tree that read “keep going”. She was certain it was there as a reminder from God telling me that I must “keep going”!

Upon our arrival home from our walk there was a beautifully wrapped gift of self-care on my front porch which was left for me by another incredible girlfriend of mine.

I am overwhelmed and beyond grateful for my amazing tribe. I am truly blessed by all the love and support and kindness I have in my life.

It’s okay to not be okay.

“There is no exercise better for your heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

#summerofrich #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #mytribe #girlfriends #keepgoing #inthemoment #youarenotalone #yourmentalhealthmatters #youareenough #suicideawareness #selfcare

“Kids don’t need a perfect Mom. They need a real one.”

I may not be a perfect Mom but I’m totally real.

Besides which, perfection is overrated.

Yet I still struggle with this alot. 

Burdened by the guilt that I’ve let them down.

Taken away a piece of their childhood. 

A part of their innocence. 

They see me at my worst. 

Vulnerable. Defeated. Broken.

My kids don’t have a perfect Mom, no matter how hard I try.

And I do try.

They just have me.

Their loudest cheerleader.

Their strongest advocate.

Their biggest ally.

Kids don’t need a perfect Mom though.

They just need a real one.

Yet knowing this, I’m still left burdened by the guilt that I’ve let them down.

Taken away a piece of their childhood. 

A part of their innocence. 

But making real memories.

Lasting memories.

Celebrated memories.

It’s the real moments.

The lasting moments.

The celebrated moments.

It’s those moments, by far, that are the most perfectly imperfect Mom moments of all.

#tbt #cherishthemoments #mywhy #mythreereasonswhy #makingmemories #family #familymatters #icecream #perfectlyimperfect #nobodysperfect #beingreal #inthemoment #mentalhealth #mentalillness #yourmentalhealthmatters 

Robin Williams Remembered Today and Forever

Today marks the 7 year anniversary of Robin Williams’ suicide. 

I often still find myself recalling the events that were taking place that very same evening for me. Over and over again in my mind I replay the image of me sitting alone in my car, completely distraught and contemplating my own suicide just moments before the tragic news of his death even broke.

I have since written many blogs about the impact his death had on me and on society as a whole. I have used the impact his suicide had on the world as an opportunity to educate others on the stigma surrounding suicide, the mask that many people often wear who suffer with a mental illness as well as the importance of our words and language when it pertains to suicide.

I wanted to reshare one of those blogs here with you today (see below). Feel free to search for other “Robin Williams” tributes right here in the search engine of my blog site as well.

https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2019/08/12/mrs-doubtfires-mask/

#RobinWilliams #suicideawareness #themask #wordsmatter #endthestigmatogether #anniversary #depression #mentalhealth #mentalillness #youarenotalone #youmatter #youareenough #itsokaynottobeokay #checkonyourstrongfriends #carpediem

Gold Medal Treatment

I’m sure you’ve all heard the news by now coming from the Olympic world.

Simone Biles is probably one of the most recognized and celebrated Olympic athletes in the world today and a true mental health warrior in my eyes. 

I one thousand percent support and admire Simone’s decision to step away from the podium for now in order to focus on her mental well-being but her decision to do so has been met with so much ridicule by the naysayers who are sitting on their butts, most likely from the comfort of their couch, hidden behind their smartphone screens, tweeting out and calling her a quitter or worse. 

It brings us right back to the same place we keep ending up because had Simone broken her ankle during her Olympic performance we would not be having this conversation and instead we would all be empathizing with her and cheering her on as she rehabilitated and got back to the vault. But taking a step back to focus on her mental health never seems to be a good enough reason to the naysayers. 

Mental illness and PTSD can creep up on you ever so slowly and often out of nowhere. She deserves to be recognized for her strength and courage and not criticized and judged. 

You don’t get to the level that Simone Biles has without being mentally tough. She is far from a quitter. She is taking care of her mental wellness and that makes her worthy of an Olympic gold medal in my eyes.

And when she returns, and I believe she will, she will show all those naysayers sitting on their butts from the comfort of their couch what it takes to be a real winner. 

Many people may not fully realize or ever truly understand the trauma and possible triggers (including performing in the Olympics) that Simone has had to overcome being that she was one of MANY young athletes who suffered YEARS and YEARS of sexual abuse at the hands of their “trusted” Olympic Team Doctor “Larry Nassar” who is now thankfully serving a prison sentence of over 100 years for his crimes. 

Mental illness and PTSD are both VERY real and VERY serious. If she is not mentally strong enough to be able to focus on her performance then she could most definitely hurt herself physically and possibly destroy everything. 

Self-care is mental wellness and it doesn’t matter if you can’t physically see her injury; it still matters, even more. 

Sadly though, we live in a world where people judge others on how much money they have, what kind of career path they choose, how big the house is that they live in, how smart they are and even by the amount of medals they may have sitting on their shelf.

But what if for just one second we all took a “step back” and focused on a world where people didn’t see it that way and instead only cared that you are happy, healthy and kind. 

Don’t we all deserve that kind of gold medal treatment?

#olympian #tokyoolympics #mentalhealthwarrior #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #ptsd #endthestigmatogether #goldmedaltreatment #mentalwellness #strongertogether #usaolympian #gymnastics #kindnessmatters #itsoktonotbeok #bekindtoyourself #youareenough #selfcare #yourmentalhealthmatters #sexualabuse #selflove #mindfulness #youarenotalone @simonebiles

Happy 23rd birthday Jacob!

It feels like overnight you have “transformed” from the curious little Energizer Bunny that you once were as a toddler right into your “current” day role as Bob the Builder.

It comes as no “shock” to me that your “electrifying” personality and “positive energy” bring “light” to any room you enter.

You “brighten” up my life and so many others too (even with your dumb jokes!).

I am in awe of the amazing young man you have become in every “component” of your life.

Enjoy today to the fullest and keep using all that “renewable energy” you have for good in this 🌍!

Dad and I are so proud of all your hard work and accomplishments.

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

#happybirthday #twentythree #myfirstborn #sons #keepdoingyou #youmademeamom #electrician #flux #fluxxy #bebop #celebrate  #keepreachingforthestars

Invitation Only

“The act of forgiveness takes place in your own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person.”~ Louise Hay

Forgiveness is a gentle act and a gift of self love. I have learned over the last several years that holding on to anger I have toward someone who has hurt me only creates further pain. 

Forgiveness means no longer feeling burdened by your past. 

Forgiveness doesn’t have to mean reconciliation, approval or making space to welcome someone back into your world, it just means choosing to rise above it by moving forward, free of bitterness and resentment. 

Forgiveness allows you to put the situation behind you for your own well being and integrity. It means taking back the power and control you have over yourself.

The past few years I’ve had a big shift in the area of my relationships and whether it be a friendship, a family member or even an acquaintance; it can get very complicated. 

Some shifts in my relationships have brought with it a sigh of relief, a feeling of anger and plenty of sadness but through my own personal journey toward healing and with time, they have also brought forgiveness.  

I’ve learned that holding on to the bitterness and resentment is only hurting me. 

Forgiveness doesn’t always happen right away. For some people or in some circumstances it can take a lot longer to forgive, but it’s never too late to learn the art of forgiveness.

As I move into this next chapter of my life I am now making a conscious effort and a very selfless decision when it pertains to my own mental health and well-being that I choose who I get to invite into my life.  

I’ve always let people walk into my life very easily, sometimes too easily and I’ve done so without actually stopping to ask myself first if I really have the energy or mental capacity needed in order to have a healthy relationship with this person at this moment in time. 

I’m a pretty open book (that’s an obvious one) and I wear my heart on my sleeve (also pretty obvious) which, at times has left me feeling very vulnerable and indefensible in some of my relationships and sadly it’s come back to bite me in the ass many, many times. 

By learning how to forgive others who have held way too much unwarranted space in my heart for far too long has really afforded me the ability to make so much more room in my life for the people who genuinely want to be there and vice versa. 

It’s opened up space to have real and honest relationships with people who can truly accept my limitations and vice versa, who see me as perfectly imperfect and vice versa, who don’t question my boundaries and vice versa, who support my endeavors and vice versa, who want nothing more than for me to be happy and vice versa, who are there to listen when I just need to talk, without judgment and vice versa and most of all, who love me for being my true authentic self and vice versa.

I have so much to be grateful for when it comes to the amazing relationships I have in my life right now. And whether you are a friend, a family member or even an acquaintance of mine I hope you know that you always have an open invitation.

#forgiveness #learningtoforgive #mentalhealth #wellbeing #inviteonly #theactofforgivness #mentalwellness #family #friendship #selfcare #selflove #rsvp #openinvitation #relationshipgoals #youareenough #mondaymotivation  

The Most Incredibly Meaningful Birthday

First I just wanted to start off by giving a great big thank you to everyone (both near and far) who took the time yesterday to wish me a happy birthday. You helped make my day extra special and even more meaningful with all your beautiful birthday wishes and kind, encouraging words. 

I have been beyond overwhelmed with emotion over the last couple of weeks as I have mentioned ALOT lately and most of my overwhelm has honestly had more to do with other aspects of my life and much less to do with my actual birthday. 

But as the clock struck midnight on the eve of my birthday the focus completely shifted to my “birth day”. I tried not to overwhelm myself any further by putting any undue pressure on myself or create expectations that would overwhelm me further.

I cried ALOT yesterday, like ALOT ALOT. 

I was overwhelmed ALOT yesterday, like ALOT ALOT. 

I was on an emotional roller coaster ALOT yesterday, like ALOT ALOT but I don’t think I could have felt more blessed, loved or grateful than I did. 

I was pampered and treated like royalty yesterday. 

Lunch with my girls
I have the greatest friends
Another cherished gift from my kids
A meaningful gift from my incredible mother in law
It’s been too long
Wow! What a magnificent cake

I got to feel the warm embrace of other fully vaccinated loved ones living outside of my home for the first time in over 15 months and I never wanted to let go. 

First hugs in almost a year and a half

And I received the most thoughtful and meaningful gifts (including of course our weekend getaway last weekend) from friends and family that I will cherish forever.

A couple of months ago I shared a blog with you describing how I had very few pictures of myself or of my family and friends from infancy to my late teens due to circumstances beyond my control (see blog: https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2021/04/15/empty-picture-frames/).

Little did I know that from that blog would emerge one of the most cherished and meaningful gifts I could have ever imagined. 

After reading that particular blog, my brother set out on a mission to hunt down pictures from our childhood. Along with the selfless aid of my sister in law, my two nephews, Rich and my three kids they spent hours upon hours exchanging emails and texts with one another, reaching out to dear friends and family who were a big part of our childhood and formatting the layout and design together (all behind my back) in order to create an album for me starting from where my life began on June 23rd 1971 in Montreal, Quebec to present day, 50 years later. 

Another wow moment
Thank you from the bottom of my heart ❤
Wolsley Ave, Montreal West, Quebec
So many emotions
My brother’s Bar Mitzvah
He’s always got my back
The book wouldn’t be complete without #summerofrich

Believe it or not, these are only a handful of pics I chose to show you from this magnificent book. I honestly have no words to describe what yesterday truly meant to me and how deeply touched I am by all the kindness and love that surrounds me (and not just on my birthday) and I am so thankful to everyone who continues to go out of their way to show me day in and day out that I am enough ❤

(And a special shout out to my friend Jenn for this fricken awesome Cameo video). https://v.cameo.com/A2kP4m5ujhb

David and Annie from 90 Day Fiance

#fifty #finallyfifty #birthdays #celebratethemoments #iamcherished #grateful #iamnotalone #youareenough #family #friendship #memories #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #childhoodmemories #tearsofjoy

Unwrapping The Gift Of Family Time

My illness has made me feel so out of control too many times to count.

It’s a very scary feeling. 

I don’t fair well with chaos and disorder.

I need to cross every “t” and dot every “i” in everything I do. 

I make lists and I check them twice (well its probably closer to a dozen times).

When I feel like I’m losing control over a situation I become extremely overwhelmed.

I think much of my obsessive and compulsive behaviours when it comes to control stem from my childhood, a time when I never truly felt like I had any control over my own life, nor given free reign to make my own decisions or mistakes. 

This weekend was meant for my family and I to celebrate ME. 

They organized everything, leaving no stone unturned (or meal and snack unplanned either). 

However, leading up to the weekend my need to take control overwhelmed me. 

But this weekend was not meant for me to get overwhelmed. 

It was meant for me to sit back, relax, be in the moment and not get caught up in every little detail. 

The kids and Rich could see the  overwhelm surrounding me throughout the week.

I tried my darndest to remove myself from any of the chaos and disorder. 

They reassured me over and over again.

“Mom, don’t worry, we’ve got this!” was repeated on a daily basis.

And boy were they were right. 

They didn’t miss a beat.

No stone went left unturned.

Every “t” was crossed and every “i” dotted. 

Words cannot begin to describe how much this weekend truly meant to me or how truly appreciative and grateful I am for the love my family. 

They may not always “get” me and that’s OK because they “get” what truly matters.

Memories were made to last a lifetime this weekend, laughter was in abundance and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect gift than the gift of quality time with my perfectly imperfect family.

#iloveyoutothemoonandback #wevegotthis #perfectlyimperfect #familymatters #familyfirst #youareenough #cottagelife #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #nature #hiking #kahshelake #lakeofhealingwaters #funinthesun #turningfifty #birthdaygetaway #agiftoftime #peaceful #therapeutic #campfire #smores #summerofrich #happyfathersday #selfcare #blessed