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 

A Quick Rant: A Fairer, Healthier World, My Ass

Today is World Health Day. Its campaign has become a day of recognition around the Globe since 1948 and was first created by the World Health Organization (WHO), a name that has become increasingly more and more familiar to all of us since the Pandemic started. 

This year’s campaign is focused on building a “fairer, healthier world” for everyone but living in Canada right now it doesn’t feel fair at all.

The vaccine rollout in Ontario (and Canada) has been a complete and utter disaster (imo) and I can’t believe that I am actually about to say this after what we have all witnessed over the past year in the United States but I am beyond envious of all my friends and family living south of the border right now as I witness the success of how their vaccines are being rolled out (and Israel, well they deserve a fricken gold star!). 

Earlier this morning both Rich and I were able to book appointments to get vaccinated simply because the Government has now deemed our postal code a “hot spot” along with several others in our region which has afforded us and anyone else in these select few areas who are between the ages of 45 and 59 years old to do so as well. 

I’m not gonna lie, once we both received our confirmation emails with our appointment times set in place I became super emotional (surprise, surprise there were actual tears) that this was actually about to happen.

I am beyond grateful to be given this opportunity and I feel that it is my duty to get vaccinated when my time comes in order to help stop the spread of Covid-19; but I’m angry all at the same time.

I’m angry that teachers and admin staff have not been prioritized to receive a vaccination first or the factory workers, grocery store clerks, wait staff in restaurants, construction workers, immune compromised individuals, those in more marginalized communities, the 20 something year olds who have been blamed most for spreading the virus and everyone else who works in an essential service and CANNOT work from home.

I just hope that soon enough all Canadians (and many other parts of the world) can celebrate World  Health Day together by actually building a fairer, healthier (and more united) world to live in.

Ok, Rant over

#worldhealthday #vaccinations #vaccinerollout #ohcanada  #ourgovernmenthasfailedus #weallmatter #anotherlockdown #covidfatigue #staysafe #covid19 #coronavirus #pandemic #wearamask #overwhelm #anxiety #depression #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocate @fordnationdougford @justinpjtrudeau @celliottability @slecce

My First Facebook Live

Today I did my first ever Facebook live presentation within a Facebook group called “Parents Unite” whose main purpose is to bring parents together while raising awareness on mental health concerns in both adults and children. 

People tell me all the time how brave it is of me to be able to do so many live television/news interviews, radio gigs or other such presentations but here’s the thing, when I do these interviews, gigs or other such presentations I am (for the most part) being fed questions to answer by the interviewers so I’m not actually having to think about what I want to say or fill air time all on my own. 

But when you do a Facebook/ Instagram live it’s just you and your thoughts trying to make sense without seemingly rambling on about whatever message it is you are trying to get across to others. And whether it’s someone choosing to talk about something that is irking them or helping to grow their online business or wanting to talk about something on a more personal level, it’s not easy.

As envious as people may be watching me take center stage on live television or through the lens of a Zoom interview, I am actually the one who has been envious of others who seem to have the natural ability to just press the live button at any given moment and start speaking off the cuff.

I often think to myself as I scroll through my feeds or as I am writing a blog and especially while I am listening to someone speak live that maybe today, instead of writing my words down in a blog to post later on that I will open up my Facebook or Instagram page and speak to a live audience, straight from the heart, right into the camera, allowing others watching an opportunity to interact in the conversation live and giving way for even more raw and intimate experiences to occur.  But the fear of doing so and the thought of reaching outside my comfort zone has always stopped me. 

But today I reached outside my comfort zone (even after waking up with a sore back out of nowhere and as the day goes on I’m having trouble sitting and catching my breath). I spent about 30 minutes on a Facebook live sharing part of my journey with the Parents Unite community, reading my children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” and discussing the importance of having open, honest and age appropriate conversations with children as young as preschool age who may be impacted by mental health issues somewhere within their family unit. 

Everything I spoke about today has become second nature to me. They are things I am extremely passionate about and well versed in but not having the ability to edit my thoughts was quite a scary feeling. 

As I mentioned above I have dreamed for several years now that one day I could stand (or sit) in front of an audience and speak off the cuff and from the heart with authenticity by allowing my vulnerabilities to do the talking. 

And even if I will beat myself up for how I spoke today, for what I said or didn’t say, it’s okay because at least I tried. At least I reached outside my comfort zone, I learned a new skill, I took a risk and I achieved a new goal.

Could I try a Ted Talk next?

https://m.facebook.com/groups/parents.unite18/permalink/871850973660675/  (link to Facebook live)

Or check out the Parents Unite group on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/parents.unite18/?ref=share

What is one topic you could talk about to a live audience for about 30 minutes without any preparation?

#facebooklive #speakyourtruth #fromtheheart #parentsunite #tedtalk #socialmedia #author #blogger #advocate #wheredidmommyssmilego #childrensbook #depression #anxiety #mentalillness #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #youareenough #youarenotalone #endthestigmatogether #itsoktonotbeok 

Four Million Reasons Why

I read an article the other day whose title immediately caught my eye. It read:

4 million cries for help: Calls to Kids Help Phone soar amid pandemic.

As I continued on to read the body of the article my heart sank further. 

Since the onset of the Pandemic last March, Kids Help Phone has seen an upsurge in calls from young people. Statistics show that calls, texts and their many other online resources have more than doubled since the previous year and they are now receiving over 800 calls, texts etc. every day from all across Canada (with Ontario making up for approximately half of those calls received each day).

Callers have been as young as 5 years old with a good majority of the calls coming in between midnight and 4 am. Many of these call are related to feelings of isolation, loneliness, self/body image, virtual learning, missed milestones and an overall deterioration of their mental health. And of all the calls received by their large team of trained counsellors per day, there is at minimum, 10 calls where police are being dispatched for “active suicide rescues”. 

These stats are truly heartbreaking but I am so thankful at the same time that our youth have a safe place like Kids Help Phone to reach out to in order to help them survive a Pandemic. Knowing just how many of our young people have become so withdrawn, angry, frustrated, anxious and sad (and rightfully so) is beyond scary. 

I hear from speaking with so many concerned parents in my community (and beyond) how their kids are staying up all night gaming with friends online just to feel some sort of connection and how so many more have completely checked out from their daily routines, especially online learning. The concerns over the emotional and financial impacts that isolation and lockdowns are having on our youth are growing more and more concerning by the day and suicides among our youth are increasing at alarming rates. 

As spring quickly approaches, (at least according to Wiarton Willie, the adorable little Groundhog that is, who just yesterday predicted an early spring, yay), I had recently been giving a great deal of thought to starting another Graduation Initiative again this year for the Class of 2021. 

I will afterall in just two short months have another Graduate in my home, who as of yesterday received the disappointing news in an email from her University informing her (what we already knew in our hearts) that they will be postponing her Spring Convocation Ceremony until such time when large public gatherings can once again take place safely. 

I know how much disappointment, anger and sadness this reality caused my other daughter last spring when both her Prom and Graduation ceremony were cancelled, along with millions of other young people’s around the world but after reading the article and taking note of the imminent crisis our young people are facing due to the Pandemic I felt a great sense of pride knowing that the 10k that I along with the help of 100’s of incredibly generous and kindhearted people in and around my community helped raise and donate to Kids Help Phone last spring, that the money went to a very worthwhile cause.

I now feel as though I have at least 4 million more reasons to take on this initiative once again and who knows, maybe with the help of my amazing community we could double the amount of proceeds we raised last spring.

Services like Kids Help Phone are needed more than ever before and even though it may only be a stepping stone toward other resources or long term services for some, our young people deserve a fighting chance and are going to need all the help they can get long after the Pandemic is over because although many of the imminent issues at hand may one day dissipate, the lingering effects and fallout from the Pandemic are sadly going to affect much of our younger generations for many years to come.

If you or someone you know needs a safe and confidential place to start please call Kids Help Phone at: 1.800.668.6868 or text: 686868

#kidshelpphone #ouryouthmatter #helplines #lifelines #classof2021 #graduationday  #grads #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #yourmentalhealthmatters #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence 

Reaching Out For Help

**Update: here is the link to my interview** https://toronto.citynews.ca/video/2021/01/29/telephone-counselling-set-up-due-to-pandemic-mental-health-issues

*Warning: May Be Triggering To Some*

I’m struggling more than usual right now and it almost feels like it’s beyond repair. 

My tears have all but dried up at this point and I feel as though I have nothing left to give of myself. My safe place no longer feels safe and I find myself looking for desperate ways to escape from these painful thoughts and feelings. 

I wish there was such a thing as a magic pill that I could swallow which would stop these desperate thoughts and feelings from taking control of me instead of wanting to end my life forever.  

I haven’t been able to shake these desperate thoughts and feelings for the better part of a week now. I’ve tried escaping them by going for walks at unreasonable hours, writing and most importantly trying to lean on others for support, including my Therapist, but I feel like such a burden right now which has made it that much more difficult to do.  

But I also know that reaching out for help is so important, especially as I desperately try to hold on in order to survive right now. This feeling is also why when I was approached to do an interview today with City TV News I knew it was maybe a sign. 

The interview was about a new telephone Helpline being set up in York Region to provide counselling for those suffering, specifically through Covid related issues due to restrictions, isolation etc. I knew it was something I needed to do for both myself and the many others who are feeling desperate and scared right now. I knew I needed to continue to be that voice and let others like me find hope and strength in knowing that reaching out for support is more than okay, in fact it’s beyond okay. 

I had put the link to this new service (which is free) on a blog the other day titled “Going To Therapy is Cool” @https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2021/01/21/going-to-therapy-is-cool and feel free to check out my Interview on City TV at 5 or 6pm tonight. 

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”~Maya Angelou 

Bell Let’s Talk Day 2021

Today is the 11th Annual Bell Let’s Talk Day. To date Bell’s Mental Health initiatives have raised more than 25 million dollars towards various programs and research projects by contributing 5 cents every time someone in Canada sends a text message, makes a phone call (Bell users only), tweets #BellLetsTalk or creates a Tik Tok video using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, views one of their videos on any of their social media platforms or uses Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame and Snapchat filter today.

Their message this year in the wake of Covid-19 is simple; “When it comes to mental health, now more than ever, every action counts.” 

So if you can take a moment today to talk, text or tweet (etc) #BellLetsTalk it really could make a difference in someone’s life and remember that every action taken is one step closer toward ending the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Our words matter, our actions matter and our mental health matters more than ever before and by simply showing a kind gesture to a friend or loved one who is feeling depressed today or by listening to a child who may be feeling super anxious and unsure right now or by asking a coworker or neighbor how you can help them because they are feeling extra stressed are just a few of the many ways that you can let someone know that they are not and that it’s okay to not be okay.  

**If you would like more information on how to get a copy of my children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” please feel free to message me directly. All proceeds from any book sales made between today and Sunday will be donated to #BellLetsTalkDay initiatives. And for more helpful tips and tools on mental health and self-care practices or to learn how Bell Let’s Talk initiatives have been impacting groups and communities all across Canada for the past 10 + years please check out their website @ https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/our-initiatives. 

❤Thank you❤

#BellLetsTalkDay #bellletstalk #wordsmatter #youmatter #everyactioncounts #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation kindnessmatters #ohcanada  #endthestigmatogether #wheredidmommyssmilego #author #blogger

Depression Is Not A One Day Sales Event

Today is “Blue Monday”. Every year the third Monday in January has been labelled as the most “depressing” day of the year. 

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog titled; “Stop Calling It Blue Monday” where I described the many formulas for which “Blue Monday” got its namesake and sure, on paper, today could very well look like it may live up to its name (see blog: https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/stop-calling-it-blue-monday) but the campaigns which are associated with “Blue Monday” are commercializing on it (book a tropical getaway now) and therefore further trivializing what is a very serious, debilitating and often life threatening disorder for so many of us, including myself. 

This time of year can undoubtedly be difficult enough for so many of us as the bills start piling up from the holidays, new year’s resolutions are being broken, getting outside for fresh air has become more difficult due to the inclement weather in many parts of the world and for many others there is possibly an overall feeling of gloominess stemming from having less hours of daylight in our day.

But this year we have sadly added a whole other layer to what may be causing so many more individuals to be feeling even more stressed or S.A.D (see blog from February 2018:  https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/im-s-a-d-the-february-blues) this time of year, and even more so than in years past which is now better known as Covid fatigue. 

So when it is suggested to us that we should all feel somewhat depressed on one single day each year feels very belittling and almost condescending, especially this year more than ever. 

But I will give “Blue Monday” kudos for giving a voice to Depression. By talking about “Blue Monday”, by watching it being discussed on all the news channels today and by listening to many experts on the radio giving both advice and important resources available to you for tackling Depression head on is helping to further destigmatize it. It is allowing for many individuals who may be feeling very much alone right now to find the courage to ask for help and it’s letting you know that help is available. And most importantly it’s telling someone who may not know it yet but it’s okay to not be okay; yesterday, today and even tomorrow. 

***There are many free online programs and resources available and here is one that is now available through Shoppers Drug Mart in the Provinces of Ontario and Manitoba (ages 16 plus)*** https://shoppersdrugmart.myicbt.com/home?email=amVubmluZ3MuamFkYUBnbWFpbC5jb20%3D-%20A%20Badge%20-%20CBT-01

#bluemonday #endthestigmatogether #youareenough #startaconversation #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #checkonyourlovedones #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #mentalillness #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #mentalhealth

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

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

November is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Canada. Statistics show that 1 in 3 Canadian women will experience domestic abuse from an intimate partner in their lifetime, but it does not stop there as it can affect people of all races, cultures, socioeconomic classes, religions, genders and sexual orientations.

Domestic violence is also a much broader epidemic than just that of physical abuse as it could likely include several other forms of abuse as well such as sexual, psychological and emotional. 

Since the start of the Pandemic, domestic violence has become a Pandemic within a Pandemic once the stay-at-home-orders came into effect and with a big surge in job loss, unemployment, economic instability, childcare instability, housing instability and travel restrictions it has made it more and more difficult for many victims who have been confined to their homes with their abusers to safely connect with the necessary services or outside help including reporting to authorities. 

Many victims are staying out of fear or because they feel trapped, both of which have been very likely scenerios even long before the Pandemic began. 

Although there are many signs that someone is being abused, they are not always as visible to outsiders, especially with so many of the current living circumstances for victims right now. 

It can also be very difficult to clearly see signs of abuse because most perpetrators learn the art of manipulation and control over their victim’s mind and emotions. 

Signs of Abuse:
-Bullying, threatening or controlling tactics 
-Controlling your money
-Cutting you off from your family and friends 
-Physical or sexual abuse

(Footnote: WebMD)

Keep an eye out for these signs if you think a loved one is a victim of domestic violence: 

-Excuses for injuries
-Personality changes, like low self-esteem in someone who was always confident
-Constantly checking in with their partner
-Never having money on hand
-Overly worried about pleasing their partner
-Skipping out on work, school, or social outings for no clear reason
-Wearing clothes that don’t fit the season, like long sleeves in summer to cover bruises 

(Footnote: WebMD)

Lastly, if your gut is telling you that a friend or loved one may be a victim of domestic violence say something! Listen, ask questions and offer to help in any way you can. And remember, never judge another person’s situation or a decision that someone else may make unless you have walked a mile in their shoes. Empower them instead to give them the courage they may need to become stronger and more confident. 


#domesticviolenceawarenessmonth #empower #signsofdomesticviolence #youareenough #youarenotalone #noshame #startaconversation #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #dontsufferinsilence #speakyourtruth #advocate #courageous

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.

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