#summerofrich in the neighborhood

After spending over 8 hours in a car yesterday delivering signs, the last thing Rich really wanted to do today was drive somewhere too far away in order to go for a hike so instead we stayed close to home and took a walk through our own neighborhood.

It’s familiar. Maybe even a bit too familiar (especially after this past year) because most of the time when we go for a walk in the neighborhood we aren’t paying too close attention to the beautiful things surrounding us like we do when we are on a hike, and too be honest you really can end up missing lots.

I think we take many of those beautiful things, the ones right in our own backyard, for granted.

We both needed to refuel today.

And right away our normally very familiar walk felt very unfamiliar today because we actually took our time to notice the beautiful things surrounding us.

And we took the time to point out and share those beautiful things we noticed with each other.

The clear blue sky above us.

The pretty lilacs on the trees and grass too.

The love birds perched on a fence singing to one another.

The fearless dogs chasing a ball in a big open field.

The sound of laughter coming from the children playing in the park.

Friends enjoying a picnic lunch together, catching up with one another and smiling from ear to ear.

I didn’t capture any of these moments with my camera today but instead I just breathed them all in.

It was a beautiful #summerofrich day in the neighborhood!

Next time you go for a walk in your neighborhood try and notice at least five beautiful things surrounding you.

#walking #youareenough #therapeutic #itsoktonotbeok #yourmentalhealthmatters #mindfulness #justbreathe #nature #beinginthemoment #beauty #birdssinging #childrenlaughing #springtime #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #selfcare

Empty Picture Frames

I’m not in a good headspace. It’s not like this is something new to me or unexplored before; but I’m just not “okay”. 

I’m feeling very unsettled and my heart is heavy. If it hasn’t already been difficult enough for me living each day of the last seven years feeling like I’ve lost a big piece of myself then how can I ever begin to shake off this heaviness I’ve felt for the last several weeks?  A heaviness that feels way bigger than just one piece of my life has gone missing. In a sense I feel like I’ve been robbed and to be completely honest, in a very real way I believe I have.   

I’m turning 50 in just a little over two months. I’ve never really been too hung up on the whole age thing and let’s face it, if I had been then I probably would’ve never agreed to go on a first date, let alone marry a man who’s close to nine years older than me. 

My social media feeds have been preparing me for my upcoming birthday since the beginning of 2021 as several times a week I witness one or more of my friends from my childhood and adolescence reach this special milestone. And it’s been kinda exciting and nostalgic to reminisce with many old friends, see old photos and feel part of this exclusive club; the one that significantly links me back to my childhood and adolescent years, a time and place that I have some of the fondest memories of with friends and extended family.

But a few weeks ago when one of my oldest and dearest friends was about to turn 50 I felt a trigger of emotions come over me and it hasn’t left me since. It feels heavy and unsettled and fills my heart with so much sadness, anger, resentment, hurt and emptiness. 

These triggers have taken me even further back in my life than just seven years ago, like way, way back; right to birth. 

You see I wanted so desperately to pay tribute to my dear friend with a walk down memory lane in the form of a photo collage and to be able to celebrate our nearly 40 years of friendship except, here is where the trigger of emotions really began to go off the rails for me because how can I make a collage of memories from an almost 40 year friendship without a single photo or memory from our younger years. 

I don’t want to get into too many details right now as to what actually happened to every single one of my photos and childhood memories I possessed before the age of 19 because well that’s where the triggers really start to go south for me. 

Let’s just say that if they had been lost in an accidental fire or went missing during a home invasion I could make room for forgiveness in my heart; but neither of those two scenerios actually played out.

There isn’t one photo of my first year of life to be found, not one school picture or memory from any of my birthdays to be found either. There are no photos of me sitting on my grandpa’s lap playing his trumpet or baking cookies with my grandma to be found. There are no photos of my childhood home in Montreal or Toronto for that matter, no photos of me from the many summers I spent at overnight camp as a camper (I do have a few pics though of my summer as a camp counsellor back in 1989). There isn’t the abundance of photos that were taken of my precious dog who meant the world to me during my adolescent years, no photos capturing the silly antics of me and my brother to be found, no photos of family outings, no photos of family friends or relatives and no photos of me and my besties growing up. It’s as though my childhood has been completely erased and sadly it all could’ve been prevented. 

The only photos I do have in my possession now (which I sometimes like to post) are the few that have been sent to me by old friends and family (please keep ’em coming!). 

My kids have begrudgingly posed for pictures and may get somewhat annoyed at times by my wanting to document every single milestone or seemingly insignificant moment from their childhood, adolescence and young adult lives but I see them, I see them periodically flipping through old photo albums and the hundreds of saved pictures on their computers. I see them laughing and reminiscing and looking back fondly at those silly memories and keepsakes and I definitely know now that one day they will totally thank me for it because memories may fade over time but a picture will tell a story for a lifetime!

Do you have a favorite photo from your childhood?

#memories #oldphotos #nostagia #lostmemories #feelinglost #fiftiethbirthday #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #friendship #family 

Nostalgia

Last night we watched the movie “The Last Blockbuster” on Netflix (a bit ironic I have to say). 

It’s a Documentary about the demise of the Blockbuster Franchise (and how they once turned down an offer to buy Netflix; boy do I pity the fool now!). It also highlighted the very last store still in existence today in Bend, Oregon. 

To be honest I was never a regular customer of Blockbuster but boy oh boy did this movie ever bring back like a Gazillion or more memories from my childhood and young adult life; so much so that I kept trying to pause the movie in order to share some of those exciting highlights with the kids and Rich as they popped into my head but if you can believe it, they were more interested in watching the movie than listening to more of my silly (and often tearful) nostalgia!

Seriously though, I would’ve thought my kids could’ve at least pretended to show some interest in my stories, I mean like after all, their parents actually met while working together in a videostore and what about my husband, I would’ve thought he’d have been all ears too seeing as he met his future bride over 30 years ago at a videostore as well!!!

They’re just lucky that they’d already gone to their rooms after the movie was over or I may have tried to take them with me on another nostalgic trip down memory lane when, shortly after the movie ended I became aware through Social Media that my favourite (or a very close second to Judy Blume) children’s book author from my childhood Beverly Cleary had just passed away at 104 years young. Boy did they sure dodge a bullet that time!

What triggers nostalgia in you?

#thelastblockbuster #memories #nostalgia #videostores #videoflicks #dvds #vcrs #newreleases #popcorn #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #ripbeverlycleary #judyblume #childrensbookauthors

The Face of Depression

Hello. My name is Kim and I suffer with a Major Depressive and severe Anxiety Disorder.

This is the face of someone who struggles with depression and anxiety every single day. 

I’d even go so far as to call me a poster child for depression and anxiety.  

But I can put on a face, any face you want for that matter. 

I can smile and laugh and act silly and I’m pretty funny too. 

If you didn’t know me, you may never “know”. You may never know by just looking at me on the outside that depression and anxiety are controlling me from the inside. 

But underneath that big smile or silly child-like behaviour is someone who feels completely broken, who doubts her own self-worth, who wonders why she is adored by so many and who fights to stay alive each and every day.  

I am not alone. I know I am not alone and I bet you see faces just like mine everywhere you go, possibly right inside your own family unit or staring back at you in the mirror. 

You never know who may be suffering in silence, quietly fighting their own battle or smiling through their pain.

So be gentle, be kind, be loving to each other because you just never know who is smiling at you through their darkness.

#youareenough #youarenotalone #endthestigmatogether #smilingthroughdepression #chronicillness #chronicdepression #severeanxietydisorder #checkonyourlovedones #kindnessmatters #yourmentalhealthmatters #selfworth #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocate #blogger #author 

With Wisdom Teeth Comes Wisdom?

Very early this morning (and after a big winter storm overnight) my youngest daughter had all four of her wisdom teeth removed (could there be any better way to spend your Reading Week/Mid Winter Break from school?). 

Her brother and sister both had their wisdom teeth removed a few years back (a week apart) and my husband had his taken out early on in our courtship, but I on the other hand have never had the pleasure of having mine removed, mainly due to the fact that well, they’ve never actually grown in.

Wisdom teeth have been referred to as the “teeth of wisdom” from as far back as the seventeenth century because they most often don’t appear until a person reaches adulthood (somewhere between the age of 17 and 25 years old) “when a person matures into adulthood and is wiser than when other teeth have erupted”.

And wisdom teeth also signify that “the carefree days of childhood have given way to the responsibilities of adulthood.” (From an article written by “Dear Doctor” titled “Why Are They Called Wisdom Teeth?”).  

So what does someone like myself, someone that is, who has the wonderful ability to turn every  waking thought or action into a negative one? It’s a pretty easy answer; I tell myself that maybe if my wisdom teeth had grown in then maybe I could’ve been able to make wiser, more sensible or more insightful choices when I began my transition into adulthood. 

Yup, you are probably shaking your head right now or even laughing at what sounds pretty darn crazy to most people reading this but to a depressed mind it may not. 

I have joked half-heartedly in passing many times over the years as to how unwise I must be for having never developed my “wisdom teeth” but could there be some truth in there, afterall there is always some truth in jest. So maybe it’s not actually that “with age comes wisdom” but maybe it’s that “with wisdom teeth comes wisdom” instead?

**Oh and my apologies for not having any fun pics or videos to share as my husband wasn’t allowed in the recovery room with her! (Damn you once again Covid.)

#wisdom #wisdomteeth #nonethewiser #withagecomeswisdom #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #depression #anxiety #mentalillness #selfcare #suicideawareness #yourmentalhealthmatters 

Ma famille ❤

What does family mean to you?

To me family is always having someone in your life who has your back and sees your shortcomings yet still loves you unconditionally.

Family is showing love and support for one another even through the difficult times and having a strong connection with others who want nothing more than to lift you up and inspire you to be the best version of yourself.

Family is having a feeling of security, unity, acceptance and a mutual respect and understanding. 

Being part of a family doesn’t have to mean that you are related by a bloodline or always having to share the same interests or opinions with each other  either; it just means that you always feel a sense of belonging, a willingness to embrace your differences and the ability to value them no matter what.

#happyfamilyday #family #familymatters #memories #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #youareenough #youarenotalone #mondaymotivation

THC Hangover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Man Plans, And God Laughs

The other day I posted a blog titled “Socially Distanced Holiday Traditions” where I talked about how difficult the holidays have become for me over the last many years and how this year many of those social pressures, obligations and expectations that so often make it difficult for me to enjoy the holidays in the first place had been decided for me due to Covid-19. 

Sadly, it almost felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I could actually take in the beauty of some of our holiday traditions this year without all the added anxiety from too many social pressures, obligations and expectations. 

I felt way more in control and much less guilty than in holidays past and I was also looking forward to spending some (socially distanced) quality time with other family too, even if it meant having to freeze our asses off in the crisp Fall-like weather in order to do so.

But none of that ended up happening because just hours after posting my blog the other morning, Jacob came home from work feeling sick for the second time in just over a week (after being perfectly fine only hours earlier). This time though he had many more flu-like symptoms than the last time. He complained of body aches, chills, a dry cough and he felt warm to the touch so off he went again for yet another Covid test and then we waited, and waited some more in anticipation of his results while he lay locked away (again), alone in his room in the basement for what felt like an eternity (I’m pretty sure though it felt even longer for Jacob).

It was hard to think positively (or to think of much else) knowing what the outcome could be and knowing just how shitty he felt (I lay awake that entire first night convincing myself that I too had Covid! #anxietysucks). It was the longest 48 hours ever but thankfully once again his results came back negative. 

The whole situation made me think of the Yiddish adage “Man Plans, and God Laughs” and just how much life is truly so unpredictable and how quickly unexpected changes can occur in your life; big or small (which is basically the journey I’ve been on for 6 years now!).

I had the best intentions and the best laid plans for the first time in many years when it came to a holiday celebration and as I mentioned above I was actually looking forward to a much less overwhelming Rosh Hashanah this year. In the end it may of still turned out to be another very overwhelming holiday while we waited for Jacob’s results but at least we got to enjoy some quiet family time together (with Jacob on Facetime) and lots of delicious festive food (I think Jacob is secretly starting to enjoy being waited on hand and foot 🙂 even if the first chance he got to be released from what’s beginning to feel like a dungeon he bolted for the nearest exit up the stairs and to the kitchen!).

#shanatova #roshhashanah #happynewyear #youareenough #manplansandgodlaughs #goawaycovid #familymatters #itsgonnabealongwinter #wearyourmask #washyourhands #togetherapart #secondwave #socialdistancing

It’s 11:11

Monday Motivation

It’s 11:11. Time to make your wishes come true! We all make wishes subconsciously throughout our day, probably numerous times per day, that which we hope to fulfill.

Many of these wishes are just a fleeting moment in time like when you find yourself wishing it would stop raining outside or maybe you wish you could take a vacation.

Then there are the wishes that are done with more of a conscious mind like when we wish we we could find a way to have more money or wish we could somehow find a way to better our health or then there is the wish of so many who are longing (and wishing) to find that one true love to share their life with.

In order for our wishes to come true, they need to become more than just idle thoughts. They take vision, they take a mental image, they take intent, they take direction and they need to be written down and read out loud many times a day.

Wishes can and do come true, so tell me one thing that you wish for right now? 

#makeithappen #mondaymotivation #whatdoyouwishfor #makeawishescometrue #makeawish #thepowerofwishes #writeyourwishesdown #saythemoutloud #eleveneleven #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #dreamer #desire

Yesterday

Yesterday was one of those days. The kind of day where nothing seems to go right, where the overwhelm gets to be too much and when the thoughts in my head go from passive ones to active ones. 

I struggle pretty much daily with suicidal thoughts and ideations but most days I am able to shut them down, ignore them or find a way to distract myself.  But some days it’s much, much more difficult to shut them down, ignore them or find a way to distract myself. Some days no matter how much I try, I can’t seem to pull myself out from underneath it and I begin to believe that the world would be a better place without me in it.

Depression is very tiring but battling suicidal thoughts and ideations has to be the most emotionally exhausting thing ever. My best advice; Don’t even try to battle it alone, it’s way bigger than you are. Trust me, the walk around the block late last night with Rich by my side made the world feel a lot less scary.

#reallife #callforhelp #askforhelp #endthestigmatogether #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #depression #anxiety #masksoff #suicide #suicideprevention #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence #iwantacigarette #mentalillness #mentalhealth