To Those Who Are Left Behind

Today is the last day of September and today is also the last day of “National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month” which is a month long campaign used to raise awareness on this very stigmatized and still very taboo topic. 

Although it may only be a month long campaign it doesn’t mean that it ends today. The conversation needs to continue each and every day. 

We MUST continue to keep the conversation going. 

We MUST continue to give hope to everyone affected by Suicide. 

We MUST continue to educate others.

And we MUST ensure that ALL individuals, families and friends have the same accessibility to the necessary resources available to give us all a better understanding on how to prevent suicide and seek help.

I’m not okay.  

I’m still having very intrusive and very real thoughts of suicide. It consumes me.

I’m reminded each and every day by friends, loved ones, acquaintances and even strangers what life would be like for those I’d leave behind. 

Trust me, I hear you. Your words echo in my head day and night. But sadly for many people suffering with a mental illness or suicidal ideations their pain can still become too much to bare.

One of those many reminders came to me recently by an old friend of mine who reached out to me to chat and I haven’t been able to get our conversation off my mind.

I was so honoured and grateful that she chose to share her overwhelming and very raw emotions with me as she tries to come to terms with the heart-wrenching grief and despair she’s been living with for months now after losing a loved one to suicide. 

I could feel her disbelief, her numbness, her shock, her anger, her confusion, her rejection and her guilt all wrapped together as she desperately tries to begin her journey toward healing and acceptance.

The aftermath of losing a loved one to suicide and finding ways to cope with the sadness, the feelings of helplessness and the overwhelming consumption of what ifs or what more could I have done can be very triggering and both mentally and physically exhausting.

Just know that you are not alone. 

Surround yourself with people who want to listen when you need to talk or who offer a shoulder to lean on when you just need to sit in silence. 

Remember there is no “proper” way to grieve any loss, especially ones which are so sudden and without closure. Let healing happen at your own pace and in your own time.

Seek out others who may be experiencing similar grief. Sharing your story with people who truly understand your pain can often help bring strength to your healing process. 

And lastly, find a mental health professional to guide you through your grief and help you adjust to life after suicide.

Yes, today may be the last day of September and the last day of “National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month” but today can not be the end to the conversation surrounding the many complexities of suicide.

Lets all make a promise to band together with more compassion and support to those who wake up each and every day battling very intrusive and very real thoughts of suicide, show kindness and empathy to those who are left behind after a suicide occurs and help them in any way you can to honour the memory of their loved one who has lost their battle.

*visit the Mayo Clinic website for more information.

*Suicide Prevention Helpline* 1.833.456.4566

#youarenotalone #nationalsuicidepreventionawarenessmonth #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #asilentkiller #keeptheconversationgoing #yourmentalhealthmatters #tothosewhoareleftbehind #startaconversation #itsoktonotbeok #mentalillness #mentalhealth

Yom Kippur is about…

Today is considered to be the holiest and most important day of the year in the Jewish faith. It’s a day where many Jews fast and while doing so are encouraged to atone for any wrongdoings and ask others for forgiveness in order to repair the wrongdoings from the past year. 

But whether or not today you are observing this holiest of holidays or maybe it’s just another “Manic Monday” to you, take some time today to reflect not just on the wrongdoings you may have caused others but to reflect on the wrongdoings you have also done to yourself too because Yom Kippur is also about introspection and looking inside of your own mental and emotional state as well. Too often the person we find we need to atone to or ask forgiveness from the most is staring right at us in the mirror. 

#forgiveness #manicmonday #motivationalmonday #yomkippur #meaningfulfast #selfcare #mentalwellness #selflove #mentalhealth #introspection #reflection #atonement 

The Five Stages Of “Covid” Grief


Throughout the Pandemic I have followed all the necessary precautions set out by the Government, by Science and by our Health Officials and although it may come as a big surprise to many of you but for the most part the Pandemic itself has not intensified my symptoms of Depression and Anxiety; infact in some ways it’s done just the opposite (I will save that for a later blog). 

My steady decline in my Mental Health over the last while has truly had very little to do with the Pandemic itself and much more to do with many other personal factors that were already there long before Covid-19 was ever a thing.

And although I have not allowed all the fear mongering or blatant disrespect, intolerance and judgment towards one another that I see every time I open up my Social Media feeds control my emotions I have grown more and more anxious lately wondering if life will ever feel “normal” again.

As I look back on the last 6 plus months I feel as though the Pandemic has taken us through many different stages, and when I examine those stages closely I can see that they are the same 5 stages a person will often go through when grieving a loss and for months now we have all been grieving the loss of life in some form or another.

The 5 stages of grief which can easily be transferred to life during a Pandemic are as follows: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness & Depression and Acceptance.

Way way back at the end of 2019 the world watched and listened to what was unfolding in China and for several months prior to it reaching the rest of the Globe, if we can all be honest here for just one second, how many of us actually watched in “denial” while clinging to a false, “preferable reality” that this virus wasn’t really going to affect our lives. 

And even as it crept closer and closer to us, we were still very much in “denial” as to the kind of impact it was going to have on our lives, but boy oh boy, it didn’t take long before our “denial” turned to “anger”.

We quickly (and rightfully so) became very frustrated and began to put blame on anyone and everyone we could. We angrily wondered how the fuck this could have happened to us and who would of let this happen to us all the while as we sat at home in self-isolation.

Then, as more and more information from the Government, Science and Health Officials came to light we entered into the “bargaining” stage of grief and started our negotiations with the experts. “So you’re telling me that if I stay home or stay 6 feet apart from anyone outside of my bubble or I wear a mask when social distancing is problematic or I use hand sanitizer and wash my hands constantly then after 14 days in quarantine our life can go back to normal, right?” 

Well we all know now that it’s alot more complex than that and our “bargaining” and negotiation skills have fallen short, which after months of trying to make the best of this very shitty situation our denial, our anger and our bargaining skills have turned into a deep “sadness” or “depression” for many people around the Globe.

Many of us have lost so much during this Pandemic and many of us have reached a point where their sadness or depression makes them feel as though this is a losing battle, that all our efforts are hopeless. It’s also made us question an inevitable future and our own mortality too.

But there is still one final stage of grief and it’s probably the most important one of all. If we are to find the strength to move forward and learn how to navigate life in our new “normal” then we must first learn “acceptance” of it. Collectively we need to figure out ways to proceed both cautiously and safely because “acceptance” will give us the power to control whatever lies ahead.

We all cope with grief in our own way and in our own time. We may not all go through each of the 5 stages, and maybe none of them at all but no matter your process we all need to remember that we are all in this together. 

#fivestagesofgrief #denial #anger #bargaining #sadness #acceptance #showkindness #wereallinthistogether #strongertogether #covid19 #pandemic #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #checkonyourlovedones #wearamask #washyourhands #sixfeet

Does Everything Happen For A Reason?

Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?  I have found myself pondering this question quite a lot, especially lately as I continue to battle many difficult setbacks in my life right now. Many of the setbacks I’ve been battling of late effect the wellbeing of my family too but many more of these setbacks have also led me to the brink of suicide for several weeks now.

According to the Greek Philosopher Aristotle everything does happen for a reason, always. He says that “Every
experience in your life is designed to shape you and help you grow into the highest and mightiest version of yourself.”

Sometimes though when you are in the throes of a particularly difficult or painful period in your life it can be really hard to understand its purpose or to find any positive meaning behind it. 

With the help of my wonderful therapist I have learned so much about myself in the last few years and I have gained a much better understanding of my past as well which has in turn given me the courage to let go of a lot of old wounds in order to heal.

I’ve been able to create an overall picture of myself in my head as I find the strength to let go of some of those wounds that have caused me great pain in my life and it is beginning to make perfect sense now. 

And over the last couple of years I have also been taught many valuable lessons amongst all the chaos and sadness through quiet introspection.  I have begun to accept that everything may very well happen for a reason but that it’s not always so easy to embrace it all of the time even though I know in my heart that it has been “designed to shape you and help you grow into the highest and mightiest version of yourself.”

So are you a believer?

#everythinghappensforareason #greekphilospher #aristotle #findingmypurpose #myjourney #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #endthestigmatogether #nationalsuicidepreventionawarenessmonth #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #mentalillness 

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

Socially Distanced Holiday Traditions

 

For many Jews around the world tomorrow night marks the start of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) which has traditionally been a time for celebrating with our family, friends and community but we all know that this year the holidays (much like Passover and Easter were in the Spring) are going to look and feel a whole lot different which can and will likely cause many people to feel the “holiday blues”.

I mean who can really blame anyone by this point for feeling “blue” (regardless of your religious beliefs or faith), seeing as it’s now been more than 6 months since we have been able to “traditionally” celebrate squat with our family, friends and community. 

Over the last many years, holiday gatherings and celebrations of any kind have been incredibly difficult for me and whether it’s the social pressures, the obligations or the expectations that come along with it, together they all just seem to exacerbate these feelings further.

Depression brings with it a high level of discomfort that is truly unexplainable to many who have never experienced it before. This is also where having a severe anxiety disorder comes into play and when you mix the two together it can make life feel pretty lethal sometimes. 

We will still be celebrating the holidays this year just with a lot less social pressures, a lot less obligations and a lot less expectations than usual and for me this is somewhat of a relief which I know may sound selfish to some. 

We will bring in the New Year as always and still with many of our same traditions as always but just at a more socially Covid accepted distance but still just as meaningful and sweet.

Wishing everyone celebrating (however that may be) a very happy, safe and healthy New Year.

#happynewyear #roshhashana #backyardcelebrations #traditions #socialdistancing #togetherapart #youareenough #mentalillness #mentalhealth #checkonyourlovedones #healthyboundaries #mentalwellness #holidayblues #shanatova

A Little Monday Morning Motivation

This was a nice email to receive first thing on a Monday morning.

I’ve had one goal in mind ever since I began sharing my journey with you which was to become a voice for change by letting you know that you are not alone, that it’s okay to not be okay and that by lending my voice to others I could help give someone else the same strength and courage to find their own voice too.

#speakyourtruth #blogger #author #wheredidmommyssmilego #masksoff #findyourvoice #mondaymotivation #youmatter #beunapolegetic #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #womenempoweringwomen #youareenough #noshame #startaconversation #lendahand #dontsufferinsilence #beyourself #endthestigmatogether #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocateforchange #depression #anxiety #suicideprevention #nationalsuicidepreventionawarenessmonth #thegreatcanadianwoman

Dip Your Toe In The Water

Yesterday morning I went to an aqua fit class which I have been doing very regularly throughout the summer months, but until yesterday I hadn’t been to class for a couple of weeks.  It was to be one of our last classes of the season and afterwards we were invited to stay for the afternoon relaxing by the pool, enjoying each other’s company and feasting on a delicious catered lunch hosted by my friend whose pool we have so graciously been using all summer long.

There was a chill in the air yesterday morning, something we hadn’t felt before then but it is September after all and to be expected.  I wasn’t sure when I awoke yesterday morning if I could find the strength to push myself to get to the class at all as I had not had a good night the evening before; and knowing just how crisp the air felt, I lay in bed filled with anxiety, curled up under my weighted blanket until about 20 minutes before class was to begin, telling myself all the reasons I shouldn’t go. It’s not like this was anything new to me, I go through this crazy babble and negative self-talk every single time I leave my home, even when it’s something I know I will likely enjoy. 

Well I made it to class as you already know even though I was a few minutes late and when I arrived everyone was in the pool warming up but I took my time to ensure the best and most successful outcome. I slowly and cautiously approached the water and then I gently dipped my toe in the water (as though it was my first time ever getting into a pool) to check the temperature.  

We’ve all heard the saying “Dip your toe in the water” before and yesterday I both literally and figuratively did just that. I more often than not have to tread very lightly in everything I do because I can (and do) easily get overwhelmed and become very vulnerable whenever I try and push myself too much or take on too much all at once which just winds up sabotaging my health and wellness further. Some days may be easier than others to push through my depression and anxiety (but not lately) and having learned the art of how to fake it til I make it or smile through my pain can sometimes give me the strength to “dive right in” like I did yesterday (thanks also to Jenn for making the water super warm).

#dipyourtoeinthewater #diverightin #depression #anxiety #mentalillness #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #blogger #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #bekindtoyourself #swimming #aquafit #friends

World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Every 40 seconds a life is lost around the world to suicide and that is just not acceptable.

It is more important than ever before that we keep talking about suicide because the more we talk about suicide, the more we encourage others to as well. The more we talk about suicide, the less alone someone may feel. The more we talk about suicide, the more change we can make happen. The more we talk about suicide the more lives we can save.

Talking about suicide may not be easy and can also be very uncomfortable (trust me I know) but it’s relevant and it’s a conversation we need to keep having; not just for today but every single day. Talking about suicide may help bring a glimmer of hope or relief to someone’s pain and desperation or even become the light into their darkness.

Collectively these efforts are all key to suicide prevention. Suicide can be prevented.

#worldsuicidepreventionday #nationalsuicidepreventionawarenessmonth #suicidecanbeprevented #youareenough #noshame #startaconversation #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #checkonyourlovedones#suicideprevention #suicideawareness #endthestigmatogether

Where Do I Go From Here?

It’s been thirteen months now since I first launched my children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” which was a dream come true for me and had it not been for my illness, I can almost guarantee you that it may never have happened; nor would I have found myself pursuing my love of writing, advocacy or helping others either.

But about seven weeks ago that dream which I had worked so hard to make come true for some eighteen months prior all came to a crashing halt in an instant. I wrote a Blog at the time titled “A Labour of Love” where I explained how one evening back in July I found out (purely by accident) that the seemingly well established (twenty six years in business), highly recommended Publishing company that I used to self-publish my book had vanished without a trace with not even so much as a heads up to its clients. 

I was left feeling completely defeated and it has taken a huge toll on my health and safety over the last many weeks. Not only did they close their doors for good (which I may have felt empathy for had they handled it bravely) they also disconnected any and all hope of contacting them and to add even more salt to the wound they also took with them my remaining inventory/and very generous Grant money I had received in good faith by a well known and very prominent Mental Health Foundation. So completely defeated is an understatement as to what this has done to my health and the future of my book.

I still have some copies of my book in my personal possession (so feel free to contact me if you would like a copy!). However last week I had to make the very difficult decision to close down my account on Amazon because the publisher was who held most of my inventory/money in order to replenish the Amazon site and well it seemed pointless to keep my account open without having books to actually sell. 

So what now? Well now I have to start over by having my book re-published somewhere else (even though my current state of mind has been telling me to just give it up). And why does my mind keep telling me to just give it up? Well without going into great detail, the long and short of it is that right now I don’t have any extra funds that it would take to re-publish my book and at this moment in time is a cost that I cannot afford. 

About a month or so ago I began exploring and researching some opportunities that I could do in order for me to make some extra income to help my family out right now (my husband lost his job close to 7 months ago) and to also work toward my goal of re-publishing my book as well. As many of you know I have an entrepreneurial spirit in me and I love to sell many different products over the years but I knew that in order to ensure success I would need a product that brings me passion and purpose. I knew I needed to find something that could add value to my advocacy and I knew I needed to find something that would inspire me on my journey toward wellness.

That was when I found Origami Owl, a jewelry company that completely aligns with my journey. They have a strong sense of community and their mission is to empower women of all ages and to help make a difference in the lives of others. They sell lockets and charms that help tell your story, they have an Empowerment Collection that have inspiring messages of hope, a program and mission called Force For Good which motivates us to do good and the profits from this collection are donated to charities from all over Canada and the US including Autism, Domestic Abuse and Breast Cancer. They have a young entrepreneur program as well that helps young women between 11 and 17 years old to aspire and dream and most recently one of those young entrepreneurs created her own charm to add to the collection called “You Are Loved” and is a semicolon intertwined in a heart which represents Suicide Prevention and 100% of the proceeds go to support Suicide Prevention and Awareness. 

And if all this wasn’t enough reason for me to join Origami Owl, Disney has just partnered with them and will be launching a collection later this month (if you know me well, you will know how much I LOVE Disney and especially MICKEY MOUSE. 

I have attached several pictures but there are 100’s more pieces available so please feel free to check out my website: https://kimfluxgold.origamiowl.ca and thank you as always for your continued love and encouragement along my journey.

https://youareenough712.wordpress.com

#youareenough #origamiowl #jewelry #inspiringothers #empowerment #myjourney #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #mentalillness #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocate #endthestigmatogether #wheredidmommyssmilego #author #blogger #disney #mickeymouse #suicideprevention #nationalsuicidepreventionawarenessmonth #projectsemicolon #forceforgood