Body-Shaming Yourself

A few years ago I opened up about an eating disorder I had in my late teens and early twenties (see blog: https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2018/09/07/i-had-an-eating-disorder-and-it-still-weighs-me-down-everyday/) and I spoke in great length at the time about how I never really figured out the root cause of it even after I recovered. 

But the truth is that even though I may have recovered initially from my battle with Anorexia and Bulimia in my early 20’s it has never truly left me; it’s just transformed itself in other ways. 

I never battled with my weight before the onset of my eating disorder, nor did I have any issues with my self-image. 

It probably didn’t truly present itself again until I began having children in my late 20’s and early 30’s and it has especially spiraled out of control since my battle with Depression and Anxiety began seven years ago.

Right from the start of my mental health journey and my diagnosis I was treated with over 20 concoctions of antidepressants for a solid two years straight which eventually led me to a further diagnosis of Treatment Resistant Depression and also left me with a weight gain of close to 100 pounds. 

And although half of that weight gain almost disappeared instantly when my husband and I finally made the decision together, along with the guidance of my Psychiatrist to wean me off all my medications, my weight has continued to be an uphill battle for me throughout my journey and just one of the many road blocks in my recovery. It all too often leads me back to those same destructive behaviours I exhibited as my 18 year old self battling an eating disorder. 

I’m struggling alot these days with these tendencies and it seems to have magnified itself by a thousand this past week when I needed to go dress shopping for an upcoming family wedding and I had a panic attack and complete breakdown which left me crying in a sea of dresses on the floor of a department store changeroom.

I know I’m not alone in my negative self-image or body-shaming thoughts and especially lately as we all begin to emerge from our cocoon that has left many of us bearing several extra “Pandemic Pounds”.

It’s no secret by now from all the pictures that I post how much I shy away from the camera. Seeing pictures of myself only sets off a destructive mindset and binge of body-shaming.

It’s a vicious cycle of bullying, negative self-talk, anxiety and suicidal ideations. Self-shaming or the act of body-shaming whether it be towards ourselves or someone else is a real and very dangerous problem which Social Media and the mainstream media have only made 10x worse.

My illness has pretty much destroyed any ounce of self-confidence I once had, it continues to tell me how worthless and helpless I am, it loves to focus on the negative and boy oh boy does it ever hate to hear compliments. 

I wish I were able to squash my destructive mindset once and for all and begin to see the same beauty in me that others do; and to believe that I AM ENOUGH from the inside out.

Tell me one thing you love about your body.

#bodyshamingyourself #bodyshaming #eatingdisorders #anorexia #bulimia #depression #anxiety #suicide #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #mentalillness #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #youmatter #selflove #innerbeauty #imperfectlyperfect #mondaymotivation

And That’s A Wrap ūüė•

Last night I watched the series finale of “Mom”.¬†

I, like millions of its viewers was not ready for it to end. 

I’ve been watching “Mom” every Thursday night (and in reruns) since its first episode aired 8 years ago.¬†

The show centered around a group of ladies from all walks of life who develop the most unlikeliest yet deepest of friendships and the most unbreakable bonds brought together by one common goal; sobriety. 

The writers of “Mom” spent time building this strong and very relatable group of characters and brought us along on their unique journeys, cheering on their many triumphs and saddened by their many setbacks with new storylines each week depicting the real-life struggles of people in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction; something so many of their fans could relate to and a very relevant and critical mental health discussion today.¬†

This has rarely been seen before in a half hour sitcom but “Mom” managed to do so by sensitively tackling very difficult topics and using humour to keep the audience coming back for more.¬†

It gave us an inside look at what recovery looks like.

It showed us that recovery is never a straight line.

It showed us that recovery is a lifetime journey.

It taught us to persevere.

It taught us that we all make mistakes and that it’s okay to fail sometimes.

It taught us to keep getting back up again after we fall down.

And it taught us that there is always a “solution”.

I often found myself relating to so many of the storylines and felt such a strong connection to my own mental health journey. 

These ladies taught me the importance of sharing my story and to keep on sharing it again and again.

They taught me about forgiveness. 

They taught me about hope. 

They taught me that life is filled with endless possibilities. 

They taught me that recovery is possible. 

And they taught me that with the right people in your corner you will never be alone.  

I’m sad it’s over and I had a good cry during the closing scene. I’m really gonna miss seeing these ladies each week at their AA meetings and coffee dates afterwards where they shared more than just a piece of pie. It’s where they celebrated “love, friendship¬†and laughter” and it’s where I always felt like I had a seat at the booth right there alongside them.

#momfinale #alcoholicsanonymous #addiction #friendship #triumphs #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #youareenough #youarenotalone #endthestigmatogether #itsoktonotbeok #theresalwaysasolution

I Need To Climb That Mountain First

It was exactly one year ago today that I made one of the most courageous decisions of my life. I should be shouting from the rooftops today that I am one year smoke free but instead I am sitting here beating myself up (as usual) as I write this because at some point in mid July after being smoke free for 6 whole months, I gave into my urge to smoke and gave myself yet another reason to feel like a failure. 

A great many of you have probably already heard this story many times over the past year so bear with me as I tell it one more time for those of you who haven’t heard it before. It was a year ago today that I lay in bed on day fourteen of 2020 (you know, that time when we still thought 2020 was gonna be a great year). I¬† was recuperating from a concussion that had occurred the day after New Year’s Day from a fainting episode (see I already knew better than to think 2020 was gonna be a great year).¬† By now, smoking was becoming less and less enjoyable to me as I continued to battle the ongoing symptoms of my concussion and just knowing that the last thing I had done before the concussion occurred was smoke a cigarette (well only half to be exact since I had to put it out quickly as I was feeling like I may faint) it was also beginning to cause me several symptoms of PTSD as well every time I attempted to light up.

I know from everyone’s words of encouragement and supportive dialogue back in July when I told you that I started smoking again that I should not be beating myself up today or any other day for that matter and that I should also not be seeing it as yet another failure in my life but my depressive mind just won’t see it any other way.¬†

I was quite proud of myself when I quit that day and for several months that followed I hardly missed it at all but like with most addictions or addictive behaviours, sometimes we may have to try many times before we can actually get it right. 

By the time July rolled around I was in a very dark place and the cravings were overwhelming me and so I gave in or as my inner critic would tell me, I gave up. You see, smoking is, in it’s own sick way very soothing for me and it helps to relax me when I’m feeling conflicted or anxious but still I can’t help but feel like I have not only failed myself but my husband and children too every time I light up.

I think about quitting every day and just about every time I have a cigarette.¬† The effects that come from smoking are back to where they were a year ago and you would think that would be a good enough reason to quit, but unlike a year ago I’m just not in a place right now that I feel I could be successful if I tried.

At least I know that when I’m good and ready to that I can always try again since I’ve already done it before (and more than once). But for now I just have too many other mountains I’m trying to climb first and the thought of not having that pack of cigarettes in my pocket as I attempt to climb to the top of that mountain is like forgetting to put on your helmet or tie on your harness as you start to climb.

Thank you for continuing to follow my journey and for not giving up on me as I attempt to climb that mountain.  

#climbingmountains #addictions #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #dontsufferinsilence #yourmentalhealthmatters #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #panicattacks #selfcare #suicideawareness #endthestigmatogether #innercritic #bekindtoyourself

IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT

*May Be Triggering To Some*

I feel like I‚Äôm in a constant battle with my mind lately and that every single part of my day to day life has become a fight. I find myself being triggered by even the slightest of things that I would otherwise be able to handle on my own.  

Episodes of Depression and Anxiety don’t come with any kind of warning label attached to it and sometimes it just is. It’s also more than likely to vary depending on each individual’s circumstances and experiences but no matter what I just need to keep reminding myself on a daily basis that my illness is NOT MY FAULT!

Maybe if I shout it loud enough and keep repeating it over and over again then maybe, just maybe my inner voice will start to believe it too because right now I feel like I’m losing my battle. I know I never willingly brought my illness upon myself or asked for it either but still I blame myself anyways when in all reality Depression (or any Mental Illness for that matter) could give a rat’s ass who you are or where you’ve come from.

I want more than anything to feel joy and to celebrate my triumphs but after six and a half long and tiring years it‚Äôs so hard to believe the truths over the lies anymore when that voice in my head keeps getting louder and keeps reminding me that I will never be enough. I want more than anything to take away the pain and to not allow my illness to have total control over me because I know deep down that it‚Äôs NOT MY FAULT! 

We all need to lean on each other now more than ever; I‚Äôm not okay and I know I‚Äôm not the only one. So if you are feeling like I am, repeat after me: IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT! How did that feel? Hoping it is helpful because it’s a well known fact that there is always strength in numbers!

If you or someone you know is in crisis please call: 1-833-456-4566

#itsnotyourfault #strengthinnumbers #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #mentalillness #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #mentalhealthcheckin #checkonyourlovedones

The Positive Side Of A Selfie

Taking a selfie these days seems to be one of the biggest growing phenomenons since the creation of the Smartphone itself and statistics show that women between the ages of 16 and 25 are spending (on average) five hours per week taking them. 

Although the average age for taking selfies may be women between 16 and 25 years old, they are certainly not alone. Selfies have become a form of self-expression and a great way to present one”self” to the world, no matter what your age or gender is.¬†

We choose to take selfies most often for a feeling of instant gratification, to make personal connections with others, to boost our self-esteem, to gain positive feedback and to express one’s own creativity.¬†

Over the last many years I have shied away from having my picture taken as much as humanly possible (I much prefer to be the photographer if you haven’t noticed!), so the thought of me taking a selfie is like next to nil!

But today is one of those very rare occasions where I decided to try and step outside my comfort zone (way out) and try for even just one moment to feel the “positive side of a selfie” and embrace what the world sees in me in order to show you my new sweatshirt I made.

The words I chose to use are a deep and meaningful reminder to me as I continue to try and fight this battle and it’s a true expression of hope to the many women everywhere who are also struggling on their own journey right now or who have fought their way through one; whether it be physical or mental.

I created this shirt in recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week and I chose the colour pink in honour of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

#selfies #prettyinpink #breastcancerawarenessmonth #mentalillnessawarenessweek #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #endthestigmatogether #youarenotalone #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocateforchange #itsoktonotbeok #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation

Wishful Thinking- The Long And Winding Road To Menopause

***I wonder how many men will read this!***


Seriously, like what the f*ck? I figured I was well on my way, just minding my own business, no complaints and thinking “Wow, what’s all the hype about cause this thing called Peri-Menopause ain’t so bad”, but then BAM, outta nowhere my so called “friend” stopped by for a very unwelcomed visit.

OK, so maybe it wasn’t completely outta nowhere but it’s¬†been 6 months already since her last visit and it was probably more like wishful thinking on my part that we had parted ways for good!¬† But if I had to venture a more realistic guess as to why I haven’t seen nor heard from her in all these months, I figure she was just trying to keep to proper social distancing practices.¬†

But¬†uninvited or not, I could feel her coming from miles away days before her arrival this week. It’s a feeling you never forget, and for anyone who ever questioned whether PMS (Pre-Menstral Syndrome) is real or not, I’m here to share with you that it is.

PMS does not affect all women in the same way and for many women, they may only experience some minor discomfort each month. For me though, long before I was ever diagnosed with Depression, I suffered with an array of emotional (and physical) symptoms before my “friend” would pay me a visit which is why I knew she was on her way again.

The physical side of PMS really sucks, but for me who already deals with so much emotional upset in my day to day life having the added emotional unrest makes it that much more difficult and often scary for me to handle. 

As I said at the start of my blog, I thought I was well on my way to an easy, almost flawless transition into Menopause even though I was still at least 6 months away from a true victory, but then again, I should have known better because although my hormones are ready, I knew I probably couldn’t escape that easily, that is, not without experiencing at least one hot flash along the way!

Feel free to share your journey.

#pms #menopause #thechange #perimenopause #postmenopause #moodswings #depression #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough 

Is Relapse Inevitable?

I met a woman several years ago during one of my hospital stays. We became roommates and fast friends during our stay and although we may never have otherwise crossed paths in our lifetime (Fun fact: the home I grew up in from the time I moved to Toronto when I was 8 years old until my late teens was right next door to the home she sold just months before I moved in!) or had much in common at first, it turned out that our friendship ran so much deeper than our illness and we have continued to be a great support for one another ever since. 

Last year my friend began feeling better and living her best life ever. She started traveling for months on end, dancing up a storm (some nights) until dawn and engaging in joyful activities with her precious, young grandchildren. She was finally free from the horrible effects of her depression. It was no longer defining who she was or how she lived her life and the best part was that for the first time in several years she actually wanted to live; not for her children, not for her grandchildren but actually for herself. 

I think I felt a bit envious of her at first wondering when or if I too would ever feel the weight of my depression finally lift or if I would ever break free from it as well. I mean what had she done so differently to make it all just disappear as though it had never even happened? What was I still being punished for since we had tried so many of the same treatments and medications but nothing was helping me? 

I don’t have any of these answers and neither will anyone else to be honest because everyone’s journey is unique to them and everyone responds to treatments and medications differently and everyone finds their own path toward healing in their own time. But here is another question that pains me to ask; can depression truly be cured?

I’m asking this question today because well that same dear friend of mine who just last year was traveling for months on end, dancing up a storm until dawn and engaging in joyful activities with her precious grandchildren is now back in the deep throes of her depression.¬† What could have made her go from living her best life to now wondering if her life was even worth living?

Again I don’t actually have the answer but from the research I have read it seems likely that individuals with chronic depression (defined as episodes lasting two or more years) or with recurrent depressive episodes need to continue with maintenance treatment; not for months, not for years but for a lifetime.¬†

One major problem is that when a person’s depression goes into remission they may feel a state of euphoria, as though they are ready to conquer the world on their own but what many of us may not realize is that like with any other chronic disease that goes into remission, depression needs to be treated with the same ongoing support and care.

Just a few short months ago if you were to have asked my friend if she could ever imagine her depression would rear its ugly head again she would have probably said to you “What? Are you crazy?” (Ok just a little depression humour) but instead she is now left trying to understand why this is happening to her and feeling like she has somehow failed.

I know that I would feel the same way. I mean my illness literally seemed to hit me out of left field when it began close to 6 years ago (I want to throw up just at the thought that it’s been almost 6 years or maybe the nausea I’m feeling is just from the effects of my concussion). But through therapy I have learned that my illness probably didn’t hit me out of left field at all and I have been learning how to manage it ever since knowing now how quickly it can hit you.¬†

I have not yet felt the effects of being in remission but I do have a better understanding that if and when that day finally comes I will know that I can never let my guard down and that proper maintenance and continued love and support from others could help to ensure that whatever obstacles get in my way I will be ready for them and that I also have faith now that my friend will tackle this beast head on just like she had so bravely done before!

#depression #anxiety #mentalillness #mentalhealth #relapse #remission #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough #friendship #isthereacure #treatmentresistant #maintenancetreatment #chronicillness 

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