This is 22

Funny, smart, giving, genuine, sensitive and beautiful inside and out.

Happy birthday Princess Hannah Banana.

Your dad and I are both so honoured and proud to watch as you grow each and every day into a strong, independent, hard working, kind young woman with a heart of gold.

Keep reaching for the stars and never stop being you.

#happybirthday #twentytwo #ourprincess #ohtheplacesyoullgo #neverstopbeingyou #loveyoutothemoonandback #foreverandaday #middlechild #hannahmontana #hurricanehannah #keepreachingforthestars #thebestsurpriseever

My Tribe

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

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

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

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

It’s okay to not be okay.

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

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

Embracing the Brace

We took a rest today from any strenuous hiking after our grueling 3 hour hike yesterday where Rich injured his knee, most likely when he went tumbling down the side of a cliff.

His injury from the fall further intensified any pain and tenderness he’s endured in his one knee for like forever; I’m talking long before the #summerofrich ever began.

For years now he’s complained to me about muscle strain in his knee but no matter how much I’ve tried, has refused to speak with his doctor about it or at the very least try wearing a knee brace while hiking or doing any other strenuous activity.

But today he finally relented and took his knee brace for a test drive and a leisurely stroll with Maggie as well.

I’m not quite sure if I’ve ever told you this before, but Rich is the most stubborn person I know!! However, being stubborn isn’t always such a bad thing because stubborn people are often known to embody “strongly-felt” emotions and care more deeply for others; characteristics of Rich’s I wouldn’t change for the world.

Do you love a stubborn person???

#kneebrace #musclestrain #freefalling #stubbornness #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #Maggie #adogspurpose #exercise #physicalendurance #caresdeeply #selfcare

Story Time

Last week I pre-recorded a segment for an episode of “Where Do The Children Play” on Trent Radio 92.7 CFFF FM which aired last Thursday morning.¬†

The show which runs 3 mornings a week was created for kids and features story time and fun kid’s music. 

The station itself was established and is operated solely by the students of Trent University in Peterborough Ontario.  

I read my children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” to their listeners and spoke briefly afterwards about why I wrote it and the importance of not only talking to children about a loved ones mental health challenges but also reassuring them that they are safe, loved and not responsible or to blame for it. 

I have posted the segment below if you would like to hear it. 

Thank you again to Skye Vasey for allowing me to share my story and for all your hard work and dedication to this program.   

Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to purchase a copy of my book for your classroom, school library, a preschool setting or for yourself or a loved one.

https://linksharing.samsungcloud.com/haEDOWm6rva4

#yourmentalhealthmatters #childrensbook #ouryouthmatter #wheredidmommyssmilego #mentalhealth #depression #startaconversation #endthestigmatogether #itsoktonotbeok #youmatter #youareenough #youarenotalone #wheredothechildrenplay #trentradio

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

Happy 23rd birthday Jacob!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Invitation Only

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

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

Forgiveness means no longer feeling burdened by your past. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Your Own Best Friend

“Noone is judging you harder than you already judge yourself.” ~ unknown

This is me in a nutshell.

It’s led me to feel defeated, hopeless, worthless and emotionally scarred for more than seven years now. 

I’m my own worst enemy. 

We all make mistakes.

We all experience failure.

We all have shortcomings.

All we can do is try our best to be our best.

We are only human.

We are all imperfectly perfect.

We should treat ourselves the way we would treat a best friend.

However, first I need to learn how to forgive myself, how to trust in myself more, how to see my full potential, how to be kinder and more compassionate with myself, how to be the loudest cheerleader in the room, how to be my biggest fan, how to embrace my flaws, how to stop judging myself and how to love myself unconditionally.

After all that’s what best friends do for each other.

I need to become my own best friend.

Are you your own best friend?

#beyourownbestfriend #loveyourselffirsst #unconditionallove #selfworth #selflove #selfcompassion #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #mentalillness #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #youmatter #yourmentalhealthmatters #depression #anxiety #suicideprevention #suicideawareness 

It’s “National Name Yourself Day”!

Giving and receiving a name at birth differs from culture to culture and is oftentimes followed by a significant ceremony or ritual. This name is incredibly unique to you and offers up your identity but does it really define who you are as a person? 

Have you ever wished you could change your name? What would your new name signify for you? Would you still be the same person you are right now or would you become someone totally different? 

Plenty of us are feeling less and less like ourselves these days and could really use some kind of change in our lives, anything at all for that matter. So why not start by trying a new name on for size today just for fun, unless of course maybe it kinda sticks with you!

What name would you choose for the day?

Just out of curiosity, what went into choosing your children’s names?

Would you consider those same guidelines for choosing your own new name?

#nationalnameyourselfday #selfexpression #ilovemykidsnames #bestself #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #whatsinaname #beyou #whatsyourname 

It Was Seven Years Ago Today: What My Illness Has Both Taken From Me And Taught Me Too

It was seven years ago today that I uttered the words “I want to die” for the very first time.

It was seven years ago today that I felt hopeless and alone for the very first time.

It was seven years ago today that my life no longer felt purposeful for the very first time. 

It was seven years ago today that I felt broken for the very first time. 

It was seven years ago today that I felt unlovable for the very first time.

It was seven years ago today that I lost my way for the very first time.

It was seven years ago today that I felt like the world was better off without me for the very first time. 

It was seven years ago today that I felt an abundance of sadness and shame come over me for the very first time. 

It was seven years ago today that my life was about to change forever and I felt too powerless and helpless to stop it.

It was seven years ago today that I peered outside my bedroom window hoping to find myself somewhere out there.

It was seven years ago today that suddenly I felt a disconnect from the person I once was and with each passing year she seems to fade further and further from my mind.

But someone new emerged in her place that day instead and even though she still feels all those same emotions today that she did seven years ago her new identity has taught her so much more than she ever thought imaginable about both herself and others. 

Her new identity has learned to embrace the difficult moments as a way to grow and co-exist with herself.

Her new identity has learned how to create more meaning in her life.

Her new identity has learned ways to stop running from herself by using the anchor she has been given when she needs a break. 

Her new identity has learned to recognize the pain and suffering in others with heartfelt compassion, empathy and kindness through the acceptance of her own pain and suffering.

Her new identity has learned how to ask for help and how to advocate for those who aren’t quite able to yet. 

Her new identity has found her voice, one that she no longer takes for granted. 

Her new identity has become stronger and more resilient than she truly realizes or gives herself enough credit for. 

Her new identity has learned the importance of making self-care her number one priority.

Her new identity has learned how to set limits and enforce healthy boundaries which has in turn created deeper, more meaningful bonds with the people in her life.

And she is grateful. Not for all that she has necessarily lost since that very first day seven years ago but for all that she has gained and learned since then. And it’s alot.

#itwassevenyearsagotoday #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #selfdiscovery #selfcare #depression #anxiety #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #yourmentalhealthmatters #checkonyourlovedones #bekindtoyourself #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence #mentalillness #endthestigmatogether