I am beyond overwhelmed with so much gratitude from all the beautiful and heartfelt messages of love and support I continue to receive on a daily basis from all of you. And the check ins are so incredibly appreciated.
I am especially grateful right now knowing that my platform is reaching so many people from all across the Globe and that by me sharing my personal journey with all of you is giving permission to someone else like myself to have a safe place to turn to when they are looking for support for themselves or may be in dire need of a shoulder to lean on, a listening ear; without judgment and some reassurance that they are never alone.
But at the same time I am also so incredibly sad knowing just how many people, whether it be a stranger or someone I know that are out there suffering in silence.
But I love helping others and helping others really helps me too.
Even when I’m at my lowest.
This week has been excruciatingly painful for me as you probably know by now (if you missed my Vlog yesterday please feel free to check it out).
I can honestly say that I have no more tears left in me.
I am beyond overwhelmed, I feel empty inside and emotionally defeated.
So I have made myself a promise that I am going to do my best to treat this weekend as a “time out” for myself and I guess the “timing” couldn’t be better because for the first time in over 18 very looooong months the kids will all be gone for the weekend.
Taking care of me will be my top priority this weekend which will include our first #summerofrich “Fall Edition” of the season but first up on the agenda tonight is also another “first” in over 18 looooong months; Date night with Rich at my favourite restaurant using the gift card I received for my birthday (which was 3 months ago already) from a couple of my many beautiful friends. I guess I’ve been holding on to it for that perfect moment.
Do you ever feel like you’ve had “one of those days?”
I’m pretty sure you know what I mean right?
We’ve all experienced those days where no matter what, nothing seems to go your way.
Your day may start off seemingly “normal” but then something unexpected or presumably unwarranted happens which leads to a chain of events that quickly spirals into “one of those days”.
I kinda feel like I’ve been living “one of those days” for seven years now though and this week was no exception.
We can’t control everything that happens to us but on many of “those days” I keep trying my best to find a way to survive them.
I posted a pic yesterday on social media which many of you reading this may have seen. It captured the essence of a picture perfect afternoon I’d spent with a couple of friends boating at the lake and smiling through Depression.
What it didn’t show was how I almost didn’t go.
Like one of my friends was literally sitting in my driveway all ready to pick me up to head up north to visit our friend’s lake house for that picture perfect day on the water and I was frozen in panic.
All because of the chain of events which had started early morning the day before and continued into the wee hours the next morning when Maggie suddenly became ill in the middle of the night; just adding insult to injury.
It had been “one of those days” where nothing felt right. I’d just spent the previous 24 hours angry, panicked and crying and it was now trickling into the next day for me.
But I chose to go. I went knowing that if I stayed home I would be giving up even more control of my emotions which is something I absolutely hate feeling more than anything. That feeling leaves my judgment very clouded.
I knew I couldn’t change the events of the day before and that by going I was both acknowledging and accepting that.
I also knew that it would be good for me to go and try to get out of my head, even for just a few hours. I needed to go in order to prove to myself that I can be in control of some of my emotions and that I actually have the power to do so.
What do you try and do to take control of your emotions when you are having “one of those days”?
I’m sure you’ve all heard the news by now coming from the Olympic world.
Simone Biles is probably one of the most recognized and celebrated Olympic athletes in the world today and a true mental health warrior in my eyes.
I one thousand percent support and admire Simone’s decision to step away from the podium for now in order to focus on her mental well-being but her decision to do so has been met with so much ridicule by the naysayers who are sitting on their butts, most likely from the comfort of their couch, hidden behind their smartphone screens, tweeting out and calling her a quitter or worse.
It brings us right back to the same place we keep ending up because had Simone broken her ankle during her Olympic performance we would not be having this conversation and instead we would all be empathizing with her and cheering her on as she rehabilitated and got back to the vault. But taking a step back to focus on her mental health never seems to be a good enough reason to the naysayers.
Mental illness and PTSD can creep up on you ever so slowly and often out of nowhere. She deserves to be recognized for her strength and courage and not criticized and judged.
You don’t get to the level that Simone Biles has without being mentally tough. She is far from a quitter. She is taking care of her mental wellness and that makes her worthy of an Olympic gold medal in my eyes.
And when she returns, and I believe she will, she will show all those naysayers sitting on their butts from the comfort of their couch what it takes to be a real winner.
Many people may not fully realize or ever truly understand the trauma and possible triggers (including performing in the Olympics) that Simone has had to overcome being that she was one of MANY young athletes who suffered YEARS and YEARS of sexual abuse at the hands of their “trusted” Olympic Team Doctor “Larry Nassar” who is now thankfully serving a prison sentence of over 100 years for his crimes.
Mental illness and PTSD are both VERY real and VERY serious. If she is not mentally strong enough to be able to focus on her performance then she could most definitely hurt herself physically and possibly destroy everything.
Self-care is mental wellness and it doesn’t matter if you can’t physically see her injury; it still matters, even more.
Sadly though, we live in a world where people judge others on how much money they have, what kind of career path they choose, how big the house is that they live in, how smart they are and even by the amount of medals they may have sitting on their shelf.
But what if for just one second we all took a “step back” and focused on a world where people didn’t see it that way and instead only cared that you are happy, healthy and kind.
Don’t we all deserve that kind of gold medal treatment?
Have you watched the Netflix Documentary “The Social Dilemma” yet? You should check it out if you haven’t already!
Do you ever unplug in order to recharge your body and mind? Do you think that you would be able to not check your phone for 24 hours, an entire weekend or how about a full week? How about Social Media?
We all know the many perks that technology has afforded us, but we also know its many harmful effects as well.
Research shows that the average “Apple” user checks their phone approximately 80 times per day and it has been proven to disrupt our sleep ✅✅✅, our focus ✅✅✅, our ability to engage in real time social interactions ✅✅✅, our motivation ✅✅✅ and our Mental Health ✅✅✅ as well.
Each one of those checkmarks tell a piece of my story. How many checks would you give to yourself?
The “Summer of Rich” began a few years ago as nothing more than a silly declaration from Rich one early morning at the end of June as he waved goodbye to the kids (with tears of joy in his eyes) as they boarded a bus for the entire summer away at camp.
For Rich that moment meant he now had 7 glorious weeks ahead of him to catch his breath and push the reset button because as I have mentioned many times before that for the last 6 years he has had to take on both the roles of Mom and Dad, along with that of chef, maid, chauffeur, Psychologist, designated Schlepper and countless others too.
But this past May right after we found out the girls (Jacob now works full-time as an Electrician) would not be going away to camp this summer due to Covid-19 I wrote a blog titled “Should The #Summerofrich Be Cancelled Too?” (May 27, 2020) and what it meant for the #summerofrich this year.
Since its conception a few years back, the “Summer of Rich” has evolved in many different ways; it’s even got its own hashtag which often gets special shout-outs by its many “adoring fans” who seem to genuinely enjoy following our adventures; so how could we disappoint them?
I may have needed to make several amendments to our itinerary this summer and we definitely had to adapt to many other changes because of Covid-19 and having the kids home all summer which also meant that there was much less of an opportunity for Rich to have some well deserved time to breathe or a push of the reset button but through the many amendments and other changes this summer I truly believe that in many ways, the #summerofrich may have actually evolved into something much deeper and with an even more meaningful purpose.
I wanted to start by saying thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who reached out to me and my family last night (and today) and for all your heartfelt messages and good wishes.
The other day I posted a blog titled “Home Alone” where I touched upon my current state of being and how much I had both welcomed and appreciated having the entire day and night all to myself on Wednesday. It was the first time in a long, long time that I felt any sense of ease but then sadly, by the next morning, I was right back to where I had been, only now it felt much worse.
By the time I woke up Thursday morning I felt even more guilt, I felt even more sadness, I felt even more anxiety (can’t believe that’s even possible), I felt even more anger, I felt even more of a burden and both my mind and body felt like they could no longer co-exist because I no longer felt like I belonged anywhere and I just needed the pain to finally go away; this time forever.
I have said many times before that I suffer with suicidal thoughts and ideations pretty regularly (probably daily) and I have acted on these urges several times over the course of the last 6 years but by Friday afternoon the voices in my head had become so unbearable and more graphic than ever; and yes I had a plan.
By midday Friday Rich was very concerned for my safety (and rightfully so) that he reached out to my therapist for support and guidance (unbeknownst to me). She then called me so that we could talk through it and strongly suggested that I go to emerg, which I eventually relented to.
I’m not gonna lie when I say that hospitals have become a very scary place for me due to many difficult and frightening experiences I’ve encountered over the last many years relating to my illness and last night was no different, except it kinda was (because everything in the world is different these days).
After speaking with the Emergency room doctor who promised me he would not put me on a form (a 72 hour hold) he had me wait in a quiet room alone until a member of the crisis team could come speak with me and assess my situation further (they are busier than ever these days).
I spoke with her for quite a while and felt much calmer for doing so but by the end of our conversation she recommended that I be admitted to the inpatient ward (which was when my PTSD kicked in to full swing). She was also very honest with me as well. She let me know that because it was the weekend there would be no access to any kind of supports until Monday, except for what she described as a brief meeting with the “on call” weekend Psychiatrist within the first 12 hours of admission (I should know all this by now). It also meant me having no “privileges” to come and go off the floor, no phone (which is where I do most of my writing), and as she started to explain all of the added Covid related restrictions I felt a panic attack coming on and thought that being admitted was actually going to cause me more harm than good.
She was completely understanding to my hesitation and overwhelm and told me the decision was mine to make and that they would be there for me anytime I felt the need to come back. She was especially understanding to my hesitation and overwhelm when I voiced my concerns relating to medication which as I know firsthand is a huge part of most treatment plans in a psych ward. I have not been on medication in quite some time as most of you know by now as it was way more detrimental to my health both physically and mentally than it was good. I’ve been on over 20 concoctions of medication over time which only caused me further issues (including suicide attempts) and so it is no longer an option for me.
I am home for now and trying my best to rest (I didn’t sleep last night) and I need to figure out where I go from here. I no longer know the difference between right from wrong and I no longer know where I even belong anymore. It’s a very scary feeling not knowing where you belong or what’s right from wrong but what I do know is that as broken as I feel right now, I also know that I have the most incredible support system to hold my hand every step of the way.
As human beings we have an innate need to seek the approval of others but when doing so we often end up sacrificing our own needs, our own beliefs, our own opinions and our own values.
We sometimes engage in such behavior because we want so much to keep the peace or reduce our level of anxiety, or maybe we worry about being criticized by our loved ones (and even strangers) or maybe we want so badly to impress others; as humans we want to please others and we want more than anything to just be “liked”.
But over time our need to seek the approval of others may eventually turn to disappointment, missed opportunities and even resentment. When we are always seeking the approval of others we forget who we are or what we are truly capable of which can in many cases like my own, turn into Depression.
I’m slowly learning with time (and therapy!) the importance of loving myself first, above all else and that it’s okay to let others down. I spent a great deal of my childhood and young adult life feeling very restricted and controlled. I never felt “good” enough in my parent’s eyes or free to express my “true authentic self” which are some of the many reasons why I am always having to second guess myself and why I fear failure so much or have a difficult time saying “NO” to others and it’s likely the reason why I get so easily overwhelmed.
I started reading a new book titled “Stop Checking Your Likes”. Many of you will instinctively think that it’s a book about Social Media but it’s really not. But although it may not be a book devoted to Social Media in of itself the reality is that this is where so many people seek out approval these days in order to feel accepted, confident and “liked”.
The author’s intention in her book is more about teaching her readers how to walk away from the “likes” of others and start focusing on “liking” ourselves instead in order to stop sacrificing our own needs, our own beliefs, our own opinions and our own values and start learning how to validate ourselves with more confidence, compassion and with the greatest of ease.
Yesterday I went to a one hour aqua fit class in the morning followed by a 2.5 hour walk later on and finished my day off with a warm and very soothing bubble bath.
My brain is always working in overdrive and I am easily overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks while desperately trying to get through my never-ending “to-do-list”. Even thinking about all the things I need to get done or would like to achieve and then don’t, completely depletes my already less than empty “mental gas tank”.
Mental fatigue is real and the more that things seem to escalate in my life right now, the less able I am to take a pause from reality which then causes me to become totally incapable of much. The overwhelm takes my mind to a whole other place and I become paralyzed with fear and emotionally drained.
Being mentally exhausted often goes hand in hand with extreme and ongoing levels of stress in one’s life which I find I am so easily distracted by and extremely anxious about and very quickly will turn into procrastination.
Procrastination comes from a Latin term which translates to “for tomorrow” and very often I find myself taking my “to-do-list” and moving it over to tomorrow in my calendar. Yesterday was no exception, but is taking a “Me” day really considered procrastination?
What is one thing you find you procrastinate most about?
Today we got an early start to the day and drove up north (Jacob joined us for dinner after work 🧒) to spend the day at our friend’s cottage, something very familiar to us by now as we have been going there since our kids were very little.
Today’s visit came at a time when getting away from it all was critical for me as I mentioned the other day (Blog “Give Me A Break”; July 13, 2020). I have desperately needed to take a Mental Health break and a change of scenery is certainly a great benefit for your mental health.
Getting away from it all, even for the day can significantly help reduce your level of stress and calm your mind; and spending the day outdoors in the warm summer sun by the water, listening to the sound of the waves rolling by is definitely a perfect way to relax your body as well (and spending time with loved ones is just an added bonus).