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.
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.
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?
Since I was a young girl I’ve always been afraid of thunder and lightning for some reason but today I decided to embrace the oncoming storm head on as there was also no doubt on anyone’s mind that we needed this rain to help cool down the humid air and nourish the grass and trees as it’s been a very hot and dry summer thus far.
So today as the sky grew darker, the air grew cooler, the wind grew stronger, the sound of the thunder grew louder and the rain began to fall frantically I ran toward the storm this time instead of running away from it.
I think that rainstorms (much like snowstorms) bring with it a sense of calmness for many people and being able to just sit quietly on my front porch today and watch the storm pass by brought with it that same feeling of comfort for me.
I’m not really sure on a scientific level why the storm gave me this sense of calmness and peace but psychologically I actually felt understood and not so alone with my thoughts which have become increasingly more and more difficult to manage.
They say that it’s the calm before the storm that brings with it a temporary feeling of stillness and quiet but today it was the calm during the storm that I was finally able to feel a moment of ease and just being able to breathe in the fresh, sweet smell of the rain after the storm truly helped me to embrace it and also bring to mind some beautiful and reminiscent memories.
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).
Today I need to check out and take care of my mental health. I am completely overwhelmed, exhausted and finding it very hard to cope with many challenges I’m facing in my life right now.
Everyone has varying degrees of stress that they deal with but when battling with daily symptoms of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideations at the same time can make it particularly difficult to manage.
It is imperative that we listen to both our bodies and minds when they are telling us that we need to take a break and step away from our day to day stressors in order to recharge, refocus and reset.
Taking a mental health break means doing something for you whether its as simple as catching up on sleep or going for a walk so long as it’s something that helps inspire you, helps your creativity, helps to adjust your perspective, helps you to become more productive or helps you to get a better handle on your emotions.
What are some ways that help you recharge, refocus or reset?
If you haven’t kinda noticed by now (but I thought it seemed pretty obvious lol), I don’t tend to post pictures of myself very often and the simple truth is that when I see myself on the other side of the camera I get completely freaked out. What I see in front of me and what the rest of you may see tell two very different stories.
What I see in front of me is someone who is lost, someone who is full of fear and self-doubt, someone who has been broken for far too long, someone who is worthless or not good enough, someone who is overwhelmed 99% of the time and someone who is complete and utterly defeated right now.
My journey over the last 6 years has been hard and I tend to lose my focus a lot, probably because it’s just so easy to get side tracked along the way from your destination when someone is always looking directly at you in the mirror and seeing the ugly truth about you even if others may try and tell you it’s all just lies.
My illness prefers to believe the lies though and would much rather just accept the negative rhetoric than believe that I am worthy or capable. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said; “Life is a journey, not a destination” which is something I need to remind myself of often and now more than ever. I need to also remember that our life’s journey is filled with many days, months or even years of pictures that seem too out of focus to see beyond our struggles and heartaches but it may actually be those pictures that help us find some of our greatest destinations along the way.
In mid December shortly after I did my interview on Global TV’s “The Morning Show” to discuss my children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go? and the impact that Mental Illness can have on a family I decided that I had to take a much needed Mental Health break to regroup as it had just become too much for me (which I wrote about several times in late December and early January on my Blog).
I figured it was the perfect time to take a break right before the start of the busy holiday season and right before the start of a new cycle of upcoming events I had booked for the new year. One of the first things I wanted to do at the beginning of 2020 (after my much needed rest) was to start exploring more ways to market my book; my list I had made months earlier was only getting longer and it felt endless and mostly unattainable to me that I began a downward spiral and giving up seemed like the best option.
January hit me like a ton of bricks and literally knocked me off my feet and there I was on the first of the month stressing out that I needed to get back to my list like I had promised myself three weeks earlier and then BOOM; January 2nd the stress and overwhelm of so many things combined turned to panic and before I knew it, February was here and I had just spent close to a month in bed recuperating from a concussion caused by fainting 3 to 4 times the day after the new year began. And aside from the personal marketing I was still doing on my social media pages and Amazon account, February was no better for several other reasons and then before I knew it another month was gone and I really began feeling like giving up was truly the only option.
But there I was, heading into March and finally starting to tackle my list once again and rebook events and book talks I had to cancel because of my concussion and well at this point in time the next one hundred plus days of 2020 need no further explanation. When I decided to create my book from a poem I had written as nothing more than an ode to my children, I never really considered trying to have it published through a “Traditional” publisher. I knew that by trying to go that route could take years and I also knew that I would have to basically give up all my rights and vision to it.
I’ve had a really difficult week and a bit just now and I am feeling very defeated, worthless and sad and once again giving up feels like the only option more than ever. My book was written as a “Labour of Love” and I never set out to publish it with the intention to become a New York Times Bestseller. My best intentions were to help other families like mine feel less alone in their journey and help children understand and cope with their feelings when someone they love is suffering with Depression, which I believe I have done.
Albert Einstein once said “Strive not to be a success but rather to be of value.” which has always been my main goal since the beginning by striving to help others. With every single page (from the front cover to the back) I had a vision that was brought to life by my incredible illustrator; the bright, colourful and truly inviting illustrations represent each one of my family members and the story itself is so personal to me but recently I did speak with a “Traditional” publisher who basically wanted to take my “Labour of Love” and recreate it for what they promise to be “A New York Times Bestseller”.
Here’s the thing I told them that I will never change the integrity of my “Labour of Love” and take away from my vision or intent no matter what. This conversation set me back, I mean it set me way back, but it didn’t end there because the other day I went to look something up on my current Publisher’s website and saw that they were “temporarily closed” due to Covid-19 which I found odd but it was only upon reopening their website again that very same day that Google told me that they were now “permanently closed”. 36 years of self-publishing books, gone or more like disappeared I should say because their phone number and email addresses have both been disconnected and they still hold money and product of mine!
Is someone trying to send me a sign? And if so is it a good sign???
I placed my final order of signs first thing this morning which will be printed and then delivered later this week. I knew a week ago that I needed to wrap up my Initiative for the sake of my mental health but as I wrote in my blog last week “How Can I Say No?” I struggle a great deal with saying No.
Yesterday the emails were still pouring in non-stop; and even as I took some much needed time for myself to go for a hike I panicked at the thought of all the emails I would have to return when I got home. And knowing that I was taking my final orders that day made the panic worsen at how I could possibly get back to everyone on time.
I did get back to everyone and when I told them it was to be my final night to take any new orders, everyone responded very quickly but it still didn’t help the fact that I would be letting many others down who would continue to contact me today, tomorrow or even next week.
I knew going in that my Campaign would only be short term but now as the school year is beginning to wind down I feel like I am letting so many people down and disappointing so many others by simply saying No.
I truly never imagined 5 or 6 weeks ago that my little idea would take on a life of its own, a life that has now exceeded every expectation I had and crushed every goal I made; but then why do I feel so guilty, why do I feel like it’s never enough or that I should be doing more?
There is still time to contribute to my Class of 2020 Graduate Initiative and help make a difference in a child/youth’s life. Please feel free to make a donation at: firstname.lastname@example.org.