Back in mid July I submitted a piece of writing to a non profit organization called “The LifeWrite Project” which is situated in the States. They were looking for a collaborative compilation of stories to be published in an upcoming new book titled “The Corona Silver Linings Anthology” which will be released sometime in December.
After a very difficult few days I’ve been having it was a really nice way to end the week by receiving an email this afternoon that my story will be published as part of the collection as well as in a digital version.
They were looking for stories that give messages of hope and kindness, inspiration and strength and “silver linings” of light and positively we may have found during the darkness of the Pandemic to be compiled as a thought-capsule of this historic time in all of our lives.
My story I wrote was about my “Class of 2020” Graduation Lawn Signs Initiative which as most of you know by now honoured our 2020 Graduates and raised over $10,000 for Kids Help Phone as well.
The proceeds from this book will be donated to a variety of charities including “The First Responders Children’s Foundation”.
My cousin sent me this personality quiz and asked me to partake in it. I told her that I feel like I have two personalities; one being the person I was before I got sick and the latter being the person whom I have become since. So I decided I should take the test twice. I started off by taking the test as the person I feel I am today and then I went back and took the test again thinking about the person I used to be; the person whom I feel no longer exists.
The results of the first test showed my personality type as that of an Advocate. An Advocate, according to Webster’s dictionary is defined as “a person who pleads anothers cause, or who speaks or writes in support of something” and according to the test itself is also someone who is “quiet and mystical, yet very inspiring” which are all traits that I have aspired to become over the last many years so I’d say the test was pretty accurate thus far.
When I went back and did my second test I answered the questions while having to think back to what I felt best represented my personality 6+ years ago. It revealed that I had the personality type of an “Entertainer”. Some of the traits of an “Entertainer” (according to this test) would be described as someone who is “extroverted, feeling, engaging in life eagerly and very social.”
All of which were true once again and although I miss many parts of my personality that depression and anxiety have stolen from me, on the other hand I also know that it has allowed me to explore a side of me that would never have been possible otherwise.
Today Rachel will embark on a new chapter in her life as she begins her first day of University; working towards her lifelong goal of becoming an Interior Designer (in LA!).
Today you leave behind a once in a lifetime cancelled Graduation trip, a brand new Prom dress with the tags still on, a High School Graduation Ceremony that is still TBA and a summer like no other.
And although today as you begin this new chapter in your life very differently from how it’s meant to be, it will still be filled with new beginnings and endless possibilities.
Today is your day to start anew and wipe the slate clean. Today is your day to focus on the journey forward. Today is your day and I know that you are going to paint the town with every colour of the rainbow.
Rachel has been hard at work prepping her new classroom before the start of the Fall semester and her first term in University. It may not be the ideal situation or one that many of us would have chosen for our children but to quote the Schmuck himself (AKA: The President of The United States) “It is what it is!”
So for now Rachel is trying to make the best of a pretty shitty situation by creating her own oasis in our living room and claiming it as her new workspace and art studio, starting by adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls.
A fresh coat of paint can be beneficial to our mental wellness and can bring with it a calming effect and a sense of comfort and ease. Having a clean and orderly space, reducing the amount of clutter in it and being surrounded by bright, natural lighting can also become a healing sanctuary for our mental wellbeing.
I’m just not so sure that Maggie is thrilled with Rachel trying to take over her favorite spot in the house where she sits on her throne and keeps a close watch on the goings on outside but that’s for the two of them to work out!
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?
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???
My final delivery of Grad signs is set to arrive some time later today and then my final delivery will begin. I’m still receiving emails daily from people wanting to order a sign for their Awesome Graduate but I’ve had to tell them “No”, and it’s been really, really hard. My responses to each message have been overloaded with one apology after apology because in my mind I’ve let them down, I’ve let a Graduate down, I’ve let Kids Help Phone down and once again I’ve let myself down too.
I know what you are gonna say but still it’s a constant battle I have with my mind and my heart. I don’t want to disappoint anyone and I need to constantly ensure that everyone else’s happiness comes before mine. My head knows that it’s impossible to please everyone all of the time but my heart is often willing to sacrifice it so that I don’t let anyone down.
But I have said “No” this week too many times now to keep count, I kept my word to those who help me set healthy and emotional boundaries and I stuck to them and with each message I returned in fear of disappointing someone was answered with nothing but respect, understanding and the utmost of support…and of course a tad bit of disappointment too but in themselves for having waited so long to reach out! But hey, life gets busy you know; even during a Pandemic.
My birthday is still 2 weeks away and I don’t often ask for much when it comes to birthdays or other special occasions but this year my wish list is long. In Pre-Covid-19 times my wish list would probably seem odd to many who regularly make themselves a priority or make Self-Care part of their monthly, weekly or even daily routines but at this very moment nothing feels too normal.
I’m not too confident right now that any of my birthday wishes will be come true in time for my birthday this year (As it is my birthday present from last year has already been postponed twice and at this point I’d say indefinitely 😰😰😰) but for now I will close my eyes and make a Pre-birthday wish anyways and dream of the perfect day, complete with a trip to the hair salon, followed by a mani/pedi and of course the day would not be complete without our traditional family dinner at the Keg which would also normally be our kid’s last supper right before they were to head off to camp for the summer! 😰
What would you consider to be your perfect day right now?
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.
It’s okay to admit that you desire comfort in your life and I’m pretty sure that right now most of us are in dire need of some extra comfort.
Whether we need to be soothed or consoled or reassured; being comforted by someone can help lessen our sadness, our distress and our sorrow.
Yes we all have a desire for comfort in our life which can bring about feelings of contentment, feelings of relief and feelings of warmth. And even if comfort may look different to each one of us, just knowing that you have someone nearby who can lend an ear to you is definitely a great place to start.