Random

I’ll listen.

A year ago, I wrote a post about how I came to admit to myself – and others, by virtue of pressing “publish” – that I struggled with depression. It was scary but also really liberating. It was like I was forcing myself to walk the talk, to prove that there wasn’t stigma around the issue of mental health.

Fast forward 365 days. Once again, it’s “Bell Let’s talk” day in Canada. In some ways, very little has changed. In others, everything has changed.

A friend suggested that perhaps I write a follow-up, detailing how I came to tackle my situation. It took a while, but here we are.

I don’t know that one ever truly overcomes or gets “cured” of the twin towers of depression and anxiety. Rather, for myself, it is an evolving process of managing my symptoms and triggers, and figuring out what works for me. Maybe time will tell?

Of course, there are days when I feel unstoppable. Those as so fun. Partner those with days when I feel like I can’t get out of my own way and I think that’s a pretty accurate description of the roller coaster I pilot.

You know what I think that makes me? Perfectly normal.

The most critical piece in getting myself to where I am today has been to surround myself with people who make me feel safe.

I don’t think I’ve ever typed such a corny sentence, but voila. It’s my truth.

I don’t need to constantly talk about my feeeeeelings, but knowing that those upon whom I rely are there to listen if I need them is critical. Sometimes, it’s as simple as knowing that they’ll respond when I send that text that simply says “fuuuuuuuuuuuck…”. You know what I mean.

Seeking medical help (and continuing with it, still) was the best decision I could have made for myself – and for my kids. The next best decision was coming clean, as it were. Because no longer am I hiding behind a facade and suddenly, not only have I gained more people upon whom I can rely for help, I became someone that others could come to talk to.

And so, I listen. Because, I think that’s the other part of “Let’s talk”.

Let’s listen.

Here’s what I wrote last year.

I will never forget the day that I knew I needed to ask for help.

My life, as I knew it, was crumbling around me. My mother was dying. My marriage was falling apart. I didn’t know which way was up and was barely going through the motions. I was faking it in almost every aspect of my life. I was pretending I was fine.

I so clearly wasn’t fine. I was down to 100 pounds. I wasn’t sleeping. I couldn’t eat. I was barely present, I couldn’t focus and was operating in a fog, seized by anxiety.

I was scared, sad, and I felt almost paralyzed. Of course, I had a few close friends in whom I confided (to a degree), but those nights, alone at 3:00am, when my mind was spinning, it was a dark and ugly place to be.

My whole life, I’d always tried to power through the emotional stuff, driven by the motto of “this too shall pass.” Stiff upper lip, and all that, right?

But that day, as I sat at my desk unable to type because my hands were shaking so hard, operating on 3 hours sleep, I knew then that this had to stop. I called my doctor, and walked through her door 15 minutes later.

She knew immediately upon seeing me that I needed help. She was gentle but firm. She asked me what I felt were prying but necessary questions. She drew me out, listened to my halting speech, and by doing so gave me that tiny little bit of confidence, that little push I needed to take those first steps towards getting help and getting well. I needed someone to take control, to give me a plan, to confirm that no, I wasn’t losing it completely.

‘Cause it sure as hell felt like I was.

Fast forward to today.

I am healthy, mentally AND physically. I am SO much better.

I’ve learned to read the signs of when things are starting to slide. I know when to ask for help, and from whom. My treatment is, and will always be, ongoing. I don’t feel shame in this; rather, there’s a sense of power that comes with knowing that I was brave enough to take this on.

Today, in Canada, it’s #Bellletstalk day. The goal of this campaign is to invite others to join the conversation and end the stigma around mental health.

By sharing my story, I hope that in some way, you know it’s ok to share yours.

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Biking, Day-to-day life, Family, Kids, Pemberton, QOTD, Running, Skiing

Wherein I ramble.

body

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, mainly because I’ve been mopey.  Nobody wants to hang around mopey, much less read about mopey.  So I’m trying to move past mopey into more hopeful.  Mopeful, maybe?

My body is nowhere near 100% fixed, as much as I like to pretend it is.  Watching the winter pass me by has been very frustrating – particularly not being able to ski.  I miss skiing and feel like I am missing out on a lot with the kidlets.

I’ve tried a few days of skate skiing without poles which was ok, but otherwise my workouts have been limited to the gym, pool running (ugh) and the wind trainer… endless hours on the wind trainer.  Actually, I’m pretty proud of myself for the workouts I’ve developed: they are based solely on TV characters.  When character A comes on, I spin 100 rpm.  When his enemy comes on, I spin 80 rpm, etc. etc.  It actually makes time fly.  As much as time can fly on a wind trainer at 5:30am.  Maybe I’ll trademark these workouts and become an infomercial superstar!  (Wait… do infomercials still exist?)

I celebrated 1 month post-op with a 1km run on the treadmill in the garage  – which I then had taken away from me by a well-meaning physio who told me to back off again.  I may or may not had shed tears of frustration.  Not having the ability to run daily has had a huge effect on my ability to manage my anxiety,  so for both my physical and mental health I’m hoping to get back at it sooner rather than later.

Baby steps, I suppose.  In the meantime, while I build my body back up, I’ll continue to lurk on race websites, read blogs, try to pick up a hobby,  follow people’s twitter updates and will the snow to melt and my body to heal so I can once again get out and play.

Know thyself

A few weeks ago, I was headed to the city to run some errands and let the boys know I’d be picking them up some tees and hoodies as they’d outgrown/destroyed the ones they had. Rory piped up that he “wanted a pink t-shirt with a skateboarder on it, but if they don’t have that, I’ll just get whatever”.

not a dude
Not a dude.

Will looked at me and said “I don’t want to be a dude”.  I was a little confused by this comment and replied “but you’re a boy, therefore you are a dude.”  He elaborated: “No, no.  I don’t want to be a dude, like who skateboards and wears pink shirts and stuff.  I like Lego and books and calmer stuff.  I just want a plain blue t-shirt”.

It’s interesting to me that at 6 years old, he’s pretty self-aware.  And so very, very different from his brother.

Meanwhile…

I bought Anja a new coat as she’d outgrown her current one (belly coats, anyone?)  She came downstairs, saw it and said “OH MINE GOODNESS!  It’s Beee-ooootiful”!

I like an appreciative kid.

Never undressed.
Never undressed.

Completely unrelated to anything

I was at one of my recent 298374 doctors appointments waiting for the doc when I saw this:  diva

I must have been having a bad day because it infuriated me.  I’m no feminist, but COME ON.  Set your daughter up with some slightly higher standards than “Diva”.  I hate that moniker applied to little girls – never mind newborns.  How about “Astronaut in Training” or “Athlete in Training” or “Average, healthy kid in training”?  Anything is better than Diva.

*steps off soap box*

Don’t ask.

I gave up chocolate for Lent.  I’m not religious, nor have I ever given anything up for Lent.  I wonder what possessed me this year.  So far so good.  But The Chocolate Easter Bunny better watch his back March 31.  And his ears.  And tail.

Yesterday

It was the first warm and sunny day we’d had in a long time.  I spent a lot of it thinking about Mum.  She used to love early Spring days and would bundle up into her coats and blankets, drag an old chair to a sunny spot somewhere outside and read her book till the sun became shade.  I think that early spring days will always remind me of Mum and some of her ingrained habits.  I can’t believe that it’s already been 6 months without her.

I’m back at work!  Bring on the sitting, office snacks and the fluorescent lighting.  And hopefully more positive blog updates.

taking care
They take care of me by taking care of themselves. Sometimes.