Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Stronger

My Grandma always used to say "absence makes the heart grow stronger" when I would come home for summer holidays convinced my life was over because I would not be able to see my friends for the WHOLE summer. Well I survived as you may have guessed and now the thought of a summer away camping makes my spirits soar.  I am just floating on air today as I pack up my crafty things and get ready to head out into the wild yonder. I consider it wild because I will be without internet for the entire time (minus the times I sneak on with my cell phone to check my facebook). Come on, that would be barbaric not to have facebook for 9 whole weeks.  So I am off tomorrow as soon as my babies get off the bus. I am starting to pack my car tonight.  I will try to upload the odd post over the summer if I am back at the house (gotta have clean clothes sometime) but it will be sporadic at best.  I will be thinking of you all summer and hoping that you are enjoying good friends and good weather somewhere with a lovely view!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Look what bloomed beside my deck

This was an amazing suprise when I arrived at my trailer last night. We moved our trailer here last July and just missed seeing this lovely sight. This picture does not even do it justice. It  smells lovelmy too.

Friday, 21 June 2013

The Quality of Mercy

 Ok, so perhaps this will not be my most uplifting post but I have to get it off my chest. I have not felt great all week. I don't know what the triggers were, I have no explanation other than perhaps I am feeling overtired due to some allergy issues. Probably not one of my better ideas, I convince my hubby that we should drop off some yard sale items to my Mom's house last night rather than taking it all this morning. It sounds like a reasonable plan but that is not the area that got messed up. We decided it would be quicker to take highway 401. Any of you that follow my blog know that the 401 is a hard sell for me. Against my better judgement I conceded that it would be faster and off we went. We no sooner got off the on ramp and over the little knowl and we were at a dead stop. If it had not been for that darn little hill we would have spotted the traffic and detoured but as it was we were stuck.  We were sitting patiently waiting for the cars to move ahead when a neighbour of ours pulled up beside us and told us that traffic was backed up all the way to Belleville and that it would likely take at least an hour to get through. (Road Work!!!! Argggghhhhh). He said that he was going to back up and take the shoulder of the road back to the off ramp. My husband looked at me hopefully but there was no way we were going to go backwards on the shoulder of the road. Then it happened to me.....all the transports and cars starting compressing in on us.  I could feel my heartbeat race and my hand took on a life as it own as it crushed down on my poor devoted husband's freehand.  He signalled and started maneuvering to the side of the road. I gave him the nod and we every so slowly started to work backwards to the off ramp.  As we slowly backed up all the other drivers started glaring at us. (That may be my social anxiety kicking in there) but it sure felt like it. Impatient drivers were angrily gesturing at us as though we had some nerve to think we deserved to escape the chaos. Little did they know that inside that vehicle there was a woman who was fighting her every instinct to open the door and run through the traffic fleeing in absolute panic.  As we made our way back to the exit we became aware that there were no new cars coming. In fact my son noticed that there were now several sets of flashing lights right beside the very exit we needed. My husband could not believe his eyes. After so carefully maneuvering us so close to freedom there was now a huge accident blocking our escape.  "I'm sorry" he said over and over as we reentered the traffic.  By now I was in a full blown attack. I could feel the nausea setting in and all the colour had drained from my face.  Every noise that my children made became a deafening assault on my ears and it was all I could do not to run.  As we moved back into line the aggressiveness of the crowd started to kick in. Everyone was jockeying for position and a truck that had seen us trying to get off by going backwards decided to make it his mission to mess with us. As the traffic finally made its way to the construction area and the road narrowed to one lane, the transport decided to cut us off. If my husband slowed down so did he. If we sped up he did too until the pylons were nearly brushing our car and my husband had no choice but to move in front of the truck. Just! Then the trucker hit his horn and made gestures that had my kids asking what raising your fingers up like that means. By the time we made it to town I could barely stand up. I was so depleted I did not know what to do with myself. Someone died on that highway last night. Right there, just a few feet from where our car was. If things had timed out differently it could have been us.  Any of you with Anxiety know how much this has had my wheels spinning all day and last night. The what ifs. I can't help but to think that the accident occurred because someone behind us decided that those few inches were more important than the risk they took.  I know I am guilty of getting ticked off when someone tries to maneuver around traffic or jump ahead but now I am hoping that I can remember to show some mercy and give them the benefit of thinking there may be a reason. Maybe there is someone who is sick or pregnant or some other pressing issue.  Maybe those few feet they are taking are for a reason.  My prayers are with you all and especially the family of whoever was killed on the 401 last night.

William Shakespeare 

William Shakespeare

“The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The thron├Ęd monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings,
But mercy is above this sceptered sway.
It is enthron├Ęd in the hearts of kings.
It is an attribute to God himself.
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew, Though justice be thy plea, consider this-
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy,
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea,
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.”

― William ShakespeareThe Merchant of Venice

Thursday, 20 June 2013


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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Venturing Outside My Comfort Zone

Well, I am quite content to just put my feet up now and consider today a great success. If I accomplish nothing else today I will still be content.  You are simply not going to believe what I did today! I went to an actual meeting in an actual government office...face to face....and remained for the duration of my time.  Ooohhh whooo me. Ok, so I won't be expecting anyone knocking down my door to offer me my mental health achievement award (if you have one though it would be pretty great). Let me fill you in on my plan, I have applied to become involved with a career counsellor to hook me into online courses for small business management.  Some of you may have already seen links or feeds about my little venture. I have decided firmly that even though I can go out and work in a regular brick and mortar business I can still be semi-productive by working from home.  Thanks to online shopping I can have all the supplies I need to produce my product shipped to my door. Ok, the post office around the corner but at least I won't have to go to an actual store if I don't feel well. I will be able to sell my product online and communicate with customers via my online store so that no one will be able to tell that I am shaking like crazy or about to run out of a room. Pretty clever huh. So today it has begun for me.  That phone just has to ring for me and I will be on my way to becoming a productive member of society once again.  Not bad for a Tuesday. I hope you are making progress on your dreams today. Don't let your illness shape your life. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Guest Post by Jamie Clark@ Being Positive with a Depressive Soul


My Life in a Nut Shell

Being positive with a depressive soul, has definitely been a challenge. I am too often sad and feel so alone but it eventually passes. I am very sensitive. I think too much and always seem to care way too much about people who don’t feel the same way. I overthink everything. I worry too much. No wonder I have high blood pressure. I am mom to a teenage girl who has mental issues and she hasn’t been completely diagnosed yet. I work full-time outside the home as an Administrative Services Assistant and have a 2-year Associate degree from a business college and I am 10 classes away from a Bachelor degree. I guess I am smart enough to get by in life and luckily have common sense, along with my street cred. My personal life is a mess, as usual. I am wild at heart, always anxious with life, and hope that the best is yet to come. There you have it the condensed version of me.
Now, I have been suffering from major depressive disorder for about 24 years now. I have been on almost every medication there is and still at 42 I feel that I am just not getting the full benefit of my meds. Ughhhh! I definitely can say that there is seldom a dull moment in my life, let me tell you! I never thought long ago that I would turn out to be as strong as I am now. I guess lots of drama, tons of stress, extreme sadness , deep depression, loneliness, pain and heartache can do that to a person. Who knew?
Life has definitely been a beautiful struggle. I knew that I was ready for something different in my life, for once I wanted to change to come quickly. It has only been in the last year that I decided to stop hiding my depression, stop caring what others thought of me, and to be my authentic self.
I am no longer here to impress other people. I am here to live my best life with a little humor, try to help who I can when I can, and just to figure everything out about myself for once. But what I found first was that I decided to do something that I always wanted to do. Courage raised her brillant head and said “Just do it.” Confidence stepped in and said “Hell Yeah.” I always wanted to write, to be heard, and to be apart of something that I thought was extraordinary.
So I became a blogger. It has been the best decision I have ever made. One thing for sure about blogging is that keeping it reaI is a full-time job. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have chosen to set my private life to words by sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly in my life. Literally, my life in nut shell. We’re all crazy here! Sometimes chaotic, most of the time random, but always real. Since I cannot afford therapy:
Blogging has saved my life. Really! I wouldn’t lie to you. I was in desperate need of a hobby. I was going nuts with boredom and loneliness. I had to do something with my life and no, exercise was not an option. Besides, exercise could kill you or at least me. Blogging seemed much safer!
I have learned so much by starting from the bottom of the blogging ladder and working myself through the blogosphere one blog at a time. I read a lot of blogs for content, designing tips, tutorials on adding codes to templates, how-to add gadgets, buttons, and widgets; promoting and networking, all the while becoming a social media addict. Through all this hard work:
With dealing with depression, oodles amount of stress, and chronic fatigue most days of my life, I truly know now that I was meant to do this. I blog to stay positive, to support mental health, to raise awareness of mental illness, and to no longer hide my depression. Sometimes reality of my beautifully chaotic life has a way of rearing its ugly head. So when I am stressed and tired from life, work, and the computer there are a few things that I do to live more positively healthy and be better than okay. Of course there is nothing wrong with just being okay, don’t get me wrong, because some days that is all I am is okay. It is just that I need more to help keep my mind right like remembering to take my meds, to socialize more (equals no loneliness), so to stress less I compiled a list of things to keep me positively on my toes:
**Daily Reminders and Affirmations
Today I will express my authentic self and choose not to hide behind a false mask.
I accept I am right where I am supposed to be.
Every day in every way I am getting better and better. 
I won't apologize for who I am.  
I embrace my flaws, my weaknesses, my strengths, my desires for they are all mine.
I am me and I was given this life because I am strong enough to live it.
I will do what I see fit to live my best life.
My spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.--CC Scott
Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.
**To Live One Day at a Time
I live my life one day at a time.
I try again today, even when it's hard.
keep going for just one more day, today.
After I try today, tomorrow I will try again.
from the daily love
** Never Forget to Laugh At Myself and to Find Humor in Every Day:
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**Take Care of Me First:
Relax, Breathe, and focus!
I am in charge of my mental health.
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**Always Be Myself:
I am me and that is all I can ever be.
Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.
I am sensitive, care too much, overthink everything, worry when I know
that it is a waste of time, feel emotions strongly, fall hard and fast, but always
love with all my soul.
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**Must Be Positive. I am allergic to negativity:
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**Find Wisdom in Each day:
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**Reinvent Myself, Maybe Learn Something:
Knowledge is Power!
The only good is knowledge and the only evil is Ignorance…Socrates
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**Find the Good and Beautiful in Everything and Everyone; Be Kind:
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Now you know the things that keep me positively sane. Everything bad that has happened to me has only made me stronger. Everything good is yet to come and for that I have hope. Sometimes hope is all we have to keep going. But in the end:
Jamie Clark
Being Positive with a Depressive Soul
*All pics came from Facebook, Pinterest, or the Web and all authors of quote sand pics/sayings
are unknown unless stated. I do not own the original rights to any of the pics.

Positive Activities to Lift Your Sagging Mood

So yesterday we were talking about all this "PollyAnna" type crap....I mean stuff :) and how there is actually scientific research now to back up the fact that it really does improve the chemical reaction in the brain. I got a whole lotta feed back last night via posts here and facebook and email and google...(I forgot how many social media things I was hooked into). Everyone was basically saying "Yah, that all well and good but what specifically should we try." Well, in my humble opinion, not knowing you inside and out I would suggest making a list of the things that you did when you were the happiest in your life. It reminds me of a line in the Veggie Tales Movie the The Pirates that Don't Do Anything, where the gourd is faced with being eaten by cheese doodles and reflecting upon his life he says it was not a very good life, but there was that one day in 1976 between the hours of...blah blah blah....You get the point right.  Even if you have struggled with anxiety and depression your whole life, there have been moments, even short flashes, where you experience joy.  What were you doing.  If those moment were childbirth or marriage I am not going to suggest that you go there again but what was it about that moment that brought you the joy.  For me my most joyful events have been steeped in family life.  That however has become a catch 22 for me because it reinforces my fears of "what if I lose them". So looking outside of my family I had to inventory what brought me happiness.  I have always loved being creative. I have had a major hang up in the last few years because every tool I picked up and every piece of paper reminded me of my friend that had been with me when it was purchased. When I reached for my embellishments there were the flowers I used to decorate the display for my dad's funeral and when I opened my picture files to start scrapbooking a layout, there were the pictures from my son's baptism, my best friend beaming as she held her godson, or pictures of my dad as a child, and his wedding pictures all harsh reminders of what I had lost. Step by step I cleared through it all. Perhaps not as quickly as my husband may have liked, and I found a place for all those things. I separated the memories from the stuff so that I could return to the things that brought me happiness.  I still get misty sometimes I won't lie, but being able to spend some time every day creating something makes all the difference to my level of anxiety and depression.  Like I said, I would not suppose that I know where you are in your journey but I did find a few general ideas to kick start your positive activity list:

Develop a wellness toolbox

Come up with a list of things that you can do for a quick mood boost. Include any strategies, activities, or skills that have helped in the past. The more “tools” for coping with depression, the better. Try and implement a few of these ideas each day, even if you’re feeling good.
  • Spend some time in nature
  • List what you like about yourself
  • Read a good book
  • Watch a funny movie or TV show
  • Take a long, hot bath
  • Take care of a few small tasks
  • Play with a pet
  • Write in your journal
  • Listen to music
  • Do something spontaneous
Help Guide:
Go read this article for more ideas on positive activities

Looking at the list above I was reminded of one of my group therapy sessions where the occupational therapist said she suggests everyone of her patients watch at least 30 mins of comedy every day.  That is the kind of therapy I can get behind! That and anything involving more sleepy time. SIGN ME UP! Of course her advice of 20 minutes of vigorous exercise daily fell on deaf ears. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Feel free to contact me if you ever just need to chat. You know I am not going to be out anywhere :)

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Looking at the Sunny Side of Life

Man don't you hate people that say that. The glass is half full, count your blessings, the sun will come out tomorrow...tomorrow...tomorrow..I love you tomorrow...ha..just kidding I won't do that to you.  Sorry if it catches in your head.  Realistically there is a reason for all these all too chipper statements.  Those folks out there that are so drippy with optimism are really onto something.  Medically I mean, though socially annoying as they are they seem to make out okay too.  Ok, Ok...I am a closet optimist....I can spin sunshine as well as the next girl, except in my own head.  Do you ever experience this phenomenon? You are so sweet to the rest of the world but in your own head you are constantly criticising yourself and preparing for the worst. That's me.  All the time.  Sometimes I just need solitude because the chaos of people talking around me plus the nagging of the inner me overwhelms me.  I was reading an article on the Mayo clinic site and another on the Live Science site and they were talking about research that has been conducted into the effects of positive thinking on depression.  To me this seemed counterintuitive as if we were thinking positively we would likely not be depressed. That in fact is their point.  The study focused on mildly depressed folks, not like us hiding under the covers peeps. The results showed that they were able to stimulate the amygdala by positive thoughts and it counteracted the usual overreaction we experience. By no way do they suggest it will work in all instances and they say it would be most effective in conjunction with medication.  I am very fortunate and not only do I live in an area that provides excellent support but also I am married to a hard working guy with a nice medical package. Write that one down single ladies...make sure your man has a job and benefit plan!! So sexist I know. Regardless, the positive activity interactions (PAIs) can be used by people that are unable to access additional support.  Its one of those "what do you have to lose kind of things".  

Here are a few examples of Positive Activity Interactions:

Intentional positive behaviors and thoughts, such as performing acts of kindness, expressing gratitude, meditating on positive feelings  toward others and using one's strengths. Gratitude journals, thank you cards, putting a quarter in someone's metre. 

It all seems so easy! When you think about it though, in those moments when we are outside our own brain and we are doing something nice for someone else don't you just get that sort of sunny buzz inside. Just in those few moments you forget that you are depressed, anxious, panic stricken or obsessive compulsive.  Maybe thats the seed of wisdom in it all.  A happy distraction from our pain.  I say lets go for it guys! Are you with me? I am going to shut down this computer and go read an extra bedtime story to my kidlets, just to remind them how much they are loved and to steal a little sunny buzz moment.  My thoughts and prayers are with you as always.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Guest Blogger This Friday!

Sometimes the most crucial part of our recovery is to learn to be positive. I can  already hear that little voice saying "Yah, I'm positive. Positive life sucks!". Life is hard. That's just the way it is. How we interpret our circumstances can make all the difference in how we experience life though. This week I hope to get in a few posts on the value of being positive when dealing with mental health issues. We will cap off the week with a guest post by fellow blogger Jamie Clark from Being Positive With A Depressive Soul. I am so excited to share her words of wisdom. Jamie has suffered from a depressive disorder for more than two decades. Make sure to check out her post Friday or better yet visit her blog and get to know her before she visits us. Thanks for sharing your story Jamie. You are a true champion of the mental health awareness movement. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.