New year, same me, who dis?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I hate thinking of life in one year blocks that expire on December 31. My life is fluid and I’ve allowed myself the space to do things in my own time, but I feel a lot of peer pressure to set New Years Resolutions and Intentions. I’ve literally had to remind myself every day for the past week that I am doing just fine and that I don’t need to declare all the things I want to change about myself just because everyone else is doing it.

Rather than say I’M GOING TO DO THIS THING STARTING ON JANUARY 1, I enact changes as I am inspired by them. October 11th? That’s a perfect time to start eating more vegetables. July 2? Heck yeah I’m going to open a savings account. Change is so personal, and I dislike NY resolutions because there’s a lot of pressure and the failure that comes from the inability to change your lifestyle and habits overnight is overwhelming.

If you did set some resolutions/goals/intentions and you’re not ready to work on them right now, THAT IS OKAY! Or, if you are working on them and you fall off the bandwagon, THAT’S OKAY, TOO! You always have the ability to hit reset on your goals and intentions. I truly believe there is just as much to be learned about yourself in failure as there is in success.

I had a lot of minor personal achievements in 2017, and I’d like to share them here:

  • I adopted a regular skin care routine sometime in July,
  • I started flossing more frequently a couple of weeks ago
  • I started a regular practice of yoga in August
  • I meal planned the heck out of 2017 from February onward and I think this one has been the most consistent change from last year
  • I read six books in a six-week span and then nothing for months
  • I started bullet journaling intermittently, often forgetting to update it for weeks at a time but I’m still trying to adopt this as a regular practice, I just pick up where I left off

Actually, I pick up where I left off on the regular. I often abandon whatever goal I’ve set for myself but I usually go back to it, sometimes I have to go back to it four, five, or six times. I’m not a spontaneous person by nature, except when I want to make a change. Now is a good time to change something or do something, whenever now happens to be, but it’s rarely inspired by a date on the calendar.

Go forth and be you, and don’t worry about January. It’s kind of a shitty month anyway.

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From Head to Ro – May 11, 2017

Real talk: I’ve been in a rut for the last couple of days. I’ve been anxious and cranky and withdrawn, and that’s okay. I felt very frumpy yesterday. I am a wee bit puffy (THANKS FOR NOTHING, PMS) and was feeling less than svelte in my tight tank top and skinny pants, but I threw on a kimono and went to work as one does since nudity in the work place isn’t an option for me. God bless kimonos, and you betcha there is going to be a post about those soon enough.

Some days I can put on a fresh appearance and work through it, and other days I can’t. I just can’t. The last two days have been unproductive, and again, that’s okay from time to time, but I think I’m back in business today.

Oh, one more whine before I get on with things; IT’S RAINING AGAIN. Yes, I’m in Vancouver and I am used to this, but I’ll never like these dark, wet days. I almost always carry an umbrella with me, but today I was extra prepared when I wore these Jeffrey Campbell Stormy rain boots.

may 11 ootd boots

Jeffrey Campbell Stormy rain boots

They’ve got a pointier toe than the picture shows and I can wear them outside as well as around the office. I own them in black, too. I had to try very hard not to wear these every day this winter, but they went with everything. I wore them with rolled up skinny pants, skirts and tights, dresses and tights, leggings and sweaters; they truly went with everything and they came from Urban Outfitters and were reasonably priced at $62.00. 10/10 would buy again. If I had a capsule wardrobe, these would definitely be part of it.

Today I’m wearing these boots with black tights and a shirt dress with a very bold print. Cats and flowers, to be exact.

may 11 oodt

Cats and flowers

I love patterns. I wish my full-time job was to look at textiles and patterns all day long. I feel like this is a good in-between seasons look, I just wish it felt like it was between spring and summer and not winter and spring. Sigh, it turns out I’m still a little cranky. The dress came from Top Shop a few years ago on clearance and the tights are from Simons. When the weather inevitably gets nicer, I’ll wear it without leggings and pair it with pointy, black flats or oxfords, and I’ll probably fold the sleeves to my forearm to give it a less structured look.

My glasses came from FyshUK, a very fun eyewear company.

 

Mental health… the last six months

Back in February Twitter opened their hearts and shared their stories for Bell’s Let’s Talk day, and then the conversation died. Around the same time, my world was collapsing.

Actually, my life began to implode sometime in November. I kept waiting for things to get better. I should have known something was up when I didn’t want to have anything to do with Christmas, because it’s my favourite time of year. My heart is usually bursting with joy and I’m that sick individual who counts down the last 100 days to December 25th. I didn’t feel it. I felt angry and numb instead. I didn’t put up my Christmas tree or decorate. I made one batch of chocolate gingerbread cookies, but I gave most of those away.

Around the beginning of December I lost my appetite and developed insomnia. I told myself it was stress. I did not want to go to the doctor because I knew the first thing they would do was put me on medication and I’m a bit of a hippy when it comes to pharmaceuticals. Less is best.

I kept waiting for things to get better. But they didn’t. I told myself I would feel better once Christmas was over, but if anything, I felt worse. I told myself I was worked up over the anticipation of going back to school and things would settle down once I got into a rhythm. But they didn’t.

And then my friend passed away. It was the first time anyone my age had died. It sent me into a downward spiral. I was dealing with this crushing sadness and I didn’t know where to go from there. I felt helpless.

I was having a hard time at work, too. I didn’t tell my employer I was taking evening classes and my work was slipping because I was so tired from staying up every night to write papers and study. The few hours  I spent in bed were broken, and many nights I just didn’t sleep at all because I couldn’t.

There was major upheaval in my husband’s company. There were times I had to ask him not to tell me any more because I just couldn’t handle it.

My relationships were falling apart and I began to withdraw from the people that love and care about me. I couldn’t exactly explain how I was feeling. There were nights when all I could do was sit in the bathtub with a drink to numb the sadness and anxiety.

And then my grandfather passed away. I can’t say it was unexpected, but it was one more thing to add to the burning pile of emotions I didn’t want to deal with.

Things were going to get better, I kept telling myself as I sat crying for no reason, almost every day. I’m tired and stressed out because of school/work/marriage/family/deaths/friends… it’s going to get better.

Except it didn’t. I started to run out of excuses for things. I finished school for the semester. My husband’s company was doing a lot better. My life was settling down and yet I wasn’t. The more stuff began to wind down the more anxious and sad I became.

And then I had an unfortunate experience online where a friend’s privacy was breached and several conversations between us were leaked. The information itself didn’t hurt anyone but us, but what followed did. My friends thought they were doing the right thing by standing up for me, but the things they said were misinterpreted and it ended up hurting other people. It was never the intention, but the fallout was huge. All they were trying to do was protect me. People were calling for my head to roll. I did my best to apologize to those I had unintentionally hurt, but it didn’t matter. Suddenly I felt very alienated from my online community. I had to step away because everything I said and did was being mocked by a small group of people who really had no idea what was going on.

That was the last straw for me. There was no longer one single aspect of my life that I was comfortable in. I felt like I had let everyone down. I felt worthless. I felt terribly alone. I had this crushing sadness. I wanted to throw my phone off of a very tall building, seemingly every notification was bad news or someone flipping out at me for my poor life choices.

I had a few full-scale meltdowns and anxiety attacks. The kind of anxiety where you think your heart is trying to escape your chest and you’re not sure if anything in your world is ever going to be right again. I dwelled in that place for a few weeks.

I finally admitted THINGS WERE NOT OKAY and I WAS NOT GETTING BETTER. I didn’t know where to begin to regain control of my life. I had no idea what I wanted or who I was anymore. I didn’t love who I had become and I didn’t know how to change things. I was overwhelmed and terrified I was going to fuck up the rest of my life. I hit my bottom and couldn’t find the way out of the hole I was in.

I made a critical choice and decided to talk to someone and GET SOME HELP. I accepted that I couldn’t do it on my own anymore and as much as I was leaning on friends and family, I needed something more.

Bottom line, every two weeks I sit down and meet with a qualified professional. Some days are better than others, but I’m having more good days than bad ones. Not everything is such a big deal any more, and I’m learning to take life one day at a time. I still struggle, but at least I don’t feel like the sun is never going to shine for me again.

Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you because on the outside- my life looks fantastic. I’m married, I own a home, I have a stable job, and I have a lot of friends and I’m living the dream. On the inside, though, I was going through hell.

We don’t talk about mental health, and I don’t know why. For me, it was one more thing for people to judge me for. I had a lot to be grateful for and I felt selfish for not being able to appreciate my life because it could be so much worse. It was thrown in my face a number of times. Depression and anxiety can hit anyone, and it often comes without warning. Instead of telling someone it gets better, shut up and listen to them. Maybe you know someone who is in my position, or maybe it’s you. Either way, you don’t have to do this alone.

Mental health is so important. Take care of it. You go to the doctor, dentist, optometrist, specialist etc. when things in your body aren’t working, so why are we so afraid to take care of our mental health? Why do we wait until everything around us collapses before we seek help?

It’s part of taking care of you and there is no shame in that.

I’d like to thank all of the amazing people who have rallied around me, especially over the last six months. There have been some awfully dark days, and without your love and support God only knows what would have happened. I borrowed your strength when I could not find my own, and I’m getting the help I need because you told me I was worth it, even when I felt like I was not. Thank you for loving me, no matter what.

Check out The Canadian Mental Health Association to find out more about Mental Health Week.