Gold Medal Treatment

I’m sure you’ve all heard the news by now coming from the Olympic world.

Simone Biles is probably one of the most recognized and celebrated Olympic athletes in the world today and a true mental health warrior in my eyes. 

I one thousand percent support and admire Simone’s decision to step away from the podium for now in order to focus on her mental well-being but her decision to do so has been met with so much ridicule by the naysayers who are sitting on their butts, most likely from the comfort of their couch, hidden behind their smartphone screens, tweeting out and calling her a quitter or worse. 

It brings us right back to the same place we keep ending up because had Simone broken her ankle during her Olympic performance we would not be having this conversation and instead we would all be empathizing with her and cheering her on as she rehabilitated and got back to the vault. But taking a step back to focus on her mental health never seems to be a good enough reason to the naysayers. 

Mental illness and PTSD can creep up on you ever so slowly and often out of nowhere. She deserves to be recognized for her strength and courage and not criticized and judged. 

You don’t get to the level that Simone Biles has without being mentally tough. She is far from a quitter. She is taking care of her mental wellness and that makes her worthy of an Olympic gold medal in my eyes.

And when she returns, and I believe she will, she will show all those naysayers sitting on their butts from the comfort of their couch what it takes to be a real winner. 

Many people may not fully realize or ever truly understand the trauma and possible triggers (including performing in the Olympics) that Simone has had to overcome being that she was one of MANY young athletes who suffered YEARS and YEARS of sexual abuse at the hands of their “trusted” Olympic Team Doctor “Larry Nassar” who is now thankfully serving a prison sentence of over 100 years for his crimes. 

Mental illness and PTSD are both VERY real and VERY serious. If she is not mentally strong enough to be able to focus on her performance then she could most definitely hurt herself physically and possibly destroy everything. 

Self-care is mental wellness and it doesn’t matter if you can’t physically see her injury; it still matters, even more. 

Sadly though, we live in a world where people judge others on how much money they have, what kind of career path they choose, how big the house is that they live in, how smart they are and even by the amount of medals they may have sitting on their shelf.

But what if for just one second we all took a “step back” and focused on a world where people didn’t see it that way and instead only cared that you are happy, healthy and kind. 

Don’t we all deserve that kind of gold medal treatment?

#olympian #tokyoolympics #mentalhealthwarrior #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #ptsd #endthestigmatogether #goldmedaltreatment #mentalwellness #strongertogether #usaolympian #gymnastics #kindnessmatters #itsoktonotbeok #bekindtoyourself #youareenough #selfcare #yourmentalhealthmatters #sexualabuse #selflove #mindfulness #youarenotalone @simonebiles

Fill Your Cup

When Sunday night rolls around many people often become stressed or overwhelmed thinking about tomorrow; You know, as in Monday, that most dreaded day of the week.

But last night in the midst of what was probably my 50th anxiety/panic attack of what had been an incredibly difficult week on so many levels, I almost felt a sense of relief come over me when I realized that it was Sunday night and that this week would soon be over.

For me, Monday couldn’t come fast enough. I wasn’t looking at Monday as the most dreaded day of the week but instead I began to feel like Monday was more of a fresh start and the perfect time to try and refill my cup that had sat empty all of last week. 

Mondays don’t have to feel dreaded. Maybe Mondays are really meant to be an opportunity to replenish our mental, emotional and physical energy instead?

How will you refill your cup today?

#mondaymotivation #fillyourcup #selfcare #selflove #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #yourmentalhealthmatters

Could Maggie Be Depressed?

Despite the fact that February is the shortest month of the year, for many humans though, February can often feel like the longest and most depressing one as well; and especially this year.

Aside from the most obvious reasons why February can feel like the longest and most depressing month of the year when it’s actually not is due in part to many of us having to suffer through bitter cold temperatures and shortened hours of daylight each day; most of which seem filled with grey skies and falling precipitation rather than sunshine and rainbows.  For others, February also feels long and dreaded because of holidays like Valentine’s Day that can bring with it a feeling of sorrow instead of love. 

Of course this year February comes with an added bonus. We are now eleven months into living in a Global Pandemic and that in itself is enough to make any month feel like its never ending and for any human to display some signs of depression. 

But what about our pets?  Can they feel similar effects due to the winter blues or maybe even the effects associated with living in a Global Pandemic? In short, yes they can and we have started to notice lately that Maggie seems sad and possibly even a little depressed. 

She has never been one to enjoy the winter weather or bitter cold temperatures (she’s just like her momma) but still it’s difficult to know for sure if that is what’s causing her sudden change in mood and several odd behaviours without first ruling out anything that could potentially be physically wrong with her because it’s not like she can really vocalize her sadness to us.

But once we have ruled out all other potential issues, I may have to call upon the world renowned “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan for some much needed help.

#dogsanddepression #pettherapy #sixthsense #maggie #februaryblues #dogwhisperer #cesarmillan #nationalgeographic #pandemic #overwhelm 

I Need To Climb That Mountain First

It was exactly one year ago today that I made one of the most courageous decisions of my life. I should be shouting from the rooftops today that I am one year smoke free but instead I am sitting here beating myself up (as usual) as I write this because at some point in mid July after being smoke free for 6 whole months, I gave into my urge to smoke and gave myself yet another reason to feel like a failure. 

A great many of you have probably already heard this story many times over the past year so bear with me as I tell it one more time for those of you who haven’t heard it before. It was a year ago today that I lay in bed on day fourteen of 2020 (you know, that time when we still thought 2020 was gonna be a great year). I  was recuperating from a concussion that had occurred the day after New Year’s Day from a fainting episode (see I already knew better than to think 2020 was gonna be a great year).  By now, smoking was becoming less and less enjoyable to me as I continued to battle the ongoing symptoms of my concussion and just knowing that the last thing I had done before the concussion occurred was smoke a cigarette (well only half to be exact since I had to put it out quickly as I was feeling like I may faint) it was also beginning to cause me several symptoms of PTSD as well every time I attempted to light up.

I know from everyone’s words of encouragement and supportive dialogue back in July when I told you that I started smoking again that I should not be beating myself up today or any other day for that matter and that I should also not be seeing it as yet another failure in my life but my depressive mind just won’t see it any other way. 

I was quite proud of myself when I quit that day and for several months that followed I hardly missed it at all but like with most addictions or addictive behaviours, sometimes we may have to try many times before we can actually get it right. 

By the time July rolled around I was in a very dark place and the cravings were overwhelming me and so I gave in or as my inner critic would tell me, I gave up. You see, smoking is, in it’s own sick way very soothing for me and it helps to relax me when I’m feeling conflicted or anxious but still I can’t help but feel like I have not only failed myself but my husband and children too every time I light up.

I think about quitting every day and just about every time I have a cigarette.  The effects that come from smoking are back to where they were a year ago and you would think that would be a good enough reason to quit, but unlike a year ago I’m just not in a place right now that I feel I could be successful if I tried.

At least I know that when I’m good and ready to that I can always try again since I’ve already done it before (and more than once). But for now I just have too many other mountains I’m trying to climb first and the thought of not having that pack of cigarettes in my pocket as I attempt to climb to the top of that mountain is like forgetting to put on your helmet or tie on your harness as you start to climb.

Thank you for continuing to follow my journey and for not giving up on me as I attempt to climb that mountain.  

#climbingmountains #addictions #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #dontsufferinsilence #yourmentalhealthmatters #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #panicattacks #selfcare #suicideawareness #endthestigmatogether #innercritic #bekindtoyourself

Paging Dr. Google

Living with a severe anxiety disorder like I do can literally make anyone do crazy shit. And if there is one thing I know for sure it’s that my anxiety makes me feel out of control and will often paralyze me with fear and worry when it comes to, well, just about everything.

Over the last few years I’ve been taught several helpful tools that I can turn to when I’m feeling anxious and I have found, through some trial and error, many of them to be quite useful at times. 

As I’ve also mentioned many, many times before, I rely heavily on CBD oil (Full Spectrum, with NO THC and preferably peppermint flavor!) to give me an almost immediate relief of certain physical symptoms like severe heart palpitations and nausea. But when the physical symptoms go beyond my everyday normal symptoms I’m lucky enough that my dear friend “Dr. Google” is always there to advise me.

“Dr. Google” is my “go to” Doctor when my own Doctor is unavailable for consultation, you know, like in the middle of the night when many of these symptoms seem to unexpectedly show up and you need a medical diagnosis, STAT. 

But I should probably also mention here how much I avoid calling my Doctor to begin with because I just can’t bring myself to pick up a phone to call her or I get worried that I’m just bothering her (yup that too is a symptom of my anxiety). 

I know that all probably sounds a bit crazy to some of you (I told you that anxiety can make you do crazy shit) and I also know that “Dr. Google” is probably NOT the most reliable resource when it comes to making a proper diagnosis (trust me I know) but I also know that I’m probably not alone. 

The internet makes it so easy these days to look up just about anything your heart desires but when you suffer with extreme anxiety and major depression, my advice to you would be to stay as far away from “Dr. Google” as you possibly can because before you know it your anxiety/panic attack at 2 am has somehow just been diagnosed as a rare and incurable disease. 

Just like the one I diagnosed myself with last evening after describing to a friend an extremely sharp pain I had been having on and off for the past couple of days in one particular area of my body, a pain I have never experienced before. She tried to reassure me it was probably nothing too serious and that I should call my Doctor in the morning but before she could finish her sentence (we were actually texting) I cut her off because “Dr. Google” was already telling me the complete opposite of what she was saying, and quite frankly, like come on now, who are you actually gonna believe? 

Well seeing as it’s now after 2 am as I write this and stare at my “Dr. Google” diagnosis you can probably figure that answer out all on your own! And trust me, “Dr. Google” is just as quick and informative when it comes to helping me self diagnose my kids ailments too!

Who else turns to Dr. Google for their regular check ups? 

#drgoogle #selfdiagnosis #anxiety #depression #symptomsofanxietyanddepression #mentalhealthishealth 

THC Hangover

On Friday evening after experiencing several heightened episodes of anxiety throughout the day, I found myself right smack in the middle of a full-on panic attack. 

I did my best to try and calm myself down using some breathing techniques but trying to distract myself from what was triggering me in that moment I could barely catch my breath long enough to take some CBD oil; something I don’t hesitate to do several times a day when needed as a therapeutic. 

As soon as the CBD oil started kicking in and my heartrate began to decrease to a more tolerable level I curled up under my weighted blanket, still fully dressed from the day but I didn’t care because all I wanted to do in that moment was close my eyes and go to sleep.

But whose kidding who? Like is sleep ever an option for me? Even if my panic attack had just taken every last ounce of strength I had left inside and crushed it with my blanket, I was still preparing myself for a sleepless night ahead.

And I knew if I lay in bed much longer I would most definitely end up having another anxiety attack of some sort, so I reached for my other bottle of CBD oil on my nightstand, the one with the THC in it. 

I regretted my decision almost immediately even though it took a while for it to kick in. It did not reduce my anxiety or relax me or even help me sleep, instead I spent the rest of the night fighting off my paranoia and hallucinations and by the time morning arrived I was still feeling the effects from the THC and spent the entire day in bed yesterday with a “hangover”.

They say it’s nearly impossible to OD on cannabis but if there is even a slight chance of that happening then I’m pretty sure I managed to do so. Cannabis is supposed to give you a feeling of euphoria but like every other prescribed medication or therapeutic treatment I’ve taken along my journey, including that of Medical Marijuana, “Shrooms”, Ketamine and Edibles I’ve experienced adverse effects from them all.

By morning my Psychosis had pretty much gone away but it left me barely able to finish a sentence or swallow. I had a headache, I felt exhausted, I was beyond nauseous and dizzy and whenever I tried to stand up I felt myself passing out on the floor moments later. But not to worry because I can always count on my family to look after me, and they did just that while between fits of laughter and snapping pictures and recording videos of me to ensure they captured all the highlights. 

I have tried and tried for years now to reap the benefits from using THC and other similar treatments but I think that after what happened to me this weekend I have tried for the very last time and I am just grateful that at least my regular doses of CBD oil still helps me in some small way.

#cbdoil #thc #cannabis #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #panicattacks #anxiety #depression #suicideprevention #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #mentalillness #selfcare  

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends


The week we first went into lockdown 5 months ago this week (in case you’ve forgotten!) I had an appointment scheduled with my Psychiatrist to begin a new treatment. The decision for me to even attempt yet another new treatment was not an easy one to make, especially since it’s still quite new and not very accessible to the general public as of now; and not to mention that I had already been part of a clinical study for a more invasive version of the same treatment several years earlier during a hospital admission that I needed to stop immediately. 

The first dose was to be administered by my Psychiatrist in his office at the hospital he works out of to ensure that I could tolerate it and from there I would be monitored closely as I continued treatment several times a week from my home. It’s now been five long months since that initial appointment was postponed inevitably as I continue to struggle deeply on a daily basis. 

As most of you who follow my journey regularly know by now that my relationship with medication and treatment options (both traditional and MANY non-traditional as well) to help ease my symptoms associated with anxiety and depression have been met with many obstacles, extreme challenges and sometimes severe complications to say the least. So when I discovered CBD oil a few years ago and found immediate relief from it while experiencing high levels of anxiety throughout any given day (even if it’s only temporary), I’ve come to rely on it like you would rely on any loyal and trustworthy friend.

Although it’s been far from a cure and (unfortunately) for me it has yet to give my symptoms of depression any type of real relief I’m still so grateful to know that just like my many loyal, trustworthy friends I have in my life, it’s a safe and reliable way to help me cope with my often severe and very persistent daily bouts of anxiety and panic attacks because I really don’t know how I’d ever get through so many difficult days (and nights) without any of them. 

#cbdoil #friendship #youareenough #depression #anxiety #anxietyattacks #panicattacks #mentalillness #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #therapeutic #selfcare #suicidalthoughts #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #endthestigmatogether 

Just One More

I’m pretty sure there are lots of people who choose to scroll past many of my posts on Social Media and lots more who have probably “unfriended” me over time because of the content I share may seem completely irrelevant to their lives or make them feel uncomfortable.

When I first started to share my story almost 4 years ago I would always fear what others would think of me when I shared many intimate details and experiences of my journey with you and to be perfectly honest, there are still many days now where the fear of being judged or shamed gets to be too much for me and I vow never to write again. 

But it’s on those same days that I need to remind myself that l cannot lose my voice and especially not now when the mental wellness of so many is on a rapid decline and the rate of suicide is rapidly increasing. 

I chose to share my journey, not as a way to gain attention to myself or for others to feel sorry for me but instead as a way of letting people know that they are not alone and that it’s okay to not be okay. I also began to share my journey as my way of trying to squash the stigma surrounding mental illness and bring about more awareness, education and change.

I am sharing my journey more than ever right now hoping that my story helps even just one more person scrolling by who is suffering in silence, or just one more person who needs to help a loved one who is struggling or just one more person who chooses awareness and change in their life instead of judgment and stigma then that will help even just one more person begin to feel accepted and less ashamed!

#endthestigmatogether #youareenough #choosekindness #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence #mentalillness #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocate #suicide #suicideprevention #justonemore

Remembering Terry Fox


Today we set out for a #summerofrich adventure in honour of Terry Fox who passed away 39 years ago today after his courageous and well-fought battle with Cancer that he so bravely united Canadians around the world with as he ran his Marathon of Hope across Canada with a prostetic leg, never allowing anything to get in his way of raising money for Cancer Research. 

Our #summerofrich adventure didn’t go as I had planned today (that is a whole other story) which left me feeling quite defeated but then I began to reflect back to that little 10 year old girl in me who still remembers the day in early July 1981 when I received a letter in the mail from my parents (while I was away at camp) telling me of Terry Fox’s death. I remember feeling a great sense of sadness (like so many other proud Canadians) upon hearing the news of his death as I had been following his remarkable and inspirational journey since the beginning. 

If I have learned anything from my own journey over the last 6 years it’s that life doesn’t always go as we plan and that sometimes we may feel defeated but Terry Fox’s strength, spirit, determination, courage and bravery has taught us that it’s ok to accept defeat sometimes and that we need to learn to forgive ourselves sometimes because somethings you just cannot avoid.
That reflection is what helped me to hold back many tears today as I honoured Terry Fox’s legacy, someone who still remains to be seen as one of the greatest and most prominent heroes in Canadian history as he reminds us that anything is truly possible if you try. 

#onthisday #marathonofhope #theterryfoxfoundation #terryfox #fuckcancer #youareenough #youarenotalone 

Thankful and Blessed

Today I was so honored to receive an amazing and much appreciated nomination from my very dear friend Sheri Epstein and my very new friend Belora Cotnareanu whom I am so blessed to have both of these strong and supportive ladies in my life. I was nominated in a group that was formed just a couple of months ago called “Creative Cooking During Corona” by  Cheryl Obrant who’s love of food and community has since brought together almost 10,000 like-minded individuals who share recipes and build each other up! See below:

CELEBRATING WOMEN  #top10

“Is there someone in your life, or even yourself, who has really done something unique and special during these past few months??
Stepped up in an incredible way, given back to others, come up with a unique or innovative business idea……Overcome challenges or adversities and deserves to be Spotlighted and recognized???
TODAY WE FEATURE THE 10th OF OUR #TOP10 a double nomination by Sheri Epstein and Belora Cotnareanu – thank you ladies and we share with you the amazing Kim Newman Fluxgold

Here is the story shared by Sheri and supported by Belora

Kim Fluxgold has suffered from severely debilitating depression for the past 6-7 years. She has tried many things to help her “get better” nothing has made a difference. Although her depression has often made her feel like giving up she doesn’t!

Each day she tries to cope with the challenges of daily life of being a wife and a mother, which in itself is difficult enough. But… on top of that she has made a commitment to helping others who are suffering like she is. Kim writes a blog entitled, You Are Enough, and she even authored and published a book for children, “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go” to help parents explain depression to young children.

Then the shut down happened and Kim became very concerned for all the grade 12 students who were losing out on the things that mark the end of high school. As a mother of a grade 12 student (as I am also) she knew that this shut down wasn’t just about losing out on part-time jobs and march break plans, but also losing out on prom, graduation, summer plans, moving into residence, frosh week, etc.

As well, she was and is very worried that all this loss could cause many of our children profound sadness, feelings of grief, and depression. Kim wanted to do something to show our graduates –all our graduates – that we are  proud of them and that we honour them.
So Kim designed these wonderful lawn signs and all proceeds from the signs are being donated to Kids Help Phone, which is seeing an increase in calls since the shut down.

Kim did all the advertising for the signs, had them made, and then delivered each one personally (with her family members helping with driving and schlepping) to each grad.

This has put many miles on her car as she has travelled all around the GTA putting smiles on grads’ faces. To date she has raised about $10,000 for Kids Help Phone. I would say that this is pretty amazing for anyone to do but for someone who struggles each day with depression this is AWESOME!

Kim is most deserving any and all accolades that she gets (even if she often doesn’t feel that she is worthy of them).

WHAT AN AMAZING STORY!!!!!!!!!  SO PROUD OF YOU KIM!!!!!!!!!!!!

#womensupportingwomen #empowerment #bekind #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough #blessed






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