I am so excited to finally receive my very own copy today of the book I was so honoured to be published in a few months ago.
It’s a compilation of stories, poems and images from individuals around the world.
“The Corona Silver Linings Anthology” captures real life experiences, raw emotions, meaningful issues and life lessons that we have all been challenged by or have had to face in one way or another during this past year while looking for those silver linings.
“The Lifewrite Project” is a non-profit initiative which publishes anthologies “encouraging people to tap into their power to write and share their unique stories” while collaborating with different charities related to the topic at hand and raising funds for many initiatives in the process.
The proceeds from this book are being donated to a variety of charities including “The First Responders Children’s Foundation”.
Check out their website for details on any of their upcoming projects. After all there’s an inner writer somewhere inside of us all just waiting to share our own unique story with the world.
It was one year ago today when I made my very first ever appearance on a National Television Morning Talk Show. It felt like a dream come true for me, but as soon as it was all over I collapsed from mental exhaustion.
Leading up to that day I had been working my ass off nonstop for several months ensuring that my new children’s book got into as many hands as I possibly could imagine but when the show ended and I arrived home, I felt a sense of defeat and decided that I needed to take a step back from my whirlwind tour.
I had intended it to be a short break, just until the new year which by now was only a few weeks away and just long enough to get my mojo back but what came next noone could have ever predicted because way before the Pandemic hit in mid March my life took several other unforeseen turns.
New Year’s Day 2020 came quickly and as I had promised myself a few weeks earlier I began organizing my calendar for some new and exciting upcoming events on my “book tour” and I also began looking at what other avenues I wanted to explore in the coming months ahead as well. But no sooner was it than 24 hours later when I found myself in bed for the better part of January with a concussion caused by numerous fainting episodes on the early morning hours of January 2nd.
I soon became further defeated and on a downward spiral as I lay in bed feeling dizzy, exhausted and headachy, cancelling events and trying to reschedule others, most of which never ended up taking place at all because, well we all know the answer to that.
Many more unforeseen events and unfortunate mishaps continued to unfold in my life over the course of last winter and before I knew it I had not fulfilled one promise to myself from the previous December day when I decided I needed to take that short break.
But who knew what was waiting for us just around the corner right at the exact moment I was finally ready to get back to where I had left off all those months earlier, who could have possibly known? Noone could because noone truly knows what the future holds.
But there we all were, together, facing so much uncertainty and unknown and nowadays we spend so much of our time fearful of the “not knowing” and as someone who lives her life with a major depressive disorder and severe anxiety I’m not quite sure if the not knowing what the future holds (depression) is worse than always trying to predict it (anxiety).
My illness has caused me to look to my past with many regrets and when I look to my future it feels very purposeless and uncertain. But I know I’m not alone in my feelings of an uncertain future especially after what we and the rest of the world have been living through for the last nine months or longer.
2020 has become the year that nobody could have ever predicted and has crippled so many people with fear and uncertainty of what their future’s hold and has also created a sense of powerlessness in so many more, even those amongst us who may have once enjoyed a lifestyle of risk taking or living unpredictable lives.
This year has sucked big time for all of us. If I hadn’t already before 2020 hit, I have for certain by now lost so much faith in the kind of hopeful future that lies in wait for me and I am pretty certain that I have felt defeated more times than I think is humanly possible this year alone but as the year quickly comes to a close I can’t help but take note of the many valuable life lessons we have (hopefully) all learned as well.
Some of my thoughts:
Our relationships with family and friends must take precedence over all else
We are never to busy to make time for the people and things that matter the most to us and we must stop using it as an excuse
Taking care of our health needs to be a top priority
We CAN actually live without many of the “things” we once thought we “must” have in our lives in order to live a more fulfilling life
Saving money for a “rainy day” is imperative
It’s okay to take time to stop and smell the roses
Our definition of who is an essential worker has changed. Honour and respect them all equally as they continue to tirelessly (and with very little pay for some) take great pride in and care for all of us each and every single day
We are all human beings and we all deserve to be treated as equals
Last night I watched “The View” from earlier that day (yes I tape The View every day and once I even got to sit in their VIP seats for a live taping many moons ago!!!!). The ladies were discussing the tragedy that unfolded in Philadelphia earlier this week when Police Officers were called to the home of Walter Wallace Jr., a young black man who was in the midst of a mental health crisis. For those who don’t know, he was shot (many, many times) and killed by Police Officers because he was wielding a knife (not a gun!) and had ignored their pleas to drop it even after his mother was heard hysterically begging them to help him. This is yet another story of unjust in America today especially amongst the Black community but sadly the Police in many parts of America don’t have the necessary tools or training when it comes to deescalating a mental health crisis. Family members of this young man had called 911 to request an ambulance and medical assistance but instead the Police showed up with their guns drawn and ready for battle. As the ladies further discussed the tragedy itself and the imminent need for proper tools and training in police departments across America they then continued to support their cause by stating facts on how many other countries are so much better equipped to deal with these types of mental health crisises and how they have also taken the important steps forward to deescalate similar situations in a more humane way. I was most proud when Joy Behar gave a particular shout out to Toronto for having these tools and training in place. I have found myself in situations where 911 has needed to be called during a mental health crisis. And yes, I may not be black or living in America or have ever been in a state of psychosis or armed with a weapon for that matter to fully compare the two situations but when 911 is called during a mental health crisis here in Toronto (and its surrounding areas) I can tell you first hand that an ambulance will arrive on the scene and that a police officer will always be accompanied by a trained mental health professional. This very tragic outcome was also very preventable and should never have happened. Apparently since this tragedy just days ago, Police Officers in Philadelphia are now required to carry a taser with them (which they didn’t have on them at the time due to there being a shortage) when responding to mental health calls which could have made a difference between the life and death for this young man who deserved to live and get the proper help he needed, the help his family stood by begging for as they watched him be shot again and again and AGAIN. He was not a CRIMINAL, he was SICK and it’s time for America to take a page out of Toronto’s Playbook. #makesmeverysad #mentalillnessisnotacrime #mentalhealth #mentalillness #itsoktonotbeok #youareenough #proudtobecanadian @theviewabc
Even though we may all be weathering the same storm together does not mean that we are doing so from the same boat. Some of us may feel like a castaway on a deserted island with a broken raft and no paddle to steer us home while others may feel like they are peacefully sailing through a remote Tropical Island in a big Yacht straight out of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous”.
Some of us are enjoying this time to slowly paddle our boat on a private lake and breathe in the fresh air and see our reflection on the water and actually like what we see, but for many more of us we may just be trying to brave the heavy waves on the ocean without capsizing our boat and praying we don’t fall into the shark pit below.
For many of us we are all alone in our boat, and the murky water surrounding us feels empty and the skies above us are dark and then you suddenly look across the way from you and through the fog you can see another boat in the distance filled with the love of a family, singing and dancing without a cloud in the sky above them.
For many of us right now we don’t have the means to fix the holes in our boat and it feels like we are sinking very fast without having a life preserver to keep our head above the water while others are still able to put their feet up on deck and use this time to map out their next adventure, a relaxing sail around the world. And then there are those who have no time to dock their motorboat right now because they are too busy working to help the rest of us try and stay afloat.
Yes we are all in different boats and sailing on very different journeys but we still share the same land and water which is why now would be the perfect time for all of us to anchor our boats next to one another (6 feet apart of course), not so we can compare them, not so we can judge them but so we can unite together as we weather the storm.
I’m sure that many of you reading this have heard about the recent deaths by Suicide of several Frontline Workers in the news. Even before there was such a thing as Covid-19 certain occupations have always been at greater risk for experiencing Mental Health challenges such as PTSD or Suicidal tendencies. Among them are of course some of our bravest and most courageous Paramedics, Police Officers and Firefighters who are exposed to the most traumatic events or circumstances imaginable.
Now we must sadly add to the list of occupations to which PTSD and Suicide rates will likely soar in the months ahead given that the rise has already begun. It may not happen all at once, in fact, many of the Frontline Workers and First Responders could experience an “aftershock” of the Pandemic when life starts to settle down and get back to “normal” (a term I use very loosely these days).
But for many other Healthcare professionals and First Responders they are in the here and now of the Pandemic and even though they may be our Superheroes they are also human beings first, being faced with extreme and unprecedented situations. Many of these brave men and women are carrying with them a very heavy overload through every long and gruelling shift they work and beyond which can also leave them with very little time to be able to release the traumatic events from their minds before moving onto the next one.
Most people who choose an occupation in Healthcare or as a First Responder were probably drawn to their profession because they wanted to help others and protect them from suffering or pain but now with the inordinate amount of death they are facing each day it is taking a further toll on their Mental Health and Wellbeing. For many of these Healthcare professionals and First Responders they are beginning to feel a heavy burden on them when they are unable to save a life, or they may be feeling powerless or defeated due to working with limited resources in many places around the world and many, many more are just simply burnt-out no matter how strong others may perceive them to be.
So our Superheroes need to be taken care of more than ever before. They need to know that it’s just as brave and courageous to take time for themselves whenever they are not working as they would take care of their patients. They need to make sure to practice setting healthy boundaries and to ensure that they stay grounded and mindful each day and of course they may need a helpful reminder that it’s okay to not be okay and that it’s more than okay to ask for help. If you know a Frontline worker or First Responder or are lucky enough to love a Frontline Worker or First Responder go check on them now and for the rest of you leave a heart emoji in the comments to honour our Superheroes.
if you are in crisis and need support go to your nearest hospital or call your local distress center for help.
As another week in quarantine comes to an end tell me what your biggest win was for you this week. Maybe it didn’t seem like such a big win to you or maybe it wasn’t really a win at all in someone else’s eyes but keep this in mind; no one is expecting you to use this time in quarantine to learn a new language or to paint the Mona Lisa or to become a Rocket Scientist so don’t ever feel otherwise, not even for a second because right now our focus is to stay safe and to keep our loved ones safe.
So if your biggest win this week was that you got outside for some fresh air or fed your family scrambled eggs for supper or managed to find some time to work from home while tending to your 3 young children or you got dressed in something other than your pajamas or maybe you got out of bed before 1pm one day this week (that’s my big win) or for an added bonus; you made your bed then go ahead and give yourself a big pat on the back because you deserve it. (see blog; Make Your Bed: https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/make-your-bed/)
But most importantly don’t forget that “we’re all in this together” and that being quarantined is not a competition as to who can learn a new language best or paint the Mona Lisa best or become the best Rocket Scientist. We’re all doing the best we can with the knowledge and resources we’ve been given and the only person who should be able to ever determine your self-worth is you and only you! Let’s try to not lose sight of what matters most right now and then every moment will feel like the biggest win!
Today is “World Semicolon Day” which gives me another perfect opportunity to share a part of my story and to remind those of us who suffer with a mental illness or who love someone who suffers with a mental illness that you are not alone.
Over the last month or so we have all become a figurative symbol of a Semicolon as we take a pause in the middle of our sentence in order to continue on with our story. Ok so the metaphor may not be perfect but the meaning behind it most certainly is as a semicolon is used as a pause in a sentence, not an ending.
I wanted to share with you again today my article I wrote last year on “World Semicolon Day” which talks about the significance of today as well as what my semicolon tattoo means to me (see pic above). Please stay safe and check on your loved ones. Xoxo.
How many of you reading this remember keeping a secret diary hidden locked away underneath your mattress in your tween/teenage years? Boy what would I give to read those right now.
I haven’t kept a diary for probably over 30 years now but since my journey began 6 years ago I have spent many hours expressing my inner most thoughts and oftentimes in the good ole fashioned way using a pen and paper.
I recently took some time to reread one particular journal that I had kept during my very first in-patient hospital stay some 5.5 years ago and while I was reading it I suddenly realized just how important journaling can be.
Journaling can help you create a relationship of sorts with your mind. It can help you to attain your goals, it can give you a clearer view of the world around you and may help you to make important connections between your thoughts and behaviors.
Right now we are all probably dealing with some thoughts and feelings that we have never felt before and it’s completely understandable and 100 percent valid. Maybe now would be the perfect time to dust off that old diary or start a new journal.
Think of it as a creative activity which can definitely be quite cathartic. It will make you more aware of your thoughts and behaviors and even help you sort out some new perspectives and shift a negative mindset to a more positive one.
I have been encouraging my whole family to start journaling at least once a day (it’s a great tool for everyone, even your preschoolers can draw their feelings). Let it be the place to leave your stressors behind, let it give you a sense of gratitude, let it be your voice to help guide you through this moment in time and let it be your history book; the one that will be talked about and shared for generations to come.
Two years ago this coming July I wrote a blog titled “Distress Centers, Demi Lovato & Doug Ford” that I wanted to share with you again today because I feel like it is quite relevant to our life right now. A lot has changed since I first wrote this blog including my reference to being a smoker for over 30 years because as you all know by now, I no longer am!
Something else that has changed since writing this blog on July 29, 2018 was my great dislike at the time for our then newly elected Premier of Ontario; Doug Ford, but over the last six weeks he has really grown on me ALOT as he continues everyday to prove to the people of Ontario (and Canada) what the true definition of a leader and a mensch are.
He has stepped up to the plate and gone above and beyond what’s in his actual job description and shows his genuine concern and compassion “for the people”. I can’t say for sure I will continue to feel the same way about him after the crisis is finally over but for now I don’t think we could ask for a better man (or woman) for the job.
Something else that this particular blog touches upon is addiction, our mental health and asking for help. Our mental health is imperative right now and figuring out ways to ensure that we take the very best care of both our bodies and minds.
I fear that more and more people are going to come through this Pandemic with new or worsening addiction and mental health issues, both young and old. And being in quarantine many may not realize that if they are feeling vulnerable, alone or scared that help is just a text or phone call away.
But taking that first step to reach out to someone can feel next to impossible for many, but will also be the greatest thing that you do for yourself so if you are feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed and need to talk to someone, Kids Help Phone and 310-COPE are just two of many helplines that are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; they are the definition of an essential service!
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