World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Every 40 seconds a life is lost around the world to suicide and that is just not acceptable.

It is more important than ever before that we keep talking about suicide because the more we talk about suicide, the more we encourage others to as well. The more we talk about suicide, the less alone someone may feel. The more we talk about suicide, the more change we can make happen. The more we talk about suicide the more lives we can save.

Talking about suicide may not be easy and can also be very uncomfortable (trust me I know) but it’s relevant and it’s a conversation we need to keep having; not just for today but every single day. Talking about suicide may help bring a glimmer of hope or relief to someone’s pain and desperation or even become the light into their darkness.

Collectively these efforts are all key to suicide prevention. Suicide can be prevented.

#worldsuicidepreventionday #nationalsuicidepreventionawarenessmonth #suicidecanbeprevented #youareenough #noshame #startaconversation #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #checkonyourlovedones#suicideprevention #suicideawareness #endthestigmatogether

Unbreakable Bonds

Throughout my illness I have been so incredibly blessed to have such an overwhelming amount of support from friends, family and acquaintances alike. When we go through difficult times in our life,  having a strong network of supportive people to rely on is so important to our wellbeing. And no matter what the role is that someone plays in that network of support is just as vital as the next one and should be cherished just the same. 

Two such ladies in my network of support inspired me to write this blog because I don’t know what I would do without either of them in my life. They are both close to ten years younger than me and live thousands of miles away, one being in Western Canada and the other in the Southern United States. And even though we may have grown up in completely different worlds and gone through completely different (and at times) difficult journeys ourselves we have so much in common and share a bond that is unbreakable. 

We have an “exclusive” and private chat group that probably has hundreds and hundreds of hours of conversations on it by now. We check in with each other many times a week (and sometimes a day) where we share the most intimate details of our lives including our secrets, our heartache and certainly lots of laughter.

It is so comforting to know that they are always just a quick text away and that I can tell them anything without ever feeling like a burden to them.  

We cheer each other on and we cheer each other up, we listen with our heart and we listen without judgment because that’s what a strong network of support is meant to do. 

They may have been my cousins first but overtime they have truly become the sisters I never had. 😘🤗 

#cousinsforever #sisterbond #youareenough #family #familymatters #networkofsupport #ilovemybrothertoo #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #togetherapart #youarenotalone 

Our Own Walk

About a month prior to the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic I had registered my family to participate in a Walk for CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) in support of #MOBYSSinmotion; a confidential mobile Walk-in-Clinic for Youth and a wonderful resource for our young people who may be facing crisis right now.

CMHA has played an important role in my life over the last 6 years and I had donated some proceeds from my book sales last year as a thank you for the services they provide to both adults and youth in Canada which was why I wanted to participate in the event and why I didn’t want today to go unnoticed so I found a picture perfect place for us to enjoy a beautiful hike on our own in honour of the walk/run/bike event since it was of course cancelled. 

Oh and I should also mention that it was 5 months ago today since I had my last cigarette!

#cmha #cmhayorksimcoe #MOBYSS #hiking #waterfalls #felkersfalls #waterfallsinontatio #niagaraescarpment #ontarioisourstodiscover #thegreatoutdoors #mentalwellness #selfcare #ichooseme #youarenotalone #youareenough #ouryouthmatter #wereallinthistogether #strongertogether #summerofrich #summerofrichcoronastyle #family #familymatters #nosmoking #wheredidmommyssmilego

Be A Voice, Not An Echo

I love my new decorative piece that I now display in my home as an important reminder to me. It’s original quote by Albert Einstein can be left up to the interpretation of each individual who reads his words; it truly depends on how you need to interpret them. 

Finding my voice has been a daily struggle for me for six years now because to me finding my voice has meant being able to step outside of my comfort zone, it’s meant finding a way to be courageous and brave, it’s meant finding a way to make a difference in someone’s life, it’s meant finding a way to be open and honest, it’s meant finding a way to challenge myself, it’s meant finding my own path and it’s meant finding my purpose. 

Since I began writing my blog close to four years ago now and sharing my journey with the world I have slowly begun to uncover parts of my voice and ignite my passion with openness and honesty. I never felt brave or courageous enough to have my own voice before, especially as a child and young adult, and it always felt safest to just stay within my comfort zone. 

Over the last 3 plus years I have spent much of my time trying to find a way to step outside of that comfort zone in order to challenge myself, in order to find my own path (even if it may be a bit off course) and in order to find my purpose. 

Maybe I’m just like Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz”, maybe I’ve had the power all of my life and didn’t even know it. Maybe my illness has given me the strength to be a voice to help make a difference in someone else’s life and to give others who may need it most, the courage to “echo” my words and actions while they too discover their own voice. 

#letsendthestigmatogether #youareenough #youarenotalone #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence #mentalillness #mentalhealth #depression #anxiety #masksoff #suicide #beavoice #itsoktonotbeok @soloparatigifts

Where Will You Be Next Year

Tonight, as we gather around the table for our Seder, you may be feeling a bit sad or overwhelmed as you look around the room missing loved ones that you long to be with right now.

Traditionally at the close of the Passover Seder we sing or read the phrase (depends how drunk you are) from the Haggadah “Next Year In Jerusalem”  which signifies a Jewish person’s experience of living in exile and their desire to see the Temple rebuilt in Jerusalem. And the symbolism here (and throughout the entire story of Passover) to what is happening right now around the world (See blog “Why Is This Night Different?”; April 1, 2020) is really quite surreal.  

The state of the world has made me see this holiday through a completely different lens which may have only taken me close to 49 years and a world wide Pandemic to truly appreciate and understand the importance of Passover and in light of what is going on around the world I hope that when you reach the end of your Seder tonight and read (or sing) the words “Next Year In Jerusalem” that you know that you do not need to physically be in “Jerusalem” but instead you should see Jerusalem as a representation of hope and possibility, of peace and opportunity and a great reminder that we have overcome so much adversity and will do so again. 

“Next Year In Jerusalem” may we all be in the presence of our loved ones wherever that may be in the world; in good health and happiness.

Wishing everyone who celebrates a happy and meaningful Passover. 

#passover #sedar #whyisthisnightdifferent #plagues #family #traditions #haggadah #feast #youareenough #stayhome #wereallinthistogether #flattenthecurve #socialdistancing #covid19 #togetherapart 

The Anniversary Effect

Today marks six years since my whole world began to crumble and as each Anniversary comes around the pain and sadness from that fateful day, April 4, 2014 still feels like a knife is being slowly twisted deeper into my heart. I can recall the events of that day as though they were yesterday and I shared them all with you in a blog titled “April 4, 2014: It’s Been Five Long Years”, exactly one year ago today.

As each Anniversary approaches I feel that initial sense of pain and sadness all over again and I begin to site the “would’ves”, the “should’ves” and the “could’ves” one by one over and over and over again in order to figure out if somehow there would’ve, should’ve or could’ve been a different outcome, one that didn’t lead me down a path where six years later I would still be living with the daily pain and sadness associated with Anxiety, Depression and Suicidal Ideations. 

Anniversaries are supposed to be celebrated, right? Well not all Anniversaries feel like a celebration and whether it’s the Anniversary of a bad break-up, the Anniversary of a traumatic event in your life or the Anniversary of the death of a loved one it can easily trigger pain and sadness.  This actually has a name for it; it’s called “The Anniversary Effect” and is defined as “a unique set of unsettling feelings, thoughts or memories that occur on the anniversary of a significant experience.”

This year with the approach of my sixth year Anniversary date it’s brought with it a lot of extra intensity given the current and uncertain state of the world right now. It’s left me feeling even further trapped in my thoughts and crippled by so many emotions with an added bonus of battling headaches almost daily. I’m finding it really difficult to get out of bed, to follow any sort of routine, to be motivated and to not cry at every single fucking thing. 

I’m trying to find ways to distract myself and find something to help ease the pain and sadness I’m feeling today (Covid-19 memes seem to do the trick so feel free to pass any along). Maybe today will include trying to reflect back on the past six years at some moments that have brought me happiness or maybe by trying to find some hope in what truly feels hopeless right now or maybe by looking at the “what ifs” of tomorrow and feeling less afraid of them.

But however I choose to spend today, whether or not it’s in bed or whether or not it’s trying to follow a routine or whether or not I feel completely unmotivated or whether or not I cry at every fucking little thing I’ve also been reminded today that each Anniversary I’m still writing about definitely would, definitely should and definitely is an Anniversary to celebrate. Thanks for the reminder; I may need it again tomorrow.

At A Loss

Over the last few weeks or months, depending on where you live in this great big world you have experienced loss. Loss is an inevitable part of one’s life, but we now find ourselves having to deal with so many different types of loss all at once and as we all know, healing from loss can be the most difficult time in someone’s life. 

We are all grieving from our losses right now and it will take time to heal when many of us begin to move through the grieving process. Many people have lost loved ones during this Pandemic, but loss of a loved one is not the only reason we need to grieve. 
Think about how much you have lost already in such a short time.

We collectively have lost our freedom to leave our homes, many have lost their jobs and financial stability, we have lost the ability to hug our loved ones or go to the park with our kids or meet a friend for coffee at Starbucks and children have lost the right to go to school and learn.

Many of our sudden and very painful losses has left the world in chaos and panic and of course in grief and with grief comes an array of emotions. Fear, sadness, irritability, anger, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, remorse, a lack of security, a lack of motivation, guilt, frustration and an overwhelming numbness just to name a few. 

And just so you know, it’s more than okay to feel these emotions and many others too. It’s also okay to allow yourself to take your time when you begin your healing process and to allow yourself to feel your emotions, allow yourself to ask for help, allow yourself to take care of you and most importantly allow yourself to grieve in whatever way you need.

Do not let anyone tell you how to grieve, or judge you for how you choose to grieve or for how long it takes you to heal. We will all go through the stages of grief in our own way and in our own time but no one can tell you when you should “accept” (final stage of the grieving process) your grief except you and only you.

#loss #grief #grieving #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence #itsoktonotbeok #ichooseme #yourmentalhealthmatters #covid19 #coronavirus #selfcare #togetherapart #flattenthecurve #unitedasone #twentytwentysucks

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