My Boy

He will probably kill me for posting this but what the hell, I’ve earned it; afterall I carried him for 9 mths and spent the first half of my pregnancy vomiting 10x a day and the latter half on bed rest with high blood pressure! Jacob sent me this message yesterday while in Germany for Oktoberfest and when I read the words that he wrote I became overwhelmed with emotion. Just reading his message and hearing him tell me how proud he was of me made my heart smile (and drunk or not, I’ll take it!). Knowing that I have made him proud reassures me that my kids understand that life is not always perfect, that failure is inevitable and that it’s all part of their journey. It made me see that even though there will be many challenges along the way, they can still face them with gratitude and keep going, that it’s okay to let others see their imperfections, and most of all that showing kindness or giving a compliment will go a very long way!

My Book Launch

The last couple of days have been so surreal. I mean it’s not every day that a TV news reporter sends you a private message on Facebook asking if they can come to your home in an hour to do an interview with you for the 5 o’clock news (and it’s already 2 pm) and it’s not every day that you get to celebrate the “Launch” of your recently published children’s book. But now I can actually say I’ve done both and last night I was surrounded by so many amazing friends (new and old) and family which was graciously hosted by two of the most incredible human beings I know who opened up both their hearts and their home to host this fabulous party and I am just so damn lucky to call them my friends. And looking around the room last night and seeing just how many people came to support me and to celebrate me and my new book I know I am truly blessed. I feel like this has all just been one long dream and I’m afraid to wake from it because I still have so much left to do before then. I didn’t get a chance to take many pictures as I was too busy trying to be in the moment and soak it all in (and signing lots of books too!). Part of the proceeds of sales last night and from some other recent and upcoming events will be donated to CMHA, an organization I have spoken about many times. I am attaching my speech below that I read last night (it’s kinda like a blog!) as it captures the true essence of what last night meant to me along with what this book truly means to me and it turns out it was harder to write than any ole book or blog I could have ever written.

Good Evening Everyone,
I just want to start off tonight with a very special thank you to Jeff and Karen who are 2 of the most honorable, kindhearted and virtuous human beings I know (the true meaning of a mensch!), who selflessly give so much of themselves to others and continue by doing so tonight having opened up both their hearts and their home this evening to celebrate me and my new book. I am forever grateful and beyond blessed to know you both and having your friendship and support means the world to me.
I’m just so overwhelmed with so many emotions right now (I know that doesn’t take much for me!). Over the last five and a half years I have been both blessed and honored with meeting so many new and wonderful people whom I now call friend, I have also been blessed and honored with becoming re-acquainted with so many old friends who quickly became new friends again and of course I have been so blessed and honored to have so many wonderful friends and family in my life who have come along with me on my journey since the beginning. And I am so blessed and honored that so many of you are here tonight to celebrate with me. It truly means so much.

Trust me, I know it hasn’t been easy at times but I’m so appreciative to have each and every one of you in my life. If I may quote Oprah here for a moment because well, she’s Oprah and she’s one of the wisest people I know (she’s no Dr. Phil, but still!) and every teachable moment is an opportunity for some new insight and growth! Oprah reminds us that “lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you really want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down!” And maybe one day I will be able to get back into that limo again but for now my pockets are overflowing with all the tokens I need, knowing just how many of you continue to ride that bus with me.

As most of you here tonight know, I started writing a blog almost 3 years ago chronicling my journey, being my true authentic self, speaking as openly and honestly as I can about my illness and about mental illness in general. I have had such an overwhelmingly positive response by so many people just by being so open, by being so honest and by being so vulnerable and I know it has helped many others to start important and necessary conversations, understand the many challenges and complexities surrounding mental illness and most of all it’s helped more people feel like they are not alone, that it’s okay to not be okay and that it’s more than okay to reach out for help.
Just the other night I received a private message on Facebook from a friend I probably haven’t seen nor spoken to in over 30 years except for the occasional like or comment on our Facebook pages. She told me how inspired she was by my blogs and by my recent book. She then proceeded to tell me about a relative of hers who has been battling with severe depression and the struggle to find proper treatment and hope. She asked me if I would be willing to talk with her relative and offer them some guidance and support. This is just one of many messages I receive on a very regular basis nowadays and it warms my heart knowing that she chose me to confide in and it reassures me that my words are reaching those who matter the most.

Since publishing my book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” only a few weeks ago I have been asked quite frequently what my inspiration behind writing it was. Well I think I may have just answered that question a moment ago with that brief anecdote but of course you all played an important role as well in writing my book with every heartfelt word of comfort and support you send my way, encouraging me to keep telling my story. But what truly inspired me to write this book were my three children, Jacob, Hannah and Rachel because this is their story, this is our story and I needed to share it in hopes that it would help so many other children and families too.

The book is seen through the eyes of a young girl with her two siblings right by her side as their father helps them cope with their feelings and helps them to understand the difference between sadness and depression. And although my kids were in the throes of their teenage years already when I first became ill they were still just as confused and just as scared as any child would be trying to cope and understand an illness they cannot see. At times they have needed the same reassurance that a child of any age would, they have needed to know that they are safe, that they are loved and that they are in no way responsible for their mother’s illness.
They are the heart and soul of this book, they are my heart and soul and they are my 3 reasons why! They have been faced with many challenges and have encountered many difficult situations due to my illness and they are who inspire me each and every day to fight this disease to the end. I love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my babies you’ll be!
Becoming an author still feels so surreal to me and getting here hasn’t been easy. I’ve had plenty of sleepless nights (well those I’d probably have had anyways), I’ve shed many, many tears (well that’s a given!) I’ve driven Rich up a wall (well that’s a given too!) and I’ve wanted to give up more times than I can count but I didn’t and that’s because I was never alone, nor could I have ever done this alone. I just want to take a moment here before I promise to wrap this up to say an extra special thank you to some extra special people, some of whom I have finally gotten to meet for the very first time this evening.
Shirley, thank you for always going that extra mile for me and my family too, and for being one of my greatest cheerleaders and biggest supporters. You are truly one of a kind and I could not have been able to do this without you.
Lana, thank you for believing in my book and for placing it at the forefront of the amazing organization you work with. You made other’s believers too and I am forever grateful for the incredibly kind and generous gift I received from “Aunty Janis'” which has allowed me to take my book to exciting new heights.
To Shawna, I am beyond grateful to have found you. You took my vision and you brought my book to life. We did this together and I am so proud to have your name on the front cover alongside mine and to share this moment with you. I am so lucky to call you my friend.
And last but certainly not least, my partner in life, my best friend, my confidant. Rich, I don’t know where I’d be right now without you by my side every step of this journey. You have proven time and time again that love conquers all, that in sickness and in health we are in this together til death do us part. Your children are so damn lucky to have such an amazing role model to look toward when choosing their future spouse because as the saying goes “everyone needs a Rich!” and there ain’t nothing further from the truth!
Thank you all once again for being here to celebrate with me tonight and never forget that #youareenough!
Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

No-one Is Immune

Last night news spread very quickly over many mental health related newsfeeds about a young man named Jarrid Wilson, just 30 years old who had taken his own life. He was married with 2 young children, he was an author and co-founder of a non profit organization called Anthem of Hope. He was a mental health advocate, a devout Christian and a very well known Pastor who gave “hope for those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction, and suicide” even while he was battling his own depression and anxiety; something he spoke very open and honestly about.
As soon as I read the news my jaw just about dropped to the floor because he was somewhat of a celebrity to me and to anyone else who is as obsessed as I am with the TLC reality show “Outdaughtered”. Even if you are just a little bit obsessed with the show then you should know exactly who he was (and if you don’t know the show then you seriously don’t know what you are missing; The cutest quintuplets around!). New season starts October 1st.
A couple of seasons ago Jarrid and his family were featured in several episodes when the dad of the quints; Adam Busby was diagnosed with post-partum depression (yes it exists in men too!) and sought out Pastor Jarrid for some counselling. I watched those episodes a little differently than most other episodes because I felt the dad’s pain and so much of what Pastor Jarrid said to him at the time resonated so much with me.
I didn’t know at the time those episodes aired that the Pastor was battling with his own mental health issues and that much of what he said during their sessions together came from a place of understanding and compassion and knowing both of them were very devout Christian’s, God played a big part in both of their journeys. And kudos to TLC for tackling such a stigmatized topic, especially for men.
I am certain that many of you are probably asking yourselves today how a person who devoted his entire life to helping others battle depression, who wrote books about hope, who co-founded a non profit organization supporting others with depression and who devoted his entire life to God could lose his battle with depression himself. Well the senior Pastor at his church in California summed it up perfectly. Greg Laurie stated in an interview yesterday that “Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people, we are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not.”
Those words ring true for any person who suffers with depression and understands that no one, no matter what your socio-economical background is or your religious beliefs are, nobody is immune to mental illness which is why I can see so many parallels between my own journey and Jarrid’s journey too.
I may not pray or look toward God for guidance but like Jarrid I experience pain each and every day and like Jarrid I have made it my mission to advocate for change and end the stigma surrounding mental illness by being that voice. And like Jarrid I have made it my mission to help as many people as I can get the help they need and give other people hope. And like Jarrid I have made it my mission to let others know that it’s okay not to be okay. Hey and lets not forget that like Jarrid I too can now call myself an author!
I know it’s so difficult to understand how someone like myself or Jarrid can do all those things yet still not be able to practice what we preach because it’s no secret that it’s often so much easier to see the beauty in others and not in our own selves. And although suicide took his life “Suicide will not get the last word. I won’t let it. You always said, “Hope gets the last word (A quote from his wife). And I’m pretty sure she will make it her mission now to ensure that hope lives on in all of us battling this deadly disease.
Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


I think it’s probably safe to say that at some point in your life you have felt loneliness, or maybe you have felt like a failure, or maybe you have felt helpless or maybe even worthless. It might’ve only been for a day or a week or for many like myself, it might’ve been for years but no matter the length of time it probably felt like an eternity.
Today is September 10th and today is World Suicide Prevention Day which is a day solely dedicated to raising awareness and prevention of suicidal behaviors worldwide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) joins forces each year with The International Association For Suicide Prevention (IASP) and World Federation For Mental Health (WFMH) to provide this forum for mental health professionals, crisis teams, suicide survivors and anyone else who has been affected by suicide with special activities and events being held all over the world.
Yes you may be reading my mind because of course it will take way more than just one day a year for change to come about but by recognizing it and talking about it is a stepping stone to starting important and necessary conversations everywhere and no matter what that is the goal of today.
That was the same goal of one such movement I recently came across (well maybe like 6 mths ago if we’re gonna get technical) which began about 2 years ago in Oregon and truly defines what one important and necessary conversation can do to help save lives.
Imagine for a moment that day or that week or those years that you felt loneliness or like a failure or helpless or maybe even worthless. Now imagine yourself for a moment, riding home from work after a long day and you’re feeling worthless or think about a child who arrives at school one morning who feels lonely and suddenly in front of you there is a “sign”.
#dontgiveupsigns is a movement which began as I mentioned above in Oregon by one family who upon learning that the suicide rate in their community was rapidly rising, they decided right then and there that they needed to be a part of the solution by spreading love and hope. So as a family they began knocking on strangers doors asking if they would be willing to place a sign on their front lawn for a couple of weeks. And before they knew it their simple act of kindness was becoming an international phenomenon.
Their signs read messages of hope and encouragement like “you matter”, “you are not alone”, ” it’s not too late”, “don’t give up”, “you are worthy of love” and more. In 2 short years their signs (and now stickers, bracelets and pins too) have made their way to 27 countries and in 6 different languages and they aren’t slowing down.
They are now a non profit organization committed to helping others who may be feeling lonely or like a failure or helpless or maybe even worthless. They started a conversation and now they are paying it forward.
So what if it was you in that car driving home from work that day feeling worthless or what if it was your child who arrives at school every day feeling lonely and right there at the right time and in the right place they saw a “sign”? You just never know how a simple act of kindness may change someone else’s whole world forever.
Please go to or follow them on Facebook and Instagram to learn more. I know how much I’d love to see these signs popping up in my own community. Who’s with me?
@dontgiveupmovement @who
#wordsmatter #youmatter #startaconversation
#dontsufferinsilence #yourmentalhealthmatters #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #dailyreminder #itsoktonotbeok #suicide #endthestigmatogether #bekindtoyourself #selfcare #youareenough #choosekindness

A Message To My Younger Self

As our kids get ready to embark on a new school year and whether or not it’s their first year of preschool or their last year of post-graduate education the unknown of what lies ahead can be scary for many of them.
Throughout my journey I have spent a HUGE amount of time reflecting on my childhood and young adult life as I continue to try and put my life back together. And although reflecting on my past is often a great detriment to my recovery I also see it as an important stepping stone to my future and my kid’s future’s as well.
When we look back on our childhood and young adult life many will smile with gratitude and ease while others may not but either way most of us will likely realize that what we dreamt of or have achieved since then was not exactly what we planned for. Maybe we always had the same values and interests but it came together with lots of twists and turns.
I know it’s definitely that way for me and I have so many new and different perspectives on life today than I did way back when I was 5 or even 35 and if I could turn back time for even just one day and be able to talk to my younger self I now have so many inciteful and valuable lessons to teach her, most of which could benefit both our children and youth today.
The first thing I would tell my younger self is to slow down. Don’t be in a rush to grow up so fast. Even when we hit a bump in the road it’s just a small piece of the journey ahead.
When you finally reach high school and beyond don’t worry about what others think of you, be who you want to be, quirks and all, embrace who you are because that will be your key to success one day. And remember it’s not the quantity of friends you have, it’s the quality.
Forgive yourself more often, this is of course one of the most important lessons I can take away from my younger self as I struggle daily with this now as I stand in front of my bathroom mirror every morning punishing myself, berating myself and hating myself, forgetting just how many people love me for who I am.
I would also like to undoubtedly tell my younger self as well to always remember to never be afraid to ask for help, to always remember to be kind to others, to always remember to choose a career or pathway that makes you happy, to always remember to follow your passions, to always remember to smile at others as often as you can because you never know what someone else may be going through, to always remember to make family a top priority, to always remember to compliment others and likewise to receive them with ease, to always remember that beauty comes from within and to never forget that words matter, that you matter and that no matter what #youareenough.

Starting Conversations

Taking a much needed break today on the water, spending time with good friends and some new friends too. Swimming, eating, drinking and chillaxing with a good book. This picture makes my heart so full. Important conversations are happening everywhere! #mentalwellness #selfcare #startaconversation #depression #moms #kidsmentalhealthmatters #youarenotalone #youmatter #itsoktonotbeok #bepresent #endthestigmatogether #wheredidmommyssmilego #summerofrich

Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?

Moms Mental Health Initiative is a dedicated non profit organization which help moms (and dads) navigate through one of the most vulnerable stages of life. Postpartum depression is a very real and very serious illness and can affect as many as 1 in every 7 women following the birth of their child often stemming from a combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood and fatigue. Moms Mental Health Initiative has so kindly shared my book with their community as a helpful tool or resource for families affected by postpartum depression. They offer a lot of helpful information, connect moms with many great resources and provide wonderful peer-driven support. You can reach them at: or follow them on their Facebook page if you or someone you love is in need of help.

Simply Put, I’m Emotionally Overwhelmed

I’ve always tried to be as open and honest as I can with you by sharing my most intimate thoughts and feelings but as much as I do share, there is still so much that I don’t.
Most of what I tend to keep private involves my inner circle, including my husband, my kids and my extended family. It’s just not my place to share their stories even if they may often impact my own health and wellness, that is of course until I sign a big book deal one day for a New York Times Bestseller or maybe even a movie deal for a blockbuster hit and then, well, you know, all bets are off!
When this week began I probably would have told you that it was one of the top ten best weeks of my life, after all, I now had a published children’s book on Amazon! But literally within hours of it becoming a top ten contender, it quickly became one of the most difficult weeks ever and I feel like I’m gonna explode if I don’t let it all out.
I can’t handle life’s “little” ups and downs or bumps in the road at the best of times and lately I have been taking on way more than I can chew and have been dealing with way more than I can handle (both good and bad) and plain and simply, I’m emotionally overwhelmed.
Being emotionally overwhelmed is much more than just your average feeling of stress, it can be paralyzing and right now I feel like I’m drowning. I feel like a tidal wave has swept me under the water and I have no life vest on to save me. I’m experiencing so many negative emotions all at once like anger, fear, guilt and of course good ole fashion anxiety and panic and those can all be pretty scary feelings!
Life happens, shit happens and the older we get the more “life and shit” tend to happen and when it’s out of our control you can easily reach a point of total despair.
I think I’ve reached that point this week for sure. I wish I could turn back time to a few days ago when this week first began and I thought it was gonna be one of the best one’s yet, that was of course until my husband was suddenly and without warning let go from his job on Tuesday and before my mom was admitted into the hospital last night only for the doctors to tell my brother and I (and spouses) that she can no longer live on her own and will not be released until they find her a long term care facility that can accommodate her rapidly worsening symptoms of dementia (she’s 73).
They say bad things always happen in three’s and whether or not it’s just a superstition, until the clock strikes midnight tonight and a new week officially begins, I can be found standing in front of my bathroom mirror reading all the positive affirmations I wrote all over it the other day! (See blog I posted yesterday; Mirror Mirror On The Wall)
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