Inspiring Each Other

It’s moments like these that give meaning and purpose to my life. I very often receive private messages like these, many of whom are total strangers. It truly warms my heart to know that my story is helping others on their own journey or that my journey is bringing some  comfort to others. But just know that even though I may inspire you, you truly inspired me even more ❤

#purpose #grateful #inspiringeachother #endthestigmatogether #youareenough #kindness #blogger #masksoff #itsoktonotbeok #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence  #courage #childrensbook #author #wheredidmommyssmilego #amazondotca

An Evening of Spiritual Healing

I often have very good intentions by setting my mind on a task or by making a plan to do something in advance but then my illness tries to make other plans for me instead and last night was no exception. I was determined however to not let my illness stop me from attending a Healing Service at a Synagogue in Toronto that I’ve had in my calendar for the last couple of months and thanks to Rich I made it. We had originally planned to attend the January service but unfortunately it was just a few days after my concussion happened and so I made a promise to myself that I would make it to the next one, which was last night. 

The Healing Services are part of the Centre for Spiritual Well-Being at the Synagogue and are meant to help those of us who “feel broken, turn to our tradition for strength and renewal” and “enrich our lives and strive for a sense well-being.”

Along my journey I have had the privilege of meeting many incredible people, some of whom have left an everlasting impact on my life in some way or another and the Rabbi leading  the Healing Services has quickly become one of those incredible people for whom have left an everlasting impact on my life. She is a true Spiritual Leader with so much empathy and kindness in her heart.

I am not a religious person by any means, in fact if you follow my blogs religiously (that is what I call a play on words!) you will know that both my husband and I have struggled to find a place for God in our lives over the last several years but since meeting Rabbi Fryer Bodzin this past fall I have definitely found a place in my heart for Spiritual Healing. 

Spiritual Healing (which is not defined by one religion or by one God) is more about finding a connection to something greater than ourselves and could be in a form of friendship, or being part of a community or even by a higher power. Spiritual Healing can help revitalize both our body and mind and also help us to find more meaning and purpose in our life.

I felt a sense of belonging last night, I felt a sense of friendship last night, I felt a sense of community last night and I even felt a sense of a higher power last night; a very loving and caring one as we delved into “The Mindful Way To Happiness”. 

With Purim being less than a week away the Healing Service tied into the spirit of the holiday and the meaning behind the month of Adar which is the month in which Purim takes place on the Jewish Calendar. When you think of Purim you can’t help but feel happy and the month of Adar is meant for us to  “increase in joy and happiness”.  

I spent the evening listening and being mindful. I took comfort in hearing stories of other people’s healing. I heard reflections of how to face adversity and fear in the face, how important it is to seize the moment and how pursuing our dreams is key to finding happiness, something which has been a very big struggle for me along my journey.

I chose to sit quietly and just observe last night, soaking it all in because I quickly became overwhelmed with emotion and found myself fighting back tears for the better part of the evening. But as the evening was coming to a close and Rabbi Fryer Bodzin led us through one last exercise, a mindfulness one, she had me smiling from ear to ear.
#spiritualhealing #healing #rabbi #spiritualleader #purim #adar #spring #joyful #happiness #mindfulness #kindness #empathy #bethtzedeccongregation #youareenough #mentalillness #wellbeing #mentalwellness #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #depression #anxiety 

The Big 5-0

Fifty days smoke-free today! 50 is a pretty big number don’t ya think? But I’m not gonna lie, the road to get here has not been an easy one. There has been an exorbitant amount of overwhelm in my life over the last 50 days. Many days I’ve wanted to “quit” quitting smoking, many days I’ve walked by second hand smoke and inhaled it, only dreaming of lighting up myself but the cravings are getting less and less each day and so too are my triggers.

Addiction of any kind is difficult to maneuver and is a constant battle; kudos to everyone who conquers their quest every single day. I don’t know if there will ever be a day where I don’t think about smoking but for today I choose to crush my cravings and not give into temptation!

So for today can I get a Woot Woot or a high five please!! 👐🤜🤛🙌✊

#fiftydays #nextgoalonehundreddays #smokefree #crushyourcravings #iquit #youareenough #ichooseme #addictions #highfive #wootwoot

I Am Not Ok With This

May be triggering ***

I just finished watching a new series on Netflix called “I Am Not Ok With This”. I watched it because I had read an article about it recently and how it delves into the reality of what it feels like to be left behind following a loved one’s suicide.  I rarely watch Netflix series because to be honest I tape so much crap already that I honestly just can’t, even though there is so much more I’m missing out on but between reality TV, true crime shows, comedies and talk shows; seriously I don’t sleep as it is. 

Ok back to the reason I started writing this blog. When something catches my eye like this new series did I will invest in it. For me it’s almost like doing research for a school paper or news article. It was I believe 7 episodes in total and they were less than a half an hour each so definitely a Netflix and chill kinda series. It centered around a quirky teen who lives with her little brother and mom who works like 60 hours a week to make ends meet after their husband/father takes his life earlier that year.  The show is a dark dramedy and reminded me of a Quentin Tarantino film meets The Breakfast Club meets Carrie. Ya it was dark and every movie about teenagers trying to figure out life combined.

The series is based on a book, what a surprise! It does not necessarily centre around the father’s suicide but yet at the same time it does because the main character Syd is having a hard time grieving and unable to find any closure from her dad leaving her the way he did, and without a note. 

The writers show her devastation, anger and confusion by giving Syd superpowers which becomes her way of dealing with her emotions and destroying some of the pain and anger that is overwhelming her. Even through its quirkiness I could feel her pain and anger and her frustration and sadness when she says things like “did he think I wouldn’t need him around?” She speaks about feeling helpless for not being able to help him and asks the most painful question of all, “when will it ever get easier?”
Yes I heard the message loud and clear even through falling trees, thrown bowling balls and heads exploding (part of her super powers and definitely very Quentin Tarantino like). I heard where Syd was coming from. I saw the pain and destruction suicide of a loved one causes on a family.  My heart felt the heartbreak. I get it, I understand it, I just wish sometimes I could understand why my depression speaks a very different language in my head.

#depressionkills #anxietyisreal #mentalillness #suicide #youareenough #startaconversation #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #netflix #iamnotokwiththis #netflixandchill 

Taking A Leap Of Faith

Next month on April 4, 2020 it will be exactly 6 years since I have held a full-time job because it was on that fateful day in 2014 that I walked away from a very toxic and fearful situation at my place of employment and it was on that very day that my life began to unravel, and quickly.  It was on that day that I lost my will to live and I have struggled to find meaning and purpose in my life ever since. I have spent the last 6 years feeling worthless and nothing more than a burden and failure to those who love me.

My illness has taken me down many unpaved and bumpy roads along the way and I have been met with one roadblock after another but at the same time my illness has also opened up so many new and unimaginable possibilities, none of which would have ever happened if not for my illness. Because quite frankly if you were to have asked me 6 years ago if I would have started writing a blog or been able to self-publish a children’s book I’d written on any given topic, let alone, Depression, I’d have looked at you like you were the crazy one!

So I guess that in many ways my illness has helped me find some meaning and some purpose in my life after all because I do know that both my blog and my book have made an impact on many people’s lives and when I’m not too busy putting myself down with all the negative self-talk I can actually feel that impact in my heart and it feels good. It feels so good to know that I have helped make a difference in someone’s life which is why about two and a half weeks ago I decided to take a leap of faith. I certainly didn’t make the decision alone, I consulted with several confidants and loved ones first because if left up to me that same negative self-talk would have slammed the door right in my face.

I’ve mentioned many times through my writing how I feel as though I took so many wrong paths in my life and that I never pursued my passions or desires which ultimately has left me feeling like a worthless failure and a burden to my loved ones for the past 6 years.  So a couple of weeks ago when I came upon a job posting on a local Not For Profit organization’s Facebook page that I follow (and who had taken the time several months ago to post my book on their Social Media channels), it caught my eye and by the time I finished reading the posting I saw my name written all over this job. 

I mean, helping others through my own lived experience with mental illness, isn’t that what I do now?  Isn’t this the path that my illness has led me to? Isn’t this why I started writing my blog or turning a silly idea for a children’s book into reality?  Isn’t this the meaning and purpose I’ve been searching for? Well I only had 24 hours left to answer those questions and many more because by the time I saw the posting on Facebook the deadline was the following day at 5pm. But before I could even take a breath, Rich had already dusted off my resume and began helping me update it (adding children’s book Author did feel quite empowering). I had to take that leap of faith, there seemed to be no turning back after getting so much support and encouragement from loved ones, even my kids seemed excited for me.

For those of you who aren’t sure what the meaning of “leap of faith” is, it’s that if you take a leap of faith you are doing something even though you are not sure it is right or that you will succeed. Well once I hit the send button then began the endless negative self talk again, I mean it chatted up a storm for hours. How could I ever commit to a full time job? I am a failure so why would anyone ever hire me? Oh ya it got even worse, and then I put it out of my head because, well why would they even consider my application? That was until Friday afternoon when I received an email that they would like to meet me next week. I’ve got a whole list of reasons that my negative self talk has told me why I can’t do this job, but I guess now I need to come up with the one reason to prove why I can.

#itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough #courage #livedexperience #leapoffaith #purpose #depression #anxiety #mentalillness #mentalhealth #blogger #advocacy #wheredidmommyssmilego #amazondotca #author #childrensbook #empowerment #selftalk #selfcare #ichooseme 

Beauty and the Beast

It’s no secret that I love all things Disney. Growing up I owned so much Disney apparel and accessories and I especially loved my gigantic Mickey Mouse phone that I spent hours and hours talking on (yes it would be an antique by today’s standard). I loved drawing Disney characters and I even hand made my own Monster’s Inc t-shirts as lootbags for Jacob’s 4th birthday party which was his latest obsession at the time. I made sure my kids fell in love with Disney movies and still to this day, I would choose a Disney theme park or Disney cruise over an all inclusive anyday (maybe in Paris next time though) and Disney was even a common theme at our wedding from our first dance to Aladdin’s hit song “A Whole New World” to the ceramic Mickey and Minnie Mouse bride and groom that donned the top of our wedding cake (which has since smashed to pieces and if I were in any way superstitious I’d be second guessing how we are less than 3 months away from celebrating our 25th anniversary).

Yes I have always had a bit of an obsession with all things Disney throughout my lifetime and although it’s a lot more subtle these days, it’s always something I try to incorporate into my life still, including the fact that the only collection of movies I still own in VHS tapes are Disney ones. I also love doing Disney themed puzzles whenever I can and my recent completion of Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites because well, Beauty and the Beast is one of my all time favorite Disney movies.  

Disney has a magical way of teaching us so many valuable life lessons and I think the reason I love Beauty and the Beast so much is because of those valuable life lessons; lessons that are not only important to teach our children but most adults could benefit from a  refresher course in as well.
Beauty and the Beast teaches us about the power of love and kindness and the importance of inner beauty. Many of us often need to be reminded that beauty is not about having a pretty face but that true beauty, the kind of beauty that teaches us about the power of love and kindness, comes from inside.

What makes this movie stand out above most other Disney movies and one of the many reasons I love it so much is how it portrays women as strong and ambitious. It shows young girls that it’s okay to have dreams and desires and that it’s also more than okay to be different. 

This timeless classic allows each and every one of us to embrace our imperfections and reminds us (as cliche as it sounds) to never judge a book by its cover. I see so much of me in Belle; from feeling hopeless and judged and sad and alone to letting the world see her compassionate heart, to finding the ability to be true to herself and for of course finding her prince charming! I think I may have to a have a VHS and chill day this weekend! Who wants to bring the popcorn and VCR??? 

#doesanyonehaveavcrstill #disney #beautyiswithin #puzzles #ravensburger #beautyandthebeast #mickeymouse #mickeyandminnie  #aladdin #awholenewworld #monstersinc #princecharming #youareenough #empowerment #bekind #kindnessmatters #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #mentalillness #itsoktonotbeok #differentisgood 

Pink Shirt Day

Today is “Pink Shirt Day” which is celebrated every year in support of anti bullying. This year’s focus is to “lift each other up” so whether you’re heading off to school or to the gym or to work today let’s all show our solidarity by wearing pink and that we lift each other up. We must take kindness to new heights today, tomorrow and every day and we must celebrate what unites us; not what divides us.

And in case you missed it please check out my blog “Zero Tolerance – Bullying Is Never Okay”; Oct 16, 2019 at:

#antibullying #advocacy #pinkshirtday #campaign #lifteachotherup #showmesomepink #kindness #kindnessmatters #youareenough #bekind #wheredidmommyssmilego #amazondotca

Feeling Humble

Please check out a recent blog that was written up about my book by retired Teacher and Author Dr. Susan Schwartz. I am humbled that she chose to write about “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” and that she believes that Mental Illness needs to be at the forefront of classroom discussions everywhere and that my book would be a valuable tool in doing so! She is the co-author of a series of 5 “must have” books for Teachers called “Creating The Dynamic Classroom” (available in both e book and paperback) and in the 1st book “Creating an Inclusive Classroom Atmosphere” they discuss the importance of Mental Health and Student Wellbeing.

Check out the blog and her website at:

#grateful #author #blogger #advocate
#childrensbook #depression #anxiety #mentalillness #classtime #classroom #teachers #youareenough #wheredidmommyssmilego  #amazondotca #startaconversation #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #feelthevibe

Day 40

Day 40 smoke-free; I think a victory lap is definitely in order today!

#smokefree #iquit #nosmoking #fortydays #timeflies #victorylap #selfcare #ichooseme #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #youareenough

I’m Not Lazy; I’m Depressed

*Could be triggering 

I’m in a pretty real funk. It’s probably safe to say that I’ve been in a funk for the better part of six years now but to be honest for the last two months I have felt more and more like my illness is beating me as opposed to me beating it. I feel defeated from the moment I wake up and I feel very little incentive to get out of bed; and it’s not because I’m lazy, it’s because I’m depressed and my depression wears a mask just like many others who suffer.

Depression creates a vicious cycle and for anyone who has ever suffered with Depression they will totally appreciate what I am saying because I want so much to thrive, I want so much to complete a simple task without it depleting me both mentally and physically, I want so much to work, I want so much to be more independent, I want so much to feel needed, I want so much to feel like I am more than just a burden to my loved ones and I want so much to feel like my life is worth living.  

Yes Depression makes me feel all those things and keeps me from thriving and doing simple tasks. It keeps me feeling like I don’t want to do anything at all and that I need to do everything all at once and then of course I beat myself up further which clearly only makes matters worse. But much of what I do or can’t do is not by choice even if some may believe otherwise, but I am truly not lazy; now laziness, now that’s a choice!

I wish that my illness was just a passing phase of feeling unmotivated to wash a few dirty dishes in the sink or to be able to drive myself to the grocery store whenever I need to but I don’t have the ability to do many simple tasks most people take for granted.

And the vicious cycle continues because if I was just lazy and not depressed then I wouldn’t have to live each day feeling like a complete failure for not washing a few dishes, I wouldn’t have to live each day feeling guilty for not driving myself to the store to pick up a few groceries and I would not have to live each day criticizing myself for all that I can’t do instead of gently reminding myself of all the things I do and can do.

#itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough #laziness #depression #anxiety #mentalillness #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocate #suicide #help #startaconversation #masksoff #depressionisnotachoice #checkonyourlovedones #dontsufferinsilence #speakyourtruth 

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