Today I gave it my best “shot” at helping to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Today I gave it my best “shot” at protecting myself and those around me against serious complications from the Covid-19 virus.
It was a feeling like no other and although I am filled with overwhelming emotions right now (the tears began to flow as I pulled into the parking lot), I’ll be ready for my second dose when my turn comes at the end of July so go ahead and “hit me with your best shot”, hit me baby one more time”! 💉 #patbenatar #britneyspears
Today is World Health Day. Its campaign has become a day of recognition around the Globe since 1948 and was first created by the World Health Organization (WHO), a name that has become increasingly more and more familiar to all of us since the Pandemic started.
This year’s campaign is focused on building a “fairer, healthier world” for everyone but living in Canada right now it doesn’t feel fair at all.
The vaccine rollout in Ontario (and Canada) has been a complete and utter disaster (imo) and I can’t believe that I am actually about to say this after what we have all witnessed over the past year in the United States but I am beyond envious of all my friends and family living south of the border right now as I witness the success of how their vaccines are being rolled out (and Israel, well they deserve a fricken gold star!).
Earlier this morning both Rich and I were able to book appointments to get vaccinated simply because the Government has now deemed our postal code a “hot spot” along with several others in our region which has afforded us and anyone else in these select few areas who are between the ages of 45 and 59 years old to do so as well.
I’m not gonna lie, once we both received our confirmation emails with our appointment times set in place I became super emotional (surprise, surprise there were actual tears) that this was actually about to happen.
I am beyond grateful to be given this opportunity and I feel that it is my duty to get vaccinated when my time comes in order to help stop the spread of Covid-19; but I’m angry all at the same time.
I’m angry that teachers and admin staff have not been prioritized to receive a vaccination first or the factory workers, grocery store clerks, wait staff in restaurants, construction workers, immune compromised individuals, those in more marginalized communities, the 20 something year olds who have been blamed most for spreading the virus and everyone else who works in an essential service and CANNOT work from home.
I just hope that soon enough all Canadians (and many other parts of the world) can celebrate World Health Day together by actually building a fairer, healthier (and more united) world to live in.
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
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.
This Pandemic has changed the way for which we live our lives (forever) and it’s also changed the way for which we die as well. In just a few short days this week I’ve witnessed several friends and loved ones having to face losing a loved one or watch their loved one battle sickness and disease from afar.
If witnessing a loved one having to battle an illness or even death wasn’t hard or traumatic enough before Covid-19 now it is just unimaginably cruel and almost punishable as a crime as they are now being forced to do so all alone.
Life…and death are still happening all around us every single day and more often than not it is unrelated to Covid-19 even if we are being led to believe otherwise which makes it that much more difficult to understand how so many people are now being forced to battle life… and death all by themselves.
Our new reality may also be leaving many loved ones feeling an added sense of guilt, powerlessness and helplessness as they can’t physically be with their loved one or hold a proper funeral for them if need be or be by their side to hold their hand, connect with them emotionally, comfort them or even to be comforted.
It’s weeks like this one that really make you see just how cruel life can be sometimes, it’s also a reality check as to just how real this virus is and it’s definitely a gentle reminder for anyone who may need it of what truly matters in life… and death.
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.
She, along with millions of youth are all dealing with so much emotion right now from anger to sadness to frustration to anxiety to disappointment and depression; all feelings which are perfectly valid and perfectly okay to feel as we continue to self-quarantine; unable to see our friends or family, unable to watch our favorite sports, unable to swing from the monkey bars, unable to participate in extracurricular activities or unable to attend Proms and Graduations.
After hearing so much emotional feedback from my blog I wanted to come up with a way in which we could still somehow honour our “Class of 2020” Grads from PRE-K to Post Graduate while at the same time making sure that no young person ever feels alone during Covid-19 and beyond.
I truly believe Kids Help Phone has helped revolutionize the meaning of #togetherapart by providing ongoing, confidential Mental Health support to our youth via phone, text and online as well; throughout Canada, 24/7 for the last 30 plus years now. They were made for this Pandemic and now they need our help more than ever to ensure that they can keep up with the ever growing demand for their services.
I find myself left with a heartwrenching feeling lately knowing that our young people (under 25) are at their most vulnerable right now while trying to navigate their way through this new norm and that this crisis could leave the greatest effect on their future selves between now and when this is all over; my only hope is that they all come out stronger than ever. But for now we need to keep lifting them up and reminding our young people every single day that their feelings matter, that it’s okay for them to feel sadness or disappointment, that it’s okay to be scared or unsure and that it’s more than okay to ask for help.
So let’s all celebrate a special someone in our life or community with a “Class of 2020” Graduation sign for your front lawn or anywhere else that you wish to display it and let’s make sure that every young person knows that help is never further than a phone call or text away. Please feel free to share 😘
*All proceeds/donations for my “Class of 2020” Graduation Campaign/Initiative will be given to Kids Help Phone*
*Signs will be set up or delivered right to your front lawn or porch; options available for image to print too. etransfer is preferred; $30 each*
*Available in Thornhill & GTA*
*Choose from 6 different designs*
*Kids Help Phone is always open: 1-800-668-6868, Text: 686868, or connect with someone online; adults welcome too*
*Message me on Facebook/Instagram or email me at: email@example.com to place your orders*
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.
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!
Who else watched the series finale of Modern Family last night? If you have been following the series for the last 11 seasons then last night did not disappoint with its usual silly humour and quirkiness mixed in with an emotional tribute and send off.
I loved watching Modern Family all these years for how very relatable it was for so many families and how it taught us about inclusivity and how being different is okay, it taught us that no 2 families are the same and that too is more than okay. It also taught us about love and acceptance and most importantly it taught us that we are all imperfectly perfect.
I simply loved the ending as they showed the outside exteriors to each of the three homes turning off their porch light, but quickly flipping one of the lights back on as a nod to a scene earlier in the show when dad Phil tells his family that no matter how near or far they venture away from home, the porch light will always be left on in order for them to find their way back home; basically letting the audience know that family is number one and that no matter what, we will always be there for one another because that’s what family does.
And when we get through all this I know there will be millions of porch lights left on to help each and every one of us find our way back.
And if you’re wondering, I had a really good cry as I sat curled up on the couch next to my family who I’m pretty sure already know that our porch light will always be turned on.
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