Maybe I Should Become A Watchdog

I don’t sleep much at the best of times and what little sleep I do get is often very disruptive and unsettling and a large part is due to my hypersensitivity to noise or in Psychological terms I guess you could call it “Anxiety”.

I’d probably compare myself to that of a dog when it comes to my keen sense of hearing, not the ferocious Cujo looking dog but more like a cuddly little lap dog! Dogs can hear way better than most humans and can also hear from four times further away and at nearly twice as many frequencies. That about sums me up and not just through the night!

Due to my severe anxiety I am easily triggered by many, many sounds and noises which often result in further upset, irritation, distress and even anger. I always feel like I am on high alert and many of the so-called “normal”, everyday noises that we hear feel super amplified in my head which causes me to be alarmed and frightened for a very good part of my days and night. It can be as simple as a door opening, a car driving by or even the sound of footsteps heard overhead. 

These triggers don’t always coincide with my anxious thoughts or panic attacks, in fact oftentimes it doesn’t at all but it is so hard for me to ever feel completely relaxed. I find it near impossible to ever fully shut off my brain and with every amplified sound or noise I hear I am automatically thinking something tragic has occurred (and if you don’t believe me you can ask anyone who lives with me lol).

I am slowly learning how to stop myself as the noise amplifies in my head before I go immediately into the worst and most tragic place by telling myself over and over again that nothing bad is happening just like the last time I heard the same noise. It’s a process, just like everything else in my life. But if all else fails I think I’d make a pretty damn good watchdog!

#mentalhealthawarenessmonth #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #sleepless #hypersensitivity #noise #anxiety #mentalillness #selfcare

Burn Baby Burn


Over the past week my mind and my heart have been in a constant tug of war with one another and the amount of sadness, anger, guilt and fear I’m feeling right now is unbearable. 

Late last night when I couldn’t sleep (as usual) and my mind was spinning out of control (as usual) I began writing down many of my negative thoughts (on an actual piece of paper) in order to release some of the pain in my heart and maybe bring a little bit of clarity to my mind. 

As more and more thoughts were emerging onto the piece of paper I began to see a lot of my past and present relationships emerging too, many of whom may have caused me a great amount of negative energy at one time or another in my life.

It was at that moment, while in complete darkness that I saw this as an opportunity to try something I’ve needed to do for a very long time now but haven’t been able to find the courage to. 

It’s been told to me many times over the last several years by health care professionals that it can be a very therapeutic tool to try and a great way to release any old emotional wounds or help to heal some of the heaviness from certain relationships that have caused me pain or betrayal and may very well be holding me back.

I began writing very personal, handwritten letters to several of these relationships, both past and present in order to let go of some of the emotional wounds that are taking up too much space in my mind and negative energy in my heart right now.

I wrote it all down, including the hard stuff, the unanswered questions and the things that I could never say aloud. It felt cathartic but at the same time it was a very emotional exercise right up until the moment that I took a deep deep breath and waited to exhale as I tore each piece of paper up one by one and then watched them burn.

**Go ahead, try it for yourself **

#nationalsuicidepreventionawarenessmonth #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #mentalillness #itsoktonotbeok #masksoff #endthestigmatogether #checkonyourlovedones #youarenotalone #youareenough #courage #suicide #suicideprevention #letterwriting #handwritten #burnbabyburn 

You Are Not Alone

***Warning: May be quite triggering to some***

Yesterday I wrote an article that talked about September being National Self-Care Awareness Month but September is also National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month; a Campaign which focuses on bringing awareness about Mental Health promotion and suicide prevention.

This year’s theme “You Are Not Alone” is such an important message (especially now more than ever) for anyone who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide like I am right now or for those who may have lost a loved one to suicide to know that it’s okay to not be okay and that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it the most. 

It’s also a message letting someone know that if they are struggling with thoughts of suicide that there is always support available to them and that the more open we are to expressing our feelings to others, the less stigma there will be. 

As you know, I talk very openly and as honestly as I possibly can about my own very raw and personal struggles with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. I focus a great deal on ensuring that anyone who is suffering with a mental illness or who knows someone that is will feel less alone in their suffering.  

This past week has been an extremely difficult one for me and my family as I have been struggling more than ever before with the thought of suicide but given the outpouring of supportive messages, phone calls and visits I’ve received since the days following my visit to emerg, I know that I am not alone and that no matter what happens, neither is my family. 

I also know from the many personal messages I receive each and every week from individuals who may have resonated with something I wrote or may be seeking support or guidance for themselves or their loved one who is struggling with their mental health that when I speak my truth, it is giving someone else permission to do the same. 

And that right there is the exact reason why I began sharing my journey with you all. Not for pity, not for attention and definitely not to be judged but pure and simple to let you know that you are never alone. 

***If you or someone you know is in crisis please call 1-833-456-4566***

#nationalsuicidepreventionawarenessmonth #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #startaconversation #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #mentalillness #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #masksoff #checkonyourlovedones #endthestigmatogether

Stop The Presses

I placed my final order of signs first thing this morning which will be printed and then delivered later this week. I knew a week ago that I needed to wrap up my Initiative for the sake of my mental health but as I wrote in my blog last week “How Can I Say No?” I struggle a great deal with saying No.

Yesterday the emails were still pouring in non-stop; and even as I took some much needed time for myself to go for a hike I panicked at the thought of all the emails I would have to return when I got home. And knowing that I was taking my final orders that day made the panic worsen at how I could possibly get back to everyone on time. 

I did get back to everyone and when I told them it was to be my final night to take any new orders, everyone responded very quickly but it still didn’t help the fact that I would be letting many others down who would continue to contact me today, tomorrow or even next week. 

I knew going in that my Campaign would only be short term but now as the school year is beginning to wind down I feel like I am letting so many people down and disappointing so many others by simply saying No. 

I truly never imagined 5 or 6 weeks ago that my little idea would take on a life of its own, a life that has now exceeded every expectation I had and crushed every goal I made; but then why do I feel so guilty, why do I feel like it’s never enough or that I should be doing more?

There is still time to contribute to my Class of 2020 Graduate Initiative and help make a difference in a child/youth’s life. Please feel free to make a donation at:

All of the proceeds will go to @KidsHelpPhone 

Continue to follow my journey at: 

#lifewithdepression #lifewithanxiety #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #guiltfree #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #mentalillness #itsoktonotbeok #negativeselftalk #selfcare  #ichooseme #youarenotalone #graduationday #grads #classof2020 #ouryouthmatter #lawnsigns 

What’s In A Name?

While Rich and I drove through the city streets yesterday (delivering lawn signs) we passed a street named “Newman Avenue” and it suddenly dawned on me that I’ve now been a “Fluxgold” longer than I was a “Newman”.  

When we first got married 25 years ago I never hesitated or even gave it a second thought that I would legally change my last name to Fluxgold, I mean it definitely had a lot more flair and originality to it than “Newman” did so why the heck not and by 1995 when I got married, I was seriously pretty tired of being the butt of so many very unoriginal Seinfeld jokes anyways!!! #heynewman

But please don’t get me wrong, I will always be grateful for the amazing memories my maiden name has given me, it will forever be a part of who I used to be and has continued to be a guide as to what I don’t want to be and it’s definitely a reminder of a much simpler time in my life, you know, the time when I rarely had to correct someone who may have misspelled or mispronounced my last name!

Have you ever truly asked yourself before; What’s in a name? If I could just quote Juliet from “Romeo & Juliet” for a moment here (wow that’s a statement I never thought I’d write) when she says “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” 

This quote from Shakespeare tells us that a name doesn’t truly matter nor does it truly affect what or who you really are and besides all that, haven’t we always been taught from a very young age anyhow that what’s truly most important, what truly matters or what truly counts most in life is what’s on the inside and when you reference my profile page on Facebook I think you can find the answer. (See pic)

#whatsinaname #choosekindness #familymatters #myfamily #anameisjustaname #youareenough #itswhatsinsidethatcounts #shakespeare #romeoandjuliet #newman #seinfeld #mentalhealth #mentalwellness 

Will The Cravings Ever Stop?

It’s been a hundred and thirty something days since I’ve had a cigarette, not a hundred and thirty something days since I’ve desired a cigarette but a hundred and thirty something days since I last smoked one. There are many days (and nights) that go by now where I barely even think about smoking anymore but the days that I do are fucking hell and last night was probably the worst I’ve experienced, even more so than the first few days after I quit back in January. You all remember January; that cold, dark, dreary month of the year that we all wish we could go back in time to right now. Boy what I’d give to go back there now in a heartbeat, with my concussion and all!

Last night I had a panic attack which only exasperated the exhaustion and overwhelm I was already experiencing and I suddenly felt like a junkie who would do just about anything to get their next “fix”. If you have ever suffered with an addiction of any kind before (drug, alcohol, gambling etc) you can relate to how out of control I felt from my “need” to smoke NOW. I begged Rich to get me a pack of cigarettes and I began envisioning myself sitting on my front porch enjoying the beautiful spring air and thinking that having just 1 cigarette wouldn’t be a big deal at all. 

It’s nights like this that have me thinking I will never be free of cigarettes. But then again is there really a specific timeline as to how long it should take a smoker of over 30 years to fully stop having the desire to smoke?

#iquit #smokefree #youareenough #panicattack #anxiety #depression #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #ahundredandthirtysomethingdays #nonsmoker #cravings 

A Mitzvah

I have a really hard time accepting help from others, that is everyone except for maybe Rich. What does that exactly mean though; well it means that if I allow someone to help me or do something nice for me then that would mean that I’m weak and incapable of doing it myself, right? And wouldn’t it also mean that I’m a failure too?

I know that most people only offer their help without any ulterior motives in mind and that for every 1 person whose willingness to help others may have ill intentions in mind I also know that there are ten more people who are wanting to show their support or lend a helping hand because they genuinely want to help and it actually gives them great joy when doing so.

In the Jewish faith this would be considered a “Mitzvah” or in the English translation it is considered to be a “good deed” to help someone with a conscious act or emphasis on kindness and empathy.

Throughout my journey I have had no shortage of kindness and empathy or heartfelt sentiments being offered up to me and my family at any given time but it’s always hard for me to let others help me and most of the time I honestly can’t even explain the reason why. 

I know my illness has a lot to do with it as I am constantly telling myself that I’m weak, I’m incapable, I’m a failure, I’m unworthy, I’m undeserving and I’m useless. I feel as though I have no control over my life whatsoever and then to allow others to help me feels like I am giving up complete control all together and making me feel even more vulnerable. Oh and my favourite of course is the guilty feeling I get when someone does something kind for me. 

Over the last few weeks and even more so this week I have recieved an abundance of kindness from loved ones, acquaintances and even strangers, offering to help me in whatever capacity they can with my Initiative. Maybe now would be the perfect time for me to embrace the moment and give others the opportunity to feel the same way I feel every time I brighten up a young person’s day!!

#mitzvah #kindness #kindnessmatters #empathy #joy #helpinghands #youareenough #noshame #endthestigmatogether #youarenotalone 

Haters Gonna Hate

As of the end of day today I, along with my Co-Pilot Rich will have delivered approximately 300 lawn signs (give or take a few) across the Greater Toronto Area (and beyond) and we still have lots more to go. It’s been an incredibly overwhelming experience for me so far but more importantly it’s been an incredibly successful and rewarding one too. 

Every time I drop off a sign on someone’s front lawn (or porch) honouring one (or more) of our “Class of 2020” Graduates I have either been lucky enough to witness the surprise and gratitude on their face myself when they first see the sign or shortly thereafter I receive some of the most amazing and heartfelt messages and pictures of both support and appreciation from the recipient’s family where I find myself imagining the moment instead.

Either way I can tell you that it feels amazing knowing I have in some small way made a young person smile (and even do cartwheels). But yesterday someone tried to knock me down and when you’re already feeling vulnerable, it basically leaves you completely deflated (see blog: “Yesterday”; May 23, 2020)
Shortly after I delivered one sign in particular yesterday a woman messaged me to say how disappointed she was at the size of the sign (insert SMH) and then continued by saying how the sign looked much bigger in the photo that was taken for our local newspaper (SMH again). I politely replied to her that I’m sorry she felt that way but I guess the editors of the paper purposely enlarged the photo of the sign to get the readers attention (I’m also pretty sure there’s a name for that, however I’m no expert in the field of Marketing and Advertising). 

I guess that now I know for the next time there is a Global Pandemic and our kids have to endure more loss and disappointment in their lives I would insist that there be a Legal Disclaimer attached to any pictures in the paper saying “Size May Vary”. 

I continued to tell “The Hater” that the lawn signs are all a standard size and if you are to compare them to every other company lawn sign in your neighborhood it is the same size and maybe even a bit bigger than others. But I also told “The Hater” that the point of the sign was not for its size but rather a small tribute to their child (or children) who are missing out on so much in their lives right now. I also told her that sadly she has forgotten what these signs were meant to represent in the first place and that I have only received kindness and support from 300 other families thanking me for doing what I am doing for such a great cause (SMH). @kidshelpphone

I know I shouldn’t let this “Hater” take up space in my head or try to knock me down. You can’t please everyone all of the time and some people get satisfaction from being hurtful and what’s even worse is that some people live with so much hate in their hearts which is just so sad, but besides all that, haven’t we always been taught that “Size doesn’t matter”!!! (SMFH)

#kindness #kindnessmatters #graduationday #lawnsigns #classof2020 #ouryouthmatter #hatersgonnahate #youareenough #nowords #shakemyhead #smh @bellletstalk 


Yesterday was one of those days. The kind of day where nothing seems to go right, where the overwhelm gets to be too much and when the thoughts in my head go from passive ones to active ones. 

I struggle pretty much daily with suicidal thoughts and ideations but most days I am able to shut them down, ignore them or find a way to distract myself.  But some days it’s much, much more difficult to shut them down, ignore them or find a way to distract myself. Some days no matter how much I try, I can’t seem to pull myself out from underneath it and I begin to believe that the world would be a better place without me in it.

Depression is very tiring but battling suicidal thoughts and ideations has to be the most emotionally exhausting thing ever. My best advice; Don’t even try to battle it alone, it’s way bigger than you are. Trust me, the walk around the block late last night with Rich by my side made the world feel a lot less scary.

#reallife #callforhelp #askforhelp #endthestigmatogether #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #depression #anxiety #masksoff #suicide #suicideprevention #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence #iwantacigarette #mentalillness #mentalhealth

This Is Us; 25 Years Later

It was exactly 25 years ago today that the fabulous and fun loving photographer Elliot Sylman captured the true beauty and essence of one of the best days in both Rich’s and my life and so what better way to honour our 25th Wedding Anniversary today (since that cruise around the world I had all planned out in my head ain’t happening😛) than to have that same fabulous and fun loving photographer capture the true beauty and essence of our life together 25 years later with his amazing Covid-19 Initiative @theporchpics.

Several months ago (Pre-Covid-19) I mentioned to Rich that I had a really strong desire to renew our wedding vows for our 25th Anniversary. He kinda laughed it off each time I brought it up and thought I was kinda kidding whenever I did, but deep down inside I kinda wasn’t.

As most of you already know by now, the last six years have been bloody hell for us and has left our marriage tried, tested and completely put through the wringer somedays but through it all our marriage has stood the test of time.

Marriage takes a lot of hard work and a mutual understanding, it takes tears and forgiveness, it takes good communication, it takes lots and lots of laughter and fun and it takes sacrifice and compromise mixed in with a whole lot of unconditional love.

I’m not really sure why I’ve had the overwhelming desire to renew our wedding vows, but today as we take each other’s hand and jump feet first together into our Second Act, somehow doing @theporchpics with my beautifully imperfect family by my side is all the renewal I truly need right now. 

I love you to the moon and back Rich, you are my forever and a day. Thank you for keeping me safe and for all that you are and all that you do for our family; there is no one else in this great big crazy world I’d rather be quarantined with either!! In SICKNESS and in HEALTH until death do us part.

#thisisus #twentyfive #silveranniversary #happyanniversary #everyoneneedsarich #myreasonswhy #myeverything #mybetterhalf #summerofrich #summerofus #ourfamily #family #familymatters #weddingvows #celebration #youareenough #cheers #renewal #theloveofafamily #throughgoodtimesandbad #insicknessandinhealth #honestlyspeaking #imperfectlyperfect #imperfectlybeautiful #cheerstomanymore #strongertogether #quarantineanniversary #mentalhealth #mentalillness #depression #anxiety @reenafoundation

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