I recently watched a movie called “WILD”, starring Reese Witherspoon (2014).
It is based on a true story and the autobiography of Cheryl Strayed called “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”.
The movie takes place on the Pacific Crest Trail which spans 2,600 miles (that’s a shitload of kilometers!) in length and runs from the the Mexican/U.S border to the U.S/Canada border. To hike this grueling trail in its entirely would take someone between 5 to 6 months to complete.
In June of 1995 this remarkable young woman (age 26) decides on a whim to take a much needed time out from her life and ascends on a journey toward self-discovery and healing by hiking 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail over a three month period.
At the start of her expedition, Cheryl had just recently divorced her husband and tragically lost her mother (she was only 45 years old when she died) but throughout the movie we also learn so much more about her traumatic childhood and reckless and destructive youth.
There were so many reasons why I wanted to watch this movie (which Rich discovered one night while channel surfing) and so many more reasons why while watching it I felt an instant connection to Cheryl even though our journeys are so vastly different.
Of course the movie centered around hiking which was a very big draw for me but what led her on that path (trail) in the first place is what connected me so deeply.
When I think of self-care it often includes alone time. Yes, being surrounded by other people is critical for our well-being but sometimes it can also create stress in your life as well (something I think many of us can relate to more than ever over the past year).
Taking time to be with yourself is both vital and beneficial in order to tap into our own thoughts, feelings and experiences.
Along Cheryl’s journey she met many interesting (and sometimes scary) people and was asked by one of them if she ever got lonely out there all alone but it was because of her time alone (and journaling) that she found the freedom to forge ahead and truly explore her own personal growth and development.
It’s what gave her the strength and determination to discover the power of healing.
Although I love to hike and I find it especially therapeutic for me and although I quite often need space away from others in order to help me heal I don’t forsee a three month hiking expedition anytime soon in my future.
For starters, I’d barely make it a mile before getting lost! Perhaps maybe a week alone at a spa would be a better place for me to start?
Where do you like to go when you need some alone time?
This picture (which popped up on my Facebook “Memory Wall” early this morning) not only captures Jacob’s goofy, loveable personality but it also captures the true essence of what passion, commitment, determination and hard work all look like as well.
Seeing it quickly reminded me just how much I miss watching him play hockey (even if being a goalie mom is one of the most stressful things ever lol) and it also reminded me of a piece I wrote (before I started my actual blog) near the end of Jacob’s last season in Minor League Hockey and well, I just felt like sharing it with you one more time.
**Spoiler alert: he has never stopped being part of a team since leaving the Minor League Hockey world; that was until stupid Covid forced him to take a break last Spring.
*Original Post: Feb 1, 2016*
For the past 12 years being a hockey mom has been a huge part of who I am. I still remember putting Jacob on the ice in his first year of House League all dressed in his hockey gear and hardly able to skate and then, BOOM; the goalie skated by him and they accidentally collided into one another and Jacob broke his wrist.
Fast forward 2 years, Jacob waiting patiently for his turn to play goalie in a tournament. He did such an amazing job and from that day forward Jacob’s dream of becoming a goalie was fulfilled.
One year later he joined a more competitive level team with his friends which has now become our family for the last 9 years. He has improved and worked hard to become a successful goalie since then through perseverance, training, coaching and his love of being a goalie.
Throughout the years hockey has defined our family dynamics, always working our lives around where the next game or tournament is; yes, being a hockey Mom has been a title I will hold near and dear to my heart forever. The ups and downs, I wouldn’t change a thing. But now what?
With only a handful of games left in what is Jacob’s final year of minor league hockey (and hopefully a few more if they make the playoffs), I am sure he will continue to play for many years to come in the adult world but what about the hockey Mom? Where does that leave me?
No more schlepping from one end of the GTA to the other, no more car stinking like a pair of dirty socks, no more cheering when the team scores the game winning goal and no more hockey family.
I have dreaded this day coming for a long time now but I know that Jacob’s commitment he has made to his teammates and coaches alike through the last 12 years will help to define him as he faces many new challenges ahead of him and well, as for me, I will always be grateful for what hockey has given him, and what he has given me; his “Hockey Mom” ❤
Living with a severe anxiety disorder like I do can literally make anyone do crazy shit. And if there is one thing I know for sure it’s that my anxiety makes me feel out of control and will often paralyze me with fear and worry when it comes to, well, just about everything.
Over the last few years I’ve been taught several helpful tools that I can turn to when I’m feeling anxious and I have found, through some trial and error, many of them to be quite useful at times.
As I’ve also mentioned many, many times before, I rely heavily on CBD oil (Full Spectrum, with NO THC and preferably peppermint flavor!) to give me an almost immediate relief of certain physical symptoms like severe heart palpitations and nausea. But when the physical symptoms go beyond my everyday normal symptoms I’m lucky enough that my dear friend “Dr. Google” is always there to advise me.
“Dr. Google” is my “go to” Doctor when my own Doctor is unavailable for consultation, you know, like in the middle of the night when many of these symptoms seem to unexpectedly show up and you need a medical diagnosis, STAT.
But I should probably also mention here how much I avoid calling my Doctor to begin with because I just can’t bring myself to pick up a phone to call her or I get worried that I’m just bothering her (yup that too is a symptom of my anxiety).
I know that all probably sounds a bit crazy to some of you (I told you that anxiety can make you do crazy shit) and I also know that “Dr. Google” is probably NOT the most reliable resource when it comes to making a proper diagnosis (trust me I know) but I also know that I’m probably not alone.
The internet makes it so easy these days to look up just about anything your heart desires but when you suffer with extreme anxiety and major depression, my advice to you would be to stay as far away from “Dr. Google” as you possibly can because before you know it your anxiety/panic attack at 2 am has somehow just been diagnosed as a rare and incurable disease.
Just like the one I diagnosed myself with last evening after describing to a friend an extremely sharp pain I had been having on and off for the past couple of days in one particular area of my body, a pain I have never experienced before. She tried to reassure me it was probably nothing too serious and that I should call my Doctor in the morning but before she could finish her sentence (we were actually texting) I cut her off because “Dr. Google” was already telling me the complete opposite of what she was saying, and quite frankly, like come on now, who are you actually gonna believe?
Well seeing as it’s now after 2 am as I write this and stare at my “Dr. Google” diagnosis you can probably figure that answer out all on your own! And trust me, “Dr. Google” is just as quick and informative when it comes to helping me self diagnose my kids ailments too!
Who else turns to Dr. Google for their regular check ups?
Watching the chaos unfold in Washington today is beyond comprehensible. It’s sad, it’s pathetic and it’s downright scary that a President could allow this to happen or should I say, could encourage this to happen.
But no one can be or better yet, should be shocked that this is happening. I mean lets face it, the entire world has been watching this President come unhinged for the last four years and he needs to finally be held accountable for his actions but first he needs to be helped for an illness that some may argue is not actually a mental disorder.
But in clinical terms the President of the United States suffers from a mental disorder which falls under the umbrella of “Personality Disorders” called Narcissism.
A “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” is a “mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.” (Definition as per Mayo Clinic)
It goes on to describe an individual with a “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” as someone who may be “generally unhappy and disappointed when they’re not given the special favors or admiration they believe they deserve. They may find their relationships unfulfilling, and others may not enjoy being around them.”
People who suffer from a “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” often display many of the following symptoms: (Mayo Clinic)
Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
Exaggerate achievements and talents
Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
Take advantage of others to get what they want
Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
Be envious of others and believe others envy them
Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office
“Narcissistic Personality Disorder” is a very complex disorder and many people who suffer with one are often unable to seek proper therapy or treatment because well, for starters, they don’t think anything is truly wrong with them.
There are no words to describe what a sad day it is in American history today but I think we can all agree, even those of us sitting by the sidelines from across the world that our hearts are breaking for you and with you as we watch your beautiful Nation destroying its democracy at the hands of a man who clearly needs psychological help.
Hopefully though he won’t get too lost in the system while serving time in prison and that he finally gets the proper treatment and therapy that we all as human beings deserve.
Did you have a favourite blankie or stuffed animal growing up? Did you sleep with it every night and take it with you everywhere you went? Did you feel a sense of panic if it was suddenly out of your reach? Was it loved so much that it became “real”?
One of my favourite children’s books growing up was “The Velveteen Rabbit”, a story that I passed down to my own children when they were very young hoping they would fall in love with it as much as I did and one day I hope that my grandchildren and great grandchildren will too.
The story was originally published in 1922 but it never seems to grow old. It’s a story of a young boy who receives many presents one Christmas morning including a beautiful stuffed Velveteen Rabbit. But the boy doesn’t take to the rabbit right away as he had so many new and shiny toys to play with all at once, until one day his nanny grabs the Velveteen Rabbit off the shelf for him to sleep with.
The rabbit had longed for this moment and had only one wish in mind which was to “become”. And “become” he did. The boy grew so attached to the rabbit that eventually “most of his hair had been loved off, his eyes dropped out and his joints became loose and very shabby”. It was at that moment that the Velveteen Rabbit knew he had finally become “real”.
As a young child I had my own “Velveteen Rabbit” only he wasn’t actually a rabbit but instead a fluffy gray haired dog who wore a big red plaid hat atop his head. Throughout my childhood and into my transition into adulthood that stuffed dog gave me a great sense of safety, predictability and comfort; something I know millions of children around the world during this past year have looked for more than ever before.
He “became” so real that his fur was also loved off, his eyes dropped out and his joints became loose and shabby too. He lost his big red plaid hat at some point over the course of my childhood and my grandma replaced it by knitting him a special red and white bow to wear around his wobbly neck to keep him warm.
His name was Sniffer and he saw me through the worst of times in my life and the best of times as well (he even made a surprise appearance at my wedding thanks to my brother!). A stuffed animal like Sniffer who becomes “real” are so much more than any old toy in a child’s toy box because when they “become” they teach a child about compassion, they teach a child how to love and they can teach a child to be gentle towards others. They also open up a world of imagination and pretend play for a child by giving them a name, a voice and a personality.
Sniffer did all that and more for me and nowadays he sits comfortably on a shelf in my closet as he is pretty old and fragile. He is also pretty much the only memory I have left from my childhood (a story for another time and place) so I will never just toss him away.
Just knowing he is there if ever I need him gives me a sense of comfort and ease in an anxious moment. His sentimental value is also both soothing and calming in times of distress. I guess sometimes we all just need a trusting hug or cuddle from an old familiar inanimate object to give us a feeling that we too have “become” because once you “reach that point then no matter what happens to you, you can always be true to yourself” too.
Did you have a special toy or object that brought you comfort? Do you still have it today?
My cousin sent me this personality quiz and asked me to partake in it. I told her that I feel like I have two personalities; one being the person I was before I got sick and the latter being the person whom I have become since. So I decided I should take the test twice. I started off by taking the test as the person I feel I am today and then I went back and took the test again thinking about the person I used to be; the person whom I feel no longer exists.
The results of the first test showed my personality type as that of an Advocate. An Advocate, according to Webster’s dictionary is defined as “a person who pleads anothers cause, or who speaks or writes in support of something” and according to the test itself is also someone who is “quiet and mystical, yet very inspiring” which are all traits that I have aspired to become over the last many years so I’d say the test was pretty accurate thus far.
When I went back and did my second test I answered the questions while having to think back to what I felt best represented my personality 6+ years ago. It revealed that I had the personality type of an “Entertainer”. Some of the traits of an “Entertainer” (according to this test) would be described as someone who is “extroverted, feeling, engaging in life eagerly and very social.”
All of which were true once again and although I miss many parts of my personality that depression and anxiety have stolen from me, on the other hand I also know that it has allowed me to explore a side of me that would never have been possible otherwise.
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