Last night we watched the movie “The Last Blockbuster” on Netflix (a bit ironic I have to say).
It’s a Documentary about the demise of the Blockbuster Franchise (and how they once turned down an offer to buy Netflix; boy do I pity the fool now!). It also highlighted the very last store still in existence today in Bend, Oregon.
To be honest I was never a regular customer of Blockbuster but boy oh boy did this movie ever bring back like a Gazillion or more memories from my childhood and young adult life; so much so that I kept trying to pause the movie in order to share some of those exciting highlights with the kids and Rich as they popped into my head but if you can believe it, they were more interested in watching the movie than listening to more of my silly (and often tearful) nostalgia!
Seriously though, I would’ve thought my kids could’ve at least pretended to show some interest in my stories, I mean like after all, their parents actually met while working together in a videostore and what about my husband, I would’ve thought he’d have been all ears too seeing as he met his future bride over 30 years ago at a videostore as well!!!
They’re just lucky that they’d already gone to their rooms after the movie was over or I may have tried to take them with me on another nostalgic trip down memory lane when, shortly after the movie ended I became aware through Social Media that my favourite (or a very close second to Judy Blume) children’s book author from my childhood Beverly Cleary had just passed away at 104 years young. Boy did they sure dodge a bullet that time!
Despite the fact that February is the shortest month of the year, for many humans though, February can often feel like the longest and most depressing one as well; and especially this year.
Aside from the most obvious reasons why February can feel like the longest and most depressing month of the year when it’s actually not is due in part to many of us having to suffer through bitter cold temperatures and shortened hours of daylight each day; most of which seem filled with grey skies and falling precipitation rather than sunshine and rainbows. For others, February also feels long and dreaded because of holidays like Valentine’s Day that can bring with it a feeling of sorrow instead of love.
Of course this year February comes with an added bonus. We are now eleven months into living in a Global Pandemic and that in itself is enough to make any month feel like its never ending and for any human to display some signs of depression.
But what about our pets? Can they feel similar effects due to the winter blues or maybe even the effects associated with living in a Global Pandemic? In short, yes they can and we have started to notice lately that Maggie seems sad and possibly even a little depressed.
She has never been one to enjoy the winter weather or bitter cold temperatures (she’s just like her momma) but still it’s difficult to know for sure if that is what’s causing her sudden change in mood and several odd behaviours without first ruling out anything that could potentially be physically wrong with her because it’s not like she can really vocalize her sadness to us.
But once we have ruled out all other potential issues, I may have to call upon the world renowned “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan for some much needed help.
I had a very restless and “catastrophic” evening last night. Somewhere between 10pm and 11 I began to have a panic attack of “catastrophic” proportions which soon morphed itself into an anxiety attack and lasted until the wee hours of the morning.
But if it weren’t for a few of my many incredible friends who just so happened to be checking in with me around that time, I’m not sure how I would have ever gotten through last night. They listened to me and distracted me with their own antics and funny memes well into those wee hours of the morning.
I am both incredibly lucky and grateful to have so many amazing people in my life who simply want nothing more than to be there for me no matter what, who don’t keep score, who always know how to make me laugh through my tears, who continue to make me feel empowered and who would unselfishly be there for me until the wee hours of the morning.
Two years ago today I wrote a blog called “What A Catastrophe” which just so happened to show up in my memories on Facebook this morning and I thought I would share it with you all again (and for anyone who may have missed it the first time) after the “catastrophic” night I had. It describes in length just how quickly a depressed and anxious mind can turn anything into a catastrophe in a matter of seconds, sometimes without any warning and often without any real triggers either.
After last night and with very little sleep, I knew that I needed to find an outlet today and definitely a change of scenery. One thing that has been a tremendous source of emotional wreckage for me lately has been the lack of time in the great outdoors. I really hate winter, like really really hate it but I have also really missed my long walks every day and hiking every weekend since the change in weather hit and so today I faced the dreaded winter air head on and went for a long and very challenging hike with Rich and my girls (Jacob was working but I’m pretty sure Football would have won over a hike either way).
The weather was perfect (I could have worn a t-shirt lol), the sun was shining so brightly on us and it felt like we were in a winter wonderland. It’s the moments like today that I hold deep in my heart and it’s moments like today that I need to imagine during my next big catastrophe. And who knows, maybe we can even start a new tradition.
Today I feel like I’m toast, burnt toast to be exact.
Some days I can pull myself together long enough to eat the damn piece of toast, some days I need to smother it with a thick layer of strawberry jam in order to cover up my pain and overwhelm, some days I try really hard to scrape away the black charcoal on my toast with a butter knife to show the world my true self and then there are days like today when all I want to do is throw away the piece of burnt toast in the waste bin because if truth be told, it feels too hopeless to even try and salvage it.
Last night I watched a movie on Amazon Prime called “Brittany Runs A Marathon”. My family has started rating the movies we watch lately by how much mom cries during them (especially the ending) which isn’t really a fair assessment to be honest because I cry while watching just about anything these days. But if we go with their rating system (maybe instead of Rotten Tomatoes we use Salty Teardrops?) this one was as close to a 10 as they come.
The movie is based on a true story (which usually ups the ante right there) about an overweight woman who feels dissatisfied with pretty much everything in her life and soon gets a wake up call from her doctor when he reveals to her that she doesn’t need Adderall like she hoped but instead needs to lose 50 pounds as her physical health had started to become unhinged too. And even though being the “fat girl” sidekick was always her safety net (or so she thought) she decides to take her doctor’s advice and eventually leads Brittany to take up running, eat healthier and stop using drugs and alcohol to numb her pain.
The movie is about so much more than a weightloss journey though and runs much, much deeper than that. It was an inspiring, heartwarming, super funny, thought provoking and very, very relatable journey to me in so many ways even if I’ve never run a day in my life (or ever had the desire to!).
The storyline brought with it lots of important life lessons (and plenty of stereotypes too), all of which resonated with my own journey through life. It was an emotional journey and one that proves just how hard it can be to fall in love with yourself. It taught us the importance of body positivity, learning to love the body we’re in and self-acceptance. It taught us about the hard work and difficult steps it takes toward achieving our dreams while continuously focusing on small yet attainable goals no matter what. It also showed us that it is perfectly okay to accept help from others, to never judge a book by its cover and that it’s more than okay to walk away from toxic relationships in our life that no longer serve us or who can’t see our worth.
I wrote a blog a couple of years ago (see link below) where I opened up about how I struggled with both Anorexia and Bulimia in my late teens and early 20’s. But truth be told my eating disorder has never truly left me and it continues still to this day to be a constant struggle in my life.
My self-hate is very strong-willed and even more stubborn. It has stopped me in my tracks many times over from believing in my dreams and achieving many of my goals. It very often stops me from loving myself or accepting help from others. My self-hate has also blinded me from seeing through some very toxic relationships over the years as well and learning to accept and love my body has been as torturous as learning how to love my mind except there is no where to hide from your body.
As most of you know who follow my journey regularly I love walking and hiking and way back at the start of the Pandemic in March I began walking several miles every day and hiking on weekends as much as possible (#summerofrich). I even started exercising a bit from home as well and it felt empowering but as the weather began to change over the last few weeks I have basically stopped exercising all together and it has drastically increased those feelings of self-hate and brought with it many of the danger signs that accompany an eating disorder.
I also have a very poor relationship with food itself which has most likely stemmed from several childhood traumas surrounding food (see blog below) and it seems to have created a lifetime struggle with food and self-worth which is something that I am overwhelmingly conscious of around my children as I never want them to have the same toxic relationship with food as I do. I just want them to love who they are from the inside out.
Spoiler Alert: Brittany eventually runs a marathon (it is the title of the movie), the mother of all marathons no less. But the movie is not about how she reached the finish line of the New York City marathon (fun fact: they actually filmed the marathon scenes during the 2017 event!), it was about her incredible transformation (both physically and mentally) toward loving herself and kicking that “fat girl” sidekick to the curb that allowed her to get there. It was about how she kept tying up the laces of her running shoes, tripping over them from time to time as they came undone and learning to tie them back up again every time she fell down while running just one block at a time of the congested and mean streets of New York City and letting the people in her life who saw her worth cheer her on from the sidelines.
I loved watching Brittany’s journey toward finding self-love. She deserves to wear that medal around her neck, not for the weight that she lost but for running all those miles toward her own self-truth, without compromise.
Maybe one day I will be able to run that same marathon too?
Yesterday I was feeling a bit under the weather and BEYOND exhausted. All I wanted to do was sleep but as physically exhausted as I felt all day I knew that as soon as I were to get into bed that all bets would be off. So I decided to take something to help me fall asleep because I needed to sleep BEYOND badly.
I’ve been prescribed sleeping pills in the past but like all other medications I’ve tried they really never worked properly and within days I would build up a tolerance to them anyways. This did eventually lead me to start abusing some of my prescribed meds, taking upwards of 8 to 10 pills a day, just so I could feel numb and maybe get a few solid hours of sleep at night.
Well that didn’t end well at all on so many levels and once it was discovered that I had been stashing away certain medications in my home Rich began having to hide all my prescriptions and distributing them to me every day and I guess it’s a good thing that I have also since been flagged from being prescribed certain medications all together unless under proper supervision.
But that’s okay because they never really helped much anyways and so nowadays when I do take something for sleep I go for more of a natural remedy instead. I fight with myself to take anything most nights because truthfully they don’t really help much either.
It’s almost 4 am as I am writing this and I should be fast asleep since I was so BEYOND physically exhausted yesterday and I did take a sleep aid before I got into bed but my case in point, sleep remedies don’t work for me.
Ok maybe I’m lying a bit because after taking something to help me fall asleep last night I did in fact fall asleep within an hour of taking it and I got a solid 1 hour of sleep!!! 1 whole glorious hour of sleep! And then I woke up and have been up since before 11 pm, which is about the same time most of you reading this were just about to doze off to dreamland for the night!
I’m starting to think that sleep is kinda, sorta beyond overrated anyways? 😢😢😢
My illness lies to me all the damn time but it’s so hard not to believe its vicious lies after everything we’ve been through together in the past six and a half years.
One such lie that it repeats over and over and over again is how much of a burden I am to my family and how much better off they would be without me.
It constantly triggers countless negative thoughts and emotions in my head that pull me in a million different directions which can strike at any moment, especially during the dark and lonely nights.
Last night I shared with you one of the most meaningful and proudest moments any parent could ever imagine. A moment that should prove to all the untruths once and for all that my illness is nothing more than a big fat liar because I must be loved, I must be needed and I must truly be cherished.
When we first become parents we aim for perfection and we strive to provide for our kids a near perfect life, but how realistic is that really when we live in such an imperfect world?
And truth be told, there is nothing wrong with being an imperfect parent, infact being such is actually perfectly perfect even if my illness tries to tell me otherwise.
I have been overwhelmed with so much emotion since Jacob unveiled his tattoo to us last night. My kids have been living in a pretty imperfect place for the better part of six years now and although my illness keeps telling me that I am a burden to my family and that they are better off without me this gift from Jacob has shown me that being “good enough” or being “imperfect” may just be the greatest and most perfectly perfect gift you can ever give to a child after all.
My heart is overflowing tonight. There are no words to describe how I am feeling right now.
This is Jacob’s latest tattoo that he got yesterday. The picture was originally taken while on a family vacation in Washington D.C nine years ago during the week of his 13th birthday (but he swapped out the Washington Monument for the C.N Tower).
Thank you for this incredibly meaningful and very moving gesture. You are always so full of surprises. 🤗🥰
November is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Canada. Statistics show that 1 in 3 Canadian women will experience domestic abuse from an intimate partner in their lifetime, but it does not stop there as it can affect people of all races, cultures, socioeconomic classes, religions, genders and sexual orientations.
Domestic violence is also a much broader epidemic than just that of physical abuse as it could likely include several other forms of abuse as well such as sexual, psychological and emotional.
Since the start of the Pandemic, domestic violence has become a Pandemic within a Pandemic once the stay-at-home-orders came into effect and with a big surge in job loss, unemployment, economic instability, childcare instability, housing instability and travel restrictions it has made it more and more difficult for many victims who have been confined to their homes with their abusers to safely connect with the necessary services or outside help including reporting to authorities.
Many victims are staying out of fear or because they feel trapped, both of which have been very likely scenerios even long before the Pandemic began.
Although there are many signs that someone is being abused, they are not always as visible to outsiders, especially with so many of the current living circumstances for victims right now.
It can also be very difficult to clearly see signs of abuse because most perpetrators learn the art of manipulation and control over their victim’s mind and emotions.
Signs of Abuse: -Bullying, threatening or controlling tactics -Controlling your money -Cutting you off from your family and friends -Physical or sexual abuse
Keep an eye out for these signs if you think a loved one is a victim of domestic violence:
-Excuses for injuries -Personality changes, like low self-esteem in someone who was always confident -Constantly checking in with their partner -Never having money on hand -Overly worried about pleasing their partner -Skipping out on work, school, or social outings for no clear reason -Wearing clothes that don’t fit the season, like long sleeves in summer to cover bruises
Lastly, if your gut is telling you that a friend or loved one may be a victim of domestic violence say something! Listen, ask questions and offer to help in any way you can. And remember, never judge another person’s situation or a decision that someone else may make unless you have walked a mile in their shoes. Empower them instead to give them the courage they may need to become stronger and more confident.
Today we welcome in the month of November and the good news is that means there are only 60 more days left until this year from hell will finally be over! But today also marks the beginning of Movember which also means that for the next 30 days men from all around the world will be growing a moustache in honour of their fellow men everywhere.
Movember, which originated in Australia is now a celebrated movement that raises awareness and funds for men’s health issues but more specifically; Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Depression and Suicide.
As we watch men’s moustaches grow we are paving the way towards critical and possibly life saving conversations to occur and reminding men of the importance of early cancer detection, making time for annual check-ups, getting more active and essentially decreasing the amount of preventable deaths.
From a young age some boys are taught (whether it be culturally, generationally or socially) that a “real man” shouldn’t cry, that a “real man” can’t show fear, that being compassionate is somehow a character flaw and that acting anything less than a tough guy is a sign of weakness.
These untruths only feed more and more into the many toxic masculine aggressions and can also lead many men towards feelings of “self-reliance and emotional repression”, both of which can very likely produce an increase in mental health problems such as Depression and Suicide.
A man with such toxic character traits may also make it much less likely that they will seek medical and/or psycholgical help for themselves and could therefore lead to a much shorter life span.
When I came upon this picture the other day (see attached) of the soon to be “President of the United States!!!” and his son Hunter Biden, I saw a picture of courage and strength, I saw a picture of acceptance and understanding, I saw a picture of forgiveness and I saw an unconditional love between a father and his son.
This picture went viral but sadly it did so for all the wrong reasons. Some individuals (to remain nameless) mocked and shamed this portrait as a toxic portrayal of how a “real man” should act and they are sending a very misguided and scary message to the world; especially to the most vulnerable and most impressionable young men among us.
I wish they could see what I see when I look at this picture and I wish that they could see how having the gift of a strong male role model in a young boy’s life could set the bar higher towards a society where men are embraced for their vulnerability instead of their toughness. We could sure use more men like that in the world right now.
Let’s “change the face of men’s health” (Movember’s motto) and squash the stereotypes by supporting and encouraging all men to see this picture through that same lens.