Reality TV Show: The White House Unvensored

Let me first begin by reiterating to you just how much I love Reality TV (Read my Blog “I’m A Reality TV Junkie”; Aug 5, 2020). It’s one of the greatest escapes ever except lately I think I may have crossed the line between Reality TV and real life.  

Each week my PVR is set without fail to record many (many) hours of the chaos and drama of someone else’s life as a way of trying to escape from my own daily chaos and drama. It’s become a welcomed distraction and has also become a perfect way to escape from my own burdensome thoughts and refocus my attention somewhere else. 

However, for the last week or so I have found myself engrossed in a new Reality show of sorts, only this time it appears that while watching this show I am unable to distract myself from my own life and it has quickly turned into a very toxic and burdensome obsession.

In all honesty I have a very addictive personality and I am very prone to “Behaviour Based Addictions” which according to Wikipedia is when you “combine a behaviour with a mental state and the repeated routine is therefore associated with the mental state”.

This very toxic and burdensome obsession has now left me with even more sleepless nights than usual, anxious beyond words, crippled with fear, angry as f*ck and not to mention very behind on my nighttime viewing of the many (many) Reality TV shows I tape each week because I just can’t stop watching CNN or checking my Twitter feeds in order to find out what the President of the United States has said or done now. 

My intentions for writing this is not to start any kind of a political debate or a war of words between friends but I just wanted to share my thoughts with you because it’s probably safe to say that I’m not alone in how I am feeling right now; shit I’m not even an American citizen, yet I’m feeling quite traumatized and very, very sad. 

This is not a Reality Show that any one of us can truly watch these days in order to escape from their own real life and must be especially hard to watch for those who are living right inside the walls of this reality. I will say however that it certainly is oozing with more drama and chaos than even “The Khardashians” or any of “The Real Housewives” franchises but I am really looking forward for the season finale and “Tell All” (reality tv jargon!) to air already! My PVR will be set for sure!

#realitytv #behaviourbasedaddiction #thewhitehouse #donaldtrump #cnn #anxiety #mentalhealth #presidentoftheunitedstates #sleeplessnights #youareenough #youarenotalone 

The Five Stages Of “Covid” Grief


Throughout the Pandemic I have followed all the necessary precautions set out by the Government, by Science and by our Health Officials and although it may come as a big surprise to many of you but for the most part the Pandemic itself has not intensified my symptoms of Depression and Anxiety; infact in some ways it’s done just the opposite (I will save that for a later blog). 

My steady decline in my Mental Health over the last while has truly had very little to do with the Pandemic itself and much more to do with many other personal factors that were already there long before Covid-19 was ever a thing.

And although I have not allowed all the fear mongering or blatant disrespect, intolerance and judgment towards one another that I see every time I open up my Social Media feeds control my emotions I have grown more and more anxious lately wondering if life will ever feel “normal” again.

As I look back on the last 6 plus months I feel as though the Pandemic has taken us through many different stages, and when I examine those stages closely I can see that they are the same 5 stages a person will often go through when grieving a loss and for months now we have all been grieving the loss of life in some form or another.

The 5 stages of grief which can easily be transferred to life during a Pandemic are as follows: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness & Depression and Acceptance.

Way way back at the end of 2019 the world watched and listened to what was unfolding in China and for several months prior to it reaching the rest of the Globe, if we can all be honest here for just one second, how many of us actually watched in “denial” while clinging to a false, “preferable reality” that this virus wasn’t really going to affect our lives. 

And even as it crept closer and closer to us, we were still very much in “denial” as to the kind of impact it was going to have on our lives, but boy oh boy, it didn’t take long before our “denial” turned to “anger”.

We quickly (and rightfully so) became very frustrated and began to put blame on anyone and everyone we could. We angrily wondered how the fuck this could have happened to us and who would of let this happen to us all the while as we sat at home in self-isolation.

Then, as more and more information from the Government, Science and Health Officials came to light we entered into the “bargaining” stage of grief and started our negotiations with the experts. “So you’re telling me that if I stay home or stay 6 feet apart from anyone outside of my bubble or I wear a mask when social distancing is problematic or I use hand sanitizer and wash my hands constantly then after 14 days in quarantine our life can go back to normal, right?” 

Well we all know now that it’s alot more complex than that and our “bargaining” and negotiation skills have fallen short, which after months of trying to make the best of this very shitty situation our denial, our anger and our bargaining skills have turned into a deep “sadness” or “depression” for many people around the Globe.

Many of us have lost so much during this Pandemic and many of us have reached a point where their sadness or depression makes them feel as though this is a losing battle, that all our efforts are hopeless. It’s also made us question an inevitable future and our own mortality too.

But there is still one final stage of grief and it’s probably the most important one of all. If we are to find the strength to move forward and learn how to navigate life in our new “normal” then we must first learn “acceptance” of it. Collectively we need to figure out ways to proceed both cautiously and safely because “acceptance” will give us the power to control whatever lies ahead.

We all cope with grief in our own way and in our own time. We may not all go through each of the 5 stages, and maybe none of them at all but no matter your process we all need to remember that we are all in this together. 

#fivestagesofgrief #denial #anger #bargaining #sadness #acceptance #showkindness #wereallinthistogether #strongertogether #covid19 #pandemic #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #checkonyourlovedones #wearamask #washyourhands #sixfeet

Man Plans, And God Laughs

The other day I posted a blog titled “Socially Distanced Holiday Traditions” where I talked about how difficult the holidays have become for me over the last many years and how this year many of those social pressures, obligations and expectations that so often make it difficult for me to enjoy the holidays in the first place had been decided for me due to Covid-19. 

Sadly, it almost felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I could actually take in the beauty of some of our holiday traditions this year without all the added anxiety from too many social pressures, obligations and expectations. 

I felt way more in control and much less guilty than in holidays past and I was also looking forward to spending some (socially distanced) quality time with other family too, even if it meant having to freeze our asses off in the crisp Fall-like weather in order to do so.

But none of that ended up happening because just hours after posting my blog the other morning, Jacob came home from work feeling sick for the second time in just over a week (after being perfectly fine only hours earlier). This time though he had many more flu-like symptoms than the last time. He complained of body aches, chills, a dry cough and he felt warm to the touch so off he went again for yet another Covid test and then we waited, and waited some more in anticipation of his results while he lay locked away (again), alone in his room in the basement for what felt like an eternity (I’m pretty sure though it felt even longer for Jacob).

It was hard to think positively (or to think of much else) knowing what the outcome could be and knowing just how shitty he felt (I lay awake that entire first night convincing myself that I too had Covid! #anxietysucks). It was the longest 48 hours ever but thankfully once again his results came back negative. 

The whole situation made me think of the Yiddish adage “Man Plans, and God Laughs” and just how much life is truly so unpredictable and how quickly unexpected changes can occur in your life; big or small (which is basically the journey I’ve been on for 6 years now!).

I had the best intentions and the best laid plans for the first time in many years when it came to a holiday celebration and as I mentioned above I was actually looking forward to a much less overwhelming Rosh Hashanah this year. In the end it may of still turned out to be another very overwhelming holiday while we waited for Jacob’s results but at least we got to enjoy some quiet family time together (with Jacob on Facetime) and lots of delicious festive food (I think Jacob is secretly starting to enjoy being waited on hand and foot 🙂 even if the first chance he got to be released from what’s beginning to feel like a dungeon he bolted for the nearest exit up the stairs and to the kitchen!).

#shanatova #roshhashanah #happynewyear #youareenough #manplansandgodlaughs #goawaycovid #familymatters #itsgonnabealongwinter #wearyourmask #washyourhands #togetherapart #secondwave #socialdistancing

Our New Norm

Jacob called in sick to work the other day, something he has rarely done in the past but he just wasn’t feeling well. He told us he was feeling really run down, he had a case of laryngitis and he also displayed some other mild cold-like symptoms as well. If this had been 6 months ago we would have probably just given him some Tylenol or Cold and Flu medicine and sent him and his “man cold” back to bed but instead we sent him to go get a Covid test to put all of our minds at ease.

We can no longer just simply dismiss exhaustion or other cold and flu-like symptoms as nothing more than the “common cold”. For almost 24 hours we kept him isolated to his room in the basement while awaiting his results. We left food and water for him outside his bedroom door like you would that of a prisoner (and Hannah made him a big bowl of ice cream for dessert too) and we lay in wait with a feeling of panic until he got his results.

While we waited we also needed to discuss in great length what the possibility of a positive test would mean for the five of us and for anyone else Jacob had been in contact with over the last week or so.

It felt scary and very real. His test results THANKFULLY came back negative, but as we head into the cooler weather now and with the cold and flu season upon us, this is going to become the reality for more and more of us in the coming months and from the several stories I have seen on Social Media just one day into the start of the new school year for many of our children who were being sent home due to having runny noses, our “new norm” is certain to only add to an already very long and uncertain Fall and Winter season ahead.

#staysafeeveryone  #bettersafethansorry #covid19test #wearamask #washyourhands #socialdistancing #togetherapart #youareenough

Singing The Birthday Blues

 

So tomorrow is my birthday. I’ll be turning 49 so no big milestone or anything of the sort but still it’s a birthday nonetheless and birthdays are meant to be celebrated. 

Age has never been a “thing” for me and to be honest it still isn’t, not even as reality sets in that in 1 year from now I will be leaving my 40’s behind forever and entering into a whole new decade.

Yet for more than half of my birthdays in my 40’s, up to and including tomorrow, the anticipation leading up to my birthday and the actual day of have been super hard for me. 
For many people living with Depression, birthdays are hard enough to deal with but the thought of spending your birthday in quarantine adds a whole other layer of sadness and anxiety to the birthday blues. And what’s overwhelming me even more about my birthday this year are the extraordinary expectations that have come along with having a Covid-19 birthday celebration. 

Millions and millions of people have celebrated their birthdays in quarantine already, both young and old alike and I’ve heard the same sentiments echoed from so many who have said that it was one of their best if not the BEST birthdays they’ve ever had.

Whether it’s the parades of cars driving by their home, the zoom parties, the serenades of happy birthday being heard from miles away, the bouquets of balloons and gigantic signs set out on their front lawns letting everyone in the neighborhood know that it’s your birthday, the homemade cards and giant cookiegrams being made with extra love, the presents left for them by the curb (who doesn’t love presents) and the extra meaningful and socially distant visits on their driveways have all helped turn an otherwise somber birthday into the most beautiful of days. 

It sounds pretty picture perfect doesn’t it? I mean like just knowing how far your loved ones are willing to go in order to make sure that your already very memorable birthday does not go unnoticed is super awesome, right? But what if the pressure to make an otherwise somber birthday the BEST one ever is just simply too much for you to handle right now?

We’re All In Different Boats


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. 

#bekind #weatherthestorm #youareenough #wereallinthistogether #strongertogether #kindnessiskey  ##mentalhealthawarenessmonth #covid19 #selfcare #virtualhugs #checkonyourlovedones 

Mental Health And Covid-19

Recently I’ve received several notifications that my “STATS” are “booming” on my WordPress (blog) site YouAreEnough (https://youareenough712.wordpress.com). The last time I had such a huge spike in stats like this was on Christmas Day and although I have a great sense of pride knowing that people are reading my posts and hopefully finding some comfort in them, I also know that many more are finding my posts because they may be feeling more vulnerable than usual or overwhelmed due to our current world crisis. 

Today on the news it was reported that there has been an increase of more than 40% of people suffering with Mental Health challenges in Canada over the last month especially anxiety related. That is some super scary and super alarming statistics but not surprising at all.  For most of society we are living in unprecedented times and not only facing a super scary and super alarming economical downfall but a super psychological one as well.

Being forced into quarantine has no doubt caused a wide range of psychological fear and worry for even the most seemingly high functioning members of society. If nothing else, being in lockdown can cause an individual to have low mood swings or irritability for sure but mix in some insomnia with a dose of physical exhaustion, anger, anxiety and depression and suddenly you have a whole different crisis on hand.

I am surprisingly quite calm when it comes to the fear that I myself or a loved one will contract the virus itself so for me and many others the increase in psychological issues stem mainly from the uncertainty that lies ahead and when we will begin to resume our daily life again and more importantly; How?  For many individuals it’s also not having their regular support systems nearby whether it’s support from a loved one or being able to go to their office every day or maybe for others it’s not having access to places like the public library or the school yard where they feel most safe.

But whatever the reasons are that are causing a surge in Mental Health issues right now just remember that you are not alone. I encourage you to reach out to someone you feel comfortable talking to whether it’s a mental health professional or a trusted confidant or someone who understands what you are feeling and while you’re at it, make sure you are getting fresh air everyday if you can and try keeping to as regular a routine as possible however that may look.

#covid19 #pandemic #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocate #stats #youareenough #noshame #startaconversation #youarenotalone #dontsufferinsilence #mentalillness #depression #family #anxiety #masksoff #checkonyourlovedones #togetherapart #stayhome #flattenthecurve #physicaldistance

Your Big Win

As another week in quarantine comes to an end tell me what your biggest win was for you this week. Maybe it didn’t seem like such a big win to you or maybe it wasn’t really a win at all in someone else’s eyes but keep this in mind; no one is expecting you to use this time in quarantine to learn a new language or to paint the Mona Lisa or to become a Rocket Scientist so don’t ever feel otherwise, not even for a second because right now our focus is to stay safe and to keep our loved ones safe.

So if your biggest win this week was that you got outside for some fresh air or fed your family scrambled eggs for supper or managed to find some time to work from home while tending to your 3 young children or you got dressed in something other than your pajamas or maybe you got out of bed before 1pm one day this week (that’s my big win) or for an added bonus; you made your bed then go ahead and give yourself a big pat on the back because you deserve it. (see blog; Make Your Bed: https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/make-your-bed/

But most importantly don’t forget that “we’re all in this together” and that being quarantined is not a competition as to who can learn a new language best or paint the Mona Lisa best or become the best Rocket Scientist. We’re all doing the best we can with the knowledge and resources we’ve been given and the only person who should be able to ever determine your self-worth is you and only you! Let’s try to not lose sight of what matters most right now and then every moment will feel like the biggest win!

#selfcare #youarenotalone #togetherapart #stayhome #checkonyourstrongfriends #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #checkonyourlovedones #winner #selfworth #kindnessmatters #nojudgment #noshame #wereallinthistogether 

Dear Diary

How many of you reading this remember keeping a secret diary hidden locked away underneath your mattress in your tween/teenage years? Boy what would I give to read those right now. 

I haven’t kept a diary for probably over 30 years now but since my journey began 6 years ago I have spent many hours expressing my inner most thoughts and oftentimes in the good ole fashioned way using a pen and paper. 

I recently took some time to reread one particular journal that I had kept during my very first in-patient hospital stay some 5.5 years ago and while I was reading it I suddenly realized just how important journaling can be. 

Journaling can help you create a relationship of sorts with your mind. It can help you to attain your goals, it can give you a clearer view of the world around you and may help you to make important connections between your thoughts and behaviors. 

Right now we are all probably dealing with some thoughts and feelings that we have never felt before and it’s completely understandable and 100 percent valid. Maybe now would be the perfect time to dust off that old diary or start a new journal. 

Think of it as a creative activity which can definitely be quite cathartic. It will make you more aware of your thoughts and behaviors and even help you sort out some new perspectives and shift a negative mindset to a more positive one.

I have been encouraging my whole family to start journaling at least once a day (it’s a great tool for everyone, even your preschoolers can draw their feelings). Let it be the place to leave your stressors behind, let it give you a sense of gratitude, let it be your voice to help guide you through this moment in time and let it be your history book; the one that will be talked about and shared for generations to come.  

#deardiary #diary #journaling #creativity #creativebrain #youareenough #gratitude #perspective #thoughts #feelings #behaviours #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #covid19 #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #selfcare #youmatter 

One With Nature

Socially distancing

On one of our daily and much needed walks recently we ventured upon a nearby pond. It was certainly far from picturesque; the small beach area was littered with tons of garbage and there was a baseball bat laying in the grassy meadow near to the pond that I presumed was evidence left behind from a brutal murder! (*When you suffer with severe anxiety and you love writing stories and you watch way too much Dateline and 48 Hours you will soon discover that you have a pretty wild imagination*).

But through that same wild imagination I have discovered a place that is peaceful and calm. I have found myself drawn to this place, I have found my mind wandering off to this place during difficult moments in my day (and there are plenty), I have found myself imagining what it will soon look like when the April showers blossom into May flowers and the leaves return to the naked trees and I have also found myself wanting to visit it every day since. 

Now is the perfect time for everyone to discover just how beautiful and valuable nature truly is. Now that the world has slowed down it’s the perfect time to let nature inspire you and see how spirited it truly is. And maybe as we all take the time to discover nature for what it truly is then maybe we will all be able to rediscover our own beauty and value that may be hiding deep within us.

#nature #beauty #peace #calm #summerofrichcoronastyle #getoutside #theairisfresher #spirited #growth #slowdown #timetosmelltheroses #dailywalks #youareenough #anxiety #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #selfcare #discover #rediscover #mindfulness #picturesque #togetherapart #sociallydistancing #eventheducksare @dateline @48hours 

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