Thursday, 27 February 2014

Inspiration for the Journey

When I was going through my inbox this morning I came across an email from a woman named Heather. I don't know Heather but I am certainly glad that she reached out to me.  This blog is about my journey....dealing with social anxiety, depression and the rest of the laundry list of mental health hiccups I am experiencing. Finding inspiration is a big part of my journey. Heather as it turns out offered me that bit of inspiration that I needed on my journey today. Ironically it comes from her sharing her own personal journey.  
Heather wrote:

Hi Tracy!

The reason I have reached out to you is because of your blog! My name is Heather and I am an 8-year survivor of mesothelioma – a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure. When I was diagnosed, I had just given birth to my little girl and was told I had 15 months to live. After undergoing a risky surgery, which required the removal of my left lung, I beat the odds and created LungLeavin’ Day as a way to commemorate this day that changed my life forever.

LungLeavin’ Day is held every year on February 2 and it is used to encourage others to face their fears! Each year, we gather around a fire in our backyard with our friends and family, write our biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire. We celebrate for those who are no longer with us, for those who continue to fight, for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life, and most importantly, we celebrate life!

This year, we asked bloggers to participate and spread the word about LungLeavin’ Day. We created an interactive page Lung Leavin Day that tells the full story of our special day. Although the day has passed, we hope you will still check it out and share it on your blog. It would mean so much to me! Please let me know what you think :-)

Kind regards,


I have heard of mesothelioma...but i have never taken the time to learn much about it. I just added it to the list of cancers that are around. I am a mental health blogger not a cancer blogger right? Well, not really...I am more of a chronicler, recording the things that touch my life. Today that was Heather. I love the courage and strength that Heather has shown in sharing her story. Please visit Heather's site. I hope it offers you a little inspiration in your journey today too. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Canadian Cancer Society

Monday, 24 February 2014

Rabbit Holes

My goodness how time passes. It has already been nearly two weeks since my last appointment in Kingston.

Now that I know they are reading my blog I will have to make an extra effort to be nice.

At my appointment, well I should say appointments as I was fortunate to have both the Psychiatrist and Psychologist booked on the same day. I have a story to tell you about what happened in the time between these two appointments but that can wait for another post.  Today I want to discuss the big realization that occurred at the second appointment.

My therapist asked me to describe or give an analogy of what it  is like for me to travel to the appointments. I have to admit, it is easier than it once was. I still feel queasy and have several mini attacks during the trip but I have noticed I don't grasp the steering wheel with the same death grip I once did. I don't shrivel and tear up if I have to share an elevator. (Though I do still believe it is going to plummet to the ground one of these days), I think that to someone that did not know what was whirling around in my brain at any given moment I might appear to be...dare I say it...Normal? Some Mental Health Advocate just between us, when I think of a definition of normal, my picture is certainly not posted beside it.

Oh, but back to the analogy of what it is like for me to leave the house. I said it is like rabbit holes. I am like a rabbit who has to venture out of their safe little burrow and race like hell to get to the safety of the next one. Though I like to think I am expanding my world...really I am just discovering new rabbit holes to duck into in order to avoid the perils of the outside world. The hospital where I have my counselling sessions is a new one, my camp ground...rabbit hole. When I am out in the world I am not really present....I am just in the process of running to the next hole. My therapist asked why I ran from hole to hole and truly the reason is that all I see now are the dangers lurking out there. He laughed and said that there are allot of rabbits that seem to be hopping around outside. Thats true but I see more rabbit fatalities around my house then I do happy little bunnies romping around.

I drew some sketches to explain what it is like. Forgive the roughness of the drawings, as I said in my last post my shaking and arthritis is playing havoc on my ability to draw.

So this is me. (If I were a rabbit of course)....
I like how safe I feel when I am in my home, where the world carries on without me, where nothing can hurt me.

The problem is that I have never been much of a solitary person. I love to be out with my friends and family (in small groupings) interacting and being apart of things. My poor Husband and Children must feel so smothered by me as I try to glean any human contact from their time out in the world. So I stay in to be safe but then I am so terribly lonely.

When I think about leaving the house and venturing into the world, every bad scenario plays through my mind reminding me why it's a bad idea. I know its my brain phishing me...but its really good at it and I get tired of trying to fight it all the time. So most times I just stay in the hole. He asked if I think the world is a bad place and without hesitation I said yes. Then he asked me if the internet was a bad place and again without hesitation I said no...there were just some bad people on it. I like the safety I feel from talking online. You can't hurt me because I always have the option to block you, unfriend you, unfollow or plain out delete you. Life offers me no such privacy settings.

I know that my perception of what lies outside my little burrow is likely not accurate, but trying to find out what it really is like out there just seems too dangerous...I'm not that brave. I think that may in fact be what is holding me back. Bravery was something I took for granted as a young woman. I never thought I would lose it. The thing is, its really easy to brave when the greatest of your fears is that something will happen to you. As you get older you realize that the worse thing that can happen is that something could happen to the ones you love. Like how Super Heroes are afraid to have families because they know the villain will use them. I am no Super Hero...and honestly I look wretched in tights, but I have that same fear....that the ultimate villain will use my family as a weapon against me. How would I fare when my faith is tested that far? It worked out ok for Job....but I doubt I would do as well.

What is the fear that is holding you down the rabbit hole today? Are you brave enough to face it yet? My thoughts and prayers are with you.


Sunday, 23 February 2014

Lost: Sunshine.......Reward Offered!

It feel like this has been the longest winter I have endured as an adult. Just when you think we could not possibly receive anymore snow...whooooshhh here comes another foot or so.  Last week my children only went to school two days. TWO DAYS? To think I sent them back to school because I was afraid my needing to attend therapy out of town once a week would make us fall behind.The little one also came down sick on Thursday so he did not go to school at all last week. I love having extra time with my kids but I have to admit I was really struggling this week.  It is like I hit the cold hard wall of winter weather tolerance and suddenly my mood took a complete nosedive. Every day that I looked outside at the bleak weather I felt myself spiralling back down into that awful pit of despair that we all know so well.  I also came down with a cold. I don't know if the cold brought me down or if my being so down contributed to my getting the cold.  It has been a really long time since the physical signs of my anxiety and depression have been so strong.  I actually went and pulled out my arm braces, something I have not even thought of using in months. My shaking is back to the crazy spill stuff all over myself level and the resulting pain in my joints from the arthritis has me walking around like a woman in her 90's. Its times like these that it is hard to feel like much has been accomplished in regards to recovery. I am right now no further ahead then I was this time last year. Except, now I have this lovely blog and community that reminds me of the days this past year when I did not shake, when I did not hurt, when I was almost back to me.  It fills me with a sense of comfort to know that you are all witness to my journey and to my triumphs as well as my setbacks.  Today the sun is shining brightly, the kids are frolicking in the snow, I actually put on my makeup today....and I am here typing this blog entry...all signs that things are going to get better again.  Come on Sunshine!!!!! How are you doing with the bleak skies of February? Push yourself to leave the house today if only for a few hours. Go and visit someone that you have not seen in awhile, chance are they may be feeling a bit down with the weather too.  My thoughts and prayers are with you always.


Seasonal Affective Disorder

Weather often affects people’s moods. Sunlight breaking through clouds can lift our spirits, while a dull, rainy day may make us feel a little gloomy. While noticeable, these shifts in mood generally do not affect our ability to cope with daily life. Some people, however, are vulnerable to a type of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. For them, the shortening days of late autumn are the beginning of a type of clinical depression that can last until spring. This condition is called “Seasonal Affective Disorder,” or SAD.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) | Canadian Mental Health Association