I’m NOT Okay, I’m Surviving

Standard

If you were to ask me how I’m doing, my usual response tends to be, “I’m surviving.” I’m not completely terrible, but I could be doing much better.

Each day is a small battle, to get out of bed, to get dressed, to go to work, to DO something.

My life has been really topsy-turvy. I’ve had “happy moments” sure, but I’ve dealt with a lot of trauma, emotional and physical.

You need to make the most of what you have and be grateful and thankful to those who are in your life to help and support you.

It’s amazing how emotional pain can manifest itself into physical pain, and any physical pain you may have been experiencing previous to the emotional can become heightened big time.

In between sobs, the physical “ow ow ow,” comes out. But you need to breathe into it, and try to relax. Find a coping mechanism that works for you.

I knew that someone was moving away, and soon. But I didn’t think it would be like TONIGHT soon. It still really hit, and where I’ve always been such an over-emotional person I tend to take things really to heart.

It’s tough wearing your heart on your sleeve. Especially when you get hurt your wound from the pain is much bigger. But it just means you have to get a bigger needle and thread to patch it up.

When I got home from work, I cried so hard I nearly threw up. The feeling of abandonment is one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had.

Everyone feels abandonment differently. A sadness, emptiness, anger. Each emotion makes its round, but it’s unknown when they each will show themselves.

It’s something that you usually don’t get any warning for, or very little warning.

I have been spending my evening making Facebook posts, expressing my general feelings and to bear with me as I’m dealing with this, but also that I’m grateful and thankful for those who love me and are here for me. I’ve received literal and virtual hugs. These people aren’t related to me by blood, but they are my family, from right here in my home town to across the world.

Without these people in my life, I wouldn’t be “surviving,” I’d be much lower.

Aside from the Facebook stuff, I sent a few private messages, and an email. I watched a few episodes of  Mrs. Brown’s Boys on Netflix to cheer me up and give me a chuckle.

In the back of my mind, I had the urge to be creative. A perfect coping mechanism. While I listened to my latest playlist, New, on Spotify, I started searching images online to see what I could draw/create. I’m an okay artist, in that I can look at something and copy it, whether it be an object in front of me or a picture I’ve found online. But try to take an idea from my head and I just can’t seem to get my hand to draw it out. Maybe one day.

Being creative is one of the best coping mechanisms out there. It keeps your mind to focus on what you’re creating, and you don’t have to be perfect. It’s yours to make what you wish.

In my Google travels, I decided to look up angels that start with “D,” to see what I could find. In my tea leaf reading, my reader told me that I had an angel watching over me with the letter “D.” What I found seems to suit me.

 Daemon :Another word for Demon. Daemon is one of two pairs of guardian angels referenced in Works and Days by Hesiod.Greek lore portrays daemons as caring beings.

My light within my darkness perhaps. I think he or she tapped me on the shoulder and sent me some energy full of creative motivation, and I thank them!

Here’s what I created:

1306590

IMG_20171021_213258991

IMG_20171021_215630421

IMG_20171021_220947520

(this last one is from Invader Zim )

Your guardian angel might be a best friend, a family member, a co-worker or someone who’s passed away or maybe you’re like me.. Keep in mind, there’s always someone watching over you, making sure you’re surviving.

Advertisements

An Afternoon at the Calico Cat

Standard

During the summer, a few of my co-workers and I were discussing going to the Calico Cat Tea House for lunch and a tea leaf reading. Something fun to do as a group, and something new for the few of us who had never experienced it before.  One of the girls made the phone call and booked it for October 20th.

Originally built in 1910, this character home has an exquisite charm all of its own; you’ll even find the original stained glass windows and fireplace. You are invited by the proprietor, Heather Frank, to come and enjoy warm hospitality, exquisite homemade food and even have your tea leaves read by one of our professional tea leaf readers! And, if you’re really lucky, you might even get a glimpse of our friendly ghost!

IMG_20171020_131114148

We all arrived slightly staggered. We were seated in a quaint little room, filled with artwork, little nick knacks, the ceiling trim filled with tea pots, cups, and oddities.

download (1)IMG_20171020_132227064

We each picked our tea cups from around the table. swapping this for that, “Oh I want that one.” “This one’s pretty.” The waitress poured our tea and told us to make sure we left the leaves in the cup. She took our lunch order and left the room.

I had a little bit of tea left at the bottom of my cup and I was trying to figure out how to drink the rest of it without drinking the leaves. So I  cleverly sipped from around the cup.

IMG_20171020_142128262

Our reader walked in the room, took the chair at the head of the table next to me, looked at me and asked to do mine first. I shook my head yes and proceeded to turn my cup upside down and turn it on the saucer three times clockwise. Every time I heard a “scrape” sound, I cringed a little as I was afraid to break the delicate cup. I then placed my hand on top and made my wish.

I can’t remember all of what she said to me, it is all pretty surreal. AND she got me bang on. Hindsight, we should have recorded the sessions or took notes for each other.

Here’s what I recall:

I’m not a mistake. I was meant to be here. I am really good at recalling things, especially when people think I’m not paying attention. She said it started when I was four, when something changed, something happened.

She said that I don’t like fake people and that I know how to deal with them. I have a big shield, and I know how to go around confrontation. I am going the right path, to keep doing what I’m doing.

She said I’m a writer, but I may need to explain things for others as my story can be a bit all over the place, but I know where I’m going.

She said I learn at my own pace. I do things my way. I need to take away the clock and I’ll get things done at my own accord. I get easily distracted if I’m always thinking of the deadline.

She said I like darkness and I’m fascinated by obscure things, but I can see the lightness within the dark. I’m to focus on the positive and not dwell on the negative.

She said I have an angel looking over my shoulder, name starts with “D,” and I have yet to figure it out yet. But I’m glad to hear I have an angel.

She asked if I had a question. I couldn’t speak, just shook my head no, saying, “Nooo,” still in shock, my emotional energy bursting through my body.

Damn hindsight! I really wish I could recall all of what she said. I was just in awe and shock, as she was telling me these things. My co-worker sitting across and to my right, she said I had a stoic look on my face during some of it. I didn’t say much. I mostly did a lot of nodding. I could feel the tears at the back of my head but they didn’t surface.

One of the other girls had a good cry. For good reason, she’s been through some tough stuff in the last few years.

Our reader went from me, on her right to the girl on her left and around. Each of us in awe of how accurate our readings were. We had a good chuckle at some of the things she was saying about each of us that were true that we knew all too well. The last girl arrived for lunch during the readings, and asked us how we liked it.

She put in her lunch order. Shortly after, all of our lunches arrived. We ate, and marveled in conversation about what we just experienced. We discussed a bit of work, being co-workers of course.

The bill came. We all lined up to pay each of our portion, and said our goodbyes. The discussion of possibly doing a tarot reading in the new year lingered.

When it comes to something like this, you have to keep an open mind and a clear head. You should make no expectations, just be there for a good time. There are a lot of people who believe that tea readings and the like are a bunch of rubbish and waste of time. Well then this isn’t for you. But please leave it for those of us who wish to partake!

It was an outing with some co-workers, a lunch and something fun, new and exciting to some of us.

They are a small tea house and they aren’t cheap, but they are reasonably priced. For a day with some people I care about, it was worth it. That’s what really matters.

IMG_20171020_160440310

 

 

Self Harm: There Will Be Blood!

Standard

Mayo Clinic: Self-Injury

*First of all please click this link if you think someone you know is harming themselves.  Or yourself. This lists possible causes, signs, and what to do professionally.

I’m speaking from my own personal experience. It’s a subject no one wants to discuss openly or publicly and it’s something that really needs attention.

Being depressed is not a choice! Our coping mechanisms are not always a choice either. Cutting or self-harm is a coping mechanism. When someone cuts, it’s usually to use physical pain to curb emotional pain. Maybe my emotions will become numb if I use this piece of broken glass, knife, blade to cut into my skin.

To this day, I still have some urges to cut. But I’ve found other ways to cope. Like anything, it’s not easy. Some become addicted to hurting themselves. It becomes their drug. They get high off of feeling the blood ooze from a fresh wound.

Usually the first time someone cuts themselves they’re triggered by something big that’s happened or is going to happen, a traumatic experience.

For myself, it was the news of someone moving away from me, and I was feeling extremely abandoned. I shut the bathroom door, broke a shot glass and started cutting on my arm.

The first time

I then became obsessed with documenting my healing process.

I was basically fully healed and then something else triggered me to hurt myself again. I don’t even remember what it was that triggered me to hurt myself the next few times. I just knew that I was sad and low enough that I wanted to bleed. I used a retractable knife the next few times. I moved to my leg just above my ankle. Then I went back to my arm again.

I finally made the decision that I wanted to find some way to not harm myself. I decided to get my first tattoo. Something that had a deep meaning to me. If I wanted pain, I was going to pay money for art that was going to last a lifetime and something I wouldn’t feel ashamed to look at, something to be proud of and something I could tell people what it was if they asked me.

I went with the symbol of my favorite band, Rammstein.  They help me heal. Their music is dark and poetic, and their fans a family. The title of their 6th studio album “Leibe ist Fur Alle Da” literally translates to “love is for everyone.”

IMG_20171019_124835980

My arm is fully healed. A few visible scars. Which means space for a new tattoo. Two of the members have side projects. The lead singer has a side project, Lindemann and that symbol I’m saving for this space. My other arm, which I have not touched with a blade, has the old and new symbol of the lead guitarist’s side project, Emigrate. The lyrics and title of the latest album are fitting here, “Silent So Long,” as I have been silent about my experience with self-harm.

IMG_20171019_124847909

I have become really close with my inner demons. They are a part of who I am. They are, what I believe, is my creativity, smarts, passion for all things dark. But I can see the lightness within the dark. My music taste reflects that darkness. It’s one thing that helps me cope. I listen to the demented, dark, poetic, hard riffed, growling and operatic voices of metal vocalists.

You need to find what helps you cope. You may be a huge country music fan. Start making a playlist of tunes that tap into your deepest most inner emotions.

For me, I listen to music, write, watch films and TV shows that are obscure and dark but also comical (either family friendly or dark). I enjoy drinking coffee and staying up late while listening to music while my mind projects its own show, or binge watch Netflix while I binge (working on) on junk food, another of my bad habit coping mechanisms as I’m a food addict.

Self-harm is a slippery slope of darkness. It can lead towards suicide. There are too many people who feel that killing themselves is the answer to their problems. But if they feel they can get the help they need, the love and support they need, to feel they are seen and heard, then maybe they would still be here.

Life is a balancing act. Trying to balance your darkest emotions with any outside love, support and coping mechanisms is a difficult task. But you need to keep fighting, you have so much to live for. Life has purpose, otherwise we wouldn’t exist in the first place. You just need to find your purpose, and it doesn’t have to be grand, it just has to be YOU!

Resources:

Crisis Centre BC: https://crisiscentre.bc.ca/get-help/

Call 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE), or call your local crisis centre.

Language Service: Both of the 310-6789 and 1-800-SUICIDE phone lines are available in over 140 languages using a language service.

Contact us:

Anywhere in BC 1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433
Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789
Vancouver: 604-872-3311
Sunshine Coast/Sea to Sky: 1-866-661-3311
Seniors Distress Line: 604-872-1234
Online Chat Service for Youth: www.YouthInBC.com (Noon to 1am)
Online Chat Service for Adults: www.CrisisCentreChat.ca (Noon to 1am)

Vancouver Island: http://www.vicrisis.ca/ 

Vancouver Island Crisis Line: 1-888-494-3888 

Crisis Text Services 1-250-800-3806   (6:00 pm to 10:00 pm)

 

 

Mindful Monday: You’re Allowed to be Low

Standard

As a human being, especially in today’s society, we’re taught to hold in our emotions, otherwise we come off as “too soft” or something. But, in today’s society there are more people than ever dealing with mental health issues and addiction.

YOU’RE ALLOWED TO BE LOW!!!!!

Don’t let anyone drill into your head that you’re not. Your suffering isn’t any worse or better than anyone else! Do your best to be mindful of your emotions.

Those of us suffering with mental health issues, our low points can hit us like we’ve been hit by a car. We’re doing okay, maybe having a great time even, and then all of a sudden we get slammed with this overwhelming feeling of sadness, anger, guilt perhaps, a sinking feeling that buries itself deep within our bodies.

As much as we HATE having these low points hit, we’re allowed and entitled to them. Those around us, who love and care, will have to be patient and bare with us as we try and cope with whatever we happen to be dealing with.

IMG_20171016_112712308

If we don’t allow ourselves to be low, these feelings will keep festering into further darkness and it’s hard to say what they can turn into. For someone battling drug and/or alcohol addiction, it could mean possible overdose or worse. For someone with a food addiction, like myself, it can mean checking the scale and seeing that your recent hard work has “gone to shit since you gained” and it can spiral into further darkness and more bad habits can start to take over.

No matter what someone is going through, one of the worse things to say is,”we all have bad days.” Yes, that may be true, but to the person who’s battling mental health, for them every day can be a “bad day,” and we’re lucky when we get what may pass for a half decent day.

Everyone is different. Everyone suffers differently. Those with “invisible” physical illnesses may be battling the emotional along with their physical. For someone battling both, having someone else tell them, “oh, you’re fine, I see nothing wrong,” it can put a huge damper into their recovery and well-being.

Just dragging yourself out of bed is a battle, and when you do so, it can sometimes be the only victory for the day. When someone puts that down, they put down that victory. Then we just think, “why did I bother getting out of bed then?”

If someone close to you managed to get out of bed, but still feel really low, congratulate them on their victory. Give them a hug. Tell them they’re allowed to be low and you’re right there when they need you.

Life is war. We all fight little battles each day to survive. Some are more difficult than others. It’s okay to lose a battle, as long as you try your best to fight as hard as you can. That’s all you can do. Even at your lowest point, as long as you’re going down fighting, you’re still winning the war.

IMG_20171016_112901182

Mindful Monday: Canadian Thanksgiving

Standard

Oct. 9,2017

Today is the Canadian Thanksgiving. I’ve been feeling extremely low lately and today I’d like to take a moment to be mindful and grateful.

It was my 29th birthday at the end of September. I did the whole Facebook party thing, invited a bunch of people, friends and coworkers. Something really surprised me. More people showed up than I expected, and some of these people even brought me cards/gifts, which weren’t a requirement, I was just grateful and happy that people showed.

Even at your lowest point, take a moment to reflect on the last happy moment you had. It could have been five minutes looking at a funny meme on Facebook, or like me, a birthday dinner that surpassed expectations.

These are the things I’m extremely grateful and thankful for this Thanksgiving. For the people who care, who take the time out of their busy lives to just “be there.”

I had a friend there that I haven’t seen in a while, she’s been really busy with her daughter and moving across town. I’ve known her since early elementary school. She showed up. (and knowing her, with some bath and body stuff as part of a gift) She let her daughter pick the card, and it’s fitting. I can pull the card out and “just know.”

There’s an old coworker that I got to know as we bonded over liking the same band, we lost touch a bit after I went on medical leave and she left the job. But she showed up, and with an amazing fan picture to boot.

My best friend of 18 years has been going through a really rough time in her life. I wanted her there if she could make it, if not it was not the end of the world. But she made the effort to find her way there. And we both hobbled ourselves back to her house after dinner and she got me a ride home safe. She already gave me my gift a few weeks prior, and knows me so well. Harley Quinn, glass tumbler and canvas picture.

A few years ago, I interned at (what’s sadly now dismantled) our city’s youth newspaper. I met this girl, we knew some of the same people via the creative writing program we both took at university, but were never in any of the same classes. We are still friends today and she’s given me an amazing freelance writing opportunity with the company she works with. We went on a small shopping day and she bought me a gift of my choosing, which of course was a Harley Quinn tumbler. A friend of hers, which I’d like to now call a friend of mine as well, hung out earlier in the day. The mutual friend couldn’t make it to dinner, but she did, and brought me a homemade card. Every card she gives someone is personally made by her.

817PcBzDiOL._SY550_

There’s this girl at my work, 18, a tad “quirky,” but gives good hugs. She not only came to my birthday dinner but she got me my now favorite nigh nigh lankie. 😛 (yes I’m a child, don’t judge me I’m almost 30 ) She asked me a few weeks prior, when I invited her, what I’d like for my birthday. I proceeded to tell her a gift was not required but she insisted. I said anything Harley Quinn and she said, “Spencer’s Gift’s it is,” in reference to where that lankie was purchased. XD She brought along another young coworker to dinner, whom I did invite and loved that she came. Mind you this quirky friend and coworker would have probably dragged her. haha

IMG_20171009_242325500

One co worker, of whom used to volunteer at a couple of the schools I used to attend, came to dinner and gave me an adorable card.

I got extremely spoiled this birthday, not only with gifts and cards, but with the people who came to celebrate. Including two co workers, mother (former but still works in the same building) and daughter, who showed up a little later in the evening.

Another coworker who showed later in the evening, joined for a couple of drinks, and brought along a card on behalf of another coworker who couldn’t make it.

I had three friends come to dinner, married couple and roommate. I knew what my gift was as soon as I smelled it… XD I’ll leave that there. I’m really grateful to have met them, have them as friends and glad they came and enjoyed the company.

In total I had 17 people come to dinner!!! It’s the biggest birthday party I’ve had in my life so far. Those who were not at dinner, and on my Facebook, (as well as most of those at dinner) wished me a “Happy Birthday” on my FB wall.

All it takes is something as small as wishing someone a “Happy Birthday,” to make a moment of their day better. No, it doesn’t always help, and sometimes they feel worse at that particular moment. But if they come back to it, it may just make a small smile on their face.

This Thanksgiving, I am so grateful for being alive, even though there are many moments I have “suicidal thoughts.” I am so grateful for the jobs I have, the opportunities I’ve been given, the accomplishments I have managed to achieve.

I, like many, come from a broken home. My father is not one for any kind of affection. Any card I receive from him, I believe, is his way of showing that affection. It’s the only time he says that he loves me. He’s joining my mother and I for turkey, which is weird and awkward in and of itself. But I still accept it. This was the birthday card I received from him:

I am grateful and thankful for everything and everyone in my life that wants to be here with me. That’s very hard for me to express sometimes, since every day is a struggle. A struggle to stay positive, a struggle to drag myself out of bed in the morning, a struggle to just “be alive.”

No matter what your struggles in life, know that you aren’t alone. Breathe, (it’s hard and easier said than done but try), take a moment to reflect on the small things that have made you happy. Whether it be a favorite song, movie, joke, meal, anything that can put a smile (we’ll take a smirk) on your face for even a split second.

What are you thankful for?

 

 

Mindful Monday: Oct 2, 2017

Standard

IMG_20170911_131533357

These things are easier said than done but still good to keep in mind. Life isn’t easy and being mindful can help deal with the difficulties you can come across.

I’ve decided to do a weekly post, Mindful Monday, to share with others and help me with my own mindfulness journey.  So I pose the question, What does it mean to be mindful?