Let’s Talk!

With the upcoming annual Let’s Talk (Bell’s campaign on mental health awareness and breaking down the stigma), I can’t help but use this time of the year as a personal check-point. They picked an excellent time of the year for me – Christmas is now over and seems far away (even though we have yet to take down our decorations – today, I promise) and the days are still at it’s darkest. The new year is ahead of us which can be a very scary thing for those who suffer from depression and anxiety.

Looking back this past year I admit I have not done a great job in trying to keep my mental health in check. I have allowed myself to get overly stressed at work. I have been moody to my family. And I have not allowed enough time for myself, you know, to do a variety of little things which gives me small moments from this world – like reading or blogging!

(Both these two things I have gotten back into during December and I’m hoping to continue as long as I can).

My awareness of myself, however, has been steady. I am as honest as I can be to myself.

I was never ‘medically classified’ as having anxiety and depression. I never went to some clinic to do a series of test. But I have been to therapy and I know that what I have is not normal. And it simply comes down to this…

I have to WORK at being happy. It is an everyday obstacle for me. Sometimes, it’s even an every hour or every minute obstacle. Some days I succeed – I’m able to make myself happy for maybe an hour or two. Sometimes a few hours! That is a lot. At least for me. And other days, I never can bring myself up to happiness. There are weeks where I give into depression. I just get so exhausted trying that I need a break. Or, I’ve been feeling numb for too long and even an evening of crying and then walking around all day with a heavy heart is better than nothing because at least I’m allowing myself to feel… something!

Let’s Talk” also lets me open up about myself to friends and family. About a month ago, I promoted it on Facebook. I even talked about it through my own personal experience! A couple of people ‘liked’ my post. Most either did not see it, felt uncomfortable to react or just read it and moved on. It’s weird. Only a handful of people know I went to therapy. And now I’m opening myself up on social media! Probably not the best way to open up but it’s a step. It’s a quieter way, maybe.

I’m getting closer also to talking to a friend who has always enjoyed really teasing me in front of others. I don’t mean the every-day type teasing we all do to one another when we’re in a small group. I mean the really embarrassing type teasing that mortifies me so much I feel like I can’t breath, my heart rate goes up and I literally just want to die right there and then!

Relentless teasing – of the same things over and over again.

I use to get so angry with him but I never knew how to bring it up! I want to shoot him down in front of everyone right there and then but worry what people will think of me. They might think, “Hey – Calm down! He’s obviously just joking!”

The fact is that he does not know what I have been going through. Or know what I’m still going through. And there are certain anxieties surrounding public situations that I don’t know how to handle. And a bigger problem – if I want to see some of my good friends whom I love, I sort of have to live with the fact that he’ll always be around.

So, it’s a big step. I basically have to prepare myself in talking to him before our next get together. And I have to do it in a way that lets him know that I’m not trying to lay blame. The hope is that he will understand I’m just dealing with my own stuff and all I ask is that he remains gentle towards my situation.

I believe he is a good enough friend to understand this. It’s just not an easy conversation to have.

guilty pleasures no. 70 – Christmas ornaments

Christmas Ornaments – I could actually write a post about Christmas decorations in general but I wanted to pay a special homage to ornaments. I selected the above image because of my obsession with D…

Source: guilty pleasures no. 70 – Christmas ornaments

Oh! What a tangle web we weave…

It all started with a very large flat screen TV, one in which my father had for a little over a  year, was replaced by the newest technology of flat screens – something about a 4K. The size was way too large for our small townhouse. But he did have another flat screen that would be the maximum width for our basement wall waiting for us for a couple of years now. Since Doug found a suitor for the too-big-screen-for-us, his co-worker, a fellow firefighter, the deal was this:

“Sean, take my father-in-law’s TV and while you are there, help me load the other one into the van. Then come and help me carry it in to our basement.” Doug arranged for a date when they were going off shift.

Sean asked, “Doesn’t your FIL want anything for his TV?”

“Well, you can offer him something but he really just wants to get rid of it. And it’s a 2 person job – he doesn’t want to do any of the heavy lifting.”

And both of the flat screens were very heavy. When Sean’s wife came home her reaction was, “Whoa! That’s big. Bigger than I thought!”

To which happy and ecstatic Sean replied, “I KNOW! ISN’T IT AWESOME!!!”

The thing is Doug and I will have to make some adjustments to our basement before we can mount our new-used flat screen up on our wall. And my family is always so concerned about him getting injured. Believe me, I am too. We may need to bride a friend or two to come over to help for exchange of a really nice dinner and very good alcohol. (Now that we are at this stage of life, pizza and beer doesn’t seem to be that great of an exchange anymore.)

My family, however, are relentless. And if they think for one minute Doug has no one to help him they will harp and harp and harp on us to the boundaries of one’s sanity. So to eliminate the process of harping which was, on Friday night, on the edge of happening, Doug said, “Sean’s coming over Sunday on the way home from our shift to help out.”

The problem with this white lie – I had no idea this was a white lie. There wasn’t any game plan between Doug and I to plan this lie. It was just a lie – an on the spot lie.

I said, in front of my family, “Really? Sean’s coming over. Huh. And when were you going to tell me this? I would have been romping around in my PJ’s when you guys come home!”

So this morning, I woke up early. I normally wake up 7:30 AM and wait for Doug to come home from his shift. But today, I woke up around 6:30 AM. So I could make sure our powder room was clean enough for guests. So I could do my hair, take a shower, put on some decent clothes. So I could touch my face up with light make-up, take Hobbes outside and put away the dishes from the dishwasher which was turned on before going to bed. After all, we needed clean dishes in case Sean stays for breakfast. I was about to grind and press some fresh coffee, too, so the boys could have a nice mug of hot java when they come in. I did a lot of things I normally would not do on a Sunday morning between 6:30 am and 7:30 am.

Then Doug came home.

Alone.

I asked, “Where’s Sean?”

His response, “Oh, he’s not coming.”

“What – tough shift? Too tired?”

“No.”

“Is he coming over another day?”

“No. I just told your family he was coming so they didn’t worry about me doing the heavy work on my own.”

“Oh. Wait… what? He never was going to come and help?”

“No. Oh – Sorry. I forgot to text you yesterday.”

“Doug. I woke up early and did a lot of unnecessary things on my Sunday morning thinking we were going to have a guest over.”

“Well, at least now you’re up and awake and got some stuff done!”

I don’t think that was really an apology. But I do admit it was nice to be up early and have the whole day ahead of me!

Hobbes the Dog had a good loot, too!

After posting our Xmas 2016 Loot post, I clearly forgot to add the most important family member of all.

Well, sometimes it seems like he feels he is the most important one of us all.

So here was Hobbes’ top 5 fave Christmas presents:

hobbes_xmas2016

Hobbes’ top 5 Christmas presents

  1. Kong Squeezz Ball – He actually has a red one but since he loved it so much, we figured he would get a blue version. And yes he did go crazy over it (from Santa)
  2. Top Paw® Hedgehog – This was probably his second favourite next to the Kong Ball (from Chaeli)
  3. Natural Balance Biscuits – He actually received two different kinds; Sweet Potato & Venison and Sweet Potato & Chicken. Hobbes is picky when it comes to dog treats. Being on a raw diet he prefers the real deal but for whatever reason, this is the only dog biscuit he will eat (venison version from in-laws; chicken version from Doug and myself)
  4. Stuffless Fox – Hobbes already has this one but he has no problem having another (see below of him cuddling with his newer version) (from my in-laws)
  5. ETTA Says Dehydrated Meat Sticks – Natural and dehydrated, he received deer, duck and rabbit (from various family members)

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Xmas Loot 2016

Oh it has been awhile since I’ve done one of these… here it goes!

doug_xmas2016

Doug’s top 5 Christmas presents

  1. Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Scotch – distillery edition (from me)
  2. 7-in-1 Wooden Game Set – nice travel set for our trailer (from Santa)
  3. Billy Joel at Shea Stadium Concert – 2-disc cd and also dvd of concert (from Chaeli)
  4. Black Helmet Trust Warrior fleece hoodie – no longer available; reads “Do not trust a warrior that cannot cry” (from Santa)
  5. Coffee Sleeves – for his travel tumbler so when he’s at the dog park it’s a more comfortable grip (from Hobbes)
chaeli_xmas2016

Chaeli’s top 5 Christmas presents

  1. Almond Cuticle Oil – she’s been asking for this for awhile now (from Santa)
  2. Chameleon Pen Set – amazing pens for gradient effects (from us)
  3. Grey Zippered Hoodie – like us, she loves her hoodies (from Santa)
  4. Grapefruit Shower Gel – now the bathroom smells like grapefruit after she showers (from Santa)
  5. Grumpy Cat book, note cards, postcards and stickers (book & stickers from Hobbes; rest from Santa)
shy_xmas2016

My top five Christmas presents

  1. eos Shimmer Lip Balm – been meaning to get this (from Chaeli; she also bought me 3 more scents)
  2. Loofah Sponge – always need a loofah sponge (from Santa)
  3. Seinfeld Season 1, 2 & 3 – starting new comedy dvd collection (from Hobbes)
  4. Sony Fashion Earbuds – for my gym workouts (from Santa)
  5. Kindle e-Reader – now I can bring my book around with me more easily (from Doug)