2020

I’ve always loved the idea of new beginnings. Fresh starts. Next chapters. The thrill of reinvention, rebirth; wiping the slate clean.

We, as humans, give time meaning. We have followed the movements of the moon and the sun and other stars for as long as we have been on earth. The sunrise always means a new day, a time to start again. So does spring. All living things have a season – us included.

2020 feels special to me. I am so aware of my patterns now, both the destructive ones and the positive ones, and I am looking forward to actively and purposefully making changes.

I need to let myself breathe. I need to be just fine with existing. I am not worthless because I don’t have a job. I am more than my depression; I am more than my anxiety. I am allowed to rest without feeling guilty.

I am doing the best I can with what I have.

I cannot control others, and that is okay. I only control what I do and what I think. I want to embrace others and see them for who they are, not for what they can be or who I want them to be. This part is difficult, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. I have fallen in love with others’ potential so many times, it’s kind of embarrassing. But now that I see this so clearly about myself, I can actively work toward accepting people as they are.

I also know I can’t be hopeful and optimistic all the time. Cycles exist for a reason. Even with medication and therapy, I have dark days. Sometimes I feel bogged down and sad and grey. For me, ‘pushing through’ with a smile just doesn’t work. So, when I can, I let it hurt. I feel the blackness, the loneliness, the despair.

The sun pokes through eventually.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Mettle

My emotions have been VERY BIG lately. Overwhelming. A towering wave crashing over me, again and again, not caring that I’ve fallen over and I’m struggling so bad to get back up. I feel sad. I feel lonely. I look back over this year and I dwell on the things I should have done, the things I didn’t do. The negatives seem to outweigh the positives, but as I want to be more forgiving to myself, I’ll list the positives:

  • The creative writing course I completed
  • Ending a romantic relationship that was headed nowhere
  • Reconnecting with old friends
  • Making an effort to build new friendships
  • Practicing patience in the face of frustration

I have a physical journal that I keep. It’s leather-bound and quite beautiful. It was a gift to myself in the spring of 2016, to honour the ending of a chapter in my life and the beginning of a new one (as a single woman for the first time in almost a decade and as a mother). I have to be in a special sort of mood to read the oldest entries. I’d love to give that version of myself a big hug. I fell in love with someone, in those early days – someone selfish, controlling, and utterly broken inside – and the thing he said he admired most about me is my perseverance.

The concept has stuck with me: to persevere. I’ve felt so low, so terrible, so bleak. I’ve wanted to give up so many times. I get so exhausted and don’t want to fight anymore.

But I do. I’m here to stay.

So, dear reader, I hope you’ll stay too. Tomorrow is the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. Take time to huddle close and feel some warmth; be kind to yourself and to others.

Turning Points

Today I turn 30.

I struggle with milestone birthdays. 25 was a hard one, too. At 25, I was on the verge of a completely new life – single after many years in a relationship, a young daughter in tow. I came out the other side, obviously. I survived 25. I moved on. I did what I could to put the pieces into some semblance of a picture.

But 30?! I had all these plans and ideas of what my life would look like by now. A white picket fence sort of thing, with a doting, successful husband, a few children, a few pets. A garden. A front porch with a swing. A fulfilling career for myself. By 30 I would have all of those things. Wrapped in a perfect pretty bow.

I can still have those things. I know this. But it felt like 30 was a deadline and if I hadn’t achieved every single goal and dream by then, I’d be a failure. And so for the past few days, I’ve been feeling like a failure. I wanted to stay in today and hide from the world and not acknowledge anything or anyone.

But I didn’t. I went for supper with a few friends. We laughed and talked and had a good time. I’m glad I didn’t hide. I know ‘age is just a number’ and it’s ridiculous to think that life somehow ends at 30. I’m remembering to breathe and to remind myself that life now is good. Not perfect. But good. And that’s okay.

There’s loads of time for me to get what I want.

I am being very intentional about how I spend my time and where I put my energy now. I want love and compassion and reliability, so that’s what I put out into the world. I do my best to be kind and to be understanding. When I feel sad or frustrated, I take time to actually sit with the emotion, hold onto it; I acknowledge that shitty feeling and then I let it go.

It’s not easy, of course. I have a tendency to dwell on negative thoughts and feelings. Stew in it. Or push it down and bury it until there’s no room left and it all comes out at once in great howls of despair.

I don’t want that anymore. So I’m trying something new. I’m going into 30 with with as much hope and confidence as I can muster. That hope and confidence is a tiny, flickering flame right now, but it will grow.

I’m sure of it.

Intentions

Six months from now, it will be March 5, 2020. That feels very far away, but at the rate this year is flying by, March will creep up on me quickly!

So I want to write my future self a letter.

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Dear future self,

Right now you are feeling hopeful. You’ve been getting job interviews lately so that has been a huge part of your increasing confidence. I hope you are working at a job you enjoy. Remember to relax and breathe and still take time for yourself.

If you are in a relationship, I hope you are content. I hope you are loved, appreciated, and adored. You deserve it.

Do not settle! Put yourself and your daughter first, always.

Keep writing and try to be good to yourself. If you are going through a hard time, remember: this too shall pass.

So far you have made it through some hellish times and experiences. You are stronger than whatever tries to break you.

Love,

the September 2019 version of you.

Symptoms

Everything has been difficult lately. My anxiety has ramped up and my depression has, too. When I’m not feeling panicked about unemployment, lack of money, and familial relationships, I just want to lay down and sleep and sleep and sleep.

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Photo by Emiliano Arano on Pexels.com

I saw a new psychiatrist today for the first time. I told him, despite being on the highest doses of Wellbutrin and Cipralex, how my mental illnesses, but especially my anxiety, have been increasing.

Back in May I attended a busy, crowded school event. My chest tightened up, breathing was hard, and I broke out in a cold sweat. I had never felt panic like that in a crowd before, and it really freaked me out. Since then, the same panic ensues when I go to a store or to the mall, etc., so I try to avoid spots I know will be busy.

However, I’m a mom and I like taking my daughter to special events, like the fair. So there are a lot of ‘suck it up’ moments for myself that are supposed to be fun, but I can hardly enjoy them when I’m screaming internally constantly being aware of who is around me and where the exits are.

I got in to see my family doctor right away. She made the referral to the psychiatrist. He wants me to try Lyrica, three times a day, on top of the other two medications. Needless to say, I’m exhausted. Perpetually so.

Does anyone have experience with Lyrica?

I don’t know what it’s like to feel well.

For the past few days I’ve been feeling grey; colourless. I went for a walk. I read a good book. I spent time with people I love. And yet, the feeling remains.

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Depression is this insidious, oily, thick black smoke curling around me, clutching at the back of my neck. It whispers all kinds of mean things – you’re worthless, pointless, everyone would be better off if you were gone – and I try to close my eyes against it. But sleep brings too vivid, sometimes frightening dreams, so sleeping the fog and the ache away does me no good.

I would love to channel these feelings (lack of feelings?) into writing. I have a story to tell; I feel its claws. It is digging itself out of me. I really should stop fighting it so much.

That’s what I do, you know. Fight. Every day is a battle against something: the feelings I have about myself, about others.

I am tired. Again. I am scared.

It’s funny, though, how I’m afraid to break. I’m already broken. Lots of jumbled up, jagged pieces in my head. In my heart.

What happens if I embrace the broken?

Anniversary

One year ago, I began this blog.

One year ago, I faced my fear and brought my writing out of the dark, into the light.

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Spring is a time of renewal. The snow and the cold are retreating, making way for blooms and blossoms and warmth. Persephone has returned.

As such, my life is changing, too. Lately I feel a lot more unburdened, lighter; like I can take a deep breath and exhale.

My daughter is getting older and more independent (she’ll be eight years old this year). Watching her discover and delve into her interests; navigate friendships, experiencing loyalty, jealousy, laughter, and tears; makes me so proud to be her mother. I want her to know she can fail and make mistakes and still be a strong, amazing person. We’ve been through a lot, and I know life isn’t finished throwing hardship and obstacles her way, so I tell her as often as I can that I love her and I will be here for her, always.

Over these past few months I have discovered a lot about myself: what I want, and what I’m capable of. My heart is full of hope and I’m excited about what’s next.

2019

A brand new year means fresh starts and new beginnings. I don’t make resolutions (because I rarely, if ever, keep them) but I do take the time to sit back and evaluate where I am, what I’m doing, and what I can change.

First and foremost is my mental health and well-being. My current medications are working in a way that makes me feel more ‘even.’ There are still emotional highs and lows but the lows are a lot more manageable, which is a relief. I feel better equipped to be a more positive daughter, mother, and friend.

This year I want to do more things for myself. I have always wanted to take a creative writing class or course, but over the years I have dismissed the idea as a waste of time. All of the courses I took in university and college were specifically geared toward attaining the credits needed to complete the programs or degree; I was too hesitant and too afraid to do something solely for nurturing my passion: writing.

Two weeks ago, I bit the bullet and signed up for an online creative writing workshop. I’ll be able to see the first assignment today and I’m really excited. I’m looking forward to honing my craft, discussing ideas, offering and receiving constructive criticism, all in the hopes of becoming a better writer.

I feel good. I haven’t felt like this in a long time, so I’m holding it close and enjoying the warmth.

29

I have been feeling poorly lately. Battling a sore throat, sore ears, congested head, and a hacking cough has drained me of what little energy I usually have.

My mind feels cloudy and detached, but a ray of sunshine arrives tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I turn 29.

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This birthday is A BIG DEAL, my friends. The last year of my twenties begins. Now, I realize time is arbitrary and does not exist as linear as we tend to perceive, but since when has that stopped me from dwelling on the past and worrying constantly about the future?

I have a difficult time living in the moment. I would like to change that.

I hope to try that, tomorrow; living in the moment.

Last year, I kept it lowkey and went to dinner with a couple good friends. I was working in an office, grateful to have a job three months after graduating college. The person I was seeing gave me a gigantic stuffed animal for my birthday gift.

Little did I know, that job and that relationship would be factors in a breakdown roughly three months down the road.

Funny, isn’t it, what we don’t see coming? Yet, in hindsight, the issues are glaringly obvious. The things we told ourselves are ‘no big deal’ turn out to be the huge red flags waving around, all but shouting, ‘pay attention!’

If, if, if…

Time to stop living in the past.

Time to be kinder to myself.