Everyday moments

  • Create A Shift in Your Thinking

    Sunrise shift in perspective
    Sunrise – A shift in perspective

    Perception is Everything

    How do you think a shift in your thinking happens? Naturally, organically, of it’s own accord? Does it need to be precipitated by an outside experience or event? How and when does your perception of a situation change? What causes a shift in your thinking? I often find that I get a new perspective from reading and I’m an obsessive reader. I love, love, love my books. Sometimes, it will be a movie that spurs a change of awareness, and often times it’s from a deep conversation with a kindred spirit.

    I Am Not Your Guru

    I’ve had many “a-ha” moments of sudden understanding or awareness in my life and I seem to be going through a phase where they’re occurring in increasing frequency. So, so many shifts in perception and my thinking. In fact, it’s one of these very moments that inspired me to write this blog, in this moment. I’m watching the Tony Robbins Documentary, I AM NOT YOUR GURU for the third time. It’s been probably a year or two since I last watched it and I’m amazed at things that I’d missed the first and second time, that are capturing my attention now.

    Tony Robbins purpose.com
    Tony Robbins from purpose.com

    Truth Hurts

    You know that thing you’re struggling with right now? Probably just popped into your head, whatever that thing is for you. If it didn’t, you’re likely consciously avoiding letting yourself think about it. One might even go so far as to say that you’re in denial about it. ūüėČ Do yourself a favour and let it surface because there’s a serious shift in your thinking waiting for you in this.

    Whatever you’re struggling with, I’m willing to bet that you’re blaming someone else for it and holding someone else accountable. It’s so much easier to blame them than take responsibility for it ourselves. If we take responsibility for it, we have to do something about it, or chose not to as the case may be. Here’s the kicker, you’re giving your power away to them, AND, they probably have no idea, nor do they care, that they’re seemingly holding the cards of your life right now.

    I know it may suck to hear this, but I’ve lived this so I totally get it. I blamed my depression, anxiety and PTSD on some ill begotten friends of my brothers who made incredibly poor choices about how to behave with me as a 10 year old and proceeded to blame them until I was in my 40’s.

    Like I said, I get it.

    this is what depression looks like
    This is what depression looks like.

    The Shift in Your Thinking

    Here’s where the shift in your thinking happens. Whether your struggle is with your financial issues (that you may be blaming your parents for because they controlled the money and didn’t teach you how to have a relationship with it), or for the women-men issues (because you didn’t get the love you craved from your dad so you’ve spent much of your adult life placing that burden on your spouse), or for the men-perhaps the opposite, being mom issues (I can’t specifically speak to this one but it’s likely the same as the daddy issues we women tend to have), or the whole insecure, self worth, self esteem issue (that I blamed those boys for). Yes, those are all my real life issues I’ve worked through, aside from the mom-son dynamic obviously.

    Whatever you’re blaming that one person (or group of people for), you also need to thank them for. Blame them for the good, but also blame them for the (perceived) bad. Because whatever you hated about that situation/struggle/experience/relationship, those same elements have caused you to be the opposite/look for the opposite/create the opposite in your life.

    Stick with me here…

    My financial issues stem from me not understanding money; it’s value, it’s worth, it’s place in my life. As a child, my dad worked and my mom stayed home and volunteered at the Y. In my limited awareness that a youngster has, I saw that my dad had the money and made the decisions. If I asked for something I wanted, such as the clothes that the cool kids were wearing (Beaver Canoe, Gender Benders, Tretorns, Roots, etc.) I was made to feel guilty for wanting those things, selfish for asking for those things, and ultimately that I didn’t deserve to have those things. Tell me that doesn’t mess you up to have those (unconscious) beliefs running in the background all your freakin’ life!

    The Flip Side

    The flip side of feeling negative about the lessons learned from my dad (like men control the money, and I’m not worthy of having money). The shift in thinking came when I realized that I learned positive lessons from his as well, like the fact that I have a great credit rating (because I’m good at paying my debts). The problem is that we tend to focus on the negative, like way too much, and flat out deny any good that came from the situation.

    Another Example

    I mentioned the bit about my brother’s friends and without getting into all that here (my book is available on this website if you’re interested in the rest of the story). For years, and I mean years, they had power over me, first because I didn’t tell anyone until I was in my late 30’s, and secondly because I allowed them to have that power. Once I started working with a therapist, I was able to reframe those experiences and what they meant, but that’s in the book too.

    Rewriting Life An Introvert's Journey: Finding Peace & Perspective Through the Denial & Depression
    Rewriting Life An Introvert’s Journey: Finding Peace & Perspective Through the Denial & Depression

    Blame Game

    My point here is that I blamed them for my low self esteem, fear of life in generally, fear of people, my shyness, low self worth, insecurities with males in general, I could go on. It was supremely beneficial for me to take back my power but also even more powerful to be able to blame them for the good. The early experiences shaped the person I am today and allow me to lead with compassion and empathy for people almost like it’s a default setting.

    But also, and perhaps even more amazing, is that those experiences taught me to treat people better. To never want to put someone in a difficult situation, make anyone feel uncomfortable, or take advantage of anyone. I thank them for making me an advocate for mental health issues, respectful treatment of each other and empowering women, and men, to make better choices. It taught me to seek out and create a marriage that is kind, respectful and nurturing, where there is a balance of power and no one is over powering the other.

    The Gift

    I’m so much better of a person now than I would’ve ever been had those (traumatic at the time) experiences not ever happened to me.

    A shift in your thinking, looking for the positive lessons that you’ve learned from those you blame for the negative, will change your life. It will create space to breathe where there was restriction before. It will allow lightness where there was heaviness, and will open you to new levels of healing, of love and forgiveness that you never thought was possible.

    I would not have the drive, the compassion or the perseverance I have today if it weren’t for my life experiences when I was younger, and for that,¬†I am eternally grateful. I happily “blame” my dad, my¬†brother’s friends, and every other seemingly negative experience¬†I’ve ever had for making me who¬†I am today.

    Jennifer Grigg

     

     

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  • Depression and Anxiety Do Not Have To Be A Life Sentence

    My Journey - Jennifer Grigg

    Five years ago I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder (it was MAJOR, and it was¬†DEPRESSING and I was completely OUT OF ORDER), generalized anxiety disorder (yes, I was a¬†little high strung…ok a lot…and…a lot of the time…and about pretty much everything), social anxiety disorder (so much for always blaming it on my introversion), PTSD (that one is a real bitch to deal with) and as if that wasn’t all bad enough, I was also gifted with something called PMDD premenstrual dysmorphic disorder (because PMS wasn’t enough, I apparently needed to super size it.) For some, receiving that info may have been devastating, but for me it was validation for why I’d endured a lifetime of low self worth, low self esteem and no self confidence….and REALLY hated parties and social gatherings of any and all types. Normal for introverts but this was extreme.

    I can make fun of it now, but that’s because I have enough distance from it to see it from a different perspective. A perspective that was absolutely not available to me during the better part of my life while I was deep into the quagmire of mental health issues.

    I deeply respect and fully appreciate the struggle of those who are going through any mental health issues/challenges/battles now and will absolutely hold space for any soul that reaches out to me. I get it. I’ve been there and done that. I looked into the abyss and if it weren’t for the two beautiful humans that I birthed into this world, I wouldn’t be here today. As much as I wanted the incessant torment and inner turmoil to end, I just could not leave them.

    The diagnosis served as acknowledgement from a mental health professional (a psychiatrist) and an explanation of why I always felt like I was inherently and hopelessly flawed. It all tracked back to a difficult childhood that I’d kept to myself until I was in my late 30’s. I had vehemently decided I’d take it to my grave rather than ever tell anyone. Little did I know, the memories that I’d buried so deeply started to bubble to the surface and demanded to be seen, felt, heard, relived and ultimately faced and released.

    Thus began the real journey… I’d been on and off antidepressants over the years (I’m med free and doing beautifully), I wrote and self published a book about my journey, I walked away from jobs – most recently my career highlight and most-money-I’ve-ever-made job (because ironically it didn’t fulfill me) with nothing other than a steadfast commitment to following my bliss – and I decided to start a coaching business from scratch. I left my job December 1, and have been busy building my business ever since.

    How I desire to be of service is this:

    I’ve learned to do things that I once thought were impossible. I want to help others do the same.

    Depression and anxiety do not have to be life sentences, we’ve just been conditioned to think they do.

    An unfulfilling job doesn’t have to hold you hostage, we just think it does.

    You can’t make money by just being you. Why not?? I’m out to prove this one wrong right now.

    I’m of the mindset that when I hear “you can’t do that”, whether it’s from someone else or my own mind talking trash, my automatic response now is, “Oh ya? Watch me.”¬†

    “When the voice on the inside becomes louder and clearer than the voices on the outside, that’s when you know you’re onto something good.” Dr. John Demartini.

     

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  • The Hard Part of Follow Your Bliss

    Cup of coffee to start the day
    Morning coffee

    It’s Wednesday and I woke up feeling tired. It’s not exactly in line with my living mantra of Follow Your Bliss, but it’s real life.

    I’m often awake around 3-4am, but I think it was closer to 4:30 this morning because the birds were chirping. I managed to fall back asleep around 5:30 and slept til 8, which felt really late to me. Maybe that’s where my day went a little sideways. I wasn’t even out of bed and I was already feeling behind in my day. In hindsight, I should’ve just stayed put and let myself enjoy the space of nothingness. Or at least grabbed my journal and dumped the negative thoughts that were starting to pile up in my brain on paper so as not to completely derail my day.

    I jumped out of bed, made my coffee, and headed for the couch and my laptop. Big Mistake. Scratch that, not a mistake – because I don’t believe in mistakes or in doing things wrong – I believe everything happens for a reason and it all teaches us something if we’re willing to see the lesson. In it’s simplest form, it teaches us to not do that again, whatever that happened to be. We make a choice or a decision and there’s a result that comes from that decision, which we either like or we don’t. In my case, my choice to go right into work mode caused a ripple effect of….ERG! UGH! and F*#K! for lack of a better description.

    Today I’m yet again reminded of the life lesson (life lessons keep repeating themselves until we actually learn them and change the behaviour that causes them to appear in the first place) that it’s impossible to do it all and incredibly stressful to even entertain the idea.

    I’m a firm believer in the Follow Your Bliss mantra, so much so that it’s tattooed on my left arm in memory of my brother Steven. I know without a doubt that we are all here to bring our natural gifts forward to share with the world and light it up in a way that it’s never seen before. Each and every one of us has unique talents that the world will never see if we don’t believe in ourselves and share them – which means that the very people that need to hear your voice/see your creativity/resonate with your words – will miss out. YOU may be just what someone else needs in order to heal. That’s what Follow Your Bliss means to me.

    Follow Your Bliss tattoo on Jen's arm
    The tattoo

    The hard part of Following Your Bliss is the behind the scenes part that no one sees. Trying to learn a bunch of new things simultaneously, for example. In my case: web design, business card design, accounting software, marketing, branding, becoming savvier with your social media, email marketing, SEO, completing the courses and training that your new business is based on – health & wellness coaching, body language training certification, human behaviour courses and essential oils, preparing for new public speaking opportunities – always fun for those with any ounce of anxiety – and of course, the fear of putting yourself out into the world in a whole new way, just to name a few.

    It’s working all hours of the day, trying to juggle a gazillion moving parts and finding your way all on your own. The benefit to working for someone else is that you show up, you’re told what to do, you put in your day and then you go home. When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re on your own. There is no one there to tell you what to do and no user manual to guide you. However, I knew I couldn’t work for someone else which, by the way, is a key indicator that you too are an entrepreneur at heart if that resonates with you.

    It’s a powerful experience in trusting and having unwavering faith in yourself and there have definitely been times when my faith wavered. You need to have a burning passion and a ton of grit to see this through. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried (today as a matter of fact), I’ve taught myself more than I ever thought I could, and had times where I’ve never felt more alone (also today).

    This journey of Following Your Bliss is not for the faint of heart.

    Having said that, I’ve been blessed with incredible mentors along the way that have helped me immensely in my journey (that is, when I allowed myself to reach out for help).

    An amazingly patient and insanely talented young website designer named Daynna Hartjes A Daynna Life  helped me create this beautiful foundation from which everything else will be built upon.

    My very good friend and motivational guru, Shelli Varela Shelli Varela, who had me on her podcast (which was totally awesome) and is always ready to offer words of wisdom or a kick in the [email protected]* whenever I need it.

    The stunningly authentic and beautiful Tara Marino and the Elegant Femme community Elegant Femme, whose courses have been the catalyst for me in reconnecting to my truth and my bliss.

    Vanessa Van Edwards and Danielle Baker at Science of People where I received my certification as a Body Language Trainer along with a ton of knowledge and experience on going down the entrepreneurial path.

    These wonderful people brought me back to shore when my little boat, the SS Jenny, was adrift.

    Jen and husband looking at each other
    My rock

    Especially, my husband Earl.

    After deciding 4 hours ago that I was NOT going to do anything work related today because I recognized that insufferable feeling of swimming upstream and the need to walk away, I’ve just written an 1000 word blog. Is it really work related though? EVERYTHING ends up being work related on some level when you’re an entrepreneur. It’s either directly related to work or becomes inspiration for your work.

    I find writing to be cathartic, therapeutic, soul nourishing and stress relieving. It’s an opportunity to express my deepest thoughts, dreams, feelings and desires and hopefully connect with others through my words and perspectives. It’s both work and play, content creation and therapy, cultivation and bliss.

    It’s also – I’ve just realized – the easiest way for me to do the thing I’m trying so hard to do – inspire others by Following My Bliss.

    There is a flip side to everything we do in life. The yin and the yang, light and dark, expansion and contraction. What makes the path of Following Your Bliss different from the usual slog through life is that you’re Following YOUR Bliss rather than someone else’s.

    Jennifer sitting in the sun, following her bliss
    In my happy place – at home in the sun
    As tough as it gets, the inner light that’s guiding me shines bright enough to light even the darkest of times.

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  • Waiting

    What are you waiting for right now? Anything?

    Are you waiting for the weekend? Waiting to take a vacation, a trip, a get away? ¬†Waiting for the end of your work day? Waiting until the time is right to, oh I don’t know, live your life?

    I had one of Oprah’s “a-ha moments” about the whole notion of waiting while walking my dogs this morning ( I seem to do my best thinking when I’m otherwise occupied and not intentionally thinking, like when I’m dog walking, brushing my teeth, in the shower, cleaning the house…you get the idea).

    It led me to question why it is that we consider ourselves to be “waiting” for something. In an effort to narrow it down, I surmised that what we’re waiting for is often in the form of news, or information. Whether it’s good news (approved for the loan, offer was accepted on the house, got job we interviewed for) or bad news (the loss of a loved one, or a job, or something didn’t turn out the way we hoped).

    What exactly is happening when we find ourselves waiting for something? What is it about the wait that is so difficult?

    We think that our lives will be more complete in some way when we finally get the news. Yay! We got the loan, we can buy something and our lives will be complete, or yay! we got the house of our dreams, NOW our life is really complete, or maybe it’s that perfect-for-you job that you just got that will finally make you complete.

    Don’t get me wrong, I believe wholeheartedly in following your dreams and doing, being and having the wonderful things in life that make your heart smile. However, those things don’t complete you.

     

    If it’s not-so-good news we are waiting for, such as in the case of a loved one being diagnosed with an illness, or a friend that’s had an accident, or some other form of loss, our lives are essentially put on hold. We experience a heaviness as if the weight of the world is resting on our shoulders. We wonder how to even cope in the midst of not knowing, of not having the answers we feel we need. We think we need the answers in order to know what to do next, in order to continue to live our lives. But the truth is, you can only live one moment at a time anyway, and it will always and only ever be the moment that you are in right now.

    In either case, we think that a future moment is going to be better than the moment that we’re in. We’ll have something then that we don’t have now. The problem with that is, you’re missing out on the moment you have right now, and it will never come again.

    The loan either will come through or it won’t, you get the house or you don’t, the job is yours or it isn’t. It’s black and white. It is, or it isn’t. Either way, you can’t do anything about it until it gets to that point. So why worry about it? It’s in the future and you aren’t there yet. Let it go and enjoy where you’re at in this moment. Enjoy all that you already have in your life and all that you’ve been through to get to where you are.

    In the case of facing a loss, here’s my take on that. What I’ve learned is that we oscillate between the devastating thoughts of life without our loved ones, and what that will look like, and trying to come to terms with where things are at right now in the grand scheme of things. Again, we’re devastating ourselves by looking to the future, which hasn’t come yet, and we’re missing out on what could potentially be the last weeks or months with our loved ones.

    The wait does us in.

    So how about this for a change…let’s use the wait to be a catalyst for change. Whenever we find ourselves waiting for something; good news, bad news, the bus, dinner or our kids to clean their rooms (big hahahaha on that one!), let us use that realization to our benefit. When you become aware that you are in fact waiting on something, anything, take note of the beauty that surrounds you. Be thankful for what is already in your life, even if it’s the kids messy rooms (you can be thankful in that moment that you have kids and all of the love that they bring into your life).

    Here’s a suggestion; the next time you find yourself in the “wait” zone, use that time to do something that you’ve been telling yourself you never have time to do. ūüėČ

    The life you have is 100% yours. It can be as beautiful or as difficult as you decide it will be.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Week 4 of my sabbatical

    Greetings all! So this is the fourth and final week¬†of my month long sabbatical from work.You may or may not have noticed that there was no week 3 post. Week 3 was kind of a blur for me, complete with ups, downs, tears, laughter and a dance with dear old depression….but what I learned in week 3 changed my life.

    When I decided to take the break from work, my goal was¬†to pursue writing a second book, and to get all (each and every one) of the things done that I never seem to have time to do (clean closets, clean house, change my name from my wedding TWO years ago, paper work for my husband’s company, etc, etc.)

    I also took on a huge clothing order for the fire department that I volunteer for. (I had NO idea what a job that was going to turn out to be.)

    Having said that, you can likely already see what may have led to my week 3 meltdown.

    I set the bar so high for myself, I completely set myself up for failure. I couldn’t possibly achieve all of the things I intended to in the time I had off, which left me feeling like a failure. The bigger question though was what on earth motivated me to do that?

    After much contemplation, I realized the following about myself:

    • I have always lived my life from a place of fear and insecurity. Even when things were going well for me, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe not consciously, but it was always there in the background, as all limiting beliefs about ourselves are.
    • Due to my insecurity, I became a people pleaser in an effort to fill up what I thought was a fault in my personality. I tried too hard and often gave too much in an effort to prove myself, my worth, my value.
    • I chased after certain jobs thinking that they were the key to my happiness. I thought¬†a “career¬†in a certain field” was the missing piece of the puzzle, that the right job would define me and what I’m capable of, and without it, I would always feel incomplete.
    • I always longed to feel comfortable in my own skin. That was never going to happen when I was always trying so hard to be who I thought other people wanted me to be.

    I then realized the following about life:

    • Nothing external will EVER, ever, ever fill that void within you. You can only fill it from the inside.
    • If you are not completely happy with who you are right now, in this moment, you will never be happy or fulfilled with anything outside of you, be it the right job, the right house, the right spouse. It’s like trying to fill a sieve.
    • Your pain and suffering is an ego thing. Only the ego feels the need to justify itself. You think you need certain things to be happy, but if you¬†interrupt the incessant voice in your head telling you that you’re not enough as you are, and tune into what’s in your heart, you’ll begin to hear the still, quiet voice telling you that you ARE ENOUGH, you ARE WORTHY, you are LOVED exactly as you are.
    • We are all unique and therefore all have something unique to bring to the world that no one else can. There’s no need to compare yourself to, or compete with, anyone.¬†Comparing and competing is¬†your¬†ego talking again.
    • No two paths are alike. Honour your uniqueness, follow YOUR path.
    • The key to happiness is being present in the moment, no matter what you are doing in that moment. You will drive yourself crazy and miss all the important moments right in front of you if you’re always thinking about wanting to be somewhere else.

    I now look to my dogs for guidance. When they¬†sleep, they sleep like they mean it; they¬†snore. When someone says “walk”, they’re at the door and ready to go, when¬†they’re hungry, they eat.¬†They live completely in the moment and they love their humans with all their heart.

    …and they think I’m awesome just the way I am.

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Week 2 of my sabbatical from work

    The fact that I’ve just rewritten this sentence three times in an attempt to portray an accurate representation of my place in life right now indicates that…I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

    When I first decided to take a month off work, I had grandiose visions of  me spending time with some of the most inspiring people I know and using the powerful insights gained to write my second book.

    When someone at work asked me what my plan was for my time off, and I shared my dream with her, she replied with a laugh, “Sounds pretty ambitious.” My response was-in my head, of course-“You just wait, I¬†have this all figured out. You’ll see.”

    Ok, so turns out she was right.

    It was pretty ambitious of me. However, I’ve also come to realize that in life, doing what you want to do comes¬†after doing what needs to be done.

    When it comes to my extremely well thought out game plan of talking to people and sharing their stories through my writing, I failed to take into account the space factor. This may very well be an introvert thing-the need to make space in our lives before we can move forward and introduce something new in our world-but maybe not.

    I found that the first week I had time off, I did some visiting (ok I visited one girlfriend one day and spent time with family the second day), had lunch with a friend (same friend I visited with the first day) did some errands,¬†reached out to¬†some¬†university professors to send my first book to, phoned an old chum, walked my dogs (almost daily) and the rest of my time was spent on¬†catching up on the myriad “unfinished things” at home.

    Far from glamorous and even farther from ambitious, but it had to be done. When I first thought of having the time off, there was the vision of my super-awesome-road-tripping-talking-with-inspiring-people-and-having-inspiring-conversations thing happening. When I actually had the time off, so many other things came up for me that needed my attention.

    I had to get things done that needed to be done,¬†in order to make space for what I really wanted to be doing. I just cannot sit down and relax, never mind write, if the house is a mess or there’s something nagging at me that I know needs to be done. So there, first week off was basically a get ‘er done week.

    This week, however, I actually had room to take on something new-and this will absolutely shock anyone who knows me well-dinner. I made dinner for my family on both Monday and Tuesday of this week, and surprisingly, I absolutely enjoyed doing it and took great pleasure in having my family together at the kitchen table to share a meal.

    Having said that, I also spent two days sorting and organizing my husband’s receipts for his business, but I’m convinced that conquering that momentous job gave me the added inspiration to tackle dinner.

    Today is Wednesday of week two and although¬†my first week and a half off didn’t go exactly as planned, I’m still happy that I made the decision to take this time for myself.

    I am getting a lot of things done that I wouldn’t have had time to do if I hadn’t taken the time off, and in doing so I’m making room for new things to come, whatever they may be.

    Raindrops on a leaf

     

     

     

     

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  • The Introvert Adventures

    So yesterday I did something I never thought I’d do in light of the fact that I’m a die-hard introvert. I went to a psychic fair with a friend of mine and her friend, who both sell home based products (Thirty-One and Zudora). When my friend first mentioned it to me, I thought “uh-no. I don’t do crowds, sorry. Introvert, remember?” But after thinking it over, and considered the fact that it was being held in a church (which I felt was a safe enough location-not too big, and likely not too many people) and the fact that it was a craft sale and psychic fair, I figured it was a pretty safe bet that the people that frequent these types of things would be of the quieter, laid back nature.(I had, in the past,¬†suffered from a social anxiety disorder in addition to being an introvert, so any type of socializing with strangers/crowds/unfamiliar settings would cause me a ton of grief.)¬†But not to bore you with that, I’m¬†apparently over it because I (shockingly)¬†had no issues with going or with being there all day.

    Aside from it being a fun day, simply because it was something different from the norm for me and because I was in good company, I couldn’t have anticipated the positive effects that came from venturing into the unknown for one day. Not only was it a great opportunity to talk¬†life with a couple of other soft spoken but hilariously funny ladies, it turned out to be the catalyst for change on a much deeper level.

    I joked with the ladies about needing to call in sick on Monday because I’d need the time to recuperate. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Introvert, we¬†need time alone to recharge our batteries after socializing. Heck, I¬†don’t let anyone talk to me for at¬†least 15 minutes¬†when I get home¬†because I¬†work in a¬†crazy and¬†busy building department for¬†the municipality I live in, and am a volunteer firefighter for (but that’s another blog-me being such an introvert and engaging in such an extroverted activity, which I love and have been doing for almost 20 years).

    Fortunately, I don’t feel drained at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Even more surprising was that one of my two teenaged daughters has had a friend over all weekend, which I would normally find draining, but it has barely phased me.

    My little adventure yesterday¬†allowed me to tap into a long forgotten part of myself-the part that often is neglected by women, wives, mothers-that part being ME. I’m so programmed to¬†see myself first and foremost in relation to my kids (as a mother), my husband (as a wife), our two dogs (as their number one caregiver/walker/feeder/cleaner upper- the hair and other unmentionables – after), housework (as the maid)¬†work (as a trying-to-always-do-my-best employee)¬†before I even think about or remember that there’s a ME buried in there somewhere.

    I honestly felt like a new person when I woke up this morning. I chatted with both of the ladies that I spent the day with yesterday, on FB this morning, and smiled at the realization¬†of how much I¬†missed having girlfriends. My introversion can be a double edged sword-I crave the solitude to help me maintain my sense of equilibrium but I miss out on forming new friendships¬†and therefore¬†don’t have many close friends, and even less that I actually go out and do things with. I thought I was totally ok with that until now.

    I’ve been¬†reminded of¬†the¬†gift of girlfriends, of being able to talk to other moms and wives about the issues we all have in common, to be able to share stories and experiences and offer suggestions, to inspire and empower one another, even if it’s done through baby steps, and best of all, to share a few laughs.

    I often joke about being a turtle in a shell, who every once in a while-like once a year maybe-will poke my head out to take a look around and see if I’m missing anything.

    Turns out that I was. Thank you ladies. ūüôā

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  • My Meltdown

    I had a “relapse” of sorts this week. I’ve been off medication for depression¬†since January¬†and thought I was motoring along really well –¬†that is, until the wheels fell completely off my wagon a few days ago. There was a¬†boatload of tears,¬†waves of frustration, anger and sadness all jumbled into one, and a couple of days spent laying in bed with a¬†killer headache.

    There were a couple of factors that contributed to my meltdown. There was¬†some stress at work, but the underlying trigger¬†was my monthly cycle. Yes, that cycle. Otherwise known as PMS. So why on earth am I sharing this on my blog? Because I’m sure¬†there are other women out there that struggle with this too, and¬†there’s always great comfort in knowing that you’re not alone.

    My¬†fall off the “I don’t have depression anymore” wagon¬†was Wednesday, and I landed hard. My husband was the one to point out that it might be¬†PMS related. Thursday I saw my naturopathic doctor and she explained that even though I manage fine the rest of the time, serotonin levels (the “feel good” chemical in the brain) fluctuate with hormonal changes and the drop¬†allows¬†the¬†depression to sneak back in. Apparently it’s common in women that have a history of depression.

    I was frustrated with the lack of control I had over the situation, but optimistic that the doctor had options for me that would make it manageable. She suggested a naturopathic supplement called “Brain Mood” to regulate the serotonin levels during this particular time in my cycle, and a vitamin B complex and evening primrose oil to regulate the hormones and keep my brain happy.

    I still have a lingering headache that I’ve had since Thursday, but I don’t need the ice pack so far today. Whether it’s stress or hormonal, there’s a clear message in all of this. It’s important to pay attention to your health and the signs of stress in your body.

    It’s also equally important to realize that we all have struggles and to take it easy. Sometimes we’re on top of things and everything’s fine and other times we feel like we’re swimming upstream. When we feel like¬†we’re in¬†“hamster on a wheel” mode, it’s time to take a break. Whether¬†that means taking a day off or just taking a walk to clear your head and give yourself some room to breathe, it’s time to get some distance.

    Progress takes time and we need to remember to be gentle and patient with ourselves. Don’t beat yourself up when you’re feeling stressed and don’t try to just muscle on through. That’ll only land¬†you where it landed me – even if you happen to be a male or a woman that doesn’t suffer from pms – stress alone will catch up with you sooner or later.

    Remember to do the things that make you happy. For me that’s usually reading or writing, but for my husband it might be watching movies. Whatever it is for you, make time for it and DON’T feel guilty about it. The happier and more relaxed you are, the nicer you are to be around.

    ūüôā

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