Feeling lonely when you’re surrounded by people.

I’m lonely.

There are six other people in this house and I am lonely.

And the more I read that I should be thankful that I have anyone around at all, the more I think that people equate having a family with having a cohesive family unit.

I’m eternally grateful for my family, but I think it’s important to note that just because they’re my family does not mean that we get along. It doesn’t mean that we act, think or feel the same way. It definitely doesn’t mean that we see eye to eye. I reckon a lot of families are the same. Just because you’re related to someone doesn’t mean that being with them 24 hours a day seven days per week is going to be easy.

I was watching Dr. Phil earlier and he said that, in China where quarantine policies have been in place since January, there’s been a spike in divorce applications. This made me feel a little less awful for how I feel. Because I’m not alone in finding it tough to be at home.

I love my family. I help them when they’re sick, I comfort them when they cry, heck… they go to the store for me when I don’t want to share germs. But, truth be told, this is hard. We’re inherently different in about every category except our genetics. When we each have our own lives, our differences strengthen us. It brings outside perspectives, thoughts, laughs. When we’re each stuck inside together for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, things get tough.

On the good days, I spend the majority of the time biting my tongue. On the regular days, our vastly different beliefs are causing spats, arguments or passive aggressive behaviours that really weigh on one’s mood. And, on the bad days, well let’s not go there. The point is, it’s not easy.

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean that you agree with everything they do. Just because you’re related to someone doesn’t mean that being quarantined with them is going to be easy. Conversations don’t just spontaneously pop up and last for six hours to pass the time in a day. Sometimes, even if they’re family, you really have to work at it. And sometimes you really have to work at it to make sure certain conversations don’t happen.

Why aren’t you married yet?

When you are you going to give me grandbabies?

Why must you always provoke me?

Yeah, I’m sure that you know the typea of conversations I’m talking about. I’m all too sure you’ve had conversations of your own, much like these, in the past few weeks.

Bottom line is, if you’re struggling right now, you’re not alone. I see you and I understand you. Don’t hate yourself for how you feel. We’re all scared and we’re all struggling. Even the people who are driving us crazy.

And yes, it is possible that it can be extremely lonely being in a house filled with six other people. Even if it’s only one other person in your house… sometimes being close together for long periods of time, for events such as home quarantine, well it makes people feel farther apart than ever before. You don’t have to be alone to be lonely. But, if you are alone and lonely, I see you too.

Quarantine Day 5,000

Dear Patrice,

I know that it feels like just yesterday that I was writing we were on day 3,000 and something. What can I say? When you’re in the middle of an International Health Pandemic, you really lose all sense of time.

My mom has this ‘schtick’ that she does where she pretends she doesn’t know how to use technology. Part of me thinks she does it because she thinks it’s charming to be the grandma who doesn’t know how to use technology, but mostly, I think she just does it as an excuse to not have to do things for herself.

Thinking I was being smart, I bought her a tablet of her own. Reasons for this were many, but most importantly because she could keep all of her accounts logged into, so all she had to do was open an App.

Today, I was informed that she broke her tablet.

Her response to not being able to check her bank balance? Not to use the computer, no. She’s just going to get in her car and go to the bank. Because… there’s no Pandemic ongoing. She’s not less than a year in remission. Who gives a fuck?

I told her that she needs to use the computer and not go out unless she has to. She told me that she has to because she doesn’t know how to use the computer. This started a twenty minute argument about how poorly I treat her and try to force technology on her that she just doesn’t understand and that she’s a grown woman and if she wants to go to the bank, she can go to the bank.

Yeah, you bat-shit crazy old woman, on any normal day feel free and go to the bank, I wouldn’t give a fuck. But today there’s a deadly disease sweeping the globe. I think you can handle logging in a computer rather than your tablet.

I got the computer out.

I opened up the website.

I said ‘Input your card number where it says card number, then input your password where it says password’.

All she had to do was input her information.

‘I don’t know how to do that!’ She yelled at me.

Feeling like she was just fucking with me to purposefully to make me angry at this point, I said: ‘You don’t know how to use a fucking keyboard?’

‘I don’t need your abuse’, she said, knowing that she was swinging low when she said that.

I took her card, I typed the card number into the computer. Then she proclaims she doesn’t have a password.

You literally cannot have online banking services without a password, but OHHHHHHHHHKAY.

This started another argument about how I always think I know more than her about things and that she genuinely doesn’t have a password. OOOOOOOHKAY. I left. I went downstairs to cool off.

10 minutes later she comes downstairs to:

  1. Tell me that she could have been to the bank and back already by now.
  2. Tell me that she now remembers her password so I need to log in for her.

Knowing she was trying to bait me to start another argument, I didn’t bite. I silently followed her up the stairs, sat down in front of the computer and waited for her to tell me the password.

She tells me that her password is her first and last name.

I told her that’s not possible, banks require at least one number to be used.

She told me that it’s her first and last name and that I need to type that in.

I typed it in.

It obviously didn’t work

Then she yelled at me because, and I quote, ‘Your attitude is appalling’.

You’re right. Stupid me, the stupid little Millennial trying to teach her mother how to sign into online banking on a computer so that she doesn’t go out, unnecessarily, in the middle of a health pandemic. You being less than a year in remission, you’re right, my attitude is awful.

She walks away, presumably to go stick pins in my voodoo doll. Upon returning she’s had an epiphany. She now knows what her password is and it’s not her first and last name.

She also now knows how to use the keyboard because she reaches overtop of me and types it into the computer herself.

MIRACULOUS!

She even knows how to hit the ‘Sign In’ button. When did that happen?

Being now signed in, after the longest twenty minutes of my life, she tells me to leave because she doesn’t want me to see her banking information.

No arguments from me. I left and came back downstairs.

Less than five minutes later she comes back downstairs to bring my my computer. Instead of saying thank you, or I am sorry, or even just saying ‘Here’s your computer!’ she opens the door and sticks the computer in the doorway and says ‘Come get it. And next time you want to force technology on me that I don’t understand, just mind your own business’.

This…

This is why we don’t get along.

This is why I don’t like being around her.

I love her. She’s my mother and that will always be the case, but we’re cut from a different cloth. The two of us in the same room is like mixing mixing vinegar into the jar of baking soda.

I’m the stupid spoiled millennial who abuses her and has a horrible attitude and she is the world’s smartest grandma who can do no wrong.

Quarantine day 5,000 has been a long one. And it’s only 2:30 pm.

1:30 am thoughts

I had thoughts, but honestly, quarantine brain is getting the better of me. I’m feeling disconnected from the people that matter most to me and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it in this time. I’m insecure and second guessing every decision I’ve been making.

I feel like this is a really accurate depiction of life right now. What people look like on the outside versus how they feel on the inside. Because I know I’m not the only one going crazy with this self-quarantine.

Quitting cold turkey

I’ve decided that I’m not going to take anxiety medication anymore. It’s just too tough on my body. And honestly, the withdrawals are even harder for my body to deal with when I don’t have them then the side effects are when I do. If I’m being totally honest with myself, I’ve been using them to hide from the sheer misery that is my life… and instead of hiding from it, I really need to learn to cope. This is my life, after all.

Addition after the fact: After reading some of the comments on this post, I am feeling a need to clarify. My decision to stop with medication is entirely related to my struggles with medication itself. I am a huge advocate for taking medication if it is right for you and if it helps you. I am not now, nor will I ever, judge anyone for taking medication. In my personal case, it’s reached a point where it is doing more harm than anything else and I need to make a change. I hope that you can understand.

I haven’t been sleeping lately. I doze off for twenty or thirty minute periods two-to-three times in the night, but for the most part, I just end up laying there. Perhaps it’s stress. Perhaps I’m just wired different. Either way, the nights give me a long time to think. I have been taking supplements to help me sleep but the supplements aren’t working anymore so there’s no point in continuing to take it.

Self quarantine has also given me a lot of time to think. Frankly, I’m not too happy with myself. I’m also not really happy with the people who’ve been taking advantage of me for far too long now. People take advantage of my kindness and it’s time I stand up for myself. I saw a quote that said “you can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no” and I realized that’s who I need to be.

Is it legit? Being mindful of emails that try to scam bloggers.

One of the most exciting things you can receive as a blogger is emails about business opportunities/partnerships. Sadly, a lot of these emails often end up being scams. But, in receiving one, you can sometimes get so excited that you’ve been sent this email you forget to look for the small details.

It’s important to be able to tell if an email is a legitimate business opportunity for your blog, or a phishing scam. Lately I’ve both received, and heard of, a lot of different scam emails being sent to bloggers. If you have a ‘Contact Me’ page on your blog, or offer your email address on your blog, you may have even gotten some of these yourself. Here are some things to look for that can help determine whether or not the request you’ve gotten is legitimate.

  • The email should be addressed to you, not to the name of your blog, or a generic phrase such as ‘dear customer’. If you do not provide a first name on your blog, a legitimate business request will include them introducing themselves and asking for your first name
  • The email should have proper spelling and grammar. (This email I’ve included as example is a hot mess) Scams will often exchange ‘o’ for ‘0’ to bypass spam filters that services like hotmail, gmail and yahoo mail have in place.
  • The email should include a company name, at bare minimum, in the signature. If they’re smart, they’ll include it elsewhere in the email as well. If they are self employed, they will acknowledge that.
  • The email should NEVER ask you to do something in direct violation of law. IE Post a paid for advertisement to your blog whilst not disclosing that it was paid for.
  • The email should never request for personal information such as a phone number, access to your blog, pay-pal account info, and so on and so forth. If no business relationship has been established (yet) why would they need this information immediately?
  • A legitimate business opportunity for your blog will never come from someone who ‘expects’ anything from you. Initial emails should be a request and nothing more.
  • Take a close look at the email address, not just the sender name. Often times the domain can be a dead giveaway that an email isn’t legitimate. And, while it is true that some self-employed/small business owners do use services such as GMAIL for business, they will always have their name, or their company name used in the email. In the case of the email example I have attached, the name in the email address of who the email was from did not match the name on the bottom of the email.
  • Do not open poorly labeled or unlabeled attachments. And, if attachments are labeled, be careful to make sure that it’s not a scam before you open.

Last, but certainly not least, does the email make your ‘spidey sense’ flare up?

This list may sound obvious when you’re reading it, but there are a lot of people in this world who fall for email scams. People get so caught up in the excitement of them that there are a lot of Nigerian Princes with a lot of money right now. And, a lot of Lawyers in Monaco that won’t be wiring that 4.2 million they promised from your dearly departed relative that you’ve never met that they set up the will for.

I would strongly encourage that, if you feel an email could be a scam, you do not respond. Even a simple ‘No thank you’ can send them after you for months on end, request after request, annoying the crap out of you in an effort to wear you down.

If you think it could be a scam just hit delete.


Have you ever received a business request/opportunity for your blog that you felt could be a scam? What did it say? How could you tell that it just wasn’t quite right?

Story time – Anxiety is not a made up construct.

I’ve had anxiety since long before I ever knew what it was. I remember being a teen and pre-teen and suffering from full blown panic attacks for reasons I couldn’t even understand. My brain was convinced there was going to be an earthquake and that I’d die in my sleep. Or I’d be at school and was convinced that there would be a mercury spill in the science lab and we’d become violently ill.

Nothing made sense, but I had these fears and if I ever told anyone about them they’d laugh, or tell me I was being dramatic or tell me to not worry about it.

I have very distinct memories of sitting in a ball in the corner of dark classrooms to wait out my panic attacks while at school. I think the first full-blown panic attack I ever had was in fourth grade. And I continued to have them all throughout elementary and high school. I didn’t know they were panic attacks at the time, but I knew I couldn’t be around people. At home, I would go for hours, days (if allowed) on end without even leaving my room. I was afraid of going for a walk and someone trying to kidnap me. It really didn’t matter where I was, I was always on high alert. I could walk into a room and would scan for exits, memorize faces, know what I could use to protect myself. I was anxious. I was always anxious.

In my mind, something was going to go wrong. Always. I was on high alert and prepared for the next disaster to happen.

Another side effect of my anxiety, that I didn’t realize at the time (probably due to my lack of knowledge about anxiety) was sleep. My parents used to yell and scream and me that I needed to go to sleep. They thought I was purposefully laying awake until 2 or 3 or even 4 in the morning just to be a troublesome child. I didn’t want to lay awake worrying. That’s just what happened. Any time I told anyone what was really happening they’d laugh it off or just tell me to not worry anymore.

Because clearly, the solution was that simple.

There was one point, I do recall, going to the doctor for annual check-ups, my mother told the Doctor that I was not sleeping. The Doctor told my mother that I was either acting out, or that I was consuming too much sugar/caffeine. As a fifth grader, I wasn’t consuming caffeine. So in her mind, the problem was sugar. She didn’t let me have sugar for MONTHS! It was probably close to a year. She’d specifically take my siblings and I out for ice cream and tell me that I wasn’t allowed any treats until I proved to her that I was willing to sleep when it was bed time. As you can imagine, this made fifth grade me extremely angry. She was treating it like it was something I could control. And, when I didn’t have any sugar in my life and I still couldn’t sleep at night, she’d convinced herself that I was sneaking sugar and lying to her about it.

During the few hours a night that I actually did sleep, I was grinding my teeth in my sleep. Every time I went to the dentist he’d tell me I was ruining my teeth. He convinced my parents, on three separate occasions, to get expensive ($500 or more) mouth guards for me to wear when I slept. They never worked. They fell out, or they’d break, or they just caused me to struggle even more so with my sleep. I was asleep and grinding my teeth. I couldn’t control it.

Many a conversation were had in which my parents discussed there frustrations with me not properly wearing my $500 mouth guard so the teeth grinding woke them up. They were both angry that I was ruining my teeth and felt as though they couldn’t wake me up because I slept so little.

All of this… and I mean ALL OF THIS was symptoms of my anxiety. My parents, while good people for the most part, openly acknowledge that they believe anxiety and depression are a made up construct.

I moved away from home. I went to University, got a job, built a life for myself and, for almost a decade, things were really good. I learned what anxiety was, as per my own research, and learned how I could cope with it on my own. I found great friends, and I was managing the anxiety I had, after finally learning what it was. I got into a good sleep rhythm and, the teeth grinding stopped.

Last year, when everything fell apart the anxiety and panic attacks hit me like a ton of bricks. I was experiencing it in ways that I hadn’t since I was a teenager. Knight and I came to see my mom right after her second surgery and I remember her telling me she could hear me grinding my teeth so loudly that it woke her up.

I sought out medication to help me cope with the sheer weight I was carrying in my brain and I cannot tell you what a difference it made in my life. No one in my family knows that I take this medication. My family frowns on medications of any sort. And, since they believe that mental illness is a made up construct, it just didn’t make sense to try and pick a fight with them about it. I wish I could tell them. But, maybe it’s just something for me to teach the next generation about.

I think it’s so important to note that that mental illness is not a made up construct. I also think it’s extremely important to acknowledge that mental illness does discriminate based on age. When I hear people say ‘No she’s too young for that’ or ‘No, he’s way too young to experience that’, there’s a little voice screaming in my brain ‘YOU’RE WRONG, YOU’RE NAIVE, DO BETTER’.

Who knows what would have happened had I known what anxiety was when it started affecting me. I could have found/gotten help and learned how to cope ten years before I actually did.

I think it’s so important to talk about the subject of mental health and well being with kids. I would never look at a kid and think ‘No, they’re too young’. I look at kids and think ‘Perhaps we could help them thrive a lot more as humans if we have these difficult discussions rather than avoiding them’.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone tell me they’ve had anxiety since before they knew what it was, I’d be rich. I’d be a fucking millionaire.

My only hope is that the present generation of kids, the kids of Millennials and Gen Xers, are being taught about this because their parents can speak from experience.

The doctor was convinced that I was consuming too much sugar. The dentist was convinced that I needed a $500 plastic mold to stop me from moving my teeth in my sleep. A teacher who saw me having a panic attack in his classroom just told me that I needed to ‘man up’. My parents were convinced I was just trying to be a troublesome child.

And all I really needed was someone to teach me what anxiety was.

I miss you.

One year ago today we were walking across a frozen lake in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. One year ago you were telling me that everything was going to work out, that someone was going to realize how great I was and hire me before I knew it. We’d have the life we wanted and all would be right with the world.

It feels like yesterday.

I feel like I’ve failed you so many times since then.

I feel like I’ve failed myself so many times since then.

Though I definitely don’t deserve it, you’re still my biggest support system and most vocal cheerleader. I really don’t know what I’d do without that.

It’s almost your birthday.

I’m mad that I can’t be there for it.

I’m mad about a lot of things.

But I’m trying to keep going.

Because I know that not much in this world will change if I stand still.

One of these days, things are going to change. It has to. The odds have to fall in my favour one day, right? It just has to.