#WorldMentalHealthDay

You are good enough. You are strong enough.

You are worthy, beautiful and capable. You can and will defeat your demons and you will move those mountains that have been holding you back. So care.

Care about life. Care about everything and everyone and stop telling yourself to not. Most importantly, care about yourself.

Give a damn. Make sure that you know that you matter. Look after yourself. Believe in yourself. Say good things about yourself. Why? Because maybe if you hear it enough, you’ll stop doubting it. Wouldn’t it be nice to stop second-guessing yourself? Yeah, it would. So start reminding yourself of how fucking amazing you are. No more self-deprecation and no more negativity, just positivity and light.

Only you have the capability to see yourself through this darkness. While others can contribute to your happiness in small ways, no one can rescue from this sadness, anxiousness and despair but you. And trust me when I say this, you’re more than capable of rescuing yourself. So do it.

Take those small steps, E-V-E-R-Y DAY. Celebrate those small victories when they come. Your confidence depends on it. Take advantage of help when given to you because… god damn, pushing people away hasn’t ever gotten you anywhere. And exercise. Exercise every day. Because if you want to take care of your mind, you need to take care of your whole body. Rescue yourself.

You have the power within you to make serious changes in your life. Stop fighting the things you cannot control and conquer the things you can. I know you’ve got the power, you know you’ve got the power, so don’t let those voices in your head win.

Take care of yourself, please. You’re too valuable not to.

The best things about unemployment

Photo from: healthland.time.com

Switching gears from my ‘worst of unemployment’ lists, I wanted to talk about the positives that have come with unemployment. Because the pendulum still does swing, and there is still good in this world, no matter how sad I might get sometimes.

Unemployment sucks, but here are a few reasons why it has is bonuses:

Getting rid of that soul-sucking boss. Honestly, my last boss was a misogynistic overgrown frat-boy who ran an office like it was a locker-room and treated women as though the only thing we brought to the table were short skirts and an ability to fetch coffee. He didn’t think that I was qualified to fill my roll, didn’t believe that I deserved the position and made it open in the office that he really didn’t like me. Leaving him behind was an incredible gift for my psyche.

Getting rid of that soul-sucking office. My last office was the equivalent of a men’s locker room. Women were rated based on their looks, told to wear short skirts to meetings and treated as though we brought no value to the office and it was ‘a gift’ they were even letting us live in the presence of the men who worked there. Time after time after time I really didn’t want to go to work. The job itself wasn’t bad, but the people – they were so… awful. They were the type of people who made me not want to get out of bed in the morning. The type of people who would take credit for my work and then publicly (and I mean in the newspaper) shame me if something didn’t get done on time. Leaving them behind took a big burden off my shoulders and my heart. And I can honestly say, there isn’t a soul in that office that I miss.

Being able to take more time for myself. Prior to unemployment all that I did was work. All the time. Monday through Friday I was at the office from 8:30 to 6:30, sometimes 7:30 or 8:30. I worked most weekends and I never really did anything for fun. Since being unemployed, I’ve been able to do the things I’ve always wanted to do that I never got a day off for. I’ve been to the Ice Magic Festival at Lake Louise, done the air bubbles walk of Abraham Lake, hiked the largest ancient inland rainforest on earth, spent some time in Niagara Falls and Toronto, taken more than 10,000 miles worth of roadtrips and so much more that I haven’t even shared on his blog. And you know what? It’s been a dream come true.

Helping my family. As much as I like to rag on my family for the things they do to frustrate me, I’m also really grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to help them this year. Let me tell you, driving someone to the cancer clinic every day, cleaning up puke in the middle of the night, is hard for any person to face. I commend my dad for looking after my mom to the extent that he did because he really stepped up and did an incredible job, but I’m also grateful that I was able to be here and to help. Because when it’s family, you do what you can do.

It’s allowed me more time to write. To create. To build this blog. To take credit for my own writing. To say what I want to say. I know that it sounds counter-intuitive, claiming that I get credit for my writing on a blog that’s nearly anonymous (I say nearly because three people now know who I am). When I was working, I was writing all of the time for my job. I was writing things that my boss would take credit for, I was writing things that people from other companies would take credit for. I was specifically supposed to write things as though they sounded like they were coming from other people and not me. On the off chance that I did get credit for an article that I put together, I was reprimanded for not giving the article to my boss before sending it out. Here, I can say what I want, when I want. I may not have a face on this blog, but I have a person. And I value the person I get to be here… spelling mistakes in all.

It builds your strength and resilience. Rejection after rejection after rejection sucks. It sucks so hard I often break down in tears because I just don’t know what else to do. I will say though, no matter how many rejections I’ve had this year, I’ve always kept trying and I have always kept going. When it seems like it’s the easiest thing in the world to just give up, I won’t. I’m not going to give up. I’m reminded that I have the strength to get through this and I will damn well get the life I want and deserve. I know this now more than ever. Even on my bad days a piece of me still knows this deep down.

There are pros and cons to everything in this life. And for me, its a consistent fault of mine that I’m not always able to see the good. Today, though, today I wanted to remind myself of what good has come from this.


If you’e interested, my unemployment journey is detailed here >

If you’re interested, my travel diaries, tips and thoughts are detailed here >

The worst things about unemployment part two

Photo from GFMAG.COM

Anyone who’s been unemployed for any length of time knows what it’s like to feel as though you don’t have a voice, a value or a place in this world. They understand what it’s like working hard to find work and ‘playing the game’ of the potential employer, to no avail, just waiting for your day in the sun.

Unemployment sucks and here are a few reasons why:

Being told you’re living easy. This one annoys the crap out of me. People think that if you’re not going to work each day, you’re not contributing, you bring no value to this world or their lives so all you’re doing is sitting on the couch watching Netflix. And since all you’re doing is sitting on the couch watching Netflix all day, you must not have any real problems and thus your life is inherently more easy than those with jobs. It’s a shitty assumption people make.

When people ask you what you do for a living. Do you tell the truth and deal with the awkward conversation that will follow? Do you lie and pretend that you do something you do not as a means to save face? Either way, it’s going to be awkward.

Being unemployed plays a contributing factor in many health concerns. Unemployment can lead to depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and other mental-health issues that affect every aspect of your life… and there’s really nothing you can do about it, especially if you truly want a job and it doesn’t seem to be happening, no matter how hard you try. It can cause serious tension, stress and strain on the body.

Being an adult is so much more enjoyable when you have money. It’s true. And when you’re not making bank, or you’re struggling to make bank through side hustle after side hustle after side hustle, sometimes it just feels like it’s all you can do to keep the side hustle. You’re not enjoying life, you’re just trying to stay afloat and stop the feeling of drowning.

Rejection emails. I’m talking about the finely-tuned art of an automated response that somehow manages to very succinctly, professionally, and somehow brutally, crush your hopes and dreams with the kind of disengaged effort that is, by true dictionary standards, effortless. You’re reminded of just how little they care about you (and all job hunters) and just how far removed we’ve come from basic human interaction… because it’s all automated, no-response email addresses these days.

No response from a company whatsoever. I’ve noticed a distinct trend on Indeed and LinkedIn in which, if the company doesn’t find a resume they like, they’ll simply delete the job posting and repost it to present day so that it appears at the top of the list of most recent listings. You don’t get a response as to why you’re not being considered, you don’t get to know why you’re not good enough and you don’t get an email to ask them WTF! I’ve seen postings appear 5 or 6 times over the past few months.

You become so used to rejection that you begin to expect it in other areas of your life as well. This plays a lot to do with the low self-esteem mentioned above. Picture this – you meet a man or a woman in the bar and you really hit it off. After swapping phone numbers you head home for the evening and then you’re hit with it… the doubt you have about yourself. The fear of rejection and the bracing of yourself for when you don’t hear from said person ever again. It’s a serious mind-fuck that allows you to start to believe you’re not worthy of people, places or things, let alone the job that started the whole avalanche.

Trying to talk about it with people is a struggle. When you’re stressed it helps immensely to talk about it with someone. When you’re unemployed, you’re heavily stressed out. Trying to talk about this with anyone isn’t really an option though because they either don’t understand because they’ve never been through it, or they just don’t give a damn because, if it’s not their problem, they don’t want to hear about it.

You feel guilty about actually treating yourself. There’s a notion carried in society that if you’re unemployed you should not be enjoying yourself and you should not do something for yourself or have fun of any sort. So, if you do take the chance to do something for yourself to try and boost your self-esteem or make yourself happy, even if just for a few hours, you inevitably end up feeling guilty for doing such action because… you’re unemployed, and thus should not be spending your money on what is deemed frivolous things.

Receiving unsolicited advice. Because when you’re unemployed everyone has an opinion about what you should do and everyone wants to share their opinions with you. The fact of the matter is, with the exception of a very few close people, no one truly knows what you’re going through, what you’ve done or what you’re presently trying to do to find work. Unsolicited advice often come with the assumption that you’re just not trying, that you just don’t care and that you just aren’t capable. Rather than taking the time to ask and learn, invest in you to ensure their help is worthwhile, they just take their assumptions and start throwing opinions your direction. These opinions aren’t helpful and can often add a lot more stress to your days.

Being too good for some jobs is a fucking joke. I have a Bachelor’s Degree and ten year’s of industry experience… and I have had to ‘dumb-down’ my resume to even get retail places to take me seriously. I’ve been turned down from Wal-Mart, MacDonalds, Burger King, and so on and so forth, because they believe if they hire me, I’ll leave right away. Because of this I’m in an awkward stage in which career positions don’t seem to consider me a viable candidate and retail positions consider me not a worthy investment and thus, I can’t even get a job as a cashier. Life happens. Sometimes people have to deviate from the plan, you would think that potential employers would be understanding of that fact. But no. I dumbed down my resume, took my education and experience off of it, applied to be a cashier at a local grocery store. When I went to the interview I thought it was going great and the store manager loved me! Within two hours of leaving the interview I had a rejection email in my inbox. I can’t even pretend to be dumb to get a job it seems.

People assuming you want to be unemployed. If you’re unemployed for a certain length of time, people genuinely assume that you just don’t want a job.

Jumping through ridiculous hoops to try and find a job in 2019. Companies are asking for ten references, for you to record 15 minute videos of yourselves to submit for them to review with your resume, asking you to fill out application questionnaires that can often take upwards of an hour per application, to take aptitude after aptitude test that prove nothing more than an ability for deductive reasoning. NONE of what they are doing in this time involves having an actual conversation with you.


Read:

The worst things about unemployment >

More posts about unemployment >

Feeling like a fraud.

Photo: PsychCentral Blog

Do you ever feel like you’re just not good enough? Like you’re a fraud trying so hard to maintain an image that you’re worried on of these days your back is going to break, the secret’s going to be out and all of your insecurities will be on display for the whole world to see?

Because I sure do.

Sometimes I feel like I’m barely scraping by. Like all of the accomplishments that I’ve accomplished in my life don’t belong to me. And, that’s probably a true thing. My accomplishments belong to those who’ve helped me along the way. But, it would be nice if I believed in myself. I might feel better about the way things are if I just believed in myself.

Because I sure don’t.

I know that I’m talented. I know that I’m smart. I know that I’m capable. But can I make it? I don’t know… can I? That’s the issue I’m struggling with these days.

I feel guilty for letting these thoughts out of my head. I feel like when you let your doubts out, that gives them power. But, at the same time, I just can’t hold them in.

Maybe people can sense my doubts. Actually, now that I say that, it’s probably true. People can sense that I doubt myself. I’m just so scared of my insecurities. I feel like we were lied too when we were kids and we were told we’d ‘grow out of it’. Life has a way of reminding you just where you belong in this world.

So when I refuse to believe this is where I belong, am I just fooling myself? Do I belong in this consistent state of unrest? Or is there something more for me?

Good god, anxiety sucks. Saturday nights… they always get the better of me.

The lows and the highs of just being being human.

Photo: Rachel Hobbs/asprinkleofasian.com

About a month ago I went to an allergist. This appointment was in hopes to find out, for certain, what I’m allergic to. It’s a long story but I have pretty severe allergies and have been having a hard time pinpointing what they are. As a result, I’ve been through a lot of elimination diets to try and narrow it down.

The doctor was unable to pinpoint any specific food allergies that I have, based on the foods he tested me for at the appointment. (There’s a standard 64 foods their office tests for, and aside from two products I never eat, I’m apparently clear allergy free, at least on what I was tested for)

The doctor did agree that I have allergies, though. And because of that, he gave me a prescription for allergy medication that he said was better than over-the-counter and could quite possibly provide benefit for me in coping with the allergies I have.

I couldn’t afford the prescription.

It might have been my lowest point of my whole year. I’m not working so I don’t have insurance to cover prescriptions. And drugs are fucking expensive. This was also right about the time when my credit card information was compromised, so I couldn’t even just put it on my credit card.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to break down in tears in the pharmacy when they told me the price of the drugs I was prescribed. It was awful. I was sad, I felt helpless and I was baffled that an allergy medication could cost so damn much. I felt like a loser. I felt like I wasn’t capable of the basic functions of looking after myself. And that made me feel the lowest of lows that I think I’ve been through all year.

I didn’t end up getting the prescription. And, when I think back on that day, all I do is tear up/cry. I don’t ever want to feel like that again. The way I felt, so powerless, so pathetic. I was trying not to look upset with the person I was with but I think he saw right through it. I think he knew how upset I was.

I just couldn’t afford it.

It was just allergy medication, and I live in Canada. That shouldn’t be happening to me. But somehow this is the situation I am in. And I have been seeing a lot of news reports lately about people in the USA struggling to choose between taking their insulin or halving it to make it last longer because it costs so damn much.

While I’m aware that my allergies are just simple issues in comparison to theirs, I can’t help but feel a small fraction the pain they must feel. The dire need to want to take care of one’s self and the having to ask yourself if you can afford to do so.

That was a very low day for me. It was only allergy medication, and it’s something that I can do without. I’m not suffering without the drug. It was a very low day for my self-esteem, though.

Fast forward to last week. I went pick up my parents who had flown back from Denmark. Prior to picking up my parents I stopped at a mall to meet with a friend of mine for a cup of coffee.

This mall that we were meeting at, there were two options for parking. You could park on the roof, or, you could park underground. I have a rule against parking in underground lots when I am alone. It’s just a safety precaution that I choose to take. So I parked on the roof.

When I left my friend, I was walking towards my vehicle. A man held the mall door open for me to the outside, and then proceeded to follow me as I was walking to my vehicle.

The man persisted that he needed a ride and that he was going wherever I was going. He proclaimed that his friend left him there and that he needed a ride and that I was gong to give it to him. He was about a foot taller than I was, so I was nervous about this strange man following me, telling me that I was going to give him a ride.

When I made it to my vehicle, I opened the driver-door and told him that he needed to leave me alone. He put his hands on the driver door, in an attempt to intimidate me, and told me ‘Just reason with me, I just need a fucking ride’.

I looked him square in the face, in a calm tone and said ‘You have about 2.5 seconds before I slam your fingers in the door and kick you square in the balls so I can watch you keeled over in pain as I drive off’.

‘You think you can hurt me?’ He laughed.

‘Are you looking to test me?’ I replied, staring him dead in the face.

‘Fine, I don’t need a ride you stupid bitch’, he said as he walked away from my vehicle.

In that moment I felt so damn proud of myself. I was just so… empowered. I’m the type of person who’s always felt as though I’d cower in a situation of high stress. I’m the type of person who’s doubted my ability to stand up for myself a lot of my life. And honestly, I probably shouldn’t have continued walking toward my vehicle when I realized he was following me, but this wave of a ‘Don’t fuck with me’attitude came over me, and I just kept going.

I stood up to him. I stood up for myself. I made him back down and I let him know that his intimidation tactics didn’t work on me. I was so fucking proud of myself.

I don’t think I could have been more proud in that moment.

There was such a dichotomy in how I felt about myself in just a matter of a few weeks. Two completely different scenarios reminded me of just how much the world can throw at me. And I think that’s an important point to note – that as human beings, sometimes life gets the better of us, it feels as though our powers have been stripped and there’s nothing we can do about it. But, life also gives us the opportunities to take that back. To stare the creepy giant down and threaten physical harm if he doesn’t get out of your fucking way.

There are days when it’s really not easy being human. There are days when it’s really not easy getting by. And then there are days when you stand up and remind yourself and the world just what you’re capable of.

I’m a fucking lion and ruler of the jungle, this life and whatever the world decides to throw at me.

Essentials of Self-Esteem

Photo from inc.com

One of the subjects that frequently gets brought up in therapy is self-esteem. What is it? Where does it come from? Why do some people have oodles of it while others can’t seem to find it at all?

The truth is, we’re all a product of our own circumstance. We come into this world the centre of the universe. We’re not born with self-esteem, our lives and the people who are in it help us to form that self-esteem, or keep us from forming our self-esteem over the span of our lives.

It’s important to note that self-esteem doesn’t look the same for everyone. There’s a preconceived notion that if you have something sought-after, or are someone of importance, you ultimately have high self-esteem because, how else would you have gotten to that place? This is simply not the case. You can be the Star Quarterback of the Chicago Bears and still feel insecure each time you step off that field and take off that gear. You can be the most successful Doctor in your industry, saving lives each and every day whilst feeling as though you cannot save your own from your insecurities. There is a lot of grey area when it comes to self-esteem. The world is not so black and white.

The following was not written by me. It was provided to me as homework to complete by my Therapist, who has given me permission to share.


The ESSENTIALS OF SELF-ESTEEM

Significance: We need to feel we matter and that we are important. We need to feel that we are making a significant contribution to whatever sphere we find ourselves in, be it family, our job, our friends or our recreational pursuits.

Competence: Competence means believing we can make things happen and can master our environment. Remember – if you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, you won’t.

Connectedness balanced by separation: We need to maintain balance in our lives whereby we keep our individuality and at the same time we have feelings of belonging. We can’t feel good about ourselves if we are cut off and alienated from everything. On the other hand, we can’t feel good if we’re absorbed into another’s identity.

Realism: We must be realistic – no one is perfect. We all have flaws. Self-esteem is focusing on the positives while recognizing that we do still have problems. Remember to set realistic goals and believe in your ability to handle whatever difficulties you may cross.

Ethics and values: We need to develop a clear sense of what is right and what is wrong. As we are all individuals, this will vary. The important thing is that we are comfortable with the understanding that everyone is entitled to their own core set of ethics and values.

Lifetime Process: Virtually all of us, to some degree, have problems with our self-esteem. As adults it is possible to overcome these problems but we need to have a belief that we can do so.

In summation: if we lack significance, we can seek affection. If we lack competence, we can increase our skills and take pride in our efforts. If we lack a sense of connectedness we can reach out to others. If we lack a sense of individuality, we can discover more about ourselves. If we lack values we can see what is important to ourselves.

It’s important to note that if we lack self-esteem, that can always be fixed. As humans we’re constantly changing and evolving, and if we make a conscious effort to improve our self-esteem, things can and will get better. Things won’t just magically happen, though. The work needs to be put forth for anything to change.


Want to read more about Self-esteem? Click here >

Want to read more about Mental Health? Click here >

A note from someone near and dear to my heart.

*Please note – I did not write the following. These words belong to someone I know, I am simply passing these words on through my blog in hopes that their quest can reach a wider audience.

Hi friends, family and strangers who might be reading this,

You may or may not know that I have been battling Multiple Sclerosis for several years now. MS has take many things from me; my ability to maintain a fulfilling career, my ability to play sports; even my ability to walk. I’ve had to adjust to significant changes in my lifestyle and one of the toughest has been a move to an assisted living facility that does not allow me to live with my dog Snoop.

MS causes depression in 50 to 80% of MS patients. As much as I try to put on a brave face, I’ll admit that I often fall into that category. Something that can pull me out of that despair is my bond with Snoop. Even on my worst day I know I have to drag myself out of bed long enough to make sure Snoop is fed and taken to the park at least twice a day. I am unable to physically make it through a day of work but Snoop gives me a sense of purpose and structure in my life. When your disabled it’s easy to feel isolated from the able bodied world. Snoop helps facilitate social interaction when I desperately need it and keeps feelings of loneliness from becoming all consuming.

The benefits of the human-animal bond has been well studied and chronicled in many scientific journals. Alberta recognizes service animals that perform physical tasks for their owners and the job they do is invaluable. Unfortunately Service Alberta doesn’t yet recognize Emotional Support Animals despite their proven positive effects on those living with depression, anxiety, PTSD or numerous other ailments.

There is a petition collecting signatures online for the cause and we’re asking for the support of those who, like me, understand the truly invaluable benefit to having an emotional support animal. Please, if you’re able, sign to support us in hopes of making change that will help everyone with mental health issues.

Petition: Allow emotional support animals in Alberta

Thanks for reading. If you think it’s time for Alberta to take mental health seriously on more than just “Bell Let’s Talk” day…Please sign and share this petition!”

Thank you.