Oh mother

Today my mother told me that I’m way too focused on being sad all the time and if I put half as much effort into being happy, I would just be happy.

‘How do I do that?’ I asked her.

‘I don’t know. You just be happy. It’s easy.’ She said.

I try not to fault her too much because she really doesn’t understand mental health issues whatsoever. She’s never dealt with them so she doesn’t know that they’re very real and very difficult to overcome. And, if you’ve never dealt with them before, I can understand why it would be hard to grasp the complexities of it.

The thing is, though, it’s not as simple as she makes it out to be.

I can’t just think happy thoughts and become happy.

I can’t just be happy.

I’m not trying to be miserable. I’m not trying to be sad. I’m not trying to feel anxious. I’m not going out of my way to make any of this my reality. And I think when people stereotype it as a choice, that’s what makes it harder for people to talk about their mental health.

I want to laugh because something’s funny, not because I feel a social obligation too based on the people that I am around. I want to smile without having to think about it, without having to force it, because of the people that I am around. I want to just ‘be happy’ as she says.

But, if I don’t face these issues that I have, these internal struggles that plague my mind, I fear that they’ll plague me for the rest of my life. If I just grin and pretend they’re not there, they’re never going to go away. They’ll be there… probably forever.

Mental illness is a difficult subject for people to talk about. If someone breaks their leg, people can see it. They can see the physical injury and understand that person must be in pain because of said injury and they provide well wishes, support and hope to said person with broken leg that will invariably help them with their recovery. But, you can’t see an anxious mind. You can’t see a depressed soul. You can’t see a distraught heart. And if you’ve never felt something that you can’t see, this is, I think, where people struggle with helping those who suffer from mental illness.

You’d never tell someone to ‘just walk it off’ if they had a broken leg. So why are so many people so quick to say ‘Just be happy’ to someone who struggles with anxiety, or depression or bi-polar, or any of the other mental illnesses. Because they can’t see it, so they don’t understand it.

Talking helps. Sometimes it really can. If you feel safe and are able to open up to someone, sometimes talking can really benefit your situation. There are people who, though they’ve never been through it, do all that they can to try to understand.

But then there are people who won’t ever understand. Because this is the kind of thing that, unless you go through it yourself, is difficult to grasp.

To everyone in this world suffering in silence, I’m with you. I understand. To everyone being told to ‘just walk it off’ or ‘just be happy’, I know that life doesn’t work that way. Please, take the proper time and resources that you need to find yourself healing. Because, just like a broken leg, you need time to cope and to heal.

I’m wishing you peace, and for family/friends that understand. But, even if they don’t, I’m wishing you time to cope, to deal and to heal. Because everyone needs that – whether your hurt is physical (and visible) or not.

Anxiety is

Anxiety is waking up with a fear that something is wrong, without having talked to anyone or seen the world outside of your bedroom. There need not be proof, or even an explanation, that fear that something is wrong always takes over.

Anxiety is jumping to the worst case scenario without reason, rhyme or hesitation because you can’t do anything but. It’s second nature. Actually, it’s first nature. It’s what you do, no matter how hard you try to break the habit.

Anxiety is being worried that you’re going to say the wrong thing to someone who really doesn’t care one way or another.

Anxiety is needing to check one, or two, or maybe even three more times to make sure that you locked the door when you leave.

Anxiety is trying to deescalate the angry customer at the register ahead of you because, while nothing is likely to go wrong, there’s always that ‘what if’ running through the back of your mind.

Anxiety is not wanting to answer the phone if it’s not in your recognized callers list because… how did they get my phone number?

Anxiety is wanting to go, getting ready to go, but not allowing yourself to step foot out that door.

Anxiety is staying quiet, biting your tongue and keeping out of the discussion or argument because… people will think you’re an idiot if they hear your opinions. They likely won’t, but you think they will and that’s enough to keep your mouth shut.

Anxiety is laying awake at night because this isn’t done and that isn’t done, she hasn’t called and he hasn’t checked in, something isn’t right and while you just can’t quite put your finger on it, you know that you don’t get to.

Anxiety is not believing you’re good enough for them, to be around them or to be loved by them. It really doesn’t matter if you actually are, you’ll never feel good enough.

Anxiety is pretending to be self-deprecating so people don’t think you’re quite as insulting towards yourself as you are.

Anxiety is not being able to explain it to them because, you know it’s irrational, so how could they possible understand?

Anxiety is believing in your heart of hearts that the stranger three tables away, who glanced at you for three seconds, is judging you. Whether it’s your appearance, your mannerisms or your clothing, or ANYTHING else, they’re just judging you.

Anxiety is believing the worst in people because it’s better to believe the worst in people and be prepared than to believe the best and be disappointed, heartbroken or hurt physically, mentally or emotionally.

Anxiety is so hard to explain. It’s… debilitating, frustrating, all encompassing, difficult to see past, through or around. The fight or flight, the constant sense of fear, it’s different for everyone, and I think that’s why people have such a hard time trying to understand. You can’t wish it away, you can only learn to cope. And hopefully, if you’re lucky, if you’re really, truly luck, someone in your life will bear with you and try to help/ease your mind.

How to survive the holidays with anxiety.

The holidays are coming, and if you’re anything like me that means there is a lot of stress headed your direction. While holidays are touted as ‘splendid times’ for love and family and genuine feel good moments we’ll always remember, they can often come with a great deal of anxiety, judgment and arguments.

I’ve been worried about this. Mainly because I don’t want to come across as negative. But the truth is, for a lot of us, holidays aren’t a positive time. And I think that’s okay. You know, I’m not going to hide from that fact. I want to be open about it because I feel as though, when we try to hide those feelings, that’s when the holidays get harder.

I’ve teamed up with Stacy from Quirky, Confused and Curvy and we’re both sharing our top tips for making it through the holiday’s when you’re struggling with mental illness. For reference, I suffer from debilitating anxiety, so these tips come to you from the perspective of a very anxious soul. Without further ado, here goes:

  1. Holiday’s aren’t about you, they’re about your family. It might sound shitty, but it’s true. Don’t worry about your own happiness, make sure that your mom is happy, make sure that your siblings are happy, and make sure that grandma and grandpa and the neighbours and your friends are all happy. Whomever is coming over, show off your biggest smile and your heartiest laugh. If someone says something mean, change the subject. If someone says something racist, change the subject. You can call them out another day. Kill them with your kindness on this holiday and let them remember the good moments. Because, at the end of the day, as a human race we’re very quick to forget the bad and remember the good. If you focus on ensuring that your family has good memories of the holiday, if your family and friends have the good moments to look back on, then it was a successful holiday. And if you’re lucky, you can go back to your peace and quiet, free from the judgments the very next day.
  2. Remember that these days are only a handful of days per year. Something that I often struggle with is feeling like the holidays are never going to end. Truth be told, in the grand scheme of things, the holidays are just a few short days out of the entire year. The dinners, the mingling, the ugly sweaters, you can make it through, and you will. Though the odds may be forever in your family’s favour, you can and will get through this. Think of the upcoming holiday season like the big meals you’re about to eat. You get through them slowly, little by little, bite by bite. Make each Christmas party, gift exchange, festive activity a small bite for you to take out of the holiday season. Looking at these things through the view of a small, completely conquerable event, will make it easier for you to do. And if it’s something that’s hard for you to do – if you suffer from social anxiety like I do – or if you just struggle being around certain family members, taking the holidays in small bites will help your well-being vastly.

One extra piece of advice that I have is to control what you can, accept what you can’t and stop freaking out about your life. The calmer you can keep yourself, the better your holiday season will be. So remember your peaceful thoughts, your calming gestures and to note bite at an argument, no matter how enticing it might be.

Holidays aren’t always perfect. But I’ve learned that if you focus more on others than you do on yourself, it very much helps you get through without the debilitating anxiety that so frequently comes with.

P.S. I’m Canadian, and Thanksgiving has already passed here. I can attest that if you’re an anxious soul, sticking to these tips will help A LOT. Also, as a Canadian the extra ‘u’ in a few words are, in fact, meant to be there. 


This post was done in collaboration with Stacy Alderman from the blog Quirky, Confused and Curvy. Stacy is one of the first friends that I made on WordPress and she’s been with me since the beginning of my blogging journey. She’s brilliant, she’s authentic and she has a lot to give this world.

To view her tips, please click here >

Consider subscribing to her blog while you’re there!

Words hurt.

They really hurt. Sometimes words have the power to swing faster, hit harder and deliver a stunning blow stronger than any raised fists.

People think that they know everything about you based on what little they hear and they judge. People always judge.

My skin is getting increasingly thinner by the day and I’m having a harder and harder time dealing with the things that people say.

The other day, I was told that I’m abusive. I was told that I, the person who goes out of her way to make anyone and everyone happy no matter what it does to my state of being, am abusive.

I’ve been told that I’m lazy, stupid, jarringly out-of-touch with reality. I’ve been told that I don’t want a job because I’d rather sponge off my family than actually work. Trust me, I have heard it all.

And it bothers me. As much as I’d like to say that the words of other people don’t bug me, they do. It hurts to hear people who say they love you, say those things to you. It hurts to hear people who really don’t know you, say those things to you.

Sometimes I’ll say something. Sometimes I’ll fight back, stand up for myself, remind people to use their words wisely because the things they say can and will affect the people they say them to. But, a lot of times, I won’t. People think that’s me being a pushover. But really, it’s me understanding lot of times nothing I say will change their minds. Nothing that I could possibly say, no matter how calmed and reasoned or loud and intimidating I could say it, would make a damn difference.

When people make up their minds, most of the time logic has nothing to do with it. A lot of times, they think what they think and that’s the bottom line. And to those in this world who feel it’s appropriate to voice their judgments, put their harsh words on display, nothing is really going to change that.

Whether your mind is made up, or there’s room for change, all I ask of people is that they think about the things they’re saying before they say them.

Because words hurt.

And you haven’t the foggiest idea the power your words can hold over someone.

Letter to a lost soul.

Dear Self,

Hold on. I promise you that it won’t be this way forever. So please, I beg of you, hold on.

You might not know where this next year is going to take you and the sheer prospect of it might frighten you to your core, but I promise you that you can handle it. Good, bad, happy, sad, no matter what comes your way, you can handle it.

There’s a lot of unknowns right now. Even more than those unknowns, there’s a fucking lot going on that you cannot control. Please don’t let that weigh on your heart.

I know that you can get overwhelmed at times, feeling like there’s really nothing in this world you can do to make things better. It’s times like these that I encourage you to remember that it is not always you responsibility to carry the weight of the world. As much as I know you’re not a religious person, try to remember the sentiment to the statement ‘let go and let god’. Because putting everyone’s burdens on yourself is a really hard way to live.

Please don’t be afraid of the future. Don’t be afraid for opportunities, or lack thereof. Like the lyrics say ‘what is meant to be will be’, and if it never comes to fruition then it wasn’t meant to happen.

Stop worrying about money. You’ll always find a way to get the money – whether it takes a week, a month, a year or ten years.

Stop worrying about time. There is no rule that says you need to have an established life by a certain time. This is your life and you determine the time frame of which things happen, no one else.

Stop worrying about not being good enough. Worry about leaving a lasting impression on the world, especially your friends and your family. Worry about improving yourself daily and about making people’s lives better.

Hold on, self.

Hold on for dear life.

Work had, self.

Even with all the bad there is in this world, you can be good. You can lead by example and you can make change.

Be kind, self.

You never know what sort of challenges someone is facing or how hard of a time they might be having. Perhaps all they need is someone to show them genuine kindness.

Love yourself, self.

Regardless of the insecurities you might see when you look in the mirror, you’re a pretty fucking amazing person. And while you may see those insecurities so clearly, I promise you that the people who really matter to you, they don’t. And even if they could, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t care. It’s a nice feeling being loved and appreciated for exactly who you are, so stop letting those insecurities dictate your happiness. Let people love you for exactly who you are.

Regardless of what happens, you can and will get through this. It may seem like insurmountable demons right now, but I promise you that one day you’re going to look back on these times and be proud.

Hold on, self. I promise you that it won’t be this way forever. So please, I beg of you, hold on.

Sincerely, Me

Don’t wait for the new year for resolutions. Things for you to quit TODAY

  1. Trying to please everyone.
  2. Fearing change.
  3. Living in the past.
  4. Overthinking.
  5. Being afraid to be different from everyone else.
  6. Sacrificing your happiness for others.
  7. Thinking you’re not good enough.
  8. Thinking you have no purpose.

People always wait for New Year’s Day to make resolutions and honestly, why? Make these resolutions today. Make change today. Better yourself today. You deserve it. You’re worth it. Don’t wait for some arbitrary day to try and change you thinking – start to try and change the way you think today.

It’s not going to be easy. And it’s not going to happen at the snap of your fingers. But if you make the effort to enrich your life with serious changes that will ultimately benefit you long-term, the change will be worth it.

Do it. Do it today.

Millennial Mental Health

I don’t always like talk about it but my mental health is something that I am cognizant of on a daily basis. I want to make sure that I’m taking the necessary steps to look after myself and my well being.

I think that all too often millennials are criticized in the media, and in life, for being so open about mental health struggles. In reality, I don’t think we’re the first generation to have struggles with mental health, I just think that we’re the first generation to be open and honest about it.

I’m 99% positive that my father struggles with severe anxiety and 100% positive that he never has, nor will he ever, admit to that. It’s just not something that his generation does. Nevertheless, I digress.

Some days, I get lucky and there’s not a lot going on. Those are the days when I find the most calm. Those are the days when I am most alright with the world around me. I don’t have to put on a happy face, I don’t have to pretend with anyone, I can just be me. I appreciate those days.

And please don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m miserable. I’m not. I could be happier though. Because of this, it just gets exhausting trying to be happy-go-lucky for people. I know they don’t want to see me actual mood, so I spend a lot of my time wearing a mask.

Recently I saw a video of a reporter asking Meghan Markle ‘are you okay? Meghan, stunned at the reporter said ‘Not many people actually ask me that’. While I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be a member of the British Royal Family, seeing her answer actually broke my heart a little bit because I know there are so many people in the world who are trying to hide their struggle and put on that mask to not be a burden to those around them.

It is so important that we find places and spaces where we can be honest, both with ourselves and with other humans. That we can find a common ground and admit that not everything is okay all of the time and that is okay.

Millennials are keenly aware of our identity, where we fit into society and the struggles that come with that. I don’t think that makes us whiners like society paints us out to be. Personally, I think that makes us stronger. If you’re willing to acknowledge your demons, you’re more likely to face them head on.

How am I? I’m doing okay today. It’s one of those good days where there aren’t many people around and there isn’t a ton going on. I don’t have to put on the mask, I can just be. I’ve been laying pretty low this week to try and rest/get healthy again, so I think another low-key day will be good for me. My thoughts are a little sporadic, but I am hanging in there.

It’s important to remember to be good to yourself. Remember to treat yourself. Remember to look after yourself. Self-care is about doing things to look after yourself long-term. It isn’t about instant or short-term gratification.

Whatever generation you’re a part of, be good to yourself today, and every day. You’re worth it and your well being depends on it.