I’m to kind

Warning: Mention of abuse.

Usually being kind is a good thing, but for me it goes to far most of the time.

Here’s what I mean by that- the other day I was driving home and as I was coming up to an intersection (with a green light) a car across from me who was turning left thought they could race and get through before I got there.. except there was one problem, they didint check if anyone was walking and halted to a stop right in my pathway. Luckily I was able to stop in time but I didn’t even honk.. why? Because the thought that went threw my head was “I don’t want to upset her” I’m not at all an aggressive driver. This happens in my personal life too.

I have a major problem with anger and assertion, I avoid it at all costs! Seriously! It’s so bad that I don’t even speak up to tell someone that it WASN’T ME when they assume it was!

There’s only one person in my life who I don’t hold back my anger with and I guess that says a lot about my level of trust in him. I have yelled and screamed called names and cursed and he’s done the same with me but I never fear him. I don’t fear him physically or any other way. He can make me furious at times but deep down he is the one person I feel safe enough around to express my anger with.

I am working on this, slowly and many times not in the most useful ways.. I do dumb stuff like yell “you fucking dogs” when they won’t stop barking and random shit.. or sometimes I will hold on to anger and then tell people off through text.. obviously if I’m texting I don’t have to worry that they can physically harm me so it’s a safe option for me. Some say it’s cowardly, but for me it’s one of the only ways I’m able to express my anger.

My fears are strongly rooted in my past, I grew up knowing that anger turned into violence and especially with men they get very aggressive so I still to this day even after meeting many kind men who wouldn’t and haven’t hurt me still can’t face anger and confrontation. I also can’t assert myself at all! Because.. what if I upset them!?

Although I have a problem speaking up and putting my foot down I’m also very self aware and have a lot of self respect- I made a promise to myself to not keep toxic,bullying, abusive, aggressive or violent people in my life for any reason. I also made a promise that I would only work In positive environments for bosses who show care and respect to there staff.

I’m currently in a dillema with a work situation in which I have the option to avoid, or assert and of course my choice is avoid.. but beyond that it’s to choose self respect.

It’s taken me years to have this awareness and understanding of how trauma is an ongoing influence in my life but I won’t let it trap me because I want to live my best life.

My Relationship with Alcohol

Warning: this post discusses substance abuse and suicide

if you are in CRISIS : https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

As a Teenager i was against alcohol. I saw what it did to my family and because of that i hated it. I didn’t care for drunken parties and never found it cool. I had sips of it here and there but really never cared for it.

I started college at the age of 17 and things were getting intolerable, i was starting to come to terms with a lot of traumatizing experiences yet had no positive coping options that helped. I was beyond frustrated as i tried going the medical center on campus for resources and no one seemed to understand.. there solutions were to “try coloring for 10 minutes” or “take these pills it will stop you cutting and you don’t need therapy”. This intensified my fears that i was in fact crazy and that no one would ever be able to understand or help me.

One night I made the decision to drink, it was just a fun college thing to do and i ended up drunk. Sadly, I fell in LOVE with the feeling- I didn’t really know why i just knew it felt different in a good way. the next day it was the only thing on my mind and i innocently thought “all college students do this, whats the big deal??” except not all college students are dealing with trauma.

It got worse from here. My girlfriend at the time was busy doing laundry and i was alone in the dorm room.. this same night a person i thought i was close to blocked me- no goodbye and no explanation they were suddenly gone.. and this set me down a terrible path..

I saw the alcohol sitting in the kitchen.. i started drinking and i very quickly lost count of how much i had drank or what i had drank, as i intended to get drunk and then overdose on medication. I guess in a way i was lucky that i got so drunk i couldn’t stand up.. much less open a bottle of pills. I got black out drunk.. my girlfriend returned and was overwhelmed with concern not knowing how to help me.. she did what she could but because i was drunk i told her i HAD taken a bunch of pills (which i hadn’t..) so she called for help .. i threw up a TON (yea.. probably TMI .. but its true.) she came to the conclusion after searching our place that i hadn’t taken pills and got me into bed. (i caused a lot of fear and panic for her that night)

Just when everyone thought I was safe- I started having seizures. it was around three or four in the morning from what I’m told- the on campus medical response team got there first and then the ambulance was called. the hospital i was taken to was less then helpful, in fact they were very mean and only made my suicidal thoughts worse. I had the worst headache i have ever experienced in my life.

since then i haven’t been drunk. that being said, i have struggled with alcohol like crazy- when i turned 19 i was excited at the thought of being able to secretly buy alcohol and numb the pain away whenever i wanted. I got urges and cravings to drink all the time and it was so awful going to Christmas dinners or hanging out with friends when they would have alcohol around and i knew if i started i wouldn’t be able to stop. It was INSANELY stressful. I couldn’t even walk past alcohol in the store or see adds without getting cravings and urges. I’m lucky that i had a family around me that not only made it very clear that honesty was a priority and so was respect but that alcohol and being drunk would not be accepted, of course at the time it was a BITCH to deal with but it kept me from becoming a full on alcoholic.

Today at 21 i don’t have these cravings or urges, id mach rather have a coffee then a drink and i will almost always turn down alcohol.

I have wanted to share this story for a while but as i am sitting in my house and it is a chaotic mess from preparing to move, There are bottles of wine or alcohol around and as i look at them i think to myself of how far i have come- if this was two years ago i would be sneaking alcohol and now i sit here and think….. these bottles are really in my way .. seriously, we have beer in our fridge that every time i see it i tell my family how none of us are going to drink it and make it clear that i am not pleased about the space it is taking up.

I have come so far… I actually haven’t solely focused on alcohol in therapy but over time i have learned other coping strategies and now i just don’t see alcohol as an answer. Beyond this i have a friend who has battled with alcohol since he was young and this month he took a huge step and has entered Rehab! meeting him and hearing his stories of how much alcohol has destroyed his life has made a huge impact on me and how i view it. its so easy at social gatherings for people to use alcohol as a way to celebrate and yet there are so many silent sufferers out there who are probably thinking… why do you need alcohol to celebrate?

If you are in Crisis : https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
you can contact them weather it is a crisis or not- they can also give you resources and information on topics other then suicide!

I’m 21

Warning: mention of suicidal/depressive thoughts- please do not read if you feel it will harm you!

In less then an hour it is my birthday, and for once in my life I am celebrating.

A year ago today I sat at the dinner table with my family and as I blew out my candles I wished that I would die soon, I didn’t care how but I wanted it to happen. It felt weird that everyone was so excited for me and, I was silently dying inside more and more every second.

Every year I have had a hard time with my birthday since .. probably my twelfth? Birthday.. I remember one year I was turning 15, my biological father or as I prefer to call him “sperm donor” (because the only part he had in my life was creating me..) texted me and I quote “happy b day” no excitement no “I love you” or care put into it but it made my day. I was so broken at this time and I was confused, I didint know how I felt about life or people in my life, I was conflicted in so many ways about so many things, all the while struggling through high school.. so him “Acknowledging” me if you call it that somehow was what I thought I needed.

I now, don’t feel this way at all- I find it quite hilarious that a piece of shit like that could have ever been something I thought I needed any approval from.. but we live, we learn.. and Most of us grow up.

It’s been a rough many years and this year I am taking the day, I gifted myself this one day to not work and to do things I enjoy.. to see people I care about and to actually celebrate the fact that I am in fact alive. I made it another year. For anyone who struggles or has struggled with depression you know how hard each day can be. So making it another year is a huge accomplishment.

Looking back it’s crazy to think that I didint take my life sooner and at the same time I am beyond grateful that I didint. You know how people say that “things will get better” and you roll your eyes and definitely DONT believe in it.. well it’s true. I never thought I would have ended up meeting this family, my family.. that I could have come as far as I have in coping and feeling better. I never thought I had any chance or hope in life.. the only thing I knew was that college meant a better life and man, I never knew that college would mean a COMPLETLEY new life.

College didint end up being the education that saved me, in fact it was the education that caused me harm, but I got so much more out of it- I met Ryan who led me to (then) his family which is now my family as well and they are truly the reason I am here today. Not only am I here but I am happy being here.

If you had told me in high school I would meet a great family and get the help I needed and be able to afford basic items in life I never would have believed it. Yet, here I am.

So to all of you out there, wether you are depressed, have been depressed or maybe you are just having an AWFUL day- it will get better. There are people out there you haven’t even met yet that love you and care for you and need you in there life..

And to all you fellow September babies.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Here’s to turning 21!

Talk soon!!

Leanna

Loving the job i always thought i would HATE

i have shared with you about my depression and how it makes it tough to go to work and keep a job. i have also shared that i am now working TWO jobs while also learning to manage my energy so i don’t wear myself out!

Recently I found my self in a Financial situation which left me with two options. 1.) spend less or 2.) make more money. the answer was simple, i had to get another job. The money I’m spending is necessary and not optional to cut down on so.. i had to go with option 2.

I went online and started applying for jobs, my sister the told me about a diner that was hiring and i figured.. why not try it??

I have always been the type to say .. “ew .. people” (and yes i have a shirt that says exactly that.) i have never really been a people person i am very shy but also i found people annoying. So, I never thought i would be applying for a job as a waitress where practically your entire job is based on social interaction.

Shockingly i have come to find that this job… and these social interactions are what i THRIVE on. I Love my job… its weird! i never thought i would care for a job this much but today i have a day off.. and i miss it! how crazy is that! some how i feel like this is the job i have always needed in my life. i think it is helping my depression. Customers like to have conversations and are usually very grateful for your effort. Beyond this i have found that my co-workers are willing to jump in and help each other out, really using team-work while also being able to joke around and have fun!

I never would have seen myself doing this job before, life is funny that way.. sometimes the things we least expect to make a difference are the most impactful moments of our lives. not only has this job made me more confident, its helped me grow as a person.. learning new skills and facing fears. making conversation all day long! its getting so much easier to make small talk in daily life now too! maybe there is something you have been fearing or thought theirs no point in even trying because you decided the result would be awful before even trying it.. and maybe you should re-consider! who knows what opportunities you could be having if you took a risk and tried! whats the worst that could happen?? you get fired… well… go find another job!

I made this video a couple months ago! its funny that one of my goals was to work on making small talk.. and now its my job to do that! watch the video for some more ideas and thoughts on this topic!

and hey! take a risk! trust yourself!

Lessons I learned from my dogs.

Credit to mom- who brought this to my attention in the first place!

OK so, currently i am stressing because our house is a disaster as we prepare to move very shortly. SO! i thought i would take some time to talk about something i have wanted to share for a while! because doggos always make things better!

my family has two dogs! we have a four year old rescue from Mexico named snickers, and a crazy chocolate lab who recently turned one named coco.

since this is about them and how much i adore them in my life i will share a bit about there personalities as well!

Snickers is a prince, he gets fed by hand when he is stressed, he prances around the house and hops like a bunny when he is outside! he is not fond of company and wont trust easily. He enjoys sleeping all the time. he stays near his family and loves not being in the same area as the coco-monster. (they truly are like siblings!)

Coco on the other hand is absolutely wild! she will eat absolutely everything down to tissue so we have to constantly watch her! she has NEVER ENDING energy! (no seriously..) to put it into perspective for you, we took her to doggy day camp.. two days in a row .. so a total of 16 hour of running around and playing on ACRES of land and yet when we picked her up we were told that the workers weren’t able to tire her out. she also has an UN-natural strength- we estimate she has a pulling power of about 300 pounds. so yea, i refuse to hold the leash.. she is a full on goof and LOVES everyone!

The two of them together can be funny but mostly very annoying, they bark at each other and steal each others bones just because they can. so … how have these crazy animals taught me anything???

WELL let me tell you!

They remind me to be Mindful! do you ever watch your dog, as they sit there intensely focused on the squirrel outside or sniffing the air. they are SO focused! i Love watching these moments and reminding myself to be aware of everything and appreciate it.

They know there limits! they sleep when they are tired! and they eat when they are hungry! its easy to get caught up in our daily routines and forget about taking care of ourselves! our dogs are pros at napping when needed. (which is all the time..)

Make it work! dogs are such neat animals, they take on hurdles and learn how to adapt. I’m sure you have heard of the dog that lost one of its legs and had to learn to walk again, well that dog didn’t just adapt but it also doesn’t worry what the other dogs are going to think because they are “different” and that is my favorite lessons from dogs. Be You!

Tell your loved ones you appreciate them! every single time i walk through the front door the dogs are there wagging there tail so excited they can’t contain it! even if i left for 5 minutes to run to a store or take out the garbage! they just love to tell us how happy they are to see us again wen we get home! how awesome is that! if only humans told each other more often how much they cared for each other.

Find Joy in your day! i often feel sorry for our dogs, they kinda get forgotten as we get busy going to work and meeting friends. Most of there lives are spent inside the house, usually on there own. BUT they still find joy in there lives, they play with there toys, they chase flies and they beg for treats! they don’t let a boring day stop them from living happily.

Stand up for yourself! this one is SO HARD! This is one of my biggest battles! i Do everything possible to avoid upsetting others- no matter what. for dogs, they make it very clear! they stand up for themselves! they snarl or growl and run away.. they don’t let that crazy coco-monster jump all over them all day because there worried about upsetting her.

OF course! for dogs its easier then for us! humans have the abilty to judge and the awareness to be self conscious! we also have battles with mental illness such as depression and..huge variety of emotions and responses to emotions! although we are very different species.. i still think these lessons are worth some thought! i know for me, they are small reminders everyday to focus on the positive.. and the best part, is hanging out with the doggies!

if you have a dog… go spend time with them! be mindful! and maybe learn some new lessons! or… just enjoy the smiles they bring to your face!

Dating while depressed

Dating with a mental illness can be challenging at times. Of course it is hard and for some people it can put a strain on the relationship, but it is possible.

I was in a long term relationship, me and my partner had our individual struggles with mental illness but it never came between us. We were able to support each other while happily dating. Many people think that if you struggle with a mental illness that dating is not a good idea, but it really depends on the people!

For me the relationship I was in gave me a safety net, it helped me learn and grow while being loved. I learned that I could be loved and that I was not alone. I could share my deepest darkest secrets and not feel judged. For some people a relationship can be empowering and positive!

For some people they need to really focus on themselves and being in a relationship takes focus away. For others they tend to rely to much on there partner which can cause stress in the relationship.

I am now single, why? Well things were going good! But my depression got to a point where it was consuming all of me and I knew I had to put the focus on my health. Me and my partner were always very open and valued trust so we openly talked about this and I got a very supportive response! We decided to take time apart and that we could still live together and be best friends but that we wouldn’t define it as a relationship so there was no stress added when I felt the need to take time for myself.

I think it is important for individuals to know themselves and understand what is best for them. It can be really tough managing a relationship and an illness! As well as it can be hard to battle depression if you don’t feel you have someone by your side!

Try to figure out what helps you! The answers aren’t always black & white! Maybe for you the best solution is being in a relationship and having an understanding between you that if you may need to take time to focus on yourself! You don’t have to break up or stay together! Find the solution that works best for you!

Do you feel safe and supported in your relationship?

  • Are you able to take time for yourself while also focusing time towards a relationship?
  • Do you have the proper supports in place to help you cope (therapy, psychiatrist etc.)
  • Is your environment positive or toxic to your recovery?
  • If you are in a relationship, are you truly happy? Do you feel an attachment to the person and your afraid to lose them?
  • Can you have an honest discussion with your partner about your battles and what they may be able to do to support you.

Take your time! Prioritize your health! And try not to get caught up in dangerous situations where you feel you have no Choice in the situation! ( some partners may make threats that if you leave they will kill themselves! This may be a genuine concern! But please reach out for help!)

Talk soon!

Leanna!

Suicide Prevention

September 10th is National suicide Prevention day.

Suicide is one of the top 10 leading cause of death and rising! there are lots of myths and incorrect information out there regarding suicide. So lets talk about it!

There are common and very well known signs that someone may be depressed or even suicidal such as :

  • withdrawing from friends/family
  • acting out or giving away personal items
  • talking about death and suicide

BUT there are many different signs depending on the person and how they cope with there feelings! some people actually mask there sadness with the persona of being the happy bubbly friend to everyone. why? for some people it is a way of disconnecting and distancing people from having emotional attachments with them. This can be a definite warning sign as this may mean they have made a plan and are going to act on it and will do everything in there power to keep people from questioning there emotional state out of fear it will stop them from being able to act.

Suicide can be often described as “SELFISH” which is a terrible misconception! people who are suicidal are not only thinking selflessly but are also not thinking rationally, often the thoughts they have are something similar to this:

  • everyone would be better off without me
  • I make everything worse
  • I am a Burden

People sometimes think that suicide is someone trying to take the “easy” way out and purposely hurt everyone who cares for them … but my goodness if suicide was the easy way out of things we would have an endless problem with it! its No where close to “easy” most people considering suicide in fact don’t want to act on it they don’t WANT to die but they have an overwhelming sense of being trapped and the only answer being suicide!

this is why we need to Talk about it! spread awareness and let people know that they are NOT alone! and in fact there are other answers!

So how can you start to help??

  • Talk about it! you don’t have to share personal details or information but even posting that you are supportive of those who struggle can be a start!
  • share resources! put in your bio a crisis number or site that could help someone!
  • LEARN THE WARNING SIGNS
  • educate yourself on some ways to support someone who you think may be struggling! what can you say or do? how do you approach the topic?
  • start the conversation! try talking about it with friends and family! you can help share your knowledge on the subject.
  • REACH OUT! yes it can be awkward and scary to talk to someone you suspect may be struggling, but i always think of it as .. i would rather reach out then find out they passed away!

Remember .. we are talking about SAVING LIVES.

you can also watch my video!

CRISIS RESOURCES:

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room

https://www.camskids.com/

Monday

Monday’s are always hard for me. Monday’s mean the start to another work week and having depression makes that exhausting! I’ve gotten better at handling it and being able to pace myself although, I’m currently working two jobs and Monday’s are my longest days ! Today (September 9) is an especially interesting Monday because.. my best friend is headed to rehab!

Of course I am so happy and proud of him for taking this step, he deserves it! And I can’t wait for him to have control over his life again and to feel better, he deserves it! And at the same time I’m a sad to say goodbye, for the next 3 months I won’t have my best friend to text every day and make me laugh or talk about the great and not so great characteristics of our dogs!

Monday’s, or any day of the work week can be tough! The things that help me get through it all is reminding myself what my goals are and how this is helping me reach them. I also try to look at the situation as a challenge, I’m not a very competitive person but for some reason doing this really helps me! I feel much better at the end of the day after I met the challenge head on and succeeded. And lastly I have started to ask myself what I would say if it were my best friend in my situation- and I try to tell myself that I need to be my own best friend. This helps me to talk positively to myself and stay motivated.

What are some ways you cope with the work or school week?

What are your goals? Think short term and long term- really sit down and look at all the bits and pieces that will get you there! And be detailed!

What would you say to your best friend in this situation?

Ofcourse I am writing this as I am eating breakfast and preparing for a long day ahead! So i am bound to have mistakes throughout this post BUT nevertheless sharing my experience is also helping motivate me for this week! And I am hoping it can help you too!

Good luck this week! You are doing great! Even if you don’t feel like it!

Talk soon!

Leanna

The Opposite of how I feel

Sooo.. I have mentioned in the past that I have borderline personality disorder (i will put my video about it below!) Because of this diagnosis I was directed to use Dialectical Behavior Therapy (or DBT) as treatment.

While in a fantastic group setting and learning about DBT skills we covered a very interesting skill. The skill is called “opposite action” and it is exactly what you are thinking…. yup if you feel like punching someone the f&%# out, try hugging them instead.

WHAT!? i know it sounds crazy! of course there are exceptions to this for example if you feel you are in danger or someone is abusing you then turning around and hugging them or being kind is NOT a good idea.

This skill is for the times when maybe your super depressed and all you want to do is hide under the covers of your bed, curl up and cry. instead.. get out of bed.. maybe even try showering or putting on a nicer then usual outfit and STAY OUT OF BED!.

This, like all skills take Time and Practice. Trust me it is easier then it sounds! i still haven’t been able to accomplish hugging someone who has pissed me off, but then again anger is just a whole different issue for me.

With all skills its something that you need to keep consistent with and usually start small! this could mean.. if you feel like wearing black clothes one day maybe add some color and every day just try to push yourself a little to the opposite of what you feel. even if its trying a new ice cream flavor! yea, I know that isn’t necessarily gonna change your mood and help your mental health but it will help you get the hang of the skills!

Now to make this Skill even more of a WTF moment for you.. the important part (and one I have the most trouble with) is you have to fully engage in the opposite action! so if you are really dreading work but you decide that you need to go in then the opposite action would be that you get ready, you go into work and like the old saying “put your game face on”.

Yes, I know , some of you are thinking… but i thought we were becoming more accepting of mental health??? and now were supposed to hide it? Let me explain! the point to this is to try and help you slightly change your thought pattern in hopes that you will feel better.

In my blog post about working while depressed i mentioned that i have forced myself to go to work many days when i haven’t felt up to it and at the end of the day i feel just a tiny bit better, (sometimes a lot better but saying that can be misleading! and give false hope.) i usually don’t get to the point where I’m smiling and loving my day but nevertheless, i engage with customers and it forces my mind and body to move out of the black world in my head for bits at a time.

If you didn’t know! DBT was created by Marsha Linehan! and she created a workbook about it if you wanted to check it out i will link it here: https://www.amazon.ca/s?k=dbt+marsha+linehan&i=stripbooks&hvadid=74354573355005&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&hvqmt=e&tag=msncahydra-20&ref=pd_sl_79ktu05jdh_e

This is what the book looks like!

This is The Group I went to with Krystal Martin http://www.oshawapsychologist.com/dialectical-behavioural-therapy-dbt-group-or-individual/

Working while Depressed

As I am writing this it is Monday night after the long weekend. I have had the three days off of work. (Friday, Sunday and Monday) and yet I’m thinking about tomorrow, about going to work. The thought of It makes me tired and want to curl up in bed. My weekend was not full of crazy energy sucking activities that drained me.. it was actually quite a relaxing and calming weekend. so why am i dreading work? is it because I’m simply lazy? i don’t think so..

Depression makes EVERYTHING hard it makes Every tiny little thing you do feel like a big job, some days i want to cry at the thought of brushing my hair. so of course going to work is not gonna be easy! not only is it draining mentally and physically but its also not an enjoyable activity which feeds into your “whats the point?” mindset.

for an average person (at least from what I’m told) they get tired and can take a day or two to rest and then get back to things. They may not necessarily enjoy going to work but they don’t dread it or let it destroy there entire weekend. I’ve had to work on living in the moment- reminding myself that if I am out at lunch, eating then i need to live in the moment and not ruin that time by thinking of work.

one of my siblings has a bad habit of this. they are constantly thinking about work and they never really take time off. they are always checking if they have to reply to work messages and stressing over whats to come in the next week.

a lot of us struggle with this- not living in the moment. its not just people with depression. But for someone with depression it is magnified because all they can see is the dark the bad, the negatives. i don’t try to focus on the bad.. in fact i try my hardest to every day notice the things that bring me even a splinter of joy. it can be anything! Today for example, I was on my phone trying to post something and coco (my dog!) came over and wanted me to pet her so i decided to put my phone and give her attention. i noticed how soft her fur was and looked into her beautiful hazel eyes and i let that moment bring me joy.

I don’t know how exactly i get through work, some days i have walked out the door with my hair in a bun and not brushed and having tears in my eyes as i made my way to work. My family helps to try and encourage me which i am very grateful for. But beyond that, The way i get through it is by telling myself that i can do this, time will go fast and the day will be over. there have been SO MANY days i have gone to work Furious with my family and the world because they pushed me to go to work.. but i have to admit (not every time!) but most times… being at work helps… and it doesn’t help much! it just sliiiightly alters my mood it forces me to engage with others and that thirty second interaction takes my thought of of the depression.

The best advice i can give you if you struggle with this is to try and find an understanding of your own limits! I genuinely believe that some times you do need to take a day and focus on caring for yourself! and other days pushing yourself might be whats best to get you to a bit of a safer mind set! Its important to learn what helps you cope with depression! and Always remember you have to do what is best and what is safest for you.