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Is it really already April?!

Writing…you would think that with the amount of correspondence we all send to each other daily that I would be better at scheduling time for myself to in fact write. It seems like any excuse not to sit down and freely let my thoughts flow is acceptable to me because what can I say that will make a difference? The funny thing is…I have never written for an audience, but purely for my own personal release. Whether it is emotions, or thoughts, or just observations about the wonderful and quirky world we live in, it really is an exercise in focusing for me.


Lately I have been somewhat scattered. That is probably an understatement. Lately I have been off. You know that feeling? You can’t really put your finger on it, but you know that you are not operating at full capacity. My brain will go completely blank for no reason, or I forget something simple. It’s a different feeling from when I was dealing with the chaos after my car accident. This “fuzziness” is heavier and frustrates me more than it should. That is how my 2023 has been so far.


Of course, there is always the weather that can affect the mood I am in. Winters in Calgary are somewhat gray, blizzardy and cold. All I want to do is hunker down, read a book and nap. But then there are the mornings where I wake up, look outside and there is a fresh snowfall. Sure, I immediately think “I really need to move south!” Then again, staring out the window at the freshly fallen snow blanketing my street, I also feel a sense of home. This is where I am from. This is where I have always called home. I love walking my 2 furry babies in the freshly fallen snow. The way their teeny tiny paw prints are the first to mark the snow. How they run around sniffing and loving the feeling of hopping from snow pile to snow pile. How can that not make a person smile?! My little family…all bundled up and cozy. Those moments I do love...and there are a lot of them. There are also a few moments where I am yelling at Daisy from my backdoor, telling her to “get her scrawny ass in the house right now!” She usually just pretends she cannot hear me and eventually (and incredibly slowly) walks to the backdoor with a look that says “Oh, I’m sorry. Were you waiting for Moi?” LOL


I don’t think I have been shy about revealing that I have suffered from depression for the better part of my life. Starting in my teens and up until the present day I have had to deal with mood swings. The days where I can’t stop crying. Some of those days seem endless to me. And then some of the days seem perfectly normal. You just never know sometimes. That can be a bit of a rollercoaster for myself and for the people in my life who rely on me. Plus, the medications. OMG! You try a new one and it seems to work for a while…maybe even a couple of years. But it inevitably stops working as effectively. So, the cycle begins again. I have realized that there has got to be a better way to cope.


It is often very easy to forget that prescription drugs are only part of the solution when it comes to mental illness. You always hear about the new “wonder drug” that will help make you happier and according to the commercials you will sporadically take to dancing in the streets with your mail carrier and dogwalker. Come on…that seems a bit ridiculous. Yet, those of us who suffer with mental illness are ever hopeful that maybe this time it will work. That perhaps someday I will in fact become like that person on the commercial all happy and carefree.


**(Side note: Even on my worst days I am in fact that person dancing/singing and chatting up the neighbors and strangers. What can I say? I am my father’s daughter. 😊 ) **


I have found that when I am doing the best in my life, it is because I have found alternate ways of battling depression. Do I need meds presently? Yes. Do I think I will forever? Who knows? Maybe. But I do know that drugs alone are not the answer. For me, I need people. I need interaction. I need to see, hear and talk with others. I am not saying that avoidance is an answer. What I mean is, getting outside of myself, my head and me, me, me is not a bad thing. When we engage in the world around us, we are not only offering up our shared experiences, but we are also able to learn from others. Making friends with people of all different ages and demographics is so important. This idea that we all have to agree on everything to be valuable friends is false. (And incredibly boring) Having some diversity in my friend group is such a gift and through these interactions I have learned to see the world in new and refreshing ways.


I have been so lucky to have been born into a good family. I have also had a few very important and defining friendships that have sustained me in these times. It is very easy to let those relationships fall to the wayside when I am lost or down. The great thing is that I have those few people in my life who just know. They know something is off and they don’t ignore it or make it seem like it is a burden that I must carry alone. They listen. They talk directly about what’s happening and sometimes they even kick my ass into gear.


I have also been doing quite a bit of reading and listening to podcasts/books online about various things and ALL of these platforms suggest mindfulness, meditation and physical activity. It is so awesome to read about all of these studies being done presently regarding the use of natural sources to alleviate some of the symptoms of mental illness. A few of these that I have especially loved are:


· Cold Water Therapy (Brrrr...but incredibly helpful for anything from migraines to mental health benefits)

· Drumming Circle (Don’t forget to bring noise cancelling headphones. It can get pretty load. It is so much fun and amazing for stress relief.)

· Mediation/Purposeful Relaxation

· Exercise. Any form. Just doing it boosts mood, confidence and not to mention makes all of us look fitter and ready for summer.


I am really looking forward to this spring and summer. I can’t say I have any spectacular plans yet, nor do I feel like I am beach body ready, but I am excited anyways. Hand me a book, headphones with my favorite playlist, plant me on a beach in front of any body of water and let me soak up some sun. That is my idea of a day well spent. Add a few good friends, maybe some wine tasting, and it is a party!


I would really like to start travelling more. I feel this itch to get out of the “every day” and experience life somewhere else. To see beautiful sights, eat amazing food, listen to live music and laugh. Laugh at a wonderful story told by an amazing storyteller. Perhaps even write about these experiences and share a world outside of my sometimes stale 9-5, puppy-mom, scheduled lifestyle.

What must that be like? To wake up somewhere exotic (not snakes, spiders and rodent’s exotic), put on my bathing suit and eat breakfast while watching the sunrise over an incredible ocean view. If there are a couple of dark, handsome men running on the beach in that view…so be it! Who am I to complain. 😊 Maybe I will even be inspired to write that book I have always said I would write and never get past chapter 1.


Well, I should probably go make myself some dinner (Greek salad, naan bread and tzatziki) and play with the puppies for a bit. I wish all my friends and family a fabulous week and hope your 2023 turns out to be the best year ever!


Much Love,

Jenny

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