My Girl Squad

When people think of a group of girls, they often associate them with “cat fights”, “being bitchy” or the movie “mean girls”. But when I hit my lowest point, I found myself being uplifted by some truly exceptional women. The more I opened up about my negative self-reflection, the more determined these women became to rally around me to provide me with the support I didn’t realize I needed.

It was a strange feeling.

When it comes to my emotions, I have a history of being more introverted. I don’t really engage in friendships and I like to keep my circle very small. I have acquaintances, but not friends. Yes there is a difference.

But in this instance, I knew I needed help. I had to expand outside my regular circle. If people reached out to me and asked me how I was doing, I told them the truth. I told them I was struggling. Those who didn’t want to support me brushed over the topic, and those who wanted to help constantly checked in on me. I was okay with either. If you didn’t want to help me, I appreciated the indirect honesty. But, if you did, god bless you, you have no idea how much solace I found in our conversations.

I appreciated the advice and I appreciated the support. I truly felt like they were my pillars when I couldn’t stand on my own. I also appreciated the people who were around me who didn’t necessarily have the life experiences to guide me, but were around to just be around. To step in when I felt like I was going to have a mental breakdown. To fill in the gaps where I felt I was weak.

My girl squad was and has been my greatest blessing throughout this experience. I started to understand the importance of expanding my circle and investing my time and energy in relationships that I may have otherwise overlooked.

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PostPartum Depression – Yes I did the Ugly Kim Kardashian Cry?

Sitting in the doctor’s office, I felt nervous. I started to think, why did the CAS lady think I had postpartum depression? I did a quick google search, “symptoms of postpartum depression”.

  1. Depressed mood (subjective or observed); be irritable mood in children and adolescents, most of the day; YES – My husband would agree that I wasn’t a pleasure to be around.
  2. Loss of interest or pleasure, most of the day – YES – I was sad for about 75% of the day.
  3. Change in weight or appetite. – YES – I had lost weight, I just had a baby. But other than that I was eating okay.
  4. Insomnia or hypersomnia; – YES – Oh I definitely had hypersomnia. I wanted to sleep every chance I got. Some would argue that this was a side effect of being a new mom. But I didn’t feel physically exhausted. I felt mentally exhausted all of the time.
  5. Psychomotor retardation or agitation (observed); NO?- I wasn’t sure what this point meant, someone else would need to confirm this one for me
  6. Loss of energy or fatigue; – YES – I was very tired.
  7. Worthlessness or guilt; – YES – I had a really bad case of mom guilt. I didn’t get to feed my child, I didn’t want to hold him for too long after he was born.
  8. Impaired concentration or indecisiveness; – YES – I could not make a decision. Normally, I have a very decisive person. I made decisions very quickly. But lately, I would get overwhelmed and confused very quickly.
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation or attempt. – NO – I didn’t have these thoughts, but I did want to run away and hide under a mountain of blankets.

I was surprised at how many times I had checked the “yes” box, but I was relieved to learn that I wasn’t alone.

Perhaps having child protective services called was a blessing in disguise?

When the doctor finally made his way into the examination room, I felt a lot more comfortable in speaking with him. I was very candid about how I was feeling, and for the first time, I had a full-on meltdown. Yes I’ll admit it, I did the ugly Kim Kardashian cry.  

I was a mess, and I needed help.

But I have a great doctor. He assured me that having postpartum depression is more common than people think, and that there are so many people who aren’t diagnosed. Contrary to popular belief, you can be diagnosed with postpartum depression up to 3 years after having a baby. Yes, you read that correctly – THREE YEARS!

I was shocked.

Feeling five or more out of symptoms listed above nearly everyday in the same 2-week period is a flag to get help, and boy did I need the help!

My doctor referred me to a psychiatric and social worker – and just like that I was officially in the system.  

PostPartum Depression – Where Did You Come From?

I never thought I would be one of those moms.

I had a plan. I was going to get pregnant, and it was going to be the flowers and butterflies’ type of experience.

Wrong…

The experience was a nightmare plagued with gestational diabetes and nausea until the very end. Between popping pills to control the vomiting, pricking myself with needles to check my blood sugars and stabbing myself with insulin needles, it was safe to say I hated the world! As the Brits would say – I was a miserable cow!

My labour would go smoothly.

Wrong again…

33 hours of vomiting and pain. Everyone said “take the Epidural – it will be great! It will disguise the pain”. They didn’t tell me that it would make me throw up! Maybe I was one of the unlucky few. Even having ice chips made me throw up. Labour was a rough experience. After it was all over, I was mentally and physically exhausted. When the nurse finally placed my son in my arms, I wanted to be as far away from him as possible. Skin to skin wasn’t even an option. My husband took over. My husband was also the first one to feed my son,  and although I had only been a mother for about 2 hours – I felt like a failure.

Make no mistake. I loved my son, but I felt as though I had lost who I was. And without even realizing it, I started feeling the pressure of the mom shamers. In my mind, I could hear them saying “You didn’t want to hold your kid? You didn’t feed your kid?”. While the normal me would respond with “No I fucking didn’t – move on with your life”, the current me – that I didn’t even recognize, wanted to crawl into a small black hole and hide.    

I was very sad and I felt alone. I felt like no one understood how I felt. I was supposed to be happy and excited about this gift I had receive, and I was. But something was missing. I felt like an empty shell.


The Little Train That Could….Maybe.

Six months ago, I started a new role at work and to say the role is challenging is an understatement. Every day feels like an uphill battle and up until last week, I felt that I was up for the challenge.

Last week, I was thrust outside my comfort zone as I attended a week of intense training at our company’s headquarters. And boy was the training tough. I felt both mentally exhausted from the amount of information being dumped on me and physically exhausted from the time difference. Having health issues, traveling is very tough for me. But the information overload was tougher. As a flew home at the end of what can only be described as one of the most exhausting week of my life, I made a conscious decision to do my best and become the ‘little train that could’.

That thought quickly evaporated on Monday morning as I sat at my desk. Conquered, yes I mean conquered and not consumed, with fears and insecurities, I did my best to try and tackle the obstacles put in front of me. I was close to the end of the day, when a colleague called me and shouted at me. “What do you want from me?” he shouted down the other end of the receiver. I was shocked. This is my colleague, not a customer. He is someone who is meant to be on my team. I was trying to work on a request for his customer, and needed more information to help fight for his ask. Keep in mind I am new to role, so my ask may have been ‘stupid’, but my mind and effort was in the right place. I was extremely hurt by his reaction, and asked him to adjust his tone, which he did not. Needless to say, I got off that call as quickly as possible.

After collecting my thoughts, I sent him an IM that read:

“I apologize if you feel that my work is inadequate, but I am 6 months in role
and am doing my best. It is not okay for you to shout at me. I am trying my
best to find a resolution for an ask that came through you.
Going forward, it may be best for you to please send all of your asks through the account managers. Thank you.”

I hope I handled the issue correctly. I will be the first person to admit that I am having a hard time in the role, but I also continue to try and push through my insecurities and do my best. I don’t pretend to know more than I do, and am constantly reaching out for help. I want to get better in this role, but it is very hard to when you have colleague shouting at you. It is extremely demotivating and it makes me very sad.

Maybe this role isn’t for me….

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Truth & Lies

Words. Chains. Shackles. Suffocate.

I’m sitting here trying to complete what can only be described as the tedious task of writing this blog post and suddenly I feel as though I can’t breathe. Why won’t the words leave my mind and find their way to the blank page in front of me? I’m struggling to find the words to explain my emotions. I feel trapped. Words are floating sporadically around my mind. They don’t make any sense. What is bothering me? Why can’t I just speak my mind?

Am I afraid of the raw honesty of my thoughts? Am I being pessimistic. Perhaps it’s the latter. I feel frustrated.

Recently, I’ve had people lie directly to me and it’s been a very disheartening experience. I value words. They allow people to connect and build a sense of community. When people misuse words to withhold the truth, they create invisible barriers that otherwise wouldn’t exist. I don’t understand why people isolate themselves or others. The whole situation can be avoided with a dose of honesty. I don’t think that is too much to ask.

Maybe people lie to create barriers? Maybe they subconsciously lie because they want to break ties with people, because after all, lies are daggers. You can sew the wounds, but the stitches will always be visible.  You can’t hide what is on display. No amount of makeup will ever cover them up.

Maybe the truth is simply that people lie. Perhaps they lie because they are too weak to stand up for themselves. Or maybe they lie because they are human, and a human’s innate nature is to look out for themselves first. They lack any regard for the person they are lying to.

It’s disappointing when you invest yourself in relationships, only to learn that they weren’t worth the investment. That the people you overlooked were more worthy of your time. They valued you and instead, you elected to waste your time with people who weren’t deserving of it.

We live in a narcissistic world, where people are starting to look out for number one first. I’m not sure when we went from living as a community to only thinking of ourselves. But I’m done with it. I would rather spend my time with people who are think like me, and value people the way I do. Who chose not to lie just because it is convenient.

2017, people are going to see a very different version of me. I’m learning from their example and if they don’t like it, there are more than a billion other people on the planet, we’re not lacking for people we can have relationships with.

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One In A Billion

The world, people say its overpopulated, but if that’s true why can’t I find a single soul that I feel connected with?  I walk through each day with my vulnerabilities on full display, hoping for a single connection. However, as the day’s pass, I can feel the vulnerabilities shedding away and being replaced by loneliness and sadness. Why does no one see the hurt that’s in my heart.

Life is passing by quickly, and I understand that each of us have our own trials and tribulations that we need to overcome, but what happened to connecting with those around us on a human level and having real relationships? Each one of us is preoccupied by our own daily struggles, but in the process we are losing the ability to connect with each other. We’re becoming lonely and lost souls. We’re floating through life trying to find someone who will understand our souls, but we’re not putting in that effort with others. In the process of becoming fixated on our own emotions, have we lost the ability to empathize with the people around us? Are these relationships of the past?

I try to stay positive, and share my fears with people. I want people to see my weaknesses. I don’t view my weaknesses as a hindrance to me. In fact, I view them as my strengths. They allow me to connect with people on the human level. I am not perfect, and neither is my life, and I am okay to say that. We all have our pain points, and obstacles that we need to overcome, after all, life isn’t perfect. And it shouldn’t be.

Life is about growing, and even if you don’t find the connections with people that you are looking for, you need to try and understand why. Is there something in your own behavior pattern that is preventing you from connecting?

In a world filled with billions of people, surely there is one soulmate for everyone. Whether it be a friend, sibling, spouse, parent or friend, they exist. We need to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves and enjoy the growing pains of life. Share our hardships. Listen to those around us, and hear their life experiences. They have been put in our lives for a reason, and we need to understand their purpose.

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How am I feeling today you ask?

I’m feeling very sad and disappointed with the state of the world today. I’m disappointed in my southern neighbor electing someone who is ignorant to the state of the world. I am upset that those negative emotions are creeping into Canada. I am so tired of the hate, and the division between people. And I am frustrated that people are having to re-fight for rights that were already established.

When did we start to go backwards?

I feel as though there is a huge void in my heart, and I don’t see it being filled anytime soon. For the past week and a half, I have been feeling very empty, and for the first time in a long time, I’ve lost hope. Gandhi says to be the change you want to see in the world, and while I am not a fan of Gandhi, I am trying to stay positive and project positivity. But, I am struggling. I am fighting hard to hold back tears every day. I feel very hollow, but I am trying with everything in me to not project negativity.

Today, on my way home from work, I saw a man’s car stopped on the side of the road. About 20 people drove past him. I also contemplated driving past, but I stopped. To be honest, I thought it was a girl. The person had long blond hair that fell to their shoulders, but when they spoke and I realized that it was a young man in his late teens or early 20s. He said thanks for stopping, but we were both equally clued out as to how to fix his car. He said it was his clutch and that he needed brake oil. I’m not sure if that’s what he needed, but I drove to the gas station to get the oil. For those of you who are a bit panicked right now, relax, I didn’t take him in the car with me, he was still a stranger. I took his number and called him when I got to the gas station to confirm that I picked up the right oil. I brought the oil back to where his car was stopped and gave it to him. He asked me how much the oil cost, and I told him to ‘pay it forward’. To which he responded, ‘I do that too’. For a split second, we both smiled, faith in humanity restored, and I walked back to my car. As I drove down the road to turn my car around, I thought, ‘what if that’s not what he needs, and I just left him?’. Fortunately, by the time I drove past him, another man, from a line of 30 cars had pulled over to help him and I was genuinely happy that another individual stopped to offer a helping hand, it gave me a bit of hope.

With this experience, I could feel that hole inside me fill a little. I left the interaction feeling a little more healed. Not fully healed, but enough to help me genuinely smile for the first time in over a week.

In that moment, we didn’t see each other’s backgrounds, economic status or level of education. We saw each other as people, helping each other.

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Dear Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

Christmas is only 19 days away and the grass is still green. I know many people would be excited by this, but not me. I love winter and all that comes with it. Yes, even the part where I have to wear 50 pairs of socks to keep my feet warm. Winter is my favorite season.

Vancouver has been receiving snow. Yes VAN-COU-VER! Let that sink in.

Is it old age? Are you having a moment? They never get snow. I think you are getting your coasts mixed up, and I’m not a happy camper. When are we going to get snow? I know I should probably be patient, but yesterday you tricked me. I woke up and there was snow on the ground. I got to wipe the snow off my windows, it was so exhilarating! But when I left work later that day, nothing! Not a single centimeter of snow anywhere. It was so warm that I could have gone outside in my hoody! A HOODY..in December?

I don’t know, maybe you are doing me a favour. Sure, I’ve gained a couple of pounds over the past year (no I’m not pregnant, just fat!) and I can’t zip up my jacket, but I promise I can handle the cold weather. I’ll wear my husbands winter jacket if that means I get snow!

You have 19 days, and then I’m really hoping for a white Christmas. I HAVE HIGH HOPES!

Thanks for hearing me out!

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Out of Town Visitors

This past weekend my uncle and aunt came to visit. It was great seeing them, they’d both had a very tough year. My uncle survived multiple heart attacks, strokes and ultimately a heart transplant. It was a miracle that he could make the journey to come visit us. Though they only came for a short visit, their ‘trial’ run as they called it, it was difficult to say goodbye to them as they left to head home.

The last time I had seen my aunt and uncle was at my wedding, almost 6 years prior. Both of them were vibrant and so full of life. The thought of not seeing them again never crossed my mind. I don’t think it crossed any of our minds.

It’s crazy how we sometimes take those closest to us for granted. We naively assume that they will be around forever. We fail to think of a time when the annual birthday phone calls will stop, or not hearing someone’s voice again. But life is a fickle thing, and it is unrealistic for us to expect anything from life.

Life is short and we need to relish in every interaction that we have with loved ones. Not waste time on petty arguments or disagreements. We need to focus on the bigger picture, and in this case, the bigger picture being the underlying love.

My aunt and uncle asked both my sister and I repeatedly why we didn’t come to visit them. My answer was unclear. Why didn’t we go to see them? Yes I have had unfavorable interactions with people who live close to them, but that didn’t deter me from visiting my aunt and uncle. The thought of visiting them crossed my mind on more than one occasion, but I never bought my flight ticket. Instead I opted to visit warmer climates, seeing monuments that weren’t of any significance in my life. I should have prioritized seeing them.

What if I was too late? What’s the point of taking the time to attend someone’s funeral if you failed to make the effort to see them while they were alive. Fortunately, I have the opportunity to see them again. To converse with them and create memories. To prioritize what is important in my life. I am grateful for having the opportunity.

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