Things You Probably Don’t Know About Lesbians Trying to Have Babies

*I can only write from my experience, as a lesbian. I imagine other members of the LGTBQ+ community have to face similar, if not far more difficult, obstacles. Sending love to anyone trying. ❤

  • Sperm is expensive. Like $950 per try (plus shipping).
  • So- some of us might try to find known donors. This can be extremely difficult and many of them end up changing their mind. Can’t blame them- but it’s definitely emotional. If you’re going that route- be prepared for the possibility.
  • You might wanna order in bulk (if you want more than 1 kid from the same donor) because donors max out. They can only help create a certain number of offspring. In Canada its 25 children per population 800,000.
  • You have no idea how many tries it will take.
  • You can only try 1 time per cycle. The fertility clinic monitors you closely to determine when the prime ovulation time is.
  • You have to do a number of tests before you can even think about insemination. Blood tests, ultrasounds, a tubal flush, more blood tests, a psychologist appointment… And even more testing if any of those tests have abnormal results.
  • Only 1 round of IVF is covered by the government. After that, accept the fact that you’ll spend thousands of dollars trying to conceive.
  • There’s no limit on the number of IUI’s you can try (government covered) but they can be less effective (up to 20% chance of success while IVF averages at 40-45% success rate per try).
  • You’ll probably have to take medications/hormones such as Clomid, Progesterone, Letrozole… maybe more?
  • The waiting game is insane. The wait for an IVF funded cycle is 1 year.
  • You have to pay for sperm storage. $500 per year.
  • The process is isolating. It’s hard to find people who have been through the experience and as much as we appreciate people saying “just stay positive” or “it will happen!” we can’t help but feel alone.

SO- if you know a queer couple trying to conceive, be kind. It’s an emotional rollercoaster.

We’ve only just begun our process, I can’t imagine what the couples who have spent years are going through. So. Much. Respect.

Sending so much love to anyone trying out there who’s having trouble or is just emotionally exhausted. ❤

My Favourite Skincare Products

I’m not huge on makeup, it’s definitely not something I’ll splurge on a regular basis.

BUT- I love skin care products. Skin is so delicate and truly mirrors how you treat it. Of course, what we put into our body is SO important when it comes to how our skin looks and feels, but the products we use are also incredibly vital.

Here are my all-time favorite products and how I use them. Notice some are definitely a splurge, while some are extremely cost-effective. If I’ve splurged on a product it’s because it’s 100% worth it.

Cleanser 1: I use two different cleansers depending on how my skin is feeling. When my skin is feeling dry or if I’m wearing a lot of makeup that day, I use the Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleaning Oil from Khiels.  I buy the 42 ML bottle and it lasts forever. This cleanser is an essential oil cleanser so I just use 1 or 2 pumps and add water to create a nice lather. It is by far the best at taking makeup off & doesn’t irritate my eyes either. Also, it’s sulfate-free!

Cleanser 2: Good ol’ Spectro Gel. I buy it in bulk from Costco but you can buy it almost anywhere. I use this pretty regularly and find it really gentle on my skin. I love that it’s fragrance-free.

Makeup Remover Wipes: I’m notorious for leaving my makeup on overnight. It’s a habit I’m really working to break. I find having makeup removing wipes handy helps because they’re just so easy and fast. I’m not picky about what kind I use but my current favorite is the Biore Makeup Removing Towelettes. Super affordable ($4.00 for a 30 pack!) and effective & I really like the way they smell.

Exfoliant: I use the Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant by Aveda. I love that it doesn’t have those tiny beads that are terrible for the environment (and our skin). It’s a gentle liquid that I apply with a cloth after washing my face. It smells really fresh and you don’t need much so it lasts a long time.

Facial Moisturizer 1: I use a few honestly but my favorite is The Ultra Facial Cream by Khiels. I find it really gentle on my skin but also combats winter dryness! It doesn’t create a greasy film on my skin either, super light-weight. Again, a bit pricey but you don’t need much so it lasts. 

Night Cream: I use Burt’s Bees Skin Nourishment Night Cream. I like it because again, it’s light-weight and I wake up with my skin feeling really soft and supple. This is the first night cream I’ve used that hasn’t caused breakouts.

Mask: I like trying different masks and have a few different favorites. I really love the Tumeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask by Khiels but I find I can only leave it on for 4-5 minutes or so before it starts to irritate my skin. But, I do find my skin does look very bright and radiant afterward.

I also like the Cup O’Coffee Mask by Lush. The smell is amazing (for anyone who likes the smell of coffee.) It definitely helps me wake up in the morning. I also love the coffee grounds that are in the mask that acts as a natural exfoliant. Wallet-friendly too.

Eye Cream: Sad to say I’m getting to the age where I’ll start noticing my skin doesn’t look as young as it used to. I’m already noticing fine lines around my eyes. I don’t hate them, but I want to keep them faint for as long as possible. I really love the Smoothing Eye Concentrate by Juice Beauty.
I bought it over a year ago and it’s still got some left. Seems pricey when you buy it but it lasts so long. I also find it’s really effective at reducing the appearance of dark circles which I am prone to.

Serum: Obsessed with The Midnight Recovery Concentrate by Khiels.
Not only does it work to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, it literally makes my skin glow. My favorite thing about this product though is the smell! It’s so earthy and comforting. It puts me right to sleep.

Peel: I’m hooked on The Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel. These are the most expensive product I own but I swear by them. I don’t use them daily as instructed as I find it’s too harsh on my fair/delicate skin. I use them twice per month usually which makes them more affordable as well. These peels are really easy to use- just two towelettes that you use one after another. They make my skin feel NEW! I can literally see the brightness after using them. They are also Vegan and Cruelty-Free. 🙂

Body Moisturizer: For years I have used Aveeno Body Lotion simply because I can buy it in bulk from Costco and it’s unscented which I look for in a body lotion. I find it’s good for the summer because it’s light-weight but for the winter I would recommend something a little more moisturizing.

So now that I’ve listed my favorite products. Here’s when/how I use them:

Cleanser: Morning in the shower
Makeup-Removing Towelettes: At night before bed.
Exfoliant: Daily/every other day depending on my skin.
Moisturizer: After cleansing in the morning.
Night Cream: After using the makeup-removing towelettes before bed.
Eye Cream: About 3 times per week or as I remember. Any time.
Mask: Once or twice per week, usually in the shower so the steam helps my pores open.
Serum: I’ll swap this out for the night cream if I find my skin is very dry. I use it about twice a week. (Thought I smell it before bed regularly lol!)
Peel: Once or twice per month, usually on a day where I’m not wearing any makeup.
Body Moisturizer: Daily/as needed.

I know Winter is almost over (I hope) but if you have a body moisturizer that you LOVE please leave it in the comments!

Why I Stopped Writing my Second Book

I’ve been wanting to write this for a while but wasn’t sure where to start.

My first book, Waves, took years to write. It was a bundle of poetry and prose written over the span of 7 years. It was a representation of personal torment and growth. Honestly, it came easily. It was burning inside my chest and I didn’t feel relief until I had it all on paper and in the hands of readers.

The words came easily. I would have dreams of ideas for poems and cool phrases and metaphors would come to me often. Of course, it was a process to write the book in its entirety, but overall the process was seamless.

But- here’s what I never talk about when discussing my writing- It kills me and brings me to life simultaneously. While I’m writing, I isolate myself behind closed doors with headphones on and dive into the darkest corners of my mind. Truly, it’s a scary place to be. But, it provides me with compelling content.

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if my writing makes me sick, or better. If it provides me serenity or traps me in a nightmare. And the conclusion I have come to is that it does both. I turn into almost a zombie when I’m writing; not showering, sitting at my desk, or more often in bed, writing and deleting and writing and deleting… I forget to go outside, forget to experience life because I’m so consumed with writing about it.

All of that being said, I’ve been taking a bit of a break from writing my new book, Undertow. Partly because I have to go out and experience things before I have content to write about, and partly because I’m so tired of writing about the past. It’s exhausting and re-traumatizing, to say the least.

Here’s what I’ve been trying to do instead of write
(in hopes that it will give me inspiration when I’m ready to write again) :

  • Seeing friends. Instead of isolating myself and writing, I’ve been trying to connect with old friends and make new ones. Each person I meet inspires me in some way and contributes to new ideas.
  • Focussing on wellness. When I write, I get into a state where I literally forget to take care of myself, no matter how hard I try to remember. It just isn’t on my radar. So lately I’ve been using this break to focus on nutrition, work & relationships.
  • Planning activities that will inspire me. I’ve been planning trips, social events, even just listening to new music, reading new books (different types and genres than I usually read) and watching new movies and tv shows to spark inspiration.
  • Actually experience my life instead of writing about it: This is a big one. For a while, I was so consumed with writing that I rarely left the house except to go to work and do groceries. Now I’m seeking out experiences, staying present in moments instead of thinking about writing of them later and focussing on goals aside from my next book.

This isn’t to say that there won’t be another book, it’s just going to take longer than I initially thought.

Here’s to living, and experiencing.

TJ

Another Article I found Interesting:

https://www.bustle.com/articles/66871-5-reasons-why-writers-should-take-a-break-from-writing-every-now-and-then-and-what

Life Update/Recovery Details

Wow.

Not quite sure where to start as I feel SO much has changed since I began my naturopathic treatment plan in early December.

For Anyone Who’s New Here

I’ve struggled with depression (possibly bi-polar according to my family doctor [who I have since left due to her lack of knowledge and bedside manner]), anxiety, OCD and insomnia since I was a pre-teen. I have been to over 20 different therapists, tried countless different coping strategies such as yoga, meditation, and grounding techniques. I have been admitted to one hospital after a suicide attempt and have come close to self-admitting more times than I can remember.

Last year, after I began seeing my naturopath, she suggested I complete the Dutch test. So, I did. I trusted her when she said, based on my symptoms and history, she believed I was suffering from a hormonal imbalance, not depression and most definitely not from bi-polar.

After completing the test (which is basically just like a few pregnancy tests that you pee on at certain times of the day/evening at a specific time in your cycle), my results came back. She was 100% right- my testosterone and estrogen were sky high and my Progesterone was absent. My body also wasn’t releasing cortisol and was “hoarding” it which apparently can happen after trauma (even years later).

At first, I was skeptical until I got to the second page of my results and saw that my Dopamine and Serotonin levels were actually elevated… Likely due to the Zoloft I’ve been taking for nearly a decade thinking I simply was deficient of those two chemicals. 

Treatment Plan:

Currently, I take over 20 pills a day. The 20 pills consist of 10 different supplements to help regulate my hormones, and a low dose of Zoloft (that I may or may not need to take forever).

Other lifestyle changes I have made as per the recommendation of my naturopath are:

  • Limiting alcohol consumption. I only drink about twice a week now (socially). Before, I was drinking 2-3 glasses of wine every night. Limiting alcohol is essential. My liver has to be at it’s prime right now as I try to heal my Estrogen dominance (the liver eliminates excess estrogen.)
  • Limiting sugar. This one is tough for me as I love sweets! But I am being mindful and trying to limit my sugar intake.
  • Engaging in low-impact exercise. Before, I would kill myself at the gym. I figured pain was good and meant I was building muscle. My naturopath recommended I stick to yoga and other low impact activities like walking and tai chi. She said most people who have hormone imbalances are absolutely depleted and their bodies are already exhausted without pushing themselves at the gym.
  • Eating a hormone balancing diet of protein, vegetables (as many as possible!), and healthy fats. Fruit in moderation as it is high in sugar. (I’m working on this one and gradually making better choices.)

*So far, my body has responded very well to the supplements. I didn’t have any adverse reactions aside from a bit of heartburn at first and can confidently say I am experiencing far more positive side effects than I thought I would.

What I’ve Noticed so Far: 

  • Better sleep: I used to wake up every night, multiple times. I’d wake up in cold sweats, often with my heart racing and would often have middle of the night panic attacks. Now, I sleep through the night most nights and feel more rested.
  • Fewer panic attacks in general: I haven’t had a full-blown panic attack since I started taking the supplements (so more than a month free of panic attacks which means I also haven’t had to use Lorazepam!)
  • Increased Energy: For the first time in a long time, I feel human! Before I felt like a zombie, just wandering mindlessly through the motions, completely exhausted. Now, I have a lot more energy (like enough energy to clean the house and do things I used to put off for weeks.) This could be due to better sleep, but I also think my body is just recovering.
  • Fewer Cravings: I used to crave sugar like crazy. Now, I feel like I’m craving savory foods and foods that are high in fat. Not sure what this means yet!
  • Less severe PMS symptoms: I used to experience the worst PMS symptoms like acne, depression, almost constant anxiety, and panic attacks, and cramping so bad I would have to curl into the fetal position. Now, I still experience these symptoms, but on a much smaller scale.

Next Steps

Now that my body has gotten used to the supplements, I am going to get a bit more serious about my lifestyle changes. I’m going to be really conscious of the food I put into my body and try my hardest to stick to a hormone balancing diet (and try to eliminate or strictly limit carbs aka sugar).

I’m also planning to try different forms of gentle exercise and make it a more prominent part of my treatment plan (because I miss going hard at the gym.)

In another month, I will go back to my naturopath for a follow-up appointment where we will discuss how I have been feeling, and what she thinks our next steps should be. Ideally, in 6 months to a year, we will re-test my hormones and see some progress

If you Think you Might Have a Hormone Imbalance

I would strongly suggest you bring it up with your family doctor. See if you can get your hormones tested. If they aren’t receptive and blame your symptoms on mental illness (like my family doctor did) I’d urge you to get a second opinion and see a naturopath.

Love,

TJ

What do you mean I might not be mentally ill?

If you were to ask me 10 years ago where I would be at 25, “I don’t know if I’ll make it to 25.”

My mental illness (diagnosed as depression, anxiety & OCD) has been a shadow following me since I was 12. I remember the first time I thought there might be something wrong was when I started coming home from school at 4, sleeping until 7, eating and then sleeping till morning. No amount of sleep could cure the exhaustion.

It has stuck with me ever since. It has grown and morphed and squeezed into every single aspect of my life despite my best efforts to shield myself from it. It has progressed into a monster that I undoubtedly am no match for.

Now, at 25 I am married to a woman I adore, in a house I love with a dog I can’t imagine my life without. But, my “mental illness” has been worse than ever before. It has manifested into what my family doctor referred to as “probably bi-polar”, and has consumed me entirely as I tried to find ways to cope with it.

I’ve tried diet changes, medications (including an anti-psychotic for my “probably bi-polar“, exercise, socializing more, staying busier, taking time to rest, going on sick-leaves from work, life-coaching, therapist after therapist after therapist… To say the least, it has been exhausting and completely debilitating.

I have burnt bridges professionally, lost friends, and questioned my purpose during what I thought was “mania.” I have felt so enlightened and determined that I wrote half of a book in one sitting. A rollercoaster could not compete with the twisty ride my brain was on.

But, the one helping professional who has empowered me and helped me fight for answers is my naturopath. I’ve been seeing her for a year, and in that time, she has dug down to the roots of my being. She has asked questions no doctor ever thought to ask and wanted a full picture of my life (right down to when I go to the bathroom.)

So, when she suggested that I might not actually have a mental illness, but that it is a symptom of a larger problem, I believed she could be right. 

She then proceeded to tell me that she wanted me to take a test that tests the hormone, serotonin, dopamine, and neurotransmitters in the body called the Dutch Test
I trusted her. I trusted her wholeheartedly because I so badly needed an answer for why my depression and anxiety/OCD had morphed into this bi-polar like illness that was eating me alive.

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So- I took the test. I peed on little flaps of papers at certain times a day at a certain day in my cycle and then mailed it off in hopes that I would find relief. Nearly a month later, my results came back. I met with my naturopath who had taken the time to analyze the tests and what she told me frightened and enlightened me. “Your mental illness is a symptom of a hormone imbalance.” She also informed me that my serotonin levels, dopamine levels, and neurotransmitters were in the normal-high range. But that all of my basic hormones, including my cortisol, were not.

THANK GOD” were the first two words that popped into my head. Next were “who am I without it?” 

I never realized how heavily I identified as someone who is depressed, who is anxious, who has OCD. I never imagined it could be anything else. So now, I’m here. Sitting with the feelings that accompany my new diagnosis of having a “hormone imbalance” while not letting it have too much power over me (though I cannot wait to get my hormones back to a healthy level.)

For the next while, my posts will likely be about my experiences surrounding recovery & hormone balance, as well as my emotions surrounding this entire experience.

Love

 

 

 

 

 

My Dogs Birthday

Note: This post will be written by no other than Doby, the dog (@dobythedawg on Instagram).

I woke up today, and it was like any other day. It was rainy which meant likely no walk… but then, mom turned on the fireplace and invited me for special couch cuddles where she doesn’t ask me to make more room for her! The whole couch to myself! She even tucked me in (which isn’t a rare occurrence). I’m too kind to tell her that’s what my fur is for.

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So Doby

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Much Cozy

After our couch cuddle, mom went into the fridge (always a good sign!). I awaited eternally hopeful for some human food to eat. She returned with A POT! A POT THAT I COULD LICK!

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DEEEEEEELICIOUS

As if my day wasn’t already the best….mom #1 (#2 came home later) surprised me with a homemade treat. I saw her making them but assumed she was making quinoa or something else that’s disgusting.

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come to papa

Belly. so. full.

I can tell now it’s afternoon. Kids are walking past our house with strange packs on their backs. Mom says it’s called a backpack… I don’t see why. ANYWAYS. Afternoon means mom#2. comes home from work in a few hours. Which means…DINNNNNER. I am so excited for dinner.

Mom #1. is wrapping some things that smell a lot like toys and treats in a weird bag with a  bunch of tissue now. I love tissue.

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I wait.

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so tempt.

MOM #2. Is home. OMGOMGOMG. I  haven’t seen her in centuries. And doesn’t she know it’s my birthed day! I hope she knows. We must celebrate the life of DOBY!

By this time- my favorite meal of the day is ready! Dinner! Moms keep saying “plate for Doby.” I know what a plate is! I like plates! I want a plate for DOBY!

 

I loved my plate for Doby!

I think now that we have all eaten dinner it might be time to see what’s in the tissue bag.

 

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD I GOT A NEW ROPE TOY THAT I CAN CHEW AND TEAR APART AND DRAG ALL OVER THE 3 FLOORS OF THIS HOUSE AND LEAVE LITTLE BITS EVERYWHERE ESPECIALLY ON THE CARPET. YES!

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I love rope toy.

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Moms keep making me pose for more photos even though all I want to do is open the rest of the things in the tissue bag.

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much excite to eat all of these toys… i mean treats

Wow. Now that all of that excitement is over. All I want to do is take all of my new toys to my bed. Chew them all (likely to bits) and then beg all night for all of my new treats.

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I am done with stupid hat. Let me chew my toys in peace.

 

LOOOOOVE: DOBY

What I’ve Learned Being 24

Recently I celebrated a birthday… 25! Can’t even lie; it kinda crept up on me. Birthdays are a strange thing. It’s like “Hey- you were birthed ______ many years ago…Congrats!” Regardless, I always use my birthdays as an opportunity to reflect on the past year and create goals for the next.

24 was a HUGE year, full of love and opportunity and exploration. It was one of my favorite years so far.

Here are a bunch of lists inspired by my 24th year on this planet: 

Favorite 3 hobbies: 

  1. Refinishing Furniture: I mean, who doesn’t like making something old look new again. I’ll be writing a new post soon on the refinishing process and the tools I use! Stay Tuned!

  2. Socializing: I’ve always been an introvert (An extroverted introvert to be more specific), but lately, I’ve been trying to meet like-minded people and to my surprise, I’ve actually enjoyed it. I think the key in socializing as an introvert is to find the right people. For me, they are genuine, laid-back, non-materialistic people who I can laugh (and drink wine) with.
  3. Writing Class: I recently enrolled in a poetry class online through Algonquin and lemme tell ya, it’s been eye-opening. My prof doesn’t think twice before telling me what needs improvement in my writing, but he also gives me a lot of praise which is definitely great for my ego. It’s insightful to study all different forms of poetry and step out of my writing norm.

Top 3 books

  1. Katarina By James Frey: Say what you want about Frey being full of poop… He can write. This book creates an urgency of nostalgia gripping you right in the heartstrings. It outlines his experience as a young adult moving to Paris and becoming a writer. I definitely recommend for any artist! Sidenote: Steamy hetero romances that even I wasn’t repulsed by. 
  2. The Year of Cozy: So this book is literally the most adorable book ever. It’s a beautiful book filled with photos of cozy foods, crafts, and ideas. It’s visually stunning and definitely a must-have for home-bodies.
  3. First, We Make The Beast Beautiful : Just the title of this memoir gives me all sorts of feels. It truly is an inside look into the mind of someone who lives with anxiety. One of the truest and most relatable memoirs I’ve read thus far. It’s insightful, but not complain-y and has many tools listed to combat anxiety. Must have!

Top 2 Experiences:

  1. Our wedding. Hands down my favorite day I’ve had on this planet (besides maybe being birthed?) It was worth every sleepless night worrying about the minuscule details, the hours spent planning and contacting vendors and every single vendor who forgot to change their contracts to accommodate a 2 bride wedding. I wish I could re-live that day over and over. And believe me, in my head, I do. (Our photographer Lisa Provencal captures the most beautiful images! Check out her blog here.
    View More: http://lisaprovencalphotography.pass.us/taraandalison2018
  2. Italy: As someone who lives with chronic anxiety/panic disorder, I was really nervous to fly across the ocean and visit somewhere I had never been. I mean- I get anxious just going to meet a friend for coffee… And here I was getting on a plane and flying across the ocean and then another plane from the Germany airport (which is fucking horrendous for anyone who hasn’t been… It is the physical form of anxiety), to Florence and then driving all over Italy. I learned a lot from this trip. Primarily I learned that I can’t run from Anxiety. It’s with me wherever I go, and there’s comfort in knowing that if I just sit with it, eventually it passes. I saw so much beauty in Italy as well…A beauty that I will always cherish and let inspire both my art and cooking.
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Top Lesson Learned

This one is tough because I feel like I’m constantly learning lessons (usually the hard way). This year I think I really learned to listen to my body and understand what it truly needs. I’ve learned that the only person who can help me out of the dark days, is me. And that despite the love and support I receive from others, my mental wellness ultimately lies in my hands. I’ve learned that no one else can tell me what I should do to make me feel better (not even a therapist, though they can help). And that I truly know what I want and need, I just need to listen to my inner voice.

I have big goals for 25…but it could be 26. 😉 

  1. Write and publish my second book
  2. Explore Canada!
  3. Re-vamp my blog! (Details soon)

 

Good things are coming…

🙂

 

#WorldSuicidePreventionDay / Announcement

When the days feel like too much

When stepping out the front door feels like stepping outside of your skin

When you can’t wrap your head around the idea of fighting this for

one. more. second.

 


Today is an important day. The day where suicide prevention has a light beam right on it. The day where people, survivors and those struggling, can feel the care and compassion of the world around them. But, it’s also a very lonely day for those struggling silently.


 

Suicide prevention is a tricky topic that I won’t even pretend to fully fathom. But it has a special place in my heart. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and OCD (no it isn’t just washing your hands a lot) since I was in my pre-teens. I have slept days, weeks, months away. I have attempted suicide, been hospitalized and been to more therapists than I can remember. I have been medicated for over a decade. I have tried countless medications, supplements, dietary changes, and probably whatever else you can think of.

But, you know what I’ve found to be the most helpful? Community. Support. People with their arms wide open wanting to love me when I feel the most unlovable. But, it took a lot for me to get to a place where I will allow people to support me. Even now, my natural instinct is to struggle in silence. Which is why I write about it. Why I will continue to write about it. Because the silence is what takes lives. The lack of support, the lack of community, the inability to think anyone would stay around you seeing you at your most vulnerable.

So, here it is. My attempt at creating a tiny community of people who have fought like hell to get out of the depths of mental illness alive. I have connected with so many people since publishing my poetry collection Waves in 2017. My writing has given me a way to reach into the hearts and souls of others who have been caught in the undertow.

SO- this is my subtle announcement that I am officially writing my second book. I couldn’t think of a better day to announce it than a day that is dedicated to suicide prevention. I’ll write about my experiences for as long as I can in hopes that I can help break the silence so many of us still live in.

My hope for us all is that we keep connecting, keep reaching for help and keep riding the waves.

So much love.

Side Note:

Live it out. – This album has saved me so many times. My wife has these words tattooed on her wrist. These words are my whole heart.

 

 

 

 

Fall Bucket List

Fall is coming quickly. PSLs (Pumpkin Spiced Lattes) are already at Starbucks and I don’t feel ready for this! School starts in 3 days and soon the leaves will start falling and the best summer of my life so far will come to an end and I’ll have time to reflect and be truly thankful for it all.

With colder weather comes warm drinks, layers on layers, blanket scarves and beanies. Crisp mornings and the smell of winter coming will soon be here. I love fall. Like LOVE fall. It always feels kind of like a new beginning. I’m not sure if it’s because I work in a school, or because growing up each new school year came with some new clothes and a new chance to be who I wanted to be (I was a profound child)… But, even now it feels like a breath of fresh air.

This year, to help myself take full advantage of such a beautiful, but short season, I’m making a bucket list. Here it is!

Fall Bucket List

  • photograph the brilliant colors
  • take full advantage of the fall inspired drinks at Starbucks…
    TIP: if you can’t stand the sweetness of their pumpkin spice lattes, ask for it half sweet. I do half sweet & half-caf to avoid the jitters.
  • Have a little fall photo shoot
  • Cook fall-inspired meals. Here’s a dish I really want to try!
  • Bake fall-inspired treats! I love treats! & I love pumpkin. Like more than a normal person should. So I’m going to try and bake & freeze lots of yummy treats. Here’s one I can’t wait to bake.
  • Put together a fall-themed puzzle.
  • Make a fall inspired wreath 
  • Pick our pumpkins from a pumpkin patch
  • Go to a haunted house
  • Bake a pumpkin pie from scratch
  • watch as many Halloween movies as possible
  • Host a smores bonfire
  • Make caramel apples!
  • Start gratitude journalling in the spirit of Thanksgiving

I hope you’re all as excited for Fall as I am! & If you aren’t, try some of these fun things.

 

 

same life, different outlook

I haven’t written in… a while. To be more honest… It’s been months.

Usually, when I stop writing, it means I’m overwhelmed and cannot process my thoughts.

This time, I stopped writing because I was OVER processing my thoughts. I was so stuck in my head that I could barely live my life. I spent hours upon hours on the couch with Netflix blaring in the background as I ruminated about my life. Simple thoughts that usually only entered my brain for a few moments at most began to consume my being for days on end.

The last time I wrote, I was unknowingly on a one way train straight to the center of my anxiety. Last time I wrote, I thought I was okay. I mean, I was working, I was coping… But really, that’s all I was doing.

My days had 10 steps.

  1. Wake up
  2. Have panic attack about the day ahead
  3. drink copious amounts of caffeine
  4. go to work and try not to have a panic attack
  5. go home
  6. lay on the couch, watch Netflix, cook and try not to have a panic attack
  7. inevitably end up having a panic attack
  8. take Ativan
  9. go to sleep
  10. wake up 100 times during the night with racing thoughts.

And those 10 steps would repeat and repeat, each and every day. I slowly felt like I was losing control over my life. I wasn’t enjoying a single thing. I was isolating myself and was so consumed by my distorted thoughts. I started to wonder, “Is this going to be the rest of my life?”

Then, I made a hard choice… one of the hardest choices I’ve made in a long time. I reached out. As a mental health advocate- I so often stress the importance of reaching out. But, when it came time for me to do it… I was terrified. But, I did. I sought help. I took a sick leave from my job and dedicated myself to a new therapist who has helped me break free of the thoughts that consumed me and has taught me to acknowledge my emotions, but not give them more power than they deserve.

I also tried a few helping professionals who were… less than helpful. I tried new medications (or didn’t after doing research about the drugs that my doctor failed to provide information about). I altered my lifestyle.

And now, now I feel ready to write again. I am now in a place where my thoughts don’t take up 100% of my time; where I have room to truly live. I am so glad I made a hard choice and took the time I needed in order to continue recovering.

My days are a lot better now. They don’t have 10 steps. They aren’t mundane and isolated. They are more vibrant and connected. Or maybe, I am.

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