How are you, really?

It’s been 9 days since we lost our baby Mars. In those 9 days I’ve experienced just about every emotion I’d imagine exists. My body’s crumbled in ways I didn’t think were possible. And my mind has gotten lost in the darkest tunnels I’ve ever known.

So how am I? Really? It’s a strange combination of extreme emotional turmoil and bone-crushing physical pain. I’ll try to put it into words.

I’d say what I’ve felt these past 9 days can be described best as a “bone-crushing pain.” The kind you feel in your chest like a heavy weight begging you to stop breathing. The kind that lives in your bones and makes everything ache so you resort to laying in bed until the ache lets up. But, the ache doesn’t let up, it just manifests.

The physical pain from the procedure has nothing on the physical pain from the grief, that’s all I can really say when comparing the two. The procedure to remove Mars was quick, the pain afterwards lasted a few days. But, the emotional pain has been hitting me full force. It’s hit me so bad some days that I’ve screamed “I don’t want to live in a world without our baby.” I know though, that I need to continue on living, in honour of Mars, and in honour of myself and my family, friends and everyone who’s pushed for us.

I went through periods of 3 days at a time where I didn’t sleep. My doctor said it was likely due to hormonal shifts.While my therapist said “Of course you can’t sleep, the last time you went to sleep you were pregnant, and when you woke up you didn’t have your baby.” I think both are true, and both are heartbreaking.

I found maybe 2-3 hours a night where pure exhaustion would knock me out. I became so sleep deprived I got physically ill, I started hallucinating and swore there were people in our house. This is the raw, unfiltered side of grief, of sleep deprivation, of miscarriage. My doctor ended up prescribing me sleeping pills which I have yet to try. I’m hopeful I won’t need them, but glad I have them incase I do.

I think the hardest part of my week was the moments when I’d forget what had happened. I’d be outside, the warm air against my cheeks. I’d be playing with my dog and laughing while drinking a glass of wine on the deck and suddenly the sinking feeling would hit and I’d remember Mars, and how much I missed them, how much I loved them already. And in an instant, my happiness would turn to pure panic.

I’m still learning how to find happiness after this. I know it’s possible, and I know I’ll find it. I just need to keep going. Some days are harder to keep going than others, but today I’m choosing to find happiness for Mars.

xo

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Why Changing What I Eat is The Best Thing I’ve Ever Done For My Mental Health

*Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional and in no way am encouraging others to try any of the products/supplements I mention until they consult with their doctor.

Recently I’ve drastically changed what I’m consuming. Not to say I was eating complete garbage before…but I wasn’t eating what my body needed. I’d fill my body full of carbs when I was stressed or emotional, go hours without eating and then binge out of starvation. I ate tiny meals with little to no fat and not nearly enough protein. I didn’t eat nearly enough vegetables and loaded up on sugary fruits. I’d snack late at night on chips and chocolate and other packaged foods. Wine became a nightly ritual (more than 1 glass). And, water was simply something I showered in.

Not to mention the fact that despite taking Zoloft daily to help me manage my anxiety/depression, I didn’t take any other supplements or medications. I was wary of them, to be honest. I thought the die-hard health nuts who lived on water, supplements, and veggies were insane. I still kind of do. But, I can truly say I have never felt better than I do now.

I visited a naturopath recently who has completely inspired me to change my life from the inside out. Not only did she analyze my eating patterns, mood instability, sleep, emotions, and skin…She got an in-depth, clear view of who I am and what food meant (means) to me.

After spilling my life story to her, including my deep-dark secrets involving binge-eating foods that didn’t serve me, she provided me with a solid plan to help heal the parts of my body that were suffering.

Firstly, she informed me that my adrenal glands were exhausted and overworked which caused symptoms such as carb & sweet cravings, dizziness, poor sleep and fuzzy thinking, to mention a few. She helped me understand how sugar and caffeine (even in tiny amounts) were directly impacting my stress levels and causing my adrenal glands to overproduce cortisol (think fight or flight…all of the time). She prescribed me a supplement used to help combat daily stress using “stress adapting botanicals.”

Next, we focussed on my skin, which was dull and lacking moisture even in the Summer months. She informed me I wasn’t consuming nearly enough (healthy) fats and oils. Simple as that. Along with my habit of only drinking like 1 glass of water daily. She encouraged me to add healthy fats (such as coconut oil and avocado’s) to my meals daily and drink water almost constantly. I have already begun to see improvements in my skin such as less flaky dry skin. She also prescribed a high-grade Omega oil that I now take daily.

We also dove into my panic attacks that have worsened over the last few years (since starting College.) We discovered that my eating habits drastically changed after I started college because convenience trumped healthy and, let’s be honest, I was broke. My caffeine consumption also increased drastically when I started college. The habits I formed in college kind of just stuck with me even after I graduated and began my career.

She also outlined the dangers of eating sugar in excess when you suffer from anxiety/panic and strongly encouraged me to eat as little sugar (especially processed) as possible. She also prescribed an amazing supplement packed with L-Theanine to help combat panic when it comes on. I was super unconvinced when she prescribed it. As someone who has tried Attivan in different doses without any relief, I strongly doubted a supplement would be able to give me any relief. But, during a panic attack, I took one of the prescribed supplements and almost instantly stopped shaking and could feel my nervous system calming. I felt slightly sleepy and my thoughts stopped racing.

When we began talking about my sleep and how it has been disturbed for nearly my entire life and prescription sleep aids never provided much relief, she immediately mentioned my cortisol levels again. She prescribed magnesium which decreases the stress hormone and also helps tense muscles relax. It has provided me more relief than any prescription sleep aid ever has!

Additional supplements she prescribed me include Vitamin D drops and Vitamin B complexes.

As for my “diet” which I’ve started calling my fuel…It’s simple. I eat protein, a lot of it. I also load up on vegetables with each meal instead of carbs. I eat carbs that contain protein such as Quinoa. I consume dairy in moderation and try to buy organic meat to avoid excess hormones. I also add healthy fats to each meal. I’ve also started to incorporate a lot of nuts/nut butter and seeds into my diet.

A daily meal plan looks like:

Morning Smoothie (Supplements= Adrenal Vive, Vitamin B complex)
1 large handful spinach
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp coconut oil
A small handful of berries
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tbsp Chia seeds
Ice
1 scoop of protein powder. This one of my ultimate favorite!
*Bonus: 1 tbsp of acai berry powder

Snack
Grapes with walnuts

Lunch
Spinach and Kale salad topped with protein such as salmon or chicken with pumpkin seeds, avocado and any other veggies you like.

Snack
Coconut yogurt topped with a few berries, hemp seeds and a drizzle of agave.

Dinner (Supplement: Vitamin D drops, Omega oil)
Cabbage, onion, garlic and rapini skillet with organic sausage.

Bedtime Snack (Supplements: Magnesium)
Anything I desire as long as it doesn’t have a lot of sugar.

So, in short, I now eat a bunch of vegetables, little sugar, little caffeine, lots of healthy fat and protein and lots of water!

I hope this helps anyone who’s considering visiting a naturopath. I can’t recommend it more!

Additional Readings:

How to Tell If Your Adrenals Are Fatigued (Plus 7 Ways To Support Them)-This website is gold!

What Are The Causes Of Adrenal Fatigue?

11 Steps To Rebuild Your Relationship With Food

Happy Healing Everyone. Hug your body it may not be perfect, but it’s the only one you’ve got.  xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Top 3 Natural Remedies for Anxiety

I’ve experienced and struggled with anxiety since I was a child. Through lots of research and trial and error, I’ve found strategies and remedies for managing it.

*Note: These remedies aren’t in replacement of medications, they simply may aid in highly anxious times. I use these remedies on top of my medication as “spot treatment.”

  1. Magnesium: I take it twice per day typically. Once when I’m experiencing heightened anxiety and once before I go to sleep. It aids in insomnia relief, anxiety and relieves muscle aches and spasms. I take Magnesium by Pure Lab. They are a bit pricey but so worth the money!
  2. The Relax-O-Ring from Saje Wellness. I use it when I’m feeling anxious or having trouble focussing. The ring stimulates pressure points and feels amazing!
  3. Stress Relief Tension Reducing Remedy From Saje is my daily go-to. I use it on my way to work, during work, when I get home, during yoga- anytime I experience stress. The smell is grounding and now I associate it with calmness. I roll it on my wrists and behind my neck so I can smell it subtly throughout the day.

I hope you all can find these helpful. If I could recommend 1, I’d recommend the Relax-O-Ring. Under $5.00 and so effective!

Have a calm week, everyone.

 

 

 

#BellLetsTalk

I always look forward to #BellLetsTalk day. A day where everyone makes kind posts and offers their support and love for those who struggle with mental illness. Seeing all of the inspiring pictures and glimpses into the lives of friends and acquaintances I didn’t know struggle(d) makes me feel both comfort and heartbreak in knowing I’m not alone.

Though so many people show support for those struggling with mental illness, I believe the stigma surrounding medication is still so strong. I’ve taken medication for over a decade. And, even I have internalized guilt and judgments around medications. Not because I think they don’t help people or because I think people who take them are weak… simply because I wish I didn’t have to take them. I have no problem opening up and talking about my experience with clinical depression and anxiety disorders. But, I seem to have some sort of barrier when it comes to discussing my true experiences with medications to help manage my mental illness.

My Experience With Medication (Anti-Depressants/SSRI’s) 

As of now, I am on 100mg of Zoloft per day. My highest dose was 150mg per day and my lowest was 50 mg per day… At my lowest dose, I spiraled into a depressive episode where I couldn’t leave my house and was afraid to go to work. At my highest dose, I felt like a zombie with no ambition and suicidal thoughts entered my mind again. This is what people don’t think of- that even when on medication, suicidal thoughts may still be present and finding the right dose is excruciating and comes with a handful of side-effects, sometimes almost as bad as the mental illness.

Consider the side effects of any medication. Now consider the effects of a medication that directly affects your brain chemistry. Not to mention how hard it is for some of us to find a medication that actually helps. I tried nearly 10 different combinations of anxiety medications and anti-depressants before finally trying Zoloft. I’ve also been prescribed Ativan for panic attacks and a few different sleeping pills.  Through trial and error, I’ve found what seems to help me. Unfortunately, there’s no handbook to finding the right medication.

Although I truly believe medication has saved my life, I still suffer from side effects such as: dizziness, changes in weight (weight loss when I go to higher doses), shakiness and overall dullness. But, without it, the side effects of my mental illness are far worse.

****This being said, please please please give extra support to those who are sharing their choice to use medication to manage their mental illness. It isn’t easy to admit in a society that promotes all natural remedies. Though those can be helpful for some people/illnesses, they aren’t always enough.

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Why I Disappear at Christmas Events

With the holidays coming up I think it’s really important to raise awareness of the struggles introverts, people with mental health issues or just anyone who feels overwhelmed by Christmas parties and events.

*Written from the POV of a person who is both an introvert and struggles with mental illness.

  1. I’m Sad: Christmas is a hard time. Even the smell of a Christmas tree can cause childhood memories (good and bad) to come flooding in. Being sad around Christmas is OK. Believe me, I try my best to spread holiday cheer. But, sometimes I just need a few minutes to sit with the sadness, acknowledge it and let it pass.
  2. There are too many people: My comfortable number of people to be around is anywhere from 1-7. Anymore than that & I feel overwhelmed especially if I don’t know them well. It’s important to understand that not everyone enjoys being around a lot of people. It doesn’t mean I dislike anyone, it just means I get overwhelmed by the crowd easily. If I’m sitting away from the crowd, I’m likely just taking a few moments of quiet to regroup.
  3. It’s hot AF: The more people, the hotter it gets. I don’t know about you, but I hate being hot. Actually, more than hate… It’s like when I’m warm my anxiety also goes up 10 degrees. If you see me wander outside without a coat, don’t be alarmed. The shock of the cold is enough to bring me out of a panic attack sometimes.
  4. I’m trying to find a dog, cat or any other animal: I mean come on. Animals are like the greatest therapy. I’ll often find one and invite it to be by my side for the entirety of the evening. This is what my internal dialogue sounds like when I finally find a dog/pet, “Hey, you’re a dog? Perfect. Come with me, let me pet you and please don’t leave my side. You are my ticket out of awkward small talk.”
  5. The noise level is boggling my brain: Loudness can sometimes cause me to feel anxious. My solution? I hide in a bathroom. Okay okay, I don’t hide. But I’ll literally just go chill on the toilet for a bit. Even meditate. It doesn’t mean I want everyone to stop talking, I just need a tiny break.

Things to Remember:

  • I’m not mad at you.
  • I appreciate the effort the host has gone to.
  • I’m having fun (I swear)!
  • It’s not personal. Even if I have a panic attack at the event YOU hosted, it doesn’t mean the panic attack is your fault or relates to you at all. Sometimes panic attacks can be triggered by tiny things that cannot be avoided (ie: song on the radio).
  • I love you. If you’re my friend or family, I love you. And I appreciate you, especially when you’re patient and understanding of me during these events.
  • If you’ve come out of town, I have missed you! Even if I struggle to make conversation, just being around you is nice.

Ways to Help:

  • Offer me an out. Ask me to walk your dog, go to the basement to get something, or anything else that lets me have a break from the crowd.
  • Avoid pressuring me to be social. Please don’t mention how quiet I am or ask me to engage in conversations. Believe me, I will if I can.
  • If you see me standing outside, please don’t draw attention to me. I’m already the gay cousin, I don’t need to be the weird gay cousin who stands outside in minus 30.

Lastly,

Here are 5 memes that perfectly display my love-not love relationship with Christmas

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Love to everyone during the holidays. ❤

 

 

A letter not sent

I’ve been going through some old writing, from a harder time in my life. A time when I was treading water…trying to stay above water. I’ve been reading the words, remembering how I felt, and being so thankful that I’m not feeling so empty these days.

I’ve decided to post some of my most vulnerable pieces of writing. Not my best pieces, but the pieces that hurt my heart to write, and even more to read years later.

Here is a letter to my grandmother, not sent.

TO MY GRANDMOTHER

“Tonight marks two years. Two years since I graduated high school and two years since your soul let go. I remember that night like yesterday…I knew you were sick, I visited you a few months prior and saw your beautiful white curls fall and saw the light go out in your eyes. That night, I walked onto the stage, I accepted my diploma. I made it. I made it in spite of the depression. in spite of the heartache, the losses and the cruelty of people. I reflected one the four years that I hated so much and for some reason wished they weren’t over yet. I looked into the crowd and saw my mom, her bright eyes full of hope. Hope for me, and you. Hope that I would always remember this night and hope that you would be able to see me succeed in my life. I walked off the stage, sat beside her and held her hand. I thought of you and wished you could be there sitting with us to share that moment. I remember after graduation I went home and had a drink, I sat and took my life in. I felt panicked…as if something bad was happening. I tossed and turned trying to sleep that night, I woke up from a dream of you. You were swimming in the ocean, the sun was shining and so were you. Half asleep I heard the phone ring. I knew you were gone. You went into my dreams to show me you’re happy now, you’re shining now. My mom knocked on my door and my heart sank knowing that the light would now be gone from her eyes too…To lose your mother must be the most difficult thing imaginable. I hugged her and I promised her everything would be okay. I kept that promise, I got my shit together. But most days I miss you so deeply that it numbs my heart and it hurts my soul. You were the single person I felt truly knew me. I hope you’re swimming in the ocean with the sun beaming on your fair skin. I love you more than I ever expressed and I promise I will keep your daughter safe.”

My heart feels heavy and light reading this. To my 17 year old self- you are so strong. To my 17 year old self- you are going to be okay. To my 17 year old self- do not look back. To my 17 year old self- live, live, live.

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How to Survive When You Miss Your Medication

Worst. Feeling. Ever. Am I right?

I don’t often miss my medication but, when I do, I sure do feel it. My head feels like electric shocks are pulsing through my synapses and my stomach feels like it’s being shredded. I feel exhausted no matter how much sleep I get. I’m irritable, angry and impossible to be around. And it’s really, really hard to ground myself and remember this will pass.

So, from my experiences, here are some ways to survive when you miss your medication:

  • Cry: Just allow yourself to cry a good body shaking, lip quivering cry. Personally, the only time I can really cry is when something terrible happens OR when I forget my medication. So, if I miss my medication, I just allow myself to cry. Not all day or anything. But, a half hour cry never killed anyone.
  • Get Creative: I try to use my missed medication day as an excuse to channel my negative energy into something creative. Whether it be writing, drawing or even just listening to music. I try to get in tune with my creative energy. It helps to distract me from how bad I feel, and also helps make me feel accomplished.
  • Organize: When I miss my medication, I feel like I don’t have control over my body and emotions. This very quickly can turn into a negative thought pattern of not having control over anything in my life. What do I do? Find something small I can control. I’ll often organize something in the house that I’ve been wanting to organize. Today I organized my art supplies and it, for some reason, made me feel in control of my day.
  • Rest: This ones important. Your body is going through something. Be kind to it, allow it to rest and try not to feel guilty or “lazy.” Put on your favourite movie (My go-to is Elf) and cuddle up on the couch. Remind yourself that mental illness is equal to physical illness. If you had the flu, you’d allow yourself to rest, right?
  • Try not to push people away: This one is hard for me. I find it extremely difficult to be around people when I haven’t taken my medication. I’m really quick to snap and get angry/sad and usually seclude myself during these times. But, it’s important to allow loved ones to hold you, help you and listen to you. Connecting during these times can really help. Remind yourself that you are loved, and try to be kind to your loved ones and to yourself.
  • Distract: Distracting yourself when you feel physically and mentally ill is one of my favourite strategies because, in my opinion, it’s one of the easiest.

    Here are some of my favourite distractions:

  • Hand Lettering Worksheets
  • Online Magazines 
  • Knitting
  • Yoga with Adrienne 
  • Gratitude Journalling

I hope this is helpful and reassuring to anyone going through the medication madness.

Love

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How to Support People With Mental Illness During The Christmas Season

Christmas, although a cheerful time, can be especially stressful for those struggling with mental illness. It’s a time where there are numerous social expectations, alcohol (depressant) is easily accessible and may be part of family traditions, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is at a high as the world feels terribly cold and dark.

Loneliness during the Christmas season is also common among people who suffer from mental illness. I know for me, winter is the time where I isolate myself most. I find winter and Christmas to be a lonely time despite the family gatherings.

Not to mention the stress of organizing a schedule of multiple family dinners, buying gifts for loved ones and still finding time to practice self-care and make sure mental health is being taken care of.

Here are some ways to help make the Christmas season more manageable for those who suffer from mental illness:

  • Manage Expectations: For those who struggle with mental illness, getting out of bed may be a struggle in itself, let alone going to multiple Christmas events and dinners. It’s important to understand if someone can’t attend an event or has to cancel. Understand that we are trying our best.
  • Do a secret Santa or a homemade gift exchange: Money is stressful for everyone. But, as someone who struggles with anxiety, I find money can put me straight into a downward spiral. Limiting gift expectations can ease the anxiety associated with gift giving. Side Note: Gifts are nice, but when did Christmas become more about material items than helping those who are truly in need?
  • Ask what they need: Instead of asking what they want for Christmas and insisting on getting them a material gift, ask what they need? Money for counselling? A massage gift card? Grocery money? These gifts may be especially appreciated and help in reducing anxiety surrounding the expensive months leading up to Christmas.
  • Try throwing a sober Christmas party if someone close to you has struggled or currently struggles with addiction. This act of understanding will likely warm their heart and ease their anxiety about temptation.
  • Check in: If you haven’t heard from a loved one who may be struggling, reach out. Or get creative- send them a letter. Small acts of kindness sure do help me get out of depressive states.
  • Support their dietary restrictions: A lot of people who struggle with mental illness have to be especially mindful of their diet. Certain foods trigger depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. Be mindful of this and if you’re hosting a dinner, have healthy options available and don’t pressure people to indulge if they don’t seem comfortable.

I hope everyone is managing as the days seem darker and colder. Comment ways you survive the Christmas season!