Mental health awareness

In my quest for Prince Charming I have encountered a few suitors that have had/have some mental health issues, so this topic is near and dear to me on many levels inclusive of a way I can tie it into this blog. I also have encountered some loved ones, friends, and co-workers that are suffering. These are normal, kind, and good people that through no fault of their own are struggling through a mental battle; whether it anxiety, depression, psychosomatics, psychosis etc. The list of mental health issues is long and perhaps, endless….

There is a stigma surrounding mental health that it’s not something we should talk about openly, or most people don’t want to “burden” others they care about with their problems. Mental health issues are not something that have to be endured alone, and if the issue is important or “big” to you, someone else cares too (my point is, an issue is never “too small” to bother with)… If you know someone who is suffering, reach out to them, let them know they’re not alone and get them in touch with professionals who may help them. If you yourself are suffering, reach out; we are past the times where you “just have to suck it up”, don’t suffer in silence.

Help eachother.

If you’re reading this and residing in Canada, today is Bell’s Let’s Talk Day. Where Bell donates 5 cents to mental health initiatives for every text message or call made from Bell mobile customers, or for every tweet using #BellLetsTalk

Thank you for your time folks.

When you plan to be alone…

I was broaching 30, almost all of my nearest and dearest friends are all loved up/married/with children. Life was moving forward. I had people that were attracted to me, but no real relationship prospects, and this lovely blog that I write in. I was resolved to the fact of being alone; not for lack of wanting, but definitely lack of needing. I was worthy of love, I just hadn’t met someone who appreciated me yet, but I wasn’t about to let that impede on life moving forward, or stopping me from my goals. Even my goal of becoming a mother….

At a family meal; complete with my mother, grandfather, aunts, uncles, and cousins… I had a pre-emptive strike of a bottle of red to my credit before announcing I had something important to ask the family… I stated very matter-of-factly, “I want to have a baby, and how would you all feel if I went about that in perhaps a non-conventional manner?”… What would be awkward for most other families, mine was unfazed. I was met with support, and advice that I would be helped and loved with whatever I decided to do.

It’s an idea I have been considering for quite a few years now (since my divorce), only ever once reconsidering that I may have met someone who wanted to share in this with me (see previous blog post – Chameleons). So when I decided with my age, employment stability and family support to make this decision; it became common knowledge amongst close friends and family that I was in fact researching my options to conceive a child on my own.

Oh to be a fly on the wall during some of the discussions that may have/did ensued. A very close and dear friend, who I would liken to a sister and has given me an honourary “Auntie” title to her children, had a relayed one of those very interesting conversations to me…. Her very smart and inquisitive twin girls were discussing how families began; ideally you find someone you love, get married, have a baby. But the very clever 8 year old girls that they were commented that “you didn’t have to have a husband to have a baby, because their Auntie was still going to have a baby and didn’t have a husband… so how was that to happen?”. My friend, whom is very straight forward and tries to be as honest as possible with her children, tried to explain such a process delicately in a way that an eight year old would understand….”well, Auntie would have to go to a doctor…” she began….Oh to be present when she was grasping for ideas on how to explain AI (artificial insemination) to an eight year old. She was soon saved as one of the girls piped up, “of course she has to go to a doctor!”…The shock of what her children may have already learned at school subsided as my friend gathered her composure to ask, “you know why she would have to go to a doctor and what happens?”… With which she was met with a very matter-of-fact, “she would have to go to a doctor to have sex with him to make a baby, silly”……..Kids say the darndest things!

I often thought about the struggle and hardships bringing a little being into the world on my own would entail…. But I know they would be well loved, well provided for and supported beyond their wildest dreams… I have always known if there was one thing I was put on this earth to do, it was to be a Mom. Being around the other children in my life at times makes me yearn for a wee one of my own…There’s always options….

Apparently I just have to find a doctor, silly… lol

Still learning….

The End

You know, I couldn’t even tell you what the argument was about, I honestly couldn’t. At that point, he was at the height of his depression and self medicating regime and I was fed up to the point that I fought back when provoked instead of just letting it go with the thought “he’s having a rough time, he’s sick and doesn’t meant it”.

We were driving home from his mother’s house, both seething, the tension in the car was palpable. “You’re such a dumb cunt, I really don’t know why I’m with you”. My first thought to cross my mind was “he’s lucky he’s driving, I would smack him across the face for that”. I remember the anger that day, I’ve never had it recreated. But the man I loved and took vows with just called me a derogatory name and inspired a thought of violence; there’s something wrong here.
“I don’t even know if I want children anymore”… I asked him what he meant, thinking I had misheard him. One of our common goals as husband and wife, what we worked toward, why I stuck around to try and help him as long as I did, why I kept our marriage on life support; was just dashed in that moment. In that moment the glue that was holding my battered heart together, gave. My shoulders heaved with two heavy sobs as silent tears rolled down my face..For those that know me, when I am upset/angry, I don’t tend to yell, I am quite efficient with my words and don’t require more audibility to get my point across. But that day, in the confines of our little Pontiac, I screamed… Every hurt that I’d been holding in, every injustice, every argument; I let out in a matter of minutes. I screamed until I hurt and could barely speak from the hoarseness of throat… “Then why am I even bothering?! I’ve been patient!.. I’ve tried to help!.. I’ve been a good wife!.. and now this is what I’m getting?! Why are we doing this?!!!”… I then sat in silence the remainder of the car ride home.

During the roller coaster my marriage had become in the end, there was a pattern in our final months together; a fight, he’d threaten to leave, a teary argument from me, he’d say “maybe we should get a divorce”, I’d beg him not to go outlining everything we could do to work on the marriage (or what I would do, as if I had to convince him I was worth staying with), he’d leave our home for a few hours, he’d come back, we would both apologize (regardless of whom was wrong), and go about our daily routine and living our separate lives under the same roof……

That day when we got home, the pattern attempted one final repetition. “I think we should get a divorce”, he scowled at me shortly after we got in the door. “Fine”, I was defeated. He said he was leaving, huffing around our apartment and throwing things in a duffle bag, “he meant it this time”… I sat quietly and just stared at the wall. Accepting a dream was crushed; even though throughout the last year things were slowly dying, I still held onto hope, love would get us through; that day I accepted that The Beatles were wrong, love isn’t all you need. He prolonged physically leaving our apartment as much as possible, even saying he needed to have a quick shower before leaving as he wasn’t sure where he was going or for how long. When I heard the water of the shower start, I came out of my catatonia to get up from my spot on the couch go into his jacket pockets and retrieve the key to the apartment. I then wrote a quick note stating that “he was leaving and withdrew his interest from the rental agreement to this apartment on this date” (thank God we were only renting at the time, things could’ve been worse); I had this ready for him before his departure from the apartment. No more games, no more psychological warfare; if he was leaving, he was REALLY leaving. I advised him I had his key, and if he was really leaving, he should have no problem signing this and to let me know when he’d like to pick up the rest of his things, I’m a reasonable woman and wanted this to go as smoothly as possible. He angrily signed the paper and left, he was pissed that I even thought to do anything like that I think.

A couple hours later there was a knock at the door, “I’m sorry” he said when I opened the door. I let him come in and we sat down in our living room, opposite sides of the couch, just looking at eachother. “I’m sorry too… this is done… I want a divorce”….

As said, I can’t even remember what the final argument was that brought our ending marriage to a head.. But I remember every emotion, every detail of the final words/actions, I can even recall the sensory memory of how much my throat ached from screaming….All this recalled from about this time of year….. Five years ago.

I’ve moved past my marrage, obviously… You’ve read some of my attempts, my lessons, my successes, and my failures at this… I’ve learned valuable lessons about how I act in relationships, what I want from my relationships, how to communicate in my relationships, and what I don’t want. My marriage showed me alot about myself, and it took quite a while to view it as a positive.

My life has continued, I’ve continued to grow, and the hurt has even faded…But I’m afraid the hurt never goes away completely, you just learn to refocus on the positives in life and the new opportunities while setting aside the ebb of slight ache in that part of your heart.

I still remember the end.

Still learning….

Welcome 2015

Happy New Year readers! I wish you all health, wealth and prosperity for this new year and hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season!
As you may guess, or may know from past experiences, or have even read on here from last year; the holidays can be a difficult time for some and where is should be a time for good things, it’s also a time that reminds some of what they don’t have.
Being divorced, 30, childless, and still very much grieving the loss of a parent; admittedly the holidays aren’t my favourite time. Don’t get me wrong, I have a wonderful family and spent alot of time with them, and made some wonderful memories. But a large part of the Christmas excitement (for me) is children and gift opening and their smiles and excitement with all of the holiday hustle and bustle. My young cousins are getting older now, and where I still took joy in seeing them this Christmas, I have to confess, my own biological clock and maternal need is becoming more apparent (it’s probably uncool, as a 13 year old and a 10 year old to have a 30 year old woman fuss over you and try to be overly helpful/motherly).
Though, throughout the holidays, I spent alot of time with a dear friend whom has a young daughter that I adore; and much to my delight seems to adore me just as well. This time was a double edged sword; where I cherish it and took delight in a young one wanting me around, it also caused the ticking to become louder and more thinking about mortality and what legacy I am to leave behind. I find this a common thought pattern among women in similar position to mine.
Christmas did come and go, with wonderful meals and times with family and friends. There was much food, fun, laugher, drinks, and not too much dwelling (though teary moments did come when witness to some special father-daughter moments that reminded me of my own).
Then New Year’s Eve came; a time to close out a year, and focus on a new chapter of life in the coming new year. When midnight December 31 turns to January 1; it feels as if there’s a new start point, or a turn around point. There are many inspirational things on social media that portray, “goals”, “things to do different”, “how to be better” in the new year. My New Year’s Eve was spent in the company of someone special to me; where there was just dinner had and then a relaxing eve of television watching, very simple and uneventful. No partying (I think we may have even dozed off before midnight – but don’t tell anyone I’m that exciting lol), no (like one drink) drinking, no entertaining; just two people enjoying eachother’s company. On new year’s day, a friend of mine asked me how my eve was to which I responded “amazing, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so sure that I was exactly where I needed to be”….I’ve never felt that in my life, and shocked myself with this automatic use of the word “amazing”, not much has been “amazing” for me in quite sometime. Perhaps I needed the simplicity of that evening?
So I wish each and every one of you a wonderful, brand new 2015.. Full of new starts and better things than 2014.. I have a very good feeling about this one. Perhaps 2015 is the year of Prince Charming?
A girl can dream 😉
Still learning….

Grieving a Relationship

When a relationship ends, it’s much like a death; where you may not lose this person out of your life completely, it’s still the end of the person you knew as they were with you. There may even be the token “5 Stages of Grief” (Isolation/Denial….Anger…Bargaining…Depression….Acceptance), as again, these are all steps dealing with loss, and this is a loss, perhaps not physical, but all stages are applicable.

There will be a roller coaster of emotions; some days you will be fine and optimistic about moving on, while others you will feel life going forward is seemingly impossible. You will be reasonable and logical or an emotional mess. But know one thing, it’s all normal and we all handle a relationship ending in our own way.

When my marriage ended, at the time, I had wondered why I wasn’t very depressed for long? I had thought that this one person was the one I was going to spend the life with, and when we finally called it quits sure I was upset, but I wasn’t in the depressed stage for long and moved on to acceptance quite quickly. I thought this odd for someone I spent a good 4-5 years of life with (I married young), and even questioned my love for him due to this. But when I reflected on this (with also the assistance of a therapy session or two), I realized due to the intensity of issues in the marriage I started my grieving process before we officially admitted to eachother that we were not going to work. We loved eachother, I don’t doubt that now, but perhaps just not as a husband and wife should. But when we got to the last point of “let’s split”, I had already denied problems and that all would work out for our “happily ever after”, I had already got angry when we both couldn’t work together through the problems, I had already attempted bargaining and “putting the marriage on life support”, and I was sad that the marriage wasn’t working and that we weren’t happy… I put best effort into it, when it was done, I was accepting.

Mind you in my first serious relationship following my marriage, because I was blindsided and there was no indication to me of the relationship failing, I got to feel and remember these stages of grief more vividly and quite consciously remember them all; that and this sadly paralleled with losing my father to cancer quite closely. Being aware of the stages of grief and recognizing them definitely helped with processing them (and still does).

How do you get over it you ask? Well I don’t think we ever do, it just dulls a bit and we take/learn from it. Again, I cannot stress enough that this blog is not an advice column, I am by no means a professional (although with my relationship experiences, I’m thinking I could start my dissertation soon, hahaha), but just speaking to my own experiences, thoughts and opinions.
Here’s how I dealt…

1. I talked to someone. Talk to whomever you’re comfortable with: friend, family member, etc.. Now at the time when my marriage ended, I felt ashamed.. I was young and didn’t exactly realize right away that it takes two to tango and felt like a failure as a wife. So I wasn’t exactly great about opening up to friends and family right away. But I was referred to a therapist through work, and had a few sessions just to work through my divorce/separation; and it was one of the most positive experiences for my grieving because I looked at her one day and said, “how many of these sessions should we have?”.. To which she responded “you have a firm grasp of what’s going on and what happened here, and what you’re experiencing emotionally is normal. You are quite rational and aware.. If you feel you need to come back, please do, but I don’t feel I need to see you”. Ha! NORMAL! Someone called me normal! But it was a relief for what I was going through at the time that someone told me it was normal and allowed. I then opened up to friends and family about it….. NOW, being a seasoned griever, the trick is to get me to not talk to those close to me about my feelings, I’m quite expressive (lucky them).

2. Once I got the above approval that I was “normal”, I stopped trying to fit into a “box” or timeline of how long getting over my relationship should take. We all process things with our thoughts and emotions in our own time. Now there are articles out there written that it will take you X number of months of being single for every X number years that you were married/in a relationship to heal. But I think as humans we are all too unique to fit into such a formula. You will know when you start to feel better, and don’t compare to anyone else and their timeline for dealing.

3. I grieved; I dwelled, but didn’t stay there too long. It’s sad, talk, cry, look at the mementos, remember, and grieve. You are allowed to feel, you are allowed to be sad. But don’t stay there and live. Life goes on whether we want it to or not, and we can either go with it or fight it; funny enough fighting it takes way more energy than going with it. With the serious relationship after my marriage, because it was so close to losing my father, I think I dealt with both losses at the same time. I almost was in danger of staying there and dwelling. I was (am) fortunate enough to have a good support network around me that prompted me that I was dwelling and it wasn’t healthy to stay where I was. It took much more energy when I pitied and isolated myself, then it did when I moved forward and went on with life.

4. I put mementos in a safe place. At first they were a comfort, during the teary, dwelling portion of grieving…It’s funny when a relationship ends, but I seem to go through the self induced torture of reviewing all photos, notes, ticket stubs, cards, any memento (I’m sentimental and value silly things like corks from first bottle of wine shared, ticket stubs, etc.).. But once I have that heartbreaking, knock down-drag out tear fest, I then can move forward. I then threw out some things, because I don’t need to keep everything. But I put the photos and few mementos that I did keep away, they were memories and part of my life, but I don’t need them displayed as a constant reminder nor do I need those around me (or potential new mates)to see photos of an ex.

As much as I move forward and find my positives in life and am even open to the possibilities of a new relationship; to this day, I still at times grieve my marriage and grieve other important relationships that I no longer have. But I try to remember: they were a life experience, I’ve learned about myself each time and with each loss, and they have all made me who I am today..

I’ve also learned that resilience is my best quality! (haha, perhaps not to brag about?).

Still learning…

The one who came before…

before me
When we venture around the earth and enter into these dating/relationship/romance realms, what is it that we all have? A heart? Yep, it’s an organ, pumps blood. Perhaps not always in the emotional sense of the word though…. An expectation? Yeah probably, we have an idea of what we’re looking for or why we want a partner, sure… A pulse? Well, hopefully, otherwise this would be a different type of blog and what you’re doing is illegal (LOL)…
What we all have that I’m talking about is…. A past.

We are not all clean as fresh fallen snow, and at this stage in life (well at least at my age) we’ve at least had one experience of having our heart ripped out of our chest, thrown to the ground, and stomped on; I don’t use this analogy bitterly but more so to relay the intensity of the feeling…
We are going to make a comparison to those that happen in our present, and in our futures; we are human and it’s going to happen naturally and not through any fault of the new person in our life. AND, we are going to have to deal with the fact that with that wonderful new person in our life that someone in fact did come before us. Shocking, I know… Why can’t the human race have reserved someone especially for us that hasn’t had to endure their own special brand of crazy with another, or have dealt with a previous heartbreak, or have dealt with a prior jaded individual?…”Excuse me please, powers that be: I’d like this one reset to factory default settings please”…

The above is not going to happen, accept it, life happens… Not only for you, but for them too. So, we meet Mister or Miss Wonderful, and they are just.. well.. wonderful! And then the thoughts creep in… “The one who came before me”…Let’s talk about this, shall we?

It really works from both sides; let’s start with ourselves and our comparison to those who came before our Mister or Miss Wonderful. I’d really like to think we take our people from our past as a positive, learning experience; even if it’s as simple as “that was what I don’t want”. So you will spend time with the new person in your life, and your mind with creep back to “Mister or Miss Ex, used to do this..” or “I didn’t like it when they did…” or “I liked it when they did…. and Mister or Miss Wonderful reminds me of them in that way…”..Now while these are all normal and naturally occurring thoughts, and you could probably use them to help your new relationship (or potential relationship) grow; DO NOT and I mean DO NOT, voice these comparisons aloud. Your new interest will likely not appreciate it, no matter how constructively you pitch it. It’s quite probable that you will share stories of exes, and things you’ve done, that’s one thing; you’re telling your new interest things about your life (which happened to include someone else at one point). But, you don’t need to voice anything comparatively.

Now, how about our own thoughts about the “one that came before”? I honestly can’t comment for men on this factor, so if any male reader would care to comment their opinion, I’d be grateful; but I know women are horrible for this. As a woman, I am my own worst critic, and at times this can carry over into a new (or potential) relationship. You’re enjoying yourself with the new Mister or Miss Wonderful and then the thoughts creep into your mind: “did he/she do this with her/him?” or “did he/she enjoy this more with her/him?”.. or even “will he/she want the same things with me that he/she had with her/him?” Again, probably normally occurring thoughts, we do think about the pasts of people we’re with, and as said, can be our own worst critics or compare ourselves. Though, I’m thinking we probably shouldn’t voice our own personal comparison either. Because #1, confidence is attractive, and if we’re comparing ourselves to the one before us, that’s not really exuding confidence at all; and #2, Mister or Miss Wonderful is probably not even making that comparison that you are nine times out of ten…

When things are new, these comparisons are normal… But they should fade.. If things go well with this wonderful new person in your life, you will nurture things enough that you make eachother feel valued.. Maybe even valued enough that your mind won’t wander to worrying about the past and have you more focused on the present and future.

I have a past, you have a past, they have a past…. But let’s not let our own or their past get in the way. We were there, we hopefully learned from it, and let’s face it “the one who came before” is a past for a reason.

Still learning….