Recovery from high functioning PTSD and an Eating Disorder

I have spent my life keeping busy. At the height of it I was working 70-80 hours a week, volunteering over 1200 hours a year, over and above being a married mom of two. Five years ago I left this lifestyle, I even thought I had completed this part of my life. And now I can see, I have spent my life keeping busy because then I never had the time to deal with the pain, the thoughts, the emotions, the trauma. I was filling the space up to not feel.

The rest I didn’t know I deeply needed

We live in a society that is focused on productivity, high producing, and achieving behaviors. We say things like “do more with less” and “sleep when I’m dead”. We see people who are busy as productive, stressed as up to big things, and achievement as the only important measure of success.

The result is we are experiencing significant increases in chronic fatigue or its more recently introduced name, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). A 2017 survey shows some 560,000 Canadians report that they have the disease, a 36.7 percent increase over previous results from 2014. The number also suggests the disease may be more common than breast cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis combined.

Since March of 2020, we are seeing significant experiences of compassion fatigue, lockdown fatigue, and pandemic fatigue.

Awareness: When things go wrong as they sometimes will

I have worked through my body’s needs, and I am tired, hungry, and depleted. I am about to enter the destructive phase, and just before that, I become aware I am in the pattern. We have spent so much time developing our awareness without stopping to ask what we are meant to do with it.

Healing my negative self-image

My self-image healing had begun, and while I wasn’t ready to trust my thoughts yet, This was the hardest part; as I went back through the many influences challenging the beliefs I had created my self-image out of, I realized that I had heard them as truths. That day in the passenger seat, I listened to those words and decided that being overweight made me unworthy, reinforcing the feeling of being invisible. I began to see myself those who truly loved me for me.

Why we need community to thrive!

When I’m struggling, what’s the first thing I do? I cut myself off from people! I hide from the very community that is my support!

Thriving isn’t just about feeling rested and ready to take on the world. We need people to share it with, celebrate it with, and support us when we struggle. That friend who will tell you to take a damn shower—that friend who will stop the story in your head and remind you of what matters.

Throw your hat over the wall and live the life you’ve always wanted

If we are being honest, we already have a good life. And there is nothing wrong with being comfortable living the life we have created. And sometimes we feel called to do something BIG.

There are thousands of reasons not to do it. I mean, what if you failed? It’s scary, challenging, and will take your focus whether in your business or your life.

And immediately, there is that moment of doubt, followed by all the reasons we shouldn’t do it. Maybe now isn’t the time; it probably won’t work anyway, and so many more.

My victory over “I’m not lovable”

Here I am living the life of a free child when suddenly a moment occurs. A moment where everything changes. At that moment, a 5-year-old said: “I’m not lovable.” It wasn’t true; of course, it was a child’s reaction. And yet, I have spent 40 years finding evidence that it’s true. I am discounting and dismissing all the evidence to the contrary. Each time confirms how right I am!

Is productivity costing us everything?

Does our focus on productivity lead to burnout?

I never even questioned it. Isn’t that the goal to use our time wisely, achieve, and be productive?  If you had asked me this question six months ago, my answer would have been yes. But then, it all changed. 

A few of my closest friends and family started to share their concerns, but the praise and feeling of success quickly drowned them out. Then, like a wave that I never saw coming, I was drowning. 

The signs have been there for so long; exhaustion, achy body, foggy mind, eye fatigue, difficulty with digestion, feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and easily agitated. Honestly, they were badges of honour. The suffering is completely overlooked in a society that praises accomplishment and culture of “do more with less.”

Turning Emotions into Emotional Regulation with “RAIN”

Our thoughts often skip over acknowledging the emotion and lump it together as one experience. By focusing solely on the thought, we are disconnecting from our experience of the thought. We may be experiencing sadness or fear and feeling disappointment or regret without recognizing that we can easily miss what we actually need. However, if we learn to identify thoughts, feelings, and emotions individually, we can develop emotional intelligence.
Learning to understand what makes us feel and respond the way we do allows us the ability to regulate our experience.

We need Community: How to keep them healthy

Strong communities are critical because they’re often an essential source of social connection and a sense of belonging. Being part of a community can positively affect mental health and emotional well-being. Community involvement provides a sense of belonging and social connectedness. It can also offer extra meaning and purpose to everyday life. Communities can exist or be created from a shared location, hobbies, lived experiences and backgrounds, or a common cause.

Please don’t have a nice day

“Please don’t have a nice day. Have a day that matters, Have a true day, Have a direct day, Have an honest day. A nice day…mmm…you’ll be miserable…Have a day that means something.”

What it really means to hold space for someone

It means walking alongside another person without judgment, without trying to fix them or the situation, without trying to impact the outcome, while not making them feel inadequate. We must open our hearts, let go of judgment and control, and offer our unconditional support. Whether we hold space for someone directly or have space for someone as they hold space for someone else.

Finding freedom in the pursuit of happiness

Our days are inundated with messages telling us to “be positive” and how to “be happy.” They make it sound like a light switch you can easily turn on, and that’s all that is needed. But let’s be honest, this marketing is a play on our desires designed to sell us something. We spend a lot of time striving for happiness, in every choice we make and every dream we have, we are ultimately looking for it. This search for happiness comes in many forms. We strive to feel secure, be recognized as somebody of value, enjoy life, love, and have knowledge. All of this work ultimately to feel happy.

Have we ever stopped to ask, is being happy all the time realistic? If we are trying to be happy all the time, could we be missing something even better?

Managing the Effects of Grief and Stress

I watched as the sad realization came across his face; my heart broke for him. I could feel the responsibility of making something that wasn’t okay for him. To protect the person I love so much from pain and suffering.

Eight tips for facing holiday emotions

So often, when planning for the holiday season, we experience emotions and feel stressed. We are worried about family dynamics, planning to navigate holiday parties or fitting in family time in busy holiday schedules. What can help are emotional regulation tips to help reduce stress and bring a calming peace to your holiday season.

Finding your courage in a sea of fears

On Remembrance Day, I am always in awe of the stories of unbelievable courage. I’m not sure I can even honestly imagine the strength it takes. To sign up to defend your country knowing you could give your life to do it.

When my confidence wavers

Have you ever had one of the days, or cluster of days, when your confidence is just gone? We face so many things every day that can rattle our confidence. What’s important is how you get it back!

Why I’m glad I got sick

Throughout my life, I have had hundreds of conversations with people who, like me, have gotten sick or faced something traumatic that changed their lives forever. I have listened as they intimately shared their suffering and their victories.

There is a common thread in those stories; we struggled with the questions. So today, I thought I would share the question people often asked me during this time, the impact this question had, and the answers.