Hooked on a Feeling

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

As I age, I learn. I’ve learned that even though people think I’m a people person, I’m really not. I’ve always been an introvert. There was a time, I was so introverted, I couldn’t even lift my eyes and say hello to people. I was terrified!

As I age, I have learned that not everyone will like me, no matter what I do. This is big! It used to give me panic attacks if I knew someone didn’t like me. I needed to understand why.

I’ve learned that music impacts me deeply. I can be happy and instantly become depressed if I listen to the wrong song. I can be low and brought up in mood just by listening to the right song. It’s not always the same music, so I don’t always know what will hit me (though there are some I know exactly what they will do to me).

I’ve learned that I can’t be everything to everyone. This was a hard one emotionally. I was once a very active person, in every sense of the word. I volunteered, I worked overtime, I had my kids in everything reasonable, I stayed up late, I did it all. I hit the wall hard and everything came down in a landslide. Being diagnosed with a chronic illness will do that (MS in my case, along with others). I haven’t volunteered in so long, I work my hours (gratefully), but no more. I wish I could do more with my kids. I’m in bed by 7:30 pm or I don’t function the next day at all. It’s been over a decade and that was on of the hardest things to realize.

You always hear the tune of ‘just follow your dreams and life will be great’. I offer up the alternative – do what makes you smile, but remember, you are human. Not everyone can climb Mount Everest. Not everyone can travel the world. Not everyone can reach the outer reaches of our oceans. Not everyone can board a ship to outer space. It’s OK if your life is what it is. I struggle with this one. A lot. I dreamed of being an archaeologist. I did two BAs to accomplish that end, but then I got married. He was not kind and my dreams were dashed on the rocks. I created new life (literally), and began seeing my life differently. I have children I love, I have a yard I love puttering in. My second husband is my best friend and if we were stuck in the house together, just us, I’d be content. It’s not the life I dreamed I’d have, but it’s the life that makes me smile.

Sometimes I hyper focus on my depression and anxiety; on what I lack instead of what I have. At 48, I’m working hard on focusing on what I do have, what makes me smile, what I care about. I colour my hair crazy colours as a mood booster. I stopped caring what people think of my hair and skin – heck, I’ve even gotten many tattoos (for me, that was huge!). Letting go of what others think of me has been one of the hardest things to let go of. Yes, I still have times when I go into a panic attack because I worry about how I’m perceived (I’ve often been misread in my life).

Right now, in this present moment, I’m content. Would like I my dreams to come true? Of course! We’ve all been hooked on those feelings; but I’ve learned to be ok with my life, with how I’ve lived it. That to me is the best feeling of all.

Blue Swede – Hooked on a Feeling

That Don’t Impress Me Much

“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.” ― Leo Tolstoy, The Kreutzer Sonata

I have never felt beautiful.

Even as a little girl, I remember standing in front of a mirror, in a bathing suit (I might have been 6 or 7), I thought I was fat and ugly. Yes, that young. Guess what? I wasn’t. I was told as an adult that I was a beautiful little girl. I never felt it.

As a teen, I would wear clothes that were too big. I was 5’1″ and all of 105 – 110 lbs. I was not a big teen. I thought I looked massive. I wasn’t impressive. I’d spent most of my young life being bullied, maybe that was part of it. Teen life involved me drinking, smoking, and finding a group of friends who loved me (and still do!!!). But I was shy, and overwhelmed in groups. My marks were average, I was always told I could do better.

Enter adulthood, I worked jobs I loved. I worked at a small country store with a lunch counter, I worked at a club (bar). I went to university. I adulted, as they say now. But I was also drunk – a lot (never at work or school). I’m pretty sure I was what is termed a functional alcoholic. When I drank, I drank hard. I can no longer drink more than one or two drinks as I get panic attacks.

Everything in that time would impress me. Cars, guys, smart people, everything. I even finished my degree, then got a second one! Then I got married.

I won’t go into my first marriage. A year after we split, I developed MS that was believed to be stress induced (he was not a good person).

I was on my own with two young kids for a while, then I met my current husband. What impressed me about him? He became my friend first. His family all loved him genuinely. He loved (loves) my kids.

I’m so much older now. My second husband and I had a child together, bringing our family fully together. I should be completely happy.

Depression, anxiety, my weight, and so much more has made me numb. I’m having a hard time keeping contact with friends. I’m a hermit. Covid didn’t help, I’m more reclusive than ever. Nothing really impresses me anymore. I put on a smile and act impressed, but everything is just meh.

My joy is in my garden. Snuggling my kids. Spending time with my husband. being close to my pets.

What does impress me? When I see people who genuinely want to help others with no strings. Rescuers who do it over and over again, in spite of the hurt and pain it can bring because the joy is so worth it. Those who put others first because they love how it feels, not what it can bring them. I could go on.

I’m tired. I’m sure this is coming through. I’m drained mentally and physically. I want to be impressed. I want life back.

Shania Twain – That Don’t Impress Me Much

The Sun Always Shines on T.V.

Go on any social media site, any platform and you’ll see them. Shiny, happy people smiling it up for the cameras. The sun is always shining on them. Nothing seems to reach them. No darkness, no despair. Only the sun and rainbows of life.

No one is perfect. No one is always, consistently happy. Those who are, are the innocent or the blissfully unaware. Maybe they’re lying to themselves, maybe they live in a bubble of delusional bliss. I won’t pop them out of it. What I would give to have that bubble of bliss!

You’ll rarely see a photo of me online. My pets, my children, and maybe my husband, yes, but rarely me. I hate taking selfies (though I will under certain circumstances), I dislike being seen. I’m a dichotomy of public and private. This blog is public, my Tik Tok, Instagram, Twitter and the like are all public, but I fear being singled out and fear even more being told how ugly, fat, whatever insult. It’s a bizarre head space. I love to share, I hate to be in the spotlight. I love to get tattoos and colourful hair, but hate being in the centre of attention.

What does that say about me? I honestly don’t know. I don’t even really know who I am after 48 years on this planet.

I do know that the sun doesn’t shine on me. At least, it seldom does. How I would love to be blissfully unaware and float through life on the rays of the sun.

a-ha – The Sun Always Shines on T.V.

The Best Of You

“The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four people is suffering from a mental illness. Look at your 3 best friends. If they’re ok, then it’s you.” ― Rita Mae Brown

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day #BellLetsTalk. I’m normally pretty open about my mental health with family and friends. Pretty sure I’ve mentioned it here more than a few times.

I’ve had trauma, but so have others. That doesn’t diminish my experiences or anyone else’s.

I’ve had struggles, but so have others. That doesn’t diminish my battles or anyone else’s.

I have health conditions, but so do others. That doesn’t diminish how it impacts me or how others deal with their own.

I have struggled mentally from all of it, others do as well, some don’t. That’s ok. Everyone copes with things in different ways. Some chose to push it aside and trudge on. Some wallow in it, bathing in the anguish and despair. Some face it head on, the train wreck entering the station and continuing on. I could go on.

Since today is a day to talk mental health, I’ll share mine. Since I was young, I’ve always struggled with anxiety and self-perception. I worried constantly about what others thought of me, I was bullied which made it worse. I do have generalized anxiety disorder. My old family doctor thought my MS impacted it and made it worse.

I remember little me, about six years old, looking in a mirror. I was wearing a one piece bathing suit. I thought I was fat. SIX YEARS OLD I thought I was fat. I wasn’t. I was actually quite tiny when I was young. So, in case you haven’t guessed – yes, I have body dismorphia.

When you are in chronic pain, or have a chronic health condition, and trauma, depression is usually what comes along. Yes, I have clinical depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (basically, I’m more depressed in the winter months). I lot of people think of depression as being stuck in a bed and not going anywhere. That’s not always how it looks though. I’m functional. I work a full-time job. I have children, I have pets. Some think I have too many pets, my psychiatrist says otherwise. They get me moving, they depend on me. They don’t judge me.

The older I have gotten, the less I like going to stores. I do have a bit of agoraphobia. I hate crowds, I’m noise sensitive, I get irritated very fast. Due to my MS, I get overheated really fast which then triggers my anxiety. Oh, there’s ADHD in there too.

With all of that, I’m still here. I’m still fighting, I struggle to make sure my family gets the best of me. I struggle with my personal identity, what I love doing, what am I passionate about (seriously, what am I passionate about?). I used to have a plan. Doesn’t everyone start with a plan? Life had other ideas, other paths and I’ve been a traveler wandering where ever it takes me.

So today, and everyday, be open with who you are. Be honest about your struggles and successes. Don’t be afraid to get help if you need it. If someone tells you they think you are struggling, maybe take that seriously and see if you are.

Whatever you do, always make sure you are giving yourself the best of what you can.

Foo Fighters – The Best of You

Dream On

“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist

I constantly feel younger than I am. I turned 47 a little over a month ago. Forty-freaking-seven. I am the unhealthiest I have been in my life. The bariatric surgeon says she can’t help me. I felt lost.

Notice I said felt? I’ve have found my stride. I have found my group of ladies who want the same goals and are helping me stick to it. I’ve already lost some weight, but it’s not just the physical weight coming off, it’s the mental.

I’m a very introspective person. Maybe too much so, in that I see and acknowledge my faults, whilst forgetting to acknowledge my strengths. This season is always hard on me, however, I do believe that this winter has been very hard on most people.

The days are getting longer, though. I’m no longer getting home in darkness. The sunlight dappling through the curtains in my living room are proof of that. Even with the snow we’ve been getting, signs of the Spring to come are starting to show. I feel that change. I haven’t felt it in a long time. I can’t wait to be outside, doing yard work, planting, growing things – reveling in that sunlight.

I breath in deeply and can smell those days, I dream of them. Don’t get me wrong, I do like winter. I used to be very winter active – skiing, cross-country skiing, hiking, etc. The cold seeps into my joints now though, it makes me feel old with the creeks and aches that come with it.

As I age, my mind has been left young. I am forgetful, I do struggle with some things I didn’t before, but when I look in the mirror, that image is not who I picture in my mind. I’m working of bringing those two images together into the one I want to be, the one I should be.

Meanwhile, I will dream on about the spring and summer. I will dream about being fit and working on my goals. Most of all, I will dream of having inner peace and loving myself.

Aerosmith – Dream On