Tag Archive | love yourself

“Making Your Way In The World Today Takes Everything You Got”


Making your way in the world today takes everything you got;

Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.

Wouldn’t you like to get away?”

Theme song lyrics from “Cheers”, American Television Sitcom 1982-1993


For some of us, there is no taking a break from all our worries, because the worries are inside us, inside our heads, wreaking havoc inside our minds.

A reader asked me recently if I carry on in the hope that the Depression lifts.

I can only reply that I can only do my best on any given day.

I carry on, not in the hope that the depressions lifts.  I carry on for the exquisite rays of light that occasionally pierces through the darkness, and for the moments of love and happiness that brighten my world now and then.  I have seen the splendour and magnificence of beauty and joy.  That is what keeps me going.

Is that enough?

Who knows what’s on the other side life?  Maybe we take the pain with us if we die while in the grips of despair.   Wouldn’t that be the ultimate irony, committing suicide because of the need to stop the pain, only to writh in that pain into perpetuity?

Everyone has ups and downs.  No one is in perpetual bliss.  Even the brightest flames diminish in the dampening rain.

For people with Depression however, the downs are much deeper and darker than for others.  The rain becomes a torrential hurricane complete with tsunami tidal wave.

I have learned to ride the emotional coaster better, by being aware of the pattern of ups and downs.  It helps to have an arsenal of coping tools in my self-management toolbox to help me get through the lowest times; everything from spiritual healing to comedy relief and everything in between.  I have also learned that it’s O.K. reach out and ask for help.

I used to question what it was all for, the constant struggle that is life.

Survival?

But why?

Procreation?

I have procreated.  Does that mean I am done?

What’s the point?

According to Oprah Winfrey;


“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.”


For me, for now, I am the person that I am; faulty, flawed and imperfect, trying to embrace with gratitude every small moment of joy I am given, before I am drawn under again by the next wave of darkness that hits.

I don’t make excuses for the way that I am anymore, and I don’t apologize either, for the sudden tears, or the occasional need for a small retreat from the world.  I don’t make excuses for needing to take medications to stabilize my mental health.  I don’t make excuses for needing support to get me through sinkholes in the road.

Do I want to evolve into the “complete person” I was intended to be? photo 3 (7)

What does that even mean?

Or maybe I have evolved, and this is the complete person I am intended to be this go round.  Imperfectly perfect.

I can accept that, or, I can continue searching, discontent in mind, body and spirit, straining and craving to change into some intangible “complete” entity I am told I should aspire to.

There is only one answer that makes sense right now.

“… grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time…”

~Reinhold Niebuhr

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Mourning My Gal Pal, Libida

There are many side effects of antidepressants, from excessive sweating, to dry mouth to libido death.
Everyone responds differently, to different doses of different medications.  There is no one size fits all, all the time.  But if your doctor has you on your prescription, then hopefully, it’s because they believe the cons of the side effects are a far lesser evil than the symptoms you are exhibiting.

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Book Cover: A Lady’s Guide To Improper Behavior by Suzanne Enoch

Tell that to my dead libido!

I am a woman who has always had a healthy appetite for sex and more importantly, the elusive female orgasm (yes, please!).  Imagine my frustration, upon the realization one day that it just was not going to happen for me! It didn’t happen the next day either, or the next, or the next…

Orgasm was not going to come for me.

Everything physical was the same as it has always been. My man’s performance and stamina has never been in question, in fact he’s the Type A – overachiever sort, you know. 😉

After a few weeks of consistent lack of orgasmic results, I began to suspect that my gal pal “Libida” was dying. The “perp” that was killing my her had to be the meds I was taking.  Sadly, my doctor confirmed it.

What!?

This was the trade off?

I gave up the sensuous spasms of carnal delight for the ability to smile? What’s there to smile about without that! (Of course there are lots to be grateful for, this is merely an exaggeration to emphasize the grief of my loss.)

If I had never had an orgasm, I wouldn’t know what I was missing. But alas, the bliss of ignorance is not to be mine. I know exactly what I’m missing, and the multiple times that I’m missing it!

There was no way I was going to take this lying down! (Well, only if the situation was right. 😉 )

I deserve my God given entitlement of my share of erotic bliss!

So, being the adventurous sprite that I am, I packed my gear and went exploring to look for Libida in every sweet spot, using every method, and trying every trigger I could think of. Sometimes my man accompanied me.

Libida couldn’t be dead, I refuse to accept it.

Then…Success!

Ahhhh… I knew Libida wasn’t dead.  I felt it in my bones. Teeheehee.  🙂

Depression In The Workplace

DSC_1065The most difficult thing with having depression as an adult is that you are still expected to behave as an adult, with all the duties, responsibilities and obligations of being an adult.

There are people depending on you, your boss, your kids, your spouse, and your pets. Even in your darkness, with uncontrollable tears ready to spill over at the smallest bump in the road, work still needs to be completed, deadlines still have to be met, bills still need to be paid, and the bacon still needs to be brought home.

No matter how much you just want to hide away in some dark corner, curl up within yourself and bawl your heart out, you still have a job to do.

Your attendance and productivity are non-negotiable expectations of you at work.

You need the money? You need your job?

Hell, yeah!

Rare it is for those of us who don’t need these essentials of modern living.

Your boss has their responsibilities too. The company does not owe you anything more than your paycheck, and you do not owe them more than what they pay you for. Your job is a financial transaction, between you and the company.

You, the employee, are paid monies in exchange for your time, and what you produce for your employer.

Keep this in mind and do not make the mistake of thinking that they care about your mental health, because they really do not care other than how it would affect their bottom line.

Even the best managers, or even if your manager is your best friend, they still have a business to run, clients to service, revenue to generate, deadlines to meet, and a boss that they themselves must report to as well.

Everyone has a boss that they have to ultimately report to.

At the end of the day, your boss gets to go home, to their families and their own life. They may be as empathetic as can be, but they must do what is best for their own livelihood, for their own job security, and that is to look out for the company’s interest. This may seem cold and cynical, but it is the truth. There is no room in an organization for an employee who does not produce, does not fit in, or is a drain on company resources.

A wonderful colleague at work once told me, referring to our manager;

“Betty does what’s best for Betty, you, Sandy have to do what is best for Sandy”.

You must do what is in the best interest of you, because you are your best and biggest advocate.

Stay professional. Maintain your professional reputation, and take the time you need to regroup. The last thing you need at this point is to have a meltdown at work. Your mental health is paramount to everything else.

You work to live, not the other way around.

If you do not resolve your situation first, then the situation may be resolved for you (by you being relieved of your position), and that will bring you down even further.

Here are some tips that may help you to regroup.

1. Get help

If you are feeling so overwhelmed that you cannot cope by yourself, it’s time to ask for help from a professional source. Speak with your doctor or medical professional for a diagnosis, and explore your treatment options. There could be answers to address your physical symptoms as well as your emotional and psychological well-being. You may need therapy, counselling, prescriptions or a combination of approaches to help you heal.

There may also be help and resources readily available through your human resources department. The main thing is to ask for help. If you don’t get help the first time, keep asking.  Help is available.

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2. Take care of yourself. 

Taking care of yourself is more than indulging in a soothing bath or spoiling yourself with a mani-pedi (I am not saying those aren’t awesome, love them myself). Taking care of yourself is giving yourself everything that your mind, body and spirit needs and deserves in order to be well and to thrive.

If you need to see the doctor (or medical professional), then take the time to see your doctor, therapist or counsellor.

If you need to take a period of time away from work, then ask for that time.  Recent studies published by the University of Melbourne found that employees who continued to work even as they experienced depression symptoms, realized positive health benefits towards their recovery.  That being said, your doctor can help you determine if you need time away from work.

Your well-being is paramount to all else in your life. Your work will always be there. That urgent matter on your desk is not a life or death situation (unless it literally is because you are a life-saving surgeon or some such, even then, there is an on-call to take it on). Money can always be made, another job can always be found, but your health is your life. Your mental-health is the internal world in which you exist. It must stand head and shoulders above all else. Otherwise you could begin to feel that your world is not worth the effort, and that feeling can lead to the ultimate darkness, suicide.

3. Act

Once you have established a plan of action with your medical professional, stay the course. It may be difficult to remember or keep your medical appointments, therapy sessions, take your medications and adhere to your treatment plan, but you must. Treatment will get you better.

4. Make a list checklist  checklist

Focus and concentration will be a challenge. This is a common symptom of depression. Making lists of your to do’s are essential in keeping you on the move. Having a check mark to show for completed tasks, no matter how small the task, will help you to keep move forward. Making lists also helps to break down all your tasks, and show you what you need to do. It can help you to feel less overwhelmed by all that you need to do. It gives you a place to start and prevent you from feeling paralyzed. Even if everything on the list doesn’t get done, you will have still made progress.

5. Take breaks

Take your breaks, to stretch your legs and increase your circulation, to nourish your body and eat your lunch, to walk away from your work station and just allow yourself to rest. This will help in preventing your mind from fatigue at this point in your healing. Give your brain a quick break. Studies have shown that taking breaks can decrease stress hormones, and raise dopamine levels. This will help you to be more productive and manage your stress.

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6. Find support

Find support, if you are not comfortable speaking with a colleague about your situation, make sure you have support in friends or family. The feelings that you are experiencing have to go somewhere, it is best that they have a safe place to be released. If you are unable to find a safe place to release your pain, there are crisis hotlines set up exactly for this purpose. Find out the nearest hotline available in your location, and keep it readily accessible. You never know when you will need it. Suffering in silence will not help you get better.

There are no quick fixes for depression. Medications take at least two weeks to take effect. Counselling and therapies may take months or years for you to feel the effects of healing.

Be patient. Be kind to yourself and never give up. You are worthy.

May the light always shine for you.

Namaste.

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Photo credits: Sandi Yee

Are You Worth It?

you-are-worthy-self-worth-quotesSince I started this new career in the blogosphere, as a professional blogger, my husband has reminded me many times that there is no one else that I am doing this for. There is no manager to watch the clock, no clock to punch, no deadline to meet, no one to answer to. There is only me. Writing is for me, for my creative juices to flow free, and give voice all that churns in my head.

“Just think,” he said with an ear to ear grin, “you are not getting up every morning for anyone else, not your boss, not the kids, not even me. You are now getting up for you. Are you worth it?”

Wow!  What a novel idea!  What insight!  I’m getting up for me, no one else.  There is no one else that I am getting up for. There is only me.  I’m doing this for me!  For once, it’s all about me!

Then reality set in.

There is only me.

It is all about me.

Am I worth it?  Am I worth anything?  What am I worth anyway?

And there it was again.

The beginnings of negative self-talk. The harsh inner critic, that ugly voice in my head, present in everything I do, everywhere I go, telling me I’m not good enough, I’m not worthy. I don’t want to hear it, but it’s loud and clear.

I struggle with this question every day, the question of worthiness.  This time it’s about my writing.

Am I worth it?

Am I worth this time to focus on myself, to focus on my writing, to feed my spirit and fill the emptiness that gnaws at me when I have no creative outlet?

Am I worth it?  HPIM0214

Am I worth it?

Am I worth it?

Am I good enough?

What does it matter?

Who’s going to read it?

Who’s going to care?

No one cares.

Ughk! It’s a nasty cycle!

Good grief!  If I thought I was worthy, if I thought I was good enough, I wouldn’t be in this cyclical mess of depression, misery, self-destruction and self-hate.

It was more than about writing, about blogging. It all came down to how I felt about myself.

I do well enough on my own, putting oprah quote2this obstacle of worth in front of myself.  Thank you very much, but I really don’t need someone else reminding me to question if I am worth it.

His actions were from good intentions, because my husband never questions his worth.  He has a healthy dose of macho ego, such that if someone asked him if he was worth it, he would respond with a resounding shout of YES!  It would motivate him to jump out of bed, and sprint after whatever he wanted, because his worth is never in question, because he believes he deserves.  He thought it would work that way with me.  He thought what works with him would work with me.

It doesn’t.

Every morning my goal is to keep from drowning.  Everyday all my energies go into building a solid platform from which to stand in the light, to stand in my power.  I am building my skill.  I am building my confidence.  I am building a new era for a future where for the first time ever I am able to see beyond today.

For anyone to ask me if I think I am worth it, only makes me question, and answer myself that I’m not.  Asking me if I am worth it, implies that my worth is in question, that it is not an innate right as a human being to pursue my happiness.

I am worthy.  I have to believe that I am.

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Photo Courtesy: Sandi Yee

After weeks of this, I finally asked him to stop asking me this question;

“Instead of trying to get me up and out of bed by asking me if I’m worth it, why not ask me to begin the day together.  Please, ask me to begin the day together instead.  Say to me; shall we begin the day together?”

I appealed to his empathy, his love for me and his desire to live our lives together.

It worked. Every morning since, he greets me with a smile, extends his left hand, and invites me to begin the day with him.

How can I resist?

I don’t. 😉

How do I love me? Let me count the ways…

Love-yourself1

Image Courtesy: alisina.org

How is it that it is so hard to love ourselves?

Our hearts are limitless in our capacity to love others.  We can add on countless children, siblings, pets, friends, lovers, and still we would have room for more.

But what of ourselves?

How do we love ourselves?  How do we know that we love ourselves?

Is it the respect we give to ourselves, that we stand up for ourselves and not allow ourselves to be taken advantage of?

Is it the little things that we do to spoil ourselves, little indulgences of Godiva chocolates, ice cream sundaes, spa days, diamond earrings just because?

We know how it is to love someone; spouse, children, parents, friends.  We feel warmth and joy in our heart, we smile with tenderness, we touch with affection.

Yeah… No.

None of these feelings apply when we look to ourselves.  Our hearts do not fill with tenderness and joy when we look in the mirror.  More likely it is quite another strong emotion we’re feeling all together.

What does it mean to love ourselves?

Perhaps it is in the kindness that we allow ourselves.

Perhaps we can show ourselves love by being kind to our heart, by being kind to our sensitivities.  We can be less harsh in our self-criticism.  We can forgive our flaws, forgive our mistakes, and accept them, because that is what we would do with people whom we love.

In the pursuit of happiness, there are countless advice and daily “happy” quotes to inspire us to love ourselves, to prompt us to focus on what we love about ourselves, rather than focus on the negative.

Thus, in an effort to establish how to love myself, this poem is an exercise in learning to do just that.

How do I love me? Let me count the ways…

How do I love me? Let me count the ways…
I love me with compassion and empathy,
To allow myself to be flawed, to be free
Of lingering doubt
That I deserve, that I am worthy. 

Image Courtesy:  Sandi Yee

Image Courtesy: Sandi Yee

I love me for my heart,  
For my art,
That I create,
That I relate,
To those in a state
Of despair and self-hate.

I love me enough to kind,
When I speak in my mind
To myself.
I love me for my truth,
For my authenticity,
I wear for everyone to see.

I love me for the strength
I have gained, at the length
I have traveled,
To have finally come through the dark,
To make my mark
And let the world know I am here.

Written by Sandi Yee – September 30, 2014

A bit egotistical?  A little.
Do I feel better?  Teeheeheehee…Yes, I think I do. 😀

Poem concept and title credit to Miss Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806-1861

My Guardian Angels Wear Fur Coats

The first time my dogs saved my life, I knew I would forever need one in my life.

Suicide is always in my mind, a way out should my world gets too overwhelming, and my reasons to live just don’t make sense anymore.

Panda and Cubby

Panda and Cubby

On this one particular day, I was driving with both my dogs in the car; Cubby, a silver/gray poodle cross, and Panda, a lab collie cross. We were on our way home from somewhere, I don’t remember much from that day, the trigger, the reasons, or the people. The only things that stand out in my mind from that day were the intense feelings of despair and pain coursing through my body. They were so powerful, so fierce, I could barely drive, or see through my tears. I just wanted to stop the pain.

I knew there was a bridge ahead.  The urge to drive right off the bridge into the strong currents of the river raged strong. To sink into oblivion and leave everything behind, the fears, the pain, the hopelessness.

I imagined the scene; the car filling with water, my acceptance of taking water into my mouth, my nose, my lungs, and the peace I would have with my body sinking into depths of the murky river. The End.

I felt my puppy’s tongue lick at my teary cheek.  Then the image of my dogs flashed through my mind, of taking them into the water with me, drowning with me. Except they weren’t calm like me. They were terrified, struggling, pawing at anything they could get at to keep their little heads above the water.  Whining.  Yelping.  Their trusting eyes full of fear, begging me to help them, to get them out, to save them.  They didn’t want to die.

Oh My God!  What was I doing? These dogs were my beloved pets, adopted into my life, and loved as if they were my own children!

I pulled off the road and sat in the car, stunned at what had just happened in my head. It was real, the thoughts, the feelings, the impromptu scheme of drowning myself as I got closer to the bridge. It wasn’t the thought of dying that shook me. What shook me to my core was that I would kill my dogs. That I would inflict fear and death on them, as the last thing they would experience from me. How horrible to do so. I could never kill them. They deserved their life. They trusted me. They followed me. I am their mom, their alpha, they would go anywhere with me.

I could not lead them into suicide with me. I had to take them home.

“I am not drowning myself today. I am not killing my puppies. I love them too much to take them with me.” I said to myself over and over again.

I sat in the car for a long time, sobbing out my relief at what I didn’t do, what didn’t happen. They didn’t know why I was crying, or why I held them so tightly. They were content to just let me.

I took them home and we lived another day.

Thinking back to that day still brings chills up my spine. Even though it never actually occurred, the images of my dogs struggling for their lives as the car filled up with water are still vivid in my mind. I didn’t take my own life that day because I didn’t want to take their lives as collateral damage. They saved me that day, just as surely as if they had dragged me by the neck and doggy paddled me safely to shore.

HPIM8209

Panda 1995-2012

The two dogs from that day have since passed, and still I miss their presence by my side. But I am grateful for the time I had with them. They kept me present, gave their unconditional love and devotion in times when I felt like life was unbearable.  They stayed by my side when I was buried deep in the dark hole that is my bane in this life.  They kept me grounded by giving me their bodies to hold onto when I felt myself drowning.  Without intention or plan, they came into my life and became my therapy dogs.

Thank you, my girls, thank you.