Anxiety Does Not Define Me

I find that People always share the shining side of things, especially in our world of Social Media. Yes, I am guilty. It’s easier to share the highlights of your life than to talk about the negative, but I think it’s also important to show we’re all human, we all have failures, we have things that are more difficult to cope with.

Admitting vulnerability has the ability to connect people. I hope that with this blog I connect with you & give you inspiration.

Everyone has struggles in life – it just happens that anxiety and depression are mine.

Anxiety. At some point in life you will face it. A public speech, job interviews or the first day at your new job, you’ll get nervous, do whatever it is that is making you nervous and then go back to your usual self. This makes me incredibly envious.

The stigma around having a mental health issue causes a lot of people to hide it. That’s why a lot of the time when you find out someone has anxiety or depression it comes as a surprise.
SURPRISE!

I am not an expert on anything. Most days I struggle with being the expert on me, but that is the only thing I come close to being an expert on.

People are puzzled by me — I come across as outgoing but introverted, very social but rarely wanting to go out and socialize. My alone time my safe place.

Despite many physical symptoms of anxiety, I’m a master at hiding it.

While I may not be able to prevent stress or anxiety from showing up at inopportune times, my remedy and a great place to start is by taking a deep breath and remembering I don’t have to have it all together all the time. Or even some of the time. The best thing I can do is live honestly with myself. I’ve also been through a couple of episodes of depression. Luckily, I have had the strength and guidance of professionals to get through them along with amazing support of family & friends.

I think a couple of my favorite pieces of advice for when feeling down is “it’s OK not to be OK” and “Sometimes we fall down because there is something down there we’re supposed to find”

I know this might sound strange, but I am grateful for my Anxiety and Depression even though I would not wish them on my worst enemy, but they have had a huge impact in shaping who I am, and in developing some of my biggest strengths. I’m proud of my kindness and empathy. Being familiar with struggle makes a person appreciate the goodness in life so much more. Life is good, and life is short, and for that reason I will make my journey count.

Anxiety and depression do not define me, but I am truly very grateful for the life lessons I have learned in working to overcome and manage them, and of the person I am.
I have become more proactive to stay healthy, especially when my mental health is at stake and have come to the conclusion that I will never let my most personal decisions be influenced by the opinions of others. I have to believe the right decision lies deep in my heart. I believe in the knowledge I have and trust myself enough to embrace the unknown.

The prescribed medication I take for anxiety attacks does not define me. I am OK with my decision to take medication when needed to help me with my anxiety. A decision that came from acceptance, not shame. A decision that allowed me to start down a new path on my journey.

My one piece of advice to anyone dealing with anxiety is to never let anxiety fool you into thinking you’re not strong enough for something. 8edbf8af8f9b1546b55e86bed33c060b
Not everyone experiences anxiety in the same way. This is based on my own individual experience.
No one knows you better than you know yourself. Always stay true to you 🙂  Always remember…Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness!

 

 

 

Waiting At Heaven’s Gate

Someone I care deeply about is dying. My best friend has exhausted all curative treatments after a year long journey. Surgery, Chemo & Radiation have stopped & the cancer continues to take over her body.

She now finds herself in the final stages of lung cancer, Brain Cancer and with the news cancer has spread to her liver, the doctors have sent her home saying it could be anytime. BABY MACKENZIE & GRANDMA

From the day she found out she had 7 months, then 3 months and now they say anytime, I keep asking myself “what I can do?”  I just felt so helpless throughout her journey. This girl has been so strong, positive and dealt with whatever was thrown at her with courage. I just tried to be there, to listen, to talk to laugh & to inspire hope & faith.  Always keeping in touch. It’s all I knew how to do for her at this point. Support her through this difficult time.

enjoying our time together

enjoying our time together

ANGEL FAITHI knew her Dr. Appointment was coming up and told her to let me know how she made out. Well she called the next day to tell me the news. “It’s not good Pauline, the Dr. said it could be any day” and then the next thing she said, was “I have a beautiful Angel I want you to have, it says Faith on it” Unreal! Throughout her Journey I have always encouraged her to have Hope & Faith. I even got a kitten and named it Faith in her honor, something I could take comfort in.

Today was the first time I have seen her since our phone conversation a week ago, I stopped to pick her up and was feeling a little uncomfortable I didn’t know what to say to her, I held the tears back, she came to the door with a smile on her face and the Angel Faith held high for me to see. She was so excited to see me and give me the angel. It wasn’t about her dying it was about me. Making sure I had something to remember her. This is when it hit me “oh my god, she’s going to be gone soon” but then just in that moment I got it. I answered my own question “what can I do?”  I can be there for her, take it one day at a time and continue on with the listening, the laughing and whatever else she wishes for. It’s all she wanted.   I cannot begin to imagine the thoughts that run through her head. I look into her eyes as we talk and it’s hard not to think of what’s to come. For now, though, I will accept the reality of my friend’s condition, if only with my head. I know I will later come to accept it with my heart.

The day i was given my Angel Faith.

The day i was given my Angel Faith.

My best friend is on her way to heaven’s gate and as she told me today” Heaven can wait, I ain’t ready yet” That’s my friend and I love her spirit.

So here’s to a few more stories being told, a few more laughs and a celebration of her 49th birthday next month.

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Just An Ordinary Day

“What a great day!” A well-deserved break from work.

To top it off my husband (Jim) was off as well so we could spend the entire day together. Apples PC
Often times we are not off on the same days and I am off gallivanting on my own not making it home till later in the evenings. Jim will always ask “What did you do all day?” I laugh and say “I went shopping”. He doesn’t get it. For Jim shopping is just achieving a goal or a mission. Need new shoes, try them on, they fit, get them, get out. So today Jim came and spent the day with me just to see what a real Pauline day looks like. I am a person who is very passive at shopping. I can’t select a thing quickly; I need to get satisfaction, the item needs to speak to me-I know as soon as I see something if it’s for me. I’m not a mall shopper I’m more of a thrift shopper. Love the consignment stores and thrift shops.
Life changes – there are people out there that have quality home furnishings and accessories that are in “like-new” condition and they no longer fit into their lifestyle or decorating scheme, so why buy new when I can practice the three R’s – Reuse, Reduce, Re-cycle. You never know what you might find that fits perfectly into your lifestyle or décor. I almost always find something.
So here goes our day.
“Jim I would like to go to Collingwood today to get apples from the Orchards”. In case you don’t know where Collingwood is it is a town in Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada. It is situated on Nottawasaga Bay at the southern point of Georgian Bay. They are known to grow some of the best apples there.
Ok, first we need to stop at the transfer station because I forgot to take the garbage out yesterday, also when we are there I would like to check the shed of not so dumpy stuff to see if there is anything there I can maybe refurbish-oh, by the way there was a beautiful solid wood chair that was just left there to die. So I took that & will work on refurbishing it one day.

Jim just shakes his head and loads it into the Mazda. Driving out from the transfer station Jim says there’s a rattlesnake on the road, so I make him pull over so I can take a picture.

Rattle Snake

Rattle Snake

I didn’t get too close because I couldn’t tell if it was dead or just playing dead. Picture taken and we are on our way. Next stop Tim Horton’s for a large green tea-now were off.

Along the way we make a detour through Wasaga Beach.
Wasaga Beach is the longest freshwater beach in the world, it is a very popular summer tourist destination, situated at the southern end of Georgian Bay and a neighbor to Collingwood. This time of year the beach was deserted so I made Jim stop so I could take a picture.
As we drove into Collingwood the smell of fresh apples is unforgettable. If you’ve never been you need to visit and experience it for yourself! The honeycrisp apple is my favorite apple of all times, it’s “explosively crisp,” snapping off in great chunks when you bite into it. It has a coarse texture, but is light and juicy, with a flavor that’s a balance of sweetness and tartness. I make the drive there just for those each year. So apples, pears and plums were purchased and we moved on.
A pair of crazy animals

A little further down the road was a great display of the fall harvest, squash, gourds, pumpkins and more, so I made Jim stop so I could get a picture. Yep, he shakes his head. As we drive away I tell him I would like to check out a couple of my favorite consignment stores in town so off we go.

First Stop Restore, nothing too interesting in there but when I went to leave I could not find Jim. I look outside and there he is sitting all relaxed with the car door open just waiting & whistling away. What a trooper. A store I Love 2

Only two more shops to go. I think he actually enjoyed these other two shops, he spent time checking things out and yes, I did find something to bring home from one of them. Two beautiful candle holders.A Candle holders
Off to Penetanguishene.The town I grew up in to visit with my parents and bring them some freshly picked apples, but first another stop at the Real Canadian Superstore for Cat food, which lead to a visit to the Joe Fresh department, cosmetic department & ending with the purchase of cat food, 2 chocolate bars and a potted mum in my favorite color.A Plant
Now we have arrived in Penetanguishene for a wonderful visit with my mom, dad, brother and even my favorite uncle stopped by. What a nice surprise. Perfect day to sit outdoors and get caught up on the news and reminisce.
It’s time to leave, Jim has to be home for darts at 7. He belongs to a local league. So off we go once again. Mactier still an hour away. A final stop for Pizza on the way home for dinner. Well except for the next stop that I wanted because the colors are looking so beautiful I needed to take a picture. LOL.
So Jim is at darts with the boys having a few beer, probably not discussing his shopping adventure and well, I’m here relaxing writing all about it.
Now as I sit here writing my blog I realize that each time I write it brings me closer to developing the habit of gratitude. I want to savor all the good moments throughout each day. Spend time thinking about happy memories. And at the end of each day, have a few things I am grateful for. Today I am grateful for Jim Miller my soul mate, the loved ones in my life, the delicious apples and soft place to lay my head tonight.
Life is short – treasure it – be with the people and go to the places that set a spark within you. If it does not nourish your mind, body and soul…then find someone or somewhere that does.A Jimmer
Thanks to the person that sets a spark within me and allows me to be whom I am.
Now Jim totally gets my day adventures & how I get caught up in my surroundings. Will he come along again? Most definitely. We had some great laughs.

Happiness is a way of Life, not a destination.

Pay-It-Forward

DSC_0001Today I am excited to share with you my newest endeavor. I have just received my Smile Cards in the mail and am so eager to start using them.

What is a Smile Card you ask?  Well that’s exactly what I wanted to know when I first heard about them. So me being me, I googled it and to my amazement I found this wonderful website called Kindspring. It explained everything I needed to know and so much more.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and just as I am taking this journey to find the best of me, I come across this. Go figure. Awesome self-improvement tool!

I have 10 cards to pass around as I play this Pay-It-Forward game. Starting today September the 30th I will do an act of kindness for 10 straight days and leave a card behind inviting the recipients to pass them on!

I will be sure to fill you in on my acts of kindness and the responses I get. Should be interesting.

I’m most certain some people will look at me strange, but I’m also most certain it will make them smile.

If you want to start your 10 days of kindness you should visit this website, order your cards or download them. Just receiving the cards in the mail put a smile on my face! DSC_0002

Do an act of kindness and leave a card behind – See more at:

http://www.kindspring.org/#sthash.8UeXz2q0.dpuf

http://www.kindspring.org/

 

A New Challenge

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”
 – Buddha

I decided to start blogging because I have always been best at getting my thoughts and feelings out on paper. The person I am comes through in the words I write.

DSCF1661 If by blogging about my life, my struggles and my journey, can keep me positive, focused and inspire even one person out there to see that the journey to a happier, positive you begins with you and one small step each day. So worth it!

We all struggle with something at some point in our lives. It’s these struggles that make us stronger.

Changing your thoughts, changes your attitude,changes your life!

What one small step have you taken to a stronger you?