For way too many years I dreaded Christmas Eve. It meant that people were going to have way too much to drink. Which meant that people would get way too angry when they weren’t supposed to be angry. And every ghost that could possibly come back to haunt them would show up. I loved Christmas morning because everybody was very quiet and focused. Focussed on my brother and I being very very happy , and later on focussed on having my three children very very happy and excited. I realize now as I see the people become much more depressed from thinking about things they don’t have, instead of focussing on the things they do have. I’m not naïve enough not to realize there are people who are alone during the holiday season. They don’t feel they have any connection with other people and that can be so sad because yes Christmas is supposed to be the time of people loving and caring about each other. Or they have some weird sense of loyalty to spend Christmas with the people that caused all the trauma through the years. And keep reliving the nightmares. Even those without family can volunteer at charitable organizations during the holiday season. Become useful. Become a contributor instead of avoiding others. Open your heart and you’ll be amazed what it will be filled with. I remember a time when seeing a happy couple holding hands would make me dive into depression and anger. I wanted what they had dammit!!! I wanted my husband back and alive. Our Christmas Eves and Christmas Day was full of laughter, family gatherings where people had a couple of drinks, ate tons of homemade food, played crib, and went home safe and happy. I now take a deep breath. I close my eyes and see his smile. I feel my heart swell with memories and I know he is with me always. So when you’re missing that person who was at all the other Christmases, remember that they are watching you, they are seeing and being a part of your life forever. And they don’t want to see you sad. That was not what they lived for. They want you to be happy so get out there and be goddamn happy. 😄 Merry Christmas to all and to all a very good night. If you need someone to talk to reach out.
If you find yourself spiraling down into the abyss call for help. 1-833-456-4566 This is the Canadian National Crisis Line. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In Manitoba you can call 1-877-435-7170 In November 2023 Canada, like the US will be implementing the new 988 Mental Health number that will quickly connect to Mental Health Professionals that can talk, or text message with you right away. Take care and may the new year bring you closer to inner peace and the ability to find happy.
One of my favourite quick lunches or quick suppers is a can of cold brown beans. And one of the reasons I love cold beans is because it was one of the things that is attached to very happy memories. When I was a kid it was a lot of disfunction, alcohol, gambling abuses, and we lived from paycheque to paycheque and very often my dad would gamble or even worse, blow his whole paycheque. Or he would come home from his job and would binge drink because he never drank every day, but he did binge drink. And when he binge drank he became the epitome of an Irish temper. He argued with everybody. Fought with everybody. And unfortunately took out most of his anger on my mother. But every summer and every fall time two special things happened. We all went as a family to pick blueberries. And because we went into the Whiteshell Park to pick blueberries we made it a day trip. I could remember our old station wagon and sitting on the tailgate as mom shelled hard boiled eggs, open cans of brown beans, and lots of fresh vegetables. So all day we would pick blueberries and eat blueberries. I would often dump blueberries and that’s OK because you just pick them all back up again. There was lots of laughter. Lots of joy. And no fighting. And no liquor. Plus on the ride home we all got ice cream.
The other wonderful trip where we had brown beans for lunch was when we went hunting for partridge. My mother and I would walk through the forest and she would use me as her look out for partridge. I’ve always had a keen sense of hearing and I can notice a little twig break in the bush so I would be like a pointer dog and just stop, and I would point and show my mom where the little noises came from. For lunch we would stop and have our brown beans and sauce. And we would have our hard boiled eggs. Maybe some pickles and a few carrot sticks. If we were really lucky mom would bring along an orange crush.
So even today and when I plan things for my children or with my grandchildren, I always try to include laughter, good stories, and being outside as often as possible. They enjoy their time with me and I love being with them. I hope that someday they will have memories that don’t include alcohol or gambling or fighting or disagreements. I want their memories to be full of walking in the woods, enjoying the day, having a great lunch and just being with the people you love. Life is simple. Don’t make it more complicated. But really all we need is each other and a can of cold beans.
While completing college courses in the 80s I learned a very interesting child development theory. It explained why we play peekaboo with small children.
As children develop they gain object permanence. Simply what it means is that even though he can’t see it it’s still there. We don’t want our children to be overstressed when they realize that their caregiver is out of the room. A one year-old may think mommy is gone forever and it’s extremely traumatic, hence peekaboo, even though you can’t see me I am still here for you. This starts to affect what they remember. Where they put their toys and that they’re not gone forever and ever. And hopefully as adults they can go out the door without an anxiety attack that they will never see you again. In real life some adults do seem to try to cover their eyes to the past, to the future, and just pretend it didn’t happen. I have heard of people never knowing they had aunts or uncles or grandparents that had died dramatically or had horrible pasts. And suddenly everyone’s going, “Well I never heard about this before. Why wasn’t I ever told about this?” But especially the generation from the 1900s to the 1950s believed in it being better not to even talk about it. This included mental health issues, teen pregnancies, adoptions, substance abuse, alcoholism, jail and criminal behavior, and cognitive and physical disabilities. Plus the 50s 60s and 70s were the age of social conformity. We want the Joneses to see us as the Joneses. As a result much information was hidden from children. Traumas were not dealt with, they were ignored. And for many of our parents and grandparents, the traumas were never allowed to heal. Because if you do not talk about them the traumas never go away, they remain with us forever but we still struggle to hide them.
So if you have that painful memory that no one else knows about, now is the time to start sharing that information. Share it with a professional counsellor if need be. Share it with your best friend and confident. Share it with your adult children. But share it dammit. As soon as you share it you are not carrying the entire load yourself. And more often than not you can finally put it down. You can finally forgive yourself and others. So please share. The more often you share painful memories and feelings the sooner they’re able to heal. They only have power while you let them have power.
Put them down. You have carried them way too long.
I was diagnosed with Pneumonia on the 13th of December. The doctor ( assisting my family doctor who was booked solid until January) asked me to return in a week for a follow up appointment. I went to the reception desk and asked for the appointment. She asked the doctor’s name and I didn’t have a clue. “She’s Dr. Something. 🤣 Tuesday. 10:45. Can I get a card for that?” The response, “We will email you the appointment.” Okay. Put it into my phone and away I went. This morning I walked the 1.5 km in -34 C to the clinic only to find there was no record of my appointment.
At this point I had two choices. I could scream and yell about people being incompetent and causing me to be out in -34 weather, or I could just say, “ Well guess I have to make another appointment.” Some people might think that I kind of gave in but I didn’t. I came to a point where I was happy with my reaction . All I said was, “Oh my God and it’s -31 out there. Oh well I guess I have to make another appointment.” The receptionist asked who had taken the other appointment and I said I don’t know, one of the receptionists along the row here. So she apologized and that was enough. And the reason I did that was because there was nothing to be gained to throw somebody under the bus . I knew exactly which person I talked to. Sometimes in anger taking someone else down with you might feel a little bit better. But in the long run you don’t know what they are going through. What was the problem that the person never took my name that day? And that’s what I think it really was. I can’t remember the receptionist asking my name. So by the time I walked out the door she probably went, “I don’t have a clue how to make this appointment for her.” Or she had so much on her mind that some button didn’t get pressed. But in the end I chose kindness, compassion, and caring. So as you go on your way in life, remember kindness and forgiveness can make for a very enjoyable and invigorating day!!
First thank you to Effin Birds creator Aaron Reynolds. This was the perfect pic for my blog.
This is a little funny but not really funny. I spent almost 2 hours dictating editing and writing this blog. And then as I went oh this is perfect, exactly what I wanted to say. I looked back and it wasn’t saved. A big empty space. It was not there. And so this is my second attempt at how to screw everything up right from the start. LOL When I was little no matter how stressed scared, lonely, guilty, or fearful that I felt, I knew there was always a chance to be happy. Although I could describe my childhood as quite a dysfunctional upbringing, the one thing that I can say is that I never felt unwanted. I never felt stupid. And maybe that’s what gave me that something that drove me to survive. That inner something kept me alive. I met my first husband when I was 13 years old. He was a friend of the 15 year old that I was dating. I would run into him at different parties and dances and we got to be friends. He was always eager to listen and flirt. He was very caring and protective. And he always had the sad stories. As dysfunctional as my parents were to me, his family was worse. His father was the town drunk. With a huge bulbous nose his dad was an embarrassment for him. And yet as I watched him with his father, all he ever wanted from him was for him to say you’ve done a good job boy. I never heard his dad ever say anything complementary to his son. In fact I more often heard, “You don’t know fuck all!! Shut the hell up. “ His mother and father were separated. His mother had become ill after his birth. She was timid and fragile. All she wanted to do was to make her youngest son happy. But it was where my husband learned manipulation at its best. I can remember his mom forgetting to make him cookies that he had asked for. His response was, “You really don’t give a fuck about me do you?” At 14 I didn’t have the insight to understand that a man who has no respect for his mother, never learns to have respect for any women. Yeah bad boy reputation. His horrific teen acne caused all kinds of other self image issues. And although he had top marks in school, leader of the chess club, he became a high school dropout.
I spent the next 20 years trying to convince this man that he was capable of being loved. But all I saw was a young man that needed to be loved. I thought I could heal all the pain and make him so happy. He was funny, hard-working, intelligent, and a great friend. He could build almost anything. He took great pride in his skill with heavy equipment. His ability to be precise was phenomenal. He was skilled at hunting and fishing. But if one criticism came his way he would crash. Like his father he was an alcoholic by the time he was in his teens. He drank every day. A beer in the morning. Three or four after work. Until his mid-thirties I never ever seen him staggering drunk. He just drank all the time. When something went wrong that was when we would hear, “ Everything always fucks up for me!! Why the fuck can’t anything go right?? Why the fuck even try?”
All of his thinking developed into self -fulfilling prophecy. He always said everything is going to be horrible, so even when things were going right and wonderful he could not handle one small thing going wrong. It would defeat him which would again result in his actions and behaviour causing all kinds of havoc. It got to the point where he depended on me to give him his sense of validation. That he was worth being loved. But he tested those limits at every turn. This is a good example of some of the insanity that ensued because of his self fulfilling prophecies and the way that his thought processes went about how he felt about himself. He liked peanut butter and toast. So one night he is watching TV and he asks if I can make him some toast and peanut butter. Sure I can, I said. I brought him a toast and peanut butter on a plate and he says, “What the hell is this?” I looked at him really confused. “Look at how you spread this on here! This is too much butter so that the peanut butter didn’t even spread right! Jesus fuck!! Married for 15 years and you can’t even remember how to make my toast. You really don’t give a fuck anymore do you ? You really don’t care about me at all. I work my ass off and you do nothing?” So in my emotional state I cried, begged forgiveness, and told him how much I loved him.
We are all valuable human beings. We deserve to be loved. We deserve to feel good about ourselves. We deserve to be able to forgive our weaknesses and our mistakes. This poor man believed that he wasn’t worth loving. He believed that he was useless. If you believe you will fail , you will fail. I have always chosen to see the good amongst the bad. The pretty amongst the ugly. With only those two things I was able to survive. I was able to accept great love and return it freely. My heart still goes out to the little boy who never felt he was great, that never felt good enough to love. The little boy that didn’t have that something inside that said, “I am good.”
For over a month I have searched my brain for the specific word or phrase that explains the subject I want to write about. But struggle as I went through the, “Starts with a p?”, and travelling from one thesaurus to another, I could not grasp the words I should know so well. My brain seemed to just stall. Whereas long ago, I would hesitate to ask anyone’s help because that would mean I was weak or they may think I am stupid. Over the last few years I have become more confident in myself and henceforth I can be very very proud that I don’t know everything. And I can ask for help from more knowledgable or more kind friends who are only too happy to help me if they can. And help me without judgements. And that was exactly what I did yesterday.
I messaged one of my oldest and dearest friends. She is also one of the most intelligent people I know. So I sent her this message: Morning!! I need your brain because Google is not helping me. 😂 I want a specific word and my head won’t find it. I will know it when I read it. Scenario: When negative thought subconsciously cause something to go wrong. The word isn’t predetermined or predicted. But it does start with a p, I think. It means you have caused your thought to become reality by thinking about it. Or there is no such word and I am crazy. 😝 Any suggestions would be helpful.
She quickly responded with: Self-fulfilling prophecy but I can’t think of a single word synonym for it.
She is my hero. That was the phrase. It has affected so much of my life and I wanted to share it in a blog but couldn’t for the life of me find the words!!!
So thanks to a friend I can count on, I will be writing on this topic next. For now I need to eat broccoli cauliflower cheese soup.
Robin Williams suicide hit me deeply. Twitch’s death brought it all back.
I just heard the news of Twitch’s suicide at the age of forty. Great career. Great wife and children. Lots of friends that would help him. But depression and thoughts of suicide are not often shared. His wife knew something was wrong and contacted the police immediately but she could not have stopped this. Unless you are blessed enough to have that one ounce of wanting to survive, the depression will convince you that everyone is better off without you. That this horrible pain inside will end. All will be okay. I can say this because I was there. And if it wasn’t for a child’s cry, I would not be here to tell this story. We cannot prevent all suicides. But we can always be open to helping others. Showing that we are the type of person that will not judge. That kindness and caring can see the pain behind the smile. Tell someone you love how important they are to your life. What makes them special to you. And ask them to tell you why they are special. Hugs to all.
One the hardest times in my life was when I thought I could depend on a friendship and was ghosted. Finding unconditional friendships is so important for those suffering depression. Too many turn away and never look back. It broke my heart to discover that the people I thought would be there for the hard times, actually avoided me. When I returned to a workplace after three months recovery, management whom I had worked with for twenty years, never even asked, How are you? I was treated with fear and apprehension. Apparently in my absence the gossip mills went wild. A few statements were exaggerated, some stories void of facts, and many could not forgive my emotional outbursts the day I melted into a heap of tears, pounding my fists against the wall. They were afraid of this person. Carol they knew was helpful, kind, and gave the company 110%. I held onto the people who treated me with respect and caring. All of them are still there for me if I need them and visa versa. True friendship can withstand depression and anxiety. True friendship is unconditional.
-40 is a whole lot of possibilities for depression. You have one of two choices. I like most things in life, can either be miserable or happy. It really is up to you.
I had to find things in my life to be able to enjoy the -40s. I don’t have a vehicle so I know I’m going to have to walk out there if I wanna go anywhere. So do I keep myself locked up inside here? Nooooo. I learned a long time ago to look for the beauty in everything. And with my photography I’m able to capture some of that beauty and share it with others. But mainly it’s a selfish thing because I love pretty. And in my world Nature often brings the prettiest images as a gift to me. So I dress up like Nantuck of the north and I stay super warm and I get out there. I look and I see and I enjoy. And if I’m really lucky at the end of it I can feel my fingers and toes. These images were from inside my unheated veranda. Sunshine and frost. Have a great day.