Quicksand

Depression feels like you are lodged in quicksand.
The more you struggle to get free, the quicker you are dragged down.
It feels like having a ball and chain wrapped around my heart, and pulling my heart down into my stomach.
It feels like nothing.
If you don’t think about feelings or the future or the past, you can sail through and feel “fine” but in actuality you are just numb.
Numbing yourself to the world makes you believe you are fine and are protecting yourself, but it makes it impossible to move forward in life.
Feeling happy, or enjoying yourself, makes you feel guilty.
It tricks you into thinking that maybe you were never depressed and your brain just made it all up.
Until the next episode hits and you remember that happiness isn’t happiness.
It’s a temporary moment of feeling less depressed.
When you can’t remember the last time you felt truly happy, when small things didn’t make your world feel like it’s upside down.

When you lay in bed in the morning and fight with yourself because you know there are so many things you could be doing, but the motivation isn’t there.
You pass it off as laziness, but the more the years go by… laziness just doesn’t seem plausible anymore.
Guilty for staying in bed, guilty for getting up and not actually accomplishing anything. Writing lists and lists of things you need and want to do, and planning to do them.
Never starting.
Saying you’ll save it for a better day, when you’re feeling better, when you have nothing else to do, when you’re bored or any other excuse that exists.
My heart literally feels heavy.
I can feel the weight of it pulling me down.

Depression feels like being in a cloud.
It hovers over you day and night and there isn’t any way to escape it.
It feels like walking through a tunnel that is pitch black, and not reaching the end.
You can’t see anything around you, and you don’t know when the light will come.

— slh

Home

I still remember exactly what cupboard the cereal was in,

I remember who sat in which chair at the head of the dinner table,

I remember the sounds of the kitchen floor creaking,

The sounds of the street outside at midnight.

I remember the feeling I got when I walked down the stairs to my bedroom,

How the air shifted to cold as soon as you got to the last step.

I remember the yellow countertop in the bathroom,

The way the shower sounded as the door clicked open and closed,

The way I felt like I was completely alone as long as my bedroom door was shut.

The smell of the air while sitting on the trampoline til the wee hours of the night,

My memories were made there, my memories they stay there,

In that house.

The house where I grew up, the house that sheltered me, and the house that destroyed me all the same,

I remember most of the people who walked in and out of those doors,

The animals I loved and lost,

The fights, the laughs, the noise,

Chaos was our normal, and that was okay.

I remember how it looked like a gingerbread house with the Christmas lights all hung up,

Especially when it snowed.

I remember water gun fights during the summer on our empty street,

Feeling safe in our neighbourhood, and safe meeting neighbors,

Playing in the dirt when the construction workers went home for the day,

Trying to level the ground every single summer for the Costco pool,

The balcony covered inch by inch with beautiful flowers,

The air conditioner making the living room into an icebox,

I don’t want to forget these things.

This house I once called my home,

Someone else lives there now, and the happiness and memories that once belonged there,

Don’t live there anymore.

I am responsible for taking them with me where I go,

But sometimes that’s too painful,

I remember the hearts in the slats on the balcony,

Eating the chives that grew wild in the backyard,

Chasing cats down the hallways and dressing them in baby clothes,

Drawing pictures and creating art,

Doing my homework at the dining room table,

Walking up the giant hill to school.

I don’t miss the spiders, or the smell in the furnace room,

Although I will always remember the endless amounts of extra whole wheat pasta noodles,

And presidents choice cookies that we had stocked in the pantry,

Running up and down stairs as punishment,

Cleaning the bathroom for 5 dollars,

Our house was the gathering place,

It’s where people came for comfort, for sanctuary, for celebration and gatherings,

It was safe, it was loving, and it was home,

Now it’s tucked away in a box inside of me stuffed to the brim with memories,

They slowly pour out of me so secretly sometimes I don’t even notice.dsc_0558-2

Anxiety is a Bitch and I’m Gonna Fight Her

All of my life I have struggled with anxiety. I have felt instant panic when asked to make a decision, I have called friends with made up excuses as to why I couldn’t go to their birthday party, and I have avoided doing what my heart really desires for fear of what could go wrong.

I know I am not alone in this. There are so many of you out there who battle with this on a daily basis just like me. I want you to know that you are also not alone.

Amongst anxiety I have been dealing with multiple other health issues. Most of these have surfaced throughout the past 5-7 years. Issues such as migraines, I have dealt with since I was about 12 but I only recently discovered that the cause was not chocolate, or perfume, but anxiety itself. Other health concerns have been Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), dizziness, nausea, constant hunger, overactive bladder, numbness and tingling as well as your typical fatigue. I became that girl who was constantly at the doctor for something new. I never felt like my doctor took me seriously or believed me, but I knew something wasn’t right. After about 3-4 years of persistence, he finally referred me to a gastroenterologist. There was actually an answer to my problem: IBS. I was relieved to know I wasn’t crazy, and there was actually something going on. Once I did more research on it though, I soon came to realize that chances were good that this issue sprung itself into existence because of my debilitating anxiety.

Whilst dealing with the new lifestyle I had to incorporate in order to get my body working in order, I noticed other abnormal feelings. I felt dizzy, shaky, and sometimes tingly or numb most mornings, usually before work. I played it off as hunger, or fatigue, or hell even just the need for coffee. This went on for months until I discussed it with my doctor. When I brought it to his attention however, nothing came out of it. I had tests done, blood taken, and nothing came back. I left it alone and tried to ignore the symptoms.

Consider this: I deal with so many types of anxiety. Health anxiety makes me constantly believe there is something wrong with me. Social anxiety makes me fear people and social situations therefore making it hard for me to speak up when something is wrong. Hence why it’s taken me so long to get all of these things dealt with. I am scared of being judged, being viewed as a hypochondriac, ACTUALLY BEING a hypochondriac…. I digress.

This story has gotten quite long, and although I do want to share it, it’s not my intention to give you my entire anxiety story in this post. I just wanted to preface what I am about to say with a bit of background to it.

After feeling all of these issues, and symptoms and genuinely believing there was something wrong with me… I started doing my own research. I discovered that yes, these things are happening to me. I am not crazy, I am not making them up. The real kicker is that it’s all anxiety induced. Seriously.

The day I found out that the reason I am always hungry, even after just eating isn’t because I am a pig, or that’s “just the way I am” as I always used to tell people… it’s because I have trained myself to find comfort in food. So whenever I feel anxious my body makes me feel hungry and therefore I eat to fill that void.

Now what I am about to tell you, is the core reason I have written this post. We can fight back. After learning that I’m not truly hungry all the time but am just feeling anxious, I have made a conscious effort to keep this in mind every time I feel hunger creeping up on me. DISCLAIMER: Of course this is only to a certain extent. DO NOT SKIP MEALS. DO NOT STARVE YOURSELF OR DEPRIVE YOURSELF OF FOOD. What would happen to me is that I would eat breakfast before work and by the time I got to work I’d be starving. I’d find myself wondering HOW?! Well, being at work makes me anxious. So now I am conscious of that fact and when I feel that hunger I talk myself down. “Sara you just ate, you are not hungry, you are just anxious. Breathe”.

Do you know what? It actually works!! I have somehow managed to conquer one tiny hump in this anxiety battle I’ve been fighting for my whole life. I never knew that was possible. I obviously still struggle, but knowing that I actually can bring my brain back to the real world even over something small, is a huge accomplishment.

Imagine what more can be done?!

If you are dealing with any of the same things, try reminding your brain that it’s just anxiety and see if that helps in even the smallest way. Although it won’t cure your anxiety, it may have a positive effect on the symptoms it causes you. I hope it helps you the same way it has helped me.

Anxiety is a bitch, and I’m going to fight her. I hope you do too!

xo Sara

Dear 2016

Dear 2016,

You were a blur to me. I don’t have as strong emotions of hatred towards you as I did for 2015 but still you were not my favourite year. I climbed into a cocoon of depression and solitude and am only now trying to slowly creep out of the shadows I have kept myself in. You were the year that I discovered who my real family was, and wasn’t. I’ve learned that people aren’t always who you think they are, and that sometimes you have to cut the negatives ones from your life even when it leaves you feeling completely alone. I’ve had to learn how to navigate my life without the wisdom and advice from my mom, and that I will still struggle with every year from here on out.

When I read others’ posts about finding the positives from the year and focusing on them, I find myself stuck. I can’t think of much, simply because I have blocked out the majority of the year. As I said, you were a blur. A whirlwind of pain, of new emotions and feelings, of learning and trying to find myself. I guess I can say you were the year where I finally took control of my mental health by booking an appointment with a counsellor and I’m so grateful to have found one I love. You were the year I learned more about my physical health and am better able to understand the reasons for the pain I have been in, and hope to learn how to manage it in the next year.

You were the year I was brave enough to leave the job I had for 8 years of my life and step into somewhere new. It didn’t work out as I hoped, but it was a risk and I took it. You were the year I said out loud what I actually want to do with my life. Risky and uncertain as it may be, I was able to acknowledge it and say it out loud. Even if it was only to a few people. I used new social media accounts to have conversations with new people across the world, and make some new acquaintances, where I would normally have shied away. I started to analyze what I truly want from my life throughout this past year, and now can go into the next one with a better idea of how to conquer it.

2016 wasn’t all bad, it was just painful and therefore leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Pain doesn’t just go away, so I am fully aware that 2017 will hurt sometimes; but it’s very freeing to leave my cocoon in 2016. Every year has ups and downs and I am prepared for that, but I am embracing 2017 with the most open of arms and optimism that I have never had before. I am ready to take control of my own life, and chase after what I want.

Goodbye 2016, I am grateful for your lessons but I won’t be missing you. Hello 2017 I am ready for you now.

 

xo Sara

Learning to Own Your Insecurities

As you can tell by the title of this post, we are going to be discussing insecurities, and of those I have many. As we all do. As a child we begin blissfully unaware of the world of insecurities. We aren’t comparing ourselves to others looks and we think all of our parents are the most beautiful people in the world. The innocence of it is amazing and I wish we could all stay that way. However, then one day we hear our mothers talking to their friends about being fat and needing to go on a diet; and then a kid at school points out the size of your nose (at least in my case) and we go on to notice more and more things about ourselves that may not be completely perfect.

Fast forward to our teenage and adult years and we have lists upon lists of things that we don’t like about ourselves. Things that we try to hide from others; we use makeup to cover spots and to contour our faces into looking thinner and more defined. We only take photos at certain angles because we want to avoid the double chin, or the tummy pooch and we edit them with smoothing filters to make our skin look flawless. In the media every single day we hear more about models being photo shopped and how they portray an unachievable goal yet we still feel pressured to look just like them. I for one definitely use the above techniques to make my photos look better, I suck in my stomach and push out my bum when I pose. I take at least 20 photos before I get even ONE that I like and am happy with. Of course then I edit it and filter it so that it’s even more “perfect”.

There is however one thing I won’t do, and that’s to photo shop a body part. The reason being that I want people to see me and know me for me. It’s safe to say that everyone has little tricks to make themselves look better in pictures, and although we shouldn’t feel like we have to use them, for right now it’s what we do. I will still edit my pictures in ways that make me feel more comfortable, but I won’t put out something that isn’t truly me.

When my friend and I went out to take snow photos this week, she took a side profile photo of me. When I saw it I was horrified because I am extremely insecure about my nose. I thought it looked absolutely disgusting, and we joked around about how she should photo shop it to make it cuter. I didn’t think much of it until I got the photos back from her and she had actually photo shopped my nose, for fun. I wasn’t upset that she did it, I was more upset that I liked how it looked and I wished my nose really looked that way. Except I knew for a fact I could never post that photo. Anyone who knows me in real life, would know the picture was photo shopped and anyone who doesn’t know me deserves to know me as the person I really am. All of the filters and lighting changes are a pretty obvious edit, but when it comes to the actual shape of my nose, that’s pretty hard to fake in real life. It’s important to me that I own who I am and what I look like; I refuse to pretend to be any other way.

I ended up asking my friend for the photos without my nose photo shopped and she gave them to me. To my surprise I actually didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. When I feel insecure about something, I automatically assume that everyone else is staring at that particular thing. I mean who is going to think the picture is cute when my nose is in the way right?! Once I took a second look though, I realized it wasn’t as big of a deal as I thought.

I started to scroll through Instagram to look at other people’s pictures and see what I noticed. All I noticed was beautiful, happy, people. I know of some accounts where they have addressed their insecurities and when I heard what they were I was so shocked because that never even crossed my mind while looking at them. It may be the first thing they see, but it’s never the first thing I see. You literally have to train your brain into seeing that vice versa as well. No one is critiquing you the way you are, and if they are—you’re doing something right with yourself because they are jealous!

Overanalyzing the way other people look sounds like a very judgemental and critical thing to do, but I don’t do it to pick out others flaws. I do it to understand that literally EVERYONE has flaws and insecurities. EVERYONE. I have to remind myself of that every day. That is why I adore when YouTubers upload vlogs when they aren’t wearing makeup and snap chat throughout their day. It reminds me that not everyone looks their 110% best all of the time, and that it’s okay for me not to as well.

I have wanted to get a nose job since I was in the 6th grade, and maybe one day I will. I have nothing against plastic surgery if it’s something you truly want. However I don’t want it to be something I do so that other people will like me more, or so that I will like me more. I just want it to be something I do if I have the money and if I still want it in a few years. I want to be completely comfortable with the way that I am before making any big decisions about my looks, and I have a lot of work to do and a long way to go before I am there.

What are some ways you own your insecurities? Is there anything I should add?

Thanks for reading,

xo Sara

Remembering My Mom

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my mom passing away.

Even as I write that, I still can’t believe it. It’s not something I have come to terms with myself and I am trying to grasp the situation as a whole. I often find myself wondering sometimes if it’s all just a bad dream. I mean it doesn’t make any sense, even a year later I can’t wrap my brain around it. My heart is broken, my life feels very meaningless and dark and I am still accompanied by the depression I have been haunted by for over 6 years. Except now, it feels more unmanageable than ever. Simply imagining what my life will be like now without my mom in it, is more painful than anything I have ever felt before. My mom was my guide, my advisor, my confidante, my idol and my friend; and that’s just to name a few. She was the smartest, most giving and caring person you could ever know. She was also an artist in every way. She painted, sketched, repurposed, designed, created stained glass… the list goes on.

She also wrote. She had her own blog… well, she had multiple over the years. I know of a few of them but there was one that was more personal to her that I hope to find soon, dedicated to her battle with ovarian cancer. She kept this one private and shared it with other sufferers of the horrible disease, I believe because she wanted to truly be honest and share her deepest feelings; whether they were good or bad. Blogging and writing is something her and I shared because it is where we both felt we could release our true feelings without being criticized by the people we knew. We understood each other on that level, which is why I never asked her for her most recent blog address and she never asked me for mine. I hope now to find it, because I want to be able to look back on her words and connect with her. She had such a way with words, and she was always so uplifting, optimistic and inspiring even on the worst days. I have always admired her for that. Even if -as a pessimistic person myself- it annoyed me a little.

Yesterday I remembered her by doing the things she loved. I drank English Breakfast Tea with cream, I scratched 4 lotto tickets (and won $4 haha), and I went to the Stanley Park Christmas train because we used to do that over the holiday season. Throughout my days now I often find myself considering what she would say or do in certain situations in order to help myself make better decisions. It’s safe to say her and I would not always have agreed haha.

So I want to close this post, by saying that I want to continue on with my blogging and writing, for me and for my mom. She documented her struggle and her journey and I know she would want me to keep writing. It’s not going to be a straight shoot, and it’s going to be hard but I want to honour her and make her proud. I don’t think I could ever measure up to the person that she was, but it can never hurt to try and get close.

So to my mom: I love you, and I miss you terribly. This is all for you.

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Feeling Overwhelmed

Hello, and welcome back to my little corner of the interweb!

Today I just want to chat about life. Hopefully someone can relate to this, and maybe I can help or perhaps you can help me!

I’ve been feeling incredibly overwhelmed this past week, more so than normal. I think it’s directly related to last weekend being insanely busy at work but I also think that my fears, thoughts, and aspirations have been teaming up on me. Basically I worked 19 hours between Saturday and Sunday and had no time for anything at all. When I finally got home I was exhausted and worn out. I’m currently a server at a restaurant, so my job is not only physical but emotional as well. If you’re a server, have been a server, or know someone who is then you probably understand what I’m talking about. It can take a lot out of you and last weekend it definitely did.

I felt like I didn’t have any time to myself to just relax and by the time I got home from work I had no energy to do the things I wanted to do. My back was killing me and my feet were really sore and it made it very hard to do anything except lay on the couch once I got home. However, by just crashing on the couch, I made myself more anxious and overwhelmed because I felt guilty about it. I was home from a long day at work, yet I was watching other people on social platforms live their lives the way I wanted to live mine; and I was doing nothing to move towards my goals.

I have started to realize over the last few months that I am the only one who can make a change in my life. I mean I have always known that nothing would change drastically unless I did it, but thinking about it and dreaming about it didn’t count as action. It’s a scary thing, to take your life into your own hands. I have always lived in other people’s shadows, scared to do something different, afraid of what people would think. Afraid to fail. I still am. In spite of that, I am doing it. I am trying. I am writing this post to attest to this. I keep believing that every one of my posts needs to have a fancy, well edited featured image and photos to keep everyone reading. It probably would help. Yet, I am letting the fear of not having those things all the time, get in the way of just posting. I can’t move forward if I don’t do it, right? I know things will come in time I just need more experience and time to learn.

I want everything I do and write, to be an accurate portrayal of who I am as a person. I want it to be raw, and real. 100 %.

So if you’re going through similar feelings of being overwhelmed by everything you want from life, I am here for you and would love to chat. I hope I was able to encourage someone to just jump in, regardless of what it is that you want, or your skill level in it. Just grab hold and go, if you think about it any longer you won’t do it. I have waited 5 years to start aiming for my goals. Don’t be like me. You’ve got this!

xo Sara

Perfection is not Happiness

Perfection. What really is it? It’s something that many of us strive for, even when we know it’s simply a fantasy that does not exist. I have been trying to reach perfection for my whole life. I want my house, my hair, my makeup, my body, my car—the list is endless—all to be perfect. Yet, I know that is an unachievable goal. Perfection does not exist, and as many a philosopher have stated… the real beauty lies in the imperfections around us. So I ask the question, why… what makes us all aim for a goal that we know we cannot attain? It hurts us in more ways than it helps us and if we really took a minute to look around and understand that it’s not real, maybe we could be happier.

I am 23 years old, and I feel like I should have everything figured out and planned for my life. It seems as though everyone around me has that, and that they all lead the “perfect” life. Social media really plays a part in all of this, because it allows for everyone around us to post the corner of their lives that they want everyone to see. People don’t want to post photos about the shitty day that they’re having, and how they’re broke or depressed or just lost their job. What we see, and what we post ourselves even, are the shiny pieces of our lives; the new kitten, the brand new car, or the trip that we are about to embark on. It can definitely leave a sour taste in your mouth when you’re not feeling so hot yourself.

Social media is so great for many things, it gives people opportunities that they may not have had otherwise, it shines light on issues that need attention, and it brings people together as a community all over the world. However, it also has a tendency to engulf people and suck the life out of them if they’re not careful. I say this as always—speaking from experience. We see others showing how they have “achieved perfection” when in actuality, they are sitting behind their screen striving for the “perfection” they think that we have. It’s a vicious cycle.

If perfection exists, I believe it exists in the little things; the feeling of my cat nestled against my legs at night, a giant cup of your favourite coffee, or a walk with someone you love on a crisp autumn night. That is the kind of perfection I want to learn to strive for. Leave all the rest in the dust.

Why I Love Mugs

There is something about a steaming cup of coffee in a giant mug between both of my hands that is so satisfying to me. I love mugs. I absolutely love them. Growing up, my mom always had to have a matching set of dishes. The dishes all had to match each other and any mismatched items had to be removed from the cupboard. Even now, I know better than to get her a cute mug or glass for a gift because I know the fact that it won’t match the rest would bother her. As for me, I love having mismatched mugs. I feel like every mug I have tells a story; that may sound weird but hear me out. I have a small collection going right now, and I can’t wait for it to get bigger.

I have one mug that was a gift from my boyfriend’s grandma that has a Paris theme because she knows me well enough to remember that I am obsessed with Paris and the Eiffel Tower (unfortunately I have yet to see it in real life—one day!). I think it’s so sweet and thoughtful of her to know that about me and think of me when she saw it. I have 2 mugs from the recent trip my boyfriend and I took to Mexico back and June, and every time I use one I am reminded of the adventure we had there. Plus it helps that they are super cute too!! One of my favourite mugs at the moment is a giant mug from one of my friends that pictures two of my obsessions wrapped up into one place: cats and coffee. Each side has a photo of a cat with either the caption, “catfeinated” or “decatf”. It’s purrrfect! [See what I did there ;)]. I love that it is large because it fits lots and lots of coffee, but even more so I love that it was such a random, thoughtful gift. She saw it and thought of me and just grabbed it. There’s nothing better than knowing you’re being thought about when you’re not around :).DSCN0615 (2)

I have more in my collection but those are just some of the ones that stand out. One day when I have my own house and more space to put stuff, I really want to make a “mug wall” where I can put hooks up to hang all of my mugs so I can show them off.

Maybe it’s a little strange to have such a weird obsession with mugs, but they all have a story and I think that’s what makes them special. Plus, there are some seriously cute mugs out and about these days… I mean have you ever been to Chapters?! Finally, the best thing about mugs is the fact that they hold COFFEE!! …but I’ll save that obsession for another post :P.

Thank you for reading,

xo Sara

Why NOT me?

I was reading briefly through an old journal of mine, and I came across an entry about wanting to pursue singing. I have always been hesitant because I am my own worst critic. Even writing about it makes me uneasy. Yet, I have loved it since birth. When I was 3 years old I used to sit in the back seat of the car and belt out all the words to every Shania Twain song. To me, it’s really crazy because this journal entry is from June 2012. Imagine what I could have accomplished if I began pursuing my dreams back then. So today, I attempted to register for vocal lessons. I haven’t set an official date yet but it’s still a GIANT leap forward for me. It’s terrifying, but it feels good.

I have been seeing this quote over and over lately, “If you wait until you’re ready, you will be waiting the rest of your life” and it really resonated with me because it is totally true! I mean if you think about how often you hear successful people say that if they knew what they would accomplish, they would have started sooner. Who knows what will become of anything, but it’s at least worth the shot right?DSCN0440 (2)

I also happen to adore inspirational quotes. If you follow me on Pinterest you would see the amount I have collected over the years. I am a tad obsessed. They really have a way of capturing an emotion you’re feeling in just a few short words and it just hits you right in the face!

I have felt similar feelings of uncertainty about writing and putting myself out there as well, but I have been thinking about it for years. I always assume no one would want to hear or read or see anything from me; there is so much else out there. People who have put more time in or start out stronger or who are just more appealing. I know I am not the only person who deals with these kinds of feelings, so I have decided to change my state of mind from “Why me?” to “Why NOT me?” and you should too!

I really want to share the process of me learning to motivate myself and redirecting the voices in my head, in hopes of inspiring others as well. Self-doubt is a burden and it’s challenging to work against but I know we are all capable of overcoming it. So here is to a clean slate!

Why Not Us?!

Thanks for reading,

xo Sara