Thursday, July 25, 2019

Opening up...

What started it all? I don't know but here I am and there are so many thoughts running through my heads at all times and I''m just trying to sort some of them out. So let's start with where I currently am - sitting at my dining room table which is covered now in painting supplies, paint, and a mix of baking and cooking items. Under the table there is a puppy gently licking my toes - upstairs my husband is sleeping. He will be up in the next hour or two to get ready to work and here I sit completely awake and unable to sleep. It is 4:07 am and I'm completely awake. I am here in depression and anxiety-ville looking onto the PTSD ocean. 

I am seeing a counsellor and doctor, I'm going through the process of finding a long term support system and proper medication to help me and the words that keep cycling through my head are trauma - my counsellor likes to refer to my past generally as the trauma I have been through and there has been a bit of it and I'm not in a situation or place to currently delve into my past trauma right now. As counsellor says I'm working on my baby steps of basic survival, he says that there are four parts to human life: sleep, eating, social interaction and exercise. We are currently working on the first two - sleep and eating. Sleep has been an interesting experience - I have switched from sleeping a total of 18 hours in a week to now being able to get a total of between 6 to 12 hours in a day but definitely not at normal times and not continuous. I'm not so much worried about this right now (or let's not kid anyone I'm trying not to worry about it because the more I stress about it the worse time I have trying to sleep.) This bring me back to food.

I have an interesting and dynamic relationship with food and right now the thing that keeps circling in my head centres from my for journey and trying to figure out who I am. in watching a lot of my favourite cooking shows the chefs and cooks talk about cooking and the inspiration they had as a child, the food that they had cooked for them while they were growing up. I have circled over this question of my cooking roots for many months trying to figure out my future cooking path and processing and understanding the passing of my last grandparent, Memere who I desperately wish I had more time with. 

I have been trying to figure it out but honestly I draw a blank on a lot of my youth, I think a large part in thanks to the trauma. This has lead to to a difficult situation for me. Food has been such a relaxing, calming and integral part of my life for oh gosh at least the past decade (or two... I feel old now). There is so much I want to explore and experience when it comes to food but I feel such a need go back and understand my roots with food. Food has now become an overwhelming experience - so many things I want to try, experience, cook and bake and I get overwhelmed. When I try to calm myself and go back to my roots I get lost and overwhelmed. I sometimes feel like a failure because making a simple grilled cheese sandwich is the most I can muster while other nights I make beignets, because it is something that I have wanted to try since seeing the movie Chef (and more so since watching the Chef Show on Netflix). 

So where does this leave me? right now covered in paint (never really been artistic but I'm inspired by my daughter) contemplating when I will get to make the Lemon Meringue pie I have wanted since I bought Myer lemons more than a few days ago and thinking that I really should be going to sleep.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Climbing Everest - or just surviving life

So this morning on the way to work I was listening to CBC Radio about a Manitoba Teacher that just returned from climbing mount Everest. (News Story Here) and something about this story hit me profoundly and it has been something I have been frankly struggling with lately. I would expect the feeling of finally reaching the top of Everest to bring this immense sense of achievement and to be standing literally on top of the world that you would want to take time and savour the experience (as much as you can at some of the coldest temperatures and in a low oxygen situation) but when asked what it was like to be at the top Dalip Shekhawat said:

"I didn't see what was around — just to reach the top and when I get back, I'll see what was there," he said.
"Not enjoying, actually; just to reach the top, to make sure that I'm safe and secure."
As I have said before my husband has been struggling with mental health and has been off work since early October. From October to even the end of April life has consisted of putting my head down and getting through it. Life hasn't been about going out and doing things or enjoying things with family. It has been worrying about bills being paid, insurance claims, doctors appointments, specialist visits, dealing with work, family and all the other commitments in life. If you know me at all you know that cooking and exploring food is a passion of mine but cooking for last while has been about surviving rather than anything else.

At the family gathering after my grandmother's funeral my cousins (love you guys!) asked if I was happy and how I was doing and if I was happy. Frankly in the last couple of months overall have there been happy moments - yes - but have I been happy? No, I have been personally struggling and depressed. Living with someone who has a mental illness is hard and I am going to say especially when they have finally hit their rock bottom it takes a lot and there have been times where I just didn't want to do it anymore not because I didn't love my husband - but because I didn't have anymore of me to give. I pushed myself because in times where the love is hard to see I hoped it was still there. I also thought about the times where I have struggled and didn't have support.  I wouldn't want someone to leave me or give up on me just because I was at my bottom and needed help.  Now I can say that I am starting to see my the man I married, my husband again and it's like I can start to breath again.

This and the journey that auditioning for MasterChef Canada has sent me on has made me start to think about me - who I am, where I have been, the life I have lead to this point and has lead me that I need a constant reminder that I need to remember who I am - so much so I got a new tattoo on my arm. I am starting down the path *again* of remember who I am, where I have come from and where I am going. One of the things I need to remember is that I don't want to just come back from the top and see what was there after - I want to look at the view as I am climbing and take some time when I get to my top and be happy to reflect on the path and journey I have taken.

- Life has to be more than just running a marathon.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Failing and making mistakes

It sucks to be in a position where you feel like you are failing in life at all things you are working on but moreover to feel like you are failing your family and in my case my daughter - the stress of that is unspeakable. I has left me feeling completely overwhelmed and lost in who I am.  I have been swallowed by the mere concept of just trying to survive and make it to the next moment where I can breath. It is like being swallowed up in the ocean trying to grasp for air between the breaking waves. 
"You said 'we make it through things well together.'.. that doesn't sound very fun, you don't want to look back on your life and say 'I made it through my life' we want to enjoy our projects, enjoy our workweek, we want to enjoy our lives, celebrate our lives..." - Couples Retreat Bulldozing Session
Like I said in my last post there have been the these moments - moments of clarity and brightness in amongst the crashing waves that have pushed me to some realizations in life. It is these moments of sunlight that I have been trying to hold on.

Some of the best moments I have had in the past while centre around two things: my monkey and the newest addition to the family Halley S. Commet (our dog). I try to be very mindful of the experience and example that I am setting for my daughter. I try to be mindful of making sure that she is protected from things that could harm her but also making sure that she can see what is like to be an adult without overwhelming her. This means that I talk with her and I try to be open and honest with her about what is going on without putting too much on her shoulders. Some of the best times I have with my daughters are driving in the car - this where we often have our deepest conversations and our loudest sing along. One of the best things that we do is put on one of "our songs" in the morning on the way to wherever and sing at the top of our lungs. We have special songs with special meanings and one of the ones that has always been important to us is Life of the Party by Shaw Mendes
"We don't have to be ordinary make your best mistakes" 
... the realization that I keep front of mind:
  • I don't need to be "ordinary" - following the 'rules' and expectations of others has often lead me down a path that has lead me to places I didn't want to be
  • I have learned more from my mistakes and failures that I have from my successes.
  • most valuable and simplest thing I ever learned in law school but the hardest to follow the K.I.S.S principle - Keep it Simple Stupid.