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Sunday Diaries

Sunday, September 13, 2020

 


Happy September! I missed writing last week, even though it was the long weekend. I didn't feel up to it and didn't have much to say. Even though these posts have been sort of random, I've really enjoyed the act of writing each week and making it a practice.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month, and this week marked World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th. After losing my mom to suicide in 1998, suicide, mental health and mental illness have been things that I've talked about pretty openly for much of my life. I've shared many posts on the blog over the years:

It's so interesting to go back and read those thoughts, and also see the evolution of my perspective over time. I have learned more about better language to use around suicide and mental health, and hope to keep learning as time goes on. I posted a reel on Instagram this week about World Suicide Prevention Day, and talked about how I hope going forward we can ensure that the conversations around suicide prevention include more than just a crisis line. It's removing barriers to mental health support, getting rid of the stigma around mental illness, creating safety in asking for help, creating access to community support and so much more. 


It's been more than 20 years since my mom's death and I truly still miss her every day. I have no idea what it would be like to have her in my life now, or what she'd be like in 2020, but I know that there's a Debbie-shaped hole in my life. I'm grateful for the memories I do have, and that I have an opportunity to share her story. 

Let's keep talking, and doing our part to keep these important conversations going. 

Sunday Diaries

Sunday, August 30, 2020

 


I can't believe September is just around the corner. It's such a human thing to exclaim that a new month is here and you're surprised, but I think 2020 has made time feel even more strange. Usually the end of the summer would include a visit to the CNE (or getting annoyed about the air show), maybe a visit to someone's cottage or reminiscing on a vacation, but this year doesn't have any of those things. I'm going to look back on the summer of 2020 as a time of immense change, but not a summer that felt particularly "summery".

The first few days of September are going to be memorable, as I'll be having a colonoscopy on Wednesday. I started a new treatment for my Crohn's Disease around this time last year. I've been going for Entyvio infusions every 8 weeks and was supposed to have a colonoscopy in May to see how things were going. That was cancelled due to COVID and I've been in a bit of a holding pattern since then. I did a fecal calprotectin a few weeks ago, and the test showed high levels of inflammation, so my gastro got me booked in for a colonoscopy. I'm trying to stay calm about it all, but I'm not super optimistic. I'll be doing the same prep as last year, so at least that will be a bit easier. It's clearly on my brain as I even had a dream about going into the hospital for a colonoscopy last night. 

I'm due to share a more in depth Crohn's post. Once I get the results, figure out what happens next, and process it all for myself, I'll share more. 

Sunday Diaries

Sunday, August 23, 2020

 


Two weeks ago I resigned from my job, and on Thursday I had my last day. 

If you had asked me at the start of 2020 if I thought mid summer I'd be leaving my job at Shopify and starting something new, I probably would have laughed a lot and scoffed at the very notion. But the last few months have brought their fair share of challenges and change. I started to feel like so much was happening to me, and I was no longer in the driver's seat. Deep down in my gut, I knew that I needed to make a bold move and that was really scary.

I've known for a long time that I'm someone who operates more in the feeling/emotional/intuition realm vs. the logical. This is a place I feel pretty comfortable in, and it's served me well in my life. There's a lot of ways that people talk about this inner voice, including intuition, gut feeling, or inner voice. I listened to a great podcast with Glennon Doyle and Liz Moody this weekend where Glennon talked about this very idea. She encouraged listeners to listen to that inner voice and said "we need to stop following other people's maps and trust our inner compass."

I'm grateful that I was in a role that got to carry on throughout COVID-19 and transition to working from home. Working from home was certainly a change, but I was able to carve out a little space to work in our second bedroom. I missed the office, having a regular routine, my co-workers, traveling, planning in person events and so much more. It was announced that we wouldn't be going back to the office in the same way for the foreseeable future and I also changed roles in late April. Everything just felt different and I wasn't certain I was in the right place for the long term. That inner voice became a persistent whisper once summer hit, and I started to ponder the what-ifs of making a change. 

I eased into the idea slowly and took time to explore my options. I made lists. I took walks. I cried. I continued phone therapy. I'm thankful for Paul and my lovely friends who also helped to talk through it all with me. Once I gave my notice there was no turning back. It was empowering to feel like I was reclaiming 2020, and making the right choice for myself going forward.



It's very strange to end a job whilst working from home. There's no in person goodbyes or packing up your desk, dropping off your laptop or leaving the building for the last time. There's no hugs, and limited options for seeing folks in real life to say farewell. I was honoured to receive lots of well wishes, kind words, flowers and cards - some folks even organized a big google hangout with a group of people that I had supported and worked with during my time. I went through the week feeling a whole mix of emotions, and while there were a lot of tears, I didn't doubt my decision; I felt empowered and excited for what comes next.

Tomorrow I start a new role at a new company and the whole thing still feels surreal. I'll be continuing to work from home, but on Friday I got to meet my team in person for a socially distanced lunch and wine tasting. It was pretty special! I'm beyond thrilled for this next chapter. My intuition knew what was up, and I'm so thankful that I listened.

morgan harper nichols
via Morgan Harper Nicols



Sunday Diaries

Sunday, August 16, 2020

 


As we're in stage 3 in Toronto, I'm trying to figure out what that means for me. Even though restaurants, movie theatres and gyms have opened their doors, I definitely haven't been first in line to get in. I've been trying to take it day by day, and figure out what makes the most sense for me. I've felt comfortable going to some familiar stores with my mask, sanitizer, and social distancing. I've continued getting my Entyvio treatment every 8 weeks. In the name of self care, I've also gotten 2 massages and felt very comfortable. Both were at Eastwood Wellness Co. which is a beautiful space in the east end and have taken great care when it comes to COVID-19 procedures. Other things, I'm still navigating. 

Paul and I haven't expanded our bubble beyond one another. I've seen a couple of friends for a socially distanced picnic lunch or tea in the park. I'm craving connection with my favourite humans IRL, but trying to do so in a way that feels good for me, feels good for them, and fits into all the rules. This falls into the category of "things you didn't think you'd have to think about" before 2020. 

Some friends reached out wanting to see me this week, and asked for my stance on "socially distanced cocktails". I responded that I would love to see them, but that I was remaining cautious about the places I frequent and generally being near humans. I suggested that maybe we could find a places with an uncrowded, not next to the street patio to visit? Even though I responded honestly and shared some boundaries, it feels difficult to do. These are things I've never really had to consider (outside of maybe when you get a cold in the winter, so you cancel your plans with friends as not to get them sick) In any other year it would be so easy to make plans with friends, without giving any thought to social distancing, mask-wearing or these kinds of rules to keep us safe. And yet, we're here. 

I'd love to get outside the city to see friends in Ottawa, but don't know when I'll feel comfortable taking the train or flying (or what a trip like that would even look like). I don't know when I'll be comfortable eating in a restaurant again. I miss seeing theatre, comedy or heading to the movie theatre, but don't know if that will be in the cards for me anytime soon. I'm grateful for the friend who suggested we could have drinks in her backyard this week - which feels much more comfortable than trying to find a suitable patio. 

Perhaps I'll look back at all of this and think I was being too cautious or worried, but in this moment it feels like the best approach for me. We're all trying to do the best we can. 

Sunday Diaries

Sunday, August 9, 2020

 


It's been a week. I mean, I guess the same could be said for all of 2020?

I've found taking walks to be a critical part of my self care during these last few months. On days when I feel anxious or sad or distressed, I've found getting out of the house to be a boost to my mood. I have a few different routes and a couple of destinations that feel safe. There have definitely been days where my walks have gone on for longer than I anticipated and I've received texts or calls from Paul to ensure I'm alright.

On Wednesday I took one of these walks and listened to this podcast. This episode of Lessons Learned with Komal was all about learning to celebrate your wins, no matter how big or small. And learning to celebrate the wins along the way (and not just after you reach the goal / the things happens / the milestone is accomplished). I found myself listening and nodding enthusiastically and by the end tears were streaming down my face because it was the message I needed to hear.

Celebrating my wins isn't something I excel at. And when I do manage to celebrate them, I'm not great at basking in the glory of that win - I can often be on to the next thing, or find a way to criticize or downplay myself. I'm so proud of the life I've built and things that I've accomplished/done along the way, but for some reason celebrating that often feels difficult. I think some of this comes from a mentality of "this is just what you do" which is something that I've felt for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I'll downright downplay things that have happened, the work I've done or what I've accomplished. Even now I wanted to put accomplished in quotation marks - this stuff runs deep. I'm working on it. 

In the podcast, Komal encouraged listeners to journal their wins, both throughout the process and at the end. I took this message to heart and went home after my walk and made a list of things that I could celebrate from the last few months. 2020 doesn't feel much like a year worth celebrating, but upon reflection I've had some wins along the way. I'm trying to give those wins some space and hold onto the good feelings that come alongside them. As I said, this podcast was the thing I needed to hear this week and I'm thankful that the message came through loud and clear at the perfect moment. 

As I write this, I'm celebrating the small win of celebrating my wins. A bit meta, but it's a big thing for me. I'd love to hear about your wins. Know I'm always here to celebrate with you!
Celebrate your wins Lessons Learned podcast
image via @lessonslearned.co Instagram

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