Bell Let's Talk

I take a drag from the cigarette in my hand. As I slowly exhale, watching the smoke as it disappears into the dark night sky above me. I hear the chatter in the background but my focus is on the fat fluffy snowflakes falling down creating a beautiful white blanket over everything. My attention is snapped back when someone yells my name to come inside. When I get inside,  I run to the laptop on the table to put on another 90's R&B classic hit before being ushered to the kitchen to take another shot to celebrate one of my best friends birthdays. We all cheers! As I throw my head back, I hear someone's shot get knocked to the floor. I go to grab the mop from the hallway closest as someone instructs me to. My roommate grabs the mop before me and as she does a broom falls to the floor on top of my foot. Not even thinking I start attempting to kick it back into the closet. After the first failed attempt my drunk mind thought that was only due to not kicking it hard enough. So with that logic I kicked as hard as I could. The broom got stuck on something in the closet pushing me backwards and making me loose my balance. I watch the basement door knob come into sight and in my best efforts to attempt to grab it I fail miserably and hit the basement stairs in the perfect way to send me rolling backwards down them, collecting momentum as I go. I remember the faces looking helplessly at me before the final hit and everything went black.

I heard my name being screamed which pulled me out of the darkness and I opened my eyes to see all my friends crowded around me. I smiled. Fingers being thrust in my face asking me to count them. I did as they wished to ensure them that I was completely fine. I got up to look behind me realizing now what concerned them. The hole in the wall which my head had created seeing one sheet of drywall before the hard concrete behind it. But I was not going to let one little accident ruin the night so on I went without giving it so much as a thought.

It wasn't till about three weeks later that my manageable headache turned into a pain I could no longer ignore. It hurt to eat. It hurt to walk. It hurt to be at school with the noise. I decided it was time I look to professional help. I went to the walk-in clinic only to have the doctor put pressure on the spot I hit and tell me I was fine. Another week went by and still no relief so I decided to go to the hospital. I went twice, both times I was injected with steroids and freezing at the base of my neck and both times did not help give me any relief. I finally decided to call my parents and confess where my partying had got me. They bused me home where I got an MRI done and a serious consultation about my injury. I was diagnosed with a severe concussion. Which all you can do is rest. Dark room, no stimulation.

I don't remember when the pain subsided but I was left with serious anxiety in the end. I didn't know what that was at the time. I tried explaining it to my doctor as a gut feeling that something bad was going to happen but all the time. Or like I did something wrong and you get that terrible feeling of dread. I had that all the time. That injury altered my personality. I am more cautious now, not as easy going as I was before. Through the years I have learned not to trust that gut feeling anymore and ways to cope when I am facing it. Although that was years ago before I got married or had kids, I still have days and weeks where I feel it get the best of me and other weeks where I wonder if I have been cured. I know some people experience it in way higher extremes. That constant battle with your own mind trying to figure out what is real and what is false. Mental illness is terrifying and so hard to see in others. I thought I would share my story so that maybe someone else can relate. Or maybe a little insight why some weeks I am on top of the world and why other weeks I can't seem to shake it. What is your experience with mental illness? In my experience it has been easier to talk to people about how I came about getting it then when I am actually going through it.

So this Wednesday January 31st is Bell Let's Talk day. Time to start talking about mental illness. You can find all the ways that Bell is contributing to the cause here. Lots of helpful tips to educate and further grow our understanding. Trust me when I say it is not easy to but Let's Talk!

Content With The Now

I love me some goal planning. Planning my future and mapping out all the could be's. Lists on lists. I know this about myself. This part of me has been the driving force that has resulted in some big positive decisions in my life, marriage and even parenting. But I also know sometimes I can get carried away, idea after idea. Before I have even completed one thing, I'm already dreaming and plotting the next and the cycle goes on and on. I sometimes don't give things enough time to settle before I'm jumping on another band wagon.

I crave the ability to be content. To live in the now. To embrace the everyday moment of today. I'll be honest, this does not come naturally to me. Am I the only one who struggles with this? This week it has come to my attention that I might need to learn how. To take conscious bits of time out of my day until it does become natural. Because life is zooming by. When my attention is constantly on the future, I miss out on the joys of today.

This week I suddenly became more aware. Turns out Maeve only knows one line out of the 12 Days of Christmas and she really gives it all she's got. "FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!" Olive has been showing me all the ballet moves she has been practicing so that we will put her in lessons. Her determination is pretty cute, so I'll definitely will be looking into that this week. The moment I watched Maeve fall so hard and Olive ran to her side to comfort her. Watching Maeve play with the bathroom door every time Olive has to go and hear them bicker back and forth over it is hilarious. I took a night off the usual bath or TV routine and just talked with Rob. Realizing we both had so much to say. Seeing his face go from exhaustion to happiness as he walks in from a long day of work to see us.

This week I am learning that as much as I can be a dreamer and a planner it is also possible to be present and content with the now. I think of these little moments this past week and feel so much joy for where I am at right now. Although there is always room to grow and improve, this place feels so perfectly un-perfect.

Science & Tech Museum

Right before Christmas one weekend, we decided to get out of the house and go do something. Why we did this I will never know. We were exhausted and had a million things to do by Christmas. Probably to get out of doing these million things would be my guess. I remember being completely shocked when Rob announced that we were going out. So on a whim we decided to check out the Canada Science and Technology museum in Ottawa.

I remember as a kid through school we slept over at the museum one time. Lined up beside the massive trains with our sleeping bags. The museum has changed so much since then. They have renovated from top to bottom. I hardly recognized it. They still have some of the favorite classic exhibits like the trains and crazy kitchen. The girls favorite was, by far, the Zooom room. There was so many interactive stations in that one which is why I think they loved it the most. Rob probably could have spent an hour in Artifact Alley if we let him. Checking out all the old electrical stuff. His one true love! We definitely could have spent way more time at each exhibit.

Olive is at this really fun age right now (Four). She is so curious and willing to interact with each activity and station. It was neat to see her explore and try to figure out each station. Maeve however (Two) liked to play this game where she ran as fast and as far and as frequent as possible. Kept bolting what felt like every five minutes. On the plus side she loves to copy her older sister. So anything Olive was doing that Maeve thought looked like fun, it was a wrestling match over who was doing it. Next time we go, we will probably aim for a morning visit. That way Maeve will be at her best time of day. The later in the day we go the bigger the gamble on how it will all play out. But I have to say she was such a trooper only having a small half hour nap which is not the norm.

I can't wait to have more experiences like these. It is so nice to have Ottawa right there in our back pocket. If you ever get the chance to try it, this is a fun museum that has a little something for everyone. We are looking for more spots to explore in Ottawa and surrounding area. Any suggestions? I would love to hear your favorites.