It Is What It Is

For me… the biggest light bulb moment has been accepting that I am who I am.. and it is what it is… By that I mean… right now… at this moment… I am ME… I can’t change a lot of what I am… but I am finally OK with that… No more hiding… no more going into my deep dark pit all alone.

I am so tired of trying to find answers to questions that don’t seem to have any answers… I suffer with SEVERE CHRONIC DEPRESSION and DYSTHYMIA… both of those illnesses together mean I am NEVER without pain and sorrow… I am always filled with such SADNESS… it is never ending and I have not been able to find the perfect medication to help… I have however been able to find a medication that helps me get a good sleep… and this has been a huge relief… Just recently… I have given up hope on finding that perfect pill… I have come to ACCEPT that this is “as good” as it gets for me… and I am OK with that… I have done my research and learned about my illnesses… There has been such FREEDOM in understanding that I am truly sick… It was not an act… It was not me being a drama queen… it was not something I have done wrong… It is NOT my fault that I am ill… BUT… it is my responsibility to live my life… in the best way I can. I think that is what has changed for me these last few months… is that I have finally ACCEPTED that it is what it is…. and NOW I can begin to live my life… one day at a time… just like everyone else. I realize that the above is easier said than done… but at least it is a starting point for me to begin. I have HOPE for the very first time. 

For me there has been so much FREEDOM in discovering what it means to be clinically depressed… It is something that took me years to understand… I ignored it… I avoided it… I blamed myself for it… and now… FINALLY… I am simply admitting that IT IS WHAT IT IS. 

~ Momma Bear

DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE?

For those of us who suffer with mental illness… I think one of the biggest problems is that we do NOT know who we are… We are so busy trying to figure out why we can’t seem to fit in… and this takes up ALL of our TIME and ENERGY.

Well… let me tell you… YOU are SPECIAL… there is NO ONE else like YOU… You were created with your own unique gifts… gifts that the world is waiting to discover and see…  This is not a commercial trying to sell you on buying something you really don’t need… IT IS THE TRUTH…. WE are ALL SPECIAL and UNIQUE… we ALL have things within us that ONLY US can do.

Learning to find our unique giftings is the KEY to finding our purpose… and I don’t care who you are or where you come from… YOU have UNIQUE gifts.

This world revolves around DRAMA… and the world is VERY JUDGMENTAL… There is so much pressure on all of us TO BE SOMETHING… and so many people fall into the trap of trying to be something they are NOT! There is STRENGTH and FREEDOM in ACCEPTING that we are who we are…. JUST AS WE ARE… with all the good… the bad… and the ugly… Everyone has all these sides… we are no different.

My challenge is to rise above all the labels that society places on me… and to SHINE MY LITTLE LIGHT… in my own little world… There is a saying… Bloom where you are planted… You may not be able to change the world… but you can change the world of someone you know… your neighbour… your family member… your workplace… your hang out place… all the places you belong to… You have a special invitation to make something nicer… happier… brighter…  by smiling… giving a compliment… doing something nice… Small things matter… they really do matter to someone who is hurting… someone who is having a bad day… someone who is losing hope… YOU have the power to change a bad day into a beautiful day… Discover what you are good at… and you will find that it helps you even more than it helps someone else. 

~ Momma Bear

Welcome Back

Hey Folks! Lady D here, my apologies for the long break.

I have been on a bit of my own journey lately and really struggled with being able to write. It is much more Momma Bear’s gift than mine, but yet I have so much I would like to share with you all.

Its been quite a journey the past year and a half, and although I thought I had come to terms with the craziness in my life, I realized that I most certainly have not dealt with some of the hurt I have experienced. Instead I threw myself full force into work…See although I have anxiety, I seem to be able to deal with it most of the time without it affecting my day to day life… Or so I thought… instead I have realized I just pushed aside the emotions and went full force into work, and silly me thought that I had sort of “dealt” with some of the trials, but I have come to realize that I most definitely have not dealt with anything.

Like many of you can likely relate to, I don’t deal with my emotions well, and I certainly am not good at being vulnerable, it scares me. Instead I seem to convince myself that I am totally fine…However, there is a great deal of strength that comes from dealing with your issues instead of pushing them aside….Let me tell you, they do eventually catch up with you, and when they do, its tougher to deal with months…or years later than it would have been just to deal with it at the time.

Life is such a blessing in so many ways, and I am blessed enough that when I get in these “ruts”, it serves as a reminder to take a step back and really evaluate where I am at and how I am truly feeling. It reminds me that perspective is important. It reminds me that sometimes I need to remember the things that bring me joy, and happiness, or to start looking for what new things bring joy. Its not always easy, and sometimes getting out of the rut takes much longer than other times. Sometimes, we need to consider professional help, and other times we need to just work at shifting our perspective and working through the emotions and challenges, depending on the season.

Life is short…We really don’t know how long we have, so it is important to learn to live a more balanced life. To learn to love ourselves where we are at…To be patient with outselves, to learn to grow and prosper and not stay stuck in the pits of our emotions. To remind ourselves that we are WORTHY, we are LOVABLE, and we are UNIQUE.

Momma Bear & Lady D

The most exciting part of agreeing to do this blog alongside my daughter is that we can look back and see how different our stories are. I truly am so very excited about this… and I am also READY to ACCEPT that her story will be different than mine… her story IS DIFFERENT than mine.

Quite honestly… the story of us is a very difficult one… I was NOT a good mother…

My daughter was clothed… fed and sheltered… but I was emotionally absent much of the time… MOST of the time… I was in my own dark world… unable to give her the security and love she needed… Somehow… we got through childhood… the teenage years and then she left home… As I sit here today… I am shocked to realize that my daughter has been living on her own for 9 years… WOW… the time sure has flown by.

Two years after my daughter moved on her own… I left the city we were both living in and moved up North… The first time I lasted 3 months and then I returned… this time… I have been gone for 5 years… and I am staying here… I live in a beautiful little apartment on the edge of a lake… we visit at least once a year… which is not much… but we also keep in touch by email…  Her life is full… busy… and constantly changing… I am finally at a place where I can see the BEAUTY of that.

Now that everything is over… and done with… I am able to see very clearly that not only has my daughter SURVIVED a very difficult upbringing… she has turned it all around and made something positive of everything that was negative… I have no idea how she managed to do that as I WAS NOT able to… I am in AWE of her.

For all my life… I carried nothing but guilt and shame… and when I moved away from my daughter for the first time… for three months… that is when EVERYTHING changed for us… Once she was FINALLY free of worrying about me all the time… ONCE she tasted FREEDOM to simply be and do what SHE wanted instead of WHAT I NEEDED…. She began to blossom and I continued to DIE…

It is at this time… ( I believe ) and I think she will agree… that a deep ANGER introduced itself to her… Something had changed in our relationship… and I did NOT LIKE IT… IT PETRIFIED me… When I moved back after three months of being away… I became QUICKLY AWARE of the fact that things were different between my daughter and I…  I cannot begin to express the EXTREME FEAR and DREAD that I experienced at this time… It was like a constant feeling of being sick to my stomach… My daughter seemed so ANGRY with me… and although I knew it was normal… It was so deeply painful… It was at this time that I truly knew I had to return to the NORTH and give my daughter the FREEDOM she needed.

In these last five years… I have been able to learn how to cut those apron strings and let my daughter be her OWN PERSON… with HER OWN FEELINGS…

That my friends was NO easy feat!!!

There were so many things I had to learn… Because of my illness… I was not able to meet her needs emotionally… so she became the mother… the adult… This actually has a name… It is called Inverted Parenting… You hear about it a lot… children taking care of their brothers and sisters because mom or dad is an alcoholic or drug addict… and not around to do their job… well.. It also happens with mental illness.. When the sick parent simply cannot parent… Everything gets turned upside down and the roles get all mixed up… It’s part of survival and dysfunction… and it is the source of GREAT PAIN… Many families are NEVER able to break free of this… as it is a cycle that goes on and on… UNLESS someone addresses it and stops it.

I did a great many things wrong as a parent… but I also did some things right… Most importantly… I believe the fact that I was able to HONESTLY and COMPLETELY apologize to my daughter for EVERYTHING wrong I ever did… NO EXCUSES… NO BUTS…. NO EXPLANATIONS…. Just PURE ownership of the fact that I was WRONG in how I parented and a SINCERE… I AM SORRY… It is what laid down the foundation of FORGIVENESS and GENUINE HEALING… for both of us… I am certain my daughter will agree on this one.

It has taken years to change my bad habits… a lot of things I did were things that needed to change… Such as “dumping” on my daughter… Learning that when my life is out of control and a mess… it is NOT my daughter’s responsibility to FIX me or EVEN have to listen to me… That was a hard one quite honestly… I was so used to telling her EVERYTHING… but I finally got it right… and after many mistakes… I learned to keep my own life and problems to myself.

Another thing I had to learn was to ACCEPT that my daughter does things differently than me… she handles things differently than me… For example… if we had a disagreement… I had to take care of it right away… but she was one who needed to process things and work them through… OH my goodness… this would drive me crazy… I did not have a phone… and so I would wait and wait for that email to come in saying she LOVED ME… or that WE WERE OK…  and I would make myself sick… Those are only two examples of things that needed to change in me… there are many more things that I STILL need to work on… It is going to take a life time. I will say this… the hardest thing for me was ACCEPTING and BELIEVING that my daughter actually LOVES me and has FORGIVEN me… Oh my goodness… what a difficult journey that has been…. But… I am getting there… 

I am so very happy  to report that we NOW have a very loving and healthy relationship… despite all the trials and tribulations… we have overcome and we are closer than ever.

We have established boundaries and both of us have come to accept and appreciate the other for who we really are.

This blog is truly born out of LOVE… It is a testimony to what love… understanding and acceptance can do for even the most broken of people.

I am BLESSED… and I am GRATEFUL.

~ Momma Bear

Welcome to Safe Haven!

Hello Friends, Lady D here…… I want to welcome you to our Safe Space.

I am just a regular 27 year old Canadian Gal who thrives on helping others.

For years I struggled to accept the fact that I did indeed struggle with anxiety, and periods of depression, however once I was able to accept and embrace what my mental health journey had become, I was able to work on learning how to live a productive life despite what struggles surfaced.

After having numerous conversations with close friends, I realized there is still NOT enough discussion or education surrounding mental health, and I want to help change that!

Safe Haven was started out of the sheer desire to share stories, and create a support system for those who are struggling or know someone who is struggling with various forms of mental health. Our goal is to encourage and spark conversations about mental health and to normalize the conversation.

I hand selected my wonderful mother whom has struggled most of her life with severe depression, among several other diagnosis, and she has learned to live her best life despite all the struggles. She is extremely gifted with not only writing but with loving and encouraging others.

Our stories are very unique and different from one another, but throughout the journey, we have seen much healing, love and learning and we are so blessed and excited to begin to share our stories with you.

It is our hope that sharing our journey will inspire others in some way.

We want YOU to know that you are LOVED, you are WORTHY, you are SPECIAL & UNIQUE and you are WELCOME HERE!

Let the journey begin!