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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

On Feeling Broken


I'm not really sure how to start this post, so I'm just going to jump right in...

A few weeks ago, I hit a wall and things came crashing down. Hard. Painfully hard. I felt like an emotional mess, someone I didn't recognize. My usual outlook got pushed aside and replaced with a nagging feeling of anxiety, like I'd lost the ability to see all the good around me and could only see the flaws. I felt lost, overwhelmed, and broken. I wasn't myself. I'm usually someone who tries to look at the positive and focus on the good things, who likes to laugh at dirty jokes and be a little bit cheeky; generally I just like to try and make things as fun as possible, regardless of what else might be going on. We've got one life to live, and I want to live it to the fullest. And for whatever reason, a few weeks ago I suddenly lost that person and struggled to regain that outlook. I haven't felt like that since Ari was a newborn and it was a messy, emotional week, one with a lot of soul searching. I had lost me.

During that time I carried on, telling myself if I smiled, laughed, and continued on as if things felt normal, that they would once again feel that way inside. And to some extent, it worked. But I faltered. A lot. And I just couldn't pick myself up without help. So I did what I've done in the past to help work through such things: I talked about it. I looked to the tribe of people I'm lucky to have in this life and they helped me regain balance. I talked about things with Will, and my Mum, and I confided in some close friends who I knew I could talk to without fear of judgement. It's rarely easy to talk about the tough stuff, and speaking about it then and sharing about it now, it's still a little intimidating, but I think it's important that we are honest with ourselves and each other, and share about these experiences. We have to work through things, our emotions, not ignore them.

It was being able to do this and the love and encouragement I received that helped me push through the wave of emotions I'd been struggling with and come up for fresh air. I still feel like I'm working through things a little, but I've bounced back enough to feel like I can now share about it here and continue to move forward the best way I know how: smiling, and laughing, and savouring the good while moving past the bad. Life isn't perfect, it isn't tied up with a neat bow, there are curveballs and really, it's one helluva roller coaster ride. And I wouldn't expect any less. But sometimes things catch up with us and we have to fight a little harder to get through things. And as much as I don't enjoy feeling that way, I have to admit that I think it's healthy to explore those emotions. We can't be happy all the time, even if we want to. That's not to say we shouldn't try and make the best of things, but we have a range of emotions for a reason, and I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be happy when sometimes all we want and need is to let off steam, have a cry, or work through things. 

I like to think I'm a pretty honest person, who wears her heart on her sleeve and doesn't shy away from talking about the tough stuff. Sharing about this today, I hope it shows that it's ok to not always feel wonderful; to feel like you're struggling, or just simply going through a tough time. We're encouraged to talk about these things, but still all too often we don't in fear of judgement. While we're breaking it down, there is still a stigma about mental health and it will never go away if we don't have the courage to address it. So here I am, trying to do just that. 

I'm an advocate for taking care of yourself and yet I'm just as guilty of forgetting to do this. One of the things I've neglected for so long is exercise, despite knowing it's integral for a healthy life and a healthy mind. I'd been slowly making half- hearted efforts this year, but I hadn't really made it as much of a priority as I really wanted. This experience hit me across the face as a reminder that I have to make time for my own health, both mentally and physically. Out of all of this mess, I regained a focus and a drive to really start making time to exercise. I've been running and doing yoga, plus actually trying out the tips that have been shared by Irina in the blog's fitness series. It started out as a little test, to see if I could actually get my act together and get into a routine, and so far I'm 3 weeks in and I'm enjoying the little challenges I set for myself, but also the difference I feel and see. For the first time in years I swam 3k this morning. I don't know the last time I was able to do something like that and I credit these past few weeks for being able to achieve this goal. Out of all the negative, messy emotions I suffered through a few weeks ago, having something so positive come out of it has been a big part of the healing process, of finding myself again.

I don't know what kind of a reaction this post will get. But what I hope for is that it shows that it's ok to admit defeat, to ask for help, and to surround yourself with a tribe of people who enrich your life. We all have bad days, bad weeks, bad periods of time and it's important to acknowledge how you feel and do some soul searching and confide in those you trust. To those friends and family who helped me get through this and put a big, goofy smile back on my face, thank you. You will never know how much you helped. And to those of you who feel lost or sad or broken, you are not alone and I hope this proves that.

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I started this blog hoping to share openly and honestly about life. I love that it allows me to do some amazing things and meet some amazing people. It has been a blessing in my life in a way I could have never imagined. It's an outlet, a hobby, a job, and so much more. But it's also a place where I hope to always share about real life. I enjoy the creative challenges I get to explore, and often this blog is a pick- me- up or a distraction when I'm having a bad day and I pour myself into it. On my bad days this blog and it's social networks are my outlet, where I can share things that have brought joy into my life and I hope will do the same for you. But in doing so, I hope to never appear fake or like someone I'm not; I post favourite moments in a day, experiences, (and wine!) etc in my attempts to focus on the good, the funny, the silly, and the WTF moments because that's the mix that makes me happy and hopefully brings readers something to enjoy as well. I hope today's post shows that happiness doesn't always just 'happen', that it can take effort, and sometimes you've just got to make your own. Thank you for your ongoing love and support, I'm blessed to do what I do here.

<3 KP