and another year comes to a close

I am feeling very emotional today, I can’t seem to stop crying, but they aren’t tear of sadness, they are tears of reflection and gratitude for last year and tears of hope for the future.

I lost my Dad this year.  He physically left this earth on April 9 of 2015 with his family by his side, but he had left us mentally long before that.  He had Alzheimer’s and had quickly slipped away from us into his own world where he no longer knew our names.  The disease took him quickly and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and I miss him more than I ever could have imagined.

I have had a year of relative stability health wise, that’s not to say that there haven’t been challenging days, but no shocks from my device is a good thing.  I still have days where I am tired and end up sleeping a lot, days that I am afraid to leave the house and days that anxiety is super high but I have managed to accomplish some pretty cool things despite all of that.

In 2015 I became a volunteer.  Last April, I helped raise funds for The Art Studios a place that I love and believe in, they have been there to help me face my issues with Mental Illness by offering free art therapy and a safe place for me to learn and be creative.  They have gotten me out of the house during times that I would not have made the effort and I have been able to lose myself in painting and pottery.  I am a better person because of art.

I also became a Patient Voice.  I have been given a couple of opportunities to contribute my voice and experience within the health care system to help makes things better.  One of the things that I am very proud of is sitting on a committee of dedicated human beings who want to make screening for people and families at risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest more accessible.  I am fortunate to live in the city of Vancouver where I have access to the very best doctors and clinics, there are many people across Canada who do not have that same kind of access.  The goal of this committee is to make the experience of all Cardiac Arrest patients universal across the country, allowing them to be able to get the resources they need and to get tested for the many Inherited Rhythm Disorders in order to save lives.

I was also asked to contribute as a patient voice to a monthly newsletter called The Inherited Heart Rhythm Times.  My very first article was on Stress and Creativity.  It was a cool moment for me to see my little article in print and to know that people enjoyed reading it. These are the things that help me feel productive again, they don’t require a lot of my time, but it helps me to know that I am giving back and helping others and  I am focusing on good things.

The very best thing is that I found a way to soften some of the hard places within myself that I have built up over the years and learned to LOVE more.  I have learned that gratitude is a preferable way to live my life and that even bad things have a silver lining.  I’m still not perfect, but life feels a whole lot more hopeful when you embrace the positive.

So, today, tell the people you love that they are important to you, look in the mirror, deep into your own eyes and tell yourself you are perfect as you are and forgive all the wrongs you think have been done to you.  Let it all go, wipe the slate clean, start the new year fresh and put your whole heart into it.

2016 is going to be an awesome year.

I Forgive…

I didn’t write this myself, but it’s something I have been saving in my “notes” file.  Obviously, my intent was to pull it out and read it on a daily basis, but that hasn’t happened, it should be though.  I work regularly on gratitude but forgiveness is a very important thing, not just to forgive others, but to forgive ourselves as well…it just takes away a terrific burden from things that we fret about each day.  I know I beat myself up for many reasons and I know I need to work harder at being kinder and gentler to myself.  There are quite a few in this list that ring true with me.

So, here it is…let me know what you think.

We commonly think about forgiveness as something we give to others. This is true even when we know we are forgiving others for our own sanity. However, we often forget to afford the same courtesy to ourselves.

When we hold ourselves accountable, we acknowledge the roles we may have played in current circumstance. In doing so, many people mistake this acknowledgment for self-blame.

If that describes you, it’s time to release the weight of the burden you’ve been carrying. Here are 25 things you need to forgive within yourself.

1. I forgive myself for not trusting my ability.
2. I forgive myself for ignoring my instinct.
3. I forgive myself for the times I was ungrateful.
4. I forgive myself for not taking better care of myself.
5. I forgive myself for inviting drama into my life.
6. I forgive myself for rejecting unconditional love.
7. I forgive myself for hiding the uniqueness of who I am.
8. I forgive myself for not believing in my dreams.
9. I forgive myself for resisting growth.
10. I forgive myself for letting fear stop me in my tracks.
11. I forgive myself for being envious of things that belong to other people.
12. I forgive myself for not always making optimal decisions.
13. I forgive myself for holding on to past hurt.
14. I forgive myself for hating any part of my physical appearance.
15. I forgive myself for believing the people who didn’t believe in me.
16. I forgive myself for taking my gifts for granted.
17. I forgive myself for following society’s standards without thinking.
18. I forgive myself for settling and accepting less than I am worth.
19. I forgive myself for the times I was hypocritical.
20. I forgive myself for hurting the people that love me most.
21. I forgive myself for intentionally dimming my light.
22. I forgive myself for not always speaking my truth.
23. I forgive myself for getting in my own way.
24. I forgive myself for doubting my innate Divinity.
25. I forgive myself for playing small.
What other things do you have to forgive?

I’m getting bettah…

I am not sure I will ever get used to the fact that I need to have a piece of metal in my chest to help keep me safe and alive.  It’s is still very bizarre to me.

 

It’s been over 2 years since the ICD was implanted into my chest, at times it amazes me with the whole “wonder of modern medicine” thing and at times it depresses the living hell out of me, my life changed forever with the events of January 23, 2012, and I don’t like it one bit.  Mind you, the journey I have been on since that date has been one with lots of terrible lows and not so many highs.  I have dealt with so much.  The physical recovery from the event took a very long time but recovery from the mental aspect has taken much longer and I still very actively deal with it to this day.  I have had to mourn the loss of the life I had before this along with depression and anxiety and PTSD.  I have had to drive myself nuts trying to figure out my life purpose, after all, I came back from the dead, there MUST be a reason.  Then of course, all the woulda, shoulda, couldas, could I have prevented this from happening if I had only made some changes along the way.  There were also really dark times, the times when I wanted to just die and get it all over with, not that I really wanted to leave this earth but I figured it was a lot less painful than what I was having to go through.  I obsessed over dying, I was so afraid that I would be forgotten, that my family and friends would just pick up and carry on without me.  Then I would remember all the times that I thought of loved ones who have left  and I would realize that they go on because I think of them and the interactions I have had with them in my life.  It was with this realization that I decided that I needed to change the kind of person I felt I was, I wanted people to have warm and fuzzy thoughts about me.  I wanted them to know how I felt about them, how much they meant to me in my life, I wanted them to know that I had a happy life and that the love and support they gave me made a difference.  For someone who could hold a grudge for a very long time, this was a whole new way of life for me.  I decided to forgive myself and others for wrongs both real and imagined, and I decided to love myself and to stop the cycle of negative thoughts that reside in my head.  I started being grateful every day for the good things in my life instead of focusing on the bad, I took up meditation and walks in nature and slowly but surely I felt a shift.  I started reading about energy and raising my vibration and healing gemstones and I started accupuncture treatments and I joined a group where we discuss spirituality in a non religious way.  Today, I am a different person, I feel like all of the hard spots that have built up over the years have softened, all I need to do is keep working.

 

I still have challenges, it’s a constant dance of two steps forward, one step back but the steps back aren’t quite as far as they used to be.   I have family and friends and a group of medical professionals who are helping get life back on track  There are times when I get frustrated because I don’t think I am making the progress I should but then I have a day when I realize how very far I have come.  The heart issues are very much interconnected with my mental health, they feed off each other in a circular motion, but I have come to realize that as corny as it sounds, one day at a time.

 

A  friend once described me as cloudy with sunny breaks, today Douglas and I had a conversation about this and he thinks that a more apt description of me these days is sunny with cloudy breaks…now that’s progress and I will take it.