Tag Archives: mental-health

Depression isn’t pretty. It’s grey.

13 Jan

Lately when I look outside, all I see is grey. Occasionally, rarely really, do I see a tiny sliver of sun and before I can turn my head to it, it’s gone, as though it was almost imagined.

That’s how I feel right now. Inside. It’s as though I am looking at the world through a lens of grey where there is no colour to be found. And it sucks.

When I was a kid, I don’t remember saying “when I grow up, I hope I’m never happy”. Who does that? Anyone? I doubt it. I like to be happy, I’m just not. And it isn’t a specific thing, unless you count the chemical imbalance that is depression to be a “thing”.

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Jenn’s week on – Part 3

13 Dec

Monday November 19th, 2012

I signed up for yoga yesterday.

One of the yoga studios in my community has a special for new members where you pay $40 for the month and get unlimited classes. After that you can pay per class, buy a 5, 10 or 20 pass or pay $100/month unlimited on a four month cycle.

Yoga has been something that I have wanted to do for a long time now. I have always enjoyed stretching and been a flexible person and I feel that coupled with the meditative aspects, this could be a good fit for me, wellness wise.

This week, I signed up for 3 classes.  I also have doctor’s appointments, a massage, and a home visit from my chiropractor.

I am stuck in that place of wanting to do something to get better, but not to do anything at all and just relax and rest.

I made a to do list, but I am flexible with it. Save for appointments, I am trying to chill this week and not feel like I have to do anything specific at any specific time.

Last night, I meditated before bed, following my breathing for about 5 minutes. I almost wrote that five minutes is nothing, but five minutes is five minutes more than nothing and I am proud of those five minutes.

The skies are grey today, but I am feeling like the sun should peak out soon.

To read all of the posts in Jenn’s Week On, click here!


Jenn’s week on – Part 2

12 Dec

Read all of the posts in Jenn’s Week On.

Sunday November 18th, 2012

Last night was hard. Today seems even more difficult.

I couldn’t sleep last night. I watched the Dark Knight Rises with my family and everyone but me fell asleep. I’m not a Batman fan.

My family went to  bed and I stalked through the house, trying to stop my mind from wandering. I watched another movie, Ever After, a sweet Cinderella love story with no real thought required.

I had a horrible panic attack, where I was gasping for breath. My fear was so intense. The time ticked away until I fell into a fitful sleep, waking soon after with my kids needing me. I fell asleep in my daughter’s bed.

I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. I wanted to stay in bed all day.  Dave asked me to go out for coffee, saying that getting up and out might help. I didn’t believe him until it sort of worked.

I just want to be better.


Stay tuned for Part 3!

Jenn’s week on – Part 1

11 Dec
Great holiday magazine deals at ValueMags all month.



This is the first post of a several part series about a very short sick leave that I was on, how it came about, and how I am doing now (much better).

I am calling it “Jenn’s week on” rather than “Jenn’s week off”, because it’s hard to turn off life, and this week was about going through my life more mindfully and getting better.

I will be posting a new installment every few days.


Saturday November 17th, 2012

Wednesday was not a good day.

When I look back, I can see that the monster was brewing for a while. I was able to stave off the panic and the sadness with new meds and exercise and trying to soldier through. Until I just couldn’t.

I was at work on Wednesday and I had extreme abdominal pain.  My period was sort of there – light pink and not heavy at all – but the pain was not typical at all. I felt sick and nauseous and was sweating.

Wednesday night the pain in my stomach had not abated. I phoned telehealth and they told me to go to the hospital so I did. I had blood tests and urine tests. An internal exam and a transvaginal ultrasound.  Fun times. :/

Everything came back normal.

I had the sensation, not for the first time, of almost wishing that something would be wrong so it wasn’t “just” anxiety.

My blood pressure was high though. Higher than normal.

Maybe it’s stress, the doctor said.

Yeah. I know.

The next day, I went to see my doctor. She took one look at me, I couldn’t hold it together and I just let everything out.

Is there a trigger? she asked.

I don’t think so.

That’s what makes this whole thing suck.

My doctor gave me a note to take Friday and next week off from work due to panic attacks and my blood pressure and to work on getting better.

I dropped the note off at work and my bosses were very understanding even though I felt like sick. Like a failure. Like I was letting people down.

I do know though that if I don’t get better, the person I will let down will be me.

This next week will be about focusing on my health and getting better.

For part 2, click here.

Brain Tumour.

7 Jun

Today is normally my weigh in day, but OMG times infinity, I just got some crazy health news from my doctor and I am reeling and in shock and numb.

I have had recurrent sinus infections in the past few years, including a period recently with sinus, ear and throat infections and three rounds of antibiotics and I’m still not 100%.  My doctor sent me for sinus and chest x-rays and I got a call to come in.

Honestly, I figured I had (walking) pneumonia or something.  I was wrong.

So the xray shows what appears to be a pituitary tumour. I am sending you for an MRI to the hospital with the shortest wait time.

What the what?

All I essentially heard was – YOU HAVE BRAIN CANCER.

The good news is that I don’t have brain cancer.  A pituitary tumour is almost always benign, but it basically messes up a lot of stuff.  

It also explains a lot of really seemingly random symptoms I have that make a whole lot more sense now.

Either way, it doesn’t feel good to know that I (basically) have a TUMOUR IN MY BRAIN.

Ask me if I slept last night? Not so much.  It’s kind of difficult to relax and sleep when all I can think about is the TUMOUR IN MY BRAIN.

I started joking with my husband, because really, while I wait around for tests and sit in a state of perpetual not knowing, all you can do is joke.  He would say something and I would respond with, “is that appropriate to ask someone with a brain tumour?”  He didn’t find it all that funny.

Dr. Google, friends, etc, have told me enough not to be too, too worried, and enough to be really, really worried.

Either way, looks like the start of a new journey!

Panic Attacks. The period connections.

15 May

I wrote this yesterday, and am feeling much better today!

My psychiatrist introduced me to a website a few years ago, called Moodtracker and I have been using it off and on ever since. (I have no connection with Moodtracker except that I like it). The good things about it are that it is free, it allows your caregiver to see how you are doing and monitor medication, and you can watch your mood fluctuations in “real time”.

One thing I noticed is that my highest anxiety and depression levels, including panic attacks and physical symptoms, often occurred near the time of my period. I have read about connections in a woman’s cycle and mood disorders before so I wasn’t surprised, but it is intriguing just how connected they seem to be for me.

My period is about to start like any second now and my anxiety is really, really high. Physically, I feel terrible. I have had several panic attacks over the last few days including one of the worst in a long time. The worst one came on the night after my doctor’s appointment where I was told about needing to watch my cholesterol. I was in the bathroom around midnight and I felt a strange burning sensation going through my limbs. I could barely get in any breath at all, I felt strange all over, weak, and out of control. I thought to myself “this really is it” and I could not let go of the intrusive thoughts as I could in the past because well, I have cholesterol issues and past BP issues and I need to lose weight and THIS. COULD. BE. IT!

I screamed for my husband. I was about to dial 911 but I screamed for him. I started pacing all over in complete fear and my husband took me by the shoulders and told me to breath and to go back to bed. BED? I was in serious trouble, how could I sleep at a time like this? I walked around, got water, walked around and then finally just tried to rest.

For some reason, I went to bed, and felt normal again. No more heat rushing through my body, I could breath, and I felt calm.


Today, I feel anxiety in me. I am weak and shaking and my breathing is beyond shallow which brings about a whole host of other issues.

Right now, I feel overwhelmed with all the “right things” I want to do.

I want to eat oatmeal and take omega 3 pills, I want to walk daily and meditate. Actually, it doesn’t seem like a particularly comprehensive list now that I have written down, but it I feel overwhelmed because I want to be “better” as fast as possible.

Panic and anxiety really suck.

Image came from google images via this site.

Check out my ongoing series on Panic Attacks and Post Partum Mood Disorders including Depression and Anxiety.

Getting rid of pounds. Week four. Cholesterol.

10 May

This week brings a double dose of the bad.

To start off small, I gained a pound. A pound. It doesn’t seem like a lot over the course of a journey, but it was enough to knock the wind of my proverbial sales.

On a “good” note, my period starts soon, so I can attribute the weight gain to that because, historically, I do retain water.

Now for the really bad stuff. I got my blood test results back from my physical and the news is somewhat grim. My cholesterol needs to be better.  I have had my cholesterol checked regularly during physicals and this is the first time something has come up. Talk about depressing.

From the Mayo Clinic, your cholesterol levels should be:

Total cholesterol
U.S. and some other countries Canada and most of Europe
Below 200 mg/dL Below 5.2 mmol/L Desirable
200-239 mg/dL 5.2-6.2 mmol/L Borderline high
240 mg/dL and above Above 6.2 mmol/L High
LDL cholesterol
U.S. and some other countries Canada and most of Europe
Below 70 mg/dL Below 1.8 mmol/L Ideal for people at very high risk of heart disease
Below 100 mg/dL Below 2.6 mmol/L Ideal for people at risk of heart disease
100-129 mg/dL 2.6-3.3 mmol/L Near ideal
130-159 mg/dL 3.4-4.1 mmol/L Borderline high
160-189 mg/dL 4.1-4.9 mmol/L High
190 mg/dL and above Above 4.9 mmol/L Very high
HDL cholesterol
U.S. and some other countries Canada and most of Europe
Below 40 mg/dL (men)
Below 50 mg/dL (women)
Below 1 mmol/L (men)
Below 1.3 mmol/L (women)
50-59 mg/dL 1.3-1.5 mmol/L Better
60 mg/dL and above Above 1.5 mmol/L Best
U.S. and some other countries Canada and most of Europe
Below 150 mg/dL Below 1.7 mmol/L Desirable
150-199 mg/dL 1.7-2.2 mmol/L Borderline high
200-499 mg/dL 2.3-5.6 mmol/L High
500 mg/dL and above Above 5.6 mmol/L Very high


My LDL (bad cholesterol) is 3.37 and it is considered “borderline high”.  I need to get it below 2, which can happen when I raise my HDL.  This can all be done via cardio exercise, proper diet, and weight loss.

My HDL (good cholesterol) is 1.17 which is considered “poor”.  
Fortunately, my triglycerides and total cholesterol are good.

Also fortunately, my blood pressure was 120/60.  I can take the small celebrations, right?

My doctor suggested a pound loss of 15.  She said that this would likely have the impact that I am looking for health wise.

Obviously, I want to lose more than 15 and will lose more, but for these 15 pounds, I am going to institute a reward system of sorts.

After I lose 5 pounds, I am getting a pedicure.  Now, I need a pedicure now and was considering getting one on the weekend.  That is off.

After I lose the next 5 pounds, I will get another pedicure. Because it will be time.

After I lose 15 total pounds, I will get a manicure/pedicure/facial.
Talk about a wake up. Again.  It is so insane to think how diet and exercise (or lack thereof) really start to affect a person as we get older.

Another area that I struggle with is exercise. I get really gung ho for a few weeks and then I fade.  I get bored, or busy, or both.  The funny thing is – I LIKE to exercise.  I genuinely enjoy how I feel and what I do when I am exercising.  I need to turn it into much more of a habit than it has been, to be honest.

I would write more, but to be honest, I just feel deflated all around.

Getting rid of pounds. Blah blah blah.

5 May

Tom Hiddleston welcomes you to my whiny post. Stay for him.

You are welcome.


I learned a lesson in the past week or so. A good lesson. Lately I have enjoyed a little bit too much of the ice cream. And the white rice. And the GF tortilla chips. And I feel crap about it.

So far, there has been no reflection in my weight, but there is enough of a sluggish feeling that I know I cannot continue on this path.

There is a pattern at work, you see.

I lose some weight. I am happy. I feel I can eat what I want.

But I cannot.

I cannot eat what I want, when I want.

And I am ok with this.

When I let the voices of others – society and otherwise –  attempt to sway me from my chosen path, I fail to stay true to myself.

Restriction works for me. I enjoy restriction. I thrive on restriction. I am healthier when restricting.

As of now, I am off the rice and potatoes and sugar.

I am not in a place where “occasional treats” work and I am ok with that because if it’s not working, change it.

Glad to have gotten that off my chest, mind and back.


Now I can get back to my fun Friday night programming of following the Tom Hiddleston tag on Tumblr and reading about how he tweeted that orgasms are marvellous after he tweeted the ending to the Avengers movie using the word orgasm and then freaked out about the spoiler and deleted the tweet focusing instead on orgasm.

/fangirling like a maniac.  Flanked  by two sleeping small people beside me who would be truly and fantastically embarrassed that their mother still thinks like a teenager. And acts like one.

And yes, I am listening to the Wanted, thank you VERY much.

And in the immortal words of the bitchy “cool” girl from the best movie of all time Girls Just Want to Have Fun – “no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be as good as me”.

With that – back to Tumblr.

Doctor Shopping

9 Apr

Every year, around March/April, my doctor sends a letter to his patients. He updates us on what is going on with his practice, who the new resident is, and a fee guide for uninsured services.

Every year, dh and I send him a cheque for our family so we don’t have to be billed per service for phone appointments, notes and prescription refills.

A few weeks ago, I went to see my doctor. At the end of the appointment, he asked me if I had read the letter, and embarrassed that I hadn’t yet read it, I joked not to worry, but we would send in our cheque as we are frequent users of uninsured services.

It’s not that kind of a letter, he said.

Uh oh, I joked, no more family plan? Was I bankrupting him.

Heh. Not that kind of a letter, he said again.

I looked at him.

He looked at me.

You’re retiring. Not even a question. I just knew.

I’m closing my practice, focusing on teaching and just paring down.

I cried.

My doctor hugged me and gave me a fatherly kiss on the cheek.

How do you replace a wonderful doctor?

How do I replace the doctor who has seen me through all of my panic and anxiety?

I gave myself the night to mourn.

The next day I was searching for a new doctor. I searched for doctors accepting new patients in my community. From that list, I searched through the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons website to check out their registration and see make sure they hadn’t been suspended.  I read reviews.

I made a list and started to call.

After a few roadblocks, I found a possibility and booked a meet and greet.

The day arrived to meet him and I went into the office, which was nice and new and spacious.

The doctor came in to see me.

He was wearing a mask.

Oh, he pulled it over his mouth, but he was still wearing it around his ears.

Do you smoke? Do you drink? Are you a drug user? Do you have any big medical issues?


So he was a no. I just didn’t click with him. I didn’t get a WARM sense from him. At all.

I went through the rest of my list and found that no one was accepting patients.  One receptionist gave me the number of a doctor who had started a new practice so I did my check (college and reviews) and phoned to book a meet and greet.

Her office was beautiful and her staff was nice.

I was escorted into a state of the art room and had my vitals taken.

My blood pressure was HIGH. Like really high.

The doctor came in and we chatted and I liked her. She took my blood pressure again. HIGH.

I think we’ll do an ECG and try taking it manually. 

I started to panic. I felt sick to my stomach and I was sweating and shaking.

The nurse came in to do an ECG and I was in tears.

In the end, all was fine.  Manually, my blood pressure was in the high normal range. ECG was normal.

But the doctor was wonderful. Thorough, prompt, nice, compassionate and kind. 

I went back a week later to check my blood pressure again – all fine, likely anxiety, but she is having me check my blood pressure at home to be safe.  She spent time just talking to me about my moods and she read the mood journal and thought records I brought.

Her approach, her office, her staff and well, her, solidified my choice. I signed the forms for myself and my kids. I brought forms home for my husband. Even my father in law, who saw my old doctor, wants to meet with her.

It is almost like she was tested. It was almost like I needed to see how she would react to panic. She passed.

As I embark on this new medical phase, I am not surprised that it was so stressful, but I am hopeful that all will be well.

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