Anger Management.

I often hear clients say, “they made me feel ___” or “I had no choice but to yell back.” This is absurd. We always have choices, but the reality is that we just don’t like our options.

How do we not take it personally when someone says, ‘You’re a pain in the ass’? Well what does it mean when we are a ‘pain in the ass?’  Is it literal? Do we cause a physical pain to occur in their rear? No, it means we are being insulted. We aren’t taught how to cope with this stuff in school. Our teacher may have told us to ignore it when someone calls us names. But how did it that work out? Terrible. It’s one thing to ignore a dumb remark.  It’s quite another to feel like a doormat, letting ourselves be verbally abused and ignoring the painful degradation of our worth as a person.

However, it’s not personal when we consider that they are merely “firing for effect.” They want to intimidate us and they are using provocative words or a hostile tone to show dominance. This is done to push us into submitting.

Instead, we can choose to agree with the feelings, not the facts. We can say, “It’s awful, isn’t it!” Or, “I don’t blame you for being angry.” We are not agreeing that they are right in their “facts.” We are just letting them know we heard what they said! We can say, “That’s what you think, I never thought of it that way.” We are merely agreeing that they said it.

We can keep our version of the facts to ourselves. This is called, discretion, which is the power to choose how much we wish to reveal and when. Right now, we do not have to choose to reveal anything. It wouldn’t help if we did. They aren’t interested anyways. We can choose to do something else instead, such as:

• We can agree with them; e.g., “It certainly seems like I’m hard to get along with.” We are not agreeing with the facts of the matter, we are agreeing that they feel the way they feel. Feelings are like opinions and perceptions in that they are subjective, without a factual basis.

Or we can choose to agree that they are upset:  “It’s so frustrating when this happens, isn’t it.”  We do not need to go on and on defending the inaccuracy of their accusations, trying to win a pardon for our offense against them. We are not required to defend against fiction, they are not a judge and we are not guilty. We do not need to explain our choice to live in the real world.  It’s not a crime, we do not have to convict them of our innocence.

• We can say, “I can tell you are angry.” This is not a confession of guilt. It is an observation of their tone, words and body language. We are just acknowledging that we can tell they are in emotional pain.

• We can tell the truth: “It makes me angry when you blow up in my face for telling you how I feel.”

• We can say “It must make you angry when that happens. I don’t blame you, I’d be angry too if that happened to me.” This is an appropriate validation of the other person’s anger and of their worth as a person. When we validate the other person’s anger, we are validating their right to have feelings in spite of their unpleasant choice in how they are being conveyed.

Below are other useful responses when faced with another’s intense emotion:
• “It seems that way sometimes doesn’t it?”
• “I never thought of it that way.”
• “You may have a point.”
• “I don’t know how you stand it.”
• “You got a real problem there, I don’t know what to tell you.”
• “It’s just awful, isn’t it.”
• “Thanks for calling that to my attention.”
• “I’m sure you’ll think of something.”

A key point, we must be mindful of our tone to ensure we are not being sarcastic, dismissive, or provocative. Have you ever taken a road trip and gotten lost? You don’t know where you are and feel a bit confused on what to do. Do you stop and get directions? Do you turn around? Do you pull over for the night? Do you keep going? You’re concerned, confused, and unsure what direction to go. That is the tone to use, confused. Really you don’t know what’s going on and why the other person is making these false accusations. You speak slow and softer, but deliberate and clear.

This is not “pleasing,” or “kow-towing,” or “giving thrm the satisfaction.” It is taking the wind out of their sails. You are depriving them of a target. They will go find another victim: “You’re no fun anymore!” Amen to that.


Reposted from:

The First Steps.

To be honest, it’s crazy to think about how far my mental health journey has taken me over the past 4 years that i’ve been able to share my experiences. It hasn’t been an easy 4 years and I realize this is going to be a life-long journey in how I learn to manage, adapt, and cope with my depression and anxiety.

It’s not easy being a student on top of everything. The amount of stress that is placed on me at times is incredible when it comes time to balance work, nursing school, finishing my master’s, community service, and raising my young dog.  Sometimes I feel inadequate with how much I have to do, how little energy I sometimes find myself having, and how unmotivated I can be during my lowest periods. Considering everything I went through at the end of last year, I am incredibly grateful for the supports I have received whether it be from my professors, academic advisors, my friends, and most of all my family. It hasn’t been easy and I realize at times it can be incredibly hard on me emotionally to open up, which is why I often turn to writing to express my thoughts and feelings. I choose to be open because I realize everything I go through is not necessarily unique to me, while my own perception of my experience is unique, there are likely hundreds of other people out there experiencing similar situations with different perceptions.

I had the ability to talk to a notable friend today about their own struggles with mental illness and body image issues and felt empathetic towards her struggles. While I have not had much experience with eating disorders, I have had experience with both depression and anxiety. There were a number of points last semester where I would find myself awake in the middle of the night crying hysterically, hyperventilating feeling like I couldn’t breathe, and having my chest hurt like my heart was about to explode. Those sessions would then lead me to missing important classes because I could not control my anxiety and would have little sleep or energy to be able to function at times. It was absolutely terrifying at times feeling like you were experiencing a heart attack like sensation.  While I have recently been prescribed anti-anxiety medication, I know medication is not the sole answer. For me I find having someone close to talk to eases my anxiety as well as recently learning to meditate. However, I have had a number of people share their own “treatments” and notably exercise has helped a large number of people reduce their anxious thoughts and feelings.

Despite whether people agree with what I do or not, I am honoured to be someone that a number of people have turned to over the years, whether it’s to have someone available to talk to or to ask for help in finding resources to support their own recovery and journey into seeking help. I do hope on some level that my own personal experiences can help other people either a) learn to cope or find resources b) raise awareness for people suffering with mental illness or even c) open the discussion toward removing the stigma surrounding these very much real conditions.

Taking the first step is a huge milestone for many people. I remember being terrified at the idea of having to open up to my parents about my struggles, the amount of shame I felt in feeling like a failure asking for help and being unable to cope. But opening up to my parents was probably the bravest thing i’ve had to do. In the end it paid off because I was fortunate to be able to get the help I needed from healthcare professionals but it also allowed me to be open about my own journey and help a few people start their own.  I am also incredibly proud of the amount of progress many of those have made and I hope on some level I was able to help them find the strength to reach their full potential. I think one of the many reasons I wanted to become a nurse strives from my want to see people be healthy and happy regardless of how well I know them. To some it could be incredibly weird for me to reach out the them but for me I actually want to make a difference and if I can help someone even in the tiniest way possible, then that’s what I want to do. No one should ever have to feel ashamed or alone dealing with whatever their going through and I vow to always lend out any support I can give to those that may need it despite how well I know them and I will continue to carry forth this mentality as I get further into my nursing career.

Lastly, I’ve  been quite fortunate to find my own niche in the mental health community in raising awareness and helping to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness. Through my blog, Twitter, and Facebook, I have had the opportunity to reach thousands of people in sharing my own experiences. It’s incredible meeting and being connected to such resilient and humble people, many of who you would never have guessed on the outside have also struggled or are battling things such as depression, bi-polar, anxiety, or even schizophrenia.

I know I have many goals for myself going forward but one of my Twitter followers reminded me of a important initiative that I think many more people should consider taking apart of. As a nursing student I am required to update my CPR-C every year and First Aid every three years, however much of the training undertaken in the standard first aid doesn’t touch upon mental health. Approximately one in three Canadians will experience some sort of mental health problem in their lifetime and research has shown the earlier the problem is acknowledged the better the outcome. Therefore, the mental health first aid course provides some of the necessary first tools to recognize, address, and support those who may be struggling. For those interested in taking the course in Canada here is the link for more info:

Definitely something to consider with the likelihood many of us will know someone struggling with mental illness or problems. I have had many people tell me great things about the course and I am incredibly excited to hopefully take part in the near future and be able to incorporate it into my nursing practice as time goes on.

Big Bad Anxiety.

To be honest I never really understood what anxiety did to an individual until today. While out shopping I had one of the most embarrassing and scary moments of my life. I experienced a full on anxiety attack in the middle of the food court full of Christmas shoppers and other guests.

I was all of a sudden flooded with overthinking recent events and thoughts of previous memories and slowly began to feel like I had tunnel vision in my eyes.I started to feel incredibly hot, constricted, and felt like my chest was tightening making it hard to breathe. Then I broke down and couldn’t understand what was going on. Luckily, I was prepared and had Clonazepam with me. Thankfully, it helped calm me down but I can definitely see why the drug is controlled with how many are prescribed at a time and how it is monitored. The quick reaction time helped calm me down within half an hour. But while it helped calm me down it also makes me incredibly sleepy.

Thankfully, I wasn’t alone this time and I’m so glad I was prepared. Lately, busy and familiar places have been highly triggering of my anxiety. I was never really an anxious person until after all the events that unfolded but it makes me more anxious to now it can come on suddenly like that.

I also realize I can’t live a life where I rely on medication to support me. I have really been trying to work on meditation but sometimes it can be difficult to really get into and focus. I also know the importance of deep breaths, which did help to some extent, but I know things like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are most important in changing the way I think. I think going into 2017, I really want to try to get into CBT and actually practicing it every day. Working through various exercises in an effort to get to the root of the problem. I know it’ll be a slow process but it looks promising and I have to believe that something will pull me out of this dark period.


Gasping for Air.

Sometimes I just sit there and feel my chest tighten up and feel like I can’t breathe anymore, like i’m completely gasping for air. The feeling like I have to hyper-ventilate. Tears streaming down my face. Like someone is reaching into my chest and ripping out my insides.

Today I let go of someone I was really into. Someone for the first time in awhile showed me that there are good people out there. I couldn’t do it. Regardless of the fact he was handsome, smart, and motivated. As nice as he was, I couldn’t love him like I loved before. I couldn’t will myself to be touched or touch them. I felt empty, like I was filling them with empty promises and hope of something more. Someone who gave me the idea that moving on was possible, but no i’m stuck on him. The man who holds my heart in the palm of his hands and little by little has left me empty.

For moments it would feel wonderful being able to just talk to someone, to remember what it felt like to laugh. That it was possible to look at someone again and feel wonder, but I couldn’t do it. I could see it in his eyes and I just wasn’t there emotionally, mentally, or physically. But I can’t rely on someone else to be or act as my happiness. I need to be able to stand on my own feet and make my own path. I need to work on being me, being able to stand the silence that was left behind when you walked away, being able to work through my own thoughts, and finding what makes me happy. Because to be truly happy means that happiness come from within yourself, to know what it is that make you sparkle, that makes you laugh, and that powers you. I need to put in the time to work on that for me and I can only do that alone in a sense. Because to put your happiness in the hands of someone else misguides your thinking. I also set myself up for being broken down because I forgot what it was like to put myself first or question what makes me happy.

I let them go because it was wrong to give them hope. That someone so broken could offer them everything they wanted or were searching for.  That no matter how much reassurance they gave me and that it was okay to hold back, I couldn’t accept that. I couldn’t make someone else wait on me when I felt no passion for them. Weeks went by and as much as they encouraged me to open up, be supportive, and understanding, I couldn’t do it.

I came across this piece of writing on Tumblr yesterday and it made me feel so hard. Wishing that someone else wouldn’t have to go through this, but that it’s life and we are meant to fall on our faces and pick ourselves back up.


One day my daughter will experience this heartbreak
And when that day comes, I’ll sit down next to her and tell her about when I was 16
I’ll tell her about the boy with prettiest blue eyes and most intoxicating laugh
I’ll tell her about the way he spent years making me fall in love with him-effortlessly
I’ll tell her how hard I fell
because oh my lord I fell hard
I’ll tell her about losing him
About sitting on my bedroom floor, rocking back and forth with anxiety
About the dark under eye circles and the marks on my wrists
About growing accustomed to my body being in a constant state of self-destruction
I’ll tell her about the shitty poetry and the new hairstyle
I’ll tell her about the envy I felt when I saw my replacement
I’ll tell her about slowly regaining the ability breathe normally
I’ll tell her about being able to laugh without feeling like I’m betraying him
I’ll tell her about being able to order the spiciest thing on the menu without crying
I’ll tell her that it never goes away that it only subsides
I’ll tell her that my heart still stops when someone says his name
I’ll tell her that to that very future second, I still love him
I still think about the prettiest blue eyes and most intoxicating laugh
– we broke up in July and i still can’t say your name (via zerobarcandy)

The Empty Space.

This is going to be a long and heartfelt post to someone who once loved me and now won’t even talk to me. Take it as part open letter to them, even though they could care less, but also as a letter to me trying to piece together everything that’s happened over the past few months.

There’s been so much that happened the past few days with having bumped into you again triggering an avalanche of emotions, mostly grief, sadness, and emptiness. I really thought I could approach you that night because I didn’t think it would turn out like that. Who would have known you would turn around and yell at me to “Fuck off” or tell me “you wanted me out of your life” and poke me really hard out of anger. I get I violated “your space” but I really thought it would have been an awkward brush in at best since at one point I was also friends with those you were with. I thought from the last time I saw you, we were okay, even though we had some tense text conversations after that we could at least be able to talk calmly in a public space. That our last actual conversation when I asked if you even cared you responded with “obviously”, but then why do your actions or non-actions speak differently? Yet to you, everything is so simple, we broke up and that’s it. There’s nothing else to it “since you’re not my boyfriend anymore”. The an abortion is a simple and mindless thing and therefore there’s no reason to talk after you left me to figure everything out on my own since you were obviously that busy. So busy you can seemingly make time for everything and everyone else. Because obviously I got pregnant on my own and therefore it should fall under the responsibility of people who live no where close to me to act your part.

Seeing her post the next day after trying to get your attention for a moment at the movies of “Nice try, but it’s not going to break us up. If you have the guts to do it again, try and be a little less creepy will you? ✌🏻️#SorryNotSorry  #HeReallyLovesMe”. Like what? What did I do to you to deserve something like that? You’ve been dating for what at most 2 months? How can anyone make a judgment on another relationship? I’m sorry did you not tell me the same things at one point or do the messages and memories I have of us mean nothing? Did you also tell her you promised me an engagement ring at one point and gave me a promise ring at another? That I would never have to worry because I was yours and you were mine? That you were so crazy about me you had to always be in touch with me? That according to you I made you really happy? Or did you just tell her what she wanted to hear, that you loved her, I meant nothing to you, and that I was some selfish “bitch” trying to ruin your life? That you ignored me when I was dealing with our abortion. Or that you would ignore me for days, message me at your convenience and wonder why I was upset or ignoring you? Or was it just me being childish, because obviously the world revolves around your schedule and importance. Weren’t you also the one you fought so hard for me to “keep you updated” even though you wanted to give your responsibility to someone else because you still wanted to know what happened at the end of it all and “how I was doing” for as your said “your own closure”? But yet when it came down to talking, you were a complete no show in helping to tie up lose ends and instead fully chose to ignore me and help make a scene instead, because really yelling all of that to me was also not embarrassing when I didn’t even try to fight back or yell out anything incredibly personal.

I have no ill will towards her though, she didn’t do anything wrong, but it hurts she would cast judgment knowing only one side. In fact I could probably relate more to her for the fact that she also knows what heartbreak is like. But from a woman to woman that was a low blow to the heart. Even thought I received an apology I know deep down she doesn’t understand everything that was said and done. She’s heard your side and I doubt you would share every detail, just as I have my side. As a female I wanted her to understand and found it unfair to think I wouldn’t see it when I know my blogs aren’t a secret. I had a lot of respect for her and I do still and I wish I could share my side but I know it wouldn’t be fair. The “context” you talk about isn’t an excuse, regardless of how angry or upset you were. There’s absolutely no valid excuse to call someone pathetically weak for struggling with mental illness, namely depression. I get you don’t believe in mental illness, you believe its a societal construct because people are lazy or weak and unable to adapt to the challenges of life, but for someone in a scientific field, doing some research would be a great start to understanding the struggle of millions of people, let alone those close to you or even yourself for that matter. There was no relevance to the pregnancy, what does my struggle have to do with the situation at hand? You were angry about the pregnancy and seemingly the breakup, but that’s no reason to have took it out on me. You’re a 24 year old man and I a woman and I never went as far as to say any of those things. I get we had tense conversations and I also said some regretful things, but you also have a brain and the ability to control your thoughts and you also have the ability to apologize without me having to ask.

I am sorry though that at a point in time this year I thought it was okay at one point to invade your privacy, even after we broke up. I was wrong to have done so just as you were wrong for have invading my privacy at points in time when we were together. For a while I really struggled to learn to trust you again after the whole incident with “coffee girl”. I got an apology from you and then I was off again to London within a few short hours of seeing you for the first time in a while, not even getting to be around you much in person. You lied to me though, right in front of my face and denied it when I brought it up of who was she. I kept telling myself you didn’t do anything wrong and accepted when you said it wasn’t anything special. As much as you refused to admit it we were still in a relationship when you went out with her and met her for coffee. That in your case it was okay because obviously it’s you and it was a lapse in judgement, but if I were to do that to you it would be a different case. I thought that by being able to spy on your phone from London, it would help me learn to trust you again since we were half way across the world trying to move past everything and letting me know what you were thinking. For a time I did learn to trust you again and learned to let go of snooping, you did nothing wrong for me to have started to re-violate your privacy when we broke up as it was none of my busniess. It hurts that you think I purposely would invade your privacy by checking your e-mails recently to find out where you  were that night so I could “confront” you or “embarrass” you when we corrected the issue months ago.

I accept that I made a poor choice in invading you privacy in the past. It still makes me cringe thinking I did that without your permission and I apologized profusely for my poor judgement. But I also understand why you would assume I would do it again when I did in the past, I deserved everything I got because it takes time to build trust. For months, I was incredibly hormonal, selfish, and irrational in saying and doing some of the things I said to you. But every time I felt I was out of line, I did try my best to apologize and I sincerely mean it when I say i’m sorry for saying some of the things I said to you. The fact that you accused me of accessing your “e-mails” when you  had “proof” makes me nauseous, because in all honesty I wasn’t checking your e-mails and hadn’t been for months. I had no idea you were going to be at the theatre, let alone sitting a few feet away. That night we talked about how I had been violating your privacy by “spying” on you was the last time I checked in on you. I honestly thought by taking the steps we did that the check-ins would stop on your next update, but looking today I know they did not. Every time I was checking into my computer, the system would look for an update and upload it to the system. I never had anything uploaded to my account, but it makes me sad to think the system was looking for updates and making you think I was the one spying on you still.  I sought every step to fix my mistakes to make sure it stopped, even taking the time to send you the proof to ease your tension. I know you probably don’t believe me though, you never do when I make a mistake. But I will full on admit publicly I spied on you at one point on your phone using an app, I was wrong, immature, selfish, and insecure for doing so and sought to correct my mistakes (which seemed to work). I will not take the blame for something I didn’t do though, I never violated your privacy checking your e-mails and I sought to understand what was wrong and offer you a piece of mind. I don’t care about the useless e-mails you likely get, it makes me feel as if I have no importance in my life but to search for scraps to “ruin” your life because obviously I have nothing better to do, have no reputation or pride to uphold, or care about you at all after being in a relationship with you. Obviously not. That everything I put aside for you to be there for you meant nothing. That whenever you made mistake I freely forgave you without question or made excuses as to why you did something. That despite everything said and done I still care and cared about you. But i’m tired of being treated poorly. That despite trying to be patient, supportive, and understanding I walked away with nothing short of a huge fuck you. That anytime you did something wrong, I had to consider myself lucky to ever get an apology from you. You did apologize a few times but a lot of the time even when you said you were sorry, they lacked genuineity, like you just wanted it to be over and to shove it under the rug. But of course, anything I did wrong is unforgivable even when I do try to apologize or admit my mistakes. The amount of times I would apologize for something that upset you and then think back as to why the heck am I the one apologizing makes me feel weak. Sometimes I feel like you don’t know how to take responsibility for things, I know you’ve made mistakes in the past you’re not proud of and hold a lot of “shame” in a sense for letting down some of the people you love, but I feel like you honestly put so much pressure on yourself to be someone you’re not because you feel like you don’t always fit in. The truth is, I admired you for you, all your insecurities, flaws, and mistakes. Every one of those things made up you, and I accepted them all unconditionally. There’s a part of me that still does.

It breaks me to think that you never saw the abortion as being “our” issue. Or let me rephrase that you only saw this as our issue when it came to me going into get a procedure done but nothing else related to it, not my check ups or my well-being after it was “taken care of”.  That your first thought of me telling you I was pregnant through e-mail because, surprise(!) you refused to talk to me, you called me and told me you hated me, you never loved me, this was all my fault, I did it on purpose (when we were fully together), that you liked my parents better and that they didn’t do a good job raising me because I was scared to get an abortion. That it got to the point where it became my  issue that I had to take time off from my studies or work because you had more important things to take care of. That you couldn’t come to my surgical procedure in a city over an hour away because you had things to do and didn’t want to waste 5 hours of your time, when I was losing the same amount of time dealing with our problem meaning I had to bus there alone. Yeah, you picked me up, we had a great time grabbing dinner and laughing about old times and people we knew. For you to tell me the next day you used me that night because you wanted to scope me out because if not I wouldn’t have opened up to you. Let alone to have to go again weeks later to rectify the complications that ensued, this time completely alone in a hotel spending money I don’t have.

Yeah, we had a shit ton of obstacles neither of us expected, but it also took out of my time too and a lot of it I might add. That I had to take time to recover not only mentally and emotionally but physically as well. That you have no idea how hormonal I was and having to go through adjusting my body back to normal and I still have a ways to go.  But no, it doesn’t concern you that I every time I hear about a couple struggling to conceive or lose a baby, it makes me incredibly emotional to know that I had that chance and felt pressured to oblige to what we agreed on when you didn’t even seem to care for the most part how I felt about things or why I felt that way. It never concerned you how I was doing or coping because you had someone else in your bed keeping you warm at night and taking your mind off things. Anytime I would want to talk about it, you would flip out on me saying how much you hated me, how it was all my fault, or other hurtful comments. Let alone when I was at my lowest feeling suicidal dealing with everything and asked for your help and you were off having a “date” night because that couldn’t wait, could it? Or was your phone really at 2%? You promised me we would get through it together, don’t tell me i’m spinning my words because I have proof. You promised you’d be there for me because you knew what I was going through and I believed you. You too were having nightmares, struggling to cope crying, and feeling withdrawn socially.There was no reason to touch me, regardless of whether I tried to block your exit or even held on to you for a moment (I can’t remember), there was absolutely no reason to touch me at all despite how angry you were. You’re bigger than me, what did you think would happen when you try to toss me to the side when you didn’t want to talk about the failed abortion anymore. I needed your help to get through things again and you couldn’t do it. Emotionally, I was weak and felt like I couldn’t go through it again and had second thoughts. How could you blame someone for that? Especially with how things went the first time. Instead you shut down on me and pushed me aside. I brushed the incident off after we talked about it though because I believed you when you said you didn’t mean to and that it was a minor shove because I was trying to block you from leaving after you refused to listen to what I had to say. But then thinking of what happened at the movies the other night when you jabbed me telling me to fuck off. There was absolutely no reason to touch me, I didn’t grab onto you, sure I got a little to close on the stairs when trying to tap your shoulder and accidentally kicked the back of your shoe walking down the steps but I never meant to touch you aside from tapping you to turn around and acknowledge me calling you. Maybe you don’t realize how hard the jab actually was, but it actually still hurts.

I honestly didn’t expect you to be there that night, let alone on a double date. I saw you didn’t say anything when you initially walked past me because I was in shock. I’ve spent months feeling like I was the burden in all of this because you were always “too busy” to be there for me, but yet you were fully able to make time for other things. That you couldn’t be there at my appointments or meet deadlines because you had so much to do. Like my time never mattered, the fact that I had to skip class or have important things to do. You don’t think I had a Master’s to finish too? You don’t remember that I also go to school full-time and work part-time? That I don’t have a reputation to uphold too? That those time you said you couldn’t be there because you had “more important” things to do or places to be, you were fully able to go out or even work. Yet, you aren’t even supposed to be working a part-time job as per your agreement with your supervisor because like you said you’re “being paid to do research and represent him”. Yet, you always blamed me for when everything went wrong in your life when you made those decisions. Those hours you spent working could have went towards your school work, those times you spent going out could have been used to get things in on time or do work. You said school was your priority, but yet your actions always speak differently. Yes, there is such thing as stress relief, but there’s also the ability to prioritize and schedule and being able to take responsibility for your actions, something you never seem to accept. Of course you’re never wrong, of course everything you do you try to cover it up, lie, or make it seem like its not a big deal, even at times spinning it on me for me because really it’s obviously my fault you choose to do or not do actions.

The fact that i’ve been begging you to sit down with me to have a conversation about things and you feel you don’t “owe” that to me. You told me we could sit down and have a conversation in time, that after I told you about the complications “this time would be different”, you wouldn’t just leave like you did the last time. You would check in after on how I was doing. Yet, this time feels exactly the same. This time feels worse because you absolutely said nothing and not only that you chose to act aggressive and pretend you didn’t know what was going on. It makes me sad to wonder when did you turn into such a monster. That you couldn’t take a step back and help me through this. That instead I carry the burden of shame and judgment. The mentality that this was all my fault. I was scared and alone and we made a promise to keep this between us, but when push came to shove you tossed that idea away. But you’re right, you don’t “owe” me a conversation, you should want to do that on your own, to defend yourself, to answer questions of what happened, and to know what happened. You dated and loved me for two years, and now you pretend like you never did and that I don’t exist. You don’t just stop caring about someone even if your broken up. I  still want to see you succeed, be healthy, and loved.

Watching you go through this Master’s degree has been a roller coaster of emotions. I’m sorry things didn’t always go the way you wanted them to or how you expected things to go. I really am. I wish I could have helped you get through things but I wasn’t able to and at the end of the day you’re strong and smart enough to tackle all the challenges you faced. I get this is a confusing time for you, you often feel alone, tired, and stressed, but I always tried to be there for you and I always would have. It makes me feel sad knowing you sometimes feel like you’re not good enough or that you’re not worthy enough for the great things life has to offer. That on some level you chose to do your Master’s because you had no idea what you wanted to do and felt you had little options so you jumped right into it because it was there and that you would put all the dreams you did have aside until you got through this next step. I wanted to help you find your passion and you felt you had none and would never find it. Doing your Master’s has made you unhappy. You’re not a school person or a researcher and this has been tougher than you thought, you’ve experienced numerous set backs. But I know with hard times and hard work comes prosperity and opportunity and I knew once you got through it, things would slowly come together for you again. It killed me when you broke up with me telling me you couldn’t balance school and me, so you had to pick school. Left me for weeks without talking to me, to grab my hand, sit me down, and tell me that you were struggling with everything and that you couldn’t have anything, let alone someone get in your way of getting school done. But that at the end of the day you did love me (even though you didn’t want what love was) and cared about me and wanted to know I was okay. To find out weeks later you started seeing someone new. Then to tell me you never loved me or that I never made you happy. As if I meant nothing to you, that you would talk behind my back and not even defend me when through at the worst of things I was always defending you or making excuses for things I shouldn’t have because I cared that much about you. You’ve broken my heart before and I eventually got over it and picked myself up because we worked through it and I had faith in us, but this time, this time you destroyed me.

I wanted to be there to pick you up, and I still am if you needed me there. That the “dream” job your striving for may not even make you happy in the end, that life is like a processing line, there’s nothing to look forward to. Or even being there as a crutch for any of your dreams. I really did want to explore life with you and I thought for awhile you wanted that too. That we would spend more time outdoors, away from social media, playing video games, purchasing our dream bathtub, all while figuring out how to balance life. I would have moved mountains for you, moving to places I would have never thought just to help you find what made you happy because deep down watching you find happiness made me incredibly happy.  Even if everything you envisioned turned out to not be the way you wanted it to be, I would have been willing to support you and take risks for you, whether it be living on our waterfront home with our dogs up north or moving across the world just to travel and become vagabonds for awhile. That you would have never had to worry with me, because together we would figure things out. That regardless of what was said and done between us, I would always find a way to forgive you, to work through things, and push us to be and do better.  I loved you for you. I loved you curiosity for the world, your wonder at life, and the hard work you would put in to finish things. I never thought you would leave something unfinished.

I know all of this was hard for you to deal with and go through too and I know there’s no “standard” manual on what to do for people who were once in a relationship. It kills me to think of how much strain it put on you, knowing how much it impacted me. Seeing you cry or yell in frustration was always hard on me. I wanted to fix things for you, to understand things for you, and to work together. There’s always the part of me that wanted to protect you, that put up a wall through all of this so that you wouldn’t have to feel broken too. That you struggle in times of high stress and don’t know how to cope oftentimes. But I thought we were in this together. That regardless of what happened between us, we would be able to put those emotions aside and do what we needed to do together because that’s what two grown adults should be able to do because at one time you did love me just as I did for you. But how do you stop caring for someone like that? Do you even realize if something happened to you and you needed someone there, I would still be there for you regardless of everything that’s happened. I know that everything we went through made your life more difficult too, but sometimes I feel like you forget about how much it impacted my life and what I had to give up. At the end of the day what you shared with your new lover is your business, but I really hope you realize that it’s one side of the picture and that I too want to understand yours and share mine. I realize sometimes when I try to talk to you through text (the same as you do to me) things come across much differently. It hurts to think you would even think I would attempt to blackmail you or threaten you. I avoided you for a while because I couldn’t handle interacting with you. I couldn’t beg you to car anymore. I was tired of it. I shut you out of the final process because you said you didn’t want to be there and you felt you didn’t have a role in this since the fetus was “dead” to you.  Therefore, it was my problem to find someone else to be there for me. That you are not capable of handling serious emotion or knowing what to do. The most sincere reaction should have been to just be there and offer support regardless of what our status was. You were the closet person to me for two years, just as I was to you and we didn’t have a bad break up. Instead when you want something (ie intimacy), then you get to choose because “it didn’t change anything” between us and “I wanted it” so you went for it and left two weeks before you met someone new, right?

Does it ever occur to you that I never even go into areas where you might be because it gives me anxiety thinking I may see you around?  Does it ever occur to you that I get anxiety being in busy places, like the mall, because not only am I flooded by thoughts of all the adventures of where we used to go but the holidays bring me negative memories because of everything that happened last year between us? Does it ever occur to you that I struggle to feel close to people because it scares me to be touched? I find it incredibly ironic that the one time I am invited to go watch a movie in Waterloo with my friend that of course you would have to be there and everything i’ve been feeling comes crashing down.

I was recently diagnosed with not only anxiety but post-traumatic stress disorder from dealing with the abortion. But it’s not like it matters that I still have trouble sleeping, eating, and concentrating on things that are important to me and haven’t been able to for months. That I have to take anxiety medications to help me sleep because I still have nightmares of having to undergo another surgery or hear the heart beats that you never had to hear. Because guess what, you never made the effort to go to a single appointment with me. I realize you may not care about what i’ve been going through or if you do you have other priorities or people to be with and I respect that but out of everyone you should know what happens when I get anxious. You should know how flustered I get and how I react when I feel trapped, anxious, and distressed. Similar to you, I have my own personal  issues to deal with, whether it be emotional or mental. Maybe for you acting out your aggression helps, bonding with someone helps, smoking or drinking helps, but for me, talking helps. Specifically, talking to the person who makes up the other part of the equation. That being able to sit in person and trying to understand things and put things in the open would greatly help me find some sense of peace in allowing me to continue moving forward. But no, you can’t do that because you don’t “owe” it to me or “you’re not my boyfriend anymore” and you feel you had no role in this, therefore in your eyes you feel you don’t need to waste your time because obviously everything you do will and is always more important that anything I went through despite spending 2 years with someone.

I honestly really trusted you to be there, not just there but actually there for me. I had so much hope in the words you would feed me, I always have. While you would do things like pick me up, bring me food/medicine, even making me laugh when I was scared, and keep me company it really bothered me that you never opened up with me or even would check in on how I was doing after everything that was “said and done”. That regardless of the fact we were and are broken up that you still cared enough to check in or to even talk about things. You were too preoccupied texting your girl or watching hockey (which you always told me you hated to do and made it harder for you to connect socially with the “boys”). I meant being there in the sense that I didn’t have to go to the appointments alone or bus myself to my surgery or even stay alone because I feel too ashamed to talk about things with others. Ashamed because I knew if I shared it with others they would judge me, us, and you and despite everything I hate tarnishing the good memories we did share. I needed you and you weren’t there. I didn’t need you in the “romantic” sense, I needed you as a “friend” as some who not only knew me the best but as the other half of the “partnership” that was going through something similar to what I was feeling. What happened to the guy who got scared when I was feeling really weak to pop over suddenly and sit with me on my floor and wipe away my tears. The guy who told me he felt the exact same way just a few days prior and that I needed to keep my chin up because good things would come my way and the pain would fade. That I was a beautiful girl who had much to live for and that if I were to leave (which I so desperately wanted to) it wasn’t my time and I had more to do in this world and people to live for. That it would destroy you thinking about things. The guy who jokingly told me he was always jealous of how much opportunity and money I would make one day, even though I would have done anything to have given us both a good life.

I really want to talk to you in person and you don’t. The promise of one day we could maybe sit down and talk about things makes me sick to my stomach because I feel like it was probably a lie. I made the tough decision to not reach out again after our last interaction because I wanted to give you some space and hoped you would have reached out. How many nights I would tell myself to not message you and cry myself to sleep thinking about everything.  Seeing you on Thursday at the movies made me realize you weren’t going to and that if I don’t try I may never get any sense of closure. I know meeting and talking may not do anything for you, but it would have meant a hell of a lot to me, more than what you probably understand. I don’t like feeling like i’m begging you to have a conversation about things because we obviously left things off in a bad place that has contributed to how i’ve been feeling. It makes me feel like a dog begging for her master to give her food and I feel pathetic having to do so.

Sorry to be so open but I honestly feel so broken inside. I have never been this heartbroken in my entire life. I don’t mind being so open or if anyone thinks I’m being weak but I don’t play games when it comes to love. I treated him as if he were a King. I would drop everything in a heartbeat to be there for him, whether it was dropping money for plane tickets or bus tickets just to spend as much time as I could with him. I would spend hours talking to him, hours making excuses for him and hours putting in effort to make sure he knew he was loved. Was I perfect? No. But I can honestly say he was someone I have given my all to and would have continued to do so despite everything. I find it highly unfair I was blamed for his unhappiness when we broke up when he would never open up to me fully or make changes. I loved and cared about him with every fibre of my body and apart of me still does. I loved every inch of that man and loved everything that came with him, flaws, mistakes, imperfections, and all. I truly loved him. I gave everything I had for him, emotionally, physically, and mentally and now I am broken to the core. I really believed he was in love with me the way that I was with him and I am so hurt at how everything turned out in the end. It’s different when you have a you’re going through something so personal like an abortion with someone, let alone someone who you were once so close to and to have them walk away like that. I am so broken after everything. This is a man I fought my entire family for. I feel like I was played in a way. That when times got tough they walked a way instead of fighting for us or even standing by me at my darkest moments. I was completely disposable to them and blamed for everything that went wrong in their life, whether it be them falling behind in school, life, or even their happiness. Even though I did everything I could from an ocean or a city away to try to push them to be better, to reach higher, and to find themselves. It’s like I let them down. I was in love with this man to the fullest and apparently I was none of that to him. Instead i’m left with a huge empty space in my heart having lost more than him.



Where To Get Help.

The holidays can be a tough time for many individuals struggling with various forms of mental illness.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

The Canadian Association for Suicide PreventionDepression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868  all offer ways for getting help if you, or someone you know, is suffering from mental health issues.

Don’t hold back and be afraid to reach out to get support.


Enzyme Research Provides a New Picture of Depression.

Despite the fact that more than four percent of the world’s population suffer from depression, and even though approximately 1,500 individuals commit suicide each year in Sweden, the understanding of the pathophysiology of depression remains unclear and only a few new discoveries of mechanisms behind it have been made in recent years. New approved pharmacological interventions are mainly absent, despite intensive research on the subject.

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have characterized the role of the enzyme CYP2C19 in depression and functional and morphological changes in the brain. The enzyme is responsible for the metabolism of many neuroactive compounds, including antidepressants, and is located in the fetal brain and adult liver.

“We previously found that the CYP2C19 gene is expressed not only in the liver, but also in fetal brain. We described that transgenic mice that overexpress the human CYP2C19 in fetal life, in adult life have smaller hippocampus as well as an altered composition of nerve cells in the hippocampus and suffer from a higher level of anxiety- and depression-like behavior as compared to the wild type mice,” says Magnus Ingelman-Sundberg, who has been leader of the study together with Marin Jukic.

Altered structure and function of the hippocampus was the starting point 

The hippocampus is a central part of the brain for control of emotions and stress, and the finding of altered structure and function of the hippocampus following overexpression of CYP2C19 was in the starting point for the new study. The researchers now have examined to what extent these findings in mice can be extrapolated to humans.

Such analysis was facilitated by the fact that four percent of the population lacks the CYP2C19 enzyme, while thirty percent have increased expression of the same enzyme. By analysis of MRI-based measurements of the hippocampal volume and by analyzing epidemiological statistics for suicide as well as by evaluating tests of depressive mood from thousands of people, researchers found that the absence of the enzyme was associated with a larger volume of the hippocampus.

“These persons showed a lesser degree of depressed mode. Conversely, we found that increased activity of CYP2C19 was associated with higher suicidal incidences in depressed patients,” Marin Jukic says.

The results, presented in the international publication Molecular Psychiatry, show that the propensity for depression and hippocampal function in part is programmed in fetal life. Fetuses lacking CYP2C19 enzyme have a lower risk of depression and have larger hippocampi in adulthood.

“These findings form the basis for the identification of new biomarkers for depressive phenotypes and strengthen the fact that our CYP2C19 depression mice model can be used to understand new mechanisms for the basis of depression and for preclinical screening of new drug candidates for anti-depressant effect, in particular for those that affect the serotonergic neurotransmission,” Magnus Ingelman-Sundberg concludes.

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