Fighting SADS

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I’ve discussed this with a few people on Twitter, but this year, I’ve been having a huge case of SADS (Seasonal Affective Disorder) aka winter blues. Some days, I wake up and don’t feel myself, I feel upset even though there’s nothing particular to be upset about.

Sometimes I feel like I really need to stay home and eat an entire bag of chips or two. Staying in suddenly seems more appealing than going out (to concerts which I love). But this sometimes leads to missing out on things which in turn leads to me feeling more depressed.

I found that the mood I wake up in generally dictates how I will feel for the rest of the day. I’ve been waking up a little earlier to make myself a coffee before heading to work. A relaxed mood on the commute (rather than a rushed one) really helps me to maintain sane for the rest of the day.

I’ve also pushed myself a little harder to go out. There are merits to staying in and doing hobbies I love too, but if I had previously planned to go see a show, I will make myself follow through on that plan. Oftentimes I feel like I don’t want to be there, but once I am, I never regret it. Having things to keep me busy keeps me from wallowing in SADS. This method may not work for everyone (or anyone else), but it works for me.

Have you been experiencing SADS? I’d love to know what you do to stay sane this winter.

One Day is Better Than None

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Whether  the corporate aspect of it bothers you or not, #BellLetsTalk day is an important one. For readers that are not Canadian, it’s a day where Bell donates 5 cents to mental health initiatives every time someone uses the hashtag. Started in January of 2011, it has become an important day also for generating conversations about mental health.

Some criticize the movement for not extending to the other 364 days of the year. However, I still think it is important. One day of the year in reflection is greater than none. Plus, it’s the responsibility of everyone to continue breaking the stigmas on mental health, not just an organization.

I vlogged last year about my own experiences with battling mental health. I still struggle with it at times but ever since social media movements like this, I was more eager to speak up. I didn’t feel like a loser. I have friends that had their own experiences and shared them in a zine.

One day is better than none. One day is a start. Today somebody could find a story that they can relate to that can change their life. So keep your damn anti-capitalist opinions to yourself.

Allow Yourself To Do Nothing

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I’ve always been the type of person to keep busy. Even when I was watching a TV, I needed to be reading articles on the internet, drawing, learning how to code, blogging or whatever. I couldn’t justify simply doing the recreational thing without being busy with something I deemed “productive”. In my head I felt like I was wasting my life if I took that extra hour of sleep, nap, caught up on Youtube  or even hang out with friends.

Ever since I got a full-time job these priorities changed. I still struggled with the need to “keep productive”, this time with more of a focus on reading a book or writing the blog posts that keep all my sites updated. I now have less time than ever to do any of those things and being able to prioritize has been a challenge.

However, I let myself turn-off the brain when I’m exhausted. An extra hour of sleep, hanging out with friends or letting myself relax and play video games does wonders for the amount of things I can get done the next day (including write this blog post). We live in an age where “being busy” is addictive and seems trendy but it’s important to know when to just kick back once in a while.

#BellLetsTalk

Today in Canada, it is Mental Health Awareness Day. Every call, text, and tweet with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk will contribute 5 cents towards mental health initiatives in Canada. Let’s end the negative stigma surrounding mental health, it’s not something that just happens to outcasts or weird people. Friends and family can go through the same thing and being open to the conversation can be a life-changer.

I filmed a Vlog to be a part of the conversation and to let people know that they are not alone.

The Only Things I Remember From Having Leukemia

It wasn’t until I was around 20 that I learnt why I was sick when I was around 4. Growing up I just periodically had to go to Sick Kids for checkups every year and I just assumed it was a regular routine thing for a growing child. I’m completely healthy now, whatever strain of leukemia I had (I’m still somewhat unclear on all the details), it was curable. Doctor visits have become much less frequent and trying to recall the events of back then is actually rather difficult. Here are some things I do remember:

I remember my doctor’s name was Dr. Freeman. Other than that, I don’t remember what he looks like. Every time I try to picture him I get the image of Colonel Sanders from Kentucky Fried Chicken. Maybe that is what he looked like.

COLONEL SANDERS

I remember ALF came to visit me in the hospital and it was fuckin’ frightening for a 4 year old. Also I’m pretty sure I still have the pogs he gave me.
alfI remember playing with a kitchen set. It was yellow, and I loved pretending to cook pretend food.

I remember wearing a weird fanny pack for a while when I was out of the hospital. It made me feel like a robot. Around the same time my parents also threw out all the microwaves and we weren’t allowed to have them until 10 years later.

I remember making friends with a girl name Sarah. She had down syndrome. I wonder where she is now and how she is doing.

What I don’t  remember is what it felt like to be sick or how I got there. I don’t remember all the depressing parts of being sick. I have Sick Kids Hospital to thank for that.