Comparison is the death of joy.

“Comparison is the death of joy” – Mark Twain.  I came across this quote in Jenny Lawson’s book “Furiously Happy.”  Her book chronicles her struggles with mental illness and I HIGHLY recommend.  It had me laughing out loud and reading excerpts to anyone who would listen. I wrote this on my mirror to remind myself not to compare myself to others.  Most days it’s very helpful.  I look at my body and am starting to be happy with my curves.  I try not to envy to my peers who are having babies, getting married and excelling at their careers.  But there is one person I can’t quite seem to stop comparing myself to – my sister, Tara.

My sister is one of the closest people I have in my life.  We tell each other everything, talk almost everyday and I’m excited to say I will be her Maid of Honour.  However, she is extremely successful.  Like, annoyingly so.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (in Psychology) and by chance found a job at a non-profit organization.  Being her amazing self she quickly excelled in this job and soon became second in charge. She was even being groomed to take over the top position.  She has won numerous awards including Young Humanitarian of the Year (NB) and is a leading public speaker and representative for her area of work.  Did I mention her work is as an advocate for people with disabilities?  She writes policy and has even been to the supreme court to represent these people.  This was all with just a BA!  Due to circumstances she moved and took on a new job as National Director of Policy and Program Operations.  That’s right, director.  In addition, she received her Master’s Degree while working full-time.  And she has an amazing fiancee and is very well-off and travels the world.

While I am extremely proud of my sister it is a hard act to follow.  I have two degrees and work at a grocery store in the evenings and supply teach during the day.  I would love to have a full-time job as a teacher but sadly there are not many jobs in this field right now.  I think about what she was doing at my age.  I’m sure she was working her way up the ladder at one of her jobs.

Is it second child syndrome?  Is the first child always the one that is more successful?  Will I get there some day?  I can’t help but think I will never live up to her success and that my parents are comparing.

I can’t help but think of when I was in high school and my sister thought I was so cool.  I would tell her all the latest music to listen to and all the trends.  Now I feel like she looks at me with pity.  I know because of my mental illness she feels like she has to tiptoe around me at times.  I even get the feeling she doesn’t think I’m smart, as if there couldn’t possibly be something I would know that she doesn’t.

I’m not really sure how to conclude this post.  I will say that I am getting better at not comparing myself to other people (their bodies, their clothes, their happiness) but this is one comparison I can’t shake.  I hope that some day I can look back and say I beat it.  I hope I can say I am successful in my own right.  Most of all I hope my sister will be proud of me, what I accomplish and even look to me for answers.

xo Kayla

tbkb
Tara and I after I threw her a Breakfast at Tiffany’s themed Bridal Shower 🙂

Sam loves eggs & olives

I thought I would share a little about what my depression feels like.  I know the common symptoms for most people with this illness are feelings of despair, lethargy, and unexplained sadness.  I feel all of these on one of my “off-days” as well as other things depending on the day.

One of my most recent bouts of depression included something I had never encountered. My head literally hurt.  My brain hurt.  I described it to Mats as a monster in my head trying to get out.  There were no voices, no thoughts really.  Just this intense feeling of something that needed to escape from my mind but had no way out.  Most other times I have a similar feeling in my chest which is largely in part due to the anxiety that accompanies my depression.  I usually have spurts of crying where I curl up in a ball and wait for the moment to pass.  This usually leaves me feeling drained and defeated.  Most times I’m too scared to tell Mats my thoughts during these “episodes.”  I usually think about death and whether life is worth living.  I think about my life and whether or not I’m doing anything worthwhile.  I also think about if anyone would actually miss me if I decided to leave the pain behind and move on.  The last thought usually clears my mind.  I want to get better.  I want to accomplish things.  It’s just that in that moment life seems so hard.

Mats is so helpful when I’m having a difficult time.  He holds me and tells me he loves me.  He tells me he is always here for me.  I get worried that he’ll grow tired of me because I feel like I’m a lot to deal with.  He promises me he’ll stick around and that “he would have left by now!” If I’m lucky he’ll take me out for a treat like ice cream or a burger hehe.

Some things I do to fend off the sadness are: reading, working out, going for bike rides, watching funny videos, staring at my cats, and taking baths.

I’m hoping it will get better.  It’s hard to think of a future where I don’t have depression but I think I’ll get there.

PS.  Sam loves eggs, boiled, scrambled, fried,  you name it.  He also diessss for olives.  First he licks the salt off the olive and then scrumptiously devours the rest.

100 Famous Depressives

A Listful of Horrors

Exactly what it says on the tin 

100 Famous People Who Experience(d) Depression

  1. Douglas Adams (writer)

  2. Hans Christian Andersen (writer)

  3. Adam Ant (musician)

  4. Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin (astronaut)

  5. Woody Allen (film director, comedian)

  6. Tom Baker (actor)

  7. Roseanne Barr (comedienne, TV personality)

  8. Ludwig van Beethoven (composer)

  9. Charles Baudelaire (poet)

  10. Ingmar Bergman (film director)

  11. William Blake (painter, poet, mystic)

  12. Sally Brampton (editor, writer)

  13. Marlon Brando (actor)

  14. Frank Bruno (boxer)

  15. Alastair Campbell (journalist)

  16. Jim Carey (actor)

  17. Clark Carlisle (sportsman)

  18. Winston Churchill (statesman)

  19. Eric Clapton (musician)

  20. Kurt Cobain (musician)

  21. Leonard Cohen (poet, musician)

  22. Joseph Conrad (writer)

  23. Calvin Coolidge (statesman)

  24. Billy Corgan (musician)

  25. Sheryl Crow (musician)

  26. Robert Crumb (cartoonist)

  27. Ian Curtis (musician)

  28. Charles Darwin (scientist)

  29. Diana, Princess of Wales (aristocrat)

  30. Charles Dickens (writer)

  31. Emily Dickinson (poet)

  32. Nick Drake (musician)

  33. Richey Edwards (musician)

  34. Carrie Fisher (actress)

  35. F Scott Fitzgerald (writer)

  36. Andrew Flintoff (sportsman)

  37. Harrison Ford (actor)

  38. Michel Foulcalt (philosopher)

  39. Stephen Fry (actor, TV personality)

  40. Paul Gaughin (artist)

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Meet the kids

Having cats really helps with my depression.  I have a little buddy by my side whenever I feel lonely.   Sam even runs to the door when I come home.  Here is a little about my furbabies.

Sam is my first adopted baby.  I adopted him from the SPCA when he was 1 and a half years old.  He is now the ripe old age of 3.  His history isn’t clear but I know when he was brought in he had frost bite and respiratory infections.  Breaks my heart.  Sam loves to eat.  Just like his mama he has some food issues.  Whenever anyone walks by his dish he must run over and eat a little bit.  He also used to mark the floor around his dish as if to say “this is my territory, man.”  But he’s a happy, chubby guy now and loves neck scratches and trying to go outside.  (Why Sam? Why do you want to go back out there???)

Stevie came to us by accident.  I had came home from the gym and heard the saddest cries of a kitten down the hall.  I went to investigate and found this tiny little baby in the laundry room of our apartment.  She was soaking wet and covered with fleas but smelled great, as if someone had been trying to wash her.  I knocked on every one of the 26 doors in our apartment complex.  Some answered and said no, some weren’t home, and strangely enough some didn’t answer their door.  I posted on social media and put up signs.  No one came to claim this adorable 4 month kitten.  At first I didn’t think we could keep her.  It was expensive to have two cats and caused even more clean up. We contacted CARMA (Cat Rescue Maritimes) a cat rescue association and offered to foster her until an owner was found.  The representative could tell we were unsure if we wanted to give her away and said she would contact us in a week to hear our decision.  From the start Mats wanted to keep her. His exact words when I texted him were “OMG you found a kitten!!! I’m almost home!!” I gave in pretty easily and after about two days we called to say we would keep her.  She is named after one bad-ass chick, Stevie Nicks, and boy does she embody that female power.She’s bossy, sassy and spunky and to whomever abandoned her, shame on you.

I would also like to brag that I have never heard my cats hiss or try to scratch or bite anyone. They are so kind-hearted and bring me so much needed happiness.

 

 

 

 

Stevie loves hair ties

My first post. Where to begin? The beginning is always a good place…

I’m uncertain of the exact timing but I believe my depression and anxiety started during my second year of university.  It was probably triggered by a long-distance relationship with a now ex-boyfriend.  We had met during our first year at university but he went home in our second year due to his failing grades and the cost of international tuition.  The ex was from South America and during my visits to his country I was left feeling inadequate. The girls there were so exotic, beautiful, confident and thin.  They seemed to all be from rich families.  I never felt like I would fit in.  I come from a middle-class, Canadian, small town family and I had always dressed nice but had never been too concerned.  The language barrier didn’t help. I started feeling extremely self-conscious.

Although this relationship encouraged my food obsession it was not the start of my food issues.  They stemmed back to high school when I had a boyfriend who told me to go jogging when he felt I started looking a little chubby.  I was 94lbs and 5’0.  Looking back I know there was no part of me that could have lost weight.  Yet I skipped lunches and at dinner would push my food around on my plate.  After taking a few bites I would say I was done and my dad would laugh and say I ate like a budgie bird.  I didn’t recognize a problem and neither did anyone else.

This continued into university.  It was easier to hide my food issues as I made my own meals and eating times.  I continued to compare myself to others.  My best friends at the time were tall and slim.  One was a ballerina.  All the boys drooled over them.  Then the anxiety started.

Walking onto the bus or into the cafeteria were panic inducing moments.  I felt like all eyes were on me; I would even enter different doors to the cafeteria to minimize the amount of people who could possibly see me.  I would also cry at the silliest things.  Every Ellen episode where she would give money to a family in need; even a Tim Horton’s commercial where the daughter was away from home and has a coffee with her father.  My reactions weren’t normal for the situation.

My mom convinced me to seek help so I went to  the health clinic on campus.  Over time, with a psychologist, we worked through my eating issues. I know now that regulating my eating was a way I sought control in my life.  I broke up with that ex, which was very helpful.  I felt it was easier to be myself when I wasn’t comparing myself to beautiful brunette Latinas. I even gained about 20 lbs because I was finally in a stable and fulfilling relationship. I was also able to get over most of my anxiety.  However, the depression persisted.

I have been on medication for depression for 5 years now.  It was a tough road as at first as I was in denial. I would take the pills some days and then stop for weeks.  This would make me have break-downs.  I would hurt myself and cry constantly.  It took a promise to my best friend to start taking my meds everyday.  Since then I’ve had off days, mostly triggered by stressful times, but I have felt more myself.  I’m still struggling almost everyday to find the little happinesses that make life worthwhile but I believe it’s getting better.

That’s basically the very short history of my condition.  I’ve left out a lot.  And I mean A LOT.  But I’m hoping to share more in my future posts. 🙂

PS. My youngest cat, Stevie, loves hair elastics.  The only time she meows is when she wants you to kick around a hair tie so she can chase after it.  It’s adorable.  And annoying that she doesn’t play with any of the toys we’ve purchased.

❤ Kayla