Walking on the moon – Gabriola Island

Instead of camping in the very wet rainforest on the west coast of Vancouver Island, I took my second camping trip of 2019 on beautiful Gabriola Island, one of the Gulf Islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland. The landscape was incredible, sandstone rock formations and erosions all over the beaches and a beautiful, dry forest to tent in.

I didn’t bring our new trailer because it hadn’t been safety inspected yet so I wasn’t going to drive it up-island to Nanaimo where I met my camping partner-in-crime and we caught the short ferry to Gabriola. Good news – the trailer checked out beautifully, all she needs is a new set of tires! We’ll get that done next week before our upcoming trip to Saltspring, another Gulf Island.

It really did feel like walking on the moon in some places.

Do you see the face in this photo? 😑

Unbelievable sunsets!

Of course, a wonderful visit with one of my dearest friends was the biggest highlight. I’m not sharing details about that though – the less said the better. I’ll just say we earned our camping battle scars. 🤕🤣 😏

I’ve decided to stop being a sugar cookie (you should listen to this if you haven’t yet) and push myself beyond the very careful parameters I’ve been living in since my diagnosis, out of anxiety of causing a flare or exacerbating symptoms. I’ve been reluctant to make plans, to put too many things on the schedule, always feeling the monster lurking in the background, waiting to attack.

Truth is? Since I’ve been pushing myself to get my butt out of bed in the morning despite the pain and fatigue, I’ve felt better and better. Once I get going, I’m distracted from the awful ache and I get focussed on getting things done. I tell myself to get out in the garden just for half an hour every day, to do some light weeding and pruning, seeding or harvesting. Almost always I end up out there for at least a couple of hours, getting steps in, bending, stretching, reaching and using this body of mine. It may be a tad defective, but it still works! Use it or lose it, right?

I may have overdone things by going on three rides at the fair with our youngest – the monster didn’t like that and symptoms have creeped in again. Whatever. So worth it.

Like Nike says – just do it.

❤️ Amanda


Happy Easter: Is the Easter Bunny Real?

True story. An overheard conversation between two little girls in the dark of a theatre, entranced by the magic of Willy Wonka, the Musical, the night before Easter.

Do you do an Easter egg hunt?

Of course, don’t you?

Yes but — do you believe in the Easter Bunny?

Well no, that’s not the way it works.

Uh oh.

You mean the Easter Bunny’s not Real?

No, it would be impossible for just one bunny to do it. It’s not one bunny, it’s ALL the bunnies.

A moment of silence.

That makes sense. Of course it has to be all the bunnies, they all do it. They’re all the Easter Bunny.

Problem solved.

Four Seasons Musical Theatre – Willy Wonka

Our girls as Candy Kid and Oompa Loompa

Happy Easter everyone!!!

❤️ Amanda

chronic illness, life, mental health, MS

Happy New Year: sponsored by gnomes, ogres and a wise ass

Here we are at the beginning of another year. 2018 was supposed to be a stellar year for me because of my birthday magic – I turned 48 on 8/8/18. Bought my 8 lottery tickets and everything but alas, no millions here. Overall, it was a great year, though.

I have so much to celebrate and be grateful for, the most important of all being the health, happiness and success of my three children. They continually boggle my mind with their kindness, insight and focus on developing their individual talents. Pride in one’s children is the best gift of all.

I took a Hiatus for the Holidays, hoping the creative genies would reappear but instead those nasty black gnomes of depression showed up again. Not until Boxing Day at least, so I enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with my family. But they showed up with a vengeance, planting their little fish hooks all over me and pulling me down into their abyss.

Depression is a vicious predator. It doesn’t just affect the person suffering but emanates throughout a household. You can ‘fake it til you make it’ as much as you wish but everyone feels the cloud. Then, of course, you can add depression’s nasty cousin, guilt, to the mix as well.

Even knowing intellectually that the depression is either hormonal (perimenopause is a freaking blast, isn’t it? If I tear up at one more stupid commercial…😭🙄) or MS-related, thereby completely out of my control, doesn’t alleviate the guilt.

However, brooding on either isn’t going to help anything. So, I’m allowing myself the space to feel whatever I’m going to feel and trying to keep to myself as much as possible, without being a total hermit. I do one thing a day to feel productive, and call it good.

Depression, grief, mental health

One day, one minute at a time

The black gnomes of depression

pierce me all over

Their fish hooks tug me down

Snarling and giggling gleefully

with the ogres of fatigue

Pulling from the depths

with their leaden anchors

They all swirl together toward

The dark pit in the centre

Nauseating boiling ice

Numbing everything

But despair and guilt

Waking me in the night

Marrying the pain

The soles of my feet peeled like carrots

The tops shrieking, spasming

The ankles stabbing

Praying for sleep

Praying for release

Praying for me

I’m still struggling but I’m thinking of the parable of the mule in the well that I read the other day. Hmmm…should I be worried that I’m relating to a jackass? 😜 This article from Patch does a much better job of telling it than I can right now.

Shake it off and step up : THE WISE OLD MULE – An Inspiring Parable That Can Improve Your Life!

Shake it off and step upThe Mule in the Well parable – Shake it off and step up

I hope 2019 has gotten off to great start for you. If not, take those small steps up out of the darkness every day. It may not feel like it, but things will get better if you keep fighting the fight.

I send you all my best wishes for a happy, healthy and pain-free new year.

❤️ Amanda

Other mental health posts I’ve written:

Not so sunshiny days- Depression and awareness

Anxiety : Depression’s partner-in-crime

Pain and anxiety

life, mental health

Hiatus for the holidays

It’s December!! I hope this time of year brings you peace, hope and happiness.

The holidays can be difficult and even traumatic for many people. If you struggle to find the joy in the season, my wish for you is that you can find some small joy in each day, and take it one day at a time.

Often the best way to help yourself is in helping someone else. That doesn’t have to mean financially or even physically. A smile or a helping hand, a kind comment on social media, tiny acts of kindness can have massive positive repercussions.

Ultimately, I wish for everyone to stay focussed on the feelings of love, peace, and kindness and let those infuse the public – and private – spaces as we near the big day, rather than turn into harried balls of stress (haha-see what I did there?) Don’t be a hairy scrotum.

I’m late in posting this week and wasn’t even going to bother. I’m feeling a bit drained creatively after NaNoWriMo. I won – yay! I need to take this time to enjoy all the things I love about this season, without feeling stressed about blogging. So unless the blogging fairies crack me on the head with inspiration, this will be my last post until 2019. I’ll still be reading posts though!

My very best wishes to everyone through the holiday season. May the new year bring health, happiness, laughter and love to your lives.

Lots of love,

❤️ Amanda