Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Talking about Teen Suicide

In the Jan-Feb 2012 edition of Backpack Magazine, I have an article about talking to your teens about suicide. It's on p. 25. This article was one of the hardest things I ever wrote, and I'm really proud of it. One of my friends had the courage to tell her story. We were friends when she attempted suicide, and I had no idea she was considering it until she did.

Secondly, when I was 17. I was suicidal myself. I tried swallowing a bunch of pills, but my stomach rebelled. It gets better. It's hard to see that when you're mired in despair, but it gets better.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy New Year!

It's a new year, and time to take stock. Since I just finished reading Gretchen Rubin's "The Happiness Project" (a book I highly recommend), my stock-taking has been inspired by some of the suggestions from Rubin.

Many of Rubin's points resonated with me, but one in particular was implemented at once. "Do anything that takes less than a minute to do." You know, things like file the paper, hang the coat in the closet, put something away in the cupboard instead of leaving it on the counter-all those niggling little jobs that can add up to a big pile of stuff on the kitchen table, the stairs or the counter. It has also proved to be a way of dealing with little annoyances-instead of complaining about leaving something on the counter, we now  "Request the 1 minute rule." Recycling now gets placed directly into the blue bin rather than left on the counter, Keurig pods are no longer left on the counter in front of the machine, and junk mail is dealt with immediately. Coats are hung up, mitts are put in the cupboard and cupboard doors and drawers are closed.

I've been taking care of everyone else lately, to the detriment of my own health and well-being. I have now started to fit in joy-writing every day, I'm finding time for things that rejuvenate my spirit, even if it's 10 minutes of knitting and watching junk television while my sub-conscious works away on the next task. I need to read at the end of the day-it turns off my head and relaxes me. If I need to go to bed 20 minutes early to accomplish that, so be it.  I'm also going to make sure my Playbook is always fully charged so that I can access Kobo when I'm waiting. My daughter may have to make do with Angry Birds on the iPod. Mommy is reading.

I've started running a laundry list of things I'm grateful for at the end of the day as I'm preparing for bed. Instead of thinking about everything that didn't get done, or needs to be done the next day, I spend a few moments reflecting on the good things in my life, even if it's for something as mundane as books, flannel jammies and a purring cat in a warm house with food and water. Reflecting on the positive helps keep the negative goonies at bay.

Here are some other things I want to be better at in 2012, in no particular order:

Don't be afraid to ask for help.  I will help anyone who asks, but I've always taken care of my own problems, thank you. A wise friend of mine once pointed out that by refusing to ask for help, I was depriving people of the opportunity to return the favour. I need to be more aware of that this year.

Sometimes it's okay to be selfish. Moms will get this. Sometimes, you just need to run away and do something completely selfish that is just for you. Earlier this year, I ran away to Stratford for an entire, glorious day and evening. I went to two of my favorite musicals by nyself, took myself out for dinner and came back restored, having fed my soul for a day.  

Cut myself the same slack I give others. I'm really demanding of myself. I'm much more forgiving of others' mistakes. I need to cut myself some slack.

The world will not end if I say no to commitments.  I juggle a lot of hats and a lot of responsibilities. This year, I need to be more judicious about choosing what I add on to an already full plate. The world will not end if I make rice krispies squares instead of sugar cookies to send with the kid for school. (I am not willing to push the limit so far that I actually BUY something rather than bake something. Not this year, anyway. )

So what are your promises to yourself for 2012?