When you’re fighting off depression, it’s hard to get a grasp on even the basic things that you need. When I go through my depressive states, the thing that I struggle with the most is fighting an impulse to overspend. It’s easy to look for material things to fill a void, however, even in my darkest hour, I tend to fight off that little voice that tells me “no” and just bounce right into getting an item that I don’t need.

I have a few examples that I think most of you can relate to:

#1 Culprit: Food

When I get depressed, food takes the first hit. I lack the energy to even think of what I want to eat, let alone get up to prepare and make it. Even though I will have all the things I need at home to make myself a decent (and also cheap!) meal, I will find solace in getting take out or junk food. Pizza is a good example here, I usually make a great homemade one on the weekends with my husband for roughly 8$, but if I’m in one of these states, you can see me spending at least 50$ on the same amount of food, delivery & tip. The worst part about this type of expenditures is that they make me feel worse, both physically and emotionally – yet, I continue to do it. It’s a vicious cycle.

#2 Hair & Makeup

I’ve gotten better at this section over the last few years, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll have a slip up once in a while. The thing that I do the most to make myself feel better is to change my appearance. Nothing drastic, a little trim, darker colour, new shade of lipstick, etc.
The only issue is, I don’t get these things cheap in the slightest. My hair alone will cost me roughly 200$ a pop whenever I decide to go to the salon, so, I’ve tried to keep this down to a minimum of once or twice a year. Back when I was struggling as a newcomer in Ontario, I would be in the salon every 2-3 months and watch my money disappear as I tried to find happiness in a hair colour. Being a retired makeup artist also has its problems, I always want the latest and greatest and try to validate my purchases every time I find the new trend. Even though I’m clearly out of business, I still find the need to be “in” with it and will pour my money into makeup that I will use maybe once and watch it dry out as the year goes on.

#3 Gifts for Others

Even when I have only 10$ in my account, my immediate thought will be “oh, maybe I should get something for my husband.” When I get gifts for other people, it’s because I think that their happiness will brush off on me and I’ll be equally as happy. The funny thing is, I never am. I can spend up to 200$ on a person, thinking that this tangible thing will make the both of us happy but it’s only a façade and will last maybe a day (or two, if I’m lucky)
I also include Donations in this category too, if someone needs 20$ or 50$ for a cause that they’re supporting, I try my best to donate as much as I can towards it, even if I don’t have the money. My thought process is, “but it’s for a good cause!” even though my bank account always hurts in the end.

Of course, these examples are more geared towards me, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t flood over into other impulse spends like a pair of designer shoes, another video game to add to the ever growing pile, etc. What I’m trying to get across is that you’re not alone in this. Don’t ignore these problems and please don’t feel shame in saying that you are struggling with your mental health OR your finances. Being in debt, broke or just overall unemployed can lead to a worse depression or even a meltdown, so taking steps to avoid being in this situation is key. It’s important to remember that there is always help around the corner.

The number one thing that I’ve done to help combat against my financial struggles is keeping a budget. I got my parents to help me with categorizing and also a spreadsheet from my local bank to help track where everything goes. I’m currently on my third year of doing this, and I have to admit how eye-opening it’s been – I still slip up from time to time, and I think that’s normal for anyone in my situation, however, I’m on the correct path and just knowing that helps aid in my depressive states.

If you’re still wondering how to overcome your Finances, check out my article from last year

I haven’t been posting as much as I’d like on here, but I know that my absence is in good faith. For the past three weeks, I’ve been on “high alert,” as I like to call it, due to circumstances out of my control.

As a person who has G.A.D, I usually find myself in this state when I’m in a new situation, a new (or triggering) environment or in the presence of others. Funnily enough, within three weeks, I was in all of these conditions, so I’m not surprised that my anxiety went through the roof. I’ve been so sensitive to my surroundings that my initial reaction was to just cocoon and let the world continue in the background, but I had responsibilities…

It started with my baby shower, and even though I was surrounded by people that love and support me, I was still anxious. I wish I could pinpoint WHY I felt this way but I can’t – my body just automatically felt like I was going to be in some danger, so I started showing physical symptoms (sweating & fast heart rate) even though there was nothing to worry over. I chalked it up to my pregnancy when others noticed, but I did confide in my husband and best friend.

The following weekend I had family obligations in Montreal. Montreal, for me, is a triggering environment since the majority of my trauma happened in this city. Luckily for me, I was only in town for a day, but that doesn’t negate the fact that my anxiety increased and fear set in. I was in the city to say goodbye to my beloved Grandmother who passed on earlier this year, so when I was becoming emotionally withdrawn, I was able to chalk this one up to my grievance. I saw family that I hadn’t seen in years, and even though it was nice to see them again, all I wanted to do was go back home.
As soon as we were on the road heading back to Toronto, a lot of my emotional and behavioural symptoms were subsiding, so I figured I would quickly feel better.

I didn’t immediately.

Now that I’m on my third week feeling like this, I started to look up my symptoms. It turns out, this is called “Hypervigilance” and is quite common for people with Anxiety, PTSD and Schizophrenia.

Here are some of the common triggers:

  • feeling trapped or claustrophobic
  • feeling abandoned
  • hearing loud noises (especially if they’re sudden or emotionally charged), which can include yelling, arguments, and sudden bangs
  • anticipating pain, fear, or judgment
  • feeling judged or unwelcome
  • feeling physical pain
  • feeling emotional distress
  • being reminded of past traumas
  • being around random, chaotic behaviours of others

so, what can you do if you find yourself in these situations?

  • I would talk to your doctor or therapist first so they can help with treatment. If you’re in a situation like me where you can’t take medication – the best thing you can do is be mindful.
  • Remember to take deep breaths (I have some breathing videos saved on my phone for these situations)
  • Before reacting to anything, pause and reflect. Taking this small step can help avoid any further issues or symptoms that you are feeling
  • Acknowledge how you feel NOW and remind yourself that you won’t feel this way forever.

I’m on the path to feeling better, but I think that everything is amplified due to my pregnancy.
I tried to take my mind off of things yesterday by organizing the nursery, but that just brought me into a hormonal cry over hanging up baby dresses next to my full-length ones. To be fair though, I’m crying over commercials that I see on T.V anyways!
I don’t have any more obligations to attend for the remainder of the month, so I’m hoping with this “time off” that I can recharge and get back to my old self.

It’s official! Burnout is now a legitimate medical diagnosis.

You have no idea how happy I am that this has been recognized by WHO – I experienced this first hand back in 2013/2014, I’m not ashamed to admit it. I was working long hours at a job for a boss who didn’t understand personal boundaries, and it affected everything surrounding me. My anxiety was at an all-time high, and even though I admitted to the burnout systems, I was unable to get adequately diagnosed from my doctor.

So, what is burnout?

  1. You have feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  2. You experience an increase in mental distance from your job, or you feel negative or cynical towards your job
  3. Your professional efficacy has been reduced

TLDR: Burn-out occurs when the demands of your job outweigh your recognition and relaxation.

Burnout has been in a blurry spotlight for a long time now; medical professionals need to rule out anxiety and mood disorders first before considering these symptoms. However, this is regarded as one of the most widely discussed mental health problem in our society today. I’m so thankful that this has now been reclassified as an occupational syndrome.

People who suffer from burn out feel as if their ambitions and goals are being trampled on, and they start to worry about different aspects if they quit such as financial impacts, psychological effects and physical ailments.
There’s been a study about the long-term health risks of continuing in this atmosphere – it’s shocking (but not surprising) to see that there’s a significant risk of coronary heart disease.  Not to mention, the psychological effects which can include insomnia & depression

If you feel as if you fall into this category, I cannot stress enough to go to your doctor. Many tools can help you – one that helped me drastically was going back into therapy. Even though I was depleted and angry that I needed to go, it made me realize that it was not MY fault for the way that I was feeling. I believe that it is possible to reverse the effects of burnout if you are willing to work on it.