Toxic relationships have always hit close to home for me. I grew up in a loving household, but once my adoptive mother passed away, the tune changed. For the eight years that followed afterward, I noticed my old self-starting to fade away; I was becoming a shell of a person that I once knew. I decided to take action and leave that atmosphere once I was of age. However, I felt lost. Instead of figuring out how to love myself again I jumped into a serious relationship thinking that would solve the problem.
It was a whirlwind of infatuation, and I was drunk. When the honeymoon stage started to fade, the toxicity started to creep up. I kept telling myself that no relationship is perfect, but the fighting and masking kept happening. Everyone who shared moments in our lives was none the wiser; this mostly happened between closed doors. My partner manipulated me into thinking that I was unhinged and I started to question my sanity. I was the one who was getting hurt yet he made me believe it was my fault.
I was there for him; I supported him. I was good to him.
When he brought up the conversation of parting ways (third time in over five years), I accepted. I felt drained, and I couldn’t keep apologizing for moments that were not my fault.
If this sounds familiar to you, I want you to take a step back. Are you making this person a priority when you’re not one? I didn’t realize how toxic our relationship was until after the fact.
I became depressed. I stopped eating. I didn’t know who I was anymore.
After a couple of weeks of wallowing, I knew that I had to do something about it – I couldn’t rely on someone else for my happiness. The only issue was how was I going to learn to love myself after being berated for so long?
None of this will work if you continue to hold onto the past. Don’t feel like you can jump into this, either. I’m still navigating on my route of self-love, but I can thank my change in atmosphere. Leaving all of that behind really did make my transition to being happier easier.
If you’re unsure about toxicity – please read my post “It’s not you; it’s them”
Toronto has experienced a tragedy. Yesterday, a man decided to drive up on a sidewalk and hit walking pedestrians who were going about their everyday life. My heart aches for the families who were affected by this senseless attack. This type of distress can cause shock to anyone surrounding the area, and I wanted to write up this emergency post for people who need to reach out.
First and foremost, I want to reiterate that it’s normal to feel scared after something like this hits close to home. Do not avoid these feelings. Anxiety can easily overwhelm most people – do not feel defeated if you feel this way. It’s very important to talk about how you feel with someone even if you weren’t directly related to it. It’s so easy for us to close up when tragedy strikes but I urge you to reach out to a professional if you think you cannot cope with it on your own.
Toronto never ceases to amaze me, the outpour of support is almost palpable, and I want to make sure all of this information is available:
The following helplines are also available:
Toronto Distress Centre: 416-408-4357
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
Gerstein Centre: 416-929-5200
Victim Services Toronto: 416-808-7066
The PARO 24 Hour Helpline: 1-866-435-7362
LGBT Youth Line: 1-800-268-9688
Back in February my Mother-in-Law notified me about a short story contest that The Star was holding. She likes to cut out articles for my husband and I whenever something catches her eye – I think it’s adorable. When she handed me the small advertisement, I checked the deadline and realized I only had two weeks to submit something. Cue my anxious thoughts:
You don’t have any ideas on what to write about, you won’t get it done on time, and nothing you write is good enough
I sat in front of my computer for a good couple of hours letting these thoughts wash over me, and I was slowly starting to agree with all of them. Acknowledging this fact, I knew that I had to do something about it.
What’s the worst that can happen? I don’t win? At least I can say I TRIED
So, the next day I started to form a character in my head. I kept a notepad close by to jot down a couple of notes and by the end of the day I had a solid story – in my eyes, at least. The turnaround time took roughly a week to complete, and I was quite proud of how quickly I was able to bang it out. I circulated it throughout my office to gain some feedback, and I got nothing but praise. My spirits were elevated, but that didn’t mean my anxiety wasn’t knocking on my back door.
Since I was cutting close to the deadline, the plan was to drive to their head office and drop it off personally. My ears were throbbing with my heartbeat the entire ride down. I lost grip once on my steering wheel from the excessive sweat exuding from my palms. I missed my turn and had to circle the office at least twice before landing a parking spot two blocks down. Once I turned my car off, I just sat in silence for two minutes. My breath was rigid, and I needed to calm myself down.
You’re only dropping off your story, Andrea. A decision won’t happen for over a month. You’ll be OK.
Once I was calm, I entered the lobby of and placed my entry in the provided box. It was officially too late to back out. I walked out of that building with a little more confidence. Weeks went by, and the official date of being notified came and went – I was not selected.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t overly upset about it. I was happier with the fact that I gained the confidence to push through my anxiety and draft up a short story. I hope this new found confidence can help me push through other anxious scenarios!
Click here to read The Lottery
Roughly five years ago my then supervisor sent an e-mail to our team with an MBTI test. For those of you who are not aware, MBTI is Myers-Briggs. It was defined by a mother-daughter team based off of Carl Jung’s theory that humans experience the world with four functions: sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking.
I was always fascinated with these types of tests, so I dove right into the questionnaire. After answering all of my answers honestly, I was given four letters: INFJ
I = Introversion (preferred to extraversion)
N = Intuition (preferred to sensing)
F = Feeling (preferred to thinking)
J = Judging (preferred to perception)
A lot of my co-workers came back with EXXX types of personalities but I was quite similar to my supervisor, and that made me quite thankful to know I wasn’t the only introvert in the office. The test came with a comprehensive assessment, and I was blown away by it all. I felt as if I was being described perfectly about how I handle situations.
So what does it mean being an INFJ? I can get exhausted and overstimulated from social interactions and prefer interacting with a handful of people or alone with a book. I am very open-minded, imaginative and curious which can be an asset when looking at the bigger picture. I am sensitive and have a lot of empathy which makes my competitive nature almost non-existent. I have no spontaneity whatsoever – I prefer predictability, structure and am quite organized. Some negatives include; being self-conscious and sensitivity to stress. I experience a wide range of emotions and call myself a “Monica” because of my perfectionistic drive.
I was hooked, this test gave me so much clarity! When I got home later that evening, I tried to soak up as much information as I could. If this summary was completely on point, there must be MORE information that I can gather to make sense of myself.
Guess what? Anxiety ties into INFJ just like PB&J – for years I was led to believe that my personality was “wrong” and always had self-doubt creeping in the back of my mind. Now that I was down a path to learn more about my perception I started to love myself in whole other light. All of those negative opinions of me being “too emotional,” “a loner,” “not trying” seemed to wash over me. If Mother Teresa was an INFJ, it can’t be all that bad!
It’s not even 9 am and I’m already having a case of the Mondays.
Last night before I was heading to bed my husband went into a slight panic attack. Nothing to worry about – I was able to calm him down from a ten to a six within minutes. The only downside to this issue is that I’m an empath.
What the heck is an empath, Andrea?!
So glad you asked! Being an empath means that you can feel others’ energies. The number one trait of an empath is to feel/sense their emotions whether it be physical, spiritual, etc. In layman’s terms – you are an emotional sponge. Being able to process other people’s feelings and energies means that I can sometimes take on what their feeling: sad, anger or in this case, anxiety.
While I was quite eager to help calm down my husband I knew there would be a possibility of his anxiety rubbing off on me, and boy did it hit me hard. I wasn’t able to fully calm myself down until 3 am this morning, and even then I was in and out of sleep till my alarm went off at 7 am.
Fatigue is a big symptom associated with empaths, and I’ve grown quite accustomed to it at this point.
I still pushed on with my morning.
I scheduled an oil change for 8 am and what is a 45-minute appointment (usually) will now turn into a longer wait due to customer backlog. What’s the point of making an appointment? SIGH More people are showing up in the lobby – even though I am in the corner writing this up, I can still touch on the majority of the emotions in this room: tiredness (PREACH) and annoyance.
Being an empath can be a blessing and a curse – I’ll delve more into this later. Due to my environment today I’m letting it affect me more negatively. So, I’m having a case of the Mondays.
Think you might be an empath? Take this quiz to find out:
I’m celebrating my two year wedding anniversary today!
My husband and I have been together for roughly seven years, and our relationship is far from ‘normal.’ We met under some weird circumstances – if you’d like to hear the full story, you can go here for a Drunk History re-enactment (Thank you wedding party!)
When we first met, I pushed my husband to pursue his dream of being a sound recordist for television/film. Even though I knew that this switch would be hard and frustrating, I wasn’t entirely prepared for what was to come. Not having a steady paycheck meant that I needed to compromise and go back into the corporate world and retire my makeup brushes. I wasn’t overly upset about this, freelancing was almost a joke in my field, and you were swimming in a full pool. What caught me off guard was the conflict in schedules.
My husband takes pride in his field, works hard and submits to crazy hours. We don’t get the average quality time that most couples do – in fact, most of my mornings are spent alone as he sleeps off his 12 hour day. During his busy season, I will be lucky to spend a full day with him.
These work hours have not only affected our relationship but has cost him friendships and family time. In the beginning stages of our relationship, this was hard for me to grasp. My anxiety got the best of me, and I started to have doubts, and my fear of abandonment went full throttle – you know what did help? Knowing that we were both never going to give up on each other. He was always there to reassure me and never left my side, even when I couldn’t see past my emotions at that moment.
After years of going through the motions and reading all the relationship advice I could get, I can proudly say that my husband works like this so he can be successful and make our dreams come true. It’s not the fact that he enjoys no quality time and working long hours, he does this because he loves our home and would do anything to make us happy. I’m guilty of not seeing this in the beginning – I’m guilty of not praising him the way that he deserves.
Today I want to acknowledge my husband for all of the hard work and perseverance that he has shown me over the years. I beam with pride whenever I think of his career and how far he’s come in this short amount of time. I respect his work ethic, his intelligence, and his core values. I am thankful for his emotional strength during the lows and his sense of humor during the highs. For better or worse, I am honored to call you my husband.