It’s okay to not be

I’m mostly good. Most days I’m good. 

Some days I’m not. I’m really not. 

Today is one of those days. Today is too big for me. Today my world will consist of my bed and adjoining bathroom and not much else. And that’s okay.

People will be let down today. I made plans that I won’t keep today. Still okay.

Because not being okay is okay. The bad days are getting further and further apart. But they’re still there. And as much as I hate the depression and anxiety, there is some peace in it. Because this situation I know. Today I know what happens. There’s no unexpected. There’s nobody I need to impress. No social situations to read and respond to. And because I know it’s not staying. 

My first bad day after having some good days (I’d say after getting better – but um hello I’m still in bed) was terrifying. I pushed myself to get up, to do things, to be okay. And it led to more bad days. So now I take the bad days. And they are BAD. It’s not a restful day in bed. It’s not a recovery time. It’s too much emotion followed by no emotion followed by irrational thoughts. Bad days are exhausting. But they are become less frequent. 

So today I’m not okay. But it’s okay. 

Stupid Tin Mirrors

There’s this moment in detox, when you’re right at the bottom. When your physical pain is greater than you’ve ever experienced and the sense of hopelessness is so vast that you can’t imagine living another moment in it. Where you lay on the bathroom floor, after trying to break the bathroom mirror, only to discover it’s not glass, And you beg your roommate to just kill you, just to end it. But they don’t. Instead they carry you to your bed, they surround you with people who are just physically there, that you can see. And slowly your amazing body begins to heal itself, and with that physical healing comes some mental healing and the desperation slowly slips away. And the world REJOICES. And the world supports you, and the world is there to help take care of you and acknowledge the journey you’ve been through. And that’s exactly how it should be. Because we talk about addiction, we acknowledge addiction and we band together to fight addiction.

It’s not the same with depression. We don’t talk about it. We don’t celebrate the recovery the way we should. Those of you who have struggled with addiction can identify with the situation above, those of you who suffer from depression and anxiety understand the feelings above too. Those of us who have had to do both, or are slogging our way through both, congrats, we get a double dose.

I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for a long time, but the last 4 months have been the worst I’ve ever been. But they’re getting better. I know this because this morning- I got out of bed. I didn’t have a 20 minute negotiation with myself about why staying there in my safe warm bed was a better choice than facing the world. I didn’t set the series of 15 daily alarms that remind me when I HAVE to do something- like eat, or get Em ready. My life is dictated by these alarms. Today I just got out and my first thought was about what I MIGHT do today. This is huge. And tomorrow,
I may be back to alarms and negotiations (honestly I’m batting .50) but today, today is hope.

During treatment for depression, every doctor’s visit consists of a series of questions, the big scary one being “are you having suicidal thoughts?”. I’ve always been able to answer No. But I get it. My depression has only spent moments in the deep dark void of hopelessness and pain. My friends and family keep me from spending too much time down there because they’re always showing up and lifting me out. But it’s dark and scary down there. I know that anyone who is stuck down there and can’t get out- I know why they kill themselves.

Depression and anxiety are very personal, much like detox. No two experiences are the same. I’m going to go ahead and tell you about my depression because today I can. Today it doesn’t feel shameful. It’s doesn’t feel scary. Today this space feels safe. Today you all feel safe.

My depression is physically painful. We’ve all seen those commercials that claim “depression hurts”. (Or perhaps PVR has prevented you seeing them). It’s true. It hurts. My depression is aches and pains. It feels like my body takes commands from my mind. On days where the negotiations are long, but I end up out of bed, my body does everything in its power to let me know that was a bad decision. I ache,
I fall when my legs give out from pain, and I move in slow motion.

My depression is angry. Now piled on top of my depression is loss. The last 6 weeks have consisted of 3 deaths (two quite unexpected), a brain aneurysm and a broken foot. I don’t even bother with the denial stage of grief. I just dig my feet in at Anger. And I know that it’s a part of grieving. But my depression gives that anger power.
It lets that anger consume me.

My depression is typical. Those who don’t know me well, will likely read this with a little shock. My depression is sneaky. It knows that it’s not socially acceptable. So when I leave this house, my depression flutters away for a moment. Really it just burrows its way deeper. But I look normal, I talk normally, I interact mostly normally. But then I go home and get punished by my depression. It’s why it’s easier to stay home. Also why it’s so important that I don’t. Depression is a liar.

My depression is mine. It has nothing to do with you. The worst thing you can do is give it power. I don’t need to talk about it all the time (I have a counsellor for that). I don’t need to be treated with caution. In fact it’s opposite. I NEED to hear about your world and your problems. I need to be able to support you in your struggles. Thank you friends for sharing your problems regardless of whether mine are “bigger” or “harder”. I’ve blogged about it before, but HARD is NOT relative. HARD is HARD. My hard, your hard. All hard.

My depression is real and it is fake. Those of you who have depression get this statement. Those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, I’ll try to explain it to you. Likely poorly- but I’ll try. Okay. I lied. I have no idea how to explain it.

My depression is medicated. Thank fucking God. The pills don’t make me feel better- if they did then I wouldn’t be getting better, the pills would be doing the work. That’s no good. I need to do the work. What the pills do is repair the stress receptors that I’ve burned away by refusing to take time when I needed it before. When I’ve “been strong and carried on”. When I’ve denied myself the time I needed and deserved. Eventually I won’t need the pills. Now I do.

My depression deserves time. When I first took time off work, I was struggling with depression and my reproductive system was in full revolt. When people asked, it was easy to just say it was the health issues. But then I needed more time and more time, more than any uterus would need. And then I had to admit that it wasn’t the health issues anymore. And it DID feel shameful. It felt like weakness. BUT you people- you people consistently congratulated me on taking time off, on trying to take care of myself. You celebrated my recovery.

The world is changing in regards to mental health. It’s still got a long way to go. But it’s come a long way too.

And those of you who are struggling with it- fight on friends. The world needs you.

Inclusion is out.

I totally titled that to make your head spin and think – what the hell Sharon – Imma gonna beat you. But it’s not what you think. Read on.

So Emily is kind of a big deal – really the biggest deal. And for years and years and years I’ve made sure Emily knows that I want her to be happy and healthy with whomever she loves. I’ve been sure to use inclusive language:

“When you get married your wife or husband is going to be the luckiest girl/guy in the world. I can’t wait to meet him/her!”

“So do you have any crushes? Any girls or boys you like?”

And I’ve made it perfectly clear that I would be estatic if she was gay. I was A-Ok and would be the most supportive, amazing mom I could be. And then this happened:

“Mom, I’m straight. I like boys.”

I was crushed. I’d spent so much time letting her know that I was cool with her being gay, that I’d kinda already decided she was. And I didn’t accept her straightness either. I kept using inclusive language and letting her know that I’d be cool with it. And then someone said to me: “You know how accepting you’d be if she was gay. You should try to be that accepting of her being straight”.

Well Shit.

I mean clearly this was all about me. I selfishly wanted her to be gay so I could be the most supportive mom ever. I wanted her to know that NOTHING could stop my love for her. And a little bit I wanted a daughter-in-law someday. But when I think about what it woud mean for her if she was gay – I feel like a super ass. And to you parents who are proudly raising your rainbow (and rocking it) I’m sorry for being shallow and selfish. I’m sorry for the struggles you and your child will face for things completely out of their control. I’m sorry the world still houses racists/bigots/assholes/losers/pickyouradjectiveornoun that will cause hurt for you and your child. I’m sorry for wishing that for my child while ignoring what yours is going through.

Fine I accept it. I’m raising a stragiht child. And if I can’t be the proud owner of a gay daughter than I will be the BEST DAMN ALLY out there. And so will she.


So the inclusion is out. It will be all about boys and husbands from here on in (in her case that is). Maybe. I’ll do my best.

Boys? Seriously….


Why, is that a cat head on your head?

So it shouldn’t come as a big shock to anyone that words are my thang. I adore writing, nothing beats a good book and you can find inspirational quotes everywhere in my world if you know where to look.

Well this week, I took my love of words to a whole new level. I made them permanent:


Now anyone who has been reading this blog or keeping up with the disaster that is my life, these words ring more true to my heart than any others. So here it sits. Very visible. A constant reminder that everything is always changing. The good and the bad- it all passes. Nothing’s permanent- except my tattoo saying so. Ha!

So what’s passing through my life right now, you ask? Or you didn’t. I don’t actually care I’ll tell you anyways.

1 – Today Robin Williams died. And that sucked and rocked my world. Mrs. Doubtfire was my favourite movie. When I was no longer welcome in my house at 17, I stayed with a friend for a few weeks and every night I’d watch Mrs. Doubtfire over and over. Love it. (And I have given you a glimpse into why perhaps I’m not stuck on “family” so much). It’s scary to think that someone so full of life could be battling such a big demon. We really have no ideas what battles others are fighting. A great time to remind ourselves that Sharon is working on being kind because despite what she says she doesn’t know everything.

2- my teenage daughter has decided she wants to be a juicer. So weird. She bought a juicer today and proceeded to fill it with fruits and vegetables she’d never eat and then mush them and drink it. Weird.

3- Holy F- I have a teenage daughter.

4- I officially began back to school work today. I created timelines for my new courses as to avoid being the asshole teacher that has 2 units left and as many days to teach it. You know the one. Well in their defence, teaching is fucking hard.

5- my friend got the most annoying app in the world and has proceeded to send me photos like this one:


It’s ludicrous. And hilarious. Don’t tell her I said that- they’ll never stop coming.

7- another friend came home from a trip and brought me these:


I love magnets. And slippers. Magnetic slippers is where it’s at.

8- I skipped 6. That’s right I just changed the numerical order because I can

6- I’ve spent a whole lot of time outside reading in the morning waiting for E and D to wake up and it’s great. I want to retire somewhere that I can sit outside everyday and read.

Okay that’s a good enough progress report for you. I’d snap a picture of my cat but it’d likely end up as someone’s head in a photo.

A year in review!

Funny Monkey Face _4

Can you believe it’s been a whole year since I began this blogging adventure!!! Okay, it’s been a little over a year – but no one is keeping track so let me have my moment.

When I started this blog, I said I was going to blog every two weeks. I even set a calendar reminder. The calendar reminder still goes off every two weeks but I haven’t sat down at this computer to write for months. This is my 14th blog post. Which means I’ve achieved 1/2 of my goal. I give myself 50% in blogging. Which means I’m NOT a failure. WOOT WOOT. Now, I likely wouldn’t put me in charge of a blog that’s going to save the world, but I could definitely handle a monkey picture one or something.

And I’m not going to make some lame apology or promise to do better. I won’t.

Istill don’t understand what people blog about. I’ve actually started reading some blogs – even ones that post daily blogs and I’ve noticed that they aren’t “bloggy” blogs really. They follow a weekly schedule. Monday is cool links day, Friday is fan day, etc. And they really only write a post once or twice a week. AND people reuse blog posts. This means I can just repost a blog post when my two weeks is up. Now, I likely need more than 13 posts…but eventually I’ll get there. That’s my plan. I may have to start tagging my blog posts. dang it.

In preparation for this post, I reread my ENTIRE blog. (I wanted that to sound impressive – I probably shouldn’t have written it directly after the paragraph explaining my lack of a blog! ha!) And I tell you, I gave you some seriously great stuff. And here it all is:

BP #1 – I can make this the best damn blog ever.

BP #2 – Be kind.

BP #3 – Being a mom is hard and Vegas is fun.

BP #4 – Summer Summer

BP #5 – Failure of a deadline

BP #6 – Broken – the day my world exploded (it’s still exploded BTW)

BP #7 – Mending the broken

BP #8 – Pity parties are the only real parties & grateful

BP #9 – At the other hospital

BP #10 – F you Christmas

BP #11 – Hello New Years – I loves you

BP #12 – Update on all 3 Harveys

BP #13 – Keep on swimming

I’d like to say lots has changed in the last year, that I’ve grown so much through my experiences and I’m a better person for the year. Um. Well that’s not quite true. In fact, I’m actually not. I totally let this year rule me. I am this year’s bitch. Straight up.  But I’m okay with it. Makes me less accountable for the outrageous things I say and do.

I think I’ll finish this post with a Harvey update!

Popsicle Harvey – Derrick is really enjoying his new job. He’s learned so much and has really settled into the position. He was officially taken off probation and we let out a collective breath. It’s not that we were actually concerned, but it’s nice to have that landmark behind us! Like all things he does, he is very good at his new job. I feel confident saying that he has found his career and that, dare-i-say, we are through career transitions and on to steadier ground!

Mama Harvey – I am enjoying my summer. We have been doing lots of work in the yard and I am enjoying relaxing in it. I have also discovered the crazy comfort of Maxi Dresses – and have been sewing them. I’ve made 4 already and love them all. I don’t care if I’m too short and round for them – I’m rockin’ them anyways. I have been working at the bra store here and there as well. I love working retail. I forgot how nice it is to have a job and to leave a job and just be done that job. It’s quite glorious.  I have begun my planning for next year as well. I have a couple new courses and it’s nice to get them semi planned before I have to start teaching them.

Little Harvey – Emily isn’t so little anymore. She has a summer job. She’s a live in babysitter. That means she leaves my house sunday night and doesn’t come back until friday evening. It’s crazy. She’s so grown up. I miss her incredibly when she’s gone, but am so proud of her! She’s already decided to put her money into a GIC in the fall so it can collect some interest while she is saving for the “France Trip” in grade 10. She is heading in to grade 8 this fall. I’m now at the time where I see if all that hard work has been effective. I now have to let her go into her world and trust that I’ve taught her well. I have to trust that she is capable of making the right decisions. I have to trust that she will choose kind, brave and helpful when given the choice. I have to trust her.

Cat Harvey – as if. It’s a cat. it does cat things all day.

Stand up.

I’ve let the “write every two weeks alarm” snooze once or twice, but I decided I’d wake up this time!

So I’m in this odd spot and conflicted about what I should share today. Do I go with an update? That’s depressing – read the last 10 blog posts. repeat. that’s my life. We probably don’t need much more of that. And I’ve been complaining about it since September. Gosh – get over it already.

Perhaps I should just post the many many drafts that I’ve started. Seriously every time the alarm goes I write, I just stop too soon and don’t share it often (because most times it’s depressing). Perhaps that’s to be the fate of this piece as well. Another draft. Well someone can find them when I’m dead and can post them then. Perhaps they’ll tell a different story than the one you’ve been privy to.

What a Debbie downer I’ve been lately. No Seriously, shit is just not working out for me right now, and maybe I’ve stopped right in it. Maybe I have started making a home in it. Maybe I need to stand the hell up and get moving.

So here’s my pledge – I will show up. I will continue to show up. Because showing up means I’m moving. And friends, when you ask how I’m doing – I’ll be honest. I’ll tell you that it’s rough. Sometimes life is incredibly tough – but that I’m still showing up. And that good things are happening.

Because good things are happening. I’ve just forgotten to look for them.


Holy balls it’s been a month

So no word of a lie- I forgot I had a blog. Totally escaped me. I just woke up in bed, sat straight up and said a whole lot of minor swears and then said My blog! Derrick assumed I was crazy when I bolted to the computer…

Well that’s likely true but I have to write and I have to write now- because- shit- what if I forget again…

So the last month- what’s been happening…

Well lots!
1- Derrick started his new job. It’s been amazing for him and devastating for our family. I don’t think we really understood what the transition to shift work was really like… I’m used to riding to and from work with him everyday. Now we go whole days, or 2 or 3 without talking. I hate it. But we’re adjusting. I know soon enough it will be our new normal and the frustration will slowly dissipate. And don’t misunderstand this to mean I’m not incredibly happy and proud of him- I am- I just miss him a lot.

2- I successfully completed the first semester! It was a tough one both personally and professionally for me. I am grateful to be completed it.

3- Emily won a gold medal in figure skating! She also lost a lot in figure skating. I’ve learned that she is incredibly hard on herself. And she’s unbelievable gentle and breakable on the inside- this does not always match my parenting style. I’m learning to be gentle back- I don’t want her to be like me- all tough on the outside and broken inside- feeling the need to hide the sensitive- thinking it’s weak. I strive to be a great parent and it is incredibly important and hard work- and I know I can do hard things- but boy oh boy this one is knocking me on my butt. But I get up- ask for forgiveness and keep moving on.

And of course there’s more- there’s always more but that will do for now.

New Year!

New Year’s is my favourite day of the year. I love the idea of new beginnings- in with the new- out with the old! It’s a chance to start all over- write a brand new 365 page book.

So 2014- let’s get started. Here’s everything you need to know about being successful to me. It’s a short list- easy beans for a big year like you:

1) get my mom a bed in long care. A hospital for 4 months is too much. It’s like being stuck in limbo. It’s not a home. It’s killing her- literally.

2) keep my kid healthy. Help others see the importance of vaccinations to help children like her that can’t have them all- children who have only one line of defense- and it’s the choice of others… Help others to be kind and brave for her.

3) Bring my friends home- heathy and happy- from various places in the world. I’m not sure what it is about me that attracts the adventurous types or perhaps it’s being friends with me that drives them away!!!!

4) keep husband safe in his new job. Help him to be sure to shower before he comes home if someone throws poop at him. (I saw in on TV once and if it can happen there, it can happen anywhere)

5) two Disney trips. If you really want to impress me- take me to Disney twice because if you don’t you’re no better than 2012, 2011, 2010, or 2009.

Well 2014 that’s it- let’s rock it!

I Quit Christmas

This week I learned a new acronym: DEVOLSON. It’s an acronym for teachers and it’s amazingly true!

It stands for “The Dark, Evil Vortex of Late September, October, November”

I get lost in it every year. But now comes the time of year that I start clawing my way out.

And it’s a nice view up here let me tell you. I suspect that light that I see is really the glimmer of rest and relaxation – why it’s school break! The perfect time to rest.

Oh wait, and now I have to go to that party and to so and so’s house for that dinner and then over there for that celebration and put up those decorations, go shopping in pure madness because I’ve been in DEVOLSON so I definitely have not shopped. And then I take the decorations down and it’s off to…Oh no.

I quit Christmas. I quit all of it. I will not attend your Christmas party. I will not exchange gifts with you. In fact I’m not buying presents for anyone. And everyone will get over it. Even my 12 year old has agreed to a gift free season. I will not put up decorations, unless year round decorations of the Christmas variety are now acceptable. I will not, I will not, I will not.

These are my holidays. I get three weeks a year (because I do work over the summer). Two at Christmas and one at Easter. And I will not spend them doing things I cannot stand to do. I will not spend them making small talk with people I would never spend my holidays with. I will not spend copious amounts of money on things that get filed away within weeks of receiving (except a new pair of slippers – those never get filed away – but this year I agree to buy my own).

I also will not stand in the way of your celebration. I’m not a Grinch. I think people who like Christmas and the hustle and bustle should have at it. Have a great time. Celebrate your hearts out. I will be right where I need to be. At home, Cuddled in a blanket, reading a book with the Yuletide fireplace (on mute of course) in the background. I will be resting for the next phase of teaching:  AFSFTFO (almost finals, students freaking the f@#& out).

Happy Holidays you crazy cats!


One More Day. At the hospital.

Well, I’ve probably editted this blog 10 times over the last 10 days. I watched my two week deadline slip past and then thought “well what’s another day”?

And maybe I did that because writing this, writing here, where I promised uneditted honesty, meant I had to stop lying.

So here it is, the truth:

I haven’t gone to visit my mom in weeks – I experience paralyzing fear and heartbreaking pain, like I have never experienced, everytime I think of her so I just don’t – my fight or flight mechanism is set to flight. And when people ask, I say “she’s the same”. Because she is. I know she is without visiting. I know she’s not getting better. So I pass the burden on to others. Others who can be there. Who can handle the job. It certainly isn’t me. Not right now.

I drove Em down to Regina to see her dad, who is in the hospital. He asked to see her. I convinced her that she wanted to go. Because it’s her dad. And goodness knows, I will support that relationship until I die, so that when she decides, whatever she decides, it will certainly not be because of me or my words. Every broken promise, every missed visit, every time she came home and told me the awful things he said about me, I did nothing. I kept my mouth shut (extremely difficult for me by the way) and just remind her how much she loves him. And I’m angry about it. I’m angry for all the moms and dads out there that have to do this. But keep doing it. Likely the most important work you’ll do. And when you slip up, admit it and apologize and keep trying. It’s hard. You can do hard things. (you may even have to defend his mother!)

I am  tired of being a good teacher. And fighting about being a good teacher. I am a teacher 24 hours a day. In Regina, at the hospital. Emily visiting her dad, I find a chair and plan (and worse am THANKFUL) for the opprotunity to do so: to sit in a hospital and plan. Fuck me – that’s awful. But you know why I’m thankful. Because these hours of planning are hours that I don’t have to sit at the table away from my family. Derrick tells me to stop being a good teacher. And then he smiles and laughs, because it’s like asking Santa to shave his beard. I can’t not be a good teacher. And if I ever am, I’ll quit. He once suggested an office. Then we realized we’d never see each other. At least at the table I can see them and grunt at them when they try to talk to me. Emily calls it my homework time. And when she has homework, she tells me to clear her a spot at the homework table. And if you’re about to say “well no one forced you to be a teacher”, you’re right. No one did. No one forced you to be a judgemental asshole, yet here we are.

I am extremely fortunate. Because I can do these things. As much as they burden me and exhaust me; I can do them. No one makes my choices for me. I have the ability and freedom to choose for myself. And I’m not saying that I should quit complaining because others have it worse. I know that. But I’m going to complain. Because hard is hard. There is no relative for hard. It’s just hard. Your hard. My hard. Their hard. All HARD. I’m just grateful I get to choose to complain about it without fear of being reprimanded.

I have an amazing husband and daughter. They accept my choices and the consequences of my choices with me. Emily knows that it takes hard work to be great at something. She knows that as important as my students are to me (and really it’s the students, not the job that we do it for) she is more importatnt. She knows when she needs my undivided attention and she knows to ask for it. She also knows that she will ALWAYS get it. I suspect that this is the reason why she doesn’t feel the need to interupt when I work, or try to constantly get my attention when I’m working. She knows it’s hers if she asks.

I have great friends. Who accept my neglect. Who patiently try to draw me out of my introverted shell and are very attentive when I emerge. My friends are much better friends to me than I am to them. I am very sorry and very grateful that you are still my friends.

Writing is therapy for me. Why the heck I decided to make it public beats me. But I did. I need to write. So here is where it will get written. I have a blog – and damn it this one is going to last. which means I have to write. If I tried to write about anything else it would just be fake and you’d know it. I won’t be fake. not here.

Right now, life is not okay. But I know it will be, which is why when you ask, I’ll tell you I’m fine and things are good. And it’s not becuase I am lying, it’s because I am an optomist – ha. Hells no I’m not. But it will be okay. Because it always is. And I believe it – it really will be okay. This will pass and then my blog will be filled with delighful happy posts that will make you want to vomit. Perhpas photos of my cat.  Don’t worry you can always re-read these delightful posts.

Here’s to one more day.

I will not apologize for my ridiculous misuse of commas and dashes.

And fine. Here’s my stupid cat: