I did this two years ago when I started blogging and I decided to write it again today, a reflection of my year. There's a lot of negativity about 2020, it being the worst year ever, but it's all perspective. I had some difficult moments and some hard days, but nothing worse than I've experienced in the past five years.
Photo 1, my birthday photoshoot
For my 40th birthday, my daughter, Sarah, did my hair and makeup and we went to my old middle school to take a few photos. I love the dress I wore, I broke my favorite shoes (must replace them in 2021), and I adore the photos Sarah captured, I used them often for profile pictures and my blog's bio.
Photo 2, my camera
I've been dreaming and wishing for this camera for a few years and Kirk got it for me in May. It is a beautiful pink Fujifilm X-A5 Mirrorless Camera Kit with XC 15-45mm Lens.
Photo 3, my desk on May 17
It's a reminder to me that I was overwhelmed and I didn't reach out for help. I felt the world was ending (in my personal world) and I did not handle the situation properly and I suffered because of it. I had support afterwards as I was working with my fibromyalgia coach and taking the Fibromyalgia Advisor program. I put my focus onto myself. Things didn't seem so dark afterwards.
Photo 4, 5, 6, Graduation
My three children graduated from high school, middle school, and elementary school (respectively).
Photo 7, Kirk + CeCe
I fell in love with him, again. I don't know how it's even possible but I loved him even more this year. It was amazing that we were able to take a few days in August for an anniversary road trip around southern Ontario. That's when I fell in love, again.
He's such an awesome, understanding partner. He believes in me even when I can't find the light in my darkest times.
Photo 8, CeCe & Kate
Probably the biggest highlight of the year for me, was that I was able to hug my best friend, Kate, for the first time in over 10 years. I missed her so badly and I am grateful that we were able to reunited for an afternoon. Anxious for vaccines to roll out and COVID restrictions to be lifted so I can travel to see her again.
Photo 9, IFCI Grad
It's now hanging on my office wall, my International Fibromyalgia Coaching Institute Fibromyalgia Advisor certificate. Around the time I earned my certification, I started mapping my plan and goals for the next few years to achieve my dream job. It's a longer road but I know it all will be worth the hard work when I am able to display my certifications and diplomas on my wall.
I started working on a new page for my website, I look forward to sharing the content but I'm not quiet ready to share it. It's going to get personal and I hope I feel a sense of healing on my journey as I work through my story.
It happens to be the three year anniversary when millions of women simply taking their voices to social media and typing this hashtag: #metoo. I simply just added the hashtag but did not share my story/stories. Some women were extremely brave in my eyes, they spoke their truths and I stand beside them, I believe their truths.
My mind was racing today. I started building a biography page and thought about how much do I really share on a Fibromyalgia blog. Then I realized, for (most) Fibromyalgia Warriors, it is our past traumas that have led us to this pain. In my pain and suffering, there's also anxiety and depression. Possibly, my voice can help another woman speak her truth and work towards healing.
I am starting to work through these tough moments and memories in my life (time span from the ages of 16 through 18). Names will be changed to protect some people, not necessarily to protect the person themselves from the actions they did 20+ years ago, but possibly protecting their families and other victims of their behavior.
My "HERSTORY" page will have happy moments, stories, and photos as well. I experienced some wonderful moments. I am excited to work on this project: it may take some time, since I am often working on essays, assignments, and case studies for Indigenous Wellness & Addiction Prevention. I hope to launch the page "HERSTORY" by the time I'm on Winter Break in December, after my exams for semester one.
UPDATE: HERSTORY will be launched in March 2021.
It's been nearly a year I started blogging (simultaneously) stopped blogging; I am in the process of big changes in my life.
Last summer, I decided that I wanted things to change in my life. I was very sad and miserable (depression and anxiety). I couldn't stand the thought of living where I was living, being in the shape I was in, and feeling like I was not contributing to my family. I enrolled in the office administration program at Canadore College.
I put aside my funding from school to afford first and last on a new house to rent. Mid-October, we saw a listing for a house, and we were selected as tenants on October 21st. I love my new home. We are near parks and trails, we live in a quiet area, and we have wonderful neighbours.
While taking Psychology 101, I realized that I had another goal in mind for my future. I didn't feel that I would be cutout for the role as a receptionist and that I really wanted to help other women like me: women who have fibromyalgia.
In March, I was accepted in Canadore College's Indigenous Wellness and Addictions Prevention fall 2020 program.
New Beginnings is a sole journal entry from September 2018
I am taking a course this fall to help me cope with my chronic pain. The course started ten days ago. I like the format of the "group therapy" of the class. The course instructors are lovely people, who have taken the course for themselves and believe they could share and teach this technique for chronic pain management. I was not sure what to expect and I am open to try new things to help cope.
For nearly ten years, I have had lower back pain, since 2012 I have had neck and shoulder pain, and just over a year with pain and difficulties with my legs. Plus, I have daily headaches and issues with my digestive system. I see my GP often, but "I'm fine" : no test results are negative.
In 2015, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression; which I believe triggers the pains in my sides and effects my sleep.
Just 9 days ago at the sleep clinic follow-up appointment, I had received confirmation about my poor sleeping habits: it take me a long time to fall asleep, once I am asleep I get 4 to 5 hours of sleep.
The part that upset me at my appointment was that I had two "black out" moments while I was with the nurse then a second time with the nurse and doctor. I am not sure how to explain this situation, it's like passing out but not losing consciousness or falling over. I faded away and the doctor noticed it, he asked where I went/what happened. I was embarrassed and cried as I left their office after I explained myself and promised I would get a ride home to be safe.
As I was finishing up my volunteer week at Camp Woolsey, I signed up for a month long contract to be a camp counsellor for Adelaide. I had about 33 "off" with travel to and from camp (twice) and time to clean my gear, repack, and head out to Adelaide for the rest of August. AND celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary! (we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary of being a couple in September)
Before I left for Girl Guide camp, I quit drinking pop. Cold turkey. I had my last Coke Zero on August 4 and knew I would be away for three weeks, which would be the perfect time to stop drinking pop to see if my sides stop hurting so much. I believe the pop is affecting my kidneys, and I can feel the intense pain in my lowers back & sides. I still haven't drank any pop but I do not feel better, my pains in my kidney area is still there, almost daily.
I returned home from working at Girl Guide camp and I needed several days to recover; I was not sleeping properly and was in constant pain. It hurt to wear shoes when I was working, it was too painful to wear my high-tops, I would wear my sandals or rainboots. When I got home, I cried and slept so much. I couldn't even walk downstairs to my office two floors lower from my bedroom (I barely even went one floor down to the kitchen/living room). I had a medical appointment with my family physician, and she sent me for x-rays; I felt like my feet were broken or fractured. That session at the x-ray department was so hard, I cried in every position the technician placed me into, poor thing was so apologetic during the whole process.
When I was alone at home, in bed trying to recover from camplife; I went into thinking spirals and I fell into a depression again. I felt that I wasn't able to be strong enough for my final year of my Administrative Community Leader term for Community 34. That I was letting people down. I wasn't able to make time to volunteer my ACL role while I was working from 6:45 a.m. to 11 p.m., my downtime I made sure that I did selfcare and rested for that hour and a bit I had off each day. I felt that I was unappreciated by my camp director at Adelaide. She purposely avoided me the last two days when my condition was worsening. I was falling into a very sad state of mind, I had given up precious weeks that I could have been spending with my eldest daughter who was leaving for Italy for a 10 month student exchange. I was at my saddest when I missed her Italian consulate visit in Toronto and her 16th birthday. I was grateful for the support of the Red Shirts (Staff) who had hugs and kind words to help me through and help me find strength.
My mind wasn't clear or sharp during my last few days of work: One morning when I had first session off and my sleep-in morning, I got up and I was making myself breakfast and tea, and I ended up pouring freshly boiled water over my right hand while I was holding the mug for my tea. I didn't react quickly and poured a fair amount that cause a burn more serious than I have ever done before. I went straight to first aid/wellness center for help, but I was brushed aside and told to run cold water on it. I did but it wasn't enough. By lunch time, I was becoming zombie-like because of the intense pain and lack of treatment (besides running cold water on it twice). The camp had some special guests visiting and grading the camp for their Ontario camp status, and the camp director suddenly was sincere and concerned about me, it felt like she didn't want me around the guests because I was unwell and injured; I was rushed into another section of the building, away from the dining hall with the campers and guests, and into a quiet area and was given treatment for my burn, which she said she was concerned about the severity but didn't bring me to the hospital or even wrote a incident report. I had a hard time understanding why I would work so hard, as a volunteer and then as a contract employee for them to mistreat me and not appreciate my dedication to the organization and the camp.
Wednesday afternoon, I gave my notice to the second in command in the director's office, camp director was M.I.A. whenever I needed her that day. I had 24 hours to reflect at Camp Adelaide about my wellness, my life, my roles as volunteer, etc. until the time I was scheduled to be picked up for my weekend off. I was just going home for good. I took the time to encourage the women who were tired and starting to feel the drain. I went to different places I wasn't able to explore before. I said goodbye to my camp, my home. I made peace with the idea that this was my last sunset at Adelaide.
Today, I was falling apart and it broke my heart while I wrote my letter and I gave my notice to the GGC - Ontario Council Deputy Provincial Commissioner, my ACL Advisor, and my Community Planner. I could not continue my role as ACL for C34.
In two days, I go for my CT Scan and I have my follow up with the doctor and specialist. Next month, I start a mindfulness program with a psychiatrist: The Mindfulness Solution to Pain.
Chantal \shahn~ TAHL\
A devastating beauty with a fiery personality. Part lover, part fighter.
Chantals know how to make it rain. Your life is incomplete if you lack a Chantal. A completely magical girl.
- Urban Dictionary