Monday, 30 May 2016

Being Introverted: It isn't a bad thing

"You're so quiet" is something that I'm reminded of every time I meet someone new. What I don't like about hearing that sentence, is that it's always said in a negative way. I'm without a doubt an introvert, and have been labelled as shy for as long as I can remember. I didn't choose to be so shy, and if I could be more extroverted, I would. What I want to remind you is that being an introvert is not a bad thing.

The people closest to me see me in a different light to those I just met or feel awkward around. I guess I can say they see the "real me". I choose to only show the real me to people who I feel comfortable with. I also know that this is the case with a lot of my friends who are also introverts. It's not that I'm choosing not to speak to someone, I just won't say anything if I don't have anything to say.  I recently started a new job, and had a great conversation with one of my coworkers. He never once came up to me to remind me of how quiet I am, but instead just talked to me. I happily conversed back. After later telling me people have told him that I was so quiet, I just explained that I don't usually start conversations. That's not to say that I don't enjoy a good chat with someone. I, being an introvert, had a great time talking to him, being an extrovert- even though I didn't initiate anything. I love a good conversation, but starting small talk with when I don't have anything to say is just something I don't do, as well as all the other introverts out there. This isn't because we tell ourselves not to, it's built in our personalities. It was refreshing to see someone understand that just because I'm quiet, it doesn't mean that I just choose not to speak to anyone. As stupid as it might sound, I really appreciated the effort and sympathy.

More often than not, I don't fit in, or hear some bad things about me for being quiet. This is something I have come to accept since shyness is seen as a bad thing. It's honestly just a lack of confidence sometimes, but it's never seen that way. Introverts generally find socializing very exhausting, and as much as we'd like to participate more, we find it really hard to. You can definitely see the difference in my personality when I'm in a relaxed place with people I'm comfortable around apposed to being in a hectic environment with people I don't know very well. It all depends on the situation and company.

I just finished reading a book called Quiet, which is great for learning to accept your introverted self. We have a lot of good qualities, but forget that when all we are being told is that we're too quiet. I really recommend this book to any introverts who are constantly being shamed- or shaming themselves for not participating more in social settings.

Being an introvert is not bad. Being an extrovert is not bad either. They are simply personality traits. Being introverted is something apart of me that I can't change, and won't change for the approval of others. Remember that there is nothing wrong with you, it is a normal characteristic to have. For extroverts reading: try starting a conversation with a quiet person. They might appreciate the effort despite them being shy, and you'll be surprised to see how much they have to say.


Friday, 20 May 2016

Losing Someone You Love

I put my blog on hold for a while to sort out some life things, and I hated every minute I was away. I can't wait to have the time to sit down, and read some of my favourite blogs again. I'm sorry for my absence, but hopefully it leads to bigger and better stuff. Also, having a 9-5 job is exhausting. I have a bit of an emotional post today, as it's the first anniversary of my grandfathers death. Although it was upsetting to talk about, I smiled thinking of him, and hope it helps anyone who is currently going through the loss of a loved one.

Exactly one year ago, I got the horrible news that my grandfather was admitted to the hospital, and he wasn't going to make it. Before this, I never knew was loss felt like. I would always look at friends or family who lost someone close to them, and think, "I don't know how they're coping. If I were to ever lose someone close to me, I would be a complete mess". It wasn't until my Papa passed away, when I realized how people were able to hold themselves together. I'm having a really down day, so I thought I'd write a little something in honour of him, and talk about what losing someone close to you is really like.

To give a little background information, my Papa was an extremely healthy guy. He had the energy of a 20 year old. He and most of my moms side of the family live in Ireland, but I was so blessed that I was able to see him so often. Even growing up in a different country, I they've always felt like a huge part of my life. He was also the friendliest person I have ever met. He was so funny, and always made sure the people around him were smiling. One of my favourite memories was my last dinner with him. My Papa, Nana, sister and I ate dinner, drank wine and laughed a lot. There were tears rolling down my face, it was a great night. This was during a trip my sister and I took to Ireland. Weirdly enough, before this vacation, my sister had the random urge to go to Ireland. No specific reason, she just felt the need to, and asked me to come. We had no idea that he would pass away the next month, and that would be our last time seeing him. I'm so happy I had that time with him.

Last year, I went to bed excited that my grandparents were going to be landing the next day. They came to Canada for my cousins confirmation, and my sister's 21st (turning 21 is a huge thing in Ireland). I specifically remember looking at the broken handle on my closet, thinking that it would be fixed again for the hundredth time tomorrow. This handle always broke, and my Papa would frustratingly fix is every time he was in Canada.

Long story short, they didn't come to visit. We got a horrible call that morning. It's a really upsetting story, so I won't go into too much detail, but we didn't think this would happen anytime soon. The weird thing is, I didn't feel anything at all. I was in shock, and completely numb. It wasn't until I called my boyfriend to tell him the news that I cried so hard, I couldn't speak. I think it was something about saying it out loud, that's when it became real to me. The whole day was weird. I spent it looking at photos at him, laughing at some, and crying at the others. The best word I can think to describe the whole day was weird. The fact that he was gone was just so odd.

I got so many kind messages. That's when I realized who matters. There were people I haven't talked to in years that sent me their condolences, when people I'd see every day didn't say anything. Horrible situation, but that's how I saw who truly cared about me. I still look back and read what people had said, it's really comforting.

He loved James Bond and Elvis, that's what everyone associated him with. Flowers my aunt & uncle got for his grave.

The next day, we flew to Ireland. People I didn't even know came up to me to tell me how amazing my grandfather was to them. Everything was so busy around the time of the funeral. We were all so distracted by each other in Ireland, that when we got home, things started to go to shit. I used to cry every night. I kept thinking that I'd never be able to get over it, and I missed him so much, and still do.We had a huge party planned for his birthday that year. We already had the band, and the venue booked. It was so disappointing to have to cancel it.

I remember a little over a month after the funeral, the night before his birthday, I decided to listen to some Elvis (he was a huge fan). Jailhouse Rock came on, and I immediately started bawling. I completely forgot that we danced to this song years ago until I heard it. That night was pretty rough for me, but then I had a dream about him. I got to talk to him and hug him. It's crazy how real that felt. Depending on your beliefs, you might think that what I'm saying is so odd, but I truly believe that was him visiting me. The hug and conversation was so familiar and comforting.

I hated when people would tell me it would get easier, especially if they haven't lost someone before, because it just didn't feel like it. The best piece of advice that I got was that it won't, but sad thoughts would be replaced with happy memories, and thinking of him would make me smile rather than cry.

As for now, it's easier to deal with, but still very difficult. One year later, and I still send him a message on WhatsApp once in a while, and cry whenever I hear an Elvis song. Some weeks will he really hard, but others I will smile at the memories we have had together. What upsets me the most is thinking about how he is right now. He was someone who really enjoyed life, and I just hope he's okay. I'm more sensitive to death in movies, and get a little upset when I open my closet to see one of his shirts that I took home with me after the funeral. Him and my Nana bought me a beautiful Claddagh for my 18th birthday that I wear everyday, so I always have a piece of him with me.

If you have recently lost a loved one, I know the last thing you want to hear is that it will get easier, but it does in a way. Of course thinking about their absence will upset you, but you will learn to smile at memories. I'm not going to lie, I still find it hard to believe that he's not with us anymore, but I'm so grateful to have someone as amazing as him in my life.

One thing I want you to take away from this post is to always show appreciation to who you have in your life. You never know what could happen. None of us thought he'd be leaving us so soon. One night we're expecting him to fly over from Ireland, and the next day he unfortunately passed away. Never take anyone for granted, everything can change in a matter of seconds. Also, make sure the people who love you know you appreciate them. Do kind things for them, and never fail to make them feel loved back.


Monday, 2 May 2016


If you're reading my blog, it's probably because you suffer from some sort of mental illness. If this is the case, I have some very exciting news. I've recently come across a website called TranQool, and they are doing a great thing for people who suffer with mental health in Ontario. TranQool is helping those who need the opportunity to easily receive Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for a variety of different reasons. If you know me, or have read my blog for a while, you know that I recommend CBT to anyone who can get it. It's what helped me the most when I was having a tough time with my anxiety and depression, and I think it's such a life changing experience.

cog·ni·tive ther·a·py
noun: cognitive behavioral therapy
  1. a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are challenged in order to alter unwanted behaviour patterns or treat mood disorders such as depression.

What's so great about TranQool is the accessibility. One of the things I worried about most is scheduling appointments when I had school and work. I thought it'd be crazy trying to fit regular appointments in my schedule when I had so much else to do. TranQool wants to help you find a therapist who fits your specific needs, and schedule convenient appointments via video chat! This way, you can have your therapy sessions in the comfort of your own home, which is actually really nice. Of course there's the option of no video if that makes your more comfortable, but I think having visual communication helps. Again, you are not obligated to.

The therapists are all high quality, registered, and experienced in CBT. There's a variety of issues they can help you on.

  • Social Anxiety and Low Self Esteem
  • Relationship and Family Issues
  • Stress and Work-Related Problems
  • Sleep and Eating Disorders
  • Concentration Problems
  • Anxiety and Depression

Making an account is incredibly easy (I have one myself!) Here's a list just to give you an idea on how TranQool works:

  1. Sign up for Free - All you really need is your email and password to sign up. .
  2. Become familiar with your dashboard - You get your own personal dashboard where you can browse therapists, and update your profile. There will soon be a Daily Emotional Tracker which you pretty much just track your emotions, anxieties, stressors, all that fun stuff. I personally find tracking my mood very important, so I know what triggers my anxiety, and what I can do to prevent it. 
  3. Find the right therapist - You can set your preferences, and what specific issues you have, before being matched with a therapist. This way, you're talking to someone who is educated on the specific subject and able to help you. You'll always have the option to browse therapists in TranQool's directory.
  4. Talk to your therapist - Make your appointment and speak with your therapist anywhere with access to internet.
  5. Apply your CBT learnings and witness your progress - I love this. When I was doing CBT, I had so many little assignments to do that really helped me understand what was going on in my mind. You can do all of this from your personal dashboard. 

I know, it sounds too good to be true. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from your own home, with a therapist who can help you with your mental struggles. I absolutely love this idea, and I'm so excited for my first session. If you have any questions, or just want more information, you can find it here at TranQool's website. They also have a blog where they talk all things mental health.

I have a link to a short survey you can complete about therapy. At the end of the survey, you'll get a little discount code to you can use toward your first therapy session with TranQool. Click here for the survey.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy was the best decision I have ever made, so I wanted to share this with great company with you, knowing most of my readers suffer with mental health issues. Having a professional outlook on my anxiety was extremely helpful. The advice a therapist can give you is amazing, and you have the ability to learn so many great coping techniques. I couldn't recommend it enough.