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Say hello to my leeetle friend….

keep-calm-and-say-hello-to-my-little-friend-48I have stress.


And, to add fuel to the fire, my stress likes to manifest itself in the physical form of muscle spasms… usually in the chest and rib cage. Usually, even moreso, in the exact same friggin’ locations which is totally FRABJOUS after you’ve had a heart attack.



I’ve named them.




It’s like the Three Stooges of Chest Pain.

And they’re asshats.

They all came to visit yesterday, in fact. I’m going to share with you the reason why, in the hopes that it will enlighten the readership to some of the factors that contribute to the chaos of my reality…and how much it takes, in fact, in order to overcome them and persevere.

Yesterday, we drove my eldest son to start his residential treatment program for substance abuse. He is seventeen years old.

Words fail to articulate that kind of pain…a pain that no chronic illness, nor any combination of, can even compare.

Words fail to articulate that last moment hug in the warm sun with the birds chirping a quite melody…almost resembling a lullaby.

Words fail to articulate that last glance into each other’s eyes as he made he way into the home to get on with the bag search and begin a journey of healing. A casual, “peace out” sign flashed from his fingers…

Stay strong, my son.

I believe in you.

But the day didn’t end with the intake…I had a parent education session to start that very night. How ironic. These parent sessions are held throughout the year to assist families of substance abusing youth…and mine happened to start on the very same day.

Having to confront your own personal thoughts/feelings/emotions about a topic that has torn our family apart, in the company of strangers, was both as embarrassing as it was therapeutic. None of us should have to be here…and yet…here we all are: hopeful, angry, exhausted…

What do you do? What do you do when the stress gets to such a degree that Tony, Manny and Alejandro invite themselves over to hang out?

1) I cry. I find the release to be very liberating and I have no qualms EVER about sharing the times that I take that box of Kleenex and give a good what-for.

2.22) I look at my “time board”…I created a list of things I would love to do if I ever found an extra 2.2 minutes (hours are a stretch…but….could happen). I take 2.2 minutes* to do one of those things.

*it totally ends up being longer than 2.2 minutes, but I didn’t want to bust the flow of the sentence 😉



3) I, like I’ll do right after posting, go to the gym. To purposely “burn off” the negative, the hurt, the pain (yes, the pain of chronic afflictions, when replaced by the “good” burn of exercise is greatly diminished)…I have a playlist that would make children cry and grandma’s gasp…and it’s how I push through the weight training and git’er’done. My cardio playlist includes Bon Jovi, so don’t fret…I’m not psychopathically bat-shit crazy 😉

4) I talk. If I don’t have someone to immediately talk to…I write. Blog. But, better yet…I write down all the nasty negativity that threatens to darken my mind and then I rip it up into lil’ bitty pieces and throw it away. It’s very liberating, actually. Try it?

5) Find a #gladitude.

6) Take a bath. Okay, I don’t actually do this one…I find baths to be an excruciating endeavour in boredom…but I *will* hop into the shower and throw a few drops of lavender essential oil around the tub to steam up as the hot water drowns the Three Stooges of Chest Pain.

7) Music. There’s nothing that needs to be said, really. Crank it up. Bob your head. Tap your toes. Close your eyes and get jiggy wit’it in your mind, if you’re unable to physically dance.

It’s called “Self Care” and it is as important as air to your wellbeing.

Go. Make your list of 2.2 minute joys. Share some of them with the rest of us so that we might add some new ones to our own lists!! 🙂

In the meantime, I’ll be pressing some weights and telling Tony, Manny and Alejandro to take a glance at my middle finger salute.

True story.


  1. Edain Duguay

    Excellent post as always, love that you’re naming the pain. I do numbers 1 & 7. Love 4, must try that. Just reading your posts gives me the strength to keep trying. x

  2. Nadine

    This column kicks ass, my Canadian Sister! I’m going to try all of the things your mentioned– especially the Time Board. Letting off the stress is a beautiful thing; and, doing SOMETHING, ANYTHING, can often diffuse the muscle pain that comes with it. I love doing yoga (getting into a flow seems to free up my brain); walking outside; and a great art session (the messier and uglier the result, the better!) help me a lot. <3

  3. Marie

    You deal, you inspire, you find ways to blow off steam and scream at the top of your lungs.

    Must try some of these things some time. I’ve yet to find that THING that let’s me let out the bear, release the tension.

    Gardening is supposed to be an excellent way to release, too. Getting your hands in the dirt, sun, fresh air, the feel good of using your body to grow something you will use (herbs, flowers) and the good bacterium that come with the work.

    #gladitude: A strong back, a garden plot, and pretty flowers to come. 🙂

  4. Robbie

    4a; Fire. When tearing them into little pieces isn’t enough, burn all those icky bad things! The Universe knows what to do with them!

    You RAWK!

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