How To Be On Your Own.

I’m writing this blog for myself as well as for all of you. I want to explore the loneliness and depression that can follow after a failed marriage. I was going to write this blog a while ago, as I knew it was something a lot of us had struggled with, but to be honest I found it really difficult. How could I help others until I had helped myself? How could I give any advice until I followed it? And how could I conquer loneliness?

Starting with the most obvious- get a pet! Cats and dogs make amazing companions. Dogs can contribute to a massive improvement in their owner’s depression. They bring companionship, physical touch and make you feel wanted/needed. Exercise is a great mood lifter and the added routine of dog walking can be greatly beneficial. There is also improved socialisation through meeting other dog walkers. Dogs can be a proven aid to panic attack sufferers and you know what? Dogs can be really really funny! And what’s better than something that makes you laugh?

And cats. How cute are cats?! Cats are just so bloody cute. Why look at cute Internet cat pictures when you can have the real thing? If you work a lot and a dog doesn’t fit your lifestyle then cats are a great option. They don’t make much mess, don’t need walking and are mostly up for just sleeping and getting occasional cuddles……..I think maybe I used to be a cat in a former life.
If you’re thinking about getting a pet please please go to your local rescue centres and give an unwanted pet a home. There’s plenty of lonely animals as well as lonely people in this world.image

Routine, routine, routine! Yup. Get yourself in to a good routine. They say it helps for kids and you know what? We’re just bigger kids. Join a club and go every week! Arrange a cinema/film night with friends. Join the gym and go. Plan how you will spend your week so you know when you will be alone and when you will be around other people. If you’re like me, you struggle to spend anytime alone. Then, you could aim to alternate nights of going out/seeing friends with staying home alone. Plan what you will do on that alone time with rough times if needed:  6:00 p.m. – make dinner, 6:30 p.m.- eat dinner, 7:00 p.m.- clean up, 7:30 p.m.- watch a chick flick (or if you’re like me it will just alternate between Twilight, Pulp Fiction, Human Traffic and Donnie Darko), 8:30 p.m.- eat an entire bar of chocolate…….
9:30 p.m.- take a nice, relaxing bubble bath, 10:00 p.m.- speak to online friends and get ready for bed. This is just a rough idea to get you thinking about planning on how to spend your time. I panic a lot; the thought of being alone scares me. So this way, I can think about how the time will be spent and make it pass easier.

If you’re on the oppersite side of the scale and you’re struggling to go out at all, then aim to go out and plan something to do at least once a week!image

Healthy eating and exercise.  I really can’t expand enough on how important eating the right food and getting plenty of exercise can influence your mood. If you’re eating properly, your sugar and hormone levels will all be much better and provide increased energy to enjoy life. You don’t want to be lethargic and depressed! I’m not saying cut out chocolate and weekly takeaway because you definitely deserve the treats! Just think about making healthy choices and eat food that will help. Here’s a link to some food directly linked to helping with depression on Natural News.
Exercise was probably something that helped me the most when I was feeling down. Getting to the gym most days was great for focusing my mind on something, socializing and also great for realising anger! As well as trying to keep myself in shape and improving my self confidence, of course.

Conquering bad thoughts. It can be extreamly upsetting and tiring going over the same thoughts in your head that can be associated with getting a divorce. I think you know what I’m talking about. Self doubt. This does nothing for your self esteem. If you find yourself sitting there thinking of reasons why you are on your own, ‘Did I do this or that wrong?’, ‘Was I too needy?,’ or ‘Was I just a rubbish wife?,’  ‘Could I have been better?,’ etc. then I suggest for every down-on-yourself thought you have, add two positive affirmations of yourself. For example, ‘I should have been a better wife’ should be followed in your head with ‘I’m really funny and I make people laugh.’ Try and do your own version of this remind yourself why you are awesome! For me the big one is, ‘No one will ever love me’ but at least I know I can say ‘I’m a really loving person and I have my so much to give.’ Become aware of your thought processing and take control of it.image

If you’re really struggling with depression, then go and see your doctor. There is absolutely no reason to feel ashamed. You know you have been happy before and trust me you can be happy again, it’s just sometimes people need a bit of help on their way. It’s up to you if you want to take medication. There’s no right or wrong answer, its just personal choice. But counseling is a great therapy and I don’t know many people who wouldn’t recommend trying it even for a short time period. Sometimes an impartial ear is all it takes. Counselling is not about giving you answers or someone else telling you what you should or shouldn’t do, it’s about someone completely non judgemental helping you in a confidential environment. It’s about omeone to listening to you and helping you to go through your thoughts and come to your own conclusions about things that may be causing you some trouble in life.

These are just a few ideas I thought might be helpful. Hope you find something that works for you. Remember you will be happy again.

Saying Goodbye to my Rock

My dog, Skye, literally brought light back into my life when I got her ten years ago. I had been depressed for months.  First, my first love broke my heart by moving across the country. Then, my grandmother died. Soon after, my golden retriever, Dusty had to be put down due to lymphoma.  I felt alone and needed comfort.  For me, that comfort always came from animals. So the day my mother found out that someone nearby had blue-eyed Siberan husky/ German shepherd puppies that needed homes, we raced to see the six-week-old litter. It just so happened to be Black Friday. She was the best score ever.

Skye was the only black and white puppy in her litter. The rest were all white or red/white.  One had three legs. Others hid in the corner.  Skye was the only puppy that wasn’t afraid of my brother when he picked her up. We knew then she would be our dog. I picked her up, looked at her and said, “Your name is Skye because you have beautiful blue eyes.”

We fought over who got to hold her in the car on the way home. Of course, my younger brother won.  We shared her, but she was clearly my dog, as I was the one who begged for a new companion.  Skye and I were inseparable from the start. She slept in my bed (she was so little that on our first night, she actually slipped behind the bars of my bed and in-between the bed and the wall!), bit my feet in the morning when I got dressed, and soon enough began tearing up every bed comforter I bought.  She had the most adorable husky howl, which turned into complete serenades, as she got older.

I posted videos of Skye online all the time, even submitting her for appearances on talk shows. The producers of one show even contacted me recently to film a video of her singing so they could air it. But since it was such short notice and I was at work, I couldn’t make it happen. She was always a character!

No matter what was going on in my life, I always had her to cuddle with and put a smile on my face. We’d go for walks, chase squirrels (even stuffed animals in the house) and snack on Twizzlers together (bad, I know!).

When I got married, Skye moved with me. Through all the upset in my marriage, Skye was there for me. When I got divorced, Skye and my newly rescued dog, Lucky, were the only “people” I wanted around me. I received unconditional love and support from my dogs. Through every sad or rough moment in life, I’ve had Skye to comfort me- from breakups to being let go from my job. She was always my rock.

But this Christmas, I became hers. I had to let her go.

On Christmas Eve, I came home to find Skye screaming. It appeared that she broke her leg.  My fiancé, Frank, and I rushed her to the hospital, where we were told she had bone cancer. Apparently a tumor caused her leg to break. We were presented with two choices: amputate her leg or put her to sleep.

Hysterical, I asked if we could take her home for the night. So they bandaged her up on a leopard print cast and put a pain patch on her that would kick in 12-24 hours from then and gave her a lot of medication that made her feel very out of sorts.

She screamed nonstop all night. I even lay down on the floor next to her, but nothing could comfort her. By 6 am, I couldn’t take hearing her in so much discomfort. We didn’t know if she was in pain or just screaming because she’s a husky and they are very vocal when uncomfortable. The vet told us to expect her to scream because of that, but we really thought it would stop once she was home in her own bed.  Lucky even went to check on her a few times and lay down next to her.

I called our vet on his cell phone but he was in Florida, so we wouldn’t be able to take her to him anytime soon. We really wanted any procedure to be done through him and to get his opinion because he helped us with all our dogs and he never puts a dog down unless it’s absolutely necessary. Even when Dusty, had lymphoma, he treated him for many months before telling us it was time.

With no other choice, we took her back to the animal hospital and this time met with the director. He showed us her x-rays, explained how the odd fracture she had was caused by a tumor and cancer eating away the bone. He shared other cases with us. Three doctors consulted on Skye’s case and agree that this was very aggressive bone cancer and when you usually find it at this point, it most likely spread to other parts of the body, like her lungs.

If we were to amputate her leg, it might give us another three to six months. Now, if we were guaranteed that amputating her leg would give her more years, we would have gone ahead with the procedure. But the cancer most likely spread and it’s not fair to put a ten-year-old dog through that.  He also assed her walking and said her back legs were too weak to support her if we amputated.

We decided that since the bone couldn’t heal and we were not going to amputate her leg, the best we could do for her not to suffer was to put her down. This was the most difficult decision to make. She wasn’t acting sick prior to this. She ran around and played with Lucky all the time. How can you put a dog that looks completely healthy to sleep?

But we couldn’t be selfish and keep her in pain just because we couldn’t stand to say goodbye.

When the time came, they brought out a Jets blanket to lay her on, which brought out more hysterics because that’s Frank’s favorite team and he was even wearing his Jets jacket.  All morning Frank was asking her for a kiss (she loved to kiss him and sometimes liked his face for two minutes straight) but she wouldn’t give him one. But right there on the table, I told her to give Daddy a kiss and she did. She kissed us both on the lips. Then I buried my head in her fur and wrapped my arms around her neck as Frank held her paw and the vet injected the needle.

She passed away peacefully and loved. We held her till the end.

Skye was a member of our family. She brought us so many happy memories and has been with me through every rough moment of my life.  She may be gone in the physical world, but I know she is still here with us. Skye will always be my baby girl. This is going to take a lot of time to get used to her not being there and jumping up on the bed in the morning to burry herself in the covers when she wakes up, or sleeping on her favorite pillow on the floor next to me at night. I leave Lucky’s food on the floor and think, “Oh wait, I need to pick it up ‘cause Skye will steal it…”  I know Frank will miss “cotton picking” her fur during shedding season and even how she always talked back to him and would only listen to me.  She definitely had a strong personality. But she loved people, especially children.

I regret that I never got to give her a baby to play with, that my “failed” marriage messed that up.   I regret that Frank and I waited to take our engagement photos and now Skye won’t be a part of them. I regret that the only pictures I have as a bride with her are from my marriage to the wrong man. I’m upset that I didn’t get to dress her up for Christmas this year or give her the gifts I bought.

But if I’ve learned one thing from my divorce, it is that everything happens for a reason. I wasn’t meant to know Skye was sick because then I would worry about her every day. I gave her a great life and she knew how much I loved her. She taught me to appreciate the simple things in life, like going on walks. I’ll always hold her close to my heart. She’s a part of me. And maybe by next Christmas, when I’m ready, I’ll celebrate her memory by adopting a companion for Lucky and giving a shelter dog a home for every holiday.

I haven’t felt pain like this since my divorce, however this loss is so much greater. I know that with time, the pain will ease and I have my angel Skye watching over me.

Comedian George Carlin once said, “When you buy a dog, you buy a tragedy.”  It’s so true, but so worth it.

Lesson: Don’t let fear of loss or heartbreak stop you from finding love again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Furever Love

Skye on her birthday last year. We broke out the pearl necklace.

Today my fur-child, Skye, turns 10 years old. My Siberian husky/German shepherd mix almost stopped me from even dating my ex-husband. He hated dogs. Especially dogs that shed enough fur to make a human’s winter coat. When I first met my ex, I actually stopped talking to him because if he didn’t like dogs, we clearly had no future. I even brought Skye with me once to meet him for a quick chat at 711 because she would be my excuse to leave. Then something happened… he warmed up to Skye so I decided to give him a chance.

Hawaiian-themed birthday bash.

During our marriage, he complained about the responsibility of dogs and of course, the shedding. Once I rescued another dog, it was all downhill. He saw two big shed machines whereas I felt unconditional love and considered them two big furry pillows.

Hello Kitty birthday soiree. 

I should’ve trusted my instincts. Animals are a mega important part of my life. I’ve been campaigning to save the tigers and adopt shelter dogs since middle school. So why did I even consider trying to convert my ex-husband into an animal-friendly person? Maybe it was a personal mission. I work in PR so promoting beliefs/products/bands etc is in my nature. In my world, dogs are amazing creatures and I want everyone to share my feelings. One dog adopted equals campaign success.

Me and my girl. A few years ago.

I succeeded the challenge- for a little. But alas, lesson learned: If he doesn’t love animals or share a common goal of raising pets, he will never want to raise children with you. But you can read more about that in my upcoming book!

Frank, my fiancé, and I on our one-year anniversary. Family portrait. Sorta.

Today, I’m grateful to have a fiancé who loves dogs (he even rescued a shelter dog of his own before we met) and has become a “father” to my dogs. He bathes them, cooks turkey on their birthdays and even carries them home from the vet when they are too sedated to walk out on their own legs. We even have a wish list of future dog breeds to rescue.

My dream man, giving Skye a bath. This was maybe the second time he met her.

Tonight we will celebrate our senior citizen daughter (she is about 70 years old in dog years!) and participate in a new family tradition: dog birthday parties. You can bet the hot pink feather boa is coming out for a doggy photo shoot!

I am that crazy person who has matching charms with her dogs.

Here’s a video blog I made last year about my dogs: