Bell Let’s Talk Day

Bell Lets TalkY’know, it was recently mentioned on Twitter that a big corporation shouldn’t have to be using a mental health issue in order to gain positive exposure for themselves. People can talk about mental health issues on their own. 

Yes, they can. The problem is that they don’t. Bell Lets Talk 1

As someone dealing with Major Depressive Disorder and Adult ADHD, the Let’s Talk initiative by Bell here in Canada takes on a whole new meaning for me than it has in previous years. It actually MEANS something to me now.

Bell Lets Talk 6So just what IS Bell Let’s Talk? It’s a multi-year charitable program dedicated to the promotion and support of mental health across Canada. The money they pledge supports a wide range of mental health organizations, large and small, from coast to coast focusing on anti-stigma, care and access, workplace mental health and research.

And no, Bell doesn’t have to use this social media campaign as a way to gain positive exposure as they could totally donate money to charity in private without the public knowing about it. But my response to that would be…why the heck shouldn’t they try to get positive exposure? Should all major corporations simply sit in the background and not let the world know that they’re doing good things? Bell Lets Talk 4

Bell Lets Talk 2And hey…Bell has committed over $100 million to mental health initiatives since 2010. How awesome is that? For one day a year, there isn’t a major stigma on having a mental health issue as it might be the rest of the year. It’s easy for me to sit back (slightly) anonymously on my laptop and write about how I’ve been dealing with my issues for the past year, but I still haven’t mentioned this to my immediate family or my friends because, quite frankly, I don’t want to be pre-judged or even ostracized from them because they have pre-conceived notions of what it all means. 

Bell Lets Talk 5The entire day reminds people that talking is the best way to start breaking down the barriers associated with mental illness. I don’t want to be shunned away from society, I want to be able to talk about what’s going on with me so that others can either recognize the symptoms within themselves or at least understand them so they don’t have to “pretend” when they’re around me or ignore me altogether. 

Bell Lets Talk 3So if you have a moment today, please use the #BellLetsTalk hashtag on Facebook and Twitter today. Bell has pledged 5 cents for every time it’s used (as of 9am this morning, there had already been over 7 million interactions online…resulting in $350,000 committed to mental health), so yes…every single tweet and Facebook post add up. 

Let’s try to not let this day be the only one we use to talk about mental health issues, either. It’s too important of a topic to ignore.

Whoa…I’ve Signed Up!

I mentioned at the beginning of the year that I was giving myself a large task as a “resolution” for 2016. I mean, after doing the Polar Bear Dip I figured that anything was possible if I simply put my mind to it. This task was to complete a half-marathon, which sounds insane to me as I write it down. Heck…it was just over two years ago that I completed my very first 5K and I thought I was insane for doing that!

Well…after sending in a payment a couple of weeks ago, I received the following notification from the Maritime Race Weekend crew in my email last night:

CBG - Marathon

I gotta say…I was excited and nervous to actually see this. I mean, I’m actually signed up to run a damn HALF MARATHON. I remember just how difficult it was to WALK the half marathon back in 2013 and how I never thought I’d come close to doing anything like that again…much less voluntarily decide to do it and complete it on my own.

Y’see, and much as Sunshine inspires me on a daily basis, I feel like this is something that I have to do on my own. It’s my own internal battle against laziness and my own internal battle against myself…the whole history I have of “self-sabotage” and all. 

ADHD symbol design isolated on white backgroundBut I’m a better person now. I’m taking medication regularly for Adult ADHD and Major Depressive Disorder. I really feel as though I’ve turned a corner in my life. In addition, I just finished a 3-month trial with GoodLife Fitness that I think I’ll continue to do to ensure I can properly train for this during the off-season months. 

This is something that I know I can do if I put my mind to it and work my ass off to accomplish this task. I’m tentatively planning to chronicle my journey over the next eight months until my race takes place on September 16th, when I plan to live tweet during the race itself (heck…I’m not going for time, I’m just going to finish!). 

Anyway…this is a massive challenge for me but I’m going to finish this. I’m going to get ‘er done. I just can’t believe that I’m doing it. 

whoa

Whoa…

Music’s Loss

It’s been a pretty insane two weeks in terms of celebrities passing away.

LemmyI mean, first we had Lemmy Kilmister from Mötorhead. Maybe that’s not a big deal to some (and it took place on December 28th, but it’s still within the past three weeks), but he has legions of fans around the world who were really saddened to hear of his passing. I’ll admit, I was never the biggest fan of Mötorhead, but there were a couple of songs that I didn’t mind too much. The obvious choice is Ace of Spades, the only “hit” they ever really had. But as a wrestling fan, I was more into a theme song they did for one of my favourite wrestlers, Triple H. They didn’t normally do any “commercial” music, but this one about as close as they ever got.

David Bowie 2Soon after his passing, the music industry was hit with a massive punch in the gut when news got out that David Bowie had died after an 18-month battle with liver cancer. I’ll be the first one to admit that I was never someone who listened to a ton of Bowie, but I had a good number of his songs in my iTunes library. I don’t recall even knowing who David Bowie was prior to his Let’s Dance album. I’ve since become a casual fan of his 70’s material, simply because of the originality and creativity that was needed to pull it all off. People throw around the words “musical icon” a lot these days, but Bowie truly was one of the pioneers of popular music and how you didn’t have to conform in order to be successful.

Glenn FreyThen yesterday I read on TMZ that Glenn Frey had passed away. He was one of the co-founders of the Eagles, which is one of my favourite bands of all time. I remember growing up in the 70’s and hearing certain songs on the radio, but not thinking much of it at the time. By the time the late 80’s had come around, there was a resurgence in the interest of 70’s rock with my friends and I. We listened to the popular music of the day, but we’d also listen to the Eagles, the Steve Miller Band, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. I was absolutely blessed to have gotten the chance to see the Eagles live in concert back in 2008. I always loved the Eagles music and I also enjoyed a number of Frey’s solo work, as well. He died from a combination of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia. As one of the co-writers of such classics as Hotel California and Desperado, Frey’s passing will be felt across the entire music industry.

I almost forgot one more untimely passing (thanks @junctionette!!), and that was of Natalie Cole. While she was never the superstar her father was, she was still a well respected singer who had a successful career.

Hopefully the Grim Reaper takes a break for a little bit. Between these legendary musicians and celebrities such as “Grizzly Adams” Dan Haggerty and the incredible Alan Rickman also passing away in the past two weeks, it’d be nice if we could take a break from mourning for awhile.

Netflix Resolutions

Netflix My ListIf you’re a Netflix viewer like me, you’ve got a number of items in your “My List” (that’s mine at right) that you’ll either won’t have the time to watch any time soon or you won’t end up watching at all. The more you use Netflix, the bigger that list can grow…quickly.

Thanks to being a member of the Netflix Stream Team, they’ve decided to help me go on a “diet” when it comes to my list so that I can drop some of those “show pounds”. Yes…it’s a bit silly, but I think this infographic of eight resolutions may be some I can actually KEEP this year!

image001

1. Okay…so Lost is on Netflix?? I can’t tell you how awesome I think that is. There are so many questions I have about the series that I feel I need to watch them again so I can truly understand the final season.

2. I watched the first season of Daredevil with a bit of hesitation, but was pleasantly surprised at just how much fun it was. I can’t wait for the second season to come out later in 2016!

Heroes3. I remember binge-watching the entire first season of Heroes when it first came out on television. I’ll be completely honest…I wouldn’t really recommend any season after that, but if you want a fantastically original and character-driven show that just happens to be about superheroes, then THIS is the show for you. Binge-watch the first season (“Save the cheerleader…save the world.”) and you can thank me for it later.

4. My wife and I already finished binge-watching the entire 10-season run of Friends last year, but we’ve both agreed that it’s appropriate for our kids to watch so we’ll be introducing the show to them this year.

Family Guy5. I am one of those guys who has only seen a few episodes of Family Guy but never really dove into it. Any time I saw it on television, I usually laughed at what I saw…but I just never went looking for it on a regular basis. I will GLADLY give it a second look on Netflix.

6. I introduced my wife to Fringe a few weeks ago and, while she didn’t care for it, I got hooked and am looking forward to completing the series in 2016.

7. I really don’t know anything about Bloodline. Hmm…I should look into this one.

Jessica Jones8. I watched Jessica Jones and was instantly hooked. This show is so awesome I immediately told my wife that she’d probably like it, so we’re about 4 or 5 episodes into the season. I’m still loving it…she’s a bit hesitant…but I think it was one of the best shows of 2015. Excellent characters and storytelling.

In terms of what I am REALLY wanting to watch on Netflix this year, I’ve been able to narrow it down to a few based on suggestions for the #StreamTeam:

Netflix_NewYears_CharacterCard_HowIMetYourMother
This one will be pretty easy because the family is already watching this together. I believe we’re into the second season now and it’s a show that, while a bit risqué for the younger set, is hilariously funny. I can’t believe that for all of the years it was on television that my wife and I never gave it a second glance.

Netflix_NewYears_CharacterCard_OrangeIstheNewBlack
I can’t lie…I’m already caught-up on this one. The worst part right now is waiting until June before the new season drops so that my wife and I can binge-watch the entire season in under a week before rolling our eyes and complaining about having to wait an entire freakin’ year before we can see more new episodes.

Netflix_NewYears_CharacterCard_TheWalkingDead
I’m the only zombie fan in the house, so this one is all on me. I’m actually completely caught-up with the current season of the show, but I’m such a massive fan that I love watching the old episodes, as well. Right now the group is at the farmhouse, and I think binge-watching the rest of the episodes through the summer until the next season starts might be the only way to satisfy my Walking Dead cravings.

Netflix_NewYears_CharacterCard_TheXFiles
I remember being SUPER excited to hear that the X-Files were coming back for a 6-episode limited edition run (starting on January 26th!!). But then I had a difficult time trying to remember just what took place that led us to now. I used to watch the show religiously and even watched the two movies, but it’s been awhile and I have to admit that I don’t remember how the show ended. I think I now have to watch every episode so I can get back into the swing of things and remember just why this show was so awesome to begin with.

Netflix_NewYears_CharacterCard_HouseofCards
I’ve always enjoyed political dramas and have heard a lot of good things about this show and Kevin Spacey’s performance. I promise to give this a shot in 2016.

*****

So what shows are YOU looking forward to watching in 2016? Anything you plan to take off of YOUR “My List”?

The 3-Month Gym Membership Recap

Goodlife Fitness 2Well, my 3-month GoodLife Fitness free trial is now over and I wanted to give my honest opinions and thoughts of what the trial was like for me. 

I’m not going to lie as my “relationship” appears to be concluded with GoodLife at the moment. So here it goes: I really, really liked it. I know…from a guy who hasn’t stepped into a gym in over 20 years, I got to the point where I was feeling pretty comfortable with going and what I was doing.

There was something really fulfilling about getting to the gym early, doing a workout, and then leaving before most of the city was even awake. It was also great to be able to do different things and not be stifled by doing just one type of workout every single time. I felt myself getting stronger after doing circuit training, I felt myself dying after doing a spin class, and I felt myself getting more stamina after running on the treadmill. 

At the end of the day…it was fun.

Sunshine & CBGThe problem, though, was trying to remind myself that it was fun. I mean, it was hard work…don’t get me wrong….but I never left the gym feeling as though it was “work” as opposed to something that made me feel good at the end of the day. 

GoodLife Fitness is also a top quality organization. Everything was clean, the facilities were always top notch, and I never felt out of place when I walked into one of their locations (I visited three during my membership). The hours of operation and convenient locations were also major positives for me.

Now the big question is…will I re-sign for a membership on my own? 

The Struggle Is RealThe short answer is “yes”, but there is a longer answer to get there. I have asked my contact to get someone from GoodLife Fitness to get back to me about continuing my working relationship with them as a GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador, but there has been no contact at this time. I have considered doing some kind of crowd-fund situation to pay for the membership so I can properly train for my half-marathon in September and document everything in the blog. I have also discussed the financial details with my wife to see if it’s something we can afford right now.

I’ll have to think about things, but right now I’m going to take a couple of days to mull things over and hope that GoodLife Fitness gets back to me. I would love to continue my working relationship with them and I’m going to require the gym to help me train for the half one way or another…so if it could be sponsored, then I’d be stoked.

Thanks for all who followed my “gym journey” over the past few months and for constantly providing me with positive comments and well-wishes. I look forward to seeing what happens as 2016 continues. 

2016: The Year of Positivity

New Year's Eve 2015It’s all about the power of positivity in 2016.

As readers of this blog know, 2015 wasn’t the best year for me. It sucks because I was ready to tackle the year in a big way. Unfortunately, the year pretty much kicked my ass and I’ve been trying to battle back for the past few months.

Let me recap briefly…

  • In December 2014, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. I was given anti-depressants to try. Unfortunately, the side effects included a lack of sex drive so I tried another anti-depressant instead. This one didn’t work at all and I ended up having a horrible Christmas full of anxiety and anger. Needless to say, I switched back as soon as I could in January.
  • I found myself having more and more issues at work with my performance. I couldn’t figure out why, but I was making little mistakes in just about everything I was doing. I was starting to panic about my job security, which only added to the mistakes.
  • With some pressuring from my wife, I went to a psychologist and after a few visits found that I had Adult ADHD (Predominantly Inattentive). This was a mind-blowing revelation because I have had this condition my entire life, yet was never diagnosed. It explained SO MANY THINGS, which was really difficult for me to come to terms with.
  • I was let go from my job at the end of July due to poor work performance…two days into taking my medication for ADHD. I don’t blame them…they had to look after their interests as a business. The timing just sucked because I was never truly able to show them my best work.

That was pretty much 2015 summarized. I’ve been out of work since the summer. I’ve been close to finding a job and have gotten a couple of “final interviews”, but it never worked out for one reason or another. However, both Sunshine and I are in a very fortunate position so that I don’t have to go after just any job in order to keep us afloat. I’m searching for THE JOB, or at least something very close to it. Those are few and far between in a city of only 100,000 with an 8% unemployment rate.

I felt low in December leading up to Christmas, but because our family did pretty good with what we had, I felt as though it was time for a different mindset. I just felt that I couldn’t let negativity into my world when there’s so much positivity. I felt as though I had too much to fight for in 2016…and I felt so strongly about this leading into New Year’s Eve that I did something that was absolutely unthinkable only a year ago.

I signed up for the local Polar Bear Dip.

Polar Bear Dip 2016Sunshine had done it twice and was hoping I would join her this time around. As we neared January 1st, I was up early one morning and felt that I needed to do something symbolic that would match my feelings on needing a fresh start and a new beginning. So while she slept, I went online and registered.

I was absolutely NOT wanting to do the jump on the morning of New Year’s Day. I didn’t care about new beginnings or fresh starts; only that the water was freezing and I was an idiot for doing this.

But as Sunshine and I made our way to the docks through the crowds of people, I felt as though this was something that I really needed to do. Plus, we were a bit late to the pier and our numbers had already been called…meaning that they rushed us up to the edge very quickly and there wasn’t any time to really reconsider bad choices.

I think this video pretty much sums up how the jump went…

So there you have it. I not only jumped, but LIKED it!! In fact, I already feel like I want to do it again next year! And you know what else is awesome? My son and step-daughters were there to enjoy the moment with me; to see their dad do something outside of his comfort zone. My parents would have NEVER done anything like that. Hell…they wouldn’t even have gone out to watch in person.

Not only that, but both of my teenaged daughters thought what I did was awesome and BOTH want to do it with me next year!!! How incredibly lucky and fortunate am I to be able to experience something like that?

This just confirms to me that I’m going to have a better 2016. My ADHD is under control. My depression is under control (for the most part). My children love me and I’ve got the greatest wife in the entire world.

A job will come. Experiences will come. Living life to the fullest will come.

Bring it on, 2016…I’m ready for you!

The Free Netflix Winners Are…

Netflix-gift-cards-1024x601I would like to thank everybody who entered the “Win 6 Free Months of Netflix” contest over the past few weeks. I don’t have giveaways very often, so it was great being able to have a contest for readers over the holidays. And as a massive fan of Netflix, being able to share the service is something that brings me a lot of happiness.

So after using RANDOM.ORG to choose two names at random out of all of the qualifying entries, I have the two winners!! 

They are…

…and…

I will DM you both within the next 24 hours to exchange information so you can get your Netflix 6-month complimentary membership codes! Congratulations and THANK YOU for reading the blog.

And a big thanks to Netflix Canada for having me be a member of their Stream Team so I was able to offer this giveaway to begin with. They’ve been very kind to me and my family over the past year and I look forward to continuing my working relationship with them in 2016.