Many of you who have been following Dishes & Dust Bunnies for a while may have likely noticed there have been periods over the last few years when I've posted less frequently. Before I get into some of what's been going on over the past few years, I first wanted to apologize to my readers for not keeping up with the promise I made to stick to my posting schedule and for not updating you sooner. I love you all and appreciate the support and encouraging words I've heard from you through my social channels and by email. It means so much to know you care! ❤️
It's taken a long time to build up the courage to write this post. I'm not looking for sympathy and I don't want to be seen as a complainer or “whiner”. I've wanted to reach out and connect with you about what my family and I have been going through behind the scenes but… with being the person I am… and while attempting to keep this blog as a place of positivity… I held myself back from writing and doing what I loved.
I held myself back for a lot of reasons… it wasn't just one thing…
My life as a blogger, doing this as my actual “earn a living” job has been absolutely surreal. It has given my family and I so many wonderful opportunities for which I'm incredibly thankful for. With that in mind though, blogging as a career does also have its challenges, especially when difficult family and personal situations arise and eclipse ones life. It's a lot to balance.
Maybe I don't need to go into the depths of all this and talk about my stresses and challenges, but I feel it's important since so many other people out there are struggling with similar things in their own lives. We all face challenges in our life and as someone who's been somewhat in the public eye it's important for you to know that behind all the blogging, food photography and silliness I post to my instagram I'm just a real person.
I'm not only the recipes I post, I'm a real person. I'm not perfect and that's ok. Being a human is a lot of work! lol 😂
Running a website is a tremendous amount of work. In fact there are many things you might not even realize bloggers do on the back end to keep their blogs running smoothly – I might talk more about this in a future post if enough of you are interested but for now, this post is about the realness of life.
I was taking care of all these things – and when I mean all the things, I literally mean… ALL the things.
I was acting as my own tech person and programmer, being a mom boss and running this site completely on my own with no outside help. I LOVE blogging and I'm a do-it-yourself kind of gal but changes in my life coupled with stressful situations contributed to becoming massively overwhelmed. I was balancing everything – caring for my son, trying to be a “good enough mother”, keeping up with housework and maintaining my marriage all while running Dishes & Dust Bunnies.
Normal life things basically… but… what I haven't mentioned is that I have been struggling with severe and escalating anxiety disorder for most of my life… and well, that complicates “the normal life things”.
Anxiety has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. It's always been there. The panic attacks… the racing thoughts… moments when I've felt like I'm outside of my own body watching in terrified uncertainty of what will happen next… even something as simple as a phone call or email was completely overwhelming. Maybe some of you reading this post can relate? If so, I'm sending you great big hugs. ❤️
It's been so hard for me to open up about these things because of the stigma that comes with having mental health issues and also with not wanting to worry my family members should they read about my struggles online.
I've been working on my anxiety issues for many years and I've had ups and downs. In fact when I started Dishes & Dust Bunnies back in 2014, I was feeling the best I had in years. I was highly motivated and loved what I was doing! Then life challenges which were out of my control came at me and I began to tumble back into a darker place.
Even with my blog becoming more successful than I ever could imagine… I wasn't feeling well… things were falling into place for me… but I was falling apart.
Around the time when I began to work harder on improving my mental health and anxiety disorder, several close family members fell ill.
My mother was in the hospital several times for spinal surgery, crohns disease and several other health issues. My precious grandmother's health also began to decline (she looked after my sister and I as children since my mother was ill in those days as well). My grandmother began to require more care and my mother, who as I mentioned, struggles with her own health issues, accepted the responsibility of caring for her. The unwell caring for the unwell. My heart broke for both of them and I felt powerless…
My side of the family live on the east coast of Canada back in my home province of New Brunswick… and since I've been living in Toronto for the past 10+ years, the distance between us during these difficult times has been a lot to deal with. My husband was also laid off from work several times over the last 6 years so on top of that there were also financial pressures to deal with (paying off student loans on top of the usual tuff). Thank the High Heavens we had income coming from Dishes & Dust Bunnies during those times otherwise we would have been in a much dire situation.
Oh… and… did I mention I was also diagnosed with endometriosis this year? Yeah, so there's that too. I did however have surgery back in April and have recovered quite well. I'm happy to say I'm feeling much better now. ❤️ *focus on the positives* 😊
Last year I rarely posted to the blog… with everything that had been going on I found it nearly impossible to write in the happy enthusiastic tone you guys seem to enjoy so much.
I'm the type of person who enjoys lifting others up, making people laugh and feel happy – I didn't want to drag you into my woes – you guys truly are my friends – everyone who reads my site – I mean it with all my heart – you mean so much to me! ❤️
The turning point for my return to blogging came after I lost my father unexpectedly to cancer last summer. It was truly one of the most heartbreaking times I've ever experienced.
I know it sounds cliché but when you lose someone close, especially someone who has had so much of an influence and impact on who I am today, it's like being slapped in the face… no… no… it's like being punched in the gut with the reality and truth that life really is too short.
There's no time to sit there being terrified by what might happen next. Life happens. That's well, the nature of what life is… situations and things we're not ready to deal with will happen. What's important is that we make the most of the life we have and do what makes us happy before our time is up…
Dishes & Dust Bunnies is my little world and I'm so thankful you have joined with me on this journey. This is real life and being that I am indeed a real person, I want to be open with you about my life, struggles, insecurities and also celebrate my triumphs over these things with you.
There is so much more I could say about my struggles, but for now I just want you to know that I'm in a much better place mentally. I'm feeling good about life (even though I'm still facing struggles) and it's time to actually get back to living and what I love!
If you are struggling with challenges in your own life (no matter what they may be) please know that you are not alone! ❤️
Honestly, I'm terrified to press the “publish” button on this post, but at the same time it feels a lot better to share with you some of what's been going on and to get this off my chest. Thank you so much to everyone who's been so supportive. ❤️
Below is a tribute to my father that I posted on instagram last year.
View this post on Instagram
❤️ I don't think I ever would have become a pro blogger without my dad. What he did for a living amazed and inspired me so much… daddy worked as a web designer and photographer but started out as an old school graphic artist waaaaay back before computers were used… I always thought it was the coolest thing… . Inspired by my dad's work, as a teenager I would spend hours on the computer working on my free geocities website writing angsty dark poetry and gothy stuff… ❤️lol… While dark poetry and goth stuff really wasn't my dad's thing, he always encouraged the work I was doing on my site (or sites depending on the time!) While friends and other family members couldn't see the value in my "nerdy little hobby", Daddy would always ask me "What's next on the site?". ❤️ . Long story short… here I am… frazzled socially awkward creative weirdo mom… doing what I love… earning a living sharing my recipes, silliness and making friends with you all. ❤️ It really boggles my mind and I'm so thankful to be able to support my family doing what I love… and I know it seems cliche but "pinch me".❤️❤️❤️ . Before losing my dad to cancer this summer, I don't think I truly realized just how much of an impact he had on my life. . . #dishesanddustbunnies #fuckcancer #missyoudad #loveyoudad #throwback #throwbackthursday #livethelittlethings #igerscanada #eastcoast #canada #abmlifeisbeautiful #newbrunswick #newbrunswickcanada #beautiful #photooftheday #love #foodblogger #gothmom #blogger