Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Woman's Love of Shoes : A Tribute of Sorts

Sure, shoes serve a purpose - protecting one's feet... This could mean from weather - like snow or rain... Or from the heat of the pavement on a hot Summer's day... True - shoes also protect one's feet from sharp and uncomfortable things - like rocks or glass... They can also protect other things - like proper running shoes protect from shin splints and joint pain... We've even got steal toed boots to protect us while on the job. Shoes can make an outfit, they can make a person taller, they can help correct one's posture and a bazillion of other things... Maybe these are examples of why the stereo typical woman has so many pairs of shoes. And as a woman, I'd love to be able to completely explain why women have heaps of shoes... I'll try my best to do so, from my perspective, though I don't speak for every female out there.

I moved a few months ago, and the sheer amount of shoes in my collection astounded me! I had two very large garbage bags full. (That didn't even include the duffel bag full of slippers - which in my mind are just shoes acceptable to wear in the house.... Winnie the pooh, Eeyore and Shrek are just a few of my slipper characters... And that doesn't include a few of the "plain" pairs I have... Ridiculous!) Compared to some Ladies out there, that's a minuscule amount... To me it just seemed nuts! I was in full out moving purge mode and trimmed that down by half..... I got rid of old, warn out pairs that had already been replaced... There was easily about $500 worth of shoes there... And by no means do I own a pair designer shoes of Jimmy Choo status. I don't even own a brand name pair of shoes! They're all middle of the road, not overly expensive department store brands.... Okay, so I do have a pair of Columbia boots that are kind of expensive - but they were part of a uniform that I didn't have to pay for... But I did get to keep the boots! =0)

While purging, I also got rid of a couple pairs that I would never wear again...  I'm not going to lie... It literally hurt to wear them... Why do we do that to ourselves my fellow Ladies? I've wandered through the shoe sections of various department stores and have wondered how some people are able to walk in some of the styles out there! The honking high heels for example. If I could make it out the door without snapping an ankle I'd be impressed... And if I managed not to injure myself throughout the evening's events, the dang things would leave me crippled by knee and foot pain for a couple days. I will admit - even though I graduated from high school coming up on 12 years ago - I still have the shoes I bought and wore especially for grad. They are high heels, borderline hooker shoes... I can't seem to bring myself to part with them, even though they've been worn twice and I doubt I could walk in them again.

I've probably got at least one pair of every style of shoe out there... I've got steel toed boots - which of course were required foot wear for a few jobs I've had... I've got a couple different styles of winter boots - a dresser pair, my favorite "sh!t kicker" ankle boot style, and a pair of mid-calf functional winter play boots... Let's face it, I'm Canadian and there's bound to be snow at one point or another. (Now that I'm no longer in Edmonton, I hope the snow stays in actual Winter months and doesn't make a surprise appearance in the middle of July!) I've got a couple pair of comfortable formal flats... Runners/Work-out style shoes, yep you'll find them in my collection. My favorites though - sandals and flip flops... That's where most of my shoe money's been sunk! I've got a pair of for every mood or necessity one can imagine - with the exception of a pair of "Hooker Boots"... And Heaven forbid I find another cute pair out there!

I just came in from mucking around on the muddy country road I live on, in my newest footwear acquisition.... Gumboots, or Rubber boots if you will. Yeah, I said it - Gumboots! Out here it would be crazy not to possess a pair. While coming in more stylish patterns than I remember growing up, Gumboots are functional.... They serve a purpose. One can go outside on a soggy Spring or Fall day, do yard work and not worry about ruining a pair of shoes that are otherwise still acceptable to wear in public... They clean up really easily and are waterproof... So, you don't have to worry about getting your feet wet either! Gumboots are functional - one of the reasons why Women love shoes! (Oh Gumboots! I don't know why I waited so long to own a pair again!)

I can't really explain it... I just love shoes! I guess I have so many so I have a variety of choice... If I'm lazy and don't want to bend over and it's nice enough outside - I've got sandals... It's snowing - I've got boots. It's spring and mucky - I've got gumboots... Going on a job where regulated foot wear is required - steel toed boots are there... Going for a walk or exercising - there's the runners... They all serve a purpose and protect the feet in one form or another... Most of them even look cute while doing so! Everybody needs to take care of their smelly feet to make sure they're not all gnarled out for when we're older... Shoes are just the forefront of preserving our foot future! (It would "stink" to have arthritic feet due to improper foot wear!)

It's not always about me... While I have a healthy love of shoes, I'd rather be running around bare foot year round. Figure that one out!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Don't Suffer in Silence: Depression Stinks

"Sunshine, blue sky, please go away,
My girl has found another, and gone away
With her went my future, my life is filled with gloom,
So day after day, I stay locked up in my room

I know to you it might sound strange,
I wish it would rain (oh how I wish that it would rain)"
~The Temptations "I Wish It Would Rain"

Lately, I've noticed that I haven't blogged nearly as often as I used to.... And not as much as I would like to... As I've promised that I would. I'd like to say that it's just the post~Christmas/Winter blues.... I'd like to say that it's being single just before the massively commercial Valentine's Day... I know these aren't the reasons, however... I've figured what the issue is ~ Depression.

While growing up, I remember my Grandma suffering from bouts of Depression... Sometimes, those bouts were pretty hardcore... Grandma has been treated with Anti-Depressant drugs over the years, and they seem to help keep her on a more even keel. I know most, if not all, of Grandma's siblings have suffered from Depression as well - including her only brother. One of her sisters has dealt with a very serious case of Depression that has been treated with Shock Therapy sessions. One of Grandma's Uncles, back in Switzerland, committed suicide due to a heavy bout of Depression.... My Mum has followed in Grandma's footsteps and has been diagnosed and treated with Depression/Anxiety Issues.

I remember my own Depression started as a teenager. I'd come home from school and sleep until dinner was served. It wasn't until I had a break down in 2001 in the Doctor's office, after moving away to go to college, that I was diagnosed with Depression/Anxiety issues of my own. The straw that seemed to "Break the Camel's Back" was a hard core year of personal turmoil. I lost my Gramps in January... My first serious boyfriend and I broke up in March - after two and a half years together. I moved away from home for the first time by myself to go to College. My other Grandfather was pretty sick when I left and passed away three weeks after my move. (He also passed away two and a half weeks before my 20th birthday. It didn't help that I lost both my Grandfathers within 9 months of each other, almost to the day.)

My depression symptoms included being tired all of the time... Even if I slept for 8-12 hours a day.... I'd go for periods without eating very much at all. Then I'd stuff everything and anything in my mouth food wise. I gained a TON of weight. (I graduated from highschool at about a weight of 125 pounds. I stopped weighing myself at 210.... And I know I gained more after that - the clothes that fit almost comfortably at 210 were becoming tight.) The weight gain only added to the depression. I had no energy and my body seemed to ache all the time. I know the added weight didn't help the aching, but it's not the sole reason for the ache.

Friends and Family had tried to cheer me up and would take me out to "get my mind off of things" - but it didn't help. I began drinking and partying pretty heavily.... Heavily enough to wrack up a couple credit cards - which again, only added to my depressed state of mind. That's when the crying fit in front of the Doctor came into play. I was so embarrassed when I started blubbering away in front of the Doc - I hate crying in front of anybody, but in front of the Doctor seemed that much more embarrassing. He had asked me about family history of Depression - I told him the same as I've written here - and he prescribed an Anti-Depressant/Anti-Anxiety medication for me.

I had to stop drinking and partying in order for it to work properly... So that's what I did. I gained a new group of friends who were more supportive, and drank less... With the help of them and the pills, I slowly became more even tempered... I wasn't prone to crying fits as much. I ached less and my appetite became a little more regular. My weight stayed pretty close to the same though - but now I had the energy to go for more walks to help rectify that.

Under the Doctor's guidance, I started weening myself off the medication after about 6 - 8 months. Everything seemed to be going alright. I was doing well enough in school. I had some pretty great friends. I was starting to lose a bit of weight - rather than gain it. Every so often I would have a few "Down Days" but other than that - life was pretty good. I finished my College Education, moved back home for about 2 weeks, and then moved to Edmonton.

While in Edmonton, I was treated for Depression.... Again... The boyfriend, that I moved to Edmonton with, and I were arguing all the time - I could see a real change in him and I really didn't like it one bit. We split less than a month after moving there... (He only lasted a few months in Edmonton before moving back to BC.) So here I was, alone in a new-to-me City, with only one friend and no family around what so ever. (Thankfully I had that one friend - or I would have completely lost it) I was working at least - which helped keep me going...

I found myself falling back into the same Depressed routine. I was sleeping a lot... Crying a lot... My appetite was gone... I was always achy... I was riding the bus and was constantly anxious I was going to miss the bus and be late for work... Even when I was on the bus I was anxious that I was going to be late for work... Even though I knew that wasn't true. So, I was medicated again for both conditions. I remember being so happy once I got to work because I knew it was time to take my pill that would help me calm down, relax and feel more sane. It was this time that I started to lose the weight I had gained the first time around.

As in the song at the beginning of this post, most days I wished it would rain. If it was bright and sunny outside, I'd feel guilty for being holed up in my room due to the lacking energy to get out into the sun. I felt bad wasted days and lack of interest in anything... Even going outside for a cigarette was a chore and required a three hour nap to "recover". I guess I scared my brother enough he read my journal because he was worried I was planning to off myself. (I wasn't... And I was pissed he read my journal... But I was glad to know he was concerned enough - he and I had a pretty strained relationship for most of our lives.)

I've been off any anti-Depressants/anti-Anxiety medication for about 5 years now. I know my signs of Depression, and if they ever come back - I'll be medicated again. I don't enjoy the pills because I feel too much like a drone... But I know they work to help even me out... If I have to be on them for a few months to help get back to a regular, functioning human being... So be it... I'm doing alright now without the meds though, and I'm glad for that. I don't regret the times I did have to be medicated - mainly because they helped me not do something "crazy" like jumping off a building. Things are starting to look up for me, so I will be badgering y'all with more posts - not to worry! =0)

It's Not Always About Me... Being diagnosed with Depression is nothing to be ashamed of... Please DO NOT think you are alone! Get the help you need and DO NOT suffer any longer. Depression is NOT a sign of weakness, it's just a sign of trying to be strong too long.

Below is a small list of Celebrities/Famous People who have suffered from Depression as well. (I know there seems to be a LOT listed below - but the list is only a portion of the MASSIVE list on Wikipedia and other sites.... I just took some of the ones I recognized.)

Famous People with Depression:
  1. Hans Christen Anderson (Children's Author)
  2. Buzz Aldren (Astronaut/2nd Man to Walk on the Moon)
  3. Woody Allen (Film Director)
  4. Terry Bradshaw (Former Football Player/Now Commentator)
  5. Jim Carrey (Comedic Actor)
  6. Drew Carey (Comedic Actor)
  7. Kurt Cobain (Recording Artist/Songwriter)
  8. Leonard Cohen (Recording Artist/Songwriter)
  9. Winston Churchill (British Premiere)
  10. Charles Dickens (Author)
  11. Kirsten Dunst (Actress)
  12. Rodney Dangerfield (Comedian/Actor)
  13. John Denver (Recording Artist/Songwriter)
  14. Harrison Ford (Actor)
  15. Nelly Furtado (Recording Artist/Songwriter)
  16. Vincent Van Gogh (Artist)
  17. Anne Hathaway (Actress)
  18. Ernest Hemmingway (Author)
  19. Clara Hughes (Canadian Gold Winning Olympic Athlete)
  20. Janet Jackson (Recording Artist)
  21. Ashley Judd (Actress)
  22. Billy Joel (Recording Artist)
  23. Beyonce (Recording Artist)
  24. Hugh Laurie (Actor of "House" Fame)
  25. Heath Ledger (Actor)
  26. John Lennon (Recording Artist/Songwriter/"Beatle")
  27. Abraham Lincoln (US President)
  28. Ewan MacGregor (Actor)
  29. Mozart (Composer)
  30. Conan O'Brien (Late Night Host/Comedian)
  31. Gwyneth Paltrow (Actress)
  32. Edgar Allen Poe (Author)
  33. Anne Rice (Author)
  34. J.K. Rowling (Author)
  35. John D. Rockefeller (American Industrialist)
  36. Brooke Shields (Actress)
  37. James Taylor (Recording Artist/Song Writer)
  38. Mark Twain (Author)
  39. Owen Wilson (Actor)
  40. Brian Wilson (Recording Artist/Beach Boy)
Websites Worth a Peak: