Enough is Enough – or when will it ever be?

Going through the cycles I have throughout my lifetime of trying to improve myself, I sit and wonder at times at what point enough will finally be enough.

I know the effect consuming dairy, sugar and wheat has on my body.  I know how much better I feel when I cut out “the big three” and watch the scale as pounds seem to melt off of my body with no effort other than these dietary restrictions.

While I shake my head as I watch my wife dealing with her obsession of eggnog every Winter when she drinks liters of it and pays for it dearly, I myself keep eating wheat and dairy, sometimes both together in large amounts, knowing my body is going to scream at me later and almost every time, it does.

Now, before you just scroll down to comments and start blasting your “science” about “correlation” and “causation” and all that crap about the “gluten wheat dairy myth”, unless you are offering to rub my belly and a soft roll of TP, I don’t need science claiming that there is no evidence to support the fact that, after I consume wheat/and or dairy, that I am nine times out of ten, doubled over in excruciating pain because there scientifically is no “correlation of my causation” to my now dying a slow painful death from the inside out.

So one has to wonder, if you know this is the case Jake, why oh why do you keep putting this crap into your body?  When will you ever learn??


Five is how many blog posts I wrote for all of 2015.  

I started this blog in March of 2011 which means it is coming up on it’s five year anniversary.  Here is the breakdown of blog posts per year over the past five years of daddyjake.com:

  • 2011 – 4
  • 2012 – 72
  • 2013 – 37
  • 2014 – 15
  • 2015 – 5

Anyone who has followed me over the years (which is probably no one), would know that I have been blogging on and off since 2001 and that I still (obviously) struggle to blog on a regular basis, save from a couple of good runs over the past 15 years.

Last year was not a good year for me and my family and because of that, I had no inspiration for blogging, photography or sewing because I was in survival mode.  While I did write a few posts last year, including some of what I endured, I have tried very hard to keep posts on this blog of a positive nature.

Now that I am slowly but surely crawling out of survival mode, I have been missing my Sunday morning blogging and have really been wanting to get out with my dSLR that has been collecting dust.  This winter has been so dark and ugly that I have not gone out because I am a photographer who prefers natural light and still haven’t taken the time to figure out how to properly use the settings on my dSLR.  

I seem to oscillate between programming and blogging.  I either get very focused on programming on my projects or I don’t touch them at all.  For the past two months, I have been nose to the grindstone with my programming.  I was supposed to be out this morning blogging and yet again, slid back into programming for the first 1.5 hours I was out.  I need to see if I can code something up that anytime that happens, my keyboard zaps me or something of that nature.

While I am not entirely sure that I *lost* my passion for programming, I certainly lost *any* desire to ever work a corporate job again.  I started my first post post secondary education job in April of 2000.  I questioned my whole career if I enjoyed my work knowing I went home from work and worked for several hours more on my own projects.  Somehow, it wasn’t until some time in the past year that I realized that I had always worked in a technology department (IT, IMIT, IS) and never for a technology company that’s sole purpose is doing development.

I have been feverishly trying to get back up to speed with some programming languages that I am not as familiar with while also brushing up on advanced programming theory.  I have also been working on re-building my portfolio (something I haven’t done since graduating college) with the intention of getting back to doing web development.  I have had stacks of books out from the library and have probably read a few thousand pages in the past month or two.

The problem I seem to be struggling with is of course, what I preach to a lot of people:  work/life balance.  I love to blog, I love to sew and I love to take photographs.  (And of course, I love to program.)  I have been (again) in the process of cleaning up and re-arranging the house to help facilitate this.  

Time to sit down and get back to setting goals for blog posts and photographs posted to my Flickr account.  The sun is shining behind me for what feels like the first time in weeks!

My word for 2016 is: Recovery.  Recovery of my career, my finances and my health.

What is yours?

Cleaning house and picking up the broken pieces

At some point in the Fall, I started to radically re-arrange and change our home.  Unfortunately this was short lived when I slipped a disc at the end of November and was off work for six weeks.  I managed a few days back at work before having an episode that landed me in the hospital that I am still recovering from.

For several cold weeks this past Winter, in an effort to ease up my back, all hours of the night and day, I paced back and forth between a lot of what was placed outside on our very large covered deck.  Most of it was either to be recycled, donated or simply gotten out of the way while I moved other things in our house around.  I cursed myself for having picked up a box just the right wrong way to lift and felt what I had done to it as I was doing it.  The full extent of the pain didn’t set in for hours and just got worse every time I would get up.  I done did it good!

I spent a good 5 weeks only being able to lay down or stand up.  There was NO sitting.  At least, no sitting without either being in excruciating pain or bending my body in an unhealthy way to try to lesson the pain just long enough to get a few bites of food in my mouth before laying back down again.  It was horrible.  Utter and shear painful hell.

My whole back injury recovery time, I cursed the boxes and furniture both outside on the deck and inside our house because I could not deal with them.  I cursed the stack of unmade bookshelves that laid on the floor in our living room for months because I couldn’t deal with them.  I cursed a lot of things.  Including letting my back get back to this point again and remembering swearing the last time this happened, that I would not let it ever happen again.  But then the Holistic Healthcare Practitioner in me started looking at it from an Eastern perspective:

(Anyone happen to know the original source for this:)

Emotional Pain ChartHow about that:

  • Spine: Represents the support of life
  • Lower Spine: Fear of money. Lack of financial support.
  • Sciatica: Being hypocritical. Fear of money and or the future.
  • Slipped Disc: Indecisive. Feeling totally unsupported by life.

While I loved being a barista, at some point, that yearning inside me to make more money started.  I know I am worth a lot more than minimum wage and had started thinking about moving on in the Spring into something more suited to my drive and skill set.  Unfortunately at the same time I went back to work, I was under a lot of stress from varying sources across my life including a lot of family stuff which I am thankful has almost completely subsided.  

A few days before I went back to work, I got subpoenaed for something that I had blocked out almost as quickly as it had happened.  I witnessed an assault that triggered something from my past.  That evening, I got violently ill and was sick for three days afterwards figuring I had either eaten something bad or had caught a flu bug.  

Being subpoenaed and remembering the assault is I feel, the straw that broke the camels back that lead me to my hospitalization in January.  I was certified for four nights and should have been in there longer but I won’t get into my experience in dealing with the severely lacking resources for mental health in the Okanagan.  I am very grateful for my psychologist being able to see me pro bono and a holistic healthcare practitioner who is seeing me at a reduced rate.

In March, on our ten year anniversary, my partner and I had a ceremony in a park, in our bare feet, in the rain.  It was beautifully perfect and relatively stress and drama free.  I could not have been happier with how our day went, followed by two nights in a hotel along the waterfront in White Rock, child free.  The bald eagle photo that shows up in the header is one that I took from our hotel room during our honeymoon.


Our honeymoon was *exactly* what I needed to help relax and spend a few days alone with my wife.  After we got home, I could finally cook again without burning things and forgetting I was cooking and I could finally focus on the computer screen again!  Both of these were huge strides forward for me.  I almost NEVER burn food and while my memory is still not that great, at least I am not forgetting (most of the time) that I am cooking.  I hardly had my computer on for two months because of the sensory overload of just looking at the screen never mind trying to focus on anything to read.

Almost five months have passed since I was certified and while I don’t feel as delicate and raw as when I was first discharged, I still feel fragile, traumatized and scared shitless of an episode like that ever happening again.  The further we get from the episode and look at what was going on in life at that time, the more confident we are that it will only ever be a one time thing and that we can just sum it up as my having had a mental breakdown.

I certainly don’t go out as often as I used to and there have been a few mornings where I can feel anxiety creeping up when I go to my favourite coffee place to work.  I think the hardest thing I have been struggling with when I leave the house (it happens at home too) is sensory overload.

This whole recovery process has been an interesting experience for me.  I have never had to deal with my mind working against me before and it can be devastating the days that I do regress.  I have had no income since my medical EI ran out and I am yet to talk to a doctor who tells me that I am going back to work anytime soon.  I find it very frustrating having that choice taken away but the alternative is putting both my mind and back at risk.

Since returning from our honeymoon, I have been putting my energy back into my web portfolio and being the stay at home parent.  The house is looking and feeling much better.  The bookshelves are together and along the back wall of the master bedroom housing my partners massive academic library.  The “office” has almost completed its transformation into the “chill lounge” which finally has my massage table setup!  The rest of the clutter around the house is almost gone!  I have even started to work outside on our yard.

While that fear of another episode happening still lingers in my mind, I have to keep pushing forward.  Sometimes my good days outnumber my bad days and when it’s the other way around, I feel devastated and fear that I might never return to the way I used to be.  This is part of the reason I decided to write about the fact that I had a mental break down.  It’s from talking to others that gives me hope that some day my bad days will be few and far between and that someday, life will go back to “normal”, whatever that was before all of this happened.