Why it’s Important for me to be Open About my Mental Health

I was quiet for so long, but that wasn’t helping anyone, especially me.

I think it is very important for people to talk more openly about their mental health issues. Because the more we normalize it the more we reduce the stigma that unfortunately still surrounds it. Continuing to keep it a secret and feeling embarrassed or shameful about it only helps the stigma stick around. And guess what, there is nothing embarrassing or shameful about having an illness. Any illness. 

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However, I do understand that some people suffer in silence because they aren’t mentally prepared to “come out” about their struggles, or they know how a certain person will react. That is why the people who can speak up, should. We can be a voice for those that can’t speak up yet, and hopefully be the inspiration for them to eventually speak up.

For me, I had such a hard time being open about it. I feared judgement from my family and friends. I still haven’t exactly told everyone yet, but it’s not something I am going out of my way to hide either. Just like a person with diabetes doesn’t need to announce their illness to everyone, but they have no problem saying they have it if the topic comes up.

I make a point of speaking very casually about it now. I used to be a little hushed when I brought it up, my tone of voice would change, and you could tell I was feeling a little worried bringing it up. I was still a little embarrassed by it. Talking about it like it’s no big deal, is what will help others realize its no big deal. There’s no need to change how you treat me (unless I bring something up with you specifically) or interact with me. You can still joke around with me, but just have an understanding that my mind works differently.

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To those that have someone in their life with a mental illness, if they are open about it with you, go ahead and ask them questions about it. Don’t get too personal of course, but if I bring up taking my meds, you can ask me a little about them, how they are working for me, if I had any weird side effects, whatever. Just don’t ask why I need to take them, and offer “natural” ways to treat depression. (Seriously!) If someone doesn’t want to answer, respect that of course.

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Basically, the more normal we all make talking about mental illness, the more the stigma will go away. And a little bit of humour can go a long way too!

We Got a Puppy!

So I thought the first post about my time away from the blog would be a positive one! In this past summer we adopted our beautiful puppy, Pixel!

We had been looking for a puppy for a while. The Toronto Humane Society, where I volunteer with the cats, didn’t have any puppies that were available for adoption around that time. So we looked into other animal shelters and online for “accidental litters”. We absolutely didn’t want to go through a breeder, because they are expensive and we weren’t looking for a specific breed. We had a few breeds in mind, and wanted a mix, or, “mutt”.

One day, one my my husband’s co-workers told him she found out about someone who had an accidental litter, and we saw a picture of one of the puppies. So cute! So we contacted the owner of the mother and arranged to meet the puppies.

We met them when they were 5 weeks old. There were 11 of them, and 4 had already been claimed. We met the mother, who was very relaxed and gorgeous. A German Shepherd, Husky mix. And saw a picture of the dad, a Husky, Lab mix. Sitting in a room with 11 tiny puppies running all over the place was so fun! We picked Pixel, she had beautiful markings and we felt something when we held her, verses the others. We knew she was the one!

We picked her up the following week when she was 6 weeks old. I know that’s really early, but they told us that the mother had stopped nursing them already and they were eating dry food. We decided that she may as well come home with us, so she can start getting used to our home, and cats.

It is definitely true that dogs are a lot more work than cats! We found that out very quickly. For the first little while, I would take her to work with me, so that she could go outside a few times a day.

She had a bit of a rough start. When she was 8 weeks old, there was an emergency middle of the night vet run. She had swallowed a rock a couple days earlier, we were giving her special food to hopefully help her pass it. Fortunately, she threw it up, which means it didn’t go through her intestines, but she threw up everything, non stop, and woke us up whimpering. At the emergency vet, it was a long wait, and it’s a rather depressing place, especially at night. But one slightly amusing part of the night happened when the vet was examining her and she had explosive diarrhea, allllll over the vet. So she had to go change her entire outfit.

On top of that, she also had a bad case of kennel cough. It’s a very contagious dog cold/flu. It sounds horrible! We felt bad that there wasn’t much we could do for her on a coughing fit, and that she wasn’t able to play with her friends.

Since then, she has been pretty healthy. There has been the occasional sickness when she has eaten things that didn’t agree with her.

Dogs really have a tendency to get sick more than cats, and overall are a lot more expensive. I love Pixel, and I couldn’t imagine life without her now. But I also wouldn’t recommend someone adopt a dog, or puppy, without giving it a lot of thought. Realize that they are a lot of work and a lot of money.

That being said, she is worth every penny to us! Having a dog is wonderful for so many reasons. They are a wonderful companion who is always happy to see you. Pixel is wonderful at picking up on emotions. And anytime you are really upset, she will be right by your side. She has also, in a way, forced me to get up and go outside more often than I was before. (Although, she is mostly my husband’s responsibility for going outside) I almost always take her outside to socialize with other dogs and then I can socialize with other dog owners.

For the first little while after bringing her home, I took her to work with me at my day job. I work as a design assistant in a custom design boutique. It was a little tough because she didn’t like being alone when she was awake, and if I left her downstairs when I went up to help customers, she would whine. I often kept her upstairs with me when I didn’t have much work downstairs, and customers loved that!


Right now she is almost 11 months old, with so much energy! She will be turning 1 on May 6th 2018. We are thinking about having a birthday party for her and her “boyfriend” Duke, who is 2 weeks younger, next month.

She has made a wonderful addition to our family, and I’m sure when she starts calming down, the cats will agree with us. Right now they are still a little nervous around her.

You can follow her on Instagram @the_pixel_puppy



Guess Who’s Back!

Hi everyone! I’m back!

Where I’ve been and why I hadn’t updated in a long time is a very long story. I will get into it in future blog posts I’m sure. It started with a very stressful situation that snowballed and then I just had a hard time getting back to it.

A lot has happened in the past year and a half since my last post, and I plan to tell you about all of the important stuff.


But first! I want to tell you about what I am working on now!


I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset, and running my own business is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. But it’s not easy, and I often wonder why it appeals to me so much. As a person who deals with mental health issues on a regular basis, it’s something that is extra challenging for me, but here I am!

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As most know, I am an Arbonne Independent Consultant. I love the products and the company’s values. I think joining this company helped me realize my desire to own a business. However, it didn’t give me the creative outlet I need. I don’t feel passionate about marketing these products, which I think is what made my journey with Arbonne very slow. I’ve decided that Arbonne does have a purpose and place in my life, and who knows what I will do with it in the future. For now, I am remaining a consultant, but this business is going on the back burner. People are definitely still welcome to come to me for Arbonne products, and I love to help people find the best products for them.


So, if I’m putting Arbonne in the background, what is my focus now??

I am going to continue to write in this blog, and I plan to soon begin to try out video blogging as well. Me on camera? Yikes! If any Vloggers have any tips or advice for someone starting out on YouTube, leave a comment below.


Under the umbrella of my company “Tarably Inspired” I am going to have 2 separate businesses that sell on Etsy.

The first is a fashion shop. I actually started Tarapparel back in 2010 when I graduated from college and I was bored living in Sarnia trying to save up some money to move to Toronto. After I moved here I dropped it. Tarapparel is going to carry a wide range of products. Sweaters, tops, skirts, pajamas, accessories, and pet accessories.

The other shop is called Digital Sequin. It’s a graphic and photography shop. I’ve always had a love for photography, and this is one way to make money from this hobby. I also really enjoy making graphics and printables.

This is Sequin, who I named Digital Sequin after.

I am in the process of building up inventory for each, and expect to launch each shop in the next couple of months. While doing this, you can follow my progress here, on my Facebook page, and on Instagram.


Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you stick around and watch my journey!

The Fear Hierarchy – CBT Lesson #1

Hello everyone! As mentioned in an earlier post, I am conducting my own “CBT Class” on this blog. That being said, if you have severe depression or anxiety, I highly recommend speaking with a professional. I am no doctor, just a person that has done CBT. However, if for whatever reason you’re not ready to go see a doctor yet, or you have but would love an extra refresher on CBT, I hope this helps you.

So I am going to start things off pretty easy for you right now. All I want you to do is to identify the things that cause you anxiety. (This is going to be focused on anxiety, as that is what I took CBT for, but you can alter it for depression for yourself. This part is very anxiety focused, unless you can name the things that trigger depression, you can use the following chart for that too.)

Get yourself a piece of paper and create a chart like this:


List everything that causes you anxiety. Be specific! And rate your level of anxiety on a scale from 1 – 100. This will help you choose what exposures to start with later, and help you see your progress when you re-rate your anxiety levels.

I recommend having a notebook or binder dedicated to this work where you will keep everything together. You will be referencing your list occasionally.

Next lesson will be an intro into Thought Records.





How a Change in Mindset Made all the Difference for my CNTC Experience

A couple weekends ago, I was one of the 6000 Arbonne Consultants that went to Niagara Falls for our Canadian National Training Conference, or CNTC. This was an amazing weekend, full of inspiration, learning, connecting, and fun!

View from our hotel window!

I had participated in the CNTC 2 years prior in Montreal, and while I learned a lot, I have to say it was a bit of a different experience. After coming home, I reflected on both conferences, and there were a lot of little things that were different after this one, then main thing is definitely my mindset.

Two years ago, I hadn’t quite admitted to myself that I had a problem. I figured the way that I was feeling was my fault. I had low self esteem and was always worrying. I worried about what people thought of me, and worried about failing. These are also things that really held me back in my Arbonne business. And while yes, that has nothing to do with Arbonne, or network marketing in general, it wasn’t entirely my fault either. But I still had control over the situation, I just didn’t know it.

CNTC 2014 Montreal

With everyone I met 2 years ago at CNTC, I was always worried that they were judging me. “Already almost 2 years into the business and she’s still just a consultant?” “She doesn’t have anyone on her team still? She must be really bad at this, why is she even here?” I put these words into other consultants mouths, and that wasn’t right, for me or them.

Then, listening to the speakers, hearing about their success, I felt worse. This is supposed to be easy, so what’s wrong with me? The tips they gave were great, and helpful, but I told myself they wouldn’t work for me, or I wouldn’t be able to do them. (I don’t want to take anything away from the speakers at that conference, they were inspiring, and I still watch the youtube videos to this day. I just wasn’t receptive to them at the time)

Since then, I’ve admitted to myself that there was a problem. I spoke to my doctor, and was put on antidepressants, and also took part in a CBT program for anxiety. I’ve read a lot about CBT for depression as well. I started taking yoga classes, and eating better. I realized that just like a diabetic needs to do certain things and take medication to stay healthy, so do people with mental illness. It doesn’t seem fair, but no illness if fair.

Fast forward to this CNTC. I am now almost 4 years into the business, and still no team member, and I am still a Consultant. You’d think I would feel even worse right? Especially since the 2 weeks leading up to the conference, I had actually been going through a bad depressive episode. It was the first severe one in a long time, and that scared me a lot. Were my meds not working for me anymore? I haven’t been on them long and I’m still playing around with dosages. Is the conference going to be a waste of time because I’m in a bad headspace? UGH!

I was able to force myself to do a few of the things I know help me feel better a few days before I was going to Niagara. The things your brain tells you are a waste of time when you’re having one of these episodes. The things you have no energy for because the depression has sucked it all out of you. I have developed the skills to help pull myself out. (but that’s not to say I always can)


When I got to Niagara, I arrived before the rest of the girls I would be staying with. My upline Stephanie and her team. I hung out in the hotel lobby for a bit and then went over to register for the conference. I spoke to a few of the other consultants, and later when the Arbonne Boutique opened up, I stood in line waiting to buy the Arbonne luggage I had been waiting for.


When the other girls arrived, I was so excited, not nervous. I met some wonderful people, and not once did I feel like they were judging me. I instantly felt a click, like I belonged and I think I made some amazing lifelong friendships. That is the wonderful thing about these businesses, the friendships you make are incredible!

Something I’m doing, to try to get rid of the stigma, is be more open about the fact that I am on antidepressants, and the issues I have with anxiety and depression. Guess what I found out doing that this weekend? A lot of people have similar struggles. Who knew?! Ok yes, I knew that, but  I didn’t realize there were a lot of people in Arbonne. I’ve been told that network marketing isn’t a good idea if you have a mental illness, by people that don’t fully understand network marketing, but I still believed them on some level. This weekend shattered that!


The talks were amazing. We heard from so many amazing men and women that have achieved great things in their business, despite many setbacks. I heard from someone at the top of our company that had a negative bank account balance when she started out. There was someone who was stuck at one level for years (I sure know what that feels like) One woman had one of the people she sponsored promote faster than her, which has been one of my worst nightmares when it comes to this business, and partly why I don’t think I’ve gotten anyone to join me yet. I want to be more consistently successful before I bring someone on in case they blast by me! But I realized, there’s nothing wrong with that if you are doing your best and working your business.

So basically, what I am trying to say here is that this kind of business can absolutely be fine for a person with a mental illness, in fact, I think this was really good for me, this business is really good for me! A lot of things that stigma says isn’t a good fit for a mentally ill person, are just fine. As long as the person is doing their part to keep themselves healthy, and know what they can and can’t personally handle. No matter where you are in your journey with mental illness, I want you to know, you can do this, you can do anything! You are stronger than you realize, and if you need medication or therapy to see it, that is just fine!

I can’t wait to see all my Arbonne sisters next year in Edmonton!




My Experience with CBT

If you suffer from depression or anxiety, you have likely been told about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. It is a great tool to help you change your thinking and be more able to cope. However, even with my husbands benefits, there is no way I could afford it as an ongoing treatment. That is the problem for a lot of people that suffer from mental illness. Help is too pricey.

My doctor was able to refer me to a therapist at a hospital here in Toronto for the possibility of receiving free CBT therapy. I waited about a month to hear from them, and was brought in for an assessment in July last year(2015). I was told that private CBT would be the best fit for me, but the hospital was only offering group CBT sessions. I was put on a waiting list, and began my 12 week group sessions in Januray 2016.

This CBT group was for anxiety, however, the concepts can be used for depression as well. I could have gotten into a group for depression, but at the time it was my anxiety that was affecting my life the most.

Despite the fact that I would be better off with private sessions, and that is something I want to look into eventually, I found the group very helpful. There was something about hearing other people’s struggles that made me realize I was not as “crazy” as I thought.

As the sessions went on, I became more comfortable speaking to everyone else in the room about my issues. I also found myself offering advice to some of the others. You know how they say the best way to learn something is to teach it? That is so true. I found myself giving advice to another person that I then realized I should use too.With all of us having different things that cause anxiety, we were able to give logical advice about something we weren’t anxious about.

I was the only one who had specific phobias about medical stuff, and general anxiety about fainting whenever I feel overwhelmed. Most of the people in the group had anxieties around social situations, being the center of attention, being judged or making decisions. I have some anxiety with these things, but they weren’t why I needed help. Some had specific anxieties that I would think “why would they be anxious about that?” And I’m sure a lot of them thought the same thing about my anxieties. But it didn’t matter. We were all there for essentially the same thing, and we wanted to support each other.

I definitely recommend that if you are thinking about doing CBT, you should do it! Find a way, either join a group, read CBT books, or find a program online. Do a mixture. And don’t rule out the idea of going on medication. They say that medication along with CBT is the most effective way. But talk to your doctor and do what is best for you.

A book series I recommend is by Jessamy Hibberd and Jo Usmar. They have books titled “This book Will Make you Calm” and “This Book Will Make you Happy” Along with others for confidence, sleeping, and mindfulness. They use CBT techniques and even have homework for you to do. They are easy to read, and not very long, which is perfect if you’re not much of a reader.

On top of that, I would love to offer you my own CBT lessons. I am going to post lessons that go along with what I did during my CBT program at the hospital, and even give you homework! This will be a great way for me to refresh my CBT knowledge and make sure I put it to practice on a regular basis again. I hope that anyone thinking about it will find value in my posts, and they can at least help you get through until you’re able to receive some professional help.

Keep checking back, I will be posting Lesson #1 soon!