Bella, age 10My 10yr old daughter, Isabella, wrote this. She had to choose a procedural writing assignment topic, and this is what she chose. Bella has been dealing with anxiety for quite a while now, she has learned many tools from many people. She has good moments and bad moments and moments she can’t quite define. She’s learning just like we are, and she knows that this is something she’s going to have to deal with for a long time. So she’s taking it very seriously. 

*Mom note: I’m so damn proud of this kid. In bad moments, she struggles. And knows what she’s dealing with and she tries hard to define it with words she isn’t old enough to understand. She’s taking it to her classmates and friends, explaining in plain terms what it’s like. She’s not afraid, she’s not ashamed, she’s not scared of it. She’s brave and she’s introspective and she’s years ahead of her mental self. I asked her if I could post this on my blog, and I had her write it out for me. 


How to get through an anxiety attack

By: Bella Higgison




-Colouring book

-Coloured pencils

-Quiet space

-You or someone

-A friend

-A book



Have you ever felt scared, anxious, nervous or dizzy? Well I can help you. Listen to these steps to help you. Help they work!

First, get a friend and start to breathe deeply. Keep breathing until your heart rate goes to a normal rate. After you can start to talk to your friend about why you are anxious, nervous, scared or dizzy so that way they can also help.

 Then, start to find a colouring book and coloured pencils. When you have found them find a reading book. Then look for a quiet space to work in.

Next, start to colour in all of the pages with you friend to lighten up a bit so now you are calmed down. It really works. Trust me, I’ve tried it before.

Now, get the book and read with your friend. It will calm you down even more and you will feel better.

Finally, just talk to them and they can help. Then just say thank you to them to help to be nice.

– Bella


We don’t really take Back to School pictures.

I mean, I’ll usually snap a quick one of the girls as I’m headed out the door to work or something, but we don’t do a sign or a chalkboard or even a pose of any kind. I went to Bella’s first day, and Annika’s first day and Ryan went to Maelle’s. And I gotta tell you, I felt like they went really stressful and shitty.

My daughters seem to grow more anxious with the more information they’re given about an upcoming event. They pre-plan a Mae, giving side eyethousand different scenarios of how it will go well and how it might fail and what they may or may not be able to do about it. It’s like this for big things and little things. If I tell them about plans to go to the zoo any more than 30 minutes before leaving, someone will panic about possible thunderstorms. If I ask them to get dressed more than 20 minutes before going to the library, there will be a wild rumpus of a fight about who gets to wear which skirt. They don’t handle anticipation in a very positive way.

So for me to ask them questions about what they want to be when they grow up, and who their best friend is, and make a fancy paper for them to pose and hold and smile nicely into a phone with…well, they start to freak out. It manifests as either wild chattering energy outbursts, or subdued overthinking. And it ruins everything.

I want it to be exciting and special for them, but the reality is that the first day of school is the first day of a repetitive process that they will soon grow to be annoyed with. By day 3, the Special Snowflakeness is gone and yet…they still have to get dressed and brush their teeth and get on the bus and…now it all seems like a chore rather than that fun awesome thing Mom was so excited about way back when. And it crashes down around us.

So I just eliminate the first part. Sure, we still get excited about the first day, we talk about seeing our friends again, we talk about where their locker might be, what colour the carpet in their new classroom may be this year and what they might choose to wear that first day. I try to keep it locked on new versions of the familiar stuff, rather than big grand ideas of the things they can’t possibly predict. Cause they’ll try, to predict what they do not know, and it will stress them out.

So this year, I’ll tell them they look gorgeous in whatever outfit they choose. I’ll remind them 17 times to eat their breakfast and please stop talking. I’ll give them kisses and hugs before I leave for work and tell them I can’t wait to hear about their new teacher and who’s in their class. Then I’ll wave at them in the window as I walk to my car and that’ll be that. The fanfare looks and sounds very fun, but for us, it leads to anxiety that doesn’t need to be heightened. So I let it go and we all have a better, more calm day. I get them off the bus and that chatter is non-stop and filled with excitement and listening to it makes my head hurt trying to keep up.

So don’t feel bad if you don’t have an elaborate First Day of School set up in your house. We don’t either and our kids (mostly) love school all year long.

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by Alicia on August 12, 2015

Blake’s been gone two years. Two years ago on Sunday.

Sometimes the thoughts of him pass with no thought following at all, sometimes they even pass with a smile. Sometimes they make me wish I could reach in & take my heart physically out of my body because it beats so hard the tears feel like fire behind my eyes and there’s an ocean in my ears.

blake gravesite, raincloud tattooThe grass has all but grown over his gravesite now. I hate it. Not that I preferred the dirt, looking like freshly laid pain on the ground in front of me. My girls never fail to note that Blake’s is the most decorated of all the headstones across the flat land of the cemetery. Good. Terrible. Inspiring. Gutting.

He was a force while he was here and he is a force all the same now that he’s gone. He blows wind and sends storms and I literally sometimes feel the weight of his presence though I’m 99.9% sure it’s all in my head. But the night I drove home alone in a storm so wicked that I questioned my sanity…he sat above my moon roof and rode the waves of high puddles and crashing rain drops and made sure I didn’t turn the music down even once. He’s silent when you ask for him sometimes. Like you don’t get to do that.

These days surrounding two years ago felt like a blur at the time and I was sad later that I was too numb to take them in. It’s only two years out that I realize some quieter part of my memory was logging the moments I wasn’t brave enough then to face. And that’s all at once a comfort and a paralyzing rush of new old heartbreak. I listen to my Uncle choke through another toast and I wonder how they all keep just…going. Because in that moment I want the floor to open up and take me down. I want to feel nothing but the rush of the plummet, because my head spins and I choke on tears that end up in my throat because I try to pretend like I’m strong enough to hold them back and everyone else up.

We laugh. We play. We make new memories and I oddly don’t feel like he’s not in them. It’s harder now, though, that I feel like I’ll never see a new picture of him ever again.

I have never felt him at the gravesite. Not once. I read to him once and it felt like empty space and it creeped me out so I never did it again. I don’t talk. I just stare. And then it gets uncomfortable and the air feels heavy and I feel awkward just staring at my maiden name carved in stone so I kiss my thumb, and I put it over his face and I tell him “see ya buddy” and I turn and don’t look back.

It’s two years later and he surrounds us still. I guess that’s by choice, we each have a different story to tell. His was too short. But I find it has kept going all the same, just like a second book in a series.


It’s gettin Political up in here. [Canadian Leaders Debate, Election 2015]

August 7, 2015

I’m starting a political blog. Not here, don’t worry, I’m starting it on another site altogether. Let’s not get too excited, some of us are Canadian in here. For now, though, I’m going to keep my personal, editorial analysis of the Canadian Leaders Debate right here on my own blog. I got rid of cable […]

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Hi. I’m 33.

July 22, 2015

It’s my birthday. I’m 33 today. That sounds old but doesn’t feel old. I never feel old, actually. Like, I have moments where I notice how much older I’m getting, but I never feel like I’m old in a permanent way. I don’t have any theories on that, I just think it’s how my mind […]

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