At the beginning of my 20s I was heartbroken and lonely.
Loneliness was the theme song of my teenage years and early 20s, my constant companion. I wanted to escape from my loneliness, but I felt trapped.
Trapped by my own fears, trapped by a life that didn't feel like mine, trapped in a world both too small and too big.
What do you do if it feels like you're in the wrong life? If you're so unhappy, so alone, so lost, you can't see a way out?
Common wisdom is to face your problems and figure them out. I chose option B: running.
I ran away. Despite being almost breathless with fear, despite the strong resistance of my family, despite not knowing what I was doing - I ran. I booked an open-ended flight from Germany, my home, to Canada, my dream. And that's where the story really begins ...
Let's Pretend This is Normal is a book about love and courage. Because love saved me.
(Love saves us all.)
But in order to find that love, I had to be brave.
Loving someone is scary. Opening up your heart is a vulnerable act: what if it doesn't work out? What if the heart gets damaged? Or broken?
But here is the thing: what if it does work out? What if you open yourself up to love, and it heals you?
At 22, I fell in love with a man who was 48. Who had 4 children. Who lived 10,000 km away from me. Whom I had only known for 3 days.
Meeting him felt like coming home. I belonged. It felt right.
We went for it against the odds. Against the advice of friends and family. Against what our heads were trying to tell us. Because our hearts knew. And we trusted them.
I wrote this book to let you know that you are not alone.
That there is hope. That sometimes, we have to do things that are so scary, we want to throw up. But it's worth it, because there is happiness to be found on the other side of fear.
This book is my reminder for you that you are strong. Much stronger than you think you are.
And it's a reminder that life and love can take you places beyond your wildest dreams - if you let them.
Never has the hustle been more glorified than it is today. We are constantly urged to get better, fitter and improve every last aspect about ourselves. Our culture tries to convince us that we will only find lasting happiness if we always push ourselves to do, have, and be more.
I used to believe that message. I spent years dieting and hating my body. I exercised as punishment and as a means to lose weight, not for the joy of moving and learning new skills.
I believed that resting means being lazy, and that there is no bigger sin than being lazy when you could use that time to be productive.
I believed that being exhausted meant you are doing your best, and nothing but your best is acceptable.
All of the above is bullshit. It took me many years to slowly dismantle the lies we have been told by society, diet culture, and popular opinion that we are only worthy if we lose weight, achieve more, and continually push ourselves to exhaustion. We are not required to be a certain size to be worthy. We are not required to achieve financial success in order to be lovable. We do not need to be successful entrepreneurs, hustlers, bossgirls, or any of the other popular catch phrases in order to be complete.
We are, just as we are, worthy. We are complete. We are worthy of love and respect because we are human. No achievements necessary.
I had to experience burnout and depression before I finally understood that I could quit the game. Just because the world tells us we have to be a certain way doesn't mean we have to listen; we get to decide how we want to live our lives.
Quit the Hustle is your permission slip to do less . You are allowed to rest, to be lazy, to be happy with a job instead of a *career*, and to enjoy food with enthusiasm. Stop counting calories! Stop apologizing for not being in life where you thought you *had* to be! Take your time, do your thing, or don't do anything for a while if you need a break. It's okay.
This book is encouraging you to take a deep breath. Relax. Don't listen to them. Just be. You are enough.
What is it really like living with a mental illness?
How do you work, cultivate friendships, go on vacation, and simply make it through the week when your brain tells you that you are worthless?
How do you live through dozens of times of being utterly convinced that your husband is dying somewhere, and that your life is over?
And how do your relationships survive when you get regularly swept up by violent rages that make you pick vicious fights with the people you love most?
Everything is Broken and Completely Fine takes you into the flawed brain of someone who's living with anxiety, depression, and PMDD.
It's an intimate look behind the mask of bright smiles and pretending that everything is fine that so many of us with mental illness have mastered so well.
Set in the unprecedented times of the last few years, this work takes the reader through the turbulent events of one healthcare worker’s experience of working through a pandemic, while simultaneously having to deal with the catastrophic wildfires and floods British Columbia experienced.
It recounts two near-death experiences, mystery illnesses, snowstorms and heat waves, puppies, and drinking through it all in a desperate attempt to make it more bearable.
This book takes you on the wild ride that is surviving and thriving with mental illness. It chronicles in raw detail what happens when you self-medicate with alcohol, and the immense positive changes that occur when you quit; it gently shows you the futility of pretending that one's mental illness doesn't exist; and most importantly, it proves that a happy life is possible, no matter the challenges.