Dogs, Depression, and a Missing Eye
Have you ever started writing a text or an email to someone and gotten halfway through it and then deleted the whole thing? That was me while attempting to write this blog. I started writing this thing several times over the last couple of weeks and then deleted it. Maybe it was the content creation hiatus I was unintentionally on (more on that later), the life stuff I was dealing with, a form of writer's block, or perhaps it was a mixture of everything. Either way, I figured I'd share some updates with you about what's been going on during this time "away".
In early December, we found out that unfortunately, Jade had a tumor in her left eye (and glaucoma in her right). As a result, we had to have her entire left eye removed. It was obviously hard news to get and even harder having to see her post-op. It was pretty difficult seeing her like that - broke my heart actually. And don't get me started on all the "one day I am going to have to deal with my dog's death" thoughts that came along with it as I gave her all her rounds of medications, drops, etc. Considering this was leading right into her 11th birthday and the holidays, it made it feel even heavier. Despite all of that, Jade is in full recovery, she is back to her normal, fun-loving, awesome ways. She is back to running, playing, going to the park, snuggling on the couch, and enjoying life. I am working on some training to help her navigate things a bit better. I may share more of this journey with you soon, but for now, I'll leave it at that. Our girl is thriving - and I'm keeping an "eye" on her. Pun intended.
(P.S. I said this joke to the surgeon who did her operation and I didn't get the laugh I was hoping for, but I thought it was a zinger at the time.) (P.P.S. I do enjoy some good occasional dark humor.)
SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK:
Throughout all of this, I realized that anytime I wanted to post to social media, I'd feel empty about it. I wouldn't feel like doing it. I'd feel empty. I'd freeze. I'd try every so often; each attempt led to no posts and no desire to share anything. This went on for several weeks. Instead of beating myself up about it (which I'm really good at), I instead practiced self-compassion and gave myself permission to simply be. It actually felt good to disappear off social for a bit. Now, almost a month later, I'm finally able to write this post and break the unintentional social media hiatus.
Alongside the Jade stuff going on, my depression was back in full force, our schedules were a bit too busy, and we were gearing up for several major changes with our retail business; among other personal things going on at that time. Let's just say, despite being high-functioning, I was exhausted, stressed, over-stimulated, and about a million other things. There were some days where I had a hard time wanting to get out of bed or off the couch. The thing about depression is that sometimes it is exhausting and taxing to simply exist. Add in some generalized anxiety disorder into the mix and you have yourself a real party. In all seriousness though, the last month was a challenging one, but I always ensure I am using the tools I have learned in therapy and have developed for myself to try to get myself back on track again. I believe mental health is so important and I try to be part of breaking the stigma around it.
It's been 11 years since I entered the dog training world. I have met so many interesting, amazing, and caring people. I have also met so many interesting, amazing, and loving dogs. I have traveled all over the state , and have visited others, to train clients and their dogs. I've worked with puppies, senior dogs, small dogs, large dogs, blind dogs, deaf dogs, therapy dogs, dogs with aggression, dogs with behavioral issues, basic training, one-on-one sessions, group classes, virtual coaching, and more. I obtained multiple professional certifications and completed several continuing education programs. I have volunteered with rescues and shelters, worked with foster dogs, and worked at and partnered with doggie day cares and training facilities. I had speaking engagements at different colleges and businesses. I was interviewed by publications and podcasts, and I got to work with some of my dream dog brands on content, videos, live Q&As, and virtual classes. I feel like I reached this point where I have accomplished pretty much everything I set out to do with my dog training career. I'm proud of these accomplishments and I have truly loved my job and working with my clients. I have always been extremely devoted to my career, some might say even too devoted. I say all of this to say, I think it may be time for me to explore something new... I think it's time to retire from working with clients after this month and spend some time finding my passions again. I'm not entirely sure what that even means yet, but I've finally reached a point where I can say it now - so we are making some progress!
Don't worry - I still plan on posting dog content, giving training tips, and sharing life stuff and advice with you online! I love the community we have built here and intend on staying engaged with all of that. This change is simply meaning I won't be doing client work. It also may mean that I may share some other types of content that isn't always dog related.
I am also sharing this news with you because I want to normalize changing your mind. Just because you commit to a profession, a certain job, a location, a decision, a path, or whatever it is, it doesn't mean you can't change your mind! It's your life. You're in control. You get to change the script. You get to write the next season of your show. So I'm trying to take my own advice. :)
With social media always showing the "perfection" of life, I think it's important to share some of the not-so-perfect challenges that are bound to come up, since we all face them at one time or another. I also like talking about mental health and sharing some of my story with it because I know how coping with things like depression and anxiety can feel so isolating. I want you to know that you are not alone. If you do struggle with mental health issues, I want to remind you that the world needs you and you deserve to take up space in it.
Thanks for reading this. Thanks for your support. I appreciate you being here more than you know. My mentality is - we are all gunna die, so you might as well put stuff out there as much as you can. Maybe it'll help someone make a change, maybe it'll make someone smile, maybe it'll inspire someone, maybe it'll help someone not feel alone, maybe someone will find it entertaining, or at the very least, do it for you. Because at the end of the day, we are all living on a floating rock just trying to do our best in this life.
I'm not 100% sure where this is all going, but I'm trying to embrace the fact that I get to decide what roads on the map to travel down. I decide when to turn around, speed forward, slam the brakes, or take a sudden turn. I'm not sure how far I'm going, but I got my seatbelt on, a roadtrip playlist on shuffle, and a full tank of gas. Let's see where the ride leads...
Take care and talk soon, my friend. - E