The Start Of a Good Day

I cleaned up my house today and it was better than sex. That was a bold statement but I mean it. Cleaning up your home after weeks of letting depression and anxiety take over it feels good to start fresh. Letting go of all the tension that built up with every piece of avoidance is refreshing.

I hate cleaning during my bad days. My bad spells with my mental illness contain disorganization and discontent on what needs to be done. The laundry piles in the hamper I will keep washing the same clothes over and over again. I only rinse the dishes enough to appear clean but it’s still not my best effort. What other people call lazy to me it’s the thought process of feeling tired. I feel as if my brain is foggy and doing these chores are exhausting. I know when these spells hit my house is the image of what is going on inside my head.

My anxiety makes it hard to focus on my priorities. I often fight within my thoughts as to why the fracture of reality. To one who does not struggle with anxiety they would say just get it done you will feel better. The thing is even when I try to get motivated the brain fog clouts my enjoyment. The challenge of responsibility feels like somebody tied an anvil to my body and said jump. Part of self care and mental health treatment is to know your limits. The more I tried to just get things done, created tension and rising frustration. I kept hearing my aunts voice saying it’s not clean enough and do it over.

Once her voice takes over in the mental compartment I will clean but then obsession takes over. Nothing is ever clean enough no matter if I scrubbed it ten times over. I then start the process of self-destruction. I count my fingers, I need six things to tap, and I will not eat food. Once this process starts; I cannot take enough showers to get rid of my dirty body. I will pick at my skin in stress and find flaws everywhere, nothing is clean enough. These are the lowest of low points in dealing with my anxiety.

Today I felt motivated I cleaned up my home the way I wanted. I felt good enough to eat and control the urge to binge and starve. Tonight I will practice yoga and let it all go again. Cleaning up my home is a good start to bring peace and balance until next time. I have no idea when depression and anxiety will hit again. They stay hidden in the corners of my mind tugging at their release. As much as I know the sadness will take over again, today I will enjoy this small victory.

Written by Ali Johnson

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and Us

My son Travis and I.

I’m slightly overwhelmed with my sons recent diagnosis of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA for short). On Friday we entered yet another doctor’s appointment with a new specialist in Toronto. Our expectations of getting a diagnosis were low from how many times we have seen other doctors in the past. Once the specialist gave my son his diagnosis I was the weird mother who laughed, not my best moment because this was pretty serious. I laughed because after three years hearing multiple doctors saying the ugly c word or surgery or the common we have no idea left me feeling frazzled. Hearing the words JIA had me floored.

This all started when we noticed Travis’s knee swelling to softball size. In the mornings he would limp heavily. His knee became so stiff that he could not bend it. We booked a doctor’s appointment with hopes that we could find out instantly what was causing his discomfort. What we did not know was this was the beginning of a long process of multiple doctors and appointments. Our life became speculation and misunderstandings of what was happening inside my sons body. His life was already complicated with autism and with this issue we threw normal out the window.

Trying to get this diagnosis has taken time out of Travis’s schedule and time with his studies. Being eight years old and autistic these are some of the most important elements in his life. We used to be able to count on these two simple routines to follow. With every doctor’s appointment made to get his diagnosis we had extra tasks to follow. We had to prepare Travis mentally in order to travel and be prepared for what will happen in the appointments. Our parental stress came from booking, missing work, and navigating what each specialist did. Often after these appointments we were left with more questions than answers as to what was going on with my son. This last appointment I did not expect to get the diagnosis that we so desperately wanted.

We have been to so many doctors that this last one was finally the one that clicked well with Travis. No longer having to drive to London, Ontario, for a full day of driving we ended up in Toronto. This was a great relief as I finally had time to think about where we are headed with my sons life. My thoughts pondered to how his quality of life will be affected if it was the great scary word of cancer given to us by the last specialist. Although relieved that it is not in fact cancer, I am floored of hearing JIA. This diagnosis was unexpected. When she said the words Travis has Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis my mind went blank, and I burst out laughing.

I’m glad the doctor was not judgmental on how terrible I acted at that moment. She gave me a minute to adjust my behaviour accordingly and led with statistics. One in every thousand child has JIA in Canada. This equates to ten thousand Canadian children and teens. What did it mean my son was another part of statistics. Then she said this is a chronic condition he will probably have his entire life. She then stated he will need to go attend Sick Kids Toronto Hospital for treatment. She mentioned steroid injections,
physiotherapy, and extensive blood test. When he gets this done he will have to be under anesthesia, I’m pretty sure my mom brain blanked after this.

I’ve given myself a couple days to understand the meaning of all of this. It’s a great amount to take in as a parent. When you have children the one fear that is commonly held is their quality of life will one day be compromised, and that as a parent you cannot give them the best. Taking the good out of the bad is that we can get him treatment and support Travis fully. I can raise awareness with more that I learn. Join communities with other parents who are dealing with the same disease and build better understanding of JIA. I still have my Travis and it is my duty as his mother to give him the full support and never give up hope for his future.

Written by Ali Johnson

”Today is a gift”

”PO: How’s Shifu ever going to turn me into the Dragon Warrior? I mean, I’m not like The Five. I’ve got no claws, no wings, no venom. Even Mantis has those…thingies. Maybe I should just quit and go back to making noodles.
Oogway: Quit, don’t quit? Noodles, don’t noodles? You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present.”
Kung Fu Panda


I wanted to quit last week from my blog from everything: I thought I wasn’t good enough for this. How many writers out there create works of art that receive recognition. I started writing to put my passion out there for others to see. I want my work to show the little girl in my mind breaking free. Years she spent in her own mental prison placed in solitude because I gave up on her. I once told her everyone was right we stood for nothing. She spent years screaming at me from a distance every moment in self-doubt. She and I need to repair the damage we created and it starts today.


I am my promise to not throw this white flag of surrender into the wind. Even with the last few days of sucking with people and my mental disagreements I will not give in. I owe it to the little girl I locked away in my mind and told her to be perfectly silent. I put her away to appear strong my will unbroken. If I had given her chance to bond with the woman on the outside, we would have been able to take on any challenge. I placed brick walls around her with each event in my life that left us broken. She tried to break to the wall countless times. I built more mental bricks to hide her away telling her to be silent as I was being silenced on the outside. I know now that I should have let her free allowing us to heal together.


It’s easy to forget the child that lives within ourselves. For those that suffered abuse that inner child is commonly placed deep within the subconscious and forbidden to see the world outside the mind. It’s easy for me to question myself on the importance of quitting today or keep pushing for success for tomorrow. Much Like Po from Kung Fu Panda, I feel that I am not going to be great like other people out there. In his statement regarding the five other Kung Fu warriors; he trains alongside with, should be the dragon master and not himself. He felt that he lacked talents that make him worthy of the title placed on him. I feel like this most days titles I hold feel intimidating to me. I’m a mother, a wife, a woman, and now a writer. Feeling close to the sentiments from Kung Fu Panda, it teaches me try as someone can they feel insignificant to those who show natural greatness.

Oogway’s statement rings true for it states that we should live at the moment and accept the gifts that one holds to themselves. We can learn from our mistakes in the past but it does not define who we are today.
Do not forget to free the child inside your mind. It stands as the ticket leading to tomorrow but living in the gift of life today.
Written By Ali Johnson
February 25, 2018