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#mentalhealth - 3 minutes

Doing my best is doing enough

My name is Terri Kezema. I am the Director of People and Talent at NorQuest and I live with anxiety. It's only been a few years that I came to understand that anxiety is a part of my life. Now that I understand it and its triggers, I do my best to manage it with exercise, mindfulness, and self-care.

Doing my best is doing enough"

As a child, I regularly had stomach issues. When I think back on Sunday night family dinners, I used to joke that it was mom’s overcooked roast beef that was the root of my troubles but in hindsight I see now that it was anxiety. This was my family; why would I not be at ease at family gatherings? I don’t know. I am a social person and love being with family and friends but there is always an underlying sense of worry. I am always feeling nervous or not completely at ease—even with those closest to me.

My dad suffered from Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS), which is a slow progressing form of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). These are fatal, degenerative diseases that attack the nerve cells that control muscle movement. Dad would call me at all hours with what, to me, were trivial worries. I would get so incredibly frustrated with him for lying awake all night worrying about nonsense. At the same time, my mom was being diagnosed with early onset dementia. My mom’s dementia doctor immediately noticed anxiety in her actions and behaviors. So, with a dad who lay awake worrying unnecessarily and a mom who I now see had shown signs of anxiety for most of my life, it’s really not surprising that I too have this.

I’m sure there is some genetic or familial link to anxiety. But for me, it’s not the why do I have this that is most important. Rather, it is what does this mean for me now? How do I prevent it from taking over?

I am a worrier. I have trouble relaxing without feeling guilty. I am my own worst critic. However, I now see that I can choose to let these often silly worries consume me or I can practice self-care and put things in perspective. I do not need to solve everyone’s problems and worrying about them does nothing to help!

I have since lost my dad and see my mom slipping away from us daily. I have allowed myself to be ok with letting others provide the care for mom that I can’t. When my nerves show up at the start of meetings, I focus on what I can add to the discussion. I try to be prepared with what I want to say prior to meetings and find this is difficult in our world of back-to-back meetings. I allow myself to say I do not know or I am not sure, let me get back to you which gives me time to confirm the answer. Most importantly, as a NorQuester I trust that if I am not meeting the needs/expectations of my fellow colleagues, they will have an honest conversation with me. Until that time I will do my best, understand that it won’t be perfect, and trust that is enough.

By Terri Kezema, Director of People and Talent

#mentalhealth

For free mental health support and more info, contact the Centre for Growth & Harmony at 780.644.6155. NorQuest employees can contact Lifeworks at 1.877.207.8833

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