Plot Twist!

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Okay… Funny story…..

I thought my world was falling apart around me… was it? Not actually. However, did I feel with every fiber of my body that it was?? Yes siree Bob!

Alright so I have been working hard trying to “get a grip” on me; me+bipolar+anxiety+ocd (my ocd is slight but I do love it… my room and notes can be accredited to it)

If you read my post about “When Your Blood Starts to Boil”, it kind of explains my frustrations with an abrupt change in my plans. I love plans, prepreation, anything that makes me feel like I have a shred of control AND basically that was all taken away in an appointment. Perhaps I was a wee bit emotionally consumed so I took it to another level BUT hey! That’s life.

The irony is that on Sunday evening as I was trying to have a calm discussion with my parents, finding a solution to all my concerns (that decided to appear a week before my university classes started) I lost my calm. BUT prior to losing my calm I emailed my university asking them to consider changing my schedule based on blah blah blah … it was a very thorough email I can assure you that. Additionally, I called Dr. L telling him I needed to see him ASAP .. see how I was setting these little safety nets?

The irony to this story is had I actually waited to receive an email from my university. .. I would have had no need to lose my marbles BUT did I wait for that email before I lost it like a crazy cat woman who doesn’t even own a cat?  Nope.

I didn’t. 

The conversation between my parents and the possible “solutions or alternatives” set me past my boiling point threshold. I blew up like a volcano seeking to destroy a village. I hate feeling like “bipolar” or its symptoms don’t allow me to do what everyone else does… I get tired sometimes and in my lows it seems relentless. I get tired of the routines, the check ups, the meds, evaluations.I get it! I seriously get it, that life with a mental illness (not exclusive to bipolar) takes effort and self sustaining behaviour… and I’m grateful for that knowledge and the support system I have. It just sucks sometimes. And last night it was all a bit too much…

Did my parents almost call the ambulance on me…. yes … oh my haha… the sad reality is that they almost did.  I escalated very quickly to a point that they had the phone in hand, and they were ready to make the call.But! I calmed down … I tried to sort thru my thoughts like I’ve been working on with Dr. L reminding myself that I did in fact have a life that I loved.enjoyed. I just had to breathe.

So this morning Dr.L called and we talked for an hour, he gave me his vote of confidence that if I decreased my meds I’d still manage this hiccup aside (his opinion has a high value in my life) and as an added bonus I recieved the email from my University giving me an alternative schedule! All my classes start at 10 am instead of 8 am… problem solved.

Ploy twist! And a lesson learned… I really need to have a bit more faith in my ability to succeed. I am the one who called my doctor and I am the one who sent that email. I was proactive and set up safety nets for me to catch myself and succeed. I didn’t need to lose my calm, but I’m human. So I will live, learn and move on.

One blip isn’t going to set me back and erase all the progress I’ve made. I have too much ahead of me to get caught up on the past. Onward we go!

– Steph

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It’s Not the End

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This quote is a little reminder to myself and anyone else out there to keep going. Pardon the tone/mood of this blog post. This blog is about my journey and this post demonstrates that my path is not always a bucket full of sunshine….

Sometimes I hit lows that seem to suck the life right out of me, everything seems wrong. Every attempt seems futile. All the positive thinking in the world and coping exercises seem pointless, because my very soul has turned into a black hole. I avoid contact with those around me because I have no desire to drag them down in this state.

Life right now appears hopeless. However, there is a miniscule fragmant of hope. There is a tiny whisper telling me it’s not the end; that this state of dire despair will not last – it is not the end.

Friday night, I went out with friends (I figured it would lift my spirits, I was already on the verge of losing my “happy”) I had a wonderful time, but near the end of my night any resiliency I had left regarding life was lost. The personal battle I was fighting inside trying to fend off the feeling of death was lost it.

I arrived home Friday sobbing in my car and cried for a solid 3 hours working myself up to a point where I couldn’t breathe. When I finally went to bed … I had no desire to wake up. I had no desire to be alive; life and all of it’s difficulties seemed endless. Everything I thought I had a grip on slipped out of my grasp. Saturday I woke up at 7pm, I ate a bowl of cereal and I went back to sleep until Sunday at 10:30 am.

Sleep is an escape. And I admit I use it whenever I hit this particular low. Nothing anyone says seems to appease my lost mind and heart. Disconnecting is my best chance of coming out of this scenario with the least collateral damage possible. Talking or crying over what seems like “not a big deal” is the last thing to bring me comfort. Or rather laying emotionless as someone tries to offer you advice that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of your broken soul. Alone. It’s safer for both parties.

Yes, there’s logic screaming in the back of my mind saying sleep and avoidance aren’t the answer; I should know better. But sometimes it’s exhausting “knowing better”. It’s exhausting continually self evaluating, self checking, reporting my emotions to doctors, it’s exhausting following a routine, it’s exhausting containing explosive feelings because they would overwhelm the average Joe.

It’s exhausting… so I sleep until I feel like it’s not so exhausting. I isolate myself until I feel like I can get a grip, I keep to myself until I feel like the world is not going to explode.

These bad days are not the end. They are just a few days that make it seem like the end. The bad days that try to undermine and destroy all the good ones. But the magic pill for these malicious self harm and condemning thoughts is I write things down. I have hard evidence that reminds me I was happy I am a happy person. I know what it’s like to love life. To love the progress and work I’ve put into having a happy life…. it’s just right now for this period of time that I feel a prisoner within the walls of my own body. But I’ll escape and the journey will continue.

– Steph

When Your Blood Starts to Boil

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This picture illustrated me perfectly yesterday during and after my doctor’s appointment. I usually enjoy seeing my Psychiatrist, Dr. M …. BUT yesterday… not so much.

This blog post will be a bit of a rant so I aplogize in advance BUT maybe you’ll understand or perhaps you’ve experienced the same situation/ emotions.

First off, when I came into the office Dr. M was sitting in a seat that was not behind his desk. Rather, a student was sitting behind his desk; I’d met her in my previous appointment, which I wasn’t exactly thrilled about either – I don’t like people sitting in on my appointments. At all.

Last time a student tried to conduct the appointment… it ended badly. I had an anxiety attack and he ended up being escorted out of the room and any future appointments he did not sit in… haha … yah my anxiety can work up pretty intense…. I just don’t like the idea of someone who has no right to know my business ask me questions about my private life, my medical life … about me in general. Students are awesome, I’m all for learning BUT I do not like them delving into my sessions. Those are private. That rant aside….

Dr. M, smiled and looked at me explaining how Ms.Student would lead the discussion and this would be a good and safe way for me to work on my anxiety considering the last student experience…. yah yah yah. No. Not impressed. So throughout my session my answers were minimalistic and I couldn’t help but look at Dr. M as I answered instead of Ms.Student. I don’t have a relationship of trust with Ms.Student so disclosing information feels wrong. If that makes sense. (My arms were crossed the whole time … yes that’s definitely body language BUT it was also to help me from not working myself up I usually start tapping or hitting a leg or arm when I start getting wound up or I’ll run my fingers up and down unintentionally marking one area of my arm… so folded arms were safe)

So the appointment went on and this is where it get ugly…. I start school on September 8th, all my classes have been pre scheduled for me and lo and behold Mon – Thurs all start at 8 am. I live 45 mins out of the city and then the train ride to my school will be 45 mins…. see how much travel time there is? BUT the kicker is I will have to be up at 5am. 5am, in order to get ready and be out of my house on time to avoid traffic. HOW in the world am I supposed to wake up on time?! Or rather stay awake!? With my Seroquel Quetiapine I take 600mg and then 200mg Lamotragine… the seroquel knocks me out solid for 9 hrs… anything before that and I’m a drunk stumbling around hitting walls. If o havr a lower dose I dont seem to sleep. (If I’m in manic… medication doesnt matter pertaining to sleep… because I’m too happy)

Anyway I’ve been working for the past 8 months to “get a grip”, “prepare myself for school”… I’ve mentioned before my concern with sleep & drowsiness … in this appointment I told them “9 hours is Too MUCH” … I’d be happy with 6 or 7… yah no they are adamant it’s 8+

How in the world am I supposed to have a life if I have to go to bed at 9pm. That’s stupid. How am I supposed to study for school? go out with friends? Go to work?? Like what the heck??

So the option thrown out is take my mood stabilizer and decrease it by 100mg… which makes me nervous because I literally just started to feel like I had a grip on life. The other option go to bed as early as an old lady. Or the real winner try out different medications. ALL RIGHT BEFORE I START A NEW SEMESTER IN A NEW SCHOOL! wow… yah… let’s play with fire just as a plethora of new stressor enter my life.

Not impressed. My doctor want me to try lowering the dose by 100… I need to call if I feel off. He is worried about anxiety since obviously that med assists with my anxiety. And he was adamant and reiterated to me “that I should not at any point stop taking my medication”. Honeslty it’s never been a real thought up until lately. As much as I feel like I have a life. All this stupid sleep is stealing it from me…

So basically I was incredibly displeased with everything involving that appointment. I’m stressed to the max about school now… which I am excited for BUT I feel the joy being sucked out if it…

Perhaps a bit dramatic of a post. But holy cow. I don’t even know. I feel like everything blew up in my face in one hour after months of trying to get things under control.

– Steph 

Let it go! Let it go!… Let Them Go!

I like to think I’m a pretty good friend, that being said lets delve into the topic of friendship and when a friendship should become void (because the reality is sometimes that needs to happen)

Being a “good friend” can often mistakingly turn people emotional punching bags and/or door mats. How in the world do we end up so far off  base? I think it has something to do us offering a sincere love… it’s defiantly fair to say that I’ve fallen victim to this.

Once upon a time I had a friend, I loved her dearly and always made sure I was there for her. She had experienced quite a bit of difficulty involving her family. And it’s definitely fair to say she had a lot of anger built up and a pretty low self esteem. So, as her friend I’d always try to reassure her that things would get better, I’d try to remind her of her positive qualities and strengths, she was incredibly beautiful and I’d express this to her as well since she’d always put herself down. Basically I was a support that she fell on heavily and eventually she exhausted the resources.

It’s not that I was incapable of continuously complimenting or reassuring her, or taking her to appointments and finding the silver lining in life… I could do that till the end of time for a friend who needed that extra boost. However, I was not willing to do be abused by her. She often lashed out not physically but verbally, and it wasn’t always at me. It came to a point where I felt like I was a walking apology… for everyone she came into contact to, waiters, cashiers, guys, my other friends, family… she found a need to verbally be aggressive and mean.

People literally would do nothing other than breathe BUT because of her negative experiences in life she felt like she had every right to loathe everyone … Even her compliments would be double edged… holding an insult in the same breath.

I completely understand and support getting friends through a rough time. I’m not one to jump ship and bail just because the going gets tuff. BUT when tuff turns purely into ruff… you should reevaluate the situation and friendship.

Ruff… for this posts sake is going to be dipicted as a “friend” who feels the need to fight with everything and everyone for no reason. Ruff is putting down people incessantly just so that they can feel better about themselves REGARDLESS to the fact they will continue to talk themselves down as well. Ruff is closing their heart to gratitude and instead fill it with hate and jealousy. Ruff is a ugly…  that just keeps getting uglier.

There came a point in my life where I was seeking goodness, positivity, respect, & silver linings… and this friend that I had for a numver of years had no desire to look or develop these attributes in her own life. I expressed that I could not and did not appreciate her slander of innocent people or myself just because she felt life had wronged her. Life is perfect for no one, I can testify to that myself.

We can choose to become bitter or better. She chose bitter. And there came a point where she was draining the happiness, the light, the good from me and never replenishing it. She brought drama that she always seemed to thrive on, and that was not and is not what I want in my life. So 4 years of friendship… came to an end. It was hard because we had been close and obviously shared good memories BUT it wasnt worth my health & happiness.
You can be there to help and support someone all you want BUT unless they want to help themselves… it’s futile.

After that particular friendship came to an end it opened room up space in my life to meet some amazing people, who I  gratefully call my dear friends today. Leaving that one friendship took away an immense amount of drama and stress. It took away her belittling me or insulting me when she felt like it… ultimatly it helped me work towards a happier life, which was exactly what I wanted.

I did not let this one individual dictate my happiness, I did not let this one experience make me afraid to open up and find another friend. Not everyone is “friend” material in your life BUT there are a select few and when you let go of the bad ones you’ll find space you never knew you had for the good ones.

Don’t twist yourself into thinking that you’re being “a good friend” by staying in someone’s life who uses and abuses your love. That is not a friendship. Friendhship is a two way street, if you uplift them then you better darn tootin’ expect them to uplift you. If not..  reconsider how you feel and if it’s worth it. Because you my deary are worth it.

Let go of unhealthy, to find healthy and happy.

-Steph

Breaking Genius…. Maybe

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This post is for kicks and giggles. Perhaps it will also act as an indicator for the level of nerd I am, demonstrating  the way my brain works. Now with that being said…

Have you ever written or drawn out your name and your family members….just because you’re bored?

This is a regular occurrence in my life. I don’t know why but if I’m sitting at a table and there’s a scrap piece of paper, I  bet you your dollar that I’ll be drawing & writing names on it.

But my dear friends… this time my beautiful doodles turned into a EURIKA moment! I’ve mentioned prior that I’m a big fan of straight lines. I know that’s a weird statement BUT I’m a straight lines kinda’ gal (I came up with a personality distinction based around lines… maybe I’ll explain that later) . Squiggles & zig zags are not my type. I think it also goes without saying that I’m a fan of symmetry… why am I telling you all these random facts? Because this time as I was drawing out my sisters names in order I found a parallel; symmetry and it blew my mind!

I honestly felt like I found the cure to world peace. Sometimes it’s the simple, corniest things that bring us the greatest happiness and satisfaction.

When I showed my family my discovery they laughed but appreciated the interesting qualities it presented.

What a way to get the ball rolling on a Monday! 

Anywho I hope this week you get to find and discover your own EURIKA moment. Enjoy mine below… haha

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– Steph

Opinion is not fact. That’s a fact.

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Opinions.

Everyone has the right to have and hold one, but the fact of the matter is they are only opinions, they are not facts. Opinions are not the beginning or end of your life.

Previously I’ve encountered opinions that were not so kind (as I’m sure everyone has at one point and time). Previously these cruel opinions would hurt me, impacting the way I thoughy about myself or things that were important to me. BUT once I was exposed to the simple mental reality that they are not fact… it hit me and I was free from the bondage. Opinions had/have absolutely no power over me or you, unless we allow them to.

If I taste a cake and think it’s absolutely divine, heaven sent and could bring world peace that is my opinion. You on the other hand could taste the exact same cake and feel death tapping on your shoulder; that is your opinion, and I  have absolutely no right to push my opinion on to yours, claiming mine is correct and your cries invalidity. And just because you think the cake is a pretty parcel of death… doesn’t mean I should change my opinion just to please yours discrediting my own feelings.

Our opinions do not have to agree… Does that mean we can’t be friends? Does that mean we can’t be colleagues? Does that mean we can never get along or be in the same room till the end of time? No! of course it doesn’t mean that. What it does mean is we have to make a choice – to respect each other and respect that we are both entitled to hold an opinion AND we are both entitled to voice it without trying to shove it down another person’s throat claiming “fact!”

Just because we do not agree, does NOT mean that we do not love or care for that individual. That is a common misconception within our era. We claim that “if you are not with me” –  “you are against me”. Also very wrong. People cannot force their opinions on others with the expectation that they will receive “respect” and “acceptance”. It is not right to take away the rights of others, just so that you feel your opinion is being validated. No one has the right to condemn anyone’s feelings. Acceptance of an opinion is very different than supporting an opinion. And we have the right to choose either without being called the enemy.

Again, it all comes down to respect. Respect each other enough to hear differences, respect each other enough to accept those opinions and differences WITHOUT the expectation that we have to support them as well.

Are there lots of opinions I don’t agree with? Heck yah! LOT’S & LOT’S! But that’s the beauty of remembering those opinions are just opinions, not facts.

Remember opinions can change, they don’t have to be written in stone. Perhaps they will change by circumstance, experiences or association BUT never through force or disrespect.

Respect yourself enough to hold an opinion. Respect others enough to allow them to have there’s. Respect each other enough to recognize they don’t have to agree in order for you to be civil or a part of each others lives.

Fact is fact. Opinion is just opinion.

– Steph

Is Your Heart Beating?

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Here’s a nice spin on life.

Beyond the joys of having bipolar which is in a league of its own when it comes to having ups and downs, this quote allows you to look at these cycles from a different perspective.

The ups and downs that everyone has regardless to mental illness or not, are a declaration of life. It’s inevitable. There is no possible way to have a flat line…. unless we die… I know thats a bit morbid but it’s the truth. Perhaps we may have less spiked highs or lows giving us a relatively calm experience, however if we only ever barley make a dent in the highs and lows I’m fairly confident we’d be living a boring life (no offence). There would be no spice. And a little spice is nice.

Highs and lows are inevitable and because of this it’s critical we learn how to manage both spectrums. The past 10 months I’ve worked incredibly hard trying to learn better coping skills for both my highs and lows. Life is unpredictable, YES we can plan and prepare ourselves to a certain extent which is what I’ve tried to do BUT the prepreation should be dedicated to dealing with the unexpected. I’ve mentioned I’m a HUGE planner but life doesn’t always go according to plan AND honestly sometimes I’m grateful for that. When it goes unscripted it makes me go beyond my comfort level try something new, learn something new, meet someone new to live a little more then I thought possible.

Up or Down, I’m grateful I have life. I’m grateful I have this life to live, learn and grow. Consider your heart beat as a declaration of embracing the highs and lows because they are ultimately what keep us alive.

– Steph