Darker Days

At times I feel like I am enveloped in darkness. I feel trapped. I feel as though I am less-than because I am not able to escape the depression that plagues my life time and time again.

Yet out of the darkness always comes something beautiful, out of the darkness comes a greater appreciation for life, out of the darkness comes empathy, out of the darkness comes a strength that is unfathomable, out of the darkness comes a resiliency that is far too often undermined by our society.

The butterfly endures the dark, endures being trapped and comes out stronger and more beautiful. The butterfly finds its freedom.

The darkness does not last forever.

– Steph

Reality Check

This post required two quotes, so you know it’s about to get real.

Goodness, the past few weeks I have not been in the right head space. (If you couldn’t already tell)

I have been trying to practice mindfulness, trying to stay positive, trying to remind myself of the direction I am taking my life. Trying to stay in control. Trying, trying, trying. It’s been exhausting. I feel like I’ve been in a constant battle with myself. Fighting for the life I want to live that isn’t defined by my bipolar.

My perception of reality has been distorted to say the least. It’s like I’m there, but I’m not there. I am present yet I am absent.  I feel so deeply but then I don’t feel anything at all. If that even makes sense.

I can be lethal when I lose my grip (literally lethal – like a completely different person), I think I have come a long way so I like to think it doesn’t happen all that often, but sometimes the bipolar gets the best of me. Sometimes, the rational emotions and ideas escape my grasp and I’m left with impulse and tunnel vision.

It’s terrible, but it is a reality I face. I like to post positive posts as much as I can, because that is the direction I am taking my life a reflection of how I choose to live. But I still suffer at the hand of my bipolar, I am not immune and I don’t feel positive all the time. BUT that doesn’t mean I can’t have a happy productive life, which is what I hope to illustrate with my blog, I do consider my self a happy person when it’s all said and done.

However, that being said, I am human and I do have bipolar and there are symptoms that come with this mental illness. I hate using the word illness because I feel like it diminishes how far I have come BUT it is an illness, it is a trial, it isn’t a walk in the park.  I have bipolar. It’s just a fact. I am not the disease but it does play a role in who I am how I act and the decisions I make and that is the honest truth. I have made decisions that I would never had made without the effects of bipolar being a factor. It is not an excuse for my actions but a factor in them.  At the end of the day taking responsibility for them allows me to move forward. BUT gosh, sometimes I wish there was an undo button.

There are some things that I find harder than others with having bipolar. Some symptoms that are more prominent and I really have to check myself and have safe guards BUT even then, sometimes I bulldoze right thru them. Sometimes I am relentless and nothing and no one can change my mind and course of direction regardless to whether it is to my benefit or demise.

I have an appointment booked with my therapist, I am going in to talk to him in person rather than thru our phone call appointments – I feel like it is a state of emergency. As you may know we’ve been having phone call sessions to accommodate my work schedule, but that’s just not going to cut it this time. I don’t like feeling like I’m losing control and that’s exactly where I’m at. I feel up and down, numb and yet volatile, high and low, I like to be in control – I like to be the captain of my decisions which can be a challenge when you have bipolar to say the least.

I recently lost my grip. I essentially plowed thru logic or reason and hurt myself and those I love in the process. I had something made up in my mind, it didn’t make sense but I wasn’t going to be satisfied until I saw it thru – why? I have no idea. Consequences were not something on my mind, I felt as though I was immune to repercussions and the idea of them didn’t seem plausible. Some how I would act and come out unscathed. Sometimes feeling so deeply can be a curse. Yes, it can be a blessing, and I like to look at it that way BUT it can be a two-edged sword. It can cause you to defy all reason.

I am facing my reality. Facing the consequences of my actions, re-evaluating my life and piecing myself back together. Perhaps piecing together is a bit strong, it’s not as though I have completely come undone, it’s not as though all the work I’ve put into myself hasn’t been decimated by this one action. The years I have been working on myself have given me a strong foundation to fall back on BUT there were a few blows to it and I need to strengthen and reinforce it so that I can confidently move forward.

Am I a bad person? No, I am not a bad person. Did I do something I would have normally done had I been thinking rationally and without so much emotion pulsing thru my veins? No, no I did not. But that comes with the territory of having bipolar. You sometimes aren’t yourself even though you are still you.  Sometimes the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde happens. You just have to live the best you can and brace yourself for when those times come, and come what may accept it, acknowledge it, own it, learn from it and then move on. You can’t dwell on all your poor decisions or actions. If I did that I would be miserable. I would be consumed and lose sight of who I want to be and who I really am. I am not my bad decision. I am not my out of character actions. I am Stephanie and I am human.

This post perhaps wasn’t the most uplifting, but it is where I am at and a testament that I am moving forward. It is my reality and my reality isn’t always pretty. I struggle, I fall down, but I get back up. Time and time again I get back up and if I can do it – so can you.

– Steph

Redirect Your Reach

I really needed to read this quote.

Sometimes I think we all fall victim to entering into a pity party. I’m not saying this to make anyone feel guilty, but to merely point out a reality that we all face.

Its so easy to get caught up in what is not going right for us to the point that we lose sight of everything that is. The danger here is when we start to dwell on this negative train of thought.

How can we receive the good if we don’t see the good? How can we attract positive energy if we are only ever emitting negative energy? There is a quote that says “be the energy you want to attract“, how true that is.

There are certain aspects of my life that are presently not going according to plan. And ohhh how I love to plan. I realize that plans need flexibility so I am doing my best to accommodate this. However, it’s fair to say that I was focusing on what I didn’t have rather than everything that I do. And needless to say, my mood was a reflection of that, of course I can factor in my mood and my bipolar but my train of thought has been a lethal accomplice so I will duly take responsibility. (going back to my last post – this is why I am so excited to do service; service emits positive energy which is a deliberate step in the right direction that I can take).

I think positive thinking is something that we have to train our minds to do. Thinking is an action word and positive thinking is an intention. Thus, as a whole positive thinking is intentional thinking. Negative thinking is intentional thinking. We just have to choose deliberately what intention we are choosing to act with.

Cognitive behavioural therapy has been a part of my life for the past few years. With all my sessions, I have taken what was taught and applied it to my life with action. The intention of going to therapy was to improve my mental health – to have a healthy relationship with myself and others. That was the intention and the only way I was going to achieve that was with the action of implementing what I learned.

Because of the action I’ve taken and continue to take, I now live a life that I consider to be healthy both with myself and those around me. I am constantly seeking to improve it and I find that when I am self aware and acting with my intention I am at my best. Its hard to move forward in life when we are stuck with our negative thoughts, negative thoughts are shackles that limit where and how far we go. Luckily, we are our own prison guard with the key to unlock those shackles; it’s ultimately up to us and no one else. HOW AMAZING IS THAT! Just think about it for a minute, that is true power.

Consider your own thoughts, and how long you dwell on them. One thing my therapist always tells me is to “acknowledge how you feel”. So of course, that means taking the good with the bad. Do not shame yourself for having negative feelings or thoughts, but do not let them over run your life. Let them come and let them go. Acknowledge how you feel. We can’t be happy all the time. It’s not possible and that’s okay. But just remember that if you feed into negativity – that is what you will be searching out as fuel for your mind, body and soul. And if you feed into positivity that is what you will alternatively be searching out as fuel to your mind, body and soul.

If negativity is an orange and positivity is an apple, you can’t keep reaching for the orange thinking it will turn out be or taste like an apple. You need to redirect your reach.

Ask yourself what your intention is, do you want the apple or the orange and then act on it. Nothing comes to pass without intentional thinking and then action.

Just a little food for thought. Pun totally intended.

I want the good in my life, so I am looking for the good in my life. I want positivity to surround me, so I am working on being positive, BUT again I want to emphasize being positive doesn’t mean you have to be happy 100% of the time. That’s not realistic nor is it healthy. Take the good with the bad. When it comes to negativity don’t dwell and you will excel. Cheesy but true.

– Steph

Give a Little. Get a Little.

I have not been in the best of moods lately. And I’ve had a hard time composing a post. I have had a constant feeling of anxiety. I’m trying my best to get thru it but sometimes your best just doesn’t cut it.

I called ìn sick to work yesterday. I felt paralyzed. I couldn’t breathe and my whole body felt heavy. The idea of leaving my bed made me sick. I anticipated spending the whole day in bed but by 11:00 am I had talked myself thru my anxiety and got up to go to work. A small feat but I am proud of myself. I made it to work albeit late but I made it.

Living on my own has almost given me a bit too much time on my hands. I’ve been filling my agenda with things to do but primarily I am alone. There is this constant focus on myself and quite frankly I’m tired of it. Sure, I like working on bettering myself but that shouldnt limit me to only thinking of myself. It’s great to improve yourself but part of that improvement comes from actively serving others.

Service. That is what I am missing. When I lived at home before I started school again I volunteered at a hospital with seniors. I loved it. I went once a week for 6 months. I also worked at a seniors home and spent a lot of time talking and visiting with the residents. I grew to love them all and I miss that. While I was in school I served as a youth Sunday school teacher for almost 2 years, I loved my youth. Every week meeting with them was something I looked forward too.

I was thinking about it today. And I’ve determined that this is an aspect of my life that’s missing. I’m missing service. Ideally I’ll be able to find a role that allows me to bring Nutmeg along. I’m thinking either at a hospital or a seniors home. The idea has already lifted my spirits.

I feel like I’ll be a happier, better version of me if I’m taking the time to lift somebody else up.

Give a little. Get a little.

It’s a theory. And I’m going to test it out to see the difference it makes in my life. It definitely can’t do any harm.

– Steph