Guess Whose Back?! And Has a Ring On It!

So much has happened over the last 2 months! I turned 27 on October 11th and two days later married the love of my life – 27 couldn’t have started off on a better note. Typically I’m apprehensive about my birthday and turning a year older, this year I was ecstatic and couldn’t have been more than excited for the day to come.

To be honest, I wasn’t nervous when it came down to getting married, I felt and feel peace knowing I’ll be with my prince King for the rest of my life thru all eternity. The ceremony was beautiful, when my husband saw me in my dress it was the best reaction I could have asked for.

The reception was beautiful as well, my brother-in-law emceed and he did a phenomenal job. All of the speeches and dances – everything – I laughed. I cried; it was perfect. I also surprised my husband with a song. He’s been asking me to sing for him forever and I always say NO, but my brother-in-law (same one that emceed) wrote a love song that was inspired from my life and I knew I needed to sing it at the wedding. He was beyond surprised – I barely made it thru the song without crying my eyes off.

I can’t believe it finally happened. There was a point in my life where I thought I was unlovable, I was used and broken goods. I thought I was never going find the kind of love that would accept me as I am let alone meet a man who met my standards (it’s important to have standards – mine slipped at times and I dated toads but after those experiences I raised them up high and was unwavering in what I expected in love and respect from my partner, there is nothing wrong with being selective – not picky). It’s a known fact on this blog that I have bipolar and I am a lot to deal with – that is what I would tell myself. But when it’s all said and done I did find love – I found someone who saw me beyond my diagnosis, someone who thinks I am amazing and perfect just as I am. I didn’t need to change myself, I didn’t need to modify my ways or suppress who I am to fit a mold. I was true to myself and my standards, which is something I’ve been working on and my husband loved me all the more for it. He knows me for me because that is all I’ve offered, no sugar coating or hiding.

I’m excited to see and record my experience as a married woman with bipolar, it will be a marriage with ups and downs literally but I know it will be filled with love. My blog was started with the intention to share my thoughts and experiences with bipolar, to show others that it’s possible to be happy and fulfilled in life despite the drawbacks of this mental condition. So far I’ve managed to be in the healthiest and happiest relationship of my life and I attribute a lot of that to my good health before my relationship. I worked on my health – mentally, physically and spiritually before my husband came in the picture and avidly while he was in it, all the while keeping him in the loop. I answered any and all questions he had about my diagnosis and my personal patterns or prominent symptoms and he went the extra mile and read up on bipolar on his own. I believe we succeeded because he was educated and informed. My family spoke with him and gave him some insight on how I tick. So when it comes to having a successful relationship I believe knowledge and communication are the biggest factors.

So for anyone in a relationship (especially) with a diagnosis – talk! I personally waited until the words “I love you” were spoken before I told him I had bipolar, I wanted to make sure he loved me for me with no bias because of my diagnosis. And he did love me. Once he found out that’s when the floodgates opened for questions and little ticks started to make sense for him. But that’s not to say we didn’t have open communication from the beginning because we did. Our relationship was built on communication – it was long distance after all.

I am on my path to happily ever after, it’s been a learning experience for sure BUT every moment of struggle has been worth it.

There is so much to write and I apologize for being MIA the last two months. I’ve had the intention to write and then I’d chicken out. You will see in future posts some of the dealings with what have been going on. I’m beyond happy to be with my husband but that is not to say I don’t experience anxiety or downs amidst that happiness. There has been A LOT of change, A LOT.

I hope everyone is well.

I am hoping to get back into my routine of posts once a week.

– Steph

The Upside

What a moving quote. I think that it is safe to say that those living with bipolar quite frequently face various storms.  What a beautiful concept that those storms may have a greater purpose.

Sometimes the storms of life come as a result of choices we make, they are the consequence of our actions. However, sometimes the storms of life come at no consequence of our own –you don’t have to do anything in particular and BAM, you are in a squall – tossing to and fro – hanging on for dear life.

Over the course of my life I have been in countless storms, as I am sure you can all relate. And just as this quote expresses, there have been times that those storms have cleared a path for me, they didn’t just “disrupt my life”.

Sometimes the storm – the chaos – the destruction is exactly what we need in order to find our foundation again – to be grounded – to rebuild. Sometimes the storm gives us insights that we would otherwise be oblivious to. Sometimes the storm thrusts us on the path we so desperately need to be on to continue on our journey.

Storms ruffle our feathers, they make us uncomfortable, they require us to be resilient. But growth stems from discomfort, think back to the timeless expression of “growing pains”. At times the storms seem to take more than we can give, but they never leave us baron. They always leave us with the opportunity to grow. And that is priceless.

Our path isn’t always visible and sometimes through the storms of life we may lose sight of it all together BUT there are times without doubt that the storm makes our path crystal clear. Take a moment to evaluate the storms you’ve gone thru. Have they all helped you grow into the individual that you are today? Have they shuffled you on the path that got you here today.

Sometimes storms are terrible, you are unprepared for them and they take you off-guard, however other times the storms give you an appreciation for life and allow you to dance in the rain.

Storms will come and storms will go. Don’t be mistaken to classify the storms of life as all negative. I am not going to say that all storms are positive experiences that we should all be overjoyed to be swept away in, but I am saying that there can be positive things that we take away from being in each storm. We may not see it in the moment, but once the storm has settled, we may realize that we are exactly where we need to be in order to get exactly where we need to go and without that particular storm we wouldn’t have gotten there.

– Steph

Be The Change

I’ve been on the rise (not in a hypomanic way), I’m feeling a lot better than I have in weeks passed. I think it’s fair to say that I was in a low – everything seemed doom and gloom and my positive outlook on life was overshadowed by negative thoughts that I couldn’t seem to shake. It’s been a while since my mental state has been crippled by my mood so severely. I was getting out of bed in the morning but just barely.

It’s times like these that really make me reflect on my mood management skills.

I won some battles and lost some battles over the course of my low. I didn’t quit my job which was something I would have done in a heartbeat if I didn’t do a self-check. The thought was there and the fuel feeding the fire was real! But I did some self-talk and conclude the cons outweighed the pros. So the job stayed BUT I did give my notice yesterday, because I am moving – there was no need to do it prematurely as I have bills to pay. This is the longest I’ve ever stayed with a job, no need to burn the bridge and end on bad terms. I’m not sure if anyone else with bipolar can relate BUT I never stayed with an employer longer than 6 months prior to this job. I would lose interest, feel like people were picking up on my moods (which cycled a lot more frequently) orrrrrr I was always starting school which would all cause me to quit. I hated being anywhere too long. I’ve never been fired, but I definitely never stuck around.

Another win was I maintained communication with my fiancé, I let him know how I was feeling and we talked thru things rather than me shutting him out. I also talked with my family and doctor, all of which helped me manage my mood.

I didn’t exercise or eat in accordance to my goals for the majority of my low. That was a battle I lost. It happens.

I (and my fiancé) created some plans to overcome my negative thoughts that were on repeat throughout this low, and I think that improved my mental state. I find that if you can pinpoint what your repeating negative narrative is, you can find a way to counter it, which will help your mood improve quicker. There is always a repeating narrative. Something that you repeat to yourself, whether it’s that you are worthless, an inconvenience to those around you, incompetent, a 2 out of 10, not creative, never finishing anything you start, swallowed by debt, etc… It’s safe to say that this low manifested a new narrative regarding my self appearance, lack of creativity and work which all trickled into my self-worth.

I was curious as to what my new narrative would be, because I’ve been so happy and everything seemed to be going well and I have been conquering the narratives that plagued my past. Let’s just say my mind was surprisingly creative when it came up with my negative narratives this time around.

So what did we come up with –

Once I move to Victoria I am going to enrol in a sewing class. Nothing fancy, but something to get my wheels turning again and reintroduce that passion into my life. Next I will be taking classical guitar lessons, I’ve already found a teacher. I am beyond excited to add these dimensions into my life. Lastly, in terms of my style – if you can’t find what you like, do it yourself. We determined that it might become a fun hobby and good motivation to do fashion posts either on my blog or Instagram that adhere to the standards of modesty I have in my life. It may help me find more people with similar styles that I can connect with or inspire other young women to dress modestly while maintaining their own independent style that isn’t cookie cutter.  I am trying to think outside the box. I’m not about to say that my style is going to be off the chain, but it will be a step in the right direction to express myself creatively and will definitely beat wearing gym clothes all the time.

I feel hopeful. I feel determined. And I feel like I’ve got a grip on my self worth. I know I’m not a 2 out 10. I know my worth is far beyond that. I have imperfections as everyone does BUT at the end of the day it’s not about everyone else. It’s about me and the self love and respect I offer myself. I am going to get nowhere fast if I talk with such disdain towards myself. You can only sustain true happiness and change thru self love. I don’t need surgery, I don’t need the perfect body, I just need to love myself as I am and work on being the best version of myself. If you give everything you’ve got there will never be any regrets. My creativity has been hindered – I know this. So, rather than dwelling on it unhappily I will make a change in my life to do something about it.

Anyways, I hope everyone is doing well. The journey to my happily ever after continues, but I have no doubt I’m on the right path.

– Steph

How About A Slap In The Face

This past week was probably one of the most upsetting weeks I’ve had in a long time.

I apologize for my absence. Last week my fiance was in town and the week prior I was camping with no cell service to upload a post. Life has been a bit busy, I would say it’s been going really well BUT this week has jeopardized that mentality.

As you know I have a job at a law firm. I was beyond excited to have this job, I love the lawyers I work with. Everything has been peachy. However, everything clearly can’t be perfect and I’ve been on the fence about my salary and whether or not I should apply elsewhere. I have friends who work in the same industry as me who are making a fair amount more – with the exact same amount of experience. I however figured that because I enjoyed who I worked with I would stay with the firm and wait for my 1 year review when I would undoubtedly get a raise.

Tuesday of this week was my review. It was with the 2 partners of the firm, who for the record I never talk to or see.

Prior to talking with them my one lawyer (whom i’m particularly close with) called me into her office. She wanted to give me a heads up with what she told the partners for my review. It was all positive with the constructive criticism that I could have a bit more attention to detail. Fair enough.

I go into the interview and BAM I got slaughtered by the partners. The only feedback they gave me about my lawyers was that they both said I had a pleasant demenour. What?!?!

There was nothing in my review about my actual work or work ethic or how happy my lawyers are with me.

They brought up things that were not true and not my fault, errors made by my one of my lawyers, for which he had already expressed to them that the errors were his fault. The told me I was dependent on the other assistant to do my work. NOT TRUE. It was all just super upsetting. And I was denied a raise. So basically I am being paid a year later as if I have no experience. *slap in the face*

I confronted both my lawyers. Asked them if they were unhappy with me and explained what the partners told me and my lawyers were shocked. Why?? Because they both explained to me that they gave me great reviews because they love me as their assistant, they went on to say what the partners said about me made no sense.

I have been sick over this. My mind has been replaying everything over and over. Everyone got a raise (for a fact) but me. It’s sickening.

It’s so funny how things can change so instantaneously. I have no intention of staying with this firm. Not a chance. I’m getting married and I’ll be leaving in that regard BUT if an opportunity comes to leave sooner I’ll take it.

I’m obviously not going to elaborate in detail what was said, but it was all super shady and has made no sense when explained to my lawyers, family and close friends.

I thought maybe it was me? But this is beyond me. I’m just the sucker in the ploy.

I have had some good visits with friends this week. It’s helped lighten my mood, but at the same time as soon as the visit is over I feel sick again.

This was completely unexpected.

And then to top it off a woman hit my car while it was parked and I was sitting in it. The damage wasn’t bad but she was unbelievable about the whole situation.

People! What is wrong with some people?!

I hope and pray everyone is having a better week than me. Thank goodness it’s Friday!

I just need to shake this off and hopefully I’ll have a more uplifting post next week. This post was to illustrate I am alive and express that I am a bull seeing red and I can’t get a grip of my mind and emotions.

It will all work out. It always does.

– Steph

A Weed Or A Wish

A wish

I’ve been fairly consumed with planning and preparing for my new future. The wedding is almost in a double-digit countdown which is a surreal feeling.

I’ve been reading more articles about bipolar disorder a well as a book that I was given when I was first diagnosed. Knowledge is power and it never hurts to go over a critical component of your life. I am not nervous about being married. I am very excited about it, I am however nervous about the change that marriage will entail. I am bracing myself for the change, because as anyone with bipolar knows, change can bring on an episode going either direction – up or down. It’s obviously not by choice, it’s just a natural phenomenon. When the change is drastic enough so becomes the mood.

I’ve been doing well so far, my anxiety has been a bit more pronounced but I have still maintained a happy demeanour. It’s so funny how you become so in-tune with your body after years of dissecting your moods, reactions, triggers, and ticks. One of the bonuses of active participation in improving my health is I am always aware of myself. That’s one of the things my doctors have commented on, on more than a few occasions. I am a very self-aware individual. My mentality is the only way to progress is to be self aware, if you are aware of your weaknesses they can become strengths, if you are aware of your strengths you can apply them to your goals. If you are accomplishing your goals you are becoming the best version of yourself. It all begins with self-awareness.

Self-awareness, is something I’ve had to work on. It required a perspective shift. It required me to take control of my life, take hold of my bipolar and to not be a victim of my mental health. Bipolar was initially a curse in my mind, but it has turned into one of my strengths over the course of the past few years. As one of my sister refers to it as a “super power”. Getting to this point of peace with my bipolar has been a journey, but I have grown immensely. I am not a perfect personification of someone with their bipolar under control, however I am someone with bipolar who has found happiness, when it once robbed me of it. Happiness is not something I experience at all times, there are times that I feel alone and like I am trapped in a dark abyss, however I know that the darkness will fade eventually and I remind myself of this and it helps keep my hope alive.

Taking charge of your bipolar is taking the good with the bad, the highs with the lows and everything in between. It’s not picking and choosing parts of it when it is easy or convenient.

This quote is perfect, some people see a weed. I see a wish. Some see bipolar as a curse. I see it as an opportunity. When you shift your perspective, you will find opportunity in more than you could possibly imagine.

– 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

Choose Happy

It’s that time of year again – when it’s a new year.

I love New Years, it’s a time of reflection and anticipation. What a sublime mix!

So much has happened in the year 2017, I’d say mostly good but undoubtably there were some challenges along the way. I feel excited to see what 2018 brings. There have been so many new beginnings for me recently so New Years seems fitting and right on schedule.

I love the simple illustration above, 1 year = 365 opportunities. How great is that?!

We are about to embark on a new 365 day adventure.

And what would New Years be without goals?? I’m all about goals, I believe they should be set beyond the New Years hype but if New Years gets people into a goal oriented mindset so be it. My “2018″ goal is to work on my balance. I want to be a modern renaissance woman. I want improve my intellect, spirituality and physicality. I want my knowledge, enlightenment and action to all increase.

It’s exciting to think I have an entire year to measure my progress. From where I was at the beginning of 2017 to where I am now. Life changing. I’ve had so many profound experiences that have shaped me. I think I’ve managed to become better from my experiences – not bitter. And now I get to bring my new package into 2018.

I recently bought some wall hangings for my new apartment one says “This is the good life” and the other says “choose happy”. I get a kick out of both. I live with bipolar, I live a life that no one would wish on anyone but at this point in my life I know I’m living the good life – bipolar and all. And secondly, choose happy, sometimes my mood is not my choice. This is why I chose this wall hanging. I used to resent when people would say “just choose to be happy” but now my perception has changed and I bought this wall hanging to remind myself that beyond the scope of my health their is a choice with how I choose to live. Regardless to my lows and highs. I still can choose me. And I choose happy.

If I feel nothing – I still choose happy.

If I’m crying for hours – I still choose happy.

If I have to fight with myself for days or weeks – I still choose happy.

It’s worth fighting for, it’s the life I want, the person I want to be – happy. We may not get to feel happy but the twist is that we can still choose happy. And at the end of the dark tunnel, that is the light that I see and hold on to.

Think of 2018 and all that it has to offer. Think of where you want to be in life and make it happen, you have 365 days to try and I guarantee you will become better day by day.

Look for positivity, radiate positivity and do not settle for anything less.

There is no need to justify negativity in your life whatever form it may be. 2018 is your year.

Choose happy, and remind yourself that it’s your life and you are living the good life. And if you aren’t then change things until you can say you are. Be in control of your life because it’s yours and yours alone.

Own 2018.

Happy New Years everyone!

– Steph