Hope in Bipolar

My life with bipolar thus far has been an incredible learning experience. Over the course of my formal diagnosis, I have become the most self-aware I’ve ever been in my entire life.

That self-awareness did not happen by chance. The happiness and peace that fill my life today – did not happen by chance. My dad always said to me, “anything worth having is worth working for”, and believe me those words never rang more true than when I wanted to find peace and happiness. I wanted to escape chaos and pain; the demons in my head, the self-hatred, the daily suicidal thoughts. I wanted to escape it all.

I wanted happiness. I wanted a life I loved living.

I am so happy that I can tell you all, I am living that life. I worked for it, I invested time in myself; my mental health, my physical health, my spiritual health, building healthy relationships and removing toxic ones. I often cried from exhaustion because it felt like a lost cause, a losing battle BUT I had a vision of the life I wanted to live. I had a vision of the woman I wanted to become and that woman would not be defined by her diagnosis.

I joined a FB page for women with bipolar, and I’ve since then removed myself from that page. I could not bare the toxicity of the majority of the posts (not all BUT the majority). The negative energy that was being spread and applauded. The women in this group found comfort in comparing their terrible experiences or attitudes. There were no silver linings or learning experiences to be found on this page. They hated their diagnosis and as such it was projected on how they viewed themselves and consequently their loved ones.

My life is NOT perfect. How I handle my diagnosis is NOT perfect. But I’ll be darned to ever let anyone think happiness amd stability is out of their grasp because of a diagnosis. Happiness and stability are available to everyone. Sometimes we just have to work a little harder than others to achieve it or keep it.

I want to be clear and transparent when I say I’ve hated myself. I’ve hated my life. I’ve been in toxic relationships. I’ve felt like I was a burden to my loved ones. I felt like finishing my education was out of my grasp. I’ve been suicidal. I’ve hurt myself intentionally. I’ve spent money to the point I had to declare bankruptcy. I’ve ruined relationships and broken trust. I’ve cried oceans of tears for days and nights without rest.

But I did not settle for that life.

I felt and experienced those things as so many people do with bipolar – there is no shame. I am not ashamed of the life I’ve lived and the battle scars I’ve acquired. I want you to understand, I am not trying to sit here saying I am holy than thou and my life is magical. I want you to understand that there is hope. That if I can find happiness with my life – with bipolar – you can too.

If you are new to your diagnosis. If you are a veteran with your diagnosis, if you hate your diagnosis, if you feel helpless with the cards you’ve been dealt in this life. I’m here to tell you it can get better.

I’m going to be blunt when I say, it doesn’t have to get better. It really doesn’t, your life can be miserable till the end of time – it all comes down to you. You and what you want to work for. I promise you that if you put in the work, even when you don’t feel like it OR feel nothing at all (because let’s not kid ourselves – it happens) you will see yourself and this diagnosis in a way you never thought possible.

Will all your problems go away? Heck no! Will the highs and the lows vanish? Not a chance! But will you feel like you can handle them a bit better than you could before? Yes.

I knew deep down my life was not meant to be lived with all the pain I was living in. I knew that people loved lifè and why should I be exempt from feeling that love of life also? When I was diagnosed my life was in shambles, this diagnosis terrified me BUT it also gave me hope.

When you have hope, your possibilities are endless. The hope I gained from my diagnosis was a tiny seed. However, by reading about this disorder, educating myself, participating in all the therapy available to me – that hope grew day by day. Sometimes it faltered but I nourished it the best I could AND it grew stronger.

Hope and hard work – that is what my reality of living a life I love is made of.

I encourage you to look at your diagnosis not as a burden but as a symbol of hope. Cling to this hope and know that happiness is not reserved for a select few. Cling to this hope and recognize how valuable you are, how divine your potential is. Please recognize that from the depths of despair we can rise into unthinkable joy.

My life, my diagnosis – NOT perfect. But I can say I love my life and I consider myself happy. Yes, I’m sad and I feel empty sometimes but it makes me recognize and value my happiness so much more when I get to experience it again. Silver linings.

Bipolar is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Thinking that bipolar is the worst thing to happen to you – that is the worst thing that can happen to you.

– Steph

Psych!

WoW!

Everytime I hit a rhythm with my blog – bipolar happens at full force and that rhythm goes out the window.

Going back to my post about maybe having some posts stashed away for rainy days… I’m really thinking that I may have to commit to this idea because I feel terrible about being MIA when I’m not posting any content.

The reality is I lose my luster for writing sometimes, believe me when I say I want to write BUT I’m just incapable of doing so. Part of the problem these past weeeeeeks has been I’ve become obsessively fixated on another purist (I could have written about that… very entertaining behaviour).

Literally, the past month(s) and a bit I have been laser focusing on speaking spanish (oh yah! I’m back on that wagon… for any of you who missed previous posts I was all-in for learning spanish last year… and then I wasn’t). All of my time and effort from when I woke up until when I went to sleep was reading, writing and speaking spanish. Am I happy with my progress? You bet! But do I feel like everything else in my life was put on hold? TOTALLY!

I think my husband was being a good sport because I was so invested, but holy cow! I literally didn’t see anything else as a priority. I was either practicing or talking about me practicing… I think it’s fair to say it was painful to all those who endured this incessant fixation.

I am not sure about any of you who also have bipolar, but when I get something in my head and it is end-all-be-all, it is hard to talk me out of the 100 miles a minute mentality. I think my husband tried gently to bring me back to a normal pace… but I am pretty sure I bulldozed right through as I usual do when I’m in this mood.

I’m surprised that the fixation lasted as long as it did. We are talking weeks and then some! Where I stand now is I’m still invested BUT there is moderation – which I have to ensure translates into maintaining motivation.

A key difference this time around is I’ve acquired a language learning buddy who lives in Spain. We talk in spanish and english daily and it’s all quite pleasant and keeps me accountable and it’s free! No paying a tutor and it’s way more fun and productive!

On to other news because I can assure you things have been happening in my life. Let’s begin with psychiatrists…

There are none.

That was short and sweet, eh? But seriously, I thought moving back to this province would mean back to routine with mental care. NOPE! Psych! … I had to obviously use that as a play on words. My family doctor, bless his soul has been working diligently to find me a psychiatrist to assist me with this present stage of my life… because I’m seeking a bit more specialization.

And what pray tell do I need specialization for?

My husband and I are at a point in our relationship where we feel ready to bring an extra bundle of love into our lives. Crazy exciting! However, also terrifying if you have taken a gander at medical posts and opinions about women with bipolar having kids.

I am not saying I’m perfect, I literally just came off a cloud that I’d been living on for a wee while BUT I feel I am capable and responsible and prepared to care for another life. I’ve always wanted to be a mother and if we have one baby and that child is all I know I can manage healthily then I will be blessed with one child rather than multiple.

I want to be healthy so that my child can be healthy and happy. If one is my lucky number I am okay with that. And I am confident with my loving supportive husband we will manage one just fine. He is my rock and he is so excited to be a father.

So where am I with getting the ball rolling? I’ve started reducing my medication. I personally do not want to be on medication when I try or become pregnant. If for some reason my pregnancy is going sideways with me unmedicated then I will oblige and take a very low dose of something BUT for now I am going forward with the notion I will be unmedicated.

My family doctor (whom I shall refer to as Dr. W) has started monitoring the reduction in my medication, he understands that it’s not fair that my life is being put on hold while different clinics specializing in bipolar pregnancies keep shuffling me around. I am really grateful he is taking me serious.

So far we have only reduced the Latuda. Presently, I’m taking 20mg and starting Thursday I will take it every other day for 2 weeks and then cut it off. CRAZY! I was on 120mg … which is just a bit of a difference.

Mood wise I feel fine I don’t feel particularly different, I’m just noticing my anxiety is more elevated and my mind is preventing me from sleeping soundly.

Also, fun fact that I didn’t even consider when we started the process is there are withdrawal symptoms! Yikes! Nausea (I literally vomited one day – gross), flu like symptoms, body aches, lack of sleep, crazy blinking and more. I just remind myself there is a purpose to this and it’s not all for nothing. Dr. W wants to be notified if my mood changes and if so I’m supposed to bounce back to a higher dose. So far I haven’t felt the need, mentally I feel pretty good all things considering.

I’ll leave my post off on that happy note… not about the withdrawal symptoms BUT the next stage of life I hope to be entering in the not so distant future.

There is plenty going on in my head, so I plan on making up for lost time and ideally I will be writing posts more consistently moving forward. I thrive in routine and believe it or not, but I consider my blog part of that mental health routine. When I disappear it’s usually because my mood is a bit more out of sorts either really high, or really low. Sometimes I navigate through those times and still post BUT sometimes they get the best of me.

I appreciate your patience and support as I continue on this journey of once upon a time with bipolar.

Have a great week!

– Steph

I Can Relate

Just a fun little meme to laugh about, because sometimes laughing really is the best medicine.

I feel like I am this switch in real life. I feel good and then not so good and it’s on and off without ever really being off.

My poor husband has been a trooper managing my moods lately. But as a quote I once saw said “Your mood does not excuse bad behaviour.” So I have been doing my very best to maintain good behaviour throughout my ups and downs. I never like losing control as a result of my mood (but it is inevitable) I don’t always win the battle against my mood BUT I try.

I have been trying to work thru the not so good days with productivity, which is the polar opposite of what my mind is telling me to do when I’m not feeling good. I have to say I feel like I have a bit more grip on myself when I do try to push thru. It’s as if I’m standing up to my bipolar saying “I’m in control – not you”.

That is the thing with bipolar, it can feel like it takes away your control. It dictates how you feel without always having a rhyme or reason. However, what I’m learning is I still have control with what I do despite my mood. How I react or don’t react that’s my choice. I may not choose how I feel, but I can choose how I react. Sometimes it’s too much to bare and I don’t even win that battle, but every time I do it’s a victory I cherish.

We are the captains of our own ship, waves crash, winds blow but we navigate the sails and ultimately what direction we go. Perhaps some people are in more vicious storms than others, but no storm lasts forever and we need to hold off for that clear sky because it will come.

With my bipolar – with my moods, I choose to move forward. I literally take it day by day. I plan in advance, but I usher myself along day by day. Some days I win, some days I lose. Some days I recognize myself and others I feel like a stranger in my own body.

On and less on, I think thats the story of my life living with bipolar. I have learned to roll with it, embrace it and even laugh with it.

Choose your reaction because if you live with bipolar you can’t always choose your mood.

Never let your mood become an excuse for the ill treatment of others and if you do lash out be the first to apologize and own that reaction. Owning your reactions, being accountable that is where self-control begins. That is where you take back the power. Be accountable.

On and less on is the story of my life. It is key word MY life, so I will make the best of it and own it for all that it is.

– Steph

Keeping it Real (De-Progress Pictures)

Everyone who has fallen off the fitness bandwagon before, raise your hand.

I may be wrong but I feel like I can see a few cyber hands being raised. Believe me, you are not alone! My cyber hand is raised high and is waving around for all of you to see.

I’ve failed with keeping it consistent. Not just in regards to posting about my fitness journey on my blog BUT in regards to being active in my fitness journey on the daily.

Because of a little discouragement and not seeing what I wanted to see I did then worst thing I could do and literally threw out all of my eating and gym habits. Add on the fact the literal gyms are closed and it equals me not taking the initiative to workout at home. It’s fair to say I’ve been failing at putting in the required effort to achieve my desired results. I’ve done a few workouts here and there, but nothing to write home about.

I will acknowledge however, that over the last few weeks my shoulder has been acting up; when I went to my doctor about it last week he said he thinks I may have torn something. No bueno (I have to wait for this covid situation to calm down before I can get an ultrasound). It’s fair to say that my shoulder pain has been a deterrent and blockade to exercising BUT where there is a will there is a way and I’ve literally had no will… if you get what I’m saying.

The idea of the segment “Bipolar Gains” on my blog is to illustrate my journey as I work towards my fitness goals and living a healthy lifestyle; who would have thought that if I didn’t post you wouldn’t have any idea how that progress is going – good or bad.

So I apologize, if I only post when I feel like I’m making headway that isn’t going to capture the real authentic journey. The journey where I succeed and fail and keep trying even when I don’t want to (which is the key to never failing). I haven’t been holding myself accountable to myself or anyone else for that matter.

This is a new week and I plan on starting from where I am – I am not “starting over”. I am picking myself up and moving forward. It might seem like I’m starting over when you see my stats and pictures BUT alas this is a journey and just because I stopped along the way doesn’t mean I need to tell myself to go back to the very beginning. Learn to rest not to quit, perhaps I rested a little longer than I should have and ate one, two…fifty many snacks BUT I’m back in it.

I am going to do what I can with what I have.

A. Monitor and track my eating habits so that I am more accountable and aware of what I’m eating. Whether I track with weight watchers or something else, I need to track what I’m putting in my mouth.

I have a serious problem, dare I say addiction. Sugar. It’s serious and potentially dangerous (diabetes runs in my family tree), when I was (or have ever been) on my fitness roll I had very limited sugar intake and when I essentially let myself go I went to town. It literally got to the point where I felt like crying because my husband told me I shouldn’t have a bag of candy…. because I’d already eaten a bag the day(s) before. It’s terrible. Perhaps on first glance you wouldn’t think I have a sugar problem. But I can literally eat a cake to myself.

A cake. No exaggeration, and not over the span of a week but in a day or two. I seriously go through withdrawls like an addict. I don’t touch sugar for weeks and then I get a taste and I go on a bender and relapse and binge.

It’s one thing to eat clean, which I know I am capable of and another to engorge myself senseless with the slightest touch of processed sugar. I know myself and I just can’t do it. There is no happy medium and thats something I have to admit and come to terms with. You might think to yourself “just don’t restrict and you’ll be fine”. It doesn’t work that way. I can’t just have a few pieces of candy, I’ll eat the whole bag in less than 5 minutes. I can’t just have a cookie, I’ll eat the whole bag in a day or two. So what do you do when you are an alcoholic? You don’t drink just a little bit. You just don’t drink.

My pledge for this week, no processed sugar. I am going to take it day by day but I will not be eating candy, or cookies or cake in the slightest or sugary beverages. I need to clear my system. Gain some control back and mentally break the unhealthy relationship I have with sugar. I don’t binge on any other type of food (if we can call sugary garbage food) – just high sugary sweets and now seemingly drinks.

I admitted that ugly truth, so there is nothing hiding my demon now. And if you admit you have a problem, that is generally the first step to overcoming it. I am a sugar addict, who will eat it to the point of being nauseous because I just can’t seem to get a grip.

Now that, that is out there on to the next point.

B. I hate working out at home BUT I don’t mind FitOn workouts. I will workout 3-5 times this week between 20-45 mins and continue to take my dog on her daily walks.

C. I will go for a walk-jog for 15-20 minutes 3 times this week. I will walk for a minute and jog for 30 seconds. Back story: I injured my foot and ankle in 2008 and only realized that after years of therapy this past month when I attempted a walk-jog my foot didn’t light up in pain as per usual. I used to love to run, so rather than be a hobo and not try, I will have the PATIENCE and CONSISITENCY to start slow and build up the strength in my foot to get to full-time jogging. Not do what I usually do and try to go a million miles a minute ( I don’t want to ruin it again). Slow and steady.

My original goal was to be the healthiest version of myself in 9 months from January 1, 2020. Like I said earlier in my post – I am not starting over. If my calculations are right I have until September which is just about 5 months away. Looks like I need to buckle down to make up for lost time.

I know I am capable of reaching my goals pertaining to my health and desired lifestyle. Whether that is a goal weight, or physique that I always wished for but was never dedicated enough to achieve, I can tell you this – if I am consistent there are no limits to what I will achieve by September. Anything is possible if I am not casual with my goals.

Now for the fun stuff. Stats and pictures…

Highest Weight: 198lbs

Current Weight: 181lbs

Goal Weight: 155lbs

Measurements

Jan 1/2020 Bust: 40″
Feb 1/2020 Bust: 40″
Mar 1/2020 Bust: 39″
Apr 20/2020 Bust: 41″

Jan 1/2020 Waist: 32″
Feb 1/2020 Waist: 31″
Mar 1/2020 Waist: 31″
Apr 20/2020 Waist: 32.5″

Jan 1/2020 Hips: 42.5″
Feb 1/2020 Hips: 42″
Mar 1/2020 Hips: 41.5″
Apr 20/2020 Hips: 43″

Pictures

As you can see, the numbers reflect poor decisions and literally throwing my hands and eating myself sick. Such a short span of time, but if you let your self discipline go … what do you expect? I will not get the results I want by sitting on my rear and downing candy by the bags

Not gonna happen.

I have so many reasons for losing this weight. The two I’ll share today are as follows:

1. I want to show myself I can shed the weight after years of struggling to.

2. I want to know my mind is more powerful than my cravings. I control the food I ingest, the food does not control me.

This is not the beginning, this is a continuation and that is what I have to tell myself. I should not expect the fitness journey to be perfect, because I am not perfect BUT I can be dedicated and I can be consistent even when the results are not.

I’m going for it. It is going to happen. I’m hungry for goals, and if I need to feed anything it will be my goals not my sugar cravings.

– Steph

Putting On a Brave Face

I hope everyone had a wonderful easter weekend. I was also going to say long weekend… except I feel like with everyone staying home these days it was kind of redundant.

I will try to make this post something you can have a take away with. But ooooo child! Do I have a crazy story about my Thursday and Friday leading into my easter weekend.

I have this weird thing where my heart hurts, it can be fine and then it will be in explosive excruciating pain and I have no idea why. This sensation happened again earlier in March and I went to emergency, because my sister insisted that this was not normal. I have to agree, it has happened one too many times to be coincidence.

Anyways, I go. They do an EKG, the doctor comes in and looks at me and says I’m a healthy young woman and this is nothing to worry about. My EKG was fine and it’s only happened a handful of times, “so don’t worry about it.”

This was not exactly comforting and when I shared it with this same sister who insisted I go to emergency, she followed up with insisting I go to our family doctor (we have the same family doctor) because he is way more thorough and will take it seriously.

So I go, I meet my family doctor and he says he wants to do some bloodwork, a lovely sample of you know what (so I drank water), another EKG and a chest x-ray – just to be safe. I appreciated his thoroughness and with work and life I just managed to go to do these tests at our local hospital on this past Thursday. Well my friends, I got more than I anticipated.

I did my x-ray first and then followed it with all the other fun bits. I cried when they took my blood and nearly hyperventilated because I’m terrified of blood and needles (a winner I know) but I managed. By the time I got back to my car my phone rang and lo and behold it was my family doctor calling me. He wanted to reach me sooner than later because he recieved notice about my chest x-ray and it was a bit concerning. He asked if I’d be willing to go to emergency for the doctor there to check me out and go over the x-ray with me.

So I go, and I wait. Surprisingly, the wait was not that long compared to normal. The doctor talks with me, assesses me and I seem fine (I felt fine), yet my x-ray said otherwise. He wants to be sure so he asks me to go to the larger city emergency. He called ahead, gave me a package of notes and said they’d be expecting me.

I arrive and they put me right thru to a room (this never happens). A nurse comes in and asks questions followed by a doctor. He assess me, again, I seem fine (I feel fine) and he thinks this may just be a blip in the x-ray from a bad angle. He tells me he’s going to review my x-ray and then I should be good to go.

Next thing, I’m told I’m having an iv put in my arm and more bloodwork. Now. Now. Now. Needles for bloodwork are one thing and needles for an IV which is like a permanent needle attached to you is another matter. Additionally, I was by myself because only sick patrons are allowed in the hospital because of covid. So, I was predictably beside myself.

The nurse came in and I felt like I was going to pass out, I stuttered as I tried to talk to her as she tried to distract me and shockingly enough I didn’t cry aloud. I was vibrating at the end and I literally felt like death – I couldn’t look at my arm without tears welling up; and then because life was having a chuckle at my expense I was told I’m going for an x-ray. I go, I have to undress, with this IV in the inside of my elbow. Painful. YES!

Then I get back to my room and I’m told I’m going for another x-ray! Different position. Again, unrobing and more pain and awareness of the IV. And then the doctor comes in and talks to me. He says he can’t explain why, but all 3 x-rays are conclusive and show the same thing. So he’s sending me for a CT scan. So 2 hours later after drinking a medicated beverage I go for my scan.

I’m not sure who has endured a CT scan before, but the injection into the IV made me cry out, so much pain in such an instant. The scan finished and a surgeon was waiting in the results room, he comes to me as I’m getting up and walks and talks with me back to my ER room. He can’t find an explanation in my results, however wants more time to look and asks of I would be willing to be admitted to the hospital.

So my friends, I was admitted. My poor husband who was waiting in the car from 7 pm – 1 am was told to go home. We couldn’t see each other. They gave me medication from their pharmacy at 3 am and I was connected to a drip. I slept the best I could… I tried not to think of the IV but it was so prominent and painful.

Eventually, I was woken up at 7 am by 2 surgeons who wanted to check in on me. They assessed me, I was fine (apart from the IV – I felt fine) and then I was left alone to sleep. So I slept. I didn’t get to take my Latuda because I wasn’t allowed to eat, so that was the one medication I missed at 3 am when they dished them to me… and to be honest I probably needed it the most.

By 6 pm on Friday, I was assessed 1 more time. More bloodwork, another x-ray and then I was told I could go BUT to come back if anything intensified. Also, I was required to book a follow-up appointment.

I was so happy to leave and see my husband! And my dog!

Fear. As I talked with my family (parents and sisters) and my husband I joked around a lot, made light of the situation. But in all honesty, it was really, really, really hard on me.

To be alone as doctors are poking and prodding you, telling you there is something wrong BUT they don’t know how it happened. To be told you need to be monitored. And to be attached to your biggest fear for 24 hrs essentially. It messed with me.

I’m proud of myself for not hyperventilating or crying audibly BUT from start to finish in the hospital I was emotionally overwhelmed and distraught. I essentially cried silently to myself, trying to keep a brave face on.

When I got home, I showered and slept. My husband probably wondered why, because thats all I did at the hospital BUT I was so emotionally exhausted. I had put the brave face on, because I needed to BUT I was terrified the entire time.

At the end of the day, I’m okay. They are calling it spontaneous and so long as their is no pain where they told me I should be experiencing pain – I’m golden. It should all go away with time and I’ll be in mint condition.

I have a follow-up with my family doctor on Thursday, so I’m sure I’ll get to hear a bit more of an explanation and ask some questions.

Life is so unpredictable. It’s so fragile. You can be walking around feeling fine and lo and behold there is something cooking on the inside of you that you had no idea about. I’m grateful for my persistent sister who told me to take my health seriously. I went in for one thing and came out with something entirely different. Who knew?!

A tender mercy, if I wouldn’t have gone for a 2nd opinion this problem wouldn’t have been brought to life and wouldn’t be monitored like it is now. The goal is better, not worse.

Take your health seriously. Go for a 2nd opinion.

Also, recognize that you are braver than you know. And there is a time and place for it and if you don’t back down you can do overcome anything you put your mind to – even a crazy long painful IV aka needle in your elbow for 24 hrs.

Also, after going thru something traumatic give yourself some time to heal. Don’t put pressure on yourself to bounce back and be uppity up. I wasn’t okay for a few days. I felt broken, and that was all from the mental exhaustion of my hospital experience.

We are stronger than we know, be brave when bravery is required and be tender to yourself and your recovery when you are able to put the brave face down for a rest.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and healthy week.

– Steph

Do A Double Take and Read this Again

Here we are again. Hello there, long time no see.

Thank you for bearing with me during my hiatus. I think I’ve gotten a grip on life again and I’m hoping to make up for some lost time. I’m not someone who generally writes posts far in advance, everything I write is relevant to my in the moment experiences. Perhaps, I’ll try to take a different approach to my content to leave some wiggle room for posts written in advance – I think it would be worth a try rather than leaving my readers high and dry when I dip low or lose my mind for a week…. weeks. Oopsies, sorry about that.

Before I get down to the good stuff, I recommend re-reading this quote. It is certainly worth a double take, heck I’m thinking of making it my screensaver on my phone.

Mindset = Profound Power

Let that sink in. What you believe, you can achieve, yes, I am a cheeseball for saying it that way BUT let me say it again. What you believe, you can achieve. There is absolutely no limit to the power of your mind and mindset, there is no stronger force that will impact your life than how you think. That’s right, YOU.

When I was first diagnosed with bipolar I was terrified, terrified about the life I was going to live. However, after reading and researching on my own, and intense therapy that I applied to my life day in and day out that terror turned to hope and that hope turned to confidence that I was not going to just live with bipolar – I was going to thrive.

I was going to find harmony and balance, I was going to overcome my struggles for stability and reach a level of normalcy in my life. I was not just going to exist as I had been doing for years – I was going to live, laugh and love. And have I done that? I like to think I have.

That all being said I still struggle, my life is not perfect, my diagnosis is not a cake walk BUT my mind is set and I know my life will only ever be as good as my mindset. When I am in the lowest of lows, when my anxiety is sky high and then when my hypomania is higher than sky high only I can talk myself off the ledge. Only I can choose to listen and apply the caring words of those who support me – me. It is the power of my mind that can change my life.

When we are our worst enemies, the villain that causes this rift is our mind and mindset. How we talk to ourselves, how we train our mind to view ourselves the narrative we have about our life and what it has been, what it is and what it will be – only we have the power to change that it; change the narrative and train – yes train – our mind to seek the good and to be the good that can change our life beyond compare.

It’s ironic that my last post was exactly the kick in the rear that I needed to overhaul my mindset. Writing out and the rereading my post I realized my life was in fact only going to be as good as my mindset and my mindset had been poor with little attempt to change it while I was in what we can call a funk. I was letting my emotions dictate my life, but hold up – I’m a lot more stubborn than that. My mind is far more stubborn than my raw emotions and I realized my emptiness and unhappiness was going to linger longer than it needed to be if I fed into that mindset. If I fuelled it – if I did absolutely nothing to counter it.

So what did I do, I read, I sewed, I cross-stitched, I exercised, I ate clean. I did everything that I didn’t want to do. Why? Because, I knew in my mind those are the things that contribute to the life I want to be living at my best and throwing them all out the window when things start to go sideways is only going to make me feel at my worst.

I gave my mind a little credit and acknowledged the mindset I was in and fuelling was getting me nowhere fast and did not offer happiness. So I changed it, I did the things I knew historically made me happy and I felt satisfied with myself. Eventually that satisfaction turned to a feeling of happiness and here I am. Am I completely in the clear? Nope, that emptiness has its claws dug into me BUT I am a lot more aware of my mindset and what it is capable of.

I’m not always this good at calling myself out when I’m not doing so well, but 10 out of 10 times when I do it is because I deliberately change my mindset.

Be aware of yourself. Be aware of the life you live and the life you want to live. Be aware of how you are contributing daily to achieve your desired life. Negativity only brings forth negativity, so take a deep breath and ask yourself what can you do that is positive even when you feel negative – what can you do that is positive that will shift your mindset and give you back the power.

I hope everyone has a blessed week.

– Steph

What to Say

I don’t feel “depressed”, I don’t feel “anxious”, I don’t feel “unhappy”, yet I feel a sense of emptiness. I feel like I have no motivation to start or finish anything –
I have a tons of things I could be doing during this time of quarantine yet I am complaining I’m bored … because I’m not doing anything because I have no desire to. Heck! I’m working from home so I even have an additional 3 hrs in my day because I am not commuting.

What to do?!

That’s another thing, I apologize for not posting. I’ve had ever intention to write and post, alas I have not had the motivation to. Perhaps I am lowkey depressed. I have things swirling thru my mind yet I’m incapable of formulating sentences. The times I have attempted to write I’ve scrapped the content because it was garbage. I am not even the biggest fan of this post BUT I know I need to let you know I’m still here – I just have writers block.

I feel like I’m on the brink of feeling happy, yet that emptiness is so prevalent. I feel stuck. Perhaps, this quarantine and isolation is doing more to my psyche than I realized.

On a positive note, a perk of working from home is I get to spend the full day with my dog Nutmeg and I’m pretty sure she is enjoying me being with her 24/7 considering she’s on my lap all day and showers me with kisses non-stop. #blessed

Everyone keep your chin up, this is a trying time in our lives but we will get thru it. I feel a bit discombobulated and I think that is why my mood is so hard to pinpoint.

I’ll try to gather my thoughts and compose something a little more insightful next week.

– Steph

Give It All You’ve Got

So last week was pretty challenging with respects to my fitness regime but just as I wrote in a previous post, we must be stubborn about our goals and flexible about our methods.

That being said I was flexible. I attended the gym 3 times last week, the Fiton exercises have been non-existent… needless to say I will be working on that. But I did literal gym time which is where I’ve always struggled to be consistent. So YAY for that.

I don’t know why BUT I was super exhausted this past week so getting to the gym was a trial in itself, but when I went I gave it my all.

On Monday my sister and I adhered to the workout plan cardio, weights and core. However, Wednesday once we finished cardio, we looked at each other and decided we needed to spice things up. Ultimately, we ended up doing a virtual Zumba class, which neither of us have ever done before. Might I say, not too shabby. The Zumba was a way for us to move and get a workout in when we both really didn’t feel like working out.

Thursday, our aquafit day never came to fruition as I was in a pretty foul mood (Nutmeg, my dog woke me up 4 times throughout the night!!!! The little turkey assisted me with waking up on the wrong side of the bed) this resulted in me having no desire to be wet. So that one was on me.

Friday’s workout ended up turning into a Saturday’s workout. My sisters and their families and my husband and I, all went out and didn’t get home until 11pm on Friday night. Needless to say my sister and I opted to do leg day the next day.

Consistent gym time is the objective, and when I get to the gym my goal is to give it my all. I’m happy to say, even though my energy level was low I gave all that I had to give in each session I went. Perhaps my 100% of effort this past week only looked like 75% in my previous weeks BUT that’s not the point. Every day; Every workout I want to be aware of what I have to offer and let’s be honest – it is going to fluctuate.

DO NOT GET DOWN ON YOURSELF if your everything doesn’t meet or surpass a previous workout. Do what you can with what you have to offer on that given day.

Previously (years ago), when I was obsessed with the gym I would go for 2 hours everyday. Drip sweat and nearly die each and every workout. I had a standard that I required myself to meet and there was no mercy granted to myself. This my friends is not how you build a healthy, sustainable relationship with the gym OR yourself. Show compassion, kindness, patience and mercy towards yourself on the days that you don’t feel your best. You deserve a pat on the back for just getting to the gym.

Every workout will not be a spitting image of the previous one. Your energy will fluctuate and that is where you need to give it your all and know that it is enough. Be realistic with yourself and you will be able to give yourself a whole lot more love and appreciation for what you do accomplish. Give it your all, whatever that looks like throughout your week and you’ll never lose.

Now my friends, stats for the week.

Heaviest Weight: 198lbs
Goal Weight: 155
Current Weight: 170.2

Measurements:

Bust: 40″
Waist: 31″
Hips: 41.5″

Regardless to the numbers posted above, I see and feel that progress is being made. My relationship with fitness is the healthiest it’s ever been and my relationship with food is heading in the right direction. All in all I know I’m getting closer to my fitness and wellness goals each day and for that I am grateful and proud of myself.

Happy workouts this week everyone.

– Steph

It’s a Comeback… Again

Following my last “Bipolar Bliss” post I figured I should lighten the mood with a meme, and might I just say this one is hilarious.

Sometimes the moods of bipolar get the best of us, but the beauty of it is that they won’t last forever. We are entitled to a comeback, with a happy mood. I had been going thru a rough patch and feeling pretty crummy about life in general with this diagnosis, however I have a life so I’ll start with that fact, which should be enough for me to show gratitude. Not only do I have a life, but I live in a country with access to modern medicine and therapy (which I do require)… more to be grateful for.

Taking medication stinks BUT so does being a tornado in my life and those that I love. Medication allows me to live a moderately stable life – so it looks like I’ll bite the bullet and pop the pills for the rest of my life. Besides, I have so much practice now I’m a pro.

So much has changed from my last Bipolar Bliss post. I recieved a job offer!!!!! From one of the largest firms in Canada, not only does it act nationally but it is also an international firm. The pay and benefits are mind blowing – so things are looking to have taken a turn for the best! I will be working as a legal assistant in a new area of law; intellectual property, which honestly is so exciting! I can’t wait to start learning about this area of law and the litigation process.

Things are picking up, and despite my pessimism last post, I have tried to be positive and lo and behold things have seemingly gotten better…. coincidence? I think not.

Attitude plays a huge role in managing this diagnosis, if you have the right one and try to push thru the ugly the possibilities of finding things to be grateful for are endless.

– Steph

Close To The Edge

I have been really struggling lately. I don’t know where I’m at mentally to be honest – but I wouldn’t consider it a good place. I feel like crying, I feel like screaming, I feel like thrashing my arms and legs, I feel like giving up on life (not to suggest I want to die… just keep reading and you’ll understand).

The past few weeks (this last one in particular), it has been painfully difficult for me to take my medication. I just don’t want to do it anymore. With each pill I put in my mouth more and more resentment is built. This resentment is not directed towards anyone in particular its just a matter of me loathing the pills I’ve been popping since 2014. And I just don’t know if I can do this the rest of my life.

I’m tired of all the effort and energy that goes into living life with bipolar day-in-and-day-out. I’m tired of the maintenance. I’m tired of the monitoring, tracking and appointments. I’m tired of the self-talk. I’m tired of trying to be optimistic. I’m just done. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to do any of it.

I’m tired of doctors appointments, of therapy. I just want to feel normal not like every little thing I do is scrutinized. I told my husband I was unhappy and the very next thing said was a question, “when is your next therapy appointment?” I DON’T WANT TO HAVE EVERYTHING TURN TO THERAPY.

Family will always ask when I have an appointment as if it’s a lifeline for them and me. As if I’m incapable of dealing with life on my own. Perhaps it’s TRUE, perhaps I can’t deal but I’m tired of this life and living it this way. I’m tired of having my emotions constantly analyzed. It’s a two edged sword, I missed therapy when I didnt have it BUT at the same time I’m sick and tired of it being in my life even if it does mean I “function better”.

I’m spiraling. Maybe it’s because I have too much time on my hands these days since I am not working. Which I also hate. I hate being bored and unproductive and I am bored. I am also tired of trying to find a job that accommodates my bipolar and insomnia (commuting). I’m tired of my inability to wake up super early like the average person can do to get to work on time for a typical job.

Life is an accommodation when you have bipolar. I am writing this now in frustration BUT I’m pretty sure it’s the blunt truth and I won’t be able to deny this fact even when my souls at peace, which hopefully happens sooner than later.

Bipolar. It requires you to change your way of life to accommodate it, as to not poke the beast and cause a scene. I’m tired of it, maybe I will let the beast out to play and wreak some havoc.

I feel so disconnected from everyone. The only time I sincerely feel anything, any sense of just being free is at the gym with my sister. The gym is my happy place. It was years ago and I am happy to say it is again.

If you get anything out of this negative post it is as follows: if you are spiraling cling on to your happy place. Hold on to something that is liberating. Maybe its art or reading – just find something not someone you can connect with. People are great, but sometimes solitude is what you want and need and people just can’t understand how or what you feel.

But honestly, aside from the gym I have 0 desire to do anything. I’m just not interested, I feel like everything is a waste of time. So that brings the question of what constitutes as boredom. I could fill my time with menial hobbies, but why? What is the point.

I am just tired my friends. This blog post doesn’t unravel years of blogging – it just shows I’m human and I am living with bipolar and I am in the wringer right now. I am having a rough time and that’s life. But the question at the end of it, is what am I going to do about it.

Sleeping for 1000 years is not an option unfortunately.

Not my typical post, but my blog is a space where I can let my emotions soar so please bear with me while I’m soaring yet spiraling.

– Steph