A Gift For You

I feel like I’m in the training process right now all over again.

So many wonderful things have happened since my husband and I have moved. I even have a job secured which is a blessing all in it’s own.

However, the work I’m doing is in fact different than working as a legal assistant. I know, I know in a few posts back I mentioned that perhaps I would be working outside of my profession and I think I went as far as to say it might be a nice change. But ohhhh how I was wrong.

I’m working as a casual receptionist. Slightly administrative, but to be frank I miss the hustle and bustle of my career EVEN if it gave me stress. I enjoyed the challenge and I realize that now. You never realize what you have until it’s gone, right?

It’s not to say that the receptionist position isn’t enjoyable, it is just a tad bit slow and not very challenging. However, as this post says “see the good in every situation”… so my friends the good that I can see is that this position is at a seniors manor. I love working with seniors, I’m not sure if I wrote on my blog previously about this, but during the summers between school years I worked at a seniors home as a dietary aide. Prior to that I did housekeeping at another manor.

Seniors are so lovely, sure they can be a bit prickly BUT they have such personality and are genuinely happy to see you each day you work. That is the good in my position as far as I can tell.

Training your mind to see the good is a philosophy I’ve tried to apply throughout my life. Life is so much more enjoyable when you try to look for the good. Lessons can be learned, memories can be made and cherished and it can all stem from the most unlikeliest of situations.

Perhaps as you move forward in this new year and decade you can work your mind out and train it to see the good when the good seems to be a bit out of reach.

But let’s be clear, seeing the good doesn’t mean we ignore the bad. Sometimes we need to see the bad so we can make a change which is the good at the end of the day. Maybe a bad breakup from a toxic relationship is the good in your life because you are now free to begin a new life (but you’d have to see the bad, before you make the change to be able to see the good… if that makes sense).

Sometimes I slip into a Negative Nancy mood and everything is wrong and nothing is right and when that happens, if it happens to you, all I can say is – breathe.

Take 15 minutes, close your eyes, leave the situation and just breathe. Talk yourself through what is happening and why you are feeling the way you are feeling and if you are lucky, you might just be able to find a sliver of reasoning advocating for some positive energy.

I am not the best at breathing thru stressful situations, but there have been many times where I close my eyes and listen to my breathing. I try to focus on the breathing in order to ground my mind when it is going up, up and away. Sometimes just focusing on your breathing can calm you and help you see clearly. And when you see clearly I’ll be darned if there isnt something positive to take away from the situation. Whether it’s self-development or having a mask pulled off someone in your life so that you see their true colours and you can move on in your own life. There is always a positive spin if we look hard enough.

I hope everyone is having a good week, and if you are having a tough one all I can say is take a minute to breathe. Listen to that sound and remind yourself that life is a gift that has been granted to you. There will be ups, there will be downs, but it is a gift and I hope and pray we each find a way to love the life we make for ourselves each and every day.

– Steph

Bipolar Gains – Let’s Get It

Alright, so here we are January 2020 and I am ready to go!

My weight has been one of the most ginormous Goliaths in my life. I have always struggled accepting the number on the scale and when I started a certain medication with my diagnosis of bipolar, that weight skyrocketed.

Understandably, when the weight went way up, my confidence went way down. I struggled to find self-love while weighing my heaviest and ultimately told my doctors that the medication needed to change or I’d stop taking it. Drastic, I know, but I was turning into someone I didn’t recognize emotionally and physically.

At my highest I weighed 198 lbs, which was more than I had ever imagined I would weigh in my lifetime. To allow you to more accurately gauge that weight I will tell you my height is 5 ft 4 and 3/4 inches. So it is fair to say that weight was more than just a little on my short frame.

I will be clear when I say I am curvy (I believe this trait stems from my Latin heritage) I am not petite and I have an athletic build. I have never been a size 0. This fact originally gave me a lot of grief growing up, as I classified myself as chubby and overweight because I wasn’t 115 lbs when in actuality I was at a perfectly healthy weight and looked healthy and lean at 150-160.

You read that right, 150-160 lbs is a golden weight for me at my height. So let’s get to the fun part of this post.

Bipolar Gains is a new chapter on my blog bringing accountability and honesty with regards to my journey to physical wellness. So far there have been a lot of highs and lows coupled with inconsistency. However, I want to emphasize the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle with Biplor. (I think the inconsistency that comes as a results of highs and lows is my biggest struggle)

Mental health is drastically impacted by physical health. Having some form of physical activity in your life is a foundational block to build a healthy mind. Every time I saw my psychiatrist (the one who cared) she would ask me about my physical activity and always emphasized the importance and the significant impact being active had on my health.

When I weighed 198lbs I had given up on the gym and felt terrible about myself. I lost myself to be honest. I had been an avid gym goer, however when the medication I was taking was making me gain weight despite my efforts I stopped. DON’T do what I did – DON’T stop going to the gym if you aren’t seeing results. YES, maybe talk to your doctors about changing medications BUT don’t stop being active and don’t stop your medication because of the weight. Easier said then done.

My medication change was exactly what I needed to get back under control. The change was what worked for me and just so you know, I switched my mood stabilizer from Quetiapine to Latuda (just for the know how).

Anyways, I’m trying to stay on topic. This chapter of my blog – Bipolar Gains, I’m sure you’ve heard weightlifters refer to their “gains”. I want to tie that in with bipolar. This journey has been and will continue to go up and down and all the while I hope to gain better control over my health – body and mind. My moods impact my desire to workout and sometimes being consistent is challenging, however that is why I created this chapter of my blog. Accountability my friends!

I plan on documenting my weightloss journey, giving you updates on how many times I worked out in the week, what I did and what my stats are. Believe me it’s not about the number on the scale, but for me it’s a good indication that I am on track. To kick off this series I will give you my stats as follows:

Heaviest Weight: 198lbs

Goal Weight: 155lbs

Monday, January 6th

Current Weight: 172.2

Measurements

Bust: 40″

Waist: 32″

Hips: 42.5″

Bonus Measurements:

Neck: 14″ (my husband says he notices my neck when I lose weight, so I’m curious if this measurement will change throughout my journey)

Biceps: 12″

Thighs: 24.5″

I want this to be real and raw so brace yourself for some photos, I find that a way to motivate myself is photos. Sometimes the number you see on the scale says something totally different than the photo you may see. These photos were taken on January 1, 2020 (a kick off to the new year)

I want to put this out there because I don’t want to back out. I want to share this journey with you so I can be accountable to myself and you while working towards my goals.

There are a few reasons why losing this weight is important to me. Ultimately, it’s for my health, I want to enjoy this life to it’s fullest. I want to be confident. I don’t want to look back with regret. I want to make a change and 2020 is the year. No more excuses, I may go up and I may go down BUT I will be as sure as heck be going forward.

If you want to join me on this journey I would be honored. If you would like to share your fitness and wellness journey with me, I would love that as well.

2020, a new year, a new decade, a new opportunity to grow into the person you want to be. Let’s flex these muscles and get some bipolar gains, bro.

I hope that this new chapter will be insightful and encouraging for you to begin or continue towards your own bipolar gains. Let’s get it!

– Steph

A Cure

Alright. Where to begin.

Over the past while I have been plagued by some memories of my past – in particular a relationship. This relationship extended over years, a brief history to understand the extent of this connection is the fact that I first met this individual in Jr. High School and in later years after keeping in contact we began a relationship (enough said).

The fact that this individual and the memories surrounding him crossed my mind was a constant discomfort to me. I felt guilty. I felt terrible. I felt like I was betraying my relationship, my husband – my marriage. It was something I talked to my doctors about and it was the same old solution – let the memories come – let them go – and do not judge yourself. Yah. No. Not working.

That advice was easier said than done. However, in one session with a random therapist in the new city I am in, something was said and it triggered a series of thoughts that I will get to in a little bit. What this psychologist said was “perhaps the memories are not the problem BUT it is the credit we give them, the power we give them as we try to rationalize them and make sense of why they are happening”. Okay – now I can definitely appreciate that new insight. It was something I had never thought about in LITERALLY countless hours of thinking.

I was adding fuel to the fire as I tried to determine what each and every individual memory meant and quite frankly as was to be determined THEY MEANT NOTHING.

BUT this is where it gets good… the comment the psychologist made was good food for thought BUT what really made me shake my head with a new found outlook on my life was a conversation with my older sister.

I called my sister in a frenzy during a lunch break, I was feeling sick from the amount of memories crossing my mind. I felt like it was getting worse NOT better and that I had no control over my mind anymore. I felt like I was looking backwards despite the fact that I was trying oh so very hard to appreciate and look forward into my bright future with the man of my dreams.

WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME?!

Did I still have unresolved feelings? I couldn’t. I knew I didn’t.

The relationship I was reflecting on ended on bad terms and was over almost 5 years ago, sure we kept in touch but, I AM IN LOVE WITH MY HUSBAND, no doubt in my mind or heart that he is my living heart beat.

So why the chaos? Why was my mind creating a problem where there was none?

Simply for that reason. There is no chaos in my life. MIND BLOWN! That was the insight my sister shared that changed my life. Like the therapist said my constant trying to “figure out” the memories was adding fuel to a fire. The fire set being myself.

For the last 9 years as my sister helped describe to me – my life which has been a roller coaster (excluding the most recent year), I was in one terrible relationship after the other. For may of those years I was undiagnosed and living in a hell on earth. I was functioning in chaos. That was my normal. My normal was to be in defence mode, to be fighting with myself and the men that I loved in any relationship I entered, because they were almost always toxic relationships (don’t ask me why). Associating with people in my past relationships was like a drug addiction. My normal was wayyy up high on the chaos wagon, not down low in a mellow peaceful state.

My husband is the polar opposite of chaos (which was one of the reasons I fell in love with him). He is a calm in the storm. He is peaceful, literally the opposite of anything I had ever experienced since the age of 17.

That’s not to say that I have not enjoyed my life and journey over the past 10 years. There have been amazing moments and serious leaps and bounds of self realization. For instance the memories I was thinking back on were good for the most part BUT deep down I wasn’t reminiscing on the memory; what I now know is that my mind was trying to recreate the chaos and panic I was living in during that time of my life, so for convenience it was bringing up that particular time in my life AND because it was about an ex of course that would create drama in my present life, where there would otherwise be none!

CRUEL BUT BRILLIANT. Just thinking about how my mind when thru all that effort to simulate chaos so that my body could feel like it was in a state of normalcy is incredible. The mind is a force to be reckoned with.

But in actuality, what has this epiphany done. It has calmed the storm my friends. I am no longer plagued by memories, a fleeting one may come and go BUT it is no where near as chaotic as it was. I know what is going on and why it is happening. I have the power again. There is no power in the memory.

I can’t emphasize how happy and at peace I feel. I have been sleeping better, I feel happier over all.

I know. I know. I know. I know that I am adjusting to this new “normal”, this new peaceful relationship – life in a new city, with a new job, away from my family and doctors.

I know that my mind was playing with me trying to recreate a sad excuse of a “comfort zone”, because my new zone was too good to be true. It blows my mind to say that I grew comfortable in my chaos, that is what I knew and expected. Is it what I wanted – NOT AT ALL. However, I was conditioned to normalize the experiences in my life because they were my normal – which doesn’t make them healthy.

I am healthy today. I am happy today. I have been chaos free for over a year and my mind has plagued me the entire time, trying to find a problem where there was none. (the memories were the only thing causing mayhem in my personal life)

All of my memories. All the feelings being brought up had absolutely nothing to do with the individual they were about, rather they about the state I was in at that point in my life. He has no power over me. He has no place in my life. He is in the past.

I am free.

I am not sure if this post captured the essence of this discovery, but if you are being plagued by memories give yourself a moment to ask yourself if the plague is actually about the person or rather the state you were in at that time. Your mind might be playing with you like mine did to me. The memories were a fa├žade for a deeper problem.

But like I said a million times over and I will say it to my grave, once you acknowledge the problem and give it a name, once you know what is troubling you, YOU are that much more capable of resolving it.

Hallelujah and amen! I hope that if anyone is experiencing a similar situation this gave you some insight, and if not I hope you enjoyed the read.

-Steph