What Now?

At the end of the day if you don’t like something – change it. It may not be the easiest change BUT you are more than capable of doing it. Like the quote says, you are not a tree SO MOVE!

It’s so easy to complain about our situation BUT if we are not going to do anything to improve it, I suggest putting a muzzle on and keeping it to yourself.

Why complain? What good does it do? It’s one thing to let your frustrations out when you are going to do something to rectify them or if you want to get feedback from those around you BUT if all you do is complain with no intention of trying to change the situation – all you are doing is creating a toxic train of thought (guilty). You are adding fuel to a nasty fire that consumes everything in its path with self-loathing, resentment and bitterness.

I have struggled with my weight. This is no secret. I gained 40lbs while taking high doses of quetiapine, and when enough was enough I told the doctor I was either going off of my medication or changing to a weight neutral one. Needless to say, he switched me to a new one, I presently take Latuda (and other medications, but that’s besides the point). After the change in medication I dropped 12 lbs alas I haven’t been able to lose anything more. Am I happy at my new weight? Nope. Happier than I was when I was 12 lbs heavier but still not happy to weigh as much as I do. I have been working out and eating moderately well – but moderately doesn’t cut it when it comes to my weight. I am not counted among the chosen few who can eat whatever their heart desires with no repercussion.

I’ve bee surviving at my current weight but my breaking point with my weight was a few weeks ago. I took engagement photos and I was mortified by what I saw. Everyone was telling me how nice I looked, how beautiful I looked – and all I saw was a whale at its finest. I cried at work, I cried at home, I cried to my sisters, I cried to my fiancé – I cried a lot. BUT reality set in when my fiancé asked what I was going to do about, my initial answer was “not eat” a terrible answer fueled by emotion and pattern that I’ve grown accustomed too. When I don’t see the progress, I want I don’t eat – it doesn’t last forever and obviously doesn’t give me long term healthy results, but I go ahead and do it anyways in conjunction with going to the gym.

I went to bed after this conversation with my fiancé and woke up with a dose of reality and new resolve to lose weight, why in the world would I not eat?! I’ve been working so hard to be the healthiest version of me in all aspects and losing weight was not going to be an exception. I would lose weight and dang-nab-it I would lose it in a healthy manner. So, I put my thinking hat on because I needed a plan and direction. I previously had a meal plan from a personal trainer but it was so restrictive I literally felt like there was no enjoyment in what I ate and as far as I was concerned it wasn’t working (I actually gained weight). I need wiggle room. And I know for a fact my nutrition is the biggest contributor to lose or not lose weight, I can spend hours at the gym BUT if my eating is not up to par I am not going to see results.

So, what did I do you may ask? I humbled myself and I joined a program that I associated with old women … don’t ask me why I had that association but I did. I joined Weight Watchers to be exact. I never thought I would be that person because I thought it was silly, but I literally asked myself – what do I have to lose aside from weight? Absolutely nothing. I read into it and it seemed like it would be a sustainable plan AND if thousands of individuals could lose weight on it without even exercising, why should I be the exception. There was a promo going so I bought a plan for 3 months. If I find it works and I am losing weight I will extend the plan until I hit my goal weight and maintain it for a few months.

Who would have known that Weight Watchers was my holy grail? It has been almost 2 weeks and I am down 6 pounds. I have 24 to go until I hit my goal weight. I can totally do this. I have a plan. It is actually not even that hard – their phone app gives me life and makes tracking so easy. I legitimately feel like I’m playing a game and so far, I’ve been winning. BONUS news is that my dear friend joined as well after I told her the results of my first weigh in. So now I have a partner in crime. I am still going to the gym, not as often BUT that’s going to change; this month I am hoping to get my booty into high gear and go with a new level of intensity – again my dearly beloved friend wants to work out with me so this should be a fun adventure we embark on together.

I felt so defeated and was throwing a massive pity party, but now I feel like a woman on a mission with an arsenal full of lethal weapons to get the job accomplished. Cheesy but true.

What a profound question we can ask ourselves – what are you going to do about it? It’s not as though I’ve never asked myself that before, but in connection to my weight it really hit home this time.

– Steph

Bring On The Next Chapter

Goodness gracious!
I meant to post yesterday, however time escaped me. It’s surreal to think of where I am today in contrast to where I was 3 years ago. How much stability I have now, how many goals I’ve met. I have been on a journey to my happily ever after and what a journey it has been!
There have been so many frogs and toads along my journey as I’m sure you know. But there has been a wealth of knowledge from each encounter and they have all prepared me to be ready to meet the right guy. No encounter is ever a waste, each encounter helps you learn a little bit more about yourself. It allows you to refine and define your own character – figure out what you will and won’t stand for. Apparently, my Mr. Right likes the character I’ve developed – so much that he has put a ring on it!

True story! He proposed last Saturday and I said YES!

This may seem like a whirlwind romance, our story together began in February, was defined in March and here we are in May engaged. I promise I am not hypomanic right now, I am simply in love and I have never been so sure of anything in my life. When you know, you know.

Dating with bipolar was something I originally feared, I thought it would jeopardize any relationship I entered BUT, in all honesty, it has been my saving grace. When I was in unhealthy relationships my moods were in over-time trying to save me from myself – trying to warn me that I was not in balance with myself – my moods were drastically impacted to the point that I had a hard time focusing or functioning on the daily. Alternatively, now that I am in a healthy relationship my mood reflects that. No more chaos stimulated by the person I’m in a relationship with. Sure I have ups and downs but they are so much more manageable and I truly believe that has to do with my now fiancé. He is an anchor and keeps me grounded – he accepts me. He is not super familiar with bipolar aside from the stereotypes that people are crazy, I’m glad to say I’ve changed that perception. I’m not crazy, I’m human. I am just engineered differently than the average person BUT it is to my advantage and not my detriment.

I never realized how easy love should be, my relationships have always brought struggle with them – this one is different. He makes it easy to love and he makes me feel like I am easy to love WHICH IS SO IMPORTANT. Never let anyone make you feel like you are hard to love. Like you are the root of any problem that arises in a relationship. Love is healthy and evokes a healthy relationship. That is love. Anything other is fictitious.

Wedding planning had begun. I feel like we are ahead of the game and I will be doing my best to maintain low stress so I don’t do myself in before the big day. (Which by the way will be in October) I have a supportive fiancé and family. All is well and the journey continues to my happily ever after.

– Steph

Face Lift

As you may have noticed my blog has had an overhaul, and I have to say I’m loving the new look. It was a process, I lost sleep over it to say the least (it would be fair to say that I was over stimulated and slightly obsessing over it) BUT holy cow has it been worth it! I can’t however, take all the credit for the work that’s been done on my blog. Like I mentioned in my previous post I paid someone to transfer my blog to the new host because I had no clue what I was doing and there was no way I would have been able to figure it all out without crying myself to sleep.
So, who was my saving grace in this whole process? Her name was Megan, cleverly titled by WordPress as a “Happiness Engineer”. She has been instrumental in remodeling my blog, I’ve had numerous questions and this Wonder-Woman-of-technology has answered them all and gone above and beyond to help me bring my vision to life. She was so friendly and patient and I am forever grateful.

I am so relieved it is done. It has been a learning process and I am sure there is a shwack load of more learning to do, but it is only going to get better from here on out.

This post is intended to get the ball rolling, to let you all know I survived. Hallelujah!

Happy Monday everyone, I hope you all have a wonderful start to your week.

– Steph

Making the Jump

Alright, this is just a quick heads up that I am making the switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. I’m moving on up in the world and I’m terrified.

I already made a mess of things trying to transfer sites SO I’m hiring someone to do it for me. I don’t want to lose content or subscribers because or my technological illiteracy. I’m looking at it as an investment.

I seriously can’t be the only blogger in the world who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

This is going to be a work in progress. They said it should take 5 days and I am hoping to start the transfer tonight … I need to call and have them walk me thru the set up of them doing all the work. Sad but true.

I don’t imagine I’ll be posting next week as I will be tweaking my site and trying to figure out how everything works.

Cross your fingers and say your prayers. I’ll need it!

– Steph

When In Doubt

Just a quick fun post.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. It always amazes me how music and movement can have such a profound impact on our moods, I’ve danced in my apartment all by myself on more than a few occasions.

Shakin’ what your mama gave you can definitely boost your spirits – if you don’t believe me try it out for yourself. Let loose and enjoy the moment.

Have a great weekend!

– Steph

Flood The World

I’m all about self love and positive self talk, I may not be a master at it yet BUT I am a work in progress. I attribute having this type of mentality to my success with my mental health and my overall well-being. It was only a couple of years ago that I had an unhealthy distorted view of myself BUT through consistent efforts to be kinder to myself I have been able to be the happiest version of me that I’ve ever been despite all the trials I face with my mental health – let alone just being a 26-year-old going thru life.

It’s so easy to settle into negative thought patterns, to view yourself through a critical lens that eventually takes over how you view everything and everyone around you… how terribly bleak and miserable.

Be kind. Be merciful. Be patient. Love yourself for exactly who you are now and who you are becoming. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you are not going to be everything that you ever envisioned yourself to be in a day BUT that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate yourself for who you are now and keep moving forward because happiness is a journey not a destination.

The desire to progress allows us to move forward BUT how do you expect to do that if you are filled with self hatred or loathing. Toxic thoughts hold us back, they are weights and chains that we place on ourselves that inhibit our ability to move forward in our lives. How can you fuel your body, mind and soul with ugliness and expect a beautiful result? Negativity does not produce positive results.

When you love yourself, it is so much easier to love others.  It’s so much easier to see the good in others and everything around you.

Be kind to yourself.

Life is hard enough as it is, you don’t need to be your own worst enemy to top it off, you should be your greatest champion and supporter, because at the end of the day, you are all you have control over.  You can choose who you want to be and you can either become better or bitter.

Be kind to others.

Strong people lift other people up, I’ve said it before. That is true strength. Look for the good in others, inspire the good in others. Make a positive impact and be a positive influence. Small actions make a huge difference. Think about your day and how a complete stranger opening a door for you, telling you to have a good afternoon, smiling at you could make such a memorable impact. Kindness is powerful, and you should never underestimate its reach and power. A simple kind act could make the world of a difference in someone’s life.

We can control the kindness we show to ourselves and others. Start with yourself first. You are a priority. Don’t put yourself at the bottom of the list and focus all your efforts on others. That is not being kind to yourself. Start with yourself and let that love and kindness overflow to those around you. Don’t get it backwards. AND being kind to yourself DOES NOT make you selfish. It makes you HEALTHY.

– Steph

Prince Charming

Alright, so the big news that I’ve been wanting to let the world in on BUT I’ve been waiting to make sure it was the right moment.

I am in a relationship. BOOM.

That just happened.

Well, it’s been a while now but the twist about our relationship has been its long distance.

My dearly beloved came to see me and just left on Wednesday. He spent 13 days with me and they honestly couldn’t have been any better.

Where to begin.

My past relationships have all been pretty rocky, whether by my own doing because of my mental health or because the men I’ve dated were toads … clearly the latter is the more dominant reason. However, my health has never been better and I have felt ready to be in a healthy committed relationship for a while now, alas I needed to meet the right person.

Boy oh boy, have I met him.

I think the distance has been a blessing in disguise, it really ensured that he was talking to me, for me, and that there were no physical ulterior motives (which is so often the case) – I want to be wanted for more than my body and he has made it clear that he loves me for more than that.

Anywho, we have texted everyday since we made contact and our initial texting has turned into phone calls and skyping nearly everyday – lots of communication. For those wondering long distance relationships and bipolar are totally doable.

He came when I was in the eye of a storm of a severe low. I was in a downward spiral trying ever so hard to hold on to what progress I’ve made (as you can read from previous blog posts) and then there he was – my prince charming in knights armour riding a white horse; the grounding anchor that was missing. I’ve never felt so peaceful before. That’s not to say I am dependent on him (this was a big discussion with my doctor), however I appreciate him for who he is and the calm that he brings into my life.

Would my storm have settled had he not come into my life? Yes, because I am independently responsible for my health and the lows inevitably come and go, BUT did my storm settle faster because he entered my life? It sure did, and for that I am grateful.

He knows that I have bipolar now and it hasn’t deterred him from pursuing a relationship with me.

I waited until we had spent adequate time together in person before I told him I have bipolar and let him in on the past baggage like my bankruptcy that came as a result of it. (I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that I claimed bankruptcy before, it’s been 3 years past BUT that is something that happened – the joys of bipolar and its symptoms… perhaps I will write another post with my perspective on building up to that moment and life after claiming bankruptcy) I wanted him to see me for me before he saw me as a stigma. I am not crazy because I have bipolar. I choose recovery everyday and my life reflects that – yes it can be a wee bit chaotic sometimes BUT I am not damaged goods and he sees me beyond my mental illness, he sees me as priceless. He told me he would have never known I had bipolar if I hadn’t told him, and YES, he unfortunately thought people with bipolar were crazy due to stigma and people he’s met, so I proved him wrong. I take the fact that he was clueless to my diagnosis as a big compliment, not that I am saying there is anything wrong with having bipolar BUT the fact I am able to live a stable life to the point that my mental illness isn’t apparent to people around me and doesn’t cripple me (as much as it used to) – that is something beautiful.

For those of you who don’t know, I have chosen not to disclose my diagnosis to anyone beyond my immediate family a few close friends and a few aunts. Please do not think that I am ashamed of my diagnoses, I am not ashamed of having bipolar. I am just not ready to face that battle yet. My life was not stable in previous years and I was in chaos, I don’t want people to dwell on those years and dismiss all the progress I have made in the past couple years, I feel like I need to make a dent with my stable life and illustrate to the world that I am successful in spite of my mental illness, and that it hasn’t diminished my quality of life.

Will I eventually disclose that I have bipolar? I actually believe that I will. Like I said I am not ashamed. I am proud of who I am in my entirety. I live a productive life with a mental illness that most people cannot even begin to comprehend. Do I want the world and those around me to see that being bipolar doesn’t ruin your life? I sure do. It’s just about the timing. I want to really make an impact in the world of mental health, it’s something I think a lot about, but it’s all about timing and acting in my best interest and not taking on Goliath without a sling BUT I feel like later in the year or even next year that time will come. Don’t hold me to that BUT it’s a feeling I have and its been brewing for a while. Good things are going to happen this year, and I feel like I am just about ready to tell the world I have bipolar and I am living the good life regardless to that fact.

A bit of a random post, but I hope it conveys that I am happy because I am truly and sincerely happy and I am going to enjoy every moment while I can. Each day I can feel happy is a gift that I try not to take for granted and there is so much to be happy about.

– Steph