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

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

Decisions, Decisions 

Decisions, decisions. Sometimes I’m a bit impulsive and I don’t make the best ones. Gratefully one decision doesn’t have to spiral into another and another and another. It can by all means BUT it doesn’t have to.

You choose who you want to be. Some choices are easier than others but at the end of the day you have to live with yourself so choose to be someone that you can like *correction love.

And what happens if you make a decision that is contrary to your very nature? Do you roll over and die wallowing in the error of your ways? No. You acknowledge the poor choice and remind yourself that it isn’t who you are nor who you want to become.

Decisions are what make or break us. But there is no reason that you can’t take a different path once you’ve already started on one. Perhaps you are going to have to literally back track or go off terrain forging a new path, struggling along the way. But struggling is better than willfully accepting defeat in life – becoming someone who you can’t face in the mirror.

Impulse comes with the territory of being bipolar, but it’s not an excuse to throw all reason out of the window! Although I’ve definitely been guilty of that… We need to set up safety precautions when we are fully aware; road blocks that will slow us down when we start to slip out of a reality that faces any consequences. Becuase in that particular moment it’s hard to think of the repercussions.

 If you have a weakness that you are more inclined to when you are either really high or really low, acknowledge it and look for ways to hinder it’s immediate progress. If you have to stop along the way it may give you enough time consider the consequences of your actions.

I’m not saying it’s a full proof plan, but it’s definitely something that may help you prevent some oopsies otherwise

If you fall off the horse you get back on. But always acknowledge and own what you did, don’t stuff it in a closet that’s going to burst open on you. You’ll feel much better about yourself if you take back control. And if you acknowledge it, your giving yourself the opportunity to prevent it from happening again.

I made an impulsive decision recently and it wasn’t the best one. But it’s not going to define me or erase all the hard work I’ve been putting in to be the best version of me – unless I let it, and I’m not. I know what led up to me being in a position to make that decision and I’m consciously making a plan that will not put me at risk of repeating history.

Live life and love life. Love yourself and don’t let a few poor choices define who you are. You are so much more. 

– Steph  

It’s a New Dawn

It’s the start of a new school year, but this isn’t just any school year this is my last year! I entered into a 2 year program and I’m actually going to finish it completely! This may not seem like much to most people but I graduated high school in 2009 and I have been all over the maps with my post secondary since 2010 bouncing from one thing to the next because they seemed like a great idea… first it was a fashion designer, then it was a speech pathologist, then it was a teacher, a dental hygienist… HR business personnel and finally I’ve committed and I’m completing a diploma to be a legal assistant. My health was a huge contributing factor for my prolonged post secondary experience but you live and you learn and you meet people along the way. 

I finished last year with a 3.8 GPA. I’m not saying this to boast but to point out that having bipolar with all of it’s ups and downs … switching medication… upping my doses of medication didn’t prevent me from succeeding. If you put your mind to it anything is possible, we are our only limit.

I’m excited and nervous for this year, there is a lot to learn and a lot of work ahead of me. I’m excited for my practicum and to experience working in a law firm (I’m pretty confident I’d like to go for law and become a lawyer … but slow and steady wins the race, I want one stable career under my belt first) 

I’m not going to lie I’m worried about entering the real life adult work force, sure I’m an adult but working summer jobs and having the luxury of calling in sick if I was really feeling like I couldn’t function is very different than a stable 9-5 Monday thru Friday. In the legal field there are deadlines and as the legal assistant to the lawyers I’m expected to meet them otherwise what is my value to the firm. I’ll face that hurdle when I get there. This year is preparatory for that, I’m working with my doctors and I’m trying to better myself and that’s all I can do.

I’m so proud to say I will be graduating this year, it’s been a long time coming. But if it takes you longer than most people, so be it. Never let go of a dream and goal just because you have to work differently than most people to achieve it. 

 I hope everyone has an exciting year and challenges themselves to dream big and work hard to make it happen. 
– Steph 

To Tell or Not to Tell

I recently shared that I was bipolar with a close friend of mine, she’s quite a few years older than me so perhaps in a way I was counting on her maturity. 
It’s not to say telling her was a complete fail, however if I could go back in time I’d keep it to myself regardless to the opportunity to open up. 

When I tell someone I’m bipolar I brace myself for their judging eyes. Not that they are trying to judge in a harsh way, it’s just everything instantly turns into “oh you must act that way because you have bipolar” … for example I was at this friends house and I was visiting with multiple people when I decided it was time to go home because I was tired … my friend brought this up after I told her I had bipolar and she told me that she noticed my whole personna changed and it all makes sense because I’m bipolar. First off NO. My whole personna did not change – I was tired just like any normal human being gets, I didn’t change before her eyes into my crazy bipolar mode I simply said I was “going home now and have a good night”. 

To tell or not to tell?  That is the question. For now my opinion has been re-established and my answer is Not to Tell. I want people to see me as me not as bipolar and honestly as soon as that word comes out they put a big sign over your head with flashing lights that says “BIPOLAR” every action becomes branded with “because she’s bipolar” I’ve worked so hard to distance myself from that concept within my own family and my dearest closest friends. I don’t want to experience it all over again – I’m not ready for that just yet. I’m alive I react to things just like any normal person would react … sure there are times I may react with a little more zeal BUT I guarantee the average Joe is not going to see that happen.

One day I’ll be okay with people finding out … but for now it’s a no. And if I ever tell again it will be a life altering situation which has always been the case with my friends who do know and that has worked our pretty good so far. 

-Steph

Plot Twist!

image

Okay… Funny story…..

I thought my world was falling apart around me… was it? Not actually. However, did I feel with every fiber of my body that it was?? Yes siree Bob!

Alright so I have been working hard trying to “get a grip” on me; me+bipolar+anxiety+ocd (my ocd is slight but I do love it… my room and notes can be accredited to it)

If you read my post about “When Your Blood Starts to Boil”, it kind of explains my frustrations with an abrupt change in my plans. I love plans, prepreation, anything that makes me feel like I have a shred of control AND basically that was all taken away in an appointment. Perhaps I was a wee bit emotionally consumed so I took it to another level BUT hey! That’s life.

The irony is that on Sunday evening as I was trying to have a calm discussion with my parents, finding a solution to all my concerns (that decided to appear a week before my university classes started) I lost my calm. BUT prior to losing my calm I emailed my university asking them to consider changing my schedule based on blah blah blah … it was a very thorough email I can assure you that. Additionally, I called Dr. L telling him I needed to see him ASAP .. see how I was setting these little safety nets?

The irony to this story is had I actually waited to receive an email from my university. .. I would have had no need to lose my marbles BUT did I wait for that email before I lost it like a crazy cat woman who doesn’t even own a cat?  Nope.

I didn’t. 

The conversation between my parents and the possible “solutions or alternatives” set me past my boiling point threshold. I blew up like a volcano seeking to destroy a village. I hate feeling like “bipolar” or its symptoms don’t allow me to do what everyone else does… I get tired sometimes and in my lows it seems relentless. I get tired of the routines, the check ups, the meds, evaluations.I get it! I seriously get it, that life with a mental illness (not exclusive to bipolar) takes effort and self sustaining behaviour… and I’m grateful for that knowledge and the support system I have. It just sucks sometimes. And last night it was all a bit too much…

Did my parents almost call the ambulance on me…. yes … oh my haha… the sad reality is that they almost did.  I escalated very quickly to a point that they had the phone in hand, and they were ready to make the call.But! I calmed down … I tried to sort thru my thoughts like I’ve been working on with Dr. L reminding myself that I did in fact have a life that I loved.enjoyed. I just had to breathe.

So this morning Dr.L called and we talked for an hour, he gave me his vote of confidence that if I decreased my meds I’d still manage this hiccup aside (his opinion has a high value in my life) and as an added bonus I recieved the email from my University giving me an alternative schedule! All my classes start at 10 am instead of 8 am… problem solved.

Ploy twist! And a lesson learned… I really need to have a bit more faith in my ability to succeed. I am the one who called my doctor and I am the one who sent that email. I was proactive and set up safety nets for me to catch myself and succeed. I didn’t need to lose my calm, but I’m human. So I will live, learn and move on.

One blip isn’t going to set me back and erase all the progress I’ve made. I have too much ahead of me to get caught up on the past. Onward we go!

– Steph