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

You Learn Something New Everyday

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Emotionally action-packed, keeping myself and you on our toes. Bipolar, it’s all in how you look at it… I’m really leaning towards the theory of being … super heros. Enhanced senses to emotions, ohh yeaaaa.

Your Happiness – Your Choice

Happiness - Problems

There have been so many times in my life where I allowed my happiness to be consumed with my situation BECAUSE my situation was less than ideal. Rather than focusing on what was in my control, I focused on what was out of my control. Rather than looking at everything I had, I looked at all I was without (mentally, physically). I played victim and let my surroundings dictate my happiness rather than claiming my life for my own. BUT once I did claim it and took control of my life, that’s when things changed. That’s when I started dealing with my problems rather than letting them have their way with me. (I’m not perfect at it but I’m getting better at it)

We are stronger than we think, life is to be enjoyed not simply endured. Yes! There may be times when we hold onto life with just our finger tips; but the fact is we are still holding on (give yourself some credit) – we know life is worth fighting for and living. I’ve made so much progress with finding happiness this past year with the help and support of myself, loved ones and doctors. Happiness is a journey  it is not a destination; remember that just because we are not always happy it does not mean we have a bad life. I have my weeks where I struggle to remind myself of why I love life BUT I am getting better at recognizing my reminders, I don’t always have a “reason” for my depression. But I have a reason to hold on till the sun comes out again. And that’s the kicker, don’t forget it.

A SIDE NOTE: I did not choose to be bipolar, people do not choose to suffer from depression. I know what its like to wake up numb for no reason and to cry out because your entire being; your soul hurts beyond comprehension. I don’t always get to “choose” to be happy; to wake up with the luxury of picking how I feel BUT I do get to choose how I hold on — I get to choose to go through the storm in order to find another sunny day. My choice of happiness involves me claiming my life as Stephanie’s, not having my diagnosis claim my life.

– Steph

Knock Knock – Whose There?

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Guilty as charged!

I have definitely built nice tall, thick walls with barb wire at the top and a moat surrounding them filled with boiling lava.

My family’ has called me out on my walls. My doctors have called me out on my walls. I’VE even called me out on my walls.

People, my self included do not need walls; we need boundaries! (Which is what I’m working on establishing diligently)

Boundaries have been a hot topic between my therapist and I. (Like I mentioned I’ve had my fair share of walls)

Boundaries are slightly different than walls. However, they both have the same goal. To keep the hurt out.

Walls hurt us more than they help us, boundaries on the other hand when done correctly protect us AND allow us to grow into our best version of self.

Walls backfire for the sole reason that as much as they keep people out they keep your feelings locked in. They harvest a distrust of the people in your life AND they belittle your ability to trust yourself.

Respect.
Respect yourself enough to build boundaries. Allow yourself to permit and validate your feelings. Don’t keep them locked up burning you on the inside.  Find a healthy way to express yourself; stand your ground. Make it clear to the people in your life what you will AND will not tolerate. AND if they don’t respect that; don’t surround yourself with them.

Boundaries, are permeable. You can move people closer to you or keep them farther away at bay. You have your guard up with a gate THAT you only have the key to open. People can look at you and they will know what you are about BUT they may not be permitted to be within your closest boundary unless you allow them.

Feelings are not a weakness, they are our biggest strength, if we can recognize how to listen and address them. (Something I’m learning)

Don’t miss out on a potential friendship or relationship because you won’t let anyone in AND you won’t let yourself out – out of fear.

We all have so much to offer. Take baby steps, because they are steps non the less. Ask yourself what you want, it’s not selfish it’s self care and love. And we all deserve that.

-Steph

Take A Minute

Last night I watched the movie Life of a King, it stared Cuba Gooding Jr, and my oh my…. I ugly cried.

It happens, I can’t help it; my heart will literally hurt for the hardships I know go beyond movie screens and so when a character in a film such as Life of a King illustrates the reality of so many young children and adults … it gets to me. Now, going back to Cuba Gooding Jr, he made me ugly cry in another movie as well (he is such a moving actor) Boyz n the Hood. Normally, I try to avoid movies with excessive profanity (out of personal preference) BUT once this film began… I had to finish it and oh how my heart ached and I sobbed for those individuals.

Goodness gracious, life can be so tragic yet it is so beautiful. There is always a choice in life, that is something both of those films voiced. We always have the power of choice – we allow ourselves to be victimized or we take control of our life and how we react.

We may not all come from ideal backgrounds or circumstances OR maybe we do regardless it does not dictate the life we live. We dictate, we choose who we want to be; we choose to rise above or roll over and give-way to the wayside. We choose to be victims or we choose to accept the responsibility and take control of ourselves and take the power away from others.

One of my favourite quotes of all time (I have no idea who said it)

“We can become bitter OR we can become BETTER”

The choice is always ours, and what a privilege that choice is.

Anywho, random posting but this was running through my mind and I figured I’d share.

I’m off to go wash out my hair mask… my hair was in dire need of some repair! Hopefully this mask worked some magic… if not Plan B!

-Steph

When You Start Feeling Like A Super Hero

Holy Guacamole!

I am pretty sure I’m on my way up! up! up! One of my tell-tales for entering my manic state is as follows: I can’t sleep because I feel so happy; true story. I will literally be in such a good mood that I am awake all night (even after taking my medication) I will be thinking without a word of a lie “HOLY COW I’M SO HAPPY!” … yup happy happy happy!

Last night was spent trying to calm my “happy” down.

I managed to finally fall asleep around 3am, and then I had to be at work for 6:30 am (isn’t that how the cookie crumbles?) Yet another reason I know I’m entering the manic part of my cycle – I’m morphing into the energizer bunny; I literally jumped out of bed rested and ready to go when my alarm went off… and I buzzed throughout my day.

Work in short was awesome, and when I got home I enjoyed the beautiful sunshine whilst I mowed the lawn (fact of life: I love the smell of freshly cut grass) I also managed to hang my heavy bag (for boxing) outside which I am so stoked for!! I haven’t had my punching bag set up for a good 5 months AND I’VE MISSED IT. I’m not gonna lie; there have been moments where I’ve felt like punching a wall… a bit drastic but its the truth. Did I punch a wall? No lol I did not… punching bags are very healthy to own… just saying.

Anywho, quickly carrying on from my previous post “Flashback Fitness Friday”, getting my health in order is VERY important to me. During my quest to reach a balanced lifestyle while living with bipolar, it has been reiterated to me countless times from my doctors that exercise is a HUGE TOOL for achieving balance. (note: bipolar or not, exercise is good for you and your overall health… yes that does seem like an obvious statement)

Fitness helps to keep me on a routine, it helps me keep a positive relationship with my body image (and believe me that has been a struggle in my life), It is COMPLETELY within my control AND it helps me battle my depression better. I’m not saying its a cure-all (maybe for some people it is) BUT I am saying it has been a critical part to my personal well-being/improvement.

This blog is a totally new experience for me and I am optimistic and excited with all the potential it has to help me and others grow in confidence. With that being said I’m excited to announce that I will  be keeping chronicles of my fitness journey. I have some serious goals, and I’ve yet been able to buckle down with consistency. I’m hoping that with this blog (and it’s glorious accountability) I will get my game face on and hit my target.

I will be keeping my stats, going over exercises, offering tips and trying out advice I come across with the goal to motivate myself AND you along the way. I’m far from where I want to be BUT I know I will reach my goals AND I will do it the healthy way. (I’m guilty of not so healthy methods.. I’ll confess those later in this series)

Pardon the disorganized curfluffle that my blog is in at the moment, I’m hoping to get it more organized as time goes on..

GOAL 1: Make a blog

GOAL 2: Post daily in my first week

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

GOAL 3: Put some of my OCD to good use and organize my blog better … ohh yeaaa the power of awesomeness!

Let the journey continue onward!

– Steph

Going For A Drive Down Memory Lane

It never ceases to amaze me what the human mind is capable of…

Today ladies and gentlemen I write to you from a different city other than mine own. After I finished work last night I had the pleasure of setting off on a journey to my eldest sister’s house (to see her, her husband and my 2 nephews).

This trip takes roughly 3.5 hrs (perhaps for some “speedsters” a bit shorter… don’t ask me how I know lol)

I’ve driven this particular highway more than I can count, it brings bitter sweet memories and ample time to think about life. Now, is it just me or does driving long distances do that to a person?

Aside from my beloved family living in this particular city my false frog prince  ex-boyfriend also resides in this vicinity. It was a 2 year – long distance relationship and the sad truth about it was, I was the girl who drove to see him almost every other weekend- it was never vice-versa. But hey, you live, you learn, and you put more clicks on your car than you could ever imagine. (There’ll be more on that part of my life later)

The countless trips driven to see my ex created memories by association for this particular highway. So every time I set out on it I feel a twinge of  “here we go again”, memories flood my head the good, the bad and the ugly. I am personally at a stage where I literally have to remind myself of the ugly because the good seem to appear so easily. Sometimes there’s just no going back; and this is one of those times. I drive and I drown out the memories with my car-karaoke singing to songs with more soul than the entire Destiny’s Child (Now that’s some commitment) or even better I channel my inner soul singing queen (in my opinion) Toni Braxton – with the “He Wasn’t Man Enough” anthem ringing loud and clear in my heart.

There are however, some silver linings I can take away from driving this “highway of memories”. I’ve seen some amazing sights such as the majestic northern lights, along with beautifully coloured sun sets and sunrises and captivating storms (not the most fun to drive through BUT boy! do they ever look amazing)

Perhaps memories of my ex will not always surface on this highway (here’s to praying) BUT even if they do, the one thing that always rings true when I drive it now; is that I am stronger than I ever imagined. I chose to respect myself and leave an unhealthy relationship. And I know now that when I venture to this city, I am driving to see those who love and value me; and when I leave I am leaving with better memories than what I came with. And that’s what counts.

I’m looking forward to some mini-adventures over the next few days that I’ll get to take home with me.

Wishing everyone the best on this glorious day.

– Steph