An Extra Happy Pill


Did you take your daily dose?

I am uploading this post early because I will not have a wifi connection on Thursday. That being said I will potentially also not have a wifi connection for the next 2 weeks, so if I don’t post it’s not because I’ve fell off the wagon its just because I am in the sunny country of Nicaragua!

It’s honestly been my dream to visit Nicaragua for as long as I can remember. My dad is from Nicaragua so it is important to me that I see where he is from and see my heritage. I will be going with my parents and I could not be more excited to share this experience with them. This trip was a graduation present and I can’t accurately express how grateful I am for this opportunity.

I love travelling but this trip is especially special to me.

Now, onto my post’s topic.

Gratitude.

Life can be so unbelievably hard sometimes, however if we can manage to have a grateful heart it can make a world of a difference.

I am not saying having a grateful heart is an easy task when things seem to be going wrong or when you are in the depths of despair, but I have personally tried really hard to look for the silver lining in every situation.

And boy – it’s not easy.

However, gratitude, is the key to a happy heart. When you see what you have, rather than what you don’t. When you can look at any situation and ask yourself what can you take away from it? 

There is always, always something positive that you can be grateful for.

I was once told that I say thank-you too much. Nonsense. You can never say thank-you too much. And I believe it’s important to share your gratitude with those around you. Not only will it make you feel better, but it will most likely lift the spirits of others. When you express your gratitude it’s harder to take things (or people) for granted and it sheds some light into your dark abyss. When have you ever felt worse off for hearing someone say thank-you to you? I’m going to guess never. So, fill your heart and someone else’s and say thank you.

If you have no one to physically express your gratitude to, write it down. Gratitude journals are a great idea, I have one (I haven’t recorded in this particular journal in a while since I record my thoughts in my personal journal), but looking back on what I wrote in the past is always uplifting. My sister recently bought a gratitude journal, and it’s rekindled the flame and I think I will intentionally write in my gratitude journal moving forward. I literally only listed 5 things a day, and that is probably where I will start again. It can literally be as simple as catching the bus on time – or waking up without having to hit snooze because you felt so rested.

The more we start to recognize the small things the more grateful our hearts will be and we won’t always have to look for the obvious things to be grateful for. The more grateful our hearts are the less anxious, resentful, envious or depressed we will be for the things we don’t have.

Here is a prime example, when I am in my lowest of lows and I am in bed for the majority of my day (or all day) my beloved little dog Nutmeg stays with me – she just cuddles up next to me and waits till I get up. I am so grateful for her unconditional love and her companionship. It warms my numb heart on those days and makes me feel when I would otherwise feel nothing.
To be grateful is to be intentional. And I believe acting and thinking with intention is the best way to better yourself. The best way to get to know yourself better, to be confident and comfortable in your skin.

Start in reverse, start thinking of all the obvious big reasons you are grateful and then work your way towards the smaller inconspicuous reasons. Fill your heart to the brim, and I guarantee you won’t regret it. Conscientiously make the decision to be grateful.  

Existing happens one way or the other BUT living is a choice. Choose to add meaning to your life. Choose to add depth. Choose to be a round character in your life’s story rather than a flat character.

Once upon a time with bipolar, I chose to be grateful and it gave me a life I never could have imagined.

– Steph

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It’s A Balancing Act


One thing that has been made crystal clear over the past few years since being formally diagnosed with bipolar is that bipolar is a balancing act. It’s ironic I know, since we are generally classified as “unbalanced people”.
Little does the world know that to live with bipolar and function on the daily, we out balance anyone. Can I get an AMEN!?

I recently over stimulated myself. I went out too many days in a row, I had too many late nights, and met up with too many people. This might sound like a normal social life, but with bipolar there needs to be “a balance”. Too much of anything is asking for trouble. 

When I’m over-stimulated I get super anxious, I feel like I’m a ticking bomb waiting to go off. I feel exhausted to the point that I’m shaking and I’m super reactive. So at the height of my over-stimulation I did the only thing I could think of – I napped. I crashed hard and long. I slept and when I woke up I felt manageable. 

Balance – you can’t just do what everyone else is doing. You can’t have late night after late night without repercussion, you can skip out on your medication. I take sleeping pills and if I don’t plan accordingly, taking them and waking up the next day can be lethal. There has to be a plan of action. 

As much as people go with the flow, it’s not like that with bipolar. You have to plan and check off the boxes for living your balanced functional life. You don’t just “wing it”. Sure in some aspects of life you can but others not so much. Sometimes I feel frustrated and I feel  like my life is being restricted BUT in reality by me sacrificing having “late nights” I’m gaining so much more. 

Are you eating right, excercising, sleeping enough hours, taking your medication, going to doctors appointments? These are some of the boxes on our checklist that to some may seem optional BUT are not. Everything I listed allows me to live a balanced life. I make a conscientious effort and when I falter in any of those departments my quality of life is hindered. 

Sure people with bipolar have their checklists of things they do and I’m not taking away from that, I’m merely stating that to function or rather to thrive someone with bipolar has to put in a heck of a lot of effort compared to the average person. And by living their daily life they are slapping the stigma that people with bipolar are unbalanced. We are not unbalanced and if you step into our shoes you’ll see that to go day to day we are more resilient and balanced than most. 

– Steph

Just Live A Little


Life.

My oh my. 

I’m currently working on making the most of my life. Recently I had someone walk into my life, mind you I showed them the exit… BUT for the brief time they were in my life they caused me to re-evaluate how I was living it. I am the most stable I’ve ever been – this is a fact. But there is more than just being stable. More than just holding the status quo.

I’ve done things in my life, but I haven’t all at the same time. Living was such a struggle for so many years I feel like my life was a bit of a write-off. Perhaps I haven’t completely escaped the mentality of just surviving. 

But I’m here. I’m alive and I want my life to reflect that.

I was asked about my bucket list and I only had 2 things to list off. On top of that the two ideas weren’t even that creative! 

That just won’t do.

Over the course of two weeks I developed a bucket list. Or rather “lists”. One list outlines things I would like to do over the course of 2017/2018, and the other lists things I’d like to do in a lifetime. I’m trying to step outside of my box, escape the mundane routine I’ve created. Add a little bedazzle. Spice things up. You get the idea.

I’m really proud of my list, it took quite a bit of effort to create it. 

It’s so easy to get into a routine, routine is good don’t get me wrong BUT there should be more. More to life. Where did my exploratory nature go? Where is my sense of adventure?

I was going thru a bit of depression the past while, feeling trapped. But I realized I was the one putting myself in the cage or like I referred to it earlier – a box. I was the one restricting myself, no one else.

When you feel trapped you are the only one who can free yourself, whatever that situation may be.

Escaping our box is a choice, and most often it requires that we put in effort and feel a bit uncomfortable. And why must we feel uncomfortable? Because my dear friends, we are stepping outside of our norm and its the price we must pay.

And when I say I want to live life I don’t mean I need to climb Mount Everest or backpack thru Europe, not saying I’d turn down the opportunity.  What I’m talking about is reading books, going to museums and art galleries, taking guitar lessons, joining a choir, going to a paint night (which I just did … my painting was terrible! But I had fun making it, and that’s what it’s all about), simple yet impactful things that will add dimension to my life. 

Dimension that’s my objective. I want to have something to talk about, things to look forward to. I want to meet people, enrich my life with perspective. Expand my way of looking at life and take advantage of the life I’ve been blessed with.

I want to be an actively engaged in my life rather than passively letting it pass me by.

I feel so passionately about this new outlook on life, I feel alive and excited for what is to going to happen because of me making it happen. 

Ask yourself if you are trapped in routine, feeling like life is escaping you – then make a list. Make a list of things outside of your box and start doing them.

It’s been a big year for me. Lots of new chapters with school ending, me getting my dream job, a couple of toads crossing my path. I feel like in my life’s story is picking up its pace and it’s only going to get better! 

Stop thinking about all the things you’d like to do. Take action and do them. Liberate yourself from the box you live in and add dimension to your life. Stay stable but add a little bedazzle. 

– Steph

Just A Little Bit More 


This is so important!

Believe in yourself and what you are worth and what you are capable of.

You are priceless.

And you can do anything you put your mind to. 

So often we under sell ourselves. 

But we need to believe in ourselves just a little bit more. Love ourselves a little bit more and then we will achieve so much more. 

I have been anxious about finding a job. I’m a new graduate with no experience aside from my practicum, and after I finished my practicum on May 26th I felt overwhelmed looking at all the job postings, because they were all requesting years of experience – which I don’t have. 

I applied anyway, I’m not going to lie and say I had bucket loads of confidence in myself BUT I did believe I had something to offer. 

Lo, and behold I got a call for an interview! I was super happy and excited. I went to the interview and I was super nervous BUT before I opened the door I put a big smile on my face, told myself I could do this and that they would love me and then I walked thru the door.

It’s all about how we talk to ourselves. If you tell yourself you are going to fail, you will fail. If you tell yourself you are going to succeed you will – even if it’s not on the first try.

I thought the interview went well and walked away proud of myself for giving it my all.

I’m happy to announce that this morning I was offered the position! This is my dream job and I couldn’t be more ecstatic! 

Believe in yourself and anything is possible.

Don’t give up hope. Believe in yourself just a little bit more and you will be able to get thru anything.

– Steph

Don’t Give Up

Sometimes life seems to be an endless uphill battle. If it’s not one thing it’s another. It’s exhausting. But regardless to this fact – don’t give up. 

If you fall down, get back up. Be relentless in your pursuit to achieve your goals. Do not accept failure -learn from it and keep moving forward. 

No one ever achieved anything by quitting. Sometimes I feel like my progress could be counted in a fraction of a fraction. Eventually – ever so slowly those fractions add up. But only if you keep on putting in the work.

Set goals for you health, spiritually, mentally, and physically. Take control of your health and never surrender to giving up on yourself. Don’t accept less than what you deserve – and you deserve to be happy.

Remind yourself – you deserve to be happy. This life isn’t a condemnation of lost causes.

Even when life appears to be at a stand still. Keep moving. Do what you can and the rest will fall into place. Words that I’m trying to live by. 

Right now I’m trying to escape a stand still in my life. I’m doing my best to keep moving forward. I have a feeling that my up hill battle will be taking place over the next little while, so I may be seemingly moving slowly BUT I have no doubt I’ll come out on top if I keep giving it my all. 

I just spent the entire day yesterday applying for positions in my given field. Being a new graduate is exciting, but applying to jobs that are requesting years of experience is daunting. It feels like a lost cause BUT I will keep at it, someone’s going to bite eventually and I’ll get my big break.

I’ll get a lot of NO’s before I get my YES. But I only need one and if I quit now that will never happen.

We all have to start somewhere. And we all have our own trials.

Just don’t give up. If you want something to happen- make it happen. Heck, cry if you need to BUT keep going. 

I might be a bit of a Negative Nancy right now feeling like my cloud 9 has turned into a tornado regarding different aspects of my life BUT I know it will all work out.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

What happily ever after ever happened without some opposition? Slowly but surely – onward!

– Steph

Training Wheels 

That moment when your training wheels come off is triumphant. 

When I first started seeing my psychologist, the first year I saw him once a week, then the next year it became once every two weeks, and recently it’s extended to once a month. I know it’s a good thing – it shows my progress BUT I really like my doctor. The training wheels are coming off and I don’t know how I feel about it.

It’s bitter sweet not going in for my appointments once every two weeks. I feel really good about my progress, but there has always been something so rewarding about my doctors insight and now I get it once a month, because my own insight is doing a pretty good job – he trained me well.

Doctors are a huge part of the recovery process (and I use the word recovery liberally because it makes you sound sick and I don’t think of myself as sick – I just think of myself as a girl who has bipolar and is learning to manage it). Having a relationship with your doctor is incredibly important. And if you feel uncomfortable, I would encourage you to look for another doctor. How are you supposed to talk about everything and anything if you don’t feel comfortable?! Feeling unable to express yourself defeats the purpose of talking about your mood based disorder (mood = a lot to express) 

I am always hesitant about talking to new doctors, I feel vulnerable and like they are trying to know me based on some scribbled notes on a page BUT all of my doctors at the mood disorder clinic I go to have been amazing and care about me as a person. So if I can have amazing doctors, you can too!

Once there was a psychiatrist who made me uncomfortable so stopped seeing him (this was before my formal diagnosis by the clinic I’m presently in). Mind you I didn’t look for another doctor, which was the wrong move BUT it just goes to show how a relationship is so important to the success of your health. It can make it or break it, because with bipolar you need a support system. Doing it on your own isn’t going to get you far – trust me I know.

Don’t be afraid to look elsewhere. Don’t ditch your current doctor until you have a new one secured. But don’t settle for a doctor who isn’t committed to your success. You aren’t a number, you aren’t a robot. You have feelings and should feel comfortable expressing them. 

I’m not ready to go completely solo from seeing my psychologist but I am grateful I’m at the place I am, even if it means less appointments. 

Progress.

 The training wheels are coming off.

-Steph

Take a Deep Breath


If ever there is a zombie apocalypse I want to make sure I am not on the city train during rush hour. When you are jam packed like a sardine I feel like the likelihood of survival is decreased. Just food for thought.

It’s Monday, the start of a fresh new week.

I made an error on Friday at work and didn’t have enough time to fix it, so I was panicked for Monday BUT my supervisor told me this morning not to worry about it. And I was able to fix it. Problem solved, I stressed and lost sleep over the entire weekend for nothing.

Isn’t that the case. We stress over something and then when the time comes to face it, it’s not that bad. You’d think I’d learn – dozens of doctor appointments going over my anxiety and yet some how it always manifests itself. Mind you, it’s a lot more subdued. 

Don’t fret, breathe and know that whatever comes you aren’t going to die from it. Coming into work that’s what I kept telling myself. 

Mistakes happen, I’m a student on practicum, I’m learning. And even if I was an employee, mistakes happen. There is no need to kill yourself over them. They will come and go and you will remain. Just take a deep breath, learn from them and all will be well.

– Steph