Reality Check

This post required two quotes, so you know it’s about to get real.

Goodness, the past few weeks I have not been in the right head space. (If you couldn’t already tell)

I have been trying to practice mindfulness, trying to stay positive, trying to remind myself of the direction I am taking my life. Trying to stay in control. Trying, trying, trying. It’s been exhausting. I feel like I’ve been in a constant battle with myself. Fighting for the life I want to live that isn’t defined by my bipolar.

My perception of reality has been distorted to say the least. It’s like I’m there, but I’m not there. I am present yet I am absent.  I feel so deeply but then I don’t feel anything at all. If that even makes sense.

I can be lethal when I lose my grip (literally lethal – like a completely different person), I think I have come a long way so I like to think it doesn’t happen all that often, but sometimes the bipolar gets the best of me. Sometimes, the rational emotions and ideas escape my grasp and I’m left with impulse and tunnel vision.

It’s terrible, but it is a reality I face. I like to post positive posts as much as I can, because that is the direction I am taking my life a reflection of how I choose to live. But I still suffer at the hand of my bipolar, I am not immune and I don’t feel positive all the time. BUT that doesn’t mean I can’t have a happy productive life, which is what I hope to illustrate with my blog, I do consider my self a happy person when it’s all said and done.

However, that being said, I am human and I do have bipolar and there are symptoms that come with this mental illness. I hate using the word illness because I feel like it diminishes how far I have come BUT it is an illness, it is a trial, it isn’t a walk in the park.  I have bipolar. It’s just a fact. I am not the disease but it does play a role in who I am how I act and the decisions I make and that is the honest truth. I have made decisions that I would never had made without the effects of bipolar being a factor. It is not an excuse for my actions but a factor in them.  At the end of the day taking responsibility for them allows me to move forward. BUT gosh, sometimes I wish there was an undo button.

There are some things that I find harder than others with having bipolar. Some symptoms that are more prominent and I really have to check myself and have safe guards BUT even then, sometimes I bulldoze right thru them. Sometimes I am relentless and nothing and no one can change my mind and course of direction regardless to whether it is to my benefit or demise.

I have an appointment booked with my therapist, I am going in to talk to him in person rather than thru our phone call appointments – I feel like it is a state of emergency. As you may know we’ve been having phone call sessions to accommodate my work schedule, but that’s just not going to cut it this time. I don’t like feeling like I’m losing control and that’s exactly where I’m at. I feel up and down, numb and yet volatile, high and low, I like to be in control – I like to be the captain of my decisions which can be a challenge when you have bipolar to say the least.

I recently lost my grip. I essentially plowed thru logic or reason and hurt myself and those I love in the process. I had something made up in my mind, it didn’t make sense but I wasn’t going to be satisfied until I saw it thru – why? I have no idea. Consequences were not something on my mind, I felt as though I was immune to repercussions and the idea of them didn’t seem plausible. Some how I would act and come out unscathed. Sometimes feeling so deeply can be a curse. Yes, it can be a blessing, and I like to look at it that way BUT it can be a two-edged sword. It can cause you to defy all reason.

I am facing my reality. Facing the consequences of my actions, re-evaluating my life and piecing myself back together. Perhaps piecing together is a bit strong, it’s not as though I have completely come undone, it’s not as though all the work I’ve put into myself hasn’t been decimated by this one action. The years I have been working on myself have given me a strong foundation to fall back on BUT there were a few blows to it and I need to strengthen and reinforce it so that I can confidently move forward.

Am I a bad person? No, I am not a bad person. Did I do something I would have normally done had I been thinking rationally and without so much emotion pulsing thru my veins? No, no I did not. But that comes with the territory of having bipolar. You sometimes aren’t yourself even though you are still you.  Sometimes the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde happens. You just have to live the best you can and brace yourself for when those times come, and come what may accept it, acknowledge it, own it, learn from it and then move on. You can’t dwell on all your poor decisions or actions. If I did that I would be miserable. I would be consumed and lose sight of who I want to be and who I really am. I am not my bad decision. I am not my out of character actions. I am Stephanie and I am human.

This post perhaps wasn’t the most uplifting, but it is where I am at and a testament that I am moving forward. It is my reality and my reality isn’t always pretty. I struggle, I fall down, but I get back up. Time and time again I get back up and if I can do it – so can you.

– Steph


Give It A Rest 

This topic came up briefly in a conversation this week, and I thought it would make a good blog post especially as we are entering the new year with our plethora of resolutions. 
On our grand journey of life, amidst all of our goals and in between the ups and downs we have, I believe it is vital to learn the difference between resting and quitting. It’s okay if life exhausts us mentally and physically! That is bound to happen at some point and time  but what isn’t okay is rolling over and playing dead as life pasts you by.

Take a breather.

Rest, regroup, and refocus then get back on the horse.

Giving up can lead to poor self-esteem, it can cripple you and create a mentality that you are incapable of following thru with anything, that you will never succeed; that you are a failure. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Each of us is capable of accomplishing our goals, we may stumble a little more than the average person at times BUT that’s doesn’t mean that we are incapable.

If we have a heartbeat we are capable. If we have a desire we are already on our way, we just need to implement action. And when we implement action we need to recognize that if we to rest, regroup, or refocus it doesn’t mean that we’ve quit.

Sometimes our rest may need to be a little longer BUT that’s okay! So long as you pull up your socks and keep moving forward. Remember, progress not perfection.

Don’t get caught up in negative self talk- labeling yourself as a failure if there is a standstill on your journey. You are not a failure. You are human. Taking a rest is not failing. And that is a distinction you need to be aware of. Once you can distinguish that you are still on track to meet your goal even though you’ve rested, the goal will not seem as overwhelming  because you will realize you don’t have to “start over” every time there is a slight hiccup.

Allow me to make an analogy.

If you hike a mountain it is not uncommon to rest. Now, may I point out that just because you rest it does not mean that you’ve quit. If we looked at every time you rested while hiking a mountain as quitting (meaning you had no choice but to turn around and hike back down the mountain). You would be backtracking non-stop! At that rate you would never reach your goal of getting to the top. You would most likely be exhausted physically and mentally and reach a point where you didn’t even want to step foot on the mountain. No body hikes like that! And for good reason.

Look at your goals with that mentality, permit yourself to rest without backtracking all the way to the beginning. Pick up where you left off and move forward. Remind yourself that you are trying and that is what counts.

Trying is HUGE! Do not dismiss your efforts with so little value. No one ever accomplished anything without trying first. So, try, try and try again.
This is an exciting time of year where goals are ablaze, be excited, don’t be discouraged. Recognize that 2018 is going to be your year, and it is going to have ups and downs and standstills and that is perfectly okay – it will not take away from it being any less your year, and an amazing one at that. 
– Steph

Choose Happy

It’s that time of year again – when it’s a new year.

I love New Years, it’s a time of reflection and anticipation. What a sublime mix!

So much has happened in the year 2017, I’d say mostly good but undoubtably there were some challenges along the way. I feel excited to see what 2018 brings. There have been so many new beginnings for me recently so New Years seems fitting and right on schedule.

I love the simple illustration above, 1 year = 365 opportunities. How great is that?!

We are about to embark on a new 365 day adventure.

And what would New Years be without goals?? I’m all about goals, I believe they should be set beyond the New Years hype but if New Years gets people into a goal oriented mindset so be it. My “2018″ goal is to work on my balance. I want to be a modern renaissance woman. I want improve my intellect, spirituality and physicality. I want my knowledge, enlightenment and action to all increase.

It’s exciting to think I have an entire year to measure my progress. From where I was at the beginning of 2017 to where I am now. Life changing. I’ve had so many profound experiences that have shaped me. I think I’ve managed to become better from my experiences – not bitter. And now I get to bring my new package into 2018.

I recently bought some wall hangings for my new apartment one says “This is the good life” and the other says “choose happy”. I get a kick out of both. I live with bipolar, I live a life that no one would wish on anyone but at this point in my life I know I’m living the good life – bipolar and all. And secondly, choose happy, sometimes my mood is not my choice. This is why I chose this wall hanging. I used to resent when people would say “just choose to be happy” but now my perception has changed and I bought this wall hanging to remind myself that beyond the scope of my health their is a choice with how I choose to live. Regardless to my lows and highs. I still can choose me. And I choose happy.

If I feel nothing – I still choose happy.

If I’m crying for hours – I still choose happy.

If I have to fight with myself for days or weeks – I still choose happy.

It’s worth fighting for, it’s the life I want, the person I want to be – happy. We may not get to feel happy but the twist is that we can still choose happy. And at the end of the dark tunnel, that is the light that I see and hold on to.

Think of 2018 and all that it has to offer. Think of where you want to be in life and make it happen, you have 365 days to try and I guarantee you will become better day by day.

Look for positivity, radiate positivity and do not settle for anything less.

There is no need to justify negativity in your life whatever form it may be. 2018 is your year.

Choose happy, and remind yourself that it’s your life and you are living the good life. And if you aren’t then change things until you can say you are. Be in control of your life because it’s yours and yours alone.

Own 2018.

Happy New Years everyone!

– Steph


Shine Bright

Gratefully I have not had to encounter this that much in my life in recent years (I learned to cut people out who demonstrate this type of negative energy). Ultimately this quotes communicates a compliment that I think everyone should understand.

People who attack you as this quote expresses should only reassure you of your infinite potential. What a compliment. The fact they are trying to bring you down already testifies that you are above them. Not in a superior way (because everyone has value) but in way that you you are going places that they can’t follow, because of their self-loathing that manifests itself outwardly as attacking other genuine people.

Rest assured that you have infinite value and potential contrary to what people might say. When people speak ill of you, they want you to feed into their lies. That way you to become dependant on their opinion of you rather than being independent with how you personally view and value yourself. When they do this it gives them the power to bring you up or bring you down – it gives them the power to determine your value and ultimately your happiness or perception of happiness.

If you need someone else to reassure you of your value, you will never truly be happy or in control of your life. Separate yourself from the opinions of others. Stand on your own with a surety that come what may you are priceless with infinite potential.

Potential scares weak people, that’s why abusers try to take it away from you. Potential leaves people behind who don’t meet a certain standard, people who are complacent in life. It’s terrifying to know you are being left behind BUT rather than stepping up to change their own lives they seek to corrupt yours – it’s the easier thing to do. Something that requires less effort and creates a pretence of power in their life.

Never doubt your potential. Never let anyone dictate your value to you.

Take comfort in knowing that abusers attempts to speak ill of you should only reassure you that you are shining bright and they can’t handle the shine.

Shine bright. Stay grounded. Know your worth. And never let anyone bring you down – you are priceless.

– 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 


Dear Body

Could this be any more perfect?

I fell off the wagon BIG TIME. All the time I spent in the gym, all the efforts in making sure I ate (and ate healthy) went out the window. Heck doing my hair and wearing makeup went out the window too.

I alternatively binged on garbage and didn’t even remotely attempt to go to the gym.  I slept and slept and ate and slept some more. (If you’ve read previous posts I’m sure your starting to see that sleep is an avoidance strategy I use when it comes to life and me not wanting to participate in it – I am trying to work on it)

Everything seemed pointless, I was frustrated and overwhelmed with emotions and my solution was to shut down and self loathe. 

Not a good solution. Actually let’s not kid ourselves – it’s not a solution at all.

But that’s what I did, and where did it lead me? It led me to sweatpants and hoodies. You read that right. 

I gained a substantial amount of weight over the last month and a half (I could probably say 2 months) my clothes don’t fit unless we count clothes that have elasticity. What a sad and yet funny truth.

So where does this reality leave me? It leaves me with a choice – continue to do nothing to improve my self care ; sabotaging my health OR take back control by loving and nourishing my body to its optimal health. (It wouldn’t hurt to do my hair and makeup every now and then either)

It’s so easy to sit back and do nothing but sleep and eat in despair – but that leads nowhere fast. 

Don’t fool yourself into thinking your beyond hope, there is always hope. It didn’t take me a day to gain this weight so I can’t expect to lose it in a day.

One day at a time; one glorious determined day at a time. I’ve set my goal to go one week at a time so that I don’t jump ship and bail. 

I’m human and so are you. I’ve  struggled with my weight since high school – there’ve been lots of attributing factors BUT I can tell you that ignoring my health throwing my hands up and saying “to heck with it” isn’t going to solve the problem and it’s not going to help me love myself.

Love yourself to care enough to keep up “self care” even when you hit those blasted lows. That may mean eating healthier, that may mean getting up to shower or even brushing your hair, it may mean hitting the gym OR all of the above.

What ever it may be, DO IT. And keep going, if you have to throw yourself out of bed DO IT. 

I hope that after you read this post you don’t feel entirely alone, thinking your the only one to give up on self care – your not – it happens and the beautiful truth is that we can pick up and keep going. 

We can do it. And if you need a reminder I hope I’ll be here to give it. 

This journey of life is progress not perfection.

– Steph