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

The Upside

What a moving quote. I think that it is safe to say that those living with bipolar quite frequently face various storms.  What a beautiful concept that those storms may have a greater purpose.

Sometimes the storms of life come as a result of choices we make, they are the consequence of our actions. However, sometimes the storms of life come at no consequence of our own –you don’t have to do anything in particular and BAM, you are in a squall – tossing to and fro – hanging on for dear life.

Over the course of my life I have been in countless storms, as I am sure you can all relate. And just as this quote expresses, there have been times that those storms have cleared a path for me, they didn’t just “disrupt my life”.

Sometimes the storm – the chaos – the destruction is exactly what we need in order to find our foundation again – to be grounded – to rebuild. Sometimes the storm gives us insights that we would otherwise be oblivious to. Sometimes the storm thrusts us on the path we so desperately need to be on to continue on our journey.

Storms ruffle our feathers, they make us uncomfortable, they require us to be resilient. But growth stems from discomfort, think back to the timeless expression of “growing pains”. At times the storms seem to take more than we can give, but they never leave us baron. They always leave us with the opportunity to grow. And that is priceless.

Our path isn’t always visible and sometimes through the storms of life we may lose sight of it all together BUT there are times without doubt that the storm makes our path crystal clear. Take a moment to evaluate the storms you’ve gone thru. Have they all helped you grow into the individual that you are today? Have they shuffled you on the path that got you here today.

Sometimes storms are terrible, you are unprepared for them and they take you off-guard, however other times the storms give you an appreciation for life and allow you to dance in the rain.

Storms will come and storms will go. Don’t be mistaken to classify the storms of life as all negative. I am not going to say that all storms are positive experiences that we should all be overjoyed to be swept away in, but I am saying that there can be positive things that we take away from being in each storm. We may not see it in the moment, but once the storm has settled, we may realize that we are exactly where we need to be in order to get exactly where we need to go and without that particular storm we wouldn’t have gotten there.

– 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

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

What Matters Most

There is nothing quite as satisfying as having your dog curl up next to you – in my case my dog often curls up in my arms or by my neck.

There is just something about the love of a dog. 

Nutmeg  (my dog) is 6 years old. It’s been an amazing 6 years and I hope to have many more. Life would not be the same without her. 

She calms me down and has given me purpose. To care for her and in turn care for myself. Having her in my life has been one of my greatest blessings. 

If you have a dog I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. And if you don’t have a dog but are thinking about one I encourage you to take that step BUT only if you are going to commit. Dogs aren’t disposable – when you buy one it should be with a lifetime in mind.

When I bought Nutmeg I knew in my heart she was non-negotiable. When I moved around (which I’ve done a lot) I always picked dog friendly buildings. Even if that meant spending more money. I made a commitment to Nutmeg the day I bought her. She’s a loyal little soul and deserves the same in return. 

Even if you’re not thinking about getting a dog, but another animal instead I encourage you to look into it. I researched for 2 years before I bought Nutmeg. It may not take you that long BUT know what you are getting into. 

Through the good and the bad she’s remained constant. Through all the changes she’s been there, and that my dear friends is priceless. The kind of love a pet (in my case a fur baby) can give you and you can give in return is truly amazing and is one of the simple ways our hearts can remind us that we know what it is to feel.

– 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