Better Than EverĀ 

This blog post is being collectively being written from various airports and plane rides. My original flight was cancelled and I’ve been rerouted, rather than landing at my destination this evening, I will be arriving the following day. No worries – it’s an adventure.

I have to be honest lately I’ve had this feeling like I’ve won the lottery even though I don’t gamble.

Nicaragua was an amazing life experience – different, but amazing. I am going home to move into my new apartment (which I am incredibly excited about – it represents my independence), I will be reunited with my sisters whom I’ve missed (and my little nutmeg) … and a certain young man that’s made quite the impression.

I am also looking forward to getting back to work (in a career that I love and in an amazing firm) and hitting the gym to smash my goals.

Life is so great.

It’s hard to believe there was a time I didn’t want to live. A time when I would plan the way I was going to die. What a difference.

I know I have bipolar, I know I take 3 different medications, I know I have psychologist appointment every 2-3 weeks, and a psychiatrist appointment every 3 months (it used to be every 3 weeks). I know all these things BUT I know there are moments, where I don’t feel like I have bipolar, where I just am. My sister has even told me sometimes she forgets I have bipolar. It’s unreal how far I’ve come, how I see myself and life differently.

I don’t just function, I don’t just cope – I live.

Being told I had bipolar was the best thing that could have happened to me. It gave me the chance to finally have a life. It finally gave me the answer I was looking for. It opened the door to opportunity, the door to understanding.

Knowledge is power, self-awareness is power. And I was given that power the day I was escorted to the hospital and later diagnosed. It’s ironic I was locked up in a psych ward (terrified) but it was in that moment that I found my freedom.

I love life. I honestly do.

There are times where my mind try’s to tell me otherwise BUT like I said, knowledge is power and I know that I love life. I know my lows will end and I will see the sun shining as bright as ever.

There is so much to do in life, and because of the work I’ve put into my health I get to do it. Sure, I have safety buffers that others without bipolar might not have to worry about BUT if it means I get to step outside of the cage and shackles I was living in before, then so be it. Bring on the buffers.

Invest in yourself- go to doctor appointments and be actively engaged, apply the techniques discussed. Create a support system – people who you can trust and talk to (you are only alone if you choose to be) and educate yourself. When I was diagnosed I read books about bipolar, books about living with it, books about your loved ones perspective with living with someone with bipolar, and cognitive behavioural books and articles given to me by doctors. I made notes, I wrote questions – I refused to sit back and be passive in my own life. I took control of my life once given that chance, I’ve had help along the way but it was a choice I made and I’ve done everything in my power to fulfill it. It’s a never ending process, bipolar doesn’t just go away BUT it can become manageable.

Never doubt what you are capable of. Your happily ever after is a journey and I promise you it’s real.

-Steph

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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

Good Things People

What better time to write a blog post then when you’re stranded on the side of the road. Looking for the silver lining

Presently that’s me. 

By the time I post this I’ll be rescued BUT since I’ve got the time I’ll write away. 

Life update.

I’ve been doing good. The breakup is going good… he contacted me and wanted to work things out – go figure BUT in the words of Taylor Swift I told him we are never ever getting back together. And I feel great about it!

I started my new job at a family law boutique firm and I absolutely love it! Everyone is so nice. I will be working for two lawyers… it should be interesting and I’m sure I’ll be writing more posts about this new part of my life.

My health is good. It’s amazing what leaving a toxic relationship can do for you! I’ve had doctor appointments and I’m managing well in their eyes. My medications hasn’t changed and I don’t feel like there is a need to. I have a good combo going on right now. 

On to the fun stuff… 

I am going to post my DIY project down below … I finished it early last week and I am so happy with the the final result! It makes me even more excited to move out so I can put them to good use. (January is when I plan to move out)

Just a reminder … the table I bought for $25, the chairs $3 and the stool $3, the fabric for $30 (but i didnt use all of it), the stain, stripper and sand paper probably around $55… I had some at home as well. So not too shabby!

The before: 

The in-between… the stripping and sanding took a long time! 

The finished result:

And there you have it! My new dining set!

It was a lot of work BUT worth it, and I always enjoy these types of projects when it’s all said and done. 

I have all few more coming up so I’ll post those as they come along. 

Life is going good presently and I have a lot to look forward to! (Minus my broken down car set back BUT it could be worse, so I’m still smiling)

On a side note… all that weight I gained (which we determined was from my seroquel) I’ve lost 17lbs … I still have 15lbs to go but I’m grateful for the progress. I think I’ll write a post talking more about it later. 

Good things people. Good things. 

I just feel so grateful and blessed one decision can change your life and I feel like I’ve been making some pretty good decisions lately.

So my dear friends, make a decision today that will give you a better tomorrow.

– 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

You Are Limitless

You are capable of anything. Anything at all. I believe that with every fibre of my body. 

You are capable of achieving any goal so long as you put in the work. There are no limits aside from the ones you set. Yes, you may have to go an unconventional route to obtain your goal if you have a mental illness that affects the “normal route”. But detours are what make life interesting. 

It’s all about what we want and how much we want it. There is no reason you can’t achieve it. 

Write it out. Write down want you want – physically commit to the thought. A goal that’s not recorded is just a dream. When you write it out, it makes it that much more tangible and you will be that much more likely to invest time towards achieving it.

Everything takes time so be kind and patient with yourself. Dream big and turn those dreams into goals.

Never underestimate what you are capable of, and never tell yourself you can’t do something because the reality is you can. 

When I was first diagnosed with bipolar I thought my life was over and that I’d be limited with what I could do – come on its bipolar…but in actuality my life finally began after my diagnosis, because, come on its just bipolar. I finally got the help I needed and in turn started getting a grip on my life which made achieving my goals realistic. Things I thought I’d never do, I’ve done and there is more yet to come. 

Marriage, babies… all things that I want but terrify me because I’m not sure how my bipolar will affect me. But I’ll face my fears when the time comes because I know its worth it. I believe in me. And respectively I believe in you. Don’t put yourself in a box on a shelf, give yourself some credit and do great things, heck – do simple things. My point is just do things, for yourself and for others.

Be happy and live life in all of its glory.

– Steph

 

Today’s The Day

Today is the day.

I start my practicum today. I’ll be working in a law firm downtown. I’ve always wanted to work downtown- it’s just always seemed so glamorous.

I went shopping and updated my closet (which was of course totally necessary), I bought a boss-power-woman purse to fit my day planner, notebook and water bottle in. I have a head jam packed with information from school and I’m hoping it will translate into something useful when I get to work. I’m ready to rock this!

A couple of years ago I would never have dreamed I’d be where I am today – feeling happy. I feel like I’m actually getting a grip on my life. 

It hasn’t been easy BUT all the effort has been worth it. Going to appointments with my psychiatrist and psychologist, my commitment to taking my medication even if it felt like it was infringing on my plan to stay up or go out. Trying to eat right, sleep enough, and exercise. It all adds up.

*side note – has that ever happened to you? The overwhelming feeling of frustration for taking your medication and having to immediately go to bed because you know it makes you tired, groggy and/or nauseous otherwise. Ugh. – end of side note*

I’ve had bad days, bad weeks, but I’ve also had great days and great weeks. It all goes hand-in-hand. The key is to not dwell on the bad days. To let them come and let them go. To not throw away all the progress you’ve made because you are in the depths of despair for a period of time, even if it feels like forever

That’s something I’ve had to talk to my dear doctor about. I was constantly questioning all the progress I made because of how unsettled I’d be during my lows. But they are just lows – I have bipolar – they happen. It’s how I deal with them, how I manage myself while they happen that matters. And frankly some days getting out of bed was the best I could do – heck some days breathing was the best I could do. But I did it! Such simple actions added to my progress, they didn’t take anything away from it.

It can be blinding when you feel nothing but emptiness or sadness. It tricks you into thinking that, that’s all you are capable of feeling; anything else is unattainable. BUT that’s not the truth. You are capable of feeling so much more, life can offer us so much more than pain, misery and sadness. We just need to persevere through the dark days and work for it – yes I said work for it. 

We need to work for our happily ever after. In any fairytale you’ve ever read, the happily ever after never once occured before work was put in. It’s just not how it works. So why would our life’s story be any different?!

It’s so easy to sit back and do nothing. And what happens when we do nothing? NOTHING! NOTHING HAPPENS! 

How morbidly depressing – of course you would feel sad about life and uninspired if nothing ever occurred, if you were left stagnant and unchanging. Thats were self-loathing starts to fester. Without a little bit of effort how do you expect to be happy.

Being happy is an action. So it requires action.

Our life has a purpose. A divine purpose and we have a direction – 

Forward. 

Our direction is forward.

Ups and downs are a part of life – bipolar or not. Healing is a process and we are stronger than we think. We can take one step at a time and we will get our footing eventually. And even when we do we still might stumble and fall BUT we’ll pick ourselves up and keep going. 

Today is a result of me moving forward. I encourage you to look at your life and where you want to be and muster up the courage to take your first step in that direction and once you do don’t stop (maybe rest a little at times BUT don’t stop). You can do this. That’s the majesty of life – anything is possible. 

– Steph

Decisions, DecisionsĀ 

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