Are You Knocking on the Same Door?

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This quote is pretty much amazing!

Going through life I think it’s safe to say that we all get excited when new doors of opportunity are opened for us, the notion of something better coming our way is fantastic, right?

But! How in the world will we ever get to those doors if we do the same-old-same-old? Complacency & Comfort these are the two words that lead us to the same door we just walked thru.

Let’s use another analogy…. You are taking a drive and you come to a fork in the road, you can either turn left or right in attempt to get to your magnificent destination with a magnificent door. You decide to take a left, sadly this left ends up being a big loop that brings you right back to your original road, so once again you are faced with that fork in the road. What road do you pick?

Holy cow!!! You pick the left again!! What??! Wait??! Why??!  Why would you pick the left again when you know it swings back around to where you originally started??

Your answer  “Ohhh silly Stephanie, I turned left again because I know that road already; I  know what to expect, I know where all the bumps and potholes are in the road now and I don’t know what to expect when I turn right.” Does that answer sound logical to you?

Taking the right, that would be a path you’ve never been on, it might be a little bumpier than the one you’ve already driven on BUT out of the two options it will be the path that leads you two the magnificent destination you initially set out to find. How can I be so sure? Because the left road, the one you’ve driven on and chose to drive on again and again gets you no where. It’s a fact I know & you know, yet you choose to drive it over and over again thinking maybe just maybe it’s going to lead you to that magnificent destination this time.

We can’t get somewhere new, we can’t experience something new, we can’t grow into someone new IF we keep driving down the same road and keep opening the same door.

What is that quote about insanity…. trying the same thing over and over again with the expectation of a different outcome, now I’m not saying your insane BUT if the shoe fits … haha I am totally kidding I’m seriously not calling anyone insane. What I am saying is be aware of the doors your walking towards and going through, if it’s the same one over and over again then you need to brace yourself for an adventure to go towards the new door full of glorious new opportunities!

Ask yourself and take your pick.

-Steph

Out with the Old – In with the New

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When it comes to getting rid of a bad habit or even a crummy ex *cough cough* which is basically the same thing. I have a few words of advice that stem from personal reading, talking with one of my super heros a.k.a my doctor AND from direct experience.

Firstly, replace the bad with something new! If you are going to cut something from your life you are inevitably going to create a space, a void, a black hole! Do you catch my drift? You will need a positive replacement in order to sustain long term results. Something that will help you be a better version of you. I’ve turned to reading books, hitting the gym, cross stitching  (you read that right! It’s a skill under development)
If you choose to drop a habit a positive replacement is a must. It allows you to focus your energy elsewhere, and acts as a positive reinforcement for the new direction of your life.

Secondly, self talk. Postitive self talk. How we talk to ourselves is critical to how we see ourselves. If you always talk down to yourself, telling yourself you’re going to fail… you will. If you break yourself down before you even give yourself a chance to try… you will in fact fail. AND then you’ll talk yourself down even more for failing like you said you would. Don’t do that! Positive affirmations, Progress Not Perfection.

Which leads me to number 3. Be realistic. When I ended it with my ex, I gave my self an unrealistic timeline of 2 weeks. 2 weeks and I would be over a 2 year relationship… that stemmed back to us being in each others lives since gr 8. Unrealistic much??! And when I failed I was so angry at myself. I was weak, I was pathetic, he wasn’t worth anymore of my tears…. blah blah blah. BUT the flaw to my plan and train of thought was that I forgot I’m human. We are all human so lets be realistic. My reality was not 2 weeks to be over him… heck I’m in the months zone and I’m just getting “over him”. My reality was “don’t go back to him!”And I got that right this time. Why?? Because I began to let myself hurt, cry, be angry, confused and I let myself miss him without condeming and repremanding myself. GIVE yourself realistic goals; when you make a significant change allow yourself to mourn or think of what you let go BUT remind yourself that your letting it go for a reason AND that there is so much more good life ahead of you.

Lastly… give yourself a pat on the back. Acknowledge and give yourself credit for deciding to make a change in your life. Recognizing is one step, taking action is the next. So your on the right track.

We’ll get there – progress not perfection.

– Steph

Your Happiness – Your Choice

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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

Remember This

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Come what may, I am still here YOU are still here. We are strong. We are stronger than we were before. The past does not defines us, it refines us. It shows us what we are made of and what we can offer- and we can offer a lot.

Sleeping Beauty … Or Not

Alrighty,

So I woke up this morning with a burning question on my mind. What on the earth was I going to blog about??!

With a million thoughts running through my mind, the task of selecting one single topic seemed like it would be quite the process. BUT then it hit me. What is in common with having a million thoughts?? Anyone?? Anyone at all?? Alright, I’ll spill. Sleep!

That’s right, I’m not sure about you but there are some nights when my brain will literally not shut down, I’m flooded with thoughts that are ground breaking and then literally other thoughts that are absolutely pointless (and then I have to stop and think why I even thought about those useless thoughts in the first place.. do you see this vicious cycle??)

Sleep for me comes and goes… allow me to explain that phrase further. I have this magical condition called Insomnia, which to shed some light is commonly coupled with those who have bipolar. Sleep is a magical thing if you ask me. There are some days or weeks where I will literally struggle to close my eyes for more than 2 hrs a night. And other nights and days I strain to open my eyes after a 10 hr snooze which I call “Sleeping Beauty Syndrome”

Why the drastic difference with my sleeping patterns especially when I claim insomnia?

Simple, the weeks I feel like a superhero that doesn’t need more than a couple hours of sleep I am in my manic state. A state when I run faster than a Duracell Bunny, literally. A high that when I am in it, I quote “sleep is for the weak.”

It’s not, don’t worry – sleep is for the healthy.

However this brings me to the point of when I excessively sleep, this is the period when I hit my low, my depressive state (not so fun) Sleep seems like the safest and most logical form of avoidance (I’ll explain that thought process on a later date)… nottttt the best way to deal with life BUT hey! I’m human.

So what’s my happy medium? It’s is about 7-8 hrs of sleep. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would hit the trademark “optimal hours of sleep” but lo and behold here I am in 2015 sleeping regularly within that time frame- for the most part.

What’s my secret?

Firstly (this is mainly applicable to those with bipolar)            Medication.

Is medication the B-ALL to falling asleep? No! HECK NO! But for me it was something that my doctors and I agreed was necessary for me to start building healthy regular sleeping habits. And it has helped… ALOT.

Perhaps a prescribed sleeping aide is not necessary for you, there are defiantly natural alternatives out there to explore I would recommend talking to your doctor about the right options for you)

Alright now for some tips I’ve been taught along the way (applicable to everyone)

  • Eat a banana before bed. One of my mom’s friends is a nurse and told me this tip. Bananas are a natural source of  melatonin, the sleep hormone, as well as tryptophan. YAY for bananas!
  • Drink warm milk before bed. I thinks it’s just a relaxant, with a calming affect. Tip: add honey with a wee bit of cinnamon (not a lot because cinnamon is a natural spice used to raise your metabolism)
  • DO NOT use your phone, computer or TV an hour or so before bed (or in bed) This is because these devices emit a blue light, which your brain registers as day time… who would’a knew?
  • Get up outta bed that’s right, you read it correctly. When your tossing and turning the best thing you can do is get up out of bed. When you stay in bed restlessly, your training your body to feel anxiety about sleep- in the very place it’s supposed to sleep… twisted.
  • Do low simulating activities till you feel drowsy. Again this is recommended when you are out of your bed, for instance I’ll do crosswords till I start to feel drowsy, then I’ll crawl back in bed and try round two.
  • Set your Internal Clock.  This one is perhaps the most challenging tip BUT for me has made the difference. After so many years of my sleeping being all over the map I screwed up my internal clock and any form of regular sleep was beyond my grasp (even with medication) So the trick, wake up everyday at the same time, regardless to if you fall asleep at 2 am or 4am, when you do this your internal clock will start to reset (it may take a few weeks, CONSISTENCY is key) and eventually you should be able to start falling asleep and waking up at a decent time.

Hopefully something in that mix sticks and helps out with your sweet dreams.

-Steph

Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time… the beginning to any great story. This story just happens to be mine.

If you haven’t already read my “About” I’ll quickly try to explain myself and what my beloved blog’s goals are.

First things first, my name is Stephanie, and I have a passion for life. I also have Bipolar II… who would have figured??

I hope that as I delve into this blog, I will be able to explore life to its fullest, and bring my readers on my journey, as well as help them along their own. I hope to share my passions, build confidence, educate, inspire, stimulate new perspectives on life (as well as break some of the stigmas surrounding those who have Bipolar Disorder).

My life is not picture perfect by any means and you’ll find that out sooner than later as I share some of the battles that I’ve both won and lost. I go up and I come down, this is my life and I am trying to make the most of it.

As in any tale… the protagonist (a.k.a. me for this blog) needs a trusted side kick with a valiant heart. This ladies and gentlemen is non other than my loveable loyal fur-baby (YES, I went there calling her my baby) She is a ferocious 4lbs Chihuahua, with all bark and no bite. I don’t know what I would do without her but fear not! I’ll dedicate a post all of its own explaining how she’s changed my life for the better… BUT until that post comes, allow me to introduce her by name – my little Nutmeg.

Welcome to my journey of happily ever after.

– Steph