Flood The World

I’m all about self love and positive self talk, I may not be a master at it yet BUT I am a work in progress. I attribute having this type of mentality to my success with my mental health and my overall well-being. It was only a couple of years ago that I had an unhealthy distorted view of myself BUT through consistent efforts to be kinder to myself I have been able to be the happiest version of me that I’ve ever been despite all the trials I face with my mental health – let alone just being a 26-year-old going thru life.

It’s so easy to settle into negative thought patterns, to view yourself through a critical lens that eventually takes over how you view everything and everyone around you… how terribly bleak and miserable.

Be kind. Be merciful. Be patient. Love yourself for exactly who you are now and who you are becoming. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you are not going to be everything that you ever envisioned yourself to be in a day BUT that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate yourself for who you are now and keep moving forward because happiness is a journey not a destination.

The desire to progress allows us to move forward BUT how do you expect to do that if you are filled with self hatred or loathing. Toxic thoughts hold us back, they are weights and chains that we place on ourselves that inhibit our ability to move forward in our lives. How can you fuel your body, mind and soul with ugliness and expect a beautiful result? Negativity does not produce positive results.

When you love yourself, it is so much easier to love others.  It’s so much easier to see the good in others and everything around you.

Be kind to yourself.

Life is hard enough as it is, you don’t need to be your own worst enemy to top it off, you should be your greatest champion and supporter, because at the end of the day, you are all you have control over.  You can choose who you want to be and you can either become better or bitter.

Be kind to others.

Strong people lift other people up, I’ve said it before. That is true strength. Look for the good in others, inspire the good in others. Make a positive impact and be a positive influence. Small actions make a huge difference. Think about your day and how a complete stranger opening a door for you, telling you to have a good afternoon, smiling at you could make such a memorable impact. Kindness is powerful, and you should never underestimate its reach and power. A simple kind act could make the world of a difference in someone’s life.

We can control the kindness we show to ourselves and others. Start with yourself first. You are a priority. Don’t put yourself at the bottom of the list and focus all your efforts on others. That is not being kind to yourself. Start with yourself and let that love and kindness overflow to those around you. Don’t get it backwards. AND being kind to yourself DOES NOT make you selfish. It makes you HEALTHY.

– Steph

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Prince Charming

Alright, so the big news that I’ve been wanting to let the world in on BUT I’ve been waiting to make sure it was the right moment.

I am in a relationship. BOOM.

That just happened.

Well, it’s been a while now but the twist about our relationship has been its long distance.

My dearly beloved came to see me and just left on Wednesday. He spent 13 days with me and they honestly couldn’t have been any better.

Where to begin.

My past relationships have all been pretty rocky, whether by my own doing because of my mental health or because the men I’ve dated were toads … clearly the latter is the more dominant reason. However, my health has never been better and I have felt ready to be in a healthy committed relationship for a while now, alas I needed to meet the right person.

Boy oh boy, have I met him.

I think the distance has been a blessing in disguise, it really ensured that he was talking to me, for me, and that there were no physical ulterior motives (which is so often the case) – I want to be wanted for more than my body and he has made it clear that he loves me for more than that.

Anywho, we have texted everyday since we made contact and our initial texting has turned into phone calls and skyping nearly everyday – lots of communication. For those wondering long distance relationships and bipolar are totally doable.

He came when I was in the eye of a storm of a severe low. I was in a downward spiral trying ever so hard to hold on to what progress I’ve made (as you can read from previous blog posts) and then there he was – my prince charming in knights armour riding a white horse; the grounding anchor that was missing. I’ve never felt so peaceful before. That’s not to say I am dependent on him (this was a big discussion with my doctor), however I appreciate him for who he is and the calm that he brings into my life.

Would my storm have settled had he not come into my life? Yes, because I am independently responsible for my health and the lows inevitably come and go, BUT did my storm settle faster because he entered my life? It sure did, and for that I am grateful.

He knows that I have bipolar now and it hasn’t deterred him from pursuing a relationship with me.

I waited until we had spent adequate time together in person before I told him I have bipolar and let him in on the past baggage like my bankruptcy that came as a result of it. (I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that I claimed bankruptcy before, it’s been 3 years past BUT that is something that happened – the joys of bipolar and its symptoms… perhaps I will write another post with my perspective on building up to that moment and life after claiming bankruptcy) I wanted him to see me for me before he saw me as a stigma. I am not crazy because I have bipolar. I choose recovery everyday and my life reflects that – yes it can be a wee bit chaotic sometimes BUT I am not damaged goods and he sees me beyond my mental illness, he sees me as priceless. He told me he would have never known I had bipolar if I hadn’t told him, and YES, he unfortunately thought people with bipolar were crazy due to stigma and people he’s met, so I proved him wrong. I take the fact that he was clueless to my diagnosis as a big compliment, not that I am saying there is anything wrong with having bipolar BUT the fact I am able to live a stable life to the point that my mental illness isn’t apparent to people around me and doesn’t cripple me (as much as it used to) – that is something beautiful.

For those of you who don’t know, I have chosen not to disclose my diagnosis to anyone beyond my immediate family a few close friends and a few aunts. Please do not think that I am ashamed of my diagnoses, I am not ashamed of having bipolar. I am just not ready to face that battle yet. My life was not stable in previous years and I was in chaos, I don’t want people to dwell on those years and dismiss all the progress I have made in the past couple years, I feel like I need to make a dent with my stable life and illustrate to the world that I am successful in spite of my mental illness, and that it hasn’t diminished my quality of life.

Will I eventually disclose that I have bipolar? I actually believe that I will. Like I said I am not ashamed. I am proud of who I am in my entirety. I live a productive life with a mental illness that most people cannot even begin to comprehend. Do I want the world and those around me to see that being bipolar doesn’t ruin your life? I sure do. It’s just about the timing. I want to really make an impact in the world of mental health, it’s something I think a lot about, but it’s all about timing and acting in my best interest and not taking on Goliath without a sling BUT I feel like later in the year or even next year that time will come. Don’t hold me to that BUT it’s a feeling I have and its been brewing for a while. Good things are going to happen this year, and I feel like I am just about ready to tell the world I have bipolar and I am living the good life regardless to that fact.

A bit of a random post, but I hope it conveys that I am happy because I am truly and sincerely happy and I am going to enjoy every moment while I can. Each day I can feel happy is a gift that I try not to take for granted and there is so much to be happy about.

– Steph

Good Things

Alright, so I apologize for not posting last week, I got swept away with time and before I realized it the week was over.

But goodness gracious, as the saying goes – time flies when you are having a good time.

Good things have been happening. I feel an abundance of positive energy for which I am grateful for and I have a few things on the go. Plans, plans and more plans.

Speaking of plans….

I’m not sure if you remember, but a while back I attempted to make the switch to WordPress.org for my blog… yah epic fail. I panicked and reverted back to WordPress.com the same day. The whole concept freaks me out. I am so far from being technologically literate – it’s not even funny.

However, I know that for what I want to do and where I envision my blog going I will need to make the switch. Apparently, correct me if I’m wrong – none of the beautiful comments made on my blog posts will transfer over when I move my content to the new host. This is a tragedy. I sincerely appreciate every single comment I’ve received on my posts. If there is any way to prevent me from losing them, please let me know. Additionally, if you know of any resources for self-hosted blogging, send em’ my way.

I’m not sure when I’ll make the switch but I anticipate it will be taking place no later than May. When I am about to make the move I will announce it, as far as I know there should be no impact on those subscribed to my blog so long as I do everything right (cross your fingers). The domain will remain the same- I’ll just be doing an overhaul and face lift to my blog. It is a work in progress, but I promise you there is a vision.

Perhaps that wasn’t the most exciting good news to share with you but I’m pretty excited about it. I promise there is actually more exciting good news (life update) that will follow in 2 weeks. I won’t be posting next week (for good reason).

All in all, I feel very optimistic with the direction I am taking my life. I have some serious goals that I am excited to bring to life. I’ve never been one to create vision boards BUT you all know I write my goals down, because a goal that isn’t written down is just a dream. I love dreaming but I want more than to just dream – I want a reality.

I will be exerting some serious effort to achieve my goal regarding my blog, but I have no doubt I can achieve my vision and I’m excited for you all to share the journey with me. I truly appreciate all your support.

Things are about to get good – really good, and it’s not by chance. So, what does that tell me? It tells me that good things can start to go your way too. Put yourself on the pathway of positive thinking, self-love, self-care and self-forgiveness and you are going to be in the direct line for good things to happen. I guarantee it!

Good things aren’t reserved for a select few – they are for me and you.

– Steph

Just A Little Bit of Happy

This picture says it all.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Remember it’s the small and simple things that ultimately bring us the most happiness. Take today – take everyday for that matter and find the little things to be grateful for and I promise you’ll be happier than you ever thought possible.

Look for the good and you’ll find it along with a little bit more happiness than you had before.

-Steph

Here You Are

Here I am. Living.

There was a time when I did not want to live. When thoughts of suicide were my constant companion, however I am grateful to say those days are in the past.

Despite it all, here I am living. Despite having bipolar, here I am living. And not only am I living – but I am loving my life and thriving.

So much has happened over the course of my life, as I am sure you can say the same. So much has happened and yet, here we are.

I am feeling more like alive than I ever have. I am feeling more like the person I’ve always wanted to be but that I thought was beyond my grasp.

Life is precious. Life is wonderful, when I was at my worst I wasn’t alive, I wasn’t living – I was existing, and now with a lot of hard work, optimism and hope – here I am.

I hope everyone realizes how strong they are.

Despite all the hardships and trials you go through, you keep going. That is true strength.

Sorry my last two posts have been short, I have so much to say but I haven’t quite been able to express myself adequately (lots of writing and deleting). I do however have some amazing news and I am hoping to share it shortly.

Life can be so beautifully unexpected, remember that.

– Steph

Darker Days

At times I feel like I am enveloped in darkness. I feel trapped. I feel as though I am less-than because I am not able to escape the depression that plagues my life time and time again.

Yet out of the darkness always comes something beautiful, out of the darkness comes a greater appreciation for life, out of the darkness comes empathy, out of the darkness comes a strength that is unfathomable, out of the darkness comes a resiliency that is far too often undermined by our society.

The butterfly endures the dark, endures being trapped and comes out stronger and more beautiful. The butterfly finds its freedom.

The darkness does not last forever.

– Steph

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