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All Posts By:

peppervintage

  • InArt, Bipolar II, Mental Health Awareness, Mental Health Stories, Mental illness, Uncategorized

    Mental Health Warrior – Rebecca

    Meet my Mental Health Warrior for April. Yes I am soooo behind on all my mental health warriors post.

    Below is a little bit about Bekr. In addition I would like to add that I met Bekr a few years ago when I started my facebook page. She runs a page called The Misadventures of Bipolar Girl and Friends. She’s been such a honest and raw example of how one lives day to day with mental illness. She is also a veteran of the Army and I consider her to be a great suppor and friend.

     

    https://www.facebook.com/TheMisAdventuresofaBipolarGirl/

    Hi everyone, Rebecca (Bekr) here. A little bio: I don’t like doing bios because I never know what to say, it feels weird 🤣 I am full of sarcasm and have a slightly dark sense of humor. I’ve reached level 43, married, and have two adorable furbabies. Originally from New Orleans, now living in Vegas. I was diagnosed with bipolar, ADD, PTSD. I’m looking forward to hanging around here for the month. Thank you Pepper for the opportunity to do this.

    I’ve included a link to her opening my carepackage because she is just too adorable to not share.

    https://www.facebook.com/TheMisAdventuresofaBipolarGirl/videos/1649310908450897/

     

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  • InBipolar II, Mental Health Awareness, Mental Health Stories, Mental illness, Uncategorized

    Mental Health Warrior – Aubrey

    I met Aubrey through the International Bipolar Foundation  Aubrey is the Social Media and Program Coordinator at IBPF and I am a blogger for IBPF.

    Through the connection with IBPF and the blogger program  I was able to get to know Aubrey a little better and selected her to receive a care package from Pepper Vintage. She is truly an inspiration, she has turned out to be someone I can turn to when I am struggling with my own illness. She  works hard to bring awareness to bipolar and mental illness.

    Below is the care package I sent out to her. I wish I had my own  picture to share but I had to steal this from her account 🙂

     

     

    Scroll down to read a little bit more on this amazing Mental Health Warrior

     

     

    Ever since I was in elementary school I felt as though there was something about me that set me apart from my peers. Over the years this feeling persisted but my perception of it varied; for every day spent feeling like a social pariah, I spent an equal amount of days in the opposite realm of narcissism. I wanted desperately to have one word that summed up the chaotic contradiction I considered myself. I was 18 when I received this all-encompassing word: bipolar. I instantly rejected it.

    Today I no longer feel that burning desire to define myself in one word. “Bipolar” is an incredibly impactful piece to my puzzle, but it is not the only piece. I’ve learned that it can be excruciatingly painful to live with and at other times it is the fire that fuels my success. Taking the good with the bad has allowed me to look back on my often times chaotic and contradictory life and embrace all of it. I can’t say that my past selves would recognize who I am today and that is okay as long as I continuously pick myself back up when I fall and keep my eye continually bettering myself. As Alice in Wonderland puts it, “I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.”

    I never could have imagined that I would be 26 years old working at International Bipolar Foundation and openly discussing my journey with bipolar disorder. It is even more amazing to me that I no longer feel different; I feel like I have found my “tribe”. I have discovered a community that is understanding, supportive, and determined to rise above the adversity we face. I do not know where this new path I am on will lead me but I am filled with optimism. I hope I can be of service to others who are struggling to find their own individual path to wellness because I wholeheartedly believe in you.

    Aubrey

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  • InMental Health Awareness, Mental Health Stories, Mental illness, Uncategorized

    Mental Health Warrior- Sammie Jo

    I wanted to start show casing some of the stories that come to me. I am honored for all of those who share their stories with me even the ones who asked me not to share their stories. I respect and admire all of them.

    In February I launched my first care package campaign, before that I was sending out post cards and mini care packages to those who were struggling a bit. I have tried to figure out how I can reach the people who follow my facebook page and instagram to let them know they are not alone. I started with post cards and really loved interacting with my followers. I wanted to do something bigger and my care package program was born.

    Sammie Jo was my first recipient of my care package program. Below is a picture of the care package that was sent to her. She also was a rock star and helped me out with my page for a month. She is now a forever friend.

     

    Meet Sammie Jo

    Here is a little bit from Sammie Jo. You can also find her story and posts on my Facebook page.

    Sammie Jo’s Bio

    “I’m 35 years old and a mother of 4 currently living in Missouri 
    I’m originally from Pennsylvania where all my family and friends are that I miss dearly daily. 
    I currently struggling with postpartum depression which ive never experienced with any of my children but with my 6 month old son 
    Some days are worse than others but i do my best” Sammie

    I am grateful to have the opportunity to meet and interact with Sammie Jo. She is a total warrior and is doing her best to despite dealing with Postpartum depression. I hope that society can see these women as the warriors they are and extend support, love kindness and compassion.

     

     

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  • InBipolar II, Donations, Mental Health Awareness, Mental illness, Moods, Motherhood, Uncategorized

    Care Packages for Mental Health Warriors

    If you have ever struggled with a mental illness and felt alone, scared. If you felt as if no one cared, this is why I started my care package program.

    My experiences with terrible bouts of depression, bipolar episodes and suicide attempts were met with a lot of mixed emotions. Unfortunately very little kindness, compassion or well wishes were extended. No food trains or casseroles were made. No one really checked on the well being of myself or my kids. This was a very dark time for me. After God/Universe gave me a 3rd chance at life I knew I wanted to take care of others who experienced the same loneliness I did.

    We have come a long way with regards to speaking about mental illness and bringing awareness.

    Here is a blog post I wrote for International Bipolar Foundation

    IBPF blog post -care packages

    My care package program is small right now.

    I estimate I’ve given out around 20 of them this year. From Mini care packages below to big ones above

    I rely strictly on donations (pending my 501 c3) and product sales as well as my own monthly contribution (no more shopping addiction for me 😊)

    This month I will be giving to The Diaper Foundation my goal is to get out 12 and I’ve already picked a few people for June.

    I also put together mini custom care packages for $20.00 on my Etsy shop.

    https://etsy.me/2wRlxEN

    Join me and help me make a mental health warrior’s day.

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  • InBipolar II, Lifestyle, Mental Health Awareness, Mental illness, Moods, Motherhood

    Motherhood and Mental Illness

     

    For Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to share my experience with being a mom and having a mental illness. Being a mom is a tough job on its own and it can be overwhelming. There is a ridiculous amount of pressure to be a perfect mom and there is always some sort of debate on how we should parent. Moms are typically the ones that are blamed for anything that goes wrong with their children. We are held to a standard by society that is impossible to achieve.

    We’ve seen movies made about this, where moms get tired of trying to conform to societies’ standards. I bet a lot of moms out there can relate in some ways to Bad Moms or the upcoming movie Tully. I want to ask you a favor, think of all the things you might go through as mom and how stressful it can be. Trying to get it together in the mornings, to rush out to work after having to struggle with a toddler over mismatch shoes or a baby who is getting sick and you don’t have enough PTO time to take a day off. Think of all the stress that comes with motherhood and how you might handle all of that. Have you ever had a meltdown at any stage, the teething, the terrible two’s, the tantrums? Were you ever so sleep deprived you thought you might over dose on coffee? Ok hopefully you get the point. Now imagine you have Bipolar, Depression and anxiety. What kind of toll would that take on you? How would it affect your ability to mother your children?

    Those scenarios I gave you were me. I am diagnosed with bipolar II and I am a mom to 4 beautiful children. Mothering was a challenge and very difficult for me.

    You see society does not allow for moms to get sick at all, much less allow for a mom to have a mental illness and make mistakes. Moms are almost not allowed to be human beings with flaws. I was undiagnosed for many years. It wasn’t until I had my 4th child that I knew something was really wrong. I had severe postpartum depression. So severe I am surprised I didn’t go into psychosis, I know I borderline on it many times. With zero support and no one to help me I suffered, as did my children. At the time my spouse did not take my illness serious. He chalked it up to me be dramatic or over reacting. I didn’t get help or have a support system, most days all I could do was make it through the day. Everything seemed like an uphill battle. I had zero patience for my children and as a result I didn’t get to nurtured them as I should have. Instead I spent most of my day battling all the demons of a mental illness. I did not get to enjoy my children’s younger years.

    I spent many mornings driving to work in tears; I was so sad all the time and never knew why. In Sept 2007 I had my first suicide attempt; everything was spiraling wildly out of control. I was alone scared and in a lot of pain. I was completely exhausted from trying to fight so hard; I just wanted to sleep (forever). The EMT crew arrived and to my shock the lady EMT who was treating me talked about me as if I wasn’t a person. I was in and out of sleep but I could hear her. She accused me of faking it, and then told me I was selfish; on and on the whole ride to the hospital. My husband was also angry and shared the same sentiments as the EMT lady.

    No one thought to ask me about my mental state or what brought me to think that ending my life was the only solution. They assumed I was a selfish and cowardly mother who was unfit to have kids. I was told I didn’t deserve my kids. After I drank the charcoal (so that my organs wouldn’t fail) I was sent home but not before I was told how lucky I was to be alive and to have a husband that tolerated my behavior.

    I wanted to share this one example because of the severity of the situation and give a glimpse to what I endured but also hopefully give a different perspective of what might a mom go through who isn’t treated for her mental illness.

    When I finally did get help I began to heal and forgive as well.

    Here was my silver lining :If I didn’t know what was wrong with me how would anyone else know. After my diagnosis I began to research and understand what was happening to me. I was in the dark about what was wrong with me for so long, the diagnosis was a relief. After many years of working through my illness, talking about my illness and sharing my story I now know I am not alone. There are many others just like me, who went through or are going through the same thing.

    I took this as an opportunity to share my story and educated others. I challenged the ones close to me to research and listen to me. I asked them to try to understand what I was going through. If they couldn’t understand I needed them to have compassion at the very least.

    We have to do better as a society to provide support and safe environments to our mothers who are suffering with a mental illness. Judging them and shaming is not going to help them or their children. We have to start listening better and lending a helping hand.

    Let’s not forget it takes a village to raise happy and healthy children. Let’s start by taking care of moms out there who are struggling. Let’s do better.

    Young Me around 1996. My oldest son is 2 1/2 and my second oldest is only a few months here.I went on to have 3 more children of which I have up the 5th one due to my depression.

     

     

     

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  • InBipolar II

    Who is Pepper Vintage Part I- The Part where “Vintage” made sense

    Who the heck is Pepper Vintage , where did she come from and Why Pepper Vintage?

    I get asked this question quite a bit I never really answer it because it’s such a long story and involves my life falling apart. So if your ready for story of a woman losing herself, hitting complete rock bottom , eventually dusting herself off and finding herself then keep reading. If not the short version is this. Pepper is me , she was created to represent me and my journey with bipolar but before that she was going to be a vintage store (see pictures way below)

    Ok long story and kudos for you sticking around to read this.

    Below is the doodle of Pepper and the first concept.  Inspiration came from Madonna’s children book The English Roses.

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/302234.The_English_Roses

    Below are the early versions of Pepper Vintage circa 2009.

    I always loved and enjoyed working in retail. What I loved most about retail was helping women find the perfect outfit. It wasn’t just clothes or shopping it was about helping women feel their best not matter what their age or shape.

    In 2009 I wanted to start a vintage online shop. I had purchased a few dresses to get me started. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the dressed that inspired the logo. The most important thing that I can tell you was that IT HAD POCKETS, and it was adorable, oh and also it was from Montgomery Wards.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montgomery_Ward

    Below is a collage of dresses I collected and then sold.

    At the time I was suffering from depression. I had a pretty good melt down a few years before this and I my life was barely holding on for dear life.  This dream meant the world to me and it gave me something to focus on  other than my life falling apart and my inner demons. So I am a bit ADD so hang on because I am going to switch to my life crumbling to Pepper Vintage quite a bit.

    2009 I gave birth to my 5th child and I was a wreck of a mess. If you know anything about my story I gave up my 5th kid for adoption. (another blog for another time)

    I was  sadness, despair and a little self destruction all wrapped in one.

    To relieve some of that sadness we adopted a little black dog who we named ……. you guessed it, Pepper. She was a sweet rescue from the SPCA, she was part of a horrible puppy mill that was shut down and on the news. This sweet girl was over bred and was severely neglected. I knew she was in bad shape but I wanted to give her a home and show her a better life. Sadly a few days later she became very ill, and was diagnosed with distemper. She was laid to rest, we had her for only a week but I loved her so much. Losing Pepper crushed my soul. I can’t tell you how much I needed that dog, I needed to love and nurture after giving up a baby for adoption.

    (Pepper and AJ)

    After that devastating loss I still held on the idea of my Vintage Dress shop but it never went anywhere just remained a dream. Life started crumble around me pretty quickly. The depression was getting worse and so was my drinking (by the way I was misdiagnosed, I really had Bipolar ) Having Bipolar and being treated with antidepressants was the beginning of the end of life as I knew it.

    The End of Part I …..

    Part II is when I destroy my life. Yep there is more but I thought I would give everyone who stuck around to read this a break.

    Part II will be ready in probably a week but most likely two weeks because I am always behind on everything I do.

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  • InBipolar II, Holistic healing, Lifestyle, Relationships

    Making Peace with the Universe

    A few weeks ago I started reading “You are a Badass How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero.

    You are a Badass

     

    This is a book I’ve been trying to avoid at all cost. It’s everywhere and so many people I know have read and gushed about it. I despise self -help books it’s like they tell you things you already know. They bore me and for the most part I feel like I can help myself if I can just focus or if my bipolar isn’t acting up and causing trouble.

    So ever since the day my husband gave me to great advice of, stop searching. I’ve really have stopped searching. Instead I listen; I listen to the universe and allow the universe to guide me as well as my heart. While we were on our little weekend getaway I popped in a book store and the book was right on the shelf staring me in my face. I thought ok universe I’ll get the damn book. I did and started to read it right away then life happened. Kids, hectic work schedule, a little anxiety and bipolar thrown in, so I did the next best thing, I listened to the audio book. The book was great and was totally in line with how my life was going. I didn’t hate it like I thought I would. It was very helpful and now I listen to the audio book at least once a week to reaffirm what I’ve learned from the book. What I liked the most is her mention of the universe and how that really resonated with me.

    Since I’ve stopped searching I’ve been a bit more in harmony with the universe.  I find I do not have the cluttered up thoughts in my mind or as much anxiety. At times I  feel at peace and at ease, it’s a strange feeling especially for someone who was used to having chaos in her brain 24/7. I also started to meditate but I am failing miserably at this mainly because I am not making it a priority and only trying to fit in a few minutes here and there. I really want to do better with that, baby steps.

    Even though I am still for the universe to guide me, it is guiding me. I am not sitting around doing nada all day long. These days are more productive. Exciting things happening for me the first qtr of 2018, the main one being filing for nonprofit status, I’ve wanted to do this for years but was too scared to make the jump. With love and support I took the leap and I will find out if it’s approved in about 30 days or so. I’ve master the baby step technique this year and I am no longer beating myself up for not doing enough.

    This new way of living is new to me but it is also helpful for the bipolar that tries to disrupt my life at times. When I feel the rise of bipolar inside of me I quickly think of things I am grateful for. I try to refocus my thoughts to things that are good in my life. While my bipolar isn’t as bothersome as was in the past I still have it and still shows up. I have to remember that I do have an illness and it does flare up and sometimes my found way of living still won’t ward off the bipolar effect 100%. I am trying to be much better about self-care because the minute I let that slip everything else does.

    I will be back to update on the care-packages on how you can sponsor one for someone struggling with a mental illness or get one for yourself. This is a project very near and dear to my heart. I wish I could get out more but baby steps 🙂

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