0
Browsing Category:

Lifestyle

  • 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.

     

     

     

    4
  • 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 🙂

    0
  • InAsk Pepper, Bipolar II, Holistic healing, Lifestyle, Mental Health Awareness, Moods, Therapy

    Productive Manic Weekend

    What a productive weekend.

    I had the final touches for pepper birthday cards created. Thank you spouse for your illustration skills.

    Started my application to turn Pepper into a non profit.

    Made some cash selling on Poshmark.

    Pepper Poshmark

    Prepared another care package

    Had brunch with my bff and found out that bacon jam is heaven on earth. Thank you Jessica

    Bacon Jam

    Celebrated my oldest 24th birthday!!! (How’d he get so old lol )

    Created final T-shirt design for imperfectly perfect thank you again spouse for your illustration skills.

    I did some peer to peer support on 7 Cups

    Finished my blog post I started weeks ago.

    Stop Searching

    This is what a manic weekend can look like but also have a great support group.

    Sometimes I can be off putting because I seem like I’m trying to out do people.

    I find it hard at times to answer the question what are you up to? I usually don’t share all the things I am up to especially when I’m manic.

    I promise I’m not trying to over achieve but I do enjoying hitting my goals when I have the energy . I’m living my life guided by my heart and sometimes my manic mood grants me the extra energy to accomplish lots on the to do list. I’m lucky to have people in my life that help me along on all these projects. I look forward to the manic mood because I will have my weeks where I’m at a stand still.

    This year I’m putting extra effort to taking Pepper to the next level.

    Thankful for all of you for pushing me along extending kindness so I can get brave to do these scary things.

    0
  • InBipolar II, Holistic healing, Lifestyle, Mental Health Awareness, Moods, Relationships, Therapy

    Stop Searching

    One day while I was going on and on about trying to find purpose and make things work and what should I do with my life, blah blah blah. Right in the middle of my existential woe is me crisis I received the most valuable and treasured advice from my spouse.

    He said simply “ stop searching”.

    He is wise and most times it takes me about 6 months to catch up to his wisdom. He is so gracious about it too. He’ll offer advice and almost immediately I’ll frown at it only to come back to him months later as if it was my own idea. Usually he’ll give me his smug smile, the smile that says I told you so without being a jerk about it.

    When he said stop searching , it was one of the few times I stopped in my tracks and said “You’re right !”

    Lately I have really tried to be still and listen to the universe. I let it guide me rather than me trying to control it. This year I have also made a conscious effort in going with my heart and my intuition.  You can’t go wrong with listening to your heart right? What could go wrong…. Except that you put yourself out there, allow yourself to be vulnerable and maybe possibly be laughed at. How bad can it be lol.

    I come up with lots of crazy ideas that are sometimes met with giggles or advice like “how about you do adult things first, work really hard at your job move up the ladder and when you retire you can do all these things” or my favorite one “take care of your kids, you’re a mom and moms can’t have dreams until AFTER the kids bleed you dry of all your energy and money”. I totally don’t listen to that type of talk and those people are no longer in my life. I am a big believer in going after your passions even while adulting and raising kids.

    I am allowing the Universe /God / and my heart to take the reins.  I welcome the sneers and the giggles because we have only ONE life and I am running with my passion. I was born to do things, to serve and to help others. That is who I am. I am no longer trying to go against that.

    This year I started my care package program and I am overwhelmed by the responses to it. I set some pretty big goals this year and one of them is to send out love light and hope to those suffering from mental illness. We must do better as a society to let people know they are not alone, that they matter and the world needs them. If we can just give people a little hope imagine how much better the world will be.

    I am still on my 2018 goals as well.

    No toxic people

    No negativity

    And only positive vibes.

    I hope that 2018 is treating you well and that you focus on the positive around you. If you ever feel in despair and alone ,please know that you are not. There are people on this earth that care and want you to know that you are loved. Be kind to yourself  , be gentle to yourself and most of all love yourself.

    6
  • InBipolar II, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

    2018 New Year’s Resolutions

    I typically stay away from resolutions because I never ever keep them. Especially the hit the gym and eat right one lol.

    I do try to be a better version of myself each year. It’s important (I think) to work on the inner beauty of our yourself. Tackle the demons , work out the pain that’s holding you back and most importantly give back. Make the world a better place.

    1) Cut out Toxic people and negativity. This probably should be two resolutions but I feel they go hand and hand.

    Toxic people – this one is hard because toxic people are typically friends , family and sometimes even co workers. Some you can’t completely cut out of your life. For me, my personal stance is if I can’t cut them out of my life 100% then I won’t engage with them.

    Toxic people bring so much negativity in your life. These people are miserable as hell and as the old saying goes “misery loves company” holds true. They project their issues on you.

    These people are not friends, they are people with issues they haven’t worked out yet . In order to deflect the need to work on themselves they’ll tear you down but in a way that seems like they care.

    Toxic people will not be on my journey in 2018. They are too much of a heavy load to carry and I have enough on my own.

    2) Staying positive – this one is super hard for me. One of the things I admire about my husband (other than his good looks 😉) is how positive he is . He wakes up happy to be alive.

    <

    I am usually the only one that can push his buttons but even then he somehow is able to diffuse the situation and keep calm. Overall he is the happiest, most positive person I know. I constantly ask how he does it. He’s admitted it’s not easy and takes some work.

    So in 2018 I want to learn from him and keep positivity at the forefront of my life.

    What would the year bring if I kept out toxic people, negativity and replaced it with positive vibes.

    I’m excited to find out.

    What are your resolutions?

    2
  • InBipolar II, Lifestyle, Mental Health Awareness, Moods

    Imperfectly Perfect

    This is the season when usually I’m way deep down in the dark hole of depression. I’m typically battling my way to the light. This season I’ve found myself in unfamiliar territory for this time of the year , hypomania.

    Hypomania has benefited me in several ways but it also caused a lot of headaches.

    First the benefits. I have enjoyed the creative flow and the confidence hypomania has given me. Also enjoy the energy spike, it’s has been a pretty good change from the constant exhaustion. I’m hitting goals that I haven’t been able to get to all year. Overall I’ve felt pretty good and energetic.

    Now the downfalls: although I’m enjoying the energy spike the energy also turns into anxiety. I get so high I end up anxious and panicked. It’s a strange feeling. The creative flow is great but the excessive thoughts and flight of ideas literally make me dizzy and a little confused. My spouse feels sorry for me at times because he witnessed how all over the place I am. He’s been a great help by sitting with me and organizing my ideas.

    In this mood I had the idea of creating more mugs for my Etsy shop and thus the picture of the mug in this post. This is only one of many ideas the mood gave me and also the confidence to follow through. The cup can be found in my Etsy shop. Anyone who purchases a cup will help me send out care-packages to those struggling with mental illness.

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/565407678/imperfectly-perfect-cappuccino-mug-we

    I started a PSA campaign this week.

    My goal is to get out 100 cards this month. I have 2 weeks to complete this task, so far I’ve only given out 5 but in my defense I only had 5 with me. I need to get organized for sure.

    Next month my goal is to design a new one and get 1000 out there. (Pretty sure that’s hypomania talking but it’s good to have a goal )

    I know this PSA isn’t anything huge but I hope it spreads the word and maybe gives someone hope. I was almost discouraged to not do this but I pushed past the criticism and went with my heart.

    0
  • InBipolar II, Lifestyle, Mental Health Awareness, Moods

    The Sad Season

    Sometimes I’m sad for no reason. Bipolar is a sneaky little pest. I have rapid cycling Bipolar and for the most part I do ok. For whatever reason Fall and Winter are not my months. As we make our way from fall to winter I struggle more and more as each month pass.

    Sometimes I get to the point of sadness where I feel scared ,lost and lonely. I wished I didn’t have to hide or fight it. I don’t feel suicidal but i feel super sad and heart broken. It would be so much easier if I didn’t have to fake it.

    I find the hardest part of my illness is trying to portray to the world I’m ok. When in reality I’m not. I’d like to be able to be sad and just say no I’m not ok and yes I’ve been crying. Society says if we don’t put on a good face for the world outside we are not fighting and instead we are giving into our illness.

    Let’s say I have a cold. I’m not expected to hide my symptoms maybe keep them under control by taking cough medicine or something like that but I still look sick. That’s ok. Society says “oh you have a cold, get some rest take care of yourself. ”

    If I’m depressed I’m expected to still seem bubbly and put a smile on my face.

    I write this to say that it’s exhausting and I do the fake it till I make it because I don’t want others to feel uncomfortable around me. I will do myself a favor and take time off and stay in bed. Sometimes it’s less stressful to not face the world. I call it getting rest. Letting my mind and soul sleep off the icky stuff. If it were a cold and not depression I’d do the same thing.

    0