Monday, 31 December 2012

My wish for 2013

I'm not feeling very celebratory.
If I look at the black and white of my past year it seems like there is nothing to celebrate, it was a tough, stressful and roller coaster of a year. It also feels like theres nothing to look forward to celebrate in the New Year --  I have a disorder that can't be cured and is going to make life difficult everyday for the rest of my life (talk about daunting!). This^ is how I'm feeling right now, or maybe this is what my disorder is making me feel right now... 'cause I'm pretty sure I'm smarter than to look at things from a black/white perspective. Either way, its no fun.

Now I'm going to write about the little nuances of happiness that have filled my past year and hope that both my Bipolar and other self start thinking a little more positively. Warning to myself... This might not work, and thats okay.

"HEY, guess what? It worked. After finishing this post I feel much more positive about my past, present and future." [keep reading to see my wish for 2012]

and now, cheers to some of the grey areas!
(and NO not Christian Grey, although I must admit I did read 50 Shades)

I started my first year at the University of Guelph, I love the city, its so beautiful and green, my residence was right beside the Arboretum, I loved walks/runs through there.
Even though I didn't get to class often, when I did I was engaged in what I was learning. I had the amazing opportunity of working with Alastair Summerlee, the president of UoG in one of my classes.
I made some amazing friends.
The Ranch, The Bullring. Enough said, its a Guelph thing haha
I went to Mexico with my best friend, it was incredibly beautiful there and the culture was so vibrant, the people so full of life.
I've become closer with my older brother.
I've found new hobbies and improved at old ones
I've become closer with my parents
I've been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Yes, thats a positive.
After being diagnosed I've been able to prioritize the importance of things in my life.
^sleep, exercise, routine, low stress, realistic self-expectations and most importantly surrounding myself with caring, loving individuals.

Happiest moment of 2012?
Fishing with my brother, (who is essentially addicted to fishing) and catching a small mouth bigger than he or my dad (also an avid fisherman) have ever caught -- on a hook and a worm, *with a bobber!
The hilarity of it was the two of us, in this little tin boat, trying to land this massive fish -- which I didn't know was massive at the time, as he opted not to tell me so I wouldn't freak.
So there we are, him yelling at me to reel fast, then stop reeling, then reel, then keep the tip of the rod down, me squealing like a girl, probably doing the opposite of what he told me. The bobber eventually stopped the line from reeling any further so I had to hold my hands above my head to get the bass up high enough to be netted by my brother who was leaning over the side of the boat with a ridiculous sized net (how we didn't tip I have no clue). We eventually landed the fish, a job well done on both accounts. Brother-Sister high fives and smiles were exchanged.

I'm sure there are other times in my life when I've actually FELT uninhibited joy, as opposed to thinking about the happiness of a situation and choosing my outward mood appropriately to suit, but I can't really think of them right now. It sounds a little strange for this to be my most favourite memory of 2012 but I didn't even have to think about smiling, in fact I couldn't stop smiling! This experience was so brief, maybe 10 minutes for the reeling ridiculousness and a few precious moments with my big ass fish! But in all honesty this one moment made an entire year of struggle worth it. This is one lesson learned that I will carry with me forever. As humans we are able to endure and obscene amount of suffering. So many suffer infinitely worse than I do, every moment of every day... Yet we are still here, still breathing, sill thriving, unwilling to give up.

So this is my wish for 2013: For all those who suffer from mental illness to remember the little bits of happiness, no matter how small, and remember that they are what we live for. Cling to life and force it to feed you more moments of happiness, don't hesitate or shy away, embrace them and hold them with importance.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Finding comfort in a song

This video has been my 'go-to' for several days now, the lyrics are so relatable and his voice echoes the struggles he's endured, still managing to show the promise and resilience we are all capable of.

Truly Inspired.

To me this song is a way of saying that no matter what you struggle with and how long you are effected by it, pushing through the sorrow is worth it to get to the other side. The grass may not always be greener so to speak, but you will find life in yourself where there once was none. Hold so strongly onto the fact that the length of your pain (though unbearable at times) will be something of your past which can help you to mend yourself and your relationships. Let it shape your character with empathy, understanding, and the appreciation of happiness.

Let the good times (however seldom or often they come along) be superior to the suffering, find strength in what is right now, and what is to come, instead of dwelling on your past.

I was tied, but now unbound
My head is off the ground
For a long time I was so weary
Tired of the sound, I've heard before, 
The gnawing of the night time at the door, 
Haunted by the things I've made
Stuck between the burning light and the dust shade.
I said now I used to think the past was dead and gone, 
But I was wrong, so wrong, whatever makes you blind
Must make you strong, make you strong, 
In my time I've melted into many forms
From the day that I was born, I know that there's no place to hide
Stuck between the burning shade and the fading light, 
I was broken, For a long time, but It's over now.

Yes and you, and you, 
Well you walk these lonely streets that people send, People send.
There are some wounds that just can't mend, I do pretend, pretend, 
I am free from all the things that take my friends
But I will stand hear till the end, I know that I can take the moon, 
In between the burning shade and the fading light
I was broken, for a long time, but It's over now
I was broken, for a long time, but It's over now

Friday, 28 December 2012

#1 thing to remember

Don't believe everything you think. This is something I'm currently working on, and its a hell of a lot harder than I would've thought.

Discipling yourself to recognize your thoughts objectively, without judgement, takes constant practice, I still suck at it. My reality has been shaped by what I 'think' my entire life but by viewing thoughts as an entity separate from you, is liberating.

Just because you think it, doesn't make it true.

If theres one thing I've realized is that I can't really control a certain thought from popping into my head, because I don't know if its a good/bad thought until its already fabricated in my mind. What I can control, however,  is the way I react to that thought. And that helps.

So if you're having trouble with negative/not so friendly thoughts, remember that you don't have to acknowledge them as valid.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012


New post on "Outlet" page, check out some of my art, can you connect with it?

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

The Perils of a Perfectionist

I've been reading through my first few blog posts and as I do with everything, have been mercifully picking them apart to the point of finding more wrong with them than right.

I keep reminding myself that I am not writing to be "right" or well versed or even overly interesting. I'm writing as a way to chronicle my thoughts, for myself, and for others who either suffer from or are somehow affected by mental illness.

Meanwhile, one of my brains, which can be described as nothing other than menacing, is wreaking havoc on the above rationality; spilling thoughts of negativity and doubt into my head. My writing is too "cliche" with too many rainbows/butterflies and unicorns. My writing is all over the place. Why can't I just find a constant 'voice' for what I have to say. Does what I have to say even matter? Am I witty enough? What if people I know read this... will they think I'm a whack job?


Yes, sometimes my writing leans toward freakin rainbows, but when my life feels like its under a constant storm warning, a mass amount of optimism is what gets me through.

Of course my writing is all over the place, my life is all over the place. I don't have a 'voice' because my entire world just got flipped on it's ass and I have no clue where my illness ends and where I begin.

Everything everyone does/says in life matters. If it didn't, that would dismiss the whole "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction" theory thing (elementary school science reference?)

With regards to wit? Sometimes I can't be witty, 'cause sometimes, life royally sucks. And thats ok.

Yes, some of them probably will. But my mom thinks I'm awesome haha, so anybody who can't see past my illness isn't worth my time. (although this won't make feeling judged much easier!)


If I'm not worried about other peoples judgement, why haven't I posted my blog link on twitter or Facebook or told many people about it? I'm a hypocrite blogging about raising awareness, when I won't even act on it personally.

Hmm... Even good brain has no comeback for that one. Whoops, guess I better work on that one.

New years resolution?
Those never work.

When I become more adjusted and accepting of my disorder, I will take the plunge and share this blog with everyone I can. I'm just not ready yet. And thats ok.

ps. I can sense a blog post titled "And That's OK" coming in the near future. It's kinda become my mantra!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Tunnel Vision

I have this habit. I have MANY habits- good, bad & indifferent. But this particular habit is my tendency to skip over the process of things, trying to reach an end goal faster.

For example, I never took guitar, sewing or art lessons... but I play guitar, sew & love to create. I'm mediocre at these things but probably wont ever get much better than I am right now because I don't want to take the time to learn, I just want to be able to be good right away!

How does this relate to Bipolar? WELL this blog, for one thing, is a perfect example of my habit. It's only recently that I've even recognized/been aware of my symptoms & even more recently been diagnosed with Bipolar. Because I'm so accustomed to skipping over the hard/time consuming parts, the whole process of medication and life changes and therapy = terribly difficult! I counter the stone cold fact that for the rest of my life I will have to work through this disorder, by attempting to skip through all the nitty gritty. I want to immediately be in a place where I can be comfortable and stable enough to turn my struggles into a way to help other people like myself -- kind of ironic when you think of it, how can I use my struggles for good, if I'm so set on avoiding them in the first place?

"There is light -- even if it"s just a tiny bit seeping into the tunnel -- and you've got to grasp it" 
-Andy Behrman (writer & mental health advocate)

I snagged this quotation (not *quote* because my english teacher Mr. Edwards so diligently pointed out that "to quote" is a verb!) from a great post on Rebuild Life Now. Click link to see the full article!

All I can see, all I can focus on is the "end" of the tunnel. The glorified and much desired end to my disorder, the day I wake up and feel great for the rest of my life. Unfortunately though, if I keep my focus on the imaginary light at the end of this so-called tunnel, I'll miss the life and light along the way, clouded by my tunnel vision of aversion to "the process". 

So I'm working on it. And I'll be working on it forever. I'm also working on that previous fact being "ok" and not so wildly overwhelming. 

Seeing as it's after midnight, I suppose Merry Christmas is in order! 

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Bipolar: a positive?

After reading a post by Natasha Tracy on her blog Bipolar Burble, I've been thinking a lot about the reality of the disorder I have; accepting the gravity and seriousness of my diagnosis is not easy.

Bipolar Disorder will be with me in some form everyday for the rest of my life. Every morning I wake is a new war to wage against BP, and between my logical and illogical brains - yes, I like to think I have two brains!- its exhausting and confusing and frustrating.

I look forward to the times when this disorder won't be so all encompassing, but that doesn't mean its ever going to just go away one day. I can't have brain surgery to take out the bipolar bits and leave the rest.

Do I wish I didn't have Bipolar? Hell yeah!

But the reality of it, is that I do and I can't change it, I can only change the way I think about it.

This ^ is why I CHOOSE to let Bipolar be a positive part of my life, even if it sucks 99% of the time, even though its wildly flustering, even though it causes so much pain and difficulty. Even though it makes each day a fight to hold on to every bit of my life that Bipolar wants to destroy (relationships, sanity, motivation, my desire to live). All of these things may seem overwhelmingly negative, and they are. Maybe this is just my unfailing positivity mixed with naivety and the fact that I haven't yet spent years suffering from this disorder, but despite everything...


These are all qualities that tend to go hand in hand with BP. I don't want Bipolar to define who I am, I may not BE my disorder, but my disorder is certainly a PART OF WHO I AM.

So in order to cope, and I'm not saying its the right or only way to cope, it's just my way... but I have made the decision to let the few positive qualities hold more worth than the many negatives, and to understand the seriousness of BP, but not to be so serious about it all of the time.


Sunday, 16 December 2012

A bad day after a good day...

A bad day after a good day...
Is worse than a bad day after a bad day in my opinion. At least when the day before sucked, the current "sucking" of this this day is nothing knew, it just sucks.

This ^^^ is what a bad day after a good day feels like. Just strolling along, feeling down, but used to it. Then theres a cliff, you step off and for a moment (a good day) things feel different - hopeful - theres something that simply feels lighter. BUT Just like wile e coyote, theres that brief gravity-less pause, and then...yikes! crash. ouch. 

I always get this annoying thought in my head too, kinda like road runner mocking me, "meep meep, no more good days for you!" to the point when a good day still sucks cause I'm just awaiting the inevitable crash.

AND YES, I'm aware that I used the word "suck" a lot in this post, but it really is the only accurate way to describe most things I've experienced while dealing with Bipolar.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Screw Stigma

Being Open About My Mental Illness With Others
IT ISN'T EASY. Even with the awareness that the people closest to me would not think any different of me, or distance themselves from me in any way, the thought of letting them see my imperfections took hold of me. It inhibited me from not only speaking about what I was dealing with, but also from revealing that anything was going on.
I detached myself from my emotions-- a part of me dealt with my disorder in solitude and a part of me worked relentlessly to present myself the people around me as an incredibly stable and content person who walked through life effortlessly.
I'm sure you could ask anyone who knows me, closely or even just as an acquaintance and they wouldn't even have an inkling that I've been dealing with so many issues for so long.

Believe it or not, my parents and brother were completely unaware.

This made sharing what i'd kept secret for so long 10x harder because I was so afraid that others close to me would feel guilty, or like they'd failed me because they hadn't noticed anything was wrong.
I didn't want my illness to effect them.
But I needed help.
I was exhausted and couldn't do it on my own anymore.

 I also had this backward notion that being honest and open about my difficulties would make them increasingly real (as if they weren't real already, sheesh!), and I wasn't ready for that. At least while the thoughts of having a mental disorder were in my head I could deny their truth, convince myself that I was getting worked up over nothing or that what I was experiencing was "normal".

There's no going back after opening up about your disorder, its hard, its complicated, you might regret it at first (I know I did!), but it's progress. Its the first step on a long, winding, frustrating path to living a more stable and enjoyable life. I'd say I'm still working on that first step, and thats okay. I'm not even aware of how long I've been effected by mental illness, so how can I expect to improve in any less time than I've been burdened by it?

As a result of reaching out I have an incredible support system in my family and close friends. I'm not saying I'm always open about how I feel, or that I never experience a certain embarrassment or feeling of inferiority due to the disorder I have. This blog, in part, is a way to force myself to be more open about my experiences in hope that others similar to me can do the same. And only through each of us being open, can we create an expanding sense of awareness and understanding. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

Testing, testing... post #1 of many


"This blog is an outside for my insides, a way to bring focus & organization to the ridiculous amount of ideas racing through my head on a daily basis. Here's to hoping that through the personal and factual information in my posts I can raise awareness, fight the stigma of mental illness & have a little FUN along the way"

 I have Bipolar Disorder ( I )  & until being diagnosed, never knew too much about it. Like a lot of people I'd throw around the term "bipolar" to describe anything or anyone that was up & down, ignorant to the fact that my words could've hurt people who are directly or indirectly effected by Bipolar.

Listening to & writing music is something I simply couldn't do without, I'm sure many future posts will feature related vids like this one, so talented.

To learn more about Bipolar and my personal experiences with it check out the "about Bipolar" tab above. To see me inside out & how I cope through creativity, give the "outlet" tab a click!

Feel free to share personal anecdotes, related info & especially any information that opposes or clarifies the content in my posts.