Did You Take Your Pills?

When I got diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, the world I knew caved underneath my feet. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again…I was terrified. As soon as my doctor said those two magic words, I tuned her right out. Before I knew it, she was listing me numerous types of medications. She sent me on my way with a prescription for Lithium. Everything was going so fast and I couldn’t hold onto anything.

The pills worked. They gave me a much needed break from riding the roller coaster ride of hell. I have never felt so calm in my entire life, I felt like a brand new person. Is this what it feels like to be “normal”? If so, then I envy you. Unfortunately, it got to the point where I felt like I didn’t need them anymore. Everybody around me kept telling me “NO! You need to stay on them! They are there to help you!” But I didn’t listen. It didn’t matter what anybody told me. All I knew is that I didn’t want to be on them anymore, and I wasn’t about to let anybody tell me what to do anymore.

Looking back, I think I just needed time to process everything. Everything had happened so fast, I wasn’t given the chance to take a minute and breathe. I snapped. I lost my job and a month later, my apartment. I didn’t tell anyone what was going on with me except for the friend I moved in with. Because of that stunt, my counselor filed a missing person report on me. When I found that out, I was so angry. All I wanted was time to be left alone and this is what I got? My thinking was so irrational at the time, all I could think was how angry and betrayed I felt.

Eventually I was able to fix things with my support team, but things weren’t going so well at home. I was constantly feeling so high and so low. I couldn’t find a level ground. I guess it didn’t help that I was using quite a bit then. Things at home went from bad to worse in the blink of an eye. I was relying so much on my friend to help hold me up, that we eventually both crashed to the ground. In other words, I destroyed the friendship I had with her because of how weak I was.

After that, I made a drunken decision to move about six hours away. To this day, I am really happy I made that drunken decision. Living in a town where nobody knew me, I was able to figure things out. I got myself a job and quit doing drugs. Unfortunately, I was still drinking. Self medication, anyone? Friends and family still don’t know the reason why I moved, but now the internet knows the truth.

I am so thankful I spent last Christmas with my extended family because they played a huge role in my acceptance of having Bipolar Disorder. Without realizing it, they truly did help me. In a world full of judgmental people, it dawned on me that I’m not alone. There are other people out there going through the same thing as me. That it’s completely okay to take medication, because it’s not my fault I have a mood disorder. I didn’t ask for this. With the right tools and a healthy support system, I know I can manage this. I know that one day, I will be okay.

I just needed to figure it out on my own.

Much Love,
C

Advertisements

Dear Ten Year Old Me

Dear Ten Year Old Me;

You don’t have to be scared anymore. You are finally in a safe and loving home. Nobody will ever hurt you again. Every day when you come home from school, there will be a meal on the table for you. You won’t ever have to worry about going hungry again. You finally have a Mom and Dad who would do anything to protect you and give you a good life. It’s ten years too late, but you finally have a home. You’re going to be okay.

Things are going to be a little different now. There will be rules to be followed and chores to be done. Doctor and counselling visits will be required. Don’t hold anything back, it’s okay to tell your story. You are safe now. School is mandatory, do your homework and study for your tests. Mom will be giving you extra lessons, please don’t get mad. She only wants the best for you. Lastly, your brother and sister won’t be there with you. Don’t be sad. You will get to visit them. You are allowed to write letters to them and talk to them on the phone. Mom and Dad know how important your brother is to you. It will be okay.

School will be very hard for you. Classmates will make fun of you because you aren’t stick skinny and you have a speech impediment. Don’t listen to them. Focus on your grades and don’t be afraid to join different school activities. It’s okay if you aren’t a star athlete, just have fun. Try making friends. Not everybody is out to hurt you.

I want you to promise me something. When you get older, don’t take your eyes off the prize. School won’t get any easier for you, but don’t let that stop you. You’ve gotten this far. Prove your past wrong. You can achieve anything your little heart desires. Work hard, and study harder. Listen to Dad when he tells you to “Focus”. Don’t ignore him. He only wants the best for his baby girl. He knows you deserve the world. Go home and thank Mom for helping you with school. She worked hard to get you where you are.

Obstacles are going to come and go in your life, but I know that you are strong enough to handle anything. God has a plan for you. There may be days where you feel like giving up, but please don’t let the darkness win. You have a purpose, you just need to find it. Don’t let temptations win you over. You don’t need anything or anybody to make you happy. Look deep inside of you and find the light. It will help guide you when you start losing your way. Follow that light and you will be okay.

Much Love,
25 Year Old Me

Lights, Camera, Action

We have movies like Girl Interrupted, Donnie Darko, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest etc. All of them a timeless classic and each pertaining to a mental illness of some sort. Hollywood is known and praised for their huge blockbuster hits, but when it comes to shining light on mental disorders, things can get a bit sour. I’m sorry Hollywood. You have created some of my favourite movies, but it’s true. You give us people with mental disorders a bad reputation.

I was inspired to write this post after watching Shameless (US version). While watching it, I got a bit nervous when they introduced Monica (a character with bipolar). I had already fallen in love with the show, and suddenly I felt that they were about to destroy the show for me. Turns out, they didn’t. I don’t relate to Monica, whatsoever. But there have been times where I’ve been on the same level of mania high as her. It got to the point where the show made me sad, really sad. This is me…I can see myself in her. The drugs, the alcohol, the recklessness. That may not be me now, but I used to be her.

Things took a turn when her son, Ian Gallagher, got diagnosed with bipolar disorder. His portrayal of somebody with bipolar disorder was so raw and honest, it spoke the truth. Maybe this is a sign. Maybe we are starting to win the fight of breaking the stigmas. Yes, he has his bad days, but don’t we all? Only when we have our bad days, they are a bit more harsh. We are capable of doing anything we want too, it just may take us a little while longer to get there.

By far, this is my favourite monologue in Shameless.

“Bullshit. What do you think I should’ve done? Would you have hired me if I had checked that box that said I had a mental illness? What kind of choice is that? Tell the truth, you don’t get the job. Lie…maybe they’ll never find out, what would you do? You’d lie.”

I have high, high hopes of the future when it comes to mental health awareness. The more we push and talk about, hopefully society will start to understand that it’s so much more than majority of blockbuster hits.

Bid Adieu

2017-image

 

This year started off with a big bang and ended on the same note. I entered the year by packing my suitcase and waving goodbye as I flew off to Mexico. January was literally filled with anticipation as I envisioned myself dining on platters filled with Mexican cuisine sipping on Margarita’s. Ever since my teen years, I have been fascinated by the Mexican culture. You can bet that this was a trip of a life time for me. I treated it as a “welcome back” gift to myself. I had hit rock bottom so hard the previous year that the only way left for me to go was up. When I moved away from the city to start my new life, all I did was break sweat and climb my way back to the top. I didn’t look back once, there was nothing left for me back there. Mexico was a trip that was well deserved and well needed.

When I came back home, I went back to hustling. As rejuvenated as I felt, I paid no mind to working towards my dreams. I threw on my uniform everyday, and exhausted myself in a work environment that was no good for me. Shortly after, I decided to make a run for it (again) by purchasing a plane ticket to Portland, Oregon. If you haven’t noticed by now, I have the tendency to run from my problems – whether it is moving or simply traveling. Even as I sit here typing out this post…I’m already planning my next move. I may have been going through a small manic episode when I bought my ticket to Portland, but it was most definitely worth it. I reunited with old friends, and met new friends. I fell in love with a city that reminded me so much of home. It was a break my soul really needed. Portland also gave me that push I so desperately needed in the right direction.

I continued working at my job for a few more weeks, while looking for a new job. Sadly, with the amount of hours I was given – I couldn’t handle the stress between work and my home life. I became very aware that I was headed for another episode, so I went to the doctors and got a note to give me two weeks of absence. Instead of giving myself that two weeks to heal, I ended up getting another job. I was so excited about this job, it was in the industry I have been trying so hard to get myself into. I felt like it was something I could do, and that it would open so many doors for me. Unfortunately, it didn’t. That job lasted a mere three months before I realized it was completely unhealthy for me. At this point, I started seeing a counselor. I knew that if I chose to go down the route of not taking any medications for my illness, I had no choice but to see a counselor. I couldn’t go through this alone. Once my counselor was aware that I was working an overnight job, she never gave up on telling me how bad of an idea it was. Me being me, I was too stubborn to listen to her. This was my dream job! How dare she tell me to give up on my dreams! Further down the road, I realized how right she was. I was even more exhausted than I was with my last job. I couldn’t adjust my sleeping schedule no matter what I did.

Most people would quit their job by handing in a two weeks notice. I didn’t. I was at a ‘friends’ house, decided to drink instead of showing up for my shift. When my boss called, I answered completely intoxicated. I couldn’t hold myself together, and ended up breaking down. Truthfully…I can hardly remember what I told her. All I know is that I quit my job through alcohol.

That was a fairly low point of 2017 for me, but at the same time, I had just signed a lease to my very own apartment. I felt like a bouncy ball. I hit the pavement and soared right back up. I was a total mess. A few weeks later, I moved into my apartment with the bare essentials, my cat and working at my old job. I hated it, but felt like it was something I had to do. How could I survive without having a job? I was already on disability, but society told me the only way to survive is to get a job. Even if I wasn’t mentally ready.

Possibly one of my worst decisions I made in 2017. I wish I was strong enough to stand up and say that I’m not ready. I need to give myself time. I need to work on myself before I put myself in a chaotic environment. This time around, I opened up about my disorder and made an agreement that I only work part time. That agreement only lasted for about a month before they threw me back to full time again. Sure, I missed working…but I didn’t miss putting myself at risk for another episode again. I did everything I could to hold down a job and quiet my mind down without being on medication. Who was I kidding? I just wasn’t strong enough.

Before my most recent episode, I bought (another) plane ticket to Portland…this time to go to a concert I have been so anxious to attend. Like Mexico, this was a huge highlight of my year. I have been a huge fan of this artist for roughly seven years. Finally being able to see him perform live meant the world to me. His songs have always reached out to me and helped me believe in myself. He fought for his dream despite society, and I knew that was what I had to do. This was when I created my Twitter account and shortly after my blog.

In a very short period of time, I have gained almost 300 followers on my Twitter account. I am so proud for what I have accomplished, and know that this is only the beginning. I worked hard for this, I created myself a name. I have so many plans for next year. I want to share my story with the world. Let others know that they are not alone. If I can get through my bad days, then so can you.

I may have ended 2017 with a fairly rough episode that costed me my job, but I am grateful for what this year ended with. All in all, it wasn’t a bad year. I had some mishaps, but ended them with a positive note.

I am going to end this post with one of my favourite quotes.

“The best revenge is bettering yourself.”

Bring it on, 2018!

Much Love,

C

Starving Artist

My mom once asked me why I stopped writing. At the time, I didn’t have much of an answer. I couldn’t quite tell her that I was too busy snorting up drugs and drinking my problems away. I resorted to giving her a small shrug and a simple “I don’t know.” My world was such a fog back then, I had no idea that I was no longer my parent’s daughter. In my mind, I didn’t change. I claimed myself to be an artist and a writer. I had all of these projects in my head, but nothing to show in front of me. I had zero motivation to do the things I used to love doing and knew damn well that I was good at it. I can blame my addictions all I want, but deep down, that was only a small percentage of the problem.

I always tell people, don’t settle for anything! Fight for the life you want to give yourself! Dream on little dreamer! I am a big believer in following your dreams. There is so much more out there for you to discover, why settle for less? Turns out, I never took my own advice. Whatever door was in front of my face, I would open that one instead of looking at other options. Thus meaning I had built such a toxic environment for myself, I ended up trapping myself mentally, physically, and financially. I had no one to blame but myself. The life I knew had somehow slipped away leaving me to fumble around in the dark.

I quit my job a few days ago. Just like that. Boom, at the snap of my fingers. I woke up one day and knew I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t place myself physically in an environment, where it drained me mentally, and didn’t help me financially. Everyday I would go home so exhausted and so beaten down. More often than not, I would find myself curled up in bed reading a book wishing that I was the author. That could be me I would think to myself. I could be a New York Times Best Seller or the new JK Rowlings. Instead of doing anything about it, I would continue being sad while reading the book. I couldn’t find it anywhere in me to pick up a pen and start scrawling out an unwritten story.

Financially, my life will be a bit tough for a while. I won’t be able to go out as much, but if it’s to help me mentally, I know that I will be okay. Sometimes you have to make a risky move in order to find your happiness. I won’t lie, I’m a tad bit nervous about doing this, but already I feel so much lighter. I don’t feel so suffocated anymore. I’m not waking up everyday wondering if I’m going to make it through the day. Instead, I feel like a baby taking their very first steps. I’m curious to find out whats right around the corner. I’m once again hopeful for the future.

Yesterday, my best advice was to never settle for less. Today, my best advice is that it’s never too late. Even if you are age seventy wishing you can start up your own business. What is stopping you? Your age? Your insecurities? Society? Don’t let anything stop you. Get out there and show everybody what you are made of.

 

Much love

C

Sick Day

I’ve been meaning to write this post a few days ago, but let’s be honest, I haven’t been doing too well. My boss has been overworking me to the point of physical and mental exhaustion. I’ve been feeling mixed emotions over the holidays. I’m so excited to see my siblings, but damn this depression. My sobriety is definitely not helping either. I’ve been feeling so anxious and tensed up. I just want to go crawling back to my old habits, but no! I can’t, I know I can get through this with a little support and time.

I did what I had to do and called in sick today at work. My manager gave me quite the earful, telling me that she still comes into work when she is not feeling well. Mind you, she doesn’t know that it’s not my body that is sick, it’s my mind. If she knew, maybe I could get a better reaction? If anything, it would probably scare her.

“Sorry Sharon, I have to call in sick today because I am about to go through another bipolar episode and I need to take care of myself right now.” 

Something that has been on my mind for a while, do you ever sit there and wonder how difficult people with mental disorders had it way back in the day? We are so lucky to be in a world today where we are taking a stand to break the stigma. I’m not saying it’s any easier, but now it’s a main issue. We have charities, public speakers, support groups etc. We are still nowhere we need to be, but we are getting there.

Can you imagine a world where there is no stigma or rolling of the eyes action when somebody needs to take a sick day due to mental health? It sounds so magical. That’s the kind of support we need. Would you rather me show up at work acting all freaky or would you rather me take that day off so I can get help? Your choice. We are not being weak, we are fighting a battle we wouldn’t wish on any of our enemies.

I’m keeping this post short and sweet due to the state of my head. My next post won’t be up till Wednesday or Thursday next week. I hope everybody has a great Christmas or holiday, or just a good few days in general!

 

Thank you for following!

C

Friends In Low Places

“They want to see you do good, but never better than them. Remember that.”

When I posted on my Facebook account about me starting my sobriety journey, I had this enormous wave of support from family, friends and acquaintances. I had people telling me how proud they were of me to start this journey. That it takes a lot of strength to do this on my own. Sadly, I also had ‘friends’ tell me that I don’t have to completely quit. A few drinks here and there are okay to have. I shouldn’t feel the need to quit. And yes, somebody actually told me that. I shouldn’t feel the need to quit? I might not need to, but maybe I want to.

I guess maybe it is a shock to some of my ‘friends’ on why I started this journey. The only person I talked to about it before becoming public was my counselor. Funny enough, even she didn’t take it seriously. Some people, when they become intoxicated have a tendency to post all over social media about their wild shenanigans. I used to be that person, until drinking became an ugly habit of mine. Instead of forgetting my problems for only the weekend, it became the whole damn week. I would wake up, go to work, go to the liquor store, go home and drown my demons away. It wasn’t even a habit anymore, it became a routine.

I never told anybody because I was so ashamed of myself. Who had I become? What happened to that girl next door who everybody admired? Somehow I let that part of me slip away and it’s been downhill ever since. I got so consumed with alcohol, I had no idea how much pain I was causing to family and friends. I was so busy escaping the mess I made of myself, that I simply didn’t care anymore. It got to the point where I was completely okay with becoming the town’s drunk.

I don’t know what changed in my life. Maybe it was the phone call with my brother or maybe I was taking way too many trips down memory lane. Either way, something changed in my life where I knew I didn’t want to be that person anymore. I didn’t want to keep poisoning my liver to run away from my demons for a few hours. I didn’t want to keep embarrassing my family with the path I had chosen for myself. Deep down I knew that the only person who could save me, was myself.

All of this, none of my close friends knew about it. My excessive drinking was my dirty little secret. I was too ashamed of it. For the past week I had few ‘friends’ message me, wanting to know why I started this journey. But I knew that these ‘friends’ wouldn’t care for the real answer. They were just sad to see that part of me go.  These were the friends that lived on the fast lane with me. Going somewhere at such a high reckoning speed that you just don’t know how to stop. They were fun friends to have for a while, but they are not the friends I need right now.

This was a huge lesson I learned over the weekend. They are not bad people by all means, but we are on different journey’s now. Surrounding myself with them will make my recovery even harder. I can only wish the best for them on whatever path in life they decide to take later on.

Till next time,

C

Holiday Sadness

All around me there is Christmas magic in the air. Children are running around dreaming about the day that Santa Claus makes his annual visit. Couples in love are kissing under the mistletoe. Families are making last minute arrangements to visit extended loved ones. The town is lit up with twinkling lights and festivity. This is a world that my heart has never known.

Holiday sadness is a true crime of its own and has claimed many souls. If you are one, I want you to do something. Every single day until the holiday passes (you can keep doing this if you like) I want you to do one thing a day that you love. Read your favourite book. Watch your favourite movie. Do you love to bake? Bake your favourite dessert. Do you love to dance? Dance your heart out. Do you love to paint? Paint your feelings out.

This, my friends, is what you call Self Care. Anybody and everybody should do this, because during times like this, it may very well be the only thing that gets you through the storm. Here is a list of some of my self care items:

  • Binge watch Jurassic Park movies
  • Read from my favourite series (Anita Blake)
  • Go for a walk
  • Go for a drive
  • Get all dressed up and take myself out for dinner or go watch a movie
  • Eat my favourite junk food and binge on a tv series.

That’s just to name a few. I have a whole Self Care Plan hiding in my apartment. It has helped me on numerous occasions, and I will forever stand by it.

Take great care of yourself this holiday season and just know that you are NOT alone.

Yes, You Can!

When I got adopted, I was this massive ball of negative energy. I felt like I was unworthy and would never be able to succeed in life. I remember being a young child watching other kids win ribbons and awards thinking I would never be able to do that. Each day I would go home and tell my (adoptive) Mom how I wish I could play a sport like the other kids or be good at drawing like my best friend etc. She would listen but the moment I started belittling myself she would stop me every single time and say –

“You CAN do it.” I would try so damn hard to tell her that it’s too late, I would never be able to amount to anything in life. But she wouldn’t have any of my negativity. She wouldn’t allow that kind of energy in her house. It took her months and months but somewhere along the line, she was able to correct my thinking. I have no idea what we were talking about, but I remember sitting at the “homework” table with her. We had my school books spread out in front of me. All of a sudden she grabbed my hand and stopped me from talking.

“What did you just say?”

“….uhhh…”

“You said something that starts with a Y…”

I blushed up real quick, glowered, and looked away. She wouldn’t have it, she kept persisting me to repeat what I said. I finally gave in and told her the magic words.

“Yes, I can.”

She was proud of our huge accomplishment that she told my Dad as soon as he came back home from work. If I remember correctly, we either went out for dinner or my Mom made me whatever I wanted for dinner. Pretty much, we had a small party over the ordeal. As you can tell in my family…positivity is kind of a big deal.

From that day on, my life REALLY changed. I started doing things I never thought I would be able to do. I joined both the basketball and volleyball team, I started working on my art and writing, I even started hanging out with friends. Living a positive lifestyle really opened my eyes to the world around me. I may not be perfect, but the thing is, I could do whatever I wanted to do.

Those three words stuck by me right up to this very second, and well, it will stay with me till the day I die. There is no reason why you can’t do something that you love or want to try out. It’s all about believing in yourself and stepping out of your comfort zone. Stop being afraid and see what the world has to offer you. Who knows you might end up achieving that dream you had as a kid. You don’t know until you try.

I’ll keep preaching those three words forever and ever. They are truly magical.

Fine example. Earlier this year I was in Mexico. I was sitting at the beach watching a couple people parasailing. I had the sudden itch to try it out even though Im afraid of heights. Before you know it I was being strapped up in this harness and boom! I was high up in the air looking down at this breathtaking view of the coast line. Would I do it again? Oh heck yeah. See? I would have never known that I liked parasailing if I didn’t tell myself those three magic words.

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑