Bella’s Babbles: Mosaics and Life

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Photo by Natã Romualdo on Pexels.com

This morning, I am sitting on the couch with one cat on each side of me.  Both are stretched out and resembling potatoes (they are orange tabbies).  Every so often my girl cat, Charlee Mae, will lift her head, turn it around and meow at me.  I haven’t a clue why.  Is my typing too loud, did I move and disrupt her comfort, is she letting me know that her senior spine is aching?  The other one, Hunter Mahoney, jumps each time I sneeze or cough (I have a lovely winter cold presently).  I am guessing that I scare him or that he just doesn’t want to be around me for fear of getting sick.  However, I love having them close to me.  I love when they “talk” to me, I love this “quality time” that I get to spend with them on this beautiful February morning.  I love that I am able to take some time and be still.  Be in the moment.  Not being in a rush to be in a place by a certain time, or crunching to make a deadline for a project.  Just simple, calm, light bluish energy swirling around me.

On the flip side, so much has been happening in my world recently.  You know life stuff.  Busy days at work, evenings at home that are just not long enough.  Going here and there, grocery shopping, vet visits.  When you pile it all up, it’s a mountain of responsibility, but, as I continue to remind myself, it is life.

Life is ups and downs.  It’s the good days mixed with the bad days.  It’s getting sick, it’s having set-backs, and disagreements.  And then there’s the being scared, worried and sad.  Life.

Part of my life is working with a non-profit organization, where I teach craft classes.  At the end of the month I am teaching a family craft class.  We will be decorating clay pots with a mosaic design created by tissue paper pieces and modge podge.  When dry, we will use potting soil to plant a live succulent in the decorated pot.  This idea is based on the inspiration that I received about what life is: to me life is a mosaic.  We take bits and pieces in assorted sizes, shapes and colors and we put them together to make something beautiful, unique and breathtaking.

I am learning and working hard to embody life.  To treasure it and not challenge it.  I have challenged myself to be in the present moment and just be, not to be thinking about anything more or how it could be better, but just be.  Although I have not been able to do this much, I am still working on it and the more I practice the stronger my “muscles” get, and the more capable I am of just being.

I want for you to have the ability to be.  To be in a place where there can be noise and hecticness, but that you have an inner peace that restores your soul.  That when needed, you can stop, breathe, and get to a place that brings you a calming nature within your mind and body.

Life will always be life, but it’s up to us to decide how we are going to live it.

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

Bella’s Babbles: Lemons

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What is the saying for lemons?  Is it the lemons don’t fall far from the tree?  Or a bad lemon spoils the bunch?  Oh yeah, I don’t think it is either one of those.  Let me think, oh yeah, it’s “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”

I have had numerous lemons given to me, perhaps a number of boxes or a crate or a dump truck full.  Therefore, I have made a ton of lemonade, so to speak.  At this point in time, I am sick of lemonade.  It’s either sour or sweet and I’ve also had enough cavities from all that sugar!

I recently celebrated a birthday.  I am smack dab in the middle of my 30’s.  And boy things are going down hill (literally) fast.  I am noticing changes that I am not thrilled about.

I recently went to the optometrist because I was having a horrible time with night vision.  It made driving feel risky and I was struggling with even allowing my self to drive at night.  I already have driving anxiety so it was exemplified due to the problems with the night vision.  After seeing the doctor I found out that my eye sight was now increasingly worse and this occurred over a short amount of time (4 months to be precise).  The new prescription will clear everything up, literally speaking, and for this I am grateful.

However, I took this news hard.  The change in the astigmatism is probably from age.  But, the overall prescription change is most likely caused by my medication change.  I was in tears conversating with my spouse about how frustrated I was with the side effects of medication.  And how I was struggling with the fact that I have a condition that is not curable and will require medication for the rest of my life.  In that conversation I was reassured that I am doing really well, symptomatically speaking.

Through my tears, runny nose and mascara trailing down my cheeks, I had to stop and take in what he said.  The truth is this is the most stable I have ever been.  And with the change in medication I was actually able to lose a quarter of the weight that I have gained over the last four years.  My anxiety is decreasing and the irritability is extremely low and almost non-existent.

With this thinking, I am making lemonade.  And I am making it the way that I like it, and that’s with a little bit of ice tea in it.  It’s easy to get caught up in how many lemons you get in life.  To dwell on the unfairness of life and pout about the crap that has flowed downhill.  But, I have found that stopping, taking a breath and then thinking before acting is what is helping me succeed.

Today I am trying to embody a sense of peace and lightness.  To connect with my inner being and find solace in my soul.

 

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

Babbles: Bella’s Big Adventure: Two Sleeps

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I have two nights remaining, or two sleeps, that’s the way we used to count down the days until Christmas, by the number of sleeps.  I have two sleeps until I leave for treatment.

My to do list is starting to get shorter.  The pile of things to pack is getting taller.  The exhaustion is increasing each day.  The head cold is progressing and has resulted in an absolutely horrid, knife in the head feeling kind of a headache that has been throbbing on the left side of my head all day.  The withdrawal symptoms from the one medication I was taking are slowly subsiding (slowly being the operative word).  The ability to do basic things, send a text message with accurate spelling, for example, are becoming challenging.  The driving anxiety has returned from a hiatus that started in May.  I am not welcoming it’s return, but I know it is due to being overall heightened and my body basically throwing a hissy fit.

However, as I was discussing with my brother today, I am persevering.  There is this candle or fire lit deep within me that I swear can not be extinguished.  I am the most tired I have been (without being depressed) yet I am up before 6 AM, getting going and doing what needs to be done.  Should work need to be done after hours, I take care of it.  I am plugging along, some days slowly, and at a toddler’s pace, but I am making movement in a forward direction.

It hit me today, and brought tears to my eyes, how much I am going to miss my people while I am gone.  To see their faces, to hug them, to text them when I am thinking of them, just to spend time with them.  But, I know that I need to let go to heal.  I need to relinquish my reigns so I can work on my deep and inner issues so I can be well from the inside out and allow for a transformation.

In all honesty I do not know what to expect and should I put expectations on an outcome I set myself up for failure.  My goal is to adhere to the program and to be compliant.  And for those that truly know me this will be a challenge.  But, I have committed to myself that this is what I will do.  Come hell or high water, I will do what is asked of me and I will do it with all of me.

Shall, I not have the chance to write before departing, I thank you for your support, kind words and positive energy as I embark on my big adventure.  Your support means the world, moon and stars to me!~

Cupcakes and Sprinkles,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

 

Babbles: Bella’s Big Adventure: The Home Stretch

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I leave for treatment on Thursday.  It seems to have come upon us quickly in that slow agonizing kind of way.  I am the kind of person that once I have my mind made up, I am set and I am ready.  When I have to wait it is pure agony for me.

I know that good things come with waiting.  I have been able to spend good quality time with my family and my friends.  This weekend we had family photos taken and I was able to take my son’s senior portraits (what an honor!) I have been able to make my list and not only check it twice, but a good nineteen times at this point.

With the time I have had since being accepted into treatment and actually leaving I believe will be three weeks.  It has been a long, tiring, draining three weeks.  I have attempted to get “caught up” work wise, but alas, this does not seem like it is going to be one of the things that is going to be checked off my list.

And that is one thing I am learning.  I am trying, really hard, and I am doing the best that I can.  And that’s the best that I can do.  I am fighting through horrible side effects due to withdrawal from one medication and side effects from another new medication.  Then there’s stress that causes the body to breakdown it’s personal shields and cold season, and oh so much fun.

But, I am a fighter.  This journey will probably be the hardest one I have ever chosen to take, but I am going to muscle through each and every foot step of it, perhaps not with grace and certainly not always with a smile on my face, but I will do it and it will be worth it in the end.

Sprinkles and Cupcakes,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

Babbles: Bella’s Big Adventure: Perspective

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The days are passing quickly.  I suspect that it is due to being so busy.  However, I feel like I am barely keeping my head above water so to speak, only getting done the bare minimum and my head is swimming with what still needs to be done before I leave for my big adventure.

It seems like every few days I venture to the store to pick up a few things that I “need” for the trip and I am currently storing all items in a small, round, white laundry basket that I plan to bring with me so I have something to do my laundry (good thinking there, because how else would I actually do my laundry if I did not have a laundry basket??)  I feel like I am nesting a little.  I am thinking of what I may need over a 45-day period and it is nerve wracking.  I just started reminding myself yesterday that I have a spouse and he WILL be visiting me and he is willing to bring me items, so I should not worry so much about bringing everything that I need because I have a resource who can bring me items should I forget them.  But then, I was wondering if this is my way of attempting to be in control of a situation that is not within my control.  And if it is also a way for me to act out on my symptoms (shopping addiction) and justify it, with a pretty good justification.  In addition, I am spending time engaging in a mind numbing activity.

This weekend I ran errands and I felt no satisfaction from the shopping that I partook in.  It was not much, not like a “spree”, but more like a shopping trip for things that I did in deed “need” but I was numb.  This tells me that I am, in some ways, starting to shut down.

In other ways I am more heightened in my feelings.  When sitting at the dining room table with my family, I will well up with tears knowing that I will go without these family dinners for an extended period of time.  I know that my family will be fine, I have full faith in their ability to exist while I am away, but I will miss them, I will miss being with them, and I will miss being part of my family.

One thing that I have found is that I am holding onto things with more length, knowing that I have a short amount of time left (less than two weeks) and I am no longer taking things for granted.  I am holding on to each hug, each conversation.  I am staring like a weirdo because I know that I need to keep those memories glued in my mind.

I am feeling the depression starting to sink in.  The sadness, the heaviness, the despair.  Yet, there is so much to do that I have not time for depression, or any dip in my mood.  I need a up kick in my mood to be truly honest, I need a little bit of an upswing so I can have all the energy needed to get all this stuff done.  I feel like I need to be the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, but I feel like I am moving from Piglet into Eeyore and this, well, this is just not a good thing.

I am going to take a break and take a deep breath and let all the buzzing and rushing and racing come to a stop.  I am going to be still and calm in my space and in my mind.  I am going to embrace what I have in this moment and the gifts that have been given to me.  I am going to be kind to myself and my spirit.  All will be well.  This will be a wonderful experience.  I will be safe.  I will have what I need to function in the manner that I need to function.  I will not be in need of things, I will not be in a place of wanting.  My needs will be fulfilled.  I will have peace in my body and my soul.

This is a big adventure.  There will probably be some scary cliffs, but I bet there is going to be some breath taking views.

Sprinkles and Cupcakes,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

Babbles: Bella’s Big Adventure

Babbles: Bella’s Big Adventure

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In less than two weeks I am going on an adventure.  There could be lions, tigers, or bears (oh my!~)  It was suggested that I pack light and there was a whole list of what to bring, and an even longer list of what not to bring, and I am stressing over the whole packing situation, because, well that’s what I do.  I am not so good when it comes to packing.  To have to limit myself to specific items for an extended period of time is like putting me on one of those stretcher machines they used back in the old day to dismember people.  At least that is what it feels like to me.

I love clothes.  I love to dress a little fancy, to accessorize with jewelry and to wear nice shoes and more eclectic clothes so to be going to a place where this is not necessarily appropriate, I feel like I am being suffocated.  How will I be able to show my personality, I say as I throw myself down on my bed with gust and expression of disbelief and sadness.  I can’t wear boring clothes (with emphasis on the O) it’s just not my thing.  Oh heaven’s bee this is just impossible, I can’t go.

The reality is that I AM going, whether I pack my bag or my spouse packs it and I will have more joy in the process if I just suck it up and do it myself, because although I love him to pieces, he will probably not pack my favorites and then I will be mad and realistically, I will only have myself to blame.

Next obstacle is getting ready for the adventure because it is a 45-day long adventure and that ladies and gents is a long time to be on an adventure.  I have been handling it pretty well (and in that I mean that I am staying strong, until I am weak and breaking down in tears, sobbing my eyes out and letting my fears get the best of me).  So, that’s my definition of pretty well.  I have been so busy with work and life that I have not allowed myself a lot of time to let what’s going on really sink in.  I am staying busy and just plugging along and getting things done and checking things off the to do list as if nothing huge and giant is coming up down the road.  One may say I am acting like I am in denial or acting in some sort of avoidance.  But it’s my coping mechanism and has been for many, many years.  Staying busy, keep the mind engaged and then it stays out of the mucky muck mud and then we do not have mental breakdowns.

Last night I took part in a sleep study.  I stayed away from home in a sleep lab for the study and it was hard.  I felt utterly alone, even though there were plenty of staff who were quite attentive to my every need.  I was missing my people and my pets.  I felt like this was a trial run to my big adventure and I did ok.  I did not cry, but I also had all my electronics and was in contact with my humans.  When I go on my adventure, for the first three days, I will have no contact with my humans, and I think this will be most challenging and will really cause me to use all my strength to get through this trial.  Moving past the three days, there will be a landline phone that can be used, so no texting, no computers, no electronics, no music.  I will be going through total withdrawal and this is going to hit me hard.

I chose to look at this trip away as an adventure because it’s the power of the mind.  If I state that it’s an adventure, it changes the mindset to a positive one, it implies that there may be challenges, but that they will be exciting, breathtaking, exhilarating, memorable.  If I were to say in a solemn tone that I was going in for a stint in treatment, that to me, has a negative connotation to it, and I am trying to surround this opportunity with as much positiveness as possible.

This is a big adventure for me.  I am scared, but that is overshadowed by the fact that I am looking forward to this opportunity and the blessings that I am hoping will come.  I have the support of my support network and so much positive energy, there may be a solar flare.

In a few weeks, I will sign off for 45 days.  Ill be writing, no question about it, but will not be able to post until around Christmas.  I pray that while I am away my soul is healed, along with my mind and my body.

Sprinkles and Cupcakes,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

Babbles: Patience

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When I was 18 months old, I was playing in the yard with my older brother as my mom stood at the window watching us as she washed a few dishes.  Not long into being in the yard, my brother came inside and approached my mother.  He looked up at her while she was at the sink and said, “We lost Michelle!”  Puzzled, my mother stated that we had not lost Michelle, that she was playing in the yard, just as he had been.  Yet, my brother was insistent that I had been lost, nowhere to be found.

The yard was searched, and I was sure as hell, not in the yard.  Thinking through the previous conversations that took place, it was realized that it was stated that after the dishes were done, we would go to grandmas.  (And boy did I love going to see my grandparents!) But I had to wait.

And that whole waiting part, yeah that did not work for my schedule.  It seems that I opened the gate, closed the gate and started walking.  I walked up the street, over to the next street, crossed an alley and was beginning to cross a major road when the girl who happened to be our babysitter that lived behind us caught me and saved me from my self.  When asked what I was doing, my response was, “going to grandmas”.

I have never been a person that had much patience.  I want what I want when I want it.  From a young age, to the age that I am now (a bit older than 18 months), the whole waiting game has never been my favorite, or my jive, or my cup of tea, coffee or wine.  It just doesn’t work for me, makes me irritable and agitated.

I am at a place right now in my life where I am in a real place of waiting.  I am seeking additional treatment and I have to wait.  I need to wait to get the paperwork processed, and to get it approved.  I need to wait for me and my brain to stabilize.  A month ago I was not sick enough and now at this point I am not stable enough.  If you wait a week, who knows what mood I’ll be in…

I am learning that there are gifts in waiting.  I am seeing things differently.  I am noticing that I am stronger than I thought I was, more resilient, strong, persistent, dedicated, you know I am woman hear me roar.  But I also found that I am really, really, tired.  I keep pushing and pushing, trudging through the mucky muck, but goodness bee, I am exhausted.  It feels like if it is not one thing it is another, and Nancy’s coffee cake I am not sure how much more I can take.  But, every time I say that, something else comes up and I have the strength to persevere, not sure where it comes from, but it appears, and I press on and then I am that much stronger.

And then, you get the call, the call that all is approved.  There is a sense of relieve, and disbelief that overcomes your whole body.  Also fear, fear that it will be taken away.  Followed by a brain that starts to go into nesting mode and thinking about all that needs to be done before you go and how just not sleeping until you leave is a plausible, although unrealistic, possibility.

Slow and steady won the race for the tortoise and the hare.  I more identify as a hare, so it is hard living in a world of tortoises, but they win, and I want to win, therefore I need to be more turtle like.

I sit here today, and I am taking a deep breath in and breathing it out.  I am telling myself that I am well, and I will only accept wellness into my body and my mind.  I will have peace and calm within me, that is the only thing that I will embody, nothing else will be permitted to cross into my person.

May you have peace.  May you have wellness.  May you have the peace that passes all understanding.

Cupcakes and Sprinkles,

Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

 

Babbles: Is Bella Disabled?

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The definition of disable is to (of a disease, injury, or accident) limit (someone) in their movements, senses, or activities.  And it is also means to put out of action.

 

When I think of something being disabled, I think of the first definition for sure, but the more I dwell on the topic I can see how the second definition also fits.

 

Further, it has been brought to my attention that bipolar disorder is considered a disability.

Yup, that’s it.  And I was like, whoa, hold my beer, and I sat down and put my seat buckle on (metaphorically speaking, because in real life I don’t even drink beer).

 

Per some of my reading, on the disability benefits help website, it states the following:

If an individual’s Bipolar Disorder is constant and impairs all ability to function in a work environment, that person may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Any individual with Bipolar Disorder can be eligible for disability benefits if he/she meets the evaluation criteria listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book, and if he/she has received a medical vocational disability endorsement based on the person’s residual functional ability, education and age.

 

Over the last three years, through my treatment and trying to remain active and present in mainstream society, I never thought that Bipolar was a disability, not because it isn’t a disability but because personally I have not in the past treated it as one and therefore in my mind (in the past)it isn’t, until now, where I have been educated.

 

This topic had me thinking, what DO I consider a disability, if I do not consider something like Bipolar which I know so much about and I know how it has completely sabotaged my life, then what IS a disability. So I did a lot of thinking and made a list and added things and scratched off things and re-wrote things and then balled up the piece of paper and put it in the recycle bin. Because my dear readers, I have no fried fruit fly of an idea what should or shouldn’t be considered a disability.

I consider myself to be intelligent, but there is so much that I do not know, and this is an area that is outside of my expertise and it places me in a box of ignorance.

 

What I do know, is I know my life, and I took some time to think about my own life, the disorder that I manage and how it relates to the definition listed at the beginning of this blog: to put out of action.  Below listed are a few points that I was able to come up with about disability:

1: there are days that I can’t get out of bed and call out sick to work due to severe depression.

2: there are days that I can’t make it to work due to severe mania, paranoia, anxiety and as result I take rescue meds that land me in bed and therefore, I’m unable to work.

3: there are days that I make it to work but I’m barely functioning due to fatigue related to depression and my brain is a mushy mush pile and I do minimal amounts of work.

4: there are days I make it to work but I’m so manic I cannot sit still nor am I able to concentrate more so than the equivalence to a kitten playing with yarn only I’m a middle aged executive assistant with a high powered laptop, good quality internet and a high credit limit credit card.

5: then there’s days that I’m totally on point and you’d never guess that I had a mental illness at all. I’m punctual, dressed well, able to speak in complete sentences and I successfully complete tasks with ease.

 

After the research I have done and time spent self-reflecting, I totally can see how bipolar is considered a disability. There are many a day that my life would be improved receiving the benefits should I file for and be granted disability.

 

At this point and time, I am able to work with a job that provides me with hours that cater to my schedule.  This is an incredible blessing and a God send to me.  At this time, I have a treatment team that I am working with who are able to provide support in a manner that is helping me to maintain enough stability that I am able to remain somewhat high functioning on most days.  And on the days when I am not high functioning, my support network surrounds me and helps to aid me in the ways that is needed to make it through the day.

At this point in this blog, I would like to express gratitude for all.  And to wish wellness for all those that are reading regardless of their situations.  My heart is heavy today, I feel sadness for those in pain, for those who are suffering, for the people that are grieving.  I want to let you know that there is hope, and do not give up.  Be like a sunflower and turn your face towards the sun.

 

Sprinkles and Cupcakes,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

Babbles: A Dry Well

There are many times that I have much to say but don’t end up writing.

I stop myself from typing because what I have to say is not uplifting and edifying and I fear that I will not be a positive influence on others and therefore what I want to write should not be published.

I have it in my mind that whatever I write must be positive, uplifting, encouraging and inspiring.  And when I am unable to be such things, I stay quiet, I write nothing, or I write but I do not publish.

No one told me that these were the rules.

These guidelines were never posted and I never signed anything that said I would follow something so strict and absurd.  They instead were what I came up with in my head and chose to hold myself to, I guess in a way of punishing myself (I am making a weird questioning face right now that you cannot see because I am not sitting with you in person, but I wish you could see it because it adds so much more depth to my writing).

So, today, I am breaking the rules that I made.  I am typing what I feel that I need to type with no rules attached.  It will not be a free frall, because that is just not the way I roll, but it may be a bit more transparent than my normal transparency.  You have officially been warned.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

And yet, several hours later, really a day or more later… several starts, stops, words and character counts typed later, and a lot of deleting, we just have the opening down on paper…

I have so much to say, and much is coming out, but its jumbled and jambled.  It’s like a Dr Seuss book.  I WOULD indeed like to write with fox in a box while a bird with a word watches…

I am not certain why I can’t unleash totally, let what is locked up deep inside of me flow like the rivers, rather than be stagnant like a dried up canal… but it is just not happening, and I have to respect the fact that my body, soul and mind are not willing to share, at this point and time.

However, I have a few things that I would like to share:

Confession #1:

I don’t always feel strong.  I feel weak a lot of the time.  But I am stubborn and it’s actually my stubbornness, oh and my pride, that gets me through the hard, long, trying days.

Confession #2:

I am angry.

I feel torn about the anger though.  Because I feel so incredibly blessed, so why should I feel mad.  I have more in my life than I think I would have ever thought I would have, but then there’s this whole Bipolar Disorder, and that is the thing that is the kindling to my fire.  Having gone through a “rough time” it is hard to focus on times that were “good” and to see past these struggles.  Hence the frustration that I feel, although these feelings are specifically pin pointed towards the disorder, and no one else.

Confession #3:

I am tired.

I am ready for the time to come where I am balanced.  I am ready for smooth streams and babbling brooks.  I am weary and tired after fighting rapids for so long.  My brain is fatigued as is my body and my spirit.

 

As the weekend approaches, I am nearing a day long meditation retreat that I am looking forward to attending.  I am hoping to get back in touch with my inner voice and obtaining calm and peace in my soul.  I hope that the depression will stay away and I will have the energy to participate.  But most of all enjoy the process.

May your days be blessed and filled with sunshine and warmth.

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

Babbles: The Path

person holding three orange carrots
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In life, I have set myself on a path, outlined where I was going and how I would get to where I needed to go.  I had it all figured out.  I could see where I was, and where I needed to go, and exactly how I would get there.  It would be simple to get from point A to point B.  Easy peeasey fresh and squeezy.

So then this thing called life happens, and Frigidaires up my whole path, like a tornado plowing through my village and pulling up turnips and carrots and tossing them all over the place and making a mess.

When the carnage is over, I am a quarter of the way down my path and I am looking at this mess that is sitting before me wondering how the French bulldog I am going to make it to the end point as I can’t even see the path because there are mounds of turnips and carrots laying all over the place as if a big pot of soup just threw up everywhere.

This is where the choose your own adventure comes into play:

Adventure One:

I sit and weep, paralyzed with the overwhelming feelings that are associated with knowing that there is so much work to do with cleaning up all the carrots and turnips in attempts to find the original path and get back on the way we had originally established.

Adventure Two:

I climb on top of the pile of carrots and turnips and survey the world from the higher perspective and see what else is out there and what could possibly lie ahead of me and what I could gain by moving forward and trying something new and different.

 

I am in a place where I had to choose the second adventure.  I had to let go of an original plan, the path that was laid out, and try and different route.  Realizing that I am still on a path, I am still working toward the goal, which is working on my overall wellness but, we are just going about it in a unique way at this point.

At times, we need a widespread storm of carrots and turnips to come through and destroy our original path to force us to make the decision between weeping and freezing and climbing and surveying.

If given the choice between sitting and weeping or climbing and surveying, what choice would you make?

 

Carrot Cupcakes and Sprinkles,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com