Too Many Excuses.

I love writing. I write lists as a comfort, and my thoughts as an outlet. Sometimes, I get hung up on others opinions of my writing. Opinions I shouldn’t worry about. I write for me. Most of it doesn’t make sense but it feels right.When I freeze while trying to consider opinions I haven’t heard yet, I am hurting myself more than anyone. With no paper to spill my feelings into, I find myself fixating on them more than ever.

So I am just gonna go for it. I am sorry if this is a little scattered.

Remember the first time you watched a movie from your childhood, but as an adult? Maybe there was a joke that went over your prepubescent head, or maybe it confirmed a theory you had. Either way, I find myself doing this often. I used to really push away from religion and even claimed to be atheist (ZERO opinion if you are or aren’t religious). I talked about things I didn’t have any knowledge on and put down anything that sounded like a religious comment. Now I turn to the Bible as a comfort. The words in that book mean more now.

The word mindfulness means more now. I understand how I can be mindful, and how that benefits my growth as a person. My BP diagnosis was my first step towards mindfulness. I finally recognized something wasn’t right and sought help for my mood and subsequent actions. With that came the realization that I had formed these habits that were hurting those around me. I didn’t want to just mask symptoms, I wanted to find the cause.

I have had a lot of great things happen lately, and I had a lot of shitty things happen too. As I revealed recently, I was hospitalized for thoughts of self harm. All is better now, I just had to get some meds tweaked and take some time to process my feelings in a safe place. I get back to work and disclose to a close coworker what my hospitalization was for. My boss comes back from vacation and suddenly, after almost a year, fires me for “low productivity”. I had just signed a lease on a two bedroom apartment for my self and my mom who I care for. I just bought a new car earlier this year. A lot of people close to me pointed out the timing of being let go, right after I was hospitalized. I just don’t want to be one of those people who blame others. I honestly was shocked when they let me go. I had never received any indication that my work was not meeting expectations. I have filed for unemployment, but I haven’t received anything as of yet. It has only been a week.

Isn’t it weird the things that can trigger depression. My job loss didn’t. I was upset and down as to be expected but it wasn’t depression. Having to ask and receive help from my sister who is so judgmental of any actions that aren’t 100% responsible, and my grandmother who I have been trying to set boundaries with, especially financially.

I got a verbal offer for a job today. Since completing my degree, I haven’t been job searching. Let me tell you, I am being offered hire positions then I have ever held. Positions that I most certainly feel I am unqualified for. I accepted but am waiting for the official offer letter.

I feel like things are looking up and all in all, this year wasn’t bad. It might be one of my best yet.

My Journey to Stability, Pt. 3

by Shara Adams

A circle of blurred faces surrounded me, all talking at once. The level of chaos outpaced my own mind and I struggled to keep track of what was going on. Drugged and intoxicated beyond capable cognition, the world began to slip away once again. In the mess of voices, the realization of my fragile state caught the action of the paramedics and I was whisked down the stairs from the apartment to the ambulance. Because of the design of our place, a stretcher was worthless. They half carried, and half walked me down the precarious stairway. Once I was inside the bus, one of the paramedics joined me and began a pleasant conversation with me.

Blonde hair and blue eyes watched me intently. It may have been my lost mind, but at that moment, he had the most beautiful eyes that I had ever seen. Smiling, I was lost in his hypnotizing gaze. His voice was soft and inviting. I felt like I could listen to it forever, and I did listen to it the whole way to the emergency room. He conversed with me to keep me awake and cognitive of what was around me, and it worked perfectly. It also kept my mind off the fact my husband had not come with me. I did not notice this fact in the middle of everything going on; he was completely absent from my side.

Once inside the ER, I was forced to drink charcoal from a small cup, and it did not take long for it to make a reappearance. It was absolutely disgusting, and my toxic stomach contents were having none of it. Frustrated nurses yelled at me for throwing it up and then gave me another cup – but I never touched it to my lips. Without something to focus on, I was slipping away from the bright lights of the room. Metal walls of the elevator were my final memory before losing consciousness. I have no recollection of being in the ICU or being ‘asleep’. No dreams or thoughts; it was as if I went to bed and woke up the next morning but waking up this time was a much different experience.

Stirring in the hospital bed, my eyes opened several days after my arrival. I felt lost and confused at my surroundings, but my eyes fell on a familiar face and relief washed over me. I am sure she felt the swell of relief as well. My mom had driven about 740 miles in eight hours to be by my side. We later calculated that she had averaged about 95 mph the entirety of the drive, never being pulled over. There was always a driver going faster than she was, and they were the ones to get caught. Her foot never left the gas pedal, and I will never make fun of her panic.

Once awake and somewhat aware of where I was, I noticed the lack of a certain person from the room: my husband. This was something my mom attempted to fix, but it was only mildly successful. He came to visit me once during my entire stay, but never said a word and refused to look at me. He sat on my bed and I rubbed his back, but nothing I did to interact with the stone-faced body made any difference. His blatant resentment was more than I could overcome. I began to wonder if I went too far to prove my point, but it also seemed to be working.

The chaos from the apartment had compartmentalized in my mind, blurry and distant memories, just like that night.

by Shara Adams

For more stories by Shara Adams, visit http://pennedinwhite.com.

Pot.

**This post discusses the use of marijuana. Please do not read if you are triggered by discussions about drug use. I am not a medical professional and the below information should not replace treatment by a licensed health care provider. I also live in a state (Arizona) that has legalized medicinal marijuana. I am a rule follower by nature**

 

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I have been wanting to discuss marijuana and its uses in mental health. Personally, I use it pretty consistently. I do not drive, work, or care for anybody under the influence. Again, big proponent of rules over here. I believe in bodily autonomy and I don’t get to decide if you want to be around someone under the influence. I would never attempt to convince you of my beliefs as I respect everyone’s opinions.

I primarily use this for stress and anxiety symptoms, although it is officially prescribed to me for PTSD. I feel like my mind is in so many places at once sometimes. I imagine that it has the same effects on me that ADHD medication has on those with ADHD. It calms me, I can concentrate better, and my tension is no longer affecting me physically. I can’t convey in words how much better I feel. I sleep better with it as well. I have never let it interfere with my professional life. In no way do I feel like drugs are the answer to problems. If anything, I avoid smoking or alcohol when I am depressed or manic. As strong as the desire to numb the feelings is, I don’t feel that is healthy. I don’t want to associate bad times with great enjoyable substances. I don’t go out for a drink on a bad day. I wouldn’t smoke either. I will smoke when I feel anxious, but not when I am manic. when I am stressed, but not when I am making major decisions. I guess it kinda sounds silly that someone would follow so many rules that they set for themselves over something so trivial. I sincerely believe that there is a such thing as too much of a good thing.

So, yeah. I smoke pot. I feel more productive and relaxed just enough into easing myself back to the outgoing person I was. I have to let my guard down and try to regain the self confidence I once had. Anyway, I am rambling.

Let me know what you think?

-B

p.s. Full disclosure, this post was originally posted on my personal blog here.

Thirty.

30. Thirty. The big 3-0. I want to mark this time. (peep that pic of me celebrating graduation in late May)

If you would have asked 20 year old me what the next 10 years held…she would have thought that it sounded scary and wonderful, but it could never be her. She blamed everyone for her problems. She was endlessly in love with Joseph Anthony but She was months away from the hardest break up she had faced. She was wonderfully oblivious that her life was about to change courses in a big way. She didn’t really have a lot of close friends outside of Joe. Hannah was dating David and you all didn’t really get along with David. She had a less than ideal relationship with her family and believed that it was beyond repair. There were a lot of questions about where my life would lead me. She was also very secure with herself. She of course thought she could improve in her exercise and diet, but she had confidence and it was obvious. She had no idea that these fleeting, endorphin filled time was mostly a product of her bipolar.

 

This didn’t seem like a big deal until I thought of how fast it went by. How quickly 30 years of my life happened. What have I accomplished?

 

I am well established in my career. I have been in the health care field for 10 years.

I got my master’s degree.

I moved to Texas and back.

I have a pet kitty that makes my days better (You count your kids right?)

I received my diagnosis of Bipolar disorder and started treating it.

I repaired many relationships that I had broken.

I have moved countless times, and it has allowed me experience more than one small bubble in Arizona.

I bought the newest car I have ever owned this year.

I made the big decision to start fertility treatments and become a single mother by choice.

I have realized that it isn’t a relationship I fear, it is that I wouldn’t be accepted or understood. I am asexual.

I have made peace with the fact that I will most likely have my mom living with me for the rest of her life. I am truly okay with it.

 

30-year-old me is on a camping trip in the future. This is 29 years and 359 day old me. Present me is sitting in my room. She is in Mesa and live in a crappy one-bedroom mobile home with mom. That is right, you now care for your mom. Mostly financially because she can’t work but is still independent.  She sleeps in a recliner because you haven’t been able to afford the lift bed she needs. We just got approved for the apartment we are moving to. You prefer to rent an apartment over owning a home and having all the responsibilities or renting a home and having to landscape. This apartment is a dream. You have always looked at the high-end apartments as something you dream of living in. You dreamt of living in a beautiful apartment that looks like a model home. You love the idea of living in a really nice place and decorating it so that you are proud of it.

You love living with your mom. You rarely argue, and she holds you accountable on your self -improvement.

You packed up your shit, quit your job, and drove to Texas where you lived with your dad and Nicole for a year. Much needed. Super impulsive.

Things are rocky with your sister right now. She is following your footsteps and headed down an emotionally destructive path. That is a scary thought seeing as how you went without a diagnosis for your bipolar until you were 25. You have had a couple of relationships that fizzled out. It has been 7 years since your last one. It only feels like an embarrassment to say that when you imagine other people’s reactions. You are oddly okay with this. You have spent the last 7 years working on yourself, nurturing your mental health and mending relationships. You reconnected with Joseph. He turned into a real bar fly when you two hung out together. I do mean hook up if you are wondering. Turns out he had an ex-girlfriend living in the same house. You still love him, and you still think he is selfish and inconsiderate. He has gotten weirder and less mature if that is possible. He loves to wear leggings and outlandish attention drawing outfits and attend raves. He did meet a girl last year. They are expecting a boy next month. You don’t know that Joe has grown up, you think he just found someone to act like a kid with. She has a son in high school….don’t know if that was a teen pregnancy or she is that much older than us.

Hannah is still your true friend. She has changed A TON. She stands up for herself, has really matured career wise and is making more than you! She still feels like she doesn’t know what she is doing with her life. She is living it. She needs to look around. She is still letting pretty boys walk all over her. You constantly build her up and she is so critical of herself and her appearance. She got a boob job that she hates…and botox! As long as it is safe and makes her happy, I will never judge her.

You made the decision that you would start fertility treatments and become a single mother by choice. It is a long and expensive process, but you want it badly. Your mom and grandmother both had issues and could not have any kids after 30. Your aunt Cherril has cervical cancer. She isn’t doing well either. She has decided to not have any kind of treatments and doesn’t even want to take pain medication.

You write. You write in notebooks, on the back of paper plates, you have a blog, you bounce around on your ideas and just end up writing them all in a jumbled mess.

You lost your confidence and have gained at least 100 lbs. But your confidence was gone long before the weight came. After Sean, you were down. You were approaching the BPD diagnosis, but this sent you on a journey that you can credit your life to.

You started gaining weight and staying home. You went to the doctor for weight loss and then disclosed how you were really feeling, and she referred you to a specialist. Between the sadness and the weight gain, you felt ashamed. You stopped going out and packed on more weight. You are hyper aware of those around you. Careful never to agitate or inconvenience anyone. You have actually become pretty boring. You rarely show emotion and are too concerned about other’s opinions to be the silly person you were.

 

You hope that your next 10 years bring more joy, revelations about yourself, dreams come to fruition. You hope to overcome your biggest obstacle. Yourself.

In the next 10 years, you will have a baby. You will do two rounds of IUI before you get pregnant. You will become more confident in your work. You will increase dramatically in your salary as you are beginning to really establish yourself. You will become more involved in politics and religion…after all the wise Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “Women belong in all the places where decisions are being made.”. You will continue learning and educating yourself through reading and may even entertain the idea of a doctorate. You will most likely lose your grandparents. That is going to be the kick in the stomach of the decade. I hope you are somewhat graceful in your grief. I doubt this though. You will most likely have some issues in managing medications and potentially start being reckless at this time. I hope you come back here and remind yourself of how far you have come and how many people go through this.

My first 30 years have been challenging to say the least. I was dealt a tough hand and it didn’t help that I was manic for most of it. I have made strides in my mental health that have definitely rippled into the rest of my life. I am happy. Genuinely happy. I have you fine people to thank for some of that.

 

When the Bipolar Writer Believes in Something Special

Kim Johnson Thought Founder of Grounds for Clarity

This Kim Johnson, the Thought Founder of Grounds for Clarity. If you read my blog, you know I promote ideas that mean a great deal to me. If I believe in something that could help me and you, I am willing share it with a fellow sufferer like me.

Even as good as my life may seem at times we all feel the weight of the world. I have felt burnt out lately. In this case, I want to help Kim, a Mental Health Skills Lifestyle Coach, fill her upcoming seminar this Saturday and Sunday. I am participant because I believe in what Kim is doing.

“Right now if you are struggling with the whole world weighing on your shoulders? That you can never do things right. Or you feel like a failure?” -Kim.

I know I feel everything that Kim explains in the following video, please take a moment to watch this short video, and perhaps you will reach out to Kim as I did. Watch this seven-minute video.

About This Weekends Seminar

There are very few times when someone comes into your life and guides you to change. Kim has a spirit that wants to help those who right now are struggling. This week, Kim has helped me open up about my recent struggles with feeling burnt out in this life, and this upcoming Master Your Mind: Immersive, Anonymous Digital Retreat is the perfect opportunity for you to reach out to Kim @ groundsforclarity@gmail.com. Please join Kim and me (myself as a part of the group) in this seminar. She is ready to work with you, and there are still slots open.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Left on Read

As an adult I’ve found it difficult to make friends and keep friendships afloat. I try my best but it doesn’t seem to be enough sometimes.

During this quarantine period I’ve made two online friends through anime Facebook groups. Both of them have been great to talk to, I’ve really appreciated having them to talk to.

The one person, her and I spoke today so we are fine, but the other I’m not sure what happened.

Her and I would chat multiple times a week about anime and read each other’s fan fiction. (Please don’t judge me for writing fan fiction, I’ve already judged myself enough for it. It’s a new hobby.) We got along really well! I enjoyed hearing from her and the conversations we had. I felt like we were actual friends.

Late last week I wrote to her asking if she had any time to proofread my story. I didn’t hear a reply that whole day so I looked back to the message to find out if she saw it.

Read

Being left on read I thought maybe she is busy, she will reply later.

She didn’t.

A couple days later I sent her my story because she had previously said she was ok with reading my work. I saw her post something to our group but I heard nothing from her so I checked the chat.

Read

She has continued to post on her Facebook and the group we are a part of so it makes me wonder what the hell I did. Our conversations had been normal, we didn’t have any drama between each other.

I feel stupid for a plethora of reasons, from letting somebody who I don’t really know get to me and asking myself why anybody would want to be my friend in the first place.

This isn’t the first time this has happened in my life.

In high school, a good friend of mine who went to a different school did the same thing to me. I would call her, text her and even wrote her a letter with no response. I still don’t know why she distanced herself from me, I probably will never know.

Why is this a pattern in my life?
Is it me?
Is it them?

During all of this I was happily reminded of the longterm friends I’ve had since university. I went to a Zoom birthday party for my friend and got to see a few other friends which was so nice! It made me feel really good to be remembered and invited.

I’ve found a lot of value in the friends I’ve had for years. Even though we live in different places and haven’t seen each other in years, I know that they are still there for me.

Have you been left on read? Have you had friendships dropped for reasons you don’t understand?

Sh*t.

I just posted this fantastic blurb about things really looking up and just like that, it’s gone.

Where do I even begin? It is a long drawn out bit but I am going to try to summarize. My mother lives with me and depends on me both physically and financially due to her being disabled. My grandparents split her costs with me because I am not making as much as I will be once I get a higher position since finishing my degree. My father pays spousal support to my mom which helps with bills. It is chump change at 2something a month.

In the past week: My sister gets furloughed and moves into our 500 square foot home with us because she can’t cover rent on unemployment with her other bills.

My father’s plant shuts down permanently and he is unable to send the spousal support.

My grandfather (and sole income for my grandparents aside from my grandmother’s SS) loses his job.

So I am the only one working. No pressure. Just over here holding myself in the fetal position. It is weird. The only personal negative I really saw to this pandemic was that I am losing any strides I was making in getting away from self isolating….but this is really about to test my mental health.

The Best of Me

“You gave me the best of me, so you’ll give you the best of you,” are the lyrics to “Magic Shop” by Korean pop group BTS. I have been listening to this song over and over because I keep thinking about these words.

Sure, it’s not the most eloquent phrasing but I think that they are on to something here.

For ages we have all been told to give everything our best whether it’s academics, athletics, music, art, relationships, etc. That if we give anything our best effort we have a higher likelihood of succeeding.

During the many times I have sat and contemplated these lyrics, I understand it as we so often give the best of ourselves to others but have a harder time giving the best for ourselves.

I try to give my best to my family, boyfriend, pets and friends but when it comes to giving my best for me, that’s a different story. I know that eating well, exercising and having human interaction is good for me but I don’t always put in the effort. If I had a paradigm shift, I would try harder to do the things that are good for me so I could be at my very best.

If I gave my best for myself, what would my life look like? This is a question I have been focusing on, digging deep into it to find a possible answer.

I still don’t have an answer but during these weird times of social distancing and staying home basically all the damn time, I have time to really think about it. I also have the time to focus on giving myself the very best of me.

What do you think of these lyrics? Do you have a similar interpretation or not? Do you think you give yourself the best of you?

Please everyone be smart and safe!

Exploding With Emotion.

I am not an outwardly emotional person. Behind closed doors, I spill it all. If you asked my mom or friends, they would never describe me as boy crazy. I had plenty of crushes but I just am very mindful of how I present myself. I think this is why, when I get into the room with my mental health provider, I am a puddle. I explode with what I can only describe as relief. I feel like I spend my days trying to control my feelings for fear that I am going to push someone too far. When I finally let the emotions flow, so do the tears. I am passionate, hopeful, empathetic. I am all of these things to the extreme. I try to help people who didn’t ask for my help. I cling to people who just want to walk away. I bet everything on a maybe.

That burst of tears that I feel when I go to my appointments, the one where I just feel relieved and heard? I feel that here. I feel that with every post that is written and I can relate to. I feel that with every comment shared on my own writing. I feel heard, I feel understood. I imagine this is how people who run feel (ugh running amirite?). I have heard people describe it as cathartic and how they love leaving everything and just being in the quiet with themselves.

I leave it all on the page. I am sure that I can’t be the only one who “journals”. My journals are just lists, scribbles that don’t mean much, a to do list, a grocery list, a goal, a dream I had last night. I don’t intentionally journal. I don’t even write full sentences or dates. I just release my thoughts onto a page in whatever format or stage they might be in. Sometimes, all I have done is budget. It feels good to see it on paper. One day, when I am gone and my kids clean out my things, they will realize how insane I really am. I have stacks of notebooks with scribbles in them. The same way a child might color random pages in a coloring book with half of them never completed.

Thank you for being the only real “Journal” I have ever had. Thank you for consistently making me feel understood and sane, even when I know that I am not at times. Thank you for encouraging me to come back and carry on.

Bella’s Babbles: Mosaics and Life

pexels-photo-2904284

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