What is Success?

Worrying has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve worried about everything under the sun at one time or another.

My current worry is, am I/will I ever be successful?

I reflect on my career and finances primarily and debate with myself whether they’re successful enough.

I’ve always said that if I write for a living and am making a difference with my writing, I will be happy. For 2 years I have done that for a non-profit organization telling stories and encouraging others to donate. But I don’t make as much money as I would like. Does that make my job unsuccessful?

Because I don’t make a lot of money, it holds me back financially. I live at home with my mom because I spend almost half of my bi-weekly paychecks on student loans. I look at my bank account and shake my head because I always wish I had a few more dollars in there. Does that make me a failure?

I feel like I’m nowhere near being a success person because of my financial situation. I feel like I have failed at life.

My depression loves to play these thoughts on repeat. My mind tells me I will never amount to anything, that any dream I have will never become a reality because I am destined to fail.

I dream of writing a non-fiction book, of having a story published in a popular publication, of getting married, traveling the world and somehow paying off my student loans.

Those goals seem so unattainable that it discourages me from trying.

Next month I find out if I am getting a raise which I really, really want. If I my pay remains stagnant, I will find a new job. If I get the raise, I’ll stay on for longer. So we shall see what happens on the career front this summer!

How do you define success? Do you feel successful in your life?

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Maybe I Shouldn’t Care so Much

I have been talking to my husband in recent days about the struggles I am still having with depression.  I confessed how I often feel bad that I haven’t done something “good enough,” or that I worry if I may have inadvertently made someone else uncomfortable by something I said or didn’t say.  I often worry if contributions I make are really valued by others.  I wonder if my efforts at church and in my family and even on the blog are really helping anyone.  I get down on myself far too often.  These is one of my biggest and most persistent negative thought patterns that I often have to work through.  It isn’t always easy to remember that I am enough–even though I know it is true.  It’s a battle I seem to have to fight almost every day.

Whenever I talk to my husband about this, he always half-jokingly says that I need to not care so much–I need to be heartless, like him.  This always makes me laugh because he is the furthest thing from heartless you can get.  However, I have watched a change in him in recent years.  He went from being more like me–always worried about not doing things just right and trying to accommodate everyone’s every need–to being his own advocate.  He speaks up for himself.  If he doesn’t want to do something, he says he doesn’t want to do it.  Instead of losing himself in a sea of worry about whether or not he’s meeting his own expectations and everyone else’s, he just does what he wants and does so confidently and without worry.  I love this and want so badly to emulate it, but I’m not sure how!  And– I guess I am afraid to.

I am afraid if I’m not focusing on doing everything just right, that I might make a big mistake.  I am afraid if I’m not focusing on how everything I do affects others, that I might hurt someone.  I suppose, overall, I m trying to prevent failure.  I don’t move with confidence through life.  I carry a heavy burden of self-doubt and self reproach.  And I’m tired of it.

Maybe I shouldn’t care so much.  Maybe I shouldn’t care at all.  If I really think about it, my dream would be to move through life the way I see best, without caring or worrying about failing–without caring about the expectations of others.  I need to be my own advocate, like my husband is for himself.

As I was typing this post up, this quote came into my mind:

 

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
― Erin Hanson

I desperately want to be a more confident and happy me.  I am tired of keeping myself down.  Maybe I need to stick this quote to my bathroom mirror, for starters.

As for my next step–I’ll keep you posted.  I need to tackle this one thing at a time.

Is there anyone else who has struggled with this?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and your story.

Introduction

If you have ever ridden a roller coaster, you understand the excitement and fear that courses through your mind and body as you burst through the track. You experience such an intense jolt of so many emotions as your breath is stolen from falling and you only have enough time to take another breath as you ascend. In a lot of ways, bipolar disorder seems to share many similarities. It seems to change a person drastically in mere moments and can even span episodes for days at a time. You never know how you will feel when you wake up in the morning. You never know what will happen to send you spiraling into a depressive episode. I often like to call it a “Jekyll and Hyde” effect in my personal blog.

I am Shelton Fisher and recently I have been given the privilege to be a contributing writer for The Bipolar Writer. I am a 25 year old with a full time job, an amazing wife, and the two best dogs in the world. I used to be a decent musician and writing has become a passion of mine. Amid the wonderful things that life has provided for me, I have mental health issues that fight me tooth and nail on a regular basis. Anxiety has been a familiar part of my life since I was a child, but alcoholism and panic attacks made me realize that I needed to finally address these problem medically. In September of last year I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and began a regimen of serotonin inhibitors and recently I have began seeing a therapist. After several sessions addressing my childhood behaviors and my current behaviors, we have discussed that I may be bipolar and the symptoms honestly surprised me.

As I continue the journey into my mental health to confirm a diagnosis and discover how to live a better life, I want to include you through personal stories, free verse poetry, and the occasional informative post. I am not a professional by any means, but I am living proof that mental health is a war to be won. If you have ever been afraid to speak, afraid to make a move, lost motivation and hope, hurt yourself because you couldn’t find the right words or felt trapped inside your body, screamed at the top of your lungs with tears rolling down your boiling red cheeks, self medicated with alcohol or drugs, fallen into depression for no apparent reason, or just want to know how I am handling things, my posts are for you.

10 Things the Bipolar Writer is Afraid Of

I thought this would be a great blog post to write. In my social anxiety life, there are things that I use (avoidance behaviors), and I wanted to write what are things that that scare me the most when I leave my house.

10 Things I am Afraid of in This Life

  1. Crowded Places scare me – I hate going to stores or malls because there are people. In my mind, I often think that people are judging me. That somehow they know I am Bipolar. How could they know?
  2. I am afraid of meeting new people –  I have never been good at making friends, although I have made some over the years. I have never been great at being the person that is openly open to meet new people. When I am at my favorite coffee shop, I tend to have my headphones on and drowning out the world.
  3. Dark places give me anxiety – I have not been to a movie theater since I had a terrible panic attack while watching a movie. It’s another place that gives me significant anxiety.
  4. I am afraid of being alone – It’s funny that I mention this because at the same time I revel in the introvert part of me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a fear of dying alone. I made a decision long ago to not bring a relationship into all of my issues. I have come so far, but my diagnosis ended my last relationship.
  5. I am afraid of failure – It has kept me from doing things over the years. I almost didn’t go back to college because I feared I would find a way to wreck things.
  6. I am afraid sometimes to drive – It wasn’t always so, but I have had my worst panic attacks behind the wheel of my car.
  7. I am afraid that one day I will go back – My biggest fear is that one day my depression will get me in a bad place I will turn to suicide again. Its highly unlikely but it is always in the back of my mind. When I get that way, I lose control. I never want to feel like this again, but its hard not to fear this truth.
  8. I fear someday my demons will come back – I fought my demons for so many years but they never honestly go away. I have worked out many through therapy, but it’s always a possibility.
  9. I fear being forgotten – This has happened to me before, and it was because I isolated myself from the world. I fear it could happen again and I will be forgotten.
  10. I fear not completing my goals – This is because I am my worst critic. What is worse what could happen if I fail at some point? I don’t deal well with failure in my past.

I hope you enjoyed!

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J.E. Skye

 

 

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoAndrew Neel

unsplash-logoPete Pedroza