Time

Time is one of the most important concepts that must be considered when talking about mental health. All of us feel that time is one resource that is not used wisely, the fact is contrasted by all we must do with the time we are afforded. For those with mental health issues, it may at times seem like time moves faster not just because of the need to heal but, also time spent contemplating moments missed and the pain of the past. No man has the power to control time, but one must continue living life despite it all, regardless of the hand that fate has dealt them.

A Poem about Time:

by : Francesca Seopa

Time comes, Time goes.

Time reaps, Time sows.

Time lingers, Time outlasts.

Time destroys, Time heals

Time takes, Time gives

Fate curses, Fate blesses

Fate so fickle, Fate so shrewd.

With a smile warm and lewd.

A guide through the dark dense woods.

The thing about time is that it is neither enemy nor friend, it’s not for anything or anyone. Time roots for no particular outcome. Like water flowing out of an overturned glass, Time moves simply because the laws of nature dictate it be so. The same goes for Fate. Even though you might feel that your fate is miserable and locked in that state, honestly speaking, Fate is shaped by a person’s thoughts and time. Empires have risen and fallen, kings crowned and dethroned. People are born and they die, sometime ghastly quick deaths, most of the time a slow agonizing death after a life of highs and lows. The point here is that one must not hold onto the feeling of time slipping away, not to overvalue or overthink what fate has accorded them. If anything, time must be spent living whatever life one wants and as for fate, whatever you do what will happen will happen. Life has ups and downs and no one can control what happens to them. People have the power of choice, they have the power to empower themselves despite what Life throws at them. The power of their choices will dictate their Fate. This is why it is so important for people to work towards healing, empowering themselves and understanding that they are worthy despite what they went through.

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.

– William Shakespeare

Thank you for being with me.

So, I close my eyes to old ends and open my heart to new beginnings.

– Nick Frederickson

I look forward to seeing you here. Let us rebuild a healthy state of Mind.

Warmly, Francesca.

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Reasons To Live

It is completely acceptable to stay alive for tiny reasons. Because you want to hear your favorite song one more time. Because your pet will miss you if you leave. The moon is just too pretty to never see. The beautiful sunsets are just too precious to never see again. Because you haven’t seen the next season of a really good TV show. Because you want to see the Christmas lights this year. If you are alive, you are doing enough.

So we push, to tear down the walls. Of the box that life has left us in to keep us away. And now we push to stay together. Know that nobody is going to save us from ourselves. The bad memories will knock us down. The good memories will lift us up. If you are surviving, just know that I am proud of you.

Thank you for being with me. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind.

Love, Francesca.

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Why Not You?

top-of-mountain

Not Me….but Why Not?…someday 🙂 Photo by Pixabay

 

Believing in yourself, your mission and your heart is not just a meme we find on social media, but the real deal, and once you commit to those beliefs, you can achieve more than you think you can ~ Lisa J. 

I have been pretty MIA from this blog lately and while I’m sad about that it’s been for good reason — pursuing my dream of one day being a published author. I do however, want to express my deep gratitude to James for continuing to allow me this platform, and for all who read. Never give up on you, and never give up on your dreams, make them real by believing in them, and you, everyday 🙂

I had a different post in mind just a few minutes ago, but it’s funny how our paths sometime lead us in a way we don’t even realize. As you may already know, I have started a pretty exciting journey in the world of writing, specifically children’s books. This along with my subject of today, was something I never expected to step into, and while that is a story in itself, it is not the reason behind this post. This post is actually about how sometimes, even when we are confident in our walk, we tend to get distracted by the outside world that, at times, begs the question…Why Me? 

This question can rear it’s ugly head in various chapters of our lives, especially during the hard times. We find ourselves asking out loud or in a whisper to our higher power, the universe as a whole or whoever will listen, Why Me? I won’t lie, I have had this question weigh on my heart many times, and in those thoughts the emotions that overtake me consist of mostly anger, the feelings of unjustness, and the repetitive notion that I need an answer.

Unfortunately, even in these low moments, the moments that can break us, the moments that can make us question our faith, our love and even contemplate the reasons behind it all, what we don’t realize, the answer to Why Me is always Why Not? 

It feels so harsh, but it’s true, and while maybe I will post more elaborately about this side of things, the above serves as more of an introduction to a more positive point, give me just two more minutes…If this is true for all the times we feel we get the short of the stick, doesn’t that mean it can be flipped to answer the same question in a different context? The answer…Why Not?

That’s where I was tonight. I had typed in a title for a different post altogether when I got distracted (which happens often, ;)) and I found myself engrossed in yet another publisher’s website reading submission guidelines word for word and paging through the bios of author after author. Suddenly I felt myself slipping into that same mentality, “Look at all these crazy talented writers, they’ve been doing this forever, that’s not me, Why would they choose Me?” 

I know I’m not alone with these thoughts. Have you ever seen a successful person, or a person doing exactly what you’ve only dreamed about doing, and think to yourself, “Wow, how nice for them, I’ll never see that kind of success, why would I ever think that could be me?” Don’t be shy, you can nod, it’s ok, we all do it. It’s self-doubt, or this insane idea that successful, in every definition of success, people are superhuman not of this earth. What we don’t realize is that the answer is always the same…WHY NOT? 

If you really want to dive deep into this subject, I can go on and on about how we may not always be a direct cause for the negative or positive in our lives, but we are absolute contributors, that is not why I write this post. My point and my message to not just you, but to myself, is if we can ask ourselves the question, Why Me, why can’t the answer be the same for both scenarios. WHY NOT? 

So next time you catch yourself daydreaming about that dream job, that mountain to climb, creating every day, loving, laughing, enjoying life to the fullest in whatever way is the most true for you, and you start to ask yourself , Why Me? Before you spiral into the ocean of self pity and excuses, respond with the only answer that can set you free from the envy and the anger…WHY NOT? The catch however, is once you answer this question within your heart, the true test is what you do next.

Why Me? Why You? Well, because Why Not? is only the first statement to the story of your dreams and when you believe it in you, what you once thought was impossible becomes more possible than you could have ever imagined. 

Much Love, 

Lisa J.

 

This is Me, This is My Why.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to share this post here at The Bipolar Writer, as it was originally intended for my personal blog. However, I feel it’s important to share about the person behind the posts with all who read my writings. ~ Thank you for taking the time to get to know me and allowing me to share my journey.

book

Photo by Pixabay

In contemplating my next post, I realized that through this journey so far of discussing honoring your story, love, forgiveness and finding your Truth, I never properly introduced myself. I find that to be a gigantic oversight, because how can you relate to someone who talks about having a story but never told it. While each of my posts give you a glimpse of who I am as a mom, a writer and that my path has not always been smooth sailing, I feel it’s time to give you a summary of me and how I got here.

While I could write a book about my life to this point (unpublished, but I actually have, which is how I found my love of writing). I feel a good summary of significant points in my journey would be enough to give you an idea of just who I am, and why my path has lead me to this blog and to the desire to write a book.

Me

There is beauty and humility in imperfection. ~ Guillermo del Toro

As a Child –

As a younger version of me I grew up as the oldest of two. I’d like to think of myself as a good big sister, but I was far from it. The moment my brother came home, there was something really special about him, and I knew it, and was jealous enough to make his life miserable for a while. Eventually, we were able to heal our relationship, and presently, we are closer than we have been most of our lives.

However, this particular personality trait is what drove me a good portion of my life -jealous, angry and easily triggered. I felt I was constantly trying to prove something. I was the only girl on my mom’s side of five cousins and my brother, so needless to say, I was a tomboy always looking for my place. I was also an introvert who loved reading, quotes, poetry and art, and dabbled in a little of it all, but never felt I excelled at any, which led to much self-doubt.

My Anxiety-

Most of my life, I never understood what it meant to be empathic or highly sensitive. (This is a post I plan to cover later on). I never equated this trait to my anxiety. In a nutshell I could actually feel when someone was sad or disappointed, which made me very susceptible to worry, fear, anxiety and depression. I suffered from much of these growing up, never understanding where it came from and how to name it, let alone control it. I learned to hide it well, like I did many things. I felt if I was able to hide my true feelings, I could go through life just like everyone else. Not until later did I realize that facing these truths allowed me to understand them, and embrace them, which allowed me to truly live as me.

In Relationships-

My stubborn ways stayed with me as I grew up, and if I set my mind to something or believed I was right, there was no convincing me otherwise. This is where my universal lessons came into play, specifically in my relationships. I chose partners that reflected who I wanted to be, not who I felt I was. I wanted to be confident, strong and know my place in this life, and chose people who I felt exhibited those traits. Unfortunately, these tended to be strong personalities that eventually did not mix well with my own, specifically when I was attempting to find my own unique voice.

I was married and divorced twice with two kids before I was thirty years old. After these divorces, and still trying to find my place, feeling that maybe I had it all wrong, my next relationship was with my best friend, who was female and lasted eight years, but also ended due to my need to find out who I truly was in this world. While I now share my life with a wonderful man who is the reflection of my soul, and who walks with me down my true path (this is a story in itself I may write about one day), I have learned through this journey that I am forever grateful to those I’ve shared my life with, as they have shaped me and guided me to where I am today.

My Kids-

My kids are my heart, and I feel I learned a lot as a mom as we grew up together, but it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Due to my failed relationships, my daughter moved 10 times before she was 10, and my son suffered from night terrors, which I have carried guilt about for so very long. They are now 18 and 13 and we have wonderful relationships, but the stories in between could had lead us down much different paths. The biggest lessons I have learned about life have been through my kids, and I am blessed to be in the place I am with them today.

In Work/School-

Growing up I never knew what I wanted to do with myself, and was guided in different directions, but ended up within the legal field where I spent most of my adult life. I earned my paralegal degree and worked within several different law firms over a 20 year period. I struggled with this for some time, especially because within that span I learned what writing truly meant to meNeeding a change, I am currently in school as a psychology major, and I found a place within real estate for a utility company. While my passion lies elsewhere, I love that I can support my family surrounded by wonderful people.

In Faith-

I grew up Catholic and for many years I resented the religion and much of what it stood for, never understanding that there is much more to faith than religion. I have found through the many lessons of life, including death, that there is much we can’t see, and much we don’t know, but something much greater exists. In my journey, I have found my faith again, and this has taken me to a new level of understanding and love.

In Life and Death-

My turning point came when I experienced death in a way I never thought I would experience it. While I had lost family growing up, never did I experience the depth of loss until I had to say goodbye to those who were younger than me or close to my age and heart. In a short period, I lost an 18 year old family member to a fire, a young cousin to addiction, my grandmother who I was very close to, way too soon, my three year old step-nephew to illness, almost lost my dad, and my daughter was gravely struggling in her world. These events rocked me to the core and changed my course.

Once I was able to comprehend what had happened in my life, I was determined to walk the path I was here for and live how I was supposed to live, in happiness and truth, instead of sadness, regret and anger, which took me to my WHY.

My Why

There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or influence. Those who lead inspire us. ~ Simon Sinek

My Passions-

I have so much to say about this, but will summarize because I plan to post about each stepping stone to my true Why as I continue to blog. My passion for writing started as a kid when I learned just how much quotes inspired me, and still do. I began writing my own from the heart, and at one time even submitted some for copyright. I also loved to draw and read, however, I never thought of myself as creative because my definition of creative was skewed, and felt I didn’t qualify since I wasn’t good at just making up stories on the fly, or a designer or painter.

As I dabbled in the written word through poetry and quotes, I didn’t find my true voice in writing until my second marriage. I was home with my son and struggling with being a mom again, figuring out who I was in the world, and my relationship as a whole. I decided one day to sit down at my old computer and start to type. As soon as I opened that door, the words began to pour out like they had been waiting all that time to be heard, and from then on I knew deep down this was what I was meant to do, it was the matter of figuring out in what capacity.

Me

Me!

As I found my voice in writing, life got in the way and I began to work again, and while I temporarily buried this part of me to just do the day by day thing, other passions showed themselves, reminding me that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I volunteered at the dog shelter, feeling I needed to give back, and I ended up writing about the orphaned dogs. I found I loved to coach, started with volleyball and now coach beginner runners, which is where I found that inspiring those to live their best life is my calling, which I began to write about. I then started and stopped blogging over the years and finally I started this blog and just keep going. Feeling as if there was a hole in my heart,  I was searching to fill it, and I ended up right back behind a keyboard.

While my WHY is to inspire through my own stories and lessons, my HOW is through this blog and eventually my many books 😉 I believe every one of us has a WHY and a HOW and it is up to us to find out what they are in order to live the very best versions of ourselves in this incredible life we have been given.

Our purpose is our reason, and living in that purpose is when you become who you are meant to be. I cannot thank each of you enough who take the time to read this blog and to follow my story, and my hope for you is that you find your purpose, and you share it with the world so you can live as the very best you.

Much Love,

Lisa J.

What’s Your Story?

Push Through and Just Keep Going

alex-antoniadis-366145-unsplash

The light, the gift, the true nature of our individual being is within each of us, and I believe it is our responsibility and our mission in this life to share these truths with the world. To find these gifts within ourselves may take many attempts that can lead to success, and to failure, but in these successes and in these failures, we learn lessons that teach us understanding, love, forgiveness and how fear can send us astray. If we are blessed with these lessons and have the strength and the ability to see inward and recognize our path, we must move to the direction of this truth.

While I truly believe sharing these blessings is our purpose in this life, there are many times that walking this path is exhausting and our minds tells us to stop. I have had many moments in my life where I just couldn’t or just didn’t want to anymore. My mind would tell me it wasn’t worth it, the time and energy were just too much. I would sink into the comfortable, drown in easy and sit back and wait, hoping what I desired would come to me with little or no effort, and curse when it didn’t. I would think to myself “if this is what I’m am meant to do, why is it so hard, why do I feel pain, or heartache, or disappointment”. These are the moments that I needed to dig deep, to shut out the games my mind would play and to move forward no matter the weight of what was holding me back.

I sat at the volunteer table at Mile 22 of the Chicago Marathon last week and these thoughts of my own life journey cluttered my head. As I cheered the thousands of tired, drenched and physically and mentally drained unique individuals on to the finish line, I didn’t make the connection to my own struggles until now. I had watched the agony on the faces of those who passed and the smiles of those who understood they were almost there. I could relate, maybe not physically in the moment, but mentally on my journey.

To push through, to stay strong, to keep going no matter what mental games you are playing will get you to your true path and purpose of this life. Even when we don’t feel like it, even when the effort seems to outweigh the reward, we must push forward. We must continue to share our gifts and our light for we may not see the rewards in the moment, they will be revealed in the end.

Believe in your truth, and even when it’s difficult to keep going, keep going. Let your heart be your guide and remember how it beats when you shine the light from within.

Much Love,

Lisa J

Patience Will Get You There Quicker

Patience will achieve more than force – Edmund Burke

The art of patience was always a mystery to me. I walked through this life expecting immediate answers and quick action. I never thought of it as impatience, to me, this was responsible, dependable and what was expected. If you got instant results you were successful, and you were on the best path for you. It took a whole lot of life to teach me my philosophy was dead wrong.

I was, and I’m really working on, not being the most impatient person that walks the earth. No joke, I watch for the water to boil, or check my email a hundred times, and refresh a hundred and one. I have always felt I had to have instant results, instant response, instant reaction. Then, if I didn’t get what I was waiting for in that timeframe, I would get anxious and angry and the conversation in my head would swirl with doubt and disappointment. Most of the time these moments would involve me putting myself out there for interviews, publication, critique or grades, but sometimes my anxiety would sprinkle a little fun on my already impatient mind and take my worry to a whole new level.

I can still hear it now  “what if they didn’t get what I was trying to say”, “what if they don’t like me”, “what if I offended them, oh god, what if I offended them”, “what if something is wrong”, “maybe I was wrong”, “what if they’re hurt, or worse”, “maybe I’m not good enough”, and as time ticked by the anger would turn to sadness, and the conversation went more like “yeah, I definitely wasn’t good enough”, “I suck at everything, I’m never gonna make it”, “I’m just not pretty, or cute or fun or nice or sweet, or worth it…..”. My impatience turned into so much more than watching water boil and I sabotaged myself before I gave myself or anyone, for that matter, a chance and I’d give up, pretend I didn’t care and quit.

You see, my impatience was not just irritation at red lights, or slow check out lines, my impatience ran to a deeper level, the level of acceptance by others. It needed to be instant, or I was panicked with doubt, and it took a long time to realize that the more patient I was with others and with me, the quicker I got where or what I was looking for.

Ironically, I began this next paragraph several days ago completely different than I am today. The point I’m attempting to make with this post and the evidence to back it, finally came to me in such an unexpected way. This evening I went digging around in my old papers looking for quotes I jotted down years ago when I first acknowledged my love of writing. Within those papers were unfinished stories, a first and last chapter of a biography, tales of my kids and pages and pages of ideas and notes. If I told you I found my passion back in 2006 it may come as a surprise or it may not, but the fact is, these papers just prove that patience is key. I did not have these notes handy the day I began this blog or my project of Finding Happy, One Day at a Time. These notes pictured were boxed away in 2009, but its clear evidence to me that if we were meant to journey down a path, we will, you just need a little patience.

Patience allowed me to soften to the possibilities of life, love, happiness and most recently, purpose. By stepping away from my keyboard I had the opportunity to reflect and discover what I may not have to finish this post, and on a bigger scale, patience has allowed me to pursue my dream without haste, which has shown to be most rewarding, follow my heart without urgency, and find my purpose in this life. What we desire and the purpose for which we live may not be revealed to us in the timeframe we believe it should, but it does not mean it fails to exist. If we are just little more patient with the process and with ourselves, where we are meant to be, and what we are meant to do, will be disclosed to us quicker than we can imagine.

Much Love,

Lisa J.

Post about how patience will get you there quicker

Notes from 2007 or 2009. Who knew I’d start a project in 2018 named Finding Happy, One Day at a Time.

unsplash-logoCathryn Lavery

Find Your Tribe

“Surround yourself with the dreamers, and the doers, the believers, and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.” -Edmund Lee

My favorite thing about writing this time around is not trying to figure out what to write about, but it is deciding which idea out of the endless ideas I have scribbled down speaks to me that day. The difference is absolutely stemmed from me, but I also give a massive amount of credit to those who surround me. I am constantly inspired, supported and loved, and because of that, my creative soul is nourished, and my fears are calmed. The day I chose to go out and seek my tribe was the day my life was altered. When I chose to open myself up to new experiences and new people, and trust the positive energy I encountered, my path, my life and my purpose shifted.

Before I embarked on my journey to find happy, I was closed off, unsure how people would see me, judge me or if they would even understand me. I was afraid to trust, and because I barely knew myself, I was afraid to allow myself to be known. It took time, change of perspective, change of heart and a new way of thinking, but for the first time in my life, I can truly show those around me who I am, the real me, the me that I’m finally able to be, and in turn be the partner, mother, daughter, sister, niece, cousin and friend I’ve longed to be, without fear and without walls. I choose to surround myself with those who are like-minded, like-spirited and encourage and embody love. Most importantly I surround myself with those who love me, flaws and all, unconditionally. I am becoming who I am meant to be because I have found my tribe, my soul nourishing “spiritual” tribe, and my heart is always full because this tribe that allows me to find me, just continues to grow.

When you surround yourself with people who see you, really see you, for everything you are, without restraint or judgment, you find a light inside yourself you may never have allowed yourself to see before. When you have people to laugh with, cry with, share ideas with, run with, veg with, collaborate with and share your honest life with, conquering the world seems more possible than ever. When supported and guided by those who see you for you, the person behind the shy, insecure, shameful, sad and unhappy person you used to be, shines bright to show the world the beautiful, kind, talented, fun, loving confident human you are meant to be.

Find your tribe. Seek out those who cheer your successes, teach you that your failures are just lessons towards greatness, love you through the hard times, and are a big part of the great times. Surround yourself with those who see you for every part of you, every crack, every smile, every insecurity, every crazy idea, and love you still. Share your life with those who lift you up, feed your soul and embody the spirit of who you are, and who you strive to be.

Much Love,

Lisa

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoPerry Grone

When You Listen, the Words Will Come

As a writer self-doubt is probably the largest mountain to climb. Displaying your inner thoughts for all to read takes a risk that can feel like bungee jumping. You hold your breath and pray the giant rubber band snaps you back to earth. However, the rush is amazing, and the rewards when your words make a connection are boundless. It just takes a strong stomach and belief in yourself to climb the mountain that can stand in your way.
This post is about writer self-doubt and overcoming the boundaries in your mind

Writing has always come easy to me. It didn’t matter what I was writing, letters, essays, term papers, speeches, they all came naturally, and I knew it, and loved it, I took pride in it, but understanding it and sticking to it has been the area in which I struggled.

My inspiration would come in bursts, and the energy I would feel when I would listen to the voice that flowed through me when I composed poetry, stories or just journal entries was a force I could not explain. Unfortunately, just as compelling the force was to write, as was the ability to walk away when that same inspiration would fade into the night from disappointment, confusion and frustration. As a writer, the written word in my style and my personality is incredibly satisfying, it’s therapy, my center and the place that allows me to be the person I am here to be. It’s extremely personal to create something from that part of yourself that no one else but you can see. It’s also intensely personal when those creations are not appreciated by the outside world, even if that rejection is in your own mind.

To be creative, for me, meant no boundaries and no background noise as a distraction, meaning no real work behind the scenes of what I was creating. This is a beautiful idea unless you wanted to write for a living, or at least get your words out there for everyone or anyone to read and fall in love. This was where my trouble would begin. Truly understanding what to write and how to get that writing to a reader was like stumbling around blind in a maze of wonder, every time I thought I found my way, I would hit another wall. I knew I had this natural ability, but I felt I was forcing my hand in one way or another. I would dip my foot in fiction, poetry, short stories, my own story, you name it, but when it was a cold reception, I ran. I would be convinced the world was against me and that if only they would listen, they would be amazed. I was arrogant and impatient, and in my mind, I felt my effort was enough, but maybe I wasn’t, and the words vanished. As protection from the pain, I would stifle my voice and quit.

It took life to bring me to realize that all those worries of rejection and ideas of self-doubt were my own, in my mind only, and not the truth of reality. The reality was I didn’t research, and I didn’t open my heart and my mind to the support and the love I was receiving. I was closed off to the endless possibilities if only I gave myself a chance. It took a shift in perception to open my eyes to see the path that lay in front of me, accept the true gift this life had given me, and show me that honoring that gift was how I wanted to live.

The moment I realized that the boundaries I despised for my own creative mind, I had built within myself was the moment I changed my thinking and the reason why I was writing. I started to listen to the voice I had silenced, the voice that whispered to me in the quiet moments telling me I was here for a purpose, a purpose that only I could define, and I did, I was a writer. All the times before I ignored it, and pretended not to hear because it was easier, it took less effort and less courage, and not to mention the chance of being scorched by the icy reception became slim to none.

When I changed my thinking, believed in the writer I was, I changed my why, and when I changed my why, everything changed. I was no longer writing for the likes, or to be liked, or for money or fame, I was writing to share my voice with others, to inspire them to believe in their truth and to honor their gift while I honored mine. The words are there, they are part of who you are. When you listen to that voice within, connect with your why and believe in your purpose, they flow like a river. Listen to that voice, honor your gift and write for who you are and how you want to live.

Much Love,

Lisa

**I originally wrote this for an audience of writers, but the message is the same…don’t stifle your voice because of fear, listen to it and honor your gift by sharing it with the world🧡

Challenge Yourself! – Find 5 Meaningful Things To Do

Ever get so caught up in the day to day crap-you-have-to-do that you lose sight of what you actually need to do… or what might actually enrich your life?

Of course you do!  If you don’t, you’re probably kidding yourself.  That, or you need to immediately publish a book enlightening us on your secret – probably make a million dollars while you’re at it.

Today I was trying to distract my mind from the typical stress at work (and procrastinate from doing the crap-I-had-to-do items detailed on the to-do list sitting on my desk) so I started cleaning and organizing my office.

After reaching the bottom of a formerly bottomless desk drawer, I found a note from my predecessor.  It was a to-do list filled with 5 mundane tasks that were not unlike the ones I was myself putting off that moment.

The note was unremarkable in every way but one – the date; it was dated from just before he went out for the last time.  You see, his cancer had returned, and this time it would not be beat.  He passed away in the months that followed.

It made me think about what I was doing in that moment – just going about the motions of the day, looking at the clock, wishing it was over.  What if this was it?  What if I was running out of time and I didn’t even know it?

How many of you are doing the same thing?  How many of you are wishing for the hours to slip by so you can do something that’s actually meaningful to you?  What is actually important to you?  Challenge yourself to make a list of what you actually need to do.

I scribbled off the list sitting on my desk and made a new one:

5 Things I Actually Need To-Do:

#1 – Help My Kids Find Their Passion.

There is one really important word in that goal – “their”. I want to help them find their passion, not mine.

I love football. I’d love to have my kid in the NFL.  But I have two daughters that probably aren’t going to share that goal.  Also I don’t see many women in the NFL in 2018.

This was something I think I missed as a child; I never found something that I was really into that I could also do for a living. It wasn’t until after college that I really started developing true passions other than drinking beer and spending money.  What a waste!

Also, I think it’s really important that kids have at least something they know they’re interested in before school’s over.  Otherwise how the hell are they supposed to decide what they’re going to do after high school?

Here’s what the decision making process looked like for me:

Dad: Alright, here’s a book of college majors, you need to pick one.

Me: Wait, what?

Dad: Yep. You’re 18, and it’s time for you to decide what you want to do for the next 40-50 years.

Me: Can I just play X-Box?

Dad: Nope.

Me: Ok, let me see that book then…

Me: [Flips through book of alphabetized majors, loses interest at the letter ‘C’]

Me: Chemistry sounds good!

Dad: Excellent.

Me: [Wastes next 10 years of life stumbling down misery-path]

I really, really want to avoid that, which I know can be difficult.  I know my parents tried to get me into things and it was me that resisted.  I know you can’t make your kids do anything once they get to a certain age, but I hope I’ll be able to help them see how what they are interested in can become a career.

Here’s an example that would have worked for me. I’m really into video games.  That’s one of the only things I was consistently into growing up.  That sounds like a horrible waste of time, right?

Cut to 10 years later and I discover a passion for computer programming. Now I program video games in my spare time for fun.  Imagine if I had the creativity and vision to see this as a possibility when I was 18?  I could be doing this for a living right now, and I would have loved it!  Sometimes you need to be creative.

#2 – Pay for Kid’s College.

My wife’s parents paid for her to go to school, a generosity for which I am extremely grateful. We bought our first home when I was 24, and she was 23, because of the financial boost her parents were able to give us after we graduated.  We had an incredible head-start.

I graduated with $25,000 in debt, which is probably pretty low since I went to a public school. $300 dollars a month to student loan debt payments really sucks when you’re 22 – A huge percentage of your paycheck simply disappears.

Thankfully, I actually have a pretty decent head-start plan on this. It’s called the Stop-Obsessively-Buying-Ridiculously-Irresponsible-amounts-of-Ethanol (that’s alcohol for you – remember, chemistry major)-This-Year also known as SOBRIETY.

The math looks something like this:

$20 dollars per week for margaritas on date night.

$35 dollars per week for beer.

+             $45 dollars for Woodford Reserve because I’m one of those classy alcoholics.


$100 dollars per week

×             52 weeks in a year


$5200 per year on alcohol.

×             18 years


$93,600 saved over 18 year period.

That’s a decent head start!

#3 – Finish One of Those Damn Mania-Projects!

If you suffer from bipolar disorder you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re manic, or hypomanic, and you’ve fallen in love with… something. You have all this energy and you’ve decided to direct it towards writing a book, or starting a blog, or making movies, or learning an instrument, or learning to paint, or going back to school… or all of those things at once!

The problem is that bipolar disorder is a cruel mistress, and now two weeks later your depression is back and you have absolutely no interest in doing any of those things anymore. So what was just days ago an all-consuming passion project is left abandoned and incomplete.

I’ve spoken at some length about how mania or hypomania may be thought of by some as a blessing, but I’ve started to view it as a curse.  In my days or weeks of depression immediately following a hypomanic period I find myself surrounded by husks of beautiful, useful, and creative things that I was only able to take halfway to completion.  The sense of failure does nothing to help the depression.

Just once, I’d like to finish something. Write a book, learn a skill, finish programming that video game – anything!

I can say I have found one way to scratch this itch; break it down into small, bite size pieces! When you get the bug to start writing, instead of only working on that 100,000 word manuscript, why don’t you write a blog post!  I finish those all the time!

#4 – Travel Abroad With Family

I’ve been to two countries in my entire life. The United States, since I happen to have been born here, and Canada, since I happen to have grown up about 30 minutes from the border.

I never had a strong desire to travel (or really, to do anything) when I had the (relatively) easy opportunity to do so in college. Many of my friends did however, and it always seemed like a great adventure that enriched their lives.

I’d love to do this with my family, or if we can’t all go, I’d like to send the kids when they’re young, in college, and life is still (relatively) simple.

#5 – Start a Business

Is this every manic person’s dream, or is it just mine?

Imagine taking your energy, and your sudden, intense focus on something, and getting so good at it that you can actually start a business around that thing. Then you can screw the man and ride off into the sunset!

Ok, so I understand in reality that starting a business isn’t actually easy, and the whole riding off into the sunset thing is not likely to happen, but can’t a guy dream?

So that’s it!  That’s my What-I-Actually-Want-To-Do list – my 5 Meaningful Things.  I challenge you all to do the same thing!

Unfortunately, reality always seems to get in the way.  Speaking of which, these expense reports aren’t going to approve themselves. Back to it…

Find Your Purpose

Everyone needs to feel valued and know they have a purpose in life. It is essential for recovery and living a life with mental illness to know you have a purpose. Having purpose is a balance between what you give to the world and what you take from the world.

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I believe helping others is the essential component of what makes me who I am. It completes me and makes me whole. Without it, I am lost.

Since this is such a key ingredient in the make-up of my well-being and who I am, I feel like it would apply to everyone, as well. I am not sure this is true because I do not live inside others. Helping others gives me a beautiful and strong purpose and brings me joy. Because this helps me, I want to share this with you so you too can experience this type of joy and satisfaction in life. My life has value when I know I can make a difference in the lives of others.

If you are not helping others, maybe it is the missing component in you life. If you are in the midst of a depression or struggling with other issues and illness, try volunteering or finding a little part-time job that gives you the opportunity to help others.

There is no greater joy than seeing the joy you give to someone else just from loving them and giving your time to them. It is the best thing we can do in this lifetime. We are doing what Jesus would do.

Helping others will give you a reason to wake up. A reason to get out of bed when you don’t want to or don’t feel like you can do it for yourself.  You know that someone else needs you. Helping others will give you a purpose. If you do not feel like you have a purpose or if you need a more rewarding purpose, start helping others in any capacity you can.

I guarantee you that if you want to feel valued, help someone who needs help and/or is less fortunate than you. Be that one person in someone’s life that makes their day and makes a difference in their lives. This can be as simple as a smile, sharing a compliment and making others feel good, special, valued and like they have a purpose. Become the reason others have a purpose in their lives. Enhance someone’s life in any way you can. When you enhance someone’s life, your life will improve, shine, glitter and sparkle exponentially.

When I used to teach special education and people asked me what I did for work,  most people said, “You must be a special person.” That always floored me because I never felt special and I honestly was not and am not special. I was just being me. I was behaving in the way God made me. I was doing what Jesus would do. I did what I did because it was me. I did what I had to do. I did what I needed to do for my own survival and satisfaction. I was doing what made me happy. That does not make me special. It makes me human and alive.

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I feel like I am selfish, because I get so much more in return than I ever give out. I help others because essentially they help me even more than I ever help them. My students gave me so much more back. I got paid to give love. Love is life. I went to work every day to give love and got paid for it.

When my bipolar symptoms became too severe, I lost a lot. Eventually I lost my teaching career. I could not teach special needs students anymore. A large part of who I was, was taken away from me. It was stolen. I was lost and came undone.

I have been on Social Security Disability for years. The best thing I ever did for my recovery and for myself was start working again. I have worked at many different part-time jobs off and on through the many years of my recovery. I have been trying to find the right fit for me.

I have worked as a childcare teacher, telemarketer, insurance clerk, clerk at a gas station (my favorite part was making pizzas), sales associate at Hobby Lobby and Michaels, YMCA childcare, Kohl’s as a jewelry associate and home health care. The greatest satisfaction I got was when I helped people.

I got a job at a bank recently, even though I was still quite sick from my withdrawals from Klonopin. I tried it, but it did not work out as I was too ill. I was still having visual impairments and felt like I was walking on legs made out of feathers. Even thinking about working there frightens me as it is not the type of work that gives me any satisfaction. It paid two times as much money as home health care, but I know doing work that is not satisfying for me, is counterproductive for my mental health and well-being. Home health care is what I need to do.

I am very happy to share that I am healthy enough to work again. I started working at a job I love on Friday. I am a home health care provider working 25 hours a week, as that is all SSDI will allow for income. Plus, to be honest those are probably plenty of hours for me to work so I can maintain my optimal mental health.

On Friday, I worked with a gentleman who is 95 years young and has Alzheimers. He is a joy and a blessing. I get to give him love and make the rest of his life as positive and enjoyable as possible. What a gift that is.

I am not saying that everyone needs to work at a job helping others because that would not make any sense. We need all kinds of people to do all kinds of different work. Everyone is made up differently for many reasons. It is what makes the world go round.

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We are all needed and valuable. There is not one job that is more important than another, except being a mother or father. Other than being a parent, there are no other workers or jobs that are more special than another.

I cannot work at retail or in a bank, for example. Actually, I can do it, but I do not like it. It is not for me. We need people that can do that kind of work and all different types of work. I think people who do those kind of jobs are very special people. If you can do anything other what I can do, I think you are very special. We are all special. We are all unique and made up differently for a reason.

Don’t forget all of us that write and are bloggers are helping each other. Maybe writing is the way you are helping others. That is why writing, especially in this blogging community, is incredibly therapeutic for many people. Writing has helped me greatly in many ways. It has, literally, recently saved my life.

Remember we all need to have a purpose. Having purpose is a balance between what you give to the world and what you take from the world. It is essential that you find your purpose. What is your purpose?

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If you have read this far and made it to the end of my many words, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are simply amazing. You are fabulous beyond words and measure. Thank you.

May your cup of life overflow with blessings today and everyday.

Much love and hugs, Sue

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