Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Five Things I've Learned This Year

This year has been full of changes for me, some harder than others, but I have definitely learned a lot from all of the things that have happened. 

To celebrate the New Year I'm going to tell you 5 things I've learned this year:

1. I can still travel overseas and handle jet lag without compromising my mental health. I went to Ireland and Scotland last Christmas and while near the end of the trip I did get a little cranky, I didn't end up having any anxiety attacks or have any episodes of mania or depression after I traveled home! It was beautiful:

Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland
2. I'm learning what makes me happy and actually doing those things. I've found out that crocheting and knitting makes me happy and helps me when I'm feeling anxious. As a result I have probably two extra blankets I don't need haha, but hey it's good thing the winters are long in Michigan! I've also rediscovered my love for writing, and I'm learning to be less afraid of rejection. I've sent a few pieces of writing out into the internet world and am happy to say they've been published. It's amazing how good you can feel about yourself when you actually finish projects or share your writing with others. 

3. I'm learning to be kind to myself. This one was hard. However I've learned to not be so hard on myself or even mean. That negative voice in my head can be very critical sometimes. I wrote in a post a few weeks ago about loving yourself. I've been learning to enjoy my own company.

4. Giving myself a break. Not only am I learning to be kind but to also give myself permission to relax and sometimes do nothing if that's what I need to do. To be okay with the fact that sometimes I need a break from the stress and anxiety of the world. 

5. Most importantly, the only person who can take care of you and make you feel better is you. I'm not saying don't go to the doctor or take your medicine or stop seeing your therapist. I'm saying that only you can make those things work. If you don't listen to your doctor, or you decide to not actively keep yourself physically and mentally healthy, then you won't feel as well. For example, even if I take my medicine and everything but I choose to stay at home all the time and not do things that make me feel better and happy, then I won't feel as good. I still have the responsibility of taking care of myself and only I can do that. 

In the end this has been a really good year for me. For the most part I have been happy and healthy.

I hope you have had a really good year too!

Here's to hoping next year is even better! Happy New Years!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

New web address!

Hello Everyone!

I've decided to change my web address to It is no longer

I feel like the new web address fits my blog's purpose better, as I am mainly focusing on living with bipolar disorder and haven't really mentioned anything regarding being Muslim.

Hope everyone has had a good week and Happy Holidays if you celebrate!

Sunday, December 13, 2015


I found this on twitter today from Buzzfeed. One of the posts really resonated with me: 

We should always remind ourselves that we are important too. You should treat yourself just as well as you treat other people if not better. 

Lately I've spending a lot of time by myself and while at first it drove me a little crazy. I'm learning to enjoy my own company. It's nice not to have to constantly be entertaining the people I'm with. You know to be "on." To appear to be happy and interested in what the other person is saying. When you're alone you can just, be. 

So, even though I've said this before. Go ahead and relax for an afternoon if you want to. Watch your favorite show, or do a project that you've been putting off because you've been too busy. I always feel better after I've cooked myself a meal. 

What sort of things do you like to do for self care?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Defining Moments

Some weeks it seems I can't stop writing, while other weeks I'll draw a blank. This is one of those weeks. Maybe it's the grey clouds that have been drifting in the sky the past few days or the fact that I've had yet another cloud that has been the cause for my lack of inspiration lately.

It's frustrating to be home sick, but I'm glad I didn't go into work because I wouldn't have been of any use there. Thankfully I'm feeling much better today so I spent most of the afternoon watching Gossip Girl. It's funny how watching a tv show about insanely rich, and honestly unlikeable people can be entertaining. It's fun to watch pretty people in pretty clothing be mean to each I guess. Maybe it's because sometimes I wish I could be more...not mean exactly, but bold, say what's truly on my mind. It's something I continuously have to work on, not being so nice all the time. Sometimes it's good to be able to say things to people without holding back or sugar coating things.

Anyways, I've been thinking about moments lately, defining moments. Like moments that are supposedly important in your life: graduating high school or college, getting married, or having your first child, that sort of thing. I think we tend to measure our lives by these moments and forget the smaller perhaps more important moments. Like when we're finally comfortable being alone and facing the silence. When we're no longer afraid of the dark. When we finally start to feel like we can truly make it on our own. Being able to call and make our own doctors appointments. Buying our own groceries and cooking a decent meal. Doing these little every day things that are actually really important and maybe even the key to finding some happiness and contentment. To be happy with who you are and what you've become.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

It's Okay to Give Yourself a Break

I've officially started a "real job." One that I have to go to twice a week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Luckily, I've known the people I work with for a very long time and they know about my bipolar and anxiety. I've only worked two days so far, one last week, and one this week. I was supposed to work today but I barely had any sleep and had a raging headache all night and woke up and it was still there. It didn't help that the cat and decided to howl in my ear most of the night (love you kitty!).

So, by taking off today most people would say that I'm babying myself. Could I have gone into work today? Sure. Would I have been very productive? Probably not. Instead it would probably have caused a lot of unwanted anxiety. The lack of sleep could have caused me to feel unstable, whether that be depression or mania. Although the mania is less likely as I'm on two mood stabilizers, but still is it worth trying to prove that I can do what a "normal" person would have done and just go into work, rather than taking care of myself? I don't think so.

So what I'm saying is it's okay to give yourself a break. Catch up on sleep, watch your favorite t.v show, and maybe even do that pile of laundry you keep putting off. It's been really hard but I think I'm finally learning how to NOT feel guilty about taking care of myself.

It was really hard this morning to tell myself that it was okay to not go into work. It was hard to not immediately go into the "Oh, I'm such a disappointing, bad person" mode. Instead I'm choosing to tell myself that "it's okay." And I can always try again tomorrow, when I've gotten better sleep.

So how about we all try and give ourselves a break and be proud that we're taking care of ourselves instead!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Blank Page: A Poem

Blank Page

I stare at this blank page with the cursor blinking back at me
begging me to write something, anything
does it matter
is it important
maybe not.

But maybe it’ll mean something someday
when I reread the words I wrote on this day
Maybe the words will relay the frustration I felt
over that incident
over what happened
or what didn’t.

I might not even remember
years from now
what happened today
but it was important
so I wrote these words
that were spilling out of me.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

I'm not Limited because of my Bipolar Disorder, but I'm not Limitless either

I recently read an article by Natasha Tracy on her blog Bipolar Burble which talked about goals and bipolar disorder.

It got me thinking about my own goals over the past year. I've mentioned my trouble with working but one of my goals is to eventually work as much as I feel I'm able. One of the things I'm realizing is that we're taught to believe that we can do anything as long as we work hard enough. However, sometimes this isn't true. 

I think realizing how much I can and can't do has been the most helpful in keeping myself mentally stable. Realizing in a way that I'm limited. I can't necessarily work a full time job like the average person. Once I reset my goal to something much more attainable and realistic it not only eased my anxiety but released a bunch of pressure that I was putting on myself. All of that pressure definitely wasn't helping me. 

So now, when someone asks me "Why aren't you working?" or "You only work two times a week?" It doesn't bother me as much because I'm realizing my limits and doing the most important thing: taking care of myself. I also feel much happier because I'm not putting unrealistic expectations on myself. It's been a relief to start living my life the way that is best for me and not according to what is expected of me in society as a 27 year old female. 

Changing my perspective has made things become much clearer and actually opened up more opportunities because now instead of stressing about things I can't control or stressing that I'm not doing enough. I'm using that energy and putting into things that make me happy--like writing this blog post! Or crocheting more of my blanket. Or being with friends. 

It all comes down to: I am good enough just the way I am. I can do anything, I'm just choosing not to do everything. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Writing about Mental Illness

Lately I've been lucky enough to get some of my writing out there online. I had a piece on Stigma Fighters and now I'm trying to write something to send into The Mighty.

I really like the website and I'd love to have my story shared on there too. I'm currently writing a "Letter to Those Around Me." Just something to sort of show how it's hard when the people you around you will never quite understand what you're going through. For example, because I don't work a full time job, sometimes I feel bad that I simply can't handle the stress of it all and be like everyone else. So, when people ask the everyday question of "What do you do?" It can be a hard question to answer especially before I started substituting because technically I didn't "do" anything when it comes to having a job.

In reality, I do things everyday. I help keep the house clean, do yoga, knit and crochet (like crazy haha!), but I mean I don't need to justify my lifestyle to anyone. It can just get frustrating when every time someone asks "What do you do?" you have to give them some sort of answer when in reality, what I do every day is take care of myself. And that is a hard job that is more than just an eight hour a day thing. It's a 24/7 job and you don't get to take off or have paid vacations. In fact vacations can sometimes make my mental health worse!

Anyways check out The Mighty and hopefully I'll be on that site soon!

What about you? What's you're pet peeve question? Or how do you answer the "What do you do?"

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I am now on!

I was having a pretty low day yesterday but I received some good news. I am now on Stigma Fighters! I wrote a short piece about living with Bipolar Disorder.

Here is the link:

I found the website through twitter and it's a really great site.

People from all over write about their lives with mental illness. It's comforting to read other people's stories and reminds you that you are not alone in your struggles.

Happy reading everyone!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Colds and Depression

Do you ever start feeling depressed when you get sick?

It's something I've noticed that will happen to me sometimes. It's easier to give in to the "I'll just stay in bed all day feeling" because you're sick. Now, I'm not saying I always get depressed when I'm sick, I'm just saying it feels like it's easier slide into a depression when you  have an excuse to stay in bed longer than you need to.

So, I have a cold and I feel gross. I've just started working again, substitute teaching. However now that I've caught this cold I'm debating if I should go into work tomorrow and spread my cold germs to all the children. I'll see how I feel.

Mental Illness is tricky that way I suppose. Physical symptoms can turn into emotional symptoms and vice versa. Sometimes Bipolar can make you physically hurt. I know when I'm tense and anxious my whole body will ache for days afterwards.

I suppose the reason why being sick can lead to depression at least in my case, is you don't really feel like eating anything or have any energy to do anything. Then slowly you can sink into that whole "I feel worthless" state and it's all down hill from there.

I don't think that will happen this time however. I've things to do and look forward to, so even if I do let myself stay in bed for a few hours longer than I usually do.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Aching Vulnerability: A Poem about Anxiety and Depression

Aching Vulnerability: A Poem about Anxiety and Depression

It always starts out with just a lingering thought in the back of my mind:
"You can't do it"
"You're not strong enough"
"Why are you even trying?"

I don't believe them in the beginning
but slowly
ever so slowly
I'm convinced that those thoughts are true

I start feeling weaker
things become harder
the ache in my throat larger
I want to cry
to give in

Because I start believing it'll be easier
to just stop trying
to stop fighting
all the emotions trying to take over
my vulnerable mind

And sometimes I do give in
even if it's just for a minute
laying in bed with covers over my head
crying into my pillow
willing for it all to just go away and stop

But then I remind myself that all those thoughts
aren't really true.
I've done this before
and I'll do it again.

I will get up
and I will keep on being strong
even if it is harder
even if I do have to take things
One moment at a time. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Successful Panic Attack

How does somebody have a successful panic attack you may ask?

Last week I started to feel very anxious about an appointment I have coming up. It's something that I've been waiting on for a very long time, so I have had plenty of time to worry about it haha.

I received a call that they were changing the time of the appointment and after I hung up I thought to myself ok, no big deal, it's not like they've canceled it or changed the day completely. Suddenly I started feeling really anxious though, so I decided I would try and just journal to see where these feelings were coming from. Halfway through my journal entry I felt like I was going to cry. I don't like to cry because sometimes they can turn in to panic attacks. But sometimes you just need to cry you know? So I told myself ok, maybe that's all this is.

Of course it wasn't. It turned into a full blown panic. The kind where you're not sure if it's going to stop even after you've done the deep breathing techniques you've been doing since you were thirteen.

Finally after several minutes of this, I told myself that I was ok, and that it was ok if I took some medicine to help me calm down. Normally I'm stubborn and won't take anything and then later I'll have even more panic attacks. This time I decided to do something different and just admit that I needed the medication to help me calm down. I reminded myself that that's what it's there for and that it didn't mean I had somehow "failed" or something.

And you know what? Even though I did feel pretty sleepy the rest of day, I was able to continue to function and I haven't had another panic attack sense. I actually feel very proud of myself for managing my anxiety and taking care of myself, rather than denying that I needed a little extra help. I also was glad that I managed it on my own. Sometimes I'll call my mom and she'll come home and stay with me until I feel better. This time though I just called her to let her know what had happened but told her to stay at work because I had it under control. And I did have it under control.

That is what I call a successful panic attack.

What kind of successes are you having this week?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Beautiful, Honest Poem

I was scrolling through facebook today and I came across this blog:#BeReal by Nicole Marie.

Here is a poem on the blog that really hit me:

I might have been seven
– Nicole Marie
when I’d grown old enough to know the
hard difference
between love and
I started about fashioning
the most beautiful smokescreen
bits of old velcro
wrinkled bubblegum
the first tears that ever made me aware of every muscle in my body
in one single, fleeting motion
you know it
the kind of hurt that rolls in and out like violent ocean.
I might have been seven when I realized I didn’t like me.
I kept all those costume bits in a pencil box
with my name scrawled in immature
loops on the front, the “e” half smudged away
like my heart.
I am a woman now
or some novel version of one
who on occasion takes aging bits of herself she’d rather forget
and mixes them with words, with her husband’s sweet empathy
with anger, resentment, and all the other ugliness
she can’t seem to detach from her sorry ribcage.
so, a woman now
a mother, even
plotting self against self 
I think it's fair to say that we all have felt like this at one point in our lives. It reminds me of the moment when all of sudden you've grown up and you're no longer a child. It's like a sudden event that changes everything. I'm sure it's different for everyone but for me it was when my mother was having treatment for her cancer when I was nine. I was old enough to realize that she could die, and I'd have to grow up with out a mother. I think that's when my childhood sort of ended. Thankfully she is in remission and has been for over 20 years now, but that moment, that moment changed my life. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Good Days

Some days are extremely good. The kind of days where you get everything done that you wanted to. Food seems to taste better, and you're able to ignore the things that usually bother you. Everything just seems right.

Yesterday was one of those days, and so far today seems like it's going to be one of those days too.

It's these moments that I like to remind myself to just sort of be in present and not think too much about how tomorrow could be a day when I simply don't feel right anymore. Instead, I'm going to concentrate and enjoy the fact that I do feel good today.

I've been trying to set small goals for myself. For example, this week I've challenged myself to write five pages of my short story and so far I've written about a page and a half. I'm also knitting another scarf for my Etsy shop and it's more than half way done. I find with writing, it helps to go somewhere else rather than sit at home and be distracted by the fact that I could just sit and watch Netflix. Once I'm at the library or a coffee shop it's easier to tell myself I have to be writing for at least an hour or so before I can check facebook or twitter haha. It also gives me an excuse to get dressed and leave the house. Then I feel like I'm actually doing something. Lately I've been trying to get myself to actually wear nice clothing rather than just sweatpants and a t-shirt. Dressing up really affects your mood I find. Plus sometimes it's fun to look pretty.

I did yoga the other day (I haven't in a while) and it reminded me about mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being more present and aware of your emotions happening in the here and now. In the yoga DVD the instructor talks about being mindful, and sometimes this can really help alleviate tension and it really does make you feel better.

Anyways, these are some of the ways I've been keeping myself happy this week. I'm really glad I've gotten out of that listless funk I was in last week. Just goes to show that eventually things do get better.

I hope everyone else is having as a good a week as I am!

Friday, July 24, 2015


I'm a writer by nature, it would seem. Sometimes I have to write: poetry, stories, journal entries, or even just a sentence to try and get my thoughts in order.

Lately, I've been trying to finish a short story and I feel like the words simply won't come to me. I know, it's probably just writers block. I find that if a lot is going on my life, or maybe not even a lot of things happening really, but just if I'm having a lot of feelings, it's harder to write.

So if I write about all of the things I'm worried or anxious about, or things that are just bothering me it tends to clear my mind and help me be able to focus on the fictional world of the stories I've created in my head.

I guess what I'm saying is it seems really hard to focus on writing about fictional things when I have so much that is going on in my day to day life.

Keeping a journal whether in a word document or a notebook, has seemed to really help me through the ups and downs of my life. Not just the manias and depressions, but even the stable happy and sad moments that happen in life. Going to see a really good movie when I have a night out with my girlfriends, or when someone close to me passes away, keeping a record of how I'm feeling makes these things seem not as hard to face.

Of course it is always interesting to read through old journals and see what I kept track of. What was important to me five years ago seems almost trivial to me now. It makes m
e smile to read about how proud I was when I received my first A on an English paper in Professor Bond's class. Or getting my first gold medal in a figure skating competition. It reminds me while those things may seem trivial they are important. It reminds me of the little accomplishments that I have done over the years and that I should be proud of myself for those little things.

It really is the little things that matter most. And I will finish that short story!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Hard Week

It's been a bit of a hard week and it's not even Friday yet.

I find myself feeling unmotivated and just sort of annoyed at everyone. I don't really feel like doing anything but at the same time I wish I was doing something. Especially something that had a result. Like money. That would be nice haha. To make my own money and feel like I'm not so dependent on my family for everything.

I'm thankful and grateful for my family I really am don't get me wrong, but to feel so utterly dependent can be kind of depressing. I feel as though I'm taking and taking without giving anything in return sometimes. I know a lot of this is just the side of me that feels like I'm unworthy, when I know I am anything but unworthy. But still

This blog is not supposed to be a rambling of my feelings however, so. I made an Etsy shop today selling some scarves I've been making in all my free time. (I can only ship in the U.S unfortunately) I don't know if anyone will actually buy them, but if any of you are interested here is the link Nabilah Knits.

Also I read a really nice article on To Write Love on Her Arms called "Learning to Accept Love for Yourself." It was very inspiring and a nice short read. I think we all sometimes forget to accept love and that we are worth loving. I know I do. I give love away so easily but always find it really hard to believe people when they say they love me back. Or will even tell me how kind I am etc. It's not that I don't know these things, it's more of I just am kind because I don't understand the purpose of being horribly mean to people. Anyways I hope you enjoy the article and check out the scarves if you like!

Until next time...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Keep Trying

We all have our good days and bad days. Some days I have complete faith and confidence in myself that I'll be able do something or that it will all work out okay in the end. Other days, not so much.

I've been applying to jobs again and this time I'm hoping I'll be able to work longer than two months.

The last time I worked was in February and it was only three hours a day four days a week, but even that proved to be too much. Maybe I wasn't ready to handle the responsibility and stress that comes with committing yourself to a job. In the end anxiety and panic attacks got the best of me, and after having to quit my job, it took me several weeks to get back to feeling better again.

So here I am trying again. I'm looking at jobs that are in a more relaxed environment or possibly even working from home. Ideally I'd love to be paid to write or even read haha. But so far I've been looking into part time positions too.

I guess what I'm saying is what has helped me is to let myself realize when I need to take care of myself. Also, I've learned to be okay with the fact that sometimes I have to take a step back from pressuring myself to do things when I'm not ready. Instead I've learned to listen to myself and if something seems to be too much to not be afraid to ask for help and to also help myself by seeing my psychiatrist earlier, seeing my therapist more often, or even taking my emergency medications.

But in the end, don't give up hope and be willing to try again, no matter how scary it might seem. I suppose I have to get back on the horse sometime, and right  now I'm feeling pretty good about myself even if there are those sneaky little moments of self doubt creeping in my mind. I can do it. I just have to keep trying. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Struggling to Care about Others

I'm sure this happens to everyone, where you have days when it's hard to care about other people's problems.

I consider myself a very considerate person and sometimes I care too much about other people instead of taking care of myself.

Then there are days when I'm listening to my friends talk about the things going on in their lives and all I can think about is how easy they have it. I mean I know there are people out there who have it much worse than I do. I'm just talking about when friends are talking about how hard school is and that sort of thing.

Those are the times when I feel like saying, I'm sure this is difficult for you, but at least you are mentally and physically healthy. At least you can handle working a full time job. At least you have one! Meanwhile I deal with feeling exhausted every day and can't even enjoy the beautiful sunshine because if I stay outside in the heat and direct sunlight I start feeling sick. You don't have to worry that at any minute your mind might turn on you and decide that it's time to start feeling sad for no reason. Or having to police yourself because if you do feel happy you want to make sure you don't seem too happy.

I guess what I'm saying is it's hard to feel sympathetic sometimes when you have so much going on internally. Bipolar can feel like an internal conflict sometimes that you just get tired of trying to control. Maybe that's why I usually feel tired? Haha.

But I love my friends, so usually I just listen to them and try to help in anyway I can. Meanwhile, this internal conflict I usually am able to sort out through writing.

So, I guess what I'm asking is how do you deal with it all? And I hope this post doesn't make seem all bitter. Because most of the time I not.  

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Side Effects

Every illness comes with side effects. You have to change your diet, eating habits, sleep habits, and sometimes it keeps you from being able to do certain things you were able to do easily before and makes it that much harder.

This post is not me complaining about all the side effects from medications I have to take or the fact that I can't do certain things because my Bipolar Disorder. I'm just sharing the truth of how my life has changed in order to keep myself healthy both mentally and physically.

I take several medications but the main ones are Depakote, Lithium, and Abilify. The first two are mood stabilizers and mainly keep the mania at bay, while the third one treats my bipolar and depression.

The most notable of side effects of all of these is: weight gain. I used to be pretty thin but once I started taking these medications I gained weight eventually your body gets used to it and you're able to keep yourself from always feeling hungry. Abilify is the one that really makes me feel hungry. When I first started taking it I felt like I needed to eat all the time. Not fun. Thankfully I'm back to feeling normal hunger haha. However, I have gained some weight and it's the type of weight that is not easy to get off.

Having bipolar disorder you have to have some routine in your life. Sleep can make or break you sometimes. If you aren't getting enough sleep you might become manic or at the very least I become very crabby which I'm sure pretty normal for most people. In other words, staying up till 2 am with your friends is not always the best idea. Having said that, a lot of caffeine is not your friend. I will admit that I have a cup of tea every morning because another lovely side effect is feeling tired pretty much all the time.

Lithium can harm your thyroid so now that I've been on it for at least two years now I have a hypothyroid which makes me tired. I take thyroid medicine but I'll admit that I'm not good at taking it consistently. However the other medications tend to make you tired too. Either that or I'm just a tired person!

Exercise helps wake you up oddly enough so sometimes taking a short walk around the neighborhood will boost my energy levels not to mention make me feel happier. Exercise is something I should do more often and now that the weather is nice I intend to.

Speaking of the weather, Lithium also makes you more sensitive to heat and the sun and makes you incredibly thirsty. Drinking enough water a day can really make me feel better. Besides, water is good for you! Sometimes I'm tempted to drink a whole bunch of juice when I'm thirsty, but that is more calories and it doesn't really quench your thirst. Sticking to water is usually a better choice.

I hope this post is somewhat useful and everyone is having a beautiful Sunday!

Friday, July 3, 2015


Hi! My name's Nabilah, and I recently published an article on titled: Muslim, Bipolar, and Still Unmarried.

I've received a lot of positive feedback and comments which has inspired me to continue writing about the struggles and triumphs I go through. My purpose of finally openly sharing my diagnoses was to give hope to others in the same situation as well as bring more awareness to how mental conditions are treated in not only the Muslim community but also the community as a whole.

In this blog not only will I talk about myself but share resources and tips on how I'm able to manage living with bipolar and also post some fun positive articles because we could all do with some happy things to read now and then.

I hope you enjoy reading!