Friday, November 18, 2016

Five Things Friday: Five Ways to Relax

So, I was doing some yoga stretches today, and I thought I should share with you some things I like to do to help me relax:

1. Herbal or Decaf Teas:


Some of my favorites are Twinings Decaf Chai Tea, Peppermint Tea, Chamomile Tea, or Sleepytime Tea.

via google


2. Curling up with a good book:

I love almost anything by Jane Austen, or a fun young adult novel. The most recent one I've read is These Are the Moments by Jenny Bravo. 

via amazon


3. Crocheting:

Or any type of craft. It keeps my hands and mind busy. I also enjoy coloring, and needlepoint or embroidery. You can find the pattern for this blanket here.



4. Listening to Music:

I have a Spotify playlist called "Soothing Songs." Two bands on there have really calming music: Vancouver Sleep Clinic (here is a link to their Winter album) and Amber Run (I really like their 5AM Deluxe album).

5. Yoga:

There's a YouTube channel called Fitness Blender that has all types of great workout videos. I like the fact the videos are easy to follow and are of varying lengths. That way you can choose a video that fits how long you want to exercise that day. My favorite Yoga video of theirs is only 13 minutes long and is fairly easy (except for the bridge!).  Here is a link: Goodbye Stress Calming Stretching Workout.



Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Reminding Myself I'm Okay

A lot has gone on over the past two months.

My Depakote level turned out to be very low, which could have been the cause for some anxiety over the past 3 months. It's back up to where it should be, but I feel as though my body had to readjust a little bit, which is why I've been worrying more than usual about my mental health.

For example, last night I didn't get much sleep, so this morning, even though I felt perfectly fine besides feeling tired, I started convincing myself that I might be showing symptoms of mania. I started crying and checked in with my mom and boyfriend to make sure that I was okay. Both of them reassured me that I seemed fine and that they hadn't noticed anything out of the usual.

It helps so much that I have people in my life that I trust to tell me when I'm okay, and when I'm not. I know not everyone is so fortunate as to have such a good support system.

I've started taking something as needed called GABA, which my psychiatrist described to me as a "natural, milder Xanax," and it's been really helping. So far I've only needed to take one tablet at a time rather than the recommended dose of 2 tablets (I'm pretty sensitive to medications) and it works well without making me feel too loopy or tired.

Writing and journaling is helping me keep myself from over thinking and worrying as well. As long as I can get my thoughts out on paper or on the screen and they make sense, then I know I'm okay.


via quickmeme


What are some of the things that help you remind yourself that you are okay?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Clothes and Emotions: How What I Wear Impacts My Mood

I've just finished reading an article called "Therapeutic Dressing"  by Erin Mayer which you can read here.

It made me think about my own attitude toward clothing and dressing up or down makes me feel.

I remember when I was severely depressed a few years ago, getting dressed was a big deal. I usually didn't have anywhere that I needed to be, so I could get away with staying in pajamas all day. By the end of the day I would simply change into new pajamas. If I did end up needing to go out I'd throw a sweat shirt on over my pajama shirt and instead of pajama pants I'd just throw on pair of yoga pants. Comfortable, easy, clothing that didn't feel constricting.

There's one sweatshirt in particular that I liked to wear especially when I wasn't feeling well, that I practically lived in. It was extremely soft, and was almost like a security blanket I could wrap around me, making me feel like things were going to be okay. With depression, sometimes it feels like there aren't very many things you can control. But I could control what I wore. I think I needed that sweatshirt to make myself feel like it was okay to not feel good.

Maybe if I had forced myself to get dressed everyday when I was depressed it would have helped me feel better faster. But sometimes I think slowly easing yourself into feeling better is key, rather than forcing yourself to feel better before you're ready.

I have noticed the change in clothing habits now that I haven't been severely depressed for awhile. Now, I feel like I'm being lazy if it's been more than an hour and I haven't showered and gotten dressed yet. I find myself enjoying picking out a cute outfit to wear, or even just wearing a favorite shirt. I would definitely say that clothing can affect your mood.

Although I still lean towards comfortable clothing, such as leggings, I still try to wear actual tops as opposed to ratty old t-shirts.

How does different clothing impact your mood?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Living with Bipolar Disorder: Ways to Cope

Mania:

The memory of mania has always felt fuzzy to me. The only ways I’ve learned to cope with mania is by using preventative measures. Taking my medications, and getting enough sleep at night. Staying away from caffeine and sugar.

This is what it feels like:

They tell me mania feels like being high. I’ve never been high, but if this is what feeling high feels like, I can understand why someone would want to feel this way.

This free feeling. Of wanting to dance, to sing, to paint, and most of all to write. They don’t understand the beauty, because they can’t see it. They can’t feel the words flowing through my mind. I pity them, even as I try to explain, because I must explain it to them. It’s my purpose.

It’s almost as though I’m on my own secret adventure or quest. I’ve become the most important person in the story of my life and only I know the way, only I can solve the puzzle.

The problem is when the thoughts start spinning out of control. I become lost and confused. Things suddenly don’t make sense anymore which makes me angry and irritated. The anger escalates quickly until I’m just a raging ball of fury that crumbles into sobbing depression.

Depression:


Writing has kept me sane. Even when I was in the deepest of depressions, one way I made myself come out of it was by writing down everything I needed to try to do that day.

I remember keeping a small notebook on a pillow next to my bed. I’d write out the date and then a list of things to do: Get up, Shower, Get Dressed, Eat, Take a Walk, Read, Go to Therapy. Small things that I knew I could do. I didn’t expect myself to do all of them. Sometimes I didn’t do any of them besides eat. It was almost like the list was a simple reminder or suggestions of things I should try and do that day.

Setting these small goals helped. Everyday I’d wake up, roll over, and see the list next to me and I’d choose what to do. As I became stronger, I’d be able to cross off more and more off the list. I’d even start adding more things to list as I became happier, because doing the simple things became easier, so easy that I didn’t even need to write them down. I’d still write things down though so that I would wake up every morning and feel like I had a purpose.

That was the thing about my depression. The phrase that would spin around in my head was: “What’s the point?” When your life loses meaning or you lose the point of getting up out of bed, it’s really hard to find it again. It’s almost like the list became the reasons for me to get out of bed in the morning or even two in afternoon. It would remind me that there was a reason to live, that the night before I felt there were things to do the next day.

Crossing off those small things made me feel better. Even if I only managed to cross off: Get up, Eat, and Shower. Taking a shower can feel like one of the hardest things in the world when you no longer see the point to anything.

Eventually though you start to see the point again, and doing things become easier and even enjoyable again. I know when you’re in a deep depression it seems like that long dark tunnel is never ending, but slowly putting one foot in front of the other you’ll find the light again.

I know that everyone copes differently.

These are the things that have worked for me.

Friday, July 15, 2016

You’re Not Sick Enough: Sick Days and Mental Illness

I may look absolutely fine.


But inside I have a knot in my stomach. My mind is racing with a million different thoughts. Most of them are about how to get to a safe place. I can’t breathe, and the panic is slowly building. I have to get out. I have to get out now.


Calm down, the voice of reason inside my head tells me. You’re okay, you’re just trying to have a panic attack. Now, breathe.


Breathe? That’s something that’s not possible right now. Oh, and did I mention that I’m driving? Yeah, I can’t have a panic attack right now.


I start to try and slow my breathing, telling myself that I need to calm down long enough to pull over. I’m half way to work. The closer I get, the harder it is to breathe. I’m not going to make it there today.


I glance at the clock: 8:20am.


Ten minutes until my shift starts. I shouldn’t be this nervous, my job is simple. I’m a cashier at a resale shop, and half the time I’m just hanging up clothes. So why am I freaking out?


That’s the thing about anxiety. It doesn’t always make sense.


Maybe it was the comment my supervisor made the other day. He probably didn’t even mean for it to sound critical. But I took it to heart, and now I no longer feel comfortable at work.


There it is. The root of my anxiety. Logically, I know I need to go in and go to work. But mentally and physically I can’t. At least, not today.


I’ve pulled over into a parking lot. Trying to breathe. My face is wet with tears, my hands are shaking. I don’t have any tissues (I never seem to have tissues when I need them), but I’m beginning to calm down. I’m letting myself not be okay. I’m letting myself not have to pretend I’m okay and go into work with a smile on my face. I’m giving myself a break.


Now how do I explain that to someone who doesn’t have severe anxiety? How do I explain to my boss that I need to take a sick day because I physically couldn’t come into work today?


I’ve tried. I’ve tried to tell the truth when this happens. Then I get the “talk.” I need to be more reliable, consistent, dependable. They can’t depend on me because I can’t predict that my anxiety won’t show up.


So I lie. I text that I woke up with a cold. A stomach virus. Something physical that they can understand. And when I go into work tomorrow, I’ll explain that it must have been a 24 hour bug.

In reality? This anxiety is something I’m going to have to continue fighting for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

New Job!

Pretty much all last week I was applying to jobs online, mainly through Indeed's search engine.

It's been a little hard putting myself back out there again, but I figure it's better to not stay off of the horse too long.

I've gotten a job as a caregiver. It'll be something different, less hours, and hopefully less stress. I'm hoping to pick up more hours, but for now I think that this will be good for me. I'm pretty excited about it so that's good.

I've also been writing more poems lately which I've been publishing over on Medium.

Other than that just getting myself ready for working again!


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Quitting My Job Because of Anxiety

It’s happening again. And I’m angry. And tired.

Tired of this crippling anxiety that has me chained to this bed, threatening to derail my life again. I can’t afford to lose this job, not another one. But I can’t afford to go in either. This anxiety won’t let me.

I feel unsafe, and the only way to feel safe again is to quit. It’s the same story each time. I’ll quit, feel some relief, but then spend the next few days beating myself up about quitting. The same damn cycle each time. I know what’s coming: the self-loathing, the self-punishment.

I’ll convince myself I’m not hungry, or that I don’t deserve food. I don’t deserve to be happy because look what I did. I’m ruining my life again, and it’s all my fault.

At least that is what my brain is telling me. All of those nasty self critical, anxiety ridden thoughts. My brain can be cruel sometimes.

Finally my voice of reason will come in and remind me that maybe this is something I needed to do, because I was becoming unhappy at work. I remind myself that the work environment was becoming uncomfortable. It was getting to be too hot, too stressful, and just too much in general.

I know it’s going to be hard. Finding another job is not going to be easy. But it is worth trying again and finding something that works better. A schedule that it is easier on me. A place that pays better, is more rewarding, and has air conditioning. All of these things will be better for me in the long run. So no matter how hard it might seem, know that in the end it is going to be okay and that maybe this actually was the best option for right now.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Haunting Memories: A Poem About Depression

via shutterstock
It comes back in a hazy fog
They always do,
the memories.
You think they’ve faded
and just when you’re sure
you’re no longer sad


There it is again
haunting you:

As if to say
Remember me?


And then you remember
laying in bed
wishing to disappear
staring at the bubbles
in the cup of Sprite
next to your bed.


As each bubble rises
Another tear falls
You’re tired
But no matter how much you sleep
It’s never enough


Because you’re not enough
At least that’s what you’ve been telling yourself
over and over
the past few weeks.


You shake your head
Trying to erase the memory
bringing yourself back to the present
and you push it back
to the place where it belongs
The back of your mind


But you know it will return
at least it is now only
A haunting memory.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Slowly But Surely Starting to Feel Better

I decided I'd write a little update for you all on how I've been feeling.

I took off work yesterday because I knew I needed to. I took some anti-anxiety medicine yesterday and the day before and that lessened my feeling anxious about everything. My mom also came and stayed with me for a few hours, and we took a walk to the store and got some snacks for when we'd relax and watch Netflix.

I'm glad I just let myself relax though, rather than making myself feel guilty about needing to take off work. It's more important to take care of yourself sometimes, and listen to what you need.

I spent some time napping and then colored and listened to some relaxing music.

I also spent some time writing about everything I was feeling, just to sort of let everything out. It really helped to have my mom there some of the time to keep me from dwelling on the anxious and sad thoughts I've been having since I was off my medication.

I'm glad that lately I've been doing a good job of letting myself take care of myself and not trying to over do things when I don't feel quite up to it. I'm learning that it's more important to take a break than to try and pretend I'm fine when I'm not.

I called my therapist on Tuesday and she also suggested I take the day off to give the Lithium time to be fully in my system again. Sometimes trying to force yourself to do things too soon can backfire. I've also done my best to stay away from caffeine so that way I'll sleep better and it won't aggravate my anxiety.

Today I don't have work, and I'm planning on going to my therapy session and spending the rest of the day to relax and get a few things done around the house. Hopefully I'll do some yoga too.

I'm planning on working tomorrow, and luckily it's only a half day that doesn't start until 11:30 in the morning.

What things do you do when you have to take a step back from everything?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Letting Yourself Not Be Okay, But Don't Beat Yourself Up About It

I had a "moment" today.

I hadn't had my Lithium in 3 days because my pharmacy wasn't able to refill my prescription until four days later. I should have transferred my prescription to another pharmacy sooner, but I thought I'd be okay to wait. By Day 2 without Lithium I was having severe headaches. By Day 3, I was crying for no reason. At least it felt like no reason. It could be I was feeling really stupid and beating myself up about not getting my medication sooner.

I was able to get my medicine today (Day 3), and I've taken it. So I should start feeling better.

Emotions are tricky. Usually what happens with me is I'll start crying and then get angry at myself for crying for no reason. I talked to my boyfriend about how I was feeling and he suggested I should call my therapist or my doctor tomorrow. My sister called before she came home and was sweet enough to bring me a Passion Tea Lemonade from Starbucks. This seemed to help me calm down and it also helped to talk to her, and she distracted me by showing me some clothes she'd bought.

I'm glad I have people around me who I can count on to be there for me when I start feeling a little off. I also know better then to go without taking Lithium for so long. I should start feeling better in a couple of days I hope.

So today I'm simply trying to not beat myself up about what happened this weekend.

How do you cope when things don't go the way you had hoped they would?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cruising the Caribbean: One of the Best Vacations

Hi everyone!

I just got back Saturday from a cruise with my boyfriend. It was amazing!


I was worried I might find it stressful, because sometimes travelling for me turns out to be a mess, especially when it involves a long amount of time away from home. That can mess up my routine, and in turn affect my mental health.

This vacation was definitely different from other vacations. It helped that the ship becomes your temporary "home." So I was able to go back to the room at anytime if I needed a break. Sleeping in the same bed for a week helped me be able to get good sleep the whole week, so my sleep schedule wasn't affected too much unless I decided to stay up later than I usually did. But then I was always able to go back to the room whenever I needed to to get a nap!

The food was good for the most part, and the service was excellent.

We were on Royal Caribbean, and they have freestyle machines, so we bought the drink package which included water bottles, so I didn't have to worry about not being able to stay hydrated.

I would say cruising was one the easiest and most relaxing vacations I ever been on. I took Bonine the first day for sea sickness, and whenever I felt like I needed it if the ship was extra rocky. I've tried Dramamine but I've found that makes me more sleepy, but Bonine didn't make me feel very drowsy at all.

It was very nice to see Haiti, Jamaica, and Cozumel, Mexico, without the trouble of long flights, and changing hotel rooms. Being able to be on a ship for the week with the same room and familiar places was much more relaxing for me.

What are some vacations that you would recommend for someone with Bipolar?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bipolar and Me: Triggers, Rules, and Trusting Yourself

Loneliness seems to trigger it. Or maybe it’s silence.

I tend to have something on in the background. Music, the TV. While I don’t consider myself an extremely social person (I have maybe a total of 4 close friends), I do like to be around people. Especially when my mind starts trying to turn on me and become something it’s not. When the thoughts start racing in, or when the thoughts disappear completely.

Maybe I’m afraid of myself, or at least a part of myself. The part that I’ve lived with all my life and that I’ll always have to keep me company.

The medicines keep it quiet for the most part. But certain things, certain places, certain foods will make it louder.
 via


You see there are rules you start living by when you have bipolar disorder.


You don’t drink caffeine, you don’t eat too much sugar, you don’t stay up too late, and you never stay up all night to name a few.


Bipolar takes away that ability called trusting your gut, your instinct, yourself. You second guess almost every thought, afraid that’s the mania or depression talking. You go out grocery shopping and realize you are buying things you don’t need, racking up a higher bill than usual, and you begin to wonder: Is the mania creeping back in? Am I losing my rational sense again? Am I about to start losing it? And in the panic will creep, while meanwhile there are 3 people in line behind you waiting, as you almost freeze at the cash register.

That’s the thing that it’s taken years for me to get back. The ability to trust myself, my decisions. To be able to tell myself that not everything I think or do is influenced by the fact that I’m living with bipolar disorder.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Writing About My Worries

I've just finished writing two pages worth of worries.

Usually I'll journal, or write emails to my therapist about what has been going on during the week. This time I felt like I needed to open a blank document and just write. So I did. I just let all my anxious thoughts about the past, present, and future come on to the page.

I feel so much better now.

I had trouble getting to work again this week, so I've been a little disappointed in myself, especially since I'd been doing pretty well. I'm trying not to focus too much on it, and focus on all of the things that have gone right this week instead. Still, it's hard to not beat myself about missing work.

I've been good about letting myself still enjoy the fun things I'd originally planned for this week by not telling myself "I don't deserve to have fun" and that sort of thing. Stupid negative thoughts.

You're your own worst critic as my mom is always telling me.

What are some ways you keep yourself from getting down and keeping the negative thoughts at bay?


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

World Bipolar Day

I've just read a brilliant blog post by one of my favorite bloggers Nicole Lyons. You can read the post here on her site The Lithium Chronicles.

It's inspired me to write a post of my own.

Today's World Bipolar Day and there's a lot of #WorldBipolarDay hashtags all over twitter.

For me, it's great. When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I remember feeling scared, freaked out, and most importantly alone. None of my family members knew what it felt like when my head just wouldn't stop racing when I was manic or the dark hole of depression. They tried, but for the most part I felt that it was better to keep how I was feeling to myself. I wanted to be less of a "burden" and besides, having a mental illness just wasn't something you talked about all the time.

It hasn't been until lately, the past year or so, that I've begun to say: "To hell with everybody, I'm going to talk about my illness." All of sudden I realized just how many other people out there are living with bipolar just like me. It made me feel less abnormal and like I had a group I belonged to. Other people who "get it." A lot of the people I follow on twitter are people living with mental illness. The support I get just from reading other people's posts and personal blogs about their daily lives is so helpful and inspirational. Especially websites like The Mighty and Stigma Fighters. I've felt less alone, and I've realized I'm now proud of living with bipolar disorder. Because you know what? I'm LIVING, despite the fact that I have a mental illness that I have to deal with every single day.

So yeah, I'm pretty proud and I'm going to keep talking about it.

Happy #WorldBipolarDay!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Five Fun Facts About Me (Including Gifs!)

Thought I'd do something different and fun on my blog today.

I'm sure you all are just dying to know a few things about me. Here goes:

Fun fact #1: I believe that having bipolar and anxiety has helped shape who I am today. I'm a kinder and more considerate person because of all of the different experiences and emotions I've had.

Fun fact #2: I'm obsessed with chocolate, especially dark chocolate. Dove or Lindt.



Fun fact #3: I figure skated for 8 years and about 5 of those years I skated competitively.

I never looked like this :D


Fun fact #4: I love musicals. I've seen Cats on Broadway. I've seen Phantom of the Opera twice, once on Broadway, once at the Detroit Opera House. I've seen West Side Story at the Detroit Opera House. Also I saw Pippin on Broadway as well. I've also seen a ton of plays and musicals at the Dearborn Player's Guild.



Fun fact #5: I prefer tea over coffee.


And I think I've finally learned how to put gifs on my blog! Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

My Sixteenth Summer: The Year I was Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder

I've never really written about how I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. So I thought I'd share my story from the beginning:

My Sixteenth Summer: The Year I was Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder

The thoughts had been torturing me for days now, spinning around in my head over and over again. Most of them didn’t make sense, at least, not to anyone else. I knew what they meant and I knew what I had to do. I had to write them down, because they were important. So very--wait what was I thinking about again? Oh well, it doesn’t matter, nothing really matters actually. I don’t really care what people think anymore which is a relief.


My best friend is looking at me like she’s afraid of something, of me. I don’t know why. I’m just trying to tell her something. She says I’m acting differently. It’s hard to concentrate on what she’s saying. My mind is starting to zone out again as the thought start circling back. I try harder to concentrate, and suddenly I’m angry, very angry. I hear myself telling her if she doesn’t want to be friends anymore that’s fine, just fine. My voice is shrill in a pitch I’ve never heard before. It doesn’t even sound like me. I see her eyes go wide as she gets up to leave.


I’m left alone in the hallway. It was the last day of school. The last day of tenth grade. A horrible year. There had been weeks when I would feel as though I needed to leap out of my own skin. An itch I couldn’t get rid of. A hunger that was never satisfied. I became obsessed with certain things. Honey buns, a food I never even liked, suddenly I couldn’t get enough of them. I gained weight, and I gained it quickly. Luckily I was quite thin, so the weight gain didn’t cause too much alarm. But I was hungry, so hungry. I’d wake up at two in the morning starving as though I hadn’t eaten all day. Something was wrong, but no one  wanted to say what it was quite yet.


At thirteen I was diagnosed with anxiety and later depression. I had been having panic attacks every month for a week when I was twelve. This lasted for a year, until I was finally put on an anti anxiety medication. Things were good for a little while, although I had bouts of depression as well.


It wasn’t until I was sixteen that things began to go a little haywire.


Then, that summer, during a particularly bad period of depression, I cut myself. I remember going into the bathroom and getting out a razor, thinking if I could just feel something, anything, maybe it would “release the pain” I was feeling inside. I was numb and been for at least a week. I cut across my right wrist, twice, and then the crook of my elbow, twice. I remember being angry when the cuts barely bled.


I hadn’t wanted to kill myself, but I did want to feel something, even if that feeling was pain.


My mother noticed later that evening and I made up the excuse that the cat had scratched me. Later they took me to my therapist and then my psychiatrist, who after hearing about my erratic behavior finally diagnosed me with bipolar disorder type 2. He put me on a mood stabilizer and continued my anti anxiety medicine.


Eight years later, and several severe manic episodes later, I switched doctors because I was no longer stable. My first visit with my current psychiatrist was when I was in a manic and almost psychotic state of mind. She immediately recognized that I had not been properly diagnosed and re-diagnosed me with bipolar type I. She slowly weaned me off of my anti anxiety medicine which was doing more harm than good, and added another mood stabilizer as well as raising the dose of my current mood stabilizer. Later I was also given a very low dose of an antidepressant when my depression was still not lifting.


I have been doing very well over the past two years. I’m happily taking care of myself and doing what it takes to remain stable. Writing about my illness has been something that I find to be very helpful in more ways than one. I hope that sharing my story will help not only people living with bipolar, like me, but also help people understand what it’s like. I hope to show that people with bipolar disorder are just everyday people trying to live their lives. Living with bipolar disorder is hard sometimes, but really it is about taking care of yourself, and everyone should be taking care of themselves whether they are living with an illness or leading a healthy life. We all have our struggles in life, and this is just one of mine.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Working (Literally) Through My Anxiety

I thought I'd update you all on how I've been doing.

I managed to make it through my usual half day of work today!

I was nervous this morning, but I went through my usual morning routine and just focused on doing one thing at a time. Work was work, and my boss asked if I could come in tomorrow because there's still a lot to be done. For the most part I was able to concentrate on work, but there was a few times when I was still anxious. It helped to count down the hours until I could leave, and that I had a therapy session right after work.

All in all it was a good day.

I hope everyone has been having a good week!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Life Changes: If At First You Don't Succed

Work didn't happen today. I've made a major change in my life and it caused a lot of anxiety for me yesterday. I almost didn't make it to work yesterday. I ended up having to stop by my parent's house to have my mom calm me down and then later drive me (we work at the same place.)

I hate having to do this. I hate feeling weak and needing to ask for help.  Before I go on a whole: I hate having anxiety and panic attacks, let me at least congratulate myself for making it to work yesterday, even though I only stayed for four hours. Yesterday, I barely made it to my parents' house because I could barely breathe. I was trying to keep myself from having panic attacks while I was driving. Trust me, panic attacks and driving don't mix very well. When I did finally make it to work, of course it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. However, I was exhausted from all the anxiety I'd been feeling, and my boss was understanding enough to let me go home early.

Today? Yeah today didn't go half as well as yesterday. But you know what? I needed today. I needed to take care of myself. I kept putting off taking my emergency anti-anxiety medicine because it makes me really sleepy. So, today I woke up, decided I wasn't going to work, and texted my boss the truth: that my anxiety was really bad today and I needed to stay home. Again, thank goodness I have an understanding boss. I took my medicine, and took a nice long nap.

Now, I'm continuing to work on not beating myself up about not going to work. That's the other thing about anxiety, the minute I decide to not do what is making me feel anxious, the guilt kicks in. Not this time though, I won't let it. I know I needed to give myself a day off. Tomorrow will be much better.



How do you deal with anxiety and guilt?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Am I Manic? Trusting Yourself: This is Not the Time to Freak Out

We all forget to take our meds sometimes. It happens

Anxiously starting to think you're going to throw yourself into a manic/hypomanic state because you forgot to take your meds one too many times? It also happens.

Welcome to my day today. I was feeling restless, more than usual and unfocused. I haven't been the best at taking my meds every day this week and I started to think: Shoot, what if this is the beginnings of a manic episode?

Before I let myself go into full blown panic mode (this is when my anxiety kicks in and tries to freak me out) I stopped and really thought about it. Had I been showing any signs of real mania?

I'd slept at least 8 hours last night, and the night before. To be honest, I've been sleeping at least 8 hours a night all week. I hadn't been talking excessively, and I wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary. I wasn't having any unusual racing thoughts other than trying to freak out about whether I was manic or not. However I had drank a large cup of caffeinated tea and diet Coke.

Ah, too much caffeine. I was also feeling a little dehydrated, which could explain why I was feeling extra jittery and a little "off."

So, no, I told myself, I wasn't becoming manic.

After I drank a couple of glasses of water, I went to the store to distract myself and to get out of the house.

It's 60 degrees out. I think it was just a case of too much caffeine and becoming a little stir crazy.

I'm still learning to trust myself when it comes to the fear of becoming Manic. I think sometimes I don't give myself enough credit. Granted, I need to take my meds every night (and I'm definitely going to work on this now), but otherwise I'm doing a good job of taking care of myself.

Lesson learned: Don't drink too much caffeine, drink plenty of water, and take your medicines every day!

What do you do to keep yourself from freaking out?

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Lithium Thirst: or, Why is My Glass Already Empty?

I’ve just finished my iced green tea from Panera. That’s 20 ounces of liquid, and I still want more. Not because it tastes so good (and believe me it does) but because I’m still thirsty. Welcome to the life of a Lithium taker. If there’s one side effect (besides the weight gain) that I can’t stand the most since I’ve been taking medications for Bipolar type I, it’s the Lithium thirst. The tremor I can handle even though it is embarrassing to eat soup sometimes when it’s especially bad. But the thirst. I am almost always thirsty.
The thing about being thirsty (and you don’t realize this until after you’ve gained five pounds) is that if you drink sugary drinks to quench this thirst, not only will you have a major sugar high, but you will gain weight. Plus, sugary drinks tend to make you more thirsty if anything else. So it’s true what all of the doctors and nutritionists say: Drink Water.
Ah, water. Water will become your best friend after you start taking Lithium. You will get to the point where carrying a bottle of water with you is almost as important as carrying your phone. You will become anxious if you go somewhere and the water glasses are too small. I’ve become the person who asks for a bigger water glass because I don’t want to have to ask the server to refill my glass every 5 minutes. I haven’t gotten to the point where I’ll ask for the pitcher to just be left at the table. However, when there is a pitcher of water on the table? I’m in heaven.
Originally published on Medium

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day...to You

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Were you kind to yourself today?

I started my Valentine's Day by making chocolate chip cookies for myself. (Well, and my sister, but mainly because I wanted cookies).

I decided I'd do something nice for myself today.

I spent yesterday with my boyfriend, so today my sister and I continued the tradition of last year and spent Valentine's together. So Sister's Valentine's Day. She made her amazing Spinach Mushroom Risotto and Bruschetta (that we'd bought in Scotland). It was lovely.

We spent the rest of the day painting (excuse the blurry photos, you can thank the Lithium tremor for that haha):


All in all it's been a good Valentine's day.

How did you spend your day?


Friday, January 22, 2016

Five Things I'm Thankful For

I thought I'd do a list of five things I'm thankful for. Sometimes it helps to remember all the good things you have going on in your life so you won't focus on some of the negative things.

So here they are:

1. My family: I'm thankful for the support my family has given me throughout the good times and bad. They've always shown me love even when they don't quite understand the decisions I've made. They are getting better at trusting me to know what is best for me, and for that I'm truly grateful. 

2. My friends: Again, I'm thankful for the support of my friends who I know I can talk to about anything. They may not always understand my mental illness but they are willing to be there and listen.

3. My friends on twitter with mental illness: Some days it really helps to scroll through twitter and see other people going through the exact same thing or something similar. Seeing their uplifting blog posts and tweets makes my day a little bit better, and knowing that my tweets are helping them too makes me happy. 

4. Music: Spotify playlists are almost always playing whether I'm writing, cooking, or doing some sort of yarn work. Music always helps me feel better. At the moment I've been really enjoying Jazzy Cocktail piano music. 

5. Writing: Writing out my thoughts and feelings is exceedingly helpful. It helps me realize that sometimes my thoughts are simply negative thoughts and they are just critical and untrue. It's also a helpful tool to keep track of how I'm feeling. Plus writing in general, like this blog, makes me happy! 

What are some things you are thankful for?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Off Days: What To Do With Them

Today was definitely an "off day" for me.

The kind of day you don't want to admit that something is wrong and it's not just that you don't want to go to work.

I've written a lot about working in this blog, because that's something that stresses me out and I'm still getting used to it.

Lately it seems Wednesdays are the hardest days for me to get up and go to work. Tuesdays are usually fine, because I don't normally work on Mondays, but the past two weeks I have worked Monday. Last week I was lucky and only had to stay at work on Wednesday for half of a day. The week before, it just didn't happen.

Today, I woke up after pushing the snooze button on my alarm three times to where I was going to be at least fifteen minutes late. It didn't help that the day before I had a really frustrating day and I didn't want to have to put myself back in that environment. To make things worse I'd felt weepy all day, and then found out before I went to bed that one of my favorite professors had died.

To say the least, I didn't wake up feeling motivated to do anything let alone go to work.

Then the guilt sets in. I start piling it all on thinking about how I should have just gone to work because I need to make the money. And how I'm lazy and a bad person because I didn't go. I start worrying about what is my boss going to think of me and is she going to be angry?

Most of these thoughts are not even realistic. Of course I need to make the money, but that can be solved by working an extra day or even two half days if I really need to split them up. I'm lucky that my boss is understanding. Of course I don't want to take advantage of this, but then again I don't want to compromise my health either.

I'm not going to lie and say I haven't spent some of today feeling guilty and bad about myself. But sometimes you have to let yourself feel these things. So I told myself I'd let myself feel bad for some of today but then I'm going to do something that will make me feel better, even if I feel like I don't deserve it. So I'm going to hang out with my friend and that's that. I'm done feeling bad about myself for today.

Tomorrow is going to be better and work is going to be fine.

What do you do when you have off days?