Sunday, April 3, 2016

I'm doing it!

Hi everyone! I know, I'm a total slacker when it comes to my blog...but it's for good reason! I've been super busy writing my autobiography, doing IOP, and...getting articles published on news sites! It's hard for me to blog when I wonder every time if what I'm writing could be an article instead.

But anywho, IOP. It ends tomorrow, and I'm super nervous about it. I've spent the last 8 weeks working my ass off in intensive outpatient therapy, and I'm really scared that the progress I've made in there is going to fade once I leave. It's been an  incredible experience. I first started out nervous as hell because I was surrounded by recovering drug addicts, and I felt completely out of my element. But I stuck it out, and I'm so glad I did. Many of these people were awesome human beings that I just had to get to know to help me overcome my bias towards addicts. I've learned so much about myself, and feel really good about the path I'm taking in life.

And my articles! So, Josh signed me up for an online course taught by Brene Brown, and I reluctantly started it. It's all about daring greatly, and stepping into the arena and being seen. I've worked so hard on me, and learning about me, and dealing with my inner shit that I've stuffed down for years and years, that I finally felt like I was in a good enough place to start writing again, And it's been amazing! I've written 4 articles since I discovered Daring Greatly, three of which I've done in the last 2 months. If you're interested in reading them, they are here, here, here, and here. I've also written another article and submitted it to the Huffington Post for consideration. I've got my fingers crossed that they respond favorably.

Speaking of daring greatly, and stepping into new arenas...I applied to be a speaker at the TEDx conference here in SLC. I'll know something by the end of April. I really hope I at least make it through round two of evaluations.

So good things are happening, even though I don't post blogs as much as I used to. I'll try and post at least once a week from here on out, just to give updates. We'll see who's reading, eh?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Broken, again

I've got writer's block.

And I'm on a precipice.

I'm always on a precipice; it feels like.I'm constantly walking this edge between stability and falling into oblivion. I'm getting so sick of this constant battle between staying sane and letting go. You've no clue just how much I want to let go, and let the chips fall where they will sometimes.Every time I get into an argument and I feel myself getting closer to snapping, I wonder, 'Is this it? Is this going to be the final straw?'

Although I really took what Finnick Odair said to heart, 'It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.' God knows I've fallen apart and put myself back together enough times to know picking up the pieces frickin blows, but this staying strong when it feels like agony is for the birds. Endure til the end. That's what I'm taught. But this just feels like it's never going to effing end.

I'm trying so hard to feel things, and I get awful close to an emotion, and I almost feel it, but then I recoil, super fast. It's torture.

So my blog is struggling, once again. I want to write, every day. But because I'm having so many issues with my emotions, and being vulnerable, the words can't come out of my brain onto the keyboard.

In exciting news though, one of my articles is going to be published! I dared greatly, and The Mighty picked it up to feature! I can't wait! Well, I can wait, I'm terrified, but I'm so excited at the same time! And I'm continuing to step out and be seen, although Scary Mommy rejected my other article, I submitted it to HuffPo this morning, and I'm nervously waiting to see what happens there.

I think I'm going to start my book. I've got a few chapters outlined. And I've got my journals from my teens out in my garage. I kind of want to go through them. I'm not sure if I'm in a good spot emotionally yet to handle that or not, I'm going to talk to my therapist about that, but I know I'm getting closer to being ready. That's always good right? I want to get my charts from my hospital stays from the last decade, and go through them, and start writing. This is the closest I've ever been to being really serious about getting it done. It feels scary, but doable now. And that's huge for me! Wow.

Hopefully this writer's block lifts soon and I get my ideas back. I've got so many ideas I want to touch on, but the words just won't come. I'll get there though, I'll get there. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Gratitude in all things

It's been a rough couple of weeks for me. I made it through though. I had the support of some really incredible people, and I was able to avoid a potential disaster. I can't even put into words just how blessed I feel I am. I've never felt this surrounded by love and oneness by people in my life.

What made this tumultuous struggle different than any other time when I've slipped into a depressive episode? Well for one, I reached out immediately. I reached out to the right people. I didn't call on a poor unassuming friend who loves me, but has absolutely no background in mental health and is hopelessly out of her element when it comes to dealing with a friend who is suicidal. So I called my therapist. And when I couldn't reach my therapist, I called my religious leader (who happens to be a therapist) and didn't mind helping me out in a crisis.

For another, I opened up. I didn't shut down and let the voices in my head rule the day. I admitted that I was having some serious problems, and that I was scared, and I didn't know what the eff was going on. I talked even when talking was the last thing I wanted to do. Even though I wasn't great about keeping people updated, I didn't turn into a hermit completely, I forced myself to go out of my shell and talk, talk, talk.

I talked to my boss and told her I was having a bipolar episode and that I was trying to keep it under control, but it was kind of kicking my trash at the moment. That was one of the best things I could have done because she normalized it for me. She said everyone there needed time off to get their heads on straight, that I wasn't alone in this. She pretty much told me I was having a mental health week and getting myself some help and gave me a week to do whatever I needed to do to without the stress of work on my back. Have I mentioned before how much I love my job?

The hardest conversation was telling Josh that I was suicidal because well, that's never a fun conversation, now is it? He handled it so well, and that was really the turning point for me. That was when I really felt like I might make it through this without needing to off myself. If I can keep talking, I might be able to talk myself out of this.

I used the crap out of my coping skills. I took it hour by hour some days. Minute by minute some hours. Second by second some minutes. It's just so hard. Being bipolar is so hard. You feel like you're on this cliff. And you're balancing there, so precariously balancing. Waving one foot in the air, scrambling for purchase with other, not sure if you're going to be tossed into the insanity below, or if you're going to be able to grab and hold onto the cold ground of reason you're so desperately reaching for.

I want to say that I was so incredibly lucky to have such a great support system surrounding me, but well, it wasn't luck. I've worked my ass off to surround myself by loving people who care for me and have my best interests at heart. That's not luck, that's me making progress to being a healthier person. I am blessed though. So blessed to have met the incredible people who are in my life now.

And I'm grateful. I'm grateful to have gone through this past experience. It's the first time I can recall where I've been suicidal and not have made an attempt nor have landed in the hospital. I feel humbled to be sitting here sharing this experience with you because it's an amazing thing to have gone through. It really puts into sharp relief where I was a year ago and where I am now. I might not see it, but the work I'm doing in therapy is truly making a difference in my life. And for that I can only be grateful.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Gotta stay pumped for the cold lonely days ahead...

And how do we do that? That's right! With good music! And you're right, good music is totally subjective, so right now, this is my idea of good music. I told you I was trying to blog more. I'm running low on good blog ideas atm, so I'm sharing the songs that are running through my head. I don't think I can share the insecurities that are going through my head with all of you loyal readers just yet, not til I've had the chance to process them with my trusty therapist, lol, so this is what you're getting from me today :)

I'm absolutely in love with these three songs right now, I can't stop listening to them, my family is so sick of hearing them on repeat. I'm practically sick of them myself, but I'm addicted. Ah well, I suppose there are worse addictions, right? The first two pump me up, especially Elle King's 'Exes and Oh's', it reminds me of my wilder days. and brings back some fond memories, lol. I miss some of those moments. And the Offspring's 'You're Gonna Go Far Kid', encourages me, even if that's not the intent, that's what I get from it. I should probably reread the lyrics on it. And the Hush Sound's 'The Lighthouse' is a favorite of mine because I bonded over my oldest over it, and that's always a good time right? 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Stepping into the arena and being seen...

I'm daring greatly. Today I took a leap. Of faith, And I'm kind of scared. I'm almost talking myself out of it. Of what I'm sure you're asking, lol.

Today I decided that I'm going to get my writing published, or epically fail in the attempt. No more holding back just because I'm scared. And if I do fail, well I'm going to keep on trying until I get the right thing that is noticed.

I wrote two different pieces, that I thought were really good, about bipolar disorder (of course), and I'm going to submit them to a couple of bigger news publishers next week, once I've had a couple of friends critique them for me.

I was feeling really good and optimistic about my odds, but now all my negative self talk has come in and is eating at me, so I'm really wondering if I'll even follow through and be courageous enough to follow through and be willing to be seen and step into the arena and submit these articles for consideration.

I can do this! I can do hard things. I do them all the time, right? And I'm not scared to fail. Failure is a part of life. I did my best, and if I fail, it means I learned on way of what the publisher isn't looking for. I just edit and try again.

I'm kind of getting pumped again now. I've just got to keep using my positive self talk, and I'll make it through this next week while I wait to see if they accept or reject my article! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Daring Greatly

I read Daring Greatly by BrenĂ© Brown this week for therapy, and omg, I think my life has been forever changed. I can't shut up talking about it.

She explained so much about the deepest things about my life that I've never been able to put into words, ever. And to know that I'm not alone, wow. I'm inspired. She talked about vulnerability and how it's intricately tied to shame, and explained how shame is simply the fear of not being worthy of real connection (although it's so much more than that), and how we have vulnerability armor we wear to protect us from being vulnerable at all costs.

She talked about how we need to develop shame resilience and that there are two types of people in the world, those who know that they are worthy of love and belonging, and those who feel that they aren't worthy of love and belonging. The only thing that separates these two groups is that the ones who have the deep sense of connection and feelings of love and belonging feel worthy of that love and belonging. That's all. 

She also said there were 12 categories where shame could rear its ugly head, like body image, motherhood/fatherhood, money/income, sex, addiction, aging, parenting, family and others. She also talked about the scarcity effect and how people in our culture felt like we we never enough, we were never thin enough, never rich enough, never good enough, and that the opposite of this was not abundance, but instead it was simply feeling good enough. I could not put this book down.

I was spellbound from start to finish. I was starving for the knowledge I got from her words. If you need a book to read, check this one out. You will not be disappointed, I promise!

I realize that I totally made a mess out of this review, writing book reviews is not my forte. If you'd like a clearer, more concise review check out amazon readers reviews here!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Life as I know it...

I have too many deep thoughts.

I don't write much anymore because I don't feel like I can do it justice. I want to write something moving, something poignant. But I can't always do that. And so I keep my thoughts locked away. I've been thinking for months now that I should come back to the blogosphere, but fear has kept me away. Fear of what exactly, I'm not sure.

My life has gone through a massive upheaval since I practically abandoned this blog last November. Suffice it to say I'm not the same starry eyed school girl who had fond aspirations of getting noticed by someone and becoming a popular bipolar blogger one day. Now I'm much grimmer, more real, almost more grittier in a way.

I've been holding it together rather well for awhile now. The end of last year got a little rocky when I had a couple trips back to the hospital, but then I pulled myself back together, got a job even, and started trying to really live life purposefully. It seemed I was even making some positive changes. I haven't missed a day of taking my meds since I got out of the hospital last year. I'm off the Xanax totally. No more benzos for me, even though I can assure you the stress in my life is still here. I'm coping with it with the tools I've learned in therapy, and not with benzos. I guess maybe I started to get a little cocky or something.

Because then shit got really hard. While I was off in la-la land thinking life was fine, so I could just work on me, all the relationships around me were falling apart. My kids needed me, my oldest desperately needed me, and somehow, I didn't notice that my husband had totally tapped out of our marriage entirely. I woke up one day to find everything in shambles around me, and me having only pieces of my coping skills I'd learned, and that was about it.

I had to do do some major reevaluating of my life at that moment. Sure, I'd been trying to improve myself, but obviously I hadn't been doing enough.

Although if we're being completely honest here, the people around me hadn't been pulling their weight either, I mean, the husband realized he couldn't give 0% effort in the marriage and pin all the problems on me, yet expect the marriage to be healthy and thrive. There were other nastier issues he had that were destroying our marriage as well, but we won't dwell on that. The oldest realized she couldn't be angry and bitter and pin all her frustrations on everyone else but herself, and this realization has led to a massive restructuring of our relationship, completely for the better, I'm happy to say. I wish the marriage was as easy to fix as the relationship with the oldest has been. It's been months of hard work, with only moderate progress being made in that department, and it's so damn frustrating. It feels like one step forward and fifteen steps back. All the effing time. All the time.

So since I can't change anyone else, only me; back to me. What did I do when I realized my life was crashing down around me? I looked at what I could change of course! What did the husband want me to change to save our marriage? He hated who I became at night when I took my Ambien, he said I because a different person, and he couldn't handle that person, and he'd reached his limit. He'd reached his limit years ago actually, and I'd never taken him seriously when he'd told me before. So, I quit the Ambien. Done. What else could I do? I could be less sarcastic. That one's been a lot harder. I've tried to be a better listener. I've tried to be more compassionate. I've tried to not jump the gun and take offense so quickly. All of these things are things I screw up on so much. I'm really not good at it at all. I'm so scared that I'm not making progress in those areas at all, and the way we communicate is so broken. We've spent years not talking to each other, but talking at each other, and changing that is hard.

I've recently been told that change is hard, and people get comfortable in their misery, and when they do try to change, the hurt of that change is too much, so they slink back into the misery and stay there. It's only when escaping the pain of the status quo is more bearable than the anguish of living the daily torment you're currently in, that's when you'll finally stretch out of your misery and embrace the pain that comes with change. It's been said that pain is just weakness leaving the body, right? Relish the thought of it leaving you.

Why am I telling you all of these things? I don't know actually. It's been said before that we're only as sick as our secrets. And I'm so freaking tired of having secrets. I'm so worn down right down. And exhausted. And depressed. I can't keep going on like this. I know this isn't my most poignant post ever. But it's from the heart. Value those relationships you have with the people you love. Cherish those people around you. Most of all, value the relationship you have with yourself. Respect yourself. Treat yourself gently. Treat yourself kindly. With compassion. Tenderly. People treat you only one way. The way you allow them to treat you.

Friday, November 21, 2014


I went and saw this last ngiht! It was such a great GNO! I need to do that more often, it was such a nice way to relieve all the stress I've been under.

Here is a small sampling of just how amazing the movie was....

The Hanging Tree

Monday, November 3, 2014

Death with dignity: Why isn't this available for all?

It seems like Brittany Maynard sure got a lot of attention the last few weeks of her life. I think she did a lot of good for creating awareness of the Death With Dignity Act, and with any luck, hopefully her work in this area will not be forgotten. I would love to see more states have laws in place to give people who are terminally ill the right to choose how they will end their mortal existence. Although the debate between whether this is going against the will of God or not is a great discussion, it's not the focus of my blog today.

Being told that your existence is now numbered by days, weeks, or maybe only months, and knowing that each day will only get worse is a mind blowing message to receive. Is this similar to what people with severe mental illness go through? I think in some cases it does.

People living with mental illness struggle with severe limitations on their quality of life as well. Nearly half of all bipolar patients are treatment resistant for either mania or depression. Twenty percent of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder will take their own life at some point. Not in a peaceful, harmonic way, with their family and friends by their side and supporting their decision, but usually in a time of chaos, when everyone they love has given up on them and turned their backs on them. They leave behind a trail of unanswered questions and lasting regrets for the survivors.Why can't this be different?

I myself have treatment resistant bipolar disorder. I've written about the dark days of my life where nothing had meaning, and the world just saw me as something to spit at. Yes, I was emotionally unstable, and no-one in their right mind would have given me the option to peacefully end my life at that time. In fact, I had been court committed, and I was legally forced to take medication (even if didn't work) to try and keep me existing, because what I was doing sure wasn't living. But my existence was meaningless. I was nothing but a burden on those who tried to care for me, I was a burden on the system, I was a burden on the hospitals that had to work with me. This particular story has a happier ending. There was a medication that came out a few years ago, and my doctor suggested I try it. An almost magical transformation occurred, this medication actually made a difference! I started to actually live. It's been nearly 2 years that I've been out of the hospital and been a stable, productive member of society.

Unfortunately for many people living with MI, their stories don't have a happy ending. They are homeless. They are drug addicts. They have no support system to speak of. Their families have written them off. They are in jails and prisons for crimes they committed while not receiving treatment, or while receiving treatment that wasn't working for them. They are shuffled through the system and lost among the thousands of other people that understaffed and underfunded mental health providers are working with.

Many of these people are not stupid. They are just as intelligent as you or I. They are just as capable of making an informed decision about their bodies as Brittany Maynard was. I feel that if you live a life of seemingly unending agony, where every day is so emotionally taxing that you pray for an end to it all, you should be able to sit down with a doctor and discuss options as to whether or not you should have to continue this way.

I feel that I should clarify something here. I'm not talking about people who have unipolar depression and feel so hopeless that they attempt to take their lives, but with the help of counseling and the right medications (if needed) go on to live productive lives. I'm not talking about people who have bipolar or schizophrenia who are able to take medication and can function in society. I'm talking about the poor souls who want nothing more than to live their lives, but due to incompatibility with medications or other circumstances, there seems to be no help for them.

Brittany Maynard didn't want to die. She would have preferred nothing more than to continue life with her husband, perhaps having children one day and watching them grow up. Instead, she was diagnosed with a cancer so deadly that she was given only 6 more months to live. She chose to end her life peacefully, rather than becoming a shell of her former self as the disease took over her body. Doesn't someone with a severe MI deserve the same? Why should they be forced to watch their lives be destroyed by a disease, and not be able to make the same choice Brittany Maynard did, to die with dignity?

I know my opinion on this matter is unpopular. I'm okay with that. I know some will say, "Well you stuck through and finally found the right thing to work!". I didn't stick with it. I tried mulitple times to end my own life because the suffering was so intense. It took YEARS for things to change. Years where I had no real life to speak of. There are people right now who have been suffering for years as well, with no hope in sight that they will ever improve. Why should they be forced to continue to suffer simply because the illness they have is of the brain, and not because of another organ?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I hate being a SAHM: A story in progress.

So I've been feeling kind of down this week. I went and saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show last weekend with my sister, and it was one of the most astounding times of my life. I had so much fun, and was practically drunk off the energy and excitement of being at the theatre to see it. It took us 10 years to make the trip to see it, and it was something to cross off my bucket list.

It's made being home and not going out this week seem even duller and more unbearable than usual. It's hard to get back into the swing of things when all you can think of is Frank-N-Furter telling you to "Don't dream it, be it.", and just wanting to dance the Time Warp one more time.

Even with all that, I came to an amazing conclusion yesterday. If I can internalize this thought and own it, I think I'll have transformed my life.

I hate being a stay-at-home mum. There. I've said it. (Spoiler alert, this isn't the transformative thought.) I've never had a job where I felt so devalued and under-appreciated in all my life. I hate the drudgery, the same boring things over and over every single day. Nothing changes, I never have anything interesting to talk about, and instead of embracing this lifestyle, I cringe from it. I spend way too much time online avoiding my real life because I'd rather be doing literally anything else than cleaning and tending the kids.

I say that now, but it's something I'd never admitted out loud until just recently.

So then what's the transformation thought that I was speaking of?

It started last week, when I was visiting with my sister-in-law, and I told her how I wanted to go and finish my degree so I could teach, and help bring up the next generation of future leaders of the world. I want to be a worthwhile member of society because I certainly don't feel like I'm doing that now. She looked at me like I was crazy and asked me what on earth did I think I was doing now? I have 4 children, who's raising them if not me? That had a profound effect on me because I'd never considered my role as a mother as a teacher too. I never viewed my job here as 'real work', it was just something to be endured until I could get out of it.

On a related note, one that gets us closer to the culmination of why I'm starting to change my view, I was called to be a nursery teacher a couple months ago. I'm LDS, and in my religion many of the teachers and leaders of the local churches are volunteers, so this was something I do of my own volition. I've got to admit, I don't like small children. I don't relate well to them, I don't get along with them, and I don't feel like I make any difference in their lives. (Feeling like I make a difference in anyone's life could be a post all of it's own accord though.) I went home and cried when the bishopric asked me to serve in this calling because I was terrified I would be an epic fail and I just knew I would start to dread Sundays. I said to myself, "I come to church to get away from MY children for a couple hours, why on earth would I want to take care of 10 other children during that time?" I very hesitantly took the calling, and tentatively showed up after Sacrament to tend those little ones.

And now the point of this post. I realized yesterday that teaching nursery and being a mum aren't so different. I'm making a difference in those children's lives just by being there, being a good example, and helping lead the way for them. Being a stay at home mom might not be glamorous, or exciting, or a head turning conversation stopper, but it has worth. I have worth for doing this every day. My children need me to be there for them. They need my guidance. They need me to teach them, just as much (if not more) than those future students I want to affect one day.

It might be hard, but I CAN do this. I can keep the house clean, be a supportive wife, and I can be a better mother to my kids. I'm taking small steps to get to where I want to be. I know this will always be a work in progress, but I feel like just by acknowledging this misconception of mine, I've already made a big change. I don't clean regularly every day, but that's just one aspect I need to work on. I don't have a consistent routine with my kids right now, but that's going to change too. I don't listen as well as I could, or serve my family's needs as well as I feel I should, but once again, just another process to changing me.

I have fears about my ability to do this, but I can't let my fears keep holding me back. My therapist has told me over and over again that I'll stay where I am until my desire to change is greater than my apathy for the status quo. I think she words it a little differently, but that's the gist of it. I want this. But I'm eating this elephant one bite at a time for once. I've tried to make changes before and have always slipped up and failed. I've just given up because I've tried to change too many things at once and overwhelmed myself. I'm not doing that this time. I've got small things that I'm doing every day, and I'm taking it. One. Day. At. A. Time.

The biggest thing I'm doing at this very moment is my effing assignments I'm given in therapy. I've never even attempted to try anything outside of my sessions to change myself. I've always told myself it'll never work, so why try it? I'm only on day 5 of doing my work everyday, but I'm so proud of myself for lasting even 5 days. It's been hard, and I've had to make up a day, but I've still stuck with it. This WILL become a habit with me. I can do it. And if I can do this, then the whole world has opened itself up to me. If I can do this everyday, then I can do the dishes everyday. That can become a habit. I can do a couple loads of laundry every day. Another habit. I can have music and quiet time with my kids. BOOM! One more habit. I can cook dinner every night. Yup, another habit.  Exercising a few times a week? Uh huh, no problem. And once I've gotten all of these things down, maybe I'll be organized enough to be able to handle going back to school and running the house. My ADHD brain is terrified of that, yet excited at the same time. I'm so disorganized, and so terrible at completing things, and I've beaten myself up about it for years. I've got to find a way to make being ADHD and bipolar work for me, and not against me.

I can do hard things. I can. I will. One bite at a time.