Lifting the Cloud of Dread

Hello Lovely Creatures!

I apologize for my extended vacation from my blog. I wasn’t sure what to write about or if anyone would actually want to hear what I have to say at this point. Today I had revelation that when I read blogs about people going through rough times it helps me, so why wouldn’t it help others to hear how I have overcome my obstacles.

The truth is, life is extremely hard for me right now. I was in car accident three years ago and in which I sustained life changing injuries. I had to shut down the dance studio I owned because I couldn’t teach dance anymore, I am unable to to exercise like I used to and I have a very hard time sleeping.

Yes, all of those things are awful but the worst of it all is that I don’t know where my is in the world anymore. I used to know myself, what I wanted to be and where I wanted to end up. Now I am not able to live my dream and I don’t know if I will get back the ability to do so ever again. I lost my dream and at times I lose all hope.

I learned how important it is to take it one day at a time. When life gets hard and you can’t see past the cloud of dread, try to focus only on what you can accomplish today. These accomplishments don’t have to been big tasks. Here are a couple examples of things I accomplished today: folded my laundry, a home yoga practice (15 minutes) and started writing this blog. I am proud of my myself for doing those three small things because even getting out of bed was difficult today.

Surrounding yourself with positive people is also another amazing way to slowly push through your cloud of dread. I have this friend and he is quite possibly the most positive person I have ever met. He will not speak negatively about anyone, it is actually impressive. Just being around him makes me feel lighter, less self conscious and much more positive. We all need more people like him in our lives. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could train our subconscious to be more like my special friend?

Well we can with perseverance and practice. I will share the three things I do on the daily to uplift my being:

  1. I keep a gratitude journal. Every night I write down all the things im grateful for, what I accomplished that day, what I want to accomplish tomorrow and a motivational quote.
  2. I do one small mindfulness practice every day that range from 3-30 minutes
  3. Make sure to do an activity that brings me joy. This could be a face mask, painting, yoga, meet up with friend etc.

I want all my lovely creatures out there to know that I have compassion for your struggles. You are beautiful, strong, fierce beings! Love your own uniqueness. #BeautifulDisaster

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Vivir Mi Vida (Live My Life)

Hello Lovely Creatures!

I am going on a month long solo adventure in two weeks to Santa Clara, Cuba. The purpose of my trip is to learn Spanish. I will be taking daily lessons while being immersed in the Cuban culture that I love so much. This has been a dream of mine for many years. DREAMS DO COME TRUE!

Although I am so very excited about this next big step in my life and I am also quite nervous. I have been having a lot of anxious thoughts such as: What if I have an episode? What if I lose my meds? What happens if I don’t learn enough Spanish? What if I forget to pack something important?    Right now I am working through this anxious energy and focusing on the excitement.

So today I started packing , yes already. This has helped me to gain excited about the trip and let go of some anxiety. I have packed all the summer clothes that I have and any clothes I need for the trip that I won’t wear before hand. I compiled a list of all the things I still need to purchase. Now it is time for a shopping trip, beachwear here I come.

Honestly, I think I am nervous because I don’t want to fail. I feel like I have failed a lot of things in my life due to my illness. It feels like everything always starts of strong and then just goes downhill.  Those failures have made me stronger and I have learned how to cope much better. It is time to change my frequency and fuel my life with positivity.

Thank you for reading the rants of this nervous polar bear. I will be creating a travel blog about my stay in Cuba. Stay tuned for entertaining stories about my Cuban adventure!

#VivirMiVida

Desert Dry

Good Afternoon Lovelies!

It is a fact most people suffering from a mental health issue, struggle with using substances as a coping mechanism. Whether it be using when you are up, down or all around. Have you ever tried intentionally taking a break? Consciously not using substances for a period of time to reset?

I DID. 

I went dry for the entire month of January and I feel great! Realizing not that long into the month that whenever I get down or stressed, I instinctively want to drink. Putting healthy coping skills in place has been one of the major take aways from this experience. Plus, I have discovered another layer of stability in my life. I believe I have started to rewrite the pattern and will continue to work on it for the years to come.

Clearer and brighter skin has been another upside. Letting my skin detox and refresh has been wonderful. I feel this experience has done the same for my soul. This challenge has shown me that I am stronger than I thought I was, more beautiful and more in tune with my being.

Honestly, I had no idea this experience would be so enlightening. I even discovered that I have made friends who enjoy hanging with the authentic me. Not just to party or for my generosity but truly for me. THIS IS POWERFUL STUFF! I am proud to have developed a deep, mature connection with these beautiful souls.

I am going to make this an annual challenge for myself. I challenge you to challenge yourself! #YouAreBeautiful

Tuning in to Tune Ups

Good Morning Lovelies!

Just like a well oiled machine, our bodies need a tune up every now and again. Do you know when your body needs one? Do you know which tune ups work for you? This post is going to give you some tips and tricks to help tune up and tune in with your beautiful mind, body and soul.

How do you know know when a tune up is needed? You may need a tune up when you feel your mind is at its sharpest, you notice that your body is slower than usual or you realize your soul isn’t as happy as it could be. Simply, if you aren’t running at your full capacity then maybe think about tuning in and tuning up

What does your body need for a tune up? When your mind isn’t at it sharpest try to challenge it or give it rest. When your body is running slower than usual try something to reenergize it. When you soul is not as happy as it could be, try to bring light and enlightenment inside.

Try a tune up when you feel:

  • tired, fatigued, sluggish
  • slow metabolism
  • low, unmotivated, uninspired
  • anxious
  • muscle aches
  • agitation, restlessness
  • diminished concentration
  • bored, needing more excitement in life
  • creative block

Try a tune up:

  • meditation
  • positive self affirmations
  • a cleanse ( my personal favourite is Wild Rose)
  • cut out alcohol (give dry February a go)
  • change your workout regime
  • try yoga
  • do something that challenges your mind (board games, word puzzles, books, escape rooms etc. )
  • get outside even when it is freezing cold
  • take time for self care

I recommend making a list of tunes up that work for you. The list will make it easy for you to pick a tune up easily when you recognize it is needs. Try checking in daily to see if you could use a minor or sometimes major tune up. The most important part is that you are gentle with yourself. When you realize you need a tune please do not be hard on yourself, you deserve an applause for self awareness.

I would love to hear what how you lovely creatures are tuning in and tuning it up. #selflove

The Manic Experience

WARNING: This post may contain triggering content   

Hello Lovelies!

I would like to preface this post by letting you know that 3 months before this Manic episode my family doctor put me on an anti-depressant and I was taken off 1 of my mood stabilizers. This was not an informed decision on my doctors part. When someone has Bipolar Disorder anti-depressants can often trigger a manic episode. A Manic episode is triggered by the uplifting effect of an anti-depressant. In this case the medications lifted me way too high up. Also, I was in a car accident 2 months before the Mania ensued.  Then 1 month before I contracted a blood infection that nearly killed me.  Yet, my doctor didn’t follow up about the medications at all during this period. Without being too crass I will simply say, the medical attention I received was weak!

Episode commences after I nearly died from a blood infection in August 2016.

The Beginning

My downswing into Mania starts off very slow then takes a terrible turn in what felt like the blink of an eye. I woke up one morning feeling great about myself, like I was finally going conquer the world. Decided I was going to start exercising every day, twice a day for 45 minutes. I actually did it, all while running my Ballroom Dancing studio. I was losing weight faster then I ever had before, people were noticing. All the compliments made me gave me high, people were finally noticing me! Every compliment, every guy that checked me out, every sexual encounter – fuelled my fire.

I was making grandiose plans to travel the world, that were not substantiated by my lifestyle. I was making promises to people about helping them with a business, starting a business with them or saying I would go on a trip with them. All the promises that I would make, I honestly felt that I would follow through with them.  I was unstoppable!

Evidence

I was feeling good and looking good, now the partying ensues. It started out that I was only going out  partying  once a week till 5 AM and getting up and going to work with no problem. I felt so damn good when I was, so sexy and on fire. I was getting so much attention from the men and I felt like all the women were jealous of me. Then when I would wake up in the morning my anxiety would be so bad and my thought would be racing around in my head. I needed to make them stop. I would have a couple drinks at lunch to calm my mind and then Rinse & Repeat – Party, Sleep, Anxiety, Drink. I was losing that control that I longed for. I couldn’t control my thoughts or my impulses – I was scared of myself.

One evening I went out Salsa dancing with a group of friends and a man I had met couple nights before. We were having so much “fun” that this new guy and I decided to hit up the after party. After, the after party we rented a hotel. It should have been a fun night until I woke up with him on top of me – he was raping me. I said no explicitly and he wouldn’t get off me. I kicked him to the floor, ran out of the hotel and called a friend to pick me. This was humiliating, scary and I still went out drinking again the next night. Scary right? I was scared too but had lost all control.

The Bottom

I was completely spiralling out of control. When I was trying to think my thoughts are bouncing around my head like a bouncy ball. You can just forget sleeping, period. Working? Barely. I would only remember to eat if someone reminded me. I felt like a robot – no sleep, no food, no emotions and no feelings.

I was cancelling appointments with all my clients so I could drink during the day with my new “Friends” that I made. On top of everything I had experienced now I was dealing with the trauma from a rape. It was too much for one person to handle. Instead of feeling like I can conquer the world, I now felt like there was no coming back from it. At this point I felt like I was never going to feel sane again that my worse nightmares has come true. It had become so bad that I started doing drugs for the first time in my adult life. It was absolutely terrifying.  I honestly don’t have much to say about this period because it was a blur and due to the traumatic state I was in I was unable to retain new memories – might be a blessing.

Resolution 

I told my parents I was doing drugs and they immediately started making calls to doctors. They helped me call clients and explain that I wasn’t well. The minute I admitted how far gone I was was the minute I started healing.  Plus, I met a man that changed my life forever. Stay tuned for the story. #endthestigma

NOTE TO THE READER

I am sharing this part of my story to help people understand what BiPolar Mania can look like. I also want all my Polar Bears out there to know you are not alone. This was an incredibly hard blog to write and very emotional. I shed a lot of tears thinking about all the people that I hurt along the way. I was want to say sorry to anyone who has read this that I hurt while going thru a Manic episode.

I am not sharing my story to glorify sex, drugs or drinking. I want everyone to understand that those are the things that helped make my Mania worse not better.

Help Lines and References:

If you have experienced sexual assault or rape please contact S.A.C.H.A for help : 905-525-4162

KidsHelpPhone :  

Ages 20 Years and Under in Canada:      1-800-668-6868

Crisis Line:   905-522-1477

The Signs of Mania incl but are not limited to:

    • Disconnected and racing thoughts.

    • Grandiose beliefs.

    • Inappropriate elation or euphoria.

    • Inappropriate irritability.

    • Inappropriate social behavior.

    • Increased sexual desire.

    • Increased talking speed or volume.

  • Markedly increased energy.

PLEASE ALWAYS CALL 911 IN CASE OF EMERGENCIES

Guest Blog: The Polar Bear Express

So, people who know me know that I’m not an online poster or commenter. I guess its part of my “social anxiety” is that I worry about sharing personal information online. Saying that however, I am an avid online information consumer. I am in awe of people who have the ability to clearly articulate and share their experiences online. It opens up whole communities to learn about and empathize with family and friends who are daily challenged by mental illness. Sarah’s blog, has given me clear insight into the daily struggles of people who have mental illness.

Having a mental illness is to a degree like having cancer. There are all different kinds, different symptoms, different treatments. So too with mental illness… there is a whole spectrum of disorders and levels from anxiety, depression to severe schizophrenia. Society embraces cancer patients with empathy and strength. However, that as Sarah aptly points out, being diagnosed with a mental illness is where the similarities end – with the stigma of “the diagnosis”! The difficulties just finding doctors to get a proper diagnosis, the availability of treatments and the access to systemic supports that maybe available are extraordinarily challenging for unaffected people to access let alone those enduring a mental illness. They often suffer from the inability and the lack of a “toolkit” to find these supports or reach out depending upon their illness.

The effects of mental illness are not only challenging for the person but also for the family and friends of the afflicted. Having a close family member or friend who struggles daily, can be emotionally challenging and draining to know how to best support them. Sarah talks about how lucky she is to have such a strong support system. She is!

I know the Polar Express has many ups and downs for the Polar Bear to ride on. But, Sarah, please, keep sharing. Sharing is cathartic but it may also help others and their friends and families too.

Sarah, I’m in awe it is a lot for a bear to bear!

 

Thank you for following the blog, sharing with us and being part of the conversation. This is one of the exact reasons I started writing this blog. I encourage others to submit posts that they would like to have featured on this blog as well. Until next time & with love,

The Polar Bear

Clear the Air

Good Morning Lovelies!

Today my goal is to clear up some common misconceptions about Bipolar – the way people believe us polar bears act and react. Also, I am going to talk about the idea that polar bears are just moody creatures.

First, I would like to say that from my experience BiPolar is not like PMSing. You aren’t just bitchy and irrational one minute then content the next. It also doesn’t mean that my moods shift from happy to mad or sad rapidly. A diagnosed polar bear will experience long periods in depression , hypomania or mania. These periods last anywhere from a week to years. So please stop referring to moody people as bipolar it is just plain offensive.

This next one, I think is common sense. However, you wouldn’t believe the number of people that think being BiPolar is choice. Would you choose to have your leg amputated? No…? Then why would I choose to have an illness that induces feelings of despair, anxiety and worthlessness? The point is that we don’t have the ability just snap out of it or move on – sometimes it is hard enough just to think straight. Please be patient, use validation and don’t give up on the ones you love.

This last point just absolutely mystifies me – people are actually scared of others suffering from a mental illness. Instead of attempting to sympathize with the polar bears, people run in fear. We may have issues, we may have a lot of baggage and be overly complicated. However, we too can also be extremely empathetic, wonderfully artistic and/or remarkably intelligent. Please do us all a favour and educate yourselves! Having people try to understand what I am going through, is one of the most powerful parts of my journey. Thanks for ready :): #wearenotmonsters

For more information about Bipolar: https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/bipolar-disorder

Mental health struggle

“Be yourself, not who others think you should be”