Daily Archives:

Normal in Training – Wins and Losses

Because like I said in the post on motivation, at the end of the day, I still had dinner with my friends afterwards. And there were a lot of them last night, spanning 3 different teams, including the opposing team.

I’ve had friends reach out to me because of my last two posts, reminding me that I can always call them when I’m feeling down. But in all honesty, the last thing I want to do when I’m feeling depressed is to contaminate someone else with my negative mood.

I once dated someone who accused me of wanting to be depressed–I guess because he couldn’t talk me into feeling better. I think depressed people are accused of liking their depression because it’s hard to be in the presence of someone who you can’t cheer up. That’s why people who are just trying to be helpful say unhelpful things, which makes you feel even more depressed. So I just avoid it.

But thankfully, God gave me tennis. No matter how bad I’m feeling, I can almost always motivate myself to play tennis. And the desire to win is so great that I forget everything and focus on hitting that ball. And after a few hours of doing this, regardless of whether I’ve won or lost, I feel like a different person. Plus we usually eat out afterwards, and I love food, too.

Tennis, friends, food, and blogging. That is a winning recipe for treating depression in my book.

Read the rest of the story! Visit Normal in Training: Wins and Losses.

BravelyBipolar – “Be Brave with your Life”

I know for me, when I heard the words Bipolar and GAD, I was a bit relieved. I finally knew what was going on with me, however, I was not ready to shout it from the roof tops. I knew the diagnoses as did my husband, but I was NOT ready to admit them to anyone else. This is a bit of the victim part I was writing about. I was afraid of what others would say or do, how they would treat me, would they still want to be around me and be my friends? It took a few years for me to be open with friends and family. I found that once I discovered my courage and was “Brave with my Life”, that a whole new world opened up to me. A world where I willingly told my story to others and it actually helped them. A world where I found others like me and we have become life long friends. A world where my voice can make and has made a difference.

I feel like I’m babbling a bit in this post, but I just want people to make the most of their lives. So we have a mental illness, it can be an incredible strength for good if you let it. There is so much more that we can do than we can’t. I say focus on what you can do, want to do and do it well. Don’t let the “stigma” be a deterrent. Use it as a driving force to show the world how great we are. When you see bad portrayals of people with mental illness played out in the media, write them and educate them. When you hear about a bill that you feel will do more harm than good, write your Congressional leaders. Let them know. When you hear someone making a joke about mental illness, correct them. Let them know that it’s not okay. Even if the person making the joke has a mental illness, it’s still not okay.

Read the rest of the story! Visit “Be Brave with your Life” | BravelyBipolar.

Beautiful Contemplations – Daily Blog Challenge: Month of July- Addressing Mental Health: The Positivity Trap

It is of my view that people get too caught up in what I like to call the positive trap, to explain that further it is where people feel the need to be positive all the time, where people feel the need to look at someone of worse circumstances and say well it could be worse. But that does not in anyway excuse the fact that you are going through a tough time. I am not saying not to be positive, but rather to realize that it has its’ limitations. The positive trap, is something that prevented me from moving forward in getting treatment for my mental illnesses. . .

I got so caught up in the positive trap. I put on a façade for five years- of positivity. . .

In therapy, I am learning how to regulate my emotions, because with the assistance of therapy I have been able to express emotions that have been bottled up for years- now they just will not stop flowing. However, I no longer feel guilty for expressing emotions in front of my friends- I do not fear that they will not want to be friends with me because I am perceived as being negative- I am lucky to have found friends that adopt the “we are in this together” approach, I get that long negativity can be unhealthy and can have a detrimental impact on those around us. But a wise friend who I came into my life just this year taught me something so true that these words will never leave me; when she told me this I knew it was the moment I could trust her, and believe that she would always be there.

She said… something along these lines..

“I don’t give up on my friends, even though the hard times. Because Shaz life is not meant to be easy, and you don’t give up on friends just because times are hard”.

Read the rest of the story! Visit Daily Blog Challenge: Month of July- Addressing Mental Health: The Positivity Trap | Beautiful Contemplations.

BravelyBipolar – 10 Good Things About Having A Mental Illness

We hear so much about the negative side of having a mental illness, all of the stuff that can go wrong, the medication changes, the medication side effects, etc. Sure, that’s all part of it, but there’s so much more to it. Just as we are NOT our illness, these negative parts are NOT the whole of the illness either. There is so much good that can be accomplished as a result of having a mental illness…here are just a few. . .

2. It can open doors you never thought existed. For example, I have been given many opportunities to help shape national and local legislation that have greatly benefited mental health care and mental health education.
3. There is an increased capacity/ability (even responsibility) to help others. Through sharing my story, starting support groups and even writing this blog, I am able to help others. That knowledge of not being alone in your mental illness is huge. . .
5. We have a very different outlook on the world. I know a lot of people see different as a negative thing, but I don’t. It is our way of thinking and seeing things that can bring about change. Change can be good.
6. You find out who your true friends are. You may lose a few friends or many along this journey. Those that leave are not bad/weak people. They just knew they may not have been able to handle it and be the support that you needed. The ones that remain are the ones worth keeping. Their bond is stronger than steel.
7. Once you’ve become more familiar with your illness, you don’t have to be enslaved by it. You can build on your strengths…knowledge is key. For instance, I have been able to use my education background to work with at-risk youth (elementary – high school) in my local school districts. Since i can empathize with these students, I am able to help them achieve academic goals. I’m also able to help them cope with what they are going through. As many teachers will tell you, we’re not just teachers. We are counselors, friends, sudo-parents, the list goes on and on.

Read the rest of the story! Visit 10 Good Things About Having A Mental Illness | BravelyBipolar.

Beautiful Contemplations – Took The Pledge 2014 blog for mental health project: Update

Sometimes, I get all too caught up with living with several mental illnesses that it feels like that is all my life is about. It is all I am. I have forgotten what it was like not to have to report to my doctor and counselor weekly, I have forgotten what it was like not to have to swallow half a dozen or so tablets in one go. Forgotten what is like to live a normal day, sleep a normal night; have a normal schedule with things to look forward to. It feels like a dream at times though I have never actually gone to sleep. I have forgotten what it is like not to be afraid of razor blades, I have forgotten what it is like to shop for jewelry for its’ prettiness rather than its’ practicality for covering up wounds caused by self-infliction. . .

Today I made a choice, one that did not come lightly. For a fair while now I have had one assessment to complete and hand so I could pass a unit. It is no secret that I have had a tough semester this year at university. . . I decided today, that something just has to give, and if I must I have settled on redoing the unit next year. This means that my plans to do a master’s degree in social work will be set back further- but in the scheme of things I am not to bothered by this.

But.. I fear that I will not be able to financially support myself much longer, as I am already skating on thin ice, in that department. Get a job they say, I am barely able to cope with my university work as it is let alone having the commitments of a job on top of that. Choose your priorities they say, this time last year I was peer mentoring for two separate organizations, public speaking and engaging in activism surrounding disability issues and was on community radio and in a lot of leadership programs on top of blogging, university coursework and managing my health. This year, I am a resident advisor and I am on community radio (I will be leaving this role shortly)- all the other commitments, I have had to drop due to an unforeseen relapse in mental health.

Read the rest of the story! Visit Took The Pledge 2014 blog for mental health project: Update | Beautiful Contemplations.