Maintaining good mental health is the most important thing to having a balanced happy life. We fight everyday. We try to be strong and keep going. However, we don’t do so in a vacuum. There are two kinds of people that come into your life. Surfers and Sharks. Surfers are the people that love you and support you unconditionally. They surf right along side you through all the back and forth waves, rip currents, and wipe outs. They always are looking out for you and make sure that you are happy and safe. The other kind of people are sharks. They lay under the surface and can strike at any moment. Or they swim around waiting for you to fall. We all should try to have as many surfers in our lives as we can. They look out for sharks, they can protect you, they will let you jump on their board if you fall. They can bring you safely to shore. They sharks don’t care about you. They are looking for an opportunity to bring you down, and attack your well-being. They will be the people that can cause so much pain and hurt that it will be hard to recover. So find those surfer buddies. Stick together. Watch each other’s backs and enjoy the beautiful waves life gives us.
There’s a quote from the bible that says “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece.” Now I don’t personally find this to be the best way to say what I’m getting at but the idea is there. I’ve been fighting lately. So many ups and downs, I just want off the roller coaster and crawl into bed and stay there. For a while I was doing just that. By doing that however, I was allowing negativity into my life. I was adding obsessive thoughts. Lustful thought. Things that really were not going to help me back on the road to being stable again.
It’s not about the devil or some evil outside force. I was honestly being idle. Not trying to do anything to help myself. So I did one small thing. I got a twitter account. I started to interact with people of like mindedness. I started writing my blog again. My lips were no longer idle and I began to feel better. I felt like I was a part of something and it made me feel less lonely. Words are powerful and really do help make ourselves feel less isolated.
This was really helping, but I needed more to do with my free time. I was literally obsessing about how bad my life was, about how miserable and sad and lonely I was. So after some disappointing interviews, I decided that if I don’t get the jobs that I’m going to make a quilt. This seems disconnected, but I needed something to fall back on as a solid project for my very idle hands. So I started sewing and I started having less negative thoughts. I was focused on my work and I feel like I was accomplishing something. I’ve also began to draw more too and my mind gets so focused that the hours pass and I don’t even realize it. I’m feeling better. It really does help to find a hobby that you can do with out and stress. Try quilting, or knitting, or scrapbooking, or building something,or any kind of art. Keep your hands busy and keep writing and tweeting. In time things will naturally work there way out. What do you do to keep your mind occupied?
Today I choose to be positive! It’s been a crummy week. I’ve been negative and beating myself up. I’m usually my own worst critic. I’m constantly told I’m too hard on myself. I’ve found this in a lot of us that have mental illnesses. Depression takes away a lot of our ability to make positive choices. It’s almost impossible sometimes. I’ve been to that dark place far too many times. I’m at the point where I need to stop the cycle. I woke up this morning and decided that today was going to be good. That today I was going to be happy and not let things that don’t matter get me down. I want to enjoy the simple things. I was able to take my 2 year old to school without a tantrum! Score! Seems small, but I’m taking it as a good sign for the rest of the day. I turned the radio up and put my “Happy” play list and danced and sang in the car. Nope not manic. Just enjoying the beauty of the simple things. Hold on tight to those small things. They build up and build up until you realize you really do feel good. If you can keep this attitude up, just maybe you will start a new way of thinking, a new beginning for the way you view your life. Let’s do it! Let’s try together. Supporting each other is huge. Tweet what positive thoughts you have today and tag me @iseaturtles Happy Friday everyone!
Believe it or not that was me the Spring of 2011. I was leading a wonderful life. Healthy, happy, fulfilled. I prayed multiple times each day, attended a few different services through out the week, and traveled to attend services to visit Bishops. I felt stronger than ever and was looking towards a wonderful future with my husband. Until this happened…
Yep, that’s what mania looks like for me. It hit me quick and hard. Suddenly I couldn’t pray and lost all interest in being a good Orthodox woman. I wanted all the men, I bought tons of sexy clothes, went out partying all the time and slept very little so I could do more of those previous things. It was a disaster to say the least. It effected my husband, friends and family, because when I’m manic I think the things I’m doing are 100% acceptable. I had no guilt about my actions. I was having fun!! It took a long time for the mania to subside and when it did my life was in shambles.
It’s been a long time since I was a devoted Orthodox woman and since that manic episode. I still feel like I’m trying to put together all the pieces. I don’t fit in a box. None of us do. There are pieces from both times that need to be a part of who I am. They linger deep inside of me. I want to be more connected to God. I want to have my faith strengthened, but on the other hand I was so changed with mania I can’t ever become the person I was. There were some wonderful people that I met when I was manic. People that are still in my life and I never want that to change. The question I struggle with is whether the things we do when we are manic are sinful or not. I really can’t find the answer. There’s so much grey area, yet I feel 100% confident that things happen for a reason. So in your 100 shades of grey where do you find peace with who you are today?
Tonight is just for me. Tonight is spending time alone thinking of the things that make me happy, thinking about the people who make me happy, and focusing on what’s beautiful in my life. I will not lie it’s been a hell of a month. Too many ups and downs. But tonight I turned my music on, organized all my favorite things I keep on my desk, lit a candle, and got lost in my memories. Having had trauma, there are so many dangerous memories that I’m constantly trying to avoid, subjects I tip toe around, images that I have blocked from memory. In combination of blocking a lot of memories in my life and the memory loss associated with my medication, I tend to not always remember the happy times as vividly. Tonight, I kicked back and let my self remember. I hold my photos so dear to me. Asides from my journals they are my most precious possessions. I spent a long time tonight looking specifically at the last four years in my life in photos. I’ve had some amazing times, but more importantly I’ve been blessed to share some special moments with amazing people. I’ve been scrolling through my very obsessively organized folders and just smiling and smiling. There have been times when I didn’t think I would live. There were times I thought my life had completely fallen apart. But it didn’t and these memories are what reminds me that the beautiful moments will out shine those bad ones. I hold on tight to beautiful friends and to those preciously captured moments. I never thought while taking a quick selfie, that that moment would bring me joy for years to come. In these pictures I feel love, I feel excitement, I feel joy. This quiet uneventful night I feel the sum of all these moments.
You might be stuck in hell right now, your terrible memories might be holding you hostage. You can’t remember anything good, but trust me the light will come. Those photos that you snapped, those selfies with friends, those will be the memories that will last. You’ll have saved the amazing memories and the bad ones, well they will slowly fade into the background. One day you’ll be sitting at home on a boring Tuesday night, and you’ll realize that you only see the beautiful memories anymore.
Today sucked and I can’t fit the suckage in 140 characters. It just started off bad. Once they start out bad, they just tend to end terribly. Long story short. I got an upper respiratory infection. I’ve never had a steroid shot. After the brilliant doctor is told that I have bipolar and anxiety, she tells me it might bother my nerves a little. Nerves. Brilliant word choice. So then I can breathe a little better so I’m less afraid of some unknown malady, I continue my day. I’m feeling really good. A little too good looking back…yeah the warning signs were there all right. So talk talk talk. Frenzy of texting. More frenzy or texting. Confusion confusion. Mania mania. Accidently act like a mean asshole friend. Moment of realization, knife to chest. Hysterical. But it was good. I’ve been needing this cry all week. I just couldn’t make it happen. Gotta thank good old Mom for always being there when I’m having a hard time and finding the most perfectly worst things at that moment to say. My husband thinks it’s a gift. No one else could come up with more hurtful things at the worst moments. Like the time she told me I should have never had my baby. Aside from that I feel better. I got it all out of my system, except for the other half of my lungs that still aren’t working. SMH. I’m smiling. I really am. Tomorrow will definitely be better. It usually is.
I have always been taught to respect the men and women who serve our country. My grandfathers served, two uncles, and a few others in the family. I wasn’t raised in a military household, but I was taught at a young age that our freedom is protected by our military.. I hadn’t thought about it a lot until a few years ago. My husband got a job offer to travel to Iraq to work for a year. The decision had to be made in one day. We had some very serious conversations. We both believe in serving our country, but we never would have been able to be in the military ourselves. But this was his chance to really go out there and make a difference and I was supportive 100%. When he was gone we talked a little about what he was doing and the people he was meeting and how hard the soldiers were working and wonderful it was to work with. He was making a difference when I never had the opportunity to. The work he did out there made me proud that he cared enough about our country to go out there and help get our soldiers home. Regardless, I will never have the words to adequately express my feelings of just how much I love this country. About how much respect and pride I feel towards our soldiers who are out there every day serving our country. Keeping us safe and preserving our freedom. But they pay a huge price. They often come home physically and mentally disabled. Some can’t work. Others suffer from terrible PTSD. I have PTSD as well, but I can’t even imagine the impact is has on them. I feel like they have had it so much harder. So I’m here sitting at my desk writing about how patriotic I feel, but what I really feel is that I’m not doing anything. We can write and talk all we want, but are we really helping anyone? I believe some of us are, but is it enough? I believe I can do more. This morning I signed up to volunteer with Soldier’s Angels. A group that helps you find service men and women to write letters to. Letting them know that we at home support them and want to know we are there for them. I also contacted the local VA hospital. I want to go volunteer there as well. I have no idea what they need, but whatever it is I’ll do it. I’m not trying to make my self look good, or be prideful or whatever. I’m just saying I was feeling guilty for believing in something, wanting to fight for someone, but not actually doing anything about it. So I challenge you to try to take action. It doesn’t have to be much. It can be so simple. Take 5 minutes out of your week and send a soldier a letter. It will mean so much to them. I don’t know if I can make a difference, but I’m not going to stand back not do anything any more.
Find a clinic or hospital near you: http://1.usa.gov/1JeGPrt
VA Voluntary Service Page http://www.volunteer.va.gov
VA Crisis Line. Find a Call Line near you: http://www.volunteer.va.gov/
Yes, this time I’m blaming my self. For a long time I trained my brain to tell itself that it wasn’t my fault. That issues with my mental health were not my fault. Which is usually 100% true. But this time I can only blame myself. For so long I have managed to keep a healthy balance of how much to think about traumatizing things and to know when to keep it healthily pushed out of my mind. I screwed up. I got in too deep. I started to try to make connections. I tried to push myself deeper in my head than I should have. Today started out so great. I had an amazing time with someone who always makes me forget about everything. I needed to forget about everything for a little while. But eventually I had to go home to my normal life. Yesterday I had a flashback. Something that has not occurred for years. I put myself in a position that I should have known would trigger a bad response, but I did it anyway. Now I’m sitting here feeling stupid. Now I’m sitting here wishing for mania. Longing for that feeling of feeling on top of the world. I want to do anything just to feel better. Something manic. Too bad I’m broke, don’t have anyone to hang out with, and am stuck in the house. There’s a ton of stuff that I could do to temporarily feel good, but none of them are possible now. I just want to shop or go have a drink with a friend or just do something wild. But as much as I want to be manic, it’s just not the case. I’ve got to maintain a healthy balance in my life where I work on my mental health issues and where I go have fun, enjoy life, plan, dream, and just enjoy everyday things. So yes, it is my fault. I pushed too hard and now I’m suffering the consequences. I have learned one thing though. I’m done and I mean done with thinking about it. I’ve tried to piece it all together and now that I have I’m closing the book. I’m moving on and never going to dwell on it any more. I’m strong now and there is no need to keep over analyzing things. So, I’m sorry self. I screwed up.
I have spent most of my life trying to connect the dots. Trying to make a timeline of when I first experienced trauma, when I had my first episode of bipolar disorder, when I first experienced PTSD, what had happened when they all come together, what the real truth is.
This morning as I was thinking about all of it. A thought that I never had before popped into my head and nearly knocked me over. I must have been manic when I started being sexually abused. I’ve never thought that before, let alone say it out loud. I felt like I now had this terrible secret inside and that I was to blame for everything that had happened. Now that I’m typing it, it seems less like a secret than I thought it should be. It’s the truth, but it wasn’t my fault. In the past I would have been beating myself up, hating myself, having suicidal thoughts, the whole gamut. Now I can say, OK I might have been manic, but I was still taken advantage of. I was a naïve young girl that had no experience with men and was preyed upon by an evil manipulative predator. So what, I was intrigued because I was manic and young. So what I might have played a long a little too far out of curiosity, but having dirty phone calls and being sexually abused are not the same thing. Period. I did not come to this conclusion immediately. I spent a few hours freaking out and panicked and a disaster, but the one thing I have learned over the years is to stay calm and be honest. I have learned not to blame myself for what I do during times when I have been manic and I have learned to forgive myself.
So there you have it, it’s now out there for the world to see. I was probably manic in the beginning of the relationship with my abuser. If I had been older and wiser and my parents would have known I was sick maybe things would have been different. But now I feel like I know what the truth is. It doesn’t matter what happened when and how it was all connected. My wonderful friend bipolar_issues has been talking to me today as I told him my terrible “secret.” and he said the most helpful thing. “Don’t worry about the dots. We know what the picture looks like.” The picture is what I am today. Maybe there are others like me trying to connect the dots of their messy past. I hope that maybe we can forget all the terrible parts, the dots, and look at who we are today and move forward from here.