A World of Possibilities

So perhaps I spoke too soon.

I think my hypo-manic episodes generally have an average life span of a week or so. That being said I think things are winding down and I don’t know how I feel about it.

I honestly prefer mania to everything else that bipolar throws at me… I find myself having the most fun during those periods (when I am “under control” – hypo-mania and bankruptcy = no fun). Alas, the low of bipolar is inevitable. At this point I am not sure if I am dipping down significantly, or if it is partially medication withdrawals from my lamotragine. I am sure I will know soon enough – maybe it is a 2 for 1 deal. Depression and medication withdrawals at once; wouldn’t that be fun?

I found myself invincible only a day ago, and then Tuesday I woke up feeling like the world was crushing me and I couldn’t escape from underneath it. I felt like I couldn’t breathe at the prospect of facing the day. Wowzerz. Bipolar can be so merciless sometimes. To go from feeling like you can do anything – to then feel like your legs are going to collapse from underneath you or that you might cry just by trying to get out of bed. (I have to say the sensation that I have or rather don’t have in my legs with my anxiety is either more prominent or new… I don’t recall experiencing it in previous years)

Life goes on right? Whether we are ready for it or not. I am trying to focus on the little things that I want to accomplish (or figure out) to make myself that much happier with who I am as a human. Stagnancy is my greatest enemy. Whenever I feel myself or catch myself being stagnant I feel a surge of guilt.

“Good, better, best. May you never rest till your good is better and your better is best.”

– Just a random quote I grew up with

Literally, one of the quotes that I run my life by.

I feel like I have been doing so well in life and yet when I reflect on what I’ve actually accomplished in recent months it is subpar in my opinion. Perhaps, maintaining relative stability is all that I could manage. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking the immense effort that goes into staying stable for myself or anyone else living with bipolar as it is no small feat requiring significant effort. Yet, that being said I feel like I should be doing more or should have accomplished more…. perhaps I am being greedy.

Sometimes, more often than not waking up for me is a my major accomplishment. Going through the routine of having a shower, doing my hair, doing my make-up, getting dressed (quite frankly there are some days that I fail at one, two or all of those simple things). Being in a state of mind to go through my day at work while keeping my composure – those are accomplishments in my eyes. So why am I so disappointed in myself? I am thinking aloud as I type this, but I seem to be really ragging on myself lately with “not being enough”…. let’s see what this post evolves into….

What is being enough?

We have so much potential in our individual lives, and I have to remind myself and everyone reading this that there is no set time limit to accomplish things in life. Every step taken forward is a step worth celebrating as you move forward at your own pace.

I have been trying to live more intentionally (which stems back to my birthday goals in an earlier post). I feel like I am making progress with that goal, but at the same time I think by becoming especially candid with myself it has made me a wee bit cynical. Do you ever just grow tired of “the superficial” that are in abundant supply? I made my post earlier regarding “Friends. Who Needs Them?” and the theme of that post is still weighing heavily on my mind.

Time is our life’s most precious commodity. As I have tried to be more intentional I’ve realized how much time I throw away. I have deleted all my social media #noregrets… it has given me extra time that I thought I didn’t have in the day. When it comes to my time and who I want to spend it with, I am leaning towards channeling my no-nonsense and confidence approach as a child (and youth) where I did not care and it did not phase me to not have social relationships with peers. Thus, I believe if embrace that mentality I would not waste my time on people like I find myself doing as an adult.

I expressed and I will reiterate that as a younger Stephanie I thrived on my own; focusing on my education, athletics and interests/hobbies. I liked me and all my quirks and despite how I may have come across – I still like me (quirks in tow). I like that I am always 100% authentic and sincere with those I interact with and HOLY COW if being sincere and considerate of other people’s feelings is too overwhelming or a turn-off (especially if you would like it reciprocated) then all I can say is adios and buh-bye. I don’t need to aspire to waste my time with people who couldn’t care less about giving me theirs.

I think I would rather just stick to the simple interactions in social settings and not pursue those “movie” type of friendships, that have been essentially illusive all of my life and plastered all over social media (rest assured I am not bitter – I just don’t fit that mold). I think I am resolved with the fact that people have never (since I can remember from my childhood) to present day wanted to approach me to be friends on their own accord. That fact has absolutely nothing to do with something being wrong with me – as was the question I posed in my earlier post. Today I am okay with this reality. I am okay with the fact that I am me and I’m not the average person’s cup of enticing tea. I have always been my own person and that is nothing to be ashamed of. I wore sweater vests in Jr. High for goodness sake (and I was not in a private school). If that doesn’t tell you I’ve always been my own person – I’m not sure what will.

I am going to embrace the relationships I have with my family with more gratitude, ultimately at the end of the day those matter the most to me. Additionally, my husband – a literal gift from the gods. I want to ensure our relationship is first and foremost on my mind. If I ever needed a best friend (who wasn’t one of my sisters) he meets and exceeds that title. He is my best friend and I know when he is done with his crazy studying we will have more time for the “fun” things (trips included). However, to be able to talk to him about anything and everything is something I do not want to take for granted and dismiss with novel pursuits of having “other friends” . He is more than enough.

There is so much that this world has to offer us. I just have to be more aware of what matters most and not get distracted with the trivial things. It is so easy to let a tiny pebble get in our shoe that essentially has the power to cripple us from walking or running. Don’t let the tiny things that have no significance get you down about who you are and what you bring to the table. Value your time and when you have the mental fortitude to do things that you want to (crippling episodes aside) make sure you don’t waste that time on things or people that don’t bring you sincere joy and uplift you.

I told my husband the other day – why do I want to try so hard just to be someone’s afterthought? Ultimately, it does nothing for my confidence, and doesn’t reflect how I view my self-worth and what I offer. All the time I spend putting into relations that I am merely a “convenient friend” or “therapist” for the moment that it suits the other party is time that I could spend bettering myself and not being hurt by being so dispensable.

Friends… so many TedTalks suggest we need them to be fulfilled in life and to be truly happy. My viewpoint is after officially living “without” friends and then “with” them – I can do without. I think at the end of the day I prefer having social acquaintances; people I interact with on a sincere level BUT that I have 0 expectations of other than to be a decent human being that shows an equal level of respect during our interaction. I will definitely enjoy deep conversations with strangers when they arise, just as I always have in the past… but when it comes to engaging in new relationships I think I am going to do a hard pass. This decision has to do with my social history and ultimately when I was happiest – and truth be told – I was happiest when I didn’t care that I didn’t have “friends”.

There is so much that this world has to offer, and I am excited at the prospect of where I am headed with this new found freedom of breaking the social norm of having a social network. How much more time, and mental capacity will I have to focus elsewhere, because I am not caught up with trying to be an afterthought to other people? Sure, I will maintain the relationships I have with my longstanding friends BUT I will be reciprocating the amount of effort they put in and then I will call it a day and not think twice about it.

I am taking each day at a time, finding my footing and emptying my shoes of pebbles along the way so that ultimately I can go further with as little pain as possible and enjoy the journey that much more.

A bit of a rando post – I have a million thoughts swirling through this noggin’ of mine.

Know that you are enough. You are enough and just because people don’t see that OR want to acknowledge it doesn’t mean it isn’t true. I am telling you – you are enough and you can do amazing things because this life is filled with a world of possibilities.

I hope you all have an enjoyable rest of your week.

– Steph

Up, Up and Away

I am shook.

So I have been getting off my medication as expressed in another post. I was in in a low prior to moving off the medication and it lasted for quite an extended period of time (I would say that it was a more high-functioning episode of depression), however, I have been putting some serious distance between me and that low in the past week or so.

Me stating I’ve been “on the up” was no lie. I forgot how fun a hypo-manic episode can be when you are essentially not medicated. I am not saying everyone taking medication should stop, but I am enjoying the moment while I can. Especially because I know I will resume medication at some point in the not so distant future.

My husband has never really seen me without medication for an extended period of time, literally I think the most I’ve ever missed was 1 or 2 days when I wasn’t able to get my meds from the pharmacy on time. So he has essentially been getting the full experience (with the difference of two other medications that I still take). It has been hilarious to hear him in awe at the amount and speed of my speech. He thought I talked a lot and fast when I was hypo-manic and medicated. HELLO HUBBY! This is a whole other level. I think we are equally amusing each other right now.

I had the pleasure of ending up in ER again due to the same cause of my last visit in April regarding my abdomen. Fortunately enough, we figured out what was the cause so there should be no more repeat offences. Should there be a repeat I will know how to manage them without going to the hospital. I am bringing this up because prior to going to the hospital I had taken my sleeping pills at 11:30 pm, thinking I was going bed. Yah. No. I ended up in ER and was wide awake until 4 am (talking non-stop) and my husband could not believe it.

Generally speaking, I pass out with my sleeping pills within 30 mins – 1.5 hours (it varies). So the fact I was wide awake until 4 am was mind-blowing to my husband. Then to top it off I was “woken up” every hour until 7 am so that they could monitor me. At 7 am I had a CT scan and blood work and more discussions with the doctor so I was essentially awake from 7 am onward until I went to bed around midnight. Keep in mind for the past years I have been sleeping between 8:00 pm – 10:30 pm (latest). I was always annoyed with how much sleep I needed with my medication.

On Tuesday, I went to bed around 3 am … I know, I know, not ideal for my sleep hygiene. Wednesday I was asleep by 12:30 -ish. All the while, I have been waking up for work quite easily and still taking the 2 remaining medications. I have been cleaning a lot! wiping all my baseboards, sweeping and mopping excessively, washing walls, pulling everything out of drawers so I can rearrange them. My husband again, getting a big kick out of me all the while trying to encourage me to sleep at a normal hour. He is definitely my voice of reason.

I am not gonna lie, I feel very vibrant – yes, I’m going a mile a minute BUT I’m so alert. It is sad to admit, because I don’t like to think that my medication hinders me, rather it allows me to live more completely than what I would otherwise be able to do. Yet, present day I feel like my creative juices are not just a flowing river but an outpouring similar to that of Niagara Falls.

I am going to enjoy it while it lasts, I am not ignorant to the fact that things can also get quite ugly in terms of what can happen with un-medicated (and even medicated) hypo-mania and depression. So, I want to try to be very self-aware and heed to the concerns of my husband (and family). I want to be as healthy as possible, that has always been the goal and now more-so than ever.

I don’t think it has to do with my mood but I am pleased to announce that I registered for a continuing education Spanish Certificate program at a university in the city I generally work in. Conveniently enough they are offering classes online through the platform zoom. So there will be peer interaction and actual lectures with an instructor. If there is something I’ve realized about myself, it is that I thrive when I am in a structured classroom and course as opposed to independent study. Sure, I may start out strong with independent study but truth be told, as soon as I dip with my mood I lose all motivation and stop. Thus I have deducted based on these experiences that being in a classroom with others allows me to have the accountability I need to succeed. An added bonus is that it fuels my competitive nature to excel with my studies and examinations, thus I am able to take a lot more away from the area of study.

This certificate program should take a 1.5 years to complete if I take 1 course every term, in actuality the only option is taking 1 course at a time. Each course builds on the one prior as you move forward. I believe each course is 12 weeks, at least the one I just enrolled in for the first term is 12 weeks; September – December. This fact, literally gives me so much joy because it means the program will be in-depth and mimic that of an actual post secondary course. I am excited for the interaction component….. and quizzes and such (major nerd over here).

I am incredibly excited about this avenue that I am going down in order to achieve my LONG TIME goal of being fluent in Spanish. To be able to speak Spanish has been one of my greatest hearts desires, and I feel confident that this will be the method of study that allows me to achieve my goal.

I have to gain some routine and structure in my life, because quite frankly I have not had any sort of consistency for the past while and I believe both my mood and Covid-19 have played critical roles in that reality. However, as I always say – when you see and acknowledge a problem, it gives you the ability to overcome it. I will be doing my best to take advantage of my good mood and work in some consistency.

I hope everyone has an amazing Monday and if for some reason you do not, rest assured that this is only one day and there will be a new day tomorrow.

– Steph

Friends? Who Needs Them.

Okay, I am going to go all in it for this post. “Tell me how you really feel,” kinda deal.

Also BTW my family always suggest and say that people are intimidated by me and that is what causes the frustrations you are about to read below. It would be nice to know if it were true. I will admit though, I have always been my own person never one to sway with the crowd or pressure… if there is any peace of mind it is surely that I’ve never stopped shining my light.

I have moved around quite a bit in my 28 years of life. As a child and youth my family and I moved to 4 different cities, essentially from one side of Canada to the other side. These moves were calculated and enabled my father to take different amazing career building opportunities. Did all the moving bother me? Not in the slightest, sure I would initially be sad but then the sadness was easily swallowed up by my excitement at the prospect of a new house, academic challenge and adventure. As a preface please note that I generally stuck to myself as a child and youth between elementary and middle school. I always had birthday parties with friends in elementary school, but stopped after grade 6 with no further interest in hosting such big events. My focus was on my academics, athletics and whatever hobby intrigued me at the time.

The only family move that I wasn’t a fan of was the last one, which was when we moved from a city that I was getting more established in during my first year of high school and I had what we would call a “some-what social life” gaining connections through my sports teams (that I was taking a lot more serious in grade 9 and 10). However, the friendship I valued most was with a girl I met in my gym class – we hit it off like to peas in a pod and have remained friends over the years. She was even at my wedding!

From that glorious big city we moved about 3.5 hours away to a small city on the outskirts of another major city – it was horrible. At least it was to me from the ages of 15 – 20 years old (which was the age I moved to another province YAY FOR MANIA!). Unfortunately, I went from enjoying my high school experience (school in general) and the social circle to absolutely hating the remainder of my high school experience. It was no bueno.

The only sincere joy I felt while living in the “small city” was when I was captain of the jr. girls basketball team, which was a pretty cool feeling considering it was my first year at the school (sidenote: our team dominated), basketball was literally my only source of happiness while attending school (I guess we could say basketball along with the other sports I participated in, but even those didn’t complete me like they used to in previous years).

In grade 12 due to an injury I was unable to play any sports – talk about losing your lifeline. Prior to completely succumbing to the injury, I had actually joined the snr. girls basketball team BUT the team was straight up more like a drama club than a team – so I quit. Quitting allowed me to escape the toxic catty environment and it was also in the best interest of my injury. Did the teammates that called themselves my “friends” take this well? NOPE, it was social suicide apparently (and that was with them not knowing I thought they were a drama club). I was talked about and ignored, they would walk past me either in groups or individually and glare at me or pretend like they didn’t see me when it was obvious that they did. (sidnote: they lost every game of the season – not gonna lie this little fact brought me some satisfaction in my 12th grade)

Do I regret quitting the team? Not in the slightest it ultimately showed the true colours of those that I was surrounded by and propelled my motivation to graduate and get out of the city as soon as posssible.

After graduation I moved around quite a bit, I often had “great ideas” that required me to move. After high school I moved into the major city that was closest to the city I loathed. Shockingly (but not actually), this move was short lived and I returned home to my parents. I then decided that I would move to Ontario (to a very large city). While in Ontario I met some girls while attending school. I am still quite close to 1 out of the 3 girls that formed our friends group. Additionally, in Ontario I met a guy at church who I became very good friends with (nothing ever happened we literally just clicked and enjoyed each others company).

Following Ontario, I seemingly maintained the trend in my life for moving. Unwisely, I moved to another major city after briefly going home to my parents (as a result of me being a bit cray cray in Ontario). Lo and behold, it was short lived (curse mania giving me “great ideas”). I moved back in with my parents; I saved and then attended a University where I met one of my best friends who I am very close with still (I probably talk the most in-depth and frequent with him. He was one of 2 friends who would visit me in the lovely psych ward when I was admitted).

Following that particular 2 year university career I moved on to another post secondary institution where I met another “friend”. To be honest, I had considered us quite close up until a month or two ago (she did my makeup for my wedding) … at the end of the day it seems that we drifted, and it was not because I didn’t put in the effort. I have no clue what prompted the radio silence the last message she sent was the “I miss you and can’t wait to see you”, with a picture of her new nephew.

Another move took place and was a result of being blessed by marriage. I moved to a new province and city to relocate to where my husband was living and working (we had a long distance relationship). I worked at a law firm that I adored with a great crew of people, in particularly I jived really well with a young law student. We still keep in touch, he is planning a wedding for next year and I am holding him to his word that I’ll be receiving an invitation.

Needless to say I’ve moved. I’ve moved cities. I’ve moved schools. Apparently, it’s just always been my way of life and now that I am 28 I keep asking myself the following question: Does it bother me that I don’t have a “social group” of “friends” to chill with on a patio, to meet for brunch, shopping, hiking or trips? So cliche, right??

It kind of does.

I have “friends” or rather lets call them social contacts. I feel that friends is such a liberal term people use these days. These “contacts” are essentially small talk instigators permitting pleasantries when we are in each others company. However, there is no real friendship – sure we are facebook friends and perhaps following each other on IG but none of that has resulted in me being that girl who is invited out to their get-togethers or feeling part of something bigger than myself. I just see these individuals post about everything they do with all the other mutual “friends/connections” that we have. Odd man out – maybe just a bit.

Growing up and even as an adult I saw all of my 3 sisters have friendships that were quite interactive. Certainly, they instigated some of their friendships, however that was not the case with all of them. They were being invited to go out from childhood into adulthood and had people coming over – that is what I remember. Yet it has always been out of my grasp.

Even when it comes to my closest friends who live all over the country – I feel like unless I initiate the conversation there is no conversation. Sure, sometimes I’ll be surprised that someone sends a message or calls before I do, but even so when I message with my “closest friends”, sometimes it seems to lack depth. Generally if I attempt to delve into how I’m feeling or important things that are happening the conversations seem to die quickly if it is in a message format. So, I remind myself that when I do talk on the phone, skype or see my friends in person it is always as if we never were parted and we visit for hours, but meanwhile the interim … just stinks.

Is it enough to be “best friends” and literally only talk on the rare occasions through the year? And what is wrong with me in the sense that I literally don’t have any friends (apart from family) who live in my area??

Literally, with every single one of my “closest friends” that I have met in the various cities that I’ve lived; I have initiated every single one of those relationships. I reached out and started the conversations. Not a single one of them talked to me first. Yet, all of those friends have expressed how happy they are that we met and that I approached them. But the sad reality is at the end of the day is that they have all moved on and have friends and relationships blossoming and thriving where they live – thus I am side shuffled. Is that understandable? Of course! It is probably just a harder pill to swallow because I haven’t met people to essentially replace those connections with where I reside. We have history and that’s why our friendships have survived this long and I know I genuinely care about these individuals.

Do they currently have an advantage because they’ve lived in their cities for years? Perhaps. I have been moving from city to city generally every 6 months – 4 years since I was 8 years old. I’ve moved a total of 14-15 times (with my family 4 times… the rest were all on my own… yay mania?).

Maybe I am socially awkward because of all my moves? Yet, all the friends that took the time to get to know think that me “being awkward”, is farthest from the truth. As does my husband… he did marry me, so I feel like his opinion may be bias. All my sisters, who’ve had invitations to be friends with people throughout their lives have expressed that they all think I’m “cool”… just typing that makes me feel lame, but essentially what they were trying to convey is that they enjoy hanging out with me just as much or more as they did or do with their “friends”. I am not an annoying weird sister that they are forced to be around.

I cried to my husband a short while ago asking what was wrong with me? I seriously don’t recall anyone ever approaching me wanting to be my friend (sure guys have approached me to be more than friends – BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT I WANTED OR WANT!). I’ve always had to break the ice, literally every single time. New city, new school, new team, new church – I was apparently not the new girl that inspired people to approach her – just stare. When “friendships” have been developed I generally do the heavy lifting to maintain them. So again, the question is posed – what is wrong with me? Why am I not worth the effort?

The cruel reality of when ever someone did talk to me in school, church, work or where-ever, is that they would generally compliment me (cry me a river I know). “I love your outfit”. “I love your shoes”. “You are so smart”. “You are so good at xyz”. “You’re so nice”. I am not trying to brag in the slightest, I am painting the picture of my life that has always left me confused and frustrated. The compliments would come and then the person would walk away to join their group of friends without further interest of getting to know me or inviting me into their girl squad. As much as it was a compliment it was a slap in the face that felt more like them saying I wasn’t worth their time. So again, what is wrong with me?? Why am I worth a compliment but not an actual friendship without even trying to get to know me?

I know it sounds like whining…. because quite frankly it is. I am just at a loss. I know people generally assume that if you don’t “have friends”, it’s because you aren’t a good friend – but I assure you the friendships I have across Canada would have become dust the moment I moved if I wasn’t somewhat of a good friend. They could have all chosen to be rid of me as soon as I was out of sight… yet the history still stands even with the distance between us and different lives tha we live.

But in all honesty, I am going to talk to my therapist about this. Why am I not desirable friend material until someone gives me that time of day when I approach them and they realize that I’m not a terrible awkward weird person?

Maybe I am intense? Well, I think we all know that answer without me typing it…

I swear I smile though. I literally smile at strangers because I know what it feels like to be invisible and if I can smile at someone and make them feel seen – why not?

I also enjoy talking to random people I encounter. I have a soft spot in my heart for talking to seniors and hearing their life stories. I had the privilege of working in 3 different seniors homes and I volunteered with seniors at a hospital for 6 months. I value every moment of those experiences, the opportunity I had to connect with the residents and patients warmed my soul. It truly amazes me the power and impact you can have in someone’s life just by making them feel seen and heard. Perhaps the sentiment resonates with me so much because I often feel so… invisible. No one ever really wants to take the time to sincerely talk to me, so I really do know the feeling of being over-looked and forgotten and that is often the sad reality of so many seniors.

Hear me out – I am not ignorant to the fact I actually do have the ultimate best friend I could have ever hoped for and he is in very close proximity. He is actually living with me – a.k.a my husband (also along with my little furbaby Nutmeg). It also goes without saying that I have 3 amazing sisters and incredible parents who I consider my best friends as well. I have an incredible family network and deep meaningful relationships. So perhaps I am greedy to want more.

I think the thing that bothers me is just wanting to know – why not me? Why doesn’t anyone (particularly women) want to take the initiative to approach me with the hopes of becoming friends? I contacted a woman that attends the same church as me last week. I reached out with the intention of becoming better acquainted so we can maybe be friends if we are a good fit. I’ll tell you now that her reaction was very sweet and genuine, however, I found myself slightly saddened by it. She expressed with great enthusiasm that she was so happy I reached out to her, because when I started attending church she was hoping we could somehow manage to connect and become friends. Prior to covid-19 I had been attending the church probably for a good 2-3 months. Why, why did I have to be the one to break the ice months later and initiate a friendship that she expressed she wanted to happen in the first place?

It’s great and amazing that we both have that genuine interest to become better acquainted and I am in no way going to be bitter about the fact I instigated the connection, but once again – what is wrong with me that people don’t want to approach me?

Also, despite what this post might convey I can assure you I do not come across as needy in my day to day life. I’ve lived many years quite content to be a solo artist and pursue my own en devours, I love good conversation with anyone but I certainly don’t pin people to the wall trying to make them talk to me or be my friend. I’ve always just rolled with the punches in essence not letting it get to me, but perhaps in my older age I can’t quite take a punch like I used to.

Today’s post was filled with questions, and perhaps not a lot of beneficial insight to apply into your own life. I apologize for that. Maybe, the only benefit to this post will be that you can relate and you don’t have to feel like you are the only one in the world like this (I feel like that sometimes).

This topic of “friends”, has been plaguing my mind lately and I just needed to get it out of my head. Do we really need them? Ted talks might suggest we do. However, I am tempted to try to unlock that strong independent inner-child I once was; never “needing” friends or their invitations to sit together or hang out in order to not feel like I was a reject. I honestly think I need to pursue my hobbies and interests more seriously in order to fill the void of the elusive local “social life and friendships that have the depth” I crave. Having social interactions with strangers that don’t lead anywhere other than “gee that was a tough boxing class, see ya next week”, are not the worst thing in the world. Perhaps, I am better off alone at the end of the day it certainly seems to be the theme in my life.

2 posts in 1 week #WINNING.

– Steph

This Is My Life

I don’t know if I was just blind or if I have been away too long, there seem to be SO MANY NEW FEATURES ON WORDPRESS!!! Perhaps it’s because I generally type my thoughts in my phone’s notes apps BUT I need to know have bloggers always been able to justify their paragraphs on wordpress?! When I started my blog in 2015 I was so annoyed at the font alignment. Literally, anything that is not justified hurts me heart. The fact I can now justify and so much more makes me want to go through all my older posts and work some justified magic!

That being said, I have about 6 different drafts started and saved for my blog, and alas not a single one has been finished or posted… obviously, as you may have noticed the radio silence on my end. Oopsie.

This image gives me all the feels as it is literally my life. Bipolar has always required a diligent effort to keep myself and emotions relatively in check. However, as I continue my journey of decreasing my medication the effort is ginormous. I forgot how extreme, extreme can be without medication.

The last time I was off medication was…… when I wasn’t diagnosed. Literally, since my diagnosis I have been medicated (fairly heavily) and as an FYI, I was diagnosed in 2013. The nerves are real as I have not and still don’t completely know what to anticipate when I am medication free. I currently have 2 more to go, but I will be real with you because that is what this blog is about -sharing my experiences good or bad living with bipolar.

Initially, as I came off my main mood stabilizer (Latuda) I thought things were going great. My husband and I were optimistically happy as there didn’t seem to be too drastic of changes….. this is where the switch from the meme comes in. I have been living a pretty low-key, low-stress life, working from home because of covid. I was unfortunately a tad more low BUT not terrible, just not as passionate (okay… maybe a little terrible, as literally all interests and pursuits have ceased) BUT my friends, this low is not what I am going to focus on and I was still functioning and working everyday with the ability to smile and laugh sincerely (I learned the term of high-functioning depression and it’s safe to say that was my type of depression).

I want to direct your attention to recently when I had exposure to what I will call “stress”. Would a typical person react the way I reacted…. you be the judge. To begin with this initial exposure I was keeping it together as it evolved over the course of the week I was putting on a brave face, however, a time came and it’s fair to say I broke. I was hysterical essentially, crying mixed in with hyperventilating and whenever I talked my stutter would manifest and I would cry more (this carried on over an extended period of time). The day after this happened reaction came to fruition, I was mentally and emotionally drained and physically weak. I again stuttered with most conversation and avoided talking on the phone or to anyone. When I attempted to move I would vibrate to the point where I felt like I would convulse…. the next day I couldn’t really even walk. Literally, I would basically collapse every time I tried to walk (I would hold on to walls and counters and furniture… my husband kindly carried me at one point) and of course I was still crying. I had to remove myself from contacting the individual that I was really worked up over, just so I could get a grip without working myself up again.

It was a lot.

My husband was concerned for good reason and kept suggesting we go to the hospital, which was not an option I wanted to explore.

I have since managed to get a grip and put myself together. I’ve calmed down and I am no longer seeing black. I have regained full capacity to walk and move and I am not stuttering. (for anyone that has not read my earlier posts, my stutter manifested when I was 19. I had never stuttered a day in my life prior to that age…I had what we could call a “mental breakdown” following what I didn’t realize was a severe hypo-manic bipolar episode and BOOM I stuttered for 2 weeks straight non-stop and after it went away it now manifests when I am emotionally distraught)

So at the end of that episode, it’s fair to say I terrified my husband. Oopsie again. He had never seen me in that state and had only heard stories from my family and me about my life prior to my diagnosis and early years of getting medical help. Let’s just say not all the stories are sunshine and roses.

I made sure that I sat down with my husband to talk heart to heart once I was emotionally stable. It was and will always be so important to me that I listen to my husbands thoughts and feelings about how my diagnosis impacts him. I never want him to bottle it all up or not feel confident or comfortable enough to talk to me about his feeling – like I said it was a lot and the poor guy had never experienced anything on that level before. It was a lot to take in for anyone, with experience or no experience of earlier episodes. My husband and parents had suggested the hospital on different occasions… however, I’m not gonna lie the psych ward is not my ideal choice. So, with the prospect of being taken to the hospital I worked really hard to have low stimulus and just collect myself and get my footing again.

I think its fair to say that I am a little more “more” sensitive to my feelings right now (do you smell a fire burning or is it just me??). I am more emotional and find myself crying more, yet not always for a bad reason. Sometimes, I cry merely because I am so happy or grateful. This type of crying isn’t unheard of for me BUT it is becoming a wee bit more frequent and is triggered easier. Again, my husband is scratching his head a bit more as I wasn’t as candid with my emotions before – I was but not at this level (I don’t think this level was even accessible when I was medicated on such a fluid level).

It’s funny, as I came off medication I was initially trying to resist any change to my emotional and mental state telling myself, if I willed myself to be okay – I’d be okay. HELLLOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!??!! If I was going to be “stable” off medication, I wouldn’t need to take it in the first place (DUH). Thereby we could draw the conclusion that I would not have bipolar. Sometimes my logic cracks me up. Needless to say, I’ve since shown myself a bit more compassion for being a bit more up and down as I get off my medication.

Do I still feel like me? Yes, definitely. In a way there are certain attributes and characteristics that are re-manifesting and I ain’t mad about it. Some of me is peeking through a bit more vibrantly and I feel like I am on the up literally. My mind is keeping me awake at night even with the sleeping medication that I still take. So much to think about, I literally have posts topics pop in my head every day multiple times a day it is just a matter of writing them out and not putting myself down with my writing ability.

I have some plans in motion.

Also, I will be doing an update on my Bipolar Gains segment. I am excited with where I’m headed in terms of my physical health. Eating overhaul is an understatement!

I will end my post here, I am alive and doing well considering my last escapade. I am hopeful. I will talk about what “a” psychiatrist and I talked about in terms of my potential pregnancy and medication in another post (will I be completely med free throughout my hopeful pregnancy?? Read more to find out). I honestly have found very little in terms blogs with women sharing their journeys of becoming pregnant or being pregnant with bipolar. I will share away and if you do have experience or tips, please share I always enjoy hearing people’s journeys and insights.

This is an exciting and challenging stage in my life BUT with that all being said – it remains undisputed, this is the happiest and most alive I’ve ever felt (putting my inevitable drawn out low aside). Even with the lows I still find myself able to smile with my husband. He told me that one of the ways he knows when I am low because I am not as talkative and then on the flip when I am hypo-manic I don’t stop talking and I talk a mile a minute (he has literally fallen asleep as I’ve blabbed on and on in the middle of the night… and he is the lightest sleeper I know!).

I am also debating about posting a certain post I wrote a while ago. If it comes to fruition, you will know without a doubt why I debated posting it. To post or not to post – that is the question.

Also, on another note I am optimistic – I met a new counselor this past weekend. Her name is Anne and we jived very well in our first session (I really liked her energy and communication skills), she is suggesting we meet every 2 weeks and the idea of having therapy so frequently and regularly brings me a lot of excitement and peace (the clinic that she works out of has an objective of ensuring mental health is available and affordable for all, so I am happy to announce I will not be breaking the bank to be getting the assistance that helps me be the best version of me on a regular and consistent basis).

Thanks for sticking with me and joining me on my journey!

– Steph

Hope in Bipolar

My life with bipolar thus far has been an incredible learning experience. Over the course of my formal diagnosis, I have become the most self-aware I’ve ever been in my entire life.

That self-awareness did not happen by chance. The happiness and peace that fill my life today – did not happen by chance. My dad always said to me, “anything worth having is worth working for”, and believe me those words never rang more true than when I wanted to find peace and happiness. I wanted to escape chaos and pain; the demons in my head, the self-hatred, the daily suicidal thoughts. I wanted to escape it all.

I wanted happiness. I wanted a life I loved living.

I am so happy that I can tell you all, I am living that life. I worked for it, I invested time in myself; my mental health, my physical health, my spiritual health, building healthy relationships and removing toxic ones. I often cried from exhaustion because it felt like a lost cause, a losing battle BUT I had a vision of the life I wanted to live. I had a vision of the woman I wanted to become and that woman would not be defined by her diagnosis.

I joined a FB page for women with bipolar, and I’ve since then removed myself from that page. I could not bare the toxicity of the majority of the posts (not all BUT the majority). The negative energy that was being spread and applauded. The women in this group found comfort in comparing their terrible experiences or attitudes. There were no silver linings or learning experiences to be found on this page. They hated their diagnosis and as such it was projected on how they viewed themselves and consequently their loved ones.

My life is NOT perfect. How I handle my diagnosis is NOT perfect. But I’ll be darned to ever let anyone think happiness amd stability is out of their grasp because of a diagnosis. Happiness and stability are available to everyone. Sometimes we just have to work a little harder than others to achieve it or keep it.

I want to be clear and transparent when I say I’ve hated myself. I’ve hated my life. I’ve been in toxic relationships. I’ve felt like I was a burden to my loved ones. I felt like finishing my education was out of my grasp. I’ve been suicidal. I’ve hurt myself intentionally. I’ve spent money to the point I had to declare bankruptcy. I’ve ruined relationships and broken trust. I’ve cried oceans of tears for days and nights without rest.

But I did not settle for that life.

I felt and experienced those things as so many people do with bipolar – there is no shame. I am not ashamed of the life I’ve lived and the battle scars I’ve acquired. I want you to understand, I am not trying to sit here saying I am holy than thou and my life is magical. I want you to understand that there is hope. That if I can find happiness with my life – with bipolar – you can too.

If you are new to your diagnosis. If you are a veteran with your diagnosis, if you hate your diagnosis, if you feel helpless with the cards you’ve been dealt in this life. I’m here to tell you it can get better.

I’m going to be blunt when I say, it doesn’t have to get better. It really doesn’t, your life can be miserable till the end of time – it all comes down to you. You and what you want to work for. I promise you that if you put in the work, even when you don’t feel like it OR feel nothing at all (because let’s not kid ourselves – it happens) you will see yourself and this diagnosis in a way you never thought possible.

Will all your problems go away? Heck no! Will the highs and the lows vanish? Not a chance! But will you feel like you can handle them a bit better than you could before? Yes.

I knew deep down my life was not meant to be lived with all the pain I was living in. I knew that people loved lifè and why should I be exempt from feeling that love of life also? When I was diagnosed my life was in shambles, this diagnosis terrified me BUT it also gave me hope.

When you have hope, your possibilities are endless. The hope I gained from my diagnosis was a tiny seed. However, by reading about this disorder, educating myself, participating in all the therapy available to me – that hope grew day by day. Sometimes it faltered but I nourished it the best I could AND it grew stronger.

Hope and hard work – that is what my reality of living a life I love is made of.

I encourage you to look at your diagnosis not as a burden but as a symbol of hope. Cling to this hope and know that happiness is not reserved for a select few. Cling to this hope and recognize how valuable you are, how divine your potential is. Please recognize that from the depths of despair we can rise into unthinkable joy.

My life, my diagnosis – NOT perfect. But I can say I love my life and I consider myself happy. Yes, I’m sad and I feel empty sometimes but it makes me recognize and value my happiness so much more when I get to experience it again. Silver linings.

Bipolar is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Thinking that bipolar is the worst thing to happen to you – that is the worst thing that can happen to you.

– Steph



Everytime I hit a rhythm with my blog – bipolar happens at full force and that rhythm goes out the window.

Going back to my post about maybe having some posts stashed away for rainy days… I’m really thinking that I may have to commit to this idea because I feel terrible about being MIA when I’m not posting any content.

The reality is I lose my luster for writing sometimes, believe me when I say I want to write BUT I’m just incapable of doing so. Part of the problem these past weeeeeeks has been I’ve become obsessively fixated on another purist (I could have written about that… very entertaining behaviour).

Literally, the past month(s) and a bit I have been laser focusing on speaking spanish (oh yah! I’m back on that wagon… for any of you who missed previous posts I was all-in for learning spanish last year… and then I wasn’t). All of my time and effort from when I woke up until when I went to sleep was reading, writing and speaking spanish. Am I happy with my progress? You bet! But do I feel like everything else in my life was put on hold? TOTALLY!

I think my husband was being a good sport because I was so invested, but holy cow! I literally didn’t see anything else as a priority. I was either practicing or talking about me practicing… I think it’s fair to say it was painful to all those who endured this incessant fixation.

I am not sure about any of you who also have bipolar, but when I get something in my head and it is end-all-be-all, it is hard to talk me out of the 100 miles a minute mentality. I think my husband tried gently to bring me back to a normal pace… but I am pretty sure I bulldozed right through as I usual do when I’m in this mood.

I’m surprised that the fixation lasted as long as it did. We are talking weeks and then some! Where I stand now is I’m still invested BUT there is moderation – which I have to ensure translates into maintaining motivation.

A key difference this time around is I’ve acquired a language learning buddy who lives in Spain. We talk in spanish and english daily and it’s all quite pleasant and keeps me accountable and it’s free! No paying a tutor and it’s way more fun and productive!

On to other news because I can assure you things have been happening in my life. Let’s begin with psychiatrists…

There are none.

That was short and sweet, eh? But seriously, I thought moving back to this province would mean back to routine with mental care. NOPE! Psych! … I had to obviously use that as a play on words. My family doctor, bless his soul has been working diligently to find me a psychiatrist to assist me with this present stage of my life… because I’m seeking a bit more specialization.

And what pray tell do I need specialization for?

My husband and I are at a point in our relationship where we feel ready to bring an extra bundle of love into our lives. Crazy exciting! However, also terrifying if you have taken a gander at medical posts and opinions about women with bipolar having kids.

I am not saying I’m perfect, I literally just came off a cloud that I’d been living on for a wee while BUT I feel I am capable and responsible and prepared to care for another life. I’ve always wanted to be a mother and if we have one baby and that child is all I know I can manage healthily then I will be blessed with one child rather than multiple.

I want to be healthy so that my child can be healthy and happy. If one is my lucky number I am okay with that. And I am confident with my loving supportive husband we will manage one just fine. He is my rock and he is so excited to be a father.

So where am I with getting the ball rolling? I’ve started reducing my medication. I personally do not want to be on medication when I try or become pregnant. If for some reason my pregnancy is going sideways with me unmedicated then I will oblige and take a very low dose of something BUT for now I am going forward with the notion I will be unmedicated.

My family doctor (whom I shall refer to as Dr. W) has started monitoring the reduction in my medication, he understands that it’s not fair that my life is being put on hold while different clinics specializing in bipolar pregnancies keep shuffling me around. I am really grateful he is taking me serious.

So far we have only reduced the Latuda. Presently, I’m taking 20mg and starting Thursday I will take it every other day for 2 weeks and then cut it off. CRAZY! I was on 120mg … which is just a bit of a difference.

Mood wise I feel fine I don’t feel particularly different, I’m just noticing my anxiety is more elevated and my mind is preventing me from sleeping soundly.

Also, fun fact that I didn’t even consider when we started the process is there are withdrawal symptoms! Yikes! Nausea (I literally vomited one day – gross), flu like symptoms, body aches, lack of sleep, crazy blinking and more. I just remind myself there is a purpose to this and it’s not all for nothing. Dr. W wants to be notified if my mood changes and if so I’m supposed to bounce back to a higher dose. So far I haven’t felt the need, mentally I feel pretty good all things considering.

I’ll leave my post off on that happy note… not about the withdrawal symptoms BUT the next stage of life I hope to be entering in the not so distant future.

There is plenty going on in my head, so I plan on making up for lost time and ideally I will be writing posts more consistently moving forward. I thrive in routine and believe it or not, but I consider my blog part of that mental health routine. When I disappear it’s usually because my mood is a bit more out of sorts either really high, or really low. Sometimes I navigate through those times and still post BUT sometimes they get the best of me.

I appreciate your patience and support as I continue on this journey of once upon a time with bipolar.

Have a great week!

– Steph

1 Day At A Time

It’s so funny what a little self-discipline can do.

Not a major difference in terms of stats BUT mentally I feel like a million bucks. I feel like I am in control again, and that I am capable of reaching my goals both mentally and physically when it comes to my overall well-being.

Turning down cravings this week made me feel so strong. I know, I know – it was one week but I am going day by day so that is 7 days of me being in control. Whereas, the weeks let alone days prior I was a gong show consuming anything and everything.

I’d say eating was a win the past 7 days. I still have a long way to go with cleaning up my dietary habits, but I know I’m capable and on the right track. Just one meal or snack at a time. All the weight I want to lose didn’t happen overnight, so it’s not going to come off as fast either.

This week I indulged with pizza and cinnastix on Friday, but I don’t even feel guilty because I tracked it and was accountable to myself with what I put in my mouth. Normally, I would feel guilty. I think the difference was it was a cheat meal on 1 day rather than multiple meals over multiple days. Moderation.

In terms of working out, it was a win-ish. I walk-jogged 2 times this week, so not 3 times BUT it’s a start. I exercised formally once BUT I did go for walks everyday and sometimes twice a day SO I counted that towards my workout tally.

This week my goal is to be more intentional with planned workouts, but I know I’m going to struggle getting it done at home – I really don’t like working out at home, but you do what you gotta do. I’ve got goals!

Was it a perfect record this week? Nope, but that was to be expected. It was however, a week with more accountability and awareness.

I am happy with what I accomplished, it has helped put me in the right mindset for the next 7 days. I’m going to aim for the walk-jog 3 times this week, excercise with FitOn 3 times this week and continue tracking my food and keep the processed sugars at a minimum. No candy for the win.

I’ll pass on stats today, but I’ll do them with a photo next week. I’m trying not to get too caught up with the numbers and rather focus on how I feel and look instead. Apparently, I obsess not just with the scale number but also inches. I’m trying to find a happy medium – where I don’t jump off the deep end when I don’t see a number I want to see. It’s about a lifestyle at the end of the day – stats are just a bonus.

It’s Monday, and I feel like I am heading in the right direction.

– Steph

I Can Relate

Just a fun little meme to laugh about, because sometimes laughing really is the best medicine.

I feel like I am this switch in real life. I feel good and then not so good and it’s on and off without ever really being off.

My poor husband has been a trooper managing my moods lately. But as a quote I once saw said “Your mood does not excuse bad behaviour.” So I have been doing my very best to maintain good behaviour throughout my ups and downs. I never like losing control as a result of my mood (but it is inevitable) I don’t always win the battle against my mood BUT I try.

I have been trying to work thru the not so good days with productivity, which is the polar opposite of what my mind is telling me to do when I’m not feeling good. I have to say I feel like I have a bit more grip on myself when I do try to push thru. It’s as if I’m standing up to my bipolar saying “I’m in control – not you”.

That is the thing with bipolar, it can feel like it takes away your control. It dictates how you feel without always having a rhyme or reason. However, what I’m learning is I still have control with what I do despite my mood. How I react or don’t react that’s my choice. I may not choose how I feel, but I can choose how I react. Sometimes it’s too much to bare and I don’t even win that battle, but every time I do it’s a victory I cherish.

We are the captains of our own ship, waves crash, winds blow but we navigate the sails and ultimately what direction we go. Perhaps some people are in more vicious storms than others, but no storm lasts forever and we need to hold off for that clear sky because it will come.

With my bipolar – with my moods, I choose to move forward. I literally take it day by day. I plan in advance, but I usher myself along day by day. Some days I win, some days I lose. Some days I recognize myself and others I feel like a stranger in my own body.

On and less on, I think thats the story of my life living with bipolar. I have learned to roll with it, embrace it and even laugh with it.

Choose your reaction because if you live with bipolar you can’t always choose your mood.

Never let your mood become an excuse for the ill treatment of others and if you do lash out be the first to apologize and own that reaction. Owning your reactions, being accountable that is where self-control begins. That is where you take back the power. Be accountable.

On and less on is the story of my life. It is key word MY life, so I will make the best of it and own it for all that it is.

– Steph

Keeping it Real (De-Progress Pictures)

Everyone who has fallen off the fitness bandwagon before, raise your hand.

I may be wrong but I feel like I can see a few cyber hands being raised. Believe me, you are not alone! My cyber hand is raised high and is waving around for all of you to see.

I’ve failed with keeping it consistent. Not just in regards to posting about my fitness journey on my blog BUT in regards to being active in my fitness journey on the daily.

Because of a little discouragement and not seeing what I wanted to see I did then worst thing I could do and literally threw out all of my eating and gym habits. Add on the fact the literal gyms are closed and it equals me not taking the initiative to workout at home. It’s fair to say I’ve been failing at putting in the required effort to achieve my desired results. I’ve done a few workouts here and there, but nothing to write home about.

I will acknowledge however, that over the last few weeks my shoulder has been acting up; when I went to my doctor about it last week he said he thinks I may have torn something. No bueno (I have to wait for this covid situation to calm down before I can get an ultrasound). It’s fair to say that my shoulder pain has been a deterrent and blockade to exercising BUT where there is a will there is a way and I’ve literally had no will… if you get what I’m saying.

The idea of the segment “Bipolar Gains” on my blog is to illustrate my journey as I work towards my fitness goals and living a healthy lifestyle; who would have thought that if I didn’t post you wouldn’t have any idea how that progress is going – good or bad.

So I apologize, if I only post when I feel like I’m making headway that isn’t going to capture the real authentic journey. The journey where I succeed and fail and keep trying even when I don’t want to (which is the key to never failing). I haven’t been holding myself accountable to myself or anyone else for that matter.

This is a new week and I plan on starting from where I am – I am not “starting over”. I am picking myself up and moving forward. It might seem like I’m starting over when you see my stats and pictures BUT alas this is a journey and just because I stopped along the way doesn’t mean I need to tell myself to go back to the very beginning. Learn to rest not to quit, perhaps I rested a little longer than I should have and ate one, two…fifty many snacks BUT I’m back in it.

I am going to do what I can with what I have.

A. Monitor and track my eating habits so that I am more accountable and aware of what I’m eating. Whether I track with weight watchers or something else, I need to track what I’m putting in my mouth.

I have a serious problem, dare I say addiction. Sugar. It’s serious and potentially dangerous (diabetes runs in my family tree), when I was (or have ever been) on my fitness roll I had very limited sugar intake and when I essentially let myself go I went to town. It literally got to the point where I felt like crying because my husband told me I shouldn’t have a bag of candy…. because I’d already eaten a bag the day(s) before. It’s terrible. Perhaps on first glance you wouldn’t think I have a sugar problem. But I can literally eat a cake to myself.

A cake. No exaggeration, and not over the span of a week but in a day or two. I seriously go through withdrawls like an addict. I don’t touch sugar for weeks and then I get a taste and I go on a bender and relapse and binge.

It’s one thing to eat clean, which I know I am capable of and another to engorge myself senseless with the slightest touch of processed sugar. I know myself and I just can’t do it. There is no happy medium and thats something I have to admit and come to terms with. You might think to yourself “just don’t restrict and you’ll be fine”. It doesn’t work that way. I can’t just have a few pieces of candy, I’ll eat the whole bag in less than 5 minutes. I can’t just have a cookie, I’ll eat the whole bag in a day or two. So what do you do when you are an alcoholic? You don’t drink just a little bit. You just don’t drink.

My pledge for this week, no processed sugar. I am going to take it day by day but I will not be eating candy, or cookies or cake in the slightest or sugary beverages. I need to clear my system. Gain some control back and mentally break the unhealthy relationship I have with sugar. I don’t binge on any other type of food (if we can call sugary garbage food) – just high sugary sweets and now seemingly drinks.

I admitted that ugly truth, so there is nothing hiding my demon now. And if you admit you have a problem, that is generally the first step to overcoming it. I am a sugar addict, who will eat it to the point of being nauseous because I just can’t seem to get a grip.

Now that, that is out there on to the next point.

B. I hate working out at home BUT I don’t mind FitOn workouts. I will workout 3-5 times this week between 20-45 mins and continue to take my dog on her daily walks.

C. I will go for a walk-jog for 15-20 minutes 3 times this week. I will walk for a minute and jog for 30 seconds. Back story: I injured my foot and ankle in 2008 and only realized that after years of therapy this past month when I attempted a walk-jog my foot didn’t light up in pain as per usual. I used to love to run, so rather than be a hobo and not try, I will have the PATIENCE and CONSISITENCY to start slow and build up the strength in my foot to get to full-time jogging. Not do what I usually do and try to go a million miles a minute ( I don’t want to ruin it again). Slow and steady.

My original goal was to be the healthiest version of myself in 9 months from January 1, 2020. Like I said earlier in my post – I am not starting over. If my calculations are right I have until September which is just about 5 months away. Looks like I need to buckle down to make up for lost time.

I know I am capable of reaching my goals pertaining to my health and desired lifestyle. Whether that is a goal weight, or physique that I always wished for but was never dedicated enough to achieve, I can tell you this – if I am consistent there are no limits to what I will achieve by September. Anything is possible if I am not casual with my goals.

Now for the fun stuff. Stats and pictures…

Highest Weight: 198lbs

Current Weight: 181lbs

Goal Weight: 155lbs


Jan 1/2020 Bust: 40″
Feb 1/2020 Bust: 40″
Mar 1/2020 Bust: 39″
Apr 20/2020 Bust: 41″

Jan 1/2020 Waist: 32″
Feb 1/2020 Waist: 31″
Mar 1/2020 Waist: 31″
Apr 20/2020 Waist: 32.5″

Jan 1/2020 Hips: 42.5″
Feb 1/2020 Hips: 42″
Mar 1/2020 Hips: 41.5″
Apr 20/2020 Hips: 43″


As you can see, the numbers reflect poor decisions and literally throwing my hands and eating myself sick. Such a short span of time, but if you let your self discipline go … what do you expect? I will not get the results I want by sitting on my rear and downing candy by the bags

Not gonna happen.

I have so many reasons for losing this weight. The two I’ll share today are as follows:

1. I want to show myself I can shed the weight after years of struggling to.

2. I want to know my mind is more powerful than my cravings. I control the food I ingest, the food does not control me.

This is not the beginning, this is a continuation and that is what I have to tell myself. I should not expect the fitness journey to be perfect, because I am not perfect BUT I can be dedicated and I can be consistent even when the results are not.

I’m going for it. It is going to happen. I’m hungry for goals, and if I need to feed anything it will be my goals not my sugar cravings.

– Steph

Putting On a Brave Face

I hope everyone had a wonderful easter weekend. I was also going to say long weekend… except I feel like with everyone staying home these days it was kind of redundant.

I will try to make this post something you can have a take away with. But ooooo child! Do I have a crazy story about my Thursday and Friday leading into my easter weekend.

I have this weird thing where my heart hurts, it can be fine and then it will be in explosive excruciating pain and I have no idea why. This sensation happened again earlier in March and I went to emergency, because my sister insisted that this was not normal. I have to agree, it has happened one too many times to be coincidence.

Anyways, I go. They do an EKG, the doctor comes in and looks at me and says I’m a healthy young woman and this is nothing to worry about. My EKG was fine and it’s only happened a handful of times, “so don’t worry about it.”

This was not exactly comforting and when I shared it with this same sister who insisted I go to emergency, she followed up with insisting I go to our family doctor (we have the same family doctor) because he is way more thorough and will take it seriously.

So I go, I meet my family doctor and he says he wants to do some bloodwork, a lovely sample of you know what (so I drank water), another EKG and a chest x-ray – just to be safe. I appreciated his thoroughness and with work and life I just managed to go to do these tests at our local hospital on this past Thursday. Well my friends, I got more than I anticipated.

I did my x-ray first and then followed it with all the other fun bits. I cried when they took my blood and nearly hyperventilated because I’m terrified of blood and needles (a winner I know) but I managed. By the time I got back to my car my phone rang and lo and behold it was my family doctor calling me. He wanted to reach me sooner than later because he recieved notice about my chest x-ray and it was a bit concerning. He asked if I’d be willing to go to emergency for the doctor there to check me out and go over the x-ray with me.

So I go, and I wait. Surprisingly, the wait was not that long compared to normal. The doctor talks with me, assesses me and I seem fine (I felt fine), yet my x-ray said otherwise. He wants to be sure so he asks me to go to the larger city emergency. He called ahead, gave me a package of notes and said they’d be expecting me.

I arrive and they put me right thru to a room (this never happens). A nurse comes in and asks questions followed by a doctor. He assess me, again, I seem fine (I feel fine) and he thinks this may just be a blip in the x-ray from a bad angle. He tells me he’s going to review my x-ray and then I should be good to go.

Next thing, I’m told I’m having an iv put in my arm and more bloodwork. Now. Now. Now. Needles for bloodwork are one thing and needles for an IV which is like a permanent needle attached to you is another matter. Additionally, I was by myself because only sick patrons are allowed in the hospital because of covid. So, I was predictably beside myself.

The nurse came in and I felt like I was going to pass out, I stuttered as I tried to talk to her as she tried to distract me and shockingly enough I didn’t cry aloud. I was vibrating at the end and I literally felt like death – I couldn’t look at my arm without tears welling up; and then because life was having a chuckle at my expense I was told I’m going for an x-ray. I go, I have to undress, with this IV in the inside of my elbow. Painful. YES!

Then I get back to my room and I’m told I’m going for another x-ray! Different position. Again, unrobing and more pain and awareness of the IV. And then the doctor comes in and talks to me. He says he can’t explain why, but all 3 x-rays are conclusive and show the same thing. So he’s sending me for a CT scan. So 2 hours later after drinking a medicated beverage I go for my scan.

I’m not sure who has endured a CT scan before, but the injection into the IV made me cry out, so much pain in such an instant. The scan finished and a surgeon was waiting in the results room, he comes to me as I’m getting up and walks and talks with me back to my ER room. He can’t find an explanation in my results, however wants more time to look and asks of I would be willing to be admitted to the hospital.

So my friends, I was admitted. My poor husband who was waiting in the car from 7 pm – 1 am was told to go home. We couldn’t see each other. They gave me medication from their pharmacy at 3 am and I was connected to a drip. I slept the best I could… I tried not to think of the IV but it was so prominent and painful.

Eventually, I was woken up at 7 am by 2 surgeons who wanted to check in on me. They assessed me, I was fine (apart from the IV – I felt fine) and then I was left alone to sleep. So I slept. I didn’t get to take my Latuda because I wasn’t allowed to eat, so that was the one medication I missed at 3 am when they dished them to me… and to be honest I probably needed it the most.

By 6 pm on Friday, I was assessed 1 more time. More bloodwork, another x-ray and then I was told I could go BUT to come back if anything intensified. Also, I was required to book a follow-up appointment.

I was so happy to leave and see my husband! And my dog!

Fear. As I talked with my family (parents and sisters) and my husband I joked around a lot, made light of the situation. But in all honesty, it was really, really, really hard on me.

To be alone as doctors are poking and prodding you, telling you there is something wrong BUT they don’t know how it happened. To be told you need to be monitored. And to be attached to your biggest fear for 24 hrs essentially. It messed with me.

I’m proud of myself for not hyperventilating or crying audibly BUT from start to finish in the hospital I was emotionally overwhelmed and distraught. I essentially cried silently to myself, trying to keep a brave face on.

When I got home, I showered and slept. My husband probably wondered why, because thats all I did at the hospital BUT I was so emotionally exhausted. I had put the brave face on, because I needed to BUT I was terrified the entire time.

At the end of the day, I’m okay. They are calling it spontaneous and so long as their is no pain where they told me I should be experiencing pain – I’m golden. It should all go away with time and I’ll be in mint condition.

I have a follow-up with my family doctor on Thursday, so I’m sure I’ll get to hear a bit more of an explanation and ask some questions.

Life is so unpredictable. It’s so fragile. You can be walking around feeling fine and lo and behold there is something cooking on the inside of you that you had no idea about. I’m grateful for my persistent sister who told me to take my health seriously. I went in for one thing and came out with something entirely different. Who knew?!

A tender mercy, if I wouldn’t have gone for a 2nd opinion this problem wouldn’t have been brought to life and wouldn’t be monitored like it is now. The goal is better, not worse.

Take your health seriously. Go for a 2nd opinion.

Also, recognize that you are braver than you know. And there is a time and place for it and if you don’t back down you can do overcome anything you put your mind to – even a crazy long painful IV aka needle in your elbow for 24 hrs.

Also, after going thru something traumatic give yourself some time to heal. Don’t put pressure on yourself to bounce back and be uppity up. I wasn’t okay for a few days. I felt broken, and that was all from the mental exhaustion of my hospital experience.

We are stronger than we know, be brave when bravery is required and be tender to yourself and your recovery when you are able to put the brave face down for a rest.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and healthy week.

– Steph