The Adventures Of Medication And The Little Mermaid

Hey Guys 🙂

Today I am going to share the tug of war I have sometimes with taking medication for bipolar disorder.

For the purpose of this post and basically all of my posts past and future, I say bipolar disorder because honestly, it’s easier to say that than give you my official diagnoses which happens to be…

Bipolar 2 Disorder with Rapid Cycling, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and “Borderline Tendencies”…

Tell me if that mouthful makes for good small talk haha…

I haven’t been receiving medical treatment all that long but in the close to 4 years that I have been receiving medical treatment, I have been on 6 different medications (a fraction compared to some) in an attempt to find the right combination/dose.

There is a lot of trial and error in trying to find the balance and I am not going to candy coat it…it’s not a fun process…at all… to the point you start to regret your diagnoses even though there is a sense of relief that you finally know what’s going on with you.

Once you find the right medication and dose however, life starts to get easier and you are more eager to commit to the routine.

It has only been in the last year that I have truly started living my life in a healthy, predictable way and part of that is because of  the right medication…right so far anyway.

At the time, accepting the fact I would have to go on medication for the rest of my life was like admitting huge defeat.

I was that person who barely touched an Advil unless I was having a massive headache. I have never liked taking medications of any kind for as long as I can remember.

Now I basically have no choice…well technically I do, but remember the official diagnoses back there? Tell me if you want that version of me walking around with no medication…

Didn’t think so.

I do my best to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing because honestly, I don’t want people to feel like they have to walk on eggshells around me and I for one don’t want to feel like I have to hide my mental illness like some big ugly secret all the time.

Having a sense of humor in this regard is not to downplay mental illness but it certainly helps me to cope with it…medication in this case is not a cure all .

For example, medication can’t fix the times when I start to convince myself that I don’t need to take medication anymore.

This phenomenon seems to occur during times when I feel stable. This is when things have the potential to get dangerous believe it or not because when you feel stable for a long enough period of time, you simply feel “normal” and you start to believe that perhaps you are past all that bipolar/medication crap…you’re not…so not… but the mind is indeed a powerful thing and in some cases people make the mistake of foregoing their medication altogether which opens up a whole other can of ugly worms that trust me when I say…you don’t want to deal with.

Thankfully, at this point I know better but the urge is still there sometimes. It’s not always easy to come to terms with the fact that I have to take medication basically for the rest of my life in order to function properly…like everyone else.

It’s interesting because I feel like if I was taking medication for heart disease, diabetes etc, I would not feel any shame in that or even question it but when the illness is in your brain…well…your identity is wrapped up in that so it’s not like oh there is something wrong with my heart or my pancreas…no…there is something wrong with my brain…aka me.

For 30 years, I thought the life I was living was “normal”. I knew in my gut things were messed up but regardless I built my identity around what now feels like one big giant lie.

Who was that person? Who am I now?  I’m 33 and just starting to find out what life is like when it’s relatively stable.

Believe it or not, having stability in my life has been the most difficult of all to accept. All I have known is a life that consists mainly of words like chaos, abuse, survival, depression, anger, drama… the list could go on but I think you get the idea.

When you live a life with an untreated mental illness, chaos is all you know and then suddenly with the help of medication…

The noise stops…

That is “expletive” scary.

If I could make a comparison, it’s like when Ariel goes from having a mermaid tail to having legs.

From having a beautiful voice to having none at all.

That’s where I am on this journey right now.

Medication has given me the chance to see what life is like on land but I have these new legs and barely know how to use them…I still think a fork is a comb and now I am being told it’s an eating utensil!?…you don’t just simply accept that when all you have known is otherwise. I can safely say without the help of medication, I would not even have the remote chance of knowing a better life for myself.

I know there are some who slam medications like the ones I take. That “Big Pharma” is just trying to numb the world and eat your paycheck in the process.

I will admit, to a certain extent I agree and before my diagnoses I would have been at a protest rally for that belief but when I look back, my life before medication was a giant mess…when you don’t want to live anymore…I don’t know…medication doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.

Suicide from my personal experience is not about wanting to literally die. You just don’t want to live the way you are anymore. You’re exhausted and feel like you have no options left. You just want someone or something to make it all go away.

So yeah, the day I went to my doctor and told them about my obsession with suicide they prescribed me an anti anxiety medication and I took it no questions asked. From there I finally started seeing a psychiatrist who diagnosed me first and then ultimately a second one who concurred.

From there, Google became my best friend while navigating the medication highway.

We joke about the laundry list of side effects that scroll through the entire commercial of some lady riding a bike while smiling on a sunny day and we wonder why on earth would anyone take such a thing when the side effects seem worse than the condition itself?

I could never figure that out either.

But now I think I get it.

When I read about the side effects both short and long term regarding the medications I take, I have come to realize that statistically, I am more at risk by not taking these risky medications than I am for taking them.

Statistically speaking, I am more likely to die by my own hands sans medication.

Morbid but true.

So yeah, I have more or less accepted medication as a necessary evil in my life because I would like to experience my life with a little bit of peace for a change and like every good thing that comes our way in life…it comes with a price.

Medication will not fix everything but it’s instrumental in making sure I stay on the straight and narrow.

God of course plays a huge role in all of this and sometimes I wonder if taking medication for something like this is “ungodly” in some way but I like to think that God works through all of us including the people who created the medication that keeps me sane. Some may disagree but personally, I thank God I have medication in my life.

In closing, I do my best to take things day by day. With each day that passes I learn something new and I grow. It’s new and exciting but also unfamiliar and scary. I will stumble and fall in the process but just like Ariel, I will eventually learn to walk, use a fork properly and in the end, get my voice back. ❤

 

Take Care & God Bless ❤

Cavelle

 

 

 

 

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A Christian With Bipolar Disorder

Hey Guys 🙂

I feel like I keep apologizing for this each time I post, but I am sorry for my absence lately.

I have been thinking a lot. There have been many changes going on in my life at the moment. Good changes but not without its growing pains.

To those of you who read my blog and relate to the challenges of mental illness, I am sure some of you can relate to what I am about to tell you.

As someone with bipolar disorder, I have moments where I have all the energy in the world. I can multitask like nobody’s business and about 3 hours sleep is all I need. I become super social and everything is rainbows and butterflies.Too bad those periods of mania couldn’t last a little longer!

Currently, I can safely say, I am not going through a manic phase right now. More like a “I don’t care” phase. Not super depressed to the point of suicidal thoughts or anything like that but just simply “blah”. Low energy, lack of motivation, lack of appetite. Content to hibernate in my house. It’s nothing personal…it just is.

I can feel this indifference starting to lift hence why you see this post today. I am slowly but surely starting to have the drive to write again but here’s the thing. I cannot promise consistent posting at this time.

I have tried this before and eventually I have to just go away for a bit. The catch 22 of the disorder. Trying to find balance and consistency. It’s certainly not easy and hands down the biggest frustration I have with bipolar disorder.

So yeah, if you see me fall of the map for a little bit, chances are I am going through a low period.

Like I mentioned earlier, I have been thinking a lot. I have been noting some of the ways having bipolar disorder effects things like my work, interests, activities, my relationships and yes even my faith in God.

Before I really started embracing my faith, I never really gave this concept much thought but I am starting to see that my faith becomes altered depending on which end of the bipolar spectrum I’m on.

For the most part, things are fairly balanced. I take medication. I see my doctors on a consistent basis. Despite that, it’s not a cure. I am still going to have bipolar moments.

When I experience mania, I notice my faith and desire to keep God at the top of my list quite easy. I make note of Him everyday. I am more willing to contribute and going to church is a happy social event for me.

When I am experiencing the depression side of things, I start to question my faith, going to church becomes a challenge, the main reason being, I don’t feel comfortable around people during that time. The public social outing I normally enjoy becomes riddled with anxiety and a lack of interest in general.

Sometimes I wonder, is it possible to be a true follower of God when your views and beliefs tend to shift because of mental illness?

I guess I throw the question out there because I honestly don’t know the answer. All I do know is I believe in God and I believe He is with me always. I have been posed the question “Are you a fan or a follower of God” At this point, I know I am not a true follower if I measure it against a list of criteria, however at the end of the day I do believe.

My fear is, if being a true follower requires more than simply believing then how I am ever going to achieve follower status when my brain has shifts in mood and thought that are sometimes very hard to control?

I would enjoy any thoughts or discussions on the matter. Am I the only one who has pondered this? Are there other Christians out there living with mental illness who face the same struggle?

Take Care ❤

Cavelle

Share The Love!

Hey guys 🙂

I apologize for dropping off the blogosphere in the last two weeks. As some of you know, I started a new job and I have gone from not using my brain in 3 months to now having it stuffed to the brim with information. I love it but it has not given me tons of time to sit down and write. I will get my groove back as I adjust so please bear with me in the meantime. 😉

Now that I have that out of the way, I want to share something with you. I have connected with someone who I feel could help a lot of people here and someone who has helped so many already!

Her name is Shannon Marie and I would like to introduce who she is and what she does. 🙂

Shannon’s story is truly inspiring indeed! She has managed to take the dark moments in her life and turn them around and create her own business in the process. Shannon is in the business of empowering women. ❤

“I guide women to activate healing within so they can live life purposely on their spiritual journey”

Shannon is a Self-Love, Mindfulness & Personal Development Mentor. It is Shannon’s goal to help women like herself leave that dark cloud behind them. As women, it is so important that we lift each other up. Shannon’s mission is close to my heart as I can relate to her past on many levels including abusive relationships and substance abuse.

I invite you to learn more about Shannon by visiting her via the link below 🙂

http://www.shannonhipson.ca/

Also, it just so happens Shannon has a webinar coming up! 🙂

April 7th, 2017 @ 8PM Atlantic Time

Shannon Hipson

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/b8173d85775e0dc2cde7dc3c8da9331e

This would be a great way to meet, connect and support Shannon. I plan to attend myself so maybe I’ll see you there! ❤

Take Care & God Bless ❤

Cavelle

Recharge Your Spiritual Battery

 

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Hey guys 🙂

Today I have decided to take a more spiritual approach to a post I had written about burnout in the workplace. If you care to read that post I will link it here

Just like there is burnout in the workplace, I feel you can also experience burnout on a spiritual level. As a Christian, I try my best to keep my faith strong but it’s not always that easy when you are faced with the struggles of everyday life.

If you have been keeping up with my blog, you know that I live with Bipolar Disorder and not only do I advocate for God but I advocate for mental illness.

Mental illness does not come without it’s challenges and in my case, when you are in the throes of  depression or mania (sometimes both, called a mixed episode) your mental state becomes skewed and leaves you vulnerable. It makes it difficult during those times to reach out to God and ask for His help.

I want share some ideas that I feel will help keep your faith and overall well being strong. Whether you live with a mental illness or not we are all vulnerable to the chaos that exists in this world. It is imperative that we protect ourselves from it. ❤

Pray And Practice Gratitude:

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I know. This seems obvious but many of us will only pray when things get messy. What about when things are going well? We should always acknowledge God in prayer good or bad. Prayer during the good times shows gratitude and practicing gratitude on a daily basis is scientifically proven to improve psychological and physical health. For more information on that I will link you to an article I found –

7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude 

Even if you don’t believe in God, practicing gratitude will strengthen your overall well being and if you live with a mental illness, this is especially important.

For those of you who do practice your faith in God a simple verse from Psalms is a wonderful way to start your day –

Psalm 118:24

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I also turn you to Proverbs (my favourite book ) –

Proverbs 3:6

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Prayer and gratitude is not only valuable but very powerful. Make a point to include it in your life daily. ❤

If you are in need of prayer or someone you know needs prayers I will link you to my Prayer Requests post. I would be more than happy to pray for you and with you. ❤

 

Keep Your Inner Circle Close:

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If you have God in your life, He is the center of that circle. Never let it stray from there. In general, nurture the people closest to you. If you are living with mental illness I know this can be tough to ask of you but it is important that you do not shut out the people who truly love and care for you. We all need love and acceptance. We all need a hug and someone to tell us “Things will be Ok” but it takes two for this equation to work. Make sure to put your best foot forward to reciprocate that love and acceptance.

Before I found God in my life, I was surrounded by the wrong people. I allowed them to drain me on many levels. When I accepted God into my life and made a point to move closer to my family, I purged a lot of negativity and people out of my life. I have started to keep my life as simple as possible as a result and I must say…it’s the best thing I have ever done for myself.

I am rather selective now of who I allow into my inner circle. In the past, I was a welcome mat for all kinds of negative, toxic influences which leads me into my next tip –

Create And Stick To Your Boundaries: 

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For me, it started with God. I make it a point to not let people get in the way of my faith anymore. My faith in God brings me peace and I refuse to let anyone mess with that.

As a rule, if it doesn’t feel right, if you have that nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach, if you feel something does not line up with your morals and values…stay the heck away from it. Do not let people walk all over you and bring you down to their level of negativity. You are worth more than that and saying no does not make you a bad person. It means you respect yourself enough to know what your limits are.

Creating boundaries will either make people respect you or send the ones who have a problem with it running for the hills…good… If someone has a problem with you respecting yourself then they don’t need to be in your life. Period.

Galatians 6:5

For each will have to bear his own load.

I hope some of my ideas help you to stay on a straight path. These are just a few of the ways you can protect your well being and your faith. I feel the three I have listed are the core values you should try and hang on to most. If you do that, the rest will follow.

In closing, I invite you to share any experiences  you have had that has improved your life and has helped to keep your path straight. Sharing with others is another great way to rejuvenate your spiritual and mental well being. Let’s help each other recharge those spiritual batteries! ❤

 

Take Care & God Bless ❤

Cavelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Live and Let God

Hey guys 🙂

Sorry it’s been a few days since my last post but I needed to recharge my writing batteries. I am sure my fellow writers can relate! 🙂

Today I want to talk about something we are all faced with at some point. Letting go.

There are many things we are faced with in life that prompt the question  “Should I stay or should I go.” (great song by the way)

In the past, letting go was something I seriously struggled with. It never really crossed my mind to turn to God during these times and allow Him to take over. Sometimes, in order for God to work through us we have to be willing to step aside and let Him do his work.

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Letting go can be frightening. Even if we know that deep down we need to walk away, many of us will hang on to bad relationships, jobs, influences etc. for we drown ourselves  in fear of the unknown. But God knows. He is leaps and bounds ahead of us and He knows what he wants for us even if we can’t see it at the time.

If we are not willing to jump, how is God supposed to catch us?

let your faith

Even if we stray from God, He manages to whisper to our soul the wishes He has for us. It manifests into that gut feeling we get when we know something needs to change for the better. He’s always there.

Always. ❤

When we feel pain and despair. When we feel stuck, when we cry at night thinking no one is watching, God cries with us. He wishes not to hurt us only to lift us up.

Let Him. ❤

It’s been my personal experience that the hardest thing to do is walk away from the people we love. Especially if we are worried for their wellbeing. We ask –

“If I walk away from this person, who will take care of them?”

God will.

It has also been my experience that when you face your fear of letting go and take the plunge, it’s never as bad as you think it’s going to be. On the contrary, it is in fact one of the most liberating things you can do! Once we free ourself from the chains of fear, God rewards us! It makes Him so happy that you put your faith in Him and in turn he blesses you with His love, joy and comfort.

If life were easy, there would be no need for faith. God puts our faith to the test not to punish us but to draw us closer and closer to Him so that He can protect us from the evil that roams this earth. Being true to God means you have to be true to yourself. We are a reflection of God’s image.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

In closing, know that you are not alone. There may be dark clouds in the sky but when you rise above those clouds, you see the sun is shining bright! Allow yourself to place your burdens on God. He can handle it. He is God after all. You are a reflection of God and by loving yourself enough to let go, you love God.

We are His children and He is the Father. ❤

God

Take Care & God Bless ❤

Cavelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Burning Out? Six Things You Need To Know

Stress
Does this look familiar?

 

Hey guys!

Today, I want to start off by saying it does not matter if you have an existing mental illness or not. We are all at risk for burnout.

 

Burnout:

Physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.

 

Are you burning out?

In Canada, billions of dollars (yes, billions) are spent related to mental health problems in the workplace. This accounts for over 75% of short term disability claims.

It’s an epidemic.

I have fell victim to burnout before. In hindsight, I feel I could have prevented it had I paid more attention to the signs. I would like to go over some of the signs today in the hopes that if you’re reading this, you can catch and prevent burnout before it’s too late.

 

1. Sleep Disturbances:

I place a lot of importance on this one. Proper sleep is crucial for our mental and physical wellbeing. Sure, we all have a night here and there when a full eight hours just doesn’t happen but definitely keep an eye out for insomnia and on the other end of the spectrum, chronic fatigue.

Neither one is healthy and if ignored in the early stages, it can become a vicious cycle that becomes very difficult to break out of. When your brain won’t shut off or refuses to turn on, this is the first sign something is not right. Do not ignore this!

2. Lack of Concentration and Forgetfulness:

Once your sleep patterns are off you will start to notice you just can’t seem to focus at work anymore. Simple tasks become daunting and that is if you are lucky enough to remember those tasks in the first place. This too becomes a vicious cycle. You may notice your boss is on your case more..

“Why isn’t this done already?…We talked about this yesterday…remember?”

You start to miss deadlines, memos, lunch and breaks because you are trying to make up for your lack of organization which in turn, just adds more stress to the existing problem…

3. Loss of Appetite:

Since you have been missing lunch and breaks trying to catch up on your work, your appetite starts to go off the rails. You may find you don’t have an appetite at all anymore or you may find yourself going without food most of your shift only to come home and eat one giant meal…and since you can’t sleep, you might as well turn on Netflix and eat that bag of chips and drink a gallon of pop…

4. Anxiety and Depression:

As you continue down this rabbit hole, it is not long before you find yourself on edge about your work. Not only are you having trouble getting out of bed in the morning but you are seriously not looking forward to your day anymore.

At this point, you have most likely spent sleepless nights stressing over what has to get done the next day. It makes it harder and harder to walk through those doors no matter how many cups of coffee you drink.

Coworkers who used to brighten your day just don’t cut it anymore. You look around and see everyone going about their workday with relative ease. You start to feel isolated because you feel you are the only one who is not able to keep up with the pack.

5. Physical Symptoms and Increased Illness:

Your brain rules the body and when your brain is not happy, the rest of your body will follow suit. You may notice chest pain, stomach troubles, headaches, tense muscles etc. This takes a toll on your immune system making you more susceptible to illness. You find yourself going from perfect attendance to using up those sick days at a rapid rate.

6. Anger: 

You have now gone from being a ray of sunshine at work to a dark cloud of cynicism. You’re snappy, detached, resentful, and ultimately start to not give a flying (you know what) about whether or not you return that email or finish that project on time.

After all, you’ve been coming into work early and leaving late to make up for the fact you cannot complete your work during your regular shift. You’re working overtime (and most likely not getting paid for it). In your mind, you have done more than anyone else at work and you start to resent your boss and your coworkers because none of them seem to be appreciating the extra effort.

Nobody else cares so why should you?

Once you have reached the anger stage, consider yourself done. It will officially not get any better from here on in unless you take action. Your boss and coworkers at this point would rather avoid you as your state of mind is now considered to be a liability to the rest of the team which only fuels your resentment.

Although it may not feel like it, you do have some options here. I highly recommend taking stress leave. If that is off the table for you than consider switching to a different department and then there is the option no one likes to admit, leave your job.

I know what you’re thinking right now…

“I can’t do that! How will I pay my bills? How will I… (insert one of your many excuses not to save your mental and physical health here.)

The thing is, if you do not acknowledge this for what it is and continue down this path of destruction, pretty soon you will not have a choice. You will either be fired or in the emergency room suffering from a full blown nervous breakdown.

That’s the reality should you choose to ignore all of this. It will not be a matter of if but when.

On top of that, it’s not just in the workplace, your home life will suffer miserably. The people who truly matter will be pushed away.

If you have a partner or spouse, I can assure you this will lead to arguments and fights. It can even lead to more serious complications like divorce. If you have children especially, why risk their well being because you are refusing to take care of your own?

Is it really worth it?

I sincerely hope that if you are reading this and relate to even one of the signs I have listed, take action before it is too late. Talk to your doctor, talk to HR and perhaps give yourself a talking to.

Your mental wellbeing is worth taking care of! Not just for yourself but for those you love. If you put yourself on the backburner you will burnout.

Take Care & God Bless ❤

Cavelle

 

 

When You’re Feeling Discouraged

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Hey guys!

Today I want to discuss something we have all experienced at some point in our lives and that is feelings of discouragement.

I am currently feeling that way. I have been looking for work and just seem to be hitting brick wall after brick wall. It’s times like this when I should definitely be turning to God for His guidance and have faith that He has a plan for me even though I don’t see it right now.

Easier said than done sometimes, right?

So that being said, I have decided instead of allowing the feelings of discouragement to take over, I need to keep my head held high and not give up. As someone who lives with bipolar disorder, it’s crucial I don’t let myself sink into a depression over this so this morning I am turning to the Bible for guidance and encouragement.

I like what Joshua has to say in particular –

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

So true! I should know that but it’s so easy sometimes to get caught up in your own head and forget that God has your back.

Corinthians also has some excellent advice if you’re going through the same thing right now –

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

I have to believe that if you work for the Lord, He will work for you. 🙂

I feel I am also taking these negative feelings and worries and turning it into a positive by writing about it here. I know I am not alone and that many people can relate and perhaps by writing about it I might be able to touch someone who also needs their spirits lifted. That makes me feel good. It’s therapeutic and takes you out of your head. I love writing. ❤

So yeah, if you’re in the same boat, I feel you and just know you are not alone. If you believe in Him, turn your worries over to God. He’s always ready and willing to help. ❤

 

1 Peter 5:7

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Take Care & God Bless ❤

Cavelle