A Mixed Bag

Hey guys 🙂

I hope you’re all doing well ❤

Today, I have no real topic to present to you. Just me kinda talking about…well…stuff.

*Warning* It’s going to be really random…

Let’s see… Things have been going pretty good lately. No major bipolar episodes which is great. Sometimes I worry about that with the change of the season. Not sure if anyone else experiences that but if I make a point to keep track, I find certain times of the year are more “bipolary” than others.

Job is stable! Finally a job that is stable. Anyone who lives with mental illness of any kind can probably relate to the difficulties of finding stability in that area of their lives in particular.

For awhile there I was job hopping to the point I honestly just felt like a failure. I see people sticking to their jobs for years. They seem to be able to handle all the crap that comes with a job and I was barely making the first 3 months. For various reasons but bipolar disorder certainly played its part.

In a perfect world, I would like to quit smoking. Yes, I smoke. I know it’s bad. I don’t like that I smoke…yet I really don’t want to stop…yet I do…*sigh*

I have been missing church way more than I care to. The last time I missed church this much I was going through some major depression but since then I have just found it really difficult to get back into the swing of things.

That being said, regardless of church, I could stand to be saying my prayers more often. I don’t really “pray” I just sort of talk to God in my head. I don’t hear any voices reply so I figure that’s a good sign my mental health is fairly stable lol but God always responds to my prayers. I love God for that. He’s more action than talk. Sometimes He doesn’t act right away but on the bright side, it makes me exercise patience and faith. God acts when it truly counts.<3

You know what’s nice? Being in a relationship where big blow out fights are NOT the norm. Not even close. I was starting to think that didn’t exist. When you finally pull yourself out of that vicious cycle of constantly picking the wrong apples, you realize just how much of that can exasperate bipolar symptoms. Now that I am finally in a stable, loving relationship, sometimes I forget I even have bipolar disorder…of course I get reminders but not nearly as bad as before.

Regardless of your mental state…make a point to surround yourself with the right people…seriously, it makes a huge difference.

I keep a very small, tight knit circle of people around me. Mainly my family. This is in part because of the burns I suffered as a functioning alcoholic ( I was going to say borderline alcoholic but looking back, who am I kidding?)

I thought that the karaoke bar flies I mingled with were truly my friends…then one day I realized…I don’t know these people outside of the bar. I don’t know them by day or sober…I say and do stupid crap thinking it’s all fun and games. At the time, I thought my social life was truly booming. Oh yeah…I was the bees knees in my drunken book…

When I look back at that time, I don’t even know who that girl was…I’m past being ashamed about it but it’s still cringe worthy.

Not really sure why I brought that up but maybe I am working through my writer’s block in real time…like I said, this is going to be random lol

Speaking of random, is it just me or does Earl Grey tea smell like Fruit Loops? I love both ❤

Also, I have a confession to make…I’m a nerd. A gamer to be exact. My finance and I recently bought Elder Scrolls Online for our PS4…I loooove this game. ❤ If you are a fellow gamer and you don’t have Elder Scrolls Online, you are seriously missing out. Of course you have to be into MMORPG (Massive Multi Player Online Role Playing Game). Fellow nerds and gamers will totally get what I am saying here…the rest of you…just ignore this section of the post lol.

I promise this randomness is not mania by the way. I am on my night shift right now and totally bored. Super glad I enjoy writing. It passes the time and is therapeutic for me. A win win.

Speaking of therapeutic, music does the trick as well. I love when I am alone and can crank up the tunes and sign along…sometimes I do a little dance…it’s me time and something no one will ever witness lol

Music videos however…wow are they getting rather umm…demonic in nature. Like what is with all the devil worship? I feel like music videos have become rather pornographic with a dash of Illuminati symbolism…ok not a dash…blatant. I can’t be the only one who sees this…Like not long ago I saw Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” video and all I can say is…who made you go from “Teardrops On My Guitar” to umm…that?

And does anyone remember Kesha’s “Die Young” video? Super catchy tune but wow nothing like a santanic ritual to spice things up. It’s like all these pop songs have a very addictive melody while you watch…well… satan worship for lack of a better term and now she’s singing songs about praying and such… I’m confused…are we being brainwashed perhaps?

I guess at this point I need to stop rambling but I will leave you with this recap and words of wisdom:

  1. Know that God is watching over you. Always ❤
  2. Keep your friends close and your enemies as far away as possible.
  3. A healthy environment makes ALL the difference.
  4. If you live with mental illness or someone you care about does, keep the lines of communication open. It’s hard sometimes but it can literally save your life.
  5. The change of the seasons can affect mental illness. Be mindful of this.
  6. Don’t watch music videos? I’ll let you decide on that one.
  7. Earl Grey tea really does smell like Fruit Loops. I have decided this just now. Case closed.
  8. Being a nerd is OK. Embrace it ❤
  9. Smoking is bad…if you’re a smoker like me…I get it. It’s bad but don’t worry, you’re not ❤
  10. Taylor Swift went to the dark side…she said it herself “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, cause she’s dead.”
  11. I love to sing and dance to music…when I’m alone…like totally alone lol
  12. This randomness is brought to you by night shift boredom. I hope it was somewhat entertaining/informative.

 

Take Care & God Bless ❤

Cavelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

The Bright Side Of Bipolar Disorder

Hey guys 🙂

 

I imagine some of you are wondering what could be good about having bipolar disorder but I promise you it’s not all doom and gloom.

Today, I want to point out the silver lining.

Please note that it is not my goal to minimize the struggles of bipolar disorder and some of you are not going to relate to my positive points depending where you are on your personal journey but take note that this post is based on positives I have found in relation to my own bipolar disorder.

So without further adieu, here are the positives I have managed to take away from having bipolar disorder.

Resilience:

It’s safe to say that mental illness is not an easy road to navigate however, I choose to give myself credit for the fact that despite the landmines I have walked through in my life, I’m still standing.

Everyone has struggles in life mentally ill or not but when you take even the average BS life can dish out, throw mental illness into the mix and you have to work that much harder to rise above it.

I might not always get to where I’m going as quickly as other people but I wear my uphill climb in life as a badge of honor. I have worked hard to get to where I am today and no one can take that away from me.

Go ahead…try 😉

Since finding out I have bipolar disorder, I am actually more self aware than ever before. Although it’s difficult at times, I still manage to put one foot in front of the other. You can knock me down but I will get back up.

The whole “You’ve won the battle but I’ll win the war” kind of thing comes to mind.

Bouncing back does not always mean quickly but regardless, I bounce back and come out stronger than before.

Speaking of which….

Strength:

Nothing will test your strength quite like bipolar disorder. It’s a tricky game in which the rules always seem to be changing. You have to be able to adapt. It’s crucial if you plan to move forward and it requires you to dig deep and that requires a huge amount of mental and emotional strength.

When people use the phrase “Mind over matter” it makes me cringe a little. That’s easy to say when you have a healthy brain that can properly rationalize that thought, but what about when you have a brain that wants to take a sudden left turn when you’re insisting you want to go right?

It’s not fun.

Bipolar disorder is like taking countless detours to reach the same destination as everyone else but for me personally, the detours I have encountered are seen as an opportunity to grow as a person.

Having a proper diagnoses has really helped me to think of it that way because I know more about myself since discovering my mental illness. There is a name attached to the ups and downs now. My past makes more sense than it did before and with that knowledge alone I feel a sense of control and power over my life that I never had prior to my diagnoses.

Knowledge is indeed power.

Empathy:

I feel empathy comes to me quite naturally but I have to give partial credit to the fact I have bipolar disorder. I believe that people who live with a mental illness in general are the more capable of showing empathy in ways the average person can’t.

That being said, not all mental illnesses are created equal and there are in fact mental disorders that exist in which people cannot feel empathy for others at all but as I stated earlier, I am talking about my personal experience.

Given the circumstances, I love the fact I have found my voice. I am not afraid to go to deep, uncomfortable places with people and even myself…still working on myself…always a work in progress.

I don’t judge others right away (most of the time) because I can appreciate what it’s like to go through difficult times. I know what it’s like to feel like you have to hide certain things about yourself because you feel ashamed and I also know how hard, yet liberating it is to break through that barrier and I truly desire that liberation for others.

Super Hero Powers:

Bipolar disorder can be a real challenge when it comes to staying consistent but I can safely say if you happen to catch me during a manic phase, anything you can do I can do better! 😉

OK, that might be a tad arrogant of me but one advantage of having bipolar disorder in particular, is having that manic spurt that gives you the ability to shine like no other.

Although it can be dangerous to push the manic phase too hard, ( many people feel they can get away with no medication during this time…trust me…you can’t) the mild form of it can give you the energy to multitask circles around people.

You can function on 3 hours sleep, you’re the life of the party, you see the bigger picture and are psyched to just conquer life and own it.

Your creativity goes through the roof, and confidence? You bet your butt I have it in spades during that time. When it’s good, it’s really good.

Psychologist In The Making:

I am willing to bet that those of you who live with a mental illness will relate to this…

Before your diagnoses, you took countless quizzes, tests etc in order to diagnose yourself in some way. To find a sense of self. A place to fit in. Everything but go to an actual doctor ha ha.

The bright side? Before and even after a diagnoses, you know more about the human condition than most. Sure, you don’t have a masters in psychology, but you’re well versed on the subject which gives you an edge. It has helped me to read people more accurately and appreciate the human mind and how complex it is. I find the subject of psychology fascinating and consider it a valuable tool in the game of life.

Advocate:

No longer do I feel like a victim. I can take the hardships that come with bipolar disorder and use that to advocate and empower others. It allows for connections I would not have made otherwise.

I feel like I am part of the solution now instead of always being part of the problem. I can lend a voice and spark a conversation despite the stigma that’s still out there and touch someone who might be in need of support at the time. For me, that is an awesome feeling. ❤

In closing, life is truly what you make it whether you have a mental illness or not. The key is to never give up. Own who you are flaws and all and you will find people are more inclined to accept you…flaws and all.

Stay honest with yourself and others. Face your challenges and fears head on because in my opinion there is a certain beauty in that kind of pain. Pain forces change, growth and the power to rise above seemingly impossible odds.

I love and root for the underdog because their victory is that much sweeter. An underdog doesn’t squander the good things in life because they understand what a precious gift it is.

That is truly beautiful. You are beautiful. ❤

 

Take Care & God Bless ❤

 

Cavelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Bipolar Remission. Is It Possible?

Hey guys 🙂

Today I want to talk about something that does not seem to get enough attention when it comes to bipolar disorder and that is remission.

Can bipolar disorder be cured? No. Not at this time anyway but the truth is you can lead a healthy and productive life! Remission may not be the same for everyone but it is achievable.

When I first started my blog I had just been diagnosed with the disorder which is about 3 years ago now. I was far from a remission state at the time and to top it all off I was not in a healthy environment/relationship for my emotional wellbeing. Needless to say remission was not on the horizon at the time and my symptoms of mania, depression and anxiety (I have GAD as well) was all over the place. Can you say mixed episodes? Oh how they plagued my life at the time…

Move to present day and things are a lot different. I see a therapist and I visit my psychiatrist on a regular basis. My meds are stable (for once), I’m holding down a job although I did have to switch to part time (which has helped tremendously) I don’t abuse substances and I am in a loving, healthy relationship.

I am not saying these things to brag but I have earned my current state of remission. I have worked hard to change my life around and make sure my environment is a healthy one.

The reason I am writing about this is because many times the articles I would write or read are very doom and gloom and personally I think that can add to the stigma that goes along with mental illnesses in general. Why are we not celebrating the good that can be achieved despite the hurdles?

For instance, the amount of empathy people with mental disorders display. Since starting my blog I have met so many wonderful people and have received much support in the mental health community and attribute that to my current healthy state. I am very thankful for that and glad I can extend the same olive branch.

I am not my bipolar disorder and refuse to let that define me as a whole. I live with the disorder yes and it is not going anywhere and in the beginning stages I felt like everything including my identity had to revolve around being mentally ill.

But think about the trials and tribulations you have gone through in your life. Sometimes the depression kicks in and it’s crippling. Other times it’s the mania that gets the best of you and the “crash” kicks in but you are still standing, you are strong and those of us with mental illness have much more to offer than we think sometimes.

I am not trying to candy coat mental illness by any means but why are we not celebrating the victories big or small more often? Why does mental illness always have to be portrayed as negative. In some cases I have witnessed people in a pissing contest of sorts on who has it worse and honestly, how does that help anything except perpetuate the stigma?

Those of you fighting the good fight, I challenge you to see the positives of living with a mental illness. As a community we have much to offer this world and more insight and compassion than most despite the challenges we face and we should be celebrating that to the fullest!

Just a thought.

Take Care! ❤

Cavelle