Tuesday, 17 January 2017

What I Wish Family & Friends Knew About Bi-Polar

I subscribe to an online BP (Bi-Polar) Magazine.  For those who are also interested in this Magazine may find it by *clicking* HERE to subscribe to it, or just check it out.

I receive their newsletters via my email.  On particular article which was really "on spot" with me was the following:

What I Wish Family & Friends Knew About Bipolar

Unless you have walked a mile in my shoes, there’s no way you will ever be able to understand what it’s like to have bipolar.

By Jess Melancholia

I don’t know a single person with bipolar disorder who doesn’t have that one friend or family member who just doesn’t get it. They either have no idea about mental illnesses in general or believe they are something you can “fix.”
For me, it’s more than frustrating; it’s downright cruel. You would think your family and friends would be there to support you. Unfortunately, you get the usual confusion and apathy. Or you get the anger.
Here are three basic premises that I wish they knew:

You can’t understand my bipolar and you never will.

I’m sorry this sounds harsh, but it’s 100 percent true. Unless you have walked a mile in my shoes, there is no way you will ever be able to understand. My depressions are so dark and morbid that they drain me of all my energy. The thought of taking a shower or even just getting out of bed is overwhelming. Depending on how low I get, I honestly contemplate suicide because I can’t bear to go on like this. My manias are so wild and unpredictable that irritability and insomnia cause major health issues. Sure, it’s nice to have more energy—but not when I can’t control my actions. Overspending and grandiosity can get me into major trouble in my financial and social life.
Bipolar depression and mania are far more extreme levels of emotions than you have ever experienced or can even conceive of. Trust me when I say you don’t—you can’t—understand. So don’t even try. Just be there.

When I’m manic or depressed, that’s not the real me.

Everything is amplified when I’m in the middle of an episode, so it’s much easier for me to say or do things that I wouldn’t if I were well. This doesn’t by any means excuse anything—bipolar is an explanation but not an excuse. A lot of outside stimuli are attacking my senses, and it’s hard for me to hold back the things I feel compelled to say and do. The fact is, my bipolar affects my ability to react “normally” to the world around me.
The last thing I need is anger and criticism while I’m trying to deal with my symptoms the best way I know how. My personal catchphrase is, “Don’t be ashamed of your actions; learn from them and grow.”

Your coping skills won’t “fix” me.

While there are plenty of good tips out there for living a well-balanced life, like doing yoga or eating healthy, they do very little if anything to help when you are deep in the throes of depression or mania. Logic and reason go out the window. I fully believe in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) as useful tools to help manage bipolar disorder, but these will not cure it. They just won’t. So for someone to tell you that you just need to do this one thing (practice the Tree pose, boost your omega-3s) and you won’t be depressed or manic anymore is absurd and irresponsible. It perpetuates the stigma that this is “all in your head” and you should be able to “just get over it.”
Here’s the bottom line: My brain doesn’t function the same as everyone else’s, regardless of public opinion. But that doesn’t mean I am weak. In fact, it means I am much stronger than you think. It takes monumental courage and strength to live life battling bipolar. Every moment I continue breathing, I am winning this fight.
And I will never stop fighting. Having my friends and family stick by my side gives me hope that I can manage whatever happens. Through their strength, I know I have a reason to keep on going.
If they only knew how much their support means to me.

Printed as “What I wish family and friends knew about bipolar”, Winter 2017

Has 12 Articles

​Jess Melancholia​Jess Melancholia is a bipolar blogger who resides in San Diego, California with her husband and cat. All throughout college, she struggled with depression and anxiety. She found it extremely difficult to balance school, work, and singing in her university gospel choir. This pattern continued after graduation for years with short intervals of hypomania scattered in between. Only when her father, a Navy veteran, was diagnosed with PTSD and Major Depression did she look into her own mental health. In May of 2014, she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 2. She experienced her first major manic episode in January 2015. For 9 months, her mania kept increasing and was left unnoticed and untreated. During this time, she struggled with hypersexuality. When her mania subsided, she crashed into a severe depression and became suicidal. It was after this that she did intensive outpatient therapy and started to blog about her struggles with bipolar disorder. Since coming to terms with her illness, she has found the strength to take charge of her health and be more proactive in managing her triggers. Nowadays, through medication and a strong support system, she works tirelessly to live a “normal” life and keep her manic and depressive episodes under control. Her hobbies include playing horror video games and wine tasting. Her daytime profession is a molecular biologist at a biotechnology company. She writes for The Huffington Post and The International Bipolar Foundation. She also writes about her personal journey on her blog The Bipolar Compass at bipolarcompass.com.
Lots of great articles at the above link for those who would benefit, or just for those who also have a family member with a Bi-polar disorder who could also benefit from learning more about the disorder itself.  I am hoping I will also soon be able to blog about my experiences living with Bi-Polar 1.  Heavy on the "hoping", since I have to FEEL it not just blog about it.

On another note, Rob and I had tore apart our kitchen the other day so Rob could paint it a really nice "light" colour from the dark "mustard" colour it had been.  We choose Seasame Street's "Cookies & Milk".  Hopefully I will find the time and energy tomorrow to blog about it, or maybe the next day.

This is all she wrote, "Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard"

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year 2017 !

By embracing pain, fear, and challenges with gratitude, I discover the real value and meaning of my Life...... I am so grateful to be Alive.

This is all she wrote, Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Soars to Your Beautiful ~ Alessia Cara

"Scars To Your Beautiful"
She just wants to be beautiful
She goes unnoticed, she knows no limits,
She craves attention, she praises an image,
She prays to be sculpted by the sculptor
Oh she don't see the light that's shining
Deeper than the eyes can find it
Maybe we have made her blind
So she tries to cover up her pain, and cut her woes away
'Cause covergirls don't cry after their face is made

But there's a hope that's waiting for you in the dark
You should know you're beautiful just the way you are
And you don't have to change a thing
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful
Oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh
And you don't have to change a thing
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful

She has dreams to be an envy, so she's starving
You know, "Covergirls eat nothing."
She says, "Beauty is pain and there's beauty in everything."
"What's a little bit of hunger?"
"I could go a little while longer," she fades away
She don't see her perfect, she don't understand she's worth it
Or that beauty goes deeper than the surface
Ah oh, ah ah oh,
So to all the girls that's hurting
Let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer
The light that shines within

There's a hope that's waiting for you in the dark
You should know you're beautiful just the way you are
And you don't have to change a thing
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh
And you don't have to change a thing
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful

No better you than the you that you are
(no better you than the you that you are)
No better life than the life we're living
(no better life than the life we're living)
No better time for your shine, you're a star
(no better time for your shine, you're a star)
Oh, you're beautiful, oh, you're beautiful

There's a hope that's waiting for you in the dark
You should know you're beautiful just the way you are
And you don't have to change a thing
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful
Whoa-oh-oh-oh, whoa-oh-oh-oh, whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh
And you don't have to change a thing
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful

This is all she wrote, Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard.

Credit: Alessia Cara ~ Soars to Your Beautiful

Sunday, 11 December 2016

For A New Beginning ~ John O'Donohue

In out of the way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety,
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear,
You can trust the promise of this opening,
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is one with your life's desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythem,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

I am heading towards a much needed recovery wherein it has regained hope within myself....

Cindy @North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

A Little Behind

I have been a little behind on blog posts lately, okay you got me, I have been a lot behind !  Good reasons though as I have had a Family Reunion, my daughter-in-law, grandchildren, and a best friend all visit us last week, and I feel I have been just darn busy.

I had a one month follow-up appointment with my Doctor yesterday.  I have lost 20 pounds since February (oh it is soooooo slow coming off).  He is very happy with the progress I am making, and have made, telling me I am a *star* patient (now that makes one feel pretty good, even at the best of times).

I feel after years of being on a roller coaster ride, I have been given my life back, and most days it feels really damn good.  I still experience small bouts of anxiety, however have not had a "full blown" anxiety attack since I have been on the new medication of mood stabilizer, Lamotrigine.  I could resent the fact I was not diagnosed until this late in life, but why do that when we can only move forward, and this I believe I am now doing in a better frame of mind.  I still have "bad" days, but everyone does so I would never expect to be an exception to the rule, even though I am sure I would kinda like not have any "bad" days ... *smile*.

I barely got any photos at this year's Masterson Reunion, however I had no problem getting my Uncle Reg to pose for me.

Here you go Uncle Reg, your honorary mention ! xo

From left to right, Briar, Chloe, Liz, Aiden & Connor.  They had a great time staying with us and got to spend two glorious weather days at Sauble Beach.  The Tuesday evening Poppa & I took them all to see Ice Age at the Drive-in movie in Owen Sound.  Precious memories in the making it was.

For the past month I have been walking early in the mornings, trying to be out of the house before six a.m., as it is cooler and I love trying to "catch" the sunrises.  My girlfriend, Shannon, went one morning with me, since I was not to take her photo, I have shared a photo of the view I am blessed with each morning I walk.

That was pretty much my last week in a nutshell, or should I say the "highlights" of it, as there was lots more then just this going on I am sure ... you know, the usual housework, meetings, Aussies, etc...

Speaking of Aussies, here are a couple of "fun" photos of two our our Aussies:

Bandit is pictured here with our rescue kitty, Paisley, who we acquired at the end of June.  His look is one of "really, you are going to leave me alone with "it" again!".  Never a dull moment with a kitten in the household.  Rob and I have never had a kitten before, as in the past we have adopted older cats, our one living until she was 15 years old.

This is a very rare photo of Portia in Paisley's bed, and Bandit is his, as Paisley usually monopolizes the "big" bed all to herself.

The other day I captured a great video of Paisley and Portia playing together, which can be viewed on The Checkerboard Aussies' Facebook page, by *clicking* HERE, and scrolling a bit down in the newsfeed.  Like I said, never a dull moment usually at our house.

Tomorrow afternoon I head into the Owen Sound Hospital for the "dreaded" mammogram.  Unfortunately it is a very necessary thing to have done, and because of my Mother, her sister, and both my sisters having had cancer, it is really important for me to go to my yearly appointments.  After the experience with my Mom having one at 80 years old to find she had aggressive breast cancer.  Yes you are never too old to have a mammogram !

After my appointment I am heading down to New Hamburg to my son & daughter-in-laws.  We have a friend getting married Saturday.  Rob has to stay behind to "hold down the fort" so to speak, and look after the Aussies and kitteh.  I have offered to take photos at the wedding, should they not have anyone else.  This offer was readily accepted so I hope I can manage to take a few nice photos for them.

Well I think I have managed to catch up with myself, so this is all she wrote this day, Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Truly Blessed

It wasn't only a month a go or so that I had ran into my friend, Diana, who I used to volunteer with when I was part of the VON SMART Exercise Program a couple of years ago.  Diana share with me about her Niece, who resides in Scotland, telling me that she had Bi-Polar and had also suffered for years.

Diana told me her niece, Angela, had written a book and when they were going to go back across the Pond she was going to get a copy of the book for me.  Well..... this past weekend in pulls Diana and her husband, Alex.  She had sent for the book and had it mailed over here for me !!!  Yes, I am truly blessed with wonderful caring friends and family.

Angela's book gives her personal experiences first-hand through her writings and poetry.  Can You Hear Me Now? is available online by *clicking* HERE.

Thank you Diana ! now the holiday weekend is behind me I can now take some time every day and begin digging in to reading Angela's book, Can You Hear Me Now? Finding My Voice in a System That Stole It.

I can somewhat relate to Angela in the respect of finding healing in her writings, as I know blogging these past years have been therapeutic for me at times, plus it gives me something to look back on where I was at certain times in my life.  How do you reflect back on your life? do you keep a journal? photo albums? scrapbooks? 

I am certain I have mentioned before how hard our well water is.  There is iron and magnesium in it, and not sure what else.  Even with a Water Softener it still isn't as soft as I think it should be.  We have sent a sample of water away to determine exactly what is in it and what system we can purchase to take some of the minerals out of it.

In the meantime our bathroom still needs cleaned of the rust stains the well water leaves behind, and this is how I combat it.  Never the most pleasant task to be done in the house.

Cleaning the bathroom is not on the top of my list of the most favourite things that I want to do, however someone has to do the "dirty work" and my name got picked for the job !  

Even though my feet are very bruised from all the walking I have been doing the past couple of weeks, I never tire of the view on my very early morning walks ..... this morning was no exception.  I do love sunsets, but I also LOVE the sunises I am so fortunate to witness most mornings.

Temperatures have been sky high this Summer, with very little rain here.  We have been trying to stay cool by running our little window air conditioner on the cheap hydro times which is from 7 pm until 7 am each day.  Other then that we keep our ceiling fans going constantly to keep the air flow, and our windows all closed up to keep the heat OUT where it belongs.  Sleeping hasn't been too bad, as there has been a couple of nasty nights, however nothing we can't live with.  I do NOT want to complain as I am NOT a Winter person, so Spring, Summer & Fall suits me just fine.

It really is a bonus when we go out in our vehicles, as of course they are air conditioned ! and out on the motorcycle is even better if we ever find ourselves any time to do so.

How do you "beat the heat"?

I had some "happy" mail today from my blogger friend, Lynn.  We have been exchanging note via snail mail the past couple of months (thanks for initiating Lynn), which has been fun to get.  Lynn has a Foodie Blog that you may find & enjoy by *clicking* HERE.

I don't think I can ever say enough, "I am truly blessed with such great friends and family members, who most certainly know who they are.  Thank you xo

Not much more to say this day, Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Early Mornings

The past couple of weeks I have been having myself some early mornings, leaving the house anywhere from 5:30 to 6:00 am, so I can get my daily walk in before the heat has saturated the day.

I take photos of the sunrise over Colpoy's Bay, where I walk beside pretty much each day.  I have entered a few of my photos in a #PictureOntario contest that the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has on right now, so fingers crossed that at least one of my photos gets viewed.

As usual I love sharing and being shared with ..... I hope you enjoy the scenery as much as I do.

Bandit has been a great walking partner each morning.  He keeps the pace and never talks back to me or complain (not that any of my other walking companions do either, Sharon, BJ, or Lynn).

Rob and I have been enjoying our company this weekend, and the weather has been absolutely stellar for the Civic Holiday Weekend.

Portia and Bandit, especially Bandit as he is over with them all the time, have also been enjoying "Auntie" Vicki's company.  Vicki does "spoil" her own doggies, and our Aussies as well.

Things to do and places to be, so for now I am off and running, Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard.

**Please respect the ownership of my photos, and request permission if shared with photo credit given to me.  Thank you.
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