I’m a Bipolar Single Mom

I’m a bipolar single mom I’m a bipolar single mom and I’m not crazy. I have two children ages 10 and seven. People have told me all sorts of things about myself. But I know who I am. I’m the CEO of two organizations, a nonprofit for mental illness and an independent publishing company. My kids are my life. I would do anything for them and when my son began showing symptoms of OCD and depression, I dedicated all of my energy to getting him the help that he needed. But I’m crazy, unstable, and a bad mom. No, I’m not. But society tells me that I am those things, and it needs to fucking stop. It begins with you  It starts with you. You, who are reading this, have the power to change these dangerous ideas. I’m not afraid to stand up, sit down, do jumping jacks and say “I have bipolar disorder.” Will you hear me? Will you support me when I utter those words? I need you to stand with me. I want you to listen, but not just listen, talk to others. Tell them that me, and everyone else who has children and lives with mental illness [...]

By |September 4th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I’m a Bipolar Single Mom

Do You Talk About Your Relationship Online?

The world is online. Okay, well, not the earth, but most human beings are using the Internet on a daily basis. Social media has become an integral part of most of our lives and that means having at the minimum a Facebook account. People my age, late 30s, are married and may have kids. The married people try to look objectively happy on Facebook with their photos of Carribean vacations and selfies on the beach. There's a reason they call Facebook "Fakebook," because not everything as is happy is it seems. What goes on behind closed doors is different than what we see online. Some of these couples could genuinely be happy, I'm not that cynical, but there are definitely plenty of people who display a different persona online than who they are in "real life." They know who's watching them and they want to appear as if their life is pristine, they never spill coffee on white items and their marriage is without problems. I call shenanigans! Nobody's relationship is perfect and what's the point in faking it? Fake it to look good for your family There are many people who are overly concerned with their family's perceptions of them. [...]

By |August 30th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Do You Talk About Your Relationship Online?

Anger Isn’t Sexy

I thought anger was bad I used to view anger as a negative emotion. I saw people who were angry as dangerous, volatile, capable of breaking things or hurting others. I didn’t want anything to do with those feelings. I was a good girl; smiling, making everyone feel better. I learned that it's not healthy to suppress anger. When you try to ignore anger, it often transforms into depression, at least it did for me. Being angry felt unpleasant because I saw people who weren’t capable of managing their feelings when it came to anger. When it crept up on me as fresh ration, and that evolves into a rage, I wanted it to go away. I remember crying on my bed in the fetal position wishing I wasn’t mad; I was frustrated with myself because I was angry and I didn’t think I had a right to my feelings. Fighting There were times when my parents fought, and I was scared they were going to get divorced. They didn't, but hearing yelling isn't fun as a kid. Everyone fights and all people get upset with each other. Anger (thankfully) is different than sarcasm. Here's a funny story about my [...]

By |August 28th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Anger Isn’t Sexy

Fixing Broken Me

I'm not good at fixing things When something was broken, I would ask Wil to fix it. Whether that was the TV, a box, a busted toy or a computer issue. He always knew what to do. I'm not good at fixing things, tangible things, they escape me. I don't understand how people put IKEA furniture together or install a window in a house. I can't figure out how to repair a lop-sided couch. I think you get the point, I suck at fixing things. Broken people Relationships are strong when two people love each other. But when two broken people are in love, it gets complicated. I wanted to fix it, so badly. I wanted to fix all of them. All of the relationships I've broken by being my broken self. I'm good at helping people fix their problems. Sometimes I help them a lot. But for me? I'm so broken. He wanted to marry me, and I broke it off, he wanted to love me and I convinced him I needed too much, he told me he would never leave me and he stayed. No matter how crazy I was, he stayed. But I couldn't because I couldn't [...]

By |August 23rd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Fixing Broken Me

I Found Out Life Was Meaningless And Then I Found Myself

Panic When I was 15, I had my first panic attack. I wasn't able to speak or breathe. It happened because I realized that life had no meaning. I thought about how small I was and how the universe was so big, and my heart started racing. I felt like I was going to die. I went down a rabbit hole and tried to figure out why people did their jobs. Life seemed so strange and meaningless. People worked so they could make money and support their families and exist. But there was no point to existence. There was no objective point to being a person. People seemed like these arbitrary robots who worked in offices, coffee shops, or didn't work at all and were homeless. But the people who were doing jobs, they were doing them for no reason, seemingly. I didn't understand them. It was difficult to look around at my peers and not wonder why, why weren't they aware of the paradox of life? They were smiling and laughing, flirting with each other, playing Magic The Gathering and getting drunk. I was sitting on the other side of the lunchroom having an existential crisis. But I didn't [...]

By |August 21st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I Found Out Life Was Meaningless And Then I Found Myself

I found out what was wrong with me

For as long as I can remember I’ve been questioning what is wrong with me. I felt weird, like a freak, and I didn’t know what to do with those feelings. I’ve been therapy for years beginning as a teenager. It helped, and it also made me feel more like there’s something off about me. I struggled to pay attention in school. I knew I was smart, but I didn’t understand why I wasn’t able to achieve the academic success of my peers in the honors classes that I was taking. I was often in my world daydreaming about a different time, questioning the meaning of life, struggling to pay attention to what was in front of me. I was assigned full-length books read within a couple of weeks. I couldn’t do it because of my brain, but I didn’t know why. I didn’t want to admit something was wrong with me, so I struggled through academically and instead of addressing the issue I got a slightly lower GPA than I could have achieved had I been evaluated. I avoided subjects that were difficult for me and focus on the ones that I excelled in such as English, algebra and [...]

By |August 20th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I found out what was wrong with me

How To Take Care of Your Teeth & Improve Well-Being

How To Take Care of Your Teeth & Improve Well-Being Chances are that when you’re grappling with stress and frustration on a regular basis, a lot of it may revolve not around the major issues that pop up every now and then, but the things that constantly irritate us. “Stress can come from any number of sources, whether trauma, difficult family relationships, health issues, or the dialogue in your own head,” explains Michelle Dossett, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a staff physician at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “Even what we think of as a happy event, like throwing a party, can be stressful.” When there’s so many different ways that you can find yourself stressed out, what can you do to stem the tide? A major part of it is going to be investing in self-care, and ideally, you want to sprinkle it in as often as you do the stimuli that cause you stress. First, it’s important to remember when we’re talking about self-care that it’s not “selfish” to try and set aside time to take care of your needs. In fact, taking [...]

By |August 14th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on How To Take Care of Your Teeth & Improve Well-Being

You’re Not Dying But You Are

I was at the airport I met a woman today at the airport. She said she had MS. She was shaking and on the verge of tears. Water was welling up in her eyes, and she was ready to burst. Something told me that it wasn’t MS. She was going to see a neurologist. I encouraged her to keep her appointment, but I said: “I don’t think this is MS but I’m glad you’re going to get it checked out.” I suspected that the most upsetting symptom she was experiencing was panic. “Right now what’s probably happening is you have severe anxiety,” I asked her if she had MS right this moment, what could she do about it? She said nothing. I said, “then do nothing.” She sighed a huge sigh of relief. I breathed too. I felt her release her body, and her worries. What happened to her next was out of her control. She didn't know what was coming next, nor did I, but we both knew that she let go of the weight, the pressure of feeling like she had to do "something." Her body looked less tense and she sunk into her airport seat ready to talk [...]

By |August 9th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on You’re Not Dying But You Are

When I wanted to be depressed

I wanted to be depressed There was a time when I wanted to be depressed. It was comforting in a way, like a warm dirty blanket that you don't want to wash; it's gross but familiar. That's how I feel about depression, it's what I know, whether I "like" it, well, that's another story. I've been intimately familiar with depression since I was a teenager and had repetitive thoughts about cutting my wrists open. I never did it, but that intrusive thought plagued me on a daily basis until I started therapy. It didn't go away when I talked about it, but I began to understand it better. Oddly enough I never told my therapist about it directly, but I did tell her I was depressed and I couldn't eat. I let her know I was so anxious that I was going to die. She explained that my thoughts didn't mean that these things were going to happen. I became accustomed to depression. Depression followed me As an adult, I went through waves of depression. I went on Prozac at 18, but that didn't eliminate depression from my reality. It showed up at random times, but also predictable. At some point, I [...]

By |July 27th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on When I wanted to be depressed

Don’t count on me; I’m often wrong and annoying

I don’t have the answers Many people ask me what they should do. Sometimes I have great ideas; I don’t have all the answers. None of us do, which is why I can’t imagine working with a therapist who listens to me but doesn’t guide me on the road to my solutions. That’s why psychodynamic therapy wasn’t the best fit for me. Sometimes I resent having ADHD. It makes me angry. It's incredibly challenging for me to structure my day and maintain my commitments to people. I can't get anywhere on time or focus on things for longer than a few minutes. Focusing is my nemesis. I wish I could concentrate the way others do. I can hyperfocus, meaning tune everything out except the thing I'm doing at the moment, but if you put a mundane task in front of me, I cannot make myself do it; it hurts my brain. What I like about my therapist now is her to get me back on track when I stray from what I meant to discuss. Focusing on one topic at a time is challenging for people like me. When OCD symptoms, it’s different. I will focus on one thought over [...]

By |July 25th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Don’t count on me; I’m often wrong and annoying

Leading By Example When It Comes To Your Child

Leading By Example When It Comes To Your Child One common expression that you probably hear a lot when talking about children, especially younger ones, is that they’re “like a sponge“  This references the fact that young children are constantly learning how to act and what to do from what they see around them, and no one’s more likely to spend more time around them than you, their parents. Chances are that you can probably think of a ton of moments off the top of your head where you saw your child imitating something you said or did. Sometimes it’s charming, other times it can be embarrassing. But how do you go about leading by example the right way? One thing you may want to take a closer look at his how conscious you are about the nature of your interactions, whether it’s with the child themselves or with other people with them present. Something that you may do in the heat of the moment, like swearing, name-calling, or even something as simple as sticking your finger in their face, may be something that gets picked up later on. Remember, children don’t have the frame of reference that we do when it comes to what is [...]

By |July 24th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Leading By Example When It Comes To Your Child

People Ask Me For Advice And Get Mad

People Ask Me For Advice And Sometimes Get Mad My friends often asked me for advice because I care, I meant an empathetic individual, and I want to help them I genuinely want to see them do well. However sometimes when I give them my advice, they get angry. I am compassionate in the way that I deliver it however occasionally if I see somebody engaging in self-destructive behavior I’m not shy to let them know what I believe that that is. I’m not one of those people that gets upset if somebody doesn’t take my advice. However, I don’t understand people getting upset with me for giving information. It comes from a good place, and everyone is entitled to do what works for them because what works for me might not work for them Being a "good friend." I want to be a good friend, and I want to show them that I care, and part of that is listening to their problems and giving them the advice that I think will help them in the situation they’re experiencing that is causing them to feel the stress. Listening is incredibly valuable. You would be surprised at how much people [...]

By |July 23rd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on People Ask Me For Advice And Get Mad

I’m On Stage Alone in My Relationships

I've been called intense too many times to count. Intense has a pejorative connotation much of the time. When people told me I was intense, it was usually in the context of my feelings being too much to handle. They felt I was a burden, exhausting, overwhelming and a lot of other unflattering adjectives that I can't recall at the moment. Why do people feel the need to tell other people that they're "too much person?" That's upsetting and hurtful, not to mention pointless. I'm not sure what the objective is; probably to make someone else feel guilty about having feelings. That's not what it is, and I'm too emotionally exhausted to try to speculate someone else's motivations. What I can tell you is that historically, I've been extremely vulnerable in romantic relationships with men. When I fall in love with a man, I can't help but open up and tell him everything about myself. It's both painful and freeing at once, much like a good massage; it hurts, but it feels good. I'm not good at selectively revealing information, and in fact, when I try to withhold my emotions, they'll come out in dysfunctional ways. I've abandoned the idea [...]

By |July 16th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I’m On Stage Alone in My Relationships

What’s right with the mental health system?

Where's my therapist? When I moved to Portland looked for a therapist. I wasn't hopeful that I'd find someone who took my insurance and so I didn't think I could afford one. When I found my therapist and she agreed to take $50 a session I was relieved. I instantly got a good vibe from her on the phone and I was honest about how I couldn’t afford to pay her regular fee of $200 a session. I've tried many times to rationalize that that's how much therapy typically costs. Many different therapists have told me that their initial evaluation cost $500. I was talking to my friend about this and I said: "they should apologize before they tell you what their rate is for therapy." Do therapist only care about making money? It got me thinking, do therapists only care about making money and not about helping people? From their rates, it seems that way and I’m not sure why they're so expensive. I would assume that psychologists want to help people but that's not always the case. As a therapist when a client comes to you and says they can’t afford your extraordinarily expensive fee it would behoove [...]

By |July 14th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on What’s right with the mental health system?

I’m not making my anxiety up

I wish it wasn't true There are so many days when I wish I didn't have anxiety. I can't count the moments, weeks, months, and years that I wanted to NOT be panicky. There are too many to remember. I've probably forgotten many of them and I'm glad. I'm content not remembering how terrible I felt being out of control of my mind and body. I don't want anything to do with anxiety. If I could put it in the dumpster and set that dumpster on fire, believe me, I would. Unfortunately, I can't get rid of it. Anxiety is a chronic condition I have to manage for the rest of my life. One of my best friends told me that my anxiety baseline is higher than most people's. That means that I am already experiencing a high level of anxious feelings, to begin with, and then on top of that you add panic attacks (when they happen) and it's a recipe for disaster. Anxiety ruins my life over and over again. It barges into my mental house and punches my thoughts in the face. I hate it, but I've learned to recognize when it's coming for the most part. [...]

By |July 12th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I’m not making my anxiety up
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