Life Isn’t About Finding Yourself…

Life is about creating yourself. – George Bernard Shaw

I’ve been on a pretty good streak this week. I think it’s part feeling a bit more normal and maybe a little hypomania but I have it under control and I’ve been using my powers for good lol.

I finally settled into a real cleaning routine this week that takes 10-15 minutes a day to maintain and I do a deep clean once a week – normally on Friday or Saturday that takes a fraction of the 3 hours it used to take me when I used to do it all at once.

I know it sounds like such a small thing, but from where I started, it’s a pretty big deal to me.

It makes me feel good having a clean place but even more so because I know my partner really appreciates it. He never criticizes me for keeping the place messy or waking up late constantly, and I’m so grateful for him being so gentle with me.

I already feel guilty enough as it is on my own without anyone else’s help, and I think he understands that.

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About the Quote

It’s been a few days since I read the quote above and it immediately clicked with me. I knew I wanted to expand on it a little more because my mentality has changed over the last couple of years and this is more in line with my current thought processes.

I used to wonder, “What is my purpose?” or “What was I put on Earth to do with my life?” or even, “Who am I as a person?” etc. etc.

But, I’ve grown out of that type of thinking because I started wondering: What was I searching for? A new me? Life direction? Answers? From who?

Over time, I started asking myself, “What am I expecting to discover?”

Now, I believe that my future is in my hands and I can take my life in any direction I want. Instead of searching for these answers, why don’t I just take the reigns and direct my life, myself? Seems so obvious now, doesn’t it?

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Sure, there are times where I randomly get the most amazing thoughts and ideas where I want to completely change my life all at once! But I’ve learned to recognize when I’m becoming a little hypomanic and the need to sit on thoughts a little longer until I’ve calmed down a bit.

No big life changes without thinking about it for about a week, at least!

Taking charge of my own “destiny,” so to speak, has made me feel more empowered and my thinking more positive, overall. I’ve stopped searching for “the real me” and instead, I’m creating “the real me,” myself.

Visualization

I truly believe in visualization. I’ve seen its power when it comes to perfecting my free throw in basketball to successfully hitting my sales numbers at work.

Now, I”m applying this to my life’s goals and ambitions and below is a quick exercise I’ve done personally to help visualize and become my best self.

I hope you take a few minutes to complete it as well.

Simple Steps to Take Today

1) Visualize the best person you can possibly be.

Imagine a close loved one or best friend telling you and everyone else, what an AMAZING person you are. How the person you’ve become is an inspiration. Let your imagination run free when you think of them describing you.

2) Write a few lines that describe this future you.

Begin with the sentence, “I am a person who…” and complete this sentence with all of the wonderful traits and attributes you visualized in the first step. This will be your “future you” note.

3) Now, commit!

Become that person you have described and take one small baby step today to become this amazing person you have visualized. Focus on small, tiny changes and easy wins to get your motivation going.

Small changes today, lead to bigger changes tomorrow. So, don’t rush!

Bonus Step

4) Read your “future you” note every day, first thing in the morning.

Reading and re-reading your short note will reinforce your thoughts and help keep them top of mind throughout your day. Think of one thing you can do that day to get one step closer to becoming this awesome, future you.

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Setting the Tone of My Day

This exercise has significantly helped me put my goals in perspective and helps me start my morning off on the right foot. Each morning, I set one tiny goal to accomplish (something like going to the gym or reading a book that will help me develop my skills in some way) and once I’ve completed it, I feel a sense of accomplishment even if it’s the tiniest thing.

These small wins have led me slowly over time to set my sights higher and higher and I’m in a pretty good place right now. (I’m writing this blog, aren’t I?)

I really hope you found this post helpful and that you get a chance to complete this quick exercise and implement it into your daily routine.

Try it out and tell me what you think! Has it maybe shifted your thinking a little? Help set a few goals for you to aspire to?

I would love to hear your thoughts below and if you know of anyone that might benefit from this quick exercise, feel free to send it along to them as well.

Thanks again for reading, I really appreciate you taking the time.

Have a great day!

  • J
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Daily Reminders for Myself

I had a pretty good day today! I felt rested, even-keeled and positive. Although I have to admit it wasn’t the most productive day I’ve ever had, it just felt good.

I woke up late which at first I was disappointed about, but then once I was fully awake, I was really looking forward to going to the gym. Once there, I had an awesome workout. I didn’t feel tired and in fact, felt stronger than the last time I went which is amazing because last time I felt so lethargic.

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I’ve been working on going to the gym five times/week in addition to getting in 10,000 steps a day. (Side note: if you want to know more about my workout routine, let me know below!) So, as I was still a little short on steps, I went for a walk around the neighbourhood. (This may not sound like a big deal, but it kinda is for me lol. I sometimes get anxiety about going out.)

On my walk, I listened to an audiobook called The Mood Elevator by Larry Senn and some of his thoughts are actually clicking with me. I’ve done Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) before and I feel this has some similar concepts in it. It’s written from more of a business perspective which I suspect is why it resonates with me more but, whatever works right?

After my walk, I came home inspired about changing my ways. All of them! Right now! Haha. To be honest, most of these ideas aren’t things I haven’t heard before but they really clicked with me today. Who knows, maybe it’s just an, “inspired in the moment” thing but I quickly made a list on my phone of daily reminders, and my plan is to review them every day. Just a quick reminder early in the day on how to live a slightly better life. I plan on adding more thoughts as they come and to one day have a super list!

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Enough rambling – here it is:

  • The things I eat directly impact the way I will feel the next day. Don’t eat junk food – it’s not worth it. (Another sidenote: I went to a Registered Dietician a couple months ago and let her know I struggle with Bipolar and I’m trying to lose all the weight gain from meds and her diet has made me feel significantly better. If you have any questions about my diet – let me know!)
  • Working out, even for just 15 minutes, will make me feel better and will help me get closer to my fitness goals. I need to stop thinking that if I can’t do my full hour long routine, I should blow off the whole session.
  • Read or learn something new every day about mental health and bipolar disorder. It just makes sense to learn about my illness inside and out to manage my symptoms better.
  • Make my bed. Every. Single. Day. It’s a small, easy win first thing in the morning that just makes my whole space feel 10x cleaner.
  • Speaking of cleaning, stop with the all or nothing thinking! It’s better to do a little cleaning at a time rather than get overwhelmed by the 3 hrs it takes to clean my entire place.
  • GO TO BED ON TIME! This one is the absolute hardest one to follow but the most important one because I know when I don’t get enough sleep, my mood is completely off the next day. I’m very irritable, grumpy and more prone to feeling extremely sad for no reason.
  • Lastly, I need to learn to show more loving-kindness to myself. I am truly my own harshest critic and I’ve been learning to catch myself mid-thought and redirecting it but it’s still a work in progress.

These are just a few of the thoughts that were touched upon in the book with a few of my own thrown in based on my experiences. I hope some of these resonate with you and perhaps help you get to a little bit of a better place with your illness. 

I know this is just a fraction of the many things I should do so if you have any other ideas I can add, please comment below. I would appreciate other people’s perspectives because I know we can all learn from each other.

Thanks so much for reading, I appreciate it!

  • J

It really sucks that I can’t tell anyone…

… that I have bipolar. Well, anyone that’s not my immediate family or my fiance. But do I really want to tell anyone else?

I know it’s been said that it’s healthy to create a strong support system to help deal with this illness but that hasn’t convinced me to let my guard down and casually mention it to people. I. Just. Can’t. Do it.

What will they think of me? Will they think I’m crazy? Will they start to self-edit themselves and walk on eggshells around me?

First of all, yes, I may have anger issues but to be frank, only those closest to me have ever seen it. If you met me, you would think I’m just a nice, quiet and very introverted person. I’m empathetic and kind and most of the time just a little awkward, but that’s about it. You would never think I was depressed most of the time or when I seem to be having a great time I’m probably a little manic and not realizing how I’m probably laughing a little too loud.

I always have one persona with friends, and then my real self comes out when I’m either with my partner or alone. It’s easier to keep a facade than to deal with people’s judgments.

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Medication has certainly evened me out and I’m not as raging as I used to be, which I guess is better… but they’ve sort of dulled all of my emotions a bit. I’m more even-tempered now, which is good I suppose?

I read this thought a little while ago that said: having bipolar was like playing the game of life on the hard setting while everyone else is playing on normal – but you’re being judged as if you’re playing on the same setting as everyone else. I kinda butchered the thought but I hope you get the gist.

I feel judged a little by those that don’t know what I’m going through but just think I’m being lazy or taking time off work because I’d rather sit at home on disability. *sad smile* (Funny enough, I come from an HR background and that was usually the first thought unless proven otherwise. We had a few bad eggs that ruined it for people that legitimately needed time off.)

If they only knew how even though I’ve been off work for a little over a year, I strongly tie my self-worth to my career and now that that’s sort of derailed, I’m at a loss in life. I feel pretty useless most of the time and although logically I know better, in my heart, it’s hard to get over that feeling.

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This might sound pretty ridiculous to some of you but many people, including close-ish friends, don’t even know that I’m off work. It was unavoidable with some friends because they worked with me and obviously wondered where I went… but to the majority of my friends, I just told them I’m working from home now on my own business lol. Pretty ridiculous right? The lengths we will go to hide our illnesses.

Well, this post was not meant to be such a long rant but this is what I’ve ended up with so I’ll leave it here. I’ll be honest, I’m probably still not going to open up to most people in real life but writing it out here helps more than I thought it would. It’s like I’m sending it out into the universe and I hope someone will hear it.

I’m still working on managing myself better and becoming healthier and I will talk about the ways in which I do that as we get to know each other a little better.

I would appreciate your thoughts on what you would do in my situation and if I’m just hindering myself in getting better by not being a very open person. Leave a comment if you like or you can email me privately at mybipolardiary1@gmail.com

I hope maybe a few of my thoughts resonated with you and if they did, let me know your thoughts on my thoughts lol

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you have a great day =)

J

 

 

My First Post

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Hi there, I’m J.

I’m a late 20-something living in Toronto, Canada and I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in my early 20s. I’ve gone through many ups and downs and though I still struggle quite a bit, I have also learned a lot about myself and my illness and I want to help others who are going through the same struggles I did.

Things are far from perfect in my life but I have developed some strategies that help me be more even-keeled more days than not. I hope to share parts of my life with you that I’ve never had the courage to speak about publicly before and I hope we can create a small community of similar minds that can help each other.

I’m a very introverted, private person (as I’m sure you can tell by my name) but at my core, I understand that I should let people in because isolating is probably one of the worst things we do. I believe that Bipolar Disorder is isolating enough and we don’t need to do it to ourselves even more because we may feel guilt and shame due to our illness.

I think this is a good intro for now, but as time goes on I’ll open myself up more and more to you guys. If you have any questions about me or my background, please feel free to reach out to me privately via email at mybipolardiary1@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading so far and have a great day.

  • J