Daily Archives: May 3, 2016

Social Media

In some ways I think that all the social media that we have these days is a huge mistake. Kids are spending more time with their electronics than playing and enjoying life outside.  We text instead of talking and post anonymously about things we believe in.

Yet if I never had a computer, I would never have met my husband. I wouldn’t half this blog as an outlet and I wouldn’t be able to see all the wonderful things going on with my family in Canada.

Social Media definitely has its place in our world. Hopefully we can find a nice balance before we all turn into shut ins..

May is #MentalHealthMonth

Filed under: Alcoholism, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Disability, Discrimination, Mental Health, NAMI, Stigma Tagged: addiction, anxiety disorder, major depression, Major depressive disorder, Schizophrenia, suicide

I Can’t See The Broccoli For The Fibro-Fog

Yesterday I submitted an online order for an early morning grocery order. I carefully reviewed it a couple of times before submitting, making sure I got what I needed within my budget. Or, at least so I thought. The warmer … Continue reading

Also on Huffpost: Jimmy Winkfield: An Amazing Jockey!



When I was a kid I suffered from boredom all the time. The laundromat was hell on earth. I’m the youngest of seven kids, so you can imagine that a large part of my mom’s life, and therefore mine, was spent at the laundromat. The hours seemed excruciatingly long. The thrill of watching clothes swirl […]

The post Boredom appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

Alexandra Stoddard

So today I got to interview Ms. Stoddard about my article I’m going to submit to Creative Nonfiction!  She was so gracious.  She called me around nine this morning and just gave me generous time to finish my questions and write everything down.  She even gave me her personal number incase I needed to call her again for other information.  So I  have had an uplifting morning already!  If you are not familiar with her design and  art-of-living philosophy, go to her site http://www.alexandreastoddard.com and brows her books.  Her seminal work is “Living a Beautiful Life” and is a good introduction to her work.

Now on e my friend gives her clinician’s opinion, I’ll b ready to write.  I’ll get it in well before the deadline and  see what happens.   I really feel good about doing this article.  I think it’s going to come together well and have a chance to be accepted.

I remember for friend Deidre lending me the book “Living a Beautiful LIfe” when I was in college and then finding it in a bookstore much later once I married and buying it.  I now own almost all her books that are still in print and love to get them out and read them for inspiration.


The effect of coping mechanisms on the severity of bipolar disorder.

The use of maladaptive coping skills has been linked to the severity of the illness for example increased hypomania, depression, anxiety and stress levels.

Jimmy Winkfield: An Amazing Jockey.

JimmyWinkfield jimmy W

Jimmy W on Alan-a-Dale.jpg

I’m in a play called “Jockey Jim” by Larry Muhammad, and I must share Jimmy Winkfield’s extraordinary story with you. He was an extraordinary man, an African American man, born in 1882, in a family of 17 brothers and sisters, in rural Kentucky. He went from earning $8/month to commanding $1000 per race! He  became one of the greatest African American jockeys ever. He started racing in 1898. And won two straight Kentucky Derbies, in 1901 and 1902. And in the next two Derbies, he came second and third!

In the early 1900’s, he was blacklisted because he “changed his mind” about riding a horse. As well, there was intimidation by the Ku Klux Klan, violence by white jockeys, and the involvement of big money, not conditions conducive for African American jockeys to race. So he accepted an invitation to race in Russia for Czar Nicholas II and became a big star in Russia. He regularly rode winners in Russia, Poland, France, Austria, Hungary, England, Spain and Italy! But by 1917, with the Bolshevik revolution and the rise of the Communists, racing in Russia was done. 

He then led 250 top tier thoroughbreds on a 1,100 mile journey from Russia to Warsaw. He resurrected his career in France in 1922. Also marrying a Russian Baroness named Lydia de Minkiwitz. They lived in a farm near Maison Lafitte, 11 miles outside of Paris. They lived like royalty, hobnobbed with the likes of Josephine Baker, Paul Robeson, Bing Crosby, and Ernest Hemingway!

He earned $100,000, which at the time was an enormous amount of money!

After he retired from horse racing at 48 years of age, he became a celebrated horse trainer in France.

As a result of the Nazis coming into power, he and Lyddy moved back to the USA in 1941.

Back to segregation, discrimination, back to a time when blacks were called darkies, and much worse. He had to become a hired hand on a horse ranch and Lyddy had to clean people’s houses. They lived through it.

They moved back to Maison Lafitte in 1953 and they operated one of the most successful racing stables till the 1960’s.

Lyddy died in 1958, and Jimmy in 1974 at age 92.

What a dashing and debonair man, what a gifted horseman! And to what success he and his wife rose and to what depths did they sink in racist America. And then again rose up in Europe!

Jimmy  (and Lyddy) had to be an amazingly strong person to have withstood all that life threw his way and to come out of it victorious and on top. I respect this man so much, and by the end of the play, when Lyddy and Jimmy walk into the Brown Hotel, I am almost crying, even though I am playing Lyddy and am not supposed to cry, but it is such an emotional moment! And Gary Brice who plays Jimmy, plays him to the nines! Perfect in his understated acting and emotions. Understated, something I don’t do so well, garners a lot of pathos. If Jimmy Winkfield were here today, I would certainly tell him how much I admired his strength, his intelligence and his resilience. And that I am so proud to be doing this play about his life!

Let Go of This Beautiful Day

I am involved in what feels like non-stop programming to address my mental health issues.  Mondays are my DBT group day, and I joyfully did my homework and filled out my diary card over the weekend, really looking forward to group today because:

  1.  It is probably my biggest form of in-person social interaction over the course of the week
  2. Last week’s group and the few before it were really interesting and fun and we are working on interpersonal skills right now, which happens to be my favorite
  3. I had several things I had wanted to share today, and was also curious to see how my peers’ weeks had shaped up.

Unfortunately, the admin for therapy services called this morning around nine to let me know that group today was cancelled, as the therapist that leads was out sick.  I caught my judgmental thoughts right as they happened — “she probably partied too hard over the weekend” — and tried to reframe it in a way that I wouldn’t feel pissed off or disappointed.  I regret to say that I let the news really spoil my mood for a few hours, but thankfully I didn’t let it wreck my day.

I hate having a schedule that is at the mercy of others’ failings and frailties.  It seems to happen once a week, or maybe every two, that something I am counting on happening (like a group or  a meeting or something similar) doesn’t happen because of something outside my area of control.  No control issue comments or ribbings, the struggle is real.  I work hard, AND need to do better at accepting things as they come, and knowing (with certainty) that things are not always going to clip along at a pace that I can appreciate.

I think the hyper-sensitivity to feeling let down by others stems from experiences over the years of being let down by important people in my life.  I’m not naming names or pinpointing specific period of time, but when I really think about it, one thing I have learned in life is that I cannot trust other people to come through CONSISTENTLY.

So yes, it may be more fair to say that there has been quite a bit of inconsistency in other people, in my life, in other’s hearts for the majority of my life.  Here’s the thing — I am fully ready to radically accept that I cannot change this quality in other people.  I am fully ready to focus on doing only what I can do to maintain my schedule, and to be flexible and fair with other people, as they come in and out of my life.

As for the events of today, my DBT class getting rescheduled and me ending up in a funk over it, I will move on.  I will not harbor any ill will toward the therapist, because, hey…shit happens.  I will take the opportunity to review my diary card and homework with someone who understands it and can provide feedback (such as at my therapy appointment on Wednesday).

At 8:00 p.m., I am reflecting back on my day, and while it didn’t go nearly as planned, while some things fell through and my mood was not to my liking, I can look at it nonjudgmentally and say, “Rosa, today was just a day.  It wasn’t a bad day and it wasn’t a great day, but it was a day that something was learned and there were many very small victories and very few negative points.”

Let’s face it — any day that I get out of bed and brush my hair and leave my house and am upright for the majority of said day, is an okay-enough day by me.

let it go

Filed under: Life Worth Living Tagged: anxiety, Bipolar, borderline personality, BPD, control issues, DBT, depression, dialectical behavior therapy, hyper-sensitivity, letting go, mindfulness, nonjudgmental stance


Today I have been having feelings, like a range of them. I wouldn’t think much about it except that I have been only really feeling two the last several months. Sad mostly, with a touch of happy here or there. I guess three if you count terror as an emotion.

None of these feelings were out of place. I was hurt because of something someone did. I cried because of a sad story that I read. I got angry because I felt betrayed a little. I also got happy because I listened to some music. It is all rather nice.  It’s better than I’ve felt in a while. I’ll take it one day at a time.

I decided not to go to my doctors. I’m going to see if my shrinks advice, meds and help work to fix my issues first. I promised hubby if things didn’t improve in a month I would go to the doctors though. I’m hoping I don’t have to.

I think I am going to try and get back to my happy place and put on some music and play some World of Warcraft.