Daily Archives: May 28, 2016

Never More Apparent

I have started to realize that my differences are never more apparent than when I am with other people. And groups of like 10 or more people. I don’t really know why but I always notice little things that are just so different for me. People often joke around and laugh and make fun of each other. But it’s like I do it the wrong way or something. Or I say things I shouldn’t. I’m not totally convinced that this is Bipolar thing, I think it may just be a human thing. But I’m not really sure because it’s a rather strange conversation to start. 

Anyway, I often find myself breaking down every word of every conversation to figure out where I went wrong. My sister and I were talking the other day and she was talking about some of the “bad” things she had done or got away with in middle and high school. It was a very strange conversation for me. I found myself sitting there thinking how come she doesn’t seem to feel bad or it’s more of a funny teenager thing. It confuses me. I have carried so many things around with me for so many years that I’m not sure I ever should have been carrying. Maybe a little part of that is true for all of us but mostly it’s like I can see that I have held on to things that I have no business holding onto. Things that only prove to keep me from being and doing great things. How much stronger will I be if I can let myself off the hook for those things that I did in my youth. If I can let the past go and allow myself to be thankful and proud of what I have and have done. 

I am realizing that this is what I tell people all the time. You aren’t the sum of your mistakes, you are better and stronger and greater than the very worst thing you think you have ever done. I guess that’s where the Bipolar part comes in.  I spent almost 20 years stuck on these things. I knew logically that I am smart, kind, friendly, loving, and nurturing but I FELT like my mistakes were what truly defined me. When I wondered what other people think of me I always assume the worst, I always think that what I have done is worse than any other person on the planet(how completely self gradising) and that I am the worst person ever. 

Sometimes I wish I could have a running dictation of my thoughts. (Actually I’ve thought about carrying a tape recorder around and just saying everything out loud). It’s like sometimes they go so fast I can’t hold on to them long enough to really evaluate what they are and what their purpose is. So if I have them all on paper I can SEE them and then I can really start working on changing the ones that need to be changed. I know even as I have thoughts sometimes that they are irrational and that I am being too hard on myself. Or that for example, I believe God gave me my oldest son to save me from many of the bad reactions of a bipolar person.  Wasn’t able to go too far off the deep end because I always had him. But then I’m ashamed that I got pregnant before I was a married and I somehow believe that makes me so much worse than those people around me. It’s not like I don’t know that a little insane but it’s still the way I feel. Logically I can point out all the reasons that I should let it go, or feel the blessing that my son is at the same time I am sad about my mistake. That probably doesn’t make sense. I think I don’t know how to say what I am trying to say. I just want to be able to put the good and the bad in their correct places. I guess maybe that’s the point. That many things in life aren’t black and white, that God uses even our greatest mistakes for HIs glory and forgiveness for the sin comes before we even realize we have sinned. 

All those logical thoughts and characteristics are actually true. They aren’t a different part of me but are in fact the best part of me. The part that God wants me to always let shine and that He wants us to remember even when we are imperfect. God wants us to look at Him so that we don’t have time to look at ourselves and our dirtiness. He wants us to seek to become more like him and through that we become less of ourselves and more of hHim. And as we become more like him we need and desire the things of this world less and less. I still see the differences. I still wish I was a little more natural in group situations. I wish that I didn’t feel like I have to be the one that stands up and stands out. But I do. Somewhere a long the line people have stopped standing up and they have started being quiet. Just because I say something you don’t like doesn’t mean that it isn’t true or that it isn’t something that should be focused on a little more. I’m sure this will always be who I am. I am working on accepting that and learning how to control and use my gift without making things awkward or hurting the people around me. I know I will never get it exactly right but I look forward to learning more about myself and teaching myself how to use my gifts in the best way possible. 
Be blessed!! And Happy Memorial Day! I will be posting tomorrow or Monday on what Memorial Day means tome. 

Kitt’s Invented Platitudes

Nothing is always true

Rarasaur’s Platitudes

“But then…
people learn.”

“Everything’s gonna be okay.
(Except when it’s not.)
((Except that’s okay, too.))”

I think it is human nature to ascribe or find meaning to events in our lives. Sometimes platitudes makes us feel better. Sometimes worse.

My Invented Platitude

Nothing is always true, except when it is.

The Platitudes I Use Regularly

You are loved.

You are worthy of love.

You are not alone.

Yet, at the same time, I can feel both so very alone and so very much a part of everything.

Which leads me to…

Another Invented Platitude

We are both alone and connected

We are both alone and connected.

Even as I share my thoughts and feelings through words, I protect a part of myself, and do not let anyone completely in. No one really knows what it feels like to be me, but when I find others who seem to understand, something magic happens. I feel loved, supported, accepted. That feels good. That is what we do, what we can do, what we should do, for one another.

Filed under: Acceptance, Mindfulness, Writing Tagged: alone, connected, dialectic, dialectical, love, Meaning, not alone, platitudes, purpose, Rarasaur

On The Beach

I probably should have chosen a better title for this post than “On the Beach.” because there is an excellent 1959 movie by that name, starring Gregory Peck. It’s about the residents of Australia who must come to terms with the fact that all life will be destroyed in a matter of months due to […]

The post On The Beach appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

Green Peace: How Nature Actually Benefits Your Mental Health



Have you ever come home from a day in the countryside and felt… better? Mood altered, anxiety soothed, mind hushed? It seems obvious that getting out of the clanging grind of the city every once in a while might be good for your mental health, but recently, scientists have been working out whether flowers, grass, trees and wild animals could be used to treat depression or anxiety.

The field of ecotherapy – the idea of connecting to nature to aid your wellbeing – isn’t new. In his 1984 book Biophilia, Edward O. Wilson put forward a theory that the affiliation we have with nature is rooted in our biology and genetics. Around the same time Wilson was writing, Japanese doctors began to prescribe forest bathing for optimum health. In Norway, 19th century poet Henrick Ibsen coined the word “friluftsliv” – meaning “open-air living”, which soon turned into a Scandinavian cultural phenomenon. But until recently, strong scientific evidence to back up anecdotal evidence that nature is good for your mental health was scant. That’s changing, however.

In April, Peter James and a team at Harvard University published a study into the relationship between exposure to green spaces and mortality rates. They studied 100,000 female nurses living across the US over an eight-year period and found that those living in the greenest areas had a 12 percent lower mortality rate compared with those living in the most built-up areas. To find out what factors might explain this, they collected information on doctor-diagnosed depression and antidepressant medication. Improved mental health, measured through lower levels of depression, was estimated to explain nearly 30 percent of the benefit from living around green spaces.

“We weren’t expecting the magnitude [of the results],” says Peter. Their results show that Wilson’s theory of “biophilia” is true: “That there’s a direct cognitive benefit and restorative quality of being in nature, that we’ve evolved in nature to enjoy being in nature.”

Peter is quick to point out this isn’t just about moving to the countryside. With 84 percent of people in the United States living in urban areas, the study suggests that small things like more trees in the street and more parks in urban areas can have a significant benefit for health.

I’m a nature junkie and that’s definitely something I can relate to. I’m obsessed with a pear tree that’s framed by my bedroom window, where I often work. At the moment, in spring, it’s foaming with cream flowers and bright Kermit-green leaves. Last year, my neighbour put scaffolding up that blocked my view of it. I was surprised – and a bit weirded out – by how much it not being there every day affected my mood.

But research shows that something as small as seeing that pear tree every day could have a real impact on my mental health. A recent report from Natural England shows that taking part in nature-based activities helps people who are suffering from mental health problems and can contribute reducing levels of anxiety, stress, and depression.

MindFood is an allotment site in west London, which runs courses in how to manage mental wellbeing. The sessions allow people with common mental health problems to work together, improve the garden, learn new skills and benefit from some gentle exercise.

Lucy Clarke is one of the MindFood’s clients. She came to the project after a depressive episode and wanted to find something local to do before returning to work. Some of the benefits of the course were practical: “Having a regular visit to the allotment gives me a bit of structure. It gives you a sense of purpose when you really need it,” she says.

There’s also something powerful about growing food in a natural setting. “You lose yourself in the moment, you forget everything around you when you care for something that’s bigger than yourself, and when you look more closely at nature, it’s a perpetual source of wonder.”

Working outside brings you out of your head and back into the world.

“Simply speaking, working outside brings you out of your head and back into the world,” says one of the project’s employees, Ed Harkness. Most of the participants in the project, says Ed, get referred to their services via their GPs, the NHS’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies initiative, and other health practitioners. “The culture is changing and we are not alone in realising the significance of preventative care,” says Ed. “Whatever the weather, however small or urban the garden, the gardener is made mindful of the here and now. Having your hands in the dirt and repeating tasks such as weeding or planting focuses your energy and allows you the freedom to escape the normal background noise of thoughts and feelings.”

These eco-therapy projects sound great, but come at a time when our green spaces are increasingly under threat from residential development, building and the government’s decision to frack in national parks. “Open spaces are protected for leisure and ecological reasons but the connection for how valuable it is for our well being isn’t protected by law,” says Joanna Ecclestone, who runs a project in London called Potted History, which offers horticultural therapy to bereaved, isolated or depressed older people. Organisations like the Wildlife Trust are trying to redress this – urging the government to consider a Nature & Wellbeing Act, which would enshrine in law the need for green spaces to improve our mental wellbeing.

Elsewhere, ecotherapy and “biophilic” thinking continues to be on the rise. There are three therapeutic “healing forests” in South Korea (with 34 more planned by 2017) and, in Sweden, virtual nature spaces are prescribed for stressed-out workers. In Britain, don’t be surprised if you see ‘Vitamin G’ (green) or ‘Vitamin W’ (wilderness) on prescription from your GP someday soon.

Haven’t been posting much…

DSCN0197 - Version 2Somehow the posting bug left me for a while and then I was busy with my son’s graduation from Law school, traveling to Buffalo, NY, planning the ensuing party, dealing with PTSD, anxiety and panic (more on that in another post) and being incredibly proud and happy that my son is a lawyer now and studying to pass the Bar exam!

But I think I’ve been bitten again and will be posting the 2-5 times a day as I used to, lol !

Yes I actually miss blogging, it is (usually) very soothing and calming for me, the writing of a post and the reading of other bloggers’ posts and commenting on them. I don’t read and comment enough, but I will do from now on.

Also, funnily enough, after becoming a blogger for the HuffPost, instead of encouraging me to post more, it (counterintuitively) inhibited me from writing posts. Whereas I decide what to post on my blog and it is instantaneous, that is not the case for HuffPost. Of course I understand, they have to read everything first and then decide whether or not to post something, and consequently there is also a delay in posting. And the uncertainty… I have never done well with uncertainty, never, so not knowing whether my post will be published or not is kind of a bummer for me. Anyway, I can’t really complain too much as I am a blogger for HuffPost and I am truly thrilled about that. Who knows, maybe the waiting will teach me to wait!

Well, just wanted to let y’all know that I’m back:-)



Last evening as I was picking my way down a rutted forest road I had to stop to let three enormous javelinas cross the road.  This is the first time I’ve seen javelinas, although I’ve smelled them, and I’ve seen their lying-down places where they rest.

I had no idea that javelinas range so far north.  I thought they were a Texas and Mexican border kind of thing, but I guess not.

Javelinas are the northern cousins of the peccary, a wild and voracious pig that travels in packs and eats anything alive that it can overpower, even adult humans.  I was trekking with a native guide through the jungle in Costa Rica when we smelled the peculiar and disgusting aroma of peccary.  We tiptoed as close as the guide felt safe, staying downwind.  If the pigs got a whiff of us, the guide said, we would be dinner.

There must have been thirty of them, with a huge boar standing sentry.  That herd of pigs could run us over and make a meal of us in seconds, he said.  So we tiptoed back the way we had come, avoiding the horrible trees with long sharp spikes all over their trunks. 

Who can have read or seen the movie “Old Yeller” that does not vividly recall the terrifying fight between Yeller and the javelinas (I think they call them “wild boars”)?  Poor Old Yeller got himself tusked up pretty bad.

I thought of that last night at dusk, when I found a decent camping spot not very far from where the wild pigs crossed the road.  Atina fretted because I wouldn’t let her out after dark.  She would be no match for a hungry, angry, or frightened tusker.

I actually ate wild pig once.  My first ex-husband’s folks lived in South Florida.  They (the folks) ate anything they could catch.  Kind of like javelinas, come to think of it.

By the time he was a year old, my son had eaten (raw tuna, but that’s normal) fried squirrel (pretty good, actually), pheasant, wild duck, fried alligator tail (very much like chewing on an old tire, vaguely reminiscent of fish), javelina, crawdads, and who knows what else.  I tried not to look.  (He lived through it, and acquired a taste for weird and disgusting food.)

Some distant relatives threw a party out in the bush.  They owned a ranch, so they took a couple of days off and barbecued a whole cow and a couple of whole pigs.

One of the teenage sons trapped wild pigs in a pit trap, hauled them out of the pit, popped them into a pen, and fattened them up for eating for a month or so.

Normally javelinas are very tough, because they have to travel long distances, and they have to work for their food, subsisting on acorns, and anything they can root up or catch, such as household pets and small children.

Fattened up javelinas taste mighty good.  Tender and sweet, but not kosher.

At the ranch barbecue, the eating was all done outside in the blazing South Florida sun.  There was a large pole building right near the barbecue pit, but we weren’t allowed to congregate in there, for inside the barn was a gigantic U-shaped assemblage of banquet tables groaning with “salads,” the kind made of canned fruit ruined with gobs of pink or green colored Kool Whip, and punctuated with contrasting colored tiny marshmallows.  Some of the endless variations on this theme were sprinkled with toasted coconut.  I believe they call this “Ambrosia.”

Much more interesting were the tables laden with every kind of pie: blackberry, mulberry, cherry, lemon,  chocolate cream, banana cream, and my personal favorite, Shoo-fly pie.  Shoo-fly pie, if you haven’t had it, is all about the thick layer of molasses that blankets a rich, flaky crust on the bottom.  The crust and molasses are baked slowly till the molasses thickens.  Then a layer of vanilla custard is poured on top, the pie is cooled, and topped with whipped cream (or not).  The result is that the molasses kind of makes its way up through the custard, resulting in a delightful variety of tastes and textures.  Shoo-fly pie, yum.  Forbidden to diabetics.

Regrettably, we must return now to the present.

After two days of cardiology testing, Atina and I decided to do the old splitsky into the woods.  It’s Memorial Day Weekend, so I’m pretty sure that most of the good spots are taken by three day weekend revelers.  So I studied the Forest Service map and picked a likely looking road.

It took some searching, but voila, the photo above shows you the delightful camping spot I found, with a fine view of the San Francisco Peaks, which are the Westernmost boundary of the Navajo tribal lands, marked by four sacred mountains.

We’re sitting right about 8,000 feet, elevation wise.  Glad I filled the propane tank; it’s gonna be a cold night.