Daily Archives: April 26, 2017

Beating Bipolar: Fake It Till You Make It


I am one of the lucky ones.  I have made it back from a stage 4 mental illness.  I am currently enjoying five years of stability with only a few intermittent depressive episodes.  I am virtually symptom free.  I manage my illness well with the help of an excellent psychiatrist.

One of the biggest losses I suffered was the loss of confidence.  It felt like I had fallen off a cliff.  This confident, respected, Olympic athlete and professional had turned into a shadow of myself.  I walked with my shoulders bent forward hoping no one would notice me.  For the most part I stayed isolated so I would not feel bad.  When I came out to play life I let people push me around a bit, question my abilities in subtle ways and sometimes put me down.  More than anything, I doubted myself.

I had been standing in the ring with my biggest competitor-bipolar disorder.  It punched me so hard and knocked me down so many times I did not know if I could get up again.  When I did my legs were wobbly.  I lost countless bouts.  Then, I began to win.  Small wins multiplied.  I kept pushing myself.  Every person I met along my journey good or bad, helped me to re-build my confidence.  Every experience turned into a learning opportunity.  A confidence building exercise.

Confidence is a very tricky thing.  You can’t get it without making mistakes.  You can’t get it without being willing to put yourself out there and look foolish.  You have to be willing to know playing the game means you are going to lose sometimes, and quite frankly losing hurts.

Winning back confidence is one of the greatest gifts I could have ever received.  It means that I can go out on any court in life and lace up my sneakers.  I can draw upon all those experiences, including working at the Shoe Department vacuuming floors, and know that with grit and determination I just worked my way back to the starting team!

On April 24, 2017 I was the keynote speaker at a statewide event.  It was my 73 talk in two years.  I gave my first talk on mental health to a group of people who came to listen because they supported me and they wanted to see what I had to say.  My second talk was to a group of 400 middle school students.  Some people say if you can talk to middle school students you can talk to anyone.  I think that’s true.

What I know for sure is that you can’t be willing to step in the ring without having some confidence.  What I am most proud of is I never gave up.  Even when I left a conversation feeling a little weird and a lot unsure of myself.  I walked away and licked my wounds, put a smile on my face and kept going.

So how do you build confidence?  Step up to the line and take that first shot.  Eventually it will go in.  You can’t be afraid to lose or fail or miss the shot.  And even if you are afraid you “fake it till you make it.”  Works every time.



Had our first glitch with Blue Apron.  Got our meals last night and they were completely wrong.  It would have been okay if one of the meals hadn’t been a fish dish, which Bob is anaphylactic-shock allergic to.  So we finally got to talk to the Blue Apron people this morning and they’ve given us our money back but we don’t get another shipment until next week.  So I have to go to the grocery store at some point to get food for the week.  And I don’t know when I can realistically that  with the schedule I have this week.  So we will see.

So tired this morning.  I had the goal of straightening out my laundry but haven’t done it yet.  I took my medicine early this morning and I don’t know if it made me sleepier or not.  I have an appointment at 10:30 a.m. so don’t have much time to put a dent in it.  But we will see.  I’m still trying to turn over that new leaf and did well yesterday so hopefully I can do everything I need to do today.

One more week of workshop next week then it’s time to turn in the final project.  We will see how it goes.  I don’t anticipate anything going wrong so I’m looking forward to the end of the semester.  It will be a while before I revisit nonfiction–I’m going to take four fiction classes and two drama classes then come back to the memoir for thesis.  I’m going to talk to my professor about what I need to continue to do on it Monday so we will see what comes of that conversation.  I’m going to ask her where I’ve improved since I first took her class and what I need to continue to work on.

So I need to leave for my appointment.  Hope everyone has  a good day and a good rest of the week.


Five Ways To Safeguard Your Mental Wellbeing This Autumn

Originally posted on My Brain Has Hiccups:
[Article from MiNDFOOD.] Don’t let the cooler weather season get you down, with these five ways to stay happy and content over the…

Another Day, Another Monkey Wrench, Solutions Welcome! (gibberish and rambling are included!)


I am not sure why I can’t seem to remember that I am absolutely powerless to control pretty much anything, especially the whim and will of other people or the weird Kansas weather or (to a degree) how my body will react (generally dramatically, whichever the direction) to a big medication adjustment or how my frizzy-ish hair is going to handle the day’s vacillation in humidity.

Here we are, another week has gone by, there have been ups and downs, but I am surviving, and am in fact surviving in somewhat decent humor.  A bit over a week ago, things were getting a bit too roller-coasterish with my mood, and my Seroquel was increased (for the second time this month) and I really thought that was not going to affect things (overall), too much.  I was, of course, terribly wrong and while it has given me moments of extreme grogginess, the really irritating thing is that I am just extremely hungry at all times, no matter what I have just eaten or what else I have done that day.  In addition, the sugar/carb cravings are back and I really do put a lot of that on the Seroquel.

Some of it is me, though — me not handling anxiety well, me not handing “change” well, me just reverting to slacker (eating) ways.  The other problem the past week or so has been that I have not been able to do my normal exercise routine, partly because of bad knees, but mostly because of serious toe infection (both big toes) and extreme ingrown toenails.  My primary care, thankfully, decided that now was the time to pull both toenails.  They  have actually been giving me trouble for years, so in a sense, I am happy to start over with a fresh nail bed, but it was quite painful and remains a bit more than slightly painful, the dressings are not easy to change, and I have had to back off of my daily trips to the pool to do aqua aerobics.

I am on Day One of no exercise, and one would think I would be faring better, especially considering years and years of slackerdom and the past year in which I barely moved from the couch.  No lie, however, I am going quite stir crazy and have been bouncing from project to project to project.  Nothing is satisfying the itchiness inside my brain, and to keep that itchiness company, my stomach is constantly complaining that it be filled.  It is a miracle that I am not hugely over-eating my plan calories allotment, but the desire is definitely there.

I am going to have to figure out some more creative ways of telling my cycling brain to shush, of telling my growling tummy that it is not in fact starving, of settling the  feeling in my legs of wanting to bounce around, and so forth.  I am employing all of the usual remedies, like chair exercises, doing new crafts, working on special projects for others, reading, talking Kizzie and Lucy’s ears off, browsing the internet, trying to organize different spaces.  I think I need something totally different, and I have thought about it all day and decided that maybe YOU have the suggestion that I am needing.

So please, do tell, what amuses you when you feel similarly?  I am pretty open to suggestions, provided it includes nothing illegal, smoking cigarettes, or imbibing in any kind of mood-altering substance.  Let’s hear it!

Filed under: Collection of Thoughts Tagged: advice, ambivalence, anxiety, Bipolar, busy, change, cycling, depression, exercise, get busy, jittery, mental health, mental wellness, quit smoking, racing thoughts, stay busy, suggestions