Rae’s Confession: The Book Almost Didn’t Happen?

“For many years, these worries ran the show. My team of inner critics ruled my life and kept me from writing this book for you.”

– Amber Rae “Choose Wonder Over Worry”

About “Confession: I Was Dying with my Gifts Still Inside”

Procrastination. The not-so-gentle nudge of the what-if’s. The thoughts of the world not accepting your words, therefore rejecting your biggest dream.

Does it sound familiar?

All these things that many of us experience everyday lay the ground work for this short chapter with Rae’s confession of how she almost didn’t create this life changing book.

This chapter really encouraged me because it showed me that someone with an incredibly huge gift for writing suffered from the same fears I have day after day as I try to aim for my dreams. No one is safe from the inner critic, but it isn’t about the critic, it’s about how you man handle the critic and push forward to be what you are meant to be regardless.

“The reason why rejection hurts..”

This chapter unlocks the fear of rejection that the author experienced because of being in her own way. This is a common fear of great people with great ideas.

As a child, my mom was constantly saying to me, “you don’t need approval from the world to be yourself,” or “stop sabotaging yourself before you have a chance to try.” My mom is a pusher. She never allowed me or my siblings to give up or stop trying to achieve our goals, because against all odds, she never stopped striving for her own. If you stated a goal to her, she pushed until you attained said goal.

As a kid, I hated when my mom did that. I actually thought it was super annoying and unhelpful. As an adult, she instilled this desire within me to meet my goals and be my own motivator in attaining them or evolving the goals.

When I became an unmovable ball of fear, suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, all her lessons felt lost inside my mind. I allowed myself to get in my own way. The worst part is that I didn’t notice I was doing this to myself. That is why this chapter brought me to a deeper understanding that even though I deeply needed this book, the author feared I wouldn’t think she was worthy being the authority of the words within it.

I’m glad she choose wonder, pushed past her anxiety, and created this book that changed my life in many wonderful ways.

If you haven’t had the chance to read it yet, I highly encourage you to check it out.

I think that books that focus on anxiety and panic miss the important things that are happening behind the anxiety and panic. “Choose Wonder Over Worry,” hits every scenario till you figure out where you are struggling and why. It doesn’t take a doctor to unlock the healing power within ourselves, it only takes a will within us to recognize our difficulties and remedy them.

Another interesting part of this chapter is when Rae brings up the topic of comparison. She mentions how her friends are creating their books and bringing them into the world while she is still stuck in a loop of personal criticism.

I’d watch with envy as friends brought their books into the world. I’d be happy for them, of course. And, my soul would ache watching someone else accomplishing a dream that’s still swirling around inside of me.

– Amber Rae “Choose Wonder Over Worry”

In my own life, I have always wondered how some people are able to do these incredibly cool things while I sit back and wish I could do it. I compare myself to them and suddenly I feel completely insecure about who I am versus who they are. When you truly break it down, you can compare all you want, but there is no comparison. We are all completely different, we all have 50 ways to say the same thing, but we are not always understood the same way.

For example, I used to do computer sales for a big office supply company. If one of my coworkers was working with a customer and the sale wasn’t going well, they would come find me or another coworker to help. This is because the whole point was to achieve the goal of a sale. There was no personal commissions, so the only important thing was to make sure the customer left with a computer and protection plan. Even though my coworkers all said the same thing, why is it that only one of us achieved the sale?

The simple answer is the way the information was presented. If sales person A didn’t have the tone of voice, the demeanor, or the right arrangement of words that catered to the customer, they weren’t going to buy.

It’s not a comparison, it’s the way it is! We might really like someone but they just don’t mesh well with our own comfort seeking needs. We might really enjoy talking to someone but perhaps we won’t buy from them because we don’t feel that the person is making a strong case. The main thing is that we all have a way of expression that works with some and not with others. Another great example is multi-level marketing, where some do amazing and others are lucky to make one sale.

Comparing won’t change the outcome. What you do is just a small part of the whole picture and this chapter really unlocks that within me.

Next chapter is “The Choice: Moving From Worry to Wonder.” Get the book and lets keep analyzing. 😁

The Emotionally Charged

There is a point in time when I realized being bipolar is also another way of saying I am emotionally charged.

What is Emotionally charged to me? Basically, I feel the ups and the downs of life. Everyday we all face stuff, and I often allow the stuff to change my demeanor, my attitude, and my happiness. Thus, I slip into an episode.

While I call it emotionally charged, awareness of the emotional connections between the good and the bad “stuff” in life, the psychiatrist will argue that I have bipolar disorder.

Here’s the thing, I don’t believe that numbing my emotions, crippling my ability to think freely, or draining myself of my energy is worth the risk while taking medication. This is why I elect not to treat my emotionally charged self with medications, but rather I face the “stuff” and try to control my own reactions.

What “Stuff” am I referring to?

Right now in my life, there is “good” and “not so good” stuff. The good “stuff” is that I met someone who makes me smile from cheek to cheek. Someone solid and stable and wonderful.

The bad “stuff”, that keeps bribing me back to a shitty place, is the drama of “so-called” friends and baby daddies.

While I am overjoyed at the amazing man I am getting to know, my ex is becoming someone I literally don’t want to know and the other ex is finally less of a bother to me. It’s become so messy though. It’s emotionally charged!

Sometimes I wonder to myself, “what is the right thing to do,” but I almost never have to wonder to myself, “is there actually anything I can do?” Because most of the time there is always something I can do. Especially where my kids are concerned.

I am hoping I can say some prayers and find some clarity. Being content is the only thing I want for my kids and I right now. Especially after all that has happened.

I’m Thankful for…

Today is a holiday I used to believe to be a waste of time. I used to say selfish things like:

What do I have to be thankful for living with bipolar disorder?

Or

Should I be thankful I didn’t commit suicide this year?

It used to be an unhealthy day for me, one where I couldn’t see the people, places or things in my life that were worth being thankful for. Rather, I saw only the bleak light of surviving another year.

Truth bomb right here!

This year, I felt as though the holidays were going to destroy me. With the break up of my 5 year relationship, the 2 suicide attempts, the messy career moves I made that nearly put me over the edge, and the horrible people I allowed into my life under false pretenses, I was uncertain that I would be thankful for anything again this year.

Fortunately, I am.

I am thankful for bipolar disorder and my ability to be more open about my life with bipolar.

There are moments when being myself feels impossible but impossible means I’m possible!

I am thankful for my children and my family who have had my back through the darkest of times.

My reason for being alive comes from the children I created. Born out of love and loved through and through.

I am thankful for my beauty, and my heart that is always full because of family and friends.

When I asked myself, “when did I feel most alive?” My answer was, “when I smiled casually for myself and no one else.”

I am thankful for my will power to survive the darkness even when I thought it would eat me alive or I wouldn’t survive the emotional pain.

I named this graphic “The pieces of my broken heart 💔 “

I am thankful for Bali and all the amazing people that brought healing, love and kindness into my life without expecting anything more than honesty from me.

My adventurous Brother from another mother Jim!

And my brother from another mother Dan, the bloody Englishman who loves to complain in a funny way, but he is an awesome friend!

Finding a family on the other side of the world was a blessing I could never thank the Lord enough for. Thank you to my friends and chosen family in Bali.

My home is on a stage with the ones I love surrounding me. My heart is where I feel alive and loved and blessed.

I am thankful for my breakup from a toxic relationship that brought the worst out of two good people. The change was hard to accept but I am beginning to realize that he was a part of my journey to healing myself and he will always be in my life because of our child.

He had my heart, but then my heart decided that love wasn’t enough. He gave me my sweet little boy, but he also gave me a lot of pain. Thankful for him but definitely thankful for the lessons he taught me. He will find his happiness and I will find mine. ♥️

I am thankful for the difficult lessons I learned in life and in my career, the exciting opportunities I have barely tapped into, and even the frustration with websites that have had issues or were more work than I realized.

My time in Los Vegas at the Reign Beauty Conference for MaskCara Beauty. Check out my website nikimaria.maskcarabeauty.com

I am thankful that the truth always wins and that eventually the harsh truth, whether we like it or not, can save us from making mistakes or not learning from our mistakes.

The truth will always win my friends. Trust until you have a reason not to!

I am thankful for the home I live in and the amazing neighbors and friends I have been blessed with.

Remember to always take the positive with the negative and make something great. #sortasweetsortasavage

I am thankful for the food I am able to buy and the bills I am able to pay.

I am thankful for my Lord for protecting me through the dark times, even when I didn’t think He was there.

I am thankful for myself. For the strength I earned through picking myself up from every disaster and finding new reasons to be balanced.

Rocking the sick look to remind myself that I am still beautiful and worthy of love!

Lastly, I am thankful for my three close friends that all make me feel loved and cared for regardless of my choices or mistakes.

The loving motherly friend who always checks in on me. My Heather! ♥️

The super sweet, super loving Mallori who has my back ride or die style! ♥️

My Andrea who turns the negatives into positives and always shows me how much she cares! ♥️

Lastly, I am thankful for my parents who always worked hard to care for me and give me every opportunity, and every experience I needed, to be the best version of myself. They also combined all their best qualities in creating me.

Mom and dad

There are always things to be thankful for, and I guess this year, rather than believing that my “issues” are not worthy of being thankful for, I choose to be grateful and thankful for them. After all, I wouldn’t be me without them.

This Instagram profile is awesome! Follow @2minds_allign

While this has been a tough year to go through, I struggled a lot and I felt a lot of loss, I realized that today I have more reasons to be thankful than ungrateful. I always have in fact, and it took some reminding to myself that I am stronger and braver than I ever believed.

Being brave was the hardest thing I ever had to do!

I can and did overcome the hard times and learned from those hard times, that I can walk away even if it hurts, I can say goodbye without coming undone completely, and I can live with bipolar disorder without medication because I will not let my brains chemical imbalance live my life for me. I feel blessed to have found my balance during the hardest of hard times, that I have found strength when I wanted to be weak, that I found hope when a situations seemed hopeless, and that I found joy when I felt joyless.

Embrace your beauty and know you are loved by someone or many!

I can only hope that at this time of year, when giving thanks is the theme of the season, that you all will find your reasons why being alive, and being grateful as well as thankful are the true healing sources of living a life with a brain disorder or mental illness. The goal is to create the life worth living by pushing yourself past what you may think is holding you back, and finding joy on the other side of the heartache and suffering.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May you find one or many reasons to be thankful for the little or big blessings in your life. I encourage you to embrace your journey today and to find new meanings for the dark or less favorable realities of your life.

This picture I took when I was sinking inside myself, lost in a loveless relationship, feeling manic and not sleeping or eating well. I was sick, scared, taking substances to cope and not facing my demons. I was lost and not trying to be found. Circa 2016

Even if you feel that getting out of bed seems impossible, you will get through the storm with determination and patience if you believe, have faith, be kind, and let go of the things that are done.

Xoxo 💋 Niki

Powerful Truth This Morning: Comparisons & Self Judgements

I wrote a blog feeling hopeless the other day. I had just gotten home, my energy was low from the long travels and I felt overwhelmed because I was putting expectations on myself.

This was a huge MISTAKE!

I went to Bali to find myself, and find myself was exactly what I did. Sometimes I forget that I have a brain disorder. Sometimes when I feel so full of positive energy, I forget that I am still living with a mental illness to which there is no cure. So rather than giving myself a chance to sleep and replenish myself from an amazing journey, I took to writing a blog.

After I finally slept a lot, I realized that I was just fine. I learned to cope, I learned to believe in my intuitive energy and intuitive mind (or “wise mind” as they call it at the retreat).

Many people have reached out via Instagram or Facebook to ask if I was feeling better. I didn’t answer because I was ashamed that I was falling apart when I was tired from the journey. Let me just say emphatically that YES I am not only feeling much better, but I have a lot of hope for my future. Life isn’t meant to be a struggle all the time, life is meant to have moments of clarity to absorb knowledge and power. I had feared I would return home and fall apart, but I only had a moment when I was too tired to actually assess my feelings.

Guys!! If you are diagnosed with a brain disorder as I am, we absolutely must remember to give ourselves time to feel however we need to feel. That doesn’t mean we will fall apart. I know for me, I have committed most of my adult life to be self aware. I recognize the signs of my fatal demise and the moments when I am going dark sky no stars, and I immediately get help or focus my energy on listening to my body.

Let’s Talk Comparisons!!

Why do we all have a natural tendency to compare? I do it too, I’m not innocent.

If you really think about it, even those without mental illness have tremendous struggles, life itself is not easy for anyone. Plus, self esteem issues can turn into eating disorders or drug abuse, which means we are all destined to have mental issues at some point.

The things we would do well to avoid are comparisons with others. I’ll give you a completely made up example.

If you get on a airplane, and you are having anxiety but the person next to you seems calm as a cucumber, what you may not realize is that they are flying to the funeral of their own mother or sibling or loved one (you never know). So while they may not be scared to fly, they are choking back intense emotions. The moment you compare your anxiety to their emotional turmoil, you don’t get the chance to be a shoulder for them to lean on or a friend to keep you calm.

Not a single comparison is ever truly valid. When you compare, you set yourself up for failure in your own journey. That isn’t helpful for you because you don’t get the chance to love the people you are judging or to love and appreciate yourself. At the end of the day, we are all beings of love, created to love and be loved.

You might think you are damaged because you are currently looking at your life from the standpoint of the disease that you have been told you have, but truthfully, you are NOT broken, you are NOT damaged, you are NOT incapable of fighting whatever demons you have unknowingly unleashed upon yourself.

Rather, You my sweet friends, are beings of love and you are the only person(s) capable of tapping into that love.

Naturally we all feel the pull to bring drama upon ourselves, (my family is rolling their eyes because I am a drama starter like no other at times) but I, we, also have the power to learn from it and grow from it.

It isn’t about the mistakes you make, it’s about how you learn and grow from them. 😉

I have stood where some of you are standing now. I have known a toxic mind, a chaotic thought pattern. I have experienced incredible negative energy and have had my resources depleted completely for no good reason. I have laid in my bed for days, weeks, and months at a time waiting for a reason to get up, gripping onto those in my life that love me to force me out of my personal hell.

I have felt the pull to end the pain and suffering, to take my own life, I have even tried to end it more times than I thought I ever would. I have experienced intense anger and frustration for completely irrational or even made up reasons. I have pushed people away when I needed them because I didn’t know how to ask for help or I wasn’t ready to be helped. I have cried enough to fill a river, possibly an ocean but who really knows 🤷‍♀️🤣. I have been risky and made poor choices that could have or, in the past, did destroy me for a short time. I have experienced times when sleep didn’t matter, drugs were fun, drinking was necessary for survival, and life was a game of chess and I was the queen controlling the chaos. I have been manic and depressed at the same time and slipped into psychosis where I tried to convince myself I had murdered my mom, my children, or others I love in my sleep (which was completely untrue) and I became paralyzed with grief. I have experienced a shit load of trauma and went through the painful journey to forgiving myself for holding onto it. My point is;

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Trust in this, Bipolar Disorder, or any of the brain disorders, take away your ability to control your thought process easily. But I learned something about that (dare I say) bullshit. The human brain isn’t a calculated place that does what it’s supposed to, it isn’t going to follow a mediocre line of what is “normal,” that scientists can use to make assumptions. The mind is everywhere and nowhere, completely unmeasurable and unpredictable. It cannot be measured or quantified by Scientific law.

The human brain, the mind, the subconscious, is the place of reckoning, a place of learning and a place of the truest truths that can only be seen by its own host. We all have it, we all have the power to use it for good or for evil. No scientist can predict it. It is the ultimate freedom, the ultimate clarity. What about when we make mistakes?

Mistakes & The Fixes That Might Just Work!

Do you ever notice that when you make a huge mistake, you suddenly slip away to panic or anxiety attacks, you become overwhelmed or you feel completely hopeless and desperate for a solution immediately to end the discomfort?

If you think of the brain as a place of personal judgement, the order keeper, the director of the body, The orderly, the president of all things you, then you will understand that there is nothing wrong with you, even if you make a mistake!

So, you made a mistake, you are not broken beyond repair because you fucked up, you are not damaged goods, you are not worthless, you are just misreading the signals your brain is sending to you to help you improve and grow. If you tune in, you will be able to rationalize why you made the mistake in the first place.

Think of it like this, you eat a piece of broccoli. The green veggie hits your tongue and you decide, “this isn’t yummy.” Right then you decide to avoid broccoli forever, even though one day you might try it again, but not today. There are so many foods, why waste your energy on this one food you don’t care for? That is the logically explanation your mind is providing.

Now apply that logic to your other mistakes. For example, you start a rumor about a close friend. In this moment, you had a touch of jealousy or you felt angry (whatever reason you had), so you start this little seemingly harmless rumor to balance the scales and seek out your shitty revenge (which is a learning opportunity).

Suddenly, your close friend finds out and confronts you aggressively. Tearing down your foundation, saying, “how dare you judge me when you are so fucked the fuck up!” This causes your mistake to become a mirror of all shitty things you have ever done and how they are right about you.

Pause ….

You have allowed the words they said to unlock your brain in a full blown assault. Perhaps you will lay in bed for months and begin to beat yourself up with other negative things you did or feel responsible for, and suddenly you slip into a suicidal place. Thoughts start racing uncontrollably because your laziness has decided to stop fighting the inevitable.

Why should I live? What good am I? I am a burden. I am a loser. I ruin people for sport. I am no good to anyone, not even myself.

Well now that you have defiled yourself and broke down like an old Chevy on a dark road, here’s my advice to your brain:

SHUT UP BRAIN!!

This is all a lie! You made a mistake, you are not a completely fucked person because you fucked up. Slow down friend.

Just like the broccoli, or whatever food you dislike, that you decided you wouldn’t eat again, try to tell yourself that this mistake you made isn’t who you are, it is just a bad taste you don’t want to experience again. While it is easy to avoid broccoli (or the foods you don’t like) because it is a tangible thing and your brain is conditioned to avoid yucky stuff, drama can be harder to avoid, but not impossible.

Just take a moment to understand why you made the mistake, and how it would feel had it been done to you. Take all the time you need to properly assess. Also, try very hard not to judge your entire character on one mistake.

Always remember, this mistake was meant to happen. Mistakes happen because we are craving growth and in order to grow, one must accept their flaws, embrace their self imposed limitations, and stand up with new ways of evolving. Here’s a quick exercise you might try when you made a mistake.

Start by grabbing a piece of paper. This will calm down and quiet the mind. Plus it can give you the quiet space to ask yourself some simple questions in order to slow down the self judging thoughts.

Take your time and answer the following questions honestly without the self abuse or self judgements. Answer them as if your happiness is trapped in a cage and these questions are the key to unlocking it.

  1. What would you want to happen if this mistake you made was done to you by someone or something else?
  2. How would you be able to let it go in a healthy and healing way?
  3. What steps would you hope someone would take to fix the problem, (if this had been done to you)?
  4. Would you be willing to forgive someone or something if they did to you what you have just done to them?
  5. Moving forward, can you ever trust that this situation won’t happen again or accept that it might?

Then take those answers, fold the paper, and rip it up. After you rip the paper, place it on the floor, sit down, and close your eyes. Take 8 really deep and cleansing breaths. In through your nose (feeling your belly fill up) then out through the mouth.

While you take these 8 deep and cleansing breaths, inhale the air and repeat:

I am letting go and accepting of love.”

Then exhale and repeat:

I made a mistake but I am not a mistake.”

Next, walk away physically, mentally and emotionally from your situation for a few hours. In this time, watch a good/funny tv show, hang with your friends who don’t know about your mistake or don’t want to talk about your mistake, or hang with your family. The whole point is that you will not dwell on this mistake because you have taken an action and now you need to give yourself time to escape it for a few hours.

Try to remember you just took a step to solving the problem so right now, there is nothing to say about it or do about it.

After a few hours or a good nights rest, re-answer the questions with a fresh mind, and after a little space. Maybe your answers will change, maybe not. But the answers you put on the paper the second time are the ones I encourage you to use if you choose to take action.

By taking action, do what you would want done for you. If I made a mistake and my answer was that I would want someone to write me a letter apologizing and explaining why they felt the need to hurt me, then I would take action and write the letter apologizing and explaining very vulnerably why I made the choice in the first place. It is not up to you to determine what method of apology will work better for the person you hurt. Your only task is to be yourself and therefore no answer is wrong.

Just remember not to expect anything after you right the wrong or if you decide not to take action. What is meant for us, will never leave us permanently. If you make a mistake, you can only say sorry sincerely one time before you are forcing something that isn’t meant for you. Some people are forgiving but may never forget. That leaves you to decide if you want to be plagued by the mistake forever.

REMEMBER: You are never ever required to suffer from a mistake forever just because you feel responsible or unworthy. Mistakes are mistakes, every accident is the consequence of a mistake set in motion. Believe the truth that grief is good, grief is healthy when it is necessary! Letting go requires grief, whether the situation is big or small. You are only human. You don’t have to be sensitive to the judgements of others, you did the work, you learned from this mistake, and you may even do it again one day, but you are still a shining star worthy of love and acceptance.

While I took a little bit of a rabbit hole in this blog post, I want to point out that my blog from yesterday was not legitimate or honest to me. It was a mistake to write about my feelings before I knew what they were and I am choosing to forgive myself and let go of it now without removing the mistake. We are all capable of being bigger than we believe we are, but exhaustion can distort reality.

Reach out if I can support you with anything.

Xo

Niki

My Real Life …. Huge Joke

I’m home. I missed being home because of the familiar faces and my children. But I am miserable.

I don’t know why, I can’t explain it, I wish I could understand how I am capable of being my truest self in Bali, then coming home and forgetting who I am. I was so Happy and so alive, feeling healthy and wonderful in Bali to coming home and feeling like my true self took a hike and left a shell of that girl in its place.

I know I am jet lagged, which is why I am trying so hard to be patient, but it seems to me that this isn’t much different than before I left. I just genuinely hate myself here in my real life. My real life is currently a mix of heartache, pain, sadness from missing my children, worthlessness from being a shitty mom to a shitty daughter, shitty human, shitty friend. I feel like I’m two feet tall with no strength.

I didn’t have the urge to be depressed or manic while I was away, now I have this strong desire to lay in my bed and forget the world exists. I am so tired of fighting this emptiness. I am literally exhausted from not being able to see myself being happy here no matter how hard I fucking try.

If it is true that everywhere you go there you are, then why? Why was I happy and now I can’t see one happy thing here? I got home and all the air was sucked out of the sky and given to more important people than me.

I wish I could make sense of this, but I don’t have any answers. I just feel like my family is happier when I’m not here, most likely everyone is. I am too much for them, too much of a stressor, too much of a mess, too loud, I shine too brightly that it’s annoying. I can’t seem to find the energy to pick myself up in this world I live in. I feel depleted all the time. Exhausted and sad and pathetic, and it all started with the shitty stuff my ex has put me through!

Yes I am aware of how pathetic it is to love someone who doesn’t love you, how pathetic it is to have your family helping to care for you because you are not working enough to do it yourself. I know it’s pathetic that I can’t drive! I’m just pathetic. The sooner I accept it the better.

Today, it was suggested I have Stockholm syndrome. I am so tired of everything having to have a meaning. Maybe it’s nothing more than being totally done with life here! Maybe I’m just broken hearted. Maybe I just loved him! Maybe I just feel sad because I’m heartbroken. Maybe I need to lay in bed and let the exhaustion figure itself out. Medication won’t fix it, therapy won’t fix it, working is scaring me because driving is still scaring the shit out of me! I truly feel like I’m locked in a cage.

Maybe I’m unfixable. Maybe that’s just what it is and I’m never going to be enough for the people that support me! Maybe it’s just the way it is because I’m not perfect and I won’t make the logical decisions they know I need to, but logic means losing the last chance I have for a true family. That hurts more than anything he could do or say to me.

Of course my logical brain knows that he is no good for me, in fact he is terrible to me, and I should run away. Of course my logical brain knows I am better than the drama. Unfortunately, the logical brain isn’t in control right now, and most of the time when it comes to love my logical brain is no where to be found.

I am praying I find things to make me happy here in my shitty life. If not then I am heading back to despair which I won’t live with anymore.

Hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have, Hope is a dangerous thing for a woman with my past.

– Lana Del Ray

Have Faith in the Bigger Plan

Sometimes I find myself getting so caught up in the details.

At home, I work myself up when things don’t go at least somewhat as they should or how I envisioned in my mind. This is because I set an expectation. The root of all negative things for me stems from freaking expectations!

Today, I had a schedule to have a surf lesson. I was overtired and a little burnt out from the sun after my weekend getaway in Amed this past weekend. I felt like my outward energy was repelling the idea of surfing this morning. I mean I want to do it, but not today, is all I could think about.

All the stars aligned, however, because I accepted that whatever was meant to be, is what will be! I gave my energy to the universe and something happened. It was as if that second I let go of my feelings about whether the activity happened or not the bigger plan determined the course of the morning.

Rather than surfing, which I wasn’t ready to do today, I enjoyed a calming and enlightening yoga experience instead. This was exactly what my body was craving today. It was refreshing and the perfect way to get my new healing week under way.

The funny thing about all of it, is that I didn’t once feel irritated or disappointed that the day wasn’t perfect to plan. In fact, I realized that having faith in the bigger plan was more exhilarating and required less energy. I have come to believe that having a mental illness requires routine to some degree, but the routine has to feel right to me in my current state. That’s the part I keep pushing away, the reminder that routine is nice, but that I am more flexible than a strict schedule with diligent rules.

This go with the flow feeling has been so helpful for me in my healing journey. There are moments that I can sense my fear, my sadness about things at home, but then I remind myself that I can only control my reactions to the world around me. Life is supposed to be unpredictable and even messy at times. It’s up to me to find order for myself in the chaos. I am trying to honor that thoroughly.

This journey is meant to be how it is going. If I take a handful of cut paper and throw them on the floor, they will create an arrangement. The arrangement will never be the same if I try to do it again. I will choose to remember that everything that happens, will only ever happen this way once. That is why I must appreciate the experience because it will change even if all the factors are the same. ♥️🙏

F*ck … The War is Coming

Inner child therapy is fucking hard. It hurts a lot. It makes me see the pain much deeper than I thought was possible.

The wreck-less mess she made of me

I just realized today that my 15 year old self is a narcissistic, brat, who got traumatized so much she doesn’t know the difference between pleasure and pain. She has been in control more than the present me. I am 32 fucking years old and I have fallen down a lot to now allowing myself to lean on a bad time in my life when the hormonal and bitchy 15 year old was driving through like a freight train.

Not anymore. I’m kicking her ass and showing her who is in control now and how I will not give up control anymore. Time to sit down, the mama is coming out, the fighter is about to take you down to where you belong little girl. You’ve shown me yours and my own pain today, I’m grateful for that, but I will be damned if I keep letting you steal my joy.

Want to see the strength I have from being locked inside for so long? I am about to unleash the soldier.

Time for some boxing. Time to break open and fight, let my body, my fist, my legs fight it till the physical pain makes me stop hiding from her and eventually I will face her without disassociating.

In my mind she is 30 feet tall stepping on the joy, the love and the ability to heal myself.

Not anymore!

Fighting back finally

I Opened My Eyes

Medicine. Nervous breakdowns. Depression. Bipolar. Rapid Cycling. Suicide…. what does it all mean? Why does it happen?

I have been living in this circle of hell for a long time. A place where my mind believes it’s trapped. I’m done being trapped. Being trapped is like not knowing yourself at all and hoping you find yourself one day, “eventually”, “miraculously”.

Many people in my life have told me that “nothing great or worth having ever comes easy”! Well then I guess finding myself will be the greatest quest I ever embarked on because I will finally know me after the hardest few years of my life.

I opened my eyes tonight to this opportunity. It came when I heard this song. Quick tidbit about me, I have an obsession with finding music that I have never heard and seeing if the song can invoke any feelings and this song did.

It’s called “Oceans” by Seafret.

I am sure the song was meant for someone that he loved and lost but in my case, it’s for the me I must have loved at some point but then I lost myself ….

I still wonder how I got so lost. What happened to allow me to drift so far? Maybe I don’t need to know that answer, maybe I do, or maybe I just need to know how to be better than just okay.

I have so many friends I admire so much, for their strength in persevering when life has kicked them down. Maybe they hid their pain better than me, but watching them survive stuff I knew I wouldn’t survive as well made me want to fix me.

My friend K went through a brutal heartache, hurt for a long time, and survived and is thriving. My friend Andrea wrote a book about surviving divorce with children call Single Mom Slaying It. My friend D suffered an illness that doctors couldn’t figure out and tried to put him on mental health meds. My friend M went through a terrible breakup after being in a relationship for ten years.

My friends are WARRIORS! I kept thinking to myself, “Why can’t I be a warrior too?” No one said I couldn’t so I’m going to try with everything left in me to come back from this.

To all of you who have let me in on what you struggle with, thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me the strength to believe I can overcome this too. You are all my people for life no matter where we all end up!

The Truth About Suicide for World Suicide Prevention Day

Suicide is not selfish. Suicide is deep and inescapable pain that could only be ended when life is over. September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, educate yourself on suicide and save a life.

Today is “World Suicide Prevention Day”. It’s a little ironic that it is one day before 9/11 when a group of men decided to commit suicide and take the lives of many innocent people while ending their own lives.

I have struggled to understand suicide until I myself was forced to face the overwhelming feelings of wanting to end the pain during some tough depressive episodes. I was surprised to learn that suicide isn’t isolated to just those who suffer from mental health disorders, which I had always believed, however, suicide affects many people for many different reasons. I feel blessed to have had a strong support system in my toughest and darkest moments.

What World Suicide Prevention Day Means to me: My Suicide Stories

Today is an important day for me because I have struggled with suicidal thoughts and ideations for many years. Trying to remind myself that I am not a burden to those I love is the hardest thing to do when I feel as low as I could be. Many times, I fought for my survival before I would reach a point of Suicide because of TJ.

When I was 15, TJ, the first man I ever loved, took his own life. I spent 17 years blaming myself, feeling enormous grief, and struggling with the agony of knowing he was gone. Until recently, when I spoke to his brother about what really led to his decision, I blamed myself for being the last one to speak to him before he made the choice that changed my life forever.

I didn’t know then what I know now. What I learned through my own depression is that suicide doesn’t discriminate about whether someone is beautiful, popular, easy to get along with, caring, and honest, suicide is an inescapable depressive state where your mind is at war with itself and has convinced you that if you live, the people who love you have to be burdened by your pain and hopelessness. That the people who love you will always have to work exceptionally hard to remind you that you are worthy and that you will be okay.

The simple truth is people who commit suicide do so to save the people they love from having to be burdened by their own deep sadness and pain. Suicidal thoughts don’t see another option when you are staring at the abyss of deep and endless depression. The depression becomes all consuming, sucking away your energy, all the positive thoughts, all the love you have, and all the reasons you are worthy. Depression doesn’t fight fair, in fact it fights you with your deepest fears, your worst memories, your hardest losses and all the self conscious parts of yourself. It reminds you constantly that you are worthless, ugly, unloved, unhappy, and a huge burden to the people whom you love.

Most people say to me when I’m low, “what about your children? What about your family? You have so much to live for and so many people who love you. You are so kind, beautiful, talented and you are better than this.” I have even heard people say, “snap out of it, stop being dramatic. Your life seems so perfect. You are going to hurt so many people. Don’t leave me because I love you and it will kill me to see you gone.”

The reality is this, when you are at the edge of a cliff, you have already made the choice that the ones you love are better off without you and the burdens you believe yourself to be (no matter how untrue it is). In your mind, you are staring into a great void. You have been fighting for days, weeks and years to convince yourself that you are worthy, but you have failed at doing that and the only way to escape is to end the pain, to stop the thoughts and be at peace. There is no, “get it together” switch inside the mind. Being attacked by the mind is a war far greater than most people realize.

Depression illuminates the brain and sets your mind into a free fall of all the sadness and negativity you have ever experienced. It’s traumatizing to experience painful memories all over again in vivid detail as the brain fires off one thing after another.

I used to have panic attacks when I would think about suicide, then I started to embrace that I wasn’t enough and never would be. Many of you have never, and hopefully will never, know what it feels like to stare into the darkness and how much strength it takes to come out of it with your life. I don’t have a desire to die, but many times I had a desire to end the torment so I can be at peace.

Today, for World Suicide Prevention Day, check on someone who you feel or know is struggling. Take it from me, if someone would have checked on me during my hopelessness, I may have had a reason “why not” to resort to suicide. Someone sharing that they care in my darkest hour may have given me a small glimmer of hope to get help before I found myself writing my final goodbyes. A phone call, not a text, or a visit can save a life. Be someone’s hero so you never have to attend their funeral and feel the blame of not having done something to show them you care.

Learn more about Suicide

A great resource is The Depression Project. They share incredible information about detecting whether or not someone you love is at risk for suicide. The Depression Project started the Semicolon Project

Suicide is a complex issue involving numerous factors and should not be attributed to any one single cause. Not all people who die by suicide have been diagnosed with a mental illness and not all people with a mental illness attempt to end their lives by suicide.

Learn more at The Depression Project

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day

Andrew Solomon delivers a deeply profound truth during his TED Talk entitled, “Depression, the Secret We Share.”

We know depression through metaphors. Emily Dickinson was able to convey it in language. Goya in an image. Half the purpose of art is to describe such iconic states. As for me, I had always thought myself tough, one of the people who could survive if I had been sent to a concentration camp.

He continues to say,

One of the things about depression is that you know it’s ridiculous. You know it’s ridiculous while your experiencing it. You know that most people manage to listen to their messages and eat lunch and organize themselves to take a shower and go out the front door and that it’s not a big deal, and yet you are none-the-less in its grip and you are unable to figure out any way around it.

Been A Little While…

Hey everyone.  I have been so stressed out with life lately that posting on Instagram has been about the only thing I do to keep up with my mental health network online and I know that isn’t enough.  Just a crazy couple of months with the holidays and then school starting back up and football for my oldest son… I am starting to spin a little lol!! Plus I am back to work after taking some time off to get my mental and physical health in order.  I was diagnosed with a condition called Dysautonomia (also called POTS) and that explains why I have been so off this last year.

Also, I have finally decided to get medicated for my bipolar disorder.  Normally I enjoy the ups and downs, because they never get so bad and I get surges of creativity and enlightenment, but lately they have been super shitty.  I get really down and it is physically draining, plus I have developed awful anxiety over absolutely nothing and the panic attacks are true hell.  Before, I used to think it would pass and somehow it was what I was eating or not eating that was causing the panic attacks to come on stronger.  I also thought maybe it was the benzos that the doctor put me on to manage the panic attacks that was making it worse.  Needless to say, I quit the benzos, Valium to be exact, and started eating healthier and working out which seems to be helping quite a bit.  The healthier lifestyle unfortunately isn’t helping the terrible bipolar episodes but I am going to see my new psychiatrist this Friday to try medications that will help manage the bipolar.

In addition, I started seeing a new therapist.  She is my mom’s pick for me.  Apparently she is well versed in dealing with substance abuse, bipolar, anxiety, depression, panic and PTSD.  I am not convinced that therapy helps at this point because it hasn’t worked yet and I cannot remember a time I was not in therapy over the passed 10 or so years (that may be a slight exaggeration but I truly cannot remember how long it has been).

My boyfriend, as of lately, has me wondering if I am marriage material for him since we have been together for 4 years and he has yet to ask me to marry him.  I am thinking it is because of my crazy manic or depressed episodes, but I have had boyfriends who were around a lot less time and asked for my hand in marriage so it blows my mind that I have been in this committed relationship for 4 going on 5 years and no ring or even talking about a ring.  Is it wrong that I am questioning this?  If we were younger, I could understand the need to wait, but I am 30 almost 31 with 2 kids. I live with this man and share everything with him, I feel like marriage conversations should have happened a million times already.  This isn’t meant to throw him under the bus, I just feel like my 30’s are pushing me to want a more grown up relationship and I don’t feel bad about that.  I am not in my teens or twenties and I feel weird calling a man my boyfriend like a bunch of youngens.

Lastly, I have been super stressed out about my health. I have been getting super shaky during the day around breakfast, lunch and dinner time because I am starving.  I have never felt like that before and it is really messing me up.  I used to be a soda drinker and now, I down water all day and night so this isn’t making much sense to me.  Maybe I need to have some blood work done to check my hemoglobin or my thyroid checked. I don’t know much about this, I just know its affecting my ability to control my panic attacks.  I usually can control them if it is only a panic attack but if it is more than anxiety, and my brain is thinking “you are hungry”, “you are shaking”, “your stomach is hurting”, “your muscles are hurting”, “your head is hurting”, or “you need a cigarette (which I haven’t smoked since November)”, then the panic attacks go from 0 to 60.  I don’t like those panic attacks.  They scare me because I can’t use my tools to calm them down, I have to do something like eat or go to the bathroom or stretch.

I always say to myself, “one day this will hopefully pass and you will be able to live without constant fear.” I have been saying that for 6 or more years.  I am convinced that I will not get through this and that is bothersome to me.  I have never been a “normal person” but at least before panic attacks, I could drive a car, be alone, go shopping alone, or just generally be okay in my own skin. I only vaguely remember what that was like.  I do try my ass off to keep reminding myself that there is a way that this will get better and I have to have both faith and patience that whatever is meant to be, will be.  Patience is harder than faith though.  I can give this over to my higher power (Jesus for me) but I cannot seem to be patient.  That is the part I need to release control of.  I know that being on the proper medications will help a lot of anxiety for me, and the tools I learned will sort out the rest (hopefully).

Anyhow, I just wanted to post an update after being incognito for a little while.  I will try to be more invested in blogging and keeping you all up to date on whats going on with me.

XO,

Niki