Deafening Defeat…

My anger quelled today. I realized a number of things that were flawed in my thought process about my aunt dying at the hands of the pandemic.

The magic that I believed in was tested and I feel like I partially failed at that test. Here’s what I learned.

Anger is Part of the Normal Grieving Process

My anger was bad, but it was part of my personal grieving process. Had I acknowledged that fact, I would have come out of it a lot faster.

When you lose someone you deem special, and they go so fast that you feel like you barely even had a moment to digest what was happening before the outcome, it is frustrating. I will always miss her laughter as well as the fun conversations we would have. This is hard to accept because I really enjoy her jovial personality and all the amazing times I have had with her. Knowing it won’t happen again, gives me a loss of control which is frustrating and enraging to me.

You Can Have Trust or Control…

I did a bible study a few weeks ago that had never left me. The Bible study devotional said:

“Nothing is going to happen without me being forewarned and prepared to face it.

The problem, however, is that trust and control do not coexist. You can have control or you can have trust, but you can’t have both.”

YouVersion Bible App

Reading this really opened my eyes to some truth I never realized. I have spent my life thinking I was trusting when truly I was forcing myself to be controlling of each situation in hopes I could navigate the outcome somehow. I am now making a conscious effort to be more trusting.

I have to tell you, choosing to trust is a more beautiful way to live. Living with trust over control is also one of the most challenging things I have ever had to do. I didn’t realize how much effort it is to change an adherent quality of myself until I started making an effort.

With all that being said, by honoring my journey to choosing trust over control, I have quelled the anger of my aunts passing by remembering that I have to trust that this was meant to happen.

Additionally, a conversation with my aunt B. opened my eyes to how being inquisitiveness doesn’t always serve us. Sometimes you have to accept the intricacies of human existence as it is because you cannot change the past. Why question what happened when it all worked out as it should? (But I suck at this because I need answers when frankly there aren’t always answers readily available.)

Love is The Beginning & Love is the End

The last thing that helped stop the angry and frustrated thinking was remembering that I loved aunt Joanne. I loved her like a mother figure, like someone who believed in me with fierce loyalty no matter what I did. I never felt as if I deserved that level of faith, but if she was capable of that for me, don’t I owe her my loving support in her departure?

Love begot the world, and love will be there in the end. She was loved and maybe she didn’t hear it enough, but at the end, we made sure she knew how loved she truly was. We comforted her with our voices while she laid in a coma, telling her how much she meant to us. I will never be able to thank God enough for that.

The pandemic is terrible. Many people are dying alone. It’s enraging and devastating, but please try to take a moment to pray that God is opening his gates to all these souls, even if they haven’t had the chance to come to Him before dying.

I could never believe anyone is unworthy of the love of our Lord, no matter what the Bible or religious leaders teach. The Jesus I have come to know is so full of love that there is no way he would leave even the worst of us to burn in some hell fire. That love from Jesus makes the anger within me feel less severe.

I didn’t intend on turning this post into a religious one, but when death, grief and loss are involved, it’s hard not to share faith and belief.

Today I am grateful I found a way to let go of my pain and anger. The feelings are still raw and the wounds deep, but I know that I can’t be angry forever. Thank you all for not judging me as I ranted about my disgust and rage yesterday. I am only imperfectly human and the shock crippled me.

Rest In Peace my sweet Aunt Joanne. You are loved everywhere you go and missed deeply. Your loss is not what I would have ever wanted, but I’m eternally grateful to have had you in my life, to have had your love, and your faith in me. Rest easy my angel. 🙏

Choosing Wonder

Choosing Wonder IS the easiest choice. Wonder expresses how much you value the feelings of anxiety and how badly you want to heal those feelings. Amber Rae offers some amazing advice in her authentic book, “Choose Wonder over Worry.”

I have read and continue to read this incredible book I found by chance called, “Choose Wonder Over Worry,” by Amber Rae. Let me say, I give this book 10 out of 5 stars because 5 just doesn’t seem like enough.

I have been through a lot in my life and I don’t remember experiencing noteworthy anxiety until I was in my early 20’s. Now, after years of suffering, reading blogs, forums, medical journals, books, anything that would help me understand and overcome this intense fear I had inside, I found this book.

This book was the first thing that truly resonated with me and it’s taken me so long to write this blog because I couldn’t think of the right words to express to everyone of how invaluable this book became in my healing journey.

If you haven’t read the book, click here to buy it. Truly the author, Amber Rae, speaks from experience.

While I read this book, I have become obsessed with highlighting the best parts. When I finished reading, I had highlighted nearly the whole book. Every chapter fulfills the lessons I need in order to be the best me and offer my best self everyday to everyone.

She adds journal posts to the end of almost every chapter called, “Journal Into Wonder.” I am going to write posts journaling my entries so I can find my awesome fellow “wonder writers” who want to share in this healing journey together.

The First Journal Entry

Again, grab the book here if you want to join in this fun series!

“The answers are already within you. You’ll find journal prompts throughout the book to connect you with your inner knowing and voice of truth. Begin with this inquiry:”

What is your relationship like with Worry? With Wonder?

– Amber Rae “Wonder Over Worry”

My Relationship with Worry

I connected with Worry when I was in my early 20’s right after my son was born. I had always had a little cautious voice inside telling me to be careful, make smart choices, and I was not great at listening to it. The worrying really began when I was responsible for another human life with the birth of my first child.

Suddenly the world was more dangerous, the emotional roller coasters were more harmful, and I was all around terrified about how all this would affect the wellbeing of this tiny human that was entrusted to me. I started having anxiety attacks when he was about 6 months old, and soon after, I developed panic attacks and phobias of driving and being alone. My relationship with Worry became a 10+ year quest to balancing my internal fear with the reality and faith of being alive.

My Relationship with Wonder

Wonder was never easy for me to comprehend, even though I have a naturally curious personality. I considered myself to be a logistical person, everything had to make sense in a realistic way.

The concept of wonder is fairly new to me still. Prior to reading this book, I would allow myself to get anxious when I was feeling anxious. Now, I think about the meaning behind the anxiety and try to be patient with myself throughout the observation and consideration of what is going on to cause the anxiety.

I would say wonder has opened my mind to exploring what hides beneath the anxiety, the fear, the phobias to discover how to heal myself.

I encourage you again to grab this book and get involved in this impromptu conversation digging into Wonder and Worry. If you are suffering from Panic attacks or anxiety attacks, I know you will appreciate the work of Amber Rae.

I suspect you’re reading this because there are aspects of yourself that you want to discover and express. I wrote this book to coax that out of you. To show what’s possible when wonder leads the way.

“Choose Wonder Over Worry” by Amber Rae

How To Love Someone Unconditionally

I have heard the advice on the topic of lasting love from happily married couples repeating itself in my mind.

The secret to lasting love is learning to love someone unconditionally.

Sounds so easy right? Unfortunately, I have never had a basic knowledge for what it means or what it takes to love someone unconditionally (besides my parents, family, and children). I have had a great example, but no personal experience. Therefore in this post I want to share what I learned on my quest to understanding unconditional love, what it means to me, and how I plan to implement it in my life with a lover, and with myself. My blog posts on understanding love will likely turn into a series due to the complexity of the emotion.

The Definitions in Simple English

When I start researching a topic, the first step I take is to define the variables, then I research what each variable means and what it represents. I am a programmer so that is the process I take in writing code or understanding life. The variables in this post are the words, “unconditional” and “love”.

I need to understand what they mean on their own, as separate entities. The thing I love, and loath, about the English language are the varying degrees of uncertainty in defining things. Every definition leaves so much room for interpretation.

I’m going to start with unconditional.

According to the dictionary, unconditional is:

not subject to any conditions, absolute.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/unconditional

The thesaurus offers similes that include:

decisive, definite, explicit, full, genuine, outright, thorough, unequivocal, unlimited, unqualified, and unrestricted (among many more).

https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/unconditional

What I got from this is that unconditional is essentially a sure thing, unbreakable, and completely unlimited.

Now for defining love, which is not as easy. Love has so many thousands of definitions, depending on context, which makes it harder to define. Let me start with the dictionary. According to the dictionary, love means:

a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/love

Due to my religious beliefs, here’s what the Bible says about Love:

“There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.”

Proverbs 30:18-19

“Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.”

Ruth 1:16-17

“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ … So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.”

Genesis 2:18–25

Let’s examine briefly, the difference between being in love with someone and loving someone wholly.

Love or In Love?

On my quest to understanding unconditional love, I learned of the differences between being in love and loving someone. I didn’t know there was a difference and more so, I had no idea that there was actually more to “love” then just the electricity of a connection or the building of a relationship.

Being “in love” is a like a cosmic explosion. It comes on passionately, madly even, and consumes your thoughts, revs up your emotions, and develops strong surface level feelings that are fleeting. To be in love is what many define as having acute feelings. These feelings aren’t lasting, but they have the capacity to turn into something great if both parties work at it and except each other at face value.

Being in love with someone can fade over time. With this in mind, when you’re in love with someone, this spike of intense feelings and emotions can be fleeting. In other words, you can go from intensely adoring someone and being hopelessly in love with him or her to having these emotions diminish as time passes on and the novelty has worn off. In fact, being in love with someone isn’t a guarantee that you’ll feel this same way forever.

https://www.mydomaine.com/whats-the-difference-between-being-in-love-and-love-3976739

Loving someone is sustainable. To love someone, you are pledging to weather the storms together. Loving someone is what is needed to have a partner for life. Loving someone is unconditional, and leads to the creation of strong families. To love someone, you risk the arguments about real life topics to see reveal if you have a lasting connection. Loving someone is unconditional.

Loving someone on the other hand, goes beyond the physical presence. You desire to see them grow, you see past their flaws, you see opportunities of building into each other and together; you motivate, encourage and inspire one another. You do not have to second-guess or ask before you step in to do so. Loving someone requires 100 percent commitment on your part. The concept of true love is hard to comprehend by some. Hence, they get the wrong impression when dating someone who completely gets it. They cannot seem to understand why they deserve the love you are giving. This may make the relationship feel like it is one-sided.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/falling-in-love-vs-loving-someone_b_57709758e4b0fa01a14049fa

Now that I know what love and unconditional mean by definition of the English language, and what it means to be in love or love someone, I’m going to deduce my understanding and make some assumptions.

Simple Addition & Subtraction

Unconditional says definitively that it is absolute. It is forever and has no conditions that must be met. Unconditional is unrestricted, unlimited, undisputed by rules and “should be’s”.

Then love is affection, tenderness and warmth that deeply connects two people. Love is a union of a relationship. Love is the simplest of thing, but yet the most important emotional need of all humans. Many emotions seem to stem from love and therefore love is the goal in emotional contentment. This goes for all relationships in life.

My way of defining unconditional love is that it is an affection that is given unselfishly, without burden, and represents loyalty, compassion, trust, communication and the promise of always being there. Unconditional love is the kind of love that can withstand any storm knowing it can’t shake or rattle the connection or the desire to be connected to each other. Unconditional love is loving someone wholeheartedly and excepting that the person is imperfectly human.

Love is not just a word. Love is truly hard to understand and when we experience deep feelings that we know will flee, we know we have fallen in love and what we do next determines if the love is forever or not.

Now that I know the secret to lasting love, I want to know how to ensure it doesn’t disappear or fade with time. My next post on this topic will focus on how to keep love alive. I want to know how to keep choosing love or walking away when life gets hard. Love, in my experience, is very fragile. If you don’t find new ways to love before you walk, it will disconnect you from the person you love. The results are miserable, depression-driven heartache.

I would love to hear what you think about the topic of unconditional love. Share what you have learned or links that you found helpful. I love learning about emotions and how I can be my best version always.

The Fragile State of Frustration

In life, I have made these choices that I knew would probably end up bad at the time I made them, but I forged forward ignoring the clear signs. Maybe my hope in humanity is much greater than it should be, but I can’t stop believing that people are more good than bad.

I was taught by my amazing parents to treat others the way you want to be treated. I struggled for a long time with this lesson, and I even lied to myself that I was doing it, when I wasn’t in many cases. I know lately, I have been making an amazing effort to be good to those who are good to me and that is a beautiful transformation.

The Frustration About My Recent Choices

Lately, I have made an insane amount of good and bad choices in regards to my happiness and who I surround myself with.

The best choice I have made lately is my choice in a lover. My sweet, handsome spark of goodness who makes everything positive, even when it seems impossible.

The worst choices I have made, as of recently, was letting an old friend tear me apart again, believing she was actually a good person who was capable of love and compassion. Then I made the bad choice of believing (and having faith) that my ex was capable of being a decent human being when clearly he isn’t, and never will be. Both of these people do not have boundaries and would benefit from learning how to give as much as they take, and now I know that they are not good for me. It hurts a lot to let them both go again, but at least I stayed true, and authentic to myself throughout the situations that were meant to destroy my self confidence. I gave them both a chance in hopes that there was more to the story then the pain and destruction they continuously bring into my life.

I’m moving forward now

Someone once said to me:

When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.

From now on, I am no longer going to waste my time, energy and loyalty on people who don’t wish to exchange energy in a healthy way. I have an amazing amount of love in my life because I surround myself with good, decent, positive people who do not believe in harming me for fun or shoving their feelings down my throat as though I have no feelings to feel myself.

I want to blame my need to salvage bad relationships and selfish people from their personal torments on my own empathy, but truly I just care so much and have so much compassion for others that I give my heart and soul to everything and, sometimes, I never get the same respect in return.

In fact, I got told that I am abusive, and narcissistic because I wrote an honest post about my own feelings on a situation that hurt me. The post, entitled, “Speaking to the Wall with Thorns,” was my lament for how I felt after being hurt by someone for the millionth time. It was a healing post for me.

Although I never mentioned any names in my post, it was stated that the person who was the subject of the post was hurt by it. Due to this fact, it gave this person the right to emotionally abuse me even when I stopped fighting and defending myself through a text message war that came out of nowhere.

No!

Abuse is when you continue to come at someone with physically, emotionally, and mentally damaging intentions because you either derive joy from hurting someone else or you feel that you’re feelings or thoughts are more valid then the other persons.

I am not that kind of person. I don’t derive pleasure from hurting others nor do I want to invalidate another persons feelings to justify my own. I don’t need someone to validate my feelings and I don’t need to righteously justify myself in anyway. My intentions are always to love and appreciate others. I may have a hard time sometimes, but I always pull through to love and appreciate others.

The Good Choices Shine Brightest

When I finally reached my limit of drama with my recent choices, I had a momentary break down this morning. I looked up and my best choice was meeting my teary eyed glance with sympathy. He cared about my hurt, my pain, and it wasn’t a half hearted care, it was a truly devoted, truly sincere care for my wellbeing. He looked at me like he would do anything to see me smile through the pain he witnessed me experiencing these past few days.

That amazing choice in my seemingly messy, and chaotic life is a great man. I feel sometimes that I don’t deserve him at all! He is a truly awesome person who will do whatever he can to make me smile through the pain or hold me while I cry it out.

He saw me down and gave me chocolate ♥️🙏

In return, I feel the same way! I never want to see him in pain and I am beyond grateful to have his loving embrace when the overwhelming burden of over-loving and over-caring for ungrateful and harmful people is too great for me. This is an exchange of good energy with someone capable of giving and receiving energy in a healthy way.

Note to Self From The Pain to The Gain

Note to self moving forward from this horrible storm in my life right now, I am worthy of respect and love from those who I invite into my life. I will not ever be held down by my past or treated unkindly to justify someone else’s feelings or stressors. Compassion and ability to care for someone even when you don’t always agree, is a must in my choice of who will stay in my life from this moment on.

I try to remember, we are all stressed and we all have feelings, but no ones feelings and stressors are more important or more valid than another person’s feelings or stressors.

Literally, No one is more important than another.

It does not make me narcissistic or selfish if I miss a message, or don’t always have time to listen one time to someone I care for (especially when it is rare that I can’t find time for everyone I love). If I am working a million hours to care for two special needs kids, or have a lot on my plate in general, I don’t need to justify that to someone who’s intentions are to harm me regardless. In addition, every single person has narcissistic traits, but if you believe someone is narcissistic because they are doing the best they can to get by, then is it really worth it to try to hurt them? No!

No more!

I will not have friends or people in my life who want to be passive-aggressive, or flat out aggressive, and hurt me even when I say, “I’m sorry,” for something I don’t fully believe I should be sorry for.

The sad reality I am beginning to see is that there are people who don’t want an apology. Sorry is just the beginning of your efforts to make them happy, then they want your undivided attention whenever they ask for it, and all of your time should be theirs if they ask for it also. This kind of relationship or friendship is too much of a burden for me. I don’t need this drama in my life. I choose to send these people away with love and leave it alone.

I am happy with who I have become and I had a momentary breakdown when I looked at my recent choices and realized that these two people have made me question if I really changed or not. If someone makes me question my kindness, my unconditional love for others, or my sanity, they aren’t good for me.

It’s hard for me to accept defeat, but I am not going to fight for someone else’s respect, love or loyalty anymore.

You showed me who you are, and I choose to believe you and send you away with love and hope you find happiness in this life. ♥️🙏

Compassion Is Necessary

The word I want to highlight in this post is compassion.

If someone shows kindness, caring, and a willingness to help others, they’re showing compassion. This is a word for a very positive emotion that has to do with being thoughtful and decent. Giving to a charity takes compassion. Volunteering to work with sick people or animals takes compassion.

Vocabulary.com

I live with Bipolar Disorder, and it’s hard to explain why I feel the way I feel sometimes, but I do my best. I love many people whom always live with this unpredictable and often unsavory illness.

Loving someone who lives with bipolar disorder, is as hard as trying to love myself when I feel broken. I have so much love inside my heart that I do my best to remind myself that my love is so huge that even in the worst moments, when I want to yell at someone, I choose to love them anyway.

I struggle in life like everyone else. I struggle to be compassionate in tough situations, but I never forget to send my love in the direction of whomever needs it, even to an enemy and even when it is late to arrive. I truly just want to love everyone and give everyone a chance to be whomever they are without being judged. I can’t judge anyone anyways. I’m so far from perfect, it’s ridiculous to even think I might be at some point, but I will always try my hardest to be good.

If you live with bipolar disorder, just remember to tell the ones you love when you are struggling. I, myself, have a hard time doing this, but I always try to be better than I was before.

I want to leave anyone reading this post with one thing to consider, one mantra when you feel empty, exhausted, and hurt by someone you love who is fighting an invisible threat:

I am capable of loving them through this and I will show compassion.

Try to have compassion for yourself, and for everyone else in the world, even when it’s hard. You never know the struggles of others. We all know that we are not completely broken, we are all beautiful in our own way. For those of you living with bipolar like me, this illness is not who you are.

Just try harder every time to do whatever you can to be fair with yourself, to remember to love yourself enough to fight every step of the way. Fight for your life, fight for every happy moment you can summon, fight for the ones who value you, fight for the good times and the times that are meant to teach you. Fight even when you are bleeding out inside your soul. You have never lost this fight yet, you have the skills, the power and the purpose to be here. You are a warrior even when you feel small and insignificant. I know the fight you are fighting, and the fight isn’t fair. It isn’t a fight for the weak, it is meant for the strongest spirits who are wholehearted and LARGER THAN LIFE! Keep believing in your reasons why not, and keep fighting your ass off.

You. Are. Not. Alone.

Becoming my own Best Friend!

I found this quote on Facebook and felt that it was worthy of sharing.

Learn to be your own best friend, because there’s going to be days when no-one is going to be there for you but yourself!!!

Though I made it through the worst of my most recent storm, I still have to remember to care for myself wholeheartedly because bipolar disorder doesn’t have a known cure. One of the main reasons I lose my balance in life is because I constantly become dependent on people to be there or create my happiness, thinking I know them well enough to trust they will. When they leave for any reason, I find myself shocked and disappointed and blaming myself for the whole situation.

The abuse of blaming one’s self for someone else’s poor choices is a form of self abuse that I am starting to realize is within my own control to begin healing. I never would have been abusing myself had I realized I was taking responsibility for someone else’s feelings. Their feelings may be in correlation to my actions, but it if I can’t see their side of a situation, I am better off walking away.

Truly, and sincerely, this quotes advice is one I myself need to work on being better at. Self care is my top priority these days because a lot of people have come and gone in my life over the years. Some departures were for the best, some for reasons beyond my control, and even some that were my own doing. I have had to remind myself that people leaving isn’t part of the bipolar thing, that’s part of a flaw in social skills and coping skills. It may even be a consequence of realizing that you don’t mesh with everyone.

Finding love for myself these past few months has taught me that I am worthy of being loved in a healthy way, but also it has reminded me of how to keep my needs for the right type of love I believe I deserve in my view at all times. I also remind myself on the lonely days that something great is coming and I need to be patient while it makes its way to me. I usually try to rush things in hopes that my misguided hopeless romantic side will be trustworthy. Clearly that hasn’t ever worked for me.

There is no rush on great things, especially because what isn’t meant for me is not for me to keep, and I’m just trying to be okay with the timing happening without my controlling it anymore.

I learned the life lesson that life is messy for everyone, and even thought it appears messier with bipolar, truthfully, I have many friends and family members who do not have bipolar but go through similar stuff and struggle to figure it out.

Bipolar disorder is just a condition of the lack of control over our thinking processes, intense empathy for others and little for ourselves, and the ability to be kicked down emotionally with very little force. The funny thing is, you can change all of these inconvenient traits of bipolar if you want to (and I am seeing that now in my own life), and you can learn to love and value yourself enough to not “need” anyone to make it better.

Bipolar disorder doesn’t mean I am mentally unhealthy. Furthermore, I don’t have to follow the old patterns I think might work better this time (which is the exact definition of insanity), but rather I can try a new way and go against my knee jerk response. Being bipolar is one piece of the total puzzle, because if you find a way to be brave and to be courageous in solving your own issues before saddling someone else with them, no one will ever think you have bipolar.

So if you love to paint, sing, make ice cream, bake cookies, create crafts, or whatever you love to do, do it and take note on how you are able to be there for yourself. This is called being your own best friend…

And it’s a beautiful thing!

Have a blessed day friends.

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

Been Dealing with My Sh*t ….

I took a pause from blogging to handle some of my own shit. I was blogging, but I didn’t post them.

I have such an intense collection of unposted blogs that I might start selling them. The reason for this is because if you really want to understand living with bipolar disorder, unmedicated, I write almost everyday, especially when every emotion is spiraling and screaming in my head.

It took me years and years, and still I struggle, to keep my emotional outlet to a minimum so as not to embarrass myself. If you are interested in reading my private posts I will open an anonymous form at some point or you can email me at thepanicspot@gmail.com so I know who would be interested and why. It will be password protected and available for only a short time with no downloads.

Anyways … on to Love, Sex and all things Scandalous

I met someone that I truly like, and I didn’t think I would like someone again after the bullshit in my last toxic relationship. Nothing has happened yet but I’m truly excited to get to those parts since there is a good connection and a stable friendship building.

He already knows I am capable of being a handful, has seen my worst habits, my worst look, and he hasn’t run so I think as long as there continues to be chemistry, my posts will be very cutesy. Also, I needed a strong man, so let’s see how strong this man is, because I am a fiercely independent woman. Yes I am sexy and kind, but I have seen and felt shit that most wouldn’t understand or be comfortable with.

Oh well, I like the idea of a good guy better than my last few months of fuck off posts and depressing emotional hell, with a sprinkle of greatness in Bali.

I do have a lot of hesitations about allowing myself to feel again. I am scared to death of being hurt again, especially after being lied to for so many years. I have had moments of absolutely hating myself through my turbulent breakup from an alcoholic in denial. It’s funny how fast a person will blame you for everything when they know what they did was far worse.

I also started singing again to calm my stress. It’s funny how singing can cool my temperament when I’m angry, which I have been at my ex for a long time. I was angry at him before we even broke up for all the hell he put us through, and I’m not saying I was an angel, but I was trying harder than he even was capable of comprehending and for that I will never respect his sorry ass again.

Lately, I have been having the most intense sex dreams. Similar to the one I had in Bali, during a deep meditation. I remember coming back to consciousness and feeling exhausted from the intensity of it. And my dreams are far more intense and soulful than the meditation. Oddly, I haven’t even been thinking about having sex or anything, it’s like my subconscious is taking care of that for me while I settle my life and figure things out. I have this seductive side of myself that is tamed right now, because I am a one man woman. I don’t want to waste my sexual energies on just anyone.

My “truest self” meditation revealed me standing strong for my children, feeling alive for them. I was beautiful, strong and fierce and I felt connected to myself and everyone around me. I have noticed I am becoming that woman right now, but it’s subtle and slow moving, however, it’s a beautiful and amazing feeling to see my journey turning in that direction.

I miss Bali so much! But I have brought back all my teachings and I know I have been neglecting them. I need to make sure that I am taking the time to do the things I need to do in order to maintain my peace and contentment.

I have also reconnected with a friend who meant so much to me. We reconnected a long time ago, but we have been getting really close as of this year. It’s been a great feeling to have her back in my life. Some friends are good for me, and she is one of them.

Sorry again for the quiet spell, I will catch up as much as I can.

Xo

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 Healing Journey was Meant to be Shared: Week One of Being Reborn

Welcome to my healing journey. You are welcome to be here, you are invited, you are welcome to share your thoughts without my judgement. You are welcome to say or do whatever feels right to you without fear of hurting me. I love you and I want you here. I want you to share with me how I can support you as well as both honor and value the relationship between us.

xo

Sincerely,

the true Nicole

Thank you for coming here to read about my healing journey. By you being here, you are an ally in my healing journey. As part of my journey I wish to see myself being alive, being loved, being wrapped and emerged in joy and truth (good or bad), being truly in love with myself for the remainder of my life, and allowing others to feel their own feelings while braving the opinions of others even if they are critical.

By doing the work to love myself, I can see my value, my self worth, and to stand firm in my power and strength without being scared of it or wondering and hoping not to get swept up by what others think of me. This journey is one I wish to share, not because I’m asking for help, but to accept that life outside of healing is still there, and I love all of you enough (whomever you are and wherever you are) to want to share.  I want to offer my apologies where they are needed and offer forgiveness where it is meant to be given.

Your words matter to me even if you aren’t sure they will help me on this journey, but perhaps they will help me in my future or I may never fully hear them and that is okay too. Speak your truth friends and stand in your own power with me, listen to your authentic self speak inside you and allow it to come out if it feels right.

Here’s my healing path explained

I believe in this life, we all heal our wounds differently. I used to think that healing meant not being allowed to look in on or at how the people I love are doing or what they might be saying about me. To not know about anyone or anything, to focus entirely on myself and escape the real world until I returned with new wisdom, is a temporary solution for me.

While I don’t judge anyone that feels that this method works for best them.  I am working on being aware of when my advice is mindful and accepting or controlling and judge mental.

A journey that is started is meant to have its peaks and valleys. Try as I might, I will only heal when I am meant to and not a moment sooner.

Through my open healing, I want to experience a true, a full and an enlightened healing that stays with me for many years to come. I strongly disagree that those who choose to heal out loud are codependent or seeking attention.  Sometimes, I just find it easier to hear the perspectives as others, and being able to draw inspiration and comfort when the world gets overwhelming. I believe that there is nothing wrong with being connected to those around you as long as you can hear your inner voice speaking louder than the voices of others and always do what is best for you from the inside out.

My Spiritual Realization with My Higher Power

My Lord Jesus, who I believe created me (and mind you I don’t expect anyone to have the same belief as I do and I will never judge you for your beliefs), wanted me to be a beacon of connection to life through love and joy. He created me to start fires when they were necessary to provide me growth and to have the power to put the fire out in the timing He planned for me. He didn’t leave me alone with or in the fire, He never let me burn alive, He always made sure that there were many escape plans for me to use should I need them, and He never let me set fires that He knew I couldn’t handle. He believes in me, because He knows who I am more than anyone else. He knows that He built me to be capable of chaos with purpose, but also capable of deep, unconditional love for my neighbors and the creatures He created to roam this Earth. Furthermore, and to finish this thought, He never left me alone in the fire and always made sure that I got what I needed from it before I walked away.

He always stood with me, guiding me like only a devoted Father can. So to my Lord I say, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for revealing your love and purpose for me in the life you have blessed me with. For continuing to love me through my stubbornness, doubts and insecurities. I may not have understood your reasons for presenting me with my past and present hardships, I may have cursed at you at times for the pain I have been in, gotten angry with you Lord and even believed you weren’t there because the pain I was experiencing felt desolate and deeper than the human world could go, but you were sharing your light, knowing that I was meant to be a healer, a loving source of energy, and that the journey to finding that truth would be the most incredible experience of my life. 🙏

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My Theory about my Strength and Power and Why Bali was Where I went to Find my Purpose and Kick Start my Healing

When I arrived at the Be Kind Retreats here in beautiful Bali, the incredibly strong and wonderful Loes said something in the opening ceremony that will forever stay with me. She said:

If you ask for it, Bali always gives you what you want and need.

She was so unbelievably right and maybe she doesn’t know it, but she will be with me forever because she said that. I believe the moment those words left her mouth, she unlocked my deepest healing power within myself. She showed me my true strength and my truest healing purpose. It wasn’t what I expected at all and at first that scared me. Now I am so exhilarated to finish this journey, after absorbing the power it’s providing, and be embraced by my truest self. For the story of my truest self, I will write a separate blog because what I saw when I met my true self, has me so beyond encouraged to be her.

My theory about why I came on this healing journey was because I felt that I was being consumed by pain and distrust from within myself. I was drowning and no one was able to save me. Now I know it wasn’t someone’s job to save me, it was my own job that I was neglecting because it appeared too hard. The truth is that the healing journey was meant for me to meet my power and strength and to understand the purpose of these incredibly large forces that were bestowed upon me and earned by me through my suffering.

eyes shut seuess

See the way (I learned here in Bali) is that my power and strength works for healing myself by healing those around me and experiencing the good and bad connections of life while healing myself. I want to be surrounded with good vibes, love, and to bring my people along on this journey to be a part of the steps I take to meet my true self.

My enlightenment comes for and from those I love regardless of how some might disagree with that belief or believe that is codependency causing this. Truly, I believe codependency is a symptom of not understanding the true forces of exchanging love and power. That is something I am working on doing honestly and with intention too. Furthermore, I don’t ask for opinions so people make my choices for me, I ask for opinions so I can gather perspective as I make big decisions. If you ask my mother, bless her patient heart, I will likely not take your advice because I am going to inevitably do it the way that feels right for me, whether it is right or wrong to anyone else.

jim and i
Fresh Fruit Smoothies in Ubud with Jim and Lee.  Perfect way to show myself love after a tough trek down to the holy water.