The Fear of Starting Over

So many times in my life, since being aware of the effect Bipolar Disorder has on me, I have been scared to chase my dreams. I get this surge to push on, knowing the voice in the back of my mind is speaking to me about how silly I will look when I try to push past the hidden nightmare in my mind.

I was diagnosed at 11, but up until I was 23, I wasn’t aware of how much bipolar disorder impacted my life. I had a cycle of behaviors that would start out promising then end up becoming the shadow of hell I never thought I would experience.

Today, I finished my school enrollment to begin my journey to finally attaining my degree. I had thought I would have already done this, but it didn’t work in my life until recently. I have had my hands full with two kids and one of them being autistic and needing a bunch of support.

My feelings have been a mixture of worry, excitement and anxiety that I will somehow mess this up. For the first time in my life, I know exactly what I want to do, and I am excited to embrace the future and allow myself to be excited. I will be studying Neuropsychology.

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

Panic Disorder: The Beginning & Now

Have you lived with panic disorder? Have you been told it has no cure? Well I am here to squash that belief by telling my own story and why I believe panic disorder is not a life sentence.

I think research is flawed on the topic of panic disorder. I have been diagnosed with Panic Disorder, which according to the symptoms, I definitely agree that I have (had) panic disorder for a period of time. Let me give you a some information.

I developed panic attacks after my son was born 11 years ago. Prior to his birth, I was a soldier. I never feared things out loud. I was scared all the time but never let the fear stop me from living my life.

In my life, I had experienced many of the phobias or fears people live with everyday. For example, I have been stuck on the road in the middle of nowhere when a tornado came out of the sky and right for the road I was on. I have been stuck in an elevator on a cruise ship with my aunt and 2 other people when the elevator lost power, dropped between floors, and stopped functioning. I had viral pneumonia after my trip to Bali, and I stopped breathing in front of my two children. I was in a relationship with a man who threw my head into a window sill and I was trauma hawked to a trauma hospital with bleeding in my brain. I was in a hit and run car accident when a man decided he would kidnap my two friends and I. I had my heart broken when my first love hung himself from a swing set. I watched a dear friend die right in front of me from a drug overdose and I called for help that didn’t make it in time. I attempted suicide nearly 3 times and one of those times, I barely survived. I have been in numerous fist fights, including with girls 3 times my size, for bullying my handicap brother or anyone who couldn’t defend themselves, and I didn’t get killed. I got jumped at a skating rink for no reason in which I was attacked by a man and 3 women when I was 14. I suffered severe injuries and I vowed to never let myself be caught like that again. I traveled to a country that I knew nothing about and had no friends or familiar people to meet there for 5 weeks by myself. I have had to endure over 10 surgeries. I gave birth by emergency c-section when my child was born and endured 2 years of him screaming till he lost his voice or passed out because he is autistic. I sat through over 50 funerals before I turned 20. And the list goes on and on.

When I think about all the times in my life where fear should have captured my attention, but didn’t, I cannot imagine panic. Logically, I question why? Why is it so? Why should I live with panic now after all I survived already?

There are too many things we are conditioned to believe as society. This is something I call a mass belief. The definition of belief is
an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists. So therefore, mass belief is an acceptance by a large group that something is true and exists.

I can’t remember where I read this, but an author wrote about mass beliefs. When people all believe something exists, or something is a certain way, the spiritual, physical and mental belief becomes the reality. Interesting how the truth can change when everyone believes the same story.

When I apply that reasoning to panic disorder, I learn that because it has been written that panic disorder has no cure we must believe it is with us forever and we are are doomed to live our lives in fear.

…. well I am here to tell you that it isn’t true.

I have never ever followed the mass beliefs nor do I care if that makes me an outlier of scientific numerations. The reason is due in large part to my belief in evolutionary theories. For example, what we believed, and what I was taught in school, about our solar system is that we have 9 planets. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune & Pluto. Now they have determined that Pluto is a dwarf planet and therefore doesn’t constitute a planet in the solar system anymore, so we now have 8 planets. Furthermore, there were 5 oceans, now there are only 4 oceans. If you ask a school aged child how many oceans there are, they will tell you there are 4; Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Arctic. I remember the Antarctic Ocean, and I additionally remember being taught in school that the Gulf of Mexico was an ocean too.

When you think of how evolutionary theories have changed due to access of new information or simplifying, we find that nothing in the world is set in stone. The main reason I shared these two examples are because no one thought it was weird that educators proved a theory, that trickled down to the public and became a mass belief. Yes, they reevaluated the true facts and realized it wasn’t accurately describing what was real, but an entire ocean and planet of the solar system that existed in science books when I was a child, is no longer true.

Much like a google search on panic disorder will yield results that you are doomed for a life of panic attacks, I disagree. Panic attacks are just a phase in life, a way to remind us to pay attention to ourselves. Science has no evidence to prove that this is forever, other than the words or experiences of a panicker who feels the disorder is forever. Let that sink in for a moment, do you want to be panicking forever? My answer is HELL NO!

Science of Panic Disorder

Researchers have said that panic disorder is a chemical imbalance. That panic comes from an imbalance in neurotransmitters.

Naturally occurring chemical messengers, known as neurotransmitters, send information throughout the brain. The human brain is thought to have hundreds of these different types of neurotransmitters, and biological theories suggest that a person can become more susceptible to developing panic disorder symptoms if one or more of these neurotransmitters do not remain balanced.

https://www.verywellmind.com/is-panic-disorder-caused-by-a-chemical-imbalance-2583984

Hold on for one moment, let’s look at this more prominently. A chemical imbalance is also where Bipolar Disorder comes from, which science has proven involves the neurotransmitters being damaged in production causing severe symptoms of high-highs and low-lows, but now it is said that panic disorder is doing the same?

Let me level with you, if you want to have panic attacks forever, by all means, have it your way, science will support you. However, if you are like me and believe that you have the power to heal this, then start to believe it now.

I didn’t drive for 6 years, then I decided I was done being a victim to panic attacks and panic disorder. I didn’t need medication or therapy to change my outcome, I simply needed a belief in myself, to let go of the fear of a panic attack, and push myself past the discomfort. Anxiety is natural and everyone has it, but I will not be stopped by sudden moments of intense fear anymore because they are not true and they manifest through me. My chemicals will heal with my belief in being stronger than the panic and by my ability to take charge and live, instead of letting life happen to me.

You are strong for having fought a panic attack and won, therefore you are strong enough to believe this is not forever. The science of the brain will never be solved. Brain mapping is never going to be possible in my opinion, because the brain is the epicenter of evolution and change.

The brain is too strong and resilient for any scientists to make sense of it. That my friends is why I choose to believe that EVERYTHING is curable if we choose to believe it is. Just like many cancer patients are cured out of the blue, Panic disorder is curable and I am proving that.

You want to know the secret to ending panic disorder? Do you want to know how you stop yourself from panicking? It’s incredibly simple, and took me far too long to realize, you must stand up to it! Believe in something other than the doom and gloom, believe that there is something bigger than you out there and that what is meant to be will be with or without your acceptance.

I will not allow myself to dwell in the darkest parts of my mind, I will believe in something bigger and better because I know that my brain is a gift from my higher power and no human will ever tell me that it is not working.

Be free! Give yourself permission.

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