Category Archives: Jokes

Get out of your own way!

NCAA Div 1 Soccer Championship

NCAA Div 1 Soccer Championship

My husband and I took a spontaneous road trip to Alabama last weekend. By no means are we groupies (I unfortunately realized this year that college boys are too young for me…I’m getting so old!). But we do like watching soccer. On Friday, IU our Alma Mater, won a semi-final game qualifying them for the National Championship on Sunday. Around two on Saturday, while doing some work and I texted my husband, “Hey–let’s go to Alabama”.  He writes back “Is this you procrastinating from work?” Me: “Um…yes?  But I’m serious”  So an hour later we found ourselves pulling out of our parking lot headed to Birmingham, Alabama–heartland of America.

My adrenaline had me running through the hour of getting ready, but as we get into the car I started panicking   “WHAT AM I DOING? WHY DID I THINK THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?”  Here’s a list of the things I was worried about:

  1. I had work that needed to be done
  2. I wanted to clean the bathroom
  3. I wanted to cook and freeze some food for the week

Now…these were all legit concerns, but I had weighed them (albeit briefly) before I sent my husband the text about going. But know what my largest concern was? BEING ANXIOUS! Yep, I was worried about triggering a mood swing because we would be getting completely off my schedule. I’d be up late, sleeping in a different place, and traveling–all which can cause anxiety for me.  And wait, does this idea mean I’m going into a manic swing? Should I not go??

But you know what!

I NEEDED TO GET THE HECK OUT OF MY OWN WAY!

Sure, keeping a schedule is good for me. But know what else is good? Spending time with the hubby. Building good memories. Feeling like a “normal” person. AND HAVING FUN!

The ACTUAL trophy--can't believe they let me get that close...I didn't break it though!

The ACTUAL trophy–can’t believe they let me get that close…I didn’t break it though!

Sometimes, we just need to get out of our own way and let ourselves cut loose. Having a mental illness is alot of work and sometimes to stay healthy you do miss out on stuff–so give yourself some space to have fun. This spontaneous trip was great and it reminded me how much better I can feel when I let myself have a good time.

So tonight–in honor of this post I am going to make myself a peppermint milkshake. And I give all of you permission to do so as well!  Screw calories and do something fun!

Yes, I am drinking it out of a wine glass.  Got a problem with that?!

Yes, I am drinking it out of a wine glass. Got a problem with that?!


  oh and btw: THEY WON! GO HHHHOOOOOSSSSIIIIEEEERRRRSSSS!!!!!!!!

Eyewitness to the EIGHTH National Soccer Championship

Eyewitness to the EIGHTH National Soccer Championship

 

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Wednesday Wishes: Number Twenty-Two

Have you ever read one of those “Ten things your guy wished you knew” or “Ten things your mother-in-law would never tell you but thinks you should know” (though in many cases—unfortunately for you, there’s nothing your mother in law wouldn’t tell you). Well I wanted to create a lists of things that those of us who struggle with mental illness wished the rest of the world knew—and hopefully get insight from my support team about what they wish I knew!

Number Twenty-Two: I wish you how phrases like “you’re crazy” “he must be insane” “I’m going to end up in the pysch ward” make me feel. This is actually a very personal one. I feel like each consumer will have different words that bother them and some they actually laugh about and find funny. For example, the only one that really makes me uncomfortable is joking about a “pysch ward” because having to be taken to one unwillingly was a fear of mine for a long time and it increases stigma about needing to go to an inpatient treatment center.  Most of the other stuff, I joke about myself. So start the conversation, find out what bothers them and what they can joke about.  Here’s a picture below to get the conversation going.  Funny or offensive?

 

Funny? Or Offensive?

Funny? Or Offensive?

 

Disclaimer: Not all of these thought will reflect all people, in the same way not all “Ten things your guy wished you knew” would relate to my husband—some will not even relate to me. They are thoughts/concerns/opinions I’ve heard when talking with fellow adventurers along the journey that is mental illness.

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A Day in My Life!

Like most people with a mental illness, I spend way too much time in my own brain. That’s where a lot of the anxiety breeds as I focus on my own thoughts and ideas. In fact, one tactic that I use to prevent panic attacks is to start to point out specific visual things around me. For example, “The clock says it is 9:10 in red numbers; there is a small red light in the bottom right hand corner to show that it is PM”

So for this blog I thought I’d post some photos of a “day in my life”.  These past few days I’ve been paying more attention to life around me wondering “hmm…what should I take pictures of”. I would recommend trying it for a few days and see if it helps get you out of your brain into the world around you.

 

So what do you think? Do you have other ways to help me get out of my anxiety filled brain?

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Do I have fun writing this blog?!

Fun: [fuhn]
noun
1. Something that provides mirth or amusement: A picnic would be fun.
2. Enjoyment or playfulness: She’s full of fun.

I’ve been rolling the idea of “fun” around in my mind for the last few weeks. It started when someone at support group made a comment that “nothing is fun. Nothing is enjoyable”. Immediately, other’s joined in echoing her thoughts—including me. Normally when I say “that sounds fun” or “yeah we had fun this weekend” what I really mean is “that sounds less miserable than the other option” or “it could have made me feel worse”.

But this concept of fun is more complex than first glance (otherwise it’d make for a pretty boring post!). The mental illness of majority of the support group members set in during adulthood. Therefore, they have past experiences to compare the present too. Past experiences of “fun”.  I’m not in that situation. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. When I was in 8th grade my family was at a large event for Fourth of July or some other holiday. I was able to spend some time with my friends during it and if asked, I would have said that it was “fun”. However, the next day my mom talked to me and said that I needed to find friends I was comfortable with because I was giving everyone a “fake smile”. I probably was—after all, I was in a large group of people and it was raining—I was probably feeling pretty panicked.  But I wasn’t at home in my closet—so I was having fun right?!

Then how do I know what “fun” is? Well, I can think of some experiences where I was able to relax and truly enjoy something. I think I just experience them less often than most, and I can remember going months at a time never feeling like I had “fun”.

But the real twist is that most people consider me “fun”.  In the last 24 hours I’ve had three separate people make a comment about me making things more “fun”…and Sidney would tell you he married me partly because I’m “fun”.

So how do I reconcile these two facts? Apparently I can be “fun” without having “fun” myself. But does that mean I am just pretending? Does that make me fake?

The answer to these questions is complex and jumbled in my mind. I think the gut reaction answer is ‘yes, clearly you’re being fake’. But upon closer examination I don’t think so (and not just because I do not want to admit that I’m a fake!). If I have the energy to make jokes,  come up with crazy ideas, go along with other people’s crazy ideas—why shouldn’t I? I’d rather be pretending to have fun than admitting I’m miserable. Why make everyone around me suffer just because I am?

So I can make people around me have more fun, but not have fun myself.  It’s hard to wrap my mind around that concept. At first, it makes me annoyed!!  It seems unfair—why can’t I make things fun for myself?!

But upon further consideration—it gives me hope. Because it’s a sign that Nicole has a personality that is not ruled by her illness. Nicole has characteristics and personality traits that shine through despite her mental illness. It’s one more reminder that there is so much more to me then bipolar, anxiety, OCD, panic, etc…..

Image

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Hot Mess

Today at work a colleague told me, “You should write a book titled ‘How to live your life with your head unhinged”.

Everyone I know would agree I’m the SME (Subject Matter Expert—little consultant talk there!) on this subject. Allow me to give you a few examples of why.

I lost my cell phone the other week—I spent most of the weekend looking for it but eventually gave up. So one day, while I was being a good wifey and making dinner…I took the watermelon bowl from the fridge, and to what did my wondering eyes appear?  My cell phone! Apparently it likes watermelon as much as I do. Unfortunately, it ate too much and no longer works. Shocking.

The next morning I left my bowl of breakfast on the top of my car! How did I find out? Well as I was driving to work, singing along to Hot Mess (by Tyler Farr, my personal theme song!), when all of a sudden a bowl started tumbling down my front window, spilling cheerios and milk along the way. Don’t worry, I just used my windshield wipers, rolled over the cup, and kept going.

Then that night, at a big work event I spilled my entire drink on the table. Later, a partner (the big shots in our company!) comes up to me and goes “So…I’m assuming you were the one who spilled the sangria?”

And—well, I managed it all in a 24 hour period. *bow*

But the thing is, I’ve learned to accept it. I recognize my limitations and have learned to not only live with them but find humor in them.  For example, we did not buy me a smart phone—I didn’t graduate to the big girl phone until I won it (and I hear there’s a pool going for how long I’ll be able to keep track of it—contact Sidney if you want in!). I store spare keys for my car in a variety of places. All my bills are auto pay (meaning, Sidney is in charge of it!). And I just accept that I’m going to end up spilling something all over myself by the end of the day (and if I’m being honest, at least twice).

So I’ve been thinking—why can’t I accept limitations related to my illness? It’s basically the same thing right?  I don’t judge myself for being a spaz, so why do I get down at myself when I push up on my mental illness walls?

Instead, I need to take some of the lessons I’ve learned about “living life with your head unhinged” and apply them to “living life with your neurotransmitters unhinged”. I think there’s two key lessons that can be learned and applied.

Lesson One: Live well with your limitations

Identify and accept your limitations. Then you can figure out how to live well with them. For example, keeping track of a purse at a bar—never going to happen. So now, I put my ID and money in a back pocket (or better yet, Sidney’s wallet).

So a mental illness limitation for me would be the intense anxiety I have after an extremely busy day—I know that. So instead of pushing myself to a breaking point, I need to schedule breaks throughout the day to revive myself.

Lesson Two: My limitations are not bad, in fact—they make me—well, me.

While at lunch the other day, I spilled some food on a friend’s book.  He just laughed and goes, “Look now it says ‘Nicole’s been here’—your lack of coordination makes me laugh every time”. My husband constantly cracks up at me and affectionately calls me his “hot mess”.

There’s parts of my mental illness that can be entertaining as well—I can come up with some crazy and fun ideas when I’m on the “hyper bus” (a symptom during a small manic swing).

I’m working to push these lessons into action. I think that’s maybe one goal of this blog—gives me a chance to identify some of those limitations and figure out how to live within them—

Oh! And a final thought: Are organized people just too lazy to look for things?

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Surfing without a Surfboard

So as noted in my last blog—I’ve had a rough couple of days.  I’m feeling so frustrated and just beat down by life right now. I’m doing everything (well ok, most things! I’m still drinking slushies….) right; but my brain is not cooperating with me!

After support group tonight, someone reminded me of something I had forgotten.  A gentleman I respect was joking that he didn’t know why this other girl was friends with him. I go, “I’d be friends with you. I think you’re funny.” And he replies, “Well I figure we’re all f***** miserable anyways, might as well laugh about it.”

Oh so true!  If I was only allowed to give one piece of advice about surviving mental illness it would probably be “have a sense of humor”. Bipolar is absolutely crazy—and things I do during mood swings and bad times are nuts. When I look back at them it’s either laugh or cry. And I choose cry plenty of times but I mostly try to laugh (crying just dehydrates me anyways!). I mean how can I not laugh when I think back to the tornado I created in my room a few weeks ago?

Living with bipolar without a sense of humor, is like trying to surf without a surfboard.

There’s all these long scientific explanations about why laughing is helpful, but we all know it just feels good. I know there are times when you’re so depressed that laughing is not an option—but I try to watch something funny (maybe even crack a smile!) or be around someone with a good sense of humor. I don’t pressure myself to laugh (sometimes I do fake it—-fake it to you make it right?!), but mostly I try to just enjoy something humorous.

You know they always say, “It takes 43 muscles to frown, but only 13 to smile…..

….but it only takes 4 to punch something.” 

Haha…yeah I know. I’m hilarious.

To conclude: Take 8 minutes to check out this video. It cracks me up—every time.  Jim Gaffigan is amazing…think I could write the price of tickets to see him as a medical expense?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UahqgK60vuk

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Cognitive Restructuring

A great little story to remember as I’m working to “reprogram” my brain! 

A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard, wearing his baseball cap and toting a ball and bat. “I’m the greatest hitter in the world,” he announced.

Then, he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it, and missed.
“Strike One!” he yelled. Undaunted, he picked up the ball and said again, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!” He tossed the ball into the air.

When it came down he swung again and missed. “Strike Two!” he cried.
The boy then paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. He spit on his hands and rubbed them together.
He straightened his cap and said once more, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!” Again he tossed the ball up in the air and swung at it. He missed. “Strike Three!”

Wow!” he exclaimed. “I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!”

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