Good Friends are Good for your Mental Health

friends - blog .png

The title of this post seems like it is a no brainer.  

Of course you should have friends that are good for your mental health.  But, this one consideration can be overlooked as you are navigating your way through life and trying to manage your illness, and the ups and downs of everyday life.  I have never been a person with an overflow of friends. I am an introvert, and I am more interested in quality over quantity. I have to say I love my friends, they are great but as I have been on my mental health journey, I did not realize how important they are!  Before I was actually diagnosed I would have my periods of being MIA, I would brush off plans and do other things that are consistent with a person who is in crisis. For years it was like this and frankly, I seemed like a big ole flake. I mean looking back at some of the stuff that I had done, I would think that I was a flake also.  

One of the turning points for me in my interactions with my friends was my willingness and level of comfort with sharing my diagnosis with them.  

I had to get to a point where I was comfortable talking about it to the people in my life. That took some time. Once I let them in on what I was dealing with, my behaviors from the past suddenly had a reason for it.  It took some time to get to that point, I am glad that I finally got there.


Having friends in your life that know about my diagnosis and understands how I am affected by my illness has been a tremendous effect on my recovery.  

When I am with them, I feel normal, I feel like myself, and that is the time when I can really kick back, unwind, and enjoy myself. I need that. I think, that we all need people like that in our lives.  Having good friends who love, support, and accept you no matter what can make the difference in a recovery success story, and a recovery not so successful story.




No Action is Still an Action

no action blog post .png

I never really understood what “No action is still an action” meant.

 It took awhile to figure out what that quote actually meant. I knew that I had a mental health condition for several years before I decided to actually take the steps to make my life and my mental health better.  I thought that by taking no action, my mental health would somehow magically get better. It didn’t dawn on me at that point that I was in control of my mental health and my mental health recovery. I thought that I was doomed  and accepted this fate that was less than I wanted and deserved. “No action is still an action” was actually the motto that I lived my life by when my mental health was not a top priority. I made a conscious effort over the years when I was not well not to make an action, and that is still an action.  

I have had so much time over the last 2 years that I have been in recovery to think about some of the situations that have occurred during the course of my journey.  

There were so many times when the idea of taking the steps to act scared me, and made me super uncomfortable, so in my mind, doing nothing was better for me and it kept me in my comfort zone.  

Believe it or not, we are in control even when it feels like the cards are stacked against us.  We have a choice, we can either take action or remain still. The thing about taking action is that it will bring you outside of your comfort zone.  Comfort zones can be a place of anxiety and uneasiness for me.


Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone, But How?

IMG_6272 (1).jpg

How Many Times have you heard someone say that?  

Just step outside of your comfort zone, and you thought to yourself, that sounds great and all but how do I do that? I can tell you that I have been one of those people who had that very same response.  Gurus and coaches all tell you that stepping outside of your comfort zone is a step in the direction towards “living your best life” ! Another term that sounds great but actually confused the hell out of me when I first heard it.  


As you may or may not know, I have been on my mental health journey, for 2 years now.  

This journey for me has doubled as a self-awareness and self-discovery journey. It has been filled with ups, downs, highs, and lows.  I have learned so much about myself, and this is literally one journey that I would never want to change. It has been life changing. I had to go through a journey of self-awareness to discover what my hopes, dreams and desires.  This allowed me to discover my comfort zone and the area just beyond that region. That area is where all of the magical things would happen, That is what I had heard so many times before and now it was time to start testing this theory out.


I was, for so many years accustomed to doing with friends or family.  

If I wanted to go to an event or restaurant, I would see who I could get to go along with me to make my experience more enjoyable (so I thought) and definitely more comfortable.  It was almost unheard of to go anywhere alone. It was just something that I had never really done. I mean, I would of course go to work alone, but that was about it. I truly let others dictate my flow and my enjoyment.  If I didn’t have a buddy to roll with, I guess I was not going.


About a month ago I heard about a Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit that was taking place in NYC that I really wanted to see.

 I asked my friends if they wanted to go and of course they agreed. Here was the problem, the show was sold out until the end of the exhibit.  But, I decided on a whim that I was going to get on the waitlist to see if I could get a ticket to the show. I figured that it was a long shot and that it probably was not going to happen.  Well, guess what, it happened! I got a wait list ticket email at 11pm last Thursday night for Friday afternoon. I didn’t realize this until Friday morning but I was in! I was excited and anxious and this was totally out of my comfort zone.  


Needless to say, I had a really great time.  

Once I got to the gallery, the anxiety had subsided.  I learned something about comfort zones on this trip to the city.  When you allow yourself to stay within comfort zones, people can unintentionally control you and your destiny.  So it is so important to be mindful of what it is that you want at all times. It is okay if your wants and dreams change, but the most important thing is that you are in control.  You are in control.


I've been away for a while, but I'm back!

im back - blog.png

I have been away from the blog for a couple of weeks but now I am back.  

Over the last couple of weeks, I was not in the best place mentally. I was not well.  I could feel myself, falling into a downward spiral of instability and dysfunction. To be quite honest I did something that as I look back on was so detrimental to myself and my health.   I am just glad that I was able to take control of the situation and get back on track. About a month or so ago I made the wise decision to stop taking my medication. I use the word wise in the most sarcastic way possible.  At the time, I thought that this was the right thing to do. I thought that I would be good. I thought that I would be fine, and still feel happy, content, and stable without the medication. I was wrong.

What I did not realize in the moment that I made that decision, was that the medication was doing what it was supposed to do for me.  It was supposed to make me feel content, stable, and leveled out. As soon as the medication, started to leave my body I could feel the level of tension rise, my patience run paper thin, and my irritation go from 0 to 60 in 10 seconds flat. I slowly fell into a pit that was filled with anger, shame, and thea flurry of symptoms that my bipolar disorder would quickly remind me of.  


I’m glad that this happened.  This needed to happen.

I had to see for myself, how important my medication is for me and how it helps me so very much.  I had to see the contrast in my behavior when I am on medication, and when I am not on medication. I needed to know that I can recognize when I am in a mental health crisis and when I need to reach out for help.  This was a necessary detour on my mental health recovery journey so that I could gain just a bit more information about myself and how my condition affects me.


For weeks, I was conflicted on whether or not I would mention this happening.  But I decided to speak about it for several reasons: 1) I needed to be honest with myself and my mental health care providers, 2) I had  accept the fact that I do take medication, and it has helped achieve many of my goals and move towards the life that I want and deserve, and 3) I know that I am not alone in this situation.  


I try to take away something from every situation that I find myself in and this one is no different.  

Here is the bottom line for me: There is nothing wrong with taking medication. My brain is an organ that needs help and my medication does exactly that.  I have also learned that I cannot be so hard on myself when I make a mistake. I am in control, and I can also prevent myself from making a downward spiral.