It’s Time to Forgive Yourself

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The ups and downs of dealing with a mental illness can be like riding on a roller coaster.  

The highs and lows can be very unpredictable. In the years before I was diagnosed, I had done some things that I was not proud of.  I would beat myself up and then never “let it go” or forgive myself for what I had done. This alone was exhausting to me. During a bout of mania that I had, I spent over $200k.  Yes, that’s right, $200k. Once the mental fog had subsided and I realized what I had actually done, I was so mortified. I would take it a step further and say that I was disgusted with myself.  How could I squander away so much money and not even realize what I had spent most of the money on.


Giving myself the benefit of the doubt was something that I had never been accustomed to doing.  

But when I looked at my situation more closely I had to show myself a little more compassion than I had done over the years.  I was a 24 year old young parent, who had just lost her parent and caregiver. I found myself in a very traumatic situation and had not dealt with my grief and loss at all.  To some on the outside, it looked like I was just out of control, but as I looked at my situation more and more there were definitely some signs that I needed help.

For the longest time,

I was unable to forgive myself and show myself any compassion because of the things that I had done. The money was the largest one for me. Little did I know that carrying around all of this frustration and anger with myself over this money that was long gone was not going to help me.  In fact it was going to be a large hindrance to me. It was. I had to let go. Letting go would be one of the steps that would lead me into the direction of awareness and recovery. It took a long time.  When I say a long time, I mean a really long time, but I was able to let go of it and forgive myself. I also take this experience as something that I can learn from and what’s better than that.


Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone, But How?

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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.


How important is dealing with past issues in order to maintain your illness ?

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Well if you ask me I say it is very very important.  

Let me explain why I think this is the case. When I made the decision to begin my mental health recovery journey, I did not know that I would be simultaneously starting my self-awareness and self-discovery journey as well.  Making this decision was one of the best decisions and investments that I could have ever made for myself.


When I started to see my see my therapist, she would ask me things about my past, my parents, and about old relationships.

 I would think to myself, “Why is she asking me this?, this doesn’t have anything to do with being bipolar?” She would ask me to talk about my mother, and her passing (which is my total weak spot).  I would find myself with a face full of tears and a handful of kleenex.


I felt like it was totally pointless to talk about my past relationships and my childhood…..

when all I wanted to talk about was how to fix myself and my anxiety and my bipolar disorder.  What I did not realize was that talking about my past and where I had been would help with where I was going and what my future would be like. Looking at the past and the experiences that I had would allow me to discover who I was as a person, these were all very important things that I needed to evaluate on this journey of mental health recovery and even more important on my journey of self-awareness.  Who I was as a person played a part in how I responded to my illness and my symptoms, and all of this information would allow me to be more informed and educated when taking care of myself in the present and the future.