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.



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

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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.  


Let’s Stop Living in Fear and Mediocrity

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It is so disheartening  how things like our anxiety stop us of from living the lives that we want and are destined to lead.  

So much of managing anxiety in my experience has been awareness and acknowledgement. I acknowledge when I am anxious and what causes me to become anxious, and I am aware on how to walk myself through the process.  This was something that that took over twenty years to uncover, and I am still a work of progress in that area. But the key is that I am working on it.


For years I envisioned the type of life that I wanted to lead:  

I wanted to eat healthy, exercise, wear beautiful clothes, have an interesting job, and do fun and interesting things with the people that I cared about.  I could see these images for my life in my mind. But my fear and anxiety stopped me dead in my tracks. It was almost as if there was something telling me “Who do you think you are to want to live this kind of fabulous life”!  And I listened to a degree, for many years I settled for mediocrity and left the vision that I had for myself and my life buried in the back of my mind.


All of this changed when I made the decision to take control of my mental health and make my treatment a top priority.  This is when I began to see all of the possibilities that I had available to me. My life was not to be lived from a place of mediocrity and fear.  I was responsible for being bigger than my fear and anxiety.

I never realized how much power I really did possess.

I also realized that my mindset was so important in the maintenance of my mental health disorder.  Of course I am going to have bad days. Hell, everyone has them, but I can live that life that I dreamed about so much, even with crippling anxiety and bipolar disorder.  My message to the world is this: If I can do it, so can you!

So tell me here in the comments, are you ready to stop living in fear and mediocrity?


4 Things That I Learned about Relationships and Mental Illness

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Relationships can be hard and they take loads of work.  They can be even harder when one of the people involved in the relationship has a mental health disorder.  


I have been involved in several relationships, many of them were before I knew that I had anxiety and bipolar disorder.  When I look back on those times, I can see that my symptoms were clearly showing themselves. Of course, I can across as negative, unhappy and out of control (to say the least).  

Learning about my illness and symptoms have really shed light on how my mental health disorder affects me and relationships with other people.  Having this information is key to making relationships work as well as maintaining my mental health.


While relationships and mental health are a topic that I can go on for days about.  I have learned so many things, but here are 4 important things that I learned about being in a relationship and managing your mental health disorders:


1.Take care of your mental health and learn about your symptoms and triggers so that you can educate yourself and your partner.  Education is so very important when dealing with mental health disorders. Once you have the information you can make a plan of action.  

2.Communicate your thoughts and feelings so that both parties are on the same page.
  When you are honest and open about your thoughts and feelings you can determine when your symptoms are appearing and how they can be dealt with.

3.Know that you are not your illness and you are in control.  This will eliminate some of the negative thoughts and feelings that you have about yourself.


4.Have a support system outside of your partner.  Having a strong support system is so very important when managing a mental illness.  Having support channels outside of your partner could alleviate some of the stresses that may come along with your partner being your only source of support.  


These are just a few things that I have learned about relationships and mental illness.  Do you have any tips for maintaining your mental health and relationship? I would love to hear from you. Let me know your tips!





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