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Friday, April 27, 2012

How do I love thee???? Let me count the ways...

So how does one go about falling in love with themselves?

This was the question I was pondering last night in my frustrated insomniac state. I started off writing down reasons I might fall in love with someone else: attractiveness, kindness, personality, their actions, their goals, a mutual respect or admiration, etc. So I set out to write a list of the things I like about me. Some of them i currently fully believe, some I only partly believe (or at least want to believe), while others I don't yet believe at all but hope to soon.

I have a great smile.
I have beautiful eyes.
I am smart.
I am funny. (although my daughters don't seem to think so ha ha)
I cute.
I am strong.
I am resilient.
I am brave.
I am adventurous.
I am a good mother who loves my girls more than anything else on earth, and would do anything for them.
I don't quit. - I may postpone or procrastinate but I don't give up.
I can write well.
I am well spoken.
I am a great coach, and love volunteering with kids.
I am a good friend.
I still have dreams.
I am generous.
I want to help.

Not a bad list. I sound pretty fantastic. ;) Who wouldn't love me?

Ok well maybe me, but I'm working on that.

So now for the more difficult list....

I deserve love.
I deserve to be loved.
I am worthy of love.
I love you Cristina.

That one still sounds kinda fake and forced. But I will repeat it ten times a day until it doesn't. Or at least that is the plan.

(Damn now I sound like one of those shiny happy people I've always hated. There must be a way to be happy, fulfilled, positive, and inspired without turning into freakin Tony Robbins..... Finding that might have to be the next step in order to keep from making myself nauseous lol)

Off to Victoria for the weekend. Have a great one everybody. Try to love yourselves. It really does make a difference. And if we don't start with ourselves, how can we ever expect anyone else to???

PS: if you are reading this you are awesome too and I love you for it. Every single view this darn thing gets makes me smile. :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A New Approach.....

Alright, why the change?

I'm not going to complain anymore. It's exhausting. It makes me feel crappier than I started out feeling. And to be honest, it never seems to accomplish much of anything.

So here goes: I have bipolar affective disorder type II with rapid cycling and mixed states. Medicine doesn't really seem to do any good. So I am starting a quest to see what will do any good. Step number one, I refuse to continue my habit of going on and on about being sick. I acknowledge it, I recognize it, but now I'm done with it. I shall begin from this moment forward to go on and on about being well and feeling better.

Will everything work? Of course not.

Will everyday be a balanced, happy, fantastic, brilliantly healthy day. No, but I won't dwell on that.

Will this work? I have to believe that it, or something I discover because of it, will because nothing I've tried so far has let me do anything other than merely survive and that is not enough anymore. I deserve more, and it is time I start believing that.

Today I begin the mission of falling in love with myself. I've spent too many years hating myself and it is clearly not working. It has always seemed at odds with the natural agenda to hate oneself, but having felt it for so long I have simply ignored that dissonance. Not anymore.

How am I going to do this? I'm not entirely sure yet.

I changed my "name", I have changed my blog, and now the next step is to fall in love with myself. (I'm pretty cute, shouldn't be too hard lol)

I don't have to see the whole staircase, just the first step. (or next step)

I see the next step. Here goes....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sooooooooo tired

It is hard to complain when I look at where I am compared to where I was 7 months ago. My mood is better, I get out of bed on a regular basis, I have a new best friend who's supportive and actually understands, I leave my house almost daily, I am volunteer coaching for my daughter's track&field club, I eat junk food only occasionally, rarely binge, and am getting moderate exercise a few times a week. But it is still not enough. It is still just alright and ok. I want more than that. I want fabulous. Don't I deserve fabulous?

So what is holding me back from fabulous?

The best I can guess is exhaustion. I am tired ALL the time.

I will have 2 or 3 good to great days and then a day like today when I sleep from 11pm to 3pm.  A day where I can barely lift my head off the pillow let alone sit or stand up. My mood is low today, but not horrible. I am discouraged and angry today, but nothing I can't handle. The problem is mental and physical exhaustion that I can't explain or fix.

I thought that the healthier food would help, it hasn't. I thought that moderate exercise would help, it hasn't. I thought that a regular sleep schedule would help, it hasn't.

I'm not sure what to do now. Do I need to do something extreme? Some crazy raw vegan all banana detox diet? Intense exercise twice a day? Hot yoga? Tibetan bowls? Acupuncture? A meditation retreat?

I really don't know. At this point I'd be willing to try almost anything. As soon as I lift my head up off this pillow....

Sunday, April 22, 2012

So did it work???

2 days ago no_H_cristina replaced bipolar2_gurl in the twittersphere (I wanted cristina_no_H but it was taken, boo). At the same time, I started trying to replace my self-imposed "bipolar gurl" label with less restricting, more positive thoughts about myself. Starting with the easiest to say and believe, "I'm Cristina, and yes my parents left the damn H out but I like it better that way".

 Has it changed my life? Well, no.

 But did it change my perspective enough to put together (so far) 2 1/2 very positive days in a row? Why yes it did.

 They say in life it's the little things that matter. Hugs, smiles, laughter, hope. Well this is a little thing, but it definitely matters. The only opinion of me that really truly matters is my own. I know that I can't do it all at once. I have a long way to go, but this was a great first step. Good-bye bipolar gurl. Thanks for fighting the fight for as long as you did. You are done now though, it's time for me to be Cristina again (and don't you dare put an H in there).


Friday, April 20, 2012

Can changing a Twitter handle change your life???

Earlier this week, out of nowhere I had an idea that prompted 2 thoughts. One: I spend way too much time on Twitter. But more importantly, two: how can I ever escape the trap this illness has locked me in if even I define myself first and most importantly as bipolar. Forget my name, my likes and dislikes, education, occupation, any of my personality traits, the biggest and most important label that I put on myself basically tells the world that I'm female and I'm crazy. Now, you may be thinking it's just a Twitter handle who cares? That would be the case if I had invented some weird meaningless pseudonym containing a clever pun or inside joke, but I didn't. I chose a handle that explicitly explains the label that I sometimes feel is tattooed across my forehead. I chose it for two reasons; first: when I originally joined twitter it was simply to connect with other people living with mental illness so that I would have someone to talk, second: it is what I see when I look in the mirror, what I think of first when describing myself, and what I'm afraid I project to the rest of the world. 

This second reason is that part that is currently troubling me. When I look in the mirror I don't see a cute blonde woman with nice eyes and a good smile. I don't see a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. I don't see an intelligent, funny, strong, determined soul. I see crazy plain and simple. I put the label on myself before anyone else could and I am afraid that I have let it blossom from just a simple description of my illness to a jail of my own making, filled with fear, anger, resentment, regret, pain, frustration, guilt, shame, self-loathing and self-doubt. 

"Well, I would go back to school but I failed before because I'm crazy so I better not even bother trying again."

"Wow, I would really like to ask that guy out but I'm crazy so I'm sure he'll say no."

"I had a fantastic job before, but I screwed it up because I'm crazy so I might as well not even try to work at all."

"I'd love to start working out again, but I'm crazy so why bother when I'll just quit eventually and start bingeing on junk food again."

"I am lonely sometimes and would like to make new friends, but crazy people make horrible friends so I better just keep sitting here alone."

"Every one I pass on the street must know that I'm crazy, insecure, and fat so I'll just stop going outside all together."

These are some of the common rationales that play in my brain which have allowed me to sit back, hide, and miss out on life for most of the last 10 years. 10 years! A decade. An entire decade wasted in my self-made jail. As I wrote those, well basically excuses, it occurred to me that I have made an interesting connection in my own mind. Crazy=Failure. In my mind failure sucks, and is embarrassing, and results in judgment so why bother. I have set myself up for failure for the last decade and have succeeded brilliantly at fulfilling that prophecy. 

Where am I going with all of this??? I have no clue. Not yet anyway. Can changing a Twitter handle really change the way you see yourself and in doing so change your life? I don't know. I'll keep you posted, I'm off to think up a clever pun or inside joke.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

a little bit lost and a lotta bit stuck (a rambling, babbling teary-eyed post)

I feel like am supposed to be so much more than what I am right now. Like I should be doing something real, and meaningful, and important. Like there is so much in me that just needs to come out, and be fantastic, and take on the world. I just don't know what. Or how. Or where to start..... When I was a kid it was so easy. I wanted to be a gymnast, and go to the Olympics, then be a Dr and a lawyer and a singer all in one. Well I didn't do any of that. And now that I'm older a horrible mix of fear, illness, bad luck, circumstance, past experience, bad decisions, broken hearts, and bogus expectations is keeping me from even being able to sit down and figure out what it is that I truly want now. I want to be happy - ok fine, just be happy I want to be successful, and busy, and inspirational - at what and for what???? no idea I want more time with my girls - I'm doing all I can, but illness, geography and finances make it a constant struggle and it's never enough I want to love myself so that someone else can love me and I won't die alone - don't even know where to start I want to be secure and safe and taken care of - again, no clue how I want to feel important, and worthy, and useful - but I don't. deep down I really truly don't. and until I do, nothing else is possible 18 years of Dr's and meds and therapy and treatment and I'm no better off, no closer to an answer. I'm really tired of being stuck. I'm really tired of not having any of the answers. And I'm really truly so damn tired of hating the person that I spend all my time with; the fat, useless, lazy, pathetic mess that stares back at me from the mirror every day and taunts me with glimmers of hope but delivers nothing. I wanna fight. I'm just so damn tired. And so damn lost. And so damn stuck. And I really truly honestly have no idea where to even begin. "you don't have to see the whole staircase, just the first step" - well it feels like I am in a hole, inside a well, 10 feet away from the first step with no ladder, no rope, and no flashlight. What now? No seriously, what now? Gratitude..... ok I am grateful for my daughters, for my sister, for my family, for a roof over my head, and a warm bed to sleep in. I am grateful that I have food to eat (even though eating brings more shame and self-hate). I am grateful for a safe country, and basic human rights. I am grateful I'm not dead yet (most days). I am grateful that I have it better than a lot of people. Gratitude exercises are great, until they make you feel like a whiny, even more useless, waste of space than you did before you started them. I know it takes work. I'm willing to work. If I could find some actual direction, purpose or anything to work toward. I don't like or trust myself enough to even know what is that I want. What it is I should be doing. And I don't know how to start. Overcoming that much self-doubt, distrust, and loathing is something I long for so badly, but don't even know how to begin to tackle. What now? Seriously, what now???

Friday, April 6, 2012

What did you just say to me???

I told myself I was going to write more often, but I have been struggling with that. It seems I am only inspired to write when I truly have something to say. Well tonight is one of those times. I truly have something to say....

If you as a parent and you teach your children only one thing, let it be this: you are not better than anyone else on the planet, just different than and you do not have the right to be mean, cruel, judgmental, or rude to anyone ever just because you feel like it.

I was bullied horribly in high school. By a jealous "friend", by her new "friends", by a lot of people. In grade 10 I gained 10 pounds after quitting competitive gymnastics. I went from a 2 to a 6. At a party a guy actually made pig noises at me. At 5'3 and 125 pounds someone oinked at me and people laughed. Then they joined in. That is when my disordered relationship with food, and absolute hatred of my body began.

Now at 35 it is happening again. I gained some weight after moving to Vancouver for various reasons including loneliness, laziness, and age. At 5'3 and 120 pounds I was again called fat. And laughed at. And told "ya you're way too big for me". I have been fighting my ED for 20 years and had recently reached a point where I honestly felt like I could say I was in recovery. Until tonight......

Is this person important? No.

Will I ever see him or any of his jerk friends again? Probably not.

Are they worth my anxiety, anger, and time? Not in the least.

And yet here I sit. Alone. Wounded. And crying. Because once again I am the 15 year old at the party getting oinked at. I ran home and cried, vowing to never eat or leave my house again just like I did 20 years ago. I have gained a lot of strength in those 20 years but deep down I'm worried I will always be that lonely wounded little girl at the party. Who, for the first time in her life, thought "I'm not good enough" and has been fighting that feeling ever since.

How dare you? What ever made you think that you have the right to say anything like that to anyone ever? You disgust me.

And yet your words tore me down, ripped me to shreds, and hurt me more than you'll ever know,

I'm 35 years old, I had hoped the bullying had ended a very long time ago. I guess I was wrong.

Sadly, I was very very wrong.