For the love of god stop googling your symptoms: A Life Update.

For anyone following along here’s the update.  sept. 7th 2019.

I’m working nights for the last week next week, which is both exciting and relieving because it will allow me to sleep properly for the first time in about 6 months. It should also help to calm some of the symptoms I have been experiencing.

After a quick stop off at the local coffee shop that I’m now addicted to (both joking but mostly, not joking at all… please send help) I ran to the walk-in clinic to get a note for work.

I felt embarrassed because just the week prior I had been at that same walk-in, seeing the exact same doctor, complaining of stomach pain. The day after that visit I checked myself into the emergency room because I was convinced I had appendicitis, ovarian cancer or gall stones. NONE of which were accurate. It turns out I was just constipated and should not have been googling “stomach pain” in the first place.

STOP GOOGLING YOUR SYMPTOMS — is now the screensaver to my phone.

0-4

“Symptoms” should be taken lightly though because I may have a slight touch of hypochondria… or is that EXACTLY what a hypochondriac would think?!

As the doctor wrote the note he said he wouldn’t tell my work I was “fucked up”, instead he would only write “due to illness”.

We both laughed.

But, I also knew that I was going to share everything on this blog anyway so it didn’t really matter what my work knew at this point… if anyone were to read this, they would find out anything/everything they ever wanted to know.

Because I have a problem with sharing too much information, pretty much all of the time.

He then handed me a prescription for the medication I probably should have been taking for the last four years. Perhaps it would have saved a lot of the troubles I have found myself in… but then I wouldn’t have any of the stories I’ll soon be writing about.

It’s a gamble either way.

The next morning I gave the note to my work and the manager that I gave the note too didn’t seem that happy about it. I can only imagine it is because she herself is stressed out and my going down to part-time might seem like more of a burden on everyone else.

My counsellor said “it’s not your problem” and those four words sound so GANGSTER to me.

I’ve been saying it in my head over just about everything for the past few days.

There you have it.

I can’t wait to start healing, writing, and learning how to best manage bipolar and autism.

This will be a grand adventure… hopefully you’ll join me.

 

Much love,

Carlee.

 

p.s you are loved. you are worthy. you are blessed.

 

THIS is Bipolar Disorder.

It’s probably best to start at the beginning, or the middle maybe, better to keep your interest.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 16 and it wasn’t until the age of 23 while staying in the mental hospital that I was diagnosed with autism as well. Even with the diagnosis’ I just kept working. I figured as long as I could just work and hold down a job than every other part of my life would seem normal.

normal.jpg

Only, it didn’t work out that way. I have had in my lifetime over 50 jobs (many of them entry-level) and still, with my mania lost control of my life on numerous occasions.

As I write this now I have a job, entry level at a coffee shop, that I am trying my hardest to hold onto for dear life, despite the overwhelming low of depression I’m currently in.

Just a few months ago, five to be exact, I had this awesome idea come to me… again as most ideas do, they sometimes come back around until you act on them in a manic state. I wanted to start a business, a big beautiful wonderful business. It was going to help SO many people here in the community. Numerous reasons as to why it didn’t work. There were large agencies that wanted to use services but not pay for them, competitors that turned nasty, but above all the number 1 reason it didn’t work….

I was MANIC.

I was running on borrowed energy. I thought I could work 40 hours a week AND run a business during the day, with only 2-3 hours sleep in between. It felt like sleeping was a waste of time because I had so much to do, my mind was always racing.

And,

I did help some people. I had people coming to me that thanked me for what I was doing and the impact I was having, which I’m grateful for because maybe that makes it kind of worth it.

But mostly I started a business RAPIDLY and then had a bunch of people welcomed into my own little bipolar world… and for that I’m sorry.

54410189_402303486996636_4328933632543555584_n

It is a wild freakin’ ride over here, you’ve really got to know what you’re getting yourself into, and make sure you wear your seatbelt if you’re going to hang out with me.

There will always be ideas… so many ideas. Maybe, that’s the business I should start. Come sit down with me every 3 months or so and I’ll shower you with unique ideas that can be put to good use by someone more stable and mentally rounded.

Of course, there is the other side of the illness, all engulfing lows that seem to swallow you up and leave you lying for days on the couch wondering why you have to live here… what’s the purpose of life? Is there any meaning to anything we do or are we all just wandering around in a pointless existence? It does seem mellow dramatic now that I’m typing about it, but when you’re in it… you are in it.

I’m the girl that waits weeks to do her laundry, has a to-do list that just seems to get longer and longer, only buys condiments at the grocery store,… has journal full of ideas that are meant for someone else.

THIS is bipolar disorder.

Processed With Darkroom
I woke up to drink coffee… clearly

It’s not like they portray on the movies, it’s not any type of “beautiful mind” bullshit. It is random businesses and school drop outs, it’s figuring out which way to walk to work because you want to avoid certain intersections because the people waiting for you to cross in their cars make you anxious.

This was the middle of the story. Maybe one day I’ll write more about the addiction, the mental hospital, the self-care routine, the relationships won and lost… but for now because the business thing is really fresh and I’m trying my hardest to find a way to apologize to everyone who became involved in the whole ordeal… I thought I’d tell you honestly what bipolar looked like in my world.

Here’s to everyone else out there trying to make it. Dealing with the mania, the depression and still holding onto what little dignity they can scrape up off the floor – along with their hearts, of course.

Remember: you are loved, you are worthy, you are blessed.

Carlee. xx

181b7a3aa4716ef38e229a355d908ff7

Because When I Grocery Shop I Only Buy Condiments.

At 27 years old I find myself in the grocery store trying to buy food for the week ahead. It seems easy enough, everyone around me is doing it with ease.

The thing is, every time I get home I find myself stocking my fridge full of condiments. Ketchup, pickles, olives, ranch dressing…

Ask me why, someone as intellectual as I, is not able to grasp the concept of simple adult tasks. Basic common sense seems to elude me.

Along with the lack of such skills, I also have a hard time with change, building friendships and managing my moods.

I’ve been diagnosed with both high-functioning autism and bipolar disorder. It has been a wild ride.

A hilariously wild ride.

When I do get home and begin putting things away in the fridge, I realize exactly what I’ve done and every time I vow to do better.

On the good days I end up buying bread and can usually fix together some kind of sandwich.

So.

Now, finally after much debate back and forth between my ego, my pride and my fragile sense of self… I have decided to ask for help from the professionals that deal with this sort of thing.

This sort of living.

Impulsive on the seat of your pants, feeling everything so completely, loving, and hating, and dancing in the kitchen in your underwear at 3am, sort of living.

Was it difficult?

Yes, it took me at least 10 years to ask for the help I needed. To admit to myself that I couldn’t do certain things on my own. To admit to myself that I just didn’t seem to measure up to what a normal adult was supposed to be. That maybe, I didn’t fit into the box society wanted a productive member to fit so slenderly into.

It took me 10 years to remove the pressure I put on myself. The pressure to make my parents, my partner, my community proud.

I very slowly came to realize that the only person I was really hurting by pretending, was myself.

And, that any healthy person who loved me would understand. They would simply have to, and if they didn’t … well, that really didn’t matter anymore. What mattered is if I felt good.

What mattered, is if I felt safe in my own mind.

What mattered, is if I was living in a way that made me proud of myself.

Which brought me here, at the age of 27 asking for help to understand my own mental illness. With help buying groceries and making a list of priorities. Help with cementing a real routine, getting on the proper medications and finding the proper outlets.

Will I still buy a lot of condiments?

Probably.

But, now I’ll be that much closer to actually buying something to put them on as well.

—– seriously.

It’s not romanticizing mental illness. It’s trying to let you know all the small little things that happen.

All the good, the bad, the weird.

So that maybe if you are out there struggling you don’t feel so alone. That man, is a beautiful thing.

Keep living — keep growing — keep dancing in the kitchen at 3am.

You’re worth every minute of recovery and triumph and connecting.

 

Love to you all,

Carlee.

 

— you are loved. you are worthy. you are blessed. —

 

How To Remain A Badass Even When You’re Having A Bad Day.

We all have bad days, they happen because we are human and sometimes life likes to mess with us a little bit; make sure we know we’re still living. The day goes something like this: the alarm doesn’t go off, you call the office to tell them you’ll be 15 minutes late, you get in your car but you remember you chose not to put gas in it last night…sacrificing that time to watch another episode of Shameless on Netflix, now you’re another 20 minutes late, by the time you get to work Stacey has taken credit for the idea you told her about yesterday, and to top it all of you forgot to brush your hair.

Wait, did I mention coffee? Yeah…you didn’t have time to grab a coffee either.

k2xyo.jpg

Now tell me you haven’t had a day like this at least once. It’s so easy in that moment to say f*ck it and write the rest of the day off as a complete disaster, I’m definitely guilty of doing it.

It’s taken me some time, but I’ve learned the difference between having a bad moment or morning, and making it last all day. (cheesy quote alert)

When you really think about it, can you even afford to have a bad day…for the whole day? It just takes up so much time and energy. It’s not really the fact that you might have children, or other people counting on you (although important), it’s the fact that you know you’re stronger than a few bad moments, and surrendering to them would mean letting yourself down.

You remain a badass when…

You can laugh it off and find the humour in an otherwise annoying situation. Why, because everyone would rather be stuck in an elevator with someone who’s calm and can crack a few jokes, instead of someone who’s loud, angry and aggressive. (Replace elevator with office, school, or any general activity in which you partake).

You choose to walk away and master your emotions. One of my biggest shortcomings is not walking away at the right time. If you’re having a bad day because someone keeps pushing your buttons, remember your awesomeness, and choose to walk away. All the fuss usually isn’t worth your time anyway.

You say “f*ck it” and continue on as usual. This strategy has worked well for me in the past. Sometimes there’s not much left you can do, and the minute you say those two magical words, the stress just melts away. The day can start a new!

You practice self-care like a damn pro. Obviously I’m big on this one. After a bad day, I like to remind myself that yes, I’m still a badass, and yes it’s a good idea to continue to take care of myself. Find what self-care looks like for you, a bubble bath, good music, yoga, doing some artwork, boxing; it’s individual to you and what makes you feel good.

You connect with your tribe. My tribe is literally a few good friends and my mom…mostly my mom. It’s the people that you can share anything with, and they always have your best interest at heart. Connect, laugh, cry, share your day and all of it’s bizarre mishaps, I promise you’ll feel better.

You learn from it. So maybe you set two alarms, get a coffee maker that instantly brews at 6am, stay away from telling Stacey anything in the future… whatever it is, you can learn from it and going forward, you will have levelled up your badassery.

You’ve managed to define the word “badass” for yourself and live up to it. Yup, whatever the word badass means to you. Maybe it’s hitting the gym everyday, not letting other’s control your emotions, continuing to hustle, standing up for what you believe in, knowing your worth when other people don’t, speaking up for yourself, having the courage to do what is right. Find what it means for you and live it.

 

Last,

You forgive yourself if you don’t do any one of these things, because having a bad day is okay, and believe it or not you’re still badass. Yeah, it’s not really a trick, it’s amazing if you can manage to succeed at doing all of the above, but if you don’t, take responsibility for your side and know that tomorrow will bring something new, and often better.

YOU are strong, capable, and courageous. Even when you forget to do that one thing… you know, the thing that’s been on your list for the last two weeks and it’s finally caught up to you? Yeah, even then, still a badass.

Keep it up,

Carlee. xx

 

 

True Confessions of A Recovering People Pleaser.

As I write the word recovery, I begin to fear I may be exaggerating, am I really recovering? I’ve come to terms with the fact that saying no is always followed by a wave of guilt, and then a quick change of heart as I push the word “yes” out from my lips, just in time to bring a smile to the hopeful face starring back at me. I suppose the first step to recovering is admitting you have a problem.

Hello, my name is Carlee and I’m a recovering people pleaser. There, I said it. I wonder if you’re supposed to feel a sigh of relief afterwards, instead of what I can only describe as cautious hope mixed with a strange sense of shame.

How did I become this? Who am I afraid of disappointing? Why do I care so much about what other people think of me, that I will abandon all recognition of an independent, confident, self-loving woman?

I’m not going to bore you with tales of an alcoholic father, my own indulgent trips to the mental hospital, the autism diagnosis, the sleepless manic nights followed by weeks of depression, because although I’m sure they contributed, I’m not really sure what caused it. Is it possible you can be a born people pleaser, graced with a docile personality and a sensitive nature? Whatever the reason there’s a few things I need to get off my chest about the relationship between the person deemed “the people pleaser” and the individuals I call “normies”.

maxresdefault

  1. Even though I say I’m fine with the things you’re asking me to do, I’m not, and we both know it. I know, that you know, that I feel pressured… but because you know I’ll say yes, you continue to do it. I am the “go-to” for any shifts that need covering, help with moving, giving rides that are clearly out of my way, and other requests that any normal person would immediately dismiss. Let’s stop pretending and just start calling it for what it is, a cyclical relationship between the classic “user” and “pleaser”.
  2. Please know that if I ever do muster up the courage to say no, that I feel extremely guilty, and the whole experience will start an internal struggle between me feeling positive about standing up for myself, and feeling like complete garbage at the thought of letting someone down.
  3. I’m sorry for all of the times I ignored your text messages or phone calls trying to avoid all possible scenarios where I’d have to utter that two letter word.
  4. Even though I might seem happy to please you now, just know that I will soon become angry and bitter towards myself, and ultimately towards you. This be shown through irritability and sarcastic comments, but it’s more likely that I will continue to internalize everything and just keep a raging resentment burning inside myself. Because, I do try to be at least a little mature, I can recognize the fact that I only have myself to blame, which although it should, doesn’t make me feel any better in the moment.
  5. I will need time to recharge after a day of betraying myself, so again if I cannot be reached once I enter my house, just know that I have become a hermit for the next 24-72 hours. Thanks for understanding.

people-pleaser

Now, for a few deeply shameful confessions before explaining the ways in which I am actively trying to recover.

I once stayed in a relationship for 8 whole months, saw the person every-single-day…all-day-long. Supported their drug addiction while diving into the beginning of my own, spent my entire paycheck on their habit in fact, and then when they broke up with me I apologized! I was younger, more naïve, and hadn’t even come close to knowing what true love was, let alone self-love.

I once drove 2 hours out of my way so that someone could see their boyfriend for half an hour. I still get pissed of at myself for that one. I was new at a job and clearly trying too hard to be accepted.

Every time I order pizza and get it delivered I end up tipping way too much because I did it once and now I don’t want to disappoint them.

db03be50badd278f48100841ac845787--pizza-design-funny-pizza

Okay, so how am I actually trying to recover?

By slowing things down. When someone asks me to do something I wait and ask them if I can think about it. I then try to “feel” my way through the situation. Why would I say yes, because I actually wanted too or because I would feel guilty if I didn’t?

I’m also doing a shit-ton of work to build up my self-esteem and begin to actually love myself. It’s a difficult, mentally tough process that involves doing the right things for myself and my body, even if I don’t want too, which is the hardest part. I have to repeat the phrase “self-care isn’t selfish it’s necessary” and remember how good I feel when I actually do take care of myself.

I’ve also tried to surround myself with real supports and people who I know won’t use my people pleasing side, while limiting time with anyone I don’t fully trust at the moment.

Always, a journal is my best-friend in identifying how I’m truly feeling and being able to talk myself through anything and everything.

Like me you’ll find your way through the recovery process, if that’s something you’re willing to do. Life get’s better and there’s a lot less shameful moments committed in the sake of people pleasing. I can actually feel myself getting stronger and caring less about upsetting everyone, which is a pretty sweet side-effect.

I’m here with you.

Stay strong,

Carlee. xo 

 

2D155BC9-8C8E-425F-86E4-3DDE8676C39E (1)

Not Letting Your Anxiety F*ck You Over & Getting The Courage To SPEAK UP!

Anxiety is the unwelcomed and uninvited third wheel in every one of my relationships. It doesn’t matter if I’m with friends, family, my lover or my co-workers, there it is… always making me second guess myself. I have mastered the art of being socially awkward, and I always carry a book in my bag so I can pull it out and hide my face in it, avoiding any possible social interaction.

Anxiety has this weird way of making you think you have all these other problems. Before I was diagnosed with anxiety I didn’t even know it could present itself as physical symptoms. Stomach aches, headaches, shallow breathing, panic attacks that feel like heart attacks, irritability and nit picking, are just a few manifestations of anxiety. Normal chores like grocery shopping become overwhelming; when I get to the cash register my throat begins to feel like I’m choking and I pull my debit card out in advance so I don’t waste the cashier’s time.

Friendships are complicated and life becomes this daily fight for survival against an invisible enemy. Anxiety has a way of making you stay home whenever a friend has asked you out to lunch. Anxiety has single handedly convinced me that I am legitimately dying on numerous occasions, only to realize that it’s my own mind playing tricks on me.

If anxiety were a person it would be the snarky teenage girl who likes to screw with people’s emotions, just because she can. I started thinking about how many times my anxiety had actually screwed me over and how I had let it stop me from trying some really cool things, and potentially meeting some really interesting people. When is enough, enough?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I feel like the more each one of us that suffers from anxiety continues to suffer in silence, standing there feeling like you can’t breath while the cashier asks you if you want a bag, then we will never find the community we so desperately need. My anxiety seems to lessen when I “call the bitch out” for what it is. When I’m able recognize my symptoms as being anxiety and work through it, I feel like I can function. It’s only when I don’t recognize it or choose not too that my symptoms become unbearable, and I find myself in the emergency room telling a nice newly graduated doctor that I’m dying, “I know it”.

Speaking up about anxiety means having no shame in the fact that it’s real and believe it or not a HUGE percentage of everyone around us suffers from some level of it. Once we start actually talking about it without the fear of judgement, we can connect and start to heal, which totally sounds awesome.

Getting the courage to speak up for yourself under any circumstance is tough if you suffer from “the invisible enemy”. Saying the word “No” takes some serious effort. It’s not easy, but standing up for yourself while consumed with anxiety is possible. Chances are there are people out there that will take advantage of the fact that you have a hard time saying no, but think about how good it’s going to feel when they can’t do that anymore.

For all of the times we’ve had our hearts start beating out of our chests over making a phone call, or felt like hiding instead of answer the door…. we’re still strong and beautiful and powerful people. I’m here for you, let’s connect.

Carlee. xoxo 

47685742_723051934744929_4035846193840914432_n