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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Rise of The Bad Bitch

I love it. Female empowerment, feeling strong and sexy, overcoming character defects (or trying to at least) AND singing about it! Lizzo, you got me girl.

The only thing is, I’m the most socially awkward book nerd of a woman you’ll have ever met.

I might have had it all wrong. When I thought of “bad bitch” I thought of push-up bras, salon nails, freshly done hair and a confidence in the way she walked.

Yes, this could all be true.

But,

upon further investigation a bad bitch is someone who has massive amounts of self-respect, a moral compass of loyalty – honesty – accountability.

A bad bitch is courageous, talented, intellectual, artistic.

Most importantly, a bad bitch knows she can be or do whatever she wants.

So the only definition is the one that means something to YOU.

This means EVERYTHING.

How you define yourself is what matters. It doesn’t matter what your parents think, your dog thinks, your teachers think.

It doesn’t matter what your neighbours, your mail carrier, your taxi driver thinks of you.

First and foremost is ALL in how you think of yourself, how you carry that image in your daily life, and how that image reflects back to you in the relationships you’ve built with others.

I forget where I heard “sometimes you have to shake hands with who you are”.

Sometimes despite our wanting to be tall we will undeniably be short.

Once we shake hands with that and embrace it, we become MORE empowered to build up the areas of our life that we can have an impact on. Our vision becomes clear and we begin to put our energy where it is most useful.

Once this happens most always, we begin to propel forward.

There’s nothing wrong with pushup bras or salon nails. Nothing wrong with them at all.

Just checking in though. How’s your inner spirit, how’s your drive, your passion, your attitude towards life?

How do you feel about yourself? Your community? Your relationships?

Bad bitches have a hold on their finances, their studies, their mental health…

but sometimes, they don’t and they’re just working through some shit and that’s okay too. Sometimes real life happens and your still a badass despite ALL the shit being thrown your way.

Sometimes it takes a badass to stop cycles, break down stigmas, to reinvent themselves into who they know they are.

Here’s to you girls wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. The single girls, the committed girls, the socially awkward book nerds in the back.

Here’s to singing Lizzo’s lyrics and feeling like a badass each. and. every. time.

 

Love to you all,

Carlee.

 

 

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. —

 

Why Customer Service Is Just A Sh*tty Sales Job.

I’m talking about low pay customer service jobs here. I currently moonlight as a coffee shop girl and let me tell you, it’s not as easy as it looks.

First off, last night we had to call the cops because some gentleman was jerking off in the parking lot.

Second, you are there to serve so you are pretty much acting the whole time unless someone you genuinely like comes into the store.

That’s not really a bad thing, but having had a brief “real” sales job at a newspaper previously (before it went out of business, hello social media) this job feels a LOT like sales, minus the great pay and incentives.

Here’s Why:

  1. You are to have a smile on your face at all times and greet everyone with an overzealous hello. *This one makes people’s day, especially in the morning… so it’s a positive*
  2. If you’re good at your job you will remember their order, name, kid’s names, work, hobbies, kid’s hobbies, dogs name.
  3. Up sell. Up sell. Up sell.
  4. Look nice. Arrive early. Do your best every, single, day.
  5. If you’re lucky — or cursed (depending which way you look at it) you’ll have opportunities to advance up the ranks. Head barista, shift supervisor, assistant manager, with about a .10 cent raise.
  6. You’ll laugh a lot, or cry a lot, but you’ll never fail to meet interesting people along the way.
  7. You will definitely get yelled at and talked down too should something go wrong and you piss the wrong customer off.
  8. If you are aware, you’ll gain valuable skills… mostly the ability to smile back at someone who is screaming their order at you asking for “less foam”.

 

Is it worth it in the end?

Of course.

Let’s not knock anyone for earning an honest wage, but let’s call it for what it is at the same time.

The reason for this post?

Dude, someone was jerking off in the parking lot…and we are earning minimum wage to make them a coffee.

Onward and upward my friends. This is just a shoutout to the men and women in customer service and the real sh*t they have to put up with. It’s okay to love the job and it’s okay to use it as a stepping stone as well.

From the bottom of my heart, I see you out there working away and I salute you.

Love always,

Carlee.

Dealing With Heartbreak While Running A Business.

I thought of the idea for this piece last night while lazying around in the tub. Sometimes it’s easy to find things to write about, sometimes it feels like the ideas are right there at the tip top of my brain but I can’t access them. Isn’t it strange? Now I know why so many writers before me tried vodka or whiskey to loosen up a bit and get over the keyboard jitters.

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dramatic photo for a dramatic topic?

Don’t worry. I don’t drink, anymore. Enough of my rambling though. Dealing with heartbreak is never fun, ever. It’s always messy and you end up on your bed at 2 am with  melted chocolate smothered on your pajama bottoms; crumpled up tissues littered across the comforter.

“I loved him” … “How did this happen?” … “It wasn’t suppose to turn out this way”.

All things I’ve sobbed into the phone while my best friend says “He was an absolute ass hat.”

 

It’s tough, it’s really tough if you’re heartbroken over a lover. It can happen for any reason, perhaps you simply weren’t meant to be or perhaps something more tragic happened and someone you loved dearly passed away.

It’s even harder when you have a business to run and you’ve got to stay strong. You are the last line of defence, employees come to you, customers come to you, your dog comes to you looking for comfort. It can be even harder when you’re just starting a business and your only employee is yourself.

You have to keep pushing on through the grief. You must keep putting one foot in front of the other despite the black glob of grief that has lodged itself in the centre of your chest.

It can be a great for a few brief moments to distract the mind and it’s even better to dive into something and use all of that emotion to fuel you and fuel the business. Growth can often be seen in times of struggle.

Don’t let anything stop you. Sure, you may have just been dumped by who you thought was the “love of your life” or maybe you did the dumping (you powerful goddess you). Your business, the thing you are passionate about, that thing you’ve been working so hard for… it’s still there and it needs you. Take life’s challenges and be vulnerable, get real, help others through the same damn things.

The things in my life that I thought were terrible misfortunes always have a way of ending up to be huge blessings in disguise. It might take months, it may even take years, but one day you’ll be glad it happened and you’ll be glad you put all that fierce energy into your business.

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This isn’t really a “how-to” blog post because I believe everyone processes grief differently and what might work for one person won’t necessarily work for the other. So do whatever you have to do in order to get back to grinding, to step back into that hustle and focus.

Have a personal talk with yourself in the mirror, you are a badass after all. Listen to music, put your headphones in and drown it out. Go for a long walk and just breath. Do some yoga and read something spiritual. Do what you have to do.

This is more of a reminder blog post… reminding you that you won’t feel bad forever. That the business is there for a reason. That you can and will hustle through it and your competition should be scared. That you are a badass goddess and should treat yourself as such.

Cry, eat the chocolate, feel the grief, inhale deeply – exhale it all out and focus baby, focus.

 

Love to you from the bottom of my heart,

Carlee. xo

Find me on Instagram @theselfcareenthusiast 

Write me an email on anything you’d like me to write about: theselfcareenthusiast@gmail.com