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. —

 

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 

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CELBEBRITIES POOP…AND OTHER WEIRD THINGS THAT MAKE US ALL EQUAL

YEARS ago (or so it seems) me and my bestie (miss you!) came to the sudden realization that celebrities like Brittany Spears and Meg Ryan poop, just like us.

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It was the most hillarious thing to imagine Brittany Spears pooping in a luxurious bathroom, but it was also the first time we started thinking that celebrities were just normal people.

If you’re still with me after that image, this blog post is actually about something a little more meaningful.

For those of you who didn’t make it this far (and aren’t even reading this) you’re welcome, Brittany on the poreclain will stay with you forever.

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This post is about the fact that we all have strengths and weaknesses. So many of us are held down by what other people think. Whether it’s our parents, friends, neighbours, co-workers, for some reason what these people think affects most of our lives in a pretty serious way.

I know that for literally the first…26.5 years of my life (working on it!) I cared about what people thought of me and it held me back from so many things. Dancing to music in a beautiful open field concert was one of them, losing a huge sale because I was scared to ask was another.

Remembering the fact that celebrities poop reminded me that we are all human beings. We all have stuff we are good at and stuff that we completely suck at.

The best part is…everyone sucks at something, so don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad for what you aren’t good at.

Smile at the haters and do YOU boo.

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Everyone has suffered middle-school embarrasement, had an awkward first kiss, botched an interview or tried something and failed. There isn’t one person I know that doesn’t have a shameful story from their past that they’d rather not talk about.

Trust me… the first two decades of my life should just be written off.

YES I stuffed my bra in elementary school only to be discovered in the change room… I wanted boobs okay, is that too much to ask?!

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YES I got too drunk to make it to prom and ended up sleeping in the limo.

YES I have burnt water while trying to cook………….

YES I have a huge darth vader tattoo on my back… … ……

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Were all equal…equally bad at something and equally awesome at something else.

We’ve only got one life to live, unless you believe in reincarnation… do you? I’d love to dive into your world.

Let’s make the most of it. Whenever your down and out or worried about keeping up with whoever the neighbourhood Kardashians are, remember they all poop… we all poop..

No one’s any better or any worse than the next.

I’ll see on instagram or  snapchat,

Carlee. xoxo

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LET’S RECOGNIZE ARIANA GRANDE’S STRONG SELF-CARE DURING MAC MILLERS PASSING (Hate me if you want it needs to be said)

With the passing of Mac Miller two days ago, September 7th, Ariana Grande shared a simple but heart felt image of Mac, who had a song titled “Self Care”.

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In this post I’m not going to get into drug use or addiction, as many of you know I have had my own struggles overcoming alcoholism.

What I am going to talk about is the amount of self care Ariana Grande practiced in the last two years and why it’s so damn important.

First I’d like to go on record and say yes I think Mac Miller’s death is tragic, he will be missed and so will his talent. It’s never okay when someone dies, it always hurts and in cases like Mac’s you wonder what might have been.

But, there has been so much backlash towards Ariana about his passing that I’d like to touch on a few key points. Hate me if you want but someone needs to say it.

ONE: 

If anyone chooses to leave a toxic relationship that is their RIGHT to do so. We cannot be held accountable for someone elses actions, no matter how tragic, when our own actions are to keep us safe, healthy and happy.

Since when is it okay to force a woman to stay in a toxic relationship?

Is this what we are accepting now? …

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TWO: 

Making the decision to leave a toxic relationship IS a form of self care and it MATTERS. Staying in a toxic relationship will only ruin two people at the same time. There are no advantages to staying.

It is not Ariana’s fault that Mac Miller got charged with a DUI, had a substance abuse problem for years and has now passed away.

What was going on before they got together, during and after they seperated in terms of Mac’s substance abuse was not Ariana’s fault.

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Addiction is a bitch.

It will take your family, friends, house, relationship and eventually your life.

To blame anyone is to completely miss the point.

 

THREE: 

Let’s think about the fact that all breakups are hard. Walking away from someone who isn’t good for you, even if you love the crap out of them, is completely heartbreaking.

It takes a strong person to say … “I love you, but I love me more.”

We should recognize the human side of ourselves that can relate to this because I’m sure every one of us has either had our hearts broken, had to set boundaries or had to walk away from someone who wasn’t right for us no matter how hard we tried.

Staying in a relationship where you aren’t happy, safe or respected in the hopes of saving the other person means completely ignoring what you need.

Standing up and doing what is right for you is always YOUR first priority. There are women in shitty relationships right now who need to hear that it is okay to leave. They need to hear that whatever their partner chooses to do after they leave is not their fault.

They need to hear that they are WORTH it.

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Like I’ve said in previous posts the truth about self -care is that it’s messy, challenging, and you’re sometimes not sure if your doing it right.

When you walk away from anyone toxic you have doubts, insecurities and fears. Imagine what it would feel like to practice self-care and then have something like this happen. It would be devastating. Right now Ariana needs to practice self-care even more so.

I’m not blaming her and honestly I don’t think anyone else should be either.

I’m not bashing Mac, like I said I loved his music.

What I’m saying is self-care looks different for everybody but when I recognize someone making tough decisions for themselves and then the world responding in such a shitty way….I’m going to say something.

If you’ve ever left a relationship for whatever reason then you must have a little empathy.

To all of us strong, capable women out there,

I see you and I’m with you.

Carlee xoxo 

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