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. —

 

F*ck What You Thought Was A Yoga Body

Shocker, another yoga post. Although, I suppose this piece could also be titled “summer body” or “perfect” body.

The truth is I wasted way too many years not attending a yoga class because of the way I thought I had to look before stepping through the doors. I thought I didnt belong because I had love handles and I had been loved myself with good food, which meant I had gained weight.

It was at the most crucial time in my life, when I really could have used yoga the most, that I felt too self-concious to walk through the door.

Also, I want to just stop here and say that I’m not hating on anyone for having a beautiful fit body, all I’m saying is that having one isn’t a prerequisite to attending yoga or even becoming an experienced yogi.

If you want better health that’s amazing. My favourite way to achieve that is holistically, by eating well, moving, and doing something for the mind. Meditation and yoga both have been scientifically proven to help depression, anxiety and mood stability.

If you do or don’t look like an Instagram model theres nothing wrong with that. Social media and society have both told us if we look different there must be something wrong.

Like Elizabeth says in Eat Pray Love “Let me ask you something, in all the years you’ve undressed in front of a man has he ever asked you to leave? Has he ever gotten up and walked out? No! Because he doesn’t care, he’s with a naked woman. He just won the lottery.”

Again here, not saying your perception of yourself should be based on what anyone else thinks of you whether they are a man or a woman.

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Back to the yoga. The practice of yoga is for you, for how you feel during and after, for the things it allows you to work through. Yoga is a way of life, a way of love – forgiveness – peace – non-judgement.. and acceptance. Mostly acceptance that we are human.

So with of of our human-ness we must just let go of whatever we thought was the yoga body and come to realize every body is a yoga body.

Don’t let anything stop you from trying something, from seeking inner peace, from practicing self-care. It’s not about flexibility…it’s about the experience.

The only way to transcend suffering is together.

Love,

Carlee.

Remember: You are Loved. You are Worthy. You are Blessed.

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You Gotta Teach Em’ How To Love You

My entire life I have witnessed women not exercising their own self-worth in relationships and being treated poorly. I myself am one of those women, I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t become one…but as the saying goes “history always repeats itself” and sometimes you become the thing you’re trying so desperately hard to run away from.

It can happen in any relationship – straight – gay – whatever. This isn’t a cheap shot at men, this is a post about what I’ve learned nearing three decades.

You don’t have to scream your insecurities from your mouth and tell the world with words that you don’t feel worthy of love. The world can see it in the way you look down at your shoes or shy away from any intimate conversation. They way you apologize literally 100 times a day and put everyone first before yourself – risking your own health to do so.

It took me my entire life up until now to even realize that the way you treat yourself is a direct indication to others about how to treat you.

It took me up until now to realize you have to teach people how to love you right.

You can’t teach them to be kind, or thoughtful or funny…that comes from themselves, that comes from God or the universe or whatever higher power you believe in. But you can teach them the way you want to be loved.

You have show them how to communicate by communicating in that exact way to them. You have to tell them…I like flowers and hugs and sunny Sunday’s with fresh coffee and a good book.

How could they possible know otherwise?

On the flip side you have to love them in the way they need to be loved. Listen and truly care. That’s the kicker…in order to love someone right you’ve got to care enough to actually do it.

Life is too magical and whimsical and precious to waste it with someone who doesn’t care enough to listen.

You gotta teach em’ how to love you right. And when your done teaching, if they don’t learn… well you’ve got some decisions to make.

 

Carlee.

 

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How To Get Sh*t Done With Depression – Procrastination and Waves of Self-Doubt

Honestly, I’ve been sitting at the computer for half an hour wondering what the title for this piece should be. I finally figured I’d just write it out, you could read it, and hopefully the title that I finally chose would be appropriate.

What I REALLY want to talk about is a mixture of things…but mostly how to still get shit done when you’re dealing with depression – procrastination  and self-doubt.

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A vortex of compromising traits that make it highly probable that the next 24 hours will be wasted. The past 30 days have been proof, if to no-one else but myself, of the fact that you can still accomplish a hell of a lot and feel good most of the time.

So, let’s say you lay in bed until 11am… most entrepreneur “gurus” online would say that is HORRIBLE  and you’re  never going to accomplish your goals by laying in bed on a Saturday morning. Maybe that’s true, but maybe you also get these strange waves of self-doubt and it takes you a while to kick your own ass into gear. Maybe though, you can make up for it in the remaining hours of the day by connecting with people or working on your projects or simply taking a day to yourself because we all need to recharge.

And maybe your body just honestly needed the rest, and your mind will thank you for it.

How then can you be successful with depression – procrastination – and waves of self-doubt?

Personally, I’m on this journey myself. It takes some trial and error and lots of forgiveness but it is possible to succeed. It takes huge amounts of self-care and self-awareness. You need to be able to recognize when you’re actually tired or if it is your unwelcome friend depression coming to say hello.

Procrastination is the real kicker, especially when you run a business that other people depend on. I used to tell myself and sometimes still find myself saying “I work best under pressure”. This may feel true…but I’m not fully convinced. What truly saved me was Mel Robbins 5 second rule.  You basically trick your brain into action and stop the thinking process. You count down 5-4-3-2-1 and then without thinking immediately just get up and do what you are supposed to be doing. It works, it really does, even if I have to take 15 seconds and count down 3 times before I get up… it works.

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Now for self-doubt. This guy likes to come around whenever I don’t get a sale the first time around or share a post on social media that doesn’t get as much feedback as I had hoped for. The trick of the whole thing is not to care about what other people think and to just produce content and move from one sale to the next, but when you are alone your mind can sometimes play tricks on you… and try to tell you that you’re worse at your job than you really are. Self-doubt has never been effectively managed for me by anything else other than three things: yoga – good people – and inspiration.

^^ It can look more like: self -care, relationships – mindfulness.

You will find as you go along your journey, your life will fill up with different – wonderful things and when times like this arise, when things get a little bit hard and these three try to creep back in… you will have created a safety net within yourself. You will have learned that you are better, worthy, beautiful, intelligent and able to conquer the gnawing thought of wasting the day.

It takes practice, as does anything in life.

And my dear, I’m here to tell you, I’ve been practicing for quite some time. You’re not alone.

 

Love always,

Carlee

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