Bipolar Disorder · Depression · Life · Mental Health · Uncategorized

Well… this is awkward, My Awkward Life.

January 16th was the last time I posted here.

A lot has happened since then. Some good some bad. My previous post about my New Year detailed my transition to eating healthier.

Obviously my New Year has not gone as planned.

I had put so many labels on who I identified myself as that I felt boxed in, overwhelmed, and at my breaking point trying to figure out “Who am I?”.

“Vegan”

“Beachbody Coach”

“Blogger”

I am none of these things.

I am, simply, Me.

I roll with the tides. I can’t fight it. I am bipolar. This disorder is a cruel mistress. The depressive side can take me to the darkest of places and fill me with a sadness that is difficult to define, but on the other hand I am capable of feeling such joy over the smallest of things that I know others cannot. It is truly a double edged sword.

This past winter, I was suffering from a period of depression, and grasping at straws to feel anything else. In this desperation I reached out to my parents with an idea.

“Can I have a dog?”

“Yes.”

I was shocked. I believe, out of their own desperation, my parents agreed. I can only imagine that seeing your only child suffer when you’ve tried everything you can, with no end in sight, can make any parent desperate. We agreed that I would get a puppy and train it to be a therapy dog for me. We began to prepare for the responsibility that is a puppy.

On February 24th, we welcomed Bear Lee Goodenough to our family.

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Bear’s first night home!

I could write a whole book on the ways Bear has changed my life these past 5 months. Living a life in service of another changes your perspective. I still have bad days, but because of Bear, I don’t lay around and dwell on it. Bear HAS to be let out, fed, and walked. He NEEDS on me. If I choose to spend the day in bed, he suffers, so it is no longer an option for me. I now have a purpose. I have my own little family of three with my long-term boyfriend Geoffrey. Having them has flushed some of the darkness from my days.

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I can’t promise that I will never feel the way I did this past winter again;that would be naive. I’m trying to embrace what this disorder rains down on me, which includes labeling myself. I’m not going to be boxed in by my emotions. I’m not going to label myself vegan anymore. I may eat a vegan diet because I believe that it is a healthier option, or I may not. The same goes for this blog. I originally started it to keep my family and friends informed on my hiking and my life. It got away from me when I got caught up in the world of “blogging”. For now, I’m going to write about what I’m passionate about, and that changes almost daily. I have a very diverse amount of and I look forward to sharing them with everyone. I also want to share more about what it’s like living with Bipolar disorder and the daily struggles and hardships I have to face.

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Geoffrey and I, at my cousin’s wedding!

I hope you will stick with me on my journey here.

Always Awkward,

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Depression · Grief · Life · Mental Health · Vegan · Weightloss

My Story

   My story is a long one, it spans over eight years of my still young life. It deals with loss,  disappointment, and ultimately triumph. So bear with me as I sift through the mess that has been my life for nearly a decade.

   It started out when I was 15 with headaches, but not your everyday typical headaches. I went to my local doctor and was put through every scan, procedure, and medication in the book. Nothing worked. I was poked and prodded until the doctor finally shrugged and said “I don’t know what else to do”. I walked out of that office and never went back.

  I started my 16th year with a new doctor, and new symptoms. The headaches that once plagued me had transformed into searing debilitating pain coursing through me. On my first visit with my new doctor I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. It is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain throughout the body, amongst other symptoms. I almost always was in pain and unable to gather my strength to make it to school most days. The people in my life didn’t understand, and neither did I. As the stressors in my life gradually got worse so did my symptoms.

  As my symptoms worsened into the next year, it affected my attendance so bad that my High School forced me to drop out. I had to attend online school. I rarely got out of bed, everyday activities were almost impossible. I had hit rock bottom.

   One day while watching TV I heard about a new vegan cookbook coming out. I bought it immediately and started a strict vegan diet. I lost 60 pounds in a short amount of time. My pain was alleviated and I felt amazing. I finally had something to be proud of. I returned to high school for my senior year and over the course lost an additional 30 pounds. Everything seemed perfect. I went to prom, graduated, and was heading off to college.

    All of my dreams were coming true.

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I graduate at 145 pounds.

       Unfortunately things didn’t stay that way for long. Shortly after graduating High School I decided to stop my vegan diet. My symptoms slowly became apparent again. I started college, but after one semester I had to take a break. I began to feel unmotivated and my pain came back. In 2013 when I was 20, everything got worse when I lost two family members, who I loved dearly, within a few months of each other. I started gaining weight rapidly.

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The summer of 2015, at my heaviest, 261 pounds.

 In 2015  I was tired of feeling sick all of the time, so I decided to get help. I finally found a doctor  who I was comfortable with and she recommended that I should see a psychiatrist. I was later diagnosed with Bipolar Depression. The most painful part of the process was learning I never had Fibromyalgia. For eight years I mistook the physical pains and symptoms I experienced as Fibromyalgia, I was convinced that I would live with that diagnosis for the rest of my life. But I know now that depression can cause physical side effects. Now I had to learn how  to treat this new diagnosis that I had no experience with.

   In 2016, after a year of trial and error, I finally found the right treatment that worked for me. I am able to be my true self. I am back to being vegan again. Before, I was stuck in bed, but now, I hike every morning and I’m as active as I’ve ever been. I just started and I’m down 26 pounds. I couldn’t be happier.

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Now, at 249 pounds.

    This is not a road I have walked alone, though many days and weeks and months have felt that way. I have been isolated from emotions and the physical comfort of youth, stripped of these things by depression on a long road full of twists and turns. But, always remember this: It has been so worth it to get to where I am now.

    Some days it feels like I have lost so much… people in my life, opportunities I was too incapacitated to take advantage of, a typical high school and college experience… It’s made me a minority in my age group, but I am not willing to play victim. Now it’s my time to play catch up. I’ve spent the last 8 years healing myself, now it is time to move forward and get on a new path. A road with less rocky twists and turns, but more adventure, experience and enjoyment. I am thrilled to be starting my journey to me and I hope you’ll take it with me!

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