the number one treatment for the recovery of bipolar disorder

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Let me start by saying medication has been vital in my recovery, wellness, and maintenance. The arsenal of counseling and psychiatric services has also played a huge role. Without these things, my life would still be in shambles.

However, I’ve come to realize the magnitude of the treatment that helped me the most with bipolar type 1 disorder. It sounds cliche, and maybe it is, but this is what pulled me through and out of some of the deepest valleys of my life.

The best treatment I ever received was love.

The sentiment of love gets tossed around a lot as we know, and the meaning has become diluted.

But the love I experienced wasn’t an ephemeral love. It was a compassionate love that didn’t have conditions. I didn’t have to perform a certain way in order to receive it. I have felt loved by several people, but most notably over the years by the unwavering support system I have in my parents.

In times when mental illness gripped me the hardest and I felt like the world turned its back on me, and when the white noise was deafening, they claimed me. And even more so they were proud of me.

They put the condemning weight of my burdens on themselves and then some. They laughed and sobbed with me. They celebrated my small accomplishments. They held me with a death grip when I felt helpless. They encouraged me. They stood up for me. They loved me when I didn’t have love for myself.

I was more important to them than the appearance of our family. They didn’t run from the diagnosis, but instead educated themselves and are now educating others. They put their own schedules on hold to be near me and to bring their little girl back. They emulated the agape love that God has for me. They were never ashamed to call me their daughter.

I love you mom and dad. Thank you for sharing in both my sorrow and healing. I could never fully articulate how grateful I am that your reservoir of grace never runs dry for me.

Processed with VSCO with 5 preset

hope

IMG_9775

 

So I haven’t written in a while. I’ll be honest, I contemplated deleting my blog a few times, feeling like I had shared too much. But then I remembered the people who told me it had helped them, and decided to let it stick around (also, I couldn’t figure out how to delete it – haha).

I’m at a great place in my life right now and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for that.

If I’m being candid, the beginning of 2016 was not a walk in the park. It was difficult. But as the year went on, things got better again like they do. I’m happy to say this summer has been the best of my life so far.

I got engaged to Eric! I couldn’t ever explain how happy and overjoyed this makes me. I found someone who loves me for exactly who I am, which is something I never knew if I’d say or not. He’s an amazing man, and I’m beyond excited for the rest of our lives together.

Processed with VSCO with 4 preset

This post is really just to say that I’m glad I didn’t completely count myself out. In the hard times I’ve learned to love myself and to care less about what others think of me. I haven’t mastered it all – but I’ve gained ground and that’s all I’m going to ask of myself.

Speaking up for mental health and mental illness is still on my heart, and I plan to continue spreading light for it.

– Laura

 

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts.”

Romans 5:3-5

 

bipolar is and isn’t

IMG_7818

Bipolar disorder is a serious disease. It’s not fun, nor trendy.

Bipolar (for me at least) means consistent medication, dose changes, and getting adequate sleep to stay well.

Bipolar means periods of extremes. Mania and depression, then mania again, and so on. A cycle through the seasons. It doesn’t mean: Let me yell and pull my hair out, and then giggle uncontrollably thirty minutes later.

Mania is a state of the brain. It seems rather misunderstood as a whole. It’s important to know that being in mania doesn’t make someone a maniac. 

I took the liberty of looking up “mania” on dictionary.com. Here’s the super informative definition:

(1) excessive excitement or enthusiasm; craze: ex: The country has a mania for soccer.

Okay.. so in second place:

(2) Psychiatry. manic disorder

Mania. I had no idea what it was until I experienced it firsthand.

In my psych class at Clemson, I remember we breezed right through it. Which is fine, lots of material to cover-I get it Jorgensen.

I scribed in my notes something of the like: mania- affective disorder characterized by euphoric mood, excessive activity and impaired judgment. 

While this is true, I had no grasp on what this would entail in real life application. It was simply a multiple choice answer on a test.

It wasn’t until my nonchalantly jotted bullet point became my reality that I understood.

Bipolar disorder freaking sucks. It’s not something I can ignore and say, “Just..stay there, I’ll deal with you later.”

It’s really hard. But I have learned a few things.

It means living with haunting and embarrassing things I did or said in the past.

..But It doesn’t mean I have to dwell on them day in and day out…and I don’t (anymore).

It means I have a serious condition that needs to be addressed and managed.

..But It doesn’t mean I think of myself as some sub-human specimen who can’t do what everyone else can.

It has made me manic, but not a lunatic.

It has made me depressed, but not completely hopeless for eternity.

When someone has a physical condition, most of the time they don’t feel the need to confess it under their breath. Unfortunately, mental illness is a different story.

Even the word “bipolar” is so harsh sounding. If I tell someone out loud that I’m bipolar, I’m often greeted with a look of I can’t believe you just admitted that out loud. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue…kind of like most things that are expected to be kept to ourselves.

The prenotions that come with the idea of bipolar are so strong.

Like I’ve mentioned in a post before, when in high school, I remember hearing random, uneducated slams against bipolar here and there…I thought semi subconsciously, I am so glad that I’ll never have to deal with something like that! I’m so normal. Bipolar people are weird. Bipolar people are psychos. 

Then it hit, and I was now the aforementioned “psycho.” But really, I was just ill.

I’ve also told of how a “well-intentioned” woman advised me to never share with anyone that I’m bipolar. To keep it a secret for my own good. That she was looking out for me.

So, thanks lady who I haven’t heard from since! Your recommendation is actually the reason I started this blog.

I’m doing the exact opposite of what you told me to do, because I think more highly of the human capability to understand than you do.

The truth is, my secret could’ve ultimately killed me- and my life is far more important than my pride or appearance.

 – Laura

everything is alright

IMG_7698

Give me a reason to end this discussion,

To break with tradition.
To fold and divide

“Are you feeling fine?”
Yes, I feel just fine.

– Everything Is Alright; MCS

OCD–Obsessive Compulsive Disorder–a disorder that can go hand in hand with bipolar. Like Liam and Miley, they just can’t stay away from each other for too long!

I need to stop watching E! news forever.

A sped-up mind (bipolar) needs more to think and worry about (anxiety/OCD).

So OCD may not be what you think if you’ve only heard it talked about on TV. It doesn’t always equate to clean freak. It’s more than some extreme organizational habit..

OCD is literally as described… obsessive, compulsive thoughts. Unwanted, persistent thoughts.

And these thoughts don’t have to be grounded in what’s worthy of being thought of. This is the annoying part.

For me, it can be counting. Counting the hours of sleep I got. Over and over in my head. 6. 7. 7. 8. 9. 7. Feeling like I can’t carry on before knowing in that exact moment something so trivial to the trajectory of my life.

It shows up in my hypochondria. Anyone who has known me at all knows that I’ve always had an irrational fear of sickness. Emetophobic compulsive thoughts used to keep me out of school when I was younger. Seriously.

I obsessively wash my hands. Douse hand sanitizer. Won’t touch door knobs with my bare hand unless I absolutely have to.

If you knew me in high school, I was the girl who always had a pack of gum. Well, it wasn’t so everyone could ask me for a piece– I know, very hard to believe. It was because it helped ease my anxiety at the time in some weird way. I chewed, on average, 7 pieces per test. I was finally able to break somewhat from this habit.. thank goodness, my jaw seriously wanted to kill me for a few years there.

My friend Kate (her blog, click!) talks about her anxiety/OCD in fight or flight terms–which I hadn’t thought of before. But it’s so accurate. If you relate, you know, you either stay in the moment and fight it, or you run away.

I don’t have too much pride to admit I’ve literally ran away from anxiety inducing situations in the past. Literally ran away… because I just had to get out of there.

Yesterday I decided to “fight.” I was in the grocery store line having just worked out, I was out of breath, on the phone, and carrying a basket way too heavy (should’ve gone with the cart). The man in front of me had something wrong with his transaction, so I’m waiting for another clerk to come help the completely normal, nothing out of the ordinary, everyday situation.

It was taking too long. Claustrophobia. I’m short of breath, imagining myself fainting on the floor. My head starts spinning and my heart picks up. I hang up the phone in a hurry, and seriously contemplate just leaving my basket on the ground and walking out of the store to get fresh air.

This example is seriously so ridiculous, sorry for that–but I know people with this kind of anxiety could be able to relate.

..A lot of it has to do with control. Not being able to control exact details of even the simplest situations gives me anxiety. Yes, this is super frustrating.

But this isn’t always the case.

I go through weeks, even months without this kind of anxiety. I prefer those times.

I also have this thing where I feel like I have to confess everything to someone. Like how I imagine a devout catholic at Confession (I’m not catholic.. I don’t know) But I feel this compulsion to confess things that.. aren’t even worth confessing. It will be on my mind until I do.

So I realize people who are reading this and have never experienced anything similar are most likely thinking, “Laura has more problems than once anticipated!” Eh well.. you’re probably right! However, this all really isn’t entirely uncommon.

More recently in life, I’ve found I’ve been at peace with a lot of things.

But this is new to me…so my brain is trying its absolute best to find a way to self-sabotage. I’m not used to things going well and staying well. That sounds really dramatic, but it’s how I feel.

Therefore, when things are great, my mind projects my anxiety onto something that’s undeserving.

This feeling of constantly needing something to worry about and stress over..  I think someone can relate to that.

I really want to change this.

My brain wins a lot. It’s the bipolar, OCD, and anxiety cocktail kicking my butt momentarily.

But it’s just that–right now, not forever.

Because I’ve already found ways to alleviate some of these symptoms, and I’m going to keep trying to figure this deal out. Stepping back when I can to be rational really helps. Simple, but hard to do. Talking with people who “get it” has really helped. This blog outlet definitely helps me as well.

That’s all I have on this…tryna break with tradition.

XO- Laura

peace

image

A sense of peace acts reciprocally by virtue of conflict.

It ebbs and flows with the seasons. When intentions are contorted through every lens, our dissonance succeeds.

It seems to almost always result from a series of surefire misunderstandings.

And I hate that.

Why can’t anything seem to fall into place without some surprise conflict?

Peace.. It often seems unattainable. Especially if you’re wed to overthinking like I tend to be. OCD thoughts keep me prone to worry.

Peace is something pretty hard to find or feel. Hoping for it can feel like waiting for what’s not even real. And most times it seems Murphy’s law will always win out.

How can we find peace in the thick of misunderstanding and conflict? Things can turn sideways, 0 to 100, for endless reasons I won’t try to list.

Becoming tangled proceeds the chance to inhale. My tendency to shoot from the hip doesn’t help either.

I realize I’m being vague, but it’s because this doesn’t seem to apply to just me. It appears pretty dang universal.

Misunderstanding. Conflict. A lack of peace.

I certainly don’t have all the answers of how to have peace in hard situations or even mundane ones.

But what I have found is that peace doesn’t have to be circumstantial- even though it certainly feels this way most days.

I’m human. With that fact comes failing people- and hopefully we know this to be true of everyone. We all fail, and we also have all been and will be failed.

This actuality has helped me understand that peace can be a possibility, even though at first glance it seems to suggest the opposite.

What I propose is that we give ourselves and each other some slack.

When we stop being so hard on ourselves, maybe there will be peace of mind.

Once we stop looking to ourselves or to other people for all of our comfort and answers, maybe there will be peace of heart.

We are fallible.

There is a peace in knowing that control over every detail is out of our hands, and in another’s.

But this only comes if we trust that these same hands are working everything together for our good.

Only then is weight lifted and peace gained.

XO- Laura

“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” – John 14:27

calm to ill

IMG_6914.JPG

“And like the sea
I’m constantly changing from calm to ill” -Sleeping Sickness; City and Colour

Is is okay for someone who blogs mostly about looking through a positive lens and advocating for hope to say they’re discouraged?

My goal in this is to be as real as I can be. Because if I’m not being honest, I figure why would it even be worth the read.

I have to admit that sometimes the stigma and misunderstanding with bipolar seems so great when I feel so small.

Like one voice that’s being drowned out.

Like no matter how far I reach to spread awareness, there will still always be people making a mockery of my disorder.

If you’re reading my blog or seeing my social media profiles and thinking I’ve “conquered” my bipolar, you’re wrong.

Some days are great. This year has been amazing overall. I have so much to be thankful for.

And others days I find I fall apart.

This week is emotional for me as the end of the semester and finals are here. It’ll be my first completed Fall semester of college ever, even though I began back in 2012.

It’s funny.. I used to be obsessive when it came to school. From elementary to high school, and even at my completed semesters at Clemson, I didn’t settle for anything but perfect.

I remember not being satisfied with my 98 on a spelling test in Mr. Jones’ 5th grade class. I took less challenging courses than I could’ve in high school to ensure that I was one of the best, and that I’d get an A.

Things changed.

Because then, my heart got broken. My spirit changed. My diagnosis came out of nowhere. Storms came and went, then came again. My withdrawals from college. Three Falls, all for different reasons–but all stemming from my bipolar. My perspectives changed.

Now, nearing the end of my semester at Queens, I’m facing some.. not so amazing grades. Getting by, but not excelling.

In a way, it’s humbling and freeing. In another way, it’s discouraging and a disappointment. It’s success compared to the past three years. It’s failure juxtaposed with my old standards.

My medicine makes it difficult to go to class when not feeling well, which is sort of often. My tendency to mania makes me easily distracted. The fact that I’m almost 22 and taking gen eds makes it hard for me to care.

With the end of Fall semester comes the reality that Spring semester is next, the dreaded season every year. Because I know what’s ahead. A slowed down brain, less energy, a general fog, fewer words to say.

I probably won’t be writing in this blog much, since I’ve had writer’s block every Spring I can remember.

I don’t want a pity party, but I would like some prayer. While I have Christmas to look forward to, my favorite time of year, I know what’s coming after, and I’m gonna be honest, I’m scared.

I do want this Spring to look different. And I still hold to the hope it can be. Though the truth is there’s no cure or stopping my alternations. The cycle will go on, always. It’s just a matter of managing it.

I’m thankful that God doesn’t change, even when my circumstances do. The only constant among my variables.

He gave me the best family, friends, and boyfriend, who I know will help me when things get a little dimmer, as they always do and it inevitably will.

XO- Laura

yeah, forever!

FullSizeRender 2

“And we’ll always be friends forever, won’t we?” -Tod

“Yeah, forever!” -Copper; The Fox and the Hound

This post is a tribute to my best friend, Allie.

Even though we’re a little ways apart right now– she’s at Appalachian State and I’m in Charlotte, I know that we will always be friends.

So I wanna take you back to the beginning of our friendship.

Allie and I connected right away, and let me say, it wasn’t because of me. It’s because Allie has a way of meeting people, finding a way to relate to them like only Allie can, and really caring about that person– right off the bat.

We first met back in the fall of 2011 because of our ex-boyfriends and their bands. ..So thank God for exes! Y’all rock. You both brought me one of my best friends in the whole world.

While we hardly spoke two words that night and later admitted we were both intimidated by each other (lol), for some reason, over a year later after much talked about double dating that never actually happened, Allie decided to reach out to me on Facebook asking to be roommates at Clemson.

I was so pumped! Of course I wanted to. I wasn’t getting stuck with a rando and she seemed awesome. Shortly after, I was a little manic, because this was the end of spring right before the summer of my psychosis. We went to target to go shopping together in the summer, and ended up talking for hours, not realizing the cart of all our stuff had been STOLEN and taken back to where they reload everything back into the store. Don’t worry–we managed to salvage our plastic owl plates just in the nick of time ; )

We became quick friends. And I could not wait to live with my new friend Allie in the dorms.

.. Then everything with my psychosis and hospitalization happened, and I couldn’t go to Clemson that fall with her like we thought.

Allie had to live by herself in our little corner dorm, until someone moved in eventually from the overflow rooms.

I was devastated. But the good thing was that when I got better, I was able to go visit her at Clemson. We went to a football game together. We went as each other’s dates to the first Autumn shag because wdgaf. I even moved some of my stuff into the dorm on my side.. which totally isn’t allowed. It was the best break possible from the mundane of being at home all day everyday, while everyone else was embarking on their first semester of being away at college. To go see this friend– that was what I looked forward to. The first time I came to visit, she had this waiting for me on our door:

FullSizeRender

We went to an Ascend the Hill concert. Ate an abnormal amount of Mike and Ikes out of a vase in the dorm. Laughed until our stomachs hurt. Played mario kart. Giggled and conversed with drunk people on the elevators. Drove to the nearby Bi-lo whilst blasting alternative rock classics. Hung out and talked about life with our RA, Emily. Didn’t have the perfect Pinterest pottery barn/Anthro room. It was great.

We were both getting over our exes together, since we broke up at basically the same time.

…And then came spring. Time for me to actually become a student finally at Clemson. That’s when my first major depression hit me like a ton of bricks.

As I’ve written about in previous posts, I was gripped by absolute misery, for reasons I didn’t really know or understand at the time. I didn’t know I was bipolar. All the sudden I was gaining weight, unable to take care of myself, and just wanting to be alone.

Allie’s no psychiatrist (obviously–she was 18, even though she’s now ironically studying psych), but she was the closest thing to exactly what I needed that semester. Even though I’m sure she missed the easy-going light times with me, she had to accept that that wasn’t our reality anymore. And I don’t think it seemed like there was an end in sight for her when it came to my complete numbness.

I never opened up about my depression once, so there was no way of her even being able to address that specifically. But, as my best friend and roommate, it was so painfully obvious how depressed I was, and I knew she was concerned about me.

But here’s the thing everyone, what she didn’t do, is she didn’t give up on me. Even though I know there were times where she was beyond frustrated, didn’t know what to say to me, etc… she ultimately just decided to be my friend. And that was exactly what I needed at that time.

Instead of trying to fix me, she’d leave encouraging notes for me to find around the room. It was obvious I was struggling with self-worth, so she’d put a post it on my mirror saying “You are BEAUTIFUL! And I love you so much! -Allie.” In my closet would be another verse. On my pillow I’d find different notes.

She’d invite me to anything and everything. And always wanted me to come, even though I’d literally just stand there so awkwardly, while people were probably thinking to themselves.. why is this lovely, bubbly girl hanging out with this.. complete downer?

She realized that slapping a bible in my hand and telling me to come to church and campus ministry wasn’t working. And not that those things are bad.. they are great! But Allie soon realized that like I said, I just needed a friend.

I know it was difficult for her, and we talk about this all the time now.. But I hope she knows for sure that I will always be grateful for her loving me through everything that year– when I felt I was unlovable.

IMG_6865.JPG

She showed me through her perseverance and her character who Christ is. She wasn’t embarrassed of me. She wanted to listen. To just be there.. To be present. She brought her disney princess personality to the dark grey of my life. She made herself available in a year that I can promise you.. was not easy for her either.

We moved into an apartment together Sophomore year as well with two other friends (shoutout to Jess and Kara!). And well, this semester turned into a total nightmare for both me and Allie.

Allie was getting help she needed for an eating disorder that I didn’t even know she struggled with until a few weeks leading up to her leaving Clemson. She decided on the journey of taking care of herself and taking a gap year. I was in a huge mania from my bipolar, and then soon after, really medicated, making me an unbearable human to live and deal with.

I was a zombie when Allie needed me. While I know she understands that I couldn’t really help it, it hurt me to think back and realize that I couldn’t be there for my friend like she was for me.

Allie transferred to Appalachian after her time off, and she’s happier than ever and more confident in herself. Which says something, because I always thought she was the most confident person I knew. She inspires everyone she comes in contact with, and is incredibly open about her struggle with her both her eating disorder and her passion for helping others with their mental health. She became a mental health ambassador and started a club at Appalachian–called Appsi–for promoting positive self image.

Anyone who is lucky enough to know Allie can attest to her pure heart, bright smile, compassion for people, boldness, deep faith, and just.. her realness.

And that’s why she means so much to me. She’s real. She never cared about what our friendship would mean concerning her reputation. Because let me tell ya, if there’s anything I wasn’t at Clemson that freshman year, it’s that I wasn’t cool, popular, or fun to be around.

Allie didn’t care..

IMG_6866.JPG

Her heart for serving the hearts of others outweighs most all else. And she’d tell you otherwise, but I’m here to tell you, SHUT UP ALLIE, it’s TRUE!!!

I’m so thankful for this amazing friend who stands by me. Now that we are both out of Clemson and in much better places in our lives, we’re able to reflect back and be like.. wtf were we doing there.. and just laugh at ourselves, but also we learn.

Because even though neither of us got it all perfect (um especially me) we will still always be there for one another.

Because well, this is what we all need more of!!! Genuine friendships. And this is the gospel lived out, what she did for me. Yes, erasing the stigma is great and it’s what I aim for.. and there needs to be change regarding mental health policies and what not.. but these friendships and commitment to others can be what really gets us out of the pit.

I can honestly say I’m not sure where I’d be without the angel God sent me in Allie back when.

I love this girl with my whole heart! And she deserves any and all recognition she gets. K, No disclaimers, Allie 🙂 

Thank you for being you, Belle, and for everything you do for the ones you love.

IMG_6862.JPG

(^^If you haven’t figured out our pose yet..)

IMG_6861

She painted this for me for my birthday last year. Aaaaand Idk who is who because we are both constantly dying our hair lolol.

XO- Nemo

>> “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” -Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

>> “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” -Proverbs 18:24

is this all your plan

FullSizeRender

Aging anger brings me to my knees
My heart still hurts and I need forgiveness
And is this all Your plan? Answer me
My heart still hurts

And I give you control
This sleeper, has lost his way- Hands; Returning

There is something we all have in common.

Though it varies eminently, it’s certain. It doesn’t know race or social status. And it’s suffering.

It’s not about if, it’s about when. 

It’s the job a dad got laid off from. It’s the boyfriend who broke a heart and never spoke to her again. The boyfriend who broke a heart and still keeps her on the leash of emotional abuse. It’s a denial letter from the dream college. The falling out of a friendship.

A mother who passes away unexpectedly. A mother who passes away after fighting for so long. Divorce. Affairs. A relentless bully at school. An incurable condition. Depression. Suicide. The news you have cancer. Or your child has cancer.

It’s domestic violence. Broken homes. Drug addiction. Alcoholism. Giving up a child for adoption that you couldn’t take care of, but wanted to so badly. Having an abortion and enduring the aftermath and judgment. Hatred. Racism. Financial problems. Sexual assault. Senseless violence. The ongoing wars. The sex-slave trade.

The world is broken.

And life’s not fair or always kind.

When I was at my darkest moments, I just found myself asking God.. why? If you truly are such a loving God like I’ve learned about all my life, why let all these circumstances destroy us? It seemed cruel and malevolent.

And it made sense to me that so many turn their back on God after pain. I did.

Back in 2012, I said God, I don’t know if I believe in you anymore. Why would you allow this crippling depression in, just to torment me?  If you truly loved me, why wouldn’t you just take it away? In 2013, I asked similar questions about being bipolar.

And as I see tragedies unfold, in rhythm as they do, I find myself asking again– why? Suffering doesn’t pick and choose. And yes, “bad things happen to good people.” Every single day.

“If you have faith, God will take away all of your suffering.”

.. Is not true. And He never even said that.

He gave us a different promise.

Eventual redemption entirely from this messed up place, if we choose Him. And can I add– it doesn’t have to be done perfectly. Because we are saved by grace, not by whatever we think we do at the community bake sale that’s surely worthy of our escaping hell.

It’s a promise of a place where there will be no more hurt or sickness or death. 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. . 

My mom told me a story a while back about my older brother, Wes. When he was undergoing excrutiating treatment for his childhood cancer, he was so weak and sick one day– but he looked up at my parents and he said to them, “It’s okay. God is with me.”

Even though you suffer, just like me, it’s possible to let God hold you and walk with you through that pain. To hold on to the hope that your hurt can be restored.

Sometimes, we let our suffering beget suffering. It’s just our bitterness, spiraling. We justify our decisions because of “what we’ve been through”…And then we ask why, after we’ve walked away, He isn’t giving us everything we think we want and deserve in life.

There’s one thing I know for sure about God now. And it’s that He’s not a God of hate, but of perfect love. That He’s not just idly watching his creation fail. He’s the artist whose work we question constantly, though it isn’t even finished yet.

But take heart! I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

We weren’t meant to understand everything that happens or the why. It’s beyond our comprehension right now. And even though it sucks in the moment, the God who knows all things knows what’s best for us, way better than we do.

“The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” -Isaiah 40:28

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” -1 Corinthians 1:25

The cards we’re dealt can be thrown away. Or, they can be dealt back in a way that reaches for something greater and beyond just ourselves.

I have found purpose in my pain- to try to help others by raising awareness about bipolar disorder, and to tell how faithful my God is to me.

On a rabbit trail, I know it’s technically not a “sound apologetic argument,” but I can’t seem to look at the beauty of the people and world around me anymore, and still question that there is someone higher than us that handcrafted it all.

Even through my pain, I believe it. I believe He’s good. That He has a plan not just for me, but for every person, that I can’t see or understand yet.

“On the day when I see
All that You have for me
When I see You face to face
There surrounded by Your grace

. .

All my fears swept away
In the light of Your embrace
Where Your love is all I need
and forever I am free

. .

I’m believing for the day 

Where the wars and violence cease
All creation lives in peace

. .

No weeping

No hurt or pain”

XO- Laura

how silence can kill

IMG_6361

I can’t help but notice the endless battle for air while being swept by the tides of complacency \ My knowledge is accountability \ And I have to do something. -Sinking; Hundredth

I can’t even begin to tell you how many people have messaged me all saying almost the exact same thing.

The gist is this: “I’m so glad you’re writing this blog, because I would never have been able to. Thanks for sharing your story, because I see myself in your posts.”

Some of these are people I’ve known from high school or college or just however, and others were complete strangers to me. Very few also have bipolar disorder.

The struggles mentioned ranged from depression, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders.. and just being a freaking human who has issues from time to time! Like don’t we all!?

I’m so glad that all these people decided to reach out to me. All with similar but at the same time totally unique stories. It has been nothing but super encouraging to me along the way, and I’m thankful for every message I get.

I don’t expect everyone to start their own blog. That’d be absurd if I did. I know you’re all like…I don’t have time for that. If you do want to start one, that’s great! I’ll read it.

 What I do want- is to actually start the conversation, instead of talking about starting the conversation. 

Sydel Curry brought this quote to my attention when she shared my blog a little bit ago:

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation about illness that affect not only individuals, but their families as well.” -Glenn Close

It’s true, I couldn’t have said it any better myself. More unashamed conversation. If you read along with my blog and you’re like, that’s great and all, but there’s nothing I can do about it sorry..

There is.. how about just talk about it with someone! And I don’t mean talk about my blog. I mean talk about mental illness and mental health. 

We’re so scared of mental illness. And I don’t know why.

Actually, just kidding, I do.

We’re scared because it hits way too close to home for us than we’re willing to admit, and we’d rather it just go away. The problem will surely disappear if I don’t acknowledge its existence.

And then, like clockwork, things happen. Horrible things. Things in our world like school shootings. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook. Columbine.  Movie theater shootings. The Dark Knight. Trainwreck. In the case of the high school my brothers attended in Boston, a school stabbing of a high school freshman. This list is only the tip of the iceberg in tragedy.

It’s heartbreaking. And it’s so easy for us to be angry. I’m angry. Believe me when I say this hurts me. I don’t understand. I cannot comprehend what brings a human to that kind of conclusion about our world and their life.

Mental illness is serious.

Demonizing the mentally ill who cause these kind of tragedies, and then just waiting for the next one to happen is like shooting ourselves in the foot.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke

Before you get ahead of yourself, I’m not justifying any of the mentally ill shooters that we’ve faced in the U.S. I think they were wrong. I think they were insane. I think they were selfish. I think it’s cruel what has happened to all kinds of innocent people. I think they didn’t get the help they needed. I think they should be held accountable for what they’ve done. Though most already end up pulling the trigger on themselves.

But when will we learn just how important this issue is, and admit how close to home it hits for us? I think we read the headlines and just cross our fingers that it won’t happen in our neighborhoods or our schools. That it’ll stay at a safe enough distance. So that we can mourn, but not do anything.

After all the terrible tragedies that have gone on, do you think it’s easy for the mentally ill to want to get help or to speak “unashamedly” about their condition? I know for me, these times made me want to crawl in a closet and never come out. Because I was so fearful of what people would think when they found out and saw me and all they could think was, bipolar. 

In reality, there are people all around you every day who face mental illness. Studies say half of these people are going untreated.

One of the driving forces behind my blog is this statistic.. according to the dbsalliance, as many as 1 in 5 patients with bipolar disorder completes suicide.

With 5.7 million adult Americans with the disorder, that’s a lot of casualties.

If you were told that that was your fate, a 1 in 5 chance of survival, what would you do with that reality? Would you crawl in a hole, or would you just pretend everything’s okay?

Maybe you would you consider doing something about it.

I’m saying we need to start talking.

I’m not the 1 in 5.

XO- Laura

thief of joy

IMG_6337.jpg

They say comparison is the thief of joy.

I mean, come on, how true is this observation in our age of social media.

As we know, long long ago and far far away (like, less than 10 years ago), there was a time where we didn’t know what everyone in our world was doing every second of every day.

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc, have made this curse and blessing completely impossible to avoid now for most of us. But we know this.

So let me say, I love social media. I have an account on every app I mentioned above. I have this blog clearly. I enjoy posting pictures thoroughly, as you may have seen, and I genuinely like seeing what people are up to.

I love how on holidays especially, I can see how people are celebrating with their families or friends. It was cool to see all the halloween costumes this past year, since I wouldn’t have seen any otherwise as I was headed out of the country that day.

But oh woww, it breaks my heart that a significant amount of people don’t realize that social media lives are not real lives! 

I was in that trap of a mindset.

There was a time, a long one, where social media was both addicting and crippling to me. I had anxiety every time I logged on, but I just couldn’t not. It was like I knew it made me feel horrible, but I drank the poison without thinking twice. It honestly made me have feelings of hate towards people I hardly knew.

Because at that time, I had no pictures to post. My notifications were non-existent. My messaging box was empty. I hated the way I looked. My life wasn’t up to my par. I was ungrateful. I was angry at everyone else for posting their perfect pictures with their bright smiles. Simply put, I was envious. I wanted what I didn’t have.

I’ve heard it said that social media is like gazing into another’s highlight reel while simultaneously comparing it to your darkest day.

Did you know that people and companies pay certain people who have a large following on their account to model their ish? $600 dresses. Beanies. Swimwear. Whatever it is. ..That they probably took that picture in their backyard, and never even wore the item out of their house?

People, not just Victoria’s Secret models, are literally paid to make their life look glamorous and desirable to the public in the interest of sales. Kind of weird.

It’s no shock that our self-esteem plummets in light of this and we start to question.. so what am I even doing with my life?

We are so addicted to this immediate gratification lifestyle. It’s like a temporary high, in a way. I think I even read somewhere that is releases endorphins when we post things about ourselves. Getting likes on our pictures. Having people comment how much they love us.

While none of those things are bad in and of themselves, it shouldn’t be our prime reservoir of where we’re getting our acceptance quota for the day.

I forced myself to put on a new lens. A conscious one. Telling myself, more than just once, that what I’m seeing on social media every day is not an accurate reflection of real life. That posts and pictures can’t have the power to dictate my moods and how I feel about myself. That I’m enough. That most all of these posts don’t give a full context.

In a sort of related rant, I am tired of trying to abide by the invisible handbook and rules of social media. If you want to post a picture, even though you posted one the day before, freaking post it!!! If you are following someone that posts things that annoy you, unfollow them! You actually aren’t being forced to keep up with anyone’s life! It’s not that hard. Arrghh. Post when and what you want. You may lose a follower or two. I promise though, you will carry on. Anyway, off that soapbox..

If you take anything away from this, know that most of what you see on social media is life glorified, not reality. 

Also, if social media makes you feel negative every time you’re on it, maybe log off for a while.

Because real life is way better – promise.

XO- Laura

Proverbs 14:30 – A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.

 

Song of Solomon 8:6 – Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave.