Please welcome new blogger, Carley!
You Can’t Lose!
My name is Carley. I’m very excited to be part of the International Bipolar Foundation blogging team. First, let me tell you a little bit about myself and my story.
I’ve had a Rather Difficult Life, but I’ve Come Out the Other End Happy.
I was born in Fortune, Newfoundland. I now live in Barrie, Ontario. I was Social Phobic, right from kindergarten. Back then they didn’t have this label and they certainly didn’t know it was a disorder that needs attention and treatment. I saw it as rejection. I never asked questions in school, and usually cried if the teacher asked me one. Fear, anxiety, and feeling of not belonging has always been a big issue with me.
I was a sick child, and spent a lot of time in the hospital. I never thought of it as abnormal. It was just life to me.
I have a rather normal family (whatever that means), and a large extended family. I have two younger brothers; and my parents are still alive and married after almost 50 years. We lived in the country growing up, and I was a tomboy. I loved my dolls and such things in my room, but outside, I was riding my bicycle and building a tree-house with the boys.
I always felt that I was I was an outcast from the outcasts. I went into my first big depression in the 5th grade, but I told no one. From that point on I had a difficult time making and keeping friends. I was molested as a teenager for 3 years. My first boyfriend died when I was 16. He had Cystic Fibrosis.
I’ve had a lot of abuse from men in my life; mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially. I am a survivor and proud of it!
I was married and divorced. In 1992 I was involved in a 6 car pileup on an icy highway. I spent the next 2 and a half years recovering.
If I was Strong Enough to Pull Myself Up, You Can Do it Too!
There was a time when my mental health got to the point I had memory gaps. I was in a rapid decline and aware of it. I had a disabled boyfriend who took care of me, instead of the other way around. I didn’t trust doctors anymore. I knew if I didn’t pull myself up, no one would. I knew I had to do something to get my life back. I believed if I landed in the hospital I would never again see the light of day. Fear was an incredible motivational force within me for the next several years.
I started learning how to live healthy. I figured that I can’t have a healthy mind if I don’t have a healthy body first. I focused my days on working out, eating right, and educating myself... with the 1 goal of saving my own sanity before it was too late. I lost 75 lbs. Then I focused on changing my mental health. I started with positive affirmations written on index cards. After some time, it was working. Now I have people telling me I am an inspiration. It’s very humbling.
My Pastor also helped me realize in my quest for a healthy mind and body, I was forgetting a 3rd and vital aspect – my spiritual health. Over the years I had been given a number of diagnosis’, but during that summer of 2010 that I was finally given a proper diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder – Type II. Plus, my healthy eating plan taught me certain foods were triggering some mood swings. Certain processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and fat-free foods give me bad Bipolar episodes. Other foods like berries, almonds, and spinach help to keep my moods up. I have started a book project (that is yet to be given a title) outlining my whole healthy living journey. I’ve also finally found a good medication regimen that is working.
Pastor led me through the process of forgiveness. Which, as it turned out, I have found to be vital for my own mental health. For the first time I understood it. I forgave my abusers, the childhood friends that hurt me, and others. The bad dreams finally stopped. It was all gone. He also helped me realize in my quest for a healthy mind and body, I was forgetting a 3rd and vital aspect – my spiritual health. This was more than a light bulb moment. It was whole Christmas tree – with the flashers on! There are 3 parts to health; body, mind, and spirit. If one is not healthy, all 3 will suffer.
Now, I’m happy. I have BPD, but I’m functioning well. I live alone and I’m independent for the first time. Plus, I’m starting a new career as a writer and speaker. My motto has always been “Don’t ever give up.” You may have bad days, weeks, or months; but as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will not fail! Do not ever quit! You are worth the effort.