Sometimes we forget those closest to us…

It is funny how quite often we tend to forget to praise and recognize those closest to us.  I had a particular man come into my life, nearly right from the dawn of Bipolar Babe…he never even met me and offered me his services, his office, ink from his printer, down to anything I needed to make it happen for the kids!  He overwhelmed me with his passion and generosity, I really did not think people like him existed.  I met with this fellow and he was shaky and meek but very keen to help me and Depressed Diva out.  His heart was in the right place and I was happy to have him aboard.  He told me that since being part of Bipolar Babe he now feels a spark in his life, like he is eager to push on with things.  He has created a marketing strategy and we have started to execute it by meeting with Alan Rycroft from the Kool Aid Society and he brought me to REES.  Even though he had been feeling quite bothered by his bipolar disorder he pushed on taking me around and helping me build valuable networks.  He is pulling together information to help Bipolar Babe thrive with possible funding and I know he will be key in helping me with the upcoming fundraiser.  This gentleman calls himself old and useless when he has been dedicated and amazingly reliable.  He is a key team player and I don't know where Bipolar Babe would be without him.  He is such an asset and his contribution helps further the cause for the kids and for that we are all grateful! This man's blog can be found here: http://www.schnerchpj.com/blogs/?p=243  You can purchase his book here: http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewblog.asp?AuthorID=50684 Patrick Schnerch is a fabulous writer and has several published books, one that I am reading now and it is more raw and real than anything I have ever read – it is a piece of courage and hope.  He is a 'peaceful warrior' that is often sensitive and is way too hard on himself.  He does not see how talented he really is and how much I admire his awesome perseverance in life.  I just wish he would realize that his contribution in this world and to the bipolarbabe project is valuable and priceless and I love and appreciate him.  I look forward to having him on new tasks while recognizing his own efforts to complete yet another book in October.  He is interviewing me for the book and I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to help him further his own activist causes. I apologize to Patrick that I did not write this sooner.  I sometimes get caught up in all the amazing things happening in my life and tend to think that people just know how important they are to me, so now you know Patrick, Bipolar Babe loves ya and looks forward to pursuing the fight against stigma with you to make this world an accepting and understanding place to be for the youth and for everyone!  It has just begun and you and I are doing this together! Much Love xo     ~BABE

Doing it for the Kids!

 As many of you know I have been pondering whether to incorporate and become a nonprofit organization or remain a project for now.  I filled out all the paper work but something inside me was telling me to slow down…I tend to like things now now now!!  Then I slowed down a little tonight and met a lady named Lisa for a chai latte.  The moment I saw her I felt a sense of calm and her smile shared sincerity.  She locally leads The FORCE Society for Kids' Mental Health  http://www.bckidsmentalhealth.org/ This woman is AMAZING!!  Talk about living your life for a cause!!  Her dedication is admirable and with her personal experience of having children who have mental health issues, she took a difficult situation and found creative and meaningful ways to accommodate and help her children to live a plentiful and successful life.  She realized the value in reaching out to other parents and after years of selfless work for the cause of children and mental health, she is now contracted by FORCE to do what she loves-education and advocacy.  She is a wealth of information and knows the system inside and out.  It is so impressive!  As I listened to her share her story, I felt a certain authenticity that is so often absent.  I felt her passion and resilience and then I thought she reminded me of someone…me.  As we bounced off a gazillion ideas we were overwhelmed by the awesome impact that we could create together in the world of youth.  She absolutely loves Bipolar Babe and is offering me much needed help through invitations to make meaningful connections and has highlighted how our work could compliment each other.  She feels like an angel and I committ to help her so that we can further the cause together.  With education stigma will cease to exist! It's for the kids!

Go Easy on Yourself!

Sometimes I find myself overwhelmed, tired, possessing a lack to do very much.  I think no matter who we are, we often feel this way…it is nothing to get down about or certainly beat yourself up.  In this society we often feel down on ourselves because we are not producing effectively and getting things done according to plan.  I feel we need to offer ourselves a little bit of flexibility and be generous in our time management.  It seems we often get so down on ourselves when we find we are in the midst of chaos, and that will look differently for everybody.  I am currently working on a Masters degree, working full time at a new job and running a potential non-profit society.  I don't find myself too overwhelmed but look to the future for new possibilities that I can create in my life and strive for avenues that will enhance my ability to envision opportunities that exist for the long term.  People always say 'live for the present' which agreeably denotes being present in your current surroundings but it is vital to live into your future and seek ways to motivate yourself in the present to awaken what lies down the road subsequent to the work you put into today.  That is how I live life and it seems to be working thus far, so I thought I would share this perspective with you.  We are not super heroes, we are human so remind yourself of that when you feel you are letting yourself down.  Go easy on yourself! Much love, BABE xo

A New Chapter…

Life gets intriguing when a page turns and a new chapter begins.  I recently found out that I was successful for a temporary appointment working in mental health as a Project Manager and I start next week!  It feels seamless, as if this is exactly what is supposed to take place next in my book.   At times I find myself feeling 'guilty' as I flip through joyous pages, as if I do not deserve to be this happy.  I guess when I see so many unhappy in the world, I often wonder why I get the blessing of being content?  I am finally beginning to understand that I can enjoy my happiness and instead of being guilty I can herald those feelings into being grateful. I have been going through some significant life events and changes, and I notice that my moods are stable and I am not skyrocketing on an emotional roller coaster.  Although I cannot control what I am going to feel, I can quite often determine how I am going to react to the situations that arise in my life.  I have noticed that as time has changed things, so have my choices.  I don't believe that we are simply rats in a maze but our choices have a profound effect on our life's path; however, I am remain cognizant that not all things are in my control and certain events are cast for us to take part regardless of our desire to deny them.  I often wonder where my life would have led without the diagnosis.  Would I be taking on this great leap in the mental health area in my career?  Would I have chosen to specialize in mental health for my Masters program?  Would I even be the person I am today possessing the same hopes?  Dreams?  Would Bipolar Babe even exist?  No matter my path I am assured that within darkness, loneliness, or despair there is a long-term plan that I am not always aware of and I remind myself not to get too caught up in the events of the present and realize there is always a bigger picture.  On a lighter note!  I have big plans for Bipolar Babe which includes a fundraiser in the Fall, an awesome event that you won't want to miss!  I am excited to share with you what has been happening and how I intend to grow the project.  I also want to thank you for your support.  *HUGS

Being an Advocate and a Friend

I went and visited my mom today.  I saw her yesterday too and she was basically 'alive' but had no response-they call it catatonia.  I have never seen her like this before and it scared me tremendously!  As I held my mother she just stared at me with little or no response.  Today was better but she was not herself at all, and I barely see her the way I once knew her when I was young.  I was always embarrassed of my mother because I was never afforded the pleasure of someone educating me or offering me a detailed explanation of what was going on with her.  It was not until I was diagnosed with bipolar did I understand our shared illness.  I was pervaded by confusion and judgement when I possessed no knowledge about her illness and saw my mother as someone other than my mother…not the mother I knew.  She too has a rare form of the disorder that they can be barely treated due to the fact that all of our brains are so intricate but really they don't know what she has, they are just trying to help her.  There is no cure and we can hope for the best.  People often say they don't know their parent/relative/friend anymore after a breakdown and they will never be the same person they knew, but actually they are.  A mental illness or any illness is not who we are, it is what we have…my mother has always been my mother and nothing will ever change the fact that she always will be.  I gained a new appreciation for my mother today as I did her makeup and read her poetry…and encouraged her to write more.  I felt like I lost my mother yesterday as she failed to have any response, I got what it would be like to lose her…it killed me.  I am so thrilled to now be here for her and show her my love by conversation and being with her just enjoying her company.  Although shaky and spacey, she talked to me a lot today and I have really educated myself on our shared affliction as it allows me to understand better what she is going through and how the world may appear to her.  We never truly know, but if we try, we can get an idea and it creates a beautiful empathy and understanding. While I have been here this week, I have taken an active part in her recovery by learning about her medications, side effects and have even talked to her doctor and posed over 20 questions and I am working with her social worker to ensure she has everything she needs.  Today I have been in touch with records services in Ontario, inquiring about her passes to the lounge today and even to getting her toe nails cut.  I am learning what it is like to take an unmoveable stand for somebody.  Mostly learning about the illness itself is the first step.  I feel very blessed as she may be moved to Hillside Psych Hospital to a nicer facility and I know that I have been key in her recovery by taking an educated and proactive approach and that helps me feel close with her and eases with my heart.  I am so pleased to be staying longer because and spend more time aiding in her recovery.  Most of all I tell her I love her and prayer for her recovery and I hope you will too. 🙂 Babe 😉

It is not like a Broken Leg, there is nothing you can 'fix'

 I came face to face with the reality today that treating someone with a mental illness is a very tricky and difficult venture.  My mother is in the psych ward in the Kamloops hospital and I took the trip out here from Victoria to visit my step-dad and see my mother in short intervals.  She is in isolation and has 3 passes to go outside into the main area.  Last night I watched as she tried to eat her jello and we both kinda giggled as jello is the last thing that you want to be eating when you have the shakes from your meds.   It was difficult to see her in such a state.  Her attention span was nearly non-existent, her memory has faded, she is experiencing psychotic symptoms (voices) when she tries to go to sleep at night.  She is strong and is pulling through as the doctors struggle to find her a mixture of medications that can create a balance or stability that she is so obviously lacking.  I really wanted to speak at the hospital as they had a youth corner but on such short notice my material was not acknowledged.  There were a few things I noticed about the Kamloops hospital…the majority of the nurses were kind, there were many cushy chairs in the lounge and they had a pool game which my mother and I played, even though she ducked out after 4 shots.  They had old school exercise machines there, and a stairmaster that was the size of a crane!  LOL  The main thing I noticed was my step father's support and love for my mother.  He held her as she told him over and over how much she loved him and he shared her sentiments.  He uttered 'I will always be there to take care of you'…and then it really hit me.  This is the kind of man I want in my life.  No matter what the situation he is there every night to see my mother, and provides her with humour and open arms.  It is often difficult for partners to understand and be supportive.  He keeps wondering why can't they just fix her?  I assured him that in time the doctors will be able to find a cocktail that will help my mother resume her life and he needs to simply accept that it may take a long while.  I am so happy that I came to see her and that she is safe; it brings me comfort to know she is there and being looked after.  It certainly is not scary and their main concern is to protect you. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is starting a 10 year Anti Stigma Campaign to deal with the stigma that pervades our health care system targeting health care workers in particular.  There needs to be a type of sympathy and empathy when dealing with people such as my mother and there needs to be a recognition that my mother is not merely a patient but is a person in a delicate state and needs nurturing and understanding. In closing I have to send some of my prayers to a man named Andrew.  He approaches my step father every day at the hospital and swears my dad is his brother.  He asks him to bring him home as he is not supposed to be there.  He is somebody's father and grandfather and I wonder if he ever gets visitors.  I hope my mom offers him company, being the angel she is…I have no doubt she does.  Well, I am off to bed and will continue to Twitter, Facebook, Market, Fund raise, network, and encourage others to please help promote Bipolarbabe in the name of fighting for a cause-Mental Health Education and Awareness and eventually a cure!  More to come on that front later…  Much Love, Babe xo

Sunshine…

Here it is nearly 1AM and I am writing a BLOG to all of you who care to read it, hopefully someone is…lol  I realized a lot of things tonight and from recent days past.  I sometimes complain about the weather, and others are bored with their jobs, but I see the sunshine in most things.  I work for the government and we have clients, many that do not have homes.  When I was in Ottawa and was diagnosed and hospitalized, I really had nowhere to go for awhile.   No friends, home or family nearby.  It is during those times that I felt the most alone and years have past and I will always be grateful for the beauty I have created in my life.  My friends are magnificent, many whom are working on this project and my relationship with my family is close and comforting.  I have a beautiful little place to call home and an adorable cat who loves me.  My job pays well and they appreciate me, and the people I work with are really cool indeed.  If we truly look at our lives we can feel the sunshine in something.  I don't find comfort in that it could possibly be worse, but that there always some good and the things that are not so great will always pass.  We are able to wholly create our future with choice.  I have been around people that criticize others for the way they looked or other factors about their character and I would always defend and get personally offended.  I believe we all come from the same place, bipolar, Asian, pregnant, chubby, whatever!  Let's just be bright and warm and try to understand each other.  If we leave our judgements aside it would not only be freeing, but would certainly make our world a much happier place to dwell with one another.  I do love and I am grateful for my life and what I have created as the possibilities are endless and realize that breakdowns are opportunities for breakthroughs.  I may have said that b4 but it is true.  I suggest look for the ray of sunshine and while you are at it why not share it with another?  Besides who doesn't love nice weather? XO Babe

Can't be Serious all the Time – Smoothie and the Couch!

She is already copywritten so she just stopped by to say HEY!!!

She is already copywritten so she just stopped by to say HEY!!!

I can’t believe what I just did!  I was sitting on the couch balancing my strawberry and banana smoothie on my belly as I chatted to my sister via phone and WHAM! …all to the side of me and down the inside of my leather couch!!  OMG!!!  Don’t worry I survived it!  lol Well today I operated on 4 hours sleep, finally slumbered at 6:30AM, it was definitely the bipolar.  I have been worrying about my ma again, she is in ‘lock up’ in the psych ward in Kamloops.  The lock up is the area where you have locks on your doors to keep you safe at night and you are not allowed to leave the hospital.  It is not as scary as it sounds.  My step-father called me last night and he was super depressed and bummed out.  I have never heard him sound so …depressed.  I went to bed around 12AM with thoughts racing through my mind and I concluded that getting my car this August is not as important as seeing mom this weekend.  I know $ will always come around to me somehow and frankly family is extremely important to me.  Westjet ain’t cheap, but heck it will be awesome to see mom’s face when I show up to bring her a smile.  I told daddio I would be there this Friday and I will come home Tuesday.  Things are a little rough in other parts of my life with love etc. but it is all a learning experience.  I would much rather feel anything than nothing at all!  I remember there were times when I could barely taste my food and getting out of the shower was a significant task accomplished for the day.  😛  It ain’t so bad, I trust in my higher power and really believe that all things have a way of harmoniously intertwining to weave into something great.  There are sometimes hurdles along the way, this is definitely one of them.  HUGS TO YOU ALL!!!

Real Friends are with you no matter what…

There have been many times in my life where I thought people were my ‘real’ friends.  I met with an old friend of mine from way back in the day tonight and it had been a long time since we hung out.  It was so refreshing as we were able to truly just be ourselves, like no time had past.  He told me that when he made some bad choices that in the end a lot of his friends seem to have abandoned him.  I knew exactly what he was feeling.  When I was in the hospital barely anyone came to visit me, and my friends no longer wanted to live with me.  Having a mental illness can be a scary thing when you fear you may lose your friends.  I learned a lot through my own experiences with diagnosis and seeking help.  There were a few people that stuck around, and others who would come to the psych ward and play pong, or even a friend who would make me CDs to pass the time; it drove me nuts, my mother called me from Kamloops every day-yes every single day.  Although painful, I realize there was a gift in the illness, which is finding out who really loved me.  It was not those kids down at the club, and certainly not everyone I called a friend.  A friend is someone you can be fully self expressed with and they are there for you no matter what.  Through the highs and the lows and pushing those breakdowns into breakthroughs.  Thanks Jordan for being my friend.  I love you! xo

For anyone who has ever lost someone they love

 In times of doubt and times of pain, When it feels the sky is pouring rain. Remember there is a lining beyond the sky, Even when we are forced to say goodbye. In the end, I truly think we just fall asleep. No more reasons for us to ache and weep. It pains our friends when we say goodbye, But eventually we ease and no longer cry. No matter what our views, we all do know, To the winds of the sky we naturally go. To live a good life, blessed if it is long, Cherishing our time, while we belong. My dear friend, how I do empathize so, For events of the future we just don't know. Remind yourself to smile and know I am here, For a shoulder, a hug, when you shed a tear. XO Andrea