A Letter to a Long-Lost Friend

Hi,

I know it has been a while since we have spoken. To tell you that it is hard not to reach out to you is a huge understatement. I want you to know that I am not mad at you. I want you to know that it was not your fault that we are not speaking. I just think that although we share great memories and love, we need to be a part. I don’t know how long it will be or if we will ever be how we once were. I play a role in this separation too. I know I push things more than allow things to happen when it is the right time. Forgive me for that. I mean no harm by it.

I want you to know that you are a person that I will love forever. You are very important to me, friend. There is nothing I would not do for you. I hope you still know that. You are family, and sometimes family gets distant. But the distance does not change the fact that you matter in my life. I hope when you read this that you are not bothered by this. I hope that no ill feelings are resurfaced. I want to know that this letter gave you time to reflect on great lasting memories.

I love you, friend, and no time apart will take the love I have for you away.

Love,

Ari

Mirror Talk

My love language is words of affirmations, so if you could only afford to give me a card as a gift, trust me, that card would be cherished far more than any piece of jewelry would. If you do not believe, ask my husband how many times I cried over a card without giving the actual gift any shine. Because of this, I use positive words of affirmations to get through some of my depressive episodes. I want to offer you 30 positive affirmations to tell yourself in the mirror (hence the title of this post).  I hope you can find the self-love and positive self-talk you have been searching for with this list. Oh yeah, shout out to my therapist for getting me out of that “stinky thinking.” Thanks, sis! You are with my copay and then some!

So when you are standing in front of the mirror getting yourself ready to start your day, recite some of the following affirmations:

-I am love.

-I am in charge of my feelings today.

-I will not compare myself to anyone.

-I am enough

-I have the power to create change

-My presence is my power (This one hits hard)

-My past is not a reflection of my future

-I will succeed today

-I am confident in my ability to [Fill in the blank]

-I give myself permission to make mistakes today

-I will trust myself to make the right decision

-I have value

-Positivity is a choice

-I will find the solutions to my problems

-I am fearless

-I forgive myself (another fan favorite)

-I learn from my past

-I am grateful for my life

-My life is just beginning

-My fears of tomorrow are fading away

-I believe in myself

-I am in charge of my life

-I deserve love, compassion, and empathy from myself and others

-I release self-doubt

-I let go of what no longer serves me

-My thoughts become reality (good or bad)

-I will not worry about things I cannot control (Ouch! I step on my toes with this one)

-I am proud of myself

-I do not fail, I learn, and I win

-I was not made to give up (thanks mama for this one)

I hope that this list gets you to the love you need. Please feel free to share this with anyone you know that needs a little pick me up.

Thoughts of a Manic

I have been dealing with mania for about two weeks now. It could be longer, but my mind is all over the place that I thought yesterday was Tuesday. WRONG! This post has no real topic, just different ideas floating around in my head while I try to work on anything, or even when I try to hold a conversation with people. I hope that this helps anyone that is also suffering from manic episodes.

A rundown of my day:

7 AM:

Hey girl! Let’s start our day!

Do you know what you want to do today?

Let’s work on our business plan.

No, let’s read a little.

No, how about we look at our assignment for next week.

I wonder if they received my mail-in ballot.

What time is it?

Let’s workout.

You should call your mom and see how she’s doing before you start your day.

What time is it?

Why are we still laying down in bed?

What time is it?

GET UP, GIRL!

9 AM:

We should go for a walk around the neighborhood

Let’s play Animal Crossing

Our business plan is top on the list for things to do today

I wonder if Donta is busy at work.

Let’s go for that walk.

What’s the weather like?

Why am I on YouTube?

Go to the Weather App.

What is the name of that song by Drake you like?

Noon:

We still have a lot to do.

Why are we laying down?

No, don’t crash. We have stuff to do!

Ariel, you are so lazy!

We do not need sleep. We are rested!

Let’s check our emails.

What time is it?

Today is going too slow.

I need to do some research regarding my plan

I. WILL. NOT. LOSE.

I’LL SLEEP WHEN I DIE!!

7 PM:

What is he saying to me?

That debate was insane.

If I were debating, I would have wiped the floor up with both of them.

What time is it?

I think I need to do more research on this plan.

I might need to pull an all-nighter to get this assignment done.

What day is it?

What is this conversation about again?

Focus. Focus. FOCUS ARIEL!

I should get my nails done.

Focus. She’s talking to you.

Do I have enough money to last me until my next job starts?

Focus. What did she say?

Do I need more leggings?

Stop going on Facebook! You know it upsets you.

What day is it?

Focus on the conversation you are having with your friend!

She probably thinks we don’t like her because we aren’t responding.

What did she say?

Should I eat? I not sure if I am hungry.

Focus.

Midnight:

I hate that I am up by myself.

Let’s go on Twitter.

No, try to sleep.

No, let’s sit down at our desk and write.

Write what?

What time is it?

You did nothing all day.

I need to work on my next assignment.

He sleeps so peacefully. One day I will know that. NOT.

Should I eat something?

I wish I had an idea of where to go to get my plans off the ground.

Focus. Focus on the plan

I am a screwup.

No, I got this! I will make it!

There is no time to sleep. Just work!

Damn, you forgot to call again!

I think I am going to start a podcast.

NO! I’m going to keep up with blogging.

YOUTUBE FOR THE WIN!!

3:00 AM:

KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN

Is he breathing?

Good, I can hear him!

What time is it?

Play one more game!

I hate that he’s asleep.

Google…

I finally allow myself to go to sleep, but my mind is fighting me all the way.

I hope that sharing this moment with you will help you seek help if you are dealing with racing thoughts. Finding someone that you can work with to assist you in navigating through the rough patches. I know that that rush of mania can be intoxicating, but what goes up must come down.

6 Weeks of Depression

The best part about having Bipolar II Disorder is being depressed. *Cue the sarcastic grin*

Depression is like the Groundhog seeing its shadow and running back into its hole. You do not want to do ANYTHING! If you could stay in your den, you would be fine. What makes me upset about being in a depressive state, I cannot seem to find a break. It is as if someone is sitting in a control room in my mind, finding the most peeving things to set me off and make me never want to leave the house again. But what can I do? Nothing, I suppose, but it is not from a lack of trying. Winter it is.

Ariel, now you know you cannot leave this blog like this. Where is the brighter side of things? How can we defrost? I mean, we have to say something uplifting girl. Okay, let me turn things around.

We can change our season. When you feel like you are in your 6 weeks of Winter, understand that it will not last forever. Yes, I know it is cold right now, but we will warm up. We have to give ourselves grace when we are feeling sad or depressed, and not allow guilt to make us think that it is wrong to feel down. Weeping may endure for a while, but if you can change your perspective, you can turn your mood around.

So, continue to bundle up, we will soon see spring again.

Escaping the Manic Monster

I just watched the video of Kanye West at his campaign event in South Carolina, and all I can do is cry. Not because I have love for him as an artist, or because he’s black like I am, but because I suffer from the Manic Monster within me as he does. Just like Kanye West, I have Bipolar Disorder, and the Manic Monster does not care who you are or what kind of money you have if it wants you, it will take hold of you.

Before I knew that I had Bipolar Disorder, I would catch myself doing a lot of rants as Kayne West does. There was never a real rhyme or reason for them; I would just keep going and going until I would tire myself out. One day, I cussed my husband out for an hour straight about how he does not understand that when he does not tell me when he is leaving one place to another with his friends, it will make me think that my husband is dead and I would not know how to find him. I could see the look of concern on his face as I began to cry and yell about the level of love I have for him, and if he loved me on that same level, he would not make me think that he is dead. The Manic Monster inside me had control over me, and I could not fight him off. It was only until my Psych Nurse let me know that I was Bipolar that I could figure out a way to fight back.

I want you to understand that a person who has this mental illness cannot help it when the Manic Monster comes to get them until that person is willing to find help from a mental health professional to fight against it. Kanye West needs help. He does not need a room full of people to encourage him to keep this energy up, or people to say how crazy he is. He needs someone willing to help him understand that it is okay to seek the help he needs. Kanye is in the dungeon of the Manic Monster, and if he wants to get out of there, he will have to fight his way out. Until then, I will pray for him. He needs it.

Don’t Obsess

This spot! It was driving me out my mind! What a spot—what a spot for a fellow to find! My troubles were growing. The way it kept going! Where would it go next? There was no way of Knowing.

–The Strange Shirt Spot

The above passage comes from a Dr. Seuss book called Seuss-isms. In the story of The Strange Shirt Spot, the little boy was obsessing all day with a spot on his shirt. He would clean the spot off his shirt, for only the spot to jump on something else. That strange spot was all he could think about, and I am sure I am not the only one that has been where this little boy has been with this spot. Let’s talk about obsessions and how we can combat them.

Our minds love to jump on one thing and will not let it go until it figures out the issue, or it tires itself out. The one big obsession I have is trying to figure out why people think and act the way they do. I will ramble on and on to anyone that would listen about how I cannot figure out why a person could respond or react the way they do. I would obsess so much; I would catch myself spending hours on Google trying to find counterpoints to a person’s actions or statements. Did my obsession solve anything? No. Did it help me sleep at night to obsess over it? No, it did the exact opposite. But I just had to know why. With therapy, I have learned that I cannot control everything that is going on around me. I also learned that my way of thinking is not made for anyone else. When I started understanding these two points, I was able to stop my fixation on what other people did or say.

We will all have moments where we will fix our mind on things we cannot control. But if we can remember that the only thing we can have true control over is ourselves, the less likely we are to obsess over things. As my therapist would say, “If it is not on fire, it is safe to say you do not need to give it all of your energy.”  

What About Your Friends?

What about your friends, will they stand their ground, will they let you down again? What about your friends, are they gonna be lowdown, will they ever be around, or will they turn their backs on you?

What About Your Friends? – TLC

Friendships, like any relationship, needs two people to work on keeping it going. When one person is giving their all, and the other person is just taking what is being given to them, it can make the relationship one-sided. We have all had moments playing both parts, so how should we fix it?

One thing we should do is sit down and tell your friends what you need to make the friendship work. How will your friends know what you need if you are not expressing them? The next thing is setting your boundaries. You have the right to tell your friends what you will or will not take in your friendship. No one should be in a friendship or any relationship that your deal breakers are not being taken seriously. We all deserve to be respected, so require it from your friends. Lastly, just because you have been friends for years, does not mean you have to stay in a friendship that you do not see growth in it. As the saying goes, “people come in your life for a reason or a season.” People outgrow each other, and that is okay. Do not feel bad if you have to end a friendship. Ask yourself this question; would you rather have thousands of friends with no real connection, or would you rather have one friend that you have an awesome connection with? Walking away from a friendship does not mean you are trying to fight the person or trying to be hateful; you just see yourself on different pages from that friend.

Being in a friendship can be harder to work on than being in a romantic relationship. This is the person you laugh and cry with. But understand this, you can only be in a relationship that both people are willing to grow and invest in. Make the right choice for yourself when establishing your friendships. It is about the quality of your friendships, not the quantity.

Low Battery

I had no idea what slow down means. I felt that if I sat down longer than a minute, I would get worried that I would not get things done. I have been this way since I was 11, and this “get up and go” mindset has only gotten worse.

“Ariel, when do you ever just stop moving and relax?” My therapist asked during our last session. “What does that mean?” I said, laughing so hard that I begin to cry. My therapist just shook her head and responded to my silly question by saying, “You cannot keep going without stopping and taking some time for you.” I thought to myself, “what if I do need to slow down?”, “What if I am not getting enough rest?” “Well, I have a lot to do.”

Friday, I had a 12-hour workday. I thought I was going to pass out as soon as I came through the door of my house. I didn’t even say hello to my husband before I fell asleep on the bed. When I woke up the next day, I told myself that I was going to take a day to pamper myself. I went to get a beautiful mani and pedi, and I must say it was amazing! I guess my therapist was right; if I do not slow myself down, my body will make me do it.

I know that it is easy to forget that rest is needed to help your body recharge from the work that you do. We are not robots. We cannot put ourselves on a charger for 20 minutes, and we are back at a full battery. If your situation is not on fire, it is safe to say that it can wait until you get your rest. Understand that you only get one body, so treat it with the utmost care.

Controlling Your Inner Empath

I saw this journal prompt that I want to share. The prompt said, how do you set boundaries and avoid absorbing someone else’s emotions and stress? I had a big issue with set boundaries when it comes to absorbing someone else’s stress and emotions. I like to call myself a mother by nature. I want to make people feel better. I did not realize, however, that the more I put my all into someone’s issues, the more I felt drained. But to me, I thought that was what you do when you are a friend. I did not understand this until I went to therapy that I was a empath, and it was doing more harm being this way than good. I would not only have my stressors to deal with but now I am taking on the stressors of others without even knowing I was doing so.

How do you stop? We have to learn that we cannot fix the problems of others. It is not our battle. You did not create the stressful situation they are in, so why do you have to take on the responsibility to pull them out? I am learning that it is okay to listen and not jump into action because the person is upset. Sit down with your friends and family and let them know that although you love them, you cannot wear their stress and a coat. Understand you do not have to be a hero to be a friend.

The Rainbow

Today there was a rainstorm that lasted about an hour where I work. I looked out of my office window at the rain and began to think of the most harmful and negative things I could come up with. I left work feeling so sad and defeated. As I was driving home, I saw the biggest rainbow I have ever laid eyes on, and I began to smile from ear to ear. The weight of my sadness and defeat from the day lifted. I could finally breathe.

I have always been told that rainbows symbolize promise. I think we can all need a little promise to get us through these rough times we are facing. We are dealing with so much pain and anger; it feels as if we will never see the light again. But what I would like us to do is think about a rainbow. Better yet, find a picture of a rainbow and make it your lock screen. Once you do that, make a promise to yourself. Your promise can be as big or as small as you want it. When you come up with that promise, write in your notebook on your phone; that way, if you start feeling down, you can look at your rainbow and that promise you made to yourself.

It may seem like a lot right now, but trust me, it will come in handy when you need it.