On social media and stalking people from our past:

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I have a friend that checks her ex-boyfriend’s social media feeds semi-regularly. I check an ex-friend’s feed even more often.

We’re in a digital world, most of our generation shares their lives on social media, it’s easy to cyber stalk. It’s easy to learn details that you wouldn’t ever learn in person. It’s easy to dismiss your need to hash up the past on ‘oh I just thought about them and I was curious.’ But did you check their feed because you were curious or were you curious because you check their feed so often?

The longer you linger on a topic the more likely it is to circle back around later. The more frequently you indulge in a curiosity, the more likely you are to do it again. Somebody doesn’t have to be standing on the other side of the door to make their way in when you open it. Whether you are talking to these people or not, whether they are thinking of you or not, you’re asking them to come live in your head rent free.

It’s not good for you, not only because it makes you linger in the past, or in your anger, or in your broken heart, but also because you’re now in a relationship for one. No one-sided relationship is healthy simply because relationships are never meant to be one sided. It’s not a new phenomenon, people have lingered on those they shouldn’t for years, but social media is making it easier, and it’s giving us a front row seat to someones life we aren’t supposed to be a part of any longer.

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Positive things my bipolar disorder has gifted me with:

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I wrote a post a long while ago about how it’s okay for people to call mental illness a gift. It’s one of my favorite posts. I can’t decide if it’s the bipolar jokes or the fact that it’s about Van Gogh, but regardless, it still stands. It’s is okay for people to call their mental illness a gift the same way it’s okay for them to call it a curse. Both can be true.

I spend a lot of time writing about ways to function with mental illness and to overcome some of it’s trickier parts, but I wanted to make a post about the good things my mental illness has given me. So here’s a list of positives that have come from my bipolar disorder:

  • Creativity: Bipolar and creativity have long been linked. For most the creative streaks come during the manic phases, for me it seems like my creativity hardly sleeps. I’ve been creative for as long as I can remember, which is fitting because I got diagnosed at age six. Over half of my hobbies are creative ones and I fully thrive in the environment they create. I love my hobbies and I love this skill set. There is nothing I would trade for it.
  • Healthy coping mechanisms: A lot of people have unhealthy coping mechanisms, in fact, I don’t feel like it would be a stretch to say that most people do. It’s hard to function with a mental illness without learning coping mechanisms, and unhealthy ones just don’t make the cut, they end up making us feel worse. So to function, I’ve learned healthy coping mechanisms, ones that work and can aid my medication to the point where I can handle most everything thrown at me. It took a lot of work to get them, but I’m so happy I have them and am able to fall back on them whenever I need them, whether those needs are triggered by bipolar disorder or just everyday life.

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Romantic relationships are partnerships and should be treated like it.

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In Australia they don’t say ‘my significant other’ they say ‘my partner’ because that is what relationships really are, they’re a partnership.  I often see hear people talk about how you shouldn’t rely on your partner, and I agree with 50% of what they’re saying.

I agree that you need to be able to function without them, you need to be able to live if something were to happen to them or if something were to happen to the two of you. But not being able to function without someone and relying on someone are not the same thing. You should be able to rely on your partner. They should be carrying you when you can’t carry yourself. I know that there’s an idea out there that you should never be unable to do things alone, but it’s false, everyone needs help, and sometimes we need a lot of it. I touched on this in my relationships and mental illness post, but the same way they should carry you when you can’t, you should carry them. It’s a two-way street. It’s a partnership.

The whole premise of dating isn’t just for fun, though it’s turned into that over the years, it’s that you’ve got someone by your side to tackle life with. It’s a try out session for the partner that will last you a lifetime. And being a partner means a lot more than being in love with your best friend. It means that you ask each other for permission before making sizable decisions. It means that you seek each others advice on near everything. People hear you talk about these things and think that you’re in a controlling relationship, but that isn’t what its about. It’s about wanting the others opinions and wanting them to agree with you as you make choices that will effect both your lives.

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Hate is addicting

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I think we have a skewed perception about what is addicting and what isn’t. There are a lot of substances that aren’t addictive physically but can be mentally. It’s very easy to get hooked on a feeling, hooked on emotions. We can crave the endorphins that something releases or the power we feel when we do a certain act. Are emotions technically addictive? No. Do you get emotional withdraws from them all the same? Yes. That makes them addictive enough in my book.

But it isn’t just the good emotions we get hooked on, it isn’t just things that numb our pain, sometimes we can get addicted to the things that fuel it. It’s an interesting thing really, but more and more people are becoming addicted to outrage, addicted to anger, addicted to hate.

Maybe it’s the way we take in our news, maybe it’s that the most outrageous, enraging headlines are the ones to grab our attention. Maybe it’s that social media has acted as a barrier from other people emotions, so we don’t realize when we are treading to far, maybe then we become desensitized to it to the point that we no longer care when we do. Maybe its the fact that we’re taking in so much hate all the time that we start to think of it as normal, and therefore needlessly dish it back out into the world.

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Lessons learned with the help of horses:

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Maybe every young girl doesn’t need a pony for Christmas. There are a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t have a horse, money and time being two of the biggest, but I want to talk about some amazing things that my favorite hobby has gifted me, and why I’m kind of glad I got a horse for Christmas all those years ago:

  • How to manage money: The old joke is that you should buy your children horses because they’ll never have money for drugs, it’s true, but all jokes aside the horse taught me financial literacy and responsibility from a young age. They’re expensive pets, especially if something goes wrong or if you’re showing them. I’ve always been a bigger money saver than a lot of my friends, and that really started when I was 15. My parents told me that I was responsible for D’Artagnan’s vet bills. Which would have been fine if he didn’t get seriously hurt, but of course he did, and I emptied my savings account. My parents stepped in then, but it taught me that that savings account needed more in it in case of emergencies, and not just the equine kind.
  • How to be patient: Bad habits take a long time to work out, riding ones are no different. Learning to deconstruct your riding, find the bad part, then put everything back together again without it is no easy task. It takes a long time and a lot of work. It gives you patience. So does dealing with an animal that is just as stubborn as you are. Horses get set in their ways too, and getting their bad habits fixed takes time and energy as well. There is a lot of slow work that needs to get done before you can move on to the exciting parts. Any trainer will tell you just how important slow work is.
  • How to handle competition: It’s funny, but I became less competitive when I was racing as a child. It became more about competing with myself, my past times, my past rankings, and less about competing with my peers. This might not be true for everyone, some people are just competitive to their core, but what is true is that horseback is a game of give and take. If you want to place better, you have to give a lot of time and energy, and you know that all the other rides are giving it too. It gives you perspective on how to gauge your success and what to keep in mind when you’re going for the gold.

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Individuals can’t speak for the group:

20180811_153725.jpgYou know that saying “I think I speak for all of us when I say…” It’s nothing new, but I feel like the groups we’re claiming to speak for are growing in size. People are trying to speak for all people their gender, or all people in their political party, or all people with their disability, or all people within their subculture.

It’s mostly harmless, actually saying it doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t bind people to your opinion if they don’t agree. After all, even if you try to speak for everyone you never will. People have free will and their own voice. So why does it matter?

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Stop Googling your new medications.

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I’ve heard a surprising number of people tell me they are really worried about their medications side effects, so they read them all before deciding whether or not to go on them. I get the idea, it’s important to be informed, but it can be a dangerous habit to get into. Let me explain:

I understand the dangers of bad side effects, one medication we tried for my bipolar disorder made me suicidal, another one that is perfectly safe for 99.99% of adults caused an abnormal cluster of cells in my brain after I had been on it for a number of years (they went away when I went off the medication). So, I get it, medications can do some terrible things to your body, but a lot of us need medicine, whether for our mental health or for our physical health. That medicine is essential to keeping you alive or living a life worth living. It’s scary to look at all the terrible things that could happen, but it’s also scary to think of all the things that would happen without it.

The thing is side effects aren’t always the norm. Everyone has medications effect them differently. I know people who are on the pill that made me suicidal and it was the one that cured their depression. It’s really a toss up whether or not you’ll have a good or bad reaction, but one thing is for sure, you’ll never know till you try.

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