Things Aren’t As They Seem


What was going to be a blog post about how to, basically get off your ass and be productive, has turned into something different. It’s turned into a realization that I’m not simply getting off my ass out of my own control, no. I’m doing these things because I’m experiencing a hypomania phase or state. For the first time, I’m aware while it is happening. 

I can tell you the exact moment it started. Saturday night, after dropping my boyfriend off at his house. I came home and began cleaning. Normally, I fall into depression at night. But not this time. This time, I kept on cleaning well after the sun went down. I usually stop doing anything after the sun goes down. Hell, I usually don’t do anything to begin with because if I’m alone, what’s the point?


I guess I knew this was happening from the moment it started. I warned my parents that I might be going through a hypomania phase. And now that it’s been 3 days, I say it’s safe to assume that’s what’s happening. 

Just like depression, there are good days and bad days to hypomania. Hypomania is basically a mild form of a manic episode experienced by those with Bipolar 1. I have Bipolar ll, which means I experience deep depression, but my mania state isn’t as drastic as Bipolar 1. In fact, many times with Bipolar ll a hypomania phase goes easily unnoticed as it’s like the person is acting “normal.” But to us, it’s not so normal. 

We’re constantly in shock by the things we accomplish. Two loads of laundry? In one day? Without dreading it? Looking forward to doing the dishes? Planning on actually cooking a meal? What is this? Who am I? I like this me. 

But, I also don’t like this me. This me likes risks, she likes spending money. She likes destroying her life and making rash choices. She enjoys drinking alcohol or getting stoned. She wants to go on spontaneous adventures (which I do love) at any cost. Literally, last $20? Perfect amount for a trip to Sedona!


Today, I’ve found that meditation actually helps slow down the thoughts. It helped my restless legs become calm. I felt a sense of peace from my core that has lingered on. It’s something I hope to continue to do more often. 


Walking is also an easy way to get out some energy, and my fur baby loves it, too. So does my carpet. 

Whatever phase or state you’re in. Even if you’re a normal person, enjoy the life around you. Smile because you’re breathing. Don’t take life for granted, be grateful for all you have and do. 

-Liz

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3pm


For me, 3pm means another little round pill full of hope. It doesn’t work as well as it once did, but it barely does enough to keep the meaningless thoughts at bay. Usually. 

3pm means it’s time to fight off the depression. Things are slow, there’s no plans for the night, and I’m alone. My day earlier was perfect, but that doesn’t affect my mood in the evenings. I don’t know whether it’s caused by my medication or by being bored/lonely. But, it happens and it happens daily if I’m left to myself. 


Coffee brings me a small amount of comfort, just enough warmth to make me relax a bit. Having my patio decorated helps a little to lift my mood as well. Today, my best fighting chance is to continue to think of my wonderful morning. To maybe focus on some drawing a little later on. 

I’m trying my best to keep the Depressive thoughts away. I don’t want to feel like this world is meaningless, I don’t want to become numb, and I certainly want to feel okay on my own. I don’t want to rely on someone else to get me out of my own mind all the time, that’s not healthy.


Usually at this time, you’d find me curled up on the sofa. Ready to take a nap and day dream for an hour or so. Sometimes, this refreshes my mind. Other times, it drives me crazy. There is no way to tell which will happen. So, today I took a moment to rest on the floor after making myself go for a quick walk with my fur baby.

My day has been so lovely up to this point, I don’t want it to turn bad. I want to stay strong and to stay positive. I truly do love life and I truly am happy, but my mind likes to convince me otherwise. 


As I continue to fight off the bad, I ask that you send me good vibes and special prayers. I’m making an effort, I’m making a change. I’m not giving up, not even for a second. 

If anyone has any tips or advice, I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment! 

-Liz

Thank You For Your Patience


To all my friends and family, new and old, thank you. 

Yesterday, I discovered something earth shattering. I have lost myself. In the pursuit of “finding myself” and getting help, I lost who I am. For many reasons, I’m not the person I once was. And I thank you for sticking by my side.

My journey with taking medication for my mental illness has turned my life upside down. I’m unpredictable. I never know if I’ll wake up to a good and happy day, or to a low and depressed day. I’ve been all over the place. I’ve been desperate, I’ve been angry, and I’ve been self absorbed. And I am sorry. 


I finally put some puzzle pieces together and came to the realization that my mood stabilizer has not been helpful. In fact, it’s well on my way to turning me into a zombie. I don’t like that. I’ve become emotionless, I’ve lost sight of the meaning in anything. I’ve lost the joy that comes from my writing, half the time I don’t even enjoy drinking my coffee anymore!

Last night, I was too bad off to even think about possibly watching Netflix. All I could do was lay on my sofa and daydream the misery away. I tried calling my dad, but that didn’t help for the most part. I was told to go to the hospital if I needed to. I needed encouragement, not fear. 


For anyone who knows me, you know how I am. I’m full of emotion, love, kindness, and passion. I get excited over the smallest things. I dream big. I have goals for myself. I love to travel. I explore and have adventures every chance I get. I like to look up at the stars, and I like to dance in the rain. Or, hail if I’m not wearing my glasses and I think it’s raining!

I haven’t been fully me since I began my journey with medication. Honestly, yes, it helped me get out of bed during a Depressive Episode, but now what? It’s just causing me more misery. And costing a shit ton of money! Seriously, so much damn money!

My “cure” isn’t going to be found in a little white pill. It isn’t going to be found in a big self help Workbook. No, it’s going to be found by living life again. By starting school back up and by traveling. It’s going to come on a day when I’m alive and well. Not when I’m hiding away from the world on my little patio drinking coffee and chain smoking. 

So, to those of you who stand by my side, thank you. Thank you for being there even when I have not been myself. Thank you for reminding me of my strength and my love. I’ll get back to me soon enough, please continue being patient as I try to find myself in this mess again. 

-Liz

The Hardest Pill I’ve Had To Swallow


I was just beginning to think, not too long ago, that maybe there is a cure for me. Maybe my depression and anxiety actually weren’t caused by a chemical imbalance in my brain. Maybe I’d developed these over the years because of the traumas I have experienced. Maybe if I learn to let those go, I’d be free from my struggles. 

That thought process came to a crashing hault yesterday morning. I was nervous about asking my psychiatrist for a medical card. I should have been nervous for a while other reason. That day, it changed my life. 


“I’m giving you the diagnosis of Bipolar 2.”

Excuse me, what was that?

There is no cure. There is only treatment. That’s all I knew about bipolar. This is something I’m going to deal with for the rest of my life. This is something probably inherited from a family member. This is something huge. 

While I know nothing has changed, I feel as though my entire world has been turned upside down. I’m starting to doubt myself, to doubt my future. 

Will I get worse? Will I turn into one of those women in movies with bipolar disorder? Will I ever make any sense? Will anyone ever want to love me? And if they do, how can I even begin to think about having a family? How would I be able to sleep at night knowing that my children will one day suffer as I have because I was selfish enough to bring them into this world, despite knowing mental illness runs in the family? How am I going to cope with this? Who is ever going to want someone like me in their life? Where did I go wrong? What did I do to deserve this? Will I ever accomplish anything? How do I keep myself from going crazy? 


I’m scared. I had just accepted the fact that I have mental illnesses. I just accepted my ADD. It took me a decade to get the help I’m getting now. And now, I’m bipolar? 

I don’t know what any of this means. I never thought this would happen to me. I feel like crying, but I can’t. My mind is telling me two things. One, “be calm, it’s not the end of the world. You could have worse, it’s not a big deal.” And two, “why are you not freaking the hell out right now? Your life is over! There’s another damn reason you shouldn’t continue to go on. Just go to bed and cry already!”

The worst part of all this is, they were right. My abusers, they’ve been right all along. There is something mentally wrong with me. I do need serious help. Fuck. They were right. 

I’m beginning to even understand them. No wonder they treated me in such horrible ways, I deserved it. I am worthless. I am crazy. They had every right to treat me as such. I’m ashamed. 

There’s a small part of me that’s saying, “stop” as I write this. It’s saying that I’m wrong. If anything, I deserved help, comfort, and love. It’s beginning to make me look at my abusers with even more disgust than before. How dare they take advantage of such a weak mind? What kind of person must they be to abuse someone for years who has suffered from mental illness? 

Then the argument continues, they didn’t know. It’s okay, they had no idea how bad you were. But they must have known. They must have seen it. I was a mess. I couldn’t function. What’s even going on in my mind right now? 

I don’t know where to begin. I don’t know what to do or how to cope with this. I don’t know how I’m going to continue living like this for the rest of my life. I’m strong, though. I’m a fighter. I know I won’t give in to it. But right now, I’m scared and I’m alone. I’m confused and I’m hopeless. 

-Liz

The First Sign


For many of us with a Depressive Disorder, we know the first signs of an episode. Please, don’t ignore the first sign. Catching onto the fact that you’re depressed early might help you avoid falling into the darkness. Maybe, I don’t know. I’ve never tried it, but it’s worth a shot. 

This past week I couldn’t sleep. So, it kinda made sense when I didn’t want to get out of bed. However, last night I slept perfectly fine. I still did not want to get out of bed. From 6am to 9am I laid in bed half awake, sometimes going back to sleep. I day dreamed a lot. But it wasn’t normal, it wasn’t day dreams of the future. No, they were day dreams of the past. 

I was putting myself back into my memories. Of all the good times, and some bad, from a year or more ago. I’ve moved on, excited for the future. Yet, there I was, wishing I was back in those moments. 

I love mornings, so when I don’t want to wake up for them, I know something is wrong. When I start sleeping 10+ hours at night, something is wrong. If I start taking naps, then I know I need help quickly. 

I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted from doing absolutely nothing. The same old shit every day. Making plans for my future that I will be too afraid to actually act upon. 

I know what will help me, I have a whole plan set up for my success. But I just can’t seem to start it. Not at all. 

Bit by bit I hope it’ll start coming together, hopefully tomorrow I will wake up with the courage to start fresh and make an impact. I hope it will last. But, who knows. All I can do is try. 

-Liz

I’m Still Depressed

**This post contains images and story that may be a trigger to those who self harm. If you feel the urge of self harm after talking or reading about it, PLEASE do not continue to read this post. I am not a danger to myself or others, as I had my therapy appointment yesterday and came clean about my issues. Prayers are appreciated, advice and support is welcome. Please seek help if you are struggling.**


Yesterday, I grabbed a knife. I cut myself again. I realized yesterday, I’m still depressed. Even though my medication is helping, I’m still struggling through the darkness. It’s time to do something about it. I have the strength to overcome this, I do not need to wait and hope it passes. 

Self harm is beginning to feel normal again. It no longer scares me that I’m hurting myself. It’s becoming a habit, a routine. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do to replace it just yet, but that’s where I start today. 


It’s not “bad.” It’s mostly just some light scratches. The purpose in the moment was to bleed, afterwards I wanted to feel the pain. I got my wish. I was bleeding more than I ever had while cutting, the pain lasted until I fell asleep last night. The cuts aren’t deep, they’re not in a “dangerous” place. But they’re real. And shouldn’t be treated as less than. 

I self harm in two places, normally. On my left arm, and on my left thigh. Ironically, my left arm is covered in tattoos to remind me not to self harm. 


My first, a cross on my hand. It’s facing me, because it’s for me. It’s a reminder that God is love. That he died on the cross for our sins, so that I don’t have to self harm. I’m forgiven if I do. 


My second, I got after struggling with the urge to scratch myself again. I was feeling anxious about having to travel back to Arizona alone while living in Tennessee. I’d hoped this would have brought me courage. It didn’t. But it’s a reminder of the strength I do have. “It’s come our time” lyrics from a Johnny Cash song about wildflowers. It’s a love song, but to me it’s so much more. It’s come my time to love myself, to pick wildflowers for myself. This tattoo covers where there once was a scar so bad that my birthmark was earased for a time. 


And this, this is my lotus flower. I got this one right before diving into the worst Depressive Episode of my life to date. One I’m still struggling to break free of. It means new beginnings, lotus flowers grow through the mud and end up being the most beautiful flower ever. That’s what I’m doing, growing through the mud to become beautiful. 


As I wrote this today, I got a phone call back from my Dad. He didn’t have much time to talk. Barely any, actually. I had to tell him in the most passive, casual way possible that I had been hurting myself again. It got no response. He did, however, say that he is continuing to pray for me. Which is about all he can do. It’s about all he’s ever been able to do. 

Today, I have to be honest with my Grandmother about it. Today, I have to figure out how I’m going to survive the rest of the month with no money. I had medical expenses I still need to take care of, thankfully all my bills are now paid. I smoke cigarettes and that’s another expense I need to make sure is taken care of, or everything will get worse. I can’t quit smoking while struggling with all of this. It’ll just add fuel to the fire.

I’m being honest with you all. I don’t want my readers to look up to me and think I have it all together. This blog is not only meant to inspire, but to be incredibly real and honest. To let others know, they’re not alone in their suffering. 

-Liz

Being a Writer and Being Happy


I’ve had three stories published to, The Mighty. I’ve written a couple posts for a charity, and I continuously publish my own pieces. Yet, none of this has made me feel actual joy until today. 

It wasn’t until I saw that my last piece was published, that I began to feel proud of myself. I’ve been so consumed by depression lately that it has been impossible to feel joy or happiness. It has been impossible to recognize my achievements. Today, I celebrate my writing. 

I sent in a story about how I was trying, but I wasn’t strong. Rereading this piece almost brought tears to my eyes. I hadn’t remembered exactly what I wrote, it didn’t even sound like me. 

I’m currently in recovery from depression, I’m content and fairly happy. Reading something so sad, so emotional was like reading something from another person. I felt sorry for that person, I wanted to hold them.

Truth is, when I’m depressed I am another person. I’m a child, almost. I’m scared, hurt, desperate, and alone. I’m terrified. That’s not who I am while in recovery. 

It’s such a great feeling to see my work being published, I hope to continue on this journey and to inspire others like me. 

-Liz

What Depression Looks Like In Everyday Life


Depression isn’t just a mental illness, it can be physical, too. It starts in your head, but slowly you can feel it taking over your whole body. Suddenly it’s like you weigh twice as much as you did before, there’s no getting away from it. 

One of the easier ways to tell if I’m going through a Depressive Episode is to just simply look around. No, I’m not being lazy. No, I’m not messy. I’m actually quite the perfectionist. But when depression is at its strongest, I just don’t care about things. I let things take over my entire life. Everything is a mess. 


When depression lifts, you can also feel that physically. You can feel yourself getting lighter. It’s like you suddenly lost all that extra weight you’d been carrying around. All that invisible weight is gone. Sometimes, it’s okay to wait around for that feeling of lightness. For me, this time I couldn’t wait. There was nothing to wait for. So, I chose to actively make my depression leave. It was a struggle, but it worked. 

My first step to getting rid of my depression is always to clean. And clean everything. Your living space relflects your state of mind. Therefore, if your mind is a mess, so will your living space be a mess. Instead of wondering which comes first, I decided to make my living space less of a mess. 


Everywhere I spent time was a disaster. So, one day I decided to clean my kitchen, then my living room, then my bedroom. Still feeling that depression, I let a few days go by without cleaning. I had a couple rough days where my mind was constantly a mess. It was torture being stuck in that place. 

Then, yesterday, I made a choice. Even though I woke up late, I’d still go about my routine as if I had woken up on time. I got up, took my meds, and went on a walk with my fur baby. I started my day out right, and it showed throughout the rest of the day. I set a time limit as to how long I would let myself sit on my patio in the morning, and when the time was up I went inside and started my day. 


When I got home, I was still ready to make positive changes. So, I cleaned up my patio a lot. I took out trash, and put my cushions on the chairs. It felt so good to finally have a patio area I’m proud of! With a table! My little Warren is happy about it too, because now I’ll let him outside with me. That’s all he wanted, was to be in the same room as me. I no longer have to see him crying through the window and that makes my heart happy. 


Yesterday, my bathroom was still a total mess from Halloween. As you can see, complete chaos. Today, I cleaned it up and it didn’t take as long as I thought it would have. 


I’m now more willing to spend time on my looks, which is good because taking a little extra time to look good definitely helps me feel better about myself. I have a date tonight at a fancy restaurant, I’m excited to be able to take the time to make myself look how I want to. Although, I do wish I had more storage! Or less stuff. 


At the end of the day, life goes on. And with life, there is mess. Not everything stays as perfectly as it does in that photo. But, it’s easier to maintain and easier to realize when I need to work on some stuff. Hopefully, I can keep my routine up and keep the depression away. It’s so nice to know that at the current moment I can honestly say, I am not suffering from my depression. 

-Liz

Building Your Army


A lot of people like to say, “create a support system.” However, for the purpose of this post, let’s cut the crap, okay? Sure, a support system is a nice way to sugar coat it and make it sound all nice and helpful. But you’re not just sad. You’re not always helpless! You’re building a fucking army with soldiers and weapons. You’re fighting a daily battle in your own mind. You need more than a “support system” you need a damn army! People willing to stand up and fucking fight with you! And the tools to do it with! 

This subject isn’t coming out of just no where. Last night, I had a date with a man who tried telling me herbs would cure my depression.  He told me not to trust doctors, and that pills make you “fake happy.” At that point, I got on the defensive. I’m also posting this because recently I’ve had two women I care deeply about come to me for advice on taking Prozac. Something I have been on for a little less than a year. However, I’m very observant and self aware so I knew what to be able to tell them. 

I found out that one of them hasn’t been taking her Prozac like she was told. In fact, she only took one. She let her ego get in the way, that’s what she told me. And I understand that more than anyone knows. I spent over a decade fighting these illnesses without help. Why? Because I wasn’t “weak enough” to take medication. I had this shit. Well, I eventually found my strength, the support I needed, and the courage to talk to my doctor. My life was suffering, a relationship had ended partly due to my depression and anxiety. I needed to start building my army. 


My army started off small. It consisted of a few unreliable soldiers, and a few steady ones. No ones army starts off strong. My roommate at the time was my biggest support, as well as my ex and one of my close guy friends. My weapons weren’t much, they were alcohol and Prozac. While I was strong to make the first steps to building my army, my army and myself were not yet strong. We had the wrong weapons. We had the wrong soldiers. 

Eventually, I focused on making sure I had the right people to fight beside me. This list has grown, it has added and taken away people. 

My sister (best friend) is my right hand woman. I go to her with everything. Without her, I’d be a pile on the floor. I’ve learned that some battles are okay to fight without her, but I know she’ll be there when I need backup. Her sister is also in my army. We don’t talk as much, but she’s knowledgeable. I know I can go to her and trust her with anything. These two women are the rocks I built my army from. 

Then, I added in my Father. While he’s not always able to help, it means the world to me that he’s by my side. He’s there for support and for prayer. My grandmother is also in my army. I call her daily, without her I would be homeless and without anything in this life. I would not have a thing. Also in my army is my lifelong best friend, I don’t talk to her often anymore, but I know she’ll forever be by my side. 

There’s a few other friends I have with me, too. A few close guy friends, one of which I can always turn to for comfort. Another I can turn to for distraction, and one I can turn to when I need a little help. One of my best friends is very into her faith, she’s one of my instant go to soldiers when I’m weak and low. She inspires me, builds me up. 

Most importantly, is my God. I’ve said before, I understand that not everyone is a Christian. But for me, my faith is huge. “He is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress, I will never be shaken” Psalm 62:2. My God is always who I need to start turning to first. He is the one in which brings me love, comfort, purpose, and life. 

Also recently added to my army, is my therapist and my psychiatrist. Currently, I’m reevaluating whether or not my psychiatrist is the right one for me, but I know I found a damn good therapist. He lifts me up, gives me direction, and sound advice for when life gets to be too much. I report to him weekly about how my battles are going, he keeps me strong. 


That’s just half the army. That’s only the soldiers. You’ve also got your weapons and your resources. Damn, I bet right now I’m totally sounding like the navy brat I am! 

Anyway, you can’t go into battle unprepared and with the wrong weapons. I recently got rid of alcohol. Very rarely do I add marijuana to the list of things I fight with. But my weapons have grown. I still take Prozac, as well as others. I have 2 ADD medications and an antipsychotic. I’m currently using this as an antidepressant and it’s already shown to be working wonders. Another weapon in half caff coffee. It brings me just enough strength to get through the days. 

My resources include a self-help Workbook on anxiety, as well as one for depression. My Bible, of course. My daily planner, and a todo list app for when thoughts get to be too much. I blog, that’s a resource and a weapon. It helps beat the stigma of mental illness. 

I want to leave you encouraged and inspired. I want you to start thinking about what your army looks like, the changes that need to be made. 

Remember, building your army only makes you stronger. Which means, seeking help and taking medication (if that’s the right path for you) only makes you stronger. There is nothing to be ashamed of, nothing worth hiding. Let it known you’re fighting a battle, recruit soldiers, build your army against mental health issues. We’re all in this together, we’re all in each other’s armies. 

-Liz

Therapy Update

In order to promote self-care and to end the “weak” stigma of seeking professional help, I’m sharing my therapy/psychiatrist sessions with you all. I will leave out things that may be too personal as I do need to set some boundaries. However, I hope this encourages someone to seek help when they are afraid. 

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Yesterday, I parked my car on the second story of the parking garage at an office building full of doctors and lawyers. I parked in my normal spot, with my car facing the trees outside the garage. With a determined face, I did not sit outside and chain smoke as usual. Therefore, I was about 20 minutes early. 

I walked down the garage stairs and across the road to the office building. Inside, me heels made that lovely sound as I walked across the perfectly clean tile floor. I went up to the elevator, walked in, and pressed button number 3. I do this about once a week now, I’ve gotten a routine already. 


As I exit the elevator, I walk to the women’s restroom. I wanted to take a selfie today in the full length mirror. My outfit yesterday was an important one. It was the first time in months that I had gotten a little dressed up. Still, my makeup wasn’t done but that’s okay. I put in effort for the first time to wear something that was 100% me. It felt good. I felt confident. It made me smile that I took the time to put together an outfit.

I say in the waiting room and played solitaire for the next 20 minutes. I listened to the receptionists talk about how there will be a patient coming in that will cause a scene. She was running late and could no longer be seen. My heart went out to her when she came in, this woman clearly needed some help. Her daughter was there to stand up for her. Unfortunately, I do not know if she was seen or not. But I hope for the best for her. 

My therapist came to get me from the waiting room and I walked into his office. I sat down in my chair, I asked him how he was doing. I know he’s supposed to be asking me that question, but I like to be polite. And, it’s become part of our routine. He then asked me how I was, and I honestly answered, “Today, I’m doing okay. But it has been a rough week.” 

We talked about my mom, how she’s invited me to get lunch with her next week. We talked about the guy I was dating, and how my anxiety was being affected. He confirmed that my date had in fact put me in an awkward situation and that I was not just socially awkward, anyone would have been. 

He let me know that he’s glad I’m on a new antidepressant. He told me it was his favorite as it not only helps depression but anxiety as well. 

He told me to continue dating other guys, to keep getting out of the house. 

The one thing that really stuck with me was how he asked about the holidays. How do they affect me? I honestly love the holidays, the thought of families getting together and everything about it is romantic to me. However, I’m single and my family isn’t big on holidays anymore. I tend to get depressed thinking about old memories. He suggested that I do something new this year for each holiday. So, for Thanksgiving my friend and I will be avoiding our families and having a Friendsgiving. I’m not quite sure what to do about Christmas and New Years, yet. 


After my appointment I went to Barnes and Noble. I forced myself to eat something before I allowed myself to browse the psychology section. I wanted to get a self help workbook for depression. I did, and I got a book to read about a girl’s experience on medication.

Afterwards, I went to Target and did some mood lifting shopping while I got my prescriptions filled. I didn’t spend as much as I would have normally, and I can chalk that up to everything being Christmas decorations now! Too soon to worry about those. However, I do plan on having my own little Christmas with my dog. 

Yesterday, nothing life changing happened at my appointment. And that’s okay. Sometimes it’s just nice to update someone on how your week went and to make sure things are okay. If they’re not, he’ll give me ways to fix it. 

This week I will be working in my Anxiety Workbook as well as the Depression Workbook. I’ll update you all on those as I see would be beneficial. Again, got to keep some stuff private. But, I share mostly everything. 

-Liz