Category Archives: feeling good about yourself

And then there was light …

beautiful, blinding, mind-boggling, life-altering light.

That is the nature of bi-polar disorder, or in the more politically correct lingo, manic-depressive disorder.

The verbiage doesn’t change the nature of it, it simply makes those who have no clue about what it is, entails or emulates, feel better about saying it out loud.

Sometimes there is darkness, but when the darkness lifts, there is light.

And light in the aftermath of darkness is profound.

I would love to be able to explain this phenomenon, but I can’t.

I couldn’t even begin to explain it.

You either understand it because you live it or because you know someone who suffers from it or you are completely clueless.

If you are clueless, then there is nothing I can offer that will make the light bulb flick on above your head.  You will never know the depths or the incredible  highs of a brain that is well beyond your understanding.

I’m sorry for you, but can’t help your indifference.

Cluelessness  (not a real word, I don’t think) isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but without some understanding of what goes on in the mind of a bipolarist (also not a real word), there is no way anyone can possibly understand how incredibly wonderful the moments of clarity, without racing thoughts, without disorientation, without doubt and insecurities can be.

Without the chaos, the clarity doesn’t mean anything and if one never has clarity, then their accomplishments will be mediocre at best.

It is like walking into a green, summer field and seeing a triple rainbow arch over the green field that is covered by white daisies with yellow centers.

That is what the light is like.

A moment of pure bliss that allows dreamless sleep and pure and beautiful clarity.

It allows me to understand what I have been misinterpreting, to find the truth within the lies.

It really is impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t lost, at some point, control of their conscious thought and then when hollowed out, to crash and burn.

Crashing is not the best feeling in the world, but it is necessary.  It is like the control-alt-delete of the psyche and sometimes, it is at this point that people who pledge their friendship and loyalty jump ship.

How … well, convenient.

When I am depressed, well, I keep that to myself.  No reason to add fuel to the fire of the witch-hunters.

I am who I am and will be who I’ll be.

I don’t need validation from people who pretend to support me when they have no interest in who I am at the core, in the depths of my heart, in the center of my soul.

I am me.  I am not ashamed to be such although there are times when I am made to believe that I should be.

We bipolarists are not an anomaly.  We are a force to be reckoned with because not only do we have brains that see, feel and hear everything, we are able to function during these times of chaos.

That makes us talented and creative and imaginative;  and above all, it makes us survivors.

Those who take us for granted or think they can use us for their exclusive pleasure are the losers.

They didn’t get it.

They will never get it.

They lost the race when they rolled their eyes at our idiosyncrasies.

Our idiosyncrasies and oddities are what set us apart from everyone else and it is something to be cherished and embraced.

We are different, yes, and in being so, we are not cast in the same mold as the rest of humanity.

In my book, that makes us someone special and special is a pretty awesome thing to be.

I embrace it, even when I want to be rid of it, because it calls me to understand more than I should have to, endure greater disappointments than I should have to and to know more than I would have were my brain like everyone else’s.

It is at this point that I ask, who is normal?  Who can maneuver through a mindfield (not a mine field, a mind one) and end up standing, head held high, solutions in hand?

Kind of puts it in perspective.

I have been mocked by ones that I truly thought I could trust.

I have been shunned by ones who have know me for years.

I have been abandoned by ones that I would have bet my life I could rely on.

These things, these events, these setbacks have not broken me yet made me more determined to be who I am.

I am content with myself even when I am discontent with myself.

I am special and the people who are like me will understand completely and hopefully feel special, too.

I am misunderstood and  I am ok with that.

It means that I am a mystery and, let’s be honest here … how cool is that?

We are a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a riddle.

That makes us cool in the “you wish you could see what my brain sees” kind of way.

Yes.  I am bipolar and I take each moment, each second, each event as it comes.

It is amazing what you can see when you take one moment at a time.

I love my life and though there are times when I forget who I am and can’t string words together to make coherent sentence, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Not  a single thing.

I. Am. Me … and I’m good with that.

only one of hundreds of my favorite things about West Side  Market in Cleveland, OH and bipolarist comfort food :)

only one of hundreds of my favorite things about West Side Market in Cleveland, OH and a favorite of this bipolarist’s comfort foods 🙂

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It has been a long few days …

or has it been weeks?

I haven’t posted anything new.

No blog posts.

No photographs.

Nothing.

I have been in a holding pattern of sleepwalking, nightmares and erotic dreams that leave me confused, wondering and bewildered …

and all the while, trying my very best to make it, without losing my cool, through the seemingly endless days and eventful nights.

I have had patients cry on me, their families strike me, people pulling at my heartstrings which are linked directly to my tear ducts and during all of this, trying to find out if I am to blame for something I had no control over.

I wonder if I have severed a crucial friendship and have already began to mourn the loss of it.

I have a way of ruining beautiful things because I rarely feel worthy of them.

I have slept outside, sent messages I wasn’t aware of and tried desperately to hold it together.

A difficult few days, indeed.

But tonight changed all that.

It came a storm.

A big one, with lots of lightning and torrential rain.

Normally, during such an event, I would be set up on the porch with my tripod and camera, but this time was different.

This one wasn’t to be documented and photographed.

It was to set my spirit free.

And it did.

I stood on the porch with my jeans and t-shirt, getting soaked.

But as time passed, I wanted no earthly barriers between me and the blessing that God was giving me.

A cleansing.

A fresh beginning.

Letting the past be past and bygones be bygones and memories no more than a blip on my radar.

One piece of clothing after another was discarded until I found myself standing nude and vulnerable under the rain, with the lightning flashing, the thunder bellowing, echoing between the mountains and valleys …

tears running down my face.

I prayed to a God that I had decided had forgotten me.

He hadn’t.

I think He was just waiting for me to remember Him.

It was frightening.

It was freeing.

I was liberated from the hold this world had on me.

I was, for that span of time, one with nature and the God who created it.

I still struggle with the emotions and thoughts in my head, but He designed my brain and is well acquainted with my mindless and sometimes senseless ramblings.

He doesn’t hold them against me and so I won’t hold them against myself.

Not everyone believes in my God.  I don’t find fault with them.  I know what I know, they know what they know.

I can only be who I am and, despite all my faults, and they are many, I feel at peace.

And despite that, my friends who don’t believe in my God like me anyway.

I am humbled by that.

Just  as I accept them, they accept me.

With our differences of opinions and thoughts.

It is irrelevant.

Isn’t that what it was supposed to be like?

Love one another?

Are my thoughts still burning through my head? Yes.

Do I still sometimes feel out of control? Yes.

Do I have someone to share the thoughts and emotions with? Yes, and I am thankful for them.

Do I wonder if I am making the right choices? Yes.

Following Christ doesn’t mean that everything is just peachy.  In all honesty, it is the opposite.

I don’t do it right, I never have, but I hope to at least encourage somebody along the way.

And selfishly, I hope to be encouraged.

I wonder sometimes if I am nothing more than the punching bag of the universe.  I don’t mind it if it keeps someone else from suffering, but every now and then, it wears on the soul.

And then, an incredible storm comes, I stand in the rain, and all is right again.

The circle of life.

It is what it is what it is what it is.

It is what we make of it that counts.

So make it count.

a beautiful human, inside and out.

a beautiful human, inside and out.

Anyone who tells you that aerobics …

is the only way to get fit is blowing hot air.

I will get plenty of flack on this, but as my dad is fond of saying, the truth will stand when the world’s on fire.

This is as far from my regular blog post content as one can get and still stay in this atmosphere, but it, at this moment, is what was on my mind.

I have no intention of downplaying the important role in a good, sweat-inducing, breath-heaving, nearly dying from (ironically) a heart attack,  cardiac workout.

It has its place.  But it’s place in the day to day struggle to get strong isn’t the only one.

It will, with a well balanced diet of protein and complex carbohydrates help you lose unwanted pounds.

But the real kicker is the large muscle groups.  When worked regularly and defined, the simple act of walking from one place to another on developed muscles will burn fat.

Just this week, I had someone say to me “I wish I could be more like you”.  That is not a phrase I hear very often so I take it very seriously when I do.  I gauged my words carefully as it is as important to not damage as it is to encourage.

I told them that only a few years ago, I was one hundred pounds heavier.  I was.  I am not proud of it, but I was.  I told them what I told myself … I had two choices and they were to do nothing or to do something.

I chose something.

Nobody can make anyone else get off the couch, turn off the tv, stop thinking of Lance and Lylac as close personal friends instead of the Soap stars they are.

There is only one person than can instigate anyone  to decide to make a difference in themselves and that is themselves.  And whatever choice they make should be respected.

Not everyone has the heart, the drive and the dream to achieve more than what they have at the moment.

Each to their own.

But as for me, I wanted something different than what I had and went for it, worked for it, sweated for it and while I have a ways to go yet, I am closer than I was when I started.

I will never be “hot”.  I will never be the person who turns heads, but then that sort of thing isn’t important to me.

I want to know that if tomorrow, God said to me, I want you to go into the mountains and photograph them to show the glory that I have given to all, I want to be up to the task.

I do this for me, not so that someone will look at me, but so that when I look at myself, I can say that I am strong.

I am me.

I am Gina and I did it even when I didn’t want to.

I am a hiker.  A photographer who takes any trail, especially a new one I find, and push myself beyond my limits to get to the top.

This works my leg muscles.  One of the large groups.  My thighs become toned and as they require energy to take one more step into the high places, I have not only indulged in building and encouraging my muscles, but by walking at an incline, gotten that nasty little cardio workout in as well.

The stronger the muscle, the more energy it needs and where do you think it gets that energy?  From stored fat.  The more you utilize the large muscle groups and refine them, the more fat you burn.  The more fat you burn, the leaner you get.

An hour with Penny the queen of advanced aerobics who is, by the way, cute as a damn button, will make you sweat and raise your heart rate.  All good things, however, if you have strong muscles in your legs, abs and back, perfect Penny will take a back seat to the ongoing calorie burning process of muscles on a mission.

It may seem like  daunting task to build these muscles, but it is incredibly simple.

Walk to the mailbox for a couple days in a row.  And then walk past the mailbox for a couple days in a row.

Before you realize you are working your muscles, they will already be burning excess fat for energy in order to keep up.

I used to do yoga.  I liked it for about the first five minutes and then I was bored beyond tears.

I found, instead, that with strong muscles, I am more limber than I would be if I did yoga every day.

One doesn’t have to assume the double dog chasing a ratty Frisbee in order to attain strength and balance.

A bit of time every other day (because when you overexert your muscles, you must give them time to recover) working the thighs, glutes, back, shoulders and abs will, in short order, begin to use fat faster than panting to a Jenny Craig video.

I’ve been a nurse for nearly three decades and I can assure you that muscle burns fat … and once the fat starts to go away, you will feel more like walking, biking, swimming and will find yourself, despite your initial resistance to it, doing cardio workouts without even being aware.

So you will burn fat, strengthen your muscles, eat healthier and wake up one day and say damn!  I am looking fine.

If you must be a couch potato, don’t complain when everyone else is having fun.  Either live with it or deal with it.  Your choice.

don't be afraid to to climb

don’t be afraid to to climb

if it were easy, there wouldn't be any reward in it.  Be adventurous

if it were easy, there wouldn’t be any reward in it. Be adventurous

life involves a risk or two ... be adventurous ... be strong ... be yourself

life involves a risk or two … be adventurous … be strong … be yourself