To a new year, to a better me

2017 was a weird year for me.

It started with recovering from a manic episode, and coming to terms with having bipolar disorder. I stopped writing, and in a sense, I lost myself. I say this because I focused a lot more on the negatives than the positives. Instead of focusing on growth and all the good that had happened, I decided to self-loathe internally and beat myself up for what didn’t happen and what I could and could not have done to have a good year.

What I didn’t realize till now, though, is that there are, indeed, triumphs and joyful moments that are to be celebrated. For one, and this has got to be the one I’m most proud of – taking my medications for a whole year has aided to the stabilization of my moods in the sense that I have not had a manic episode or a deep state of depression. Although I’ve had states of mild depression here and there, it never got so bad to the point that I wanted to completely shut off from the world. Another positive that happened is that Kevin and I got engaged!! I can easily say that that day was one of the happiest days of my life. We were on a trip to California and on June 12, at Sunset Cliffs, he got down on one knee and proposed. I remember it as if it were yesterday. This also leads into another positive. In 2017, I had the privilege of traveling to three destinations. I went to Texas with my parents in January, California in June with Kevin, and Florida in October with Kevin as well. In California we went to San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. In Florida, I was able to see Kevin compete again on a national platform at USAPL Nationals alongside some of the strongest in the country. Last but not least, the memories made with friends and family this year are all collectively joyful moments.

Maybe 2017 wasn’t that bad of a year at all. But, now with the new year, I’m all for focusing on reaching attainable goals and gaining self-confidence to rebuild who I am. With this new year I want to:

  • Be kinder to myself. Practice self-love
  • Love others more
  • Learn how to communicate better
  • Live in the moment. Appreciate everything around me
  • Think more positively and see the light in all aspects
  • Eat healthier, exercise at least three times a week
  • Spend more quality time with my loved ones
  • Write – whether it be in a journal or on this blog – in order to exercise my thoughts

Here’s to a new year, here’s to a better me.



Road To Recovery

It’s been a while since I wrote a post about my road to recovery.

Though I’ve been doing all the right things like going to therapy, seeing my psychiatrist, learning all these coping mechanisms that will help me cope with my disorders, there is still a road for me to travel.

Sometimes there are days where I feel defeated. There are days where I feel like I don’t want to continue down this road of recovery, there are days where I feel like I want to give up because I’m not seeing the results that I want to see.

My appetite has highly increased which means I’ve gained weight (which is a possible side effect from my medication), my powerlifting journey is going slowly, I sometimes do still get groggy and irritable, and I feel like a potato at times, meaning I feel lethargic and sleepy and lazy, rather than being my upbeat self.

With all of this though, I do have to remember to be kind to myself. It’s okay to feel defeated. It’s okay to feel like things are moving too slowly. But, it’s not okay to be put myself down all the time. Life is a process, and so is this road to recovery.

There’s just so much that I want to do with my life and I know I have to be patient. There are days where I wish I could just fast forward things and see where I will be in the future, but that’s me being antsy and too restless.

I remember back when I was depressed, I would never have taken myself to see a therapist, I would have never wanted to see a psychiatrist, and I would have never checked myself into the hospital. I absolutely didn’t even want to admit that there was a problem that needed to be fixed, that needed to be addressed. It’s crazy because back in July, I read about the symptoms of bipolar disorder and I kind of self-diagnosed then, but I didn’t want to do anything about it because I didn’t like labeling myself as someone who had a disorder. Though I don’t allow myself to be labeled by my disorders, I do know that I need help and that these disorders are a part of me, though they do not define me. I am thankful for God, for He has taken me out of the darkness and that He has helped me see the light.

I will continue to remind myself to live in the now. I will continue to remind myself that everything is a process, and that I’m doing okay. I’ve been trying to train my brain to think more positively, than negatively – this is something that I highly recommend. It works! From experience, I’ve noticed that the more you keep telling yourself something, the more you’re going to believe it – whether positively or negatively. So, if this is the case, why not teach yourself to love yourself more and think good thoughts?

Sorry if my thoughts seem slightly scattered, this is just me trying to get back into the rhythm of writing more coherently.

Speak soon.



Why Chinese New Year is One of My Favorite Holidays

By far, Chinese New Year is one of my favorite holidays.

You may be thinking that Chinese New Year is only one of my favorite holidays because I receive a good amount of red envelopes that have money inside of them, but no, that is not the reason behind why I love CNY, though a very small percentage of that can and does play a role into my reasoning behind all of this.

For starters, no matter what day of the week Chinese New Year falls on, Dad takes off! Coming from a family with a small business owner as a father, I appreciate and try to take advantage of the small number of days that my dad takes vacation days because there are only a few of them.

Secondly, this is probably the main reason why I love CNY. I love CNY because my whole family (that’s in America) from Dad’s side gathers together at my fourth uncle’s house. This includes my grandma, all my uncles, aunts and cousins. Throughout the year I don’t see them much so it’s so nice being able to sit and pig out together and catch up on life. Family means a lot to me because at the end of the day, family is blood and family will always be there for you.

Besides seeing my family by blood, we also celebrate with our God family. My God family includes one of my childhood best friends, my God brother, and their parents (my parents are my God siblings’ parents). Last night we broke bread over a ten course meal and it’s always so nice to sit and chat because we don’t really see them too often either.

Also, this year is the year of the Rooster. I was actually born in the year of the Rooster (you can check what year you were born in by googling your year of birth), and to be honest, as much as I don’t believe in luck or anything because I believe everything happens for a reason, I can already tell this is going to be a great year.

Good health and prosperity to you all, and Happy Chinese New Year!

Speak soon.



The Grass IS Greener On The Other Side

For the longest time, I felt an empty void, I felt lost. Was it my depression speaking? Was it because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life? I’ve always felt like something was missing, like I was a small fish in a big pond. This is especially to be true when I dive deep into a depressive state, or when I’m confused about what God wants me to be in life (because there is so much that I want to accomplish.)

Why is it that us millennials always feel the NEED to know what we want to do, who we want to be? The age old question was and is, “what do you want to be/do in life?” We’ve been taught to answer this always. And if you didn’t have an answer, you were already deemed unsuccessful.

What about for those who have mental illnesses? People similar to me with anxiety and bipolar disorder? Has anyone ever thought to listen to what we have to say, and how hard it is for us to live a “normal” day-to-day life? This is not to say that my life is so difficult in any way more than yours, but sometimes it can be a little challenging.

After researching my mental illnesses, I can now say that I believe that I have lived with anxiety my whole life. I’m not sure if I’ve been bipolar my whole life, but I know for a fact that I had a real manic episode back in April of 2016 when I was working my first full time job, which also then led to me having another manic episode this December.


I think anxiety is oftentimes overlooked as a mental illness because people think that being “anxious” means that you’re extremely “shy” and “awkward.” But anxiety really is an uneasy, apprehensive feeling. To me, anxiety is living and breathing in your own head, overanalyzing every situation. My anxiety oftentimes prevents me from performing well and thinking straight, because too much is going on and I cannot focus because of my heightened senses. I’ve had anxiety and panic attacks previously before (and in those moments, I didn’t even know they were attacks) – my whole body begins to overheat, I feel like I can’t breathe with shortness of breaths, and my mind just overflows with so many thoughts and I feel like I cannot function.

Bipolar disorder.

As stated above, it is safe to say that I’ve had two manic episodes. One back in April and one this December. A lot of things trigger me – everyone and everything can trigger me. Certain people trigger me, colors trigger me, sounds trigger me, the dark triggers me. It’s definitely all a form of PTSD (I wrote about this before). Going from depression to recovering from depression to being manic to recovering again is so exhausting to be honest. This is what happened this time – I was recovering from depression then I became manic again because of certain events. That is why I checked myself into the ER, that is why I felt the need to go to the hospital. I wanted answers. I wanted help. I needed help. I still need help.

Underneath it all, though, I am a fighter and I am a survivor. I will not let my anxiety and my bipolar-ness define me.

The grass IS greener on the other side, sometimes you just have to keep fighting the fight and keep walking down this road we call life. Things may surprise you. I will continue to be the individual I was raised to be. I will continue to be as honest and as transparent as I can be.

I think it’s normal for us millennials to NEED to know what we should be in life. But it’s also okay to not know, too. We’re so young and there are so many years ahead for us to LIVE. Why don’t we just start living in the now? Why don’t we start being comfortable in our own skin? I, for one, am so blessed to have such beautiful people surrounding me, who are always constantly give me great advice, great memories, great conversations – these are the people that I live for each and every day. With that, I am so thankful and I am so privileged to live a beautiful life.

That’s all for now, folks.

Till next time.

– B.

My Middle School Mistakes

There’s a lot that happened to me when I was in middle school, a lot that I wish could be undone. But, of course, there is no time machine, as much as we would all want one, to reverse our previous actions, our previous relationships.

When I was twelve, I had just graduated elementary school and I was heading to middle school (in my town, middle school begins at seventh grade). Growing up, I didn’t have many play dates. The people that I would play with the most would be my neighbors. As for my close friends, I would mostly talk to them on the phone or hang out with them once in a while. Anyway, I digress.

I remember that summer transitioning from elementary school to middle school; I was heavily influenced by hip-hop. It was August – a previous classmate who I’ve known since second grade was having a birthday party and I remember so badly wanting to fit into society’s standards of being “cool.” I wore a black printed t-shirt, tight fitted jeans and white air force ones (I then also had a name belt and name necklace). I also remember shocking everyone who was in that room because I’ve never dressed like that before.

Come middle school – I started hanging out with a different group of friends that I considered to be “cool” (I mentioned that in a previous post here). Most of them weren’t in the same classes as I, but I wanted to hang out with them anyway because I thought hanging out with all the “cool” people would make me “cool.”

My first relationship was with a boy which we will call Boy A in October of 2005. Our relationship didn’t last long, because we were more like friends than we were boyfriend and girlfriend. It was very pre-mature; we barely even held hands.  But, we broke up in December because I started to like Boy B and Boy B wanted to be with me too.

The relationship I had with Boy B lasted for about six months. It was a very interesting (to say the least) relationship. Boy B was older than me by a year, and at that time, I thought he was the coolest and most handsome boy that I could ever date. I mean, I was also going through puberty and because he liked me back, I also thought that this was the best relationship I could ever have. Looking back, though, our relationship was just puppy love. The only times we could really “hang” out would be at church, and we spoke on AIM most of the time.

My relationship with Boy B was not healthy. There would be times where I didn’t know what was going on and I would just let Boy B step all over me and “control” me. That’s all I will say, and you can interpret it however you may want.

I also remember in February when I was hanging out with the group of friends that I hung out with at school – it was a friend’s birthday. She had persuaded me to pay for her nails and then I went to her birthday party where there was dancing and possibly alcohol (I could be wrong about the alcohol because I have suppressed this memory till just recently).

Because of all these factors like boys and hanging out with the “wrong” crew, coupled with family issues, my grades dropped a lot and there would be times where I would hate going to school. I asked my mom if I could stay home a lot because that’s how much I hated getting dressed in the morning and that’s how hard it was for me to muster up any energy to go to school.

My heart was broken in June because Boy B cheated on me.

A part of me was really hurt, but a part of me also felt extremely relieved because I think I knew that our relationship wasn’t working. Good riddance.

I then decided to date Boy A again, but he cheated on me as well. Such good luck I had, am I right?

Anyway, in conclusion, it’s not to say that I made mistakes (because I don’t like using that word) and that I hate all these people (I really don’t, I forgive those who have wronged me and taken advantage of me), it’s more that I was young and naive and I didn’t know what was going on around me. I was easily persuaded to do certain things.

So, to twelve year old me,

You’ll be okay. You made it out alive through all these years and you’re still alive and well and strong AF. Stay woke. You’re now almost twenty-four and you’ve accomplished a lot. Don’t sweat it too much.


Your older self


Fight For What’s Right

This was an interesting weekend, wasn’t it?

With the inauguration of our “forty-fifth president” on Friday and the Women’s March which followed the day after, I feel the need to write a post about my views. I feel the need to write a post in which speaks of my morals and values. I feel the need to write in order to be heard.

I am the third child of two Chinese-Vietnamese individuals. Both my parents are Chinese but Mom was born and raised in Vietnam whereas Dad was born in Cambodia and raised in Vietnam. My siblings and I were born and raised in America – New York to be exact. I guess this makes us Chinese-Vietnamese Americans, based upon the previous statements (I’ve always been confused with my heritage till now haha.) Anyway, let me keep going with this.

There have been times in my life where I felt like I didn’t matter. There have been times where I was not heard. There have been times where I’ve said “no” and the other party on the other side of things still felt to ignore my words. There have been times where I didn’t want to be who I am because of my heritage and background. There have been times where I felt that being a boy would make things so much easier.

Why is that? It baffles me that we currently live in the year 2017, and women STILL have to fight the fight in order to break barriers, chains, and ceilings. How is it that we STILL feel that we are not heard? Why are there STILL double standards?

I still get cat-called at once in a while. I still get made fun of because of my ethnicity sometimes. I still feel like I don’t matter because I am a woman sometimes.

My name is Brettany (hear me roar bc I am now willing to speak up) and I am an Asian American woman who has been diagnosed with mental illnesses. With that, I feel that it is my duty to continue to be strong for my gender, my race, my ethnicity and my community.

If only we could go back into time and physically see what awesome women like Joan of Arc, Queen Isabella, Queen Elizabeth I, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, etc. have done in order to pave a path for us. If. Only. Here, I’ll provide a link where you can read up about all the strong female characters within history – READ ME.

Don’t people realize who even gave birth to them? Need I spell the word out for you? You came from a w-o-m-a-n. Your m-o-t-h-e-r gave birth to you, whether you choose to believe that or not.

Women’s rights are human rights. We are all equals. Both men AND women have done so much for our country (and the world). Let us recognize that. Men can be feminists too – it’s called being a nice person who believes in equal rights.

We as women SHALL be heard. We as women WILL be heard. We as women CAN be heard.

Let us continue to fight the fight. Let us continue to be survivors.

Let us be the bigger people and love others unconditionally like we always have.

After all, love TRUMPS all, am I right?



Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

We’ve been taught this saying since we were little. What does this even mean? Who came up with this saying?

I can’t answer the second question but I can definitely answer the first question. To me, “don’t judge a book by its cover” means that we should not judge others by what they look like, by what they say, by what they choose to dress like, etc. I say this because a lot of times I tend to judge people immediately by what they say and how they act, and that’s wrong. In a conversation, in the workplace, at church, at home, in a relationship, whereever you may be where it involves more than one party, I think we should always consider both (or more) sides of the equation instead of jumping to conclusion so quickly.

I say this because I’ve been in sticky situations quite recently and I may have quickly jumped to conclusions too soon (before gathering any information).

Who am I to even judge others, though? What right do I have to say something about someone else when I’m not them? I think a lot of the times, we tend to jump the gun. We tend to forget that others are actually quite similar to ourselves. We are all perfectly imperfect.

You never know what people are going through till you walk in their shoes. You never know what’s going on at home, you never know if someone is truly depressed because they could be hiding it.

This is a friendly reminder for myself to be kind to others always no matter the circumstance. This is a reminder for me to stay positive and negate all negative thoughts. Like the yellow rose in the image above, there is still beauty in the world – sometimes you just gotta look over your shoulder.

Stay humble and hungry.