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.

Always,

Brettany

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.

Anxiety.

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.

Love,

Your older self

 

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.

Best,

Brettany

Why I Take Life For Granted

Today I went to see my doctor because I’ve been feeling under the weather (on top of feeling groggy and sleepy from my mood stabilizers). Before seeing the doctor, I had a nice conversation with the nurse about life and why we tend to take things for granted.

She asked me if I was in school currently, and I said no. She then proceeded to ask me what I graduated with and what I’m doing now. I told her that I’m working part time and doing my own thing on the side. She also asked me who I was living with and I said that I live with my parents, but I plan on moving out sometime soon. Since I had said that, she agreed that everyone eventually wants to move out – but she did make a point that if she could go back in time, she would have stayed living with her parents much longer than she did because of how much money it would have saved her (speaking from her own experience – she is now a grandma with a daughter and a grandkid).

That is why I take life for granted. There’s so much that I am privileged to have and yet there are still things that I complain about. I live with my parents which means I don’t have to worry about bills which include electricity, water, etc. Mom loves providing for me and dad so she always makes fresh cooked meals every day. I am able to do my laundry at home with no cost. I am a literal soup lover and mom makes soup always.

Besides being privileged by living at home, I am just privileged in all ways and I take all that I have for granted. There will be days where I complain about how my body is so tired from the mood stabilizers and how I am getting sick. Well, hate to break it to you, Brettany, (yes I just spoke in third person), but there are poor people in America and in third-world countries who don’t even have the ability to take medication because they have no source of income.

So here is why I take life for granted. I take life for granted because I have been spoiled with love from God, my family and my friends. I don’t deserve what I have.  I am far from perfect, but I am given all these opportunities and all these blessings because of God’s grace, mercy and sovereignty.

I am thankful that I have the ability to receive aid from healthcare providers, and I am thankful that I am able to work part-time within my condition and live a fruitful life because God always blesses me. Thank you, God, for being who you are in my life. You never fail me.

Moving forward, I’m sure there will still be days where I take life for granted but I will try to constantly remind myself to stay humble and to stay grounded.

Blessings on blessings y’all.

Always,

Brett

 

My Experience At My First USAPL Meet

July thirtieth was the first time I’ve ever competed within the USAPL (United States of America Powerlifting) federation. Prior to this, I’ve competed twice within the RPS federation.

This was such a tough day for me mentally. For starters, a week and a half leading up to this competition, I started to withdraw from training and I started to withdraw from conversation and activity with my friends. This is what always happens when I begin to dive into a depressive state. The whole week leading up to the meet, I kept asking Kevin if I should do it or not, and if it would even be worth it since I knew I wasn’t going to hit any real meet personal records (PR’s). The night before, I kept changing my mind by going back and forth in the sense that I would tell myself that I was going to do it and then telling myself that I wasn’t going to do it because I didn’t think I was going to have fun.

As you can see, I was able to gather up some strength (what was left at that moment, that is) and I wound up competing. One of my main reasons as to why I didn’t want to go was because I had to wake up extremely early since weigh-in’s began at 6am (give or take). Another reason why I didn’t want to be there was because I knew I would be seeing my friends, and at that time, I was so depressed that I didn’t even want to see people who made me happy. Isn’t that crazy how your mind can play tricks on you in that way?

Now, from the outside looking in, I wish I was way more excited that day. For one, I did hit a small meet PR for my squat (four pounds, yay) and the crowd kept cheering for me even if I was not there mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I also wish I was way more excited that day because I got to compete with my very best friend (shown above). This girl is so important to me because she has been a ride or die since day one. No matter what life throws at our relationship, we are always able to keep a firm foundation and for that, I will never be able to repay you. Thank you, Sharing, for being able to sit with me in a crowd full of sweaty powerlifting men and women, and being able to tear in public and not giving a f*@! because you wanted to express to me how much you miss and love me.

Also, some of my Stony Brook strength family came too for support and Kev and Russ competed as well. This just solidifies how lucky I am to always have a great support system. Thank you to you all who are always there for me in the good and the bad.

Thank you to the meet directors and everyone else who contributed to making my first USAPL experience awesome. I’m not sure when I’ll compete next, but I’m excited to continue to get back into the in’s and out’s of powerlifting.

Speak soon.

– B.T.

Why I’ve Had Attachment Issues

Growing up, my siblings and I mostly had a great childhood. Up until now, there were oftentimes many instances in which I would feel an empty void in my heart as if something was missing.

After going to therapy and after some self-reflecting, I think I can now say I know why I’ve had attachment issues. Let’s get right into it.

For starters, I’ve talked about how wonderful my parents are but I’ll talk about them again. My mother gave up her job and has been a stay-at-home mom (not an easy job at all and I hate when people undermine stay-at-home moms) since my older brother was born, and my dad has worked hard his whole life, but even more so ever since he came to America. When I was born, I think it was till I was three my dad was an overnight Chinese car service driver. He then found a mentor who believed in him and his love for cars that allowed him to open up his own mechanic shop and become the small business owner that he is today.

You may be asking, what do my parents have to do with me having attachment issues?

Well, though my mother is an extremely strong individual, she does however have a lot of health problems. In eighth grade, I remember crying at my mom’s bedside apologizing to her for being such a bad daughter because she was really sick and she had to be hospitalized. Then in high school, mom was diagnosed with breast cancer (don’t worry, she fought it and she’s okay now).

As for my father, as you can see, dad is a really hard worker and as a small business owner, you must tend to your business more so than if you just work for a corporate company. I remember when I was around eight years old, dad went away to China for a whole month for business and I hated that. And though I see my dad at dinner every night, the only time that I really get to spend quality time with dad was and is during vacations and Sundays.

Even thinking about my childhood and my upbringing still makes me sad sometimes, but they’re mostly bittersweet emotions because I know my parents ultimately did what they could to keep us happy. I’m a pretty strong individual, but I’m also allowed to be human right?

Anyways, I picked up a part-time job finally and I must leave to go to work soon. Speak soon.

Blessings on blessings, y’all.

Always,

B2