Thanks for visiting my little blog, Please note that this is my online diary, thoughts & feelings expressed on this blog are mine & mine alone. I hope that you will take the time to comment & tell me what you think about the things that I write. If you do not wish to know what I am thinking in my tiny little head then please do not read on, but I will not apoloize for my spelling (although I'm trying to be better!) or my posts!

Thanks for stopping by,
Princess Steph

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 is a Time for change

Thank you so much for reading my blog.  I have moved locations to  I hope that you will join me there.  It will take a little while to fully populate everything, but I'm working on it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What I had forgotten about depression

I have been battling the strong force of depression over the last month or so.  It is related to a whole bunch of issues, losing my job, weight gain from meds, loneliness, my hoarding problem, unhappiness, desire to be doing other things in my life, not achieving things that I want and much more.

It has been a while since I have battled the ugly pit that is depression.  I think that some of my meds have been working well.  I'm actually taking them everyday.  I'm working out nearly everyday.  I was working at a job that was challenging and keeping me busy. I was attending CBT regularly.Everything was sort of together. If anything I was on the high side of bipolar.

Over the last month not so much.

I had forgotten how exhausting fighting depression is.  Every limb feels like it has a concrete block attached to it.  I can barely keep my eyes open for 12 hours straight.  Lack of sleep, yet no desire to sleep.  A desire to be alone and on my own.  No desire to write, speak or express myself.  I've also noticed that I have been thinking about suicide in weird ways.  Not in the way of wanting to commit suicide, but just thinking about death.  It is odd.

I don't know where i picked up this quote, but it sums up how i feel perfectly:
I'm tired of trying, sick of crying, I know I've been smiling, but inside I'm dying.

For now, I will continue to fight as hard as I can against depression and see how things go.  Even finding some creative juices to pull out a couple of paragraphs today was difficult.  

Friday, October 7, 2011

Potential outfit for #londonsis's Wedding 2.0

Potential outfit for #londonsis's Wedding 2.0

I bought this dress earlier this summer as an alternative for #londonsis's wedding.  I had thought that I would wear it with silver or gold accessories, but when I started to play with it, I thought that red, or a strong pink would be equally as fabulous.  I love the idea of pairing an Hermes scarf with the simple dress and the strong earrings that match the dress.  I'm glad that I took some time to think about this dress in a different way.  It is making me feel more comfortable about this being a viable option!

Donna Morgan a line dress
$158 -

Stella McCartney high heel shoes
$675 -

Fine jewelry
$27,300 -

Rolex face watch

Diamond jewelry

Hermes summer shawl
$760 -

Friday, September 23, 2011

the envious side of suicide

I have found myself over the last little while quite envious of a friend of ours that recently committed suicide.  I know, I know, you think I am crazy.  You are wondering what on earth has gotten into her head now.

I am not envious of the pain that she has caused any of the people around him, that I am angry about.  I want to scream and kick and shout at him about that.  I want to have the opportunity to get in his face one last time at my parents breakfast table.  Tell him that i love him and that I know that life sucks, but his wife loves him, his children love him, his grand children love him and there are things to live for outside of his depression.  I want to scream it so loud that he cannot stand to do anything else but sit there and listen to it ringing in his ears over the depression, screaming louder than anything else in his life.

But then, in the depths of my soul, behind anything that I choose to admit or feel, is envy.  Envy that Michael had the courage to actually stop fighting.  Stop feeling like crap everyday.  Stop putting on this face that says "I'm OK" on the outside, and is screaming "I hate life" on the inside.  He doesn't have to fight anymore.  He doesn't have to feel like a burden anymore.  He is free from the illness.  He does not have to go to bed tonight and wish that he could not wake up tomorrow just so he could find peace in sleep.

I will continue to fight the good fight everyday.  I have seen the pain that suicide causes through Michael.  It is not the answer. I must remind myself that it is not about me, it is about the people that are around me.  The pain that I feel, that I see the family and friends of Michael in reminds me that one's choice to take their own life is not about the relief of their own pain.  It is about the pain and loss of those around them when they are gone.  I think that this is what Michael has left me with.  His legacy for me and my ability to impact the mental health community is to talk openly about how I feel, envy and all, with others.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

6 word mental health memoir

This Tuesday on Mental Health Social Media Chat on Twitter, we all did 6 word descriptions of our struggle with metal health.  I really liked describing some of my struggles with mental health in a short spurt.  I thought that I would list some of the ones I wrote here:
  • I don't like my new normal
  • only I like the manic me
  • this new me is not me
  • Trying to like the new me
  • my history does not define me
  • nothing i do is good enough
  • illness is not who i am
  • may look strong, but i'm weak
  • another day, another day in bed
  • i present better than i am
  • there is so much of my illness i don't let ppl see
  • I'm alone in real life (by @beckami)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Contemplating the Future" - A Self Portrait

Trying to keep it together while dealing w Seroquel & Weight Gain

I've written  before about the side effects of some of the drugs that I take and especially the dreaded Seroquel.  Recently it has become too much.  I can't seem to get it under control.

I have been monitoring how much I have been eating with Weight Watchers, where I successfully have been gaining weight nearly every week.  I have recently returned to Pilate's, 5 times a week, after not feeling like doing any physical activity at all, other than walking too and from work.  The drugs that I take make lethargy a huge reality.  They help me sleep, but stay in my system, suppressing mania through out the day, until I take them again at night.

I tried on all my jeans last night and none of them fit except the jeans that I recently bought by accident that were too big. Fucking fantastic. I was in tears.  The dress that I was so excited to wear too my sisters wedding looks terrible.  I just feel miserable.  I look awful.  I feel awful.

When I started taking all these mental health drugs I was aware that one of the side effects was weight gain and I was prepared for some weight gain, but not like this.  I believe and understand that I have to take them, but I am starting to resent every night when I drop two little white pills on my tongue.

I have never been skinny.  My weight had been high but steady for a number of years and I was fine with that.  I was comfortable at my weight and was ok not being skinny.  I dressed to suit my size and had people who found me attractive.  Now I am fatter and uglier and just feel disgusting.  It makes taking the drugs so much harder.  It is a battle everyday.

One of the worst things is that I don't know when it will stop.  Is the weight gain going to keep going and going as long as I keep taking these drugs???  Am I going to be 700 pounds one day and someone is going to have to remove me from my apartment with a fork lift??  Is the trajectory that I am just going to get fatter and fatter??  No one can answer me.

For now I am going to keep taking the Seroquel, keep taking the other drugs, keep going to Weight Watchers, keep going to Pilate's, keep walking to work and keep hoping that it gets better everyday, it's all I can do.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mental Health Twitteratti

One of the most wonderful things about twitter has been that I know that I am not alone in my struggle against Mental Illness.  There are hundred`s of us, fighting everyday, to reduce the stigma of mental illness, educate others and find strength in numbers.  This group of fabulous men and woman have saved my life.  They are there when I am scared, when I am alone, when I need help and when I feel that there is no hope.

I have a list on twitter of all of my Mental Health Tweeples.  They are a great group and I thought that I would list them here, so if you haven't followed them you can!  My fabulous Mental Health Tweeples are:

  • @inspire_USA
  • @simplee_serene
  • @motherUnadorned
  • @elledud_1920
  • @_jennhicks
  • @alison_Bergblom
  • @icantican
  • @wegohealth
  • @mykinark
  • @strongia
  • @omararshad
  • @APAHelpCenter
  • @nytimeshealth
  • @EatsShootsEdits
  • @frelle
  • @Kendra_Fisher30
  • @johnalchin
  • @PsychToday
  • @stevenpage
  • @vetsPrevail
  • @twitterbo
  • @nowbie
  • @CAMHnews
  • @farahng
  • @MadPsych
  • @danigray
  • @soul_whispers
  • @bipolarxplorer
  • @moodlandUSA
  • @meplusbipolar
  • @chrisa_Hickey
  • @A_s_hoa
  • @webmiss007
  • @CMHA_VA
  • @sanaquijadamd
  • @BCMentalHealth
  • @KathyKastner
  • @ReachOutInUSA
  • @mrchriswagner
  • @HealthWorksBC
  • @walkforwarriors
  • @valcasselton
  • @CreativeFusion
  • @KristinJarvis
  • @bluefinch604
  • @SuperADDMom
  • @natasha_tracy
  • @DoctorGoofy416
  • @HappyKelley
  • @comingoutofdark
  • @GermanInAlabama
  • @concentratenow
  • @brookskent
  • @Abeeliever
  • @endstigma
  • @onetosix
  • @AnxietyRelief
  • @EndTheStigma
  • @ImpassionedCat
  • @MIAWCanada
  • @depression_news
  • @docJohnG
  • @ridedonthide
  • @RecoveryRabbi
  • @duskwynd
  • @moritherapy
  • @benpolar
  • @bipolarsis
  • @psychcentral
  • @Sucoreeway
  • @blackdogride
  • @perthtones
  • @voiceInRecovery
  • @jscreeb
  • @BipolarLine
  • @BiPolarMomma
  • @silver_ribbon
  • @unsuicide
  • @bipolarette
  • @MHSMchat
  • @susanmees
  • @pmerric
  • @stales
  • @NAMIMass
  • @petequily
  • @vivianb53
  • @Nannidale
  • @PsychBrownBag
  • @PsychDigest
  • @WEGOAmy
  • @DepressionSolut
  • @Mindful_Living

If I forgot you from my list, or you would like to be added, please let me know.

We meet as a group on Tuesday nights at 9 EST for Mental Health Social Media Chat.  If you would like to follow us, its easy to do so here Every week is a different topic, so feel free to read aloung or be an active participant.  Everyone is welcome.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

talking openly about Social Anxiety

3 years ago, I would have been the last person that anyone who I encountered would guess that I had any problems being the Life of the Party" or for that matter, organizing a million social events so that friends and family would be constantly socializing.  Life is so different now that I suffer from one of the least talked about, and one of the most difficult things to deal with....Social Anxiety

My social anxiety came into full ugly force in December of 2009 when i had a melt down in Jamaica which i have talked about openly here.  It has taken a lot from me and because you rarely hear people talking about their social anxiety, it is something that I have been dealing with quietly.  It has affected my social life, friends, attitude towards life and how I manage everything.

It is hard to explain what social anxiety/phobia is.  Everyone feels anxiety around certain social situations; first date, large presentations, work meetings....Social Anxiety/Phobia is greater than that.  It is a fear of social interactions, irrational fear, self consciousness,.....basically I feel very scared of all sorts of social situations.

I hide it well.  I can function at work, play nice with my family and attend group therapy, but all of that is a lot for me to do.   When my day is over at work, it has usually taken me enough energy to make it thorough the day that I just don't want to do anything with anyone.  Leading to a lot of seclusion and no social life.  I even find asking people/some of whom are my closest friends, to do things with me in the evening brings on huge anxiety.  It has started to impact every aspect of my life.

I think that one of the most difficult things abut social anxiety is that when you do make an outreach, it is often difficult for others to understand that, that request is tied into a fear of the unknown.  I am usually asking lots of questions about who will be there, is it OK that I attend?, where will we be? can i leave early if its too much? All of this comes out of the an overwhelming fear of any social situation.

The Mayo Clinic has some great info on Social Anxiety here.  It lists some of the signs and symptoms of social anxiety as:
  • Intense fear of interacting with strangers
  • Fear of situations in which you may be judged
  • Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
  • Fear that others will notice that you look anxious
  • Anxiety that disrupts your daily routine, work, school or other activities
  • Avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment
  • Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention
  • Difficulty making eye contact
  • Difficulty talking
I count 8 of these as regular occurrences in my daily life.  It is a constant struggle.  I do know that I am being irrational in my fear.  It is ridiculous, but unfortunately it is always there.

One of the best, most irrational incidences occurred recently (about 3 months ago) when I fucked up another friendship.  A friend had put out an invitation on Twitter to go for sushi with him and his girlfriend.  As part of my social anxiety, I sent him a couple of tweets that for any normal person would be considered completely abnormal and for me were a normal course of thought.  I think that they resembled the following, "Is it ok if I join you for sushi?"  with it being an open invitation, the response read "Are you f---ing serious? It's an open invitation."  Little did he know that I was trying to know that i wouldn't be a social burden for him.  Social Anxiety makes one worry constantly that they are not invited, even in an open invitation.  I worry that I will be "too much" for others in a casual situation.  I think that he had likely had enough of my feeling and acting like I was "special" or not normal.  I understand, I just wish that I could have explained to him that these interactions were not me, they were the illness.  I do know that 30seconds after that interaction I was "Unfollowed" by him.  I wonder how many others I have managed to successfully piss off to the point that they can no longer stand being my friends?

So what am I doing to help get rid of, or minimize my social anxiety??  I'm doing psychotherapy, I take my meds, I am implementing my CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and I'm trying to not be the one "CRAZY Lady" that I know I can be.  

This is just one more hurdle to jump up and over.  I think that I might send this post to the friend that I once had.  I certainly cannot explain it well, but I think this may help.  Mental Illness is just difficult on all fronts.  You can't see that I'm sick, I can't explain it well and it manifests itself in odd and awful ways.  It is one more thing that I have to try and manage.  

My only question is "Where is my old, social party going self?"  I am scared I have lost her forever.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A dirty little secret....

I have written before how my apartment is a mess.  It is a defence mechanism against me ever having to have anyone over and a bunch of other things that I could list off, but I am now looking at it in a new light....

This weekend my mother and I watched a 20/20 about children of Hoarders. 

I found that as we were watching I couldn't breath, my anxiety was elevated, I was feeling clammy and gross, and I had no idea why.  I was scared.  It wasn't until I got back to my apartment on Sunday night from the cottage that I realized that I have an apartment that is at the early stages of a serious Hoarding problem.  (I would like to make clear that all my clothes are clean and I can still find my bathroom, living room and dining room, but what I can't see is my floor, my coffee table and a good deal of my dining room.) 

I feel so ashamed that I live like this and I don't know why I can't deal with it.  I have a senior level job that is stressful and I manage to do well.  I am acting like a functioning human being on the outside, but on the inside I am a mess. 

I think that this started in December of 2009.  I had had a breakdown while we were away in Jamaica before the holidays and when we got back I hosted a Christmas Party in honor of my youngest sister (#londonsis) in my apartment.  My tinsel, sparkly, large 8 foot silver Christmas tree is still standing, as are the 3 littler pink trees surrounding it from that night, December 23, 2009 - still decorated, still standing, like a big trophy for my inability to manage the life that I have behind my apartment door.

There are 3-4 piles of cookbooks, which I seem to have an absolute obsession with purchasing whenever I see one I like, a number of piles that represent past clients that I worked with in 2009 that I haven't been able to deal with given the way that that my work suffered when I was really ill in the fall of 2009, a pile of ironing waiting to be tackled on top of my ironing board that has not been put away in months, a huge pile of laundry that needs to be done, my shoes are in a big pile on my bedroom floor and things like my handbags surrounding me at my front door everyday....

How did this happen?  I think I just became unable to deal with life in December 2009 and this is the long term effect of that.  I don't share my space with anyone on a regular basis, so it has been easy to shut them all out and not have anyone see what a state my internal life is.

The challenge is now what am I going to do?  I have written this very open post because I think that it will help a bit to release some of the guilt and shame I am feeling.  I also hope that it will allow me to think about how I am going to manage my "mess".  It is no easy task and I'm not sure what the next step is, but I am meeting with my psychiatrist on Wednesday and I am going to try and be honest with her about the situation.  Maybe she has some ideas, or can help point me in the right direction.  Who knows?  I just feel like this is one more thing that I am hiding from the world that is impacting every aspect of my life that I can't seem to deal with. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

5 am in the morning at le cottage

Some days I'm really envious of...

The ability to feel envy is such an ugly trait that humans have.  I am amazed by its power.  I really try not to feel envious of things but some days I can't help it.  It creeps up on me when I least expect it and it is always about children and babies.

I have never been envious of peoples lives, there relationships, money, stature etc.  I was brought up believing that "there is always someone with a bigger house, better job, more money than me".  What that didn't include were people, children, family and love.  Those are where the evil envy comes to the surface and always relatively out of the blue.

TOday was one of those days.  I found myself shocked this afternoon to be in tears at a major intersection filled with strollers.  I just couldn't deal.  All of these people and couples with babies and children and at the end of the day families.  I am not proud of how i felt, nor am I proud to be writing about it here, but it was and is a raw and real emotion.  

To read an excellent view point on Envy, please visit the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's article on Envy

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's been a bit of a difficult month...

It has been a difficult month.  I just looked at my  poor, little, neglected blog, and realize that I have not written since July 20th and even then that was not a good post.  So in the last month things have gone hay-wire. 

One of my father's closest friends, who was also a friend of mine, committed suicide on the 19th of July.  It really hit me very hard and you would have thought that I would have gone to writing to express what I am feeling, but it has made me face my own thoughts of suicide.  I have written a post or two about this, but they are still too painful to post.  My father has also been diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer.  I know that it is 100% treatable (God willing) and that he will have the surgery to remove the thyroid at the end of August, but it sent me for a loop.  I'm also coming to terms with my own case of Hoarding (more in a blog post later) and how that is affecting my life and how I just can't seem to fix it.  My sister (#torontosis) just had a second baby and with that comes many of the emotions that I try and suppress...envy, jealousy.... you get the picture. 

So that is the tip of the iceberg.  All in all a bit of a crazy month, and I promise to continue writing.  Now that things aren't so raw, it will be easier, but still not easy.  I know that writing helps me get things out in the open and start to deal with them.  Fingers crossed as time goes on things will flow from my soul to my fingers to a keyboard...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Advice from a Bear....

If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. i'll always be with you. - Winnie the Pooh

If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever - Winnie the Pooh

Promise me you'll never forget me because if I thought you would I'd never leave. - Winnie the Pooh

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day. - Winnie the Pooh

Some people care too much, I think it's called love. - Winnie the Poohmomtossm

"After their Death", a poem on suicide by Judith Pordon


You might be covered
by eyelids closed
over your whole being,

or reach with desperation
for something alive
to hold onto.

Your fingertips will hide
in a fist. No more palms
open to life.

Humbled, the very ground
will seem so large. Someday
the earth will own you.

Or you see theres no time
to waste, and plow
into previously feared goals.

Try to be patient
if it takes you years
to return.

This is the exit from Eden,
when you have chosen life
while wanting to die.

This is the fall that gives
wisdom, perspective, gratefulness.
It is worth the crawl, back to life.

-Judith Pordon

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The abyss of loneliness

This weekend, it became evidently clear again that I am alone and it sucks.

When receiving some bad family news on Friday over champagne, #londonsis had her fiance and #torontosis had her husband and baby, to hold on too, as we absorbed the information that we were being told.  I had no one.  No one to get home and cry to on the sofa, to cuddle up to in their arms just for some comfort, to hold their hand so that i didn't feel like I was going to fall off the deep end of the ocean into an abyss of fear, sadness and depression.  All of my emotions were mine alone, to process and manage the feelings on my own.  It was horrible.  It was even more horrible because I have really secluded myself from any friends that I had, and don't feel that I'm able to reach out to them now when I am back in crisis.

I so rarely feel like being single is awful.  I do single well.  I am confident in doing things on my own and I am usually perfectly OK with it.  Except that I know that this life is meant to be shared with another human being and that I do not want to be on my own forever.  On Friday and throughout the weekend, I was reminded that it is truly awful going through this life on one's own and this is not the life that I want to lead. 

But I am a lot to take on.  I know that the hope of finding a partner is even smaller given my mental illness.  Before I was sick and diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I was just the girl with Migraines that battles chronic depression, but was still fun when needed.  Now I am the girl who is crazy, needs 10 pills a day to keep some form of sanity and has gained another 25 pounds because of the drugs that I am taking.  What man/boy wants to take that on? Not very many.

I rarely find men attractive anymore.  I think that it is a defence mechanism.  Don't worry, if you don't find anyone attractive, you will never put yourself out there, you will never get rejected, you will never have to face the fact that you are, as you believed, a lot to take on, too much for most people.  When I do find someone attractive, I am so eager for them to like me that I am destine to be over eager on all angles.  I am a relationship mess.  Sabotaging my own happiness, before it has a second to establish itself.

So here I am.  Me.  Myself.  I.  Alone. I wish I could change it, but apparently this is not going to be easy.  I sit at my desk, tears running down my cheeks, thinking that I may be stuck in this abyss of loneliness forever.

From Life of the Party to Get a Life

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to take part in a radio show and discuss the impact of mental illness on my social life.  That radio podcast as well as a lovely blog post written by my friend Amy can be found here: From Life of the Party to Get a Life

I am glad that I did it and proud that I spent the time exposing this very difficult aspect of mental illness.  I am still a recluse, but I am working towards not being so isolating.  I try and book time with friends and this is helping a bit.  All in all, this is a long lonely path that I am on, and that is terrifying.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Creating a "chosen family."

In 59 minutes, I turn 35. I have no family of my own. Yes I have parents, two sisters, a brother in law, a soon to be brother in law, a niece and a soon to be born niece. I am blessed many times over in that regard. What I don't have, and want more than anything, is a family of my own. A husband, his family, our children, my own life. I have been freaking out a bit over the last little while that I don't have any of this and not only that, I am no where close to it. I have also become aware that there are people in my life who are craving family and acceptance as well.

I think that I will start to build my own family. I'm not talking, husband etc., but a group of people who are not necessarily my closest friends, some I anticipate I will only have met through twitter, others will just need to know that I am here and they are there. Sometimes knowing that is enough to feel wanted and loved and valued.

So this little project begins. My friend Steven is the first one that's getting a message asking him if be will join my chosen family. No expectations. No judgement. Just love and acceptance when and where you need it.


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