A wife’s perspective on being bipolar

It’s not always rainbows & butterflies it’s compromise that moves us along.

Maroon 5

It’s been one of those days. You know, the one where you wake up filled with hope that today is going to be the best day ever! I frequently wake up feeling this way. For me it’s that I’m going to change, that I won’t be filled with despair at the end of the day, that I won’t feel the weight of the sheer exhaustion of just being me.

It’s only the afternoon but I already feel defeated. This is what life is like being bipolar. My rapid cycling of feeling manic and excited then shifting to easily irritated and triggered has already reared its ugly head.

Sadly the person I take it out most on is my husband. He doesn’t deserve my manic shifts. He doesn’t deserve the outbursts that come with it. But what he doesn’t understand- I can’t help it.

I have seen psychiatrists, therapists, and checked into outpatient centers. I take my meds regularly and I have a fantastic support system of friends. My mood swings still happen and it’s taking a toll on my marriage.

All I want is for him to understand that I cannot help that I have a neurological brain disorder. My actions and emotions in the moment are out of my control.

The lack of empathy is what triggers me the most. I understand being with someone diagnosed bipolar cannot be easy. In fact, I imagine it can be heartbreaking. However, without empathy you’ll never be able to give the grace and love that people who are suffering with mental illness really need.

I hope by writing this blog it will provide a place for people to understand what it’s like. What it’s like to have no control of your thoughts, feelings, emotions and even your actions.

I want to bring awareness on a topic that’s sensitive for some. I hope people gain knowledge on bipolar disorder through my experiences- good or bad. With awareness and knowledge, empathy can be found.

Ask believe & receive

“Manifest your dreams.” That sounded so corny to me. How can one just make something out of nothing? By believing in yourself.

I didn’t believe in myself for the longest time. I spent most of my youth & twenties with negative self talk. Until the moment I changed my perspective did things start lining up for me.

I remember when I first moved to Seattle I met a bunch of aspiring actors and wannabe comedians. One of them asked me point blank “what do YOU want out of life?” My immediate thought in my head was to have a family.

I had just moved to Seattle by myself. The idea of starting over was daunting. My first months in Washington were spent trying to erase that negative self I had built in my head over the years. I couldn’t manifest my dreams if I didn’t believe in myself.

I deleted social media. I stopped smoking. I started running again. I lined up a teaching job for the fall. I really started taking action in my life with ways I could manage.

In October of 2014, just a few months after my move, I met my husband. It was a very chance encounter that changed my life. People say “When you know, you know.” I knew. I knew this was the person who was meant for me. The person I would start a family with.

Dreams don’t just happen overnight. They take patience and time. I had to let go of the notion that I wasn’t worthy of having my dreams come true. I had to let go of the control I thought I had over my life.

Once I let go of all my self doubt, I became open to love again. Finding your dreams is up to you, believing in them takes courage.

Celebrating our 4th year wedding anniversary ♥️

Happier than a pig in mud

Gizmo & Goku, my handsome guys

Scrolling through my social media, you’ll probably notice I favor my pigs. I do. I’ve been in love with pigs since I was a little girl after watching Charlotte’s Web. If you come to my home you’ll see it covered with pig decor. I really love pigs.

They fascinate me. I can spend hours out there watching them. And I did. I studied their behaviors and thought “how nice to be a pig.”

Pigs are one of the smartest animals in the world. I didn’t know that, but later discovered it by watching their habits. Maybe humans have something to learn from them.

They eat, sleep, and enjoy life. They are always present in whatever it is they’re doing. I think the key here is being present.

My mind is all over the place whether I’m feeling manic or not. It’s hard for me to settle down with my thoughts because I’m always distracted. If I just focused on what’s in front of me- I think I would be a much happier person.

I spent this afternoon immersed in being with my kids. There are many things stressing me out at the moment especially with going back to teaching in the fall. However I really tried my best to “think like a pig”. I put down my phone, stopped my cleaning, and really played with them.

In today’s world we are constantly distracted. I’m guilty of it by spending entirely too much time on my phone. It connects me with others but prohibits me from being actively present.

My boys are 3, 4, and 9. They are only getting older by the day. I’ll never have this time back with them. It seems like I blinked and now they’re not babies anymore.

So tonight I’m going to put down my phone. I’m going to think like a pig. Eat, enjoy my boys, and go to sleep. Because what else is more to life than that?

Celebrate we will because life is short but sweet for certain.

Dave Matthews Band

From barn to boudoir

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Theodore Roosevelt

I’m an extremely insecure person. I’m sure it stems from being teased and feeling like an outcast at times. It’s hard for me to believe or accept compliments. Drives my husband nutty.

But what is the point in this insecurity? I used to strive for perfection. The perfect body, the perfect house, the perfect wedding. And for what? My “perfect wedding” ultimately ended in divorce.

I think another reason for my insecurity is when I would compare myself with others. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” That quote rings so true. I would spend countless time on social media feeling envious of everyone else but myself.

My life is amazing. It’s not perfect by any means, but I am blessed and so very fortunate. I think the moment I realized that I started really working on my insecurities.

Some people think it’s annoying when a girl posts too many selfies. I used to be one of those judgy people. Now I think we should encourage it.

How can women feel secure in themselves if we don’t build each other up? Instead of feeling envious on social media, now I feel grateful. I’m genuinely happy for someone when they “flex” on their page- whether it be a new car they bought or even a selfie.

One of my good friends took very makeshift, unedited boudoir shots for me. I have struggled with bad self image problems since I was young. I used to not eat and carefully count my calories so I could have that perfect body. This body now has carried two beautiful baby boys. I should be proud of every curve because it’s a body I am healthy and happy in.

So next time you pause before posting that selfie- do it. I’ll probably ♥️ it.

home sweet farmhouse

Extroverts in lockdown

I am almost 100% an extrovert according to multiple personality tests I have taken over the years. They’ve all had the same underlying theme- I gain my energy & recharge around others. This doesn’t mean I don’t need my alone time, but I would rather spend my time with multiple human interactions.

I live in Washington state. Our state locked down almost immediately and we were put into a Shelter-in-Place. Even now I cannot be in a gathering with over five people outside of my household.

I’m not trying to debate the importance of social distancing. I know it is vital. But do you know what this does to an extrovert?!

I was on the phone with my psychiatrist office the other day. The receptionist vehemently expressed how happy she was that I scheduled my next appointment so quickly. She said “We are busier now than we ever have been.” My therapist has shared the same sentiments with her practice.

I can’t fathom the amount of people suffering with their mental health currently. People who missed out on monumental events like graduation, prom, or even their highly anticipated wedding. People who lost their livelihood or even worse- their loved ones.

The only thing that got me through this was focusing on my budding farm. I kept myself busy as possible researching everything I needed. I connected with other farmers via Facebook. I became completely absorbed in this new life I was building.

The animals really did change my life. They gave me a way to cope during a time I thought was hopeless. So thank you my little piggies & goats. I hope whoever reading this is finding healthy ways to cope. But remember, it’s also ok to not be ok.

I’m no farmer

My happy place

Let me preface this by saying the following- I am not a farmer. My “farmhouse” is moreso a petting zoo than a real farm. We have two pigs, two goats, and hopefully more eventually.

The beginning of the pandemic and before the official lockdown of Washington state we decided to buy a house. Just for fun, like I usually do as a harmless pastime, I was scrolling through Zillow. I saw a house settled on almost 2 acres & had a barn.

My husband is the voice of reason in our relationship. Once he saw it he immediately agreed to check it out. We fell in love but I was more excited about all the LAND. Now 2 acres might not seem like a lot of land. However we had just come from a subdivision home with a postage stamp lot so this was huge to us.

Countless people have shared the power of nature with me. Knowing I struggle with a mental illness they encouraged me to be outside as much as possible. I live in the rainy Pacific Northwest. Spending time out in nature did not sound appealing to me. Now that we owned a home with land opened so many possibilities in my head.

I was joking with my girlfriends one night & said “hey maybe I’ll get a mini pig!” Soon the idea was cemented in my head. I became obsessed with it, devouring every pig book I could find.

My husband agreed to the pigs as long as we could get goats. My heart soared. Afterwards we spent a month getting the barn & fencing properly secured.

It’s been about three months since I’ve had the animals. People who supported me & even the naysayers both said “it’s not going to be easy”. And it hasn’t been. I wake up earlier now than I did when my boys were babies. I spent the first month covered in bug bites. The pigs are also escape artists which is something I had to learn the hard way. But anything worth having doesn’t come easy.

Being out in nature and surrounded with animals is exactly what I needed. It is my self care & my break when I need to step away. Self care has many definitions for people. It can be as simple as making sure you drank a lot of water that day.

For me, I thought just being with my children would sustain my happiness. They are the blessings in my life. However I know that a moment to myself out with the animals makes me a better mom in the long run.

So treat yo self. Find something, big or small, to bring a little joy into your day. And to all my mamas- it’s ok to need a break sometimes.

Their first tiktok 😜

Experiencing Racism

My parents are originally from the Philippines. They immigrated here in 1975 and lived the quintessential “American Dream”. My father was a successful anesthesiologist and my mother was a registered nurse. They were able to leave a third world country and raise their three children in America. I will never be able to share my gratitude of all the hard work they experienced to have my brothers and me live a comfortable life growing up.

However, wealth and being born in America does not exclude you from racism. Growing up in a small town in New Jersey, I was frequently the only Asian in the room. This feeling of being the “outcast” has attributed to many of my characteristics and even subconscious feelings. I endlessly wanted to fit in and it’s hard to just be myself. This feeling of caring what other people think has hindered me in so many ways. It causes an insecurity within yourself that you will never be enough.

In todays world people still live with racism. I was in Target at the beginning of the pandemic and a woman was holding a cleaning product. She loudly and looking my way said “I’m going to buy this product because it was made in AMERICA.” Now, I don’t know if she was saying that because she thought I was Chinese and was trying to make a dig. Or she could’ve just been feeling really patriotic.

While my experience with racism has been mild, I cannot even put myself in the shoes of what’s going on in the world. I have never in my life been pulled over and feared for my life. I have never been running and thought that I would be a hate crime target.

People lack the understanding of racism if they never experienced it themselves. Our belief system is mostly engrained in us by how we were raised and what we experienced. My hope is that by sharing my perspective, you’ll stop and think before you make a racist remark. That your actions and words have consequences. Above all else, just be kind.

My amazing parents

Just another manic Monday

A lot of people don’t know what it’s like to be bipolar, formerly known as manic depression. The “mania” or manic episodes usually are extremely heightened feelings of euphoria and the feeling you can do anything on the planet. This sense of “power” is typically short lived and followed by a depressive state.

When manic, I think I am invincible. It’s a great feeling but makes you question decisions in your life. Any decision I make, big or small, usually has a consequence. It also unfortunately prohibits people from taking me seriously sometimes.

Take my “farm” for example. I can’t begin to tell you how many people scoffed at the idea. Even then I second guessed myself. “Am I making the right decision or am I just manic?”

Luckily the animals have helped my life in more ways than I imagined. However, it doesn’t always stop the impending depression that always follows.

The depression that go with it can be unbearable. I try to put it off but it always manifests it’s ways in either anger or anxiety.

Gratefully with the combination of talk therapy & medication, it can be put under control. It’s still a struggle but my support system has always been there. So thank you to my family & friends who have stood by me through it all.

My Washington family

My why.

Be who you are & say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter & those who matter don’t mind.

Dr. Seuss

Since I started writing a blog, or even getting a farmhouse, the main question is always WHY?

What’s my why? Hm that took me a long time to figure out. I think of it as finding your “secret sauce” of what you’re good at & enjoy, then applying it to your life. I enjoy helping & building connections with people. One of the main reasons I became a teacher.

So when it comes to my “why”, the answer is to help people who may be struggling with similar situations. I find relating to someone & knowing you’re not alone makes a whole difference in your mental health.

Mental health is a tricky topic. It’s almost shameful to admit that you’re having difficulty emotionally. I never wanted to share my experience with manic depression to the World Wide Web. I also didn’t want to open up that I had a delayed son.

But this is why I’m writing this blog. To be candid about real situations that can be uncomfortable by being raw & honest. I think it’s good to open up about mental health disorders & reduce the surrounding stigma.

No ones life is perfect. But we’re given just one and it’s what you do with it that counts.

Front porch photos

Romito family

This morning we had front porch photos done by a dear friend. I had forgotten we had scheduled them at 9 in the morning so around 730 I frantically went to feed the animals & get everyone ready. 

This picture pretty much has my whole world in it. I’ve always wanted three boys and luckily my dreams came true. What’s not pictured is my littlest one, Niko, having a terrible time getting his picture taken. He is developmentally delayed and some things trigger behaviors.

It’s not easy having a child with communicative delays. I can’t always understand what he wants or needs. However through continuous speech therapy he is making progress. 

Love the idea of “front porch photos” especially during a pandemic when we need to social distance. But remember behind every smiling family photo you see on social media, there’s always a story behind it.