What I learned my first year blogging

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

Ralph waldo emerson

“Get a hobby.” I can’t tell you the countless times I’ve heard that phrase. “Find something you love to do and do it.” Another phrase I had learned to despise.

Well of course I wanted to find something to do. I’ve spent most of my life coping with bipolar disorder & addiction that I used to spend my free time with unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Shopping excessively. Smoking. Drinking. Just doing things to get out of my head & not focus on what’s really going on in my life. I was looking for distractions & not solutions.

I never really thought I was good at anything. I wasn’t the best artist. I was too impatient to sew or craft. And sports? I’m awful. Like someone running around with two left feet.

But then last summer I decided I wanted to be a “farmer.” I was manic & became obsessed over the idea, literally researching everything I could find about pigs & goats. I thought it would be a cool idea to write about it & so Farmerish was created.

It has been a year since I made Farmerish. What started out as a “silly idea” to blog about my farming journey, turned into a mental health site where I now collaborate with BpHope Magazine for Bipolar & National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI).

I’ve had so many misconceptions about myself over the years living with bipolar disorder & addiction, and I knew people had misconceptions about me as well. Farmerish turned into more than just a diary, but hopefully a place where people can feel understood & not so alone.

I’ve created relationships with people from all over the world. Rekindled friendships from my past. I was astonished at how many people were struggling with the same thoughts I had. It truly made me realize, “you are not alone.”

And that’s the most important thing I’ve learned. We are not alone. We are not crazy. We may feel crazy but our feelings or thoughts are not always reality.

So to everyone who’s supported me by even just taking the time to read my posts or my articles for BpHope- I truly thank you.

Thank you for pushing me to be a better person. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you. Thank you for not judging me and letting myself just be me for once in my life.

Because that’s all we can do. Just be ourselves. And we all deserve to be loved, seen, & heard.

The queen of procrastination

Procrastination is currently killing my mental health. I am the queen of procrastination. I usually believe I thrive working “under pressure” but somethings in life don’t necessarily have a particular deadline.

Take this blog for example. It is nearly the end of January. I hadn’t posted on Farmerish since sometime mid-December. I’ve been able to continue my work for other popular websites, such as BpHope, but mostly because it’s deadline driven.

I don’t have specific “deadlines” with posting on my personal site. I think the real trick to easing procrastination is one, stop being so hard on yourself. And two- remember your why.

I think dealing with my pregnancy and this seemingly never-ending pandemic I’ve forgotten my “why.” The real question I need to ask myself is, “Why am I doing this?” Find what’s motivating you and work from there.

My second post I ever wrote on Farmerish was titled “My why.” It goes into depth about wanting to decrease the stigma surrounding mental health. I also explained how finding your “why” also means finding what you’re good at. I am good with connecting and engaging with people. I truly love it.

One of the ways I connect & engage is through utilizing social media. Now, I rarely procrastinate when it comes to my social media pages such as Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok. But there are problems with social media and the small “lies” they tell.

Social media only shows our highlight reels. I try to keep it as honest and candid on my blog, but I think sometimes outwardly our social media presence can be deceiving.

It’s easy to forget your “why” on social media. We can easily put off an image for the world to see that may not be entirely accurate. I know one of the reasons I have procrastinated with writing on my own blog is because it’s much harder. I’m much more vulnerable. I expose myself more.

But that’s what matters. I attached the image in the beginning of this post to remind myself that it truly doesn’t matter if you’re rich, popular, or perfect. I have to remember my WHY and know that those are not the reasons I chose to write Farmerish. It truly is about being humble, sharing our experiences & hopefully maybe touching the life of another human being other than yourself.

I share my experiences not to get rich. I didn’t even really want to run ads on this site, but hey I’ve made $5 so far (lol). As I “grow” slowly on Instagram and other various networks, I realize that I’m not writing to be popular either. My WHY on those outlets are more to show that a somewhat “normal” life is possible with bipolar disorder.

But what is normal? It’s not being perfect, that’s for sure. So next time you see a picture perfect image on social media remember that things aren’t always as they seem. But I know that by writing these posts, and hopefully being consistent, I will eventually positively impact the lives of others.

Procrastinating doesn’t get you anywhere. Find your why. Remember your purpose. And know that life is so much more than appearing perfect for the world to see.

Waves of love

Love, to me, is the most coveted and important emotion we can give to another person. In my marriage our love ebbs & flows like the waves in the ocean. Sometimes there’s a high tide where the love feels all consuming. It washes over me and I feel nothing but bliss & happiness. Other times, like currently, it’s low tide. The water feels shallow and murky. It’s unclear how deep it goes but I know the love is still always there.

I married someone with no clinical diagnosis of mental illness. Of course he has his situational anxiety & sadness, like everyone else, but nothing neurological that prohibits him to feel happiness like I do.

Living with bipolar disorder is hard. I recently had a conversation with him about my own happiness. I expressed that it’s difficult for me to feel joy most of the time. The highs of my mania & sudden drops into depression seep into my everyday life and ruin most experiences for me. It truly is not easy to enjoy my life at times.

I know I am blessed with a husband who loves and supports me. But like I said, love can be like the ocean. Today the waters feel rough and hard. Rather than feeling love in this high tide moment, I feel waves of judgement and resentment.

I don’t know how to explain to him that my mental illness is not my choice. I have had the unhealthiest coping mechanisms for the longest time in order to “treat” my depression. In the past this has involved drug use and even smoking or drinking. When life feels too overwhelming I’d rather numb the pain in anyway possible.

Being pregnant I know I can’t rely on those unhealthy coping mechanisms. I have my friends and support system. But what do you do when the one person you want to count on the most isn’t there for you?

I have to understand and accept him for who he is and what he is capable of giving me. I know his love his endless. It stretches as far as you can see, almost like looking at the vast ocean.

But sometimes love isn’t enough. Love can’t always sustain happiness during times of heartache and loss. I can’t rely on another person to make me happy.

As a person with mental illness, I know it’s my responsibility to make my own self happy. I read this analogy on facebook which has helped shift my perspective on love:

“Some people are ‘gallon people’ and some people are ‘pint people’. I live my life as a gallon person. I want to give a gallon, and expect to get a gallon in return. However, some people are pint people. They only want a pint. When you give them a gallon; it overflows and is wasted. Then when you expect a gallon to fill us back up, they only have a pint to give. A person is never going to be able to give you what you need; you need to find it somewhere else— or better yet, within yourself.”

Love is always something that should be given freely with zero expectations. These expectations become conditions and should never be motivations. If we get love it should be a bonus but not the sole reason and purpose of our love.

I’m sorry to my husband for not being everything you want all the time. I’m sorry that I crumble at times and feel the weight of my depression. It’s not that I want to give in to my sadness, but I truly cannot help it. But I do love you, and there is no end to that love.

Birthday Blues

It’s Sunday and I should be excited to watch football. Instead I’m on the downside of my bipolar mood swings. It seems with every manic or happy moment, the depressive state is even stronger.

Yesterday we celebrated my sons 5th birthday party. It’s amazing how we, as people with mental illness, can mask our feelings so well outwardly. I smiled. Laughed. Tried to be as accommodating as possible. But the feeling of sadness still lingers.

I haven’t found any motivation to write lately. It’s interesting how the manic moments encourage my creativity but when I’m in a depressive state I can’t seem to find the motivation to do anything.

The laundry has piled up. The house is in disarray. This morning was the first time I couldn’t get out of bed to feed the animals. My husband was a lifesaver & after all this time understands my mood swings. He knows it can seem physically impossible for me to do things.

Without our support system of people who empathize with us, it would make our mental illness so much more dire. We already feel hopeless enough & need people who just understand.

I know this feeling of sadness won’t last forever. But it’s so hard in the moment. The guilt I feel for not being able to just enjoy my life fully overwhelms me. I know I have the best support system and the most amazing husband ever but it all still hurts so much.

Sometimes it feels like it’s not enough. We struggle everyday. It’s an uphill battle that I sometimes feel like I’m drowning. But we also know that there are brighter days ahead. Days where the happiness just envelopes us. I wish I could hold onto those moments but they never seem to last.

We need to forgive ourselves. We can’t always be strong forever. But hopefully by forgiving ourselves it’ll make it a little easier to hold onto happiness.

To my birthday boy- I love you. I’m sorry mommy is a little sad right now. But you always make my life brighter & give me a reason to just try and make it through another day.

I just need to keep trying, it’s all we can do.

My birthday boy

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.

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