The Word of the Year

Every year, instead of making a resolution, one of my good friends chooses a word to live by and grow with in the upcoming year. She inspired me to do the same.

. . .

Healthy [hel-thee] adjective: in good condition; a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity; free from injury, illness and pain.

. . .

November 12th of 2012 everything changed because nothing had changed. I was beginning to see the light at the end of a 5-day long absolutely mind-bending depression and I was angry. Angry that I felt the same hopelessness, paranoia and suicidal ideation that landed me in my first (and hopefully last) mental hospital almost 7 years ago.

But this one was far scarier. Because I was doing everything right. I’ve religiously taken my medication since my hospitalization. I went to therapy twice a week for years. These tools blessed me with a 3-year remission, but since getting pregnant in November of 2010, the longest period of sanity I’ve experienced has been 3 weeks.

As my brain spiraled, I considered my options:

1. Intensive therapy
2. Hypnosis
3. Med change
4. Psych ward

But I’d already done all of these. My recovery from alcoholism taught me that continuing to do the same thing expecting different results is insane behavior. Because nothing changes if nothing changes. 

Then it showed up, the little voice in the back of my head. The same voice that told me to try a 12-step meeting instead of killing myself 14 years ago. The voice that told me to agree to a 72-hour hold 7 years ago. 

Exercise works for your sister. You’ve never really given it a shot. Remember when your psychiatrist said bipolar can be managed with strenuous exercise as effectively as medication? It’s time to stop making excuses. This is life or death – and you’re a mother now. Get off your butt and get into the solution. No one said this would be easy.

I have a beautiful life that I’d like to be present for – I have every reason to live. A beautiful son, a loving husband, good friends, super cute dogs – but those can’t fix bipolar disorder. I wish they could.

As I prayed and meditated for more guidance, I got more answers. 

When you get sick, what do you do? You eat well because you know your body needs nutritious foods to get better. 

I’ve been sick with bipolar disorder for 2 years now and I need soup. Lots and lots of soup. So I came up with a plan to be healthy and leave nothing out. 

Without a healthy body and spirit, you cannot have a healthy mind. 

And whole health is what I want. I want it all, not just a little bit of it. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I researched, prayed and meditated to come up with a plan, which I then brought to my psychiatrist. Under his guidance, we tweaked the plan here and there. I’m not making any changes without his direction. 

The Plan
1. Exercise a minimum of 1 hour a day – mostly Crossfit and yoga. 
2. Listen to my body. Check my ego at the gym door. Also, don’t exercise when I’m sick and modify if I’m super sore, etc. 
3. Research and eliminate foods that make bipolar worse, and research and eat foods that heal bipolar.
4. Sleep on a schedule. 
5. Explore alternative therapies to improve brain activity, including, but not limited to: binaural beats, singing bowls, meditation, light therapy, EMDR and energy work.
6. Take supplements to improve cognitive function. 
7. Join no programs and follow no gurus. Be guided by my intuition. I’m my own best advocate and I need to be responsible for my own wellbeing.
8. Stay within my budget and use free resources first. YouTube and the library are great!
9. Wean off as many of my meds as possible. I will repeat, under my psychiatrist’s direction and supervision.
10. Blog about my progress Monday, Wednesday and Friday on my personal site,

And more will be (and is being) revealed as I go. I started this process on November 12th and I’ve already hit some big bumps in the road. This path isn’t easy, but the alternative isn’t an easier. I feel my medications stopped working, but I’ll be much closer to that truth as I withdraw from them. 

I never wanted to go off of my meds. They worked. I have no opinion on meds – I simply do what is right for me. I’m my own best advocate; I have learned that. I just want to be healthy. 

I’ll be 40 at the end of 2013. I’d like to start a new decade feeling strong, balanced and clear. I’d like to have enough energy to keep up with my toddler. I’d like to enjoy my life again – because life is good.

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