It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled…

Led Zep-shout out that no rock-n-roll is no good.:

The last six months have been pretty useless for me, and I haven’t posted in quite some time. Since Nov. 1 actually when, I guess, I was having a hard time. Sometimes, no news is good news, but sometimes it’s just being lazy! I’ll cop to that one.

So, what’s been going on? Well, whatever set me off in November really screwed me for the last few months of 2017 and first few months of 2018. The main thing was I got off my schedule for self-care and freelance work and basically gained 20 fucking pounds. That suuuuuuucccccckkkkeedd and I am now really struggling with my weight again.

Seriously, it makes me want to cry. Yeah, it’s true, I just posted a new bikini photo on my Instagram account, but that account promotes XL body type so I felt like I had to do it to keep with my goals for inclusion. I also sent it in to the Ashley Graham company, as they were looking for photos of plus-sized women wearing their beautiful suits. [On a side note, if you are over a size 14, you MUST look at the SwimsuitsForAll.com website—these suits are amazing and will make you feel super confident in your body, whatever size you are at.]

But I digress.

Let me instead bitch about shit has not been working out for me. Sorry if it sounds like complaining, but really not sorry. Truthfully, disappointments happens and I have been upset about it. I’m all about being positive but sometimes when shit goes wrong you need to sit with it and it’s OK to be mad or feel bad about it. I just wish I hadn’t lost several months feeling sorry for myself.

December in general was a good month, but lots of partying, which left me overweight and constantly catching up my bipolar management from all the drinking. It was the frequency of it rather than the amount.

Early Jan and Feb sucked because my yoga trainings were canceled due to lack of interest. I really love teaching yoga trainings so this hurt. I think if I could pick one thing that I like to do and feel that I do well, it would be yoga teaching and training.

During that same period, I was asked to model  plus-sized clothes for a major U.S. workout apparel company. This was to be for a marketing campaign for a huge sports retailer in the U.S. We basically had the shoot scheduled and they canceled it. I know the modeling business is fickle and one should not take it personally; it’s a business after all. But for the first time in a long time, I cried. I was so fucking excited and then crushed when it fell apart. Maybe that sounds stupid but I don’t care. I have not been that disappointed in a long time.

In late March, I also had some feedback about how my book proposal was faring with potential publishers. I have an agent and she was honest in telling me that the market right now for my kind of book was tough and a bit of dead end.

Publishers right now are looking for celebrities with bipolar disorder or experts on bipolar, like doctors, researchers etc…That point pisses me off so much because I AM a subject matter expert because I HAVE bipolar! It’s a real Catch 22, as the publishers don’t want to publish an unknown author but it’s hard to become known when publishers won’t support your book.

The prevailing advice HAD been to create a marketing platform, then self-publish. If you have no platform, then attract an agent and publisher. Well, I had the agent but no publisher. I’ve had lots of interest from publishers over the years, but no contract.

I posted on my Facebook today that I am now, begrudgingly, considering self-publishing my book in order to build my own marketing platform. It will take a lot of work in self-promotion on Amazon, Kindle, blogs, social media, podcasts, whatever other outlets I can reach. But it seems that after a few years of waiting for things to happen with my book, maybe it’s time to take some action and make things happen for myself. I certainly gave the traditional publishing route enough time.

I know my book on my life with bipolar disorder could help some people. In the end, that’s what it’s all about. And after pulling myself up from a few shitty months, maybe it’s time to create some momentum. It’s time to rock and roll again.

–Rise from the ashes. Never give up

–A

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So I Lost a Couple of Days…

What do I say about a recent bipolar setback? Shiiiiiit…sometimes the words come very easily and sometimes I can’t think of where to even start to write about it.

Triggers. I guess it comes from triggers. Shit happens. Life happens. But with bipolar disorder, environmental triggers (those from outside) can really kick the ass of the internal ones (those inside your brain chemistry). I find that no matter what I do cumulatively–yoga, meditation, essential oils, Reiki, sound healing, etc…–bipolar disorder still can knock me on my ass.

To be fair, the last few weeks have not been chock full of new-age activities. We’ve had a lot of social nights out. I’ve missed a lot of my Kundalini yoga practice and weekly meditations. I haven’t picked up the oils much and barely turned on the salt lamps. Maybe that’s just a few days here and there. Most days I do those things that help me keep  life on track. But like I said, sometimes it doesn’t take much to go off the rails.

I remember waking up at 3 am one night in the last few weeks ready to write about a million things. The thoughts were powerful and the words were flowing. I was sleeping less than 4 hours a night (red flag) and talking loud and fast (just ask Brewerks!)…..so many ideas and opinions! Ahhh, yes, that’s what we call Hypomania, a milder form of mania characterized by less sleep, talking more and even eating/drinking a lot of sugar. So that happened.

What’s next? Then panic attacks. Then a bit of paranoia. That’s the the mania. Then not getting out of bed for 2 days, or was it 3? That would be the depressive part. That’s the roller coaster of bipolar disorder. That’s reality. That’s life. For me.

But this doesn’t happen to me all the time, I think maybe once or twice a year and only lasting a few days. Those of you who know me or see me regularly may not even notice unless I mention it. But I think it’s worth mentioning just in terms of educating people about how insidious bipolar disorder can be. People may look relatively normal but they may be suffering inside.

The whole ordeal lasts a few days. It sucks for me. It sucks for the people around me. My little girl comes in to give me hugs. My helper steps up her household and childcare duties. My husband gets frustrated but is supportive. We get through it. It’s not unlike bad days non-MI people have. I just have a name for it.

So those are just the facts. Nothing like the grandiose thoughts I get sometimes about it.

I’m doing better today and hopefully going forward for the rest of the week.

Time to ‘rise from the ashes,’ again.

The High-Frequency Houseguest

The universe brings people together for a reason, right? A sound healer I know says, “There are no coincidences.”

So, when a friend from my 2015 Kundalini yoga training in Bali said she was coming to Singapore on a visa run, I jumped at the chance to invite her to stay with me. My husband was going to be out of town for a business trip and I tend to have a bit of bipolar trouble when he is away. I thought it would be helpful for me to be around some magical energy!

It worked out perfectly for my Shakti Sista’ Kirsty to spend a few days with me and I knew that I could share all the holistic practices that I usually end up doing alone. Usually, I go to yoga alone, vegetarian restaurants alone, sound healings alone…anything spiritual or new age, I’m on my own.

This amazing young woman set out on a new journey a few years ago that has led her to the life of a shaman and healer in places like Bali, Cairns, Ibiza and Glastonbury, England. It’s a beautiful free life that fulfills her as she does the good work of the universe. I wish I had had the guts when I was her age to defer my man-crazy choices for healthier life options.

But don’t get all judgy. She’s not a hippy. She gets shit done. She works hard and supports herself. In her previous life, she was a high-end PA for a huge international consulting firm and has mad skills in business, logistics, marketing and more. I felt very lucky to have some advice on how to manage the variety of work efforts I have going at any given time. She knows her shit and rocks the foundation as well as flies high in the clouds. What a balance!

With all this, I was very excited to TALK to her! Turns out she is a damn good listener and I would venture a guess that she could add “listener” to her list of professional healing talents.

Upon her arrival, I hammered with thoughts, feelings, questions, insights, questions and more questions. I told her about how my intuition was working or not working while teaching writing and yoga. I told her about my bipolar disorder and some of the stranger side effects like what I see and hear when I am half-awake/half asleep that I normally would never mention (expect in this blog, ha!). I asked questions about Sirians and Pleiadeans, which are actually alien beings that have visited Earth, particularly places like Kauai. I asked about mental health and holistic medicine. I asked about mental health and shamanism, which basically calls people like me potential healers whose frequencies are just running very high and the illness is not only the difficulty in processing the energy but also of the stringent boxes that society puts us in.

Yep, it may have been a little far out for most non-holistic folks but it was absolutely divine to be able to talk in a two-sided conversation about these things. This leads to my title about high-frequency people. The ones who can process the vibes of life and the universe are the good ones and even the great ones. The ones who can’t are suffering. And that’s OK, there are many different kinds of spiritual, new age people. Lucky, lucky me to have one stay at my house!

Just for the record, here’s a quick guide: High-frequency people rather follow Michelle Obama’s comment, “When they go low, we go high.” It’s literally taking the high road, or doing the least damage in this world. It means understanding your own heart and being compassionate about others. If you think that’s bullshit then you probably need to work on your frequency.

In contrast, low-frequency people complain, harass, criticize, troll, argue…all the bad shit we see on TV and on social media and even in our workplaces and homes. Who makes the shittiest, meanest, most ignorant comments? (some world leaders, my ex, frenemies, neo-Nazis…) And don’t’ worry, I’m not living in a glass house; I have been that person, that annoying shitty person treated people badly and acted shamefully. But I’ve worked on all my bullshit and I’ve changed. With all that, that’s not to say that people of all frequencies don’t feel that way, but it’s how they act on or respond to those feelings and stimuli that makes the difference.

To see who these people are, you might think of someone who you really like such as your Mom who never gives up on you or a trusted colleague who makes you feel good even when work sucks. You might think of a leader like the Dalia Lama (seriously HIGH frequency) or Ryan Seacrest, who seems to do such a nice job talking to all of us on radio and TV. (I never watch Ryan Seacrest for the record, but at least he didn’t get his best friend’s wife pregnant like the low-frequency Simon Cowell.)

For me, my husband operates on a high frequency all the time, even without yoga, meditation or frankincense oil, so I really miss him when he’s gone. I have him to thank for supporting me in this lifestyle, as well as allowing me to live in a part of the world where much of this crazy-cool stuff came from.

In closing, I can just say that I am glad Kirsty came to stay with me and Cupcake and Tita Rose. I got a lot of confirmation and a lot of support on ideas and feelings that feel very isolating sometimes, from bipolar disorder to spiritual beliefs. Most importantly, I realized I am not alone. There is always a frequency there and it matters which end you tap into. I choose to go high.

‘Joie de Vivre’ Comes Even Without Mania Sometimes

I feel so lucky today. I feel amazing. Very happy. Joyful.

No, it’s not bipolar mania this time. It’s me teaching yoga. I love it. I got to share my teachings with 15 people for a beginners’ workshop and it was epic.

It’s nice to feel good about your work. Yoga teaching is one of the only ways I’ve felt accomplished and consistently good at what I was doing. And it’s one of the only places I had gotten positive feedback from bosses, co-workers, clients and class participants. Thank god for yoga teaching!

Concurrently, the “joy” that comes with bipolar mania, while it is addictive, is pretty self-destructive in the end: You get this feeling that you are awesome and unstoppable. Can you see where that would be a problem?

Maybe you think you can rule the world. Maybe you think you can fly. Maybe you think you are the most fun of anyone in the room. Usually these things are not true in the real world. But with bipolar mania all that crazy shit feels true.

You may have heard bipolar mania can be productive, and that’s partly true. I definitely felt pretty god damned productive this week when I was writing two articles due Friday. I was damn sure I was kicking ass and super, duper happy when I was done, wanting to skull like 10 beers. (I didn’t! But I wanted to.)

It’s never a good idea to swing too high with moods, no matter how amazing mania may feel. When it happens to me, I have to remember not to drink too much, if at all, and not to go shopping or start texting people or posting on social media because inevitably, it gets overdone and just ends badly.

But today, with a healthy outlet like yoga, I am able to feel the “Joy of Life” without being self-destructive. While yoga is a career of mine, it’s also a tool I use to manage my bipolar disorder. And god damn it, it works!

Well, I just wanted to share with everyone what the difference is between healthy and unhealthy “joy.”

Namaste, everyone. Namaste.

Sinead is Suffering. What Would You Do?

A lot of people have seen the Sinead O’Connor video on Facebook, Twitter and other social and news media. (here’s one: http://theliberal.ie/video-concerns-raised-over-heartbreaking-footage-of-sinead-oconnors-battle-with-mental-illness-and-wanting-to-come-home/ and another: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/sinead-o-connor-annie-lennox-video-support-facebook-new-jersey-motel-distressing-mental-health-a7882256.html)

She is suffering immensely and did a 12-minute video on how fucked everything in her life is. She feels stigmatized. (She allegedly lost custody of her youngest kid because of her mental health. Probably a bad move for her illness. P.S.—Hey assholes, don’t discriminate against mentally ill people.)

So, what do you do? I hope someone who knows Sinead will rescue her. My friends from my rugby team saved me in 2002. I’m glad they took the time, made the effort, cared enough to do something. I am lucky and I lived through that terrible time. (Thanks, North Shore WRFC. Always grateful for you.)

What do you do if you see a friend, colleague or family member suffering like this? Here are some ideas:

In Singapore (where I live), reach out to Samaritans or have the person in question call them. They are trained to help and are the only outreach available in Singapore. Available 24/7. Call 1-800-221-4444. They will help.

In America, the suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255. The website suicidepreventionlifeline.org also has excellent resources for everyone involved. They also have a chat service: http://chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx

In any country, you can also take that person to the emergency room. Yes, they have to agree to go. Yes, I know how hard this is. Please try.

However, if they are trying to hurt themselves or anyone else (less likely) then you can get the police involved and that is an involuntary admission. Sorry, it sounds not very nice but it’s better than watching someone ruin their lives or kill themselves.

I personally worked with and trained Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officers in the Chicago Police Department through my work with NAMI of Greater Chicago. They care. There are other CITs in other U.S. towns and cities so just ask for a CIT officer when you call 911. They are trained to understand and help in these situations.

BTW, in Singapore, if you need an ambulance call 995. If you need the police call 999. In the U.S. both dispatches are through 911.

Ok, that’s emergencies.

Regular-time stuff: Check in on people. Send a text, a message on Facebook or CALL them. Maybe consider going to their house. Not everyone responds but it’s a gesture of caring. If you need to escalate from there (police, doctors, etc..) because they refuse to respond, do not be afraid to do so. Police can do a wellness check at their address and I believe FaceBook also helps with this if you think someone is in trouble. It could make all the difference.

Sometimes though, people just need to know you care. Even a hug with no words could help. And don’t just talk. Listen. Listen to how they feel. Maybe talk, maybe don’t. Listening is a great help.

The bottom line is that people need people. And people matter. All people matter, even mentally ill ones. Please don’t turn your back on someone with a mental illness.

Sinead is reaching out for help and support. I sincerely hope she gets it. I wish I could talk to her but I’m a world away and who knows how to reach her, but I would if I could. She’s a spiritual woman so I hope God blesses her and keeps her safe.

 

I Got Angry Today… and I’m Lucky to Live Through it

Yep, I was pissed off this morning. I was sooooo angry! I had a kid who is jet-lagged and up all night (no sleep is baaad for bipolar folks), a TV repair situation I was not looking forward to dealing with, my own jet lag issues, which kept me from working out as early as I wanted to, money issues, when my next round of work will be, etc… and life goes on.

Sometimes mornings are just like this. You feel bad. Things go wrong. It happens.

But it’s not that easy when you’re dealing with bipolar disorder. You really have to pay attention to these things so they don’t get out of control. As you may know, if you know me personally, I take some pretty good medication. I’m well-treated and disciplined with my treatment. So I’m in a good place if I have a problem. But it still makes me very aware of my moods.

It really pisses me off when people say it’s an overreaction. I still get mad at those comments and I have trouble letting them go. I recall a comment someone made to me in Bali a few years ago when I mentioned that I had to be wary of major mood changes. That person said, “Well that’s true for everyone! That’s life!”

Bullshit.

Bipolar mood swings are not “true for everyone.”

Bipolar disorder is characterized by severe mood swings. Very severe. And you can’t fuck around with that, with treatment or not.

The fact is that the suicide rates for bipolar are nearly 20% in the U.S. That means that people who get overwhelmed by anger or anxiety or depression from bipolar can’t handle it. They lose the battle.

Yes, I know, it’s a downer, and I have been accused of being dramatic. A big F-U to that! You have to be vigilant with bipolar disorder. That’s the end of discussion.

Anyways, I’m having a better day after having a farewell breakfast with friends from my walking group and running into some rugby friends at the same restaurant. I’m blessed. I’m good now.

Lucky for me I can say, yes, life will go on.

Synchronicity, Signs and Seeing Something in Everything

Sometimes crazy people believe crazy things. I’ve had my bipolar moments but in recent years have been very rational, even about New Age stuff, which I happen to like.

I’m not one to read into all the signs, as in “it’s a sign I should do this or that.” I even give that contrary advice sometimes. Once in Bali, I was shopping with a fellow yogi and she wanted to buy a shawl, or wasn’t sure anyways. I said, “Buy it buy it buy it!” Then the store’s credit card machine didn’t work. “It’s a sign,” she cried! I called bullshit and had the store clerk go next door to use their credit card machine. So yeah, not big on signs.

Having said that, since I had surgery in November, a lot of weird coincidences have been happening. And they seem kind of profound. These meaningful coincidences are what’s called synchronicity. Yep, The Police had an album with that name in 80s. (I loved that album!) It is the one with “Every Breath You Take,” which had something like 30 different videos all with different colours and filters—sepia, black and white, red, yellow and blue from the album cover…etc…It was kind of weird, but we were young and it was ground-breaking in music television. (Either I am totally crazy or there is just no info about this online. But I’m sure MTV did some special filtering with colours for this video!)

But I digress. (I had to take a writing break to download Synchronicity on my iPhone. Seemed apropos.)

Around the time of my surgery late last year I kept seeing white feathers. Dirty, mangy white pigeon feathers smattered along the sidewalk in Geylang or Mountbatten in Singapore, but feathers nonetheless, which some in the New Age world say are signs from angels. Great, angels on my side for my surgery. I am not particularly religious, at all really, but angels seemed like a good ally. On my last walk in downtown Chicago along the lake the day before my surgery I came across a huge white, dirty, sandy seagull feather. Yes! I thought this was good.

Not really, as my surgery was rescheduled because I accidentally took Advil three days prior. I usually never ever take pain killers so this was weird.  Consequently, that surgery set into motion seven-+ months of painful recovery. I have written here before about the massive levels of pain I was in. Fuck that shit, angels and feathers…

After a second surgery to correct the healing problem with the first surgery I am doing much better though not completely healed up. (God, why??? We don’t know.) But since November, more coincidences or synchronicities have come up and most in the last few months. Too many to mention but here goes a few:

–kept seeing the fucking angels’ signs again, but this time in ads and Facebook feeds even without my searching for them… angelite crystals, angel figurine suggestions on Etsy, angel healings in Singapore etc… I went to one and the guy says “You know that book, um that book”…In my head I say “The Alchemist?”. Yes, the fucking Alchemist. Whaaaaaat? A 25-year-old book I just happened to finally read and he mentions it in an angel healing session.

–in said angel healing session I pulled the card of the Archangel Michael, which said I was at the end of my difficult journey—the surgery stuff? OK, cool. Archangel Michael is on my side. Flash forward to today when I went to a random meditation session at The Golden Space in Little India. I am not much for intuitive readings but the wonderful lady running the session said she felt a presence around me….it was that fucking angel guy, Michael. Whaaaat? You wonder if these people are sharing source lists and talking to each other. But yes, she mentioned the same angel only a few weeks apart.

–I started reading another 20+-year-old book, The Celestine Prophecy, which starts in Peru and the meditation lady mentioned out of the blue her experiences in Peru. “I don’t why I said that,’ she said. I told her I was reading that book. Weird. Also today, she mentioned the huntress Diana’s energies being around me. I had been thinking about our plans for an around the world trip, which includes a stop in Greece. (Yeah, I know it’s Artemis in Greece, but that’s also my favourite wine from Napa. SEE! You can see signs in almost anything!)

–Last synchronicity from today, I saw a god damn Maserati (my favourite car) that had a paint job where it looked green in one light and orange in another. That matches perfectly with my new meditation stone I got from the crystal guy who I met at the angel session. The stone is called Unakite and it is…green and orange. It is a self-love stone that I just learned about and thought I’d try it out today. Not sure if it works but I was psyched the Maserati followed me home to my hood so I can see it again.

With all these synchronicities, it’s a wonder a person doesn’t lose their fucking shit. The angel facilitator told me not to take this stuff too seriously. Whatever, that made me mad only because I was enjoying these connections! But I suppose when bipolar people are so sensitive to different energies you have to be careful how far you go so you don’t lose yourself. I also came across a meditation article that talked about how mentally ill people can have negative experiences meditating, including manic and psychotic episodes. (http://upliftconnect.com/the-dark-side-of-meditation/?utm_source=UPLIFT&utm_campaign=5530db0dfb-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_05_18&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_19c1fc07c2-5530db0dfb-113697049) .

Great. Luckily, I do OK in that area and no bipolar freak outs. Usually, it’s stuff in the real world like money and my husband traveling that makes my bipolar disorder symptoms flare up.

Well those are the signs. And my little girl just burst into my office to show me her jumping skills. So, I guess that’s a sign that I should finish up the writing. No feathers or Maseratis here, just Gigi and Momma.

Rise from the ashes. Never give up.

–A