<![CDATA[1000 Miles, 1 Step - BLOG]]>Fri, 16 Mar 2018 01:34:37 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[B'Tzelem Elokim, In G-d's Image]]>Wed, 28 Feb 2018 23:13:32 GMThttp://1000miles1step.com/blog/btzelem-elokim-in-g-ds-imageToday I met with the rabbi for our second of many talks.  Today's talk began with me saying how yesterday was a particularly tough day.  How my mother called once and I ignored her.  She called again and I ignored her call.  She texted.  I ignored it.  She called a third time and I finally answered.  The rabbi asked me why I didn't answer and just tell her I didn't want to talk.  I said that my negative self talk tells me that I don't matter.  That if I killed myself sure, my mother would grieve and be sad.  But also, sure she would get over it and get on with her life.  The rabbi said to me, "Rachel, if your best friend committed suicide, would you forget them?"  I answered that of course I wouldn't.  That I would remember them for the rest of my life.  The rabbi continued with, "Well, it is the same with your mother.  She would never get over losing you and would never forget you. "  We discussed how that disproved my negative self talk.

The rabbi went one step further.  He said that by definition we are b'tzelem Elokim, created in the Divine's image.  That and that fact alone make me, and everyone, worth it.  He said to me, and I'm paraphrasing here because I didn't record the conversation although I wish I had, he said, "Rachel, you are created b'tzelem Elokim and that makes you, by that very definition, ENOUGH and WORTHY."


In all my years of therapy and seminary I have never actually thought with my heart about what it truly means to be created in the Divine's image.  Today I stopped thinking with my brain and turned on my heart.  I'm sure I mentioned in these blog posts about when I went on a weekend retreat with my bible study group and how we wrote about our perfect day.  And how my therapist said, "Rachel, when did you become so vanilla" when listening to my perfect day.  The rabbi rephrased that description of my perfect day (which if you are interested is waking up at 6am, going for a run, coming home and having a shower and a healthy breakfast, volunteering, having lunch, tutoring, coming home for dinner and then reading and going to sleep by 10pm) is one of stability and dependability.  Through my "vanilla-ness" I am honoring what it means to be in G-d's image to me.  Does that make sense?

When I work with my students I strive to instill in them a sense of self-advocacy and a permission to ask for what they need to be successful.  While talking with the rabbi I discovered that I don't practice what I preach.  I mean, I don't ask for what I need to be successful.  I needed my therapist to tell me, in no uncertain terms, that I must ask to only work a four hour shift because anything more than that makes me call out and miss work due to stress and anxiety.  I needed to reread some of my posts here to get back to a place where I was healthier and doing what I needed to be the best me I could be.  I needed to be reminded that in order to live the life G-d created me in His image to live, I need to make sure I get enough sleep to allow my body to repair itself.  I need to make sure I eat a well balanced diet to fuel my body.  I need to make sure I drink enough water to properly hydrate my cells.  All of this I forgot in the hustle and bustle of my mood swings.

I guess the bottom line is this, it is easy to get distracted and bombarded by the negative self talk.  The important thing to keep in mind is that we, each one of us, is created b'tzelem Elokim, in the Divine's image.  Because of that fact we are enough.  The end.  Full stop.

Tomorrow, March 1st, is the first day I am going to live my life in G-d's image.  I am going to treat myself with the same respect I treat anything that G-d created.
<![CDATA[Purse Problem]]>Tue, 27 Feb 2018 20:40:18 GMThttp://1000miles1step.com/blog/purse-problem
How many of you know me?  Like truly know me?  I know many of you have been friends with me for years, some for months, and I'm hoping there are some of you out there that don't know me personally but read my content anyway.  

Well, if you know me you know I have a purse problem.  Like a high-end quality, luxury purse problem.  Most of my purses cost in the triple digits (shhhh....don't tell my mother).  Now, I haven't purchased a new purse in over a year, probably longer but I honestly can't remember back any further than a year.  And this is a good thing, because while I am a "change my purse with the seasons" type of girl, I honestly have enough purses, in good enough shape, to last me many, many, many seasons.

I'm telling this to you as a lead in to my spending problem.  Part of the symptoms of my mental illness are uncontrolled spending.  I spend when I'm manic, because during those times, budget?  What budgets?  Who the hell needs a budget?!?!  And I spend when I depressed, because during those times, damn it, everything is so hard I DESERVE this expensive treasure.  Now neither of those thought processes are correct, I do understand that, but I'm just letting you into my brain for a quick minute.

I guess my thought process is, "oh wow, I have some money in my account.  Better go spend it!"  And that does not take into account the many, many, many medical bills, and normal every month bills that I need to pay.  This is not good my friends.  Part of me is hoping that if I put this out there, in the name of keeping my mental health journey, and all that is included with that journey, an open book, I will be more aware of my flaws in thinking about money.  Perhaps you might even question me when I say, "hey let's go out tonight!"  Because we all know nights on the town need to be budgeted for and taken into account when budgeting.

I've taken Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University three times.  I know all the baby steps.  I know about gazelle intensity.  I know about zero sum budgets.  But for some reason I am unable to put them into effect.  You know, I am thinking really hard right now about why that might be.  I think because it makes me feel trapped.  Trapped in the same way that going into work for a shift makes me feel trapped.  I feel as though if I budget and let's say for example only use cash to pay for every thing except bills, well then I'm trapped to only having x amount for groceries and y amount for gas.  Does that make sense?  I mean I know that is the definition of a budget.  I know this!  But really it makes me hyperventilate.  Does it make any of your hyperventilate also?  Am I alone?

For some reason I haven't been forced to live on the street yet and panhandle on the corners.  I mean, I know the reason, but regardless, I haven't had to do either of those things and for that I am FOREVER grateful.  I am fortunate to have comprehensive health insurance.  I am fortunate to have a trustworthy car to take me from here to there.  And I am the utmost grateful for my friends who put up with my crazy, nope, no money today, can't go out lifestyle every few weeks.

I'd love, I mean REALLY love, to hear your tips and tricks for living within your budget.  I really put it all on the line here by sharing this with you, but I figured, hey we've come this far, why not really expose myself.  So please share, either in the comments or by sending me an email (rachel@1000miles1step.com) with how you keep yourself on the straight and narrow when it comes to money.

Oh, and as a PS, I do strictly meal plan and only go to the grocery with a complete list and stick only to the list, but yet I still manage to spend upwards of $95.00 a week.  How do you manage your grocery shopping?
<![CDATA[Keepin' It Real]]>Wed, 21 Feb 2018 21:16:57 GMThttp://1000miles1step.com/blog/keepin-it-realPicture
For the sake of transparency, I have begun a new therapy.  Today was my second session with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist.  It is the hope of my doctors (and my family) that working with exposure therapy will help with my obsessive thoughts regarding throwing up, how to prevent it from happening, and how to anticipate it happening (which I don't like to think about because then it really WILL happen).

Last week was simply getting to know each other.  Those awkward questions that you are always asked at the start of a new patient/doctor relationship.  Today we started getting into the nitty gritty.  For homework over the past week I was supposed to come up with a list of things I did to prevent myself from throwing up.  The actions or behaviors I did to keep me "safe".  I did that and was partially surprised by how many actions there were, but on the other hand surprised there weren't more.  Does that make sense?  Today we went over each one and the therapist had me rate them on an anxiety scale, 1 being no anxiety, 10 being the worst anxiety ever.  

What we settled on was putting the water pitcher back in a different spot in the refridge every time I put it away.  Currently I only put it in one specific spot.  Her point is that nothing terrible will happen if I move the location of the water pitcher.  Water pitchers do not keep us from throwing up.  In my rational brain I'm thinking, "Well duh, of course water pitchers don't keep us from throwing up!"  But in my emotional brain I am thinking, "Holy shit!!!!  You want me to do what woman?!?!  And for a whole week?!?!?"

So this is my new reality.  Facing a fear I've had for as long as I can remember.  Trying to overcome an irrational thought pattern that is "normal" for me.  I can't imagine NOT thinking about throwing up every 30 minutes, at the very least.  I can't imagine breathing normally when walking by a public garbage can.  I can't imagine not reaching diagonally to avoid going over the toilet to reach my make up (perhaps this is why I very rarely wear make up).  There are so many actions coming to light now that I do to keep me safe from throwing up.  And I guess what my therapist will help me to learn is that they are all magical thinking.  None of them will keep me safe from throwing up.  

If you are interested in learning more about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Exposure Therapy check out this link.

<![CDATA[Psalm 17]]>Wed, 14 Feb 2018 21:55:14 GMThttp://1000miles1step.com/blog/psalm-17Lord, listen to my prayer;
hear me in my hour of need.
I am overwhelmed by my troubles
and terrified by my thoughts.
Guide my feet on your path;
don't let me stop or falter.
Teach me how powerful your love is
and how insubstantial my fears.
Like the pupil of the eye protect me;
hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Cover me with your mercy;
rock me to sleep in the dark.
And let me, when I awaken,
​see nothing but the light of your face.
This interpretation of Psalm 17 by Stephen Mitchell, written in A Book of Psalms, was given to me by a member of the clergy.  He and I have worked at the same synagogue and know each other in a "Hi, how are you?" sort of way but never really connected, until this week.  A mutual friend reached out to him to say that I was going through a particularly difficult patch and he then reached out to me, just to let me know "I was not alone."  He didn't have to, I am not even a member at his shul.  But he did and even more so, offered to meet and talk with me.  And I took him up on it.

The beginning of our meeting was sort of all over the place, with me trying, not very poetically, to fill him in on what had been going on to lead our mutual friend to reach out to him on my behalf.  We finally got to the nitty gritty of the issue, faith.  Because, as he pointed out, what really does it mean to pray?  Are we all not unlike Hannah, praying to G-d with little or no words?  Is G-d not always listening?  Will He not always "[g]uide my feet on your path; don't let me stop or falter"?

For, and this came out in our conversation, as sure as I am that there is a G-d above, I am also sure that He is getting tired of my shenanigans and misbehaving.  But, as the rabbi pointed out, if G-d will always "hear me in my hour of need" what do I have to fear?  Yes, we agreed, turning it all over to G-d is scary.  Part of my anxiety is letting go of the thing I am most fearful of.  My thinking is that if I am constantly thinking about it it can definitely not overwhelm me.  Even though, in the course of always thinking about it, it already is overwhelming me.  How enlightening would it be to be able to say, with full confidence, "Here you go G-d, please take this burden from my body and hold on to it for me.  Truly love me unconditionally and help me with this."

So for now I am working on being able to let go of the reigns some.  Maybe just for a minute at a time, but letting go of them at any rate.  Being able to fully trust that G-d is a G-d of love and of mercy.  He will ALWAYS love me and ALWAYS care for me.  And when I wake up, He will show me "nothing but the light of [His] face."
<![CDATA[Time For Fear]]>Tue, 06 Feb 2018 18:43:09 GMThttp://1000miles1step.com/blog/time-for-fearI feel as though this post should have come around Halloween, but alas, it is now and I am dealing with it now, around Valentine's Day.  Oh well, it is what it is, right?  

Panic, fear, anxiety, obsession, worry, despair.....these are all words that are consuming me recently.  I have an irrational fear of throwing up.  I used to not be able to say the word.  I used to think, and still do to some extent, that by talking about it I would make it so.  Magical thinking is what my therapists call it.  I think about throwing up AT THE VERY LEAST every 30 minutes.  No joke.  No exaggerations.  Every 30 minutes, if not more.  And once the thought is in my head my head runs rampant with it.  I can't ignore it.  I can't let it go.  I zoom in on that one thought and I'm off!

I visited a psycho-pharmacologist over the summer who said there are professionals out there who specialize in resetting your obsessive thoughts.  Really?  I find that hard to believe that that could happen.  I once had a therapist who said to me, "Rachel, if I were a true behavioralist I would lock you in this room with a bottle of Ipecac and a bucket."  I freaked out!  He was joking, but I didn't see it as funny.  He was a good therapist, and I have nothing bad to say about him.  He was just emphasizing how in my head my fear was.

My panic is much greater in the winter months, when illness runs a little more rampant.  However, if it is the spring or summer and I hear that the stomach flu is going around my panic rears its ugly head ten fold.

I guess the point of my post today is to get some of the obsessive thoughts out of my head and into words.  Because you know sometimes when thoughts are in your head they are HUGE and take up all the space.  My thought was maybe by putting them into words, composed of letters, formulating thoughts, I could shrink those thoughts a bit.  I'm not sure if I've done any shrinking, but I hope that if you either a) know of a professional who works with resetting one's thoughts you can let me know about them or b) suffer from a similar paralyzing fear you will know you have a partner in arms.

<![CDATA[The Full Story]]>Thu, 18 Jan 2018 19:40:22 GMThttp://1000miles1step.com/blog/the-full-storyFirst let me say I am humbled and deeply touched by the outpouring of love after my last blog post.  I am stunned.  Thank you my dear friends for giving me the gift of your friendship.  I truly value each one of you, every day.

Second, I wanted to come back and let you know that all is not gloom and dark and dungeons.  Today is a great example of how my life is similar to a roller coaster.  My mood is all over the place, and like I said before, I am like a leaf floating on the wind, wherever it may take me, whether that be way up to the top or way down to the bottom.  I didn't set an alarm today, knowing I would wake up with enough time to get ready and be to work at 9:00 am.  I woke up at 7:30 am.  That is PLENTY of time for me.....five minute shower, throw on some clothes, cook some eggs for breakfast, and out the door I go.  Well I didn't get out of bed at 7:30 am.  The thought of throwing off the covers and facing the day was TOO FREAKIN' MUCH to contemplate.  I rolled over.  The next thing I knew it was 7:45 am.  Still plenty of time.  But I rolled over again.  Next thing I knew my phone dinged....a text.  It was my mother checking to see if I were awake.  That was what I needed.  I called her to tell her I was jumping in the shower and I'd call her when I was dressed.  I decided not to make the bed (see the video in Inspiration about why making your bed is so crucially important to your daily success).

I called my mother as I was standing in the kitchen paralyzed by the number of tasks to be done.  Slowly, through talking it out (and a little Sound of Music singing) we listed the things I needed to do from beginning to end.  I was able to #1 take my medicine.  I was able to #2 go back into the bedroom and make my bed.  I was able to #3 make a smoothie for breakfast (kale, frozen fruit, protein powder, and almond milk).  By that point I was ready to grab a pre-made snack from the refridge and head out the door for work.  While I was in the car my phone dinged again and it was my boss saying she was running late and we didn't need to be at work until 9:30 am, but I decided that I better not go back into my apartment seeing as I had so much difficulty leaving it the first time.  

I sat down at a coffee shop next door to work to spend the extra 30 minutes reading.  I was sitting next to a man and a woman talking about something about her job and she mentioned how she was trying really hard to find a psychiatrist for her 11 year old daughter.  I thought, how perfect for me to be sitting down next to them.  I leaned over, apologized for eavesdropping, and gave the name of the practice that my psychiatrist is part of.  I spoke a bit to her about my struggles but really focused on her daughter and getting her daughter the best help possible.  I gave her my card so if she would like to speak with me further I said that she should DEFINITELY call me.  And then it was 9:30 am and I went into work starting a four hour shift with 30 minutes already done.

All this to say is that all is not doom and gloom.  I am able to find some smiles within the darkness.  I met a really supportive friend for lunch.  We didn't talk about my situation at all, but just knowing she knew and was making an effort to get me out of my own headspace was enough and was perfect.  I learned that at Georgetown Cupcake they have free cupcakes every day.  So I got a free cupcake (woohoo!!!!!).  I am getting a haircut in about 90 minutes and am going to see how funky I can go with it.  I mean, my hair is in a pixie cut now so there is not much length to work with, but who knows....my hair stylist is amazing and I'm sure she can do something wonderful!!!!!  I have full faith in you Gwen!!!!!

I have the bar mitzvah of one of my closest friend's son this Shabbat.  I will spend Shabbat (Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown) in her neighborhood, staying at another friend's house.  I will enjoy celebrating this wonderful milestone with my friend and her family.  Then Saturday night I will gather with many of my friends to complete an Escape Room for my birthday, which is actually on Saturday.  We are going to be "locked" in detention and have 55 minutes to escape from it.  The clues for how to escape are in the room.  I'll have to get back to you about how it goes and if we are able to escape in the allotted time.

So, bottom line, I am hanging in there.  Your comments mean so much to me, especially because at times like this I do feel alone and I do feel like I don't have any friends.  But you, MY FRIENDS, are so quick to remind me of what AMAZING friends I DO HAVE.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I will continue the fight, I have no other choice, right?  Of course right!
<![CDATA[Just Keeping It Real]]>Tue, 16 Jan 2018 20:23:09 GMThttp://1000miles1step.com/blog/just-keeping-it-realI've heard from some of you regarding my question from my last post if I should branch out on this website to include monthly favorites, more of my cooking and recipes, etc.  I've gotten a mixed response.  But I think the most meaningful response came when one of you said to me (and I'm paraphrasing), "I think the biggest draw of your blog is your story.  Keep it real, keep it tied to your struggles.  If you can reach one person and give them the hope that they are not alone in their struggle you have won."  So it is my intention to do so.  I mean, when something not related to my mental health struggle intersects with that struggle I will definitely mention it (and I might even include pictures!).

But along that line of thinking, let me keep it real over here on 1000miles1step.com.  I am struggling friends.  I mean, dark and lonely struggling.  I am just off a mania, which BTW, felt AH-MAY-ZING, and hitting the ground HARD!  On Saturday I left my therapist and promptly called my mother telling her I was taking myself to the hospital because if I went home I was going to take all of my pills at once.  Why did I make that call?  I think because in my inner of inner place I do not want to succumb to this raging battle I face.  I think in my inner of inner I want to be a happy, intentional, meaningful person.  I am just lost.  I don't really know where my true north is right now.  I am a leaf floating along at the wind's discretion.  I don't really know where I am or where I belong.  

My mother, in ever-mother fashion, told me to stay in my car and she would be right over.  Now right over means 45-50 minutes, depending on traffic.  So I called a friend while I waited.  Luckily she has been through all of the lows and the highs, the good, the bad, the ugly with me over the course of our 20+ year friendship.  She was cool, calm, and collected over the phone, even while dealing with a sick kiddo.  She talked to me until my mother arrived.  I am forever grateful to her.  My mother and I went inside my apartment and really she was just there....at my side for when I wanted to talk.  At my side for when I didn't want to talk.....At my side for the rest of the day.  I love her and am really forever grateful to both of my parents.  But eventually she had to go home.

It is now, three days later.  I had a fun morning planned to spend with my parents in celebration of my birthday, which is coming up.  We were going to see The Post with Meryl Streep, and I was SUPER excited.  But you know what?  This morning I wasn't feeling it.  I wanted to stay in pajamas and see nobody.  I wanted to isolate and stay within myself.  Being outside of myself was too much......just too much of everything.  My parents came and I said I didn't really want to go to the movies.  They were totally okay with that.  We went out for lunch at the Silver Diner.  It was what I needed when I needed it. 

I have a heaviness in my being.  A darkness that has settled upon me.  I am trying to remember to give myself credit for the "little" wins, like getting out of bed and getting dressed (don't ask me whether I showered or not).  I am trying to give myself credit for the good choices I am making, like having the Greek salad instead of the french fries and other deep fried items on the menu.  I am trying to give myself credit for knowing that I am in a deep dark place and being vocal about it to those that are in positions to help me.  I am trying.

But you know what?  Sometimes trying isn't enough.  Sometimes all you can muster up the strength to do is to give in to your dark side (I'm not making a reference to Star Wars I promise!).  I am at that point today.  Yes, I had a lovely middle of the day with my parents.  Yes I was happy to be with them and even laughed when the staff of the Silver Diner came up to our booth and sang Happy Birthday to me at the top of their lungs.  But now, now at 3:37pm, I am dark and lonely.  I want to go home and never come out.  I don't want to have to put on my social face and be with people.  

I had to come out to some of my managers at work about myself and my diagnosis.  I only told them part of my diagnosis, because the full shebang might have been too much at once.  But I was calling in sick and missing work, something which I haven't done at this job.  That pattern is a portent of darker days to come.  I told them and almost every manager answered with, "Rachel, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety also."  I am in a supportive environment, but that does not make it any easier to put on my public face and go in for a multi-hour shift.

​I feel trapped and I feel dark.  I feel alone and I feel lost.  And that is what I wanted to say here today.  I'm trying to keep it real.  Life is not all butterflies and unicorns.  Yes, we have to fight the fight, but sometimes man the fight just ain't there. 
<![CDATA[Time Is Flying]]>Wed, 10 Jan 2018 15:31:41 GMThttp://1000miles1step.com/blog/time-is-flyingI can not believe it has been about two months since my last post.  And in that time the year has changed from 2017 to 2018!  Crazy man, crazy!!!!!  You know how everyone and their mother has a "Word of the Year" (WOTY)?  Well I have one too.  Mine is:
I chose it because I want to live with meaning.  I don't want life to happen TO me, I want life to happen BECAUSE of me.  Does that make sense?  I hope so.

I figure if I can do things consciously, rather than on auto-pilot, my life will be meaningful.  Like take today for instance.  I don't need to be to work until noon.  I could have slept and let myself wake up late, rush around showering, packing my lunch, and probably not eating anything for breakfast.  Instead I let myself lounge in bed for about 40 minutes, slowly got up, made a cup of tea and a protein smoothie, watched some morning news.  After about 50 minutes I got into my workout clothes and went to the gym.  In order to get myself there I promised myself that instead of my scheduled run I would simply walk for the same amount of time.  I would walk and get myself back up and acclimated to working out (since I hadn't been to the gym in two weeks).  Well guess what?  There were new treadmills and you could have a video playing while you worked out.  I chose running through Central Park, the place where running began for me way back in the day.  Instead of just walking, when the first interval came on my watch I chose to run it.  I didn't have to,  I had given myself permission to not.  But I am guess that since I took the pressure off of myself that is exactly why I chose to do it anyway.  By the end of my session I was sweaty and feeling proud of myself.  That was something I did meaningfully for me!

Now it's now, I'm at the coffee shop writing this post.  I wanted to let you in on how the next couple of months are going to look for 1000miles1step.  It is my goal to have one blog post up per week.  Now I know I've said that before, but I think with my new meaningful outlook this is a real possibility.  I think not rushing around, doing things at the last minute, will help me accomplish everything that I want to accomplish (like writing every week).  I've been watching a ton of new vloggers and am thoroughly enjoying them.  Would I like to make vlogs....hmmmm....not sure.  But I do know I would like to share things with you that I am currently enjoying.  Maybe a monthly favorites?  Something like that?  But in blog form.  Would that be something you would care to read about or should I keep this blog purely about my life with bi-polar disorder?  You tell me.  

Speaking of bi-polar disorder, I went to a two day NAMI training to be an In Our Own Voice presenter.  It is a 90 minute presentation done by two consumers.  We pretty much tell our story, coupled with a NAMI produced video.  It was a long two days, I'll be honest.  But I did meet some wonderful folks, many of whom I hope to keep in touch with (you know who you are if you're reading this).  I hope to actually participate in a presentation one day soon, or soon enough that I don't get rusty.  I'll keep you posted about this for sure.

I think for now that about wraps up this blog post.  I hope you are all well and enjoying this respite from the blistering cold we had last week.

Until we meet again
<![CDATA[What A Wild & Crazy Ride It's Been]]>Fri, 03 Nov 2017 18:47:27 GMThttp://1000miles1step.com/blog/what-a-wild-crazy-ride-its-been3 days in bed, sleeping all the time.  103.7 degree fever.  Four nights in the hospital.  Seven days recovering at my parents.  What a wild ride indeed! 

About a month ago I wasn't feeling well.  I had a fever that would bounce around from 98.9 degrees to 101.3 degrees.  I was sleeping all the time.  I just generally felt pretty crappy.  Finally on Saturday night my fever spiked to 103.7 degrees.  Off to Urgent Care I went.  They couldn't figure it out.  They sent me to the Emergency Room.  They couldn't figure it out either.  Off to the observation unit I went.  Then, finally, finally, finally a diagnosis was given: MONONUCLEOSIS.  Say what?!?  So off I went to a regular room, in the new wing I might add, so it was pretty nice all things considered.  There isn't much you do for mono since it's a virus.  I just waited around for my blood numbers, whatever they are, to improve to the point where the doctor felt comfortable sending me home.

Finally on Tuesday the doctor proclaimed I could go home.  I gave him a huge hug!!!!!  

Now there are details I'm leaving out here, obviously.  Like how when I was on fluids that first night and day I needed to use the bathroom literally every five minutes and had to keep buzzing the nurse so she could unhook me from my IVs and I could leave the bed.  Like how they could never find a vein to draw blood.  Like how every morning at 4:30 am the phlebotomist would come in for a blood draw.   Like how I didn't eat anything but ginger ale.  But you don't really need to know all about that do you?

Now I'm on to recovery.  I have to find the balance between what my body CAN do, while recovering from mono, and what it CAN'T do, while recovering from mono.  I have to find the balance between what I really CAN do and what I am blaming on the mono because I am lazy.  I have to find the balance between getting back to my life and treating my body as a living, breathing, needy entity.  I can't blame it all on mono.  Neither can I blame it all on my bipolar when I don't feel like hanging up my clothes.  There are some things (like dishes and making your bed) that everyone just HAS to do.  This is the struggle I am in right now.  I don't want to be easy on myself because I was doing so many positive things before I got sick.  I want to get back there.  But at the same time I have become so used to just sleeping over the past month that that has become my new norm.  NOT GOOD!!!!!!

I'd love it if you would share in the comments ways you get yourself back into your life after a hiatus.  What do you do to motivate yourself?  How do you get back to your everyday when it has been so long since you've had an everyday?  Help me, loyal readers, find a way back to where I used to be.  I so miss that place but am very comfortable in this more lazy everyday.
<![CDATA[National Mental Health Day (was yesterday....whoops)]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 18:00:37 GMThttp://1000miles1step.com/blog/national-mental-health-day-was-yesterdaywhoops"Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose."  --Brene Brown

I find this quote to be very apropos of National Mental Health Day, because in order for there to BE a Mental Health Day people have to TALK OPENLY about mental health; to become vulnerable with their inner most issues.  Many people don't for myriad of reasons.  I didn't for many, many years.  I figured that if I didn't talk about it then people wouldn't notice it and I would be considered normal.  But honestly, what is normal?

The Webster Dictionary defines normal as, "1.  A
ccording with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle: The normal way to pluralize a noun is by adding -s.  2.  Conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern: normal working hours; He had abnormal childhood.  3.  Occurring naturally."  

So let's think about those definitions for a minute.  Definition 1 talks about following arbitrarily set standards.  Who made them the right way to do things?  Can we trace it back?  Probably, but I am not in the mood to do that right now.  Definition 2 talks about being similar and alike to one another, either people or things.  And definition 3 talks about things that happen naturally, without outside interference. 

Um, does anyone see anything interesting about all three definitions?  I DO!!!!!  I notice that they ALL related to having things that are beyond your control.  You don't choose to have something happen naturally, without outside interference.  It just happens.  Um, I for sure DID NOT choose to live with Bipolar Disorder.  It happened WITHOUT outside interference.  Now, yes, I am aware of the nature vs. nurture debate.  But let me tell you, Bipolar Disorder WAS NOT a choice!!!!  Nobody interfered with my development and presto my brain turned wonky.  I guarantee you that.  My sister and I were raised exactly the same and I am living with Bipolar Disorder and my sister is not.  What do you have to say to that Webster's Dictionary?!?

​Now this fact I will trace back.   According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in America 43.8 million adults experience mental illness in a given years.  That doesn't even account for those of us who live with a mental illness year after year after year.  2.6% of us live with Bipolar Disorder.  6.9% of us live with major depression.  18.1% of us live with anxiety disorder.  43.8 million American adults.....that breaks down to a heck of a lot of us who are "conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern" wouldn't you say?  How is this so normal and yet is so under-discussed and under-funded?

And so we are left with one option, "engagement" according to Brene Brown.  We MUST engage in the mental health dialogue.  We MUST become involved in the fight to give mental health higher billing in the national budget.  We MUST get talking.  Please look around you.  Out of your cadre of friends, relations, and acquaintances, how many do you think fall into the 43.8 million Americans living with a mental illness.  You probably won't be able to tell because based on Webster's Dictionary, mental illness does fall under the definition of normal.  But if you look a little deeper you will see someone in pain, just trying to make it through the day, or the hour, or the minute.  You will see if you truly look.

Please make this National Mental Health Day one where you DO get involved.  Even if that involvement is reaching out to offer a shoulder to lean on, or cry on if the timing is right.  Get involved by reaching out to to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).  Get involved by simply tell a friend that you realize they are going through something tough and you are here for WHEN they are ready to talk about it.  Get involved by being a safe haven for anyone dealing with something that makes them feel ab-normal.  Reassure them that they are anything but.

Put your money where your mouth is if you are in a position to do so, support your local NAMI Charter today.
Make a Donation