Work interrupted: Deep breaths and just laugh. Be silly. Have fun.

I was trying to make a short clip for Mandy. 😂😂 Turned into an ordeal. 😳🙄😂😂 Love my buddy. 🙂

Melody of aromas, Sypmphony of flavor – step out of your box and play with the sences.

I love to eat.  LOVE it.

I try to take a moment extra, when making something – to add just a little extra twist to play with the senses.  Then,take a few extra moments, as I enjoy my tasty treat, to clear my mind and just ENJOY the flavors, aromas, and sensations.

Today, I stepped way out of my box and put together a beautiful melody for my mouth.

Yes, it was just a sandwich.  LOL

But to my usual honey roasted turkey – I used a creamy smoked Gouda, then added some crumbled blue cheese to bring in some bold flavor.  I added capers (never done this) for bursts of salty tartness and sun-dried fire roasted tomatoes to compliment them.  With turkey, I usually like to sprinkle in some dried cranberries – the sweet tartness is perfect with turkey and reminds me of Thanksgiving meals with my family – happy nostalgia goes well with any deli meat, really.  Then some sliced green onion for a burst of aroma and a little spinach for crunch.

Oh wow.  There were so many flavors playing together as I ate my meal, with some sweet potato and cinnamon Sun Chips.  More like a symphony under fireworks.IMG_9374

Healthy lunch; energy is great after eating.  No fries needed with this combo.

Twenty minutes later – I can still taste the flavors.  That, my friends, makes me very happy.

Fruit is a staple and a way of life.

There were times, while traveling, that I could barely afford a can of soup. But I would still find a way to get a few bananas and an apple – enjoy the sweet candy that Mother Nature provides.

Part of living healthy, for me, is feeding the body good stuff. When I don’t eat well, my energy goes up and down. I don’t think as clearly. I then turn to caffeine and energy drinks that further send my brain into a cycle of over producing chemicals to jack me up. Following with a crash.

My psychiatrist would tell at me, “you only have ONE BRAIN man. Stop tearing it up.”

So my breakfast usually starts off with some oatmeal, that gives me sustained energy. Some fruit and organic honey to sweeten it up. Only one cup of coffee to get me moving – but not enough to send my system into a tailspin that I never quite recover from.

Rare find (so I was told): the illusive Brown Pigeon

My buddy James was telling me that brown Pigeons are pretty rare. We came across one, and he and his girl are really into bird watching.  He asked to get a picture of it.
So I made loud shrieking noises while running across the parking lot holding my phone in front of me on auto fire – like I was headed into an ancient battle with a sword.
Some people nearby were a little confused, but I got the shot.

It’s okay, I don’t really embarass easily anymore.

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No more excuses. I MUST re-train my brain and make a CHOICE for happiness.

Everyone has mood shifts – it’s part of human nature – but living with a mental illness means that for the rest of my existence, my mood will be like a beautiful (yet potentially dangerous and deadly) wild animal. I do more work than anyone in my life can imagine, to tame the beast and manage my mood. I felt, for a lot of my life, that I had demons within.  No.  I was battling bipolar disorder and had no idea.
I have made the choice to find joy, love, healthy connections with others, and happiness.
I have friends who are stuck where I was, for years – after I was diagnosed (my handful of diagnosis). I was relieved while feeling stuck in it; this was just who I was and used them as an excuse and rationalization for my bad behavior in past, present, and future.
I would be telling a sick tale to my friend Kat, and she would give her usual “Oh Geez!” In delight I would respond, “I’m bipolar, it’s okay.” On the other side of the pendulum, I would stay in bed for weeks crippled with suffocating anxiety and deep black depression and say, “I can hide here under the covers as long as I like because I’m cursed with this mental disorder.”
If you aren’t aware of mental illness, I would recommend you do a little research. Bipolar and depression are interesting animals, and a lot more of us suffer constant attacks, than you can image. We don’t just get sad or energetic – but we have a shift in our brain chemistry and science still doesn’t fully understand it.
Someone with true depression has an almost complete shut off of the chemicals that produce happiness. It’s not just a matter of saying “cheer up.” Our brains have cut off happiness at a chemical level. It’s like telling someone who is out of gas to speed the car up as it sputters to a dead stop and all electrical functions of the car die out with a dead battery.
Someone who is manic is flooded, according to mentalhealth.net, in the core of the brain with several neuron transmitters – including dopamine, serotonin, and MDMA. The same chemicals released from a handful of illegal drugs (that coincidentally were my choice of drugs. Not a coincidence, as I continue to research).
I am high as a kite. I feel as though I have taken small hits of meth, cocaine, and ecstasy at once. For days or weeks or a month at a time. When I used to induce mania – I was relapsing in my addiction recovery – because I knew mania made me high. This typically led to a full relapse, because another one the beasts I battle is addiction and alcoholism.
At the end of the article, there are actual brain scans of someone who is “normal,” manic, and clinically depressed – to show what happens to brain activity.
Then I thought I just needed meds to set me right. I JUST had to get the meds right. But we learned in the (several dual-diagnosis treatment centers that I have been to) that meds are a small piece of the pie. That we must work to manage our illness. I did not. I took the meds and suffered horribly for a few more years. I had no joy and did not want to live. I tried in a number of ways to make that happen.
NO MORE EXCUSES
I believe that anyone that has identified traits and cycles, that are unhealthy, can change them. The brain can be rewired and our thought patterns can be changed. It takes time and work, but is happening for a once hopeless and dreamless case like me. I believe that almost everybody can make the choice to find joy and happiness, and find it from within.
Now, I work to stay spiritually connected.  I also am constantly reading books, online articles, and belong to several support groups – to see what works for others. I experiment, I read books on co-dependency, shame, recovery, and being healthy. I exercise, I’ve done a lot of Yoga, and guided meditations. I am working through my Dialectal Behavioral Therapy workbook, a second time, to be sure I keep my tools and weapons sharp.
When the beast emerges from the dark haunted woods, I am ready to fight. For me, It’s a fight for my life. I’ve almost died in my drug use – and mania leads to using. I’ve tried to take my own life, in depressions. Last attempt, years ago, landed me in the hospital in a locked facility for a bit.
So this morning I woke up with a deep deep sadness. In the past, I would watch old videos and pictures and romanticize about the times of my life that were good – no – great. I would fully submit, and chase the rabbit deep into the rabbit hole and it would take me weeks to climb out and see the light of the sun, again.
Not any more. I watch those same videos and look at those same pictures with a retrained mind. I don’t wish or want to go back to the past. I smile, and today it was through tears, because through the sadness shines gratitude and love. This lifts me so much stronger, now in my daily life, than the sick shifting emotion’s gravitational pull. I feel gratitude to have those memories. Gratitude to have experienced those relationships. Honored to have walked, even if it was a short walk up a very steep hill, with such amazing people who have changed my life; and, I think about the ways that my life has improved from  the changes I made (to become the person that I am becoming) from the pain of that hurt or separation.

Besides, as my Auntie Mikki says… “We don’t say goodbye. We say see you later.” I am often surprised and delighted as I end up reconnecting with these people and get closure – as they see me battling my beasts and emerging from a warrior into the person they knew I could be.

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Sometimes I have to shut my mouth and open my ears – to connect and open my heart.

 

I love asking someone what their story is. Then shutting my mouth and listening.

That wasn’t always the case. I only wanted to talk. Lol. But when I hear someone’s story, typically my level of respect goes up as I hear the things they have battled, childhood challenges that I couldn’t image, or life tragedies they have faced.

Its not a contest anymore, but a learning experience; and helps me to realize that although the battles are fought in different places and times and the details are different, most of us have fought (or are fighting) a war.

Our own war is the toughest war we have had (or have to) ever face and fight.

But, by listening to and understanding others, I learn a lot of stretigic tactics that make my wins a little less strengent – and build a level of trust with someone that I can share victories, with.

Call me Dr. Doolittle

In my usual style of silliness, I enlist total strangers to help make (not so) gentle animal noises at some large Mule Deer Elk(ish) beasts that were blocking the road.  Take a look.