An update on my VA business…

An update on my VA business…

I just thought I would share my good news; I have my first client.  This person is local, so it won’t actually be virtual, I’ll be going on-site to help with file management, bookkeeping and organization, among other smaller tasks.  I’m really happy that I finally have that first client, and I know that I can help this person, which is a real confidence builder for me.  And trust me; my confidence could use some building up.

Otherwise, I just don’t have much to say, and I’m sorry about that.  Have you ever woken up in a mood that just leaves you wanting to just do nothing?  And I mean nothing.  All I want to do is sit my big butt on the couch and read.  Not really going to happen, since I have laundry and am making chili for dinner tonight, but you get the idea.  Maybe it’s the lull before the storm, I don’t know.  I just know that after all the drama the last two weeks have brought me, I just want to put my head in the sand and pretend I can make life go away.  I can’t, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to flip a switch and just shut down every once in a while?  I chose the picture that goes with this post because it shows rays of sunlight breaking through a cloudy day, which is the best representation of how I’m feeling right now.

What’s really weird about it all is that things for the most part are going good in my life.  There is the whole hurt/forgiveness thing I wrote about last week that I’m still dealing with, but otherwise, life’s good.  I have my first client, my husband has a job, and we are in good health and all is basically well.  It’s just this mood I’m in that is very hard to explain.  And I feel like I’m rambling here.  I guess all I can say is that it’s normal that even when life is good, to want to shut down and have some quiet time. At least, I hope so because I would hate to think I’m on the verge of a mental breakdown!  Just kidding!  Enjoy your day.

Blessings to you all,

Elizabeth

Grocery stores are a serious pain in my existence!

Grocery stores are a serious pain in my existence!

Have I mentioned recently that I am an introverted home body?  Well, in case you forgot, I’m reminding you.  I really prefer to avoid the public at all costs, and that especially goes with grocery stores.  Now considering I do love to cook, you’d think that these stores would be an oasis for me.  They aren’t.  Well, they would be if there was no one else in them and there was a person to bag my groceries and no line to the cashier, then maybe the whole experience would be okay.  But that would be in the perfect world, and that doesn’t exist.  The reason they are on my mind is because I had to go to one this morning.  I had our menu planned out for the next week and had a massive list and I was just dreading it.  But I went, and I had to thank God for His grace when I got home because the whole thing took so much out of me to do it.

That’s one thing about being an anxious Bipolar that is really annoying.  The things that other people do with no second thought, take all I have in me to do.  Do you know what I mean?  Going to the grocery store is just one example.  Shopping in general is another.  I have to psych myself up to just do it and it annoys me that I have to do that.  Going and getting gas, I do everything I can to get my husband to do it for me.  Since he now works 60 hour weeks, things are falling on my shoulders much more and I think I am doing the best I can to adjust to being the main shopper, etc.  Do I like it?  Not really, but I also don’t have much of a choice in the matter either.  And the anxiety about doing something like grocery shopping even starts the night before, when I am lying in bed – it hits; the reality that when I wake up in the morning, I’ll have to go out in the public to provide food or necessities for my family.  It bugs me so bad that something as simple as going to a store has that kind of effect on me!

The only advice I have is to just ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen?  You get a crappy cart that gives you problems (like I had this morning), or there’s a line to the cashier, or you have to bag your own groceries (which I hate, but it is what it is).  Are those really life-altering events?  Not even close.  So, I just put my big girl panties on and just go do it, and the sense of accomplishment when it’s over is staggering.  Succeeding in something that makes you anxious is a thrilling feeling and just remember that is what will happen when you face your fears and overcome them.

Blessings to you all,

Elizabeth

Ennui

Ennui

I love that word, it just sounds better than the other words describing the feeling.  I learned it from a novel that I read a while ago.  Here’s the definition:

en·nui

noun

  1. a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.
synonyms: boredom, tedium, listlessness, lethargy, lassitude, languor, weariness, enervation

The reason I am sharing this word with you is because it happens to me a lot.  And it is a terrible feeling, basically a feeling of nothingness, just being numb.  Some days I am great, feeling like I can accomplish anything and all is right in the world.  But then there are times when the ennui hits and I just lie there and stare into the empty space that is around me.  I can’t explain it very well, that’s why I included the definition.  Being bipolar is not fun and the mood swings are a real pain in the butt.  I can handle the irritation mood, the elation mood, and all the various moods in between, but this numb feeling is very difficult for me to handle.

I don’t really have any practical advice about it either.  I can wake up fine and it will just hit and I have to work through it.  Usually, with a lot of tears involved.  But I do get through it and that is what matters.  The mood swings are difficult to handle like I said, but the silver lining is that they are temporary.  It’s a matter of just being strong enough to get through it, and I have my spirituality which definitely helps.  The only thing I can say about it is to just force yourself to get up and do something, anything, just keep going and you’ll feel better in time.  When it hits, I have my crying time, then I say a prayer and get up and paint or write or even just clean.  I also want to say that I think it is a totally normal feeling to have.  Bipolars are normal; we just have the roller coaster emotions instead of the steady state of being.  I know this is an odd post; I just wanted to share that this happens to me and if it happens to you, you’re going to be okay, I promise.

Blessings to you all,

Elizabeth

I want to be the person my dog thinks I am!

I want to be the person my dog thinks I am!

Above is a picture of my beloved dog.  We got her in 2006 from the SPCA and the vet we took her to said she was a Doberman mix.  So, considering her German roots, I named her Gretchen Eva.  She’s a great dog and I love her to death.  This is something all dog owners know, when you leave home and come back, your dog is so excited to see you – like you’ve been gone for months or something.  I can be gone for like five minutes and I get the same reaction from her as when I’ve been gone for hours.  I think that is the one thing that is so endearing about dogs, how happy they are to see you when you get home.  I have cats too and I don’t get the same reaction from them, I assure you.  Also, she is wherever I am, whether in my home office, living room, doesn’t matter, she is always by my side.

Anyway, the other day I was thinking about this; how to my dog I am the greatest being alive. And I started to think how really great it would be if I thought this about myself, not the ‘I’m the greatest’ thing, but that I am worthy of such devotion.  When my dog looks at me, she doesn’t see the fat, the flaws, the shortcomings – she just sees me as being perfect.  That’s what I wish I could do for myself, to just accept the flaws and stop having issues about them.  I am what I am, and according to everyone else I am a great person.  Do I see that? No, I don’t.  All I do is constantly berate myself for not being good enough at being a homemaker, a Christian, or just plain being a human.

As you know, I am working on starting a virtual assistant business and days like today, actually, I just think to myself what a fraud I am, how I am completely unprepared to do the job, to help clients.  It doesn’t matter that I would do anything possible to give potential clients the best service possible, or that I would care about their business as I care for mine.  I just think I am just such a fraud, that I have no idea what I am doing and why would anyone want me as a VA, when there are ones out there who really do know what they are doing.  I can’t seem to give myself a break on this, and this comparititis that I have with other VA’s is detrimental.  I could be comparing myself to a VA that’s been doing it for ten years; of course, he/she will know what they are doing.  That’s why I want to see myself as my dog does, so that I can just give myself a break and be a whole lot more logical and reasonable about whom I am and what I have to offer.  Everyone I know sees me in a way that I just don’t and I really need to work on this because there are much less talented people out there that are successful because they had the self-confidence in themselves to put themselves out there.  Maybe I need to read a book or two about developing self-esteem, any recommendations?  I know in Scripture (Philippians 4) God says to think on good, positive things and the peace of God will be with us.  Maybe I should just take His advice, and learn to think positively!

Blessings to you all,

Elizabeth

Dealing with the mood swings

Dealing with the mood swings

I specifically chose a picture of a roller coaster, because it is a good visualization of what it is like being bipolar. I don’t know about you, but even with my basic stability, I still have to deal with major mood swings.  For instance, this morning alone I was irritable, then anxious, then crying, and then everything was right as rain again.  It’s exhausting!  Part of being bipolar is dealing with the mood swings.  We all have them, bipolar or not, just bipolars have them in a much more severe way.

Do I have any good advice on how to deal with them?  Not really.  Other than the basics:  good nutrition and exercise, adequate sleep, and some sense of spirituality.  It’s really just a matter of dealing with the roller coaster of our emotions as healthfully as possible.  There are going to be bad days and good days, you might be like me and have good hours and bad hours.  It just is what it is.  I can suggest you try to stay as positive-minded as possible, because I do believe attitude does play a key role in the mood swings.  I can remember back before I returned to God when my attitude about it was so bad – I thought that I had some God-given right to be miserable to others because I, myself, was miserable.  That just isn’t right, period.  I cringe at the way I used to treat others and act out.

The only thing that keeps me as stable as possible is the medications I am on and God Himself.  I can’t stress enough the impact returning to God has had in my life.  I am so much more at peace with myself, the world and others.  I do hope that you find your spirituality; I don’t care if it’s Hindu, Muslim, or Buddhist.  Just strive for that inner peace, because without it bipolars can have a very difficult time of it.  I know, I was once a menace to society because of my attitude and lack of peace, not proud of it, but it’s the truth.  So, hang in there, the one good thing about the mood swings, is they don’t last, they’re only temporary!

Blessings to you all,

Elizabeth

Dealing with the being on psychiatric medications

Dealing with the being on psychiatric medications

As you know, I am bipolar and on a plethora of psych meds.  Do I like it?  No, not really, but it is something I have grown to accept as a necessary evil if I want to stay stable.  Trust me, I used to be really cavalier about the meds and go off of them quite frequently in the past and every time, I spiraled out of control.  Now, I’m older and hopefully wiser and I don’t do that anymore, but that doesn’t mean I like the idea of it at all.  It’s difficult to accept you need medication just to get out of the bed in the morning, or to keep the depression demons at bay.  And it’s weird that it’s like that.  Society has no problem with people taking medication for diabetes or heart disease, but once the condition goes above the neck, then society judges you, rather harshly in my opinion, because you’re on medication for mental illness.  Likes it’s some kind of weakness of character, and yeah, that kind of ticks me off.  I don’t appreciate being judged by people who have no idea what it is like to have mental illness, but it is what it is.  Until society evolves a better understanding of mental illness, the ignorance will be rampant.

I do have some suggestions about making the whole taking medicine thing better.  I have seen so many psychiatrists in my life that I have lost count and I couldn’t even tell you all the different medications that have been prescribed to me.  Some with serious side effects; for instance, I gained like 70 pounds because of Seroquel.  I hate that medication.  I have two criteria for the medications I am willing to take. First, the medication has to be weight-neutral, period.  I’m still carrying the weight that the Seroquel put on me.  Second, it has to be generic.  I figure that if it is in generic form than it has been around long enough that if there were any serious side effects, it would be known.  There is no way on God’s green Earth you will get me to take a brand name psych med.  I don’t care how many tests it’s gone through, it is new and they don’t have any idea how the medication is going to do with the general public.

I have no good advice about this really.  It seems to be a case of being wrong no matter what you do, either be judged for taking them or live a difficult life being untreated.  And I think that just sucks, but like I already said, it is what it is.  I want to be stable and be able to function to the best of my ability in society, so the meds are necessary for that to happen.  I wish I didn’t need them, but it is a burden all the mentally ill must carry on some level for the rest of their lives.  I know there are so called natural remedies, and I have tried them and they don’t work for me.  All I can say is that it is something we all need to come to terms with and accept in some form or fashion.  Is it easy? No, not by any means.  Let’s just hope society does evolve and becomes much more understanding and accepting that there are people that don’t fit the norm and that it is totally okay.  I was born this way, accept it, I have to!

Blessings to you all,

Elizabeth

The difference between being limited and being disabled

The difference between being limited and being disabled

Trust me, there is a difference.  I have been both.  After my mother’s death, I was disabled and put on Social Security because there was no way I could take care of myself, let alone hold down a job.  It took everything I had to get out of bed in the morning.  I was on Social Security for about 15 years and then the government decided to review my case.  I jumped through their hoops and in the end, it was decided that I was no longer disabled.  I could have fought it, but I didn’t.  Want to know why?  I couldn’t argue with their findings.  I had improved to the point that I was running my house, maybe not as well as I could have, but I was doing it; paying the bills, cooking dinner, etc.  I just didn’t think I was disabled anymore and how can I argue something that in my heart I knew to be true.

So, although freaking out at the idea of what it all meant; I let it go and this was like late 2015 (I think!).  Anyway, I thought that maybe I could work now and work full-time at that.  I knew that my gap in work history was going to be a problem so I went to America’s Job Center and qualified for job training and went to the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation where I learned bookkeeping and updated my clerical skills.   Needless to say, I kicked butt while I was there.  So, I thought, heck yeah I can work full-time.  After I graduated, I still had trouble finding work because of the gap, but I went through temporary agencies and had two jobs; one lasting about a week and a half, the other a long term assignment.  The first few weeks at the long-term assignment went just fine, but as time progressed I started having trouble. I was having severe anxiety attacks every afternoon because I wanted to be home.  My doctor even put me on very strong anti-anxiety medication to get me through it. It had been about three months and I was coming home every night in tears because I missed home so bad.  My husband finally had enough of it and told me to tell the temp agency I was only available part-time and if I lost my job, so be it.  I was allowed to go part-time and I finished the assignment.  I am very proud that I at least completed the assignment.  I was talking to my dad about it and he simply said that although I may not be disabled anymore, I was still limited.  And, I had to agree.

There is a difference in being limited vs. disabled.  I have a bipolar condition and there is no escaping that reality, ever.  I also have this desperate need to be home that I have told you about that I simply can’t explain.  Can I work full-time?  Absolutely not.  Can I work part-time?  I think so.  I am not disabled, but I am limited.  There is only so much I can take in terms of stress before I start to be affected by it.  As of right now, I am home but looking for part-time work.  I tried to have a stay-at-home business and that failed magnificently!  So, I don’t know what I am going to do.  I’ve had a few interviews for part-time jobs; the temp agencies are of no help because they mostly deal with full-time assignments and I refuse to work full-time; I will not go through that again.  I have this blog, but don’t really know how to monetize it.  I also have my painting and could open an Etsy store with my artwork, which I am seriously considering doing.  It’s not that I don’t want to help with the household finances; it’s that I just want to be home.  I’m also researching work-at-home jobs to see if I could get one of those.  However, it is in God’s Hands, and I know He will provide me with something, what I’m not sure.  Anyway, if you are in the same boat as I am, limited but still able to contribute to society somehow, let me know how you are doing it.  I would really like to know.  And to those that are disabled due to mental illness, I’ve been there and I know how painful it can be, but it is possible to get better.  And as far as society is concerned, it is screwed up when it comes to employing the mentally ill, since I can’t tell any potential employer about it because I believe it will influence their decision; hopefully, someday soon it won’t be like that.

Blessings to you all,

Elizabeth