Uncategorized

There’s No Crying in Cake Making

12334_10200825285336454_1064534147_nRecently I have been faced with several of my insecurities.  It has been overwhelming as I can recall a time when I was far more secure in myself.  Years ago, I was a take charge, take no prisoner, unable to waver under pressure person, or that’s what I let people think.  Deep down inside, I was a small little shaking chihuahua.  I was and still am incredibly scared and in fear of failing or not meeting external expectations.

Today, although working in a different capacity, I have some of the same fears, but they do not immobilize me like they have in the past.  I try to figure out the issues, but when I cannot, that is when I turn to a person who is more knowledgeable, and I ask for assistance.  I also know that I will inevitably end up making mistakes, and no one has ever told me that they expect me to be perfect.  That, the need to be perfect, is an expectation that I put on myself, it is NOT something that people who I care about in my life now, have put on me.  It’s something that I have put on myself.

With everything I do, whether it is as simple as making coffee in the morning to completing a large initiative at work, I wonder if I am good enough.  I know that this insecurity stems from my past.  But as I wrote a week ago, I am working to rewrite the old narratives that I have allowed to take over my life.

  • If the coffee is bitter, I will add more creamer.
  • If I make a mistake on an invoice, it will be brought to my attention, I will make a change and I will resend it.
  • If I incorrectly respond to an email, it will be brought to my attention and I will work to correct it.
  • Should I make a cake that is not what the customer was hoping for, I can always offer to make another cake, or offer a reduction in the price.

I have spent most of the last few days stressing over a cake order.  Yup, another mention of cake, much like Georgia, it is always on my mind… I want the cake to be perfect!  I broke the whole cake down into pieces and did a divide and conquer technique.  I even did a test cake a week ago to try out the techniques that were needed for the final cake to make sure I felt comfortable with what I needed to do.  But, as I was finishing up the cake last night I saw only flaws that I had made.  I was beginning to get physically sick thinking about delivering the cake and ruminating on how the customer would not like the cake.  I am surprised I slept last night with all the self-doubt that was swirling in my head.

Although remotely, my mother was beside me last night as I was finishing up the cake.  I was sending photos of my cake and she was sending me affirmations in the way that only my Mama knows that I need.  My kids were also with me in the kitchen and watching me work.  My partner told me numerous times that he thought the cake was gorgeous and what the customer had requested.  Although I was surrounded with all this positivity, I was still doubting.  This morning the cake was delivered, the customer said they were happy and the cake was beautiful, yet I STILL have it in my head that it was not good enough.

What the Hell Michelle?? I really want to believe what I am being told!  Focus on what the truth is.  This was the same advice that I gave to a friend today, focus on the truths.

So, the truths are:

  • The cake will be delicious
  • The frosting is delectable
  • The cake is the size that the customer asked for
  • The design of the cake is what the customer requested
  • The color of the cake is very close to what they asked for
  • The customer knew that I am not a professional cake decorator
  • I am a work in progress
  • My skill set is probably the best it has ever been
  • As I practice more, my skills are bound to improve
  • I need to love myself the way that I would love a friend or family member

 

Sometimes, we can get lost in our heads and we torture ourselves.  It is hard but, working to end the cycle will make each day ahead of this one better and easier to manage.  At times I wish I could open my head and dump out all the words up there, unscramble them and toss out the ones that I do not need, or the ones that are not benefiting my life.  I can’t do this obviously, but I can “toss out” the bullshit and replace it with positive truths.  For the rest of the day, as each negative thought comes in, I am going to quickly replace it with a “truth”.  I have a feeling this will make a big difference.

Bipolar Disorder, Uncategorized

The Sweet Spot

IMG_1611Over the weekend it dawned on me that I am in a sweet spot.  This is unrelated to my current preoccupation with cake, although that IS part of it.  The sweet spot is about where I am in my life at this moment in time.

After being on the Bipolar roller coaster filled with dips of depression and curves of anxiety for the last umpteen years, I am finally in a place where everything is falling into place.  I am not too proud to state that I am aware that I am where I am as result of the medication that I am taking and the fact that I am now taking it as prescribed.  (I have fallen prey to falling off the straight and narrow when it comes to faithfully following my prescribed medication regime now and again).  However, this does not change the fact that I am in a good place and it feels simply amazing to be here.

I was telling my spouse on Sunday that I feel like he and I are in a really good place.  We have never been in a bad place, but when one person in the relationship suffers from mental illness it can really put a strain on the relationship.  And when I was in a really bad place in 2016, I was not in a good relationship with anyone, not even myself.

Daily I can see improvements in many areas of my life.  I am no longer having panic attacks while driving.  And this is a huge relief, as I spend at least an hour, if not more, on the road every day, and the whole having panic attacks each time I was in the car was really starting to wear me out.  I also am suffering from little to no anxiety in general.  My brain is far more at ease than it has ever been (and my oh my, what an amazing gift this is).  When something comes up, I quickly process the thought and then release it, let it go and move past it.  I am not sure I have ever been able to do this successfully in the past.

Although there are days that run incredibly slow and I struggle to obtain the amount of mental stimulation that I need to stay focused, I am not depressed.  I still lack some motivation, but I set time limits and at the given time I begin working on an assignment that needs completion.

And then there is cake!  Getting back into making cakes has been exciting.  I thought that I had lost all my skill set due to going on medication for the Bi Polar.  In the past, my best work was completed while I was manic.  Now that I am stable I thought, “I’ll never be able to create cakes the way I did before!”  Well, I was wrong.  It turns out that much like riding a bike, the skill set never went away, if anything, it has improved some during my dormant time over the last two years.  Being stable, and being calm, is a MUCH better combination for creating and decorating cakes.  For one, my hand doesn’t shake and that is a total plus.  I also can keep my stress to a moderate level.  The challenge that I am running into is the thoughts that bounce into my head about being “good enough”.  This is something that I have struggled with for years and years, and each time the negative thought comes through my head, I use an affirmation to dismiss it.

I recall that in 2016 my doctors told me that there would come a time when I would be in a much better place, where there was stability and balance and my symptoms would be slim to none.  I will admit that I did not believe them at the time.  I was so under water that I could not begin to imagine a time when I would not be in a living hell.  But, as always, they were right, and here I am today, in a good place, thrilled as hell to be living a happy life, and pushing aside the little hiccups (like weight gain) that I have allowed to derail me in the past.

There WILL come a time when the good will come.  It WILL arrive, and it will be glorious.  It WILL be treasured and cherished.  It WILL be the thing that leaves an ever-lasting smile on your face…  The sweet spot.

Bipolar Disorder

The Power of a Hug

61UFQ+UOfSL._SL1200_After a nice early morning walk with my friend, I made the decision to dress it up a little bit for work.  I work in a place where the dress code is lax and casual.  However, I passed on the jeans and flannels and I decided that I would wear my nice green dress, tights to keep my legs warm and my black boots.  I finished off the outfit with a black and white cinched belt and a silver heart necklace.  I dried my hair and decided to wear it down.  I told myself that it would be a “good” day, that I was rocking a super cute outfit and I felt good in my skin.  Nothing could stand in my way today.

Walking into work, I had my head high and a smile on my face.  About an hour into being at work, my co-worker fell quite ill.  Due to the severity of the illness, I volunteered to drive him home as he was unable to drive himself.  About an hour later, after I was done driving Mrs. Daisy, I took an Uber back to the office.  The driver was nice enough, but sitting in the back seat, along with his expedient driving, I was feeling green.

Upon return to the office, I had my lunch.  Due to an afternoon appointment with my therapist, I would need to leave work around 2 PM.  The chauffeuring cut into the time in the office and completing my daily responsibilities.  I had an hour to get a bit of work done, so while eating I started on the tasks at hand.  I rushed through all I was doing to be able to get out the door.

While at therapy, time seemed to slow down.  And when it comes to the times when you have a lot to say, and only an hour to do it in, having time slow-down is a good thing.  I unburdened myself, engaged in active conversations with my therapist and processed her suggestions and advice.  By the time my appointment was over, I was feeling fatigued.  Who knew that therapy could take so much out of a person.  A stop to get bloodwork was next (checking my hormone levels, so I know if I need my recharge) and much to my dismay I missed the phlebotomist.  After leaving, I stopped for a coffee for a pick me up and help get me through the traffic that I was bound to sit in traveling home.

What seemed like an hour later at the grocery store, I am leaving with half a trunk full of groceries and I am just purely exhausted.  Thinking about having to make dinner when I get home makes me want to cry.  I just need some down time, but it’s dinner time so that’s just not going to work for me.

Attempting to get in the front door was like trying to get past Fort Knocks.  And that was my breaking point.  I was tired, and I had to pee so bad, if I sneezed I’d flood my pants.  I get all worked up over not being able to unlock the door and when I finally make my way through the door I barked out the order to get the groceries to the kids.  My family senses my mood and steers clear of me.  After peeing and changing I resurface to the kitchen to put away the groceries to find that they were already put away.

Not sure what look I had on my face, but with my back to my partner, I feel a hand on my arm and I am pulled into an embrace.  He just stands there and hugs me.  Rubs my back and holds me tight.  I finally take a deep breath and let it out.  I feel incredibly safe and secure.  I can feel the hectic, stressful, busy day just slowly drain from my body.  I look up at him and kiss his lips.  He knows me so well.  He knows when I need to talk, when I need to be left alone and he knows when I need a hug.

From that moment moving forward, I was better.  I was no longer pissy, or exhausted beyond belief.  I felt content and happy to be home with my family.

When you are dealing with an emotionally charged individual it can be quite difficult to know what to do and when to do it.  Our support system may be confused on what they should do to help us, and we may not know what we need or how to ask for it.

Psychology Today provided a very good, short article on ways to provide emotional support to our loved ones.  You can access it from this link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/emotional-fitness/201112/10-ways-get-and-give-emotional-support

 

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