I may be way too young for this post however I feel that it important for me to be able to differentiate the ideas I thought life would be like compared to what it actually was like for me.. You may disagree with some of my items but that’s totally fine! This is taken from the life experiences of a 32 year old bipolar manic depressive.
#10.) You seriously need to budget.
This is ridiculously true. Often times when I was younger my parents would always stress into my head the importance of budgeting and how to manage your funds appropriately… Well… Who the F was a going to listen with how to abide by your own means when you’re 18?? You just want out! You want to learn life experiences for yourself and not because someone told you to do it. Thats not life!
#9) Seriously, you’re not defined by what you own. This is a big one for me. As a depressed individual I would tell you that my happiness is purely based on items purchased.. Not items I own.. perhaps that’s because I’ve learned how unhappy I am with what I own. For the longest period in my life I felt like whatever I owned was never good enough because I could never be happy without this.
Thought: Unless you have the latest Mac you’re an absolute loser.
I’m not kidding either.. Growing up I wasn’t poor by any means but I didn’t realize until later in my years how much my parents tried their best to provide for my family. I had plenty of food on the table growing up and shiny Christmas presents but inside my head I was uncontrollable and so jealous of what every other kid got for Christmas for owned. I believed that if you had the newer car, or the bigger house you naturally were richer.. What a load of shit. Thats the farthest thing from the truth!
#8) If you struggle with depression DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL.
I couldn’t wait to turn 21 so I could gamble (legal age in Arizona) and drink alcohol like the rest of my friends! If I didn’t drink I was the loser.. That was my thought pattern because at the end of the day all I wanted was to be liked… Liked for all the wrong reasons. Liked for all the corrupt reasons that existed in my head. I didn’t realize until I quit drinking eight months ago just how bad alcohol was for me. If you are depressed please avoid drinking.. Alcohol is a depressant.. if you struggle with depression your life will be a lot more stable when you’re not drinking. I know this for a fact. I’m living the sober journey and it sucks that I can’t do the social things that I use to do.. Like grab a beer with friends.. Or have drinking games.. The social aspect of drinking I definitely miss, but I don’t miss the hangover, or the addiction, or the mania associated with alcoholism.
#7) It’s okay to have a couple of friends.. You don’t need 100.
As an ENFJ (Myers Briggs) it was natural for me to want to be the social one and want to have a million friends.. let’s be honest.. Do you really care about all those “friends?” No. Do they care about me really?? Probably not… People come and go from our lives all the time and there is nothing wrong with that. To a depressive kid however it can feel like the worst if you don’t have more than two friends because you don’t want to be associated with the loser status quo. As I went through my twenties and now into my thirties I have three best friends and I’m totally content with that. I can remember their birthdays no problem. I also feel like they understand me better than a hundred friends at the same time would.
#6) Finding middle ground.. Avoid the all or nothing mentality completely.
As a BPD individual the term ‘middle ground’ does not exist in my vocabulary because my mind is incapable of finding the half way point. For my entire life I have held onto one part of mania that is in my everyday life.. It’s either ALL or NOTHING.
Thought: I’m tired of being fat and being unattractive. I’m going to go to the gym five days a week! No exceptions and I’m going to lose all this weight.
Realistic? Not a chance. Does this sound familiar? It should because even if you’re not BP chances are you will experience this emotion at some point in your life and it can become very frustrating to deal with if you don’t know any different. I didn’t! Instead I have thousands of dollars of debt from impulsive purchases that I made in my previous life before I found this blog and my new blogging family. I get to live through this everyday until that debt is paid off. The All or Nothing mentality can absolutely kill you (figuratively speaking) and most likely also physically because if you don’t know your limit it could kill you easily. Apply the all or nothing thinking to an Opiod addict.. All of a sudden it’s serious huh? Why do you think people OD on heroin? Because it’s fun? No. Addiction sees no ending point. Addicts will continue to consume to get to that feeling of high. Alcoholics do this too.. Every drug will do this. It’s just how it works.
#5) Creating an Amazon account
You would think this would be easy but as a manic depressive who used to thrive on self worth Amazon was my worst enemy because it never said No and it took all my money.
I use to pride myself on how much I used Amazon because I loved getting the free shipping but I didn’t realize until much later how much free shipping I was getting and not realizing that Amazon is setting me back from my ultimate goal of being out of debt and with Amazon every was just so tap tap done. I look back at my heart history and I have a ton of pages. Dozens of products in order history and I can honestly tell you that I’ve probably sold that item on eBay and used it only once! This is how unfortuate my self esteem was. It wasn’t the product. It was the thought behind the product. Why did I choose to buy that item? Well it’s not because I needed it, it was because I was feeling like shit and needed a pick me up. An expensive pick me up no less. Skip Amazon and shop at target. If you have to haul it home and you don’t have a car and you have to bus or train..it’s most likely going to limit you on how much money you’re going to spend.
#4) Spending time with yourself
I wish it knew this when I was younger!! I love love love doing stuff by myself because it gives me an opportunity to recharge my body and mind and it also allows me to focus without any distractions. I really love going to the movies alone! It’s not because I’m lonely. It’s because I like the movies a lot (I’m a huge cinema buff) but more because I was able to have fun by myself and entertain without having to put up with my friend complaining about their job, or their relationships. Just me. My time. I really like that and I wish that when I was younger I would have done that too. I wonder if my self worth would be worth anything more if I choose happiness over tangible goods.
#3) Staying in shape and not letting myself go
As my weight is directly tied to my self worth it is no wonder I would want to share with a younger self that had I stayed in shape perhaps my mental clarity would have been better and my self image wouldn’t have been so damaged. When I was younger I was definitely overweight and I was a smoker for many years so I was definitely a walking a thin line of health at such a long age. When I quit smoking I decided to take up running which was a really good fit for me. Over the course of five years from 2010 – 2015 I was very active. I was actively participating in fitness challenges. I was also at my lowest weight of 220 during that period and I started to compete in marathons and half marathons to get exercise and to improve my stability of my mood… this was way before finding out about my conditions because I didn’t find out I had BPD until 2015 when at that time I began taking antidepressants and antipsychotics to treats my highs and lows. I’m not sure what shifted but I put running on the sidelines and just stopped enjoying life. I don’t know how it happened or what exactly happened but in the now 3 years I’ve given up running I’ve gained 50 lbs back and my self worth is shit.
I have ambitions of returning to the gym but my depression constantly makes me fear it. Why? I want sexy mark to come back. I don’t like fat mark. I’m not happy like this. I’m miserable when I’m not attractive in the mirror.
I told my therapist that I would read some more of (feeling good) and I think that would be healthy for me. I need to study that book religiously!
Don’t settle for less than what you deserve in life.
This goes for anyone. Period. DO NOT Settle! If you are unhappy at your job or miserable in your relationship then find the strength to confront it and face your thoughts head on. It was so easy to accept things for the way they happened.. I always played the victim because everything happened because of me. I was the cause. I was the problem so prior to meeting my current boyfriend I dated a lot of guys that weren’t worth shit and I ended up hurting myself in the end.
I remember two previous relationships that made an impact on me. Besides that I was kind of slut. I had zero self respect for myself and I wanted to feel good all at the same time so I put myself out there the only way I knew how. It wasn’t healthy at all and I evoked an unstable mind in the process. Although I had some fun times I wouldn’t say you need to experience this just to find out who you are..
Love yourself from day 1
So you’re not perfect. That’s OK. You made it through my list! Good job! The most important lesson that I wish I practiced when I was 21 was to have greater self respect for who I was, and I would have treated my body, and my friends differently. I know for a fact that it took a very long time to learn how to love myself. For a very long time I felt flawed because of my illness and that people would reject me for that so I hid in self shame and misery. I wore a lot of good masks as a kid too.
I’m 32 and I hope I have many years ahead of me.
What about you? What would you tell your self when you were just beginning your adult years. Would you do it any differently?
I am free because I blog. No longer to I dwell in an emotional prison. I am worthy of love and compassion. I am a better person daily because of this blog and who I’m working on becoming.