Shame

Mood Check:  Mild depression, no elevated mood, mild irritability, moderate anxiety

Sleep Last Night: 7 hours, but extremely broken – a lot tossing and turning all night (took 50 mg of Hydroxyzine at bedtime)

When you’ve past your episode, for me at least, I am stuck with this shame and guilt for my actions during my episode.  Not only during the mania, but also the during the despair of the depression that followed.

For me, my manic episode had me doing things that could bring a lot of shame. 

I created an OnlyFans account and almost posted naked photos on there.  I just a Sugar Daddy site and again, almost sent out naked photos.  This was all part of the hypersexuality that I felt.  I could not get enough sex.  I was daydreaming about it, having vivid dreams at night, and was clearing reaching out beyond just my boyfriend.

I was at the neighborhood bar, somewhere where literally everyone does know your name, screaming and cursing at the television quite loudly for an entire evening.

I rambled and rambled and rambled to people that honestly did not want to hear me talk in circles about nonsense.

I was so irritated and frustrated with anything that did not go my way or how I thought it should be going.

I spent an insane amount of money on clothes, lingerie, and sex toys.  Then, because I spent so much on that, I had no money for a weekend getaway and tried anything I could do to get money.  This included going to a peer to peer lending site where I gave my banking information and social security information out and I never even got the money.

There was also the wedding.  Where I was late to the rehearsal dinner to start.  Then, at the wedding, I was all over the place.  Crashing photos, going places I should not, smoking (both weed and cigarettes, which I do not ever do).  I was talking so loud and just bouncing around and I could tell I looked like an idiot, but I could not stop myself.  I was basically propositioning someone’s girlfriend about a three some.  It was super embarrassing.

So, what happens after?

I am not in a place to just tell people, look, I acted crazy because I was having my first manic episode and I am now bipolar.  I am not there yet.  But without this understanding that I had a manic episode, people just see me as the crazy woman from the wedding.  Those friends have not talked to me since.  And we were close!  Every Fourth of July we spend together, by the beach, with friends and BBQs.  I did not get my invitation this year.  I reached out and did not hear back.  My friendship with a whole group of people appears to be over.

You bounce between a few thoughts.  Those who matter, do not mind and those who mind, do not matter.  I guess that is something.  But it can be hard to not mind with no context behind your behavior.  There is also what my therapists says: it was my body, but it was not me, it was a chemical reaction I did not have control over because I did not know.  Which again, makes sense, but without giving people that context and admitting to this disorder, how will people understand?  Then, you also think, was it unforgivable without an explanation?  Is it so bad to never speak to a person again?  I guess so.

This leads me to thinking a lot about friendships.

I have my boyfriend and best friend whom I closest with and the only ones I feel comfortable being around.  No matter what I have done, there is no judgement and there is a sense that we will face everything together.  I honest do not want to see where I would be without them.

I, then, have a group of 3 other girls whom my best friend and I speak and hang out with frequently.  It has not been in person necessarily, but we talk over texts a lot.  I know that they do not judge me and can look past this craziness.  I have not really told them.  It was more like quietly after saying something about being crazy, I nonchalantly said I have bipolar.  I am not sure it stuck really.

I have a close work friend, who has not given up on me.  Keeps checking in and asking how I am doing and really does not judge me at all either.  She knows and she has really been supportive.

Then there is someone who I have known since elementary school, who I just told and was super like “Are you OK?  I hope you get better.  Do you want to hang out?  Go to a baseball game?” just like nothing had happened.  She would understand if I did something crazy or disrespectful that it was not me and we would work through it.

Everyone else is just a fringe friend, I would never tell but we could possibly still hang out and just have a good time.  There are approximately 5 people I had put into this category.  There used to more pre-manic-crazy-wedding-guest but that is where we are now.

So, in total, I have about 10 people in my life.  But maybe that is okay.  Maybe that is the thing with shame.  It helps narrow out the people in your life to just the ones that really matter because those are the people that will try to lessen your shame by understanding the situation and looking past it.  In school and college, it was all about having a billion friends.  But now, as we are all older, it is about quality friendships rather than quantity.  Except, while you can accept that, it still sucks that there are people who you have lost because of a chemical imbalance.  I am a people pleaser and I hate if people are mad at me, hate me or think I am not a good person.  It makes me hate myself, like I should be doing something different.

While I still feel shame and on a large level feel like I wish I still had those people in my life, the smaller part of my says why do you need them in your life?  If after all there was before these moments were fine and normal and you truly care for someone, wouldn’t there be the benefit of the doubt?  That something might have happened or was going wrong for someone to act that way?  Or at least to give the opportunity to reach out and say that what I did was upsetting and made them angry and say what is wrong and give me the opportunity to explain.  Instead I am just shut out.  That makes me sad, but also in a way is freeing.  They are not spending time thinking about me.  I have enough things to think about and worry about.  Why should I add this to the list?  I think that a large part of this, for me, is that I am disappointed that I could be written off so easily when I would have given the opportunity to explain and listen.

Maybe one day, I will reach out and I will be ready to explain and give myself the opportunity to be forgiven, but I know it will never be the same.  It just cannot be.  I know this from experience.

What brought a lot of thing on was looking at a picture of me and a former best friend.  This person was like a part of the family.  Literally, we would spend everyday together, bouncing between my house and hers.  I threw her a surprise party because I knew she always wanted one.  My parents took her a cruise with us to the Bahamas!  I thought we were strong enough that we really would be best friends forever.

Then, I had an abusive boyfriend.  He did not want me seeing, talking to, or having anyone else in my life other than him.  I did not leave the house without him.  I walked around on a broken foot for 2 weeks because he would not let me go to the Dr.  And when I did, he fought me so bad, I attempted suicide.  I was paralyzed in the relationship.  I could not see that this was wrong.  I did not know how to get out.  So, I ended up with no friends.  She tried in the beginning but then she gave up.

When I finally got out of the relationship, I tried to rekindle the friendship.  I tried to explain that he made me do it, to withdraw.  I did not necessarily say that he was abusive, though by everything I did say, it was obvious.  I did not say that a shoe would be thrown at my face if I did not listen.  I did not say that I was threatened with a break-up every time I tried to contact someone or go out or do something I wanted.  Maybe it is that thing that I expect people to read my mind and just know, so I do not say, and things just stay worse.  But I thought, after everything, she would understand.  That it would take time, but we could get it back.

I believe she has forgiven me, to some extent.  We talk occasionally.  We have never hung out after that though.  She had moved on with her life and there was not a space for me in that life.  We are acquaintances now.  And that is all we will ever be.  Even if, like my therapist says, it was not my fault because that is the nature of the abuse, to be paralyzed into having no other choice to comply.  Then why didn’t it go back to normal?  Why couldn’t I fit back into her life, slowly, like I did before?   These are the questions you are left with.  But you also can start to accept that no matter what, things cannot go back to what they were.  So, you need to find a way forward with or without those people in your life.

Any suggestions, releases, coping skills you have found towards relieving the shame and guilt associated with bipolar episodes?  I certainly need them!

Suicide Prevention Hotline Website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

My email is bipolar.beauty.blogger@gmail.com.

Things coming up: holy grails in make-up and skincare, what I cannot live without (all things beauty) and more!

Stay well everyone xx

My Current Makeup Favorites

Mood Check:  Mild depression, no elevated mood, mild irritability, moderate anxiety

Sleep Last Night: 8 hours (took 75 mg of Hydroxyzine at bedtime)

So, before I jump into the fun stuff, just a quick mood update.  I have been up and down a lot, though I have weirdly enough, felt the calmest at work.  Once I am not at work, the worrying kicks up, or my need to get everything done.  But I feel like I always want to cry.  My Dr. says I am in a mixed state and by now, I should be seeing improving on the Lamictal, while I am not.  So, we are lowering the Lamictal and upping the Seroquel.

From the beginning, I am very willing to listen to the Drs. And take their suggestions at what medication and dosage.  But I was very honest that I feel susceptible to medication changes, so we are moving up the Seroquel every 4 days to keep a modest approach.  I truly and really appreciate this doctor, how she is listening and working with me.  I am so grateful to my therapist for the referral.  It has been amazing.

We are going to meet again in a week, a little sooner than last time, to discuss my adjustment to Seroquel, how my irritability is and if I am reaching a more stable mood situation.

Onto the fun stuff, my current favorite make-up products!

I should start by saying I have a lot of make-up… like a lot.  An embarrass amount of make-up.  Perhaps my reckless spending on make-up all these years can be contributed to bipolar, but not likely.  Just my insatiable need to get everything I want.

With that being said, I have not bought much new make-up.  So, a lot of what I am going to talk about may not be new and just my way of “shopping my stash”.  I think I will go in order of how I put it on my face.

Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer: I do not think I need much to balance out my skin, that primers typically do.  My skin type has really been normal, and I adjust my skincare to address my dryness or oily needs.  But what I do have are huge pores.  The thing about pores is, there is a miracle cream, toner or make-up product that is really going to make your pores smaller or invisible.  That just is not realistic.  But this creates a smooth base that the make-up just glides onto.  I put this just on my cheeks, where my pores are the largest and it does give a blurred look.  I need to use this every time I do my make-up.

Now, I have found the way I like to do my make-up is with cream products I put on first and then my foundation, which is why the order is a bit different than you might be used to seeing.

Beauty Blender: There is no other way I can do my make-up and to be honest, no other sponge is as good as the original.  From concealer, foundation, cream bronzer, cream contour, cream highlight, powder, I use my beauty blender for most things on my face.  Non-cream bronzer, blush and highlight and my eyes is the only things I use a brush for.  Everything is my beauty blender.  I would be lost without it (which is probably why I have a billion!).

Hourglass Illume Sheer Trio: So, a few things before I say how much I love this product.  1. Hourglass is expensive.  It is bougie and maybe not entirely worth the money, but I still love certain select products from them.  I can do a flops post, and there is something so horrendous from Hourglass, but I digress.  2. Much like a lot of brands, this palette is geared towards one shade of cliental – light-to-medium skin tones.  It can fit a good range in that spectrum, but if you are anything dark than medium this will do nothing for you.  Bronzers and contours especially do not have a lot of options for darker skinned ladies.  A lot of time, there is one option – bronzer.  Brands like Fenty have changed the game and have become to standard in skin tone range in make-up launches, but it is still clear that many brands need to think beyond foundation shade ranges and apply it to all their products.  That being said, this product is the shit and should be available for every skin tone to try!  It is creamy, it is pigmented, and it blends across the skin beautifully.  Now, I mostly use the bronze shade.  I am not in blush – I am red enough!  With the highlight, I have so many others, I never think to use this one.  I use this first, placing it high on my cheeks and forehead, which creates a dual bronzer-contour.  It blends perfectly and creates a beautiful, bronzed effect.

Uoma Stay Woke Concealer:  Uoma Beauty on a whole, I think, is totally underrated.  I have used their lip products, eyeshadows, and their foundation, all of which are beautiful.  But their gem, and the best I have ever used is, their Stay Woke Concealer.  This for me is THE perfect concealer.  It covers quite well and will hide your dark circles well.  It is not necessarily thin, but it is not as thick or heavy as a Shapetape.  It is not drying and blends in well, even when my under-eyes are crepe-like and dry.  But my favorite thing is that this WILL NOT crease.  I do not even need to set this concealer.  It just stays in place.  I do not know how they do it, but this does not move!  I can wear this all day and you will not see it crease.  This is probably the product I would recommend over all the other products mentioned.

I do not have a go-to foundation right now.  I bounce between the Make-Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation (which I have never had a bad make-up day with) and the Dior Backstage Face and Body Foundation.  Both are thin and are a medium coverage foundation.  It blends in well and is not heavy.  These are typically what I look for in a foundation.  I do not need coverage necessarily but more so something to even out some of the redness in my skin.  What I love too about both foundations is the shade.  Both foundations have a TRUE neutral shade.  Not yellow or pink, but an actual neutral undertone.  It does not sound good, but I feel there needs to be almost a greyness undertone to really match me and both of these foundations too.  I also will mention the NYX Foundation Mixer, which is an inexpensive pure pigment that can make your foundation lighter or darker without changing the formula of the foundation.  It is great to customize your color for the season.

For eyeshadow and eyebrows, I have been changing up what I use every time, so there is not something I really want to talk about here. 

The same thing with powder.  I am still trying out a few to find a good balance between setting into place, without looking overly dry.  I also feel some powders will change the coverage underneath so that is also something I am conscious of.  I have not found a go-to yet.

 The last thing I will mention is my favorite thing in my routine: highlight.  I tell people I want to look like a glazed donut all the time.  I have been really into loose pigment highlighters lately.  The only that I find the best is the Jaclyn Hill Beaming Light Loose Highlighter in the shade Extra.  So, I know, Jaclyn is controversial to say the least.  Even as I write this there is a new scandal surrounding here.  Not to mention the debacle that was her first launch.  But product is amazing!  If you use a little, you can get a bright, but natural healthy glow.  You can also pack it on in a specific location and really have it be this in your face highlight.  I like the customizability of this product and it is a great shade for my skin tone.  I used to be scared of a loose highlighter but using a small amount and really swirling it into the brush, it is just the same as using a pressed highlighter but they are typically more intense, which I enjoy!

Honorable Mention: Tom Ford Soliel Drops:  I didn’t want this to be focused on a lot, as it is both bougie as hell and I think it is no longer available.  But this product is perfect for no make-up make-up, just to give you a healthy, natural glow.  Blends in seamlessly and just gives a slight gold glow.  It really is a beautiful product if you have the money and can get your hands on it!

Lips, again, I switch it up quite a bit because I like to use different shades and do not have one brand or formula that I just have in a lot of shades.  My collection is all over the place!  I also have a lot of products I use that are discontinued and you would not be able to get.  I have already teased one of those; I will not do that anymore!  But I have one product I’ll mention briefly.  The Tarte Quench Lip Rescue is perfect for no make-up make-up.  I use the shade Nude and it gives your lips a juicy dash of color and it hydrates them well.  It is great to wear to give a very tiny bit of color to your lips. 

This wraps up the make-up products I am currently using.  I have learned to try and keep the number of products I use daily a bit lower.  I try to use less make-up and make the look more natural.  Not so heavy, in your face, WOW, she is wearing a full face of makeup.  Sometimes I love that look and will go all out sometimes.  But most times I go for a more subdue look.  These products are all perfect for that!

If you have any questions on these products, my routine and placement or any more recommendations, just ask!

Do you have a go-to makeup product that you cannot do your makeup routine without?

Suicide Prevention Hotline Website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

My email is bipolar.beauty.blogger@gmail.com.

Things coming up: my current skincare routine, 5 product make-up routine, holy grails in make-up and skincare, what I cannot live without (all things beauty) and more!

Stay well everyone xx

Acceptance

Sleep: 7 Hours

Depression: None

Elevated Mood: None

Irritability: None

Anxiety: Mild

I have been struggling up until this post.  Thus, the longer time between posts than I would like.  Between withdrawing from the Lexapro and upping my Lamictal, my mood has really been all over the place.  I have been especially irritable, which usually I am not.  I had a few hypomanic moods; going, going, going and lack of sleep.  But it all came to a head yesterday.

I have felt overwhelmed at work.  I have had so much to do, but I already put in so much extra time, I did not think I could put in much more.  I had the option to leave at 3PM before the Fourth of July holiday.  I ended up only leaving a half hour before my normal time because I had so much to do.  But I was so focused on making sure I was touching a little bit of everything, rather than finishing one task.

On Tuesday, I think my boss just got off on the wrong foot from the beginning.  I did not take a good picture on something important.  I did not finish some of the smaller items on my list and did not give an update.  But I had one thing I was working on that I had given an update on, that I would finish it on Tuesday morning.  I got an email from my boss saying that if I was given the option to leave early, I really should make sure I have done enough prior to leaving early.  Especially with that project.  As it was on Friday, I felt so anxious, could not breathe and was having a panic attack because I knew I had so much to do.  I needed to take an anxiety pill it was so bad.

Anyway, I could not keep it inside.  I burst out all of these thoughts about how I stay late all the time, come in early, work through lunches, answer emails on weekends and days off yet it doesn’t seem to be enough.  It is always about what I am not doing.  I am trying so hard and I did not want it to seem like I was not working hard.  This led to me bursting out in tears, really like not understanding what I am saying because I am crying so hard and saying I had bipolar.  That my medication is being adjusted and I am changing dosages and adding and getting rid of medication and that I am struggling to meet demands and manage my moods. 

My boss felt terrible.  I think mostly that I keep it internalized for so long and that I did not feel I could be honest and tell her this.  Also, that maybe I needed a little more sensitivity with hours and demand as I juggle something that I really cannot leave at the door when walking into work.  We talked about a lot and just took a break to talk, absorb and by the end of the day, we were back to normal.  I told her, and I really meant it, that I did not want anything to change.  I wanted her to be as hard on me, as direct with me and keep pushing me to be better.  I truly do think that I have the best manager in my entire job and that no one here is a better team than her and I.  Some days are tough, and everyone just has those days.  But it never stops me from really wanting to come to work every single day.

This really got me to thinking about acceptance of my diagnosis.  Am I finally coming to that point?  I told my boss.  I told another friend whom I had not connected with lately despite how close we once were.  And I realize I feel okay about it.  No one knew any better because I was so functional.  I think maybe I am already helping to erase the stigmas people, but also myself, have about this disorder.  I do not feel like it is the worst thing in the world any longer if someone knows about this.  This is not something that I can control; this is a chemical imbalance.  This is just as much in my control as getting diagnosed with diabetes or cancer.  You would not think twice about whether there was something that person could do to stop it if you heard one of those diagnosis.  That is how it is with me.  I cannot control that I have this.  But I am doing everything in my control to not be my diagnosis.  I am seeing my psychiatrist, I am seeing my therapist, I am taking my medication religiously every night.  I am doing all I can and that should be the point.  I have not changed.  I am still me.  And I am doing EVERYTHING I can to control the things I can.  Everything else just must be.

I feel as though I have had some level of acceptance.  I think that I still have a way to go for full acceptance and I do not think that will happen until my medication is stable and I have a steady mood.  But I am happy to have any sort of acceptance.  It is given me a calm today that I have not felt in a while.  I feel awake, productive, and organized, and not in a manic sort of way.  Just a way that I assume most people can feel without medication.

Now, this does not mean I am ready to shout from the rooftops that I am bipolar and have everyone knowing.  I am not there, and I do not think that will ever be necessary.  But I feel like I can tell those closest to me and be okay with that.  I feel like I do not need to hide.  That I can make plans and if I’m having a day, be able to say I am not feeling like myself and need to stay in to focus on getting myself back in a good head space.  That is okay and I can do that.

I know that this looks differently for everyone.  Everyone has a different meaning of what acceptance is and how they get there and when.  Everyone is on their own timeline, moving at their own pace and that is how it should be.  That is how I need to look at it.  I have a lot of changes to make.  Schedules for my day, organization, sleep and creating boundaries.  As well as changing my entire thought process in therapy and overcoming some deep-rooted traumas.  It is not going to be easy.  I am going to fail a lot, which is hard for me to accept, as I expect to do everything perfect, but I am also going to get back up and continue until I get this all right.  I need patience, which again I am not good with, but I will get there too.

Everyone, please keep trying.  Please reach out if you need help.  To a loved one, to family, to a Dr. or even to an emergency helpline.  Do not keep it inside.  Get the help you need.  I promise, it will be worth it.

Next post will be beauty related; I swear!  It is going to be my go-to make-up products currently.

Suicide Prevention Hotline Website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

My email is bipolar.beauty.blogger@gmail.com.

Things coming up: my current skincare routine, 5 product make-up routine, holy grails in make-up and skincare, what I cannot live without (all things beauty) and more!

Stay well everyone xx

Sleep: 7 Hours

Depression: None

Elevated Mood: None

Irritability: None

Anxiety: Mild

I have been struggling up until this post.  Thus, the longer time between posts than I’d like.  Between withdrawing from the Lexapro and upping my Lamictal, my mood has really been all over the place.  I’ve been especially irritable, which usually I am not.  I had a few hypomanic moods; going, going, going and lack of sleep.  But it all came to a head yesterday.

I have felt overwhelmed at work.  I’ve had so much to do, but I already put in so much extra time, I didn’t think I could put in much more.  I had the option to leave at 3PM before the Fourth of July holiday.  I ended up only leaving a half hour before my normal time because I had so much to do.  But I was so focused on making sure I was touching a little bit of everything, rather than finishing one task.

On Tuesday, I think my boss just got off on the wrong foot from the beginning.  I didn’t take a good picture on something important.  I didn’t finish some of the smaller items on my list and didn’t give an update.  But, I had one thing I was working on that I had given an update on, that I would finish it on Tuesday morning.  I got an email from my boss saying that if I was given the option to leave early, I really should make sure I have done enough prior to leaving early.  Especially with that project.  As it was on Friday, I felt so anxious, couldn’t breathe and was having a panic attack because I knew I had so much to do.  I needed to take an anxiety pill it was so bad.

Any way, I couldn’t keep it inside.  I burst out all of these thoughts about how I stay late all the time, come in early, work through lunches, answer emails on weekends and days off yet it doesn’t seem to be enough.  It’s always about what I’m not doing.  I’m trying so hard and I didn’t want it to seem like I wasn’t working hard.  This lead to me bursting out in tears, really like not understanding what I’m saying because I’m crying so hard and saying I had bipolar.  That my medication is being adjusted and I am changing dosages and adding and getting rid of medication and that I am struggling to meet demands and manage my moods. 

My boss felt terrible.  I think mostly that I keep it internalized for so long and that I didn’t feel I could be honest and tell her this.  Also, that maybe I needed a little more sensitivity with hours and demand as I juggle something that I really cant leave at the door when walking into work.  We talked about a lot and just took a break to talk, absorb and by the end of the day, we were really back to normal.  I told her, and I really meant it, that I didn’t want anything to change.  I wanted her to be as hard on me, as direct with me and keep pushing me to be better.  I truly do think that I have the best manager in my entire job and that no one here is a better team than her and I.  Some days are tough, and everyone just has those days.  But it never stops me from really wanting to come to work every single day.

This really got me to thinking about acceptance of my diagnosis.  Am I finally coming to that point?  I told my boss.  I told another friend whom I hadn’t connected with lately despite how close we once were.  And I realize I feel okay about it.  No one knew any better, because I was so functional.  I think maybe I’m already helping to erase the stigmas people, but also myself, have about this disorder.  I don’t feel like it’s the worst thing in the world any longer if someone knows about this.  This isn’t something that I can control; this is a chemical imbalance.  This is just as much in my control as getting diagnosed with diabetes or cancer.  You wouldn’t think twice about whether there was something that person could do to stop it if you heard one of those diagnosis.  That’s how it is with me.  I can’t control that I have this.  But I am doing everything in my control to not be my diagnosis.  I am seeing my psychiatrist, I am seeing my therapist, I am taking my medication religiously each and every night.  I am doing all I can and that should be the point.  I have not changed.  I am still me.  And I am doing EVERYTHING I can to control the things I can.  Everything else just has to be.

I feel as though I’ve had some level of acceptance.  I think that I still have a ways to go for full acceptance and I don’t think that will happen until my medication is stable and I have a steady mood.  But I’m happy to have any sort of acceptance.  It’s given me a calm today that I haven’t felt in a while.  I feel awake, productive and organized, and not in a manic sort of way.  Just a way that I assume most people can feel without medication.

Now, this doesn’t mean I’m ready to shout from the rooftops that I’m bipolar and have everyone knowing.  I’m not there and I don’t think that will ever be necessary.  But, I feel like I can tell those closest to me and be okay with that.  I feel like I do not need to hide.  That I can make plans and if I’m having a day, be able to say I am not feeling like myself and need to stay in to focus on getting myself back in a good head space.  That is okay and I can do that.

I know that this looks differently for everyone.  Everyone has a different meaning of what acceptance is and how they get there and when.  Everyone is on their own timeline, moving at their own pace and that is how it should be.  That is how I need to look at it.  I have a lot of changes to make.  Schedules for my day, organization, sleep and creating boundaries.  As well as changing my entire thought process in therapy and overcoming some deep rooted traumas.  It isn’t going to be easy.  I am going to fail a lot, which is hard for me to accept, as I expect to do everything perfect, but I am also going to get back up and continue until I get this all right.  I need patience, which again I’m not good with, but I’ll get there too.

Everyone, please keep trying.  Please reach out if you need help.  To a loved one, to family, to a Dr. or even to an emergency helpline.  Don’t keep it inside.  Get the help you need.  I promise, it will be worth it.

Next post will be beauty related, I swear!  It’s going to be my go-to make-up products currently.

Suicide Prevention Hotline Website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

My email is bipolar.beauty.blogger@gmail.com.

Things coming up: my current skincare routine, 5 product make-up routine, holy grails in make-up and skincare, what I can not live without (all things beauty) and more!

Stay well everyone xx

Health Update

Sleep: 8 hours!  Only woke up twice! (this is unheard of for me; I will get into what changed)

Mild irritability

No depression

No elevated mood

So, it’s been 2 weeks since my meltdown over my psychiatric care.  Since then I’ve met with my therapist twice and with her help was able to come up with a plan.

In my area, I called several IOP facilities, to reasonably explore the option.  But, I’ve found out that an IOP dealing with mental health is difficult to come by.  They are mostly geared towards substance abuse and overcoming that.  I couldn’t find a location to help with my mental health needs.

My therapist was able to refer me to someone within her practice.  After a quick 15 minute rundown of my history and current symptoms, she felt confident she could successfully manage my medication, without using IOP.  She felt that the medication should not, even under an outpatient program, be tapered up any quicker than what she would do.  I was entirely functional and most of my symptoms were recognized by myself only.

Yesterday, I met with her for my initial evaluation.  It was long!  An hour and a half, to be exact.  It is harder than you may think.  This is now my fifth time going through this and it’s hard to continue to relive and rehash what happening.  It is embarrassing to admit to all the things you did when you were manic.  I am still struggling with accepting how I acted during that week.  It gets me choked up a bit to think I could be so out of control.  But, I need to accept that this is an illness I didn’t know about and therefore could control.  I’ve done everything in my power to get better and fight this head on since I have known.  This is a chemical imbalance, as real as diabetes or any other disease that isn’t due to something I could control.

Anyway, she went through all my symptoms, asked about overall health and other symptoms and did a complete look at my overall mental health.  She ruled out specifically borderline personality disorder and schizoaffective disorder, as those could mimic bipolar.  She said that I didn’t have the significant mood changes in an instant back and forth over a short time (like a day) that would come with borderline personality disorder and I didn’t have the psychotic symptoms, like hallucinations and hearing voices, that would come with schizoaffective disorder.  From her standpoint, I had a true manic episode and a subsequent depressive episode that is therefore bipolar 1 disorder, due to the length of time of each of this episodes.

My mood fluctuations could be described as slight hypomania, but can easily be attributed to my body balancing out from the new medications and getting to a therapeutic dose to really keep my symptoms at bay.

She felt confident that I can be managed through her and together, we’d work to get my medication cocktail right and therapeutic.  She was very into my comfort in doing the changes and what I thought of the medications and what sounded right for my body.

First, we talked about the Lexapro.  It is most likely what caused my manic episode.  Bipolar disorder was always inside me, manifesting itself in the depression episodes I often felt.  But, when I started this anti-depressant, it suppressed the depression so much that it allowed the mania to come and allow me to be diagnosed correctly.  I had wondered since being diagnosed why I would still be on this if that’s what caused my manic episode.  I was told that I still had depressive symptoms and the Lamictal would keep the mania at bay.  She disagreed with this and thought I should taper off the Lexapro.  I was more than happy to do that.  I will be doing 10mg for one week and then 5mg for another week and then stopping altogether.  I wanted to do the withdrawal a bit slower, just so that I could experience as least side effects as possible.  She was more than happy to go slower.   I should be off it in 2 weeks.

Then, we discussed the Lamictal and the Seroquel.  She described that these both would be used for mood stabilizing properties for me.  Previously, I was prescribed Seroquel to help with sleep and anxiety, with the added benefit of helping with the mania side of my mood.  She recommends doing something altogether for sleep and using Lamictal and Seroquel together for my mood.  The Lamictal helps more with the depression side and the Seroquel helps more with the manic side.  Together they work well as maintenance drugs; they keep me on a balanced path and lengthen the time between episodes.  We are increasing the Lamictal to 100mg starting this weekend.  I chose to start on the weekend as last time I was extremely exhausted and think it’s best I let my body get used to it when I can be home.  I will stick with the 25mg of Seroquel, though we can revisit that dosage as my other medications stabilize.

Lastly, we discussed my sleeping and how I don’t sleep without taking something.  I mentioned I didn’t think the Seroquel was working for that and she didn’t like using it for the purposes of sleep.  She started me on a customizable dosage of Hydroxyzine.  It is similar to Benadryl, in that it is an antihistamine.  However, it is approved for anxiety, as it affects serotonin levels as well.  It is often prescribed for its sedative properties for sleep before surgery or anxiety induced insomnia, which is what I have.  I can take up to 100mg and I can adjust as I see necessary, in increments of 25 mg.  Last night, I took 50mg and it worked so well!  To fall asleep at 10AM and only wake up twice during the night, is AMAZING for me.  I am looking forward to having this really regulate my sleep and helping wit the anxiety, as I can also take it for my sudden panic attacks.

Given that I felt comfortable with her and the plan we are on, I officially terminated my sessions with my other psychiatrist.  She was happy I found someone that is working with me on a more regular scheduled and can regulate my medication.  And I am happy too.

I feel as though I’ve been sort of “normal” lately.  I’ve been pretty even and calm during most of the day.  I think that my confidence is low and that I feel people can see through me and tell something is wrong.  It is causing me to take things more personal and having that affect my mood, bringing it down mostly.  A little more irritable, a bit defensive in what I’m doing and over justifying myself.  I am still adjusting to a lot of changes.  Doctors, therapists, medications.  It is a lot.  So, I know I need to be patient and allow this to play out.  Sometimes it just is harder than it sounds.  I just want to be like everyone else.

I hope that everyone is sticking in there and finds people that can be their circle.  I’ve certain been closed off lately and know that I have ruined some friendships with my behavior during my mania.  But I’ve also found so much in knowing I have a rock in my best friend and my boyfriend.  A few other friends that wont judge me for what I’m going through.  I really hope that people in a similar situation, or any situation, find their group.  It might be small, mine sure is, but it truly is the quality in that small group that counts the most!

Anyway, that’s all for my update.  Next post will be on my go-to makeup products currently and I’ll follow that up with a post on my Self-Care Sunday routine.

Suicide Prevention Hotline Website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

My email is bipolar.beauty.blogger@gmail.com.

Who is in your support circle?

Stay well everyone xx

Dyson Air Wrap – Is it Worth it?

Mood Check:  mild depression, no elevated mood, no irritability, moderate anxiety

Sleep Last Night: 6 hours (took 25 mg of Seroquel at bedtime; had a hard time getting to sleep last night)

Dyson.  That brand comes with a lot of immediate thoughts.  Vacuum.  Technology.  Innovative.  Expensive.

Dyson got into the hair tool game in 2016 by launching the Supersonic Hair Dryer.  It understandably got crazy buzz, and everyone wanted it.  It sold out everywhere and was quite difficult to get your hands on.  It was quiet, sleek and lightweight.  The technology put inside the hair dryer made air come out faster and at a different angle to optimize drying time, cutting down on heat damage.

Dyson has since launched different versions, different colors of the supersonic as well as other products.  Most recently it launched a cordless, flexible plate flat that checks the heat a ridiculous amount of times per second.  This too has been well sought after.

I did venture into the Dyson world about a year ago when I took the plunge and bought the Air Wrap.  I bought the entire bundle and it set me back $550.  This was a steep price to pay but if I was getting it, I was getting all the attachments and the case and going all in!  Since the original release, additional barrels (longer barrels, which were totally necessary for longer hair like mine!) and brush attachments to expand the looks you can do with this one tool.

The thought Is this one tool can do your entire hair look.  Dry, straighten, curl without switching devices.  It is lightweight and just as sleek.  It cuts down on extreme heat to keep hair damage to a minimum without sacrificing the look of a sleek blowout or curled hair.  It features a technology called Coanda Effect, which creates a continuous flow of air that forms around the barrel, attracting hair to its surface.  This creates voluminous curls and waves without using extreme heat.  There are three airflow speeds and three heat levels.  The power button slides up and if you push it upwards more and hold it, this is the cool blasts, which locks your curl into place.  This device also has intelligent heat control which measure the air temperature 40 times a second to regulate the heat.  Lastly it uses negative ions to cut down on static.

All that sounds too good to be true.  I mean does all that stuff equal and mean it is truly worth $550?! 

So, two important things to discuss before how I have used it, how often I use it and my final opinion on it: my hair type and the attachments that come in and their purpose.

I have naturally dirty blonde hair.  I get blonde balayage, so I do have some chemical processing damage, but I use a good steady routine of products, use heat protectant and see a professional for any coloring.  My hair is thin, but I have a lot of it.  It is naturally wavy/curly.  If I leave it natural, I have a mix of some ringlet curls and some tight waves, I will say.  It is a bit dry and frizzy, but easily manageable with the right products (want a post on my holy grail hair products?  I have some very specific items I ALWAYS need in my possession!)

In the complete set, you get the Air Wrap body.  Then there are 6 attachments that come with it and snap into the body.  There is a small push button to release the attachment to put another one on.  The following are the attachments and their purposes:

  • Pre-styling attachment: think of this as the Supersonic’s baby sister.  It is meant to dry your hair before using another attachment to finish styling.  If you are using the curling wands specifically, your hair should be most of the way dry, so the hair gets pulled in by the curling wand.  The pre-styling attachment helps you get your hair to that point.  It is not as strong as the Supersonic but its still a pretty good blow-dryer.
  • Soft smoothing brush: this is meant to give you a sleek, blow-out effect.  It works like a brush and these are soft bristles, meant to be used on thinner, shorter hair.  This attachment gives the straightest hair style.
  • Firm smoothing brush: this is much like the smoothing brush, but it has firmer bristles so it is better for thicker, more unruly hair.  The firmer bristles are supposed to keep frizz and flyways at bay.
  • Round volumizing brush: your best friend to get a salon style blow-out at home.  It directs air into the hair to create body and the bristles create tension to shape the hair as it dries.  This is your favorite round brush and a hairdryer in one!
  • 1.2-inch barrels (2): these are the smaller of the two sized curling wands.  These will create tighter curls.  There are two with both sets of curling wands so that the air can go in clockwise and counterclockwise to make sure you can have your curls facing away from your face.
  • 1.6-inch barrels (2): these are the bigger barrels and therefore will create softer, loose curls or waves.  Like the 1.2-inch barrels, there are 2, to create the clockwise and counterclockwise air flow.

All this information, I must have an opinion.  $550 is a lot of money.  But, in mind, this device is worth that and more.  In my experience, and I have started using it 2 times a week, it has gotten more action than my blow dryer, flat iron and curling wands combined!  I never liked pin-straight hair; it makes me look like I have no hair.  But a bouncy blowout, I love.  Except I never had the dexterity to make it work with a blow dryer and brush.  With one device to take the place of two objects, I finally can do it.  I can blow it out straight-ish or curl it now with just the round brush attachment.  The curling wand part is extremely cool; to just see it wrap automatically around the attachment and then come out with the perfect, bouncy curl makes me smile every time.

If you add up the costs of a blow-dryer, flat iron, curling wand and all the times you would go to get a blow-out, you would be spending well over $550. 

I was never good at hair, but this device honestly makes it so easy.  There is a little bit of a learning curve but once you get the hang of it, you will have hair that looks like a pro did it. 

I cannot say how long it will last; I have only had it a year, but I have had zero issues with it so far.

Besides the price, I really do not have any cons.  I wish that perhaps I did not buy the complete bundle.  But, even to get the longer 1.6-inch barrels (I mainly use those) and the round brush attachment, I would practically be spending the same thing.  The attachments that have launched outside the original do not appeal to me too much, either.  They went smaller with the round brush and curling barrels.  A bigger round brush or some 2-inch barrels would be nice.  The only real pain is with the curling wands, your hair really needs to be the perfect level of damp. Too wet, the hair wont auto-wrap and stay sucked against the barrel.  Too dry, the curl wont hold and it will not be as smooth.   I’ll also say that this device is clearly geared towards certain hair types.  Kinky curls to relaxed hair may not find the same results as I do because the heat is not enough and there isn’t enough tension to really pull the hair into the shape you desire.

I have some helpful tips!

  • Keep a spray bottle around to keep your hair to a dampness that will stay against the barrel and get a good curl! 
  • You need to section your hair.  This device works best when you do sections.  This way the hair is wrapped directly around the barrel, getting the heat to smooth and curl the hair.
  • You need to use the cool blast!  I normally touch my hair to make sure its dry and hold the cool blast up for 5 to 10 seconds.  Then I turn off the device and hold it there for another 5 seconds to make sure it is cooled.  This gives your curls the best chance of lasting.
  • Do not remove your hair from the device while it is still on.  This will cause a knotty, mess.  Make sure you power the device off and let the hair slide off.
  • Use the cool tip at the top of the attachments when removing so that you don’t burn your hands

If you think that you will use this device often, I think that is well worth it.  I think that it will replace all your current devices, cut down on damage and ultimately be worth the investment.  At the end of the day, that’s what this is; an investment. 

Do you have this device?  Would you consider getting it?

Suicide Prevention Hotline Website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

My email is bipolar.beauty.blogger@gmail.com

Stay well everyone! xx

Storytime: Sisters

Mood Check:  mild depression, no elevated mood, no irritability, moderate anxiety

Sleep Last Night: 7 hours (took 25 mg of Seroquel at bedtime)

I feel like I should clarify that this is not just a beauty blog.  I plan on using this blog as a space for both beauty and bipolar.  I want to share my experiences about having bipolar.  The difficulties, the joys, the ups, the downs.  All while maintaining that this disorder does not make you crazy.  Some days might be bad, where it is visible, all your struggles.  But most days, people will not know.  It will be a diagnosis you can fully control who knows and who does not.  I hope this helps people, seeing the day to day thoughts, rambling or straight, to better understand what people with bipolar go through.

Storytime.

So, I come from a big family.  I am one of 4, with all half siblings.  I am the baby and the only one that has both my mom and my dad.  We are all close, myself and my brother living at home still.  My oldest sister lives about a half hour away.  She has my Godson, the absolute light of my life and the joy of all our lives.  But there is one outlier.  My middle sister completely cut us off.

It was a gradual process; it was not one day she was talking with us and then stopped.  When she got married (I think) 7 years ago, we were still all close.  We would see her periodically, every holiday, we would text, and she would call my dad once a week to check in.

Then, it was like she spoke to my dad in October of 2018 and then we have not heard from her since.  We have sent texts, we have called, and all have gone unanswered.  She is moved and we have no idea where.

Now, I know what you are thinking.  This sort of coincides with a marriage.  Is it abuse?  Can her husband be keeping her away?  My brain went there.  But, she has an aunt and cousins from her mom’s side that she routine talks to and sees.  And my oldest sister talks to them too.  So, if something was off there, we would have heard about it.  She wouldn’t be seeing or talking to anyone.  It is specifically her siblings and father that she has cut off.

The worst part about it, is that no one knows why.  There are few reasons and basically everyone in my family blames themselves as the reason.

My sisters never got along.  They have always fought and bickered.  They’ve gone through points where they haven’t talked at all, couldn’t be in the same room together and they didn’t want to hear about being nice to one another.  Then everything changed when my oldest sister was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30.  Their dynamic was so different.  My middle sister flew down to be with her and take care of her after her surgery.  Our family had never been closer together.  But, my oldest sister can be a bit… difficult.  She ended up divorcing her husband and believed that my middle sister said things that were unkind.  They fell out and didn’t want to talk again.  One didn’t want to come if the other would be there.  If they were both there, they’d be on opposite sides of the floor, one talking about the other.  When my oldest sister finally got the news that they were adopting a little boy, it did seem to be another turning point.  My middle sister didn’t care at all about the process, the struggles, nor when my nephew was born.  In fact, I think the last conversation my father had with her had been that my nephew had been born and would hopefully be able to come home soon.  I feel like perhaps she thought with my oldest sister having a baby, we would always want her to come to everything so we had the baby along.  Maybe that was too much pressure to feel like maybe we would pick one sister over the other.

My mother, affectionately (now at least) is the evil stepmother to both my sisters.  My mother feels as though she said something to offend her and that subconsciously she is being blamed.

But for me, I think I’m the reason.  Back when I was 20 and hospitalized for depression and anxiety (and had suicidal thoughts) my sister was open with me that she blamed my parents for not saying something and getting me help sooner.  She was concerned that she would come home one day and find me dead.  I worry that she knew my depression, anxiety and behavior needed correction again and my parents were not advocating for me to seek the help I desperately needed.  That she was mad at my parents because they were letting me spiral and couldn’t even see it themselves.  Like we were all past redemption.

Why do I bring this up today?  I created an Instagram for my blog (IG: @bipolarbeautyblogger, check it out!) and when it got to the part of adding followers, I saw my sister had an Instagram.  It was her and her husband along a beautiful lakeside backdrop.  Her account was private but I requested it.  Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment.  But I did it out of curiosity.  After so long of being away, I always thought that maybe she just feels she doesn’t know how to come back.  So maybe all she needs another reach out.  And I just pressed follow.  Nothing yet.  But she’s a workaholic and probably so busy.  It’s too soon to write it off…

I am so scared to feel that way of disappointment again to see the status as still “requested” or even worse see the follow button again because she’s rejected it.  It sucks sending texts, calling, and just reaching out to your own blood and getting ignored.  Is any of the above or something so bad that we deserve to be cut out?  What the hell did my father do?  He has always been there for all of us.  He rescued her from her crazy mother.  He welcomed her back into her house when she broke up with her cheating ex-boyfriend.  He has always been there.  Why aren’t we good enough to be given the benefit of the doubt or maybe a second chance?  It really hurts.  Sure, some days I don’t think about it.  But every time I do, I get really upset.  I always thought her and I were the closest.  That we understood each other.  We were the “normal” ones.  It brings up a lot of trauma and a lot of abandonment issues…

This really brought my mood down today, though I seem to be going through waves…  So frustrating getting used to medication and not being able to find a steady ground of emotion!

No daddy issues here, but certainly sister issues!  Have you experienced anything similar?  Any suggestions on how to maybe reach her?

Suicide Prevention Hotline Website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

My email is bipolar.beauty.blogger@gmail.com

Stay well everyone! xx

Rant: Bad Day

Today was my building’s reopening and we welcomed back a small number of employees who wanted to come back. It was so nice to see!

My mood is so erratic today. 

I did have a consultation with another provider (lucky number 4?) to discuss my options.  In talking with her, letting know how my previous provider thought I needed an IOP to manage my medication since my mood has been a bit unstable.  This provider felt confident that since I was fully functional she could do weekly check-ins, with emails in between as necessary and get my medication to a therapeutic level.  She didn’t feel IOP was a step I needed to take and I was so happy to hear that.  I’ll do an intake with her next Monday and go from there.

But, my boss has been in a mood all day.  Little things, that are all big to her, haven’t been done here and there by other teams.  I haven’t been moving fast enough and not making her vision come to life.  And it makes me feel like a failure.  She makes it seem sometimes like she’s the only one busting her butt.  Coming in early, working late, answering emails on the weekend, etc.  I come in at 7:30AM every day.  I don’t start until 9AM.  I don’t take a lunch.  I stay until 4:30PM. I take calls, emails and texts after hours, weekends and days off. I think in an 11 hour day today and will only get paid for 8. I mean at least she’s salaried, she can’t get OT.

Sometimes I don’t eat all day. Sometimes I don’t go to the bathroom because I’m so busy I forget. I feel such a need to match her. If she’s not getting up, I feel I can’t. If she hasn’t gone to get food, I can’t go get food.  I’m not told this is the way. This is what I put on myself. But I feel like sometimes there isn’t enough compassion for what others might be going through.  I’m in pain everyday. I’m struggling internally. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I can barely breathe.  But it’s kind of just expected that everyday we’re going at 1001%. I can’t manage it everyday. I blame myself for everything. The technology isn’t working and I can’t fix it.  A vendor is late or a no show. Someone isn’t responding. I’m never going it the way she would. And everything needs to be done, said and followed through to her standards.

All that and you know what I feel?  Disappointed that I’m not doing everything perfect up to her standards. Getting the teams in line, moving at her speed, anticipating the next move and making her life easier not harder. Yeah, I am frustrated too, clearly, but the tears are more prominent than anger. Exhaustion is there too.

I really do try so hard. Everyday. I try to hide everything that is going on outside the office and go in there and make her life easier. Ordering itch cream because she has bug bites, I order food, I get in at 630AM because I fucking care. And sometimes it really never seems good enough.

Work is the biggest source of my anxiety and mood. How work is going is how my mood typically goes. Lately, my mood is less dependent on work; I’m just up or down on my own. But my mood shifts during the day based on what’s going on.

Right now I’m sitting in a car on my way (paid for two cabs today to get there early and get home for dinner because I stayed so late) home and I’m so exhausted. I’m bordering on tears. I’m anxious as hell. I keep having mini panic attacks. And this makes me scared that I might need to be hospitalized, which only makes everything worse.

I am going to need lunch breaks every Monday. I am going to need to leave at 4PM every Thursday. I need to make sure I get my psychiatrist and therapist in every week. I need to.  I also need the two vacations I’m going to ask for. I need to get the hell out of NY and I need to disconnect and be with the people who have loved and supported me through all this. I need to do something good. I need to feel good. I need to do something for me. But I have no idea what to say to get this time. I guess I need to say that I have a medical condition that is unmanaged currently and needs consistent check-up in the coming weeks to get me on track. It’s the only thing I can think to say.  I mean none of this will make me work less time than I am paid for. It’s just less than I typically put in daily. But this is my life. This is my future. This is literally my sanity.

I don’t understand how people cannot get nauseous, paralyzing anxiety over work. How do they leave everything at the door.

My boss said that these little things the guys are missing could get someone fired elsewhere. Is this what she thinks about me when I make little mistakes?!?

Sometimes I want to scream at her that I’m bipolar with crippling anxiety and I need a goddamn fucking break. I won’t. But boy I wish I could.

 

Rant over.

Suicide Prevention Hotline Website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

My email is bipolar.beauty.blogger@gmail.com.

Stay well everyone xx

My Current Skincare Routine

Mood Check:  mild depression, no elevated mood, mild irritability, moderate anxiety

Sleep Last Night: 6.5 hours (took 25 mg of Seroquel at bedtime)

I figured that I would use these blogs to stay accountable with my moods and sleep.  So, I’ll start every blog post with a check in of my mood and sleep.

Today’s post is going to be my current skincare routine.

While makeup is a huge passion of mine, I think sometimes I am more obsessed with skincare than makeup.  Makeup will only look as good as the base it is put on.   A good makeup day starts with a good skincare routine.

Firstly, I have the world’s best dermatologist in the world, whom I see twice every year.  Each time, I get an acne consultation and once a year I get a full body check for any irregularities.  My skincare routine encompasses both over the counter products and prescription oral and topical medications prescribed by my dermatologist.  The key to great skin is consistency.  My dermatologist can give me all the tools in the world, but my skin will not look good unless I do it every day and night.

I have multiple types of acne and the oral and topical medications work to address the different types.  The main type of acne I had was deep closed comedones.  These are small bumps that are deep under the skin and typically do not come to the surface.  Most topicals cannot reach them, so the only real fix is to have acne surgery, in which a dermatologist makes a small incision each comedone and uses an extraction tool to remove the build-up.  Topicals, like retinoids, speed-up the cell turnover process to help these comedones from forming.  I also get deep cystic acne on my chin.  Cystic acne is a deep, fluid filled sac that is usually formed from hormone fluctuations.  These cannot be popped and can be quite painful.  For large, stubborn cysts, a cortisone shot can reduce inflammation and redness within 24 hours.  I also have rosacea, which can cause small pustules.

The oral medication I use is Spironolactone.  I am on a high dose – 250 mg. – which is the highest that I can really go.  If this did not work, I would have to consider Accutane, which would be an extreme reaction.  Spironolactone is an anti-androgen drug, meaning that it blocks androgen hormones, which contribute to acne in women.  Testosterone is an example of an androgen hormone.  Spironolactone is also used to treat high blood pressure and it known as a water pill.  Kidney function needs to be checked regularly as it also affects potassium levels.  I get my blood taken and checked at least once a year.  This drug works from the inside to stop the painful, deep cystic acne.  I take 125 mg. in the morning and evening.

In the morning, I use azelaic acid.  This has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.  This works to combat the redness and inflammation that the rosacea can cause.  It also works to stop the small pustules from forming as well.  Since this also helps encourage cell turnover, it also helps with acne scarring as well.  I also use ketoconazole on my forehead.  This is an antifungal cream.  Sweating can sometimes cause an overabundance of yeast on the skin.  This leads to small, itchy bumps across the forehead.  I use the ketoconazole to prevent the yeast from overgrowing.

At night, I use a retinoid called Tazarotene.  Retinoid is a form of Vitamin A.  Retinoid works by speeding up the cell turnover on the skin.  This process means that the pores stay clear of debris and acne, such as pustules or comedones, cannot form.  Retinoids also help prevent the formation of wrinkles and considerably assists with the anti-aging process.  You only need a small amount, just a pea size.  Prescription strength retinoids are very strong.  You need to build up your tolerance to this medication, using every other day for a few weeks before switching to everyday.  You will experience a lot of redness, skin sensitivity and dry, flaking or peeling skin, possibly for up to six weeks while starting to use this.  It is extremely important to use a thick, moisturizing cream to properly hydrate the skin.  I use, what my dermatologist calls the “sandwich” method, in which I put a thin layer of a cream on my skin first, then my retinoid and I put a thick layer of cream over that.  This does not affect the efficacy of the retinoid, but it does help with the dryness a lot.  It is also important to use sunscreen, as your skin will be extremely sensitive to the sun.

The last prescription topical I use is Aczone.   This has antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties to further kill the bacteria that could lead to acne.  It is not known exactly how but it works to decrease the severity and number of pimples and promotes the healing of the acne as it fades.

The rest of my skincare is over the counter products.  I used to watch a ton of YouTube videos and have step after step after step of different products to use every night.  But honestly, simplicity is what is best for your skin.  A few simple, purposeful products are all you need!

I will start will cleanser.  All my cleansers can be found at the drugstore.  I alternate between two super hydrating ones and one with some benzoyl peroxide if I have had a particularly sweaty day.  I religiously use either the Cera Ve Hydrating Cleanser or the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser.  They are both so gentle, clean your skin but does not leave it squeaky clean or tight feeling.  These are especially great for when your skin is super sensitive from retinoids or retinol.  I try to avoid using cleansing devices because it tends over-exfoliate the skin.  Make sure to wash your skin for 1 whole minute.  YouTuber Jackie Ania taught me that the Fresh Prince of Bell Air theme song is exactly a minute; so, sing that and you’ll know you’ve thoroughly cleaned your face.

After cleanser, my routine shifts if it is morning or night.  In the morning, I will use my prescription topicals (ketoconazole on my forehead, azelaic acid on my cheeks and chin).  Then I apply my eye cream.  Typically, this is where I rotate different brands out and might spring for something more expensive.  I do tend to use a different eye cream in the morning versus at night.  Right now, I am using the Clinque Pep-Start eye cream.  I do not think it does anything miraculous, but it hydrates enough.  My under eyes are actually pretty good, no deep lines, darkness.  I mainly look for hydration and this works enough.  Next, I will use my Cera Ve Moisturizing Cream.  This is a product I CANNOT live without.  This is the only thing that truly hydrates my skin.  It is a must have no matter what time of day, make-up or no make-up, in the house or out of the house.  Any vacation, night away, this is the first thing I need to pack.  If there is anything to buy from this post, it is the Cera Ve Moisturizing Cream.  Lastly, I put on my sunscreen.  Again, I do not have like a must have in this category.  Right now, I am using the Supergoop Matte tinted 40 SPF.  What I look for is a mineral sunscreen (I am allergic to physical sunscreens, so it needs to titanium dioxide or zinc oxide) that does not lead to further breakouts.  The Supergoop one works well.  If I am going to be in the sun, my go-to is MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème sunscreen, SPF 50.  This soothes my skin, protects it and does not break me out.  It is my go-to for being in the sun.

At night, if I feel my skin is a bit congested, some blackheads or some comedones, I will use the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant.  I wont use this more than a few times a week as it could cause over exfoliation with the use of the prescription topicals I use as well.  Next, I fully believe in the sandwich method.  My skin would be a peely, flaky, dry mess if I did not do this.  So, I use a generous amount of the Cera Ve Moisturizing Cream.  I give that a few minutes to sink in before putting on my topicals.  I layer the Tazorac down first, using only a pea size amount spread over my entire face.  Then, I use one pump of the Aczone all over my face.  I give that a few minutes to soak in as well.  Then, I use an eye cream.  Right now I’m used the Fresh Black Tea Age Delay Eye Concentrate.  I find this ticks the marks of keeping puffiness down and my under eyes hydrated, which is really all I can ask for.  In a later post, I’ll talk about my holy grail eye cream that I truly think is worth it!  Lastly I slather on a healthy amount of the Cera Ve moisturizing cream to finalize my skincare routine.

Also, morning, noon or night, the lip balm to end all lip balms is the Laneige Sleeping Lip Mask.  There is nothing else like it.  It will last forever and really keeps your lips smooth, hydrated and kissable!

This wraps up my skincare routine.  Any questions, product recommendations or comments, leave them below!

Suicide Prevention Hotline Website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

My email is bipolar.beauty.blogger@gmail.com.

Stay well everyone xx

Not a Bed of Roses

So, I guess the beauty part will come after post 2…

Yesterday was a tough day for me. I had this intention of going home, finishing up the layout of the blog, making it look pretty and launching it. Well, that all went sideways quickly.

I should preface that I absolutely love my job.  While there are times that I struggle, it is generally something that I know I am good at and can do well.  It has always been my safe place.  Everything gets left at the door and as my life gets stressful and I want to run away from my feelings and thoughts, I throw myself even harder into work and go even harder when maybe I need to take a breather and take a day.  Vacation days and FULL days off are few and far between.  Even on days off, I am checking email, taking calls and answering texts.  My position has grown and day to day, I get to manage 3 teams.  This is extremely important to me.

When I was diagnosed, it was after my episode.  I thought that I would get medication; I knew that it would be some time before my dosage was steady and that there would be some trial and error in getting this right.  I thought I would see my psychiatrist every 2 weeks at first, continue to adjust my medication.  I would see a therapist every week to address not only this mood disorder, but past traumas of my life as well.  No one outside of 5 people (my parents, brother, boyfriend and best friend) know about this and I intended on keeping it that for some time.  Especially, I did not want to say anything to my job.  While I believe wholeheartedly, my boss, whom I am extremely close with and thank God everyday for being the boss that she is, would be supportive and as understanding as anyone could be hearing this, it will still change things.  My emotions, work, speech and everything will go under a microscope.  Is she spiraling?  Can she handle this?  I do not want to be handled.  I want to live a normal life.  I want to be held to the same stringent standards I have always been held to.  I do not want special treatment or leeway because I need to fight this separate battle within myself.

Yesterday was a two-week check-up with my psychiatrist.  As my medication continues to be upped and my mood balances out to these new drugs, my mood fluctuates a bit.  I get a little hypomanic (not as severe as mania, but an elevated mood) and then I will get a bit of depression.  I battle internal rage for no reason, anxiety and exhaustion.  My psychiatrist believes that I need an intensive outpatient program.  This is very open-ended but in simplistic terms, I’d be able to meet a psychiatrist every few days and adjust my medication quicker, monitor my moods and get to a stable medication cocktail that works for me in a sped up time line.  In essence, this sounds great.  I can get to be stable and normal much quicker!  But a lot of programs I am seeing have a set schedule I would need to go into, multiple days and multiple hours, during the day.  I would need to take an undetermined time away from work and be chained to this treatment process.

So, I lost it.  My initial method of receiving information is panic.  I think of the worst possible case before the more likely case.  I had it in my mind immediately that I wouldn’t be able to find somewhere that I could do evening or weekend hours or telehealth for an hour a day, or some logical solution that would allow me to work like I have been.  I thought I’d have to out myself, go on short-term disability to get time away from work and I’d be in an everyday session to monitor my moods, get therapy and up my dosage quickly.  I was hysterical.  I got this news towards the end of my workday, which was chaotic already.  I have been working very hard towards an office reopening next week and I could not get either of my computers to unfreeze, open my emails and do my job.  I got this news, could not process, had to shut it off and go to a meeting, finish up my end of day tasks and address last minute details.  By the time I got out of the building, I could not hold in the tears.  I basically cried for an hour, to my boyfriend and then to my parents.

My point in writing all this is to say that this is a journey.  This is not going to be fixed with 3 psychiatry appointments, 3 therapy visits and a few pills.  I need to work at this.  Yesterday, I thought I could not handle this.  I am still not totally convinced I can.  But I did realize something valuable.  I cannot think I am going to do this alone.  I cannot shut all these feelings, fears, concerns inside me and battle it myself.  My family and closest people in my life are there for me.  They are there to listen to me and help me breathe and come up with a solution that will fit my needs.  There is a solution out there for my outpatient therapy needed.  I need to do a bit of research, reach out to my insurance company, talk to my therapist tonight and choose something that works for my schedule.  I am not giving up work.  I will do these weekends, evenings, lunch hour every day; but I am not stopping work or telling anyone that I do not want to about my disorder.  Maybe I’ll need to share that I have an ongoing medical issue that I’ll need a set lunch hour every Monday, Wednesday, Friday while I get a medication routine but that I can deal with.  I will find something that works for me.

Please remember, you are in charge of your own life.  While our doctors, therapists and families all want what’s best for us, and may be right in the end, there is choice that you have (while of course we are all within our right mind and not a danger to ourselves or others). Make choices that you can live with and that will lead towards a better you. Not choices you feel forced to make that and that will push you back in what you want to accomplish. Fight for what you believe in. Make your voice heard.

I’m here as a sounding board, someone to vent to and someone to help you navigate through things.

Suicide Prevention Hotline Website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

My email is bipolar.beauty.blogger@gmail.com.

What medication cocktail are you on? I’m currently on Lamictal, Lexapro and Seroquel. Drop some side effects and coping mechanisms you might have developed to counteract them!

Stay well everyone xx

Hello, everyone!

About two months ago, I was diagnosed as bipolar after my first manic episode.  While it is a bit later for me to be diagnosed, as I am 30, it was induced by the anti-depressant I was on.  Now this is something I will battle for the rest of my life.

I’ve seen multiple psychiatrists, therapists and there are a lot of different medication names thrown my way and I’ll probably be on and off a few of them as the doctors figure out what my correct cocktail of drugs are to keep my symptoms as much at bay as we can.  Something I have had to accept is that I will never fully be able to prevent an episode – it will happen again.  But it is about learning the early warning signs and getting help before it gets worse, and into a full-blown attack.

The range of emotions I have felt over the last two months has been like a roller coaster.  This is somewhat normal as I am still balancing out with each increase of my medication.  I have already had a small hypomanic episode that I worked through.  But I am hyper aware of every emotion I am feeling.  It is the fear that it could quickly snowball into an episode.  I track my moods, sleep, irritability, and anxiety everyday to look for patterns.  This is all still so new to me and I know that this is not going to be a road without a few bumps.

The only people that know are my parents, brother, boyfriend and best friend.  So why would I create a blog being so open about this diagnosis?  I plan to be anonymous on here for as long as I do not feel comfortable letting others know about this part of me.  But I want to help erase a stigma about this disorder.  I think everyone, including my own mother, think of bipolar and imagine what is seen in a movie or TV show.  Someone who struggles with medication and psychiatric help.  They seem off balance and yelling, acting out, and seem out of control.  That is not how it is for everyone.  I have started to talk to many people.  People who go to work every day and are good at their jobs.  People with families.  People who are in the medical profession.  People who are every much like anyone without this diagnosis.  Will there be days that is not quite the case?  Sure.  That is all part of this journey.  But, on a whole, you might never be able to tell that the person next to you is bipolar.

Schedule is important.  I try to wake up, take my pills, shower, work and do my coping skills (sudoku puzzles) the same times every day.  When I start to feel anxious, restless or like I’m not in control with my emotions, I stop, I breathe and even if it is the middle of the work day, I do a sudoku puzzle.  Just to get me back in the present and ready to complete the rest of my day.  I am also trying to go back to the things I loved before depression, anxiety and eventually this bipolar diagnosis controlled my life, and I couldn’t do anything at all.  That is where the Beauty in my blog name comes from – I love anything and everything beauty related.  Make-up, skincare, nails, hair, you name it, I love it.  I could talk for days about this topic.  I have learned a lot and have so much to say on the topic.  It is a passion of mine that I let fall away from me.  I am not the best at any of it and I certainly don’t know everything, but I can give my opinion, let people what worked for me and what totally didn’t.  It will give me purpose, give me a hobby while, I hope, proving that people with my diagnosis do not need to be stigmatized.  We really are just like anyone else.  But we just need to try harder to stay that way.

I hope that this blog becomes a safe space.  Somewhere to share the best tips, the best products and somewhere to sort thoughts out.  I am not a doctor; I am not a dermatologist or esthetician – everything that I say my own experience or opinion.

Last thing I will say is a plea – if you need help, please reach out.  Whether it is to a family member, a friend, a loved one, even myself.  You matter.  You are here for a reason.  There is help out there.  It might not be easy, it might get messy, but it is worth because you will be here.

Suicide Prevention Hotline Website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

My email is bipolar.beauty.blogger@gmail.com.

Things coming up: my current skincare routine, 5 product make-up routine, holy grails in make-up and skincare, what I can not live without (all things beauty) and more!

Add in the comments if you have been diagnosed with a mental health (or any other) disorder or if a love one has. It will be connect with as many of you as I can!

Stay well everyone xx