Tag Archives: Bipolar Disorder

Coping with stress

Meaning of the word stress

According to the dictionary,  stress is:

  • a state of mental or emotional strain or suspense
  • a difficulty that causes worry or emotional tension

Suspense, according to the dictionary,  is apprehension about what is going to happen.  Synonyms for suspense:

  • apprehension;  dread
  • doubt;  uncertainty;
  • anticipation;  expectancy

Consequences of stress

Our body is designed to deal with stress like it deals with a (perceived) threat.  You are probably familiar with the three responses:

  • Fight
  • Flight
  • Freeze

Our body is pumped up with adrenaline and other hormones to prepare us to be able to either fight or flee,  whichever is needed.  When we feel overwhelmed,  we freeze.  Once the (perceived) emergency is over,  our body has to work hard to deal with the fall out and to calm things down.

The effects of stress on our overall health is well-known.  Our immune,  cardiovascular,  neuroendocrine and central nervous systems suffer.  Where it only takes a moment for our body to be ready to fight or flee,  it takes much longer to reach the equilibrium we need to be and stay healthy.

When stress becomes a chronic feature in our lives,  just imagine what damage this will do to our body.  A lot of the damage we might not notice at first,  but we are sure to notice it later.  Arteries thicken,  brain cells die,  blood pressure raises,  risk of heart attack and stroke increases and the list goes on.

Recovering from stress

Our body wants to obtain the state of homeostasis.

Homeostasis is the state of metabolic equilibrium between the stimulating and the tranquilizing chemical forces in your body.

If the stimulating chemical forces are tipping the scale,  we are in trouble.  So are we when the tranquilizing chemical forces have the upper hand.

Those of us with bipolar disorder are pretty familiar with balancing the scales of our emotions.  Adding stress to the mix can easily tip one of the scales to a position we definitely don’t like.  When that happens,  the time it takes us to ‘recover’ and obtain a measure of equilibrium is what tells us how well we are doing.

Did you hear that?  The deciding factor on how well we are doing is NOT the fact that our scales are tipping either side.  The deciding factor is the time we need to recover and obtain some measure of balance.

In order to recover faster we are learning tools to handle our bipolar and everything else that comes with it.

Stress is not all bad

Photo credit:  Rick

Both stress as well as suspense do not necessarily have purely negative connotations attached to their meaning. Stress can cause tension and strain,  but it can also cause anticipation and expectancy.

Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain OR a state of mental or emotional suspense.

What or who decides which it is going to be: strain or anticipation?

Stress is a difficulty that causes worry or emotional tension.

What or who decides what stress is going to cause?

It seems to center around what is going to happen. Meaning that the actual event is in the future.  So we don’t know yet what it is going to be.  It could be bad OR good!

One of the things it (stress) does is to release norepinephrine, one of the principal excitatory neurotransmitters. Norepinephrine is needed to create new memories. It improves mood. Problems feel more like challenges, which encourages creative thinking that stimulates your brain to grow new connections within itself. Stress management is the key, not stress elimination.

Stress management

Managing stress is finding a strategy to deal with it that works for you.  Since we are all unique,  what works for you might not work for me.  But rest assured that there is always a way we can learn to deal with stress and whatever else life decides to throw at us.

You see,  what is really important here is how we respond to stress.  Remember how stress can relate to dread (fear),  doubt and uncertainty?  But it is also related to anticipation and expectation.

What is it gonna be for you?  Being stressed or enjoying dessert?

Follow-up blog post:  To stress or not to stress

For further reading:

Understanding stress

Renew ~ Stress on the brain

Mama’s Losin’ It

If you really knew me, you would know that…

I love to pick words apart by using the dictionary!



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How to help people with a mental illness

Do you know someone with a mental illness?  Maybe you feel unsure about what to do or say as you don’t know how your words or actions will be perceived.  Or maybe you just like to know a little more.  Then,  please keep on reading!

Photo credit: Brenda Gottsabend

What follows is a list of things you can do,  not do and say to someone with a mental illness by someone with a mental illness.  By no means is this list complete.  For that reason I have added some further reading material at the bottom.

What to do:

  1. Learn more about the illness.   You need to know what your friend or relative is dealing with.  This is so helpful for both you and us.
  2. Separate the person from the illness.  We are more than our mental illness.  Thank God!
  3. Respect us.   Even though we have a mental illness,  it doesn’t render us stupid or dumb.
  4. When we isolate ourselves,   show that you care by calling us or stopping by.
  5. Ask us what we need or how you can help during our good times,   so we can decide together what is best for both you and us when we are in an episode.
  6. Offer to go with us or drive us to appointments if we need it.
  7. Offer to help with practical chores.  Especially when we are depressed, household chores are way too hard to keep up with.   It’s such a blessing when someone steps in and does our stacked-up-week-old dishes.  Or cleans the bathroom.  Does the shopping.  Cooks a meal.  Etc.
  8. Encourage us to keep taking our meds.   When we complain about the side effects,  encourage us to go to our pdoc to talk about it.
  9. Encourage us to get professional help if we don’t have already.  Even when we are stable we need it so we stay stable.
  10. Encourage us to go to our pdoc or other mental health carer when we are not doing well.  Make sure we go when we continue to be unwell.
  11. Have humor  –  laughter lightens the soul 🙂
  12. Ensure you have contact numbers (for those who are very close to someone with MI).
  13. Ask if we are thinking of hurting ourselves (for those who are very close to someone with MI).
  14. Take care of yourself.  It’s not good for either of us if you give yourself away,  nor is it healthy.
  15. Set boundaries.  It might not be easy,  but it’s absolutely necessary to maintain a healthy relationship between us.


  1. Take strange behaviour personally when we are having an episode (especially mania,  delusions,  hallucinations).
  2. Change your role as a friend or relative into that of a caregiver.  You can care for us without becoming a caregiver.  But we need you as our friend or relative.
  3. Neglect yourself  –  know your boundaries of what you can give and what not.  Set your limits and discuss those with us during our good times.

Tell us:

  1. That we are strong.  MI is not a weakness,  if anything it has made us stronger in who we are by dealing with it.
  2. That we are not to blame.  No one is to blame.  We just happen to have it.
  3. That we are not guilty for having a MI.  It’s nobody’s fault.
  4. That we do not need to be ashamed of it either.
  5. That we are courageous for dealing with our illness.  Especially when confronted with the fall out our episodes can cause.  It’s so hard to deal with that,  people,  so hard…  But also necessary for us to maintain healthy relationships.
  6. That we are not alone.
  7. That you care,  no matter what mood we are in or what is happening to us due to our illness.

I welcome any and all comments and questions,  either in the comment section below the post or through the ‘Contact me’ page at the top of my blog.  Please,  share your tips!  Thanks 😉

For further reading:

Helping someone with a mental illness ~ for youth between 14 -25 years

60 Tips for Helping People who have Schizophrenia ~ very helpful for those of us with Bipolar Disorder as well

Supporting the Mentally Ill: Best Things to Say ~ Natasha Tracy

How to Help Someone With a Mental Illness ~ Natasha Tracy (We must be twins,  after I finished my post I found this recent post of hers. :))

Other interesting posts regarding bipolar disorder on this blog:

What is Bipolar Disorder?


Medical treatment

Peeps that are important

Why mood charting?

Mood charting revisited


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Mood charting revisited

The history of mood charting

The history goes back to the beginning of the twentieth century,  to a German psychiatrist Dr. Emil Kraepelin (and no,  I can’t pronounce his name either :)).  Photo credit: public domain.

He worked with color codes to chart episodes on a monthly basis.  The National Institute of Mental Health – Life Chart Methodology ~ NIMH-LCM™  (grief,  what a mouth full and I haven’t even said anything yet!) was built on Dr. Emil’s developed chart.

Dr. Kraepelin’s early studies found that patients often undergo a progressive increase in cycle frequency, or a decrease in the well interval between episodes; that initial episodes were often triggered by external events, but later episodes emerged spontaneously; and that affective illness tended to continue in families (genetic vulnerability).  (Source)

Two studies,  one conducted in 1997 and one in 2000,  proved the validity and reliability of the use of the NIMH-LCM™.

What to chart?

In no particular order:

  1. Sleep patterns – how many hours slept;  time we went to bed & got up; how well or fitful we slept.
  2. Stressful situations – be it related to family,  work, study etc.:  it has impact on our mood.
  3. Severity of mood – can be difficult at first;  at least I found it hard how to compare and compare to what,  but eventually when I kept on it I developed a feel for it.
  4. Medication use – particularly revealing when changing dosage or meds.
  5. Highest and lowest mood of the day.
  6. Exercise (or for me:  the lack thereof…) – and the effect on our mood.
  7. Physical health – what influence does being physically well / unwell have on our mood?
  8. Energy levels – could it show a possible upcoming mood change?
  9. For women: hormonal imbalances during our period and the influence on our mood.
  10. Side effects of our meds.
  11. Weight – jotting it down once at a certain day of the month.
  12. Therapy / Counseling sessions.
  13. Full moon – make a note of when the moon is full that month.
  14. Life / daily events – the good,  the better,  the bad and the ugly  (arguments;  disappointments;  fun happenings;  holidays etc.)
  15. Alcohol consumption.

By no means do you need to chart the whole list.  Find what you need,  make your own chart,  use existing charts  (printed or online).  In short:  find what works for you!

Why mood charting: 

  1. To identify early warning signs – like sleeplessness or too much sleeping.  (A sure sign for me that something is up!  Or down.)
  2. To manage our illness more successfully – knowledge of how we react to life’s daily challenges is power!!
  3. For medication management – with the numerous meds available these days,  it’s vital to know how we respond to whichever med(s) we are prescribed.
  4. To discover patterns otherwise difficult to detect.
  5. Because we think that we remember well,  but the truth is:  we don’t.
  6. It shows our progress – and when we deserve a slap on our shoulders!!
  7. Ultimately because it helps to keep ourselves well – by understanding which aspects of life interfere with our moods
Here you can find an earlier post I wrote about mood charting.


Keeping a daily journal is the only way to find out what is really going on in our lives in relation to our moods.  It is important to know what influences our moods and what in turn is influenced by our moods.  Besides,  it gives us more reliable and useful information  for us as well as our doctors / therapists / counselors.

If you find it difficult to use,  have initially a family member or good friend help you.  You might gain some valuable info that you yourself don’t see or notice.

When a good friend of mine helped me,  she told me she noticed that every time I was getting hypo manic I started to ‘talk’ with my hands and my eyes were getting big.  Signs that were impossible for me to ‘see’.  Now I know,  so I pay attention to these pointers.

Once we have more insight,  when necessary we can get help faster.  Consequently,  we might not dip as low or go as high as before.  Wouldn’t that be cool?!

To end I quote Stephen C. Murray :

Mood charting is a tool and like all tools it depends on both the quality of the tool and the skill of the person using it. If you have not used a mood chart you should give it a try to see if it helps with your therapy. The key to mood charting is in doing it daily, stay with a chart for a couple of months and see if it helps.

For more information on mood charts / charting:

Bipolar Network News – The latest news on bipolar disorder research and treatment.

Articles from Stephen C. Murray – Executive Director of the Cheryl T. Herman Foundation. The foundation promotes treatment, education and understanding for Mood Disorders.

MoodChart – MoodChart was developed by Dan Lieberman and Fred Goodwin, who are psychiatrists at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Other interesting posts:

What is Bipolar Disorder?


Medical treatment

Peeps that are important

Why mood charting?

How to help people with a mental illness

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Curve balls

Photo credit: Terry Dye

It’s been a though week.  Life threw me some unexpected curve balls.  Oh wait,  maybe they are always unexpected?  I dunno a thing about baseball,  really…


The major one is that tomorrow night (early afternoon for USA peeps) I will be sharing about mental illness and bipolar disorder with my youth group.  That’s what a hypomanic episode might lead to…

To be honest,  I wanted to share about it either way.  For one,  to break the taboo of mental illness and two,  to disclose a little about my bipolar disorder.

It will sure be an interesting evening… truth be told I am even a little nervous,  really.

But then,  since I will share with them that Winston Churchill, Vincent van Gogh,  Mel Gibson, Jean-Claude vanDamme,  Brian Wilson,  Carrie Fisher,  Patty Duke,  Stephen Fry,  Robin Williams and some Dutch authors had or have it,  at least I can’t deny being in good company!


The evening went real well – I was composed and was able to calmly share the facts about mental illness and bipolar disorder.  Much to my relief I didn’t even remotely feel like crying,  even though it had been a very emotionally week for me.

The youth received it well.  They were respectful and understanding.  What more can one ask?  We will take it step by step,  but I belief it’s been good to have it out in the open!


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What do you mean, hypomanic?

Photo credit: cohdra

We are going to Ukraine with our youth group to work with street kids this Summer.  I am so excited!!  It’s just over the border with Hungary,  though,  so my Russian will be of little use.  In that part of the country the people speak exclusively Ukrainian.  This comes with the attitude of: Ukraine for the Ukrainians!  In other words,  all others have to clear out and return to wherever they (or their ancestors) came from.

So,  naturally,  I ordered a Ukrainian language course.  And I have started to learn Ukrainian – which is a lot of fun.  It is different from Russian,  yet I can read everything – even when I don’t understand a word of it :).

The sun has been out to play several days in a row.  This makes me ridiculously happy.  So I thought I needed a party.  And because I won’t be here when I do have my birthday in Summer,  why not celebrate it right about now?  I also owed my house a party to warm it up.  Two good reasons to party,  is it not?

So,  naturally,  I invited about 30 people to come to my party in a couple of weeks time.  I came across cheap and fun invitations,  wrote them out,  and handed them out or sent them by mail.  A couple of people I called.  Now the planning for food is going on.  A lot of fun!

My house needs some attention as well.  And of course a number of people I haven’t talked to in a while.  It’s fun to get in touch with them again.  During my time being sick I didn’t see too many people,  cuz that’s what happens when you aren’t well.  Hard to cope with others when you are struggling yourself.  So,  naturally,  now is the time to bug them :).

As I still have to catch up on my computer stuff and all,  I stay up late.  Or early,  it depends which way you look at it.  It’s not thát bad,  really,  I still get about 6 hours sleep at night.  Sometimes more,  sometimes less.  But overall not too bad.  I mean,  really!

When with other people I become virtually a chatterbox.  It’s hard for me to shut up.  Hm,  that one is not always too easy.

Do you think I might be a touch hypomanic?


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Construction, demolition, maintenance…

When I wrote my post about being “under construction”,  I received a very interesting comment by Josh.  Here is part of it:

I totally hear what you’re saying about life being “Under Construction”.

Here is my view:

Everyone’s life is either in a period of construction, maintenance, or demolition… I feel right now I’m in a demolition mode with an eye on maintenance.

This broadened my view and showed me a new way of looking at my episodes and seasons in life.

For example:  those past one and a half week has sure been a ‘demolition’ time!  First time in the hospital,  struggling to get a diagnosis,  becoming very sick due to being oversensitive to a certain anti-biotic.  It was pure survival and a lot of pain and tears.

Right now I have entered a ‘maintenance’ time – for as long as it will last :).  I am up and moving again,  doing my best to pick up where I left off before I got sick.  And loving it!  I feel the need to catch up on all those days of living I missed.  Causing me to go to bed at 3 a.m…  *shame faced*

It’s a tight rope dance,  really.  Two surprise visitors,  which was a blast!,  and I noticed my rapid speech and excitement,  which started both to boil over.

Now,  I know this is partly due to the fact I had little sleep last night ánd I haven’t seen many people after I came home from the hospital.  I talked to some close friends on the phone during my illnesses.  But,  this is a warning sign that I need to pay attention to… so I don’t fall back in ‘demolition’.

Of course,  once I am physically well again and fully recovered from my experiences,  I expect to enter a ‘construction’ time.  A time where I can build – pay attention to relationships,  spend time with my youth group building relationship with them,  continue my studies,  pick up the translation of “Bipolar In Order”,  continue to build my blog and be involved with other bloggers,  even start voluntary work for a couple of hours a week.


It can feel like I am spinning plates,  here,  there and everywhere…

Just waiting for one to fall off… thinking:  will I be able to keep the other plates spinning? Or will the other plates follow in slow or quick succession?  It does keep me on my  toes,  that’s for sure!

Maybe when you read the post title you thought it was in an odd order.  Well,  yes.  You wouldn’t want a contractor to build in that order!  But,  for BD’s there IS no order in our moods or episodes.  We go from maintenance to demolition to construction to maintenance to construction to demolition to…   well,  you get the idea :)!

Photo credit: TimShoesUntied


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Why mood charting?

One of the tools we,  BD’s,  can use is keeping a journal of our moods.

I have an  ‘official’  Life Chart Method Journal.  It contains two times 2 pages for each month,  divided in days.

The first set chronicles which  meds you are taking,  including the dosage, on a daily basis.  The other side deals with how many hours you slept each night,  chronicles your weight and in graph style shows your mood.  There is a special line,  separate from the chart,  where you indicate a mixed mood.

The second set of two pages is for recording the main things that happened that day,  you can give it a number saying how much an event influenced you for better or worse.  You can also chart the times your mood changed during the day.  Finally you are supposed to give a percentage from zero being totally depressed to 100 being absolutely manic for each day.

When I first came back to the Netherlands I charted pretty consistently over a period of 4 months.  After that it got sketchy and then I stopped.  I am trying to pick it up again.


Why mood charting?

  • It’s easier to see how a change in dosage/meds influences you, and how a med is affecting you
  • It shows clearly what meds do to your weight
  • It’s easier to see what happens with your sleeping pattern and how that reflects back on your moods
  • You get an eye for the influence of certain events in your daily life
  • It chronicles all the different meds and dosages you have been taking and after a certain amount of time it will show you how well (or not) you are doing with certain meds.

Of course,  in order for mood charting to be helpful,  one has to do it consistently.  Something that is not easy to do – at least for me!

The hardest part for me is to fill out the graph.  I find it real hard to figure out where I am on the pendulum of high and low.  When I am pretty depressed (nice combination of words 🙂 ),  or clearly hypomanic,  it’s easy enough.  But all those times in between…  I struggle where to put myself.

The space to relate life’s daily events is not enough – I have developed my own short hand I think!  How those events influence me is not too difficult to indicate (+4/-4).  But often there are uppers and downers during the day – so to record the overall state of my daily mood still remains a challenge.  Also,  indicating the percentage is an issue for me.

Overall I would say it’s been helpful to me to gain more insight in my BD.  I have started again because I am considering a med change together with my p-doc.  It’s good to have a sort of ‘base-line’ if you will,  even though it’s a line that goes up and down a lot!

Have you experience with keeping a mood chart?  How was it helpful to you?

Here is a list by Jim Phelps, M.D. of online mood charts.

Other interesting posts:

What is Bipolar Disorder?


Medical treatment

Peeps that are important

Mood charting revisited

How to help people with a mental illness


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This too shall pass…

Photo credit ~  Dan4th

Since being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in January 2007 one could say that this has become my motto.  Not so much by choise,  because:

1)      Often when I feel ‘stuck’ in a mood I want to get out real bad and I can’t muster the patience to let it run it’s course.

2)      It is disrupting my life – it’s possible that I can’t do what I planned or have to cancel it all together;  I can’t finish all that I have set out to do or…

3)      The terrible mood-grip I can be in is so darn hard to handle that I actually can’t handle it.

4)      As much as I advocate and live by the conviction to not be a victim of my illness a master of it,  there are times that I positively hate having mood swings! (Shocker, I know.)

5)      It has changed my life and turned it upside down,  literally at times.

But if I apply this motto ‘this too shall pass…’,  I realise again that :

1)      Sometimes I really have to let it run its course,  because fighting it makes it all a lot worse.

2)      It’s okay to feel the way I feel,  even though I really don’t like it.

3)      It’s okay to be me – I am on a learning curve to accept who I am.  The whole me,  not just the Bipolar side,  mind you!

4)      It’s true that it will pass,  cuz that’s the nature of the illness.

5)      I need to learn to be kind to myself as I would to others and stop beating myself up.  (Anyone else struggling to do this???)

So,  the lesson I am learning is:  I better embrace *my* (((motto))) and make it really mine.

Even if it is at a snail’s pace.  Still,  snails eventually get where they are going :).

(And no, you didn’t hear a sigh.  No,  really.  It was barely audible,  you!)

What is the motto you live by?

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop


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Are you ‘defect’?

Jody Paterson, from the Times Colonist, raised the question of stigma in her article “Stigma blinds,  and destroys lives.”  It’s totally worth the read!

With her permission I quote:

If I sprained my ankle, I’d have no compunction about posting it on my Facebook page and waiting for the flood of caring comments.  Or writing about it in my column.

But what if I posted that I was staying home to work through a severe anxiety attack?  Or a rough period in my schizophrenia?  Or had just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder?

How would you respond?   Would you even post it?  I sometimes do, since I have decided to let stigma not hold me back.   Stigma is a label someone else sticks on me.  But I refuse to let the label stick.

I have been a missionary – voluntary social worker – abroad for over 12 years.   Since I am back in my home country people around me assume I am back for good.  I don’t feel called to tell them I will be going back abroad,   at the right time with the proper care for myself.

It is the assumptions that get to me.  No questions asked, there are people who assume they know this, that or the other.  I’d much rather have a proper conversation.   I’d love it if people will come up to me and ask me their questions.

That is what drove me to start a blog.  To find like-minded people, either with or without Bipolar Disorder.   People I can connect with and who understand the life I (strive to) live or those who have a desire to understand.

I also want to educate others as lack of knowledge makes blind.  I want people to know  what it is for me to live with it.   And that it is possible to live a fulfilled life.  That it is possible to follow my dreams.   Maybe I have to take a by-pass, but I don’t care as long as I get there!

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work when dealing with institutions.  When starting my blog,  I had to think hard about future employment.   Nowadays employers research the web to find more information on a possible future employee.  What would happen when they come across my blog?  It can easily stand in the way of me getting a job.

On the other hand, I decided that my blog will show how I deal with my Bipolar in a positive way and in my opinion that is a huge plus.  If a future employer thinks differently, though, I guess.

Another example is the world of insurance.   I thought for years I was insured for my funeral and was shocked to find out I wasn’t.   In the meantime I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.   And met with the stigma it carries in the insurance world.  Oh, I can get insurance – at a much higher monthly payment.

As far as health insurance is concerned,   I am lucky to be living in the Netherlands.  A lot of the psychiatric care falls under a general law where the tab is paid by the insurance and or government.  However, with present budget cuts,  I wonder what will happen to our care.

I also wonder what will happen if I need to switch to an ex-pat health insurance,  when I will be living abroad again.

Like every group we stigmatize, the poor (or fill in any other group. Note by me) have become unworthy and shameful in our eyes. – Jody Paterson

It doesn’t make sense to stigmatize people if you look careful at the word stigma.   Two synonyms of stigma are ‘blemish’ or ‘defect’ according to the dictionary.

Who can claim to be without blemish or defect?

So why are people then stigmatized?


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Scared… Am I losing it?

Some days it feels as if a big block of cement is sitting inside my chest. Even worse,  it feels like it can explode at any moment in thousands of pieces,  leaving a big black ball of rage,  irritation,  anxiety,  fear and doubt.

I am anxiously trying not to bump into anything to set it off – I am scared to death to come face-to-face with that big black ball of fire.  I want to keep it there,  hidden,  well away from my consciousness.

This was how I woke up today – I’ve tried to ignore it,  tried to listen to music, tried to read to get my mind on other things,  tried to go to sleep – but I am way too anxious,  so in the end I decided to blog about it – trying to give words to what I feel.  That way,  I hope to get some measure of control over what is happening.  Feeling out of control is frightening,  as we all know…

As much as I want to keep functioning no matter which mood I am in,  there are some moods that are very,  very hard to deal with.  This is clearly one of them.  I am agitated, anxious, afraid.  I want control over my life,  over my mood,  but I know that control can be a oxymoron:  we sometimes are deluded into thinking we have a measure of control,  when in reality we don’t.

That I don’t have control of my moods is at times a hard enough pill to swallow.   In the last several years I have learned ways to cope with my moods and be in more control of how I respond to the unexpected shifts and mood swings.  Feeling like I don’t have control over how to respond to my mood is down right scary.

Last week has been a tough one – I had several appointments outside of the house.  Some tough things to deal with emotionally.  And most of all:  I have been bone tired…  Of course,  having had the flu the week before hasn’t helped either.

I so much want to be able to pick up life outside of my home – getting into a voluntary job for several hours a week,  growing into more and more hours in a pace that suits my needs.

Right now I am scared that the way I feel is due to the past hectic week.  It depresses me to even think that I might not be ready for being busier,  or ready to tackle a voluntary job…

I need to slow some things down – look back and prioritize the things I am involved in.  Taking a step back might feel like defeat – but in actual fact is pure wisdom to not go crazy.  As my counselor said:  “Think about what you want to do,  instead of what you or others say you should be doing,  and do it.”

Photo credit: Strange Cosmos


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