Reflections on Life Thus Far

My life. My story: Exploring mental health, spirituality, meditation & random thoughts I have


My New Obsession/Confusion

A selection of ereaders.

Amazon and Chapters (Kindle & Kobo) both have lots of free ebooks so I’ve been adding them to my digital library with glee. The only thing is I don’t have an ereader so have to read them on my laptop which is not ideal for lengthy periods of time. Essentially, I want a tablet or ereader but am reluctant because I don’t have wireless internet (just the standard cable type). So I would have to go out to a wireless hotspot as they’re called here (public locations with free wireless internet connections) for an update/book purchase. Actually I am not sure if I can even read from the device without wireless internet so would be forced to read only at spots offering free connections (i.e. public library and some cafes). All of this makes me think I’m better off reading my ebooks on my laptop and shouldn’t waste my time or money on a device I might only be able to use in certain places. To make matters more confusing I contemplated going wireless at home but am concerned with security risks as it’s easier to access a wireless connection than one using wires/cables. So it’s true what they say about a little knowledge being a bad thing! If I were more knowledgeable about how wireless stuff works perhaps I’d not be so confused right now.

Recently I posted about clearing out some books from my bookshelves and now I am going crazy “buying” FREE ebooks because they’re great for space saving. You would not know I have lots of ebooks because they aren’t the physical clutter a “real book” (paper book) is. I’m really enjoying finding free ebooks to add to my collection. It never occurred to me you could get free books unless at the library. I’m just so pleased! If you are a bibliophile (book lover) like me then you have to check out Amazon’s ebooks because there are lots offered for free or at $1.00 or under. Haven’t checked out any other sites yet like Barnes and Noble so I can’t say if they have free ebooks or not but now I must go look!!

©Natalya, 2014.




Diagnostic Labels

A couple of nights ago my dad mentioned my diagnosis thinking it was bipolar disorder. This upset me because I didn’t get diagnosed as bipolar but Borderline personality disordered (BPD) in 2000. Not that BPD is better than bipolar-it’s not but his tendency to forget what diagnosis I got annoyed me since I’d have been treated better if I had bipolar instead of BPD. Also, I sometimes wonder if I do have bipolar and the suggestion, I suppose, scares me. Why I don’t know since I’ve not tried to kill myself in 13+ years and haven’t been in a mental hospital/ward for 10 or 11 years now. Still, the idea of having bipolar does concern me. My mom’s side of the family is definitely the moody/creative/driven side and mom was likely bipolar (although not diagnosed). She never saw a psychiatrist or anyone concerning her mental health though so I can’t say anything for sure.

I suppose the reason I started thinking about bipolar disorder again is I was watching a couple of Stephen Fry’s documentaries on mental health. He has bipolar and gets quite manic (when not depressed) but I don’t remember ever having been anything close to manic. Even recalling a time when I might have been hypomanic is difficult. I’ve never really done anything over the top probably because I am a very quiet person normally and don’t do much to draw attention to myself. So hypomanic for me could have looked like normal behaviour to most people. There have been times when I’ve felt more confident and ambitious but I can’t say they qualified me as hypomanic. Perhaps being such a quiet person normally is a good thing! When I recall any periods where I felt more sociable and energetic it was only noticeable to me and any close friends I had.

The part I identified with most with Stephen Fry is his depressions and seeming ‘fine’ on the outside but feeling ‘hellish’ on the inside. Like Stephen Fry I am quite good at maintaining my manners and consideration for others’ wellbeing while wanting to die or crawl into a hole. It is not necessarily a good thing that I am so adept at appearing normal when on the verge of suicide or deeply depressed. Fortunately, it’s been a few years since my last serious depression but even then I could still look normal. Fry said a friend of his told him his politeness would kill him; I think I can identify with that. When you have such a strong awareness of others’ and social norms/manners it becomes difficult to let yourself fall apart openly.

Of course I have learnt to express myself overtly when I feel horrible so others are aware, otherwise nobody can tell

Just because it was too good to NOT share with you! 😉 (Stephen Fry & Lady Gaga have tea together).

I am not well. In some ways I am forced to ‘perform’ my sickness or else I remain reasonably normal looking. This is uncomfortable for me though because then I feel that I am being ‘phony’ and rude to boot!  Likely this arose out of a childhood where it wasn’t permissible to express emotions openly so I learnt to conceal my emotions and ‘look normal’. If I had continued to show my pain I merely would have experienced more for not keeping myself together.

Like Stephen Fry, I have a British background (I am Canadian though) where being ‘proper’ was important and showing emotion wasn’t encouraged. I imagine it is the concern with being ‘proper’ that is the reason Fry and I are capable of being suicidally depressed yet normal looking. He described a time where he had just attended a party and decided after it was finished to attempt suicide. In a similar manner I attempted suicide after a formal banquet for residents of the dormitory I’d been living in at the time. Photos of me prior to the banquet revealed little of my inner turmoil. In some ways I envy those depressed people who look totally the part with unkempt clothes and hair, lack of concern about social standards and all the rest of it. At least they don’t have to ‘perform’ their depression if they wish for people to know they’re depressed.

Thankfully I have learned to tolerate experiencing my emotions as they occur and do not think about suicide or death all the time anymore. Yes, I can be moody but I try to be mindful of it and reflect on any contributing factors I might be capable of altering. There’s a lot to be said for mindfulness and healthy living. I think it’s been called mental hygiene before as well. Mindfulness is not mental hygiene per se but helps in many ways so it doesn’t hurt to practice it. Mental hygiene is of course those healthy things we do to keep ourselves in balance, such as getting enough sleep, exercise and healthy food etc.. On their own they are not enough for everyone if your illness is severe but it will prevent unnecessary illness to some extent (if not totally for some anyway).

What has helped me most in achieving a sense of balance and wellness is mindfulness and meditation. Without those two things I would be reliant upon my medication and counselling to be my supports. I feel it is best to do as many different things as I can to maintain wellness. You can’t have too many tools in your arsenal when it comes to coping with mental health issues. In addition to those things I also listen to music designed to heal and relax you. Creative endeavours are also helpful even if you aren’t ‘talented’. The idea is to have fun and express yourself not to produce a masterpiece!

What do you do to stay well or help yourself be healthy?

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®



YouTube & Triggers

YouTube should have this on their main page next to their Logo.

Earlier this afternoon I clicked on a video that was very sweet and ‘family friendly’; yet in the suggested videos on the right hand side was a disturbing video about rape. Since I am sick of seeing upsetting things on YouTube I enabled Safety Mode. This is a feature that is supposed to protect you from graphic and violent videos. Yes, I am an adult but I don’t need to be traumatised looking at videos of women being used for sex often with violence or no respect present. So I just watch the “family friendly” stuff to keep from being upset.

Anyhow, today there was an inappropriate video ‘advertised’ or whatever you want to call it on the right side where the similar themed videos are shown. It was to do with a man in India letting his wife be raped so he could get a job promotion. Even though I was unable to WATCH the video whilst in Safety Mode I still saw the ‘advertisement’ for it. So I had to disable safety mode temporarily to be able to report the video. Not sure it will make any difference but I just felt like it was really upsetting having that shown on the right hand column with the other viewable videos similar in theme. I didn’t watch the video because that sort of content really traumatises me so it’s possible there was an educational component to it but I doubt it.

I find on YouTube any sort of video about romantic relationships will be tarnished (in my view) with videos containing coarser sexual content, often involving violence against women, in the side column where similar themed videos are displayed. Why is this kind of content allowed on a site for everyone including kids? The video I watched was a sweet one yet I had to see rape videos displayed on the screen too. These things trigger me because of past abuse so I am more easily upset perhaps than someone without a history of abuse. Just seeing images of rape in still photographs trigger me. I’m really not equipped to handle these type of things.

How do you deal with upsetting content on YouTube? Do you report it or just ignore it? I wish I could just ignore it but I can’t. As I already mentioned just seeing a still shot of a rape scene triggers me. I don’t need to watch the video to be triggered.

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®


Day 29 of 30 Day Challenge

Question: List 10 people dead or alive you would like to have to dinner?

First of all I would never have 10 people over for dinner because that’s too many people for me.

Dinner companions

Dinner companions (Photo credit: on1stsite.)

So I will cheat and tell you five people as that is more than enough for me!

  1. Oprah Winfrey
  2. “The Aura Reader” or Jennifer Lynne Flint
  3. Benjamin Prewitt (yup, the WP blogger/artist with PD)
  4. The Dalai Lama
  5. Eckhart Tolle

So those are the five people I would invite to dinner if I could. All of them are alive and two of the five are not famous but still more than awesome enough for my company! I doubt they would all agree to have dinner with me but who said this had to be realistic? LOL

Who would you invite to dinner (5-10 people)?

©Natalya, 2013.

Leave a comment

Day 24 of 30 Day Challenge

Question/discuss: Your favourite movie and what is it about?

My favourite movie is a made for T.V. one, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss -yes,

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (TV special)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (TV special) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the animated cartoon! I love that movie. It comes on every December before Christmas and is only half an hour long but so cute. I love the characters and message of the movie. It’s such a sweet, charming little movie and I don’t get tired of seeing it because it’s only half an hour long. Most of you probably have some idea of what it’s about but if not it’s about the Grinch who has no Christmas spirit and wants to take away the Whoville people’s presents and food. He thinks if he takes their gifts and food they’ll be as miserable as he is but finds out they are still happy because they have each other. They also know that Christmas is not about the gifts or special food so the Grinch sees this and has a change of heart-literally as his heart grows that day by two sizes! Then he gives the things back that he took from the Who’s and they invite him and his little dog to join them for Christmas. It’s just a sweet little movie. I have seen the one with Jim Carry and liked it too but I prefer the T.V. version best.

©Natalya, 2013.

1 Comment

Day 21 of 30 Day Challenge

Question: What is your favourite T.V. show?

Coronation Street! LOL, and no, I’m not a senior citizen 😛 It’s the only T.V. show I make an

Coronation Street

Coronation Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

effort to watch regularly. It comes on every weeknight for half an hour and I rarely miss an episode; if I do I watch it online! I love a few other shows too but they are no longer on except as reruns. Seinfeld, Frasier, and The Golden Girls are my favourite shows not on air anymore (except for old episodes). These days I don’t really have shows I love enough to make an effort to follow them. I don’t have cable or a satellite dish so I don’t really have many shows to watch anyway. But Coronation Street comes on network t.v. on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) so I watch that.

Do you have any favourite T.V. shows?

©Natalya, 2013.

Leave a comment

Day 16 of 30 Day Challenge

Question/discuss: Your views on mainstream music?

Mainstream music is okay. Nothing to usually get excited over or celebrate but there can be

English: MTV's Times Square studio

English: MTV’s Times Square studio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

some very good musicians in the mainstream. I am not really familiar with the ‘underground’ music scene or alternative/punk style music. But I am thinking of mainstream music as the stuff played on MTV and your radio. Some of it is alright and some of it isn’t that great in my opinion. It just depends on your taste. Mine is toward classical and opera along with sappy love ballads (which the mainstream does a lot of!). I also enjoy independent stuff.

The only thing I dislike a lot about mainstream music is its lack of artistic quality and originality. So much of it is mass produced for a wide audience with little attention paid to the finer aspects. I also strongly dislike the use of nearly naked women in music videos and the sexist dynamic played out in some of the hip hop lyrics/videos. There’s nothing wrong with sexy women and men in music videos; it’s the relational dynamic I detest between the males and females. A bit of respect and dignity would be nice for a change in some of the less ‘respectable’ songs/videos. I know that makes me sound like I must be 80 but I am not! I just want to see humans treating each other with respect.

If I could change one or two things about mainstream music it would be get rid of the singers relying on technology to make them sound half decent; along with that would be ditching the worst offenders of sexism in their songs and or videos. Those two things would help make mainstream music much better in my opinion.

©Anya of Finding Health After Illness for Natalya, 2013.