Sunday, September 5, 2010

Three am.. yay.

It is three a.m. and I can't sleep. I used to sleep like a rock. Hit the pillow and out for nine hours, but ever since I got pregnant with Eamonn my nice sleep patterns have gone out the window. Partly because our effing neighbors annoying barking dog that I seriously want to ... darrr! lol. But it's funny because I wake up at the same time every night, usually I wake up at four a.m. but today for some reason it's three. Pregnancy changes EVERYTHING!! Something I've really really really struggled with is losing the baby weight. I really had a hard time looking back at my wedding pictures and my when I first got married pictures to see how cute and skinny I was. I have accepted that I will probably never look that "good" again. But you know what? I am learning alot. I truly have never felt better about myself. Yah, I'm twenty pounds heavier, and I look like a "cinnamon toast crunch" (something Mace so lovingly said... hahah) with all of my stretch marks, but I have gone from obese (seriously.) 200 lbs. to a healthy 165. I have learned, very slowly, to love myself just the way I am. I really have struggled seeing my other friends who have had babies drop their weight so quickly, and I used to not have to worry!! I was a human garbage disposal with no regrets! Ever since I was 16 and lived in Chile, exercise and dieting have really been a such a mental burden on me.

When I was 16 years old, I left everything I knew and traveled across (well, down) the globe to the Beautiful country of Chile. This was actually the start of Bipolar. The funny thing is, before I left, I did show signs of extreme behavior, but nothing, NOTHING like when I was in Chile. Some of the worst, most disgusting, horrible, DIFFICULT memories in my whole life (a whopping twenty one years..) were when I was living in Chile. Bipolar can be triggered by stressful, life changing experiences (death of a loved one, first time in college, going to a random third world country, not speaking the native language, not knowing a soul, not knowing what culture even is, etc.) and this obviously qualified as one of those experiences. I went crazy, but not knowing at the time. I was extreme in everything I did. My mind has actually blocked out a lot of memories from Chile because of how traumatizing and dramatic my hardships were. When I look back, it is black and blurry, but the more I work through things, come to love and understand myself, the clearer it becomes. 

Just a few examples of some of the behaviors I started having when my bipolar was triggered. 
         Side note: I have more of a manic personality. Manic/Mania: affected with or marked by frenzy or mania uncontrolled by reason; an irrational but irresistible motive for a belief or action;  a state of abnormally elevated or irritable mood, arousal, and/ or energy levels; mania denotes an obsession with something. 

- As I mentioned before, I was EXTREME in everything. I literally was a perfectionist. During this time, I had never had my own testimony of the Gospel (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). I always have known that when I pray, Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers, but I never understood the atonement. I felt that I needed to be perfect, due to the scripture: Genesis 17:1 “Walk before Me and be thou perfect” After all that I have been through, I have learned what this means. I have leaned that NO ONE is perfect, and NO ONE will be here on this earth. We just need to do our best (which at the time to me was extremely skewed...) and the Lord will provide the rest. I felt that God was an angry God. A God of justice and perfection, and He is! But, not as I had thought. I was constantly burdened down by my imperfections. I just wanted to be forgiven of my sins. I went to extremes in trying hard to show Heavenly Father that I was a good girl. A worthy girl of his forgiveness. 
I literally, Literally would pray for hours at a time. Hours. to the point that my legs would fall asleep. These were times of MUCH anguish for me. Not only did I feel imperfect, but my mind had snapped. I starved myself for days, believing I was too fat, not loving the skin I was in. I developed "Exercise Bulimia" 
          Compulsive exercisers will often schedule their lives around exercise just as those with eating disorders schedule their lives around eating (or not eating). Other indications of compulsive exercise are:
  • Missing work, parties or other appointments in order to work out
  • Working out with an injury or while sick
  • Becoming unusually depressed if unable to exercise
  • Working out for hours at a time each day
  • Not taking any rest or recovery days
  • Defining self-worth in terms of performance
  • Justifies excessive behavior by defining self as a "special" elite athlete
I also studied my scriptures for hours on end, becoming obsessed with cross referencing every footnote I saw. I again, felt that I needed to be perfect. As I write this, tears stream down my face because of the grief that this trial brought upon me. I again however, thank my Dear Heavenly Father daily for these experiences which he has blessed me with. I also got to the point where I would write on a little notebook, every wrong thing I did during the day.. Interrupt someone while they were talking, forgetting to return a pencil that I had borrowed, tripping over something, not doing my "best" to spread the gospel in everything I did... and at the end of the day, I would pray for hours, going over the long lists of "sins" that I had so horribly ;) committed that day.
I recently watched the show "Shutter Island" the other day (lots of swearing, beware..) and one of the characters had snapped. She said she felt as if there was a little bug, clinking around in her brain, pulling wires just for fun. I instantly understood. My mind raced. I sometimes felt that smoke would pour from my ears because of the thoughts racing through my mind. If you have never experienced mania, you will never understand the mental anguish that it is. Words cannot describe the torment that my mind was in. I was not o.k., and the thing is, no one knew me. They did not know that what I was doing was not normal for me. They just thought I was an extreme person. No one was there to care for my obvious needs, so it progressively got worse. I felt as if there was a constant cloud surrounding me, that there had been a brick wall placed between the Lord and I. As I look back, I can see that especially then, the Savior, MY Savior, Jesus Christ, had never been closer to me. I see that He was there, every step of the way, carrying me along, suffering right along with me, mourning with me and carrying my strife and sorrow. Because of those agonizing experiences, I know my Savior. Although those were some of the worst times in my life, I do not regret them. I see the person I am now, and understand that the refiners fire was necessary for me to understand and know my Savior. To enable me to "mourn with those that bmourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as cwitnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places" - Mosiah 18, Book of Mormon. 

I would not be the person I am today without those trials. An honestly, those were just the beginning. This does not include my Senior year in high school and freshman year in college. Some of the worst times in life.

My Senior year of high school, I was at my bishop's office constantly. Bishop Curtis was one of the greatest blessings in my life. He actually recommended that I see a therapist because there was something not ok (in my words, not his) with my mind. My parents were definitely not supportive of this. They did not understand what was going on. I since then had calmed down immensely from Chile, (due to the angels that the Lord sent to me the Riquelme Family), but I was still not well. Not well at all. 

DISCLAIMER: Although I had extreme difficulties in Chile, I still loved it! I made so many friends, learned a beautiful language, and ah! I loved it. I love the people, love it all. (I posted some pics too)

Well, I am going to stop here, and will continue later. It is now four o'clock, my usual time for waking up, lol, but I am starting to get sleepy. (yay!) I have so much more to share, so much more. I again hope that because of my experiences, others might come to understand me and know me a little better, that they might become more accepting, tolerant, and understanding of those with mental disorders. I feel it is my calling in life to help people become aware of these oh so difficult circumstances, and I hope that others will see that even us crazy people are for the most part, normal. 

One more thing. Something that has been extremely difficult and hurtful (but I get over it. I know that others don't understand) is when people say things like, "I would never want to be dependent on medication for the rest of my life" or "These kinds of things can be worked out with the Lord if you have enough faith", "mental disorders are a bunch of made up crap that people use as excuses and crutches". Sometimes I wish those people would be afflicted with some of the worse things ever known to mankind. I wish curses and hurt upon them. lol. but really, like I said, I know that others don't really understand, I love them regardless (again, thanks to all that I have learned from my trials). I just want everyone who reads this to know that those things and those thoughts are not correct. They just aren't. We have no clue the struggles that others are going through. A lot of people don't believe me that I have bipolar. They dismiss it, saying, "well, we all have bad mental days"... If only they knew. These trials have truly helped me to become more understanding and more patient with others. We have no idea the things that others are going through, and sometimes they may do weird or crazy things, or say something offensive, etc, but we do not know the reasoning behind it. I hope I can be more like the Savior. I hope I can see people as He does. I hope that all of you who are reading this know, that you have a friend in me. That I will not judge you, for I know what it is like to go through difficulties. I know that we are not perfect. 
Anyways, that's enough emotion for one night. (morning). 

Take care all, and I will update soon. :)

PS, I screwed around with the dumb Highlighting feature, and now I can't get it to go away. grr. don't judge. lol
Niko and I. Besties. This is one of my all time favorite pictures. lol We had so much fun together. Side note: Niko is now serving a mission in Columbia! Yay! He was a convert to the church and ALWAYS wanted to be a missionary. His uncle, who helps support his Mom and his family financially told Niko that he didn't want him to go on a mission, and that he would stop supporting their family if he went. They then came up with an agreement that Niko had to get his degree first. .. and now.. He is on his mission! I am so proud of him!
Easter Island. My parents came down to pick me up and we flew out to Easter island. It is known for the Moai. Those big statues behind us. They are there to watch and protect the island. Also, they represent the deceased. The ones with the red rock on their heads represent royalty. It is a mystery to us how the transported the moai. They carved them directly from the mountain and somehow transported them around the island. It is also a mystery how they got the rocks on their heads.

My best friends in Chile. This was for art class. Please notice my sultry, sexy face. hahahaha
The houses had so many colors! I loved it. So beautiful and unique.
Hanging out at the mall with my friends. Almost everything has palta (avocado) on it! oh, and choclo (corn) on the pizza.

My school in Chile. Also, my host mom's head.
Chilean food. YUM!!!! It is now, five o'clock in the morning, and what I wouldn't give for some pino emanadas. My first host mom was an AMAZING cook. nom nom nom.

Typical Chilean food. I miss it. I gained so much weight there. lol no regrets. :)

Chile is such a beautiful country. Ah, I love it!

The gorgeous beaches of Chile.
My second host family. My angels. They truly saved me. I love them, and still talk to them. I am their daughter, and they are my family. again, I love them dearly.
My first host family. I don't know how they put up with me. I was so demanding and perfectionist-like. They should receive the nobel peace prize. lol

Yes. Cows in the middle of the road. Not as common as stray dogs, but this was normal. mooooo.

At the Feria, kind of like a farmers market.. sorta. Notice the lady behind me.. thinking.. dumb gringa. It's an apple. get over it. hahah but for real.. it was HUGE! (that's what she said.) innapropriate.
My group of friends in Chile. They were so awesome. They were so patient with me and my crazy brain. I love them. P.S. This was my school.. Colegio Liahona. Notice the liahonas on the glass. It wasn't a mormon school or anything, it was just funded and started by the church and then left or sold, not sure, to private companies. We also wore uniforms. I have to say that I loved uniforms. I didn't have to wonder what I was going to wear the next day. lol
Rotary Club! These are the other exchange students I went with. We had so much fun!
Me and Niko. Besties. :)

As you can see, most of my friends were guys. Niko, the guy to right of me, and Alexander, the guy to the left of me, were some of the people that really pulled me through, supported me, and loved me unconditionally, despite my crazy behaviors. lol. They were my angels, and my saving grace. May the Lord bless them for being there for me.  
Sex sells... ice cream? lol In latin America, sex sells everything. haha

Cristian, another angel in my life. This was at the rededication of the temple. I was in the choir that sang for President Hinkley. LOVED it. :)           


  1. I, Chelsea Merrill, your former roommate, and bestie forever and ever and the person who will raise your adorable child(ren) if/when you die in a fire/car crash/freak accident, attest to the follow

    1. Your house is as messy as you say. Actually, messier.
    2. Your brain is as messy as you say.
    4. Mental disorders are real. All too real for some of us. Anyone who says different can look at years and years of medical research that proves it. I'm not sure why this is even up for discussion.
    3. I love you and my life would be insignificant without your openness, and loving influence.