I've always been the person behind the scenes, the worker that helps the others succeed at their jobs, not the one in front, not the one who really wants to get noticed.
I'm an introvert - a highly functional and occasionally outgoing , on a one on one basis introvert. I prefer to focus my energy on my ideas, on my work, try to get things done in an orderly fashion in a quiet kind of way. I'm perfectly happy doing my job and staying on track doing my best helping others succeed.
I've worked on the technical side of things and the artistic side of things so you might say I'm a cross between the Rational and the Artisan kind of introvert. It's a struggle sometimes to be as outspoken as I know I should be. I have my moments, but public speaking and public writing until now, have not been my strengths.
That leads me to this post. Recently my company launched a social media type platform intranet, and I am on the team of developers. I questioned myself when this Intranet came into being. "What could I possibly have to contribute?" I'm a SharePoint professional, I don't really have anything to contribute to this community. But, yes, that proverbial, but... I've discovered, that perhaps I do, and perhaps, this is a growing experience for me as well.
You see, I've always loved to write, but it's been technical writing, not personal writing, not to tell a story or talk about hopes, dreams, desires, or even how to inspire others. And that's where this Intranet and now this Blog is coming into play. This Intranet and this blog offers me the chance and the opportunity to give people inspiration, my years of experience in this format of a blog. I can contribute to other colleagues lives by telling them how I have solved problems, how I overcame obstacles (like this stupid introvert problem of feeling, not quite bold enough to share your thoughts).
So, here I am exploring what I can offer to you. I started a book club, I started a photography club at work, but most importantly, I've started WRITING. Writing a blog, A series of words, punctuation, periods, and semicolons.
Semicolons symbolize I'm not done yet, there is more; which exactly is where I am. I am only getting started on this new journey, I'm climbing out of the before, living in the now and headed for the future of a new me. It's a little scary, but I've never run away before and I won't this time either.
Have you felt the darkness creep on you or that it would never end? That you have been deserted by all those you that loved you, that you are alone in the universe, that even God has deserted you? Have you even doubted there is a God because if there were why would HE put you through this misery and pain, why would HE not answer your prayers, why did HE desert you. “Good parents don’t do this to their children”, why is HE doing this to you?
Have you felt you just can’t take this darkness anymore and wished there was a way out, even contemplated suicide, but maybe thought to yourself, but how would I do this, I’m too chicken to do that. But I sure wish I didn’t have to wake up in the morning. I just want this over. Yes, these have been my thoughts too, my desperation in the night, my pleas to the Universe and God to end my suffering.
And yet, here I am, alive, well and thriving. Yes, I have bipolar. Its maddening. The highs and lows of it. Personally, I love my highs. I am creative, productive, happy, thriving, and successful. In fact, I am writing this during one of those times. I don’t think I would know what “normal” is. I’ve lived with this my whole life. My family never quite understood it, some of my friends are getting used to it and have been encouraging. Needless to say, that circle is very small. I don’t have many friends, that darkness has crept into the friendship and marriages too many times and others just don’t know what to make of it. I didn’t know what to make of it for a very long time. I saw psychologists and psychiatrists off and on during my life. I got tired of them blaming my parents, my childhood, etc. for my problems. Yes, I had parents that made mistakes, however, I am an adult. I learned from their mistakes, I move on. I make my own decisions; I find my own path. Parents be damned. We either give into those excuses or we rise above them. I chose to rise above. Even in the darkness. The doctors prescribed anti-depressants. I took them for a while and personally did not like the side effects, I also lost my creative thinking ability. I am by nature a creative person. I love to paint, do photography, enjoy nature and its beauty, create anything, even if it’s a bird house. I created nothing on anti-depressants. Didn’t even have good dreams. That was devastating to me. I eventually went off them and chose to suffer. It’s been a battle, my health suffered, the stress of the darkness I believe is a contributing factor to many of our health problems, because have you noticed during your highs, you’re much healthier?
It was during these times I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic and almost debilitating constant pain. “Oh, God now you add this to me on top of the desertion! How dare You!” This was in the fall of 2000, after so many attempts to figure out what was wrong, so many doctors telling me that I was a hypochondriac, that it was all in my head. I didn’t choose this pain. I lived this pain, every day, it was worse at night, it was worse starting in the fall, I hated the fall, it was so depressing, the pain was so bad with the cold.
It’s during those times of darkness that you become sick, your immune system seems to become vulnerable to everything going around. You are fatigued, you don’t have the energy to even get out of bed.
I had migraines, that came on unexpectedly that also got worse in the fall, went to the emergency room for treatment so many times. Finally, someone says, let’s try a prevention. Hallelujah! At least someone is thinking proactive and not reactively.
Then in the fall of 2013, I got pneumonia (do you see a pattern here). I had been sick for years, fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, now on top of all of this, my weight was ballooning, my blood pressure was gaining, my cholesterol was going up and I had been having bouts of diverticulitis. I was totally embarrassed at the birth of my grandson, when on the way to the hospital I started coughing and lost control of my bowels and needs a change of underwear. What was going on with my body? I couldn’t control it anymore. I saw doctor after doctor and no good results were found. Anyway, when I got pneumonia, the doctor also told me I was in kidney failure, and all the other dismal results of the blood tests. I was basically dying. Here I was 64 years old, alone, sick, in the darkness with my depression, feeling every right to be depressed, mind you and listening to a doctor who says there’s really not much we can do for you, rest, take it easy, we can put you in the hospital for the pneumonia didn't improve my mood much. I had become disillusioned with doctors at that point. I said no, I will go home and take care of myself. I’m stubborn that way and if you’re like me while in a depression, the last thing you need is people around you, even if you crave a friend or a loved one. It’s a double edged sword, isn’t it?
I went home feeling even more depressed and sick, the pneumonia was horrible, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk. But, I could get on my computer. I decided this had to end. I had to take control of my destiny, I had to take control of my health, the doctors weren’t doing it, they didn’t know about fibromyalgia, they didn’t know what was causing all these other problems, they wanted to give me pills that only added side effects and maybe helped the symptoms, but not the source of the problem. But what was the source? I know I’m bi-polar but something else was going on. I went online, I searched my family history, I remembered my family having similar problems and that my aunt was celiac, I found out my cousin was too. I looked up what celiac disease was and found out it was genetic. Could this be a consideration? Its symptoms were many of the problems I was having. It was gluten intolerance. So if I left out wheat, rye and barley out of my diet what would happen? I was dying anyway and these are just food stuffs, nothing drastic is going to kill me if I don’t eat these things. I decided to give it a shot. I didn’t “wean” myself off these things, I just stopped eating them all together. It wasn’t difficult. Within a week or two, I noticed something remarkable I was remembering things better, brain-fog (normally associated with fibromyalgia) had lifted. I actually noticed it. It was an epiphany! This gluten-free diet was affecting my body. I didn’t have diarrhea anymore. My intestines were feeling normal. I wasn’t nauseous when I ate, I wasn’t nauseous when I went to bed at night, my stomach wasn’t cramping all the time anymore. I was actually enjoying eating; my stomach didn’t hurt when I ate. I started reading labels carefully, I started talking to waiters and waitresses, chefs, owners of restaurants, making sure everything I ate was gluten free. I discovered that even if the box says gluten-free, there are some things that I still cannot tolerate, like tapioca flour. But this is something that everyone has to do for themselves, everyone should read the labels and discover what their body can handle, but going gluten free is an all or nothing proposition. You can’t just do it as a temporary thing, if you want to stay healthy.
Anyway, eight weeks progressed, it’s now December; the doctor wants to follow up on the pneumonia. I go in, they weigh me, I sit down to discuss what’s going on. “What are you doing different, Candace?” the doctor asks. I say, “Why?” She says, “You lost eight pounds in eight weeks, you haven’t lost weight in years.” I smile. I don’t weigh myself, I gave that up when I couldn’t lose weight, it was hopeless. This makes me feel good and another piece of the evidence and confirmation of a good decision that I’ve made. The doctor says, “I want to run some blood tests on you”, so she does, they come back. She is amazed. She says, “You are no longer in kidney failure, your cholesterol is normal, your blood pressure is normal, you are no longer pre-diabetic. All your blood work is normal. Now what are you doing different?” I smile, and tell her, “I went gluten-free this last eight weeks, I figured I didn’t have anything to lose.” But evidently I did lose, I lost all those symptoms of illness, or maybe I had LOST the source of those symptoms. I had found the source by trial and error, by taking control of my own health.
She looked surprised and said, “Well, I want to do a blood test for gluten antibodies.” I said, “You won’t find any, I’ve been gluten-free for eight weeks.” And sure enough she didn’t, she could only come back and say, “Well, if it works, keep it up.” I haven’t been back to her since. I did try another doctor in her practice that said I couldn’t possibly celiac because I was too fat, I told him that was untrue and he should learn a little more about celiac disease. Just a side note. I have lost sixty-five pounds since that October and my health has continued to improve. That fibromyalgia pain? Well, let’s say, it’s not gone, but greatly decreased, a lot of that pain was celiac pain and my migraines decreased as well. Don’t even get me started talking about my sex drive, my libido has gone off the charts and that’s saying something for a sixty-seven-year-old woman.
This whole experience has led me up to this. Did you notice a pattern here, as I mentioned before? All my health problems seem to occur in the fall, my depression is in the fall, the darkness starts in the fall, which coincidentally begins the greyness and darkness of winter. The time of year when we don’t get out much, when it’s cold, when our bodies don’t react well to the cold, especially if we have any kind of auto-immune illness or disability. Seasonally acquired depression is real and for those of us with bi-polar tendencies it can be excruciatingly real.
As I write this in the wonderful, hot middle of summer, the wonderful bright sunshine of summer, I realized that it’s just this summertime, this sunshine and this time of year that I am at my best. My darkness is only a faint memory. I know it is lurking out there waiting for me. So now that I’ve taken control of my health and now that I’ve realized the pattern of the darkness, perhaps I can take better control of the depression it brings. What can I do to prevent it? To be proactive and not reactive as I have been in the past? I have taken control of every other obstacle in my life and overcome it and have succeeded. This darkness, this pain, this enemy of the soul and spirit needs to be overcome as well.
During this time of Light I have achieved enlightenment to my soul and my enemy. I must use this time to devise a way to overcome it. I have begun a new chapter of discovery, of trial and error again. Just as I discovered the source of my body’s illness, it’s now time to discover how to overcome the darkness during it’s time of challenge. Awareness, I believe is the first step in overcoming any obstacle in life. I finally have clarity of mind to have this gift. Now I have to take the appropriate steps and use it wisely.
You know, I hated having my photos taken, actually hid behind others when pictures were in order or always volunteer to be the person behind the camera not in front of it. I thought I took terrible pictures of myself. I don't know whether age has mellowed me or made me more wise. But selfies have definitely given me a better insight to myself. With the advent of selfies, I have learned to take a better picture of myself, and in turn have learn to have better pictures taken of me. This is my story.
Because I also avoided mirrors as well as cameras, and I wasn't all that healthy, I really didn't have that healthy of self-esteem. About 3 years ago I discovered I had an auto immune disease that was playing major havoc with my system. I decided to do something about it and also decided to somehow document the progress it was taking on my body, when I discovered I was losing weight while I was getting healthy. I started taking selfies every month. I took a LOT of selfies, a LOT of bad ones, and LOT got deleted. I didn't know what the heck I was doing. Do you know how hard it is to take a full body selfie???
As the months went by, and the weight dropped, my selfies showed the progress in my face, the weight loss, but something else happened. Those smiles became bigger, brighter, my eyes became happier. My whole demeanor became more self-assured. Seeing myself in a different light my self confidence grew. My attitude improved towards friends, I became a happier and a more peaceful person. I still take selfies at least monthly. I'm getting older. I want to grow old gracefully. I want to see this happen and record it. This keeps me on track, I don't let myself slide into complacency anymore.
I've heard selfies are egotistical, and maybe to some it is, to me it's my mirror, it's my way of telling myself to stay the course, that I am worth the effort to do the things I do, to try to do what I want to do in the future, to aspire to become a better person for the world and those I love.
If you have never taken a selfie, try it. You may not like the first one, or even the next. Keep trying, try filters, that soften one is a blessing. I don't use them now, but in the beginning, they were AWESOME! I have used all kinds of filters they are fun. The best thing is they are digital.. you can take as many as you want and delete as many as you want. Go ahead. You won't regret it and your soul may just thank you.
Thought I might add a couple of those "selfies" I took along the way, that helped me gain my self confidence. Trust me if you do the same for yourself. You will gain the same insight as I did. Happy "selfie" taking.
April 2016- Garden of Versailles, Paris
Netdancer has been
quiet, she has been contemplating the future of her site, she has contemplated
her own future. She has lost her passion
for freelance web design and she thrives on passion. If you can't have passion in your work, you
need to move on, you need to find something that incites that passion. You need passion to have a fulfilling life to
have your soul have purpose.
My purpose found
it's passion in 1997 when the internet was in it's infancy, I saw that this technology was something that
people would use, actually perhaps need in their lives to be productive more
efficiently. I wanted to make it happen,
I wanted to see how I could do that, I
wanted to grow with it. And look how it has grown! Look how I have grown! Now I am a SharePoint administrator and
expert that helps and trains over 10,000 people, I am a professional graphic
designer for a Fortune 500 company. I am
extremely happy how my life has grown in this technology. But it's time to move on to new frontiers as
one of my favorite tv shows would say.
I have other
passions, one is writing, I've always written, mostly in my own journals, or
technical writing for MSDNs or safety manuals, but writing nonetheless. I've never written blogs because I didn't
think I had anything to tell anyone. I
do. I have lived an extraordinary life.
I've read self-help book on how to do this, and how to do other
extraordinary things with your life, and I thought to myself. I have done this. I may not be a millionaire, but I have had an
extraordinary life, and amazing life and If anyone can benefit from it, I hope
Most books I've read
are written by much younger authors than me, and directed to much younger
audiences than me, so granted, the earlier you can start that journey the
better. However, for those my age, in their late 60's almost 70; the journey is
only beginning for you too. We have the
wisdom we never had before, we have the spirituality that only time gives
us. We have so much to offer and so much
So… this site now is
going to evolve, to change, to metamorphose into something, I am working on
that. I have ideas, I'm working on, I
hope you join me on this adventure. I
will probably talk about everything under the sun while my mind is sorting
things out. Are you interested is coming
along for the ride? Maybe my journey
will inspire you to re-invent yourself too.