Hey there! I’m Sheila Yale the creator, writer, editor, graphic artist, janitor, etc. of “Empty Next Lifestyle”, a lifestyle blog where I discuss family, mental illness and showcase my handmade pottery. Someone recently asked of me, “What’s something we don’t know about you?”. I’ll tell you what I told her, “Nothing, because my life is an open book”. I’m here to encourage and support anyone who visits my site. I am an empty nest thriver, wife to my high school sweetheart, “LaLa” to my 4 sweet “Lovies”, newbie blogger, and rising pottery artist. Oh, and I have Bipolar l Disorder….
The holidays have come and gone. The Christmas tree and decorations are once again at rest in the attic and life’s daily schedule sweeps the festivities aside as it dictates where I must go and what I must do.
This is usually the point in the calendar where it starts to go downhill. You know what I’m talking about. The January blues is the place where my Bipolar I demon rears its ugly head and I travel down the road to depression and “hermit-ious” (the act of sitting in the dark, staring off in space). The Kleenex box holds a permanent position on my bedside table and I sleep in “Rip Van Winkle endless slumber” fashion.
But this year is different for some reason. I’m strangely stable and I’m not hearing that nagging voice bringing me down (That voice, by the way, is mine). As I ponder on this change I search for reasons that the January blues suddenly seem sunny yellow. Maybe it’s the changes that have happened over 2018.
1. I have taken my medication daily and visited my doctor regularly.
There have been many times throughout the last 20 years when I felt “normal” enough to have this thought, “I think I’m ok now. I’ve learned a lot of coping skills and I’m sure I’ll be fine”. Six weeks and a raging case of paranoia later, I’m clamoring to get those pills in my mouth.
This year I determined I would be faithful to my never-ending recovery and take them every day, as well as follow my psychiatrist scheduled appointments and be honest with him. It is amazing how well I navigated this holiday season. Looking back on the past few weeks I realize that the triggers I have normally encountered during the Christmas festivities were manageable and I maneuvered my way around and through them quite nicely.
This is cool!
2. I am on a regimen of essential oil supplements.
I often get teased by my family and friends for using essential oils. They call them my “snake oils” and roll their eyes when I mention how incredible they are. But believe me, when my husband and daughter have a stomach ache, or their sinuses are keeping them from breathing, or when their muscles are so sore they can’t move, they secretly turn to me. Heaven forbid they endure any eye-rolling from the family.
So this past year I have taken supplements every day to keep my body and mind strong. It’s working.
Sticking with the oils!
3. I have focused on my passions: pottery making, blogging and my Lovies (grandchildren).
Pottery came into my life back in college. I took one class and was hooked. Unfortunately soon after, I had a breakdown and it was years before I was diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder. During the past couple of years, I have found a reliable doctor who has prescribed the right “cocktail” (mix of medications) for me and keeps me in line. So creating pottery has resumed its position as a way to put my mind and body at peace.
I started my blog back in May of 2018 and it is a daily source of inspiration. I love it! Literally, my husband has said, “Could you please stop for a moment and talk to me?”. I am able to express myself in a way I have never known. It involves creating, writing, researching, and problem-solving. It is an exciting outlet that will eventually provide a self-sustaining income. A paying job that I love – now that’s what I’m talking about!
And my grandchildren have spent a lot of time with me. We have had numerous weekend sleepovers at “LaLa Land” (my house) where we bake mounds of cookies and spend hours making play dough “food” to serve at the play dough “restaurant”. My Lovies are super important to me and bring so much joy to my life. Even when I am down, I only have to hear one of their voices or see them and I am smiling all over!
4. I found great support this year.
My family. A pottery mentor. Blogging communities.
When Paul Simon sang, “I am a rock, I am an island” he was wrong. We were made by God to be in relationships. He created “bonding”, so it is natural to surround ourselves with strong uplifting connections. I found my place this year as a “LaLa” to my “Lovies”, as a gifted potter guided and encouraged by a strong mentor, as a writer and valued friend to a group of talented bloggers I admire, and as an encourager to the people I come in contact with on a daily basis.
These people motivate me to press on. I realize that the end of the holidays normally marks the end of excitement and a move toward nothingness. 2019 is not a new beginning. It’s a continuation of the wonderful things that began in 2018. In fact, I have so many things to do in the coming year that I have actually started scheduling my days and weeks in a planner.
Will I have some down days in 2019? Yes, but I have the tools, focus, and support I need to stay the course.
Wow! A life. A life that continues to be worth living.
Thank you very much to Sheila for sending her inspiring story over for The Unsanity Blog to share with their readers! If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on The Unsanity, please send an email over to Koral.firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have a chat about how I can incorporate you and your story!