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Saturday, 17 February 2018

Buying Books

Buying Books
Saturday, 17 February 2018
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My weakness is buying books. 

I have a serious problem.

For example, today I knew I needed to go to the bookstore to get one magazine for my art class. Granted, it was not necessary for me to have said magazine, since I found some clippings the other day.

The grand total should have been $7. 




Instead, I head towards my Kryptonite: “The. Bargain. Section.” Most books are $6. Not bad, eh? I found a really cute chic-lit book, got it approved by Goodreads and it was a go! Until... I decided to peruse the shelves once more. I found a book about a half-Japanese half-American girl who is placed in the Mazanar camp. Fascinating. Also, $6. I don’t think I made the correlation that two books at $6 make $12. I thought it was all a bargain. 

It did not end there.

I remembered that I had yet to buy a calendar so... I got one. But, it was 50% off! Such a deal. 

And I remembered, after all that the magazine!!! How could I forget. I add to my basket a beautiful magazine for the modest sum of $7

Oops.

Got to the cash. The cashier lets me know that one of my books is at a dollar! YAY, what a bargain! I knew with all my heart that my grand total would come to $20. Sadly, not the case. A whole whopping $30... 

And... I do what I know best. I get rid of the essentials. In this case... the magazine.

Perfect.

- Catherine
Tuesday, 13 February 2018

My Bipolar Story Part 3

My Bipolar Story Part 3
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
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This is a hard one because it deals with two of my earliest manic episodes.

When you are manic, there is absolutely no reasoning with you. You can’t make the difference between what is rational and irrational. You do “crazy” things and you are out. of. control. The worst is that when you get out of a manic episode, you remember everything.

Two of my numerous stays at the Institution included manic episodes. As all of my episodes, they are embarrassing to recount.

I’m sharing my episodes because I want to inform people that, when you are mentally ill, you don’t necessarily know what you are doing. I want you to know that it is not your fault. Nobody chooses to be mentally ill.

See, I’m getting carried away because I’m scared and embarrassed to recount what I did.

——————-

Let’s start with the first two ones.




First manic episode 

I believed that my body was no longer my own. I thought I was a puppet controlled by my loved ones. I believed everything was decided for me. I didn't have control on when I woke up and went to bed, what I ate, who I saw, what I said, etc. etc. etc. I was a 100% sure that I was made out of sand because I would wake up with sand at the bottom of my bed. The rational explanation for this is that I would get sand in my sandals and omit to wash my feet. 

 One day, I went to the mall with my father. There was a pathway that led to the shipping doors. I walked there and my dad tried to get me. I would run away, at least I would try. My father grabbed me and I started screaming and screaming at the top of my lungs until two ladies from a nearby store came to see what was happening. I told them that I was being kidnapped by this "man". One lady started talking to my father. Meanwhile, I took the hangers (it was the back store of a clothe's shop) and threw them around. I started dancing with one of the ladies because I thought it would be a good tactic to get away from my father. How embarrassing. 

With the permission of my father, she called 911.

That was the first time I rode an ambulance. 


Source: media.culturalist.com

Second manic episode

I was in a Disney phase. You’ll remark in every manic episode there is always a link with my actual life. I often had the same dream: I was Peter Pan and I was flying up, up and up to the sun. I never got burnt I just kept going up. Then, out of nowhere, I believed I was Peter Pan. 

I started dreaming that I was fighting off Captain Hook. He was rounding up kids to hurt me.

My dream became a reality.

I went to the park near my home and became terrified that Captain Hook was out to get me. I thought he was hiding in the bushes. I was so scared I went back home anxious.
 
I couldn't take it anymore...

I called 911 this time.

The police came and heard me ranting about how Captain Hook was going to get me and that there was this conspiracy in my neighbourhood to kill me. This time, I rode the police car.

——————

Those were my two first manic episodes. Unfortunately, they got worse.

Strangely, recounting this feels liberating.

- Catherine 

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

Canada1-853-456-4566
Québec1-866-APPELLE (277-3553)
Kids Help Phone / Tel Jeunes:  1-800-668-6868




Saturday, 10 February 2018

Liebster Award 2018 Nomination!

Liebster Award 2018 Nomination!
Saturday, 10 February 2018
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I can't believe that I got nominated for the Liebster Award!

I mean, I only started blogging a little more than a month ago. Blogging is one of the best decisions I've ever made.

I discovered a platform where I could write about my thoughts and express myself to, well, the world.

I've met incredible people through blogging. The blogger community is caring and supportive of each other.

This made me realize that I don't need to be afraid of taking risks. Yes, I do get personal on my blog. Yes, my posts are eclectic. And, yes, I am still growing.

I'm growing to find out what kind of blogger I want to be.

Being nominated for the Liebster Award shows me that I'm on the right path. It shows me that writing for myself is 100% okay.

------------------

I was nominated by the lovely Neha. Her blog is a travelling blog at Nomadic Dreamz. It's incredible all the places she's been to. I can only hope she comes to Canada and blogs about it! *wink* I love her travelling solo posts. I've always wanted to travel on my own but never had the opportunity or the courage to.

Thank you again, Neha!

------------------

Rules for the Liebster Award 2018:
  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you, and link back to their blog (dofollow link, not nofollow).
  2. Pay it forward by nominating in turn 5-10 new bloggers that you appreciate. Of course, leave a message or comment for them to know they’ve been nominated!
  3. Answer the questions given to you, and write some of your own for your nominees to answer.
  4. Link your Liebster Award 2018 post to this post link by the Global Aussie, and leave your blog post link in the comments section of this same post.


------------------
Neha's questions for me were:
1. If a new Superhero were to be created with you as inspiration, what would he/she be called and what would his/her superpower be?
My name would be SuperCat! I am a stereotypical cat lady. Luna, my cat, is my baby. When I was off at University, one of my highlights was going back home to my cat. Yes, my cat. Not my mom, not my dad...my cat. She’s just so fluffy and ahhh. You can see her on my InstaMy nickname is Cath. So you see, it is fitting to be named Cat. As for Super, well who wouldn’t want to be Super. My superpower would  be to take sadness away from others by simply looking at them.
2. What made you start blogging, and what kept you going?
Blogging was something I’ve wanted to try for a while. I started blogging because I wanted to share my story about how I came to be diagnosed as bipolar. I thought if I shared my story others would feel less alone. What keeps me going is that blogging is a alternative to mindlessly wasting my time on my phone. I keep going because: “I love it!”
3. If you could get a wish today, what would you ask for? This isn’t Ms. Universe so it’s fine if you don’t pick world peace 🙂 
I would wish to be fluent in Japanese. I want to be able to have meaningful conversations with my grandfather, before he leaves us.
4. Imagine your Twitter account as a person. Now, describe him/her using one sentence.
She is quirky and a little bit sassy! 
5. If you weren’t a blogger, what would you be?
Ahhh. See, I’m studying to become it and can’t talk about the job because of confidentiality. 
6. Describe yourself using only words that start with the first letter of your name!
Caring, Careful, Charming, Calculate
7. If x is the average (arithmetic mean) of m and 9, y is the average of 2m and 15, and z is the average of 3m and 18, what is the average of x, y, and z in terms of m?
Oh, Neha. You make me laugh! I was never good in math...

------------------
And my nominees for the Liebster Award are:
Ann-Marie at aannmariedoeslife.com
Kaiesha at kaieshastewart.com
Suhrell at www.suhrell.com
I have nominated you for this award because I believe you make a positive impact in the blogging community. Your blogs are inspiring reads! 
—————-
My questions for you are:
1. The classic: you’re on a desert island and you can only bring three objects. What do you choose and why?
3. If you had all the money in the world, what would you buy/do and why? (Be honest!)
4. Who would you most like to meet living or dead?
5. If you could relive a moment in history, what would it be?
6. What is your favourite childhood dish?
and...
7. Why did you start blogging?
I hope you enjoy answering my questions! I look forward to reading your answers and to get to know you better! Please leave your Liebster blog link in this post’s comments. Remember to read the rules and have fun!


- Catherine 
Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Unplug

Unplug
Tuesday, 6 February 2018
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I remember the first time I got my hands on a computer. I must have been 8 years old. It was the first generation of Mac computers. Yes, I’m that old… 

I was obsessed with that computer. There weren’t many programs. My dad had installed Rosetta Stone as well as an automated reading program for children. I started to learn Spanish by furiously clicking on the images. I would run from school for lunch break to type up my fairytales. I liked typing and hearing the stories retold to me.My father saw my interest and got me a video editing program with cartoon characters. 

All this contributed to my obsession with technology.

Then, came MSN Messenger. I could now chat hours on end with my friends about everything and just absolutely nothing. I became addicted to it. I had found a way to connect with my school friends without being too awkward. 

Facebook was also a revolution. For a person, who didn’t have many friends at school, Facebook was a blessing. I could catch up with my friends from around the world, friends I met at youth workshops. 

Then came Twitter. I remember using twitter as a platform during the 2012 student strike in Quebec. Discussions were heated and instantaneous.

Instagram and Snapchat were added to the list.

All this at the tips of my fingers.

—————————-



Now, I can’t help feeling bombarded by information. I feel overwhelmed. Let’s just say, I am addicted to technology. 

It’s gotten pretty bad.

I used to read every night before going to bed. I don’t anymore. I get sucked into using my phone. I watch meaningless things. I mean, how many cat videos can I watch in a night. I sleep less. I arrive at school tired because I just had to play with my phone.

I’m basically wasting my time.

————————

I need technology. I need to stay connected with others. I need Facebook to do group work. I need it. I need it. I need it. I need Snapchat to stay in the loop. I need it to feel a part of the “squad”. I need my two Instagram accounts: a personal one and one for my blog. I need it. I need it. I need it. I need Twitter to share all my thoughts even the ones I should probably keep to myself. I NEED SOCIAL MEDIA. 

————————

Is this healthy? I suppose not. 

How do I get out of this vicious cycle? I have a few ideas and I’ll share them in a future post.

Like they say: “The first step is acknowledging what you’re doing that’s wrong.”


- Catherine
Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Visme: A Powerful Infographic Tool

Visme: A Powerful Infographic Tool
Wednesday, 31 January 2018
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Making infographics just got easier for me and it's all because of Visme.


Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Visme. All opinions are my own.

Not long ago, I wrote a post about apps and sites that helped me start my blog. Visme kindly approached me to write a review about their online tool.

You might be asking yourself: “Catherine, what is Visme?” I suggest you start off by watching their presentation video.



Once you log on the site, you are invited to create a new project. And, oh. my. There are so many options. Visme offers templates for presentations, infographics, reports and ebooks, printables, web graphics and social graphics. They also give you the option of customizing your own project.



I’ve decided to give you a little blurb about each project:

Presentation

Visme is a great alternative to PowerPoint. I found it much easier to use. The tool is interactive and comprehensive.  One thing that surprised me is the extensive amount of high-quality icons that you can add to your presentation . In my opinion, one of the best features Visme offers is its sharing and editing option. How convenient it is to work on your desktop or tablet, on the go, on a team project! The animation widget is precise and easier to understand than the one designed by PPT. Adding audio samples and videos are, as well, done in a few clicks! Visme will definitely help you make presentations that reflect your ideas. All in all, it was an enjoyable process.

Click here for additional information on how to use Presentations.



Infographics

Whether you create a blog post, write up a presentation, put up posters or give out flyers, it's a good idea to have infographics. Visme gives you just that: infographics that will turn your target audience's heads. The templates have been well-thought out to cater to each and every one of your needs.



Report and ebook

You know those ugly data graphs on Excel? Well, Visme offers a whole new perspective. Everything is just so pretty! You can create data graphs easily with the option of importing data from Google Spreadsheets or Excel. Data can also be presented in a dynamic form. You can customize your graphs using different colours and fonts. There are several designs of graphs offered. For example, pie graphs vary in shapes, colours and the way in which they are animated.



Printables

I must admit here that the printable templates are BEAUTIFUL! You can add your own photos to personalize it all. There are templates for posters, flyers, menus, business cards and postcards.

Web graphics

As a blogger, I often look for editing tools to create aesthetically pleasing blog headers. I have yet to try out e-mail headers, but they have those too. Not only are Visme's templates attractive to the eye, they are also easy to embed unto your blog.

Social Graphics

Visme has templates for Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Youtube and Linkedin headers. Bloggers! Start editing!

Additional information

There is also the possibility to create your own customizable projects. You can insert Visme's free images, your own images, videos and audio files. You can even embed external content. Sizes of your projects are determined by you!

💕 Mon "Coup de Coeur" 💕

I just love the data graphs provided by Visme. I don't think they have forgotten anything. You can add engaging maps, thermometers, progress bars, a sand hourglass, counters and digital dials.

My Experience

I started by creating an infographic. This semester, I have an Administration class, a requirement in my program,  and THERE ARE SO MANY NUMBERS. I find numbers so boring and presenting data on Excel sheets...ugh. Besides, I don't even remember how to use Excel. Visme provides an easy-to-use infographic tool. It's visually appealing to boot. I created my infographic in 18 minutes. Here's how I did it quickly and efficiently. Please pardon my difficulty to spell the word "feasibility".




Final notes

Visme is great, no doubt, and a sound investment. However, I wish there were more available templates and graphics in the free account. One thing I find unfortunate is that with a free account you can only have 3 projects online at a time. What is great is that possible to download your projects. I also wished they had a Pinterest and Instagram editing tool. Perhaps in the future?

However, I believe the Premium Account is worth it, for everything it offers. 

It will save you so much time. For all of us perfectionists in life, it's a done deal. I was able to create a project in a few minutes that reflected exactly what I needed for my class. 

I loved the interactive features. All the editing engines were so simple to use. If you are terrible at using PowerPoint and Excel, you should definitely try Visme.

Visme is a hassle-free tool that will help you create beautiful projects for your everyday needs.

Blogger, Student, Team member. Give Visme a try! Remember, what I have mentioned above is only the tip of the iceberg!

Click here to sign up!




- Catherine


Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Shame VS Guilt

Shame VS Guilt
Wednesday, 24 January 2018
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What is shame? What is guilt? Are these words synonymous? For a long time, I thought they were. I would interchange the terms in my everyday conversations.

Turns out they don't mean the same thing.

If we take a look at the dictionary. We can find that:

Shame is a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.

and

Guilt a feeling of deserving blame for offences.

What does this mean?

Shame happens when you feel the need to hide from others. Most of the time, you can't forgive yourself. You may also feel the need to find a community that doesn't know your past. You probably want to keep up appearances. 

Guilt is a personal phenomenon. You understand that what you did was bad. However, you can still fix it. In order to stop feeling guilty, you need to face your problems. 

In shorter terms,

Shame: "I am bad."

Guilt: "What I did was bad."

If you hurt someone's heart, you are attacking them through shame. And, I think that is the worst.

Is it okay to start anew where nobody knows you? Yes, it is. I've done that myself. During a manic episode, I did some pretty strange things at my previous University. I decided I wanted to go somewhere where no one knew my past because I couldn't get over what I did.

I couldn't own up to it. It's sad because I was studying at a University and a program that I absolutely loved. I'm almost finished my degree at the College I'm currently attending. I've forgiven myself. I no longer feel guilt and I know that, when the chance arises, I will go back and pursue my dreams.



Everyone makes mistakes. They are at times intentional and at other times unintentional. Whatever they may be, you have the power to let go of guilt. 

How can you let go guilt?

1. Forgive yourself.
2. Apologize to those you hurt.

If you've hurt someone and apologize they will either:

A. Thank you and forgive you.
B. Ignore you.

You don't need anyone in your life who chooses to be indifferent to you. It's cliché but they don't know what they are missing.

Don't let shame stop you from living your life. 

Shame and guilt are two different things. It's up to you to choose what to make of them.

- Catherine

References
Haines, W. Reading life through the Principle: Healing relationships. 



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