Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Guest Post - The Hot Mess Really A Mess? By The Bipolar Hot Mess Christina Huff

Today I am proud to feature a fantastic writer, blogger, and advocate for mental health on my blog. We recently interview her for our podcast Voices for Change. The show will air at 11:00am EST this Saturday August 13th. For listening options, you can visit our website:  Thank you, Christina for taking the time to speak with us, and for guest posting on my blog! 

The Hot Mess Really A Mess?
"I'm a mess!"
When I first began talking to CJ, I warned him. I told him that I was a mess, a walking disaster, and if it wasn't for bad luck, I would have no luck at all.
He didn't believe me.
I picked him up from the airport for the first time. Between baggage claim at O'Hare and my car in the parking garage ready to head off, I think "we" (meaning me) lost the parking ticket twice, my phone at least 3 times, and my car keys at least once. I turned to him and said "See. I'm a mess"
He just chuckled.
The rest of that weekend, I "lost" the pizza place (I swear it had been at that location at LEAST a year ago, my dad claims it moved at least 5 years ago), broke a brand new huge 60ml bottle of Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue on the ceramic tile bathroom floor in the hotel room (good thing we were packing up to check out because it REEKED!), and probably lost my keys and phone a few more times.  At the airport dropping him off for his return flight, I warned him again. I said, "I told you! I'm a mess"
He laughed again and said, "No, you are not."
About a month later, I arrive in San Diego. "We" (again meaning me) had a fall asleep on the couch while eating ice cream because the Seroquel kicked in faster than I thought and half a pint of melted ice cream on the couch event. I woke up covered in ice cream frantically trying to clean up the mess in the dark so I wouldn't wake him up, covered it up with a blanket and hoped he wouldn't see it before he left for work and I could finish cleaning while he was at work. He didn't notice but when he called to check on me mid day, I was in tears because the clean up was not going so well and I was so embarrassed. I confessed and he just laughed and said it was ok. I know there were a few more incidents during that trip, but I can't remember them. (He might though lol) I embarrassingly reminded him again, "I told you! I'm a disaster!"
That is when he turned to me and said, "You are not a disaster. You are not a complete mess like you say you are. In fact, you are far more put together than you give yourself credit for. There are A LOT of people who are COMPLETE AND TOTAL messes and disasters. You have had a lot of rough patches, and you may be a little clumsy, but you are more put together than a lot of other women I know."
I was stunned. I couldn't believe that
  1. I hadn't scared him completely off yet with my craziness and debacles
  2. While I thought my breakdown, my career loss, my back and chronic pain issues, and being on disability equaled complete and utter mess and failure, there were people who were a bigger, crazier mess than what I considered being a mess; and
  3. The things I thought were ways and reasons that I was a complete disaster and a mess were really not as big of a deal as I always made them out to be in my head and to him were the quirky things he liked about me.
While I was still in disbelief for a while that he didn't think I was the "mess" I kept telling myself that I was, I had learned that sometimes (ok, maybe really often) I was way too hard on myself and far to critical because of my "perfectionist" issue. Yes, I know my friends and family have, and still do, told me that I need to be a little easier on myself, and I really try to let that sink in, but hearing it from the man that I love was something that I wasn't used to. I had become very used to being the "crazy" girl, or the "mess," in relationships.
Several months later, CJ was at work and I was cleaning the apartment. The previous night he had just filled up his weekly pill container with all of his vitamins, and I had filled up mine with my meds. His has 4 compartments for each day (am, afternoon, evening, and pm) and I have two that are just one compartment per day (one is for my bipolar meds, the other for my back meds). CJ had left his freshly filled vitamin container on the counter and somehow, I had knocked it off the counter and when it hit the floor, almost all the little compartments opened and there was a rainbow of vitamins all over the floor.  I just froze and looked at all of them and then burst into tears. I could just imagine how upset CJ was going to be when he saw THIS. When he arrived home a few hours later, I very quietly, with my head down, approached him with a bowl of all the collected vitamins and his vitamin holder and whispered, all in one breath as fast as I could, "Ummmmm, so this kinda happened today I'm so so so sorry I was cleaning the kitchen and wiping the counter and then boom it was on the floor and I would have put them all back but I don't know what is what and.."
He shook his head, laughed, and said "Hot Mess Moment!"
I know he cringed a lot inside because it had taken a long time to put them all in there, but he knew how bad I felt and so he just laughed.
Because of him, and moments like those, I have been learning that not everything is a huge disaster. Just because things like that might have caused different reactions by people in my past, it doesn't mean that EVERYONE will react that way. My "Hot Mess Moments" do not always mean negative or disaster or time to freak out.
I decided to surprise him one night and make dinner. (He usually cooks and I do the cleaning) I was so proud that everything was turning out so well. I was just taking part of it out of the microwave and SPLAT! I cried out "Shiiiiiiittttt" and  sat down on the floor next to the dinner. CJ comes into the kitchen, sees me and dinner on the floor. I looked up at him with tears in my eyes and he just laughed. He said "Hot Mess Moment!" Then he kissed me on the top of my head, said "I love that you tried, thank you, I'll go out and get us some dinner and be right back" while shaking his head and laughing as he walked out the door.
We call them "Hot Mess Moments." They aren't disasters. They aren't earth shattering. They don't mean that I'm a complete mess and this enormous liability that I had led myself to believe. They are just quirky me. If not for those moments, I think life would be pretty boring. But, thanks to an amazing man, with an incredible sense of humor and extreme patience, I am coming to terms with my quirks.
Sometimes it takes an outsider to help you put things in a different perspective. Here I was, defeating myself at every little thing, and looking at every little thing gone wrong as this huge, giant bright red flag screaming "she's a disaster, do NOT come any closer" and then comes along someone, who despite your warnings, rips down that red flag and let's you know that the red flag didn't need to be there. The red flag was self imposed and wasn't scary to them, so it shouldn't be scary to you.
We can be our own worst enemy at times. I'm so grateful that I have an amazing man, an incredible family, and equally awesome friends to help me snap back into reality. So, if you ever need a reality check, I'm sure you have some friends and family who would do the same for you too! If not, I'm here! You all provide so much support for me and I'm so blessed and grateful to have all of you as part of the Bipolar Hot Mess family, so know that I will be here for you all too!

Previously featured at:

Christina Huff, aka The Bipolar Hot Mess, has been blogging about bipolar disorder and other mental health issues for several years now on her websites, Ask A Bipolar and Musings of a Bipolar Hot Mess. While just starting her career as a paralegal, she was diagnosed with bipolar in 2007 and maintained her job as a paralegal until 2012, while also running her websites. She has blogged for International Bipolar Foundation and was a Psych Central Mental Health Hero 2013, as well as nominated several times for WEGO awards. She continues to blog on and tries to keep her 17,000+ Facebook followers inspired and supported and not feeling alone in their own journey with mental illness. She also is owner of and tries her best to keep those submitted questions answered with her team of authors at her side. Christina also is part of the social media/marketing team for Yale Productions upcoming film discussing mental health issues called "Michigan". She currently spends her time going between Chicago and San Diego. For more info, you can find her at, on Twitter @BipolarHotMess, and also at

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