Soup for the Bipolar Soul

I haven’t made my homemade roasted red pepper soup in quite awhile because it does require a little extra prep time roasting and peeling the peppers, chopping veggies, etc. but my mom requested it as her birthday present this year so I set aside the time today and made it! This is the biggest pot I’ve ever made, almost doubling an already large recipe.

Here’s the soup recipe in case you’re interested! Roasted Red Pepper Soup Recipe

So what does this pot of soup have to do with bipolar, you ask??

It’s been a very challenging 2 1/2 weeks of a really awful virus that started with a severe headache and fever that moved into severe chest congestion, wheezing and a cough. It’s been ROUGH!! My oldest daughter and I have been battling it, and my boyfriend, Chris, and our littlest are in the throes of the coughing now.

I’ve been working from home, trying to get into work and taking some days off as needed and thankfully have an awesome supportive team at work to help keep moving things along. A week and a half ago the doc prescribed 2 inhalers, a chest x-ray and wanted to prescribe steroids to help crush this thing, but steroids are a major no no for bipolar 1 and I’ve dealt with way too many life clobbering manias to risk that. One of the inhalers took a day for a preauth and the other finally got authorized with an alternative med but that was going to be $250 out of pocket and I just couldn’t justify it.

I put a lot of pressure on myself, especially with most of my income being commission based and needing to cover the bills for our blended Brady Bunch family of 8!! My boss and I sat down and had a heart to heart Wednesday that was a huge help to process through some of the pressure and to know I needed to take some time to get better so that this virus didn’t knock me out even longer. We talked through a few frustrations at work at came up with some awesome solutions together!

Thursday I had a session scheduled with my Muskuloskeletal Specialist, Tim Marsh at Golden Dragon Healing, for my chronic back and hip pain. My cough was so bad, chronic and frankly gross that I didn’t know if I should even go, even though the doc had said I was no longer contagious. I hadn’t been able to take a deep breath without hacking up a lung for 2 weeks!! My body and lungs were feeling utterly exhausted. Chris reminded me that Tim could probably help with my breathing too so it would be worth trying to get there if I could. And thank God he pushed me.

Tim did our normal check in at the beginning of our session and could tell right away how labored my breathing was. He worked through some releases in my upper back and on my chest up near my shoulders and within minutes I had taken my first deep breath in 2 weeks.

Tim continued to work on some relief points and then started reminding me to take deep diaphragmatic breaths vs paradoxical breathing. My breathing had been so labored that to take a breath I was trying to gasp and thrust my shoulders upward to try and make space for the air when in reality I was squishing and irritating my lung cilia instead of expanding my lungs out. He had me sit on my hands to hold my shoulders down and picture my lungs expanding toward my back.

Ahhhhh so so much relief. As I was taking these true deep breaths without violently coughing, I welled up with emotion and gratitude to have such an intuitive, healing specialist in my life. Tim has helped me overcome not only the extreme pain of my chronic back and hip issue and now this horrible virus, but has also helped hit release points that have been tied to many of the major traumas in my life. He’s helped me to grow, heal, release a lifetime of pain… and the journey has only just begun.

Tim also made me a cup of Breathe Easy tea and recommended I get some. I’ve been drinking it since then and it’s been helping me clear the rest of the gunk out of my lungs so that I finally felt up for tackling life today. I’ve been remembering to keep my shoulders down and expand my lungs when I take deep breaths. Deep breathing is a huge part of my daily coping strategies for anxiety and downward spiraling thoughts so it had been a frustrating few weeks NOT being able to use that strategy!

Back to the soup… As I mentioned it takes quite a bit of effort with roasting the peppers, peeling them, chopping all the veggies and simmering the soup and then blending it all in batches to make the creamy pureed goodness that it is. Today I was finally up for tackling it! While I was making the soup, Chris worked on a few other items on our house to do list and overall we finally got a lot checked off today after a couple weeks of a few us dealing with this virus.

A physical illness can take a lot out of us, and if we’re mentally pressuring ourselves to keep going strong with work, family responsibilities, chores, etc. while also trying to get better, it can be a recipe for disaster. Chris has been doing so much to help while I’ve been sick, my boss and team at work have been so helpful and understanding and the time to see Tim was crucial, but the most important piece of the wellness recipe in this case was remembering to take some of the pressure off myself.

When you’re feeling sick with a cold, stomach bug, or a storm of anxiety, depression, paranoia, or panic attacks, what is your recipe for wellness and self care?

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