Nourish Your Soul – Shareen Mansfield

I am so pleased to welcome the brilliant and beautiful Shareen Mansfield to The Lithium Chronicles. I absolutely love Shareen and everything that she does at Open Thought Vortex, and for everyone who crosses her path.

Welcome to TLC, Shareen.

Nourish Your Soul

by Shareen Mansfield

I haven’t written much the past few months. The last time I really wrote, my world imploded and extinguished my ability to cope with anything. Writing was supposed to be an outlet for me. In the past writing, reading, music, even watching television would snap me out of whatever this is. I don’t know what “this” is. I know I am miserable. I know I can’t keep doing this. I know I have to eat. I have to drink. I have to take care of my children. I have to take care of my husband. I have to care of my dog. I have to take care of my cat. I have to take care of my bills. I have to take care of everything. Problem is I don’t care at all right now. Maybe this is a nervous breakdown. My eating disorder is the worst it has been. I spent so much time taking care of so many people I lost the ability to recognize my own needs. Last week I was so dehydrated I lost my voice.


During the weeks prior, my time was spent researching a no sodium diet for my husband’s uncle. Everyone around me comes to me with questions or for support. I’m used to this. I love it, feeling wanted, appreciated, most especially recognized for what I do best. I fell apart when all my research was discarded. Ignored. Pushed away. Why ask me for help to only disregard it all? I stopped eating and drinking, driving my eating disorder back into a rock-bottom-go-to-the-emergency-room situation. I’m okay now. I’m not fantastic. I’m not wonderful.


To be honest, I ate a half piece of toast with a bottle of Gatorade today. That is still the bare minimum. Still unhealthy. If I continue at this rate, I will land myself back in a coma as I did several years ago. Why is this happening? I’ve had a lot of time to think about this while the doctors examined me. I’m lucky. Since my coma, collapsed lung, and that God awful septic shock ravished my body, I have been on a restricted “activity” order by the doctors. I gained weight when I stopped running. When my eating disorder reared its ugly head, this time I was overweight enough allowing me time to recognize what I was doing to myself. Why did I stop eating? Stop writing? Stop caring?


I blame myself for the actions/reactions of others around me. I failed to see something so simple. I always lend my support to others. Services I should charge for I provide out of kindness. I donate my time, even money to others who need it. I let myself get used. The truth is I am really pissed off right now. When someone asks a favor of me or advice, I go out of my way to make sure I am giving the best of me to them. I am pissed because I feel betrayed. I feel raped. I feel lost. I feel beaten. Turns out I do have feelings. Saying I don’t care is all a lie. I like to make people happy. No, I need to make people happy or better or sane or relaxed. My world revolves around everyone around me.


I’m going to be honest here. Only a few of my friends have ever done anything to actually help me. Two friends/family members knew I was hurting, wrote beautiful poems for me. Another friend texts me daily to make sure I am ok, even calls my husband if I don’t answer her right away. My oldest friend texts me “Wood” at least four times a day as an inside joke we’ve shared for over 15 years. I do feel used. I feel taken advantage of. I give so much of me so freely I forget I am disabling myself. One friend came to the hospital, even went to court with me when a friend I had to quit thought everything I wrote was about her. It wasn’t. It was creative nonfiction. I had to request a Protection From Stalking Order against her.


I care so much about not hurting others that on the day we went to court, despite all the “unfortunate incidents,” damage of my property, and harassing calls that had been going on for weeks, I asked the judge to dismiss my request for the PFS so that friend I quit could get well in order to have her children back in her life. She agreed to leave me alone, to not harass me only to have one of her friends later send me message on Facebook trying to extort and threaten me.


Let me come clean on a few things here: No one can hurt me if I tell the truth. The threats she levied against me don’t bother me because they are lies. Easily disproven by professionals and witnesses. Not even friends of mine. A random poll of people around me would disprove everything she thought she “had” on me. Why am I feeling so hurt? So lost?


Right now, I am not lost. I know exactly what is happening and why. I let myself be used. People I trusted never offered to donate their time to help me. Never did anything because it was the right thing to do. Never did it without tallying up what I owed if they did it. I wasn’t keeping tabs. The hours I spent, the energy, the research, even the inspiration I provided helped them while killing me.


What have I learned from this? I’ve learned that I stopped eating because my mouth is part of the communication process. I did not want to open or use my mouth at all. I felt I had to gag myself, even stop eating because if I don’t communicate in any way no one can use me anymore.


The deepest betrayal comes from those you trust the most. That’s what happened to me. I did not know how to ask for help. I reached out to another blogger/friend, a person so articulate, so brilliant, so compassionate. I reached out to say I need help. I don’t know how to ask. I don’t know what I need. I’m not eating. I am dying slowly. Within seconds she was shooting it straight. Take care of you. Whatever you need, I will help. Fuck writing, she said. Take care of you. Let’s see if we can work together to get you what you need.


I felt I had to ask permission to ask for help. To ask for a break. Permission to shut down, deal with my health. My fears, my pain, my real tragedies happening around me. My severe anxiety disorder off the charts as I was texting her, my heart raced to 155 BPM. I was still wearing my Garmin Heart Rate Monitor and Forerunner. I was pacing. I wasn’t chewing my nails. Chewing my nails would mean using my mouth. Instead I used nippers, shredding my fingers till they bled. Fingers like raw meat, blood on my nightgown, blood on my phone.


I had thrown my phone outside earlier in the evening. Placed my MacBook Pro in the composite bin shortly after that. I wasn’t going to write or communicate. I felt someone had raped me again; this time the rape was of my mind, my advice. I knew I was giving more than I was getting.
Luckily, my husband saw me sobbing in the corner of our bedroom. Watched as my dog whimpered, pawing at me, licking my tears as they gurgled and sputtered out of me. Luckily, I trusted my friend, I reached out to others who knew me, really knew me. I asked for help for the first time in my life. That’s it. I reached out to find several hands ready to pull me out of the fire I was burning in.


Today, today is an okay day. I know I am not “well.” I know I have to set alarms to eat, drink, sleep, rest, cook, thrive. I added “thrive” there at the end. In order for me to thrive I have to stop giving so much of me away. . . I’m an all or nothing person. I am working on the middle now. I want to thrive, see my children, feel them, connect with those that matter to me.


Starting today I end my fear of asking. I end my fear of saying “No.” I start fresh, expressing myself as I always have, with honesty and humor. I don’t have to throw myself away to be me. I just need to recognize that I am more than “useful.”


I am allowed to feel overwhelmed.


I am allowed to break.


I am resilient.
Shareen Mansfield is the founder and publisher of Open Thought Vortex Magazine. When she isn’t pounding the pavement into submission with her excessively lovely feet, she spends her days redefining what it means to be an ally, survivor, mother and friend. Basically, she’s all-around awesome. Her work has recently appeared in Role Reboot, Raising Mothers and The Honeyed Quill. You can find her every Friday on Facebook and Twitter co-hosting #LinkYourLife with the verve of a social media dominatrix.

Crazy, Cancer & Chuckles

Last month Stephanie Bennett-Henry and I wrote something together that touches on Stigma. I was reluctant to post it for (get this) fear of offending people. How ridiculous is that? Pretty ridiculous considering the disgusting comments and jokes that people are making today, in regard to Sinead O’Connor.

I swear to God, some of you need to pass a test before using the Internet.

It’s May, which means it’s Mental Health Awareness month, and I tell you world, you fucking need it.

How funny would it be if I laughed as your daughter lay dying from cancer? What about your mother as she pukes up any strength she has left after dialysis? Maybe we could make a video that pokes fun at everyone who struggles to breathe in the middle of an asthma attack, bet we’d have a viral sensation on our hands there.

Your ignorance is showing, cover that shit up.



S&N illness

Abandoned in Wonderland – Charlene Trolinder

I wasn’t born into normality. My first breath I ever took on this earth came with struggle and strife. I’ve only known the painful roads of life. I guess that’s what contributed to the coldness of my beating heart most of my life. I wasn’t a daydreamer, a wish upon a star type, because I knew just how cruel life could be.


Then one day I met someone I saw in a different light. She touched a void in my life, a mother. I began to believe in fairytales. The Emerald city seemed so real and and the wizard was granting my wish. I almost couldn’t believe it after so long of emptiness and hurt, I had fell down the rabbit hole and found my wonderland, and my white queen was someone I could love and call mom. I should have known better. I should have known every star wished upon dies out. Every daydream fades away. Some fairytales don’t have happy endings.


As I believed and trusted in her she was out seeking her knight in shining armor. He turned out to be my worse nightmare. I became a passing thought. I was simply pushed aside. Her knight in shining armor became the slayer of my self-worth and dignity. He picked each word with the intent of using them to shatter my soul. Each volley of cruelty he spoke to me scarred my heart more and more. Love had become my death trap. I survived because you see since my first breath of life I have known nothing but to fight and survive.


Today I don’t sit here writing this hoping to wish upon a star or dream a dream a little sweeter, I sit here bleeding these words to grow and heal. Today I hope for the heart to know I can be loved, the brains to recognize I am worthy, and the courage to understand that one day the world will embrace me for who I am, the little fighter that forged an undying soul and a big loving heart.



Charlene Trolinder aka Lorna Evol is a small town kid born and raised in Dumas, TX. She fought all her childhood to survive, born with a rare chromosomal disease. She attended West Texas A&M, where she obtained a Bachelor’s in Psychology. It was later in life that she realized she struggled with severe depression and anxiety. Each day is a battle, but she loves the simple things. She is an avid reader and animal lover. She draws her inspiration from her struggles, and she tries to give hope to others through her words.

Follow Lorna’s beautiful words on Evocative Eloquence.



It is as if some sort of cosmic energy
is continually pulsing
through my veins,
cascading along, dancing
with my white blood cells, finding
a home in every organ
of my body.
I hold the universe
inside of me
and I delight
in the idea of that for days
on end,
but when I hit blackest of holes,
the galaxies
that live beneath my skin
never cease.
Bone deep
exhaustion near cripples me,
the melancholy damn near swallows
me alive,
but still, the stars erupt
with every
ba bump of my heartbeat, and shoot
through my system.
This world is a cruel place
for a mad girl
with stars falling
under her skin.

© Nicole Lyons 2016


For more of my poetry and prose you can check out The Poets section of the site or follow me at Nicole Lyons.

Broken, I love someone broken – Lizzi Lewis


Broken, I love someone broken


“We’re playing hot potato,” you had said
As we took turns to succumb to the monsters;
Those chemical teeter-totters in the playgrounds
Of our heads, and whilst I was below
Beset, prepared to die to spare you
(How nobly I would go, for you, for everyone
For those foolish enough to care if I lived
Or lost, or lived lost – how could I continue
To burden them, what dreadful cost.
What an awful way to repay their love!)
But you asked me, nicely, to please don’t leave
You told me you needed me, and I believed
Because deep down and intellectually
I know it’s true – ridding the world of me
Will not save you, or anyone, but forever brand with pain
Cause permanent heartbreak each time
You thought of me, or heard my name
And whatever burden I could ever conceive myself to be
Could not contend with the weight
Of being the one who didn’t

Save me

From myself
I’m on the rise
Head above water, feet touching sand
I’m surprised, yet so much is due
To those who rescued me
Not least to you, yet here I am
Apathetic, hopeless, incapable
I see you floundering and can
Barely chuck a word to help you float
You whose heart was like a rescue
A fucking ginormous boat, and now you need me
Now I’m less broken, and you’ve begun to sink
THIS is the burden you chose
You lovely fool, I’m useless!
I wonder if I’m worse for you
When I’m sick, or healthier
Either way, congratulations, you lose!
Your prize – a second broken mind
This one housed inside some other
Kind of personal crazy, just SO inept
Yet you, my dear, each day amaze me
With your persistence and the way you recognize
Even when they’re screaming at you – lies,
The lies our brains replay, to torture us
To make us want to quit, turn tables, end our day
In the peace of forever-sleep, yet somehow we’re unable
Knowing as we do that ending One

May be the end of Two


Then we swap
And off we go again
This dance macabre of neurons
Waltzing us to unbearable
Mental pain, forcing us to face
What, for each of us, seems true:
We drown ourselves to save the other
But in saving, maybe drown them too.

[Thank goodness it’s all lies
And love propels us into light
To hold hands, lock hearts,
To save ourselves…
We. Will. Fight.]

© Lizzi Lewis 2016


Lizzi is a Deep Thinker, Truth-Teller and seeker of Good Things, committed to living life in Silver Linings. She’s also silly, irreverent and tries to write as beautifully as possible. She sends glitterbombs and gathers people around her – building community wherever possible. She’s absolutely certain that #LoveWins.
A founder member 1000Speak, she hosts the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop each weekend and tries to #BeReal as often as possible.

Find Lizzi on Facebook * Twitter * Google+ * Pintrest



Until you’ve tethered your madness

to someone else’s sanity

in order to keep breathing,

you don’t know vulnerability.



Anonymously Beautiful Minds

I am so pleased to welcome the extraordinarily talented Nausicaa Twila to The Lithium Chronicles.

I compartmentalize things.
Yes, that’s right.
Like a soldier.
Like they teach you in FBI training.

I know this only from movies and from the show “Alias”; but it must be so in real life too.  We have small packaged rooms for our feelings. And they must not ever overlap. That would cause chaos, inner pandemonium.

We must be able to be happy without mixing it with despair. Or must we simply be real?

My writing is my space to create a mixture. A little of these feelings, a little of those…all from different rooms in my mind.  Creating a cocktail of feelings. Nameless emotions. New breeds of thought…inner pandemonium, released…

I can’t do it all the time, or else, I may cry openly to the cashier or collapse in the middle of the sidewalk or lay down in the library gazing at the books and ceiling.  It’s not appropriate and I am aware of that much. These are the feelings I keep in padded rooms within my psyche.

One day
Maybe I will be able to be the rainbow that I am
Maddeningly real….

Until then, I will keep these green eyes shining with redemption for the locked up peices of all the anonymously beautiful minds…

~Nausicaa Twila ©


Nausicaa Twila is a Canadian Based author and poet who focuses on many subjects of the soul including the resilience and hope of the human spirit. She has written 4 books of poetry: the Beautiful Minds Anonymous Poetic Trilogy and Chronicles From Another Reality. Find her on Facebook:
Nausicaa Twila
Beautiful Minds Anonymous
Chronicles From Another Reality

Fuck you, Jian


Bone Broth and Breastmilk

It’s Day 3 of the Jian Ghomeshi trial, the first witness has been discredited already and we’ve now moved right along on to number 2.

During the time the story broke that he was being fired from the CBC as sexual assault accusations came to light, every woman I spoke to about it was deeply disturbed. Deeply disturbed. Every woman. No matter her age, level of Q fandom, political leanings and/or lifestyle, this story, of all news stories, had knocked the wind out of her. She couldn’t get it out of her head. Couldn’t stop thinking. Things were coming back to her. Feelings, and questions, about interactions she’d buried in the subterranean sludge of her mind for years. Interactions that were flooding her now. She couldn’t breathe.

I’ve been degraded, I’ve been humiliated, I’ve been coerced, I’ve been pressured, I’ve been guilt-tripped, I’ve been taken advantage of, I’ve had my humanity…

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Roofie Rooshy Makes Bank: Update

You’ll have to excuse me for joining the party late, all of the big words and testosterone coming down that Internet thingy had me a little bit confused and frightened. I felt anxious and overly emotional, almost the exact same way I feel right before I’m about to start my period. So I took a few days to cry, eat a few gallons of ice cream, embrace my inner beauty, and make ridiculous demands on the men in my life, because let’s get real here, a distraught woman simply can not function unless a man takes over.

Holy shiiiiit.

Roosh V. Where do I even start?

Obviously it goes without saying (still going to say it) that this puppy is twisted but could he be a bit of a sociopathic genius as well? Hold on now, I’ll get to the could be part soon, and it has nothing to do with his despicable pro-rape, homophobic, misogynistic beliefs that he spews. I hold no illusions that the man isn’t the vilest form of sleaze to exhale, like ever.

A little backstory, just incase your brain boxes are running on the what in the actual fuck kind of deranged person would nominate Trump for a Nobel Peace Prize loop:

So Roofie Rooshy had planned to hold a bunch of international meet ups for his Internet sensation boyband, ‘The Rapey Gang Bangers’, (I jest, they named themselves Return of Kings, because what else would possible closeted homosexual misogynists name themselves? Queens?) and the world went wild. Not unlike every other time The Sultan of Slime has tried to go somewhere and speak for money to groups of sad little men. Rooshypoops wants to hold these “tribal meetings” for his Kings to, “allow masculine men to regularly bond and converse with each other.” I wonder if Albert Fish could have made as much money as this lackluster Lothario pulls in if he had access to a WordPress account in the 1890s. IRS, are you on this case? Anywho, we all agree that the dude is ew, but come on now, he’s laughing all the way to the fucking bank while his followers are buying a ride on the tail of the next Hale-Bopp.


Dear Kings,

I know you think you hate women and you wouldn’t take my advice, so I asked my husband to talk to you. I’m typing this though because he’s one of those strong trade men that you so admire (also a pilot and a biker) and doesn’t type well, in other words we’ll be here all fucking day before I can even submit to publish. Meet…
Just kidding, like I’d let my husband speak, what kind of a woman do you think I am?

But seriously now, are you actually paying money to get advice on women from a guy who has written and published this in his book Bang Iceland:

“While walking to my place, I realized how drunk she was. In America, having sex with her would have been rape, since she couldn’t legally give her consent. It didn’t help matters that I was relatively sober, but I can’t say I cared or even hesitated.

I won’t rationalize my actions, but having sex is what I do. If a girl is willing to walk home with me, she’s going to get the dick no matter how much she has drunk. I’ll protect myself by using a condom (most of the time), but I know that when it comes to sex, one ounce of hesitation or a feeling of morality will get me nothing.”

And then trying to tell the world that you’re all not pro-rape? Can you see how we’re all confused and even justified in our disgust? But again, you’re PAYING your hard earned money to this For what.. relationship advice? Because if you need this freak’s help to get laid, you have more problems than just hand over fisting your money, Buddy. You would do well to invest that money in some psychological help – find out what it is in you that makes you think it’s okay to treat women this way. Maybe your Mom didn’t hold you enough, maybe your Dad called you a Pussy, maybe you’re really gay and can’t accept that? You should already know this but, it’s totally okay if you’re gay, learn to love your whole self. I don’t know what your inner turmoil is, I’m not a fucking doctor, but I do know that if this Roosh guy is your brah, you’ve got some serious issues.

Don’t give me that bullshit about brotherhood either, my family comes from a very long line of bikers and those men are the epitome of brotherhood. They wouldn’t dream of treating women the way you do, and I’m pretty sure they do alright.

Now if you’re going to hit me with the free speech I can get behind that. Free speech gives me the ability to say that I think most Republican Evangelicals are racist homophobes and would run America into the ground, but that still doesn’t make being rapey okay. Free speech and freedom of press has allowed Mein Kampf and Bang Iceland to be published, doesn’t make them any good. Free speech also allows every single one of The Great White North’s fine mayors to tell The Chlamydia Cult you’re not fucking welcome here. They’re actually doing you a service though, I hear Kayla Bourque has applied to have her curfew lifted.

The Kayla Bourques of this world are the least of your concerns, boys. We’ve got humanity and simple fucking decency on our side, but even when the underbelly of society slithers it’s disgusting sexual frustrations up out into the open, like you have done, strong women and men kick it back down. We are raising a bright and powerful generation of young women and men that will not feel the need to blog this shit out like I do, you’re going to become irrelevant just like you were in high school when you first couldn’t get laid. There is hope for you yet, there is always hope.

As a Canadian I have no qualms about writing a very strongly worded letter to my Member of Parliament to implement further action to cease all Return of Kings meet ups in our fine country.

Totally kidding again, we’ll meet you at the party and I’ll be sure to invite all of my biker friends to come too, we offer advice free of charge.

Warm regards,




In a Daily Mail Exclusive that had basement goblins across the globe taking to social media to vehemently oppose being categorized with Roosh The Douche we got to see what a self-procalaimed “King of Masculinity” looks like:

After Roosh V called 911 yesterday to report death threats he’s received, Maryland police responded to his home, or rather his Mother’s home, where Roosh V the 36 year old grown ass and self proclaimed “masculine man” lives…in her basement. Oh sweet friends, The Universe really does have a wicked sense of fucking humor.

Crazy is a Luxury

It’s finally here, the day has come when I see my GP about an ECT consult. The medication/psychiatric merry-go-round is killing me. I can’t do this anymore. I haven’t left my house in weeks, I haven’t written for PC because let’s be honest, I’m not doing so well with “Living well with mental illness” and why the hell am I going to preach that to anyone?

The new office is cheerful. I feel safe as soon as I walk in. The girls take me to an exam room right away, I must look a hot fucking mess. I can hear him in the hall and I’m clearing my throat in preparation for my speech when he walks in.

“Hello Boss” he smiles.

I adjust my sweater and fix an angry look on my face, tears pooling in my eyes, threatening to spill over.

“Look at this! TWENTY-SIX FUCKING PAGES!!!! I can’t do this anymore.” The twenty-six pages fall to the floor. He sits down and scoots his chair closer to mine.

He looks at me with those wise eyes of his. I’ve come to him for over twenty years now, for everything from a scraped knee to appendicitis, it’s comforting and painful to watch him advocate…

“You are a manic. I have dealt with manics for 40 years, Nicole…you are terrible to live with. If you could live on a deserted island things would be great..but you can’t! You yell and scream! You make it ridiculously hard for anyone to live with you, you have ever increasing demands for people to live with you and sometimes they make sense, but most times they don’t.

You have seen every psychiatrist in this city and every psychiatrist will just give you more medication. And they talk…

You are a very smart woman who does not thrive when she is limited with psychotropic medication. You will never be sane by society’s standards. When I make a decision, I make it. I don’t have to second guess my choices like you do. I don’t have to look at a decision that I make and think, ‘is this going to effect the rest of my life and my children’s lives’ and I’m so sorry that you have to do that when you decide something. I am so sorry that you have to second guess every single choice that you make. 
The fact is Nicole, you don’t have the luxury of going crazy. Your brain wants to not be sane. Your choices require effort and you can not let your guard down and I’m sorry, BUT YOU DON’T HAVE THE LUXURY OF GOING CRAZY.”


He hands me a tissue and nods his head. I feel better because he listens and he talks to me like I’m a real person, not just some number in a filing system. He cares because he’s my family doctor, he knows me, he gets me, this crazy nonsensical brain of mine that makes perfect sense once you clear away the muddles.

“There is no drug that is going to heal you. If I were to say the one drug that has helped keep you flat it would have been lithium, but you don’t do well flat. You can’t function as a zombie. You can’t live without feeling so we will do what we can to make your life and the lives of those your life as healthy as we can, without the side effects. We will not shut you off. The stabilizers will remain and we will get you off of the sleeping pills, it will be very hard, but we will do it.

ECT is not an option right now. You are not suicidal and you are not psychotic or in the throes of any psychosis. If everything was shit and even breathing hurt, ECT would get you to the point that you are at now, it’s not a good fit, and we’d have to get you to a psychiatrist for that.”

My eyes bulge out, “Don’t you let that witch come anywhere near my brain ever again. I will lose my shit if I ever have to see her again.”

He sighs and nods his head, used to my little outbursts by now. That’s comforting though, he gets me. He sees progress. He can point out how I can see the swings before they occur. He reminds me of the leaps and bounds that I have made over the last four years.

I’m calm again. “So that’s it then, I’m not going back to her or any of them. Why is it that they all want ignorant patients? Why can’t they handle people who ask questions demand answers and refuse to be zombified?”

He gives me that look, “You know why. I won’t talk poorly about any of my colleagues, but I have seen so much. I won’t let you fall back in again. It is up to you to get rid of everything in your life that sets you off, everything that is not healthy for you. It’s time to start saying no for your own health. Do what you need to do because this is how you’re going to live a life where you can feel and not be shut off. You can’t function when you’re shut off.

I’ll see you in a month and we will go from there. Make an appointment sooner if you need to. You know what to do.”

Do not let a practice that won’t heal you kill you.