I can’t sleep.
I can’t eat when the pain is so severe.
I have missed countless days of work.
I have gotten behind on the school program I am in.
I have no social life.
I can’t sleep.
I can’t eat when the pain is so severe.
I have missed countless days of work.
I have gotten behind on the school program I am in.
I have no social life.
you worked hard to undermine what relationship i had with your best friend and you actively pushed for us to break up, telling us that it wouldn’t work, that we were rushing into things.
you stood back as you lied and broke promises, turning what friendship i thought i had with you into a living hell. you didn’t speak to me for well over a year when you dragged me down into some drama i really had no part in.
you told my girlfriend i was horrible.
you told my girlfriend how passive aggressive i was, all while freely admitting that while you hadn’t uttered a single word to me, you were all to happy to stalk my social media to dig up dirt.
you promised time and time again that you would change, that things would be better. time and time again, we worked to believe that. time and time again, our belief that you would change shattered and it became more and more clear that you aren’t the person, much less friend, that we thought you were.
instead, you raced to spread your toxicity into our lives. you pushed for us to break up, disguising it as concern. you would tell my girl that i wasn’t worth the time, the distance. you told her that she was rushing into something we both knew was right and true.
but here’s the thing. . .
we are stronger than ever. we’ve come through our own challenges, standing beside each other. we’ve faced some brutal things throughout our lives well before we even knew each other. we faced backlash and hurtful words from those we loved the most.
we came through stronger than ever.
if anything, we’ve learned that we refuse to let that negativity into our lives. we’ve pushed it out, created safe and healthy spaces. we’ve made new, close and healthy relationships with those around us.
you said we’d never make it to the move – but in the next few weeks, it’s happening. you always doubted us, and tried to get under our skin, you tried so hard to make us second guess our entire lives together. you didn’t win.
in the end, when it came time to walk away – we knew that we had not only made the right choice, but we had made the best choice. you were never the friend you should have been. you were never the positive, open and caring person we thought you were. and that’s okay, it’s your life.
and in the end, we came out on top, stronger than ever, and ready to spend our lives together. time and time again, we will always come out on top, stronger and more in love.
i hope that in time, you find the same – that you will learn to love yourself and others. while you may not see any wrong in what you’ve done, i know that we are healthier, happier and stronger because of what we endured and walked away from.
we made it all the way to the top.
I wanted to take the time to share part of my journey so far. Today I’m talking about body image, how it has played a role in my life and the slow process of learning to love myself.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with body image, disordered eating and some mental illness that have all stuck with me in some way to form some pretty unhappy thoughts about my body. I’ve been diagnosed with type two diabetes and PCOS within months of each other. It’s been a rough road.
Most recently, I was seeing a new OBGYN to try and get some long term treatment for the severe endometriosis I am battling and advice on things I can continue to do dealing with PCOS and the issues I’m facing with it. It has been so bad in the last year and has sent me to the ER several times and left me with no help from a few medical professionals.
When I walked into the appointment, I was hopeful. My mom was with me for support and I left shaking – angry, upset and hurt. It started a downward spiral. The doctor I saw that morning flat out told me that I was fat, and she would do nothing to help me other than throw pills at me. She made it very clear she had no interest in helping me at all.
A few weeks later, I flew into Tennessee to visit my girlfriend and one afternoon while we are shopping I had a complete breakdown because I was so uncomfortable, but the outfits I loved just didn’t FEEL right. I went on and on about how this doctor had treated me, how it triggered a lot of horrible thoughts, had started a pattern of disordered eating.
I’m going to be completely honest – that entire situation with the doctor and what unfolded in the weeks following was probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with. I was so unsure about my body, myself. I felt like a small, scared child unsure of what to do and the doctors words and treatment of me left me scarred and struggling.
For a while, I blocked it out. I was numb. I was upset. I was shocked. I was already uncomfortable in my own body. What that appointment left me with was a lot of hurt that surfaced again. I really struggled but I didn’t open up to people about the situation. I felt judged and looked down on enough with that single appointment.
When it all came floating to the surface, I had no choice but to face what happened. I had gone from someone who was constantly on the go, biking at least 20 miles a week for years to someone who had been in the ER several times in a year because of how severe the endometriosis had gotten.
Over the last year, I’ve become more comfortable in speaking out about my health. I’ve realized that by speaking out, I can help others. I can tell people how my life has changed. It’s also made me realize something huge. Something that within just a few days, has changed a lot of things for me.
My body is strong. It’s carried me this far already. It’s carried me through diagnosis after diagnosis. It’s carried me through some hard times growing up. It’s carried me even on the bad days where I can’t get out of bed.
I’ve started eating better. I’m doing some biking and walking. I’m not stepping onto that scale because it will only bring me back to where I was after the appointment. I’ve noticed small changes, small ones, but they are there.
I’m able to wear some of the pants I wasn’t able to wear a couple months ago, my shirts are feeling more comfortable. On the good days, I have more energy. I’m happier. I’m not looking at my body and thinking how much I hate this part or that part. I’m feeling more comfortable, and that is an amazing change for me.
I’m strong. I’m stronger than I realize and I have to thank my body for that. I have to take care of it. It’s carried me through a lot over the past year and I am thankful for that. It can carry me on the worst days.
she’s a bitch.
she will creep up on you out of nowhere and silently. she will hide behind the amazing moments you live for, waiting to strike.
she will follow you around, making you second guess every move you make. she’s waiting and watching and ready to strike when you least expect it.
she will leave you broken. she will leave you crushed. she will attack and tell you things you may begin to believe. she’s left me broken. shattered. she’s left me unable to eat. unable to sleep. unable to get out of bed. she’s left me in the dark, wondering why i am still here.
even with medication and therapy, she’s still there. waiting. watching.
sometimes you just have to wait for it to pass, holding onto your friends and family. sometimes you brave the storm alone, one breath, one step at a time. each storm that passes, you come out a little higher than you did before, piecing the pieces back together.
it takes time. she will rear her ugly head again and again. you’ll feel the storm pushing you back, drowning you but you fight, you push against the wind, you get through the tears, the nightmares. you want to give up, to give in, but you don’t.
some days are harder than others, but you’ve made it this far already.
let her rear her ugly head. let the depression be the bitch she is, but don’t give up.
don’t give up. ♥
I was diagnosed with PCOS in September of 2015. It was eight months after I had been diagnosed with type two diabetes. Once again, I felt lost. I was scared. I was devastated. I felt like I was alone.
On top of all of that, I was told that becoming pregnant was something that would either not happen, or it would be very high risk (and the doctor who told me this, made it clear that it wasn’t the best option for me). Needless to say, by the time I got back into my car, I was a wreck.
For months, I had been staring at myself in the mirror – trying to figure out where this extra dark hair on my chin and neck were coming from. It was months of testing my blood sugar, taking medications and trying to hang in there.
I cried my entire way to work, cried at work and then cried even more when I got home from work. Eventually I calmed down and started searching for groups on Facebook. I was already in a few for chronic illnesses and spoonies, but now I needed to find a PCOS one that was right for me.
It was hard. There were so many of them. So freaking many.
A few hours later, I found myself reading up on a group called PCOS Positivity. I joined. I was hesitant to make that nerve wracking introduction post, but I did. I opened up and let these ladies into my life. I told them how lost I felt, how overwhelmed I was, that I wasn’t sure what to do, where to start or how to breathe through this new and scary diagnosis.
In that group, I began to find myself. I had already been blogging about life and my health journey, but in this group, I was welcomed and I could share positive moments, welcome new members to the group, and grow into loving myself, encouraging others and seeing the love and positivity flourish in this group. I joined the group right in it’s infancy, and holy crap, we are now 6,000+ strong!
Let me tell you what this group has done for me:
The group has given me positive information about my diagnosis.
The group has welcomed me with open arms in one of the hardest times of my life (at that point in time, my life had become diagnosis after diagnosis).
The group challenged me to love myself, no matter how hard of a time I was having. These amazing ladies were always there for me.
I’ve met ladies I never would have met if I didn’t have this group, and so many of them have seen me at my worst, and my best.
I’ve seen the group grow, grow and grow some more. I’ve seen this group grow into a community of ladies who support each other, encourage each other and are there for each other.
I’ve seen how this group gathers around its members, spreading the love, opening up to the group about major life events or just when they really just need a friend.
I know that I am not alone in what this group has done for me. There’s thousands of us who call this group home, our family. There are thousands of us who found this group when they needed it. There are thousands of us who speak out about PCOS and raise awareness.
If I hadn’t found the group when I did, I don’t know where I would be today. It has had such an impact on my life and I’ve learned so much from it and the amazing ladies in the group. We’ve grown and grown and grown, we are entering a new phase and I cannot wait to continue to spread the love, positivity and inspiration that these ladies have given me.
(for those who don’t know, I was a moderator for Jeremy Camp on his message board. He is a Christian musician and I loved being able to support him, his music, message and other members on the board. This open letter chronicles my coming out experience)
“Several years ago, I was one of the few in my area who would attend every local show you did here. I was there at the first show in Rancho Cordova when the power blew, I was at the shows at the huge church in Roseville. My brother and I went to the shows together, he even took photos at the show at UC DAVIS and hung with you and the crew backstage.
These years and moments were a huge part of my life. I worked tirelessly to promote you and the events, to attend them, to share the word and your music with others.
Not only that, but I was also a moderator on the message board. I loved it. I loved being there as an inspiration, a supportive person and to encourage others. I had late nights shutting down the spammers, I worked with other admins to dissolve drama. I shared my story, my testimony and my struggles.
I truly felt welcome, loved and supported there.
That all changed in an instant.
I started seeing so much hate on the board toward the LGBT community. It was shocking. Appalling. It blew my mind. For a group that felt called to love and support others, these members were doing the exact opposite of that. Instead of embracing everyone as Christ had, they turned their backs and spewed hateful words towards the community.
It was a personal blow.
For weeks and months I struggled with this. I spent nights crying, days trying to find a way to avoid the hate yet still be a moderator. I tried to show that love, compassion and acceptance Christ had. I was one of the few who did.
Eventually, it came to a breaking point. These members needed to see that a gay person was not some kind of monster. They needed to see that people of the community were normal, loving people who led normal lives and worked with so many in various communities.
As one of the main moderators in the Sisters in Christ board, I chose to come out as lesbian.
I couldn’t stand seeing the hate these members were spreading. They had to see they were damaging one of their own, hurting me down to the bones.
I knew that the post would be hard to swallow for many. I knew I’d likely face backlash from it. But Jeremy, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. They needed to know that I’m a normal girl who loves Christ, who loves encouraging and helping others.
I posted it, and shortly after, signed offline for the night – partly out of anxiety and because I’ve always struggled with chronic illness. I took a deep breath and knew that I had done what is best for me. I had to do this.
By morning… I woke and all hell had broken lose. While I had a few long time friends on the board supporting me, encouraging me and letting me know that while they didn’t agree with my “lifestyle”, they still cared about me.
Unfortunately, the bad outweighed the good.
Members of the message board started to harass me. I was threatened. I was told that because I was gay, I was going to go to hell. I was told that I could be stoned to death because I am gay.
Worse was members of the admin and staff team lying to me. They told me they had sent an email explaining their stance and actions, but I never got that e-mail.
Even worse than that?
The main admin of the board, C (as we all knew him by), took to the general part of the forum and publicly humiliated me. The actions of the team made it very clear that I was never welcome on the board – the humiliation continued as members stalked me on forms of social media, sending me harassing messages. I had been publicly humiliated on a board with thousands of members…
All because of what I said. Yet, he (and others on the team) took that step to humiliate me. That? Jeremy, that’s what still stings the most. How is this showing Christ’s love? How is this loving others as He loved us? Jesus took the time and spent time with people no one else did… yet his followers, they did the exact opposite.
The situation came at a time where I was depressed. I was struggling and so much. The situation nearly pushed me to a suicide attempt. How was I supposed to feel like I am loved, cared about, and supportive when people who claim to show Christ’s love can act so cruelly?
It’s been several years now since this all happened… some days are better than others. Some are not. What remains is how hurt I am. It shows in the panic of coming out to others, to stepping foot into a church. It shows in the nights where I’m in bed crying.
What happened to me on the board should have never happened. The moderating team and admins should have treated me as a human being. Instead, I was lied to continuously about that “email”, I was publicly humiliated. I was stalked and harassed.
I am writing this because I need you to know what happened. I can’t get this closure without you knowing what happened. Maybe you already do, I’m sure you heard bits and pieces several years ago.. but I wanted you to hear it from me. I wanted you to know how hard this has been for me, that it hasn’t yet healed.
Since then, I have really struggled with my faith. I don’t feel welcome in a church. I’m scared to come out to people involved in church or the Christian music community. I still carry the weight and scars from the experience because people who claim to follow Christ quite literally made my life a living hell.
You may not even remember me, or even read this email, but I need to you know what happened, and how it has affected me over the last few years since it happened.”
Was this easy to share? No. In fact, I am anxious and terrified that some of these same people will come back into my life and start the same issues as they had when this situation first unfolded, but I also know that it is my time to speak up about this.
I won’t stay quiet anymore. I will speak up. I will encourage others. I will support others. If you are struggling with coming out and/or the aftermath? I am here and so are many others.
You guys! I am so excited to bring you the first post for the new feature Molli and I have created! It’s going to chronicle our lives together – everything from our FaceTime date nights to THE BIG MOVE. We wanted to create something to look back on and this feature fits perfectly.
It’s Christmas time! Time flew by, and honestly, it doesn’t feel like it should be Christmas again. I know, that’s weird isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday. I love spending the time with my loved ones, relaxing and taking part in our holiday traditions.
This year more than ever, I am looking forward to new traditions to start next Christmas with Molli.
We’ve talked about exchanging Christmas PJs (something I have always wanted to do), the family candlelit Christmas Eve service at my church and just taking it easy, celebrating together on Christmas Day.
Christmas Eve we always gather at my grandmothers house and take the short walk to our church where we attend the quiet, family oriented candlelit service. All the kids head up and listen to the Christmas story and at the end of the night, the lights are dimmed and everyone has a lit candle as we sing Silent Night.
After church, we always have dinner as a family. Sometimes it’s a big dinner we cook up and sometimes, we pick up Chinese food.
Growing up, we always used to open gifts from grandma Mary on Christmas Eve, but over the years it has shifted some. Still, it’s always a special night for our family and we all look forward to a quiet night together as a family.
Christmas Day we open gifts, stockings and visit with my mom and step dad. We have a Christmas dinner somewhere (this year it is at my dad’s house) and sometimes (like this year) brunch with my aunt and her three kids.
It’s always a hectic day, but it is filled with so much love and laughter. At the end of the day, I usually curl up in bed and reflect on the day and the past year – enjoying the quiet and spend time with my sweetheart.
I’ve already started one – giving her a Christmas ornament each year. I try to always find one that reminds me of the two of us, something we did together or a favorite thing of ours.
Next year, we will exchange Christmas PJs, do stockings for each other and spend Christmas morning in our home. I would love to start the tradition of a Christmas breakfast for us – and curl up on the couch for snuggles.
No matter what happens throughout the year, the family comes together for our various traditions and they fall into place no matter how chaotic things may be. A couple years ago, I was in a cast and couldn’t use my right hand – it made present opening pretty hilarious, but it’s another memory to share with loved ones.
I tell myself to keep fighting, to stay strong. I tell myself to take it one day at a time, one step at a time and one minute at a time.
It’s been hard. I’m not going to lie about it and I’m not going to sugarcoat it, either.
It’s that time of the year when everything creeps up on me. Finals. The holidays. Every single thing I have to do. Stress about grades, stress about the upcoming semester.
It’s that gut wrenching, guilty feeling of being pulled in too many directions for the holidays. Where do I go, how do we make this all work – who will I end up hurting if I don’t go here but decide to go there? It’s like being a child again, fresh out of my parents divorce.
Overwhelmed. Hurt. Anxious. I hate it.
Then there’s the panic, and the attacks that have been coming along with it.
It’s the early morning panic about not getting enough sleep. It’s the panic about knowing I need to get up and to campus, but being unable to do so. It’s the panic about what everyone is thinking when I’m not there in class.
It’s the panic over what work will hold for me that day. It’s the panic at the end of my shift when I still have this much to do, and feeling like I won’t get it done. It’s the panic as I try and sit down and work on homework, knowing that despite having taken this class three times now – I’ll never learn the material, I’ll never pass.
It’s the relief that I can finally crawl into bed at the end of the day, exhausted, drained and ready to sleep. Until the panic starts in. My brain is like a hurricane, constantly going and impossible to turn off. It’s the thoughts about today, what tomorrow holds, how much I have left to do just this week.
It’s the panic over the holidays, over money, over my health.
It’s like that first panic attack I had. I was in high school, goofing off on a nearby playground with friends when I slipped just a tiny bit. That gut wrenching, terrifying feeling that everything around me was collapsing. I couldn’t catch my breath, I was sweating. My heart was pounding and aching.
It happened two more times within one week.
I had convinced myself my heart was giving out, that there was nothing anyone could do. I went to the doctors and they told me, no, it’s just a panic attack. What’s going on? What triggers them?
Hell if I knew. I’d never had one before, even though I’d felt that panic before. Again and again and again. It was a familiar friend at that point, but it was quickly becoming my enemy and something I was terrified of. That alone would cause more attacks.
It’s the terrifying intrusive thoughts that come on when I am feeling at my worst. It’s the thoughts of what would happen if I did this? What would happen if I walked out and didn’t come back? It’s the thoughts of self harm, something I haven’t done in years, taunting, calling me back. It’s that terrifying urge to go back to those habits and fighting hard not to.
Those thoughts haven’t won the war, but they’re there. They are in the back of my head on the worst days – popping up when I’m at my worst. I fight them as hard as I can. I turn to those I trust the most, confiding in them about these thoughts. Somehow, we’ve managed.
The thoughts are there on the worst of days, but I’m constantly fighting through them. I have to fight them.
These days, it’s the constant anxiety. It’s the late night panic attacks where I can’t catch my breath and I search for a reason why this attack came on. It’s the nightmares some nights, memories or flashbacks on another. . . sometimes I’m not even sure what triggered them.
It’s not easy.
I feel drained. Exhausted. Even on my good days, the days where I am laughing, calm. . . the anxiety is there. It’s the old friend who wants to stay in your life despite how much has changed. It’s that dreaded feeling when you know you are doing better, but something is still dragging you down.
It’s a daily battle. Anxiety is a bitch. You think you have it under control and something, even the smallest thing will trigger it and it will all come flooding back, drowning you under it’s weight.
I try to stay above the water, to stay grounded, but the anxiety gets the better of me more often than not. It’s hard to push the thoughts away, but I push and I push and I push.
I can’t drown under the weight of anxiety. I refuse to, but these are the days where it seems like it’s pulling me in all directions, settling in and making itself at home. It’s a demon and a ghost, a friend you don’t want.
It’s a part of me.
On top of that, it’s been balancing work, family life and then being accepted into the online high school diploma program. It’s been a wild ride so far, but I’ve also been focused on self care and learning what may be “too much” for me. It’s a hard lesson, but one that I need to learn.
With today being Thanksgiving, I wanted to take some time out of my day to share what I am thankful for this year. I’ll be honest and say that yes, there have been some really bad days for me, where I wasn’t sure what would happen next – but there have been so many days where I can look back and see how much I have grown this year.
I’m thankful for…
My girlfriend: Mol, you mean the world to me. I cannot imagine my life without you and I am so incredibly in love with you. I am so excited for the future we are building together and I cannot wait to love you for the rest of my life. No matter what happens, we always have each other. You are my best friend and I am so incredibly thankful for you, and for us.
My friends and family: what would I do without you? You’ve seen me at my worst, you’ve seen me at my best. You’ve listened to me cry, you’ve stayed at my side throughout ER visits. You’ve supported me, encouraged me and were always there for me. You’ve seen me grow this year, you’ve seen me stumble. I am so thankful for all of you. My sisters, my brother, my parents, my grandmother. You mean so much to me and I cannot have come this far without you.
My health: it’s been such a rough year health wise with what seemed like a year of never ending diagnosis appointments, I am happy with where I am. This was the year that I was diagnosed with type two diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome and bipolar disorder.
It’s a lot. It’s a lot to absorb, to become used to. I’ve learned what triggers my blood sugar spikes, I’ve been on a handful of medications I’ve had to adjust to and I’ve had to learn to test my blood sugar. I’ve seen my A1C go from a 10.3 at diagnosis to a 6.9 at my last appointment.
My education: this is the year is the year that I applied to a high school diploma program and was accepted! I have kept a 4.0 GPA so far, and have completed three career courses and am waiting for the go ahead to continue since I just finished my last two “qualifying” courses.
Authors: so many of you have impacted my life. A few of you have become friends, you’ve supported me, encouraged me and have been there for me. You’ve taught me about myself, you’ve opened my eyes and your words have healed parts of me. Tamara and Courtney – you both mean so much to me and I am so incredibly grateful for all you have done for me. Your love, friendship and support get me through each day. I am so proud and honored to not just consider you friends, but a part of my family.
To my readers and the spoonie community – thank you. Thank you for being there for me, for listening and taking the time to catch up on my life, learn about my health conditions and to support me along the way. I am so happy with the direction my blog has taken this past year and I am thankful for each of you.
When I saw this post on BuzzFeed, I instantly knew that I wanted to turn it into a blog post of my own. It had been lingering in the back of my mind for awhile, but it didn’t hit hard until I read this post yesterday.
For a long time, I fought with the idea of getting help. I’d sit in a funk for awhile, debate over finally calling EH where my doctor had set up a referral for me. Eventually, it’d pass. It took awhile, sometimes longer than others – but it would pass.
It didn’t mean I wasn’t sick anymore.
I was. I knew it. Those closest to me knew it. Deep down, I was wrestling with the idea of getting help. I knew that something wasn’t right, that this back and forth, the battle, the flip of a switch mood swings and everything I was feeling wasn’t normal. It wasn’t healthy.
It wasn’t until last winter where I finally knew that I was either going to give up, or find help. My first try got me nowhere and basically was told that I wasn’t “sick enough” to get help from the county mental health department. I still look back and think, had I been worse… that outcome could have been so much worse than it was.
Getting out of bed was a fight.
Getting ready for work or class was a battle.
The smallest things would trigger an avalanche of emotions.
I wasn’t sleeping.
I was hardly eating.
It was getting worse and worse as every day passed. I felt like I was drowning, sinking and that I was going to feel this deep depression for the rest of my life.
That’s not even including the anxiety that was quickly taking control of almost every aspect of my life.
So, one cold January morning – I walked into my doctors office, broke down in tears and explained what was going on. He was the first medical professional to listen to me. To really listen and see what this was like for me. I left the office that day with a referral to EH to see a psychiatrist and start therapy, but also with a prescription for an anti-depressant.
The adjustment was… hard. I slept, a lot. My moods stabilized somewhat, but then started bouncing around again. I was sleeping 10-12 hours a day once the medication entered my system, and even then I was exhausted. I knew it would take time, that it meant I may have to try other meds.
Yet, I knew that starting medication was the best choice. Nothing I was doing on my own was helping, I’d lost weight, I’d lost friends (later realizing this was their loss and not mine, as they left me when I needed my friends the most) and set out to work through this.
In the end, I ended up seeing a psychiatrist about six months ago.
I was diagnosed with anxiety and bipolar disorder. I was given more medication, with some adjustments here and there over the past six months. It took awhile, but I slowly started to see the difference.
Taking medication meant I could get out of bed.
Taking medication meant that I could make it to work and to school.
Taking medication meant that I could finally feel stable again, despite having a low here or there.
Taking medication means that I am taking care of myself, and in the long run – maybe this is what I needed all along. It took awhile to get to here, and previous experience with taking medication in high school left me hesitant and fighting the idea.
Taking medication means that I am on the road to becoming healthy. Taking medication daily means that I can have a chance to have a normal, healthy life. While I’m still fighting my mental illness, I am taking the biggest step I can in order to regaining my health.
I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.