I’ts OKAY to not be Okay.

“I’m not okay”

Who knew 9 letters could make a human feel so vulnerable.

From my experience, saying these three words does not bring the relief it should, but brings feeling of defeat. I have been working on myself and my mental health for years, and this is still one of my biggest struggles. Anxiety, Depression and all other mental health issues present in everyone differently. People on the outside may not even know we are struggling, which is why it is so important to vocalize our weaknesses when we need help.

I’ve decided to delve into this particular blog topic because lately, I have not been okay.

In a previous blog post I briefly mentioned receiving treatment when I was 14 years old for a depressive episode. I didn’t go into grave detail at that time for a few reasons: one being that it was not the main focus of my post and it’s also really hard to voice your very personal struggles on the internet.  But, when I think about it, I think that is where a lot of our problems with the mental health stigma begins. If we don’t talk about it, the taboo nature of this topic will just continue to grow.

I will start by saying I suffer from “Generalized Anxiety Disorder” and “Clinical Depression.” I use quotations because those are the terms my physicians and insurance companies use. These are umbrella terms that manifest so differently person to person and everyone’s experiences are not the same, despite the same diagnosis. I for one, suffer mostly from anxiety, which doesn’t present itself like it is portrayed in the movies.

I am often overwhelmed with feelings of anger and irritability at a moments notice, with no clear cause or reason. I feel as if I am unable to cope, like I need a physical release to feel better. And when you don’t have that ability to let the feeling go it becomes overwhelming, the air feels thick, my hands sweat and I am encompassed with feelings of rage.

A perfect example of this was a few days ago, I was running late for work and my dog was whining to go out, I was trying to make my coffee and I drew one of my eyebrows on too thin. All of these things may seem so insignificant, but my blood started to boil. I was so enraged with my surroundings I had a delayed response to the fact I was accidentally burning my wrist on my curling iron.

By the time I finally got to my car I was fuming, white knuckling the steering wheel. And I just started to scream till my throat was hoarse. I needed to get this anger out, I was desperate to feel better. Instead, the tears started to flow and I just cried, in the parking lot of my work place.

It was there in my car I realized I couldn’t do this alone and I needed help, I needed support. No one should have to feel this way, and absolutely no one should have to feel it alone.

One of the most difficult things about asking for help is realizing it’s okay that you can’t do it alone. And that it doesn’t mean you’ve failed or you’re defeated. I think as humans we all want a sense of control. We want to be in charge of our life and our choices, let alone our feelings, and when we’re not, it can be devastating.

I often surprise people when I open up about my struggles and get responses like “but you’re so happy all the time” or “I would have never known” and that’s because I AM happy, outgoing, compassionate and dedicated. But I also hurt sometimes.

It is okay, to not be okay.

With that I say Good evening and may you have a wonderful day filled with Coffee, Cats and Cusswords

Instagram: coffeecatsandcusswords

Just Because You Can’t See it Doesn’t Mean it Doesn’t Hurt: Living With Ulcerative Colitis

I was 19 years old when I had my first Colonoscopy. Yes, you read that right, 19. Most people dread their 50th birthday for this procedure. But me? I was a sophomore in college, attempting to get into the Nursing program and trying to pass exams.

What started as occasional abdominal pain turned into severe weight loss, constant nausea and pain so severe I would crumble to the ground in pain- no matter where I was. I would lay in bed for days at a time, only getting up to crawl to the bathroom.

By the time I received medical attention I had lost 15lbs, couldn’t stand longer than 10 minutes due to weakness and was anemic due to the blood loss.

The day I was diagnosed was one of the best and disappointing days of my life. To finally be able to justify what was happening to me and put a name to the illness was such a relief. But the next thing the doctor said was “incurable.” This was something I would have to deal with; for life.

One of the most frustrating struggles of this illness is that there are no immediate outward symptoms, so when you miss work/school/events because you physically cannot move from pain, people don’t take it as seriously. When I am frantically searching for a restroom in public people tend to laugh, rather than realize the embarrassment and pain I am feeling.

For those of you who are unaware Ulcerative Colitis is an Autoimmune disorder that targets your colon. Your own cells attack your colon and create inflammation and ulcers.

Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain/discomfort
  • Blood or pus in stool
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent, recurring diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite
  • Tenesmus: A sudden and constant feeling that you have to move your bowels

There is no definitive cause of Ulcerative colitis, therefore making it incurable, but manageable. Remission can be managed with medications and a balanced diet. I managed to remain in remission for 2 years until recently.

I relapsed this January requiring adjustments in medications, less than desirable treatments and time off from work (hence my absence from the blogging world.)

I appreciate you taking the time to read this not so interesting, but informative post on one of my struggles. I encourage all of you to do your research when people confide their struggles in you, so you can support them in ways they need.

With that I say Good Night and may you have a wonderful day filled with Coffee, Cats and Cusswords

Instagram: coffeecatsandcusswrds

Please support the fight for a cure! Mightywell is donating 50% of all proceeds to The Crohns and Colitis Foundation. Buy a tee shirt and support finding a cure for me- and millions of others.

 

https://mighty-well.com/pages/nonprofit-partners

Why Self-Love is Not Only Important, but Necessary

The other night I was scrolling through Instagram, as I too often do, and a stranger had left a comment on a recent selfie I posted. The comment read:

“I aspire to your level of shameless self love” With a laughing emoji.

When I read this comment my first instinct was to feel embarrassment. Had I posted one too many selfies? Did people think I was full of myself? I debated about deleting the comment for over 20 minutes, I wouldn’t want anyone else to read it and think negatively of me like he did!

But, then I thought about it. What is so wrong about loving yourself? What is wrong with looking in the mirror and thinking  to yourself “You’re killing it today.“? You know what is wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. 

I have fought long and hard battles for years to even reach a place where when I looked in the mirror, and I wasn’t disgusted. I built myself from the ground up, from a lonely 17yr old girl to the confident, beautiful and successful woman I am today.

We all need to get into this mentality that we are enough.

I have lived a life full of self hate and discouragement, I have hurt myself and others because I thought I wasn’t worth anything.  I have let peers negative thoughts of me cloud my view of myself. Many times people think of it as selfish to put yourself first, but if you don’t care for yourself, how can you care for others?

Think of the longest, most stressful shift you have ever worked in your life. The feeling of exhaustion and defeat. Your head is heavy as you realize you have to do it again the next day. In that moment, how well do you think you could care for others? After those days we all just need some TLC and that is not only okay but necessary. 

There is nothing bad about self-love and about celebrating the skin you’re in. We only have this one life, we might as well all strive to be the best people that we can be and live it to the best of our abilities. As corny as that is, its true. Say sorry when you’re wrong, and stand by yourself when you’re right. Tell those that you care about that you love them, but most of all, never forget to tell yourself.

With that I say Goodnight and may you have a wonderful day filled with Coffee, Cats and Cusswords

Instagram: coffeecatsandcusswords