Wednesday, November 13, 2019
I am not the healthiest of people. My mental health is definitely something I struggle with, but on top of that, I have some physical health problems that have taken some adjusting to live with.
I am 23 years old, and I suffer from undiagnosed chronic, invisible illness. The only things I know for sure about my health, are the symptoms I deal with daily.
To give you an idea, up until 2015, I was very healthy. In fact, I rarely got sick beyond the common cold. It wasn’t until I came down with mono, hepatitis A, strep throat, a tooth infection, and had a sprained ankle, within 6 weeks of each other, that I actually experienced a decline. At this time I was 18 years old.
All of the things mentioned eventually went away, but after that, I never fully recovered. It was hard to bounce back. I slept in more, and I still felt exhausted. I’d fall asleep at work, and I acquired a pale color to my face. My dark circles under my eyes have never gone away, and along with that, I started to experience a lot more symptoms.
On a daily basis, I live with chronic pain, especially when I’m having a flare up. I get sick almost every time I eat, to the point where I have to find okay times to eat while at work, so I can remain effective in my job position. I have heart palpitations that I’ve had since I was a preteen, and dizzy spells that leave me light headed and my heart racing. My joints pop painfully, my hair has fallen out out in clumps in the past. I have a hard time maintaining appropriate levels of vitamin D, and so on.
A little over a year ago, I got a least one answer for some of my pain. For a few years prior, I had begun experiencing pan in my hip that got increasingly worse over time. I kept thinking “it’ll go away, I just need to take it easy.” But I eventually realized I was wrong. It took 4 doctors, one of which told me “you’re young, there’s probably nothing wrong, you’ll just have to live with it” to get a diagnosis. When I finally got diagnosed, I was relieved, not because something was wrong with me, but because I finally knew what it was. I had a labral tear in my hip. The option I was given, was surgery, and I took it.
(Post surgery photo pictured on the right)
One year after that surgery, and I still experience pain in my hip and it’s one more thing I’m continuing to look into, to improve my quality of life.
I’ve been to two cardiologists, a rheumatologist, several general practitioners, and so far, 6 orthopedic surgeons, with the referral to see another. It has been years, and I have very little answers and no relief.
It has been frustrating to say the least, and at one point, I used to go into doctors offices optimistic and excited that they might finally find what’s wrong. That hope still lingers, but it’s very rare that I walk away from an appointment feeling confident that we’re going in the right direction. Honestly, the last few appointments have left me in tears.
The struggle of finding answers takes a toll on my mental health. Over the years of searching, I’ve found myself in various situations of disappointment. Sometimes I think I might never have answers, and maybe that’s true, but for my mental healths sake, I keep looking.
A part of the difficulty, with dealing with invisible, chronic illness, especially undiagnosed, is that I’ll often run into people who don’t believe me. “You look fine to me.”or “You’re young, you have your whole life ahead of you.” I’ve heard those before in reference to my mental health, too. It’s not encouraging, as most of you know, it’s invalidating.
Your physical health takes a toll on your mental health. It makes you feel hopeless in already difficult situations. Neither one is more important than the other. We have to take care of ourselves in every way we can, but they do effect each other tremendously.
My mental health has effected my physical health before as well. Making me less inclined to eat, drink water, or take my medications. It's a cycle we have to do our best to stay out of.
I want to be transparent, and show my support for other mental health warriors who also deal with chronic illness. As they are both big parts of my life, I want SLLY to be a reflection of me, and my passion for health all around the board.
Stop Look Love Yourself's primary focus is mental health, but I may mention chronic illness now and then.
If anyone else deals with chronic illness, please feel free to reach out to me at any time!
Friday, November 8, 2019
That's where I am today, and I keep trying to tell myself that today is just one of those days, and it will pass. I don't have to allow a bad day, or this feeling, stretch into the rest of my week, or month, and so on.
Self talk is important, but it's very discouraging, and hard to stay on track, when you feel like it's coming from inside. It feels like you can't possibly block it out, or escape it, when it's inside of you.
This isn't one of those feel good entries. It's more like, I understand, and I get it too. A bad day doesn't equal a bad life, logically I know this, but no amount of logic eases my compulsive feelings, or uprising anxiety and insecurities.
Today is good compared to my worst day thus far. I'd take this, and all it's feelings, over that day, every time. I'm grateful for how far I've come since then. Most would probably even say I've done a 180, and I'd agree with them. Not because everything is perfect, but because, just a few months ago, I was at the lowest point I have ever been in my entire life. I was on the phone with my mother, and I told her I didn't want to do this anymore. I didn't want to live.
With all that being said, just because I'm not at my very worst today, doesn't mean today's feelings are invalid.
So yes, bad days happen, and so do worst days. Sometimes it feels like you can't escape, and it's hard to talk yourself away from getting trapped there. Sometimes small things hurt a lot. That's okay. Today's struggles are valid, even if they're not nearly as bad as yesterday's.
I needed to get this out today. I haven't blogged in awhile, and hopefully I'll be putting out more content soon. Ideally, something more positive.
Sending you my love xoxo
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Friday, December 1, 2017
Written by guest blogger Paulo - founder of NewEarthNutrition on Instagram.
We’re all suckers for inspirational before & after weight loss stories but this is not one of them. This is my after the after story.
See, Nobody really talks about what happens after the fact. Diet culture dictates that we should vilify the “befores” & glorify the “afters”. The “befores” are typically stigmatized despite their efforts or underlying medical condition. They’re all just lazy right? And the “afters” are celebrated despite the hidden detrimental costs of their success. ⠀ ⠀
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And we all want to be celebrated of course so we try & “improve” ourselves. However, we usually approach a weight loss journey as something static that ends after losing a certain amount of lbs. But it doesn’t really end there.
I struggled with my weight & my body image issues for the majority of my waking life. I really hated myself so I thought I should change myself through discipline. I wanted to be an “after” story so bad I did things that are uncharacteristic of me.
I fasted for weeks on end, drank various concoctions of cleansing juices, & I did extreme diets and exercises. I forced my body into submission & eventually I turned my life around. Before losing over a hundred lbs I was miserable & depressed. After losing weight I became depressed & miserable. ⠀ ⠀
In essence, nothing really changed. Despite the superficial bodily improvements & hollow approval from others I still felt that I was the same piece of crap person. Still, I wasn’t “enough”
We strive for optimal weight because it’s fundamentally about our health. But somewhere along the way we start doing it for the wrong reasons. And this pursuit, this grueling abuse that I’ve put my body through for the sake of an “ideal image” & for the hopes that maybe others will love me seemed to have caused more problems than what it intended to solve. ⠀
I ended up with a dysfunctional relationship with my friends, my family, with food, & most especially with myself.
So yeah, Just know that all that glitters is not necessarily gold. Strive for health but do it out of self love and not self hatred.
Thursday, October 19, 2017
The definition of recovery:
|Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash|
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
|Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash|
Today, I slept in until 1:00. Not because I was tired (which is unusual for me to not feel exhausted), but because I kept forcing myself back to sleep, hoping the next time I woke up, I'd wake up without the anxiety. It didn't happen, and by 1:00 I knew I had to get up and do something. My thought's wouldn't just stop, slow down, go away, leave me alone. Why is it, when my mind finally decides to focus, it focuses on everything I don't need to be thinking about?
I'm currently in between jobs, my summer job ended and I am waiting to hear back from my work interest, so I don't have a current work obligation. I often spend my free time working on SLLY to keep myself busy and productive. I guess you can say that's what I'm doing now.
Honestly, sometimes I don't feel fit to be talking about recovery. On these days, I doubt myself a lot. I have to remind myself that you don't have to have everything together to make a difference, and you don't have to be ahead of everyone in your road to recovery, to promote it. It's true, and it's true for everyone I talk to. I am no exception to this truth, and neither are you.
Today, is a bad day. I have those too. In fact, I have those often. I often times talk to people, asking me how I am so "happy" all the time, or how I figured out how to love myself. I tell them, the truth is, I'm not happy all the time, and I don't always love myself. I've come a long way for sure, but there's sometimes I just feel like giving up on everything. I feel unmotivated, emotionally and physically exhausted, and sometimes I hate my body. Things are better than they used to be, I will admit that, but I'm still in the middle of my journey. I had to make the decision every day, that I was going to encourage myself, and give my body the love and care it needs to get to where I want to be.
I'm no better than anyone else who struggles with these things, I'm just in a different place with different situations and circumstances.
Today may not have been a good day, not in the slightest, but I still deserve a good tomorrow, and that's what I'm going to be aiming for. When I have bad days like this, tomorrow is literally all I have. Every single day is potential for a good one, and that's enough for me right now.
Today is a bad day, tomorrow will be better, but if tomorrow isn't better, I will appreciate today.
Friday, October 13, 2017
|Photo by Xavier Sotomayor on Unsplash|
I remember once, I had to excuse myself from a graduation party due to an anxiety attack. I disappeared for an hour while my boyfriend at the time, mingled with all his friends and family, and I was closed up in his room simply trying to breathe. I was embarrassed that I couldn't hold myself together, and was so afraid that people would think that I was being rude or antisocial. My boyfriend understood, but would everyone else understand that, "It's not you, it's my anxiety."
I've canceled plans with friends because of anxiety. Whether the anxiety was over getting to where I needed to go, or simply just meeting with them. I'd always feel so terrible, and pray they didn't think that I don't like them. That's not true at all, in fact, "It's not you, it's my anxiety."
It's never personal, but I always find it difficult to explain. I don't want people to be upset when I need to excuse myself from social situations, or if I can't meet up that day because I'm having an anxiety attack. Anxiety likes to control me, to tell me what I can and cannot do, and although I try to cope and fight it, sometimes I can't win. For other people, understanding this might be hard.
We don't talk about mental illness enough for those who don't struggle with it to truly understand the effects it can have on someone. We treat mental illness so differently than physical illness, but really, they're not much different.
My anxiety causes distress. It sends waves of nausea through my body and makes it hard to breathe. I can't focus, I can't function. My ability to cope has left the building... So sometimes, I say that I'm sick. Because although I'm experiencing anxiety, I feel sick. I am sick.
When someone has the flu, and they cancel plans, we are so quick to be forgiving. We need to make it better known, that mental illness of any sort, has physical affects on you and your ability to function as well as a very real impact on your mental state. Just because it's your mind, doesn't mean it isn't important.
It's time to talk about it, it's time to understand it. So please, realize, if I need some space, "It's not you, it's my anxiety."