Judge Me Not

“There really is no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus, judge not” ~ Thomas S. Monson
I came across this quote at a very important time this past week. Lately, I have been struggling with my life not panning out the way that I believed at this point it should be. I have been struggling with coming to terms that I may not finish my education at the time I was originally supposed to. I have been struggling with coming to terms with a new life plan I may need to inact upon my family. I have been struggling with how to cope with all the change around me, both physically and mentally. 

I feel that in this world it is so much easier to pass judgment on people before we even do our research to understand why they make the decisions that they do. We so quickly judge a person on the decisions they might have needed to make for their lives before knowing their circumstances, their struggles, and their own ideals that led them to their decision. It is quicker to label someone’s choices as wrong when they don’t coincide with what we would have done for ourselves. But do we not remember that someone else’s life is not our own? 
When my fiancé and I announced the pregnancy of our son we of course heard a menagerie of things. You’re too young. This is foolish. Your lives will no longer go the way you want it to be. You’ve ruined your future. This is a mistake. The negative far outweighed the positive. 

What we would have loved to hear was: This is a blessing. Congratulations. You will find a way to make this work. You can do this as long as you go through it knowing it may not be easy, but it will be worth it. All things worth it deserve the struggle. 

Most importantly I would have loved to have heard: You will be okay. This baby will be loved. You will find your way. 

The positives, though their, were shadowed by the negative. No one ever questioned why we chose to keep our baby for our reasons, but instead why we would have dared to keep him. No one ever questioned our intentions, our plans, why now. No one thought to inquire why we thought, at our age now, that this was the time to endure this life journey. No one thought to ask our circumstances that could have played a part. It was much easier to judge. 

Truth: The moment that test gave me two lines I felt relief.

Why? Because I was in a state of panic from receiving a diagnosis that I thought would end my life. I was in a state of panic because my life had just been turned around and it felt like my world was crashing. I was in a state of panic because not only did I feel like my life was being ripped away from me, but also that I’d never get to live through the moments I was about to enter. 

But it’s much quicker to judge and give an unwanted opinion rather than try to understand the situation. 

Lately, I’ve truly been struggling. I have chosen to leave the majority of it to myself in fear that I’ll get the same negative views on my families life choices. I’m fearful of the comments that could be made when I speak up of my troubles. I’m fearful of the judgement that will inevitably be passed when we speak of our choices, our plans, our hopes for our future when no one knows the backstory, the thought, the research we’ve done before making these decisions. I fear my own decisions because the negativity has swallowed me whole in a way I did not think possible. It has brought on a sense of doubt that I have never felt before. A sense of doubt that I am now struggling to break. 

I never thought that planning MY life, and the life that MY family would live would come with so much unwanted opinion. Yes, we had a baby young. But did he struggle? No. Do you know the real reason as to why he is such a blessing to me? Maybe, maybe not. The real question is do you ever stop to think and ask why we are living the way we are living? Do you? 

I might not finish my education on time. I feel guilty and ashamed because those who viewed my son as a mistake will simply use that as the excuse to why I am not fulfilling my potential in a timely manner. That could not be far from the truth. This makes me fearful. Fearful that I will get backlash and shamed judgement because people who we look to for reassurance and acceptance will simply place their own views and opinions on a matter they truly know nothing about. 

Why do we think it is okay to judge someone without even knowing their situation? 

And we ask ourselves, why should we care what people think? And yes, why should we? But a basic human need is acceptance. A basic human need is compassion. 

When we judge people on an issue we know nothing about we take those needs away. When we tell people their decisions have made them failures we strip them of their free-will without even discerning their need to fulfill their wants and goals. We take away their confidence without understanding their reasoning. 

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. 

We have been told this saying since kindergarten and yet have fallen short on understanding basic human compassion. 

So, in closing. Someone else’s life decisions are not an area meant for judgement with lack of understanding. Of course, guidance and counseling are essential, but thinking you understand someone else’s life before actually understanding are not okay. Just because someone is not following the same path as someone else does not make it wrong. Stop comparing people. Stop comparing situations. Nothing is identical in this life. Everything holds a slight amount of uniqueness. It’s what keeps life such an adventure. 

“You have Multiple Sclerosis.”

It scares me to think that one day I won’t be able to walk without assistance. 

It scares me to think that one day I won’t be able to be the mother I envisioned myself to be for my children. 

It scares me to think I might one day have no control over my body. 

But right now I’m just more angry than afraid. 

I’m angry because my body has betrayed me. 

I’m angry because my body isn’t working the way that it should. 

I’m angry that I feel like a part of my life was taken away. 

And I’m angry that I have to be fearful. 

I look at my baby and I’m afraid that one day I will be someone he will have to take care of. I look at my fiancé and think the same thing. I don’t want to be something someone has to take care of. I want to be completely independent. I want to be self sufficient. I want to go back to normal. 

But what is normal? 

Do I even know the answer? 

Maybe not. But I’d like to go back to a time where I wasn’t so afraid of my future. Where I didn’t feel like I was under a time crunch to experience everything and anything before my body begins to expire. Have a baby. Have more babies. Go to vet school. Finish vet school. Become an amazing vet. Set up life for your family. Buy your first home. Travel the world. Just be happy. 

How can I just be happy when I’m so afraid? 

At 20 years old I found out I was having a baby. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t angry. I felt blessed.  Blessed because I was still young, still in very early stages, and still felt fine 98% of the time. I knew that somehow I had been given this baby because it was the right time for me to become a mother. It was the right time for me to experience something I’d been dreaming about since I myself was a child. I knew that I could be the mother he needed now, if god forbid it would be taken away from me later in life. For that I am a little less angry and afraid. 

I am also less afraid to venture out and do what I want in life. I’m doing this no longer for myself, but for him. My body might have betrayed me. My body might be “sick”. But my body grew and delivered a baby that has taught me more about love in the last three months than I have learned in my 21 years on this earth. I will fight to the ends of this earth to be the mother this baby deserves, just as I will for any future children we may have. 

I’m choosing not to live in fear. 

I’m choosing not to live in anger. 

I’m choosing to live in peace and hope for the future I know I deserve. 

I’m choosing to live in the love my son basks me in every day. 

I’m choosing to live. 

Hard Decisions. 

Why can we so clearly remember the negatives people have told us in our lives, but find it so hard to remember when people tell us positives? 

Is it because we when seonw doubts our abilities, or the way in which we see ourselves, we find it that much more important to prove them wrong? Or could it be that we fear their negative view may be be the truth? 

For me, I can remember many of the negative things I’ve been told compared to the positive. I recall before I got my license being told I’d never be a defensive driver and so I strived to be a driver that held confidence in an activity I once held so much fear for. I recall being told I was ugly and fat even when I thought myself pretty, and I strived to destroy the body they had told me was unworthy. Lastly, I recall with such clarity when someone told me my son would ruin my life, or that I’d never accomplish the goals I had set forth for myself before he was conceived.  I’ve spent every waking moment since trying to prove them wrong. 

I thought that my son would be just like any other baby. I believed he’d want to either sleep or eat for the majority of his first few weeks. He did not. He wanted to scream in agony for hours, feed until his mommy cried in pain, and sleep when his small body became so exhausted from the entire ordeal. My son was not like the babies I had been exposed to, the ones who had been praised for their sleeping skills, and well temperament. 

Weeks passed by, and though doctors tried to find the underlying cause of my little boys grief, they could not find a long lasting solution. During this time I was also going through trials within my mind of needing to return to school to get to vet school on time, to graduate college on time, to prove that having my miracle did not deter me from reaching my end goal. I worked myself to the bone to be able to be there for my sleep deprived infant while still maintaining my status as a student who had goals to achieve in a timely fashion. I would prove everyone who ever doubted me wrong, and I would come out victorious with my degree and a one year old at my hip on graduation letting the world knew I did it. 

But it wasn’t until I was rocking my little sleep fighter for the fourth time that evening, crying with him in frustration because he wouldn’t sleep from his painful gas, that I realized I was not thinking of him entirely. I was so focused on the negative perspective someone had placed upon me that I was not giving someone I had fought so hard for what he needed. It dawned on me that me stretching myself so thin was not good for neither myself or for my son. So I decided to change. 

I was currently taking my second class since my theee month old baby had been born- the first starting when he was only a mere six weeks old. I had gotten an exam back from a day after a night where I slept for maybe three hours. But wait- I am forgetting a very crucial part of this story. Bear with me. 

When Luca came home from the hospital he had gas that brought him to screams of agony. This of course made it very difficult for him and I to get any sleep. I also was new to breastfeeding, and because of the lack of educating I had done on the actual process (I had done PLENTY of research on milk supply though) it was a very rough start. I had been told he was starving, then he gained rapidly because he wanted to eat: All. The. Time. However we finally fell into a groove. We were then diagnosed with reflux and given Zantac. This worked for roughly a week or two. During this introduction of this medication Luca was also hospitalized for a cold with a fever of 101.7….but that’s a story for another day. When the Zantac became ineffective his dose was raised due to how weight sensitive the medication was. We thought we were on the mend once again, and soon we’d have a happy baby once again. 

We were wrong 

When he turned two months his body took a nose dive into giving my sweet boy constant pain. Either through the gas that threw him around all night long or through his favorite hobby: eating. He’d latch on to the breast, whimper to and scream, latch off while screaming, and finally scream& frantically search for the breast on repeat. We learned finally if we rocked while he ate it aided in the feedings, but did not aid in the spit up. 

We went through two straight weeks of screaming. Two straight weeks of agony, continuous calls to the doctor, and finally plenty and plenty of tears. I was growing increasingly anxious of bed time. Increasingly frustrated with my infant and those around me. I felt so lost. I began to question whether I was making this up in my mind or if he was truly as miserable as he seemed.  On top of it all we found out he had a severe lip & tongue tie. I just wanted my son to feel better. He was such a happy baby, but when it was bad….it was BAD. 

Finally we were referred to a GI specialist and we began trailing allergies. I had stppped dairy in thought that that was what was causing my child’s pain, but this was not the case. On our first try we switched to Nexium, a new probiotic, and kept the same diet. Two weeks later and my child was a miserable, much more pained baby. We went back to Zantac, eliminated beef, soy and dairy, and also were scheduled for an ultrasound. This momma hadn’t slept in a month and her baby was in agony. So when the ultrasound tech said to not feed for four hours she wanted to cry. He also had been running a low grade fever for over a week that the doctors kept saying was viral. But at some point a mother has to trust her intuition, right? 

So on to this afternoon, the day after the last GI appointment. I kissed my sweet boy goodbye after checking him to have a low grade fever AGAIN. The entire ride to school I cried. I cried for leaving my sweet angel again, I cried knowing the road his father and grandmother had this evening in putting him to sleep, I cried because I was trying so hard to prove I was strong enough to handle being a mother and continuing my education on time that I was not with my child. I was not there through this period because I was trying to be someone I needed to kiss goodbye. 

I was no longer just Bianca the college student. I was now Bianca the mother who was still attending college. I decided in that moment that I needed to put my son first. I needed to be there 100% and I needed to be the mother this baby needed. I needed to stop putting such unnecessary stress on myself for needing to finish something in a timely manner when I still had so much time left. I needed to stop adhering to the negative perspective someone had placed upon me. I needed to stop giving this negative notion that having this baby ruined my chances of being a vet power. 

So vet school is now planned for the fall of 2019. I walked out of my second summer class because I could not mentally handle not being there for my baby through this troubling time. I chose to be his mommy before an identity I had been for so long. I chose to embrace my new identity instead of hide behind my old in fear I’d fail the new. He needs me and nonnegative perspective will change this. I went back once and I will be the girl I dream to be. 

I will be going back in August to finish my degree, but as for grad school? That will wait one more year. One more year to better prepare for myself for the exam I must take for entry. One more year to get myself back on track mentally. One more year to enjoy my little human and make sure he isn’t suffering as he is now. I know I’ll never be okay with leaving him, but I know that when he isn’t having such a hard time it won’t absolutely kill me everyday to say goodbye. 

I’ve realized life doesn’t always pan out the way you think it will. Maybe that should have clicked long before with everything I went through, but at least it finally settled into my mind. For now I will make sure to do the best work at this job as his mother. He will always come first, no matter who I think I need to prove wrong. In the end, being called a mother is the best positive perspective I will ever want to remember being called. 

Lonely

Is it wrong to feel lonely when you’ve just given birth to a tiny little human? 

Is it wrong to look at your sleeping partner while you’re consoling your upset infant that, if not for your nudge, would not have even known the baby was awake at all? 

Is it wrong to resent those around you that can sleep, even when the baby is asleep, because you sit there and worry about him even when he’s fine? 

Is it wrong to feel alone even when those around you are doing all that they can? 

We don’t talk about postpartum depression or anxiety much in the United States. Sure, there are plenty of celebrities now that are advocating it on websites and news articles, but what about mothers who don’t make millions of dollars making movies? What about mothers who live average every day lives that don’t see the spotlight? The mothers who just try to make it day by day. 

When I first brought Luca home I panicked. He didn’t sleep (like the lie I was told that all newborns do), he couldn’t be consoled, and all he wanted was to be latched on to my pained boobs all day long. No one told me that it would be possible to look at my child and ask myself what had I been thinking? Or to lash out at those around me because I was dealing with anger within myself for even thinking that thought. Or that just because I could cry from pure adoration from my new blessing, I could still also cry from pure fear and momentary regret for my new responsibility. We just don’t talk about it. 

Mothering has become this competition that I was unaware I’d signed up. Natural birth vs C-section. Home vs hospital. Breastfed vs formula fed. Cloth diapers vs disposable. And you know what? EVERYONE HAS AN OPINION. Join one mom group and I assure you there will be a mother that thinks she is doing everything 100% perfect and hers is the best method so everyone should follow suit. But mothering isn’t perfect. Raising a baby isn’t perfect. If it was we would have nothing to learn from , and therefore make better. There is a reason they say the first baby is your guinea pig. 

However, I digress. Postpartum depression and anxiety are real and we need to stop treating them like they are a failure on the mother. It is a literal chemical imbalance taking place within her brain due to a lack in progesterone. (I learned that from a lovely college class called Reproductive Physiology. My favorite class at UCONN- so hello Dr.Milvae who I hope never reads my blog…..again digression). Moms it’s okay to be afraid and it’s okay to wonder if you’re doing the right thing. It’s not okay to ignore how you feel.

We need to stop treating postpartum depression like the plague, and we need to stop treating moms like they’re bad parents because they get it. Raising a newborn is hard. They don’t sleep, they want to constantly eat, and though they will bring the greatest joy in the world they will also turn your life upside down in ways you could never imagine. I love my beautiful boy, and i would go through my tough pregnancy all over again in a heartbeat, but I’d be lying if I said I’m okay every day. Some days I want to crawl into a hole. Some days I want to yell at everyone around me because I’m tired and jealous that they can sleep when I cannot. Some days I want to throw my computer out the window if I see one more article on SIDS that gives more anxiety to someone who already has it. AND THATS OKAY. 

It’s okay because these days are minimal compared to the days I watch my baby smile. They’re minimal compared to the days I’m filled to the brim with love and adoration for my small creation. They’re minimal compared to the days where I gush when someone in the supermarket or the park tells me how gorgeous he is and I feel like the proudest woman in the world. And they’re minimal compared to the days where I thank god that he entrusted me with my son, because he’s saved me in more ways than I can count. 

So, again I say, it is okay to feel like you just need a break. It’s okay to feel like you want to crawl out of your skin. It’s okay to want to go back to your old life sometimes. And it’s okay to feel lonely even when you’re not. What’s not okay is ignoring these feelings. 

You’re not a failure. 

You’re not a bad mom. 

You’re human. 

We love these babies so much that sometimes we forget that to be the best moms we must also love ourselves. 

Love yourself today, and every day there after. 

Rubberband

I once stood on a scale in a doctors office when I was seventeen years old and had it read 402lbs. A couple weeks later after exercising and trying to decrease my food intake I watched as the scale read 406lbs. That was the day I refused to step back into a scale. 

I had always been a chubby child that stood out as the largest child in their class. I had always been the child that was consistently teased and made fun of simply because I was heavier than everyone else. It was my life, and though I cried every day from the comments and torture, I learned to deal with it. Because that’s what I had to do to keep myself going. 

When I was fifteen i spent a lot of time in chat rooms meeting strangers on the internet. It was the only place I felt safe to talk to people. They could not see me and I was under no obligation to show them what I looked like. I met a boy online one night that would later become someone I would consider a very good friend. This boy had a secret that he didn’t want to be a boy any longer. He had been born a male that should have been born a female, and like myself, used the internet as a platform to speak to people without having to show himself. He disappeared one day. I had grown so fond of talking to him that i reverse searched him on Facebook. I messaged them, “Thanks for just ignoring me. It was nice talking to you, I guess.” The person messaged back and asked who I was. They had no idea who I, a girl who had been talking to a person with this exact name, was. I’d been catfished. I began to talk to this boy more about the incident at hand, and through this we became friends who could talk freely with one another. We found we have many things in common like our anxiety and some medical issues we had overcome in our short years of living. One day he confided in me the same secret his catfish had. I made it my job to make him feel comfortable in his own skin, a job I could not do for myself. I bought him clothes, took a sixteen hour drive to see him, all to just be the girl that once again did everything for everyone with nothing in return. My emotions had been played with, and I remember one night crying for hours because he was ignoring me. And I felt alone. I had such limited friends and he made me feel so special and important. I was just a pawn. I needed someone to love me, even if it was for personal gain, because I lacked the ability to love myself. 

When I was sixteen I met a boy on the internet. He would call me every day and we would text whenever our voices were apart. He knew what I looked like from my profile pictures but because it’s so easy to fool your image on the internet he did not know what I truly looked like til the night we finally skyped. I had grown quite fond of him but had always been so afraid to speak with him on a webcam where he could see my face. The night we Skyped his image went fuzzy and he disconnected. When I tried to call back he did not answer. I texted him and asked him what happened  and he replied that he just didn’t want to speak at the moment. I knew why, and so I simply wrote “It’s because I’m too fat, isn’t it?” He replied, “Yeah.” And that was the last we ever spoke. 

When I was seventeen I met a boy through a girl from my high school that didn’t really look at my weight, my mental health, or my overall appearance. He looked at the person inside instead of the oversized baggage I was trapped inside. The first day we met we spoke of his love for the career he wished to pursue and he showed me that a pair of scissors that EMT’s work with could cut a quarter. A few days later he bought me dinner at a hibachi place, though I took most of it home because eating in front of people was such a fear that i only took one or two bites. We became an official couple three days later. He showed me how to love myself. He never ignored a chance to stop my self shaming, he never ignored a chance to call me beautiful even when I felt putrid, and he never ignored a chance to remind me that I had to learn to love the person I hated so much. He held my hand at 406lbs and he held my hand when I reached my lowest of 195lbs. He held my hand when I cried in his car about the grandparents I lost, and he held my hand when I gave birth to our son this past April. He also held my hand when I made a decision about the thing I hated most about myself: my weight. 

In December of 2014 I made the decision to have weight loss surgery. I went in on December 17th very early in the morning to have about 75% of my stomach removed, only a pouch the size of a banana remaining. I remembered thinking to myself “this is if, I’m going to finally feel beautiful.” The weight shed off my body and at my year mark I had gone from my large 406lb self to a slim, 195. And yet still when I looked into the mirror i still saw my 400+ lb person. 

I accomplished losing over 200lbs and I still hate my body. 

I’ve kept most of the weight off for almost three years and I still hate my body. 

I’ve given birth to a beautiful baby and I still hate my body. 

I look in the mirror and all I see is excess skin that my major weight loss did. I’m still reminded everyday of torture I had put my body through. I still hate my body. 

I hate my body because I still haven’t learned to love myself. 

Loving myself is the hardest thing I NEED to learn to do. 

I will learn to love myself. 

I will learn to love myself because if I have a daughter I want her to love herself. 

I will learn to love myself because I need to stop hating the image in the mirror. 

I will learn to love myself because that is the only way life will become truly enjoyable. 

And I will learn to love myself because I need to see myself the way others see me. 

I’m loved by so many and need to stop hating a person so many care so deeply for. 

I need to stop hating the person my son loves. 

I need to stop hating the person he smiles and giggles at. 

I need to stop hating the mom he cries for when she’s not there. 

I will stop hating myself, if not for me, for him. 

Anthony started putting my broken pieces back together when we first met, but my son was the glue that was missing to keep the pieces together. 

We need to learn to love ourselves because even if we don’t see it, and even if we don’t believe it, we are perfect just the way we are. We fight so hard to fit a societal standard of appearance, or the appearance of someone else, that we forget we are our own person. I will be the first to admit I get jealous when someone thinner than me looks good in something I would feel horrible in, but I still have to remember that I am perfect just the way I am. 

Believe in yourself and learn to love yourself. 

I will be along on this journey as well. 

Believe In Me

I remember being afraid to go to school every single day. In 8th grade I played sick so many times in the morning that it prompted my mother to ask if I, a thirteen year old girl at the time, had something I needed to tell her. I feigned sick so many times that when I actually was ill I had to go to school because they couldn’t tell the difference between real and fake sickness. I had trained my body so well to be on my side that it would give just the right amount of sick symptoms, so much so that I could no longer tell when I was truly sick and when my anxiety just wished to take over. When I was in seventh grade we went through a family situation that made an anxiety level I could handle on a daily basis (well as well as a 12 year old could) and turned it into a level that made me feel completely out of control. The thoughts that normally trailed through my mind like a freight train had turned into race cars running circles in my head on the Autobahn in Germany. I was being torn from the inside out and I had to find a way to compensate my mental state with the physical. My family felt like it was falling apart, I could no longer control the anxiety that had so long taken over my mind, and I felt that I needed to justify the feelings on the inside in a physical matter. I began to introduce myself to self inflicted pain to try and control the scramble that had taken residence in my mind.

People never understand the impact that their words have on others until that person makes a drastic decision about themselves and their life. Words were thrown in my direction for as long as I could remember. I would hear “You’re so fat” “You’re worthless.” “Please don’t eat me.” “Why are you so fat?” “You’ll never find someone to love you.” It only takes so long before these words begin to embed themselves into the DNA of your own thoughts. The letters taking part of your chromosomes and replicating until they flood your being. The words become so known that when they’re said by someone new it just becomes numb. Many would think numbness it better than feeling, but what they do not understand is once you’ve gone numb you have all but given up. You don’t want to fight anymore, you don’t want to think, feel, or be. These words had made there way into my core and made me believe that I was no longer worth anything more than to be just another body in the ground. I was no longer worthy of feelings, of love from any person in my life, and most of all of living.

Depression and Anxiety as two separate entities can make a person feel alone and ashamed. I remember viewing the commercials for antidepressants and it looked so easy to cure someone of the feelings I felt on an every day basis. It looked so simple to make someone who frowned for 2/3 of the commercial smile for the remaining 15 seconds. I wondered why the years I spent going to a doctor whose job it was to cure the illness in my head was not doing what the commercials showed the medications should have done. I wondered why I was still frowning, contemplating the point of my young life, and not smiling and enjoying the life before my like the people in these commercials. I didn’t feel myself getting better, I didn’t feel myself becoming the person I somehow still believed was harboring deep within. I could no longer be the girl that was constantly made fun of, the girl that was constantly bullied. I could no longer be the girl that was screamed at while walking across the street to “move her fat ass quicker.” So I stopped trying to be the girl I wanted so badly to get rid of.

Being alone, no matter how much you tell yourself is okay, is not a feeling one can live with easily. I craved the understanding of just one person. I had wanted to rid myself so badly of the person I’d become, the person named Bianca that I began to impersonate other personalities to the people whose attention I needed the most. I was trying so hard to no longer be the girl that everyone hated based on outside appearance that I began to push those who had gotten to know me away. I would impersonate other people, add people to my life that truly did not exist, and I made lying look like an art. It did not matter if a person had grown to appreciate me for the person I had been, I needed them to appreciate me for things I did not have, for a person that truly did not exist. Looking back I realized I ruined a lot of friendships through an illness I could not control, not that I truly wanted to admit it was there. For the truth was I was ignoring the illness that had been brewing behind the surface. I was hiding behind the idea that if I ignored it it would go away. And this only made me that much more alone.

When I was sixteen I had crossed the line. A friend I had made while hiding my interior had fallen subject to my cover up. I don’t truly understand why what happened did to this day, but when it all came to the surface I found no point in hiding any longer. I let my illness pour out like a river flowing down a mountainside. I felt like an ice cream cone melting in the heat. I was being swallowed by the immense cloud I had swallowed for so long that I could not cope with it all coming out at once. I no longer had friends, I no longer had anyone to distract myself from the dark cloud inside waiting to come out. I no longer had a barrier that kept the darkness within, and so when it came out there was no longer a point in fighting. I let it drip out, seep out, and then fully drain till the illness I had so long been fighting consumed me. I stopped going to school completely, I locked myself into a dark room, and I convinced myself that I was no longer worth the fight. My life no longer had a point and it was time to let the cloud consume me whole.

My illness caused fights amongst my parents and gave them the fear of one day walking in on their only child no longer living. With my last light I held through the cloud of darkness I told them it was time for me to get serious help, and a week later I emerged from a hospital stay with a feeling of victory for believing I had killed the cloud that had tried to take me. The belief that I had won only lasted roughly three months. It was then that I lost my grandmother and it was then that the cloud began to reemerge. My grandmother had been in the hospital at the same time I had been and had made sure to call me at least once, if not twice, a day when I felt at my lowest. She would make it her goal to make me laugh at least once so I did not feel so alone. When she died I felt as if God was betraying me. I felt like God was trying to punish me for trying to take control of my own mortality by taking someone’s whom I loved. I was alone again and everyone was the enemy.

As I went back to high school and finished my education I learned more and more that my disease was so misunderstood by those who did not have even a morsel of anxiety or depression. As I got older and further understood that my illness also contained bipolar, I began to understand how to deal with the highs and lows of my emotional spectrum. The titles of my illness did not bring any further understanding to those around me though. Teachers, principles, and even family members who did not understand did not think it necessary to try and even grasp a small part of what someone they interacted with on a daily basis was going through. Teachers and staff would say “Oh I have bad days also” and family would find it necessary to remind me that I was just too emotional. They didn’t understand that their lack of understanding, their blatant disregard, and their condescending tones did not aid in achieving their goal of rectifying the situations.

It took many years for me to understand how to cope with the illness I was dealt, and even more time to aid my mind in healing on the proper medication. It took me years for me to unweave the DNA the words I had been beaten with in my youth had given me. I still cannot eat comfortably with people around, I still cannot look at myself in the mirror with a smile, and I still, even after losing over 200lbs, do not see a body worthy of love.

The words that escape our mouths can act like knives on the skin. You never really think a critique of someone’s appearance, weight, etc could be their breaking point. We need to start thinking before we speak.

We need to begin to realize that sticks and stones may in fact break bones, but words do also hurt.

Words could be the simple thing that could bring someone to the point of taking their life.

Who are we to make comments on someone’s life? Who are we to think we are better than anyone? Who are we to call someone fat? Stupid? Ugly? A slut?

Who are we to tell someone that their invisible illness does not exist?

Who are we?

Remember at the end of the day that we are all human. We all have to remember that is is our job to make this cruel world just a bit more bearable. Do not live in hate. Do not live in fear.

Believe you are much more than the illnesses you have. You are much more even when you feel you are completely out of control.
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And lastly…

May we all learn to see ourselves as those we love most do.

hhh