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.
Quote

And lastly…

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

hhh

I always wanted to be called Mommy. 

I cannot remember a period in my life where I didn’t want to be a mom. I remember being a child and always wanting to play house. I remember wanting to babysit constantly. I always wanted to be around children, and I swore for a very long time I’d end up in a career that would allow me to work with them. When I realized that my true passion was working with animals I began to timeline how long becoming a vet would be. I began thinking about how I could start a family and have enough energy and time to be the mother they would need me to be while still attaining the goals I set forth for myself. I wanted to be a young mother, much like my own mother was, so that I’d have a long life to be the mother I had had in my life.

My relationship with my mother was so unlike those of my friends in childhood. I could talk to my mother, confide in my mother, and feel a sense of kinship that made me feel like she would keep me safe forever. Many of my friends lacked a relationship with their mother, or if one was present it was strictly just a regular structured parent type. My mother and I grew together, and though we had many rough patches, I glowed in the envy of my friends for our relationship. She was understanding, kind, and made me the strong mother I know I will be. I vow to be much like my mother in raising my son and his future siblings. 

When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in June of 2016 I felt that my envision of being the mother I wanted to be had burned. One day I was feeling tingles in my legs and arms, weakness taking over my fingertips, and the next day I was being told I had a progressive disease that I knew so little about. I sat on the couch of a friends and listened to the message over and over. “Hi this is Dr., I just wanted to review the results of _⁠_⁠_ CSS studies um if you’ll be kind enough to come to the office uh at some point during this week will make room for you um just call my office & inform whoever picks up that I have asked them to make room for you OK so _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ see you _⁠_⁠_ follow up whatever my schedule _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ certainly when you’re able to come in thank you bye-bye…” An hour later I walked into his office to be told my diagnosis. I cried. I cried because I was being told that my immune system was attacking my nerves, that my own body in all sense was attaching itself. I thought of what MS had be portrayed as: wheelchair bound. I cried even more. The picture of being the a parent, being a vet were all crumbling before me. I didn’t know how I would go on living with the pain I’d already been feeling, knowing that eventually it would get worse. 

About a month later after I’d began my shots I didn’t feel right. I was nauseous all the time, I was exceptionally tired, and I felt very off. I had already decided at this point that I would fight as hard as I could to continue to become not only a vet, but eventually the parent i set forth to be. I had arranged to finish college a year ahead of schedule, and my fiancé and I were set to marry in July of 2017. But when you mix alcohol, a bit of self-pity, and some other fixings you get my little miracle baby. My life changed the moment I got two lines on the at home pregnancy test, and even more when I found out my little peanut would be a little boy. 

My dream of becoming a mommy had come true, and when I held my little boy in my arms for the first time I felt nothing but shock and amazement that something of his size had been living inside me only moments before. I was elated by my little miracle, and I thought that feeling would last forever. But you know what they don’t tell you when you have a baby? Yes, when you’re pregnant you get pamphlet after pamphlet about postpartum depression. They say if the blues lasts for longer than two weeks call. But does anyone talk about how hard it is to be a new parent to a baby that screams for six hours straight, to a baby whose gas makes them screech like they’re being ripped from the inside out at times, to a baby who fights when eating, can’t be consoled, and who looks at you like you’re their entire world but you can’t fix what’s going on. 

I never thought I’d question why I wanted to become a mother. 
I love my son. I cry because I love my son. Because it breaks my heart when he cries in such obvious pain from his reflux, and whatever other issue he seems to have going on currently. I cry because I don’t know how to fix it. I cry because I never thought I’d question why I wanted this, why I wanted to be responsible for someone when I’m such a mess myself. But I cry most of all because I know I’m strong and I’m angry with myself for not believing so. I made it through bullying, self-harming, medical conditions, hospitalizations, extreme weight loss, confidence loss, and giving birth to my gorgeous child. Why can’t I believe in myself? I made it through people doubting my ability to be a parent, staying in school while pregnant and mainting a 4.0 GPA, and yet still I feel like such a failure at times. 

No one talks about this. No one talks about the self-doubt you’ll have as a mother. No one will tell you to believe in yourself. Everyone has an opinion on parenting, and when you’re young you get attacked even more. The baby is cold. The baby is hungry. The baby only cries when he’s hungry. Burp him. Rock him. You’re not producing enough milk. Maybe he’s starving. 

Give a mom a break. 

We are all doing the best we can and we need to acknowledge this. We also need to acknowledge that this isn’t always easy. This isn’t always an easy adventure. It’s beautiful and magical, but it is also painful and heartbreaking at times. I look at my son and cry from how lucky I am to be his mother, but when he’s in pain and I can’t fix it I look at him and cry because i don’t know what to do and I am shamed to be his mother. 

We need to give ourselves a break. 

We need to start talking about how hard this can be. 

We need to be reminded that we are only human. 

And we need to be reminded we are doing the best that we can. 

My son will get better and will hopefully grow out of this painful phase, but I need to grow out of this self doubt phase and remember that I’m doing the best I can. 

I never thought I’d question why I wanted to become a mother. I just wanted someone to call me mommy. 

My Story

Well hello there and welcome to my story….

My name is Bianca and I am currently on my 21st….22nd…rotation around the sun. As of August 2016 I am engaged to my best friend Anthony, and together we welcomed a beautiful baby boy named Luca Jeremiah in April of 2017. I am an Animal Science student at the University of Connecticut with the hopes of applying to vet school within the next few months, and then if all works out well I want to pursue a career in wildlife medicine with the intent of opening up a wildlife conservation/rehabilitation.

SLXLM

I chose to begin blogging because I felt that I had a story, and my hope is that with this story I could touch at least one person in a positive way. My hope is that with this journey I am choosing to document, along with the journey I’ve already endured, I will be able to show someone that no matter the conflicts they face, the negative comments they may hear, or the lack of support they may have, they can still conquer their dreams and become the person they want to be. My hope is that if there is anyone out there who feels, or has felt, even the slightest way I did for at least two-thirds of my life, that my story might help them see that somehow, some way, there is light at the end of the dark tunnel, and you will make it through.

So, here we go…

I was always a big girl and no one, and I mean no one, was ever afraid to remind me of that fact. Currently I stand at 5’11/6’0 tall and my highest recorded weight was 406lbs. A lot of my childhood consisted of people being my friends one day and then doing 180’s and siding with those who chose to bully me for my weight. It got so bad that I remember at twelve years old I thought cutting my own skin would ease the pain that I couldn’t see, but felt every minute of every day. By the time I was sixteen my anxiety and depression had gotten so bad that the only thoughts I had were to just end it. I hated being in my own skin, I hated my reflection in the mirror, but most of all I hated the voices that reiterated every single negative, hurtful thing I had ever been told in my life. “You’re not good enough.” “You’re so fat.” “Please don’t eat me.” “You’re so fat you must smell.” “You’ll never be anything more than a fat blob.” And the worst one: “What’s the point, just kill yourself.” I believe I thought the last line more times than I care to remember.

LXLMS

My smallest vs. largest

In 2012 I had to be admitted to a psychiatric ward for the fear that I would not wake up the next morning. At this point I had stopped attending school, my junior year of high school was down the toilet, and my parents were at a loss on how to help their only child. I was admitted with suspected bipolar NOS, panic anxiety disorder, and cognitive OCD. I stayed at this facility for a week before I was able to go back home. My only saving grace that week was the daily, sometimes twice daily, phone call from my grandmother that I received. When I came home I thought I could do anything. I’d been “cured” of my psychiatric distress, but I still didn’t grasp that my mental illness was not something to be ignored, but something to accept and work with in any way I could. I didn’t realize it still lingered until the summer of 2012 when my grandmother passed away very unexpectedly. My world crashed once again and skin was the harvesting ground of the feelings I could not express. I didn’t know what to do.

Later that year my great-grandfather had a stroke that led him to being diagnosed with the on set of dementia, meaning he could no longer live by himself. My great-grandfather was my favorite person. He took care of me when I was younger, watched me while my parents worked, picked me up from school at least twice a week, and made me chicken soup when I was sick. I could talk to him for hours on varying topics such as religion, and our families troubles. He was more than a grandfather, it was like having another father. When he got sick I vowed to take care of him and moved in with him by myself to make sure he took his medication, to pick him up when he fell in the shower, and to give him some company he long needed since his wife passed in 2000. At sixteen I took it upon myself to make sure the man that had long taken care of myself and my family was well taken care of.  A few weeks after I graduated high school in 2014 my grandfather passed away from stomach cancer. All I can remember is being mad at him the few weeks prior to finding out because of how mean he’d become from his dementia, how angry I was at my mother the day before he passed because he wouldn’t wake up from his pain medication and she would let him sleep, and the night before he died crying and telling him I’d be okay if he went. Strange how the negative memories take such prevalence over the positive, even if they don’t come nearly close in number.

So I went to college, my boyfriend now fiancé, and I eight hours away in Buffalo. We went through the ringer in the first few months. Me, letting my emotions get the best of me, became very lax with my birth control and a few weeks after I began my freshman year of college we found out we were having a baby. A few days later that baby was no longer with us. By this point I’d reached my highest weight and even in college I could not escape the looks, the comments, and the pain looking in the mirror brought me. In December of 2015 I was approved for weight loss surgery and in total I lost 211 lbs by my 1 year post op mark.

Now what about the pain and mental illness I spoke about before that could never go away? Well, it didn’t. I had gotten so good at masking the emotions with food that when it was taken away I no longer had a scapegoat. I could no longer sit in front of the television with a bag of chips and dip and just eat, or down an entire tub of ice cream in one sitting. Drive-thru’s were no longer a thrilling ride, and food no longer controlled my “what is there to do in____ city?” searches. I had no where to go when my thoughts acted up, when my anxiety left me bed ridden for the day like it did in high school on so many mornings. I was also still mulling over the fact that I had lost a baby, and trying to fill so many voids I had forgotten still existed in my mind and heart. I needed to seek help again.

And I did. I went back to therapy and  a psychiatrist and began the tumultuous journey of finding my correct cocktail of medications to make me the person I needed to be. Through this medication journey I moved home from Buffalo to make sure I was close to doctors, I transferred schools to find one with the animal program I needed to continue to pursue my career goal of becoming a vet. Then came 2016.

January 2016 seemed like a promising year: I had finally gotten into the University of Connecticut Animal Science program, I had settled back home, my fiancé and I were in such a good place, and life just seemed so great. However in February of 2016 my gallbladder decided to act up and after two weeks of back and forth trips to the emergency room and missing classes they realized that it needed to come out. It took me weeks to fully recover, and by then the semester was almost over. All I could think was that I failed again. I wouldn’t graduate on time; I wasn’t going to vet school. I ended the semester with a 3.0 GPA.

During this time I had began to feel tingles in my arms and legs, pain whenever I sat for too long, headaches I could not explain, and my nerves always felt like they were on edge. I went to go see a neurologist who genuinely believed I just had a care of pseudotumor and I would just need a bit of medication, but when he did his spinal tap he found a bit more than his simple diagnosis. There were bands in my spinal fluid and after further MRI’s I was given the diagnosis of the on set of Multiple Sclerosis. My world shattered again. I began profusely googling my new diagnosis, crying when I saw the world wheelchair, and begging God to stop punishing me for whatever I had done. I lost all view of my future. Vet school wouldn’t be possible, having a family would not be possible, I was going to lose everything. I had to stop, I had to breathe, and I had to be strong, but I could not. A few weeks later I began my shots to help ease the Multiple Sclerosis. A few more weeks later I found out I was pregnant.

SLXLM

And a few more weeks later I heard my son’s heartbeat. A few more weeks later I found out I was having a boy. A few more weeks I felt him kick for the first time. A few more weeks later I watched as my stomach moved from one side to the other.

SLXLM

 

Everything seemed to stop. The panic, the worry, the fear.

I can’t count the amount of times I have been told in life that I can’t do this, or I can’t do that. When I became pregnant the negative comments did not stop, in fact they increased, but the only difference was I had someone to fight for, someone worth fighting for. I was told on countless occasions that I had ruined my life, my fiancés life, and I would now accomplish nothing because of this baby. This fueled my fire more to continue to overcome every obstacle I was faced. You see, I fought my entire life to be seen as much more than the fat girl. I fought to be able to love myself in a way that I sought so long and hard to find from someone else. It’s okay to be bruised and scarred, and to sometimes feel like you’re not worth the risk, but it’s not okay to believe it. I believed it for so long that I almost threw away my entire future; my son. Believe me when I say that no matter what someone throws at you, the negative hurtful comments they make, there is a fire inside of you that burns bright and is so much stronger than their hate.

MXLLS

So, here I am on my 21st….22nd…rotation around the sun. As of August 2016 I am engaged to my best friend Anthony, and together we welcomed a beautiful baby boy named Luca Jeremiah in April of 2017. I am an Animal Science student at the University of Connecticut with the hopes of applying to vet school within the next few months, and then if all works out well I want to pursue a career in wildlife medicine with the intent of opening up a wildlife conservation/rehabilitation. And I won’t give up.

 

 

I hope you enjoy following the journey!