I Was Supposed To Be Healthy, Instead I Have A Chronic Illness

I was supposed to spend my college years carelessly moving on excitement, dreams and adrenaline…Instead I spent my college years dancing wildly and living an excited life only when my headaches allowed me to.

I was supposed to put my money towards seeing the world, paying off debt and buying every day necessities like a vacuum…Instead I’ve seen my money be handed to doctor after doctor and burying myself in even bigger debt due to all of the medical bills I have yet to pay off.

I was supposed to be a physically active young adult with living in the years where I would see my healthiest, most fit body…Instead I can’t exercise because of my throbbing head and instead see a body filled with insecurities and unrealistic expectations.

I was supposed to be partying while I’m young, out with my friends every weekend letting loose after a hard week at work…Instead, I still work hard every week but often find myself with heavy cases of FOMO laying on my couch looking at Snapchats of my friends out on a Friday night.

I was supposed to have a world of options and opportunities at my hand…Instead, I am limited to that which I am able to do without exhausting myself and putting myself in more pain than is already present.

I was supposed to live a life where I only got headaches due to hormones, stress, exhaustion, hunger or recovering from a night of partying…Instead I have a headache just sitting here typing this out, and when I do literally anything else.

However, the funny thing about the whole “I was supposed to thing,” is that none of us know what lies ahead. Life changes direction without warning all of the time. What we may one day have thought we were supposed to do or be, may be completely different than we think we are supposed to do or be the next day.

 

Monday Mantra 

  
Trying to adopt this and implement it in all aspects of my life today, next week, and beyond. 

Fear is inevitable (for most people. Superman, Morgan freeman, and Chuck Norris excluded, obvs). There’s nothing wrong with feeling fear. It doesn’t make you weak or inferior. It makes you human. Don’t let people tell you to not be afraid. Frankly, because no one else besides you knows what you’re up against.

However, don’t let that fear take over your life. Instead, let it fuel your fire and push you toward learning how to strike that fear from your life.

Don’t let fear hault your progress. Don’t let fear make you stop in your tracks, because what’s life if not a journey? Fear is just a small part of it. 

The Most Typical of Mondays

Yesterday was a test of my patience, perseverance, and temper. What started out as a classic “Monday Mishap” escalated into a “Monday Mayhem.”

I experienced those typical “ugh” moments that everyone faces pretty often-losing your wallet (temporarily, thankfully), dumb drivers on the road, timing mishaps and office troubles–but there was one segment of my day that just really set me over the edge.

While I’ve been making some progress with my headaches and narcolepsy situation, I’ve only seemed to take numerous steps backward in my journey with food allergies.

After ending up in the ER two weekends in a row, I’ve been eating really “safe” foods because it’s nerve-wracking to eat when you aren’t 100% sure what your food allergies are. So yeah, the anxiety is continually on the rise. So I did what any normal person would do (after a year…whoops.) I made a follow-up appointment with an allergist–optimistic that the doctor would be able to ease some of my anxiety, answer some of my questions, and bring even a tiny bit of peace to my mind. Yet, I got just the opposite.

I’ve seen my fair share of doctors and I’ve seen a few who I didn’t exactly see eye to eye with regarding treatment plans. However, I’ve never seen a doctor who made me feel so belittled, frustrated and generally pissed off before. He looked at me like I had ten heads when I asked him questions and told him things other doctors have told me. For reference, I’m very new to the food allergy world. It’s not like I’ve had a peanut allergy my entire life and know how to manage it–no I recently developed a seafood allergy–which he thinks is not even possible (what?) He spewed his BS at me, shook his head like I had told him I got my information from “The Onion” rather than from accredited doctors, and sent me on my way to get a blood test for only crab and salmon (to my knowledge, there is other seafood out there, but what do I know right?) Times like these I wish I had been ballsy enough to tell him his word meant nothing to me and walked out, but I politely left the office and went to go get stuck by another needle. (although the guy who took my blood was awesome, so super grateful for that. I’ve never had such a painless experience getting blood drawn. props to him.)

I understand that there are times when people have bad experiences with doctor visits. However, for spoonies such as myself who see doctors more often than they see most of their friends, it’s extremely frustrating. It wasn’t so much that I was sad, I was just genuinely pissed off at this guy. It was a waste of my time–and spoonies also know how valuable time spent in a doctors office is when we’re trying to find answers.

I sat in my car afterward cursing the doctor wishing I had told himself to stick his handshake where the sun don’t shine, until my dad kind of set my mind right. He made me realize that there’s really nothing to cry about. I’m allowed to be pissed off, but I have to be able roll with the punches. I have to be able to take the annoyances and learn from them. I have to try to find even the tiniest positive thing from the experience and move on to what’s next.

We’ll all have days that make us want to break things and scream to the skies yelling “Why me? What did I do in a past life to deserve this shit?” But at the end of the day, we can’t change what just happened. We have no control over what and how much gets thrown in our path. We do, however, have control over how we handle those days. We can throw in the towel and walk away cursing under our breaths. We can rage until someone fixes their wrongdoings brought upon us. Or, we can take a deep breath, calm ourselves down, figure out the next step and move forward. We can gather our patience, grab a hold our temper, and persevere on.

It’s not the destruction that’s tearing you down that will define who you are or where you go in this life. It’s how well you step over the rubble and walk through the fire.

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The Search For Happiness

Sometimes I wonder, what makes other people happy? I know I’m a relatively happy person and I know the things in my life that not only make me happy but increase my happiness. How do others perceive happiness? I watched the movie “Hector and the Search for Happiness” and it was one of those movies that opened my eyes as if they had been closed all my life. It was a movie I saw on Netflix and thought “why not?” because I was bored and feeling sick in bed. Turned out to be one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while.

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During the movie, Hector seeks out what makes other people happy, because he isn’t happy himself. He jots down what he finds from other people and I’ve written them down below. Some of them I’ve thought of before, but some were very insightful for me especially during this medical journey I’ve been made to take on. Hopefully they give you some insight or make you think just a little more deeply about what makes you happy and how you can allow yourself to find true happiness in your life.

  1. Making comparisons can ruin your happiness. I am guilty of comparing myself to others all of the time. Whether it be about my job status, my financial status, or my health. I think well these people are healthy and I’m not. Why is that fair? Or something like well I don’t make as much money as them so I’m not as successful. Making these kinds of comparisons will only drag you down. Everyone is at different points in their lives, and everyone is dealt a different hand. We can’t compare ourselves to others if we want to be happy with ourselves.
  2. Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story. This can be true for some and not true for others I feel. It’s like how people make little white lies in order to not hurt their loved ones feelings. Keeping a part of the story out may spare someone. That being said, keeping yourself partly out of the loop may spare you as well.
  3. Avoiding unhappiness is not the road to happiness. Lately, I’ve been focusing so hard on avoiding situations where I feel left out, or avoiding situations where I am disappointed and frustrated. I worry so much about that, I forget to just breathe and enjoy the present moment. We will never be happy if we are always focusing on being unhappy.
  4. Does this person bring you predominantly a)up or b) down? This can relate to a boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife or friend. At this point in my life, I have accepted the fact that I have and will continue to grow apart from some people in my life, some of whom I’ve considered very close friends in the past. It’s not an easy thing to accept, but it’s a fact of life. For me, I deal with so much physical pain that I already have enough negativity in my life just stemming from my own mind, frustrated and sad. I don’t want or need to be around people who bring even more negativity into my life. I want to be surrounded by people who lift me up, make me stronger, bring smiles to my face and laughter to my belly. I think it’s really important to ask ourselves “Is this person (or persons) bringing me up or down in this life?” It’s hard to leave people behind, I know because I’ve done it. It’s hard to cut the tie with someone you were once so close with. In the end, you have to worry about your own happiness and surround yourself with people who truly care for you and your well-being.
  5. Happiness is answering your calling. Not everyone finds their calling early in life. Some know it from when they were little and some find it after they’ve already had a full successful career. However, we can’t do things based on money or what other people think. We have to do them based on what we were meant to do. I know I’m meant to help others. That’s why my interest is in non-profit or hospital work. It may not be something I will be able to do coming right out of graduation (I do have college loans to pay off after all) but I know it’s something I will end up doing and I can’t wait.
  6. Happiness is being loved for who you are. To me, this is the most important one on this list. If you’re with someone who doesn’t appreciate your non-stop laughter that comes around for no reason at all, your appetite for pizza, your weird voices and silly dances, then why are you with them? You want to be with someone who loves you for you, flaws and all. We all have weird quirks that need to be given the freedom and love they deserve.
  7. Fear is an impediment to happiness. This is one I totally relate to. Unfortunately, I let a lot of fear into my life. I have irrational fears of spiders, horror movies and tsunamis. But on a more serious note, my headaches have opened up a door to fear that I wouldn’t have even known was there had I never had these headaches. I fear I will never feel “normal” again. I fear I won’t be able to do the things in life I want to because of my headaches. I fear that when the time comes when I want to be a mom, it’s going to be almost impossible due to my headaches. I fear the unknown. The medical unknown, mostly. I’ve been trying extremely hard lately to push aside my fear and live my life day by day, moment by moment. Really soaking in each breath. It will allow me to be happier, I know, if I just shove fear aside.
  8. Happiness is feeling completely alive. There are a few moments, memories and feelings that make me feel completely alive. One is when I’m sitting on a beach, not during the middle of the day, but either early in the morning or during the evening. In the past, I’ve tried to create a time where I can just sit by myself on a beach during these times and just really think about nothing. Staring out at the ocean that we know so much about yet so little about at the same time. Feeling the breeze through my hair. Just really feeling alive. Embracing everything around me. Find somewhere you can go or something you can do that for even a split second, makes you feel completely and totally alive. It’s a feeling that’s hard to explain and impossible to replicate.
  9. Happiness is knowing how to celebrate. Celebrate the small things and the big things. The little victories and monumental victories. It will make you feel so much more accomplished, strong and proud of yourself. Celebrate with a dance, singing your heart out, drinking your favorite cocktail, hugging the person next to you, treatin yo self and buying that necklace you’ve been eyeing all month. Find something that makes you feel proud enough to celebrate.
  10. Listening is loving. How often is it that we chronic pain spoonies talk and talk about our situations and experiences, and the person we’re talking to doesn’t seem to actually hear us? All too often for me. Sometimes the people don’t mean to, sometimes they just don’t care. The people who listen to us and listen enough to the point where they feel like they’re fighting our battle with us, are the ones who love us. Truly listening to someone shows more than some spoken words ever can.

I challenge you to really accept these 10 pillars into your life, to create a more true and lasting happiness for yourself. I also recommend you watch the movie I mentioned above, because it’s seriously awesome!

This life is so good. I hope you all allow yourselves to be as happy as you deserve to truly enjoy every moment you’ve been blessed with!

Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen

  
I came across this quote recently and thought it was one of the most insightful and true things I’ve read recently. 

People have their own definitions of beauty, but I know that beautiful people don’t just happen. While some people say beautiful people can be described as someone with God given good looks, I say beautiful people are ones that have gone through struggle and experienced loss but have risen from the darkness of it. 

Everyone has their mountain to climb or obstacle to overcome. We can’t always see on the outside what someone may be going through. Some choose to hide their suffering and defeat, while others it’s a visible struggle. But no matter what, when people are able to overcome their defeat, they are molded into the beautiful people they were meant to be. They understand compassion more easily and are able to fully understand life in all its ups and downs.

Beautiful people do not just happen. Everyone has fought a battle of some sort. So if you stop to take a look around you, you’ll see that beautiful people are really everywhere.