coping methods · hope · mental illness · substance abuse · therapy

Mental Health Awareness Month: Mental Health Related Substance Abuse

Hello Beautiful People!

If you did not know, May is mental health awareness month. In honor of this month I’m going to be posting several blog posts over the next two days about mental illness and mental illness related issues, along with resources that could help someone going through these issues.

                       TODAY’S TOPIC: Mental Illness and Drug Abuse

.    Personally, this is not something that I have an issue with and have never experienced but, I do know people in my personal life who deal with this and maybe one of my readers struggles with this as well. Many people who struggle with mental illness also suffer from a substance abuse disorder, but often never seek treatment for their co-occurring disorder. I know several people personally, who have tried to “self medicate” or “deal with” their mental health related issues by turning to drug or alcohol abuse.This is a very dangerous road that they’re going down and they need help. Most people are embarrassed of getting help and I am here to tell you to never be embarrassed for helping yourself. You are doing something so amazing for yourself and there is no need to be embarrassed. Also a lot of people who do want help, don’t know where to find help or can’t find the correct resources. If you or someone you know is struggling with this issue and would like help I strongly suggest you check out: this awesome website. I spoke to one of the people who run DrugRehab.com and she could not have been more positive and her message was really awesome : “Our website provides individuals with information to help them to overcome their illnesses, put addiction into the past, and to reclaim their lives. ” This site and the people who run it are seriously awesome and if you are someone or knows someone who struggles with substance abuse because of mental illness PLEASE check out this website, it is absolutely worth it and these people are here to help!

Have a lovely day Beautiful People!

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chronic illness · gastroparesis · tough night

Gastroparesis Flare Up

Hi Beautiful People!

Today my Gastroparesis has absolutely gotten the better of me. I feel horribly sick and (SLIGHTLY GRAPHIC SORRY) have not been able to get off the toilet for a few hours now. Gastroparesis is “the literal paralysis of the stomach, characterized by WebMD.com as a condition that inhibits the stomach from emptying properly. Gastroparesis affects stomach contractions, which move food from the stomach into the large intestine where digested food is emptied. If stomach contractions don’t work to empty the stomach properly, gastro-discomfort can occur (i.e., nausea, bloating, vomiting)”. To put that in simpler terms, my stomach does not contract the way it is supposed to and my stomach doesn’t empty properly. Sometimes it does not empty at all and I end up vomiting or other times having diarrhea, sometimes both. I constantly feel stomach pain and nausea. I take Zofran and Hyoscyamine for those symptoms and they do help but lately haven’t been as effective. So today my stomach is just having a major battle with me and will not hold down anything. I’m at about a level 9 of 10 on the pain scale and the nausea is extreme. I know from the constant vomiting and bowel movements that I am getting dehydrated and water, believe it or not, actually makes my symptoms worse. I know that that’s really weird but that’s how my body is. When I don’t feel well it rejects water, it literally comes right back up. The only thing that I can tolerate is Pedialyte or Gatorade. I actually did not have either of those when I started writing this post but my wonderful friend just brought me some from work because she is awesome. Hopefully I will be able to keep this down and be okay by morning. I’m trying to keep myself distracted from the pain by watching YouTube videos and texting friends. I guess we’ll see how I’m doing in the morning.

anxiety · anxiety disorder · Bad day · coping methods · emotional abuse · Flashbacks · hope · mental illness · physical abuse · PTSD · TRIGGER WARNINGS

Rough Weekend

Hi Beautiful People!

CONTENT WARNING: EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL ABUSE

This weekend was a little hard on me and I really do not know why. I spent most of the weekend feeling very unloved and like I was a burden to everyone I care about. I get these feelings a lot but it was just a lot this weekend. I did spend some time with my boyfriend and our friends but still I kept finding myself feeling as if something was wrong. That I was doing something wrong. In my last relationship I was told that I was worthless, that I was ugly and that I was damaged. I was told that no one would ever love me again and . if someone did decide to love me, they would soon learn not to. These words were constantly being repeated and yelled at me. It became something that I heard so often that I believed it. I still find it very hard to break from believing it. I’m constantly afraid that my boyfriend and even my friends will leave me simply because I’m not good enough. I am worthless. These thoughts become crippling and in turn I accidentally push people away. I get so in my head that I feel like everything I do or say is wrong and then constantly apologize for even the smallest of things, which can really annoy people, but when you’re so used to having to apologize for everything you do it becomes a habit. I lived two years of my life feeling like absolute shit constantly. Feeling worthless and not good enough. Being physically and emotionally abused by an awful person. This person drilled some things into my head that even 2 years later, I have a very hard time getting over. I still think I’m not good enough for anybody. I am constantly worried that my boyfriend will get bored with me or stop loving me. I am always worried that my friends are going to walk away from me because “I’m boring and ugly and don’t deserve anyone else’s affection”. These thoughts still hurt. They still seriously affect me. I can still hear his voice telling me everything that was wrong with me.

My boyfriend, who is very aware of this tried to get me out of my house and had me come over the past two days, it helped a little. I still felt that I wasn’t good enough for him and his friends. I felt that maybe he was getting bored with me when he wasn’t talking to me a lot. There was one point where he jokingly called me annoying because I was playing with his beard and I almost burst into tears. In my mind, I thought that he truly meant it and he would leave. These are the effects of a shitty abusive relationship. It’s a very hard thing to get past and I’m trying. I am in therapy and my boyfriend and family try to help as much as they can. It’s still really hard. It’s a very difficult thing to go through. Sometimes I don’t think I’m ever going to get past this but then someone (usually my boyfriend) will look me in the eye and tell me that I am good enough and I am worth it and that he loves me. That’s all I need. I need reassurance, just for now, that the things my abusive ex boyfriend drilled into my head are not true. Unfortunately this need for reassurance is constant BUT, I know I will get there. I know I will get better. I have a great support system and like I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, my new therapist is awesome. I can do this and if you are going through something similar: you can do this. We can do this together.

anxiety · anxiety disorder · coping methods · mental illness

Feeling Friendly

Hello Beautiful People!

This is going to be a pretty short post but I feel it’s necessary: I got to see two friends today and I’m feeling really good about it. I say my friend Michelle (also my puppy trainer but we’ve been close friends for years) during the day and we did some pup training with Disney! We had a lot of fun and I always love seeing her and hanging out with her. Then after therapy today I got to see my really good friend who I haven’t seen since she went to college. I was so so excited to see her. We had so much fun just talking and catching up and watching youtube videos. I always have so much fun with her and I really missed having her around. I’m so glad to have such nice and awesome people in my life. I’m also really proud of myself for trying to get over my social anxiety and texting my friend to ask her to hangout. I’m usually very afraid of rejection so I don’t reach out to people but I wanted to see her so I reached out to her and it worked out and we’re going to hangout again soon and I’m so happy about that. For the first time in a long time I feel like I have friends and people who really care about me. I’m really happy that I pushed past my anxiety.

PTSD · TRIGGER WARNINGS

A Lot of Feelings

Hi Beautiful People!

CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNING: PTSD, Emotional/Physical Abuse (mentioned briefly not gone into detail)

Today I’ve been having a lot of feelings. I saw my best friend for the first time in a really long time. I believe I have written a little bit on my last relationship before but I’ll recap: the relationship I was in before my boyfriend now, was extremely abusive in all ways possible, because of this relationship I cut off a lot of ties with my closest friend, my best friend was one of them. During the time that I was in that horrible relationship and a little bit afterwards I was ashamed and embarrassed about what I was going through,  any person that was close to me I kind of just pushed away. This guy (we’ll call him Bestie) had been my absolute best friend since the 7th grade so about 6 years, I know it hurt him that I pushed him away. We’ve been through a hell of a lot together. He used to be the person I went to for anything and everything and I was that for him. He was my rock for a very long time but I didn’t want him to know what I was going through. He has issues of his own and really struggles sometimes to the point where I’ve talked him out of suicide. I didn’t want this to be another burden on him. I couldn’t do it to him and I thought I was doing the right thing and I pushed him away.

We reconnected in March, a year and a half later, and I told him that the reason I pushed him away and just stopped talking to him was because I went through a lot. I apologized profusely and he forgave me and we reconciled but this hurt him, I could tell. I knew that he’d be hurt but I had to tell him the truth. I know he would’ve been there for me come hell or high water if I had only opened up to him about what was happening and what I was feeling, but I just didn’t think that was the right thing to do at the time. Do I regret this? Absolutely. I missed having him in my life. I told him that when he got home from school (he goes away to college) we’d have a talk about everything but it had to be in person. I don’t think I can have this conversation with anyone over the phone, it’s too serious. I know I’m going to have to tell him about the times I was hit. I know I’m going to have to tell him the awful things I was told, and the darkest parts of the relationship the pushed him away and to be honest, I’m a little scared. He’s home now and I ran into him today while getting ice cream with my brother. I wasn’t aware that he was home yet so it took me by surprise. We’ve been texting all day catching up as much as possible before having that really big conversation. I’m just kind of scared of how he will react. It’s not going to be fun but I know he will always be there for me and nothing I can say will ever change his opinion of me. I just have a lot of feelings right now.

I feel happy to have him back in my life. I feel scared to have this conversation. I feel sad because I’m thinking of the things I have to tell him about. I feel sad because I pushed away this wonderful person. Lastly, I feel hope that we can get our friendship back and everything will be okay but I’m still uncertain.

chronic illness · coping methods · Service Dog

Service Dog Etiquette-Rant

Okay I’m about to go off a little bit so bear with me…

Something that REALLY makes me angry is when people just don’t know how to act around service dogs. I cannot even tell you the amount of times I have caught people petting my service dog while I wasn’t looking, or making kissy noises at her (those are the WORST by the way) or trying to call her over to them. It drives me NUTS. ALso, you would be surprised at the amount of people who have come up to her and just started to pet her or even PICK HER UP without my permission or even asking for it. This is so extremely frustrating. Yes, she is a puppy and still has quite a lot of training to go through, but she does know her seizure alert command and when I have her out in public SHE IS WORKING. I understand loving dogs and wanting to pet all the dogs that you see because, trust me, I love dogs and I do love to make new doggie friends whenever possible BUT you have to realize that if you see a dog wearing a very clearly marked service dog vest that you should not be distracting that dog or trying to pet it, that dog just cannot be your doggie friend. Also, most of the people will come up to me and  say ” oh it’s a service dog and I can’t pet her” and just stand there awkwardly watching me and Disney until I either break and let them say hello or walk away. I have even had multiple people just pick her up while I’m walking her.

The people who do this are not children, they are full-grown adults. Yes, I have had a handful of children come up to me and do these things but they really don’t know better and I was fully expecting this upon making the decision to get a service dog. I did NOT expect adults to be completely clueless on how to behave around a service animal. Even with non-working dogs, I was always taught to go up and ask the owner for permission before attempting to pet a strange dog. That just seems like common sense to me. The dog is unfamiliar and could not be friendly, it could be scared of people and not react well or it could be completely friendly but my point is, you never know. Even service dogs who are so well-trained can have off days. It just is so rude not to ask anyway, especially because you distracting my dog could put me in a dangerous situation. If she is too distracted she could miss an alert and I could have a seizure. I do appreciate people who come up and ask me to pet her and I try to allow as many as I can to do so, but sometimes if I am having a bad day or not feeling 100% I will say no, this only for my safety and my health and I don’t think that people understand this because they get so angry when I say no (which is a rare occasion). I really think that people need to be more educated about service animals and service animal etiquette.

This last one is probably the most awkward and just plain out rude thing ever. There have been multiple times when I am walking with my service dog, whether that be in the mall, at a store, or even in front of my own house, that I will get stopped and be called a faker. I have been told on multiple occasions that I do not have a disability and “how dare I have a ‘fake service dog’ (my service puppy is not fake) when there are people who really need one”. This is such an awkward situation for you to put someone in and it is also very hurtful. Every time that this has happened I have found myself having to defend my diseases and my disabilities because people are rude and think that just because I look “healthy” or “normal” that I am. Let me tell you something, I am absolutely not healthy or normal. I don’t function like a typical person. I have seizures, I have vomiting fits, there are days when I cannot move parts of my body and cannot even go to the bathroom on my own. Please think before you speak and realize that invisible illnesses exist and are absolutely illnesses. Never tell a person that they are a horrible person for having a “fake” service dog or even a handicap sticker for their car because you cannot see why they need one. Most of these service dogs that you are calling fake are very much real and are helping people with invisible illnesses like me. Remember: Just because you cannot see someone’s disability does not mean that it isn’t there.

… Okay I’m done with my rant now

anxiety · chronic illness · gastroparesis · mental illness

Endoscopy Day- Gastroparesis Sucks

Today I had (another) endoscopy. It’s been two weeks since my last one, but they wanted to do another biopsy and just have a second look at my intestines. I was nervous going into the procedure even though I’ve done it many times before. I really just don’t like hospitals or needles. However, with multiple chronic illnesses those are things you have to deal with very regularly. So I barely slept last night, like, AT ALL. I went in to the hospital around 9:30 and we went through the usual admitting stuff. We went through the magical long list of medications that I take on a regular basis, checked my vitals, and I signed off on what seemed like a thousand papers. While all of this is happening I’m extremely nervous, anxious and my stomach is in a whole lot of pain.

Finally the nurse came over to put my IV in place (reminder: I HATE NEEDLES), he was actually a very nice guy. I told him that I am very afraid and that I am the biggest baby he will probably ever meet. He told me that he believed in me and asked if I wanted “this really cool numbing spray” (his words not mine) to help numb the area so I didn’t feel the needle go in. The fact that he had offered to do this made me absolutely LOVE him. I had a nurse who was my regular ER nurse at a different hospital who always used the spray and she was the only person I’ve ever felt comfortable letting stick that stupid needle in my arm. Since I left that hospital, when i ask for the spray they never let me have it because “oh come on, that’s for kids you’ll be fine” and no, I am never fine. So I automatically liked this nurse. He was super patient with me and was actually really good at putting the IV in (the past few times I’ve had it they’ve had to re-put it in about 3 times). He gave me a fist bump when he was done and told me I did great. These are the kind of nurses every hospital needs. He made me feel so much better about the needle and honestly, I didn’t really feel it at all.

After that, the anesthesiologist came over and went over the procedure with me and what anesthesia he would be using. He was nice too, he told me that if I felt uncomfortable at any point while getting the meds he’d go slower so I didn’t feel it as much. Of course the second he starts putting it in my system, I made him slow down but hey, he said I could do that and he wasn’t mad at all. The team of nurses and doctors I had today were all super nice and made sure I was comfortable every step of the way and I really wish that every hospital trip could be like that. They even let my mom come in the OR until I fell asleep.

I woke up after it was over and they gave me cookies and a ginger ale for when I felt like eating/drinking. The nurse ( a new nurse now) talked with me about puppies and Disney world and kept telling me how good the cookies were that she brought me. I have to admit, they were amazing. My Gastro came over and filled my mom and I in on the situation that is my stomach. It turns out along with gastroparesis, I have chronic gastritis. Great, another thing for me to be worried about. This part really sucked. He said we won’t know anything from the biopsy for a few days. I was instructed not to do any physical activity today. The only thing I was allowed to do was get up to use the bathroom. I think the nurse could tell I was a little upset so when she wheeled me out to my car and helped me get in  we talked some more about her dogs and my dogs and just happy things, and then I went home. The whole ordeal took about an hour and a half which isn’t too bad. I still feel really weird from the anesthesia, I feel like my body is jelly or like a noodle or something and I’m still pretty loopy. Hopefully I’ll feel a lot better when I wake up tomorrow. Goodnight my beautiful people! (this took me so long to write, and I’ve edited it about 5 times LOL)