Living with an Invisible Illness & Mental Health Ish: Because I’m Not The Girl I Used to Be and Here Are Four Reasons Why

I'm sure at this point in your life, you've been sick at least once. When that happens, normally you have two choices. You either go to the doctor for some type of antibiotic or you sleep it off until you feel better. But what if you never got better? What if that cold or flu never went away? What if those temporary aches and pains and feelings of fatigue were permanent? What if it got worse? Like when the winter blues turn into a full-blown state of depression and you can't find a way to see light at the end of the proverbial tunnel? What then? Seriously. Imagine the anxiety of knowing what you have was constant. Imagine what it would be like if that doctor of yours said there was no cure, and that it would, in fact, be a part of your life forever? Now, envision trying to explain all of this to your friends, family, and co-workers. How do you describe this shit in a way they'd understand? Because you look perfectly fine —on the outside that is. How would you cope with having a chronic, invisible illness? Would you be deemed lazy or even crazy? Would you be treated differently? Would you be excluded from activities or on the contrary be so tired that you continuously say no to those friendly invitations? At that point, would it start hindering your relationships, both personal and professional? The short answer, yes. Absofuckinglutely. Because when you break a bone, your physical disability is apparent to the world. Friends, family, and coworkers can see the cast on your arm and know without a doubt that you're sick. “Get some rest,” they’d say in a concerned voice. “You don’t look well.” But that’s the odd thing about not feeling well —you don’t always look the part. So yeah, I'm not the girl I used to be and here are four reasons why.

4 Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Because I Just Realized That Most of The Weird Shit I Do Is Actually Related To P.T.S.D.

For the longest time, I thought I was crazy. And yeah, I definitely am. It's just, back then, during my active addiction days, I kept doing the same thing over and over again, which as you know is the definition of insanity. I was expecting different results. I was lonely and sad and I was all of those things because that’s who I thought I was. I mean, I did some pretty bad things. And I kept doing those bad things as a way to escape from the bad things I kept doing. And because of those bad things, I found myself in some ugly situations I wouldn't otherwise have been in. Because I was addicted to pills. I know it sounds crazy but, it seemed that all the awful things I told myself about myself were, in fact, true. Today, I know that's not the case. But I didn't understand that for a long time. Even today as a recovering addict, I can't erase the bad shit I did. That was me. It always will be. It's like yeah, I'm a different me, but I still get triggered. And when I'm triggered, it feels like it's happening all over again. I feel unsafe. I feel sick. And everything hurts. I'm sweating and I have to sit down. I can't numb the pain away. I couldn't even do that back then. Which got me thinking —if it happens to me, chances are, it happens to you too. The thing is, if you're aware of certain things like why you do the things you do —well, that can help you overcome them too. And we're all different. Each person will experience different symptoms at different times. Making it of extreme importance to know all of them. Here are four.

There is No Way to Happiness, Happiness is The Way: So Stop Apologizing, Stop Waiting & Enjoy Life Right Now

Sometimes happiness is staying in with a gluten-free pizza pie and Netflix. Like Netflix and chill but literally. Because most people search for happiness outside of themselves. I know I did and admittedly, sometimes I still do. But that's a mistake. And I'm trying to stop. Because happiness is something that you are. It comes from the way you think —not what you have or even who you have. It's all about our insides. Except, it's harder than you might think to break these patterns. Maybe you want to be happy but you keep waking up doing the same things that continuously make you miserable? The thing is, if we have time to feel like shit, complain and sift endlessly through notifications and newsfeeds, then we have time to meditate, journal, and do something about it. But normally, we just do what we're used to doing and the cycle goes on. Not today. Not anymore. So here's the final segment of my series on life lessons and seven things I think you should know.

10 Years in The Making: This is What it Feels Like Living With Endometriosis

I've been complaining of pain for a while. Honestly, though, it's hard to put into words exactly how I feel and I think that's the problem. Because I don't know where to begin. Because for the past few months, I didn't know what was wrong with me. I knew something wasn't right. I mean, it's not normal to feel sick all the time. But after visiting multiple doctors —all telling me I was fine, why wouldn't I believe them? They're the ones with a medical degree, right? It's just this thing is really hard to figure out. Did you know 10 years is the average length of time it takes to get a diagnosis? That 68 percent of women are initially misdiagnosed with another condition? Oh, and that 50 percent of women with endometriosis also experience infertility? I didn't. What I do know is that it's exhausting. It's hidden. Not seen. Not talked about. Embarrassing. But it's not —at least it shouldn't be. Except, it is according to society. Not anymore though and definitely not here.

7 Side Effects No One Wants to Talk About: I Take Antidepressants Because I was Depressed But Now I’m Numb & Still A Little Sad

I've always felt too much. I've always cared too much —that's just the way I was wired. But no one really knew that. To most, it probably looked like I didn't feel or care at all. I thought that was a good thing at the time. It wasn't. I just didn't understand why I was the way I was. Well, until now. Today, I know the reason I self-medicated for as long as I did. I had a bunch of mental health issues I could never make sense of. I struggled but I thought everyone felt this way? I never understood how those around me could make white knuckling look so good. I never felt normal and I probably never will but at least I'm doing something about it. So what is it that I'm doing presently that's different than yesterday? Well, I take antidepressants. There are times when I feel like they are working but then, there are moments when I don't know why I'm taking them at all. I say this because there are a bunch of side effects no one really wants to talk about. Here are seven.

Because One is Too Many and a Thousand is Never Enough: Here’s What My First Day in Rehab Looked Like

Home —what was that? I hadn’t had one in what felt like forever. The only thing I had was fear. Except, today, I was an official resident at my very first drug treatment center. I made it through the intervention, the detox —both which I never thought would happen, and now this. I remember arriving in the druggy buggy (our way of saying a white van) directly from the county ran detox that I didn't want to admit, saved my life. I remember them searching me. For once, I had nothing to hide. I remember them finishing up the in-take process and taking me to my new home away from home. I was ready.

Ambien & Counting Sheep: Why I Don’t Feel Bad About Sleeping In Anymore and 4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Either

Even before I was an addict, I battled with sleep —not so much staying asleep but I couldn't slow my mind down long enough to go to bed at a decent hour. Some nights, I'd toss and torn while others, I was sick of pretending I was comfortable. So I'd get up at whatever time it was, usually 2:00 a.m. and start my morning routine. But once I found what worked for me, I actually felt better during the day. I want you to say the same. I want you to sleep in and not feel bad about it either. So here are four reasons you should stay in bed and snooze.

As Katy Perry Once Said, I Don’t Negotiate with Insecurities: So Let’s Battle for Some Sanity

College graduation is upon me along with my sensible attempts to get the good girl back. Except this chick was severely addicted to opioids. I was literally doing about 31 pills a day. But I thought if I could simply leave, then I could get better. I was living my life through the saying, out of sight, out of mind. So I pack my bags, give my apartment key back to my landlord, and try to start over, again. Destination —sunny Florida. Things started off great but I was about to learn; wherever you go, there you are. And eventually, I find myself addicted all over again. So I'll ask you one more time, who's ready to battle for some sanity? I hope you say yes.

Just Keep Swimming: How to Stay Afloat When You’re Sinking From Self-Doubt

In my last blog post, I discussed how I’m trying to swim through life with multiple mental illnesses but I can’t even float. It feels like I’m sinking with nothing to stop me but me. And so, I pretend everything is okay. And if you're like me, you want to feel normal but maybe you just don't know how. Well, here are three mental health treatment options that can bring you back to the person you were always meant to be. 

Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels: What It’s Really Like Living with an Eating Disorder

This disease is not solely based on the pursuit to “look beautiful" —for those who have some type of eating disorder, it's so much more than that. Honestly, it’s as if you're in an abusive relationship. One minute it’s spewing hateful thoughts about you and the next it’s apologetically, promising that if you listen to what it says you will achieve happiness. One thing I always wish people knew about living with this type of mental illness is that it casts a shadow on everything in your life, no matter how small it may seem from the outside world. So, this is what it's really like to live with an eating disorder —at least from my perception.

Drug Dealing & Pill Popping: The Time I Got Held Up At Gunpoint Inside My Own Apartment

I never thought this would be me. I never pictured a Jewish American Princess selling pills to support her addiction. But there I was. My once innocent fun becomes too fast, too furious for me to even realize what was happening. Parties and frat boys turn into painkillers and larceny. I was simply trying to feel good. But before I knew what these pills could do, I was already addicted. I recall one night in particular. I remember getting robbed at gunpoint with my drug dealing ex-boyfriend and junkie best friend. We were sitting in my apartment minding our own damn business. But that didn’t matter. Nothing did. And so, we sat in on this lonely summer night —with a knife under the pillow and our stash in the wall.