Meds, Judgment, and Being Published in Teen Vogue

It’s the height of irony to me that in the year of being completely untreated for my chronic daily migraine, I’ve had pieces about medication get published.

Why am I untreated? Well, it isn’t by choice. I found out during a renewal interview for medicaid benefits that I actually should never have been qualified for them to begin with…but had been receiving them for two years due to an agency error.

Yes, you read that correctly. Two years of treatment that I could never have afforded, including a specialist and botox–which happens to be the only treatment thus far that made a marginal difference–now gone. I was reassured by the supervisor I spoke to that since it wasn’t my fault, at least I wouldn’t be prosecuted for defrauding the government.

Well, thanks. What a relief.

But surprisingly, that was not and still is not my major concern. Not that not being prosecuted or responsible for paying back thousands in assistance isn’t a good thing, mind you…but the treatment that was giving me enough improvement to be functional a few days a month was and is gone.

Just like that. Gone.

It’s possibly the worst thing I’ve been through in the past few years, and if you’re wondering how terrible that could really be, I invite you to take on my chronic daily misery for a week. Really, I’ll gladly share.

Because when you’re not functional more days than you are even minimally functional, a few days makes a huge difference.

And money…well, in my experience that sometimes (often) makes ALL the difference often in whether one is functional, in what treatments we can try, and even in how we are judged for our illness and what we do for it.

Judgment of the chronically sick and disabled is alive and well, in case you thought it wasn’t in this more PC era.

We’re given the side-eye for what we may have done to “cause” our health issues (um…be born? Mine is ’caused’ by genetics, thanks) and what we’ve done/are doing/aren’t doing to treat our condition; from “OMG, you’re putting those prescribed toxins into your body? How can you do that?” to “Well, if you’re not going to try ____, you must want to stay sick,” as if a few minutes of Google confers a specialty doctorate in our disease.

Unfortunately, all those treatments and medications and doctor appointments take….*drum roll*….money. Doctors aren’t exactly lining up to take patients pro-bono, despite the number of non sick people who are certain I can find someone to “work with me” on cost or payments (see, the problem there is that assumes an income at all to “work with”).

And Medicaid, disability, and insurance through the ACA are not the catch all safety nets people assume they are.

Plenty of people who qualify for medicaid in one state would not in another, because adult Medicaid is not federally mandated. It’s up to the individual states what the cutoffs for qualifications are and which benefits are granted. Also, it’s very hard to qualify if you don’t have a minor child in your home and aren’t working at least 20 hours a week, unless you are disabled.

Disability…I don’t have much good to say there. Plenty of legitimately disabled folks can’t qualify for disability. For one thing, doctor records are one the main things needed to make a decision, and since I haven’t been to a doctor due to lack of money in a year, my appeals have denied on that basis DESPITE having a Game of Thrones series sized stack of paperwork from doctor visits alone on my initial application. Also, my illness isn’t considered disabling by and large. (Although I don’t know many people who can drive to work, much less work, with frequent vertigo, or aura, or crippling pain. Go figure.)

Insurance through the ACA…first, will there be an ACA if Republicans in Congress have their way? Second, you still have to pay for insurance through the marketplace.

Sigh. So that’s why I’m untreated. Fun times. (Not really. Why is that the expression for un-fun times, anyway?)

Having to explain this is pretty exhaustive, which is why I usually don’t–people who want to judge are going to regardless.

And why it’s kind of hilarious to me in a weird way that I have an article ABOUT MY LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH MEDS published in Teen Vogue this month, via The Mighty, who originally published it…titled Please Stop Judging Me For Taking Pain Medication.

Does anyone not see the weird funny in that?

There’s also the fact I’m almost 50 and being published in a teen magazine, but I figure my coolness quotient has that covered. 😉

I’m still pretty thrilled about it (despite the disagreement over the title you can see in my screenshot which was resolved pretty quickly- thanks to The Mighty and Teen Vogue for being cool about that) , because I think it’s an important article. Hit up the link and check it out, and let me know what you think!

Be well, friends! – Selena

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Coming Out Of A Depressive Episode

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This article spoke to me so much today: 4 Things That Might Happen When You Come Out of Depression

Speaking as someone on the up end of a spiral, this is bang on for me. I highly recommend reading it, as this is a little discussed area. It can throw you as off kilter as being in the grip of depression.

One thing I’d like to add, though: You may also find yourself surprised or appalled by thoughts you had or something you did while in the Rabbit Hole…this recent spiral marks the first (and hopefully only) time I’ve ever let my meds run out.

I know, not very bright. And while I know the feelings that led to it, “more okay” me can’t quite wrap my head around how I could do something that for 4 years of treatment I’ve been careful to not do.

I know the dangers of going off psychiatric meds suddenly. I know them intimately through raising two kids with mental health disorders. I know for myself what a bad place I was in before medication.

I know that my anxiety was still in the uncontrolled area–we were still tweaking meds and dosages. And that they were starting to help. Finally.

I know that by the time of my next appointment (3 days!), I’ll have been off my meds almost a month and will have to start over as far as waiting for the benefits of them.

My meds actually haven’t had any unpleasant side effects, which I know can be a common reason for wanting to stop them. And the kicker is, I DIDN’T want to stop them. I wanted them. I missed them.

But caught in the depths of the Rabbit Hole, I couldn’t bring myself to keep or schedule my appointments…couldn’t bring myself to make those calls or leave the house.

Couldn’t bring myself to care.

Even as I got worse…I couldn’t care.

And that’s the hardest part to get…that sick me, who I’ve tried so hard to keep at bay, just didn’t…care.

But I’m learning that sick me isn’t a lot like “more okay” me. I’m not sure I like sick me much; she’s a real mess. And the things that deeply matter to me are ones sick me blows off because she can’t muster the energy to do, or care about.

And hopefully, I’m learning things to keep sick me from making decisions for me.

My perfect patient record has taken a dent…but thankfully it didn’t break me.

In the end, that’s what matters most, I think.

Be well, friends.

– Selena

Allies Wanted

#downtherabbithole #chronicillness #invisibleillness #allies

HELP WANTED:

Invisible Illness Allies.

This position requires an open mind, willingness to learn, loyalty, the ability to be flexible with plans and to not take changes personally, and a caring nature.

Sympathy and pity not required, but attempting to understand that you may never understand what we live with is essential.
References and experience not necessary. We are willing to work with you on anything you need to know.

Please apply with any person you know living with an invisible and/or chronic illness.

– Selena ..

Guest Post: There is Hope in Your Struggle with Panic Attacks

I’ve never done a guest post before, but this write by my friend Lynne Shayko is absolutely amazing. As someone who has been struggling with anxiety and panic attacks more frequently of late, I really relate and think others will as well, whether your attacks are one or more daily or less frequent.

The message of hope at the end is priceless. Thank you, Lynne, for allowing me to share this.

There is Hope in Your Struggle with Panic Attacks

By Lynne Shayko

You remember your first panic attack. Overwhelmed by life, suddenly you struggled to breathe. Your head floated towards the ceiling as you grimaced from the pain at your chest and the tight knot in your gut. As you wallowed in dizziness and nausea, the world vomited color and noise on you, then faded away to a dull blur. Terrified that you were having a heart attack or going crazy, you collapsed under the stress. After it ended, you struggled to find yourself, and prayed it would never happen again.

But it repeated. Another panic attack. The same terrifying sequence of symptoms. Then a third panic attack jolted you. Suddenly you find yourself standing in a hailstorm of panic attacks. Again and again, the attacks hit you with poetic violence, often when you least expect. You desperately try to isolate what triggers the attacks, how you can control them and how you can win this battle. Gritting your teeth, you develop elaborate strategies to beat the panic. You practice relaxation techniques, visualization, and meditation. Repeating positive affirmations to yourself, you put on your tinted sunglasses, your noise-canceling headphones, and the clothes that make you the most invisible. You want to survive the situation without anyone singling you out. With practice you learn to disguise your panic symptoms and become well-versed in excuses for any erratic behavior that slips out. But you still struggle.

After a while, the panic attacks and your strategies feel part of the fiber of your being. Every day you hang up your coat on a rack of memories, and comb anxiety strategies into your hair. Events, places, and songs trigger memories of panic. A parking garage triggers a traumatic memory, so you gather your strength and speak to the impending panic, This is not the same garage. This is a different day. Today I will not panic. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t.

Infuriated at this invisible war you are fighting, that you never chose to fight, you rage at the attacks. You curse the panic that is filling your life with so much complicated pain.

Part of the pain is loneliness. Panic traps you within your mind, sending you to a place where no one can ever really touch you. Sometimes panic even imprisons you in your house. Tired of fighting panic attacks and losing, often it feels easiest to cancel plans, avoid triggering places, and order takeout instead of going to the grocery store. So you sit alone in your house, calm but missing the beautiful chaos of the life outside your door. You watch the world through social media and yearn to experience it.

Your battle with panic is laced with self-hatred and self-loathing. Every attack feels like an episode of failure. Once again, your strategy to beat the panic failed. You get angry with yourself for canceling plans, for walking out in the middle of the checkout line in the grocery store, for acting strangely and disappearing from your friend’s party. It all feels so stupid sometimes. It is such a simple thing, to go to a store and buy groceries. Everyone else can do it. Why is it so hard for you?

Because you’re not like everyone else. You have an illness. You have a type of illness that can make everyday things difficult. It’s hard because your illness is invisible, but your strange behavior in panic attacks is not.

Right now it’s awful. But there is hope. Panic attacks are difficult and traumatic, but they are not hopeless. And neither are you. You are still the same person that you were before this all started. You’re just sick right now. You haven’t lost yourself. You’re the same person, you are just fighting a complex and difficult illness right now.

Your struggle with panic attacks doesn’t make you weak. Each panic attack is a small trauma. You are enduring a hailstorm of trauma, and you’re still standing, you’re still reading this article and rehearsing coping strategies. You’re still getting up every morning and braving the world again. You are fighting an invisible dragon, and you are still holding on to the sword.

Over time, as you refine your coping strategies, as you find a way to balance your outside and inside worlds, things will get better. If they aren’t, if your world is getting very small and you feel like you’re drowning, get help. Find a therapist or a support group. Reach out to friends or family members. Read up on cognitive behavioral techniques to beat panic disorder.

You may feel very alone right now, but you are not alone. Many people have fought this same battle. They have suffered. But many have persevered and overcome, and you can too.

Try to be kinder to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for breaking commitments due to panic attacks, for leaving places early, and for acting strangely. You have an illness. This is not your fault. If you went to a party and suddenly got sick, would you feel guilty for leaving? If you sprained your ankle while shopping, would you feel guilty for leaving to get medical help? Having a panic attack is the same thing, a medical problem, that comes on suddenly, and requires you to rest in order to recover.

Things are hard for you right now. You are bearing a tremendous weight. But don’t give up. You can make it through this. You may just need some extra help.

When this is all over, you will emerge a warrior. You endured a traumatic series of panic attacks, a pattern that tried to keep you housebound, and still you kept your chin up, you found healing strategies and people to come alongside you. You will emerge from this chapter of your life and rejoice in your salvation. In that day, the world will be wide open for you, and the air will have never tasted so sweet.

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One of my poems…I think it fits well with how a panic attack feels to me personally. – Selena 

Anxiety, My Personal Demon, and an Un-suicide Plan

***WARNING–this post could be triggering if you have had/are having suicidal thoughts, are a suicide attempt survivor, or have self-harmed.***

 

This is a hard post to write.

I’ve written about my downswings with depression quite a bit lately, mostly because I’ve been struggling with one recently…going back over my posts of the past few weeks, it’s a reasonable guess that probably anyone who follows me on social media regularly can see that spiral plain as day. It’s as if a very different person is posting.

A very different person who needed help.

Yesterday, it all came crashing down and culminated in the worst anxiety/panic attack I’ve ever had. The worst one I’ve ever personally witnessed.

And it lasted for HOURS. Around half the day, actually.

I couldn’t be still. If I managed to be still, I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t focus or concentrate. All I could do was pace the house, even though I was in excruciating migraine pain to boot and movement made it worse. There was no winding down despite my best efforts, and the less I was successful at it, the more panicked I felt.

It’s a given that I wasn’t thinking clearly; not only did I not recognize what was going on until a few hours in, I was having suicidal thoughts.

Worst of all, I didn’t even think of calling for help once I DID realize my anxiety was out of control, and I was terrified more by the thought of going to the ER and being hospitalized than I was of my mental and physical state. I was caught in my own mind, endlessly running in circles…rather like an animal in a trap.

And the more I mindlessly struggled, the tighter the trap clamped down on me.

The one mantra that made sense that my brain kept repeating was, “gotta calm down, gotta get rest.” At some point near the end, I took a dose of benadryl and melatonin in an effort to force my body to do just that. Luckily, it worked and I didn’t take too many in my confused state (just to be clear, I do NOT suggest this as a solution to an anxiety attack, ever. I was lucky. I may not be next time, and neither may you). I managed to sit down and rock in place until I dozed off.

When I woke 3 hours later, my mind was much, much clearer. I was appalled to see just how off-kilter I’d been and for how long.

Aside from a few rambling texts to my boyfriend (who I was certain was pissed at me for ‘acting weird’ and who was working) and one Facebook post about my anxiety, I hadn’t “reached out” at all. I didn’t ask for help. I didn’t think at the time there was anyone I could ask.

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Clearheaded me knows better, and thinks it’s high past time I enacted what another blogger refers to as an Un-suicide Plan. (I definitely urge you to hit that link, it’s an amazing article.)

For me, that would be a plan with 2 or 3 people I can call in case of days like yesterday or suicidal thoughts…people who can talk me through until I’m in a safe mental place, or who can take me to the hospital if it comes to that. That way if one isn’t available, I’ll have another who is.

It makes sense- we have plans for our physical health going awry…why not mental health, if one is prone to getting derailed? And it helps to know what the plan is ahead of time in case someone is too worried to think of one off the cuff.

I’d like to suggest the same or variations of it for everyone who struggles with mental health issues–a crisis isn’t always being suicidal.

It can be anything that would put you in danger or lead to your danger zone–like say, a 5 hour unrelieved panic attack. Maybe the urge to self harm is yours, or a bout of severe depression, passive suicidal thoughts, or extreme anxiety you can’t tamp down on your own.

Hopefully by the next time we talk, I’ll have the details of mine in place and can have some more concrete suggestions for setting up your own plan.

Until then, be well and be safe.

– Selena

Let’s Talk About Depression and Suicide

****WARNING: If you have been or are suicidal or have lost someone to suicide, this post could be potentially triggering.
If you are in crisis or know someone who is, there are people who care. Please get help. At the end of this post is a list of suicide/crisis hotlines and a link to a list of ones worldwide.****

Recently I read an article about a new study that shows depression is not a mood that we “choose;” rather, it says that depression is a form of brain damage. Aside from the touting of positivity and mindfulness to counteract or keep at bay severe or chronic depression (which is bullshit–yes, positivity and mindfulness are great and yes, they do matter, but they are coping skills, not treatments or preventives), the rest of the article is something everyone who thinks depression and suicide are choices should read–New Research Says Depression Isn’t a Choice- It’s a Form of Brain Damage.

With the recent death by suicide of Linkin Park frontman, Chester Bennington, this conversation is even more important.

My tribute to Chester Bennington. May he have found peace at last.

Bennington openly struggled with depression and a past history of substance abuse. One of his close friends, Chris Cornell, died by suicide recently. Statically, Bennington was at higher risk of dying by suicide because of these factors.

So are many of us, for many reasons. As everyone’s reasons may be different I’m focusing on its obvious link to depression and mental illness, but chronic pain and illness are also frequent contributing factors.

But too often, this is not a conversation we’re having. And it’s one we should be having, not only when we lose a beloved and admired public figure.

And too often, the first reaction of many is to blame the person who suicides as “taking the easy way out” or “just giving up.” Anger at the person is also common for “making the choice to leave,” particularly by those left behind. The feeling that the person didn’t do enough to reach out is expressed frequently.

While these are normal reactions and I’m not going to tell you not to have them, I would like to say that for those of us at risk, these reactions are not constructive. They do not make us more likely to reach out when we are able, for fear of being judged for having such thoughts at all.

What follows are my thoughts and feelings on the matter, as someone who has lost someone to suicide and as a suicide attempt survivor, as well as the mother of one. Yours may be different.

First, let’s get this out of the way:
Suicide is most often caused/contributed to by depression and/or another mental illness. (Substance abuse can be another possible contributing factor, as can chronic pain and illness, as well other various reasons, but what I’m addressing is its relation to mental health.)

Depression causes physical change in the brain, folks. While depression can be situational, it does have aspects of physical illness such as chemical imbalances in the brain that control how we feel and the way we think.

Suicide is NOT a “selfish choice.” Because it is not a choice.
It’s not “giving up.” It has zero to do with those we love and who love us.

It isn’t even necessarily about wanting to die.
It’s being in such emotional and mental pain that we want it to end…and when a person is in that state, we are NOT thinking rationally or clearly because we CAN’T, not because we don’t want to.

Every time there is media coverage of someone who dies by suicide, the main reactions from many are often disbelief that the person didn’t have at least one person they felt they could reach out to; that they didn’t try hard enough to stay alive if they didn’t reach out; that they didn’t care enough to think about the pain they would cause their loved ones; that they should have ______ (insert solution here)…that there is always another option.

I’m going to say this one more time for those people in the back:
SUICIDE IS NOT A CHOICE.

If you have never struggled with severe depression and felt the utter hopelessness and isolation it brings, if you’ve never believed the terrible things depression makes you think about yourself, if you’ve never felt that opening up about your suicidal thoughts or plans would cause more pain to your loved ones than your absence would…SIT DOWN AND SILENCE YOUR JUDGEMENT, BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO CLUE WHAT A SEVERELY DEPRESSED AND SUICIDAL PERSON IS DEALING WITH.

I realize the previous statement may be upsetting to people who have lost a loved one to suicide, particularly if they ascribe to the notion suicide is a choice. And while I apologize for that, I cannot NOT say it.

The truth is that anyone who hasn’t been that person and who doesn’t personally know what it is like to struggle with depression and suicidality does not know how it can trap your mind.
And you do not know how it is possible to not only believe that the only solution is suicide, but that it will actually be the best and logical option for everyone, and that sometimes we can get through that dark place and sometimes it is literally impossible for us to reach out.

•Not because there aren’t people who care–but because when we’re in that place, WE CAN’T SEE THEM. Or if we do see them, they’re out of reach.
Yes, I’m absolutely serious.

•Not because there aren’t people who care–but because when we’re in that place, we don’t want those we love to witness our pain.
We do realize that seeing someone you love suffer is often more painful than suffering yourself. We want to spare you that.

•Not because there aren’t people who care–but because when we’re in that place, we don’t believe we are worth saving and that us continuing to live will continue to cause you pain and drag you down with us.

And most importantly:
•Not because there aren’t people who care–but because when we’re in that place, we can’t see anything but the overwhelming pain we’re in and the need to end that pain.
It’s not about being selfishly focused on our pain to the point you don’t matter to us. You do. You do so much. But just as a person can be in the grip of such physical pain that it’s all they can focus on, it’s truly possible to be in that much mental/emotional pain.

No, those beliefs and thoughts do not make sense, and if we pull through it we realize this. Yet when we are in that place, they are what we believe and feel and we literally cannot think ourselves out of it.

And unfortunately, coming through that dark place and back to our rational selves does not save us from that darkness reaching out and grabbing us again. And again. And again.
We can learn to recognize certain things that set off a downward spiral and strategies to help us cope with them; in fact, we have plenty of spirals you will never see or know about, simply because we came through them.
Not all spirals will be set off by something recognizable, though.
Not all spirals are the same.
And not all spirals can see us conquering them.

Hundreds of days that could have been that one last day.
And you know what? We’re pretty damn badass for surviving those hundreds of days…those ones you don’t see us “not giving up” through.

But it only takes one day of our illness getting the upper hand to bring us to a day you can’t avoid seeing–the day we can’t fight it enough.
The day you see as us failing…being selfish…giving up.

Unfortunately, all it takes is that one day to make our previously won battles not count to everyone who sees us as not trying hard enough…as giving up.

And if you are a “mentally healthy” person, you will never truly understand or grasp that.
You may come close, you may have had thoughts of giving up yourself, but likely you realized pretty quickly how senseless it would be and what you might miss out on in life, or how much it might hurt others.
And you can be thankful that you don’t totally grasp it, because we wouldn’t wish it on you and it’s something no one should have to feel.

What you don’t realize is that you are basing your opinion of our capability to get through it and think rationally by YOUR MENTALLY HEALTHY YARDSTICK, not by the reality of our illness and its effect on our ability to reason.

You wouldn’t condemn a person who dies from a physical illness or disease they didn’t choose to have…yet you would for the illness that kills us.

We didn’t choose to have it, either.

– Selena

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline,[22] a 24/7 hotline for callers in the United States:
1-800-273-TALK
(1-800-273-8255)
1-800-SUICIDE
(1-800-784-2433)

TTY/TDD services at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline- United States:
1-800-799-4TTY
(1-800-799-4889)

US Veterans Crisis Hotline:
(800-273-8255) press 1

The Trevor Project (American hotline aimed principally at LGBT teenagers), United States:
(866-488-7386)

American anonymous youth violence reporting hotline:
1-866-SPEAK-UP
(1-866-773-2587)

Crisis Text Line, United States:
741-741
A free, 24/7 SMS Hotline providing emotional support for those in crisis.

Lifeline, Australia:
13 11 14
Offers 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services by phone.

List of crisis hotlines around the world:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines

Chester Bennington of Linkin Park has died by suicide

#DownTheRabbitHole #chesterbennington #restinpeace #suicide

Chester Bennington of Linkin Park has died by suicide at age 41.

I’ve been down with the Migremlins all day, and just woke up to this news. Ļinkin Park is one of my favorite bands, and their music has brought me through so many rough times. It resonates deeply with me, both in emotions I’ve dealt with in the past and currently. It grabs my soul and makes me feel less alone, and speaks to my heart.

As a suicide attempt survivor and suicide prevention advocate, it wrenches my heart every time I hear such news of another loss to suicide.

It also raises the increased need for awareness and the need to eradicate the stigma attached to suicide.

Attached to this post are some statistics and information about suicide and suicide prevention, along with resources for more information and lifeline/crisis text numbers.

Mr. Bennington…I wish you had had an angel to roam the shadowed places in your mind. 😥

Be safe, friends. Please. – Selena

http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/index.html
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
http://reportingonsuicide.org/recommendations/

“Suicide is a serious public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities. While its causes are complex and determined by multiple factors, the goal of suicide prevention is simple: Reduce factors that increase risk (i.e. risk factors) and increase factors that promote resilience (i.e. protective factors). Ideally, prevention addresses all levels of influence: individual, relationship, community, and societal. Effective prevention strategies are needed to promote awareness of suicide and encourage a commitment to social change.” (From http://www.cdc.gov)

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The Masks We Wear

“I’m good…not great, but I’m okay.”

Are you really?

Well, no. I wasn’t.

But I didn’t want to worry anyone…didn’t want to bring them down with me.

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Because that’s what we do, don’t we?

I wrote an article about it for The Mighty last September…about The Pretender Mask. The smile that hides the pain. The “I’m fine!” on days we definitely are not fine. The tough I’ve-got-this front when we’re falling apart inside.

About how I wasn’t wearing that mask any more to hide my illness.

So why do I still find that I’m wearing it at times?

Probably because at the time, I was thinking in terms of my “physical” illness. I’ve stuck to that one–I see no reason to hide it. But as much as I believe that many mental illnesses are often physical illnesses with a biological cause, and that they are every bit as important as physical illness…it seems I have trouble owning up during rough patches with depression and anxiety.

In other words, I keep finding myself behind the mask again…and again…and again.

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Skimming the surface during some of my hardest moments…not wanting to worry people…not wanting to talk about it.

Not because I’m ashamed or embarrassed to be struggling, but because it’s harder to SEE them in action. Because…well, they hide. And they hide so well that I don’t always realize I’m in the Rabbit Hole until I start climbing out.

Depression and anxiety are champion Hide-and-Seek players.

I can feel my physical illness; there’s no way not to.

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Physical pain day in and day out demands notice. Sometimes it demands so much notice that other things get ignored or go unseen. Sometimes those things just blend into the world of chronic illness so well because it seems completely normal to feel them when your illness gets the upper hand. Who wouldn’t be stressed and depressed?

I’m not saying this to make excuses. I’m saying it because depression is sneaky…and it lies. And sometimes it even hides itself from us by camouflaging itself as background noise until it starts making its own demands to be felt.

So I’m no longer saying I never wear my Pretender Mask. It feels like hypocrisy to say so when I realize I’m taking it off too often.

But I am saying that I’ll keep trying. I am saying that I’ll continue being transparent, even if it’s transparency after the fact.

Because my struggle is the struggle of so many of us…and if my struggle helps someone else feel less alone in theirs, it’s worth baring my not-so-pretty pieces of me.

– Selena

Owning My Story 

My blog is my story…this page is my story…every piece of art I make, every poem I write…my story.

My story is written in every breath I take, in the scars I bear, in the people I love.

My story is worn in the lines on my face, the smile on my lips, the tears in my eyes.

This is my story…and I tell it so you can know that you are not alone.
– Selena