We Have To Put An End To These Mass Shootings…

Trigger warning… stay safe, friends.

We absolutely have to. Innocent people are dying because of mass shootings, more in the United States than anywhere else, because we’re simply not doing anything about it.

Are guns the issue? Yes. But do I believe mental health is more of the issue? Yes.

It’s so difficult to find a therapist and/or psychiatrist anywhere you go and if you do find one, they charge an arm and a leg.

It’s beyond time to fix this.

Get people the help they need.

Stop spreading the stigma surrounding mental health because YOU are making it worse.

YOU are making people feel ashamed of getting and asking for help.

Mental health is just as important as physical health, my friends. Normal, stable people don’t go around making plans to kill innocent people in public places where they should feel safe.

Those murderers are/were mentally ill.

The thing that gets me is that someone can be mentally ill, and people look down on them for that, which by the way is something they may not even be able to control. Then when that person asks for help, they get called crazy, they belong in the “looney bin” etc.

Someone is addicted to drugs, and they are looked down upon, and if they decide to detox, they get called crazy and a “crazy addict.”

The stigma that you’re spreading is making people feel like it is looked down upon to get help. They feel like they are worthless for going to a mental institution or going to therapy. They feel ashamed. They feel worthless. And that’s the opposite of how they should feel.

They should feel proud for asking for help. They should feel proud for starting to take control of their issue, whatever it may be.

People that don’t get the help they need turn to more extreme ways to deal with their pain; murder, in this instance.

Mental health is what we need to be talking about. As much as gun control sounds like the issue that needs to be addressed (and in some ways, it is), we have to focus on mental health as well.

The country as a whole is shoving it off to the side. Mental health only matters on certain days of the year, then the very next day nobody cares about it anymore.

Stop shoving it off to the side. Talk about mental health. Stop making people feel worthless for having to go to therapy. There’s nothing wrong with going to therapy!!

Be open. Share your story. You might be saving someone’s life. Stop condemning people for going to therapy.

That family member or friend that refuses to go to therapy? Talk with them. Don’t give up on them, and more importantly, do your best to keep an eye on them. They may be needing and wanting to ask for help, but they’re too ashamed to.

We have to do better, my friends.

Depression is real. Mental illness is real. Addiction is real (and is a disease, by the way).

If you’ve never experienced it, that’s great! But that doesn’t mean it’s not real or that you should talk down to people who battle with it daily.

To those in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH. You’re in my thoughts and prayers tonight.

Stay strong.

For Mama, on Mother’s Day

I could write an entire book on my mother because the things that she does for me, my dad, my sisters, and my nieces and nephews are unmeasurable. I won’t write a book (this time), but what I wanted to write today is too long for a Facebook post or Twitter update.

Since before I was born, my mom has worked her butt off to support the family. My dad was severely injured in 1989 in a construction accident, so it left my mom being the only one to work. Now, I could go into a whole different book about how amazing my dad is, but I won’t do that either. At least not until Father’s Day. 😉

I could also talk about how much she’s done for this entire family, but for this particular blog, I’ll write only about what she’s done for me. Hopefully my sisters and dad are okay with that this time. 🙂

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From the time I can remember, my mom always supported me, backed me up, stood up for me, talked for me… everything. See, I was born with some things wrong with my brain; a chemical imbalance. I was diagnosed with severe social anxiety and major depression, but those diagnoses didn’t even come about until I was 23. So for 23 years, despite my mom not knowing what was wrong with me, she still supported me, stood up for me, and talked for me.

It was rough, and I only know that now as an adult. I didn’t know what I was putting my mom through when I refused to get out of the car in middle school. I didn’t know what I was putting my mom through when the guidance counselors and teachers and principals called her and talked to her about how I wouldn’t speak to them. My mom went through so much when I was growing up. Keep in mind, she was doing all this while helping my dad with his injuries; doctor’s appointments, surgeries. My three sisters had their own lives that she helped them with as well.

To be straightforward, my mom is truly a super hero. Wonder Woman. Whatever you want to call her. And I mean that sincerely.

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We have been to concerts together, horse races, museums, a million road trips, hikes, and we even travelled the world together. She taught me to look at the sky for the moon and the stars and just stare at it in wonder. She taught me to always be myself, and to stay strong despite what was happening around me. She taught me to breathe during panic attacks and remind me that I would be okay. She taught me to love animals, to appreciate things, and to love God because He loves me.

As a college student, I started college because I wanted to prove the bullies that called me stupid all of my life wrong. But now two years in to my degree, I don’t care about proving them wrong. I want to prove my mom right, because she always told me I was smart and worth more than what anyone was calling me. I want to make my mom proud, I want to prove to her that all that stuff I put her through in my younger years wasn’t a waste and that she made me into the person I am today.

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The countless doctor’s appointments, taking me in for surgeries and ER visits last year, picking up my medications from the pharmacy, being active in how my therapy sessions went… all of that does not go unnoticed, I promise you. Mama, you deserve the world, but until I can give that to you, I hope all of this is okay.

Thank you for loving me.

Thank you for loving Daddy through sickness and in health.

Thank you for loving my sisters and their husbands and all of their children. I’m positive you’re the best grandmother in the world and I believe they’d all agree with me.

Thank you for loving Finn, helping me through the time when I was sure I was going to lose him.

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Thank you for everything; the things that I notice, the things that I don’t notice or even know about, and the things I take for granted.

Thank you for all that you’ve sacrificed.

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You and Daddy have made an amazing family and I hope you know how much you’re loved.

I love that I am half of you. I love that people recognize how amazing you are, because you are!

Thank you… for everything.

Happy Mother’s Day.

2018/2019… let’s do this

(Trigger warning)

2018 was a big year for me, physically and mentally. I can’t say it was all good, as I lost 6 people within my family and friend circle. I don’t think I’ve ever lost that many people in one year. It’s been a heartbreaking year, an eye-opening year, and a victorious year. I can’t believe how much I’ve accomplished. I went into 2018 with a different mindset that I had never had before. I honestly still have no clue where the motivation came from, other than working my butt off in therapy. I didn’t realize my mindset was changing until it hit me like a brick wall.

The year didn’t start off great; my uncle passed away on January 1. I wasn’t as close to him as I had been in my younger years since we lived a state away, but it was still a challenging time. My mother lost her brother, my cousins lost their father. We are now upon the first anniversary of his passing and I know it’s not easier for anyone. In July, I also lost my great uncle. It’s been a rough year for my family.

In previous years, my “new year’s resolution” always included losing weight, but it never worked out because, well, I never worked out. I would work out or diet for maybe a week, maybe two, then go back to my old habits. This year, that would change. I couldn’t lose weight on my own, so I talked to my doctor and she recommended weight loss surgery. I went for it and made an appointment with a bariatric surgeon. After 3 months of preparation, dieting, and exercise, I had the surgery in August. I haven’t lost weight at the pace I would have liked, but I’ve still lost weight and I’m okay with that. I still have a long journey ahead of me, but I’m still motivated to get the weight off.

As for the people I’ve lost this year, it was rough. I lost a few close friends and two family members. One of them, though, hit me like nothing has ever hit before.

I started my mental health journey in 2014, and I won’t get into details with that, because I’ve talked about it in previous posts. I was checked into a mental hospital and then immediately started group therapy after I was discharged. The first person that talked to me when I walked up to the door was named Katy, and she ended up becoming one of the most important people I’d ever meet in my life.

There were times during therapy and even outside of therapy that she would talk me through it and help me through it. I remember one day in therapy that I was called on to speak, and I ended up crying… hard. I couldn’t get through what I was trying to say. Katy sat next to me every day, and on this particular day, she looked at me and said, “I promise you that nobody here is going to judge you, and everybody here loves you, including me. I’m right here. Just talk to me.” Those words helped me get through the duration of my time in group therapy.

I learned that she had a lung disease when I would talk to her everyday, but I didn’t know how bad it was. She passed away this year, in June. The bad thing for me is that I didn’t find out until July. I missed her funeral, I didn’t get to say goodbye, and I didn’t get to tell her how much she meant to me. It was heartbreaking. I still think about her and cry. I have never grieved over anyone else as hard as I have grieved over her.

As much as her passing affected me, I didn’t let it slow me down. I couldn’t. I know she would want me to keep working hard on my mental health, so I have. I have progressed, I think, a lot in therapy. I’m working my butt off daily to stay alive. Everybody has bad days, including me, but I get through them. Finn (my dog) is definitely a huge help with that. I’ve accomplished so much mentally, but also physically. I made a lot of progress in school. I’ve been getting out of the house more, but one of the main goals I have for myself is to get out even more. I’ve got so much planned; hiking, dog park visits, walking trails, yard work, and even just sitting outside getting more fresh air.

Health wise, I am going to continue to take care of myself. For so many years, I put my health on the back burner because I hated myself that much. I wanted to die so bad that my life didn’t matter that much. But now, I feel like I need to stay alive, and I want to stay alive. Some days are very difficult, and I still have suicidal thoughts from time to time, but I don’t feel as if I would act upon them now. It’s even kind of crazy to think about because I got so used to thinking I would be better off dead.

Another goal is to blog more! I’ve had to take a few months off from blogging, but I’m back at it. I felt like if I had writer’s block, then it was going to happen whether I wanted it to happen or not, and I didn’t try to force anything.

With all of that being said, I want to know how your year was and how you want 2019 to be. If you had a bad year, it’s okay. Not everyone is going to have a good year. And its okay to have bad days! Even if you have perfect mental health (and no one does), everyone has bad days. Try your hardest to bounce back the next day. I know it’s easier said than done, trust me. Depression is no joke at all. But stay strong for me, for your family, for your friends, your pets, your spouse, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, but most of all, stay strong for yourself. Because you’re worth staying strong for. You’re worth the life that the universe gave you. You matter.

Happy new year, and let’s have a great 2019.

My Weight Loss Journey, Part III

On August 10, I had vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery, also known as gastric sleeve surgery. Yep, I went through with it. I’ll be honest, I am the first one to admit I thought I would chicken out. But here I am on the other side of surgery, and I’m doing great.

At my highest weight, I was 253 lbs.. I am 5’5″, so that is considered morbidly obese. Surgery day, I weighed in at 251 lbs. After the surgery, I was in some pain, but the pain medication kept it away. I vomited a few times (including in front of both of my guests. Ugh… sorry about that!). I had to walk around the hall multiple times and the next day I was discharged and went home.

It was tough the first few days. I could barely sleep on my stomach, but did. I had no problems sleeping (thank you, Ambien). Getting in the amount of liquids I need is still a struggle because my sleeve is so small now that it fills me up pretty quickly. I am on stage 2 right now, the pureed stage, and I am full after a 3 oz cup of blended soup. It’s so weird to me because before, I would eat because it tasted good and wanted more. Now, while I still struggle with that, I can’t eat more or it physically hurts. My sleeve tells me to stop by making it painful to eat more.

Since 8/10, I am down to 237 lbs., which truly blows my mind. That means I am down 16 lbs. in less than a month and I couldn’t be more happy. I’ve hit a couple stalls in weight loss, but I figured out what I was doing wrong, and fixed it. I don’t lose weight as fast as other people, and that’s okay. It’s frustrating at times because I don’t lose weight as fast as others, but my body is different than theirs, and that’s okay. I’ll get to my goal weight in my own time.

I’m walking everyday, but I haven’t made it to my first goal of 30 minutes yet. That’s because I have an intense back pain when I do walk for an extended amount of time, but I’ve discovered that if I wear my abdominal binder that the hospital gave me, then I can walk longer than if I don’t wear it. So I’ll get there. On October 1, I can go back to the gym and possibly start doing more cardio and start weight training.

That’s it for now, but I’ll continue to update as my weight loss journey continues. If you have any questions about the surgery, you can contact me by emailing me at aliveewriter@yahoo.com, or texting me at (318) 321-8725. Be sure to leave your name and a way to contact you.