Health, mental illness

My Personal Battle with Anxiety

anxietyI know I’ve missed a few posts, and I’ll tell you why. I went to a wedding for some friends in Arkansas at the first of the month. When we came back, I ran out of the pill and didn’t call to refill in time. Once I stopped taking it, I realized how important it was in keeping my sanity in check. My mood changed, I was spotting, and developing panic attacks and anxiety-induced migraines. I knew it was anxiety induced because it happened out of nowhere, several days in a row. Last Saturday, I had a migraine that began as a headache right behind my right ear. I knew it was a migraine because nothing made it go away, like a regular headache. I ended up going to bed earlier than usual because I was in so much pain.

I’ve been trying to figure WHY this happened, aside from just not taking the meds. It wasn’t deliberate by ANY means. I understood the anxiety side, but why the panic triggers?

-Situation-The only things about the wedding that were different(for me)was it was in Arkansas and everyone had accents. It was also a lesbian wedding, so when everyone arrived, it was very obvious nearly EVERYONE; save for myself, my sister and her friend, and one or two straight couples, was a lesbian couple.

-Could that have been a trigger? No. I knew one of the brides, she’s a good friend of mine. Used to work with her. The ceremony was at a public park with a cop. A cop isn’t something one has at a wedding. Given it’s the South, and I don’t know how tolerant they are about lesbian weddings, but the people who drove by either paid no mind or honked. Nobody was mean, which was good.

-Situation-A cop. Unusual at a wedding, but whatever.

-Could the cop have been a trigger? No, but it certainly was concerning. I spoke to my mom about it, and she said it was a public area, and maybe they’re required to keep the peace, regardless of the event. Everyone’s seen what’s been going on with harassment at parks. Preventative action? Possibly.

-I didn’t know anyone-I was out of state with my sister, her friend and the only person I knew was one of the brides. Everyone had an accent.

-Could attendance have been a trigger? No. My mom’s family is in the South and it was like being at a family reunion for her side. About the same level of familiarity, except you know the names of a few people.

So what it comes down to, is the medication. As every woman knows, the pill is designed to aide in the menstrual cycle, for whatever situation. Some take it to keep from getting pregnant. Some take it because their cycles are too heavy. I take it because of PCOS. Turns out, it also aides with depression and anxiety. Don’t know if I knew that already.

What it comes down to, is when it ISN’T taken, it messes with your emotions.

So this blurb is to make up, and explain why, I’ve been MIA. It isn’t due to lack of material. It’s due to lack of necessary functional medication in my system.

Something I’ve noticed with this. When there’s a blog written by someone who does suffer from mental illness, it shows. Regular blogs are written in a timely manner. But when you’re dealing with mental issues, EVERYTHING ELSE takes a backseat until your life is better. That’s the case here. If you have an anxiety-induced migraine, you’re sunk. They don’t go away until the anxiety has been eliminated.

So, this is really all I have to say for now. Things will, hopefully, be back to normal by next week.

smiley heart-Ellie V

 

 

 

celebrity, Health

The ‘Faces’ of Mental Health

demi lovato

Before I begin, I want you readers to know I am NOT shaming these young women for their problems. I AM, however, shaming the people who have decided these same young women should get more attention than ‘normal’ people for having the same fucking problems. So I should warn you that there most likely will be cursing because shit like this pisses me off. I’m not one for cursing, but this gets my blood boiling.

So last week, practically RIGHT AFTER I had posted the article about makeup, I found Demi Lovato had been hospitalized for a drug overdose. Depression, addiction, eating disorders and bipolar disorder are amongst her issues. All of these can be hereditary. They can also be developed as a result of changed lifestyle. She grew up as an actress on Barney and made her way to what she is right now.

Now, I can see how going from a child actress to the pop star that she is would cause problems. As ‘Tootie’ from ‘Facts of Life’ once said ‘its hard going through puberty in the spotlight.’ Well hon, it’s hard going through puberty WITHOUT the spotlight. The only difference is we aren’t on TV.

 

amy winehouse

Then there’s Amy Winehouse. A young woman in her early twenties. Died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 at age 27. I don’t know much about her, as I wasn’t a big fan. Same with Demi. I don’t really listen to their genre of music and she’s ten years younger than I am.

Both of these women have/had the same problems. At least as far as I know, since Amy’s bio only gives her music history and the events leading up to her death. Demi is still alive and in the hospital.

This is where shit pisses me off. Who the FUCK decided celebrity mental issues, the same that EVERYONE ELSE in the world has, were more important? Who decided that entertainers deserve to go to rehab and get cleaned up, when most of the population is in the same boat and lack proper medical supplies? Remember when Britney Spears had her meltdown and shaved her head? She was hospitalized. It’s almost as if someone is saying ‘these celebrities give hope to ALL people who have the same problems. THEY should be given top priority with health!’ Uh…NO. EVERYONE with health issues should be given top priority. But we live in a world where celebrity voices overshadow their fans. Which is bullshit. FANS are the ones who GET CELEBS FAMOUS! Celebs and Hollywood should be kissing the ass of the little guy, not the other way around. Did you know in Caesar’s time, being an actor/actress was the lowest of the low? Where and when did that change?

But people who sing aren’t alone in this category. Actors/Actresses. Sports figures. Nobody cares about anything until a CELEBRITY becomes a figurehead. It seems to me, the only time something serious is taken seriously by the necessary people, is when a celebrity becomes involved. I guarantee once Demi’s situation is dealt with, mental illness will be ‘widely known’. Bullshit. It’s ALREADY ‘widely known!’ YOU AREN’T PAYING ATTENTION!!!!!

To be fair, I know these women didn’t ask for this. As stated before, Demi’s problems are most likely hereditary, exacerbated by pressures from becoming a celebrity. Amy certainly didn’t ask to die. It seems to me in this situation, it’s like poking a bear. Keep poking it, and eventually it’s gonna turn and bite you. Same with Demi. If the problems aren’t addressed, an OD happens and everyone wonders why. We seem to have an issue in America where we ignore the smaller health problems until it becomes a GIANT problem and we wonder why things got so bad. I’m well aware that not all problems are like this. Heart issues run in my family. Almost everyone on my dad’s parents side, died of heart failure. My grandpa was born with a defective heart valve. My aunt was apparently born with the same problem. Early in his life, my grandpa was diagnosed with some other issue that could turn into a potentially life-threatening illness. Well, he never developed the life-threatening issue from the other problem, but he DID die of a heart attack. He was supposed to get the valve fixed, but opted out. He was in his late 80s. My aunt, on the other hand, is in her mid-50s and got the surgery. I’m well aware of the difference between an 80 year old and a 50 year old. But the point remains the same. If you KNOW about it and don’t, can’t, won’t get it fixed then shit’s gonna hit the fan. Don’t poke the bear til it turns and bites only for you to call foul.

So SHOULD celebrities get more attention for their problems? No. The fans should get more attention because WE are the ones who PUT them there! Somehow, WE are kissing THEIR asses instead of the other way around. EVERYONE needs to be treated in accordance to the severity of their issues. I have ASD and GAD. Do I need to be treated in the same manner as someone with Bipolar disorder? No. Just because you’re a public figure does NOT mean you deserve better treatment!

Ugh. So fucking frustrating.

On a happier note, since I’ve been looking at social media a lot more lately, along with my own life ordeals, I’ve come to the conclusion that I may be able to put out TWO blogs a week. Monday and Friday, Wednesday and Friday. Not sure yet. The world has become so messed up that ideas are just flowing.

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you all in the next post!

Love, Ellie V 😉

Health

Skin…..A Battle of the Aging Process

skincareUnless you’ve been living under a rock for the past century, I’m sure at you’ve seen one or all of the above products at least ONCE in your life. But at some point in time, wrinkles became a thing to be ashamed of. Why? Because wrinkles mean sun damage and aging. While some cultures view aging and death as something to embrace and celebrate; Americans have been viewing it as a death sentence, quite literally.

young skin

I realize a lot of women are going to look at this picture and say ‘she doesn’t look like me. Her skin is too perfect.’ I’ve also seen back scratch ASMR videos on Facebook with comments referring to the flawlessness of the person getting the back scratch. Young-looking skin is a tool to get through life, according to some. All models have perfect-looking skin. BUT, if you look close enough, you can ALSO see they’ve got inches of makeup caked on that makes them LOOK flawless. I remember when Jessica Simpson became the spokeswoman for some skincare line back in early 2000s. For the life of me, I cannot remember the name. It was an online purchase only. Couldn’t get it in stores. I remember the ad showed a picture of her onstage. She said the editors had to go through her videos and edit out the blackheads. Now, here’s where reality and elite REALLY show themselves. Regular women had ZERO access to these tools. But once the cellphone and filters came out, pretty much put a stop to it. You, too, can have a flawless face if you have the time, patience and $$ to cake all that crap on. BUT, if you live in a disagreeable environment, or your skin is naturally oily……the makeup is just going to cause you more grief. Skin needs to BREATHE to heal. If you’re CONSTANTLY caking it on every day, you skin is going to be HORRIBLY irritated. Not JUST by the foundation, but the chemicals in the remover. I remember I had a job where I wore makeup EVERY DAY. By choice. I had to stop because my face was becoming red and irritated from the rough surface of the cloths. Even cleaning it with water isn’t going to really take care of it. Think about it. Have you EVER come across a face pad of ANY type that WASN’T abrasive? There’s a reason. Like Kleenex, it’s MADE that way to grab hold. I’ve NEVER completely removed makeup with JUST water. It’s a liquid. Your hands don’t have much in the way of abrasiveness. Even a washcloth is irritating to this type of skin.

Then MASKS came along. I got my first tube of it as a teen. It was a mud mask that isn’t made anymore. Now, several hundred years later, all types and all brands are readily available. You have the tubes of charcoal and mud, individual masks: Que Bella, the ‘yes to coconut, tomatoes, avocado, etc’. Somewhere along the way, we became overly obsessed with younger looking skin. Why?

elderly skinBecause women fear the aging process. It means we’re getting older, it’s beginning to show and it reinforces our mortality. You never see the average fresh-faced teen worrying about wrinkles like her grandmother or great-grandmother. However, there ARE exceptions. It’s not anything you can purchase. It’s called ‘genetics’. My own mother is in her sixties and looks 50 at least. I’m almost forty and mistaken for twenty. But it’s not just genetics. As stated before, it’s also your diet and your environment. There’s zero doubt that people with a tan look great. However, white people usually cannot achieve the darkness of Hispanic or black skin without some SERIOUS outdoor time. Now that I think about it, is it even POSSIBLE for a white person to tan enough to pass for mixed at best? I would think tanning until black isn’t possible. I knew a white teen girl who WANTED to be black. Her bf was black and had a history of dating black guys. When she was pregnant, she stated ‘I’m half black until this baby is born.’ Ok, whatever. I think she compensated by tanning as much as she could.

I don’t tan. I also don’t drink or smoke. Both of which make your skin lose elasticity. The reason I chose this topic is because of Cindy Crawford. Absolutely NOTHING against her. If you watch YouTube instead of regular TV, then you know she’s had her own skincare line for several years now. Meaningful Beauty. In the before and after photos, there really isn’t much difference. There’s a difference in distance from the camera in both pictures,  but other than that, I really don’t see a difference. You can scrutinize this two ways. 1. Genetics. She was a supermodel back in the 90s. 2. Her skincare line really works, since she uses it herself. Now, I am in NO WAY saying that anti-aging lotions and serums don’t work. All I’m saying is there appears to be more than before. But there are also more BRANDS than before. I don’t remember Burts Bees being next to Bonne Bell or LipSmackers as a teen. I don’t remember the ‘Yes to Coconut’ brand, either. I remember Ponds, Estee Lauder and all the other skin brands of the late 80s/early 90s.

It seems to me, that no matter how much you fight with whatever resources you have, aging WILL win. No amount of botox will ever erase what nature has given you. Everybody has the laugh lines and crows feet. That’s the way life goes.

I have bad vision and used to squint all the time. Still do, to some degree. At some point in my life, I realized I don’t have wrinkles. I have ONE between my eyebrows when I furrow my brow. But that’s it. For all the squinting I’ve DONE in my life, you’d think my eyes would be all raggedy. Nope. My mom has wrinkles, but not the deep ones that make your makeup look imbalanced. It’s just a genetic thing. My aunt doesn’t have wrinkles, and she’s in her fifties. My grandma doesn’t have wrinkles and she’s damn near ninety. Wrinkles and old age are inevitable. And those young girls you see flaunting everything in the summer heat will get there one day. Especially if they keep tanning like they do. Tanning booths are actually WORSE than the sun. I can see how. It may be from florescent lighting, but it’s RIGHT next to you. I don’t use tanning booths. I’d rather get my vitamin D from the source.

So as women tell curvy women to embrace their curves, I tell you to embrace your wrinkles. In the end, we ALL end up in a box 6 feet under or ash scattered around.

-Have a great weekend!

Love, Ellie V.

 

Health

I LOVE MY MENTAL ILLNESS….said no one EVER

annoyed face

At a previous job, I worked with young woman of age 27. Her name was Brie. She worked weekends like I did, and I hadn’t seen her for a few days. I saw her the following Monday and asked how she was. She told me she’d been sick. My sister, who worked at the same establishment at the time, had been sick with the flu. I’d asked Brie if she had that as well. She said no, and that she was sick ‘in the head’ and pointed some of the silverware at her head. It should be noted we were sorting the silverware at the time, so this action was not uncommon. I said, ‘oh, I gotcha.’ She asked me if I knew what she meant by ‘sick in the head.’ I told her I did and proceeded to ramble off my own mental issues. People had said to her ‘why are you so sad? You have nothing to be sad over.’

That’s why it’s called an ILLNESS idiot.

If you don’t understand, that’s one thing. But if you’re just plain ignorant and unwilling to learn, then I have no time for you. However, exceptions can be made. At this same job, I worked with all men. Only five spoke fluent English. The rest were English as a second language. Which is fine. However(you knew that was coming)the two I worked closest to….just didn’t get it. Management tried to explain it…..but to my knowledge it wasn’t getting through. It IS entirely possible, that where they were from mental illness either didn’t exist or was on a need-to-know basis. But once you cross into America, it’s a whole new ballgame.

People who don’t understand mental illness are usually the first to say ‘what do you have to be sad over’, then proceed to rattle off everything in their life that they should be grateful for. Or they tell you to ‘just think positive’.  I once saw a meme of someone who had depression and the other character told him to ‘just think positive’. He did and his entire life was changed. ‘You cured me!’ was what came out of the depressed individuals mouth. I laughed. Because only the ignorant and uneducated REALLY believe it’s this easy. The negative voices in your head are the worst roommates you’ll ever have. All they do is take, take, take and make YOU feel like the guilty party.

I’ve read stuff where when DEALING with mental illness, you just gotta ‘do it’, as Nike says. ‘If you want it, you’ll find a way to do it, no more excuses’. The list goes on and on. But if you’re too depressed to get out of bed, then no amount of persuasion is going to change your mind. The best one I’ve seen regarding this is ‘you’re doing great to just to get through the day.’ To me, this is FAR more inspiring than the others I’ve read. To be fair, I DO realize the others are mainly for people who just need a swift kick in the ass. But to battle the demons in your head is NOT an easy, or WANTED, challenge.

You may remember last weekend when I said I had joined WEN. Well, I had to quit last Friday because of a two-day long anxiety attack. It started Thursday morning and seeped into Friday. Come Sunday, I believe, I sunk into a deep depression that has lightened up considerably….but still hasn’t gone away. I haven’t wanted to do a damn thing for the past week. The ‘just do it’ mantra SOMETIMES works with me. ‘if you want it, you’ll find a way to do it’. The latter usually requires patience.

My goal is to become a NPC and IFBB competitor. However, a few things stand in my way: eating, consistency and exercise. You may wonder how this ties in. Easily. Having gone over twenty years with undiagnosed and untreated anxiety, I’ve lost my ability to eat. When your anxiety gets so bad that you have to make yourself sick to get rid of the stomach pangs, that’s bad. But it’s what I had to do. I was always anxious before school, so I never ate breakfast. When I WAS able to eat, I’d binge because I was so hungry. Now, I’m learning how to eat again. Not as easy as it sounds. Hard to eat when nothing sounds good. Mental illness doesn’t always affect the brain and mood. It can affect your eating habits as well. I also know it can turn one into an alcoholic. But since I don’t drink, I can’t comment. All I WILL say though, is it almost killed my sister a very short time ago.

Unfortunately, I’m still in a depressive funk and my brain is everywhere EXCEPT solace.

Have a great weekend!

-Ellie V

 

Health

My Mental Illness Sucks

mental healthMy weekend sucked.

I am fully aware that people have bad days, weeks, months and even years. But when you suffer from mental illness of ANY type, it’s very different. First off, when ‘normal’ people have a bad time…..well, I don’t know WHAT they do. I’m going to guess they go for a walk, talk to a friend or get coffee. They don’t tend to shut people out. But when mental illness is the catalyst, things are MUCH different. You hibernate. Become a hermit. You don’t WANT to…but that’s usually the way it ends up, depending on the severity.

I’ll tell you why my weekend sucked and why I’m posting this late.

I started a program called ‘WEN’. Women’s Empowerment Network. It’s a group FOR women, RUN by women to help ALL women achieve their career goals. They help you search for work, increase your skills; basically give you a leg up when nobody else can or will. You may be thinking ‘why?’ Well, I joined because my sister did a few months back and it helped her a lot. Boosted her self-esteem. Due to my anxiety and panic attacks, jobs are difficult to keep. Plus, with my math disorder, they’re difficult to GET.

The classes are at 9am in downtown KCMO. About 30-45 minutes depending on traffic. This means I have to be up by 7-7:30. This is a trigger zone for me. School attendance and two jobs that gave me severe anxiety issues were about that early. So the stages of the panic attack started Thursday morning. Don’t know why, but I DO have speculations. Friday, I woke with day two of the panic attack. So I went driving. If I can, I force myself to leave the house. Sometimes I don’t go anywhere, sometimes I head to a particular spot in the middle of nowhere. This is where another hobby of mine was born. Historical Kansas and Missouri. I travel to ghost towns and spots where historical events took place. So for the hell of it, I went to a haunted cemetery. I tried to, anyway. I couldn’t find it. So I ended up in Alcove Springs, which was a stop on the Oregon/Santa Fe Trails. This is where things went to crap. As I headed home, I realized my phone was out of range. Ok, just grab my GPS. As luck would have it, I dropped the charging port against the dash board and it broke. After turning on the GPS, I was told it was low on battery. Ten minutes later, it was dead. Great.

But I remember it telling me I was heading to Topeka. Okay. Keep in a straight line. Don’t make yourself MORE lost. Eventually, I ended up in the back roads of Topeka. I STILL didn’t have any online GPS access and it was getting late. I have ZERO navigational skills and it was just dumb luck that I found the cemetery that I’d found some years before, which led to the highway. I-70 East to Kansas City. I made it home by 8pm and the incident traumatized me to the point where I’m not venturing in the middle of nowhere without an actual GPS that DOESN’T rely on wifi.

So Saturday morning, I woke in the depressive stage of what turned out to be an anxiety attack. I just had anxiety about getting up early. No panic. Then I went to the pharmacy to get my medication. WITHOUT insurance, it was damn near $90. I don’t understand why medication MADE to keep women’s reproductive parts safe is ridiculously expensive. But that’s a story for another day.

Since Thursday, things have just sucked. I haven’t wanted to do anything or really go anywhere. I’m sorry this is so short, but that’s where things are right now. I hope to have a better week tomorrow and a longer post.

-Have a great weekend, Ellie V

Health

Living With PCOS

awareness

In a brightly lit room with a circle made of folding chairs, a dozen or so women are at the refreshments table. They’re filling their plates with finger foods and grabbing a drink before going to socialize. Each woman has a blue sticker nametag with their name written in marker. Whether these women are using their actual names or not, isn’t the issue.

After chatting for a few minutes, another woman with a clipboard comes out of another room and sits in one chair. The crowd goes silent as each woman sits in a chair, ankles crossed. After everyone has settled, the woman with the clipboard looks around with a smile.

“Hello, ladies. I’m Amanda. Welcome to the PCOSA.”

Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome Anonymous.

I am one of these women. I begin.

“Hi, I’m Ellie and I suffer from PCOS.”
“Hi, Ellie!”

Whether this group exists or not, I don’t know. I’ve never looked into it. But if PCOS support groups DID exist, I imagine them to either be like AA meetings or a little more personal.

My journey with PCOS began when I was 13. I’d gone 9 months without a cycle. I was terrified, thinking I was pregnant. However, one thing stood in the way of this: I was still a virgin. I was in 6th grade. Boys were SO off-limits. At least the ones in MY school. I didn’t socialize outside of school at that age because there wasn’t anything to DO. All the friends I had at church lived in different areas and had their own friends.

In high school, I remember my mom plucking something out of my chin. It was hair. At some point, I noticed hair growing on my abdomen. I shaved it, but it was back with a vengeance in 24 hours. So WTF was going on?

I wasn’t bothered by it until my mid-twenties. I was with my second fiance’ and hadn’t had my cycle. I thought I was pregnant. Went to the OBGYN and was asked the classic questions: Do you have hair that grows on your chin? Yes. That was the only question I remember. That was when I was diagnosed with PCOS.

 

 

what is pcos

PCOS is a hormonal disorder where cysts grow on the ovaries.  This can cause problems for young teens in terms of discovering their cycle and planning appropriately. Nowadays, you have phone apps that predict this. Back in 1995, you had notebook and pencil. I used Microsoft Excel to make a tracker. From 1995 to about 2000 or so, I tracked ALL my cycles. Looking back, it’s blatantly obvious something was up. I’d go several months without one, several days WITH one. My longest was a month and a half, while my shortest was less than 24 hours. I never knew when it would start or how heavy/light it would be, so I stocked up. I had heavy, light, medium pads and tampons.

For women of childbearing age, this can potentially cause serious problems. Especially if you want children. Mainly because this causes infertility. Now, I’m not saying that women with PCOS CAN’T have kids. All I’m saying is it may prove to be more of a challenge than for women WITHOUT. My knowledge regarding fertility and pregnancy is limited because I am still single and have no intentions with having children. I made this decision in my early teens. Mental issues began to rise and I realized I was a late bloomer. I never dated. The boys I was around weren’t interested in me. That was fine. I wasn’t interested in them, either.

I was in my early twenties when the hair began. It was black and looked goatee-ish. It was long enough that I could pluck it with ease. I tried shaving it, but I had embarrassing stubble. I never let anyone get too close. I then discovered plucking. It took forever, but lasted longer than shaving.

Then I had my first ovarian cyst rupture. Wasn’t that long ago. I was laying in bed, and felt this EXCRUCIATING pain in my right inner thigh. I lifted my leg back and it hurt REAL bad. I thought it was just cramps. But then I got up and realized I couldn’t stand. I went back to bed and realized no matter what I did, the pain wouldn’t stop. I decided to get a heating pad. It was just by the grace of fate that my youngest sister had JUST come back from West Virginia earlier that day. She and her then-boyfriend were leaving. I asked her to get the heating pad. Mom heard the commotion and came out. She thought I had a ruptured appendix. We had to go to the ER. My sister had to help with my shoes because I COULD NOT MOVE. We didn’t get home until 3am. I called into work and spent the rest of the day in bed with a painkiller that made me more nauseas than anything else. I went back to work the following Monday and was gone within three hours. This was when I realized how stupid my management was. I was CLEARLY in pain as I could NOT stand. My manager told me ‘the doctors note said you could come back.’ I CLEARLY CAN’T STAND! Apparently word from authority meant more to them than what they actually SAW. What they SAW was the fact I was in pain and unable to stand. What they BELIEVED was what my doctor had said.

To make a long story short, I went to the ER three times and was out of work for a month. It was two and a half months before I was back to normal. That was when I went back on the pill. I’d taken some samples a few years previous, but they messed me up. I wasn’t really worried. Cysts never crossed my mind.

Fast-forward about five years later to present day. I’ve had three more cystic ruptures and the last one slipped through the cracks. My theory is that the cyst was already growing. Then I went back on the pill for a few months, then missed a few days due to bad timing. Once I got back on, that was when the rupture occurred. So it had all that time to grow when I WASN’T on the pill, then the few days of bad timing was just the tip of the iceberg. I knew what to expect when I suffered a small rupture around Mother’s Day of this year, just to have a really BAD one a week later. I had an idea of what had happened when I’d had my cycle so bad I had to toss my pajama bottoms.

As for the side effects, I’ve never had trouble with the acne. It’s been hair growth. I found a pill that I love because it didn’t slow the facial hair, it stopped. Well, as much as can be expected. But I also discovered taking a hair, skin and nail multivitamin helps with this. The HSN vitamin fills in what the PCOS hormones can’t. So not only do you lose unwanted hair, your natural hair grows faster, as do your nails. Win-win, I say.

So to get rid of the facial hair, I pluck as needed. The heavy stuff was still there. I’d expected it to fall out. But it didn’t. Took me an hour and a half to get EVERY HAIR OUT OF MY CHIN. That was a few months ago. To this day, sparse hairs grow back and they’re mostly white. The shadow I had on my chin has healed and there’s zero indication that there was ever a problem.

As for the weight, I’ve tried the ‘normal’ stuff. Eat correct, exercise. Nothing. I’ve always known with my issues, I’m not in the ‘normal’ realm of ANYTHING. So why should I think I can DIET normally? Nope.

At first it was denial. You want to be like everyone else, even though your body and mind are telling you NO. The more you ignore, the worse it gets. So I believe I have found my OWN solution regarding weight loss. Remember, my goals aren’t the same as everyone else’s and everyone’s body responds to different situations.

I meant to have this posted yesterday, but due to some scheduling hiccups, it obviously didn’t happen. For the next few weeks, my posts could be either on Fridays or Saturdays.

-Have a great weekend!

-Ellie

Health, self-esteem

Body Shaming in Today’s Society

fat shamingBefore I begin, I want EVERYONE to know, this may be a sensitive story for some. I do NOT approve of body shaming of ANY type. I don’t even LIKE the word ‘fat’ unless it’s directed towards healthy fats. I’m not the tiniest woman in the world, whereas my mother and three younger sisters are on the heavier side. In this article, I’ll be exploring the world of body shaming in it’s entirety. What I’m going to do is post a picture and give a generalized background and how it affects women. Why, you ask? Because I am a woman and this is geared towards women. So, without further adieu, let us begin.

Our society views heavy people as ‘unhealthy’ and ‘lazy’. While this MAY be true for ‘some’, it isn’t the case for ALL. Mental illness, lack of resources, medication, environment, genetics, etc play a role in this. For this case, I am going to pull in the experiences my younger sister had growing up.

She had bad anxiety as a kid. She was put on Ritalin. Her mental health slid BADLY and a few issues with depression landed her in the hospital. She moved to Lawrence to get away and things got worse from there. I hadn’t seen her for awhile; so when she came to visit, I didn’t recognize her. All I saw was this heavy-set woman sitting in the living room. It took me a few minutes to realize she was my sister. She’d gotten so big and puffy that I didn’t recognize her. It turned out the Ritalin had screwed up her metabolism so badly that EVERYTHING was out of whack. Once she moved back, she began to eat healthier. The alcohol was replaced with actual FOOD. She’s lost a few pounds since coming back, but she still gets shamed. It’s sickening to know that people look and my sister, and other women in her position, and automatically judge. It goes without saying that individuals who shame large people have issues themselves. If you think shaming someone will make them change their lifestyle, think again. If they’re already depressed, it just makes them feel worse. If they don’t care, then other opinions won’t matter.

I remember when I worked at Walmart several years ago. I was a fitting-room attendant. A middle-aged woman came out of a room wearing a shirt that was a size too small. She asked me if she looked fat. Those were HER words, not mine. I told her it looked a little snug and may want to consider going up a size. Her sigh of relief told me she’d been called ‘fat’ when asking that question. I was the first to word it differently. It sickens me to know that society thinks this is acceptable.

 

skinny shaming

Believe it or not, skinny shaming exists as well. From what I can tell, the shaming comes from people who could be jealous. This situation stems from the same area as ‘fat’-shaming. I have a friend who has a thyroid problem. She’s been a size-zero ALL her life, even after having four kids. She’s VERY hyperactive and was diagnosed with ADHD early in life. Some people work hard to be skinny, or as I refer to it as ‘thin’ or ‘fit’. I experienced this several years ago. I went to Lane Bryant with my sister so she could find bras. I saw a pair of earrings there that I liked. When I went in the next day, the saleslady gave me a look of ‘what are YOU doing here?’ She didn’t say it, I could SEE it. I bought the earrings and left. Later, I told my sister of the experience, and she said ‘welcome to my world’. That was when it hit me.

But in this case, maybe the jealousy comes from people who, for whatever reason, WANT to be thin but CAN’T. Again, medication and environment play a role. If you’re suffering from undiagnosed depression, life is going to suck. I had undiagnosed depression AND anxiety for over 20 years. As a result, when I got anxious, I’d throw up to relive the anxiety. My appetite was VERY come and go until about four years ago. As a result of this, I AM thin….but at a price. My metabolism is screwed and I have difficulty eating. I’m so used to NOT eating, that it’s out of habit. A habit that is VERY difficult to change.

Certain illness: such as thyroid issues, PCOS and depression can make you either pack on the pounds or lose weight to the point that other medication or a special diet is needed. Hormonal imbalances ALSO play a role. If things aren’t going well on the INSIDE, then things aren’t going to be going very well on the OUTSIDE.

excuse

Remember this? I can’t remember where I first saw it, but it pissed me off. I’m not a mother but this was, and still is, inappropriate. At least to me. In this picture, a mother with a fit body and three kids is basically telling other mothers ‘being a mother isn’t an excuse to be fat’. This caused a GIANT uproar. My mom is on the heavy side. She’s lost a few pounds over the years because my dad’s health is messed up and she’s eating the same food as he does. She’s adopted, so there’s no telling what her biological family is like or her genetics. My mom had four kids, between 1982 and 1990. This was the era of ‘Weight Watchers.’ The budding diet food industry, if I remember correctly. My mother performed as she saw fit for a housewife; taking care of the kids, house and husband. Though I’m betting having 1950s influences, in addition to being raised in a southern household added to it.

Not all mom’s see being fit as a requirement or a necessity. Society tells mother’s ‘your family comes first’. But in an era where some gyms offer daycare, getting fit is attainable, only if you want to. But I’m not a mother and my knowledge is limited, so I’m going to give my two cents worth and back away.

equal beautyWhat it comes down to is this: Love yourself and everything will fall into place. Nobody should tell you what to think of yourself. In an age where social media is the norm and we’re bombarded with scantily-clad women, it’s very difficult to find peace within ourselves. I read that depression is on the rise since the advent of Instagram and Facebook. Not just with looks, but lifestyles. What needs to be remembered though, is it’s usually ALL for show. Unless the person is a celebrity of some type, rest assured that the individuals’ life is most likely the same as yours and they’re just making it seem more interesting.

The bottom line? If you like how you look and feel, NOTHING can change that. If you want to improve, then DO it. I used to have low self-esteem. I’ve changed that by doing the following: have a team. I’ve developed my team by following women who have the physique I desire. I want to be a fitness model. So I follow the likes of Jennifer Nicole Lee(who is the poster child for weight-loss motivation). Why? Because her story starts out as an overweight housewife who is disgusted by a picture of herself and decides to do something about it. She’s used this experience to motivate other mothers to become healthier. Her motto is, more or less, ‘just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you can’t be sexy.’ Much more uplifting than the mom of ‘what’s your excuse’. I recommend looking Jennifer up online when you get the opportunity. She’s turned her name into a health and fitness sensation. JNL Worldwide.

Have an excellent day!

-Ellie V.