addiction, celebrity

Demi Lovato and the Addiction Monster

demi

As most of the world already knows, Demi almost died of a drug overdose on July 24th. But what’s interesting about the entire thing, is that unlike Britney back in the early 2000s, she didn’t shave her head and go back on tour. She’s being very adult about it, stating it isn’t something that is going to go away. It has to be dealt with one day at a time.

For someone who makes their living in the limelight and is at the mercy of agents and the world, that’s pretty powerful and takes guts.

Looking back in history, countless musicians and actors DIED because they had an addiction that was either already there or made worse by fame. Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, River Phoenix. And those are just on the top of my head. Normally, stuff like this really bothers me, because it seems like only celebrities are given treatment and attention that EVERYONE in her situation deserves. But this time, it feels different. It feels as though she’s mature enough to look back and say ‘hey, something isn’t right and I need to fix it,’ instead of blatantly ignoring and going on her merry way. We all know that can kill you.

Not only that, but if you’ve seen Facebook recently, there’s a new, or continuing debate regarding addiction. Is it a choice? Is your brain already wired to go ahead with it? I don’t suffer from addiction, but I HAVE witnessed people who DO. I used to work with a man who suffered from addiction. Pill popper, alcohol and depression. Had MANY DUIs to the point his license was almost revoked. Missed a day of work because he was in jail due to a DUI. Said ‘wine is like kool-aide’. He KNEW he had a problem, yet his depression kept him from seeking help. His mother told him if he didn’t get help, he’d be thrown out. Instead of going to AA, he’d go to bookstores.

This is how the scene looks to me: an almost middle-aged man living with his parents because he can’t get his stuff together to be productive.

This is how he sees it: I don’t give a fuck.

I knew that was how he saw it because he told me on a regular basis. He got fired from his overnight job because he came in drunk.

This is my take on addiction. Since this is just how I see it, and I don’t suffer from it but it DOES run in my family, it may not bear ANY resemblance to how it actually works. I don’t really expect it to.

If you’re the offspring of full-blown addicts, your brain may already wired to become addicted to something, then it’s only a matter of time before it happens. Like depression. Mine didn’t pop up until I was a teen. Maybe not. But this is where things get tricky. Is it possible if both your parents are addicts, that you may NOT become one? If it’s in your genetics, then there’s also a possibility. Your PARENTS may not be, but maybe a close relative or grandparent is. Skipping a generation. My cousin had a drinking problem when she was a teen. Her parents were divorced and her dad is an abusive dick. My own sister was so depressed she almost drank herself to death. We all know that mental illness can, and so often does, play a role in addiction. You hit rock bottom, you either bring yourself up or hit the bottle. Not the healthiest thing, but when you’re THAT depressed, you don’t care. Is it a disease? Diseases usually require treatment. Substance abuse usually requires rehab. I’d say yes. But I know little about addiction, so I can’t and won’t give a definitive answer.

I don’t know if my cousin still has the problem. She’s married with a kid and is a substance abuse counselor in Wichita. My sister went through a couple of depression programs and got herself a part-time job.

Now, all of us are related. By blood. My cousin’s mother is my dad’s sister. It IS entirely possible that my cousin’s father has addiction problems. It’s entirely likely that just being AROUND him was enough to cause her alcoholism. I’ve never had issues with addiction. Maybe I just don’t have the gene? I don’t know.

This is a big problem in the medical world. A lot of people with a misunderstanding of addiction are actually TREATING people. This seems like a HUGE recipe for disaster. Kind of like male ob-gyn’s. Are there any female doctors who treat men for prostate cancer? Why do men practice in an area of the body in which they do not possess? I know this stems from a not long ago era where women weren’t allowed to anything besides breathe.

As much of a celebrity as she is, Demi KNOWS she’s a role model for thousands. How many listen because they know where she comes from? Dealing with addiction themselves? They see she’s stopping her life to KEEP IT. That tells ANYONE with addiction that ‘your life IS worth it. Get help!’ Unlike Britney who just shaved her head and went back on tour before she was healed. Damn near killed her if I remember correctly. But that was nearly 18 years ago. Things change, for the better or not. Demi appears to be a new force to be reckoned with, one that we have not seen before. She’s admitting she’s got a problem and taking steps to heal herself. You can’t ‘fix’ something like this, no matter what society would like to believe. Because in their eyes, it’s all in your head and just take some Ibuprofen to get rid of it. Well hell, if it were THAT easy we’d ALL be cured! Just like that cartoon where someone is depressed and another person tells them to ‘think positive’ and their life is suddenly better.

Such is the life of the misinformed. Whether it be intentional or uneducated.

On a different note, I am now a Brand Ambassador for Wear Lively bras, in addition to starting a collaboration with FabFitFun! So at the end of my posts, you will start to see links to these sites.

https://www.wearlively.com/discount/AMB-Miss.Fashionista1982

 

Have a fabulous weekend everyone! I love you all!!!!

smiley heartLove-Ellie

 

 

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, 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.