Hope is powerful. 

Hope is powerful. 

I wrote a blog post a few years back titled “hope, the double edged sword” and it was quite true to where I was in my life at that point. I was sick of trying to remain hopeful. I was sick of clutching onto the last shreds of my old life and trying to remain hopeful that I could be her again. Because I couldn’t. 

That life died when I got sick. That Rachel curled up and died a long damn time ago but, like a phoenix, my old self was consumed in the fire and from the ashes of my former self I was born again – stronger, wiser and a whole lot better for having gone through these past four years. 

Sometimes all I have had was hope. When the doctors haven’t had an answer I only had hope. When test resting came back within normal limits but I still felt ill I still had hope. When I was crying and having anxiety attacks, I still held onto hope that one day it wouldn’t be like that every night. 
Hope was so vital to my survival and to me as I have rebuilt my life slowly over the last 6 months. 

And now as I’m standing at the beginning of a journey I am even more hopeful. 

I have a job prospect in my future that could give myself financial security and stability. I have a road trip cross country with friends in the works. I am spending time with friends and socializing on a regular basis. 

And I have hope for everyone who reads this. And in these difficult times remember the words of Gandhi: “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

Much love my friends. 

Also, Don’t forget to follow me on social media: 
Twitter: @pawzofluv 

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Update on my mental illness journey 

Update on my mental illness journey 

I’m posting this update on my mental illness journey on the day of my third psych and therapy appointments. I’ve officially been in treatment for 3 months today and I’ve been sober for 5 months today.I’ve been very open in the struggles during the past year as I’ve dealt with my mental illnesses. I have always felt that people need to talk openly about mental health issues to help normalize them and remove the stigma surrounding the mentally ill and the treatments we receive to deal with them.

This time last year my life was in shambles. I was drinking heavily every day; my depression and anxiety were out of control and I was hearing voices. I would frequently fly into rages and end up throwing things while screaming and crying. Daily arguments were my normal. I was considering self-harm again even though I have 7 years clean. I was headed down a dark path and I knew I needed help.

I started the anti-psychotic Latuda in March by my PCP and began looking for a psych doctor in my town shortly after for specialized care. I was wait listed by several clinics so my only option was to suffer or go to the ER if I went into crisis- which I did several times over the summer. I sent the nights sitting up hallucinating and quickly cycling through bipolar highs and lows. My anxiety became crippling. I no longer found joy in anything.

My youngest baby was born in May and was brought home early June. By this point I was struggling to find a reason to keep going but when my god mom put that little ball of fluff in my arms that day I suddenly found a reason to hang on. Sometimes you don’t want to continue to fight for yourself. You need someone else to make you keep fighting. I went to the emergency room the next week and was evaluated. My Latuda was increased and after a few days I started to feel a bit of peace.

My peace was short lived however and I was quickly back in crisis and in desperate need of a permanent doctor. I called every clinic in a 50-mile radius. It took until November to find an opening for a doctor and therapist but the wait was well worth the wait.

My first appointment was November 2nd. I was started on a combination of 3 different medications: Lexapro, Buspirone and Abilify. when I went back for my second appointment a few weeks later, we started playing switch-a-pill. that’s the game you play with your psychiatrist when you are trying to get your medication cocktail just right. It can be a long game and full of so many wrong tries before you get to something that helps.

We ended up switching the Abilify for Seroquel and I spent an hour trying to not cry as I talked about my biological father who abused me and the family who disowned me for being gay.

I am not a fan of having to sit in that chair for an hour and talk to my therapist. I never have liked to be vulnerable to people and having to open myself up to a stranger feels so foreign. People keep telling me that it gets easier but I just don’t know if it ever will for me.

The differences between last year and this year are night and day: I’m finally sleeping again and I’ve noticed quite a difference in the number of manic episodes that I used to experience. I’ve stared exercising regularly and I’m sticking to a consistent writing schedule. I no longer have daily arguments with my family and I have even opened my mind up to the possibility of dating again if I were to find the right girl. I am outgoing and social with friends again and no longer blow off plans like I did in the past.

I still have bad days and my meds aren’t quite there yet but it’s a start. I know that I can’t cure my mental illnesses but I’m taking the necessary steps to better manage them. I’m so looking forward to finishing getting my mental illnesses under control and regaining my life again.

 Remember to follow along on my social media:

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PMDD: my monthly living hell

PMDD: my monthly living hell

According to the Mayo Clinic Website: “Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe, sometimes disabling extension of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Although regular PMS and PMDD both have physical and emotional symptoms, PMDD causes extreme mood shifts that can disrupt your work and damage your relationships.

In both PMDD and PMS, symptoms usually begin seven to 10 days before your period starts and continue for the first few days that you have your period. Both PMDD and PMS may also cause bloating, breast tenderness, fatigue, and changes in sleep and eating habits. In PMDD, however, at least one of these emotional and behavioral symptoms stands out:

Sadness or hopelessness

Anxiety or tension

Extreme moodiness

Marked irritability or anger

The cause of PMDD isn’t clear. Underlying depression and anxiety are common in both PMS and PMDD, so it’s possible that the hormonal changes that trigger a menstrual period worsen the symptoms of mood disorders.”

___________________________________________________ 

I live with PMDD. In fact, I’m currently going through the monthly hell that completely derails my life for days each month. It leaves me not being able to know what my moods will be like from moment to moment, I feel out of control, overwhelmed by everything in my life and my anxiety and depression seriously increase. 

PMDD is something I’m just now learning about and learning to deal with. I was diagnosed last summer but have had the severe form of PMS since my very first period. 

I had developed such a deep hate for myself because every month I couldn’t handle what I thought was PMS and was what normal women went through. I felt so inadequate for not being able to control these symptoms. I felt so weak and useless. Every month it would take over and I would find myself self-harming and drinking heavily to cope with the symptoms.

Then last July I was in the middle of my monthly hell and I was speaking to my healthcare coordinator and I just poured out everything I was feeling and going through. That’s when she dropped this bombshell in my lap and something clicked in my head- This was the thing that I had been experiencing for years. It had a name and a treatment.

 I sat down and started tracking my symptoms and started to see the pattern in front of me in my planner and when I took it to my doctor, my diagnosis was confirmed. I was started on medication to help with the symptoms and mood swings. And I started to do research.

I was shocked to learn that 8-10% of women who are of age to experience PMS have PMDD. That’s so many women but before last summer I was completely oblivious to this condition. It’s sad that women’s health issues are so wildly unknown. I keep thinking that if I had known about this sooner maybe I wouldn’t have been in hell for so long and thought I was so weak and less than.   

I wasn’t weak- I was sick. For all those years, I had a medical condition that caused me so much shame and pain but I hadn’t said a word because I thought it was just PMS. That’s why awareness is so important and that’s why I am so open about my struggle every month. I don’t want another girl to ever feel less than or to not know that this exists.

It’s one of the last days of my PMDD cycle this month. I started my period a few hours ago, which means the symptoms will gradually wind down and I will get to feeling like myself by tomorrow morning. I can’t wait until my thoughts feel like my own again and I’m not overwhelmed by everything in life.
Remember to follow along on my social media:

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A Letter To The New Governor About HB2

A Letter To The New Governor About HB2

Dear Governor Roy Cooper,You were sworn into office as the 75th governor of North Carolina this past Sunday. First off, congratulations on your new office. I pray that you do the people of our state proud and serve the people of the great state of North Carolina to the best of your abilities.

I was born and raised in Fayetteville and I have been so proud to be a tar heel my entire life until the last year or so. Now, I’m embarrassed to say I’m a lifelong NC resident. Frankly I don’t think the last administration could pull their heads out of their asses long enough to realize the damage that their decisions and bull shit could do and has done.

I am absolutely appalled that House Bill 2 could be passed in our state and allowed to stand as long as has. As a resident of North Carolina, I am ashamed. As an openly gay woman, I am afraid for the future. 

This “bathroom bill” is nonsense and you know it.

Transgendered women are using the restroom that they feel comfortable with because that is who they are. They aren’t a threat to the women in there. They are just other women who need to pee. They are who we will compliment on their hair and makeup. We will ask her where she got her shoes or bag. If she’s sick, we will hold her hair and make sure she’s okay.

And it’s just fueling hate. Last summer, I was at my local Walmart and I stopped in at the bathroom to pee before going to check out. I was approached by two women who accused me of being a man in a dress. I was assaulted verbally and physically before I was able to get out of the bathroom and to safety. You are putting countless transwomen in that situation DAILY for needing to relieve themselves in public. I was terrified to go to a public bathroom for weeks afterwards so can you imagine how these women feel who are already struggling for acceptance and now they are afraid to go to the bathroom? 

If you won’t look at the HB2 is hurting the people, look at how it’s hurting the revenue for the state.

The NCAA has pulled the NCAA men’s basketball tournament games for 2016-2017, we lost the 2017 NBA All-Star game, at least 13 conventions have been cancelled in Charlotte, Bruce Springsteen has cancelled concerts, along with Pearl Jam, Cirque du Soleil, Ringo Starr, Boston, Cyndi Lauper, Mumford and Sons, Duran Duran. Lionsgate moved production of the show “Crushed” from Charlotte to Canada. Composer Stephen Schwartz said he will no longer allow his musicals, which include “Wicked,” to be performed in North Carolina. Children’s book authors like John Green, Maureen Johnson, Veronica Roth, Rick Riordan, Sarah Dessen and Jeff Kinney signed onto a letter in the School Library Journal saying they’d have to consider whether to attend conferences and festivals in North Carolina in the future. Author Sherman Alexie has already canceled all events in the state. The NCAA is talking about starting a boycott.

The NCAA tournament games are worth MILLONS alone. But if you add in the NBA All-Star game, the conventions, all the cancelled concerts and shows, the production companies taking their filming elsewhere, plus possible boycotts- its astronomical. Hotels, Restaurants, Gas Stations, Shopping, memorabilia- its all money that isn’t getting spent here. And money not getting spent here means that businesses are either going to slow hiring or worse yet, lay people off. 

I know that bi partisan support is there for the repeal of this bill. Do the right thing for the people of North Carolina. Allow us to live freely again. Allow business to return to North Carolina. Repeal the bill.

 

-a concerned spooniecorn

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