Question of the Week! Valentine’s Day

kissing

After hearing a few different opinions in casual conversation, news tidbits, and forums, I thought we would kick off my “Question of the Week” with this! So what do you think?

Is Valentine’s Day a holiday for women or couples? Let me know and I’ll share the results at the end of the week! 🙂

Happy polling!

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Compassion and Empathy

  • These are two qualities I’ve had for as long as I can remember. These are something my mom taught all of us kids, whether she knows it or not.

My mother is disabled because of various back disorders and nerve conditions. She worked her hands to the bone until she really couldn’t handle it anymore, and then worked some more! Growing up, and now, we saw our mom struggle with her health. Some days she can’t move off the couch to take her medicine, so we’ve always been within a yell across the house to help. We never rolled our eyes or called her lazy, because obviously that’s our mom and she’s in pain! However that doesn’t mean others don’t say that. It’s tricky to understand. One day she will be okay enough to pick up sticks in the yard or run errands in town, but the next she’s down for the count. A fair amount of people don’t and WON’T take the time to understand this, or chronic pain in general.

  • Ever since we could help, we did.

Helped sort laundry, carry groceries, mow the yard, or just bend down to pick up a pen. This, slowly but surely, taught us that helping others and understanding what they were going through was good. Little did I know that as I got older, I would need people to be empathetic towards me. Now that I have Fibromyalgia, I am even more compassionate to others with chronic pain, especially my mom. I further understood what it was like to feel like a truck hit me, backed up, then ran over me again. Getting in the car is a chore. Walking around the store, standing to make dinner, lifting and pushing are all things I pay for, just as anyone with chronic pain does!

  • So next time you see someone struggling, ask if they need anything. Just the offer will mean more than you know! It doesn’t matter, old or young, just a helping hand is always appreciated. 
  • Don’t let others discourage you from helping others or just talking to them so you can understand their situation. My sister, Cheyenne, is in 4th grade and gets picked on because she wants to help everyone. Why do kids pick on her for that? They call her stupid  and are rude to her when she tries to help them. Thankfully my best friend’s brother is her age. I guarantee Cheyenne can get on his nerves a little 😉 but he is understanding. 

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  • In closing, I just want to say that being compassionate or empathetic is something that everyone appreciates. Just genuinely asking if someone is okay or needs anything, is a good feeling. Try it today! I bet you won’t be disappointed!

Playing Catch-Up!

Originally posted October 17, 2012 (updating through January):

Oh my, oh my where have I been? It’s been 5 months since I’ve blogged about my life happenings and finally I found the motivation to commence with the blogging once more! So let’s think… What has happened in the past 8 months?

  • May: The month we moved to the grand state of Texas! I came here with two overly-stuffed (but still under the 50 lb weight limit for airlines) suitcases and bag of mixed emotions.  How do you go to bed one day, in your own bed, your familiar room, in the house you’ve spent 18 years of holidays and birthdays in, on the street where you grew up, in the town you know like the back of your hand, and wake up the next morning knowing that your life will never be the same again? How does one do that? Well, my explanation: It’s hard… harder than a lot of things I’ve ever done in my life, but life goes on and you can’t stop now, so just keep truckin’.  My first week in Texas flew by. We had a marriage trip the day after I arrived (didn’t even spend 12 hours in my own house before we had to leave for the trip). That lasted a few days and when Corey got home, he found out he had a 24-hour shift the next day. That means… I was left alone for the next 24 hours, in the very unfamiliar place that was my home, with some gas station food, a bed, and my laptop. We’re going to skip the part of me being paranoid and move on…. Oh, not to mention, at this point our house was very empty, due to the fact that Corey hadn’t been in the house much longer than me (a couple days) and then we had the trip, and then the 24 shift, so we hadn’t had much time to figure out any furniture situations or ways to get our cooking supplies here.798299_4235177648984_83792923_o
  • So.. No furniture (besides a bed), no cooking utensils/pots/pans, not even a shower curtain. It was a little rough. Hah. People always say you’ll look back and laugh at your struggles from before, because you survived and you were all right. Well I’m thinking of how MAD I got from having no shower curtain and the water was just EVERYWHERE. All over the floor, all over the toilet, on the walls, everywhere. I was yelling and whining and pitching a fit about how I can’t believe this is happening. (Wow I was a brat…) Hah. Needless to say, we had a shower curtain by the end of the day. It took us awhile to get our kitchenware, but we did finally get it and I just remember Corey saying the first meal he wanted in our house was spaghetti. Any of the other Hamiltons can vouch for how true this is for any of the Hamilton men. So that night I made spaghetti and garlic bread. These are small and simple things you probably aren’t enjoying reading, but one day I’ll go back and read them and I’ll enjoy it.
  • June: it was quite a rough month for us. In the course of that month, I went to the hospital a total of 3 or 4 times. All the visits were long and painful, the doctors suggested I go to this specialist and this other one too and this guy down the street, here ya go, now be on your way. It was a depressing month, because I felt useless and helpless. Here is my husband, working everyday so we can have food, a house, a car, furniture, cell phones, and what am I doing? Sitting in the house in agony, and feeling guilty for not being able to contribute. Gosh… What a rough month June was. On the upside, we got a car! Our first car, a 2009 black VW Jetta.286190_4235163888640_76910364_o
  • Also, a plus, I finally got into my primary care physician in July. And… Last but not least, at the end of June I got a special surprise. As we went to do laundry one day, I saw a flyer up for super cute orange and white kittens. I said “Aww Corey look!” and he kind of nodded and kept walking. He had to run back to the house because we forgot some towels, and when he came back he said that one of his buddies needed help at around 8, but it was just down the street so he would be back in time for the laundry to be done and to load it in the car. I continued to do the laundry and started packing it up when I get a call a little after 8 telling me to come outside. I walk outside and Corey is holding a tiny orange and white kitten. I was so surprised that I cried. It was so sweet! Such a tiny little Ham. He was named Lionel. ❤793899_4235165408678_1597639173_o
  • July: This was an up-and-down month. It started out with a bang, though. On the 4th of July a couple of Corey’s battles got into a car accident and so we went to help them out. They were all fine, thankfully, and then Corey and I watched the fireworks and the free (well I love anything that is free, so we had to go!) Kelly Clarkson concert here on Fort Hood. July was filled with getting bills in order, filling out applications, medical tests out the wazoo, and just hoping to find some answers for my health, my life, and all of the above. I’m trying to think of other things that happened in July, but nothing is really ringing a bell. Toward the end of that month I was hitting job applications hard and was starting to get excited for my trip home at the beginning of August.
  • August: The beginning of August, I think maybe even the 1st, I got a call for an interview. A job, finally! However, I was pretty skeptical that they would even hire me since I was about to leave for a week and couldn’t start right away. Nonetheless, I had my interview the next day and got the job! What a huge blessing that was, and still is. The next day I got some more news (good and  bad, however you see it). The doctor called and told me I needed to come in as soon as possible because I had some tests that were a little abnormal and wanted to do some more bloodwork to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. Went in, got the bloodwork done, and she called the next day (the day before I was leaving to visit home) and confirmed I had hypothyroidism. In short, hypothyroidism happens when your thyroid gland decides to stop working (partially or all together) and has to be treated with synthetic thyroid replacement hormones. I’m on a regimen of Synthroid every morning, every day, all the time, for the rest of forever. I know that’s a piece of the puzzle as to why I am not healthy and feel so bad. Not to mention the Fibromyalgia. I picked up my prescription and the next day I was on a plane, homeward bound. The visit went entirely too fast, but that’s how it goes. I got to see my nephew for the first time and that was great. I was so busy hopping from place to place, that I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with anyone in particular besides my grandparents. I am thankful every single day to have them. They have really made a giant impact on my life and how I do things every day. After returning home to my loving husband, I started working. (Its all been a blur since then… haha) Oh, yeah. I had a birthday at some point in time during this month, too. At the end of August, while I was at work, Corey comes in with this absolutely blank look on his face and told me that the car was totaled. I’m pretty sure my stomach dropped out of my body. One thousand things were racing through my head. Was he okay? Well he was standing in front of me, so that’s a plus. What happened? What are we going to do? But thankfully, Corey was fine (as was the other driver) and that’s really all that mattered. It took a few weeks to straighten it all out, but luckily we made it through and got our new car…. a 2013 Dodge Avenger! 823634_4235173328876_920611853_o
  • September: There wasn’t much buzz in the Hamilton household. Just working on getting a car and working working working. I also saw a couple doctors that month, and my thyroid levels started to decrease- all good things! That month wasn’t eventful in the slightest, but that’s okay because we needed a break!! Haha.
  • October: That brings us up to speed. Also, not a very eventful month so far, but at least it’s starting to cool down a little. I’m talking 80s, which is much better than 100s! I have a few medical procedures next week and we will hopefully get some answers from those. I also start a new medication soon, so I’m praying that will help get me through the daily pain. I’m sure you’re all wondering… yes, Lionel is doing great! 😉 IMAG1627
  • November: Busy month! I met one of my now best friends, Corinda! She’s awesome! She also has fibromyalgia so it’s easier for her to understand what I’m going through. It was also the month of my husband’s birthday 🙂 You wouldn’t have known though, since he was making dinner for ME that following week! He’s a good cook whether he knows it or not. This month was the beginning of what was about to be a bad medical month though. I was in a spiral of migraines and my pupils were dilated for weeks; as shown here. IMAG1729 Yikes!
  • December: This month was a rough one. My mom (so stubborn) had a lot of complications with her Diabetes and after being sick for so long, she was just pitiful. Worried and anxious, I came home to get her back to a ‘normal’ state, and help with my little booger of sister 😉 IMAG1889 (Notice she’s wearing a cat shirt. Can you tell we’re related?) Our poor mama had to spend a few days in the hospital and even her doc reprimanded her for putting it off so long! We were all so worried about her, but glad she finally gave in (which really means that Shelby came home and took away all her excuses not to go!) and got back in order. We can’t think of what we would do if something happened to her. After helping out and visiting with family, I came home to MY family: Corey and Lionel. At this point, I’m not doing well health-wise. Despite that, we had a great visit with friends for Christmas! That evening we made Christmas cookies and I avidly watched Norad’s Santa Tracker like a little girl! 819389_4235190249299_477893137_o
  • January: Health still not up-to-par, but improving! Found out it was the Cymbalta causing the ice-pick headaches and crazy eyes. The plan was to start school, but that ended in disappointment. Trying for August as a birthday present to myself! This month began the first full month we were supposed to be dead. Looks like they pushed the Apocalypse back a few years. We found out that one of the Monopoly board game pieces is on the chopping block. Another exciting event: Little Sweet-cat got a leash (I want to keep him safe!) IMAG2315Thank you to everyone who has stopped by to catch up! I hope to bring you more, exciting blogs in the near future! 🙂

You Get What You Give

Originally posted May 31, 2012

This blog entry is not giving advice from the standpoint of a medical professional. If you, or someone you know, seems to be struggling with depression, get help immediately.

 With that being said, I’m going to talk about girls. Girls girls girls. Yuck. All I see on Facebook anymore are those pictures that say “Like if you agree” and a bunch of them say things like this: (my personal explanation will follow)

 

  • “See that girl? She looks happy, right? Well really, she’s dying inside. She’s hurt. Tired of the drama. Tired of not being good enough. She doesn’t want to seem weak, so she keeps it all inside. To everyone else, she seems like the happiest person around. If they only knew the truth…”

Okay, first off. That girl probably looks happy because she’s rich. Haha. Okay, just kidding. Anyway. If this is you, GET HELP. Why be depressed about “not being good enough”? If you feel like you aren’t good enough, you should probably seek help, because that’s a sign of depression. Bottling things up is also VERY BAD. Don’t do it. Find SOMEONE to talk to. Just someone who will listen. Seriously. If you feel hurt and torn up inside, talk to somebody. Even if its your dog.

 

  • “Never become “just friends” with someone you used to love, because part of your heart will always love them…”

Wrong. I’ve loved a few people and we are still friends. No, I don’t love them anymore. Your “heart” will not ALWAYS love someone. Mind over matter. Get over it. Your relationship (or even if you didn’t have a relationship with them and you’re still convinced that you loooooved them) was obviously not meant to be or you would be with them.

 

  • “Missing someone + No text from them = worst feeling ever.”

Text them first, dummy! Come on. If you really wanted to talk to them, you would A) Text them first. B) Call them. or C) Suffer the long and agonizing wait until school in the morning to talk to them. Stop feeling bad for yourself. If they aren’t texting you back for who knows what reason, maybe YOU should get over it. For real.

 

  • “I want a boy that will hold my hand in line at the mall and make all the girls jealous. I want someone who would sing to me at random moments. Someone who is more goofy than romantic. A boy that would throw stuffed animals at me when I’m being dumb. Someone who would bet me kisses that he could beat me at all the old playstation games and then let me win. He’d play with my hair all the time and surprise me with 25 cent rings. But mostly… someone to be my best friend and never break my heart, instead; just always make me smile.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG. You don’t want this. I promise. If you had this, you would find every reason to poke and prod about them not being “mature” and if someone threw a stuffed animal at me when I was acting dumb, you’d better believe I’d get PISSED OFF. As would anyone who is trying to make a point. Bet you kisses? Oh that’s cute. Gag. The end is what gets me. “Just always make me smile.” Okay, here’s the thing. A relationship isn’t going to be fun and games and cuteness all the time. If that’s all it is, then it’s not much of a relationship. Relationships have to grow and evolve to be productive. Growth is made by change. You know what happens when things change? Someone doesn’t like it and an argument ensues.

 

Every single relationship that is worthwhile and meaningful is going to have disagreements, arguments, and fights. If you go about them the CORRECT way, they can be productive. If you go about them in the wrong manner, considering all you want are hugs, kisses, and snuggles the whole relationship and you’re not accepting the fact that PEOPLE CHANGE, then your relationship will most likely fail.

 

  • It also bothers me to see girls who recently got dumped by a guy be soooo upset when it was basically THEIR FAULT. Yeah, ladies, your fault. I know I’ve messed up a couple relationships because it was my fault, but look where I am today. It obviously didn’t kill me. The relationships where the girl picks and prods about everything the guy does. He plays video games too much, he doesn’t talk to me when his friends are over, he doesn’t do what I ask him to, he doesn’t take me out on dates anymore, he doesn’t surprise me, etc. Listen up! It MIGHT be because you’re not noticing all the things he does RIGHT. My husband and I just got into a tiff last week about this. I was basically pointing out all the negatives and not looking at all the things he does that goes unnoticed. He put together a tv stand, cleaned up our room, plugged in my laptop, took out the trash, and many other things, but all I could see was the lemonade that was spilled, the clothes that were out of the basket, and that he didn’t throw away his pop bottle. Yeah, it sounds petty, but it happens. Girls like to look for things to pick about (I’m a girl, so I know firsthand!). Sometimes not intentionally; I wasn’t intentionally looking for something to whine about, but I did. I noticed the things he did, yeah, but I didn’t make a comment about it. A simple “thank you” or “wow, the room looks nice!” would have been all he needed. Guys want to feel appreciated. They do little things that we don’t really notice most of the time, or when we do notice them we think “Oh, good. I won’t have to do that later.” but men need to HEAR that. Tell them thank you. Tell them you appreciate the little things they do, and be specific! If he comes to pick you up for a date and he shaved, tell him you think that he looks nice or thanks for picking you up. Just little things to boost his attitude. You get what you give. So if you give negativity, you’re bound to get it.

The First Stop in Our Journey!

Originally posted May 19, 2012:

Hello again! I have been go-go-go for the past week and now life has slowed down enough for an entry to let you all know I’m alive and well.

  • This week has been CRAZY. Starting with Monday. In the morning I stopped by Marie’s house to pick up  my disc of FABULOUS images from my Rock The Dress session 🙂 as I said goodbye she had already made up in her mind that I wasn’t getting away that easy, so she invited me to hang out with her and Cakes that evening. I gladly accepted and went on my way to do some packing. I didn’t end up doing a whole lot of packing, but I picked up my best friend (aka: Karissa) and went home. My grandparents looked at my photos and found them absolutely stunning and we watched some tv. Afterwards I went to Marie’s house, had some of her lovely lasagna and trekked off to watch her boyfriend’s softball game! We got home late and after a wonderful last-night home, it was time for sleep.
  • Tuesday: What a day! I woke up, bought my plane ticket to leave at 7 p.m., and I was off. I left the house a little before 11 after a very painful goodbye to my most favorite people, my grandparents. My grandma had some testing at the hospital and I wasn’t sure if I would see them again before I left at 4ish. I went to Aroma’s and had a scrumptious breakfast/lunch (I don’t like the word “brunch” because it just reminds me of The Brady Bunch and curly hair) with Sarah Monroe and we had lots of catching up to do! After a stinging goodbye, I went home to finish packing and laundry. Little did I know that I had WAY more stuff than I thought. *whoops!* Around 3, my mom went to pick up Karissa as I tried to finish up the laundry. Wellllll that didn’t happen. So I took all the clothes I could fit in two suitcases, along with Corey’s PS3, and two blankets. After lugging those out to the car it was time for my final goodbye to my grandparents. I’m not even going to go into detail because I would be typing like this- And then… sniffle sniffle… I said…. sniffle *bawl like a baby*.. goodbye to Mam…. *bawling tremendously*…and Pap.. So we’re not gonna go there! After that I had to stop at my mom’s house to say bye to my brother Joey and my dad (and my dog, of course). When all of that was said and done, we left for the airport. Upon arriving to the Drop-Off area it hit me that I may not see 3 of my favorite people I used to sometimes take for granted, for a very long time: My best friend who has been there for me through thick-and-thin, no matter what, my little sister who I sometimes wanted to strangle, and my mother, who despite our differences sometimes, she is the only person I could go to with anything and everything throughout my whole life. The hugs and goodbyes went in that order, followed by one last hug for my little sister that broke. my heart..
  •  LISTEN UP: As much as you may or may not despise your smaller siblings sometimes for bursting into your room, making a mess in your car, embarrassing you in front of your friends or boyfriend/girlfriend, going on and on about random little-kid shows, asking you 1000 questions about anything and everything, etc. REMEMBER. One day, if you have to leave them, you will miss them. When you see the tears in their eyes, when they tell you “I wish you didn’t have to leave”… It will break your heart in a million pieces.

  As I wiped the tears from my eyes and pretended to look fine, I walked in the airport. I flew to Dallas/Fort Worth for a short layover, and then to Waco where my husband was waiting for me with a much-needed hug and kiss. Seeing his face made everything okay. It didn’t make me not miss anyone from home, or take away the pain of the goodbyes, but he made everything bearable, everything okay.

  • Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday went by like a flash! I got to sleep in our own bed for a few hours on Tuesday night and was up early Wednesday for a “Marriage Retreat”. Oh I know what it sounds like. It sounds like where someone goes that has a “problem marriage”, because that’s what I thought it was! Haha. However, it wasn’t like that at all. The seminar was held in Dallas at Embassy Hotel & Suites for 2 and 1/2 days. It was entitled “Laugh Your Way to A Better Marriage” and consisted of only couples from Fort Hood, some of which had been married a few months, and others who had been married for 25+ years! It was a learning experience and we both really enjoyed it and learned a lot to help us when times get rough in our life.

   We got back around 4 on Friday evening and ate, looked at cars, and finally just came home and crashed. Today Corey is gone for something at work and that leaves me home alone. My only thought for the day is “Hmm.. Okay… I know no one here, I’m in the middle of an Army base, we have no furniture yet, our stuff hasn’t gotten here yet, and I’m in pain. Fun day.” Sounds like a blast, right? It’ll get better.

   This upcoming week we are *fingers crossed* getting a car! Hopefully after that we can acquire some furniture and liven up this house a little! I don’t have much of a life, really, but I’ll try to keep everyone updated on our lives here in the Hood! (that joke is gonna get old reeeeal quick…)

I’m almost always free, so feel free to send me a text or call anytime you’d like because I need people to keep me updated on all the wondrous happenings of Brookville and such 🙂

Big Impacts

Originally posted May 7, 2012:

So this week has been kind of busy and crazy, considering I am moving at the end of the week/beginning of next week. Also, I have an Upper GI (scope with a camera and small knife for biopsies, inserted down your throat into your stomach and small intestine) in the morning and that’s been quite the run-around with the insurance. However, tonight’s blog will be about…

  • acceptance
  • support
  • small things that really impact your life (whether you notice it now or not)
  • I’ll start off with acceptance. I am and always have been, a people pleaser. I do things to make others happy and my happiness is always second, sometimes third. I always want to be accepted and I “just want  people like me”. I think this is honestly just one of my traits and I’m not going to be able to “grow out of” or change. I think I will always want the approval of someone, whether it be my family, friends, or complete strangers. In ways, that’s not so bad. Consider at a job: being accepted and approved of is a good thing! The more recognition you get for doing a good job and putting others first, the farther you move up. However, sometimes its detrimental.

Think about family and friends: there will ALWAYS be someone who doesn’t approve of how you do things, how you live your life, how you raise your children, how you cook your meals, etc. I understand that I shouldn’t take everything my family and friends say to heart, but on the inside I always remember the things that have been said. I shouldn’t need everyone’s “approval” and maybe I should just “grow up” and not listen to them, but that’s not my personality and not how I am. I’m always going to want to make others happy and I will do anything to be accepted in my choices. No, that’s probably not healthy. And honestly, if I did this with EVERY aspect of my life, I wouldn’t have

  1. dropped out of high school
  2. gotten married
  3. decided to move away from everything and everyone I have ever known

I suppose I don’t do this in every aspect, but trust me: I remember everything that has been said to me about “rushing into my marriage” “dropping out of school” and how it was “a terrible decision” and how I have disappointed family and friends. Yes. I totally understand I’m a grown woman and I shouldn’t listen to anyone as long as I’m happy, but I do! I care what everyone thinks! I care what my mother thinks, what my cousins think, what people from my graduating class think. I care! I know I’m getting quite repetitive, but seriously. To end this topic…. I care what everyone thinks. Big or small impact on my life, I care. I always will want to “fit in” and be accepted by people, and that’s something I will deal with. Yeah, I’ll probably pout every once and awhile, but it’s true. I feel the need to be accepted, even if it’s by a few people.

  •  Next! Support. I’m not even sure where to start. From a very young age I have been supported in many, if not all, the choices I have made. Around high school is where I saw less and less support. I understand that dropping out of high school may have not been the “right” choice, but it was for me. “What’s right for one person, isn’t right for everyone.” That is a quote my mom used every time I would get worked up and upset about my choices. I dropped out of high school because I had ongoing (and still do) medical problems that keep me from doing everyday activities and sitting at school (or anywhere basically) for long periods of time. I would just get so worked up about missing school because of being sick that I would get to school, sit in the parking lot, and cry. I couldn’t go inside, I WOULDN’T go inside, because I was so far behind and I couldn’t face my teachers and fellow students with work that “should” have been completed. [It’s a vicious cycle getting caught up after missing an extended amount of school-work, keep that in mind. A person can only handle so much.]

I wasn’t supported very much (besides my mother and a few close family members) about dropping out, but shortly after I got my GED (with honors- I didn’t even know that existed) and was soon engaged afterwords, to the man who is now my husband. Getting engaged and married was another one of the “acceptance” issues. To this day I don’t think my parents and grandparents  “approve” of me getting married, but not once did they decline helping me plan my wedding. They saw that I am an adult and their approval or disapproval wasn’t going to stop me. I will be forever grateful for their generosity and help throughout everything. My grandparents even opened up their home to let my husband live here while he was home on leave.From day one of dating, my (now) husband has supported me in everything. He watched me do homework, cry because I was so far behind, drop out of school, get my GED, and even with little steps along the way. This is why I believe our marriage is, and will continue to be, successful. He has supported me, and I have supported him. Before him, I hated (let’s say it again) HATED the Army. Yep. I hated it because I wasn’t educated and I just always thought war was NOT the way to fix anything, and all they did was kill kill kill and that is obviously getting us nowhere, and I always hated how it tore families apart, etc. HATED! IT! However, after getting myself educated, I understood why he was doing it and how it really was. It’s not AT ALL about killing and tearing apart families. Therefore, I have supported him in everything he has done, from losing weight for the Army, going into the Army, being in the Army, and other things such as how he handles every day situations. I support him and sometimes I don’t like the way he does things, but I know that if it were me, he would be there saying “okay, I’m here.” so I do the exact same. Even when my family and close friends haven’t supported me in some aspects of my life, lately, he has been there. Support is a BIG facet in any relationship, family, and friendship.

  • Last, but not least… The little things. Little things are whatever you see fit. My version of little things are: when my husband sneaks around Wal-Mart to buy me an Angry Birds car magnet, when my little sister tells me “Shelb… I really want you to be home for Christmas… That’s a time for family…”, when my best friend tells me I’m more of a sister to her than just a best friend, and when my grandma sheds a few tears when my grandpa mentions me moving away. These little things are the things I will look back on in 20 years and think “wow… Look at all the wonderful people who went out of their way to think of me…” and I will appreciate that more than the big things like: getting our first house, buying a new car, or even moving from state-to-state. So the next time your significant other/parent/friend/anyone does a little something for you or says a simple “I appreciate you” “I love you” or compliments you, remember that. Keep in mind that at that point in time, they are thinking about you. A little appreciation for the little things in life will go far.

Hidden Hardships and Invisible Illness

Originally posted on April 30, 2012:

This entry will talk about all the things I deal with internally (mentally and physically) on a daily basis. It may contain explicit (more so gruesome details about my bodily functions) material. Parental discretion is advised. 😉

  •  First off, people hide things more than we would like to believe. People hide bad things like abuse, pain, and guilt, and they hide good things, like achievements (in order to not be made fun of), good grades (so they aren’t called a geek, and the joy of life/being pregnant (so they won’t be judged).

   Personally, I hide my pain. I’m an 18 year old, married woman, and I have Fibromyalgia. I always thought Fibromyalgia was an “old person” illness. Contrary to popular belief, it is most common in women of child-bearing age and beyond, but can also occur in teens, children, and men of all ages.

I am in pain all the time, 24/7. No breaks, no time-outs. For those of you who don’t believe or understand I will post a few links at the bottom of the blog, about understanding this pain. I’ll do my best to explain how I feel on a daily basis, but it’s hard to express. I’ll do a timeline.This is based on a typical day/night, some are a little worse, some are a little better.

  • Wake up: The night before I didn’t get a very restful sleep, unless it was drug induced by muscle relaxers or prescription pain-killers. I woke up at least 3 times, getting out of bed every time. I finally drag myself out of bed, with stiffness and pain in my jaw (from clenching/grinding my teeth in my sleep) back, neck, elbows, and knees. On top of the stiffness and aching joints, my skin hurts. There are many different kinds of “hurt” and when my skin hurts it burns. My skin sometimes feels like it is on fire, with the lightest brush of my hair or my shirt on my neck or arms. When it isn’t burning, it’s tender. When someone wants to rub my back, sometimes its nice, but sometimes its completely unbearable because it literally feels like the top layer of my skin has been ripped off and my flesh feels raw.
  • This brings us to the afternoon: Around lunch, I scavange to find something to munch on, because I can’t eat big meals. I eat about 5 or less small meals a day, when I’m not snacking. Some days I just snack all day because if I eat a big meal, I’ll throw up. I always have to keep in mind what to order at restaurants, because if it comes back up or goes out the other end, I could really be in for it. Usually, spicy/greasy/acidic foods are a no-go, unless I have taken medicine prior to eating. I have diarrhea at least once every couple of days, sometimes up to 5 times a day. I’ve recently discovered that sweet tea from the Golden Arches is out of the question, since I get diarrhea following a tall cup of that.
  • Evening/Night: Probably when I feel the worse, but obviously that’s when people are the most active. The evening is when you go on dates, hang out with friends, visit with family, and much more. If I woke up around 8 a.m. I am probably beyond exhausted right now. However, it usually doesn’t stop me from going out and about to see people and go places. By now, my skin is very tender, my neck is aching pretty badly, my feet are starting to throb, sometimes my eyesight gets blurry, I have a headache, and I’m just very tired.

As I lay down to go to sleep, I have problems getting comfortable because my skin is hurting and my back and neck ache, so it’s hard to get in a good position to sleep. I lay there for a good 20 minutes before I can actually fall asleep… but alas, I’ll wake up in about 3 hours to begin the cycle all over again.

  • Mentally, I go through quite a lot, too. There are sometimes I just forget. I could have a big appointment or maybe a bill, but I will forget. I have lists everywhere. In high school, I forgot my locker combination constantly and I would just “blank” on what class I had next. I try not to let it get to me, and I always try to be positive. When I’m in a lot of pain, I still try to be nice and happy. However, sometimes I just get snappy or whiny. Then sometimes little things will bother me and I’ll say something I regret, and later that day I’ll apologize like a mad-woman, when it really may not have been a big deal. I always feel bad when I talk to others about my problems, because I feel like I’m putting a burden on them, so I usually just keep it to myself.
  • It’s hard to explain, and also very hard to understand. There is no blood test, imaging test, or clear-cut test to prove you may have this disorder. Some people don’t believe that what I have, Fibromyalgia, is a real disease/disorder/illness/whatever you may call it. I’m living proof that it’s real. Treatment for it is (how my rheumatologist described) 1. Good sleep 2. The right medications 3. The right exercise. Obviously if you’re worn out and tired, you won’t want to exercise. Or if you’re exercising, you might not sleep because of the amount of pain you’re in. In that order, is the treatment. If you can get good, solid sleep (even if it’s helped by medicines) you move on to Step 2. Medciation. Treatment for FM is Cymbalta or Savella. Those two are the only FDA approved medications for Fibromyalgia. After you can get some solid hours of sleep and the right medications to help your daily pain, you move on to exercise. Low-impact exercise is the best. Consider walking, swimming, yoga, Tai-Chi, etc. if you have FM and need to get your daily amounts of exercise in.

Please, for the sake of being my friend or for the sake of others around you who may suffer from Fibromyalgia, read up and educate yourself. That alone will show us you care enough to want to know how we feel.

In closing, I want to say… Just because it looks like someone isn’t in pain, doesn’t mean they aren’t. I’ve gotten fairly good at hiding my pain, just because I don’t want to burden others with my problems. Just because someone doesn’t look like they’re hurting doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering inside. This goes for many different illnesses and diseases. You can’t see depression, but it’s real. Just a few disorders that are “Invisible Illnesses” are depression, Fibromyalgia, arthritis, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (my best friend has this and I will post a link to educate yourself about that, as well), Lupus, dementia, heart disease, and even cancer. Please educate yourself and others on Invisible Illnesses!

Fibromyalgia

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Depression

Invisible Illnesses