Pain Meds and an Addictive Personality

I think I’ve kind of eluded to this on here and the podcast, but I have a really addictive personality. Not in a way that I have ever gotten caught up in serious substance abuse problems, thank god. But, I have seen my addictive personality come out in other ways as I’ve grown up.

I first started to feel a little bit of an addictive personality when it came to show choir – I know, I’m a nerd. Guys, I fucking loved that shit. I was actually really really good at it too.

I loved the rush of performing and putting a huge smile on my face, even when everything felt wrong in the world. It was like a high. My Junior year, I was named a dance captain and I felt this surge of energy go through my veins in getting validation that I was good at something other than school and swim. I’ve always been REALLY competitive. I get that endearing (and sometimes highly annoying) trait from my father. But, I was felt a little addicted to having a hand in the success of the group… and learning how to be a good leader through that overwhelming and obsessive feeling.

Now, I hold a manager position at my job and I’m not really like that. I’ve always considered myself a leader, but my addictive personality has found something else to kind of focus on throughout the years. I’ve gone through: boyfriends, food, and mental illness. It’s so important to be able to see those addictive personality traits in yourself so that when you are using something that could really be a trainwreck, like pain medication, you’re really careful.

So, I didn’t really realize the show choir thing was obsessive until I was more analytical about my mental illness recently. I just thought I was competitive and very possibly, I was just a combination of the two. One way I know I was addictive in a toxic way was with my last long term relationship.

Again, broken record over here, but you know some of the details of that relationship. Very bad. Abusive. Yadda yadda yadda. One of these days, I will take the time to write something out start to finish, but that require remembering everything and dealing with those emotions again in a new, healthy way…. so, for the purpose for this story, it was NOT a good situation. We were not together anymore, but we were very seriously talking. I was under the impression that we were working towards a relationship. He obviously was not considering he was talking to both his most recent ex and the ONE girl he promised was just his friend (who he’s now dating) but that’s irrelevant. Despite how shitty that relationship made me feel, how much I cried, and how much I lost myself in that process of trying to be with him, I was genuinely addicted to trying to get him to love me.

I would say and do just about anything for him to spend time with me or give me attention. Again, he didn’t make me feel good and the relationship wasn’t good. No one approved of us even spending time together after all the bridges he’d already burned, so why? I was just addicted. I was addicted to the idea of someone wanting me. I was addicted to the chase. I was addicted to the idea that I could get him back. Most of all, I was addicted to blaming myself, so I was always trying to right those wrongs… even if there really wasn’t any solutions to be had there.

I wasn’t addicted to our relationship. Truthfully, I don’t even think I really wanted it in the capacity that I once had it. I was addicted to filling the void. For example, people with nicotine addictions don’t like love that they are addicted to nicotine or want to constantly want a cig. What they want is that high, that feeling, that fills the void – even if it’s just until you light up the next one.

Like I said, I used food to fill that void too. Sometimes, I still do. But, there was a time that I was addicted to eating food – way too much food. Honestly, I’m typing this after a night of binging on Reese’s peanut butter cups… so I don’t know if I’m totally over that addiction. I know that it’s been much worse – where I would turn to it out of boredom, stress, happiness, and even just because. Now, its just a remaining issue with a poor relationship with food.

These days, I would say that I most struggle with an addiction to my mental illness. I know that that’s a little confusing when you’re just reading it, but let me explain. For so long, I’ve not been okay. I genuinely don’t remember a point in my life where I didn’t hate myself, my body, or my mind. I’m NOT saying that as an invitation to my pity party – just the opposite actually. Because I haven’t been okay for so long, I started to get a little addicted to my mental illness in a number of ways. I started to get addicted to stress because I was scared of depression and sleeping my days away again. Maybe it’s not always a bad thing in this chosen path, because it can help me fixate on one thought, feeling, or emotion until I’m able to blog or podcast about it. But, it’s always hard to then leave that in the past.

As I said before, I’ve never really had a substance abuse problem. I have had little benders when I would get way to drunk literally every single time I drank, but part of that was just being young, stupid, and depressed. I didn’t HAVE to have a drink in the morning to function or to spill my emotions to the first person that would listen. That doesn’t change the fact that I have to understand that my addictive personality COULD make that a very easily habit to pick up.

I recently got my wisdom teeth out. Yes, it is as bad as they say. No, I didn’t get dry sockets. But, it hurt like a bitch to put it lightly & they gave me hydrocodone to deal with the pain. In my defense, they gave me 8 pills and I could take them every six hours…. so I was supposed to be not writhing in pain after 48 hours? I call bullshit. They said the swelling wouldn’t even start until after then!! So, I wanted more hydrocodone that I could take before a super long shift…. and it got me worried… was I developing an addiction? Was I dependent on these drugs to feel normal? I mean, I had tried to go just to ibuprofen and I couldn’t get through my day…

It didn’t help that my dad kind of joked about the same thing when I came home to get some stronger pain medicine. “It can happen to anyone,” he had said. It was clear that he was kind of kidding, but also a little worried about pain management while being stressed, taking other prescription medications, and living alone.

If I would have sent this to my oral surgeon, do you think he would have refilled my prescription?

Listen, to say that I struggled with pain medication would be a lie. I didn’t. But, it really got me thinking about how having an addictive personality can be both tangible and intangible. You can see the side effects of withdrawal from medication that’s no longer pumping through your system or you can feel a withdrawal from not having a toxic relationship constantly in your life. You can take a pill or puff to get your fix, or you can stalk an Instagram or maybe even eat 10 portions over what’s recommended.

I wouldn’t even call myself an addict, but I would absolutely say that I have a very addictive personality that can absolutely bite me in the ass sometimes. Like always, knowing my mind and body is so powerful in this ongoing journey toward better health. If sharing in this realization can get your little brain motors moving, well I just might have done my job today.

What do you want to hear about next? Hit me up on any of my socials to suggest a blog that might better relate to YOU and YOUR LIFE! Follow, like, and comment for constant

I Fear My Own Success

Recently, I’ve been listening to a podcast called “The RISE Podcast with Rachel Hollis”. If you recognize the name, it’s because she’s written books like Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing. Her and husband also run a multi-million dollar media company that they essentially started from scratch aka MY DREAM.

When I listen to podcasts, it’s usually while I’m doing 15 other things to be completely honest. Like, I’ll be folding laundry or cleaning and listening. Or, I’ll be bullet journaling and “listening”. In those instances, I find myself missing some stuff and having to go back every so often. If you haven’t found out yet, humans aren’t good multitaskers (but that, is for another day, another blog.) With this podcast, I have to listen to it when I’m doing literally nothing else OR I have to have my iPad near me to jot down some notes if I feel so inclined. Listening made me realize that that’s the kind of information that I want to give you. Yes, of course there’s an entertainment level about all of this. But, if I want to start making a real difference, I have to pull out all the stops and just completely give you what I know.

I was listening to “What’s Keeping You from Making a Million Dollars?” when I kind of realized that I’m terrified of my own success. Not in a way that I don’t want money, I don’t want people to download the podcast, or that I don’t want people to follow my media platforms. No, I’m starting to realize that I’m terrified by what real success represents in my life.

This is because I’m terrified of both change and the unknown. I journaled about this today, so I feel like I understand my inner dialogue a little more. But, truthfully, I would rather sit in the comfort (or even discomfort) of where I am right now, then be successful and change my lifestyle. Think about it, when you’re abundantly successful, everything changes. Your home life, your schedule, your work load, your relationships, and everything in between. In order to be successful, you have to also welcome those changes. This is something I haven’t been doing at all. Like yes, I want to make more money, but I’m not willing to give up the flexibility in my schedule that I currently have if I do become that successful. Or yes, I would love to make this a more permanent livelihood, but I’m not sure I would be ready to move.

None of this is to say that you don’t have a say in how you are successful. You are the queen of your own journey – in whatever that journey is. BUT, it’s more a realization that with levels of success comes natural changes to lifestyle, schedule, work ethics, and just plain life. Fear of those changes will ward away a certain level of success that is absolutely obtainable if you’re “all in” as they say.

Since I was a kid, I have felt in my bones that I was supposed to be heard. When I was younger, that dream was about being a singer and famous. As I grew up and entered dark stages of my life, I genuinely didn’t think I would make it to a point that I could stand in front of people and be heard – so I wrote. In the last few years, I’ve gone from wanting to be a politician to just wanting to be an advocate for those struggling to find their own. Now, I feel this fire in my soul that what I have to say is meant for more than just a couple hundred followers. I have this eye on a prize of success, when I don’t really know what that means yet. I say this to my family and close friends all the time, but this journey really does feel like a time bomb that’s just waiting to burst onto the scene. Maybe, the reason this bomb hasn’t exploded is because my fear of the aftermath.

I’m writing this with so much certainty in my tone not because I’m naive of the chance of failure, but because this finally feels like the spark I felt as a kid is getting bigger. It finally feels like I’m growing into the person that 5 year old Emily would be proud of. When abundant success does happen, life will change. BUT, those key people, aspects, and players will change along with it; to adapt to this new found success. So, my little sweeties, this is the year I welcome success and consider all the forms it’s presented to me in. Change is scary as fuck – business or no business. But, the only way I can keep this spark growing is if I allow the flame to build and other parts of my life to catch on fire along with my soul.

So, I just realized I fear my own success… and I’m not scared anymore.

OMG Just Journal About It

Sometimes I have a hard time thinking of a blog that is worthwhile to type. Is this going to relate to anyone else? Is someone going to read this and feel something? I mean, how stupid is it that I get self conscious about a BLOG?! For fuck’s sake, if you didn’t want to read it, you wouldn’t. Sure, I love when people tell me that my words matter, but writing is something I started doing for myself. It’s something that I felt so drawn to do because I could eloquently say what I was feeling without crying. For a long time, though, I wasn’t blasting the closet doors open to share all my skeletons with the world. Honestly, I wasn’t even using technology to write these words down.

I thought that journals were like the hipster’s way of saying a diary. It annoyed me to even think of the prospect of only talking about a crush in the words of a notebook for someone to find and tell the whole school about. I didn’t realize that diaries, journals, notebooks, whatever are much more than just spilling your butterfly-filled crushes. For me, at least, the pages of my journal are bright and chipper, then dark. They directly resemble my mood without the filter of society or social norms – it is truly the only place that I can be myself without worry of judgement.

I very rarely go back in my journal. 1) The words that I wrote in one day are just that – one day. They don’t need to play a part in how I act today or tomorrow. 2) I vent in my journal, like a lot. It might make me repissed at someone or even myself if I go back and read.

The only times that I have gone back are to count the number of bullshit ass entries that I had about my ex. In moments where I didn’t really know what to do, whether to tear the walls down and let him in or keep myself safe, I would go back and see just how much hurt he was causing me in those moments of self reflection. That day, I realized that he was the only thing that I was talking about in my journal… he was taking up all of my thoughts and worries. So much so, that things I should have been analyzing and decompressing just weren’t happening.

Any mental health professional will tell you that journaling is a good key into the complex maze that is your mind. What they don’t tell you, though, journaling can be the the light that leads you through that maze. When everything seems a little hazy, letting your mind just kind of write can give you a lot of clarity.

My trusty little journal. I’ve filled a couple in my years. It’s dirty, some pages are ripped, but I bring it almost everywhere on the off change that I just need to get the words onto the page.

People journal for different reasons. One of the online mentors that I look up to a lot chooses to do her journal in the morning because it feels as though she’s setting intentions for the day. She feels the most clarity and analytical with her thoughts right after she wakes up. Some people, want to wrap up their day with a journal entry. To them, it feels like a good way to actually chew and digest all of the parts of the day. I’m gonna be real with you guys – I have a very specific mood I need to be in to successfully journal and get something out of it. I have had so many of those rambling entries where I’m talking about shit that doesn’t matter because I forced myself to write one page about the day. In every day, there’s a moment where I feel the capacity to get really analytical or I’m motivated to get some brain juices flowing – THAT’S my time.

I try to be a role model in all that I do. When I fail, I try to share that failure with the world, normalize it, and start again unaltered. If there’s one thing that I would tell ANYONE struggling to do, it’s write it down. Seriously, you’ll be so surprised what you can learn about yourself and your mental state by letting your mind just kind of go. If you’re not into long journal entries that dissect all the parts of your day, write one word. One word to describe your day. It’s so helpful to have something tangible to remember how your really felt in a moment. Therapists/Counselors will do an intake with any new clients where they ask questions like “Out of the last month, how many times have you felt sad, down, or depressed?” ENTER JOURNAL!!!

As human beings, we remember these big moments in our lives and the feelings that revolved around them. When you’re trying to recall how you felt in a specific day, you’ll probably take a tally of all the things that happened and judge it on those events. Truth is, that’s not how you felt about the whole day and things that affected your mood or psyche in that day might not even be on your radar anymore – but are important to analyze and realize about yourself!

So, don’t be scared to write it down. Vent about it to the lines of a journal or safe space. Type. I don’t care. But, don’t feel like you have to keep that stuff inside you. Maybe your thoughts aren’t exactly pretty or nice, but getting them out in the world (in a way that they can’t hurt others) is the best way to forgive, heal, and start to move on. I promise!

Do YOU have a journal? Do you do a mood tracker? If not, is there something stopping you from writing down your thoughts for a quick minute? Or, do you even feel like you need it? Share your thoughts with me @EmyDBlog on Insta, Twitter, and FB. I’d looooove to chat about it! You can also have a one-on-one email conversation with me by emailing!

A Little Medicine Mishap

I’ve posted a blog about my medicine before and I’ve talked a lot about it on the podcast as well. Recently, someone asked me my opinion on prescription drugs for mental illness. Though I’m very loud and proud about how helpful prescription antidepressants have been here for me, that question made me realize that some people are either liking the medical treatment that they are receiving, or they’re struggling with the side effects or stigma of medicine.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a success story. Finding the right dosage and the right medicine has been a hell of a struggle, but I’m finally in a place where I’m comfortable with all of it. I truly know that I’m one of the lucky ones, as some people struggle with finding the right fit (or not finding one at all) for years and years longer than I did.

That’s not to say that I don’t have days or moments when I don’t wanna throw the whole bottle away. When I introduce new products, medications, or regiments, I have to be really really aware of my mood changes. In the past, when I’ve changed birth control methods, it drastically effected my mood the days immediately surrounding my period – like my antidepressants were just a wash. Most recently, I had a huge issue with migraines. Let me just tell you, finding a headache medicine that didn’t make me feel like either a Zombie or She-Hulk has been a hell of a time. I settled on a pretty big dosage of Topirimate.

Coincidentally, this medicine effects my current birth control method AND my hormones!!! So, I was sporting THIS for a good amount of time before I had enough:

I’m embarrassed that this pic is even going anywhere on the Internet. But, you guys follow me to be real with you! This painful cystic acne was a result of taking 100 mg just to not get a migraine every day for 10 days.

Grand scheme: this isn’t that big of a deal. I bought some expensive full coverage foundation and did some more cleansing face masks in an attempt to rectify. However, the medicine was working to quickly, and my skin & hair were NOT fans. Of course it’s TMI, but I also went from almost never having a regular period, to having one for 3 weeks straight. Hell. on. Earth.

Again, having a good relationship with medical personnel is always a benefit. I was able to shoot my primary care doctor and my psychiatrist about the problem. They advised to half the pills and see if the problems persisted… which puts us to right about now. I have gotten more headaches and migraines because of the lower dose. My skin, hair, and menstrual issues have cleared up though. So, it’s really weighing my evils at this point – deal with migraines as they come occasionally and experience a little pain before I can stop them OR going through puberty for what feels like the second time & be worried about my birth control being ineffective sometimes. I chose the former.

End of the day, even the people who have a good fit when it comes to one medicine, might find it really hard to ever take antibiotics or other prescription medications. I’ve dealt with the physical icky feeling, the absolutely impossible to deal with acne, weight gain, and changes in birth control because of the medicines that rectify one issue in my body. It’s so so so hard. It sucks. It also sucks that some people’s bodies need these little boosters in the form of pills while others don’t. It just further adds to the stigma that is mental illness medication. Sometimes, medicine isn’t the right path for you. Holistic approaches can also be really helpful for mental health specifically (I’ll do a blog about some that I’ve experimented with very soon!)

My face when I’m expected to act normally but the medicine that fixes one part of my being makes my skin hate me, my hair feel like straw, my sleep suck, and my period go haywire.

No matter what your path may be, stick with it. Work with the medical professionals in your life to find the right fit because I promise it does exist. Even people who are thriving at one end of the medicine spectrum might not be thriving at other parts of their medical well being. As much as it sucks, you are strong and you can persevere. You’ve gotten through all the moments to make you brave enough to reach out for medicine or make the professionals prescribe you with some. You deserve the feeling of finding a good fit for YOU and YOU only.

Next blog goes up on Tuesday! Anything specific you want to hear about? Hit me up on socials, slide into any of my inboxes, or email if you want to chat about anything going on in your life!

Test Anxiety, No More!

So, you’ve read a lot of blog posts about how I’ve grown into this kinda effffed up person….. but, I finally have a reverse of that! I never thought I would see the day, but here we go. I outgrew (idk if that’s the right verb, but stick with me, okay?) my test anxiety.

When I was in high school I used to make tests my bitch, for lack of a better term, of course. I didn’t crack a textbook, but I was just so positive that I knew what the fuck I was doing that I didn’t sweat it. When I went to college, I got a pretty rude awakening in not knowing how to organize notes, study, all that jazz. My first college exam I thought I was going to pass out. You know that rumor that if someone dies in your exam period, you get an A for the semester? I was actually looking around like “These lucky bastards, I’m gonna keel over and they’re going to ace Comparative Politics.” Sure, there was more material and it was harder, but the problem wasn’t my intellect. The problem that I no longer believed that I could make the tests my bitch.

Suddenly it wasn’t just the grade, it was “I’m not worthy of being in college”, “I’m not worthy of my parent’s pride if I don’t know this multiple choice answer”, “Everyone else in the room knows it, you’re the ONLY one who doesn’t”. Like most of my anxious moments, I can now look back and realize it was irrational, but in the moment, it’s all you can think about it.

I was lucky in the fact that I had a therapist who told me to talk to the disability services on campus. Did you know that test anxiety is considered a disability and most campuses have specific programs to help students who struggle with it?! I didn’t.

I was able to take my test in a small study room. I was given more time. And listen, PEOPLE ACTUALLY DID THIS FOR THIS FOR THEMSELVES.

One good thing about my transfer was that I was forced to give a shit about myself. I was kind of forced to either care about my academics or sulk in the fact that I was alone and hitting rock bottom. So, even if I didn’t necessarily feel confident my body or my voice or my life, the first thing I was confident about was my brain. For so long, my brain had gotten me through classes without a second thought… because I let it. I let myself believe that I was the shit. I allowed positive thoughts in about my intelligence, knowledge, and logic when I was taking tests.

Most importantly though, I DIDN’T CARE. I know that this seems really counterproductive. But, I knew I was going to graduate. I knew I was probably going to get an A in the class in the end…so the test didn’t really make me lose a ton of sleep at night. At that, is what I lost when I went to college.

I mean, truly, what was the worst that could have happened? I had to take the class again? Yeah, that would have sucked – and guess what, that did happen!!! I’m still sitting here typing a blog, getting ready to graduate and hold two Bachelor’s degrees in 5 days. It didn’t kill me. I failed so many of my Intro to Psych tests because of my anxiety that I failed the class, but walking into the class when I retook it, I realized just how much it didn’t matter. It got replaced on my transcript. I had a quick cry for the hours of studying and money I put into the class. Life went on.

You may or not believe it by looking at this picture, but I had just failed my third and final exam in Psych which made it the class. I had tweeted my anger about classes that relied solely on test grades, cried, called my mom, fixed my makeup, and MOVED ON. Because I could either keep crying…. or get a cute pic…

This semester, I’ve absolutely needed every single one of my classes to graduate. I would still say this is the semester I have the been the most chill about tests though. Every time I walk into a test shitting my pants about it half-asleep from an all nighter of studying, it never goes well. Truthfully, you can ONLY do your best and that’s all you can expect of yourself. If the information didn’t stick or maybe you didn’t get your butt to class, you might pay the price – AND THAT’S OKAY! I walked into every single test with the most negative thoughts about myself, so of course I’m going to convince myself I don’t know it. With this new approach, though, I’ve started walking in saying that I know it because I already learned it and if I don’t know it right away then I’m smart enough to figure it out. And no matter what, I’m a worthy student, daughter, and person regardless of the percentage of multiple choice answers I get right on a test.

I watched my little brother stress about taking the ACT recently, and vividly remember that terrible feeling. It’s so easy for me to say that “no matter what, it’s not the end of the world”, but sometimes it really does feel like it might be.

So, maybe don’t take it from me. Your brain makes connections that you don’t always even know are there. When you read a question or prompt, it can ignite these little connections so you remember what you learned, read, or talked about. Our minds are so fucking strong and powerful if we just allow them to be. Anxiety is this big slug that tries to block those connects with negative thoughts and insecurities. But pushing through, finding a little confidence in yourself, and letting go of what you can’t control is SO empowering.

SO, happy finals/end of the semester, my loves! Even if you feel like you can’t do it, your brain and I both know that you can!

Holiday Season SCARIES

Now that I’m of drinking age (and let’s be honest, a couple years before my 21st bday) holidays just kind of include alcohol. For God’s sake, we call the day before Thanksgiving “Blackout Wednesday” in my hometown….for obvious reasons. Every year, I am a literal dumbass. This year, I even convinced myself that my own family was so disappointed in my drunk decisions that they didn’t love me as much.

I know that seems ridiculous, but your girl has social anxiety for the decade so like empathize for a sec.

So, we know what like the Sunday scaries are, right? It’s like when you wake up after a night of drinking and have a pit in your stomach trying to remember all the things you said and did the night before. Usually, in the college years, this also is accompanied by waking up in like a Twin XL bed in a dorm you’ve never been to sober. Cross my fingers, hope to die, this has NEVER happened to me… but the “scaries” and I are old friends. Literally, every single time I have more than two drinks I have the scaries.

Dude, I’ve seen that FB post that went viral were that girl looks like she got hit by a train and then like a literal health goddess when she goes sober. It’s crossed my mind. I have had many (failed) attempts to be the sober one at all the parties.

I gave up underage drinking for a WHILE when I started taking anti-depressants. Not because I was scared of the warnings that the doctors were giving me, but because I was already a total fucking bitch… tequila was not a good ingredient to add this hot mess. This year, when I was having some issues with migraines, I gave up alcohol too. Being the constant DD was okay for a bit, but it gets old, fast. Alcohol, was my buffer, and when I didn’t have it… there really wasn’t an incentive for me to get ready and go out. My social anxiety was never going to be eased by a shot, so what was the point?

This has been the worst year when it comes to the scaries. I proudly can say that my hangovers have never been so bad that I want to die. I don’t need someone to hold my hair very often. Literally, one glass of water and 3 motrin & I’m good… physically.

Mentally, though, is a different story. Anxiety is through the roof. I feel like I’m about to dive headfirst into a panic attack at any minute. I hate not being in control of my body – hence, why I struggle with panic attacks and anxiety attacks so much. So, when I put myself in a position where that control is not in my own hands but in the hands of the alcohol I drank…. that’s an issue. All I want to do is sleep to avoid negative inner dialogue. Seriously, guys, I’ve slept like 30 of the last 48 hours because I don’t want to be awake to relive the stupid comments I made when I was drunk.

So, let’s just fucking talk about it, rather than freak out about it till next Blackout Wednesday. If I introduced you to my boyfriend, we are not, in fact, dating. My ass would be lucky to be dating him, however, I have some commitment issues to conquer before I can get all serious with a nice boy. SO, yeah, I’m kind of a douche for that, but I just want to announce the fact that drunk Emily is VERY loving, VERY into attention, and VERY unaware of the skeletons that do exist when she sobers up. The fact that I feel ready for a new boy and can completely forget about the scars left on me by the infamous, Tommy* when I’m drinking, just make the comedown even harder. Like, why can’t I just be okay and not push away a nice, cute boy that likes me when the alcohol is all dried up? But THAT is another blog. So, shoutout to him. He knows who he is. I don’t have to use some bullshit name for him.

Okay, my heart’s pounding, but it’s out there. On Thursday, I got in the car with Sullivan and I said that phrase that all the hungover bitches say, “Oh my god. I’m never drinking again.” You know you’ve said it. Even Sullivan called me out for that.

But honestly, I feel like I have felt the urge of drinking because I want the buffer of awkwardness to go away. The option of not drinking has always seemed like something that a 45 would do if they had just finished a stint at rehab. A 22 year old saying that they weren’t really drinking lately would signal to me that someone was either A) pregnant or B) lame.

I’m a grown ass adult. I can choose when to drink and how much to have as long as I’m not driving. But, I’ve felt like I couldn’t say no because I am young and “you’re only young once!” After a couple days ago, though, I realized how much I just don’t really like it. I don’t mind being that friends that has two drinks and can drive home at the end of the night. I don’t mind being the one that knew what she said all night.

Instead of being pregnant and lame, maybe I’ve gotta be the one that’s like “I just don’t fucking like being drunk!” It makes my anxiety and depression worse and I don’t fucking deal with that well.

This blog is opening my mind and heart too. Alcohol might not effect others with mental illness in the same way. That if you don’t want to go out and get drunk when everyone else is, you don’t have to. When people are going to the bar, you can go for the social aspect without feeling crazy. I do it too! You can say no with love. You can say yes on your own terms. So, even if this is not my announcement of being sober. This is my announcement that I don’t really like Drunk Emily very much. I don’t really love the decisions that I make when I’m drunk. The scaries can put me in a dark place and they can hurt the people around me.

My relationship with alcohol is complicated. It’s something that I’m learning about every single day. I’m learning through the mistakes especially. So, if you’re also struggling with these holiday scaries…. you are not alone, my friend! Crack a water – we got this!

Sad with SAD? Huh?

I’ve been trying to write this one for a while. I’m not kidding, I have about 6 drafts of this thing half written that I’ve like kind of scrapped but that I like some parts of… which is honestly kind of on brand for the topic, I guess.

Let me first start off by saying that I’m a hypochondriac. If any of you bitches start using that against me though, I’ll never say it again. I get a sore throat & I instantly think I have strep kinda thing. You get it. But there’s a difference between swearing on all things holy that your foot when you stubbed your toe and feeling like your hitting rock bottom again… for the millionth time… every year around the same time.

When I was first diagnosed with major clinical depression, my psychiatrist called it “Stage 3”. (Listen, I still don’t have any sort of degree yet, nor have I ever studied an ounce of medicine… so a Google search might make more sense out of this, BUT) how I understand it is Stage 1 your normal behavior starts to change aka isolation, more sleeping, appetite, etc. People around may or may not notice it. Stage 2 you might feel physical symptoms like aches and pains, exhaustion, headaches, upset stomachs, physical illness as a result of the lack of regular behavior your body has been used to. Stage 3, your body is kind of like “Ok, I can’t do this anymore so I’m going to sleep 18 hours a day” or you’re having a lot of depressive episodes, suicidal thoughts, etc. Again, this was explained to me at like 16 years old & I’m not a doctor so if anything at all these are the hypothetical stages that I went through. Okay? Don’t cite me as a scholarly source.

I struggled for a long time with episodes and the rollercoaster of depression. I’d have little increments where I didn’t need any thing from anyone – which included my meds and my therapist. Foreshadowing: it was a bad idea. I had really bad moments where I wondered why I was even taking medicine in the first place if I was still feeling shitty enough to cry myself to sleep in my college dorm every night.

I started to see this HUGE change in the winter. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Attendance has been an issue since the first diagnosis days… but this was different. I wasn’t skipping my 8:00am high school geometry class… I was skipping a class at 2:00pm. That I was paying $15,000 a semester to live and learn here… and sitting in a shitty dorm room because the thought of doing anything besides laying awake in my twin bed made my heart pound. I was awake. I was healthy. I could read. I could write. I could physically get there, but it’s like something was holding me in that bed and I didn’t really get it.

Above you’ll see an 18 year old Emily who was coming home from college every weekend to avoid interaction with literally anyone

When my therapist brought up seasonal affective disorder, I actually got pissed. As far as I knew, that was what people who didn’t really understand depression said that they had when weather started to get cold. As far as 18 year old Emily knew, that was a slap in the face for all of us that suffer all year long… summer, fall, winter, and spring. Didn’t she understand that I was depressed, I didn’t just have seasonal affective disorder? AND I had been deny the fact that anything was wrong for so long, here I was calling for help to get was I felt was a bullshit diagnosis thrown back in my face.

So, we started talking about my specific symptoms (some of which, honestly, I still struggle with today, guys):

  • I sleep 12 hours a day and I’m still exhausted
  • I don’t want to see anyone. It’s exhausting.
  • Showering seems like a lot of work.
  • Some days I don’t really eat.
  • Other days, I can’t stop eating…it makes me feel better.
  • Last night, I stayed up till 6 crying…. just crying.
  • I have increased depressive episodes
  • I’m extremely irritable in situations I wouldn’t be.
  • I lack empathy or interest in daily activities.

I was on anti-depressants. I was doing the coping mechanisms we were working on. But I felt like I was being sucked backward after huge strides forward I had made with managing my mental health. At that point, my friends, I didn’t understand seasonal affective disorder. She had to drop the bomb that I had just upped my mental illness chart another diagnoses AND another 20 mg of Fluoxetine.

Every single year, the winter months knock me on my ass. You can tell that my family has gotten used to me needing a little more love and patience this time of year, because my family group chat is much more active, despite my inability to hold a texting conversation. Guys, I mean I couldn’t even write a damn blog about seasonal affective disorder because it’s been such a bitch to me! But, my friends, that’s part of the beauty of this community. I see so many of you are going through similar situations – whether you only struggle seasonally, you have both major depression and SAD like me, or you are just in a tough place.

Sometimes, I actually run errands like this if I’m having trouble getting out of the house that day or REALLY don’t want any social interaction. I’m so outgoing. I love the people in my life. Sometimes, you just can’t, ya know? I guess do this to kind of hide, run through the store, and return to my little cave. Unhealthy, yes. Stealthy, also yes. I’m also starting to realize I look kinda fierce.

I know that mental health bloggers are supposed to provide you with this crazy list of like “99 Ways to Cure your Seasonal Depression” & I don’t have that (nor do I think it really exists in the way that we all want it to). I’ve skipped thousands of dollars worth of classes because I couldn’t get out of bed. I’ve felt the grip of depression get a little tighter on me as the days got darker and colder around me. So, I fucking believe that what you’re going through hurts. You are validated in needing help, needing space, needing time to heal, and just needing a moment to regroup. It is okay to not be okay…but, it is not okay to this you are all alone in that mindset.

Psychology Today says that 10 million Americans struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder every single year. So, the fact that once again I felt like I was weak, unworthy, or less because the winter months give me depressive episodes is a little fucked, in my opinion. There was the stigma and narrative 18 year old me was running with… and I’m not doing that bullshit anymore. So, if you or someone you know are struggling with the season (or at all) PLEASE seek help or reach out for some great resources. I might not have a list of 99 Ways to Instantly Cure SAD, but I do have a couple things that work for me: making to-do lists (and getting that shit done some how and some way), candles, baths with epsom salt, undereye treatments, rolling out your calves (even if you’re not an athlete this just feels good), naps, good podcasts, and long SAFE drives.

I’m going to leave you with this quote from “Endless Night” in The Lion King, which has gotten me through some of my worst days. It’s relevant and I think that it might be my next tattoo. *don’t tell Becky* The sun does always come out, my loves. Even if we have to push really hard to get through right now.

Wait, you take MEDS?

Yes. Yes, I do! Believe me, there wasn’t always a time when I would proudly proclaim that to the world & there’s still people in my life that think this skeleton should be shoved back in the closet. Nah. It’s out here, because taking medication is nothing to be ashamed of. When I tell people that I take Topirmate because I have chronic migraines, no one tells me to lower my voice. When I tell people that I have to take Zyrtec or Benadryl every day for like 6 months out of the year, they don’t look at me like I’m this incomplete human being or like I’m some kind of unstable addict just looking for a buzz. So, what’s the deal with medication that addresses mental illness? More importantly, what’s the deal with thinking that if we can’t see it on others, it’s not allowed to exist?

I put this picture on my Snapchat story a few weeks ago. Guess what, people’s first reaction wasn’t “OMG, you’re crazy” because they could SEE that something was wrong that the doctors were treating. For my mental health, though, the pain isn’t visible.

My parents getting me to talk to someone at age 16 was hard enough, getting me to take medicine? Virtually impossible. There was no way that I was taking a pill to “make me happier” in front of my friends. What would I say when they asked? When they asked me how it worked, how would I explain that I didn’t really see a difference yet? Nope. Not happening.

Here’s a good look at 16 year old Emily a couple months into taking an antidepressants. I wasn’t good at consistently taking them, nor was I really convinced that I actually needed them. I mean, I could smile….even if it didn’t feel right.

As first-born, my mom and dad didn’t really know how to “force” me to take the anti-depressants I desperately needed. This was like 2013, so it was way before the time of people posting their pills or talking about their dosage. Truthfully, I didn’t have any role models that I could turn to that were also in a position where they needed medication to jump start a mental health journey. Until one day, during musical practice, I saw my friend slip a tiny oval pill out of her bag and into her mouth. To anyone else, it was an antibiotic, a pain killer, irrelevant to their day to day life. To me, though, it was an indication that I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t alone in my city, my school, even my friend group. I had no idea that she was taking pills either.

One day, I got up the courage to ask her. “Hey, um, I know this is weird, but are you on Sertraline…? I just got prescribed it, but I don’t know anything about it.” Her eyes lit up. You could tell she didn’t really talk about it either. Just like that… I had a person that took pills just like me.

Now, this isn’t where the story ends. I’ve been on a roller coaster with my meds for a long time. There have been times where I’ve just cut them out cold turkey because I start to freak out about the idea of taking them until I’m 80 years old. Let me just tell you, there’s reasons doctors don’t let you do that. I went She-Hulk on everyone around me. I’ve gained a bunch of weight on some types of medication. Some didn’t work during the cold seasons so I needed to up my dose.

My story with medication is not perfect AT ALL. Even today, I’m writing this blog as someone who has experienced a lot of medications that affect my mental illness. I’m on Fluoxetine now. 60 mg. It’s a decently high dosage, but it’s one that the professionals around me and I are super happy with at the moment. So, why am I writing this?

While my parents were desperately begging me to take my meds, I had no role models that were taking meds proudly that weren’t also in the peak of emotional turmoil. Well, babe, here I am. I can confidently say that I have hit rock bottom, bounced back, hit it again and grown to a point where I feel called to help people that are going through what I did.

I’m writing to say that the weight gain, nausea, stomach aches, and other symptoms are unfair coupled with what you’re already going through. But, you can’t let it deter you from the goal of finding the right fit. There WILL be some prescriptions that are perfect for some and NOT good for you. There will be some doses that actually help you and are WAY too high for others. In this sense, we need to start thinking about antidepressants and antipsychotics in the way their meant to be viewed: as medications. If you were ill and a certain prescription didn’t work, you wouldn’t just give up, getting sicker. No, you would work with your doctor for a new prescription!

I’m also writing to say that the relevance and awareness about these pills is much more real these days. Odds are someone in your life, whether you know it or not, is taking pills for mental health reasons on a daily basis. These days, doctors know more about the pills they prescribe and people know the point in which they need to ask for medical help.

Most importantly, I’m writing to tell you it’s all going to be okay. Taking medication doesn’t correlate with being crazy as I once really thought that it did. If these medications weren’t needed, they wouldn’t exist… it’s not like you can walk up to a dealer on the street and they’ll have a hefty supply of antidepressants on hand. Some professional, who took all the chemistry, psych, and biology classes, thinks this is the best thing for you… you’d trust them for anything else, what makes this different? Taking medicine means that you need help. Guess what, it is OKAY to need help.

Fat AND Fabulous? HOW?

A couple years ago, I wrote an article for my school news source called “What I Learned from Being Called Fat”. If you really want to see where my head was at in 2016, you’re welcome to read it here:

But, I figured I should do an update on that post. I stand by what I said there. Time though, holds no prisoners. All those thoughts were amazing for the time being, but they weren’t sustainable as I grew into a young woman. Then, I sited a family member calling me fat to my face. It wasn’t the first time someone had made a comment, nor would it be the last. But, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Someone who I loved with all of my heart, didn’t love every inch of me like I thought she did.

NOW, it’s taken me a long time to realize, but this comment wouldn’t have sent my world tumbling to the ground if my self image wasn’t already so rickety crick. So, why was that?

Alright, clearly I love you guys if I’m resurrecting 12 year old Emily photos… braces and all.

The first time I remember being extremely aware of my body was a summer trip to Utah. My little cousin who couldn’t have been more than like 3 walked up and asked if I had a baby in there – pointing right to my bloated little belly. I looked at her mom, who was in her third trimester, and instantly wanted to curl up and disappear. I’ve never told anyone that. I’m 22 years old and it still makes my hair stick up a little.

I’ve always carried my body weight in ways I didn’t want to. My baby weight stayed on WAY too long for my liking. I swam – a sport where the measurements of your shoulders, legs, arms, and feet set you apart from average. Honestly, despite being short and a little chubby, I was pretty damn good. My big ass legs made my walls something to see. But, I was SO aware that I was wearing a size 36 while all the other 14 year olds were wearing 32s. I know. It’s ridiculous, right? When you’re going through it, though, that’s ALL you think about. “If I can lose one inch around here, I’ll drop that second and be faster than her.” “If I can lose 5 more pounds, I might look like so-and-so from geometry and that boy might like me.” For as long as I can remember, body image has run my life…and I’d be lying to you if I said I’ve completely gotten over it.

My depression and anxiety started to get REALLY bad around age 16. I don’t know if that was life’s cruel joke but that was also the year that I hurt my shoulder and couldn’t swim and hormones made my curves extra curvy. I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder. I’m one of the lucky ones. But, there were times in the darkest pits of thoughts that I ate just to fill a void and then cried, because it was never filled. When I say that my weight skyrocketed, I’m not exaggerating for the point of this blog. I gain a lot of weight. I wasn’t eating good food. I wasn’t exercising my body the way that I needed to.

I still remember the day that I broke 200 pounds. Again, the hairs on my body stood up. All I wanted to do was curl up again and die. Of course, I started one of many diets and gym kicks that would fail.

When I wrote that first article, I was kind of sticking my middle finger up to the world. For all intents and purposes, I was testing healthy at the doctor, so I wasn’t in dire need to change my lifestyle. It wasn’t my intention to condone being overweight. In some ways, though, it was my way of settling with what I was: fat. Yes, I truly believe that you should love your body in all forms: chubby, skin, purple, blue, white, black, bumpy, smooth. But, that article was a way for me to sit back and not work towards a healthier lifestyle.

I’m 22 years old now. I’m definitely a weight that I don’t want to be still; but I know that losing the weight won’t make me happy with my body. I have to be happy with my body TO lose the weight. For a long long long time, I was able to use my weight as a shield for why I wouldn’t get shit done. Even recently! A year ago, I was telling myself that I wasn’t going to allow myself to go on a date until I lost 10 pounds….WHAT.

A little more than a year ago, I cut a lot of bad things out of my life: people, habits, choices, mindsets. I know that this seems like bullshit… but my weight honestly fell off. The more days that I woke up happy and without unnecessary saddness, the more dedicated I felt to living a happy lifestyle.

I lost 30 pounds by my 21st birthday, and I PROMISE, I wasn’t going to the gym or cutting out pizza…

Fast forward to now, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I didn’t keep all that weight off. It does fluctuate. BUT, I’m constantly told in my pictures, I’m constantly told that I look happier and healthier than ever before. How do I do it? I have learned to live with the body I HAVE, but work for the body I WANT – loving every inch along the way.

No one’s looking at you – For my little socially anxious honeys, this is a big one. We often put on an outfit that we love, but then we convince ourselves that we’re ugly/fat/slutty/too skinny/etc when we’re out because we feel all the eyes on us. Sorry to break it to you, my dear, unless someone is giving you the eyes because they’re interested…. they aren’t looking at you. The amount of times I’ve had my friends hype me up and convince me not to go home and put on a big sweatshirt is insane. People are worried about themselves, what their too-drunk friends are doing, and the people they’re giving eyes too. No one cares the way that your shirt hits on your stomach. Pinky promise.

Angles are great, but everyone uses them – I have a lot of HOT friends. I’m not kidding, they’ll post a pic and get hundreds of likes in no time. But, if you don’t think that they also contort their bodies for the perfect pic… you’re wrong. EVERYONE uses angles for the best light or to make their ass look the biggest. So, that girl that’s #goals is also modeling herself off others. It’s a never-ending, self deprecating cycle. That being said, Facetune is an app everyone has access to. No, it’s not fair, but remember that when you’re scrolling through Insta and seeing these perfect people. I mean, for God’s sake, Kim Kardashian thinks she needs it…. Social media is NOT all that it appears to be. Take it with a grain of salt.

Protip from the Photog: ALWAYS take from an upper angle 😉 it doesn’t like make you instantly lose 10 pounds, but it usually makes your eyes light up more!

Confidence is key – Part of my healing from a bad relationship and years of bad body image was walking around like I was the hottest piece of ass on the street. YES, this was hard as all fuck. Here’s the thing though, you’re gonna be the hardest person to convince of this. I started to see myself change in pictures when my mindset changed. My smile got brighter. My stance got straighter. I genuinely felt beautiful, because I wouldn’t allow myself to feel any other way.

Guess what, I went on the dates. I stopped punishing myself for the way that I looked & started believing that they were lucky to have my time. I started wearing the damn crop top, despite the bright white stretch marks on my tan summer skin. I danced (and ripped my pants lol) at the bars.

I recently saw a quote that said “You’re stressed because you give a fuck”. That’s kind of how I view my body now. I go to the gym because I want to change the world for a long time. I want to lose weight so that one day I can chase after my kids without feeling like I have a cinder block strapped to me. Right now, my outside body doesn’t always match the drive and confidence I have inside. I give a fuck. So, someday it will. Not for boys, not for judgmental girls, not for anyone else. For me.

I took this picture today (10/15/19) as a work in progress. But, a perfect work in progress all the same. (Don’t let my mom see how messy my room is)

I’m not going to waste my day thinking about how my ass looks in these leggings. I have 3000000000 things to do today that don’t require my ass looking good. The people that I want in my life think hot because of my mind, my passion, and my confidence. My body is can just be a bonus for them 😉 When I was a successful athlete at 130 pounds, I still looked at the scale and wanted to scream. For me, and I know for a lot of you, losing the weight isn’t gonna make you feel fulfilled. You have to reject this idea that there’s a standard of “perfection” that is right around the corner. I promise, you’re not gonna hit it, no matter how much you don’t eat or how hard you sweat. It doesn’t exist, babe. Your body isn’t begging you for perfection, it’s begging you for acceptance. The minute you accept your reality, love your realistic skin, and start the hustle for the RIGHT reasons, that’s when you’ll see some major changes.

So, let’s not get it twisted. I know I’m hot – thick thighs, big ass, layer of chub and all. I don’t need the outward verbalization. I know. I also know that there’s always room for improvement. My body every step of the way, though is as beautiful as I portray it to be. THAT’S how you make it sustainable, my love. You don’t give yourself another option. When you believe that that’s the only possible option, you present one version to the world. People will not only fully see and believe that version of you, but they’ll be in awe of how someone could be so unapologetically confident in their beautiful skin.

Forgiving, But Not For Nothing

I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of love and support that I got in my last blog. At the time of writing this, this website with ONE (1) post has over 425 visitors. 300 interactions in the first 24 hours. That’s so crazy guys (and yes, I did cry tears of happiness. Lots of them.)

I wanted to kind of follow up my first post with how to forgive, even when your mind has created these super high walls. Forgiving, even when the other party probably doesn’t deserve it. Forgiving for the right reasons. Forgiving for your own growth and for your own ability to turn the page.

In the past, I always said that I don’t want to carry around resentment and anger. There’s a difference, though, between saying that and meaning it. I found that in the past I was saying it as a tool to get back in my ex’s life. I would say that I didn’t want the resentment as an attempt to become friends with my ex, bring him back into my life, whatever. I missed him, so I convinced myself and those who questioned me, that forgiving him was the best thing for ME. It was really the best way to see him and get back into the cycle of bullshit with him again.

Recently, I sent a message that didn’t need a follow up. I didn’t need a reaction or an argument. I hammered the final nail into the coffin containing the past, toxic, unhealthy Emily. I fucking forgave them. I wished them the best. And most importantly, I forgave myself.

Now, I was super manipulated and I don’t want to belittle that pain or that process. You learned in my last post that I actually learned quite a bit about future relationships and about myself through those trying times. But, being the victim in some sense doesn’t change the fact that some of the things that I said or did warranted an apology. It’s not based on who he is, it’s based on who I am. I needed to put out in the universe how I was feeling. Even if I’m blocked and they never, ever see it. Even if they read it and don’t think it’s genuine. Even if they don’t care at all. For so long, I had sucked so much toxicity out of the universe and implemented it into my life, I needed to throw some positivity back.

So, I apologized – for things that I was actually sorry for, and nothing that I didn’t feel warranted an apology on my end. I didn’t feel coerced to say it. I didn’t think there was going to be this big “Aha!” moment when I hit send that gave me something in return. The only acknowledgement I’ve seen was someone calling me a “dumb ass jealous girl” which is OKAY! If that’s how they read it and viewed it, that’s totally fine. It’s not by any means how I meant it, nor is it how I felt/feel. BUT, that’s the thing babe – the only thing you can control is you. If you give a genuine apology or act from a genuine place in your heart, you can’t change how people react to that.

I said sorry because that’s what I needed to do for myself. The weight on my chest that I had clearly acted out of a toxic place and out of character still bothered me to this day – after months of no contact. It was a signal to myself and the universe, “hey dude, I’m done here. Let’s move on.”

In the message, which you can see a bit of above, I said that I’m happy for my ex and his new girlfriend. For the first time in years, I genuinely am. I struggled so much with the complicated emotions of not wanting to personally be with him, but also not wanting him to be happy with someone new. It sounds crazy, I know. But that’s totally natural, and takes a lot to get over!

Now, just as I hope it for myself, I hope that he finds a fulfilling and healthy relationship. I was not put on this Earth to love him as I once thought I was. But, he was also not put onto this Earth to have a presence in my life. As soon as I took that power back, I let it go like it never had existed.

I had to find closure myself. Which is unfair and shitty – but clearly, it helped me reach a higher form of myself and a higher form of clarity. Honestly guys, I did go a little loco. I let myself sink to a place that was dangerous for another person & almost blame my mental health deficits completely on them; taking responsibility for nothing. It made it really easy to move on physically, but hard to actually turn the page without getting some paper cuts.

Babe, that closure and calm is there. I found it. Today, I am able to wish someone who hurt the fuck out of me healing and strength. I didn’t feel genuine about that for a long, long time. But now, as I hope it for myself, I hope it for those who have ever been touched by me. I hope it for him and his new girlfriend. Their mistakes and memories are theirs. They have absolutely nothing to do with what we had. Furthermore, because he’s in a new relationship doesn’t mean that I wasn’t enough. It means that I finally figured out what I was worth, what I wanted, and what I would stand for – and none of that was him. At the end of the day, he will never be with another girl like me – and that’s good because IT WAS TOXIC AND ABUSIVE.

No, I don’t ever want another girl to be hurt like I was again. That part still stands even in the presence of an apology. I’m not condoning his treatment of me. The difference here, is that my apology is for MY words and MY actions. My healing, however, will fill the void of an apology from him. I don’t need it. I don’t really want it. An apology shouldn’t be given in hopes of being reciprocated and it’s definitely not some ploy to get back into their life. There is so much power in being able to say “Yeah, you fucked me over, but I forgive YOU because I’m strong.” After sending that message, I felt like a badass. I felt like an adult for apologizing for acting out, but also felt like a queen for forgiving people who I don’t want as friends, followers, or loved ones. I apologized purely because I felt I needed to. Empowering af.

And babe, you will KNOW when you’re ready to take ownership and apologize. There’s a difference between saying you’re happy for them and actually being happy for them. For the first time, I don’t give a shit if I’m blocked or not. I don’t give a fuck if they’re talking badly about me. I said my peace and I can’t control anyone’s actions from here. Another thing – you can want happiness for someone without being an active part of their life. As I said in my message, my life runs more smoothly all the way around when he’s not here. Lesson learned. So, I can just have positive vibes in the world without being a bystander of that happiness, ya know?

So, my friends, don’t forgive because you think it will make the situation better. If you don’t feel it, don’t say it. In my case, part of my forgiveness process was recognizing myself as a player in this back and forth. For me, it meant apologizing for acting as someone I wasn’t for so long and it might not for you! If you’re gonna forgive someone, don’t disservice yourself or them by just blowing smoke. Feel it. Speak it. Analyze it. Forgive for others, but don’t forget to forgive for your own healing and serenity too.