Daily Archives: January 14, 2014

Faith Versus Fear

98% of my posts tend to be incredibly personal and this one will be, too. I wrote some time ago that I often feel like a rowboat in the middle of a stormy ocean. The last few weeks have been tumultuous between work, my health and my relationships. I’m so thankful to have amazing friends and family to have helped me through all of this. My faith has also brought me through this difficult time and while I’m certainly not out of the woods, one potential obstacle has been removed and I have no doubt it is due to the prayers I’ve sent above.

Shortly before Christmas, while doing a normal self exam, I noticed a lump in my left breast. I put it to the back of my mind up as best i could until Christmas and then made an appointment with my doctor. I’ve been stressing out over the lump since then in the midst of adjusting to my new job, changing my bipolar meds and trying to let go of The Paramour (and failing miserably at that). To say I’ve been less than pleasant to deal with is an understatement. Still, I know there is nothing I go through alone- God is always with me. I knew that if this lump would be cancerous, that He would get me through it one way or another. My appointment was this morning and I am so relieved and happy to say the lump is nothing more than a benign cyst. I cannot thank God enough for getting me through this.

In the course of this particular obstacle, I once again had the love and support of my wonderful sister and the rest of my family, my extended network of friends and The Paramour. While it’s true I often find myself wondering exactly where God intends for me to go, He never fails to give me what I need to see me through. I still don’t know where I’m headed but I’m so grateful for every day I am alive. Some days may be darkened by my mental illness, but there is always something to hold on for and someone to hold on to.

Finally, my public service announcement- do your self breast exams ladies!

Filed under: Self Discovery, Wellness Warriors Tagged: bipolar, cancer, faith, fear, health, hope

Lipstick and Lithium – a mixture of makeup and madness

Lipstick and Lithium – a mixture of makeup and madness – come see my YouTube Channel Trailer…

Thank You!

Wow! I just got home from work and checked my blog, and I am blown away—I had 277 views yesterday, which has NEVER happened before in the 7 1/2 months I’ve been doing it. I don’t know what caught peoples’ attention, but whoever you all are, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading what I have to say, and giving me hope that I can touch a life here and there…..and perhaps even change one every now and again. :-)

Which Came First?

We often hear people speak of the “chicken or the egg” theory.  Which came first?  The same can be asked of which comes first in people that are both overweight and depressed.  Which came first?  I know that I was overweight as a child.  Was I depressed as I child?  I don’t necessarily think so, but I am both depressed and overweight as an adult. 
I have spent most of my life battling my weight issues.  Scratch that.  I have spent my entire life battling my weight issues.  Did I ever think that seeking treatment for my depression would contribute to that?  Not in a million years.  I don’t completely blame the medications, but I know that the worst of the weight gain started after I began certain medications, and if you research side effects, weight gain is one of the first on the list. 
Yet, I look back on all of these years dealing with this horrific disease, and I see where I went down the wrong path, and self-medicated with food.  I often used food as a comfort for me in dark times. 
The year between my sophomore and junior years in high school was tough for me.  I had decided that I was fat, even though at that time I was just a bit overweight.  That summer my parents allowed me to go away for a few weeks to a nearby college to join a program that offered journalism and other courses for teenagers.  I decided that this was my first time away from the watchful eye of my parents, and I was going to take advantage of it.  I was not going to eat.  At all, ever. 
About 4-5 days in, I was too weak to attend all of the classes and the counselors started to notice.  I finally went to the vending machine and bought a granola bar, and left it on my dresser.  I was pondering whether I was going to eat it.  I fell asleep, and ironically when I woke up, my roommate had eaten it.  My first and only attempt at correcting my behavior, and it was gone. 
After about 8-9 days there, I was going up the stairs on movie night and got to the top of the stairs and my shorts fell to my knees.  I caught them just before I got to where about 30 people could see me.  This should have been embarrassing for me, but I was on Cloud 9.  I had made a lot of friends at that camp, and they realized what was happening and went to a counselor.  She forced me to get into a phone booth and call my mom and tell her I wasn’t eating. 
A couple weeks later, I had been skating by with showing up for lunch and eating part of a salad, and that was it.  The day camp was over, and our parents were coming to get us, mine almost walked right past me because they didn’t recognize me.  I thought this was all great.  I was obviously developing a very bad eating disorder, but I didn’t care.  I finally felt like I was worth something being much thinner. 
Of course, when I got home I abused laxatives consistently because I couldn’t keep up with not eating while my parents were around. 
Eventually, I gained the weight back and spent the next several years going back and forth eating and not eating.  Laxatives and no laxatives.  Trying to throw up, exercising constantly.  What eventually came of all of it? A very screwed up body.  I messed myself up so badly that I could spend a month not eating now and I wouldn’t lose a pound.  I would probably gain weight. 
Now factor in anti-depressants that cause you to wake up in the middle of the night and cook yourself a meal.  There were some mornings I would wake up with food in the bed with me.  The medications had me so out of it that I was basically sleep eating.  The next thing I know, I have gained too much for me to even document, and I am almost 40 years old. 
So, looking back…..I guess in my case, the depression came first.  The low self-esteem and the negative body image caused the depression, which caused the eating disorders, which caused the need for medications.  Now, it’s all become a vicious cycle, because my self-esteem is basically in the garbage from all of this weight gain.  People will say, get off your butt and get in the gym.  Yeah, I’ve done that.  I’ve tried thousand dollar diet programs.  Who knows how much I have spent on diet pills, and yes I have even gone back to old faithful, the laxatives.  None of it sticks for very long because it doesn’t work.  Or the depression creeps back in, worse than ever before and weighs me down so that I can’t even get out of the bed. 
Every year, I swear this will be the year.  I’m going to lose it.  I have to lose it…..one of these days I am going to find out that my health is in jeopardy. 
I know I have to get this done.  Medical professionals can talk to me until their blue in the face about how exercise is so good for depression, and endorphins, and blah blah blah.  That doesn’t even cross your mind when it’s a chore just to take a shower that day. 
I know what I have to do.  I have to stop believing that I will fail.  I am never going to be super skinny, I know that.  It’s just not who I am.  I just want to be healthy, and no longer in pain.  Can I do it?  Of course I can.  Will I?  I sure hope so. 

Wish me luck.  

How to Be FIERCE

I’ve always loved the look of winged eyeliner, but I could never do it myself. I have tons of pictures saved in a folder on my computer that are waiting to be used as inspiration.

Last week, my friend, Megan, came over. She happens to be fantastic with makeup. In fact, she did the makeup for the photo series I did called, “What Does Mental Illness Look Like?“She advised me on which eyeliner to buy, and then she taught me how to use it.

I know that this is an intense, dramatic look, but I LOVE IT. At first I felt awkward saying it, but I really feel more like myself with these wings! Megan explained it best. She said that makeup can show the world how you feel about yourself inside. I have always been a dramatic person, and I love that my makeup can show that in a way that makes me feel attractive and fierce!

So maybe you don’t like the way my makeup looks. That’s fine; it’s not for everyone. But I would encourage you to find some way to make yourself feel fierce. Maybe it’s the color of your hair, a cool graphic tee, or a sexy new bra. It doesn’t have to be as visible as mine. It can even be a little quote you keep in your wallet or picture that reminds you to feel awesome. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it makes you feel good.

And remember, h8rs gonna h8. Not everyone is going to like your choices. However, your opinion is the only one that matters when it comes to your appearance. It is your body. That means you get to do whatever you want with it. Enjoy, and remember to be fierce!

If you’re wondering, I use Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black. I bought mine at ULTA for about $20.
You can check out Megan’s makeup work here.
(Also, it looks like I’ve been wearing that Penn State sweatshirt too much. Those pictures were taken on three different days. Sheesh!)