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A Letter to the Autoimmune Community #A4Amonth

Posted by Connie on Monday, August 27th, 2012 at 10:02 pm and is filed under Advocate, Autoimmune Disease.
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Prompt: Write a letter to your community and share a story of your own with them. Extra points if you record yourself reading the letter telegram-style!

Dear Autoimmune Community,

I hope that this letter finds you well. As much as I don’t want to share the autoimmune conditions with you, I’m grateful for your support and proud to be a member of such a brave and optimistic community.

I felt the need to share this story with you so that you may find some encouragement. As you know I was diagnosed with the first autoimmune disease over 20 years ago. After that diagnosis, others followed. When I received the diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis at the age of 40 (9 years ago), I went into a deep depression. I was blind to it and chalked it up to fatigue and weakness.

Thankfully, a family member talked to me without holding anything back and without fear that I would get angry with her. She shared some examples of my behavior and she knew that I indeed was weak and tired, but that more of my symptoms mimicked depression. She suggested that I see my neurologist and find a psychiatrist.

Sad WomanAt first I was hurt and put her into the category of people who didn’t understand. After taking about a week to think about it, I began to realize that she might be right. I did what she suggested and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I began treatment with medication, talk therapy with the doctor and therapy with a counselor. The clouds were parting and glimpse of sun were coming through.

It took some time, but I began to feel much more content. To this day, I continue treatment and am proactive when my emotions get the best of me. Doses of medications may need to be changed or new meds may be started. I might need to add more counseling sessions. But the difference from how I felt 9 years ago compared to now is astounding.

Please don’t think that I believe your symptoms aren’t real. All I ask is that you learn about symptoms of depression and anxiety or listen if someone you love suggests you may have emotional problems. Your quality of life can improve.

 

My best,

Connie

This is the final day of WEGO Health’s Advocating for Another Blog Carnival.

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Dear 16 Year Old Me #HAWMC

Posted by Connie on Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 at 10:47 pm and is filed under Healthy or Not.
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Prompt: Dear 16-year-old-me. Write a letter to yourself at age 16. What would you tell yourself? What would you make your younger self aware of?

Background info: At the early age of 16, I had already started drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. I believe I began experimenting with other drugs later that year too. And my dating life was in full swing. Panic attacks would rarely hit, but when they did they were bad enough to make me feel faint and unable to be around others.

Survival Secret

Dear 16 Year Old Me,

Your beauty is unfolding, but you still believe that you look hideous. Your family life is in constant turmoil and  instead of talking about it, you cover those feelings by getting drunk or high. Your refuge is going out on the weekends and going to school (as much you tell everyone you hate it). Able to eat anything and not gain an ounce, you cry wishing you looked normal instead of thin. The teasing by girls and even worse by boys is incessant and you take every jeer to heart.

Look around at those friends who love you, who stick up for you. Those are people who care about you. When your parents fight, it isn’t your fault. Don’t take the blame. Learn to accept them for who they are: incapable of giving affection, but loving parents with issues of their own. If it gets to be too much to handle, talk to your favorite teacher. She would listen and get you help.

When you feel that fear creeping in, don’t stifle your feelings. Let your mother know. She understands because she has anxiety too and so does your younger sister. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Eat and enjoy it! Think of what those bullies will look like just 5 or 10 years from now. While you’ll stay thin for a long time and have curves in the right places. They’ll be wishing they could be like you when the pounds start adding on.

Live in the moment, naturally. You never know what the future will bring and that lesson will come in very handy one day.

And most of all, love yourself. You are funny, smart, a good friend, a loving daughter and sister, and pretty.

New Attitude

Posted by Connie on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 at 2:14 am and is filed under Healthy or Not, Loving Life.
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An attitude adjustment has been necessary for some time now. I’ve noticed that I linger on things, harbor them inside for a long time which causes me who knows how much stress and anxiety. In the end all this does is make me sicker. Do I need or want sicker? No thank you!

So my attitude adjustment comes via realizing that my mother is 79 years old, my oldest daughter will soon be 22 and is getting married next year, my other daughter is almost 10 and my life is flashing before my eyes. Instead of focusing on the hurtful things I want to put my energy into the loving moments and create more of them.

I’ve begun to find small ways to be more kind to my family. I believe that I am more caring and considerate of other people than the dearest and most loved people in my life. It was an easy habit for me to get into. I always try to smile and not complain about things but when I’m home or talking on the phone to family and friends, I let it all go. They hear all about my problems, how much I hurt and I feel it’s acceptable to get angry with them because they love me and should understand.

As tough as this is, I’m trying my best to stop. I’ve asked my husband to call me out on it when I start. If I’m not happy about something I can quietly talk to him about it but not let him take the brunt of everything. I do need an outlet for my feelings so I plan on using my blog, or a journal, prayer and as I said talking over things with family, but not barraging them with complaints.

I feel better already just recognizing this and wanting to work on it.

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