When I was younger, I looked forward to “retiring” and doing the things I love to do. Now that the time is here, sooner than I thought, I’m afraid I won’t be able to do the things I love. Even though I was born with a congenital heart defect and health care professionals have ALWAYS been a part of my life, I never once considered that I might have to stop working because of my health – not once. Until now.
It has been almost six months since my diagnosis and the beginning of my treatments, and I am happier than I ever was before. I am thankful that through my struggle with mental illness I made the decision to be a real person with real feelings instead of an empty shell with a smile permanently plastered on my face. I would rather learn to love myself for the mess I am than hate myself for not being perfect.
Sarah is on of the thousands of brave women who found her own solutions to overcoming vulvodynia, a female health disorder that affects as many as 1 on 12 women. One of the reasons I wrote Rethinking Women's Health was because of the sheer numbers of women like Samantha who shared their brave stories on Facebook Support Groups. These women go through countless doctors and years of pain before they find answers. The good news is that there are answers if you are persistent in advocating for your health. This is Sarah's story:
Becky is a cheerful Lifestyle Blogger from the UK who contacted me about writing this post on her unexpected bout with anxiety. I think it is important to note that someone as chipper as this go-getter can experience periods in life when mental health is a challenge. Anxiety and depression don't discriminate, and it is up to us to find the tools and get the help needed to come through the other side.
One of my favorite quotes in a particular organization that I belong to is, "We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others." It embodies my life today—a life that at one time was drifting and sinking into a very deep abyss.
Please click the link below to read January's Newsletter.
Jessica is one of those calm, competent women you meet and think, "Now that lady has it all together." She is smart, accomplished, and unflappable. As a person who is easily "flapped," I admired her instantly. My respect for her deepened when I learned that her capabilities endure in spite of, not because of, her life story. Jessica has been through the proverbial ringer with her family of origin and her marriage. This woman is a dandelion and will bloom in the most inhospitable environments. She has set out to change the course. Steadily, lovingly, and daringly, Jessica does not accept that a past must determine a future. Here is her story:
So many families have been scraped raw by addiction. I love hearing recovery stories, but I am also aware of the fact that addiction is a family disease. Landon's story helps us share in the despair and hope of someone who loves an addict. This is his story:
Learning to love our bodies is a life-long process, that ironically, gets easier as we get older and look worse! Why couldn't we have appreciated out teenaged bodies? Andrea Rodgers is one of those women that looks like a workout commercial, and still, she struggled with self-image for years. Apparently, none of us are immune. I like the her honesty over her obsession. I also like how her goal changed over time. This is her story:
As a person who dealt with depression for the majority of my life, I was always skeptical when I met people who had "healed" from mental illness. Lindsay Wilson was no exception. When I heard that she dealt with her health naturally, I thought, "Well, she couldn't have been as bad as me." Turns out she was simply very courageous. She offers all of us hope, a new perspective on mental breakdowns, and practical solutions. This is her story:
Our culture is stacked against parents who want to raise healthy kids. Here's how to become a health rebel.
So, I turned 40 this year. And I’m tired. I’m so tired. And I’m sick of hearing myself respond to people when they ask how I am that I’m freaking tired. So, I set out to NOT say how tired I am. Instead, I’m writing about it. Nobody cares. We’re all tired.
My husband, Dan, and I started out our married life the way so many young people do…in debt! We had both graduated with bachelors’ degrees and both had great jobs lined up after graduation. The large student loan debts that got us to those great jobs seemed like a “normal” part of young adult life. And so, we made plans to carry around this baggage for years and just pay it off as we went along. It was what so many others just like us were doing and seemed like a very mature way to handle things.
I haven’t always been so friendly with my body. As a matter of fact I can hardly remember a time when I wasn’t in a battle with it. At a very young age I learned that my body wasn’t acceptable. I dieted, over exercised, starved and binged on unhealthy food. I tried to change my body and found that it rebelled riotously. It grew bigger, got sick and I grew angrier.
This unhealthy behavior led to sickness, weight gain and aclinical diagnosis of depression. I felt as if I was losing control of my life. I was going through a divorce, my dog died, my mother was sick and I felt as if I was trapped in a box of negativity. I couldn't see anything beyond my misery and unhappiness. I was filled with guilt because I knew I was not being a great mother, and my smart, beautiful daughter had a front row seat to me losing myself. This lasted over a year.
I searched my facebook pictures and discovered I had not one picture from the last decade without a kid, a husband, or a farm animal in it. Anyway, I'm pretty sure he wanted professional pictures. The only thing I have been professional at in the last ten years is motherhood. I am proud of this, but I do not think yoga pants were what James had in mind.
Small changes maybe - ones that ultimately leave us still in charge are okay. I've done lots of these over the past five years as we moved to a more natural, healthy lifestyle. But its the BIG changes that we refuse to let happen: the changes of heart, the total surrender.
I found Kathryn on Goodreads last week and was struck by her story. She understands that victimhood is a way of life for some people. It seems to haunt them from childhood into their adult years. She also understands that once you find the deep well of inner strength to throw off victimhood, strength can become a way of life. Here is her story.
I had my first of three children over ten years ago now. The fact that I have a ten-year-old child does not really compute in my brain. I am still young and young people do not have ten year-olds. My next child is eight and the last is five-"and-a-half." But I didn't become a mother ten years ago. I think I became a mom about three or four years ago.
Here is how I stumbled on my own healing from vulvodynia.
I went to over fifteen doctors looking for cures or even just relief from the time I was eighteen until I finally healed at the age of thirty-five. I tried everything from lidocaine to antidepressants, to asking to have my labia removed just to keep from wanting to claw out my private parts.