Search

Danielle Ione

Romance Writer. Twin Mama. Wife. Sarcasm enthusiast. Mental Health Awareness. LBGT Advocate.

Month

September 2015

Confessions

I have something to confess, and it’s not going to be easy. I’m sure once I’m done writing this, I won’t even have the guts to re-read it.

It’s something that needs to be said, a story that needs to be told.

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of article about heavy medications being FDA approved for off label use in children.  I’ll be honest, every time I read one of those articles, my heart constricts.  Because I remember what it was like to be a medicated child.  I remember the numbness, the cloudiness, the out of body feeling every time I woke up.  I remember it all and the thought of another child going through it without having any idea of what it would be like, it scares the hell out of me.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes medications are the answer, but a lot of the articles I’ve been reading have been the use of strong, heavy for adults, medications for behavior issues.  Not mental illness, not autism, not an actual condition, but to get them to sit still while in school or to not throw temper tantrums like children do.  And that, God, that kills me.

I want nothing more than to shout it from the roof tops that this idea of medications being the answer for everything in this life is so incredibly wrong.  But I’m just one voice, one tiny tiny voice shouting against thousands of louder ones.  There’s not much I can do about that, but I can tell my story.  And that’s what I plan on doing, at least a part of it.

I was only twelve when I was put on my first medication.  It seemed like the best solution.  I was showing signs of severe depression, severe anxiety, among other issues.  Now, the issue wasn’t just that I had more severe symptoms than the average child going into adolescence.  Of course, that played a part, but there was something a lot more important and that was that my biological Dad is a drug addict and we knew that his addiction stemmed from something just as serious, and that was a mental disorder.  Bipolar, most likely.  I showed signs of being like him, mentally, with an imbalance, and the thought alone scared the shit out of my parents, and out of me.  I was young, but I knew his story, and I knew that was not how I wanted to turn out.  Medication for us was the best choice, at the time at least, because there was such a large possibility that I could get worse, that I could go down the road that he went, and that’s something we wanted to avoid.  I don’t regret it, not completely anyway, because at the time, my parents and i did what we felt was right, what we felt would keep me safe.  It’s hard, you know, not knowing how to prevent something that could very well be hereditary.  So, we ventured into the world of medication in hopes of a fix, in hopes that it could solve my issues, solve the fear we all had that my life wasn’t going to be as bright if I didn’t get some help.  We had no idea what we were getting into, but I don’t regret it, because for a little while, it helped.  It gave us some peace of mind.  My grades improved, my mood improved, and I was doing well, until I wasn’t, until I built up a tolerance, until I became my illness.

I remember being so terrified to take these pills and I remember feeling stupid that I was so scared of them.  They were just pills.  Tiny little pills.  All I had to do was swallow them.  Drink them down with a glass of water, and I would be okay.  I would be normal.  I would be like my peers, I would be less like my father, I would be happy.  But, I think somewhere in my mind, I knew that they could be dangerous, even if I didn’t really know the ramifications of them.

I cried a lot the first few weeks.  I felt so foreign, like my body didn’t belong to me.  I had a really hard time adjusting, thinking, keeping myself awake.  I was in school walking around like a zombie.  I didn’t want to talk to anyone, didn’t want to see anyone.  I was so hopeful in the beginning, but that hope started to fade.

My doctor assured me that it could take four to six weeks until I felt normal, whatever that word really meant.  I nodded, said okay, and continued to struggle with how I felt.  It’s hard for me to remember everything from that time period, in fact, I have an extremely difficult time remembering a lot from my ten year walk with medications.   Some parts are blurry, hard for me to even picture.  I remember how I felt, but I can’t remember how I looked or sounded when I talked to other people.  I can’t remember if, in those first few weeks, I snapped at my mom or gave her attitude like I had been known to do.  But I do remember how I felt, and I felt…desolate.

Before the medications, I didn’t even feel that depressed or hopeless.  I just thought that was normal, and to me, it was my normal.  But after the medications, in that adjustment period, everything just felt bleak, and I constantly contemplated if it was worth it, if living this way was worth it.

But, like clock work, the fifth or six week came and I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I wasn’t so exhausted and I didn’t feel so alone.  I was getting better.  I can’t even begin to explain the relief that came from it, from going from thinking suicidal thoughts to smiling and laughing.  I think that first bout of medications lasted the longest than all the others I had taken.  I was starting to act like a normal kid, even though I still struggled with the side effects, my mood was better and that’s what I was happy about.  Of course though, the other shoe had to drop at some point.

At some point, the side effects became more apparent and they came out of no where.  Headaches, exhaustion, my eyes were dilated to the point where my sister constantly asked if I was using drugs.  They never went down, you never saw the greens and yellows that encircled my eyes, all you saw was black.  It wasn’t just the eyes though, I was starting to get sick.  At some point, I was constantly feeling sick to my stomach.  I couldn’t eat, which made me lose more weight.  I was already 110 lbs, soaking wet, I didn’t have much more to lose.  And once the side effects showed their faces, the medications stopped working as well, if at all.

This is where I went down the long road of changing medications, desperately seeking that relief I once felt from my thoughts, and failing miserably as more and more medications were piled on and more and more medications made it worse.  The more they added, the more dark I went.  I was an eight grader having to be watched by my school counselor because I was afraid that I would give in, that I would hurt myself.  And I did, a lot.

I could explain how it felt every time I changed a medication, but it would be repetitive, I guess all you need to know is that I never felt settled.  I hurt, mentally and physically.  I felt heavy, and dragged on because these pills made it hard for me to move my body.  The medications either made it so I couldn’t sleep, or made it so I only wanted to sleep for eighteen hours at a time.  I never felt like myself.  I felt trapped in my own foggy brain, trying to claw out an escape.

As I got older, I accepted that it was my norm.  As I got older, I accepted that this would be my life.  As I got older, the side effects got worse, as did the disorders.

Part of the issue will always be with the doctors.  There’s this standard where throwing medications in their patients way, without talking to them, discussing things with them, happens all too often.  I’ve seen dozens of doctors over the years, and they were all the same.  Some were worse than others, but for the most part, it seemed that they were all too focused on meditating, and not focused enough on fixing the issue at hand.  I had a lot of issues that I needed to face, but didn’t until I had already made mistakes, burned bridges that I still wish I hadn’t, and until I was able to see and think clearly.  Not all doctors are bad, but the norm these days seem to be solving side effects with medications, which forms more side effects that are treated with more medications.  The cycle is vicious, and it’s hard to escape. But that’s a story for another time.

I tried, many times, to get off of the medications.  I would be successful for a couple weeks, maybe a month or two, and then would relapse, hard.  And those withdrawals from the meds, in those first few days after not taking those magically evil pills, they were almost worse than the relapse.  Some days, I couldn’t stand, hell, I couldn’t even lay down, without feeling the world spin.  The pain, the nausea, the misfiring in my brain because I didn’t have those extra chemicals running through my body, it was killer.  I felt alone, and afraid, a common theme when dealing with this stuff.  And the relapses, they got worse every time.  I think at some point, my brain, my body, it had no idea how to function without added chemicals.

I pushed through though, always finding a small relief in the brief months that the medications would work.  I would add more and more until I was taking seven different types a day just to function.  But those last couple years, when I was well out of my childhood years, married and supposed to be living a sane adult life, the side effects really took a toll.  I gained weight fast, especially when my husband left for basic training.  My anxiety was crippling, I hated leaving the house, but the withdrawals from the clonapin or xanax never felt worth it.  I had a seizure, I was constantly sick, and I developed a twitch that only .5% of patients would get.  At some point, I was just tired.  Sick and fucking tired, of being sick, of not being able to just get better because if it wasn’t my mental stability, it was my physical health.  I was done.  So incredibly done.

The withdrawal from all seven of those pills was pretty grueling, but I had enough experience in it that I knew what I needed.  I needed at least three days of posting up on a couch so I could battle the headaches and the dizziness and the sickness.  And I needed something to keep me busy because the chemicals would leave me, and I would be left in shock.  And I needed a backup plan in case it all went down hill.  It never occurred to me how sad it was that I had developed that kind of program for withdrawals since I was a kid.

But, I got through it.  And I promised myself, if I could just make it a month without the medications, I would be proud.  I wanted so badly to just be better, because my quality of life wasn’t just ruining me, it was hurting my husband as well.  I had to man up, grow up, and take this medication free life by the horns.  I did, it wasn’t easy, but I did.  I found myself wishing I had a xanax or my anti-psychs just to make it through the day, but I never took them, reminding myself of how bad it was.

In that time of heeling, repairing years of destruction done, I had a lot of time to think and I realized a lot.

I realized that I couldn’t remember a lot of things I did in those ten years.  I remembered the highs, the mental highs, the memory highs, but when I was low, when the meds weren’t working or I was withdrawing or on a new one, it was all too fuzzy to remember.

I realized that I spent a lot of time feeling sick when that wasn’t normal.

I realized that had I been stronger, sooner, I could have improved my life.

But most of all, I realized that medications aren’t for kids, not the ones that aren’t needed.

Because as a kid, I had no idea the ramifications.  I had no idea what was normal, what wasn’t normal, what this all meant for me.  As a kid, I had no idea that I was going to have a different childhood.  I had a family, with a roof over my head, a pool in my backyard, food to eat, a dog to play with, a Step Dad to watch DVD’s with, but that along with those things came so much more.  It meant medications, dosing, gauging my moods, gauging my side effects, plans to help myself when shit hit the fan.  It meant growing up in one way, while missing my childhood in others.  It meant trying to fit in with the other kids in school, while battling depression, medications, doctors.  It meant feeling alone because I was sure no one understood.  It meant having to try and understand things that a child shouldn’t have to, like looking out for signs of crashing, or maintaining suicidal thoughts.  And it meant keeping quiet about the way these medications hurt me, because I didn’t know any better, because I was embarrassed, because I was tired of being a burden, because I thought that was what my life was supposed to be.

It wasn’t all the medications, I know that.  A lot of it was the disorder, but the medications, the switching, the increasing doses, the chemicals in my body from such a young age, that crippled me in a lot of ways I didn’t realize until I was done.  And sometimes, I have a hard time looking people in the eye from my past, talking to certain people, knowing that in my illness induced mind, I hurt them, that when I was struggling with these medications and was too overwhelmed to function, I hurt them.  I want to be able to take it back, to apologize, but using these things as an excuse for my actions seems…wrong somehow.
And I have a hard time seeing these articles where they’re prescribing heavy medications to get kids to sit still, to behave better, to be different, because I know the path they’re going to go down.  And I know the way it’s going to hurt.  I know the way it’s going to feel as if you’re yelling, screaming, as loud as you can to tell someone, anyone that these things are hurting you, but nothing comes out, you’re silent, and no improvements come.  I hope that in this extremely personal post that someone can read it and think twice about medications, or relate in some way.  I know that some medications are necessary, and I fully support those, but some need to be thought about twice, three times, maybe more.  Because unless you’re the one taking them, unless you’ve been there, you’re going to have no idea what it feels like.  It’s not talked about nearly enough.  That needs to change, and that starts here.

I’m now twenty-five years old.  I’m coming up on three years un-medicated.  And I’m seeing things so clearly.  Instead of medication being the first step, there needs to be more people teaching coping mechanisms, ways to think positively and healthily, ways to fix your issues or make them easier to handle.  That’s what’s important, that’s what made my quality of life improve in wa way I never imagined. If i hadn’t changed or gotten off of the medications, I wouldn’t have had the life everyone told me I would never have.  It was hard, and sometimes i wanted to give up, but it was worth it.

Feel free to share your stories, or to ask questions, I want nothing more than to help make a change.

Advertisements

The Yes Girl by K Webster

The Yes Girl by K Webster

There’s a part inside of each of us that’s eager to please.  A part of us that wants to be the recipient of someone’s smile and praise.  A part of us that wants to be known as the agreeable one.  This quiet, lovable creature within is called The Yes Girl.

Can you and the kids come to Ethan’s party on Saturday?  Yes.

Can you bring refreshments to Bunko since Susan had to cancel at the last minute?  Yes.

Can you donate just five dollars to this simple cause?  Yes.

Eventually, after a lifetime of practiced yesses, The Yes Girl becomes strong.  She dons a brilliant white cape and she places her pale booted foot upon that gigantic rock of life and leans into the wind, a sweet smile upon her face.  The Yes Girl is reliable and a sure bet.  A girl who will help you out when no one else can.

But at some point, The Yes Girl begins to dole out yesses that should be noes.  She starts to feel the pressure of too many people coming forward with their requests.  Her reputation says she’ll say yes, after all.

Can you watch my kids so my husband and I can have a date weekend?  I know you did it three months in a row but I promise I’ll pay you back with your own date night next month.

Can you adopt this kitten?  My cat had a litter of them and I hate to take them to the pound.

Can you lend me forty dollars until pay day?  I know I still owe you the sixty so this’ll make it an even hundred.

The Yes Girl, with frustrated tears in her eyes and with overwhelming embarrassment, throws in the towel.  She retreats into the shadows and hides.

But don’t worry, The Yes Girl is protected.  The No Girl sharpens her claws, bares her teeth, and goes in for damage control.  She’s been waiting for her moment to shine.

Can you bake brownies for the PTA— No.

My daughter is selling Girl Scout cookies and—No.

Our car broke down and we need—No.

The Yes Girl desperately tugs on The No Girl’s black cape.  “That was my best friend,” she says.  “That lady up at the church has nobody else,” she explains.  “That guy works with my husband,” she tries.  But The No Girl is furious.  Where were these people when she was going crazy from being overworked and overmommed?  When she just needed five minutes to grab a latte along with her sanity?  Where were these so-called friends and family when everyone in the household got the flu and she ended up taking care of everyone despite her illness?  Where were these people when she suffered with depression and sadness and loneliness all the while serving their every whim?

The No Girl knows.  Her words are cold and harsh.  “They were hooking up with another Yes Girl.  But don’t worry, just until you’re better—until you put me back into my cage.”

And so both girls, from opposite sides of the spectrum, face off, wondering what to do.  How to make things right.  How to help but not get taken advantage of.  The Yes Girl wants to run and hide again.  The No Girl thinks they need more knives.

“Maybe you can meet in the middle?”

A girl, dressed in gray, but with a smile that matches The Yes Girl’s and shiny, black boots which make The No Girl envious, emerges from shadows.  She has a solution.  A brilliant idea.

“Yes Girl, straighten your back,” she says.

“No Girl, use this file for those nails of yours,” she instructs.

The girls step back and let The Maybe Girl do her job.

Can you come to the Christmas Party?  We might be able to.

Can you bake cookies for the bake sale at school?  Probably not, but I can pick up some paper plates and plastic forks.

Can you watch little Aiden on Friday since I have to work and nobody else can help?  I don’t mind this one time…But I’ll need to bring my kiddos over Wednesday for a few hours while I take care of some errands (the toes don’t do themselves).

The Yes Girl is stunned into silence.  The No Girl is nodding her head—this could work.  And the Maybe Girl hugs them both.

“You,” she tells them with a kind smile, “are the most important.  And the ones who love you will understand when you say maybe.  The ones who don’t understand can take a hike.”

And so all three girls learn how to manage their time and decisions when it comes to other people with a healthy balance of yesses, noes, and maybes.  They lived very happily ever after.

Moral of the story:  Don’t be a Yes Girl.  Don’t be a No Girl.  Be a Maybe Girl…she has cool shoes and free time.

An open letter to the mothers who have forgotten who they are

An open letter to those mothers who have forgotten who they are.

You are not lost, not forever, at least.  It’s going to be hard for you to remember who you are, as a person, aside from being the mother, wife, and writer that you are.  It happens, it’s normal, it’s life. Don’t let it get you down, don’t let it define your moods, because underneath the food stained clothes, the harebrained mind, and the ever frazzled expression, you are a strong woman.

Sometimes it takes remembering who you were, to make you realize who you are now.

Years ago, you were a completely different person.  You let the past make you who you are.  You described yourself as your illness, as your past, as your tragedy, but never as you were.  And over the years, you embodied all these different hobbies, likes, dislikes, opinions that you don’t necessarily agree with now.  You did that to fit in, or to appease someone else, or to feel as if you were normal, but I’m here to tell you, that it’s okay to be who you are, love what you love, and be comfortable in your own skin.

There will be days where your kids are driving you insane with tantrums, and where you feel like everything you do won’t ever be enough, and times where you feel as if you’re crawling out of your skin because you just can’t get your head together.  But just remember that you are strong, you are intelligent, you are you.  Who that person is, you’re still searching to find out but what’s what’s important, that’s what matters.

You may not be the girl you used to be but that just means you’re turning into the woman you always wanted to be.  You have the foundation.  You have the support.  Now put the rest of the pieces together.

Who you are.  What you love.  It all matters.  Big things, small things, it all makes a difference in what makes you, you.

Don’t get so lost in the daily life of a stay at home mom that you forget that you are a person too. That you deserve to take care of yourself, too.

Go out.  Have fun.  Re-discover your passion in the small things like politics or TV shows, or hell, even food.  Who knows what it’ll be, just know that the journey to doing it, to figuring yourself out again, is the fun part.  It’s trial and error but the best part about it is you already have the amazing home life.  You already have the phenomenal children to make your heart happy and you already have that amazing husband who keeps your heart beating, and you already have your dreams in front of you.  Now, it’s just time to find the rest of it.  You’ll have a family to share it with, and you have friends to help you experience it.  You’ve got this.

You are strong.

Your are intelligent.

And you are a person who deserves to put herself first once in a while.

Having the personality trait of the caregiver means that you don’t always think of yourself first.  When you wake up, you think about your kids, your husband, and then you.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  It just means there’s a little extra work to be put in to find you again. Because your family is your priority but you can be apart of that too.

You’re not alone, either.  There are people all over the world doing the exact same ting you are right now.  You’re not alone, you’re not stupid, you’re not pathetic, you’re just growing. Because parenting, it makes you grow as a person.  You are not the person you were a year ago when the kids were born, because those kids have caused you to grow, to learn, to strengthen.  And when that happens, you change,and it’s for the better, but it also means you have to reevaluate.

Read this in those moments where you just feel so lost.  Read this in those moments where you feel overwhelmed.  Read this in those moments where you feel like you’re too tired, or too busy, to take care of you.

You are important.

You are important.

You are fucking important.

Remember that.

Limitless Cover Reveal!

image

The day I’ve been waiting for is finally here! I can’t thank my cover designer, Shari Ryan, enough for how amazing this cover turned out! Isn’t she talented?
I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone that helped me spread the word for this awesome occasion. Y’all have truly made me so grateful to be apart of this community!

Book: Limitless: The Story of Knox and Emery Jane
Author: Danielle Ione
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Date Published: October 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Knox appears to have the perfect life. He’s a photographer, living on the beach in sunny southern California, and a father of an intelligent little boy. Although, not everything is as it seems. Underneath it all, Knox lives a lonely life, filled with meaningless moments leading up to the 60 minutes he spends with his son every day. Until he met Emery Jane. Suddenly, the black and white world he lives in becomes brighter and the void of loneliness disappears. But, Knox holds a secret, one that could crush the promises of a future with the one woman he has grown to love, and the son he would do anything for.

Six years ago, Emery Jane ran. She ran from her past, from the people she loved, the secrets that were buried six feet under, and from her own living, breathing nightmare. Emery Jane longs for a life of normalcy and living in paradise seems like the perfect place to find it. She never expected to meet Knox, or his beautiful little boy, and she certainly didn’t expect to love them so fiercely. As she embraces the unexpected she can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, showing her that life doesn’t always have to be so unnerving. But Emery Jane knows that with secrets come destruction, and that destruction is knocking on her door.

As their pasts collide, inviting havoc into their lives, their limits are tested as they try to survive. Will the evils that chase them win, bringing everything crashing down around them? Or, can they both fight through the darkness and live a life of happiness?
Amazon
Goodreads

Twitter
Facebook
Website

A Reminder.

Everyday cannot be perfect. You cannot be perfect. And that’s okay because

There is no such thing as perfect.

There is no such thing as truly normal.

There’s this thing that all people do; they try to fit themselves into this tiny, perfectly shaped box when, by nature, human beings are too unique to do so. We all try to fit into this mold of perfect and normal when those two words are nearly impossible to define. My sense of perfect, my idea of normal, will not be the same as most people. And most people’s normal, their idea of perfect, will not match mine. That’s just it. That’s how it goes.
I spend so much of my time trying so hard to be perfect. Trying to paint this picture of what I want to be, but sometimes missing the mark.
I try to be the perfect mom. The one who never loses patience, or the one who never feels overwhelmed. Or even the one who can some how manage to keep the house clean, despite the fact that I have a twin-ado that strikes everyday, multiple times a day.
And I try to be the perfect wife. The wife who has it all together. The one who can keep the house spotless and have food made without burning it on the new (and in my opinion, evil and useless) flat top electric stove. The wife who never carries attitude in her tone for no reason other than because the day has been stressful and overwhelming and is taking it out on the wrong person.
And I try so hard to be the perfect version of who I want to be. The one who doesn’t have slip ups, every once in awhile, in the mental health department. The woman who takes on the world and handles it with ease. The one who tackles writing books, taking care of tiny humans, cooking, cleaning, and spending quality time with her husband, with her family, without dropping the ball on one of those on her list. The woman who takes the extra time to do her hair and makeup just to give herself a little confidence booster. The one who never makes a mistake. The woman who plans on going to school, until she’s in her thirties, with no sense of fear that she might fail despite every time she’s tried to follow her dream, where school is involved, she has fallen straight on her face.
I write that and I’m reading the words and laughing at myself. In my mind, it seems so black and white. Be perfect. Do everything right. When its not how life works. And that’s okay.
As much as I try to fit myself into this box of what my definition of perfect is for myself, for my life, I see that it is impossible.
It’s impossible because perfect does not exist. It’s impossible because in life, there are bound to be bumps in the road. It’s impossible because those expectations are just ridiculous.
I need to remember that just because I want to be able to achieve all of these things for myself, doesn’t mean that when I don’t, that I’m failing because in reality, it just makes me human.
I need to remember to take pride in what I do accomplish every. Single. Day.
Like being able to make my kids laugh so hard they snort, making me laugh so hard my face hurts.
Or being able to provide a healthy and stable home life, filled with smiles, laughter, support, and tons of cuddles because they deserve it.
Or the fact that in less than a year I’ve written two full books and I’m now working on the third. And not only that, these books are being published. I followed a dream I never had the balls to follow before.
And being able to say that I have the most solid and stable marriage with the most love and happiness I could ever imagine. And we achieved this by being the most Unconventional couple around , treating each other with nothing but respect, and being able to talk things out before the turn into an argument. Because I married my best friend, and that’s the truth.
And the not so little fact that I changed my entire life in what seemed like an overnight event and I work hard at it every single day. Some days are harder than others, but I still fight and I fight hard for this life.
Sometimes I need to take a step back and see this. Because I am human. I am not perfect. And most days, I take pride in what I do. But there are other days where I sit and think about every flaw, every tiny detail that I don’t like, and feel as if I’m not good enough. But its times like those, like tonight, where a good cold slap of reality is needed.
So here it is.
I am not perfect.
I am not normal.
But here’s what I am…
I am loved.
I am happy.
I am living a life I never thought I would be able to have.
I am a good mother.
I am a good wife.
I am alive.
I am breathing.
And I am flawed but those flaws are what make me, me.
Flaws are beautiful anyway.
So remember this on the days where you feel run down, incompetent, not pretty enough, not smart enough, or on the days where too many bad things have happened and you just can’t manage to sift through the gloom to see the light. Because you are worth it.

***this was written on a smart phone so I apologize for any stupid autocorrect mistakes. It happens.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑