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Danielle Ione

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

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.

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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!

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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?
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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.

You are not your illness

Reflection
I want to start off by saying, I don’t normally talk a lot about this topic in detail anymore, anymore being the key word.  However, when I was on Time Hop yesterday, a post from four years ago inspired a not so awesome trip down memory lane.  How, you might ask? Well, let me explain.  And bare with me because it’ll be a long post, ten years worth of information kind of long.
I am bipolar.  Or, I was bipolar.  Actually, I prefer that I have no labels because in truth, I don’t know how I should refer to myself in regards to my “mental status”.  I was told once you are diagnosed with something as “severe” as bipolar, it’s not something that goes away, kind of like an addict is always recovering and never recovered.  Why I’m afraid to fully say I am not bipolar is probably something along the lines of superstition or a fear of being jinxed despite how silly that may sound.  I’m sure this isn’t making much sense right now, but don’t worry, it will.
I’ve always been an anxious kid.  I mean seriously, I was afraid of the world.  I was always that one child that went to sleepovers only to call my parents at midnight, crying, and begging to come home.  It wasn’t the boogie man or chuckie that filled me with fear causing me to be anxious all the time, it was just me, my chemical imbalance.

When I was 13 my school suggested that I get seen for ADD. My grades had dropped to a ridiculous low, and by that I mean I had a 0.67 GPA in 7th grade.  I’ll be honest, I don’t remember feeling any different or realizing that there was this trigger that sent me flying into the depths of bad grades and a bleak future.  Honestly, I just felt normal.  Until I went to a child psychiatrist and suddenly the words normal were thrown out the window.  I wasn’t normal.  I remember the exact words she said in regards to what she thought my diagnosis was.  She said I was “severely depressed.” To this day, I still remember being confused.  I was 13, the idea of depression didn’t make that much of an impact.  Sure, I understood the general definition of it, but I had no idea what the true picture of depression was.  How in the hell had I become depressed when I wasn’t even old enough to live life or experience the shitty part of living to become depressed? The rest of that appointment was a blur.  I remember my mom crying, my doctor explaining the pros and cons of medications, and me just sitting there kind of numb.
Medication ended up being the course of action for me, and at the time it made the most sense.  I obviously wasn’t functioning normally and maybe it could get me in a place where I could be a normal kid with decent grades and a life lived without anxiety.  But, I don’t think my family or I ever expected that one appointment to snow ball into a 10 year stint with what I like to call the Mental Illness Game.
Over the years, I struggled to maintain my normalcy as a teenager, going through the fun part of growing into a young woman, and maintaining the stableness of the rest of my fellow peers.  You have to understand something.  At this point in time, mental illness wasn’t what it is today.  There wasn’t as much awareness and acceptance over it.  I’m not saying that it wasn’t seen or that people weren’t diagnosed but it was definitely more taboo when I first got started out into this world.  So, as you can imagine, it was hard for me to connect with other people when the only thing I could think of is; Am I acting okay? Are they looking at me weird? Can they tell something is wrong with me? What if I tell them? Because I really want to talk to someone, anyone that isn’t just a doctor.  Will anyone ever love me despite my giant flaws? I hit a point about a year or so after my first appointment where the mix of meds wasn’t working, in a way the chemicals clashed and it sent me crashing into oblivion.  I was in eight grade and I had to stay in the counselors office because I felt too dark, too much like if I was alone I would just fade into the black.  At this point, I was no longer just severely depressed, I had ADD, a touch of ADHD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, AND a phobia of being in public, or so that’s what I was told.  It seemed as if the longer I went to the doctors, the more fucked up I was, the more diagnosis I gained, and the more medication I was given.
It became daunting, you know, being young and worrying so much about whether I took my pills so I could handle the next panic attack, or is the medication working or am I building up a tolerance again? Am I loosing too much weight again? Will my next panic attack be in front of people or will I be completely alone and terrified? Did I cut the blue pill in half and the yellow pill in a quarter or did I mix it up again? God, even thinking back on it I feel overwhelmed.
And if I was overwhelmed only two years into the medication game I was destroyed by the time I got to high school. You can imagine how that went for me.  Mean people tend to notice abnormalities like a shark can smell blood in the water.  I wasn’t popular to say the least, but it wasn’t because I was ugly or a slut (despite being told such) or because I was poor or rich, it had everything to do with me being a little different and not conforming to the norm.  (And now I sound like a hippie. Stick it to the man!) Anyways, I dressed like I felt, like a damn emo kid.  And I stood up for the kids getting made fun of because truthfully I didn’t care what happened to me, I couldn’t stand to see others get beaten down for being different.  I got a lot of shit for it, but why did it matter, I was already fucked up in the head, or so that’s how I saw it at the time.
I stopped hiding my mental illness when I was a freshman.  I was open about it, and I’m embarrassed to admit this but I was a little too open about it.  I went as far as to not cover the cuts covering my arms.  God I was ridiculous.  But, I felt okay about it because I fell into a group of people that may not have been on heavy meds like I was, but they understood me.  They were depressed and anxious and they were there for me when I had my panic attacks and freak outs and when I was crying for no reason.  And from that point on, I stopped hiding.  I couldn’t give a damn whether or not people had an opinion over it, it was my reality and I was refusing to hide from it anymore.  I was going to embrace it regardless of what that meant.
Fast forward a few years.  I thought at some point, and I’m sure the rest of my family did too, that this would all kind of clear up once I was done with puberty.  And in reality, it probably should have, but that’s not how it works, not when you’re so far in the mental illness game that you know nothing but what your diagnosis is.
I graduated high school, and I seemed to be getting better in school, although still on medications.  Throughout my high school career, I was on and off of them, but never without medications for longer than a few months.  Things seemed to be going great, until I graduated and I had NO idea what I was doing, where I was going, and what my purpose was.  I spent my time focused in the wrong areas of life, like my dating life and friends and my social life.  I’m sure everyone does that a time or two in life, but what happened next screwed me.
I’m going to go ahead and say this now, I am not going to rehash all these horrid details of the next part of my life.  I probably should, to further make my point (that I have yet to reach) but it doesn’t do me or anyone else any good to bring these things up.  So let’s just say that I met some bad people, became dependent, lost myself, and became blissfully unaware to how unhealthy my relationships were and how unstable I was.  I didn’t know it then, but I had become the most unstable I had ever, or will ever be.

I was manic.

God, was I manic.

And I was obsessed with the people around me further dragging me into the rabbit hole of a life going nowhere.  My main focus was these people and my mental illness.  My days were spent hyper focused on their lives and how I could involve myself more within this group and how they loved me regardless of my flaws.  They needed me regardless.  They needed and loved me regardless of my crazy side, they accepted me, and I needed that.  But, that need, that obsessive desire to be with these people came to bite me in the ass in the worst of ways, even if I didn’t know it at the time.
When all was said and done and things started to die down with these friends of mine, I felt sick, crazy, numb, and just gone.  Long gone was the girl that I struggled to become, the one who would eventually find her way, the one who would become close with her family again, the one that would be normal at some point or another,  and in it’s place was a girl who had done too many bad things and had officially let her mental unstableness run her life.

I was completely empty.

Hollow.

Unwell.

And so incredibly lost.
I went to yet another doctor only to discover my new diagnosis; I was bipolar.  Just like my dad (that’s a story for another time), just like the people you hear so much about and are warned to stay away from, just like the people who end up in the hospital.  At that point, my step sister invited me to live with her and move close to 2,000 miles away from home, to help her nanny in exchange for me getting away from that and to get my head on straight.  For awhile it worked, I was in school, I loved interacting with my nieces and my sister, I was starting to become happy.  But that only emotion only ever lasted a few months for me no matter what my situation was.  There would always be a down fall, and that down fall was always hard.  After about a year or so I had to move home.  I was at the point where I called my mom to tell her how bad it was.  I couldn’t tell you exactly what I told her, and in truth, I don’t want to know, but it was enough that when she heard me crying hysterically, rambling on about the extreme emotions I was feeling, trying to make sense of the impossibly fast racing thoughts in my head, she told me it was time to come home.  There was no arguing.  There was no question.  It was time to come home, it was time to get well.
It took awhile, but things eventually turned around for me because really when you hit rock bottom all you can do is go up, right? I met my husband a few months after returning home.  Yes, for those of you who didn’t know, I met my husband when I was sick.  And for those of you who know K, this may come as a surprise.  He’s the “no bullshit, no drama” type so how he saw past all of my crap and stuck around, I’ll never know, but I do know that I am eternally grateful that he did.
We had a fast romance, only after two weeks of dating we got engaged.  I know, I know, insane, but it worked for us.  Before we had a chance to get married I got bad again and ended up in the mental hospital.  I checked myself in.  I knew myself well enough to know that I didn’t trust the alone time I had.  I couldn’t get a job because I couldn’t handle turning an application without panicking, and I couldn’t be left alone for fear I would harm myself.  It sucked.  I sucked.  And I was sucking the life out of myself and those around me.
And this is where the whole Time Hop thing comes into play.  Four years ago I was released from the hospital.  When I read that I thought to myself, “Holy shit, had it really been four years? It feels like it was a decade ago.” And that’s when I realized that I haven’t been mentally stable for all that long, it just feels like it.
After the hospital and another year or so of therapy upon therapy, upon medications and more medications, we moved to our new home, a few states away from our families and friends.  I had been getting sick for the last couple years, all of which could be blamed on the medicine I had been taking.  Side effects, especially the rare ones became frequent.  I had a seizure once, extreme weight gain, a twitch that only .5% of people taking this certain medication actually got, and I was constantly feeling sick, rundown, heavy.  I think I finally had enough, because one day I woke up and I felt gross, mentally, physically, and I was done.

I was just done.

I decided to start weaning myself off of medications.  It was not something most people supported, especially not my doctors, but I was determined to just try it.  If I made it a week, or two weeks, hell even just a month, I would have been proud because I tried.  I never expected to succeed, and I never thought my life would actually change, but it did.
I took my last set of meds in the end of 2012 or the start of 2013 I can’t remember exactly.  Crazy, right? It’s now 2015 and I haven’t had a single relapse of mental stability.  That’s saying something because between then and now, I’ve gone through a twin pregnancy (double the hormones), given birth with no pain meds to my beautiful babies, and have busted my ass to be the best stay at home mom I could be.

There were a lot of factors that went into this though. I was determined to get healthy for once but mostly it was my husband.  Like I said he’s the no nonsense type of guy and he kicked my ass into gear.  The babying me had since passed and it had been time to be blunt, upfront, honest with me.  And the day after he did that everything changed, I changed and I never looked back.  I refused to stay in this mental mindset that I was broken and I refused to continue to dwell on it.  I wanted to be better so I became better.  It took all I had in me, but I did it, I fought it, and I won.
Now, there’s another reason why I thought about writing this down and that’s because last week I started slipping.  Not badly, just enough that I became distant from a lot of things.  I’ve recently been dealing with some mystery health issues that I don’t want to go into detail about but it put me in this weird head space.  I tried pulling out of it, and I thought it was working until today when I realized I was failing.  I was being introverted and mopey and letting my thoughts become negative and it took that Time Hop post and some serious inner monologue to get me back to where I normally am, positive and happy; ready to kick this negativity’s ass.
I’ve come to realize I lot of things about mental illness and the way it works, at least for me.  It’s ridiculously easy to fall into this depression or anxiety or whatever it is that’s plaguing you.  It’s easy as hell.  It’s always going to be there in the back of your mind because, as someone with a mental illness can tell you, it’s something like a habit, something you always go back to when things get rough because it’s familiar and it’s the easy way to deal with things by just not dealing with them, by letting the darkness consume you.  But, let me tell you, that’s not the way life is supposed to be.  You’re supposed to fight tooth and nail for the life you live because if you didn’t what would be the point? I didn’t have a rough life to start out.  I lived in a two story house with a pool and a dog and a loving family.  I had friends.  I had boyfriends and girlfriends and I had a passion for anything artistic.  I just had an imbalance that unfortunately lead to medicating someone who was too young and eventually too weak to fix their shit when it hit the fan.  After I was away from it all, taking the seven different medications a day, going to three different doctors, one for medications, one for regular therapy, one for specialized therapy, I got to see what really happened.
I got sucked in.
I knew nothing else.
I was young and all I knew was what I was being told- I was sick, I was imbalanced, I was broken, and the only way to fix it was to stay involved with it.  I became the victim of my disorder and I adopted that victims mindset, applying it to the rest of my life because that’s what I was taught through seeing countless amounts of doctors and speaking to other people going through the same thing.
Now, I know how this may come off and I apologize in advance if anyone becomes offended but as someone who has been there done that for ten years straight only to come out better let me tell you; YOU ARE NOT YOUR ILLNESS.
I had people tell me that throughout the years but I didn’t listen, I couldn’t, in a way.  I spent the better half of my childhood and the start of my young adult life completely emerged in my illness.  When you’re young and all you know is what you’re being told, and these things you’re being told you don’t quite understand to the fullest extent, things are bound to happen, you are bound to believe something and let it be engrained in you despite your lack of understanding.  And within this world of mental illness it becomes this thing where you’re expected to talk about it all the time.  At every doctors appointment you’re told to explain in grave detail the issues you’re facing, so you spend the first 45 minutes of the appointment pouring your heart out, rehashing every gory detail, only to have the last few minutes to sketch out some small coping plan and to remember to pay attention to your issues, to look for signs of improvement, and to watch for the inevitable sign that you are worsening.  It’s not that’s it’s really the doctors fault, they’re covering their bases and trying to make you more aware but it’s not always helpful, not in the long run.  I can’t tell you how many hours I spent going round and round about shit that happened to me years prior as if they happened an hour before.  And all it did was keep it fresh within my mind twenty. four. seven.  I dreamt about them and I thought about them more than I want to admit.  And how could these issues not be fresh in your mind when you’re also having to remind yourself of the times you have to take your meds, when it’s time to make a new appointment with whatever doctor you need to see to talk about it all, and when it’s time to go get your blood tested to make sure these super awesome meds aren’t poisoning you.  It’s a vicious cycle of hyper focusing on nothing but your issues.  And maybe you resolve one, but when another one comes up it’ll take years to fix it, only to restart the process all over again.
Let me just say, I am not blaming the whole mental health department.  It is my fault, and my fault entirely, that I ended up the way I did. I didn’t pull my head out of my ass quick enough and even when I wanted to change, I decided to listen to others instead of listening to my instinct screaming that I would be okay if I could just fight.   But I am saying that it’s hard to see the reality of things when you are consumed by your illness.  As an adult I didn’t even know how to introduce myself to people or make friends because I was told, by nearly every doctor I came across, that I had to make anyone involved in my life aware of how unstable I could be and how it may be just being my friend.  Or how I needed to explain everything to the person I was dating that way they knew up front and could chose if they thought it was worth spending their life with me.  I was told that I would never have children because I wouldn’t be mental sound enough to be a good mother and that one day I would be so sick I would ultimately end up spending more time in the hospital than out.

How are you suppose to succeed in life when you’re being told that your future isn’t bright, that in fact it will become desolate and that people will only be around if they feel you are worth the effort.  

Or that your illness, something that you didn’t ask for, is the reason that you will not get the life you deserve.  That is not how it should be and had I realized that before, I would have spent more years smiling and laughing and striving for a better life, the life I live right now, instead of fighting myself for stableness.
I don’t know how this post is going to be seen and in reality I guess it doesn’t matter.  I have a very strange outlook on life now and the way I learned to deal with myself within my own mind, after the meds and the doctors were gone, isn’t for everyone because tough love isn’t for everyone, but I know that there are probably people out there struggling and in the same spot I was in two years ago, looking for someone to just understand.  Maybe this post can be something that helps.  I won’t always post these things, and like I said I rarely ever talk about this kind of thing in detail anymore.  There’s usually not a point.  I was sick, I went through ten years of struggle, I stopped, I have a beautiful family, and I’m following my dreams.  The.  End.  But sometimes things need to be said to reach out to those that might need it.  I also had to write this for me, because as I said I was slipping and sometimes a reality check is in order.

And here is my reality check.

I am married to my perfect match.  He’s sarcastic and he’s hilarious.  He’s an asshole but I genuinely love that about him because even though he has this tough exterior when it comes down to it, he cares with his entire heart and he loves our kids more than anything in this world. I’m pretty sure he would and does sacrifice his life for us every single day.

And I’m a mom to these two beautiful children who do nothing but try and make me smile and laugh all day.  Take Oliver for example, as I was going through these medical exams, in near tears from being overwhelmed my son reaches over, smiles and shares his toy with me which he never actually does because he hates sharing.  And Emma smiles, gives me a kiss, and does something silly because she hates seeing us do anything but laugh so then Oliver does the same.

I made these kids, something I was told wouldn’t happen and god, they are phenomenal.

Not only do I have them but I have my extended family and friends who are always there for me despite any disagreements or miles put between us.  And I finally followed my dream, I have a book published and I’m writing more which is something I was always passionate about.  This is my reality check because everything I have now is more powerful than the emotions lurking in the shadows of my mind, waiting to suck me in and destroy me.
I promise not every post will be this depressing, I’m actually a funny, sarcastic person, but this was needed, and you know what? I feel renewed.

***For those of you thinking this post sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a post from May on my old blog account.  I thought it might be time to bring this back, to give a little inspiration, to give a little bit of hope.

Control

It’s been awhile.  To say my plate has been full is one of the biggest understatements of this century.  We moved, again, this time to another state.  Less than twenty-four hours after arriving to our new house, we left on a trip for my sister-in-law’s wedding which was absolutely amazing.  We stayed there for a few days before flying back home, getting lost in one of the largest airports I’ve ever been to, and getting home at seven am.  It was an adventure, and totally worth all the travels, but damn am I glad to be home for a while.
There’s a reason why I explained all of that.  It wasn’t just to give you a run down of my oh-so-interesting life.  I’m going to admit something that I’m actually not too pleased to admit.
I had a panic attack.

A few of them, actually.  I’m not too pleased to admit that because it sucks.  I’ve gone years without full blown panic attacks and yet here I am, sitting here, remembering the ones I had last week.  I wasn’t happy about it, which probably didn’t help.

I have this thing.  I hate driving.  I hate it with a passion.  I hate it because I have no control over my surroundings.  I only have control over what I’m doing, but not what the asshole swerving into my lane is doing, or the chick doing her makeup not paying attention to anyone or anything around here is doing.  I have no control.  And…I’ll just admit this now, I have control issues.  So, driving from lunch time until after midnight, by myself, in my slow car, as I followed my husband and our kids in our fast truck, was probably the most tense thing I’ve done in awhile.  I’m pretty sure my hands were cramped up for the next few days from how hard I gripped the steering wheel.  My husband always laughs at me because I really am irrational about driving and I”m so nervous about it.  I’m also nervous about breaking laws, which definitely includes speeding, but that’s a story for abnother time.

This long drive came after a week long of preparing for a large move which by itself is stressful enough.  I had stuff to do that involved my books, and ended up having to go on a hiatus until I could give my books and all my readers my full attention.  I had two tiny humans who must have sensed my stress because they were particularly cranky.  And I had a strict schedule that got screwed up by an entire day after a particularly gnarly storm took out our power for about eight hours.  By the time we were set to leave our old house and drive to our new one, I was so ready to just be done.  I didn’t want to do anything.  I just wanted to sit and relax for two minute, but you know…I had to adult.  So, I adulted.  I drove those eight or so hours to our new place.  I manned up, I did it, but it wasn’t easy.  And you want to know why? You guessed it, I had some major anxiety.

Let me just say that this is not like me anymore.  Sure, I get the normal butterflies and quick flash of “OH MY GOD WHAT AM I DOING” every now and again, but I rarely get true anxiety.  You know the type.  The anxiety that will eventually lead to full blown panic if I don’t catch it in time.  The anxiety that creeps up your spine and into your mind so quick you’re wondering if you’ve lost your mind and turned into a completely different person.  Yeah, that’s the type I was having.  It was annoying, frustrating, and really it had me more tense than I’d like to admit.  But, I did it.  I handled it.  Mainly because I was driving, I had no other choice.  I couldn’t, okay I could but I wouldn’t, stop off the side of the road because I couldn’t get my brain in check.  To me, that’s admitting defeat and I wasn’t about to do that.  Plus, I just wanted to be at my new house, and to relax for a few hours before we got onto our next adventure.  And when we arrived to our new house after a couple storms and a few heart attacks after witnessing some trucks driving carelessly and losing my husband a number of times because I refuse to go more than 10% over the speed limit (control issues) I felt better.  We went to a restaurant, ate some dinner, got lost on the way home, drove over a few curbs when we ended up in a dead end, and realized when we were almost home that we only had four hours before we had to be awake for our next flight.  We turned into super parents.  We got home, I bathed the twins while my husband speedily put their crib together, I nursed them (yes I’m still doing that), and got them to bed.  Then I packed our bags (bad idea when you’re exhausted by the way), took a shower, and laid down to rest for two hours before we hit the road again.

I closed my eyes.

I started to let my body do it’s thing.

My muscles relaxed.

My mind went to rest.

And I fell asleep….for all of twenty minutes before my super awesome husband slapped me in his sleep.  It was funny, really it was.  He sat up, smacked me in the head, and folded over laughing in my lap saying “I don’t think I’m awake enough.” Then he put himself back to sleep laughing.  It was amusing, until I realized that anxiety must have hit warped speed because suddenly I was having one of the full blown panic attacks that I remember fearing.

It was weird.  I should have been laughing but I was too tired. My body didn’t feel like mine, I was that tired.  Days of packing, moving, stress, and driving does that to a person, not to mention I had only had twenty minutes of sleep.

I should have been able to fight it, but god damn was I tired.  And I don’t even think I know exactly how the anxiety crept in, I just know that it did and before I could even stop it, it manifested itself within me.

And I felt violated.

That’s the only way to describe it.  Violated.  I didn’t want to be panicking.  I didn’t want to have anxiety.  I didn’t want to let the panic take over causing my entire body to shake compulsively.  I didn’t want any of that.  What I wanted was sleep.  I wanted to relax.  I wanted to not feel like a stress ball ready to explode.  But that didn’t happen.  Instead, I got stuck with this anxiety that exploded, sending panic like shrapnel through my entire body.  I could feel it in the top of my head all the way to my toes.  I felt it in the way my body shook, regardless of how I willed it to still.  And I felt it in the way my stomach turned, my mind ran, and my chest ached.  I felt it in the way I desperately wanted it to stop.  I felt it in the way I wished there was a solution.  I felt it in the desperation I had that I didn’t want this to be me anymore.

I can’t even describe how defeated I felt.  After two years of no panic, I was having one, and it was at the worst time.  I needed to sleep before our seven hour travel day and before we saw family I hadn’t seen in a while.  But, panic didn’t care.  It just wanted to take over, and it did.  I let it.  Until I had finally fallen asleep for about an hour and a half and woke up with the same panic as if it had never stopped.  I straightened my hair, I took one look in that mirror, and I saw how pale, so scared, how tired I looked and I freaked out more.

This isn’t me anymore.

I texted my mom because she always makes me feel better.  She reassured me that I wasn’t slipping or going back to the old me, that I was in fact over stressed and exhausted.  It happens to everyone one time or another.

I felt better.  But it wasn’t until I took a second look in the mirror and saw myself still shaking that I started to kick my own ass.

You’re being ridiculous Danielle.

What are you panicking about?

There’s no logical explanation.

And no, there doesn’t always have to be an explanation to panic, but you, you know when you’ve been triggered.

You’re tired.

And tiredness will pass.

You’ll get passed this.

You’ve done it before.

You’ve done it for years.

You’ll do it again.

Want to know why?

Because you’re you and you are in control.  Not your subconscious mind.  You.

Be strong like a woman because if you can go through birth with two failed epidurals for over thirty six motherfuckin hours…you can get through one scrawny, little, infuriating panic attack.

And it was literally within seconds that the shaking stopped.

I felt…better.  I wasn’t tense.  I wasn’t going through some crazy thought process.  It was done.  I was over it.  And now I had to go.  I was shaken still though, because it is and will always feel violating.  I don’t think I ever realized that until now.  I spent my entire life dealing with it as if it was normal, as if it belonged in my life because, well, that’s what I was told.  I was diagnosed with this illness, I had to come to terms with it being my norm, so I did, and it infected every aspect of my life.  Until I didn’t let it anymore but then it came back (for good reasoning.  Cranky teething babies who decided sleep is for the birds.  Moving, money, power outages, deadlines, traveling, long drives, all on less than stellar sleep, it’s bound to happen.) and it was like I had this new perspective on it.  I used to let it come into my life.  It wasn’t violating then.  It didn’t seem that way at least because I was the one inviting it in with my unhealthy way of thinking.  But the other night, when I didn’t see it coming, it snuck in, took over, and ran the show.  It was not what I wanted.  I didn’t invite it in.  I didn’t want it near me, but it came anyways.  It shook me up.  But…guys…I survived.  In the midst of it, I didn’t feel like I would, but I did.  I did.  And you know what? I didn’t relapse into some crazy bipolar episode, or turn into a panic monster, or let any previous diagnosis control me.  It was a slip up, a stress induced slip up, and it didn’t end my world.  Why is that something I”m even saying? Well because in the middle of this panic attack, I had some paranoid glimpse into what it might be like to live that life again, and it scared me more than anything. Maybe that’s motivation in itself.  All I know is this….I took control when I needed to the most, when it mattered the most, and although I let it win for a little bit, I still won in the end.

And you can win too.  I promise.

When the panic is creeping in, just remember that you control it all.

You.  Control.  It.

Not the other way around.

It’s not like being in the car where you are only in control of one tiny thing in the grand scheme of the situation.  You have control over each and every thought, each and every moment inside your mind.  Take the reigns, take the power back, take yourself back.  You can do it.  Because you do it once, you prove to yourself it can be done.  Then you do it again.  And again.  And again. Over and over until you realize….

Anxiety does not rule you.

Will anxiety, panic, paranoia, reach you some days? Yes, because that’s how life works.  It happens to everyone.  Even ask my husband.  But does that mean it has to control your life? No.  I realize that it doesn’t seem like it’s that simple, and it’s not.  It’s hard to fight it, to muddle through the haze anxiety sets in your mind, giving you the inability to realize what rational and irrational, but you can do it.  It takes practice.  But it’s possible.

Remember that.

Remember you are better than it.

And you are stronger than it.

And you will get better.

Now…I’m off to bed because allergies or a cold has officially taken over the house and I want nothing more than to lay down (hopefully breathe through my nose) and read a book before bed while eating oatmeal cookies because I”m an adult and I can.  :]

#Don’tBeAnAsshole

Funny hashtag right?

Anyway, I’ve had a really hard time lately.  It’s probably not what you think, I’m not having a hard time in my personal life, or in my marriage, or with my children.  Honestly, I’m having a hard time with the general population.  That seems stupid as I type that out but it’s the truth.

All I have seen lately, as I’m scrolling down my newsfeed, is people being assholes.  And honestly it makes me so mad, and irritated, and completely turned off by the outside world.  I swear, no matter what I’m doing on Facebook or Twitter Twatter, there’s someone, somewhere being a dick.  And I just do not understand it.

I feel like I’m missing something, because I have to be right? It’s like everyone around is being an asshole and I’m over here in the corner trying to figure out why or how they sleep at night knowing that the words they spoke or typed has actually hurt someone.

I’m going to confess something and I know, it might be a shock.  I am a former asshole.  That’s right.  I said it.  I used to be an asshole.  I’m sure everyone at some point in their life flaunted the asshole flaw.  No one is perfect.  I’m certainly not.  But, here’s the thing, it never felt good being that person.  I always felt so much guilt from the things I would say to people in my unstable and passionate mind.  Days later I would be beating myself up over it with no clue how to fix it.  You can’t take back the things you say.  You can’t erase them from someone’s mind.  You can apologize but the words you say will always ring in their ears and come to the front and center of their minds when they see you.  And even now, years after I got my shit together and learned how to control myself, I still feel guilty.  I can’t see certain people without remembering the awful things I said, I can only imagine what it’s like, being the person on the other end of my viciousness, when they look at me.  I hate that.  And I don’t think people who are current assholes realize that is how it will be down the line.

It saddens me to read these articles, to see these videos, to watch as the general population tears each other to pieces all for one reason; their right to freedom of speech.  Yes, it’s totally your right to say what you want.  But should you? Should you say those terrible things to someone? Should you tell the girl who is uncomfortable in her own skin already, that you find her unattractive? Should you tell someone that without makeup they are hideous? Should you tell the gay couple who are enthralled over the fact that they’ve been fighting for years to have the rights they’ve finaally been given, that they don’t deserve it, that they are nothing less than a spawn of the devil, just because that’s what you believe? Should you step on the american flag, or shit on it (a new video I recently saw), just because you’re unhappy with the direction your country is going? The answer to these questions is simple.  Probably not.  Why? Why shouldn’t you say what you really feel if you have the right to do so? Well it’s also simple; because it does nothing but tear people down.  That’s not constructive and that wasn’t the point of freedom of speech.  The point was to give people the platform to fight for their opinions…in constructive ways.  Taking to social media to film people beating up others for being a different race from them (Not just white vs blacks by the way), or writing posts about how someone somewhere should die because they’re ugly, or spreading lies about others because you do not agree with them is not what freedom of speech is about.  That’s being an asshole.  That’s being cruel.  That’s not being a decent human being.  It kind of blows my mind that I’m even posting about that.  I mean, that should be common sense right? Well, surprisingly enough, it isn’t.

I can’t even get on any social media page without my heart hurting for someone.  Sure, I’m a little bit more empathetic towards peoples feelings, but that doesn’t make it any less true that people need to take the time to realize what their words can do.  I get it.  I totally understand being so passionate about a subject that you want the entire world to know your stance.  But I also get what it can do to people when that passion turns to cruelty.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t speak your mind, all I’m saying is it’s worth taking a second to filter through your thoughts and make sure that your point isn’t to tear someone down.  It’s true that there is always going to be at least one person that disagrees with you, that’s something you can’t fix, but you can fix the way your words impact another life.  Try to use your words to impact them for good, to inspire them to take a second look at your beliefs, to give them determination to become understanding and respectful.

It may not seem like doing that once or twice could actually make a difference, but it can.  Once people start to change their mindset, start to see the goodness in people and not just the negative, things can change.

Don’t be an asshole.  Don’t be a douche canoe.  Just try to be nice for the sake of being nice.  You’d be surprised as to what it does for you as a person.

Vanity

You.  Are.  Beautiful.

I bet when most of you read those words, that little voice of doubt and self consciousness spoke up, nagging at you, telling you the exact opposite.

Don’t be ashamed, it happens to most of us.  I have those days, and in my younger years, I had them every single time I looked into a mirror.  In fact, I had a very toxic outlook on my appearance.  It caused issues with how I saw myself as a whole, and in turn I developed some rather unhealthy habits as far as eating and dieting went.  It was stupid really, I looked just fine, but at that point in time, I thought I was the worst.  It wasn’t until after I had kids that I stopped worrying about it so much.

I didn’t let myself go.  I just became comfortable in my own skin, my very stretch marked skin that is lol.

I spent my days growing up in a very vanity driven area.  Living in the surrounding cities of LA kind of does that to you.  I rarely left the house without my face on or my hair done.  I always wanted to look “on point” even if I was driving to the gas station at 4 am or to Walmart to get some damn milk.  It was ridiculous really.  And if I did end up leaving the house looking less than my version of perfect, I felt so down on myself for it.  I would feel like people were starring in the worst of ways.  I thought maybe they were inspecting me under a microscope, searching for every flaw I had.  It was an unsettling way to feel on a daily basis.  And god, when I gained all my weight, it was even worse.  I was always a very thin person until my early 20’s when my medication count went from one or two pills a day to seven.  I gained at least 50 lbs and I was unhappy to say the least.  Then I lost it all and I was so elated about it.  But, it never felt like it was enough.  I was thin, but I wanted to be thiner.  I was pretty, but I wanted to be super model pretty.  I wanted things that weren’t possible, not really anyways.  I wanted the unrealistic to become real life for me.

I know that in this day and age, everyone has these unrealistic expectations of what people should look like.  Men should look like Channing Tatum, act like a dude out of a Nicholas Sparks book, and make money like Christian Grey.  And women, well, we all need to look as flawless as Barbie, embody seduction like Kim K but still be as innocent as a virgin, and be willing to submit but have a spit-fire take on life too.  And you know what, in theory that’s all fine and dandy, except when it isn’t.  Who wants to be like that? I don’t know about you but that just seems like a whole lot of work that I don’t want to do.  Why would I want to spend/waste my time looking and embodying someone that isn’t me? Isn’t that kind of…pointless? I wasn’t put on this Earth by whatever divine power there is for me to waste my life being someone I’m not.  I spent years doing this, I spent years wearing the six inch heels that I could hardly walk in just to make my legs look longer.  I wore the five pounds of makeup to make me look older, look like I have perfect skin.  I did my hair, frying it in all kinds of ways for what?  So I could walk around feeling uncomfortable when I really just wanted to feel good with my hair up, no make up on, and in a t-shirt and jeans.  I don’t know what happened but suddenly I went from a girl looking to be flawless, to a woman who feels just fine as she is.

I think it happened when my kids were born and all of a sudden my perspective and priorities switched.  I realized that there were bigger things in life than how I looked.  It didn’t happen over night, but it did happen.  And you know what? I’ve never felt better.

Let’s be honest here.  I am far from perfect. I’m not just talking mentally, cause let’s face it, I’m one of the most awkward people you’ll meet.  I’m weird, I’m random, I have this issue with rambling, and good lord do I have issues with people touching me or when there are too many emotions in one tiny area.  But, I also have some physical flaws too.  Some that people don’t think I have, just because, from the outside, I seem to have it all…and by that I mean that I’m thin.  But, as everyone must know by now, not everything is as it seems.  I don’t want that to sound like I hate what I’ve got going on, because in truth, I kind of love it in some really odd way.  I have a pretty weird stomach, especially after carrying twins to near full term.  If you’ve ever seen pictures of my pregnant belly then you know exactly what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t, then just picture a giant torpedo trying to escape from my midsection, add in some super shiny skin, and the fact that there was nothing truly round about my belly, and you’ve got a decent image of what I might have looked like.  I’ve got stretch marks, I’ve got a weird caved in belly from my muscles no longer being attached to each other, a hernia, and my boobs that were once pretty damn awesome from breastfeeding are now shrinking.  I’m aware of my flaws, and some days they bother the hell out of me.  Especially when my I’m-growing-my-mistake-of-a-pixie-haircut-out-and-I-look-like-a-mixture-of-Justin-Bieber-and-Mrs-Brady is in full swing.  But, I think somewhere along the way I learned to love me even on the days where I wish I looked a little different.

I hate seeing women and even men, hating the way they look because there is this unrealistic expectation of what we should look like.  Because in reality, everyone is beautiful in their own way.  You could be 900 lbs but if you’re a good person, if you can make someone else laugh, and make an impact in someone’s life then you are beautiful.  It doesn’t take looking like a photoshopped model to be beautiful.  It just takes a little confidence and a good soul.

And I’m sure none of this will make you feel better about yourself, but I wish it would.  I wish there were less people living life feeling terrible about themselves and more people saying “You know what? Fuck what people say.  I am fabulous.” Because you are.

When the kids were born I think I struggled for a month or so.  I was adjusting.  My once flat and smooth stomach was some strange shade of brown from my skin healing, and it was bloated and foreign.  And, I went from being my own person to being a mom with two tiny humans attached to my boobs all day, relying on me to protect them, feed them, love them unconditionally.  And I did all of those things willingly and happily but it became overwhelming to realize that I was their everything and their role model.  And I thought about Emma and how I really hate the idea of her feeling the same way as I did about myself.  I didn’t want her to see me the way I saw myself– gross and ugly and have that be her one prime examples of how a woman should feel about herself.  So, I vowed to try and change that.

I think it really hit home when we decided to take the kids to the lake one day and I was so excited, until I realized I would have to wear a bathing suit.  That thought alone killed me.  And you want to know the first thing I asked my husband when we made these plans? “Do you think the people we’re going with will be offended by me wearing a bikini?” My husband looked at me dumbfounded and asked me what the hell i was talking about.  I said, “You know, because of my stomach.” He didn’t even offer a response, he shook his head at me and walked away.  I got the point.  I was being ridiculous and there were no amount of words that he could utter my way that would make me feel any more stupid as I did right then.  That’s the upside to my husband, a lot of times he lets me figure out my own mistakes on my own.  It made me think though.  And I came to this conclusion:

Who the fuck cared?

I’ll wear a bikini because I want to wear one.

Will people find it gross and weird? I’m sure they will.

Will it impact the way I feel about myself? Maybe.

Should it? No.

Will it impact me forever? Definitely not.

And you want to know why? Because I could look down at my kids and see them smiling at me, weird stomach, stretch marks, naked face and all, and they would still smile at me with all the love in the world.  And because my husband, who honestly saw things in that delivery room that I”m sure is now burned into his brain forever, still found himself attracted to me.  He still loved me.  I had all the love from these three incredible people who saw nothing wrong with me.  They only saw me for the person I am, not what my body looked like.

So what was the problem?

It was then and there that I decided to let it all go.

Fuck it.

Bitch, I’m fabulous.

And I went about my day.  I rocked that bikini with a smile on my face because my kids were happy, my husband was happy, and I was fuckin happy.

I wish everyone that feels bad about themselves could break the chains of self doubt and self criticism because it feels amazing and it opens up opportunities for so much more in life when you feel good about you.

So, I want to say that each and everyone of you….YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, DAMMIT.

Because I said so.  Because I believe it’s true.  And because you deserve to feel it.

It’s just that simple.  You deserve to feel beautiful and desirable and like you are worth all the money in the world, because you are.  If you’re reading this and you’re thinking about how much doubt you have in yourself…stop.  Because you are better than that.  You’re better than these expectations that are thrown in your face.  You are beautiful because you are you.  That’s that.  That’s the end of it.  That’s the truth.  So own who you are.  Be fabulous.  Be brave.  Be you.  It’ll all be worth it in the end.

Nightmares

Nightmares.  We all have them, some of them made up of stray thoughts in our head before falling asleep, and some of them are made up of memories rearing their ugly heads.

I don’t get them often, but when I do, I swear they’re trying to go for a kill shot.

I woke up from a much needed nap yesterday completely breathless and confused.  I had a nightmare of my past for the first time in years.  Let me start off by saying, I have a very complicated past.  I won’t go into detail, and I’ve said that before in a previous post.  It’s not that I can’t, I just don’t see the point of it.  What’s done is done, the tiny details of my story don’t need to be told because the reality is, they do not matter.  But, for the sake of this post, I will say that for a time in my life, I surrounded myself with some pretty terrible people.  And by that, I mean they were the type of people your parents fear you getting mixed up with.  The life ruining type of people.  And as I type that, I realize that it makes me sound like I’m pointing all the blame on them, I’m not.  In fact, it’s mostly my fault for not going with my better judgement and not noticing the red flags when I should have.  I let the evil in, and that was my decision, and mine alone.  It doesn’t make what these people did any better, but as an honest person, I can’t force all the blame on them; it was me too.

There’s a history with these people and it was one that haunted me for years.  That past, those memories, they haunted me for longer than they should have.  It wasn’t until a few months after I stopped my medications and ceased all medical treatment that I was able to put it all to rest.  That was almost three years ago.

So, when I woke up yesterday, my mind still filtering through the images of my nightmare, I sat there astonished that this dream even came to mind.  It had been years since I had those kinds of dreams.  Honestly, it took me back for a few minutes.  I looked at my husband and told him about it, and it shocked him as well.  Neither one of us could remember the last one I had, just that it had been nice not having them.  It made me realize just how far I have come in the last few years.

Had this happened in 2011, I would have spent an entire week trying to recover from the mental mind fuck.  And at the time, it didn’t seem sad, it just made sense, but now, it struck me as depressing.  I spent so much time in my life stuck in this world of hurt, reveling in the pain of situations that I couldn’t change.  They happened, they were in the past, there was no way for me to turn back time and stop myself from making these decisions, from letting these people in my life.  I know this now, but years before, that thought wouldn’t have even crossed my mind.  I woke up from this dream taken back, but instead of letting it control my mind and infiltrate my every thought, I said to myself “Well that fuckin sucked.” and moved on.  Do you know how powerful that made me feel?  I was able to take complete control over my thoughts, my emotions, when I was never able to do that before.

I don’t know why it surprised me, I’ve been in a much better place since then, but I guess since I laid all of my past to rest, I haven’t really had to face much of it.  Sure, the random memory would cross my mind but I would feel this disconnect to it.  I wouldn’t feel sad.  I wouldn’t feel nostalgic or guilty.  I would just remember them as if it was an episode of a TV show I watched once and that was it.  Dreaming about it with such detail, well you would think that would cause some sort of relapse in my now sane mind.  But it didn’t.  And I don’t even know how to describe it because I’m pretty sure nothing can compare to the amount of power, the amount of accomplishment, the amount of pride I felt over that.  These things, these people wrecked my entire world for years, and yet here I am handling it as if it were nothing.  And I guess now, it is nothing.

When I stopped giving my past the power, the control over my life, I started feeling happy and living the life I knew,deep down, I deserved.  

I never thought I would be at this place in my life where I wasn’t bogged down by medicines, where I wasn’t consumed by therapy and being forced to relive every depressing detail of my truthfully depressing life.  I never thought I would be living a sane persons life where I could have a nightmare about someone, about something that plagued me, and just go about my day, normal as can be.

I’m astounded.

I don’t know why I thought to write about it really, because without the details it might not seem like such a big deal to most, but it is to me.  I felt the need to celebrate what killing myself mentally has done for me.  And I say that, killing myself mentally, because that’s what I did.  I completely shattered any former thought I had.  Any type of habit I embodied as far as mental thought process goes, I deleted it.  Any depressing thought, any panic ridden memory was obliterated.  I erased the way I had been tough to work things out in my head and I started new.  I started fresh.  I killed myself mentally, but god damn was it worth it.  It’s been years, years, and I’m able to handle life.  I…just can’t even believe it sometimes.

There was a quote I used to love, back in the day when I was in the thick of all of this shit.  It went something like this (my memory is rusty so it’s not word for word)

“I want you to know, that no matter how many times you push me down, I’ll be getting back up with a smile on my face, knowing I am strong, knowing I am your only weakness.”

I used to think I embodied that.  I used to think I understood it, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I truly understood it.  I used to apply it to somebody, but now I apply it to my mental illness.  No matter how many times it wants to push me down, to crush me under it’s weight, I’m going to get back up and I’m going to do it with a smile on my face because I know that as long as I’m strong, as long as I’m willing to fight, willing to stay positive, that my illness is literally nothing.  That PTSD, the Bipolar, the Panic disorder, it’s all nothing unless I decide to make it something.  And now that I’ve seen the other side, the side where the grass is greener, where the possibilities for my life are endless, I’m never going to decide to bring it back, to make it something again.  Random anxiety will always be apart of my life, it’s normal.  Driving a car, that makes me have a little bit of anxiety, I’m a control freak, it’s a given.  Anxiety while having the fullest plate imaginable, totally understandable.  But, I can handle that.  And I won’t let it go into anything more than that.

A nightmare.  It was designed to throw you, to set you back, to scare you.  But all it did for me was open my eyes to how far I have come and how far I will continue to go.

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