On Being a Mom with Chronic Illnesses

Me & my little man on our only summer vacation before my flare-up hit.

I’m having an Epstein-Barr flare-up and I cancelled a cub scouts camping trip my son, husband and I had scheduled for last weekend. I was absolutley devastated.

I parked my tiny SUV, Frankie – my amazing all-wheel drive Nissan Juke purchased solely for future rad mountainy, activity-filled, supermommy expeditions – turned around and patted my 7-year-old son on the knee. I braced for impact.

“Buddy, Mommy is too sick to camp so I cancelled our trip. I’m so sorry.”

“Ok!”

He was completely unphased.

“But I’m going to text your BFF’s mom and see if we can have a playdate or maybe a sleepover instead.”

“That would be way funner than camping! Cool!”

After a grammatical correction and a big kiss, I dropped him off at day camp, got back in my car and burst into tears.

I felt like a failure as a mother. It could take another year or more to go into remission and even be able to exercise. He just turned 8. I’m missing his prime years while he still wants to be with me.

He was fine. No biggie. I, on the other hand, was devastated.

I went back home and crawled into my office/bed and started working – I’ve been freelance bookkeeping since Morgan was born. There’s no way I could work in an office in my present condition so it’s really a Godsend.

I started to cry again and then it hit me. Morgan was fine. I was fucked up. See, I’m a really good mom. We have a blast together. We laugh all the time. I teach him super important life lessons and we rock out, hard. He’s never been hit and VERY rarely has been yelled at and, bottom line, the kid knows he’s loved.

My tears weren’t about him. They weren’t even about the camping trip. They were about me having to give up the dream of the mom I want to be. The mom I expect myself to be. The athletic, physically strong, active mom I envisioned when we signed up for cub scouts.

And the truth – I promise I will always tell you the truth – is I haven’t been consistently physically strong since before my pregnancy. Four years of postpartum depression and 2 rounds of TMS put a toll on my body, not to mention my brain. Not to mention the undiagnosed Chronic Epstein-Barr I’ve had my whole life giving me chronic fatigue.

I’m a great mom. I’m a human mom. I’m a mom who models self-care for my child so hopefully he won’t push through and hurt himself like I have most of my life.

It’s okay to meet us where we are. Being a mom with chronic illness is really fucking hard sometimes, but I don’t have to make it harder by placing impossible expectations on myself.

At least for today.

The Importance of Strong Toes

We with chronic illness are badass warriors.

I thought I was done. I thought I was free. I thought a new chapter had begun.

I even made a (now) embarrassing YouTube video about how I “beat Epstein-Barr in 12 weeks.” I’m an optimist with bipolar disorder, can you blame me?

BUT I always want to be transparent and as disappointed as I am, this is simply not the truth.

I was mostly bedridden for around 6 months, made dramatic changes to my diet and supplements and became free of all EBV symptoms along with my co-infections in 12-weeks. This is true.

And I felt great for almost 3 months, until I had a flare-up last week that I blasted out in 3 days and was back on my feet with great pride and was just about to post a YouTube video about it when I got HIT HARD.

I’ve been feeling like I felt for those 6 months for 4 days now. I can barely get out of bed. I’ve had fevers, joint pain, a sore throat, phlegm, coughing, sinus and headaches and crippling fatigue.

I’m going to get an IV next week – I stopped getting them after I thought I was cured and chose to use that money on somatic therapy, (which is amazing and that’s a whole different blog post).

After all I’ve walked through in my life, I know this is only a speed bump. It’s not a wall. Surviving 4 years of postpartum depression taught me that – I hit many walls back then and I still managed to find a ladder.

This is clearly a speed bump.

I’m working on a memoir about living through postpartum depression and I dug this writing out from that time. I found it helpful for my current situation. Maybe you’ll find it helpful, too.

………….

I feel like I’m walking a highwire.

Some days, I wake up wobbly, but I have my balance pole handy. The elements still effect me – the sun can burn me, the rain can soak me, the cold can still enter my bones – but I manage.

Other days, the pole is nowhere to be found, but my arms give me the balance I need. I feel surprisingly confident on the wire, so I get brave and do some bouncing. Before I know it, I’m levitating just a few feet above the rope.

People start to notice and admire my lightness. Small crowds gather and I entertain them with my stunts. Above the rope, I’m free to do so many tricks I can’t do when bound to the rope. I’m having such fun that I flap my wings and, to my surprise, I start to fly!

Flying is the best feeling on earth. I feel invincible. I feel like all things are possible. Things that used to frighten me I now laugh at.

So I keep flapping, flapping, flapping and going up, up, up.

The crowd turns on me. What they once found amusing they now perceive as bazaar and unpredictable. They think I can control my flight. They want me back above the wire doing tricks for them.

Some sneer, others judge and many walk away. It no longer hurts me. Most people simply don’t understand the lure of the eternal sky.

I fly up, up, up until the sky goes dark and it gets cold. I start to lose oxygen. I know I’ll die if I don’t get back to the wire, so I finally turn around.

The next few days I spend fighting gravity to get back down. Upon landing, I collapse from exhaustion.  

I sleep the clock ‘round. I wake up confused, not knowing if its AM or PM or February or July. I’m on the wire, but my arms are tied behind my back.

And it’s been snowing. I slip on the frozen wire. I can’t get my footing.

Then a gust of wind knocks me down to the ground below.

I don’t have the strength to get back to the wire, so I stay down on the ground awhile. The snow covers me like a blanket and even I forget where I am.

Eventually a ladder drops and I climb back onto the wire, legs shaking all the way.

I fear one of the falls will kill me. I fear I won’t be able to get back on the rope. I fear I’ll stay down forever.

I’ve lost control over the balance pole. Some days it shows up, but there’s no rhyme or reason to its appearances.

So I only have control over my toes.

I grip with my toes as long and as hard as I can to stay on.

I take a step forward.

I stop people pleasing.

I take another step.

I feed myself.

I grip the wire.

I go to therapy.

Tight.

I go to work.

Tighter.

I listen to my body.

Tighter still. I no longer martyr myself back into sickness.

I hang on.

I show up for my son.

I stay on.

I don’t kill myself.

I live.

Some days holding on feels impossible, others it’s a breeze. It’s in the learning and the listening that I get to stay on the rope. The crowd has been replaced by a new one who doesn’t need tricks to love me.

Because I finally love myself.

We cleanse, we die, we are reborn.

Death & Rebirth

My phoenix tattoo. It’s impossible to get the whole thing unless I do a video.

I’ve lived many lives. Abused child, bullied kid, Semi-popular high school student, drug-addicted teen, actor, alcoholic, crazy-fun, crazy not-fun, sober, scholar, wife, playwright, mother, mental hospital patient…

There are actually too many to name.

My latest incarnation is health superhero and I’m loving her. But like the phoenix, it took suicide to rise and be reborn.

Yes, Suicide. Most people don’t know the Phoenix lights her own funeral pyre. Because death and fire aren’t negatives for her. Fire cleanses her so she can be reborn. She does this over and over again in her lifetime.

See, the phoenix is not a victim.

She knows when it’s time to get clean.

She is me.

After 6 months being bedridden most days with the Epstein-Barr Virus, I finally threw in the towel. I decided to kill myself.

But instead of lighting myself on fire – ouch, no thanks – I called my psychiatrist and my mom. My psych meds were adjusted and my 77-year-old mom drove 8 hours from Tahoe to give me a life-saving hug.

A few days prior, I took my health into my own hands – remember, the phoenix is not a victim – and I started a new health protocol that felt right.

My doctor is okay, but was missing the mark in quite a few areas. I followed my intuition & was led to 2 books: Medical Medium & The Epstein-Barr Solution by Kasia Kines. A lot of the Medical Medium resonated with me, but Kasia Kines is the medically researched version of the Medical Medium which definitely jives with me much more.

(BTW, I’m making no money off these links – I’m just sharing with you in case this will help you or someone you love.)

Her book, along with that hug and med adjustment have given me a new life. I’ve been healthy and energetic and haven’t been bedridden for 18 days as of today. The longest I went for 6 months was 3 days.

I still have the virus, but I feel like I’m kicking its ass.

I’ve risen again.

These small deaths will continue and I accept that’s part of my process.

But for now, I’m going to enjoy my newfound freedom of flight.

I’m Not Okay

A day in the life.

I blogged through most of my 4 years of postpartum depression. I call it postpartum depression, but really it was prenatal depression, childbirth trauma and postpartum mania, OCD and depression, but that’s way too long to write every single time.

Back to the blog. I locked it down years ago, but I can still access it because I thought someday I may repost some of the writing.

On Wednesday, I decided to take a bottle of klonapin and go to sleep. A wave of peace hit me knowing I’d finally not be living in this hell of illness I’ve been in since November 3, 2018. Then, as my son is wont to do, he ruined everything.

I pictured his face being told his mommy was dead and I couldn’t do it.

Fuck.

I reached out to my therapist and she said what only my husband has had the nerve to say to me, “if I had all the same lab work you’ve had it would probably look exactly the same.”

I couldn’t believe it. I told her I wanted to take my life and she called me a hypochondriac. Yes, I’m sure she has reactivated Epstein-Barr Virus, co-occuring infections, early stage Lupus and Hashimoto’s AND she’s running around with perfect energy.

She’s since been fired.

But I was talking about my old blog. Stay with me. I was looking for something to post about how fucking bad it was. About how much pain I was in. About how I wanted to die every single day.

But I couldn’t find anything. Every post glossed over what was really going on with me in massive solution and positivity. There’s nothing wrong with solution and positivity, but I wasn’t giving myself a chance to process the horror that was happening to me everyday being robbed of those precious early years with my son by insanity.

I wasn’t being fake. It was real. It was where I was at. I was so scared of my pain I just couldn’t put it on the page.

And that’s the problem. I realized why I’m sick. I’m sick because I haven’t dealt with the trauma of having postpartum depression for 4 years (see paragraph one for full explanation). See, I did TMS and got better and I was so scared to go anywhere near that pain again that I just moved on.

And now, 4 years after getting better, I’m absolutely crippled with illness. I am begging my friends for money for medical expenses. Most days, I do not want to be on this planet in this pain.

I am not okay.

I am not okay.

I am not okay and it’s okay. It’s more than okay. No more putting band-aids on amputated limbs. I have to face the darkness or it will kill me.

I have a little man to raise. I don’t have time for fear. I don’t have time for glossing shit over. I don’t have time to spend planning my own demise.

I have time to heal and that’s exactly what I’m about to do.

Sobriety & Psych Medication

Am I sober if I’m taking psych meds? A lot of people have a lot of opinions about this topic, as do I.

I try to share my experience more than my opinion, but after what I’ve been through from sponsors telling me not to take my meds to people telling me I wasn’t “really” sober because I was taking meds, I have quite an opinion.

It is possible to be sober and on meds and even without drama. I know this now because I know my truth now.

A big part of sanity is being able to let go what people think of me. I had to or I never would’ve made it to the other side of 4 years of postpartum depression.

Mental Illness and Addiction

I got a great question about mental illness and addiction – does one trigger the other? This vlog is about my experience with my co-occurring disorders affecting each other. Hint: they do, but balance is achievable. Never lose hope!

Postpartum Depression: Then & Now

I had postpartum depression for four years and it nearly killed me. I was hospitalized twice and I missed my son’s 3rd Christmas. It’s now been four years since my bottom and the difference in my life is nothing short of a miracle. A miracle and a lot of work.

Please share with anyone who will find this useful and stay rad!

Stark Raving Sober

I know, I know. It’s been a hot minute. I hope you’re having a most excellent new year!

Guess what I did? I started a vlog. I know I’ve attempted before, but this time feels different. It’s called Stark Raving Sober and it’s about being a badass with co-occurring disorders (mental illness and addiction).

Total transparency and I’m loving it. I hope you love it, too. My learning curve is intense so I can promise you that the quality of these videos will only get better.

Here’s the first episode for your viewing pleasure. Please share if you know anyone who would find this information useful. More to come… stay rad!

Love, Court

Another Storm

I’ve been hit by another storm.

It started with bronchitis and a sinus infection. Still coughing and barely off the antibiotics, I got the stomach flu. Not just the stomach flu, a 6-day stomach flu that turned into a 12-day stomach flu because of my lithium levels.

Right about the time I could finally eat a normal meal, my thyroid decided to get hyper. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in my 20’s and I’ve never experienced hyperthyroidism.

I lost 20 pounds and started having psychotic episodes. Did I mention I also have bipolar type 1?

I had to stop taking 3 antidepressants cold turkey, 2 of which I’ve been taking for over 3 years, and started taking an antipsychotic medication.

img_1969

The last time I took an antipsychotic I lost my ability to eat and sleep, I chewed the inside of my cheek bloody and I ended up on a locked-down psych ward, so I was a little nervous about hopping back on that bandwagon.

But I did it. My son went with my family up North for 2 weeks because I was unable to care for him. I even missed a week of work, (which never happens). The antipsychotic side effects have mostly been major weight gain and sucking on my tongue and roof of my mouth (but not eating my cheek – huzzah!).

These are all natural parts of a storm. I know this now, and I accept it.

I’ve been in this storm for 4 months. I could be in it another 4 months. Or longer. And I’m actually cool with it.

All it took was a shift from OMIGODWHYISTHISHAPPENINGTOME into acceptance.

A few months before this storm hit, I realized that my life operates in 2 stages: smooth sailing seas or waves-slamming-against-rock storms. This is how my life has been for 44 years and I will never find peace if I can’t accept that this is how my life is.

And I don’t have to waste my energy trying to find a reason anymore.

I used to feel that God* was punishing me when the storms wouldn’t let up become I believed the storm was happening for a reason. After barely surviving 4 brutal years of postpartum depression, I no longer believe that everything happens for a reason. But I can find meaning in it.

After the storm has calmed.

When I’m in the storm, my job is to weather it. To accept it, to be in it, not to run from it, but to know it will eventually pass. My job is not to analyze it or try to figure out the big picture meaning of every fucking raindrop.

I have no control over the timetable of a storm; last time I checked I’m not God. It’s not a personal attack. It’s just the weather.

And there is a beginning, middle and end to every storm.

*This is me using a universal term out of pure laziness. God to me is just something bigger the my finite self. Animal playing a drum solo, the waves of the ocean crashing ashore, magical belly button lint. Whatevs – just not me.

Thanksgiving, 2014

I wasn’t going to go, but I didn’t know how to take care of myself yet. Then there I was, November 27, 2014, in a beautiful house full of mostly strangers, taking care of my 3-year-old while my husband had fun with his co-workers.

I was jumping out of my skin. Every minute was an hour. All I could think of was death.

The day before, I had finally made the decision to overdose myself into final sleep. I was done. I couldn’t take one more day, one more minute, in my body – in my mind – in my life.

I got in my car and headed toward death. The relief I felt was so great that I laughed out loud, which was a mindfuck in itself. Knowing I was going to die made me feel alive.

Then I saw it. The fucking Christmas tree lot setting up at our local community college. All at once the weight of 3+ years of postpartum depression, triggered PTSD, perimenopause and mismanaged Hashimoto’s came crashing back into my for-a-split-second-in-time light body.

The weight was unbearable. I stopped eating a few months prior because an antipsychotic had taken away my appetite completely. My body was so frail I feared my bones would crumble from the weight of the returning depression.

You will ruin every holiday for him for the rest of his life.

That was the crushing truth. My plans for freedom were destroyed. I had to stay here.

So I dragged my weak and sick body to Thanksgiving. For my husband. For my son.

The next day, November 28, 2014, I made the hardest decision of my life. I left my husband and son so I could get better.

My big sister bought me an airline ticket back home to Reno. Two of my dear friends came over, packed my bags and drove me to LAX. I was so weak, I don’t know how I got on that plane.

But I did. My sister picked me up at the airport. I had black circles under my eyes and all of my ribs and spine showed through my skin.

The next day, I was hospitalized for the second time that year. After I got out, I stayed with my sister and mom and they made sure I ate three meals a day.

recovering (1)
The biggest smile I could fake. 12/25/14

I stayed for 5 weeks. My husband was considering divorce. I missed Christmas with my son. So many people were mad at me. I didn’t know how I would ever be a mom again.

But I was going to stay alive and be the best mom I could be.

My plan was to get an apartment. I was going to try TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Therapy) and if that didn’t work, I was going to try ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) and long-term residential treatment.

Even if my son had a permanently hospitalized mentally ill mom, he would have an alive mom.

IMG_8838
At another comedy show laughing my ass off. November 16, 2017.

I’m going back to that beautiful house tonight for Thanksgiving for the first time since 2014. I’m finally well enough to return. My husband and I have been married 14 years and we’re best friends. My son is 6 and in kindergarten.

And I’m a great mom. 

To say I’m grateful today isn’t even skimming the surface. I’m not supposed to be here. I’ve been given another chance at life.

I’ll probably get triggered tonight, but I have the tools to walk through the feelings and have a good time. And I can always leave if I’m miserable. No one is responsible for taking care of me, but me.

And that’s true freedom. Happy Thanksgiving to you all whatever headspace you’re in. I love you.

 

When Hormonal Rage Meets Mental Illness

I was really fucking angry yesterday and Thursday. I wanted to hurt people. I wanted to punch and kick and make people cry. For those of you who know me, I’m all about peace and love. So this feeling is fundamentally against everything I believe in.

I acted on this feeling a little bit and I owe an amends. I used to get violent before I stopped drinking 20 years ago and I never made amends for the wrongs I did during my rages. There has been a lot of improvement in this area.

At first, I assumed the few things in my life were not going the way I think they ought to was the cause of my anger, but then I started my period Friday morning. I rarely have had periods in the past few years, but when I do, they’re brutal.

See, I entered the lovely world of perimenopause at the young age of 39. Perimenopause is so misunderstood that spell-check doesn’t even recognize it. Basically it’s around 5-10 years of hell, (Scary Mommy describes it much better than I do), until we finally hit menopause, which means we haven’t bled for an entire year.

And then that’s a whole different joyride, by the way.

Some women don’t experience perimenopause symptoms at all. Some women die by suicide because it’s so unbearable. The rest of us are overweight, angry and randomly hairy.

I take low estrogen birth control pills to regulate my hormones. I took bioidentical hormones for a few years, but found synthetic hormones to be less activating to my depression and mania since I have bipolar disorder.

I also have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which is another huge factor in this whole hormone game and should not be a side note, because it’s no joke.

Yeah, and I also have PTSD, which is by far the largest mental challenge of my life and I’ve never written about it, but I will. I promise.

Thankfully, I rarely experienced PMS or gnarly period symptoms for most of my life. But the second I was pregnant, my bipolar, Hashimoto’s and PTSD did not play well with my hormones. It took four years of painful trial and error before a balance of synthetic hormones, psych meds, DBSA meetings and TMS finally got me stable again.

And I stay stable by working my butt off in therapy and an entirely new 12-step program. And routine: going to bed and waking at the same time (almost), taking my meds at the same time (good friends are very aware of my 10am lithium alarm) and taking care of myself when I am not okay.

And I’m still not okay sometimes even while doing all this maintenance. Sometimes my thyroid is being funky. Sometimes my PTSD gets triggered. And sometimes my hormones attack me.

I experience manageable mania, depression and fatigue on a somewhat regular basis, but I don’t experience anger very often.

I used to love my anger. I mistook it for strength. It was an emotion I could handle.

Thursday night I was so angry I wanted to cry. And scream. And go on Facebook (nooooo!).

But I can’t cry. I wish I could –  the release of a good cry heals. But I can’t – mostly due to my psych meds and disassociation from my childhood trauma.

I just get to the point where I really want to cry, but I can’t. It’s like crying blue balls.

When I was sick those four years, I cried a lot. The problem was when I started crying, I couldn’t stop. I’ve cried for three days before – I literally had to take breaks at work so I could go to the bathroom and bawl. I thought it would never end.

And yes, it feels like my body and brain chemistry are out to get me, but that thinking pattern is only going to lead me to self-pity and even more anger.

So this is how I stopped myself from going down the rabbit hole of rage (that would be a great band name) and doing some real damage to anyone within my screaming range:

  1. I paused. I admitted to myself that my body and mind are sick right now.
  2. I stopped the Facebook rampage I was about to go on that would only make me much more angry and would hurt people.
  3. I texted my husband and let him know what was going on.
  4. I happened to have a tattoo session scheduled so I showed up and am honest about where I am.
  5. And as the pain of the needle into my skin began, I thanked the Universe for putting me in the right place at the right time. I focused on moving the pain in my heart to the pain of the art.
  6. I asked her to stop after two hours because when I could no longer take the pain.
  7. I ate a healthy dinner and watched HBO with my husband.
  8. I went to bed on time. I took my night meds on time. I got a great night of sleep.
  9. I made amends to my friend who I hurt.

This morning I was woken up by my 6-year-old son and we’ve laid around in bed the whole morning, him playing on his iPad, me writing. I haven’t given in to the perfect mother in my head who knows too much screen time is bad for him because so is a screaming mother.

I still feel the anger lurking around me, but it’s not in me. I’m about to publish this blog that is way too long, but if you’ve read this far, comment “I LOVE CARROTS” and I will send huge love rays your way.

I feel release.

I know the rage is right there, waiting for me to get tired or frustrated, so I asked my husband to take our 6-year-old for the afternoon so I can take a big nap.

And that’s it for now. I love you with all of my heart. Thanks for reading.

 

20 Years Booze-Free

IMG_8969

November 15, 1997 was my first day without a drink. I haven’t had a drink since.

There will be no celebrations. No cake. No friends singing. No applause.

See, I’ve relapsed twice on drugs. At 9 months, I did a whip-it. It was a knee-jerk reaction to seeing my roommate’s can of glorious Reddi Wip in the fridge.

(I still can’t have a can of whipped cream in my house as I don’t trust myself with it. I blame my first job at Dairy Queen. More on that later.)

My last relapse was at 15 years sober on a hit of pot. Yes, just one hit, but that one hit gave me a yearlong obsession to drink again.

And I was suicidal at the time so I know I wouldn’t have survived a drink.

A drink.

That’s hilarious. I’ve never had a drink. My goal was always four. Just have four and leave the bar.

I succeeded maybe twice.

People ask me if I can have just a glass of wine. I see no point. That would be like waiting in line for a roller coaster for two hours and then going down a kiddy slide instead.

I want to ride the roller coaster. And once I’m done, I want to ride it again. And after that – well why stop at two? And then I don’t know where my clothes are and why my boyfriend just broke up with me.

I’m a member of a 12-step program – it’s how I got and continue to stay sober. I’m very grateful for the program. But a lot of members are very wrapped up in “sober time.” As in how many days, weeks, years IN A ROW you’ve been sober.

I was proud of my years. My friends threw a huge 10 year party for me. My mom came into town. It was a big fucking deal.

By the time I turned 15, I was so depressed I could only stand for 5-minutes at a time. There was still a cake, but less friends and celebration.

The problem was I became more impressed by the years than grateful for the days.

And the only amount of time any of us have is today.

That’s it.

Just today.

And that’s how I live my life now. My sobriety date is the same as any day sober, but I reflect on where I was mentally, physically and spiritually however many years ago the decision to live (yet again) was made.

And the reflection brings gratitude, as it should. But here’s the flip – now it brings humility of how powerful alcoholism is in my life instead of a feeling of accomplishment.

I’m not proud of my sobriety. I’m fucking grateful and humbled by it.

That was NOT my attitude when I had many years sober. (Even saying “I had years” sounds weird to me now. I have today. I don’t “have” yesterday or the guarantee of a tomorrow. It just seems cocky to “have time.”)

Remaining sober for many years made me cocky and complacent. I believed all those the years “I had” were a safeguard against relapse. Alcoholism is very patient and it waits for us to think we’re safe, immune or above a relapse.

I thought I was safe because the most common reasons people relapse are:

1. They stop working with other alcoholics.

2. They stop taking commitments at meetings and then stop going to meetings.

3. They think they no longer have alcoholism.

Here’s why I was totally fine:

1. I was sponsoring four women and had a sponsor. And a grandsponsor. And so on and so forth.

2. I went to four committed meetings a week (all while I had a baby at home).

3. I have never, ever – for the past 20 years – ever thought I didn’t have alcoholism. I’m so clear that my body and brain chemistry does some funky shit when I ingest alcohol. And that ending up naked and peeing in public is not what normal drinkers do after a glass of wine.

Why did I relapse then? I was in year three of a four year battle with crippling postpartum depression and I wanted relief from the pain. Every waking moment was pure torture mentally and physically and I was at my breaking point.

I ended up taking the wrong medicine for my ailment. And it wasn’t prescribed to me.

But I didn’t drink. And I wanted to with every molecule of my body. And I wanted to die. All of the time.

What I didn’t know was that I didn’t want to drink or die – I just wanted relief. For me, when my pain gets so great for so long, I want out.

I am celebrating quietly today. With every breath. Because I’m alive. I have today. It’s all I have and I’m so grateful for it.

Because we all just have today. If we’re lucky.

44 Years

IMG_8798
No makeup, no filters, no bullshit.

I turned 44-years-old today and it hit me. I’m still here.

I’m. Still. Here.

After three hospitals, an outpatient program, the countless support groups, the alcoholism, the bone-crushing depression, the grandiose manias, the coma fatigue, the suicide plans, the suicide plans, THE SUICIDE PLANS, the deaths of so many I love, that fucking childhood, the trauma on repeat… on repeat.. on repeat, the rapes, the molests, the bullying, the drugs, the alcohol, the sex – I’m still here.

I don’t know why I’m still here and Lindsay isn’t.
I don’t know why I’m still here and Shaila isn’t.
I don’t know why I’m still here and Diane isn’t.
I don’t know why I’m still here and Dan isn’t.
I don’t know why I’m still here and Liz isn’t.
I don’t know why I’m still here and Dorothy isn’t.
I don’t know why I’m still here and Doug isn’t.
I don’t know why I’m still here and Guy isn’t.
I don’t know why I’m still here and Linda isn’t.
I don’t know why I’m still here and Amy isn’t.
I don’t know why I’m still here and Steve isn’t.
I don’t know why I’m still here and Eric isn’t.
I don’t know why I’m still here and Greg isn’t.
I don’t know why I’m still here and Stan isn’t.
I don’t know why I’m still here and Tony isn’t.
I don’t know why I’m still here and my own father isn’t.

But I do know I’m not here to hide. I’m not here to be quiet. I’m not here to be inauthentic, pandering or afraid.

This year I’m more fearless than I’ve ever been. I’m finishing my tattoo. I’m being an awesome mom to my son. And I’m auditioning for America’s Got Talent not because I want to be famous, but because I want to tell my story of hope to as many people as possible and be as helpful as possible to those suffering with invisible illnesses like mine.

Oh, and I will make you laugh. I will definitely make you laugh.

And I’m going to keep laughing. And not just chuckling, doubled-over-crying-maybe-even-peeing-a-little-bit laughing.

I will not become who I think I need to pretend to be to further my career. I will bow to no one. And no, I won’t suck your dick.

I am showing up for my life because guess what?

I’m still here.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: