GUEST POST: Have Faith In The Universe – by Sean

I’ve been in touch with a lovely blogger, Sean, and I want to say a big thank you to him for allowing me to post this wonderful piece.

Hello everyone…

Let’s discuss Depression today. I’ve been in that dark place before and it’s not something I ever want to go back to, actually I’ve been there twice. Once when my mother passed away then in my Sophomore year in High school. These would have to be the hardest times in my life and I’m thankful I was able to come out of the dark cave. Let me dive deeper.

I was nine years old when I lost my Mom to Breast Cancer. It was horrific and sad, but the thing that depressed me was that, neither of my parents would be around. My father, I can only guess what he’s doing right now but anyway, I didn’t have either of my parents. I ended up living with my older sister who is great but the thing was, my mother was gone as well as my father. I fell into a depression because I felt like a burden on my older sisters. One was working and the other already had a family of her own so what was a Sean suppose to do? I remained depressed for the next two years. I never thought about killing myself but I didn’t want to be alive. I was 11 now and I was more mature. I had to grow up and come to the harsh realization that the world did not owe me anything. The universe took my mother and I had to deal with that. Once I came to terms with my mother’s passing, I got better. Things got better. For a while I had to fake my own happiness until I eventually was happy and it wasn’t until I was 13 when I realized I was finally better and my laughter and smiles were actually genuine.

It was my Sophomore year in High school and it felt like I was losing my mind. Not only were my grades sub par but I felt as if I wasn’t sleeping or enjoying myself. No matter what I did I was not happy. (Again with the theme of happiness.) I felt this way until the summer going into my junior year. During the summer I lived on a college campus as part of this program I am involved in, isolated from everything I knew was troubling me. My friends within the program helped me through this tough time. They believed they were just being my friends but little did they know, they helped me through and out of my depressed phase. Along with coming out of my depressed phase, I also grew into my own body. I used to always say I was a 9 year old in a 22 year old’s body, (I have the body of a 22 year old college football player) but I finally grew into myself. My personality evolved, I became the Sean I was born to be.

Depression can be tricky. Depending on if the issue is internal or external there are different ways of handling it. The depression with my Mom was dealt with internally, it just happened that I molded into being happy. The depression during my 10th grade year was dealt with externally. My friends helped me through it. If you’re depressed or someone you know, tell them that it gets better. TRUST ME. It does. Have faith in the universe.

Sean (forever hopeful)

Thanks again, Sean, and if anyone reading this would like to talk or would like to write a guest post please get in touch!

I avoid the elderly.

That makes me sound like an awful person, right? And it is awful, but unfortunately it’s true. If I see an elderly customer I will be polite to them, but I will finish the transaction as soon as possible. I visit elderly relatives as little as I can. And I absolutely refuse to go to funerals. Why? Because I’m terrified of death and everything that reminds me of it.

When I look at someone so fragile and tired, it just makes me so sad. I’m sure they’ve lived such a wonderful life, it’s just not fair that it has to end. I have quite a few elderly relatives. (My family seem to live forever.) I have two great nans who are still alive, but both of them are very ill, and can hardly walk or eat by themselves. For the past year I’ve made so many excuses to avoid visiting them- I’m sick, I’ve got coursework, I’m seeing friends etc. Anything I can do.

I have never been to a funeral. I want my last memories of my friends and family to be good ones, where they were alive and free and happy. I would hate my last memories of that person to be cold, and filled with sadness. But sometimes I feel so guilty too. I’ve missed out on so many of my loved one’s funerals, and although my parents haven’t said anything about it, I’m so scared they’ll think I don’t care when really it’s the opposite.

It just scares me so much that every memory I have, all my hopes and dreams and achievements will one day not matter. How fair is that?

So, what can I do? Is there any way to get over this fear? Is there anyone out there who feels this way too? I know I can’t keep going on like this forever.

Thank you for reading, and as always I encourage anyone reading this to get in touch with me if they need someone to talk to.

How to deal with being ill, like a pro.

My immune system is a piece of junk, so if someone even sneezes within a 100 mile radius of me I know I’m going to get ill! Yesterday I woke up with a sore throat, but that’s fine I can handle it so I babysat as usual. But last night I just felt like crap, so tired and my throat was burning. Then when I woke up this morning (at 5am) I was not a pretty sight. So here I am, laying in bed surrounded by pillows and three blankets, coughing, sneezing, and feeling like I’m going to be sick. But the worse thing, the thing that makes me so sad, is that I don’t have enough energy to make myself a cup of tea. It’s 3pm here and I have only had one pathetic cup of tea which was begrudgingly made by my brother, and the only reason he made it is because I recorded myself saying “Please bring tea” on my phone then played it at full volume  about 300 times until he made me one. What can I say, desperate times call for desperate measures!

So here’s my top three tips on how to deal with being ill, like a pro:

  • Make sure everyone around you knows how ill you are. Cough loudly and dramatically, especially during crucial moments of people’s favourite TV shows. Call up all your friends and let them know you won’t be available today, because you are ridiculously ill, it would also be helpful to make your voice as deep and hoarse as possible and cough as much as possible during the phone call.
  • Neglect all personal hygiene. You’re ill, and the shower is so far away! Take my advice, keep a pack of wet wipes near your bed and you won’t need to shower for days, even weeks! Plus, the grosser you look (and smell) the more sympathy you get!
  • Watch DVD’s. You know those movie’s you’ve seen 1000 times, the ones where you can quote every single line? Watch them. Watch them all! So far today I have had a movie marathon consisting of Mean Girls, Mrs. Doubtfire, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, and The Princess Diaries.

Good luck! And if any of you could send me some love, it would be much appreciated! Thanks for reading 🙂

Well, that really didn’t go very well…

Many of you will know I’ve been struggling lately, and my anxiety is starting to get overwhelming. I’ve been feeling stressed and have recently self harmed again and had a major panic attack, the worse one I’ve ever experienced.

My parents are aware I have anxiety and get stressed, but they don’t know the true extent and they don’t know I self harm and have panic attacks. The reason for this is that my parents are very busy people, they work full time during the week then part time during the evenings and at weekends. Then any spare time they have is either spent doing errands or sleeping. They do an incredible job of keeping our family afloat, and I have so much respect for the work they do. However, I feel as though I have no right to tell them I’m struggling because it’s not fair for me to add another burden to their load. So, for the last eight years I’ve downplayed my anxiety.

But lately, my situation has got worse and a major reason for this is my fifteen year old brother. It’s the Summer holidays so both my brother and I are off school. The Summer holidays means that I have to start babysitting my cousin from 7am-7pm one day a week, I have to tutor twice a week and I also have to start ‘tutoring’ my brother too, I still work delivering Chinese takeaway three nights a week from 5pm-10pm, and I also have to do a large portion of the housework. What does my brother have to do? Karate lessons. That’s it, that’s his only commitment. So it would make sense for him to help me with the housework, right? Nope. According to my parents, they can’t force him to do the housework so I’ll just have to do it all until he decides he wants to. This just adds to my stress because not only do I now have to do all of it by myself, it makes me feel like my parents  value my brother’s happiness over mine. All of this can get overwhelming sometimes.

I decided to speak to my dad first, and I told him I’d been feeling upset and stressed lately. Before I’d even had a chance to explain why he said this gem: “It’s probably the amount of time you spend on that pathetic blog, it’s just sad.”. First of all, ouch! This really cut deep because I’m so proud of this blog, and there’s an amazing sense of community here. I told him he’d upset me and that he should apologise, and he just said that you only say sorry when you don’t mean something, and he meant it. He then went on to say that I’m just being silly, and that I don’t have anxiety and I’m clearly just looking for attention.

I then decided to speak to my mum. Again, I started off by telling her I was feeling stressed lately. She asked me why, and I said I felt like I had a lot of responsibilities and it would help a little if my brother could share some of those. She got really defensive and basically just told me to either suck it up or just stop doing the housework then, if I was going to complain about it so much. I felt like she was being so childish. She then told me to leave.

The next morning I woke up at 6am so I could go visit my boyfriend, and they both pretended like nothing had happened! It made me feel like I was going crazy! When I came home after seeing my boyfriend, my mum came up to my room and she asked me what was wrong. Seriously. Parents. Come on! I told her nothing, and she kept repeating “Tell me” until I eventually told her they’d both upset me and I didn’t want to talk to them right now. So she left and I haven’t spoken to them since.

Perhaps I could have approached the topic differently? Or maybe I am just being silly and I do just need to get on with it? I just feel my parents could have handled this whole situation better, because now I’m not going to tell them when I’m in trouble. Why would I? If they’re not going to take my concerns seriously about little things like this, then there’s no way I’m going to talk to them about the more important things. I feel as though this has pushed us even further apart than we already are. I hate feeling like I’m the only adult here, and I hate feeling worthless. This really didn’t go very well…

Blogger Recognition Award and a HUGE thank you!

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Excuse me, WordPress? What do you think you’re doing?

Before I start my award post, I’d like to address an incident that occurred a couple of days ago. Do you see the picture above? I had what WordPress called “A spike” and it’s all thanks to this wonderful man here. I wrote a post, inspired by a post he had previously written, and you can see my post here and this man posted it to his Facebook page which you can see here. Within hours my view counter shot up from about 100 views (which is roughly what I aim for each day) to 200, then to 300, and it didn’t stop! It felt amazing to know that not only was I spreading awareness of anxiety, but so many lovely people commented and messaged me saying they’re going through the same thing and to know that I’m not alone in this was wonderful. And since writing this, my post has been seen over 1200 times!! Thank you again Chris, and thank you to everyone who read my post!

Now onto another huge thank you…

Thank you to Brighton Bipolar for the Blogger Recognition Award!

Here’s the rules:

  • Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to. Do some digging if you must! Find those blogs. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you. Oh gosh, there are so many bloggers who have made me feel so welcome here and who inspire me but I’ve got to narrow it down to 15, so here goes…
  1. Aiden
  2. 21 And Sensory
  3. A Little Daydreamer
  4. Sophie Speaks Up
  5. Jasmine Honey Adams
  6. Three Hands One Heart
  7. Daydreamer 52
  8. Mon
  9. Luna
  10. Drifting Lexi
  11. Sheetal
  12. A Teenage Diary Online
  13. Everything And Nothing
  14. The Crazy Perfectionist
  15. Elm
  • Write a post to show off your award! Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers. Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog. List who you’ve nominated in the post. Make sure to also attach the award itself! (You can do this by right-clicking, saving, and uploading the image above).

How did my blog start?

My blog started because I was an invisible 17 year old girl. I had so many thoughts and opinions and ideas, but no one to listen to them. So I started talking to myself on here…And nothing happened. Nobody liked my posts or commented and  felt so defeated, and then lightning struck! People started to listen to me and it was such an incredible feeling that since I started, my blog has been viewed nearly 7000 times! So thank you, you all truly do mean the world to me.

My advice:

I’m still a complete newbie at this, I’ve only been blogging for 3 months! However, if I had to give some pieces of advice this would be it:

Network. Go like, follow, and comment on amazing blogs! Not only will you get to read some interesting posts, you’ll be making fellow bloggers happy, and it’ll help bring people to your site if they see you as a genuinely supportive person.

Write about what you love. We can tell if a blogger is passionate about what they write, and if you show emotion in your posts it just makes for a more interesting and engaging read.

Don’t blog for fame. There are millions (possibly billions) of blogs out there. The chances your blog will give you any kind of fortune or fame is slim. Blog because it makes you happy, because it’s cheaper than a therapist, because you love to write, because you get to talk to amazing people, because you have a story that just has to be told.

  • Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them. Provide a link to the award post you created if you want.
  •  Provide a link to the original post on Edge of Night . That way, anyone can find the original guidelines and post if needed, and we can keep it from mutating and becoming confusing!

Thank you again for everything, you all mean so much to me 🙂

50 Important Facts About Having Anxiety…

I was inspired by this post which listed 50 facts about having autism, so I thought I’d do a similar post about having anxiety. I’ve had anxiety since I was around 10 years old, and if you’ve been following my blog for a little while you’ll know it has improved in the last two years. But I still do have panic attacks and anxiety still plays an important role in my life. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this, and as always I’d love to hear from you if you have anxiety yourself.

  1. We’re not attention seeking. We are genuinely scared of social interactions or triggering situations.
  2. We’re not vampires. Okay yes I am as pale as a piece of paper, and I burn like one too. But I do actually like to go outside, and I do like to socialise it’s just very stressful.
  3. It upsets us if you cancel your plans last minute. I have spent days, even weeks preparing myself to go out with you and then you’re cancelling 10 minutes before we’re supposed to meet up? Not okay. At least 24 hours notice please!
  4. It upsets us if you’re late.  Don’t be late. Or if you can’t help being late, text me! Anywhere I have to be I am there 15 minutes early. And if you’re not there on time I start to freak out. Have you been hit by a car? Have I got the wrong place? Do you hate me?
  5. We blush. A lot. Like 90% of my life is spent looking like a tomato. If I get embarrassed, or I start to feel anxious I tend to blush. I know I’m bright red! Please don’t point it out! Then everyone looks at us and it makes us feel a thousand times worse.
  6. We sometimes don’t like eye contact. Eye contact feels so personal to me. When I get nervous I might avoid eye contact. The correct response is to carry on speaking to me as normal and let me get used to you. Don’t point it out and try and force us to look you in the eye!
  7. We might run away. I have actually ran away from people when I get too overwhelmed. No I’m not just looking for attention. Please don’t point out that I look crazy. I know what I’m doing isn’t seen as normal but sometimes life is too overwhelming. Wait for me to calm down, then just stay with me. We can sort any problems out later.
  8. We have anxiety attacks. But they might not involve us struggling to breathe. My anxiety attacks come in many shapes and sizes. I may suddenly need to go somewhere I deem as “safe” which is usually my bed, I might start crying, I might run away. All these can be panic attacks, so if you notice I look scared then chances are I’m freaking out. Stay with me, don’t raise your voice, remove me from the stressful situation if possible and lay my hands on a flat surface. I’m not doing this for attention, I am overwhelmed and stressed.
  9. Getting drunk is not going to cure my anxiety. It is surprising the amount of people who tell me to smoke or drink to solve my anxiety. I personally do not enjoy drinking and it actually makes my anxiety worse, as I feel as though I’m not in control of my body and I feel very vulnerable and weak. Don’t force me to do anything.
  10. You don’t have to have a bad upbringing to have anxiety. Although my anxiety personally stems from traumatic events, not everyone’s does. Do not automatically assume someone has had a crappy childhood just because they have anxiety, this can make people feel as though they are wrong or silly for being anxious when they “Don’t have a reason to”.
  11. Anxiety is not just being nervous. Just like being sad does not mean you are depressed, having normal feelings of anxiety such as around exam season or before public speaking does not mean you have an anxiety disorder. However, if you have very high levels of anxiety during these times to the point where you are physically suffering then you need to speak to your doctor.
  12. Our brains exaggerate everything. You take longer than 3 seconds to reply to my text? You’re either dead or you hate me. You don’t hear something I said? You’re ignoring me, you’re angry with me, and you hate me.
  13. Forcing us to socialise does not help. Yes, please ask me to parties and to hang out with you. But don’t pressure me it into doing it, and if I say no I mean no. I love going out, and I love feeling included but if I feel like it would be too stressful or I’m doing something stressful the day before I might say no.
  14. We will probably leave the party early. Although I love socialising, there is a limit. Socialising is exhausting for me and so I will most likely leave after a couple of hours. Don’t get upset or offended and don’t make me feel guilty for doing this.
  15. Telling us “Don’t be shy.” does not cure our anxiety. Oh thank you so much. My anxiety is now suddenly cured. Where were you 8 years ago when this all started?! You truly are magic.
  16. If we say don’t touch us, we mean it. Because my anxiety comes from a traumatic point in my life being touched can feel threatening, so when I feel stressed I may tell people not to touch me. I mean this. If I am touched whilst having a panic attack it makes me feel terrified and increases my anxiety so much to the point where I have been physically ill. However, some people like to be hugged or comforted so ask the person if it’s okay to touch them.
  17. New people are terrifying. There’s so much pressure to make a good impression on new people. What if I mess up and they hate me? What if I have a panic attack and they think I’m a freak?
  18. New places are terrifying. I personally feel so exposed and vulnerable in new places and I hate feeling weak.
  19. We struggle to sleep. You know when you lay awake and think of all the things you need to do and you can’t sleep? Well imagine that 100 times worse. I think of everything I need to do tomorrow and the next day and I’m so scared I’ll forget them I have to get up and write them down, I go through all the conversations I’ve had and I panic about them, I then think about the next social event I’ve got and I play all the possibilities through in my head. Because of this it usually takes me 1-2 hours of worrying before I fall asleep.
  20. We hate being left alone. If you come with us somewhere, say a party, do not leave us alone. It freaks us out and we start to panic. If you have arranged to stay with us, then do that, don’t change plans suddenly.
  21. We love being left alone. Then again, if I am upstairs in my bed surrounded by pillows with my laptop and a cup of tea in one hand, I want to be left alone. I don’t want to socialise at that point and I am honestly perfectly happy with my own company.
  22. We have scars. I have a lot of scars actually, and although I am not ashamed of them I feel the need to hide them a lot. Mostly because you get called “disgusting” and a “freak”. Please, if you see someone with scars, and they’re a stranger, don’t point them out and don’t be mean to me. I have gone through more than you will ever know. And please, if you know me and see my scars for the first time, don’t tell  our entire class I’m an attention seeking whore. Thank you.
  23. We are not just shy. I am actually really bubbly and excited when you get to know me. But you have to earn my trust. And calling me “shy” and teasing me about it is not the way to do that.
  24. We are proud of our little achievements. For example, for the first time since I was 10 years old I am going swimming. My 7 year old cousin asked me to go with her and I promised her I would. For me this is amazing! I am actually going to show off my body to the world! Okay, I’m going to be in a bikini top and shorts and it’ll be in my town’s local swimming pool. But still, it’s an incredible achievement for me and although I am very, very nervous I’m excited too! Please don’t put us down for being proud of little things like this, because these little things are what help us overcome our anxiety.
  25. Anxiety is not depression. These are two very different mental health issues, and although someone may have both of these, they are not interchangeable. If you are confused about the difference, please take 10 minutes to research both of these terms.
  26. Some people with anxiety take medication. Although I personally do not take any medication for my anxiety, some people find it very helpful. No one should feel guilty for taking prescribed medication to improve their daily lives, just because their illness effects their mental state doesn’t mean they should be ashamed of getting help.
  27. We know we’re not acting logically. I know that I shouldn’t be afraid of going to the supermarket, or meeting my boyfriend’s friends, but I am. My brain tells me these are dangerous situations and there’s nothing I can do about that, so telling me I’m being stupid doesn’t help.
  28. We hate feeling abandoned. I personally get really upset if I feel people are abandoning me, even when I know that’s not the case. For example, if someone calls me I have to hang up on them first otherwise I feel as though they don’t want to talk to me. This sounds really silly, but if my boyfriend needs to walk away from me (such as if he’s going to get a bus or is going into another shop) then I can’t watch him walk away because it just makes me feel nervous and upset.
  29. We get flashbacks. If someone’s anxiety comes from a traumatic event (similar to PTSD in a way, but that’s not an anxiety disorder) then they may get flashbacks to times where they have been under stress. For me these usually take the form of nightmares. If your partner has these then don’t underestimate them, to us they feel very real, when we wake up just comfort us and like I’ve said before ask before touching us because that can make the situation worse.
  30. We’re not ashamed. We want you to know we have anxiety, and don’t be afraid to talk to us about it. In fact, talk to us about it! Research anxiety. Anything you can do to educate yourself on why we feel and act certain ways can only be helpful.
  31. Anxiety isn’t just a mental problem. There are a whole heap of physical issues that go along with it. Shortness of breath, high pulse rate, shaking etc. Not only does this make us more anxious but it can affect our daily lives.
  32. Work can make us very stressed. A lot of people get stressed at work, but for people with anxiety it can be 10 times harder. My main job involves delivering Chinese takeaway, which means I have to talk to 15-30 strangers in a night. This is very stressful for me, and when I first started I wouldn’t look customers in the eye. But now I have definitely got more confident, and can speak to new customers quite easily. So if you work with someone with anxiety give them time to get used to the job and used to you.
  33. We’re good at offering support. We’ve been through so much that we can handle any problem you throw at us and we can remain calm and offer advice and support, without judgement (most of the time!).
  34. We care a lot about what others think. People tell us all the time, we shouldn’t worry about what others think. But I do. All the time. I care whether people think I’m talking too loud, or if people think I’m horrible or a mean person. So, just be careful what you tell us, because our minds may exaggerate what you say.
  35. We love compliments. Seriously, someone telling me they like my shoes can make me happy for the rest of the day. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right, I know we shouldn’t rely on others to make us happy but honestly I love getting compliments. If someone you know has anxiety, giving them a compliment can definitely help them relax and can help reduce their anxiety.
  36. We are really good at problem solving. My mind is constantly thinking of all the bad things that can happen, and I always think of what I can do in case that happens. Also, because of my anxiety I am prepared for everything! Got a papercut? I’ve got 30 plasters and a bandage in my bag. Your hairtie broke? Don’t worry, I tie my ponytail up with three of them just in case. Your button fell off? I’ve got safety pins in my front pocket. I am a lifesaver!
  37. We don’t like confrontation. If someone yells at me or argues with me I worry about it for days afterwards and it makes me feel very sick. If you can, try and remain calm and discuss the problem because I won’t be able to sort out anything if I’m having a panic attack.
  38. We like our personal space. Just be aware that if I don’t know you, or I don’t trust you yet, you need to stay well away from me. I don’t mean avoid me, but I shouldn’t be able to touch you if I stick my arm out. If I move slightly away from you, don’t step closer to me! I’m feeling uncomfortable and suffocated.
  39. We care so much about others. We do so much to help others, and because of our anxiety we are constantly worried about how others are feeling or whether they’re safe. In fact a lot of people with anxiety will put others before themselves because we are more worried about them than ourselves.
  40. We get moody. But we don’t usually mean to. Sometimes our anxiety makes us irritable. Imagine that every day you wake up and you realise you’ve got a really important exam to take, but you haven’t studied for it. That’s how we feel. Would you find it easy to be happy and upbeat in that situation?
  41. You are important to us. If we say that we love you, and we trust you, and we let our guard down around you then that means you are so important to us. We don’t choose friends or partners easily, so know that we love you even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes.
  42. We’re not weak. In fact, we’re the opposite. We’re some of the most courageous and bravest people you’ll meet because everyday is a struggle for us.
  43. We can’t “Just relax”. How the hell do you relax?! Every single waking second my mind is racing with thoughts, no matter what I’m doing. The only thing that helps is running in complete silence, just me, my breaths, and my footsteps. Please don’t tell us to relax, because it’s pretty much impossible.
  44. We need you to be there. If I need to call you at 3am because I’m alone in the house and I just heard a noise downstairs and I’m pretty much dead right now, then you need to answer it. If I trust you enough to ask for help, then you need to be there to give me that support. Don’t be angry if we call you at inconvenient times, we need your help.
  45. We need you to listen to us. If you do not have anxiety then you don’t know how it feels. Please don’t try and give us advice when we’re having a panic attack because we’re too far gone, just listen to us complain and rant and freak out.
  46. We need our sleep. It is exhausting to be on edge every day, so if we’re sleeping please don’t wake us up unless you really have to. Getting to sleep is so difficult, so although we might go to bed at 10pm we probably didn’t fall asleep until midnight so please cut us some slack!
  47. Our words are precious. We might not say a lot, but what we do say has been well thought out. We don’t feel the need to fill silences with stupid small talk. We’re quite happy just listening in conversations, so don’t force us to speak when we might just not have anything to say right then.
  48. We’re good observers. We notice everything. We pick up on every little detail of your body language and the way you speak, and we make judgments on this. This also means we’re good at reading people because we’re very aware of when someone’s body language or tone suggests they’re angry or sad etc.
  49. We use a lot of body language. We might not tell you we’re panicking but our body language might show it. Everyone is different, but learning how someone acts when they get upset helps you handle their behaviour better. I personally get very quiet, I pull my sleeves down, I might visibly shake, and I avoid eye contact.
  50. We are not our anxiety. We are people. Some of us are so sweet and kind, and some of us are assholes. Take the time to get to know the person behind the anxiety, who knows you might just find someone amazing…Like me 🙂

Thank you so much for reading!

GUEST POST: Love you! Like a fat kid loves cake… – By Shaye

I want to give a massive thank you to Shaye for being a guest writer. I know how difficult it was for her to write this, so thank you so much.

…Why can’t it be like a fat kid likes green beans, or like a fat kid likes sushi. There are lots of things fat kids like to eat, other than cake. I should know, I have been one most of my life. In fact a lot of skinny people I know LOVE cake, and soda, waaaay more than the fat kids do. This saying has always had a double edged sword protruding out of it and there is no way to get rid of it until the positive body image movement happens, which in reality I don’t see happening anytime soon.

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As I type this I have just finished a rather large meal of gorgeous steak with a rather large loaded potato and now am watch my songbird and my charming bake boozy cupcakes whilst I diddle away at the keys. I am not to blame when it comes to using inappropriate terms, nor am I one to turn around and say “Well, since I am a chubby gal I can say it and you can’t”. I’m not THAT kind of narcissist. I keep calling this my “last fat kid weekend”, my final fiesta before I head back on the path toward my weight-loss journey that I started so many years ago. But why don’t we start at the beginning. Before the neurosis and binge eating disorder, before the surgeries and body dysmorphia. There was a little girl. And I do mean little girl.

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I grew up in NYC for most of my life, raised by a Puerto Rican and a Scot. Now I have a HUGE family (of whom I spend more time with my PR side) and they love to eat. I grew up in a world full of food. I was a dancer, a softball player and as one of the ONLY girls in an apartment building I biked and climbed and ran and jumped and skinned my knees on concrete for at least an hour or two a day. Looking back on pictures of me as a child I would not in the least call me heavy, but I was always body conscious. My mother had made me that way from a young age, wearing tee-shirts over my swimsuits or shorts, always being “sure” I wanted to put that last bite of food in my mouth, blousing out my shirts so my non existent belly didn’t show. Things were always a bit too big than just fitting r a bit tight. It didn’t help that I developed a chest early and that it grew fast and furious to the point that my dance teacher told me I would never make it to professional when I was about 9.

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I went to a private school, where if you weren’t popular you were treated like crap and since I went on scholarship I wasn’t popular. And they would tease me, for being ugly to fat to everything else they could think of. The funny part was a lot of them were bigger than I was was, but I still was not that body conscious I wasn’t prepared for the real world I guess. The real world started happening when I was about 9. When I was 9 years old, they thought I had cancer, after major testing and so forth they found out I had Graves Disease. Graves disease is a form of Hypothyroidism. Now for all you non-medical people out there, your thyroid controls your metabolism and all that good jazz, so when your thyroid is hypo you are under-producing the hormone needed to run that machine smoothly, leading to weight gain, fatigue and many other bothersome symptoms. I was to be put on medications and closely monitored. Well, I was fine for a bit, that year I started sleep away camp and found a best friend, who was skinnier that anything (naturally) and the only reason I was like was because of her, and the next year of school (sixth grade) went by so slowly because my medication seemed off. I started getting hives, swelling up for no reason…something was wrong. The doctors played with my meds and as an effort to kill the hives benadryll and prednisone were introduced to my body. And I blew up. Now if you have ever taken prednisone you know what will happen, if not just think about the hungriest you have ever been and multiple that by like Gremlin after midnight and there you go. I gained I can’t tell you how much weight on my small frame. It was not a good year for me.

As far as I remember it that was the year a few things happened, I put my hands and arms through one of those reinforced wired windows at school while trying to open it, my mom signed me up for therapy which she quickly pulled me out of (I still don’t know why she did either) and I started to binge. Now I never liked shopping for clothes unless I was with my GK. GK never picked at me, she let me go through clothes at my own pace and she just got me when it came to clothes. My mother liked terrible things on me and always made me feel huge in the dressing room. It was the year I was in sixth grade that I would wait until everyone was asleep and sneak into the kitchen and eat what I could, I snuck things into my bedroom, I would hide and eat everywhere I went (Even at camp that year I would trade things for snacks because they were rarely given to me). I was just hungry all the time and even if it was a healthy snack I would hide it and at dinner I would eat and eat until I was uncomfortable or until my mother gave me the look. That summer at camp was a lot harder for me, that awkward age between 10 and 11, boys just really noticing you, my best friend having too many boyfriends and me just wanting to be kissed I was by no means a blimp but I had put on the pounds. My asthma was not good and the hives still came back all the time. Constant infirmary visits.

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Between 11 and the summer I turned 13 I went through a lot. I was now in a public school, the same one my best friend went too. I was beginning to be aware of my own body and get very uncomfortable around it. I was realizing that I may not only be attracted to guys (which made the locker rooms a really odd place for me). My friends were all smaller. My hives were so bad I was on a constant stream of steroids and my mother would sit by my bed at night to make sure my throat didn’t close up. We would fight constantly because of my body or my clothes. That summer the doctor that made a decision that would change my whole life, a decision I wish I had more say in, that maybe that had gone about a different way or waited just a little bit longer because it wouldn’t be till soon after that that research would emerge about the side effects. That summer they removed my thyroid.

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Now Thyroid surgery is a big deal, if they take out part of your thyroid you are usually better for the long term but since they had to remove all of mine (because they were convinced it was causing the hives…it wasn’t) my whole world changed. You see there has been a proven link between thyroid removal and the switch that keeps the circuit of mental illness at bay. It is like the thin sheet of plastic between the baking soda and vinegar in a homemade volcano, everything is peachy but pull the plastic and KABOOM!!!! I immediately lost all of the weight from the steroids because of the recovery int he hospital, got my first kiss (from my first crush since I was like a year old) and all was well….kinda. I walked back into school that year feeling like a new girl, I was in the 8th grade ready to take my tests for HS and on new meds and actually feeling better. But it didn’t matter, the kids hadn’t gotten any nicer (but I noticed it more, it hurt more), my mother got pickier (so I ate more, it hurt more) and I was getting bigger (everyone told me I was nuts, but I could see it in the mirror). That year, I lined up and took over 200 pills in plain sight of an entire cafeteria full of students during breakfast and no one noticed me. (But that is a whole other story in a whole other post). I couldn’t wait to get out of that school. I tried fad diets and all sorts of shit the teen magazines were peddling but at that point I was just me, and I figured hey this is what I am stuck with, better deal with it. (When I graduated JHS I was a size 12)

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Now we are going to speed through high school because high school was a very up and down point in my life, but that falls more on the mental side of things. I was still binge eating, only now it wouldn’t be hiding it just from my mother, it was from certain friends (like the ones you think are friends but put you down because they want to take your bf or are using you for something). When I started HS I was a size 10, I got called fat. I got told i should hide my *insert body part here*. When I graduated HS (After a year of being on bed rest and being in and out of the hospital) I was a size 16. The names never changed.

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Always yours,

Shaye

xoxo

*Authors Note* As I started to write this I didn’t realize how emotional I would get during it. I am going to piece this out if my darling girl will let me as a guest post or I will continue it on my own blog and my journey has not yet ended and there is so much more to write.

Thank you so much, Shaye, for sharing this. The next part of this post will be posted here soon so please keep an eye out for that. If anyone reading this wants to write a guest post for me please get in touch at: aleve44@hotmail.com. Thank you for reading x