So I don’t really like to share super personal details on here but I’ve had quite a few of you emailing and DMing me regarding the results from my doctor appointment and asking how everything went. This is a very scary and vulnerable post that I wasn’t planning on sharing but as you may have noticed, I’ve been absent more than usual on Instagram/Instagram stories and my blog post schedule has been erratic the past couple of weeks – both of which are totally unlike me – so I thought I’d let you in what has been going on lately.
Let’s start from the beginning….
By nature, I have ALWAYS been a very happy, peppy, sunshiney person. Always full of energy, dancing around, humming, twirling, smiling, laughing, just enjoying life. I’ve always gotten myself ready for the day – dressed up to the nines, full hair and makeup…every single day. I’ve always had a positive outlook on everything, despite all the hardships I’ve gone through. I may be small in stature but I’m one tough cookie, that’s for sure ha! I didn’t notice it at the time, but there was a definite shift a year and half to two years ago.
Looking back, I was going through a lot during this time. I was completely overwhelmed with three jobs, had a falling out with my family that would ultimately change my life forever and just started to feel incredibly burnt out no matter how much time I took for myself. I started to feel less and less like myself while my schedule (and life in general) became more and more demanding. At the same time, I started having issues with my birth control pills. My hormones were all over the place and I had every single side effect you can imagine. I started to gain weight despite exercising and eating normally. I had no energy whatsoever and had the craziest mood changes. I distinctly remember being on one pill that made me feel like a complete psycho – I cried over EVERYTHING for a month straight. Seriously everyday tears streamed down my face while watching Carl’s Jr. commercials, taking out the trash, listening to music on the radio, or just sitting in silence on the couch. The moment I stopped taking it, the crying stopped. I changed pills 11 times, with each one getting worse than the next (even the one without Estrogen). For this reason and because I suffer from migraines, they decided that it wasn’t in my best interest to continue with hormonal birth control. This left me with only one option for non-hormonal birth control. And while I wasn’t psyched about it, my options were limited and I dreamed of the day that my side effects would go away and I would feel like a normal person again.
The thing is, my symptoms didn’t stop. In fact they became worse. Over the past year, I began to notice significant changes, especially concerning my energy levels and digestive issues. Not only did I began to feel burnt out, but I also felt like I couldn’t relax. I would be up until midnight every night working to catch up on my to do list and somehow, it never seemed finished. Then, I started to feel incredibly exhausted and like I didn’t want to do anything, which is totally unlike me. I started to feel unmotivated and just flat out tired all. the. time. I’ve always gotten 8-9 hours of sleep but it never seemed like enough. I started falling asleep during the day…while I was working! I started napping on the weekends for hours at a time (multiple times a day sometimes!) because I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I thought it might be because I was staying up late all the time, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t fall asleep before midnight. I started taking melatonin and it only made me wake up more tired. Then came the digestive issues. I continued to gain weight out of nowhere. I barely ate and was still gaining. I stopped going to the gym because I just didn’t have the energy. I started to become bloated after every single meal, no matter what I ate, which is extremely frustrating for someone who has always been fairly fit. It felt completely out of my control and this caused me to feel extremely insecure and my self-esteem took a hit.
Interestingly enough, I went through some life changes during this time. I became completely overwhelmed and burnt out. My blog started to become more and more demanding (a good thing!) but I felt like I couldn’t put all the time I needed into it because I was too busy and tired all the time. So after five years, I quit substitute teaching hoping this would take a load off my shoulders and allow me more time to grow my business and really start to fulfill the dream I’ve been chasing my entire life. As much I had loved teaching, it was never meant to be a career for me and doing this for myself was such a joyful (and scary) moment.
However, around the same time, I made the decision to cut off nearly all of my family members along with anyone else that was toxic. As a person, I am deeply compassionate, caring and always willing to help but some see this as a weakness and take advantage. I am also a person that soaks up other people’s emotions and I truly feel it on a deeper, physical level. Even though I am a positive person, being around someone negative can really bring me down..even sometimes without realizing it. The relationship with my family was always one sided and for so long, I didn’t see that. I didn’t see that the way they treated me wasn’t normal and I didn’t realize that what I had been dealing with for decades wasn’t just normal family disfunction. It was much more than that and seemingly overnight, the veil was lifted from my eyes and I began to see things for what they really were. After realizing that I was dealing with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and doing extensive research on it, I made the very hard decision to distance myself from this person and everyone else that had been a part of this toxicity. I deleted phone numbers, blocked social media accounts and cut off all communication even going as far as not driving back to my (very small) hometown, even if that means I lost my guitar lessons in the process. Even then, this person still tried to get to me..still tried to ruin my life, tried to pit everyone else against me and play the victim through their own manipulation. I did not announce that I was doing this to anyone and to outsiders who don’t really know the details of what happened, this could look like a completely different situation. But to be honest, I did this for myself. For my mental, emotional and physical health. And even after they were essentially out of my life physically, they were still getting to me mentally.
It was an extremely difficult transition going from having a “family” to basically having less than a handful of people in my life but after working through this on my own and with a therapist for several months, I can honestly say this was the best decision I have ever made for myself and I only wish I would’ve seen the light sooner.
Which brings me to the present. Both of these life changes, while positive, still didn’t help with symptoms. I still felt tired as ever (even while forcing myself to go to bed at 9pm) and had digestive issues along with the other symptoms I was experiencing. I thought that maybe I was just really, really burnt out and that it would go away eventually. Or that maybe there were some side effects from taking hormonal birth control for so long. Well… for the last month and a half, I’ve had some reproductive issues. It was very, very scary and I made an appointment right away when I knew something wasn’t right. I don’t want to go into too much detail because it’s a little TMI but we’ll just say that this non-hormonal birth control was making me borderline anemic. I had a really uncomfortable ultrasound done along with numerous blood tests for diabetes, kidney/liver, thyroid and anemia. I thought for sure that it was a thyroid issue or anemia and I anxiously awaited the week and a half period for my follow up appointment. I was a nervous wreck going in but also breathed a sigh of relief knowing that it would likely be solved and maybe I would finally be back to myself again. Except my tests came back negative….even my ultrasound.
Which is good news, of course, but also slightly a let down because that means I still haven’t found the culprit of my problems. Meanwhile, in the last two weeks, I’ve developed almost daily migraines, vertigo and have been more tired than ever (hence my lack of posting). So we explored other options…sleep apnea, chronic (or adrenal) fatigue, hormonal imbalance, severe stress, or mild depression. For my bloating, a possibly food allergy/intolerance or the fact that I’m “getting older” and my metabolism isn’t as fast as it used to be. To be honest, I didn’t get a lot of answers and the doctor just sort of shrugged it off and didn’t offer any additional testing. It’s very frustrating because I’ve always been a relatively healthy person and it’s hard to distinguish what it could be because the symptoms mimic SO many different things and any of these are very real possibilities. As for not steps, he didn’t give me any sort of closure whatsoever and now I’m left trying to figure this out on my own. My hormones have been kind of crazy the past few weeks and I can’t blame it on my birth control so yes, an imbalance is possible. And I have been super stressed over the past few years and maybe it’s just all built up in the form of these symptoms? And depression was never a possibility in my mind (in fact, I never considered it an option) but I can see that too… I’m happy and positive and while I’ve never felt suicidal or hopeless or anything, I still have a lot of the symptoms. But that’s the thing – the symptoms I have can be any number of things. It could even be diet related. And that’s what makes it so hard. Since I don’t know exactly what’s happening to my body, I don’t know how to treat it and it is honestly the most frustrating and upsetting thing ever. I’ve never gone through anything like this before and I just want to feel like myself again.
So what are my next steps?
I don’t know exactly. After my birth control fiasco, I’m not quite sure I want to medicate myself and cause additional distress. At this point, I’m looking to heal naturally and I’m hoping that by incorporating some lifestyles changes, I can fix these issues. If these don’t work, I’ll be looking for a different doctor to get a second opinion. But for now, I’m going to:
- Take a food intolerance test and should have some answers in the next two weeks or so. Fingers crossed!!
- Start a dairy-free diet (I talked about this previously but didn’t want to start until after I got my results). From here, I’ll be eliminating certain things to see if there is an issue somewhere.
- Continue with my current sleep schedule (bed by 9:30pm and up at 6:30am) and try to forgo the napping.
- Force myself to get ready each day, even if I just plan to stay at home. Obviously, I know how much the power of dressing nice and feeling put together impacts your mood and confidence lol!
- Get outside every single day, get some sun and go for a walk.
- Force myself to get back in the gym and go to yoga multiple times a week. This has been SO hard with literally no energy but I really have to make myself do this.
- Plan more trips and just get out on the weekends rather than staying in.
- Force myself to get out and socialize with others (since I’m now 100% self-employed, I spend A LOT of time at home alone).
- Make a detailed work schedule that I can stick to and schedule in time for myself and for the things I like to do.
This was really hard for me to write and I’m not sure why I’m sharing something so personal.. I guess I just need to get this out and let you guys know why I’ve been so distant the past few weeks. I’ll start up my regular posting schedule on Friday so no worries there 😉
If you’ve gone through anything similar or had these symptoms or have some words of encouragement/advice, please PLEASE leave a comment <3 I could use all the positive vibes and prayers right now! And as always, thank you all for being such an incredible support system for me <3
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