Online Dating in Modern Day

So I hop in and out of the online dating world whenever I have some extra time on my hands and think I’d like to put myself out there, and boy is there never a dull moment. I have said it before but truly I cannot believe what dating has come to in modern day. In some ways I see the positives, you have an easy and low-risk way of being introduced to people you never would have otherwise met, and you can do it from the couch in your pajamas’s with your favorite glass of wine – so right there we all know I’m in! On the down side though, you have to filter through hundreds of prospects (half of which on the free sites are not even serious about dating), and you have no good way of knowing who you’re really talking to or how many lies they’re telling you.

Needless to say, I don’t get too worked up over all of this but I do take some time to scroll through every now and again, swiping right on anyone that I feel I could enjoy getting to know, and left on the others. I am one of those people who actually look for a write up in the potential prospect’s ‘about me’ section and base the majority of my decision on said write up, and I can’t believe what some people say in theirs. First of all, there are countless men’s profiles that have absolutely nothing written in their about me section, and maybe that works for them as some people must judge based on looks alone, but seriously you can’t take two minutes to write a couple sentences about yourself? Even point form would do. The way I see it is if you can’t take a couple of minutes between your hours of swiping left or right to tell the app a tiny bit about yourself you either don’t know yourself well enough, don’t take your needs or lifestyle into enough importance or are not taking online dating seriously at all. And frankly, I can’t take you seriously enough to swipe right. Which is totally fine! There are probably lots of women who base their swipes solely on looks, and they may not care that you can’t form a couple of decent sentences about yourself.

Other people put it all out there, here is a profile I read the other day that although I have zero interest in, I actually have a lot of respect for their honesty. “In an open relationship, looking for someone for sex and experimentation. Will have open conversations to discuss clear boundaries.”
I actually find myself wanting to swipe right on these people simply to congratulate them on their honesty, but then I realize that I’d have to follow up with, “but actually that doesn’t interest me at all, so best of luck to you byeeeee!” and I just keep on swiping left.

Another one I read this week was particularly interesting, “What I lack in penis size I more than make up for in emotional support! Irish, new in Van, potato connoisseur,” huh… not really sure where to start with that one. Potato connoisseur? Unless you’re a farmer or a professional french fry chef, who cares? And as for your penis size, I don’t expect to know that off of an app, and maybe if you do happen to be lacking in that area you’d like someone to fall for your charm and emotional support abilities first? Also typically, unless you’re sleeping with everyone you chat with online, wouldn’t someone typically naturally fall for your personality before learning your penis size? Or is that just me…

What is with everyone who does take the time to do a write up including whether or not they have a costco card in it? Or, “I’m really only on here to meet someone with a costco card.”
Have I missed something? Is this a thing? Or is having or not having a costco card suddenly a marker of your personality traits that I can somehow use to determine how decent of a boyfriend you would be along with your 4 photos in dim lighting with hats and sunglasses on and your write up of 140 characters or less that is mostly emoji’s?

Like I said, I hop in and out of online dating whenever I feel like it. I have a business to run, I have a dog to take care of, I have a good social life, a chronic illness to deal with… all of these things lead me to ignoring my online dating profile on the regular. Also, there’s a large part of me that just doesn’t give a fuck. So ya, if I’m not in a conversation that is riveting and outside of the basic “how are you, what do you do, how was your weekend, how much did you party, wanna fuck?” I may forget to open my app for weeks at a time and forget to reply. It happens. It’s not personal. But recently one guy had a unique way of handling it. It went a little like this,

Guy: “I hope you had a good time off of bumble,”
Guy: sends dick pic
Me: “I did have a nice time away from bumble actually and that picture doesn’t make me want to come back anytime soon you are disgusting and should be ashamed of yourself. And if you think that would impress me you are extremely mistaken I wouldn’t use that as a pick up line anytime soon as it was nothing to be proud of you pathetic little man.”
Me: Block.

True story. And in reality I didn’t even look at the photo long enough to judge his size but the fact that this was his answer to me being busy and forgetting to check my app spoke for itself.

Yesterday I was told that I was too good for someone. This someone was not someone that I have interest in as more than a friend, and I believe the same goes for him, yet his friend felt the need to tell me that I was too good anyways. I don’t believe in one person being “too good” or “not good enough” for another person. We are all equal. I do believe however that in order to make a happy and fulfilling life with another person everyone needs to be honest about what they want, what they’re willing to give, what they’re willing to sacrifice and what are deal breakers. Everyone makes choices that create the life that they’re living. If we were all honest about what we actually wanted and what we are and are not okay with, I believe that everyone could find someone who fit with their life, wants and needs. No one would be better or worse, people would simply be good for each other or not. Nothing personal just reality.

There is always going to be someone, both male and female, who is just looking for sex. And good for them if that’s what they need at the time! I don’t think that there is anything wrong with that as long as both parties are open and honest about it. There are also always going to be both men and women pretending that they’re only looking for sex when really they want a relationship, and there is always going to be both men and women pretending they’re looking for a relationship when really all they want is sex. Then there will be the handful of people who are comfortable enough with themselves and over the game playing that they’re just flat out honest about what they want. Wouldn’t it be simpler if we could all just embrace our needs, our desires, our strengths and our weaknesses, and be honest about them knowing that that’s the simplest way to find who we’re looking for?

Could everyone just embrace the fact that there is always going to be someone who is just as shy, just as geeky, just as kinky, just as normal or just as weird as they are out there, wanting the same things as they are at the same time, and that if we were all just honest about it we’d be able to find each other much easier?

 

It’s okay to be depressed, it’s not okay to not do anything about it.

At the risk of a lot of people being offended by this (including my 15 year old self), it’s okay to be depressed, it’s not okay to not do anything about it.

I’ve been there. At the bottom, feeling like there was not a single ounce of light left in me. Spending time with an old friend recently has given me the opportunity to crack open a window into my darker past. I’ve been able to remember some of the broken pieces of me that have since been painted over and somewhat forgotten.

I was really miserable. And, most likely terrible to be around. Nobody really wants to spend a lot of their time with someone who is always sad, because, well, it’s depressing. To those of you who are reading this and thinking, “screw you I can’t help it, it’s not my fault, you don’t know how it feels,” I’m sorry. I’ve been there, and my experience may or may not be what you want to hear right now but it also may (or may not!) help you – I truly hope that it does.

I don’t expect you to do this on your own. I expect that family and friends and pets and councilors and maybe doctors will help you. But the fact of the matter is, we don’t all have those supports available to us. I was lucky in that I did have a few family and friends to help me, and that the gaps left by those who walked away were often filled by people who were closer to what I needed at the time, but do you think I saw that back then through the thick black smog that surrounded my life? No. Of course I didn’t. Unfortunately, no matter how hard someone else tries, they cannot fix you. I have spent a lot of my life trying to fix other people, all the while not realizing that there were probably other people that I didn’t recognize were trying to fix me. I never recognized this because I never felt worthy of being fixed, and maybe that’s why I focused so much of my energy on trying to fix others instead of myself.

(By the way, not only did me trying to fix other people never work, but they also probably didn’t want to be fixed! Who am I to say how they should live their lives?! But that’s an entry for another day..)

Every person in the world could offer you help, but if you don’t take any action steps not a single one of them would be able to help you.

Over the years I’ve learned which of the little (and big) things add up to help me get through life. Some of these make very little difference on their own, but when combined have been life changing. Maybe some days you can’t do them all, especially if you struggle with physical ailments as well as mental/emotional, but you have to start by at least figuring out what they are. Make a list to refer back to on the bad days, when you feel helpless and like there’s nothing you can control. Keep it on your fridge or mirror or nightstand, somewhere that you are forced to see it frequently. Post it on the wall that you see from your bed so that it’s the first thing you see every morning and the last thing you see every evening. And then slowly, one by one, do them. If it feels like you can’t have a shower, have a salt bath. If you can’t workout today, meditate. Can’t handle doing laundry? Just change your dirty pyjamas for fresh pyjamas. I don’t care, just do something.

Here’s my list, plus or minus a few things…
Drink lemon water, ideally several glasses per day
Stretching
Exercising
Meditating
Clean the house (or at least the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom)
Personal development reading (always have a book on the go!)
Wash laundry
Put away laundry (for some reason this one always seems so hard)
Put fresh sheets on the bed
Use a fresh towel
Pick or buy fresh flowers for a vase in the house
Garden
Sit with my crystals or salt lamp
Pull cards
Ask a friend to pull cards for me
Write
Do yoga
Walk the dog
Cook a healthy meal
Grocery shop

Sometimes things that seem so basic, such as changing your sheets, filling the fridge with fresh food or taking a shower seem absolutely impossible when you’re in the midst of a never-ending battle within yourself, but as difficult as they are, they can make equally a positive shift when you do them. Yes it would be nice if someone did those that they could for you, but here’s the hard truth: eventually they’re going to stop. Depression is debilitating. Anxiety is paralyzing. Still, no one can spend their entire lives trying to fix it for you, eventually they will need to take care of themselves and you will be left to do your life yourself. If you can, you need to search your soul for that one little tiny spark of light that is left in there and you need to feed it. That’s your only job, find what that spark needs in order to grow, and feed it. You are the only one who can, and ideally you’ll do this before everyone walks away in self preservation.

I don’t care if it’s one thing a week or even one thing a month. Just put the effort in. When you feel like you don’t have even a touch of effort left to give, that’s when you need to give it the most. I’m not saying do so much you burn out, just do something.

One little action step at a time is all it takes. In the moment they may not feel like much, but I promise you that compounded over time they could give you not only your entire life back, but a greater life than you could ever have imagined.

Career=Self Worth?

It just occurred to me how absolutely terrifying it would be for me to not be working. To not have a job to wake up and go to. To not have a purpose. To not have significance in the world. I never realized how much value I put in the ability to show up for the world each day in the form of a career!
I can’t help but wonder if today’s doctors appointment, the reality of me possibly not being able to receive some form of disability assistance, was the universe’s way of showing me how truly afraid I am of the idea of not being capable of going to a career each day.
I put such a significant amount of my self-worth into my ability to create a successful career for myself. I didn’t realize that such a huge part of my fear of having to ever go on disability doesn’t have so much to do with me not wanting to take money from the system as it does for me not being able to handle the idea of not working.

Many of you saw my post on Facebook today, my desperate cry for help:
“Alright I am going against all of my insecurity and all of the feelings that I’m not good enough or not doing enough in order to share this here knowing that there must be someone on my facebook with all of my political and chronically ill friends that SOMEONE must have a direction to point me in so im really putting aside all of my pride here so please be kind because this is too vulnerable even for me.

Today’s a rough one… broke down into a complete ugly sobbing cry in my GP’S office. I went in to find out why he isn’t comfortable filling out my disability tax credit forms and my rental assistance request forms when I’ve had a woman from the Canadian government tell me that I am eligible for the disability tax credit and a woman from the bc government tell me that I am eligible for the rental assistance. I was supposed to have a woman from MP Carla Quattrough’s office with me but she didn’t show show up.

I just completely broke down. I said with my history it is a miracle that I am even alive today or not a drug addict. I have done everything “the right way”. I have been fighting for my life in one way or another since I was 14 years old. At 15 I was hospitalized for 3 months with severe chronic depression/suicide/anxiety/panic disorder. I continued to fight these things the rest of my life. At 19 I was assaulted and have suffered ptsd and chronic pelvic pain ever since. Just when I sort of started to get myself to a good place I left a relationship that leaves me still having nightmares 2.5 years later and immediately got hit by lyme.

Throughout all of this I still managed to start my hairstyling apprenticeship at 16 years old and complete it on time despite overdosing on pain pills halfway through it. I have had 3 businesses at one time up until getting lyme, plus I sat on the local business association executive board and the south delta mental health local action team. I was a very well respected member of our community and now I’m fighting so hard to keep working 3-4 days a week just to keep any sense of normalcy at all not to mention to be able to afford to live and all of my not covered life saving medical treatments. Even if I were to go on disability it would not even cover my rent let alone utilities, transportation, food, medical treatments etc. I am also in the process of having to move for my health due to mold, second hand smoke, and a rat taking up home inside my ceiling/wall.

So now for the first time ever I’m doing something that I NEVER thought I’d ever have to do and I’m asking for government support, but BECAUSE I’ve kept fighting so hard and because my family and I have spent thousands of our own money to keep me alive and from being bedridden, I am not sick enough to receive the help that I need. So now I have to wait until I literally push myself into a full mental breakdown – which is not far off – or just give up now in order to be “sick enough” to get assistance.

I don’t want to stop working, I don’t want to give up, I just want to be able to know that I can afford to only work 3-4 days a week until I am healed and can get back at it full time and go back to my regular productive life. The same as anyone else whos seriously ill does. Most people in my condition do not continue working the way that I have.

And guess what I did right after the doctor’s appointment. I washed my face from my big ugly cry, put a smile on and went straight back to work making other people feel beautiful. Like I always do.

I don’t have it better or worse than anyone else and I am not better or worse than anyone else but I do know that I have spent my life making every choice possible to be as healthy and as positive-contributing member of society as I possibly could be and it’s just sucky right now.

**Please do not take this as an opportunity to share with me how I can make money from home with your business or how I can cure myself from Lyme with essential oils or anything like that. I know you mean well but I simply don’t have it in me to be polite about that right now.**”
(What I really wanted to say in this last line was, “I know you mean well and its not that I don’t believe your business works, its that I truly do not have any extra energy to start a new business and also I have not come across any MLM businesses that I’ve been even remotely interested in besides Beachbody. Just because I tried it once doesn’t mean that I want to sell for any companies I can, I truly enjoyed BB and working out and what it did for my life and I don’t really give a f*ck about makeup [or insert other MLM company here] otherwise I would have reached out to you about it. And as far as telling me how to cure my Lyme goes, unless you or a very close loved one has had or has lyme, or you are a highly experienced LLMD or LLND, there is no way you have the magical cure that the other tens of thousands of us haven’t tried or heard of and you do not know better than my highly trained top LLND. But because I am way too uncomfortable being rude to you or even politely saying No or using any assertiveness at all, I will use extra energy to make you feel better about making me feel uncomfortable. So please, lets skip that whole dance.”

I truly did feel so ashamed posting about trying to receive financial assistance from the government and it got me wondering why I felt so ashamed of it when I would never question anybody else in my position for receiving help. I thought that it was the fear of being judged, the fear of not being good enough because I’m in a tough spot financially. But in reality, I am 26 years old, I have my own business, I have no debt, I work my ass off at everything I do, I live on my own with my dog who I take care of, and I have amazing people in my life. So outside of being dealt a really raw hand I’m actually doing really well in a lot of ways, and who in my position wouldn’t accept government help if they were eligible for it?
So that brought me to the realization, holy sh*t it’s not the financial assistance that I’m ashamed of its the ability to work and create a successful career for myself and my future family.

In my brain what would that mean for me if I couldn’t create a successful career for myself?
obviously this would leave me unable to financially support myself or my future family, all on my own as I am a single person and even when I have a family I may have to support us on a single income
– I would end up homeless or in unfortunate or embarrassing living situations such as living back at home
– I would never find a partner because if I don’t have a career than I’m not worthy
– I would lose all of my friends because if I don’t have a career I’m not worthy
– If I can’t work and create a successful career that allows me to purchase a home and support the family and children that I don’t even have and do this all on my sole income RIGHT NOW then I’ll never be worthy of having those things and my whole life will be a struggle financially
– I would have nothing to get up for every day
– I would lose my whole purpose
– I would no longer make my mark in this world and I would be forgotten
In reality what would it mean for me if I wasn’t able to create a successful career for myself?
first of all I don’t even have children. Not even a partner to imagine children with! So this is ridiculous
– I would find some kind of income supported housing or get a job that although maybe not a career, would provide enough income for a decent rental living situation
– If a man wanted me not to have a career I wouldn’t allow for it. And thats the way it was for ages! So why should my ability to have or not to have a career for myself have anything to do with my potential worth in a relationship?
– What do I care if my friends have big successful careers or average or less than average? So why would my career or job choice matter to them?
– I’m 26 years old. The majority of 26 year olds cannot afford to purchase a home on their own or support a family and many of them can’t even afford to support themselves!
– I would find a new reason to wake up each day! A purpose outside of work. A passion, a hobby, I would volunteer, I would put my time towards healing and meditating and yoga and creating and blogging and self-care. I would find so many ways to put my mark on this world in ways even more meaningful to me than any career and I would not be forgotten by those who mattered.

Omg no wonder I’m not getting supported! I’m putting it out to the universe every day in my thoughts and actions and subconsciousness that I can’t get assistance because that means I would be able to cut down on work which would allow me to heal but I would no longer be good enough as a person so I’d rather keep pushing and suffering and killing myself doing it because that’s what makes me worthy as a human being. (Please read this run-on sentence really fast without taking a breath to mimic how it runs through my head).

This is the same reason I kept working whenever I could even while I was in the hospital at 15 years old.

This is the same reason I was back to work the day after I was let out of the ER after overdosing at 17.

This is the same reason that I didn’t give myself even one day off after being assaulted at 19.

…anyone else sensing a pattern… the value I have held in working is higher than the value I have held in healing. And how will I ever receive something that I am showing the universe that I do not want? Anyone else struggle with this? How did you re-write your brain?

P.S. welcome to a high functioning anxiety-brain.

What I wish I’d been told after being sexually assaulted.

I was 19 years old. I was enjoying the fun and excitement of my first ‘casual sex’ or ‘friends with benefits’ type situation. Something that I believe both men and women have the right to experience as an enjoyable, empowering experience. That being said I was 19 and naive with a life that made me particularly at risk for choosing less than ideal men to be in my life, including ones that only lowered my already very low self-worth. It turns out I also chose to surround myself with friends that only lowered my self-worth as well.

I realize that no 19 year old, or anyone really, knows exactly what to do for another person (or for themselves) after they’ve been assaulted. However, I feel like there are a few things that should be common sense that apparently are not. I never did do a really great job of standing up to these so called friends at the time, and I don’t see the point in standing up to them now after all of these years – they may have changed between then and now but I have a hunch that most of them are the same shitty, low-vibe human beings they were almost 8 years ago. So instead, naturally I’ve turned to my blog to teach other people how to have what should be common sense in these situations, and basically just how not to be a shit friend.

Go to the ER: I was in shock for months after this happened to me, trying to come up with any plausible explanation for the event that would make it not be rape. I did not want to believe that someone whom I had considered a friend, someone who I invited into my home, into my family and friend Christmas gatherings, into my social circle, into my body, could do this to me. I was too busy searching every corner of my mind for a different outcome to even think to go to the ER for a rape kit or even to check me for STD’s or give me plan B or simply make sure that physically I was okay.

Call the police: I waited almost a year to finally report this incident, and partially because of this there was lack of evidence to prosecute. The man who did this to me is now married (with my ex-best friends in his wedding party) and last I heard possibly has or is having a kid. He has never paid any price for what he did to me besides the obvious damage that it would do to his soul. He did apologize to me once, so I know he understands that what he did was wrong, and he has to live with that for the rest of his life. Even though Crown Council did not take this to trial it is on record for anyone who reports him in the future, and I do believe that he has done this before and will do it again. This is why anyone who is assaulted needs to report it even if it won’t make it to court.

You’re not going to be okay for a very long time, but one day you will be: I didn’t think I’d ever be okay again. But I am. I am definitely changed and scarred but I’m also healed and wiser. My chest no longer burns like an open wound and is now a dull ache. A reminder of what once was, and how if I can overcome that then I truly can overcome anything. The validation and honesty that comes with this sentence is huge to a survivor, or at least it would have been to me.

I believe you, and I’m here for you: I needed someone to be outraged for me. Someone who’s emotion validated everything I was experiencing. When I reached out to my friends completely lost and confused, telling them what had happened to me as if I wasn’t even sure I believed it myself, I needed someone to say “Wow! That is so wrong. I am so sorry, I love you, I believe you, I am angry for you, let me help you.” At the time I didn’t have the type of friends who can see outside of themselves for long enough to be outraged for anyone. In fact, some of them told me it was my fault while others tried to convince me and/or trick me into having said man at a surprise party that I was planning! The behavior from 3-4 “friends” in particular is so disgraceful it completely changed my view of who these people were and to this day I still cannot look at them the same way or think of them without feeling sick to my stomach. The way some humans treat other humans is absolutely despicable and I do not understand how a person is even capable of this sort of behavior.

You are not alone: Do you know how many Canadians this happens to? 1 in 4 women in North America alone will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Look around you, how many women are around you? How many women and young girls do you have in your every day life? Think of your mothers, grandmothers, aunts, nieces, sisters, daughters and friends. 1 in 4 of those women and girls have or will be sexually assaulted at some point. 60% of them will have been under the age of 17, and 80% of the assailants will be a friend or family member of the victim.

Rape is rape. It doesn’t matter whether or not you were already involved with the assailant: Instead I was asked by a very important male figure in my life, “Well were you already sleeping with him?”. Even if the assailant and the victim are married, any non-consensual sexual act is assault. Period.

Your assailant is a sad, disgusting, pathetic human being and you will always surpass them because you are a survivor and anyone who feels the need to do that to another person has some serious issues: I thought it was my fault. I thought he had taken my power. I thought he had taken pieces of me that would never re-grow. Looking back on this incident now I actually feel bad for him. How disgusting and pathetic and empty someone must be to feel the need to pin someone down, arm to their throat, and rape them. And for those who followed him, their lives can’t be much better.

People think sexual assault is rare, its not. It is however under-reported and under-prosecuted. That woman you met in the elevator today, the child at the bus stop, the telemarketer who interrupted your dinner, the person delivering your mail, they could all be survivors. Check out these Canadian statistics to understand how common this really is:

  • Of every 100 incidents of sexual assault, only 6 are reported to the police
  • 1 – 2% of “date rape” sexual assaults are reported to the police
  • 1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime
  • 11% of women have physical injury resulting for sexual assault
  • Only 2 – 4% of all sexual assaults reported are false reports
  • 60% of sexual abuse/assault victims are under the age of 17
  • over 80% of sex crime victims are women
  • 80% of sexual assault incidents occur in the home
  • 17% of girls under 16 have experienced some form of incest
  • 83% of disabled women will be sexual assaulted during their lifetime
  • 15% of sexual assault victims are boys under 16
  • half of all sexual offenders are married or in long term relationships
  • 57% of aboriginal women have been sexually abused
  • 1/5th of all sexual assaults involve a weapon of some sort
  • 80% of assailants are friends and family of the victim

If one of your close friends is assaulted, sexually or otherwise, I really do feel that it is your duty as their friend to offer your support, your confidence, and your unwavering love to the survivor because this person will not be able to do it for themselves possibly for a very, very long time. Also, if anyone is reading this who may have made a mistake with how they handled this situation with me, we all screw up. Forgive yourself, on the basis that you learn from this and be better with the next person in your life who’s experiencing something like this, because trust me, there will be more.

And to my own assailant: you didn’t ruin me. You didn’t take away my trust for the human race or male population. I’m still here, spreading love wherever I go. And for you, but mostly for your wife and potential children, I’m sorry that you’re such a pathetic loser that you needed to rape me to feel powerful. You’re not, and never will be, powerful.

 

Loving your body through illness

Well I might be sick with nerves in regards to posting this publicly on the internet, but here I am spending my Friday night the way I spend many friday nights, contemplating pretty much everything only to finally have my epiphany right before bed and then staying up way too late blogging. Only this time using my cell phone as my laptop hurts my eyes too much.

Having a potentially life-threatening illness really puts perspective on body-image. When I was fitness coaching I felt so good about my body even when I wasn’t at my ideal weight because I was working so hard and I was gaining so much strength. I put my heart and soul into it because I could feel both physically and mentally that I was taking control of my life. I was seeing myself in a whole new stronger, sexier way and mostly I just couldn’t believe that I had visible arm muscles, haha! I felt the best I’d ever felt in my life and I associated it all with the ability to exercise.

That’s what makes exercise the biggest loss to me since I got sick. In the beginning when we didn’t know what was wrong with me and before the people in my life began to understand how debilitating Lyme can be, some would try to tell me that exercise would make it better. Some friends still try to get me to “just come to the gym” or encourage me to workout and no one expects that teasing me to exercise more or encouraging it because they think it will help me is actually completely gut-wrenching for me because it is one of the abilities that I ache to get back the most. Not so that I can be a size 2 again, but because I want to feel that strong again. I need the emotional release from exercise again.

A year ago I would have written that I also wanted to love my body again. But the truth is I do love my body now even with the extra weight. I have to be grateful that this is the body that is fighting so hard for me right now. This is the body that is doing everything it can to save me. When you’re sick and losing control you tend to begin to hate your body. Not just the differences in appearance but you also begin to hate it for failing you. The trust between you and your body diminishes. But it’s not my body that has caused this, it’s my body’s natural reaction to the bacteria that are attacking it.

If your truck was falling apart from rust, and you were using water as coolant and regular gasoline in a diesel then you wouldn’t blame the truck for breaking down. My healthy eating definitely kept this disease down longer but I was filling it with stress every day and not repairing past trauma and the Lyme was floating around wreaking havoc and eventually my body broke down. And for that I hated it.

My point is, for all that is against it right now, my body is putting up a good fight so how can I hate it?

I recently have had no appetite. I have gone through periods of lack of appetite, nausea, vomitting, and food aversions mixed in with other periods of being absolutely ravenous on and off throughout treatment. This period of lack of appetite has been particularly strong and long-lasting so I thought I should check if I had lost any weight. I’ll be totally honest, part of me was wondering in hopes that maybe I could have lost some of the weight I’ve gained back and another part of me was wondering in fear, knowing the dangers of losing too much weight with Lyme disease. When I stepped on the scale however is when I realized just how much of my weight I’ve gained back. At the start of my fitness journey I was 186 lbs. My fittest was 148 lbs. My “feeling best” was somewhere in the low 150’s. When I stepped on the scale the other day, I was 190 lbs. I might throw up with nerves and embarrassment about posting that publicly to the Internet, but what I’ve come to understand is that my weight at this point in my health situation could have the potential to become a life or death issue. Never before has my body been so reliant on its own self for nutrients.

Some Lyme patients develop complications of the disease that cause the body to stop absorbing nutrients properly. I’ve read more than one story about this where the patient ends up requiring a feeding tube, but one story that has always stood out for me is of a young lady in BC around the same age as me, who’s body, due to complications of Lyme disease, could only properly absorb nutrients from a certain type of feeding tube food that was not covered under medical and she ended up dying. My body so far has not only continued eating for now, if less lately, but has also stored a good amount of fat that would give me so much more time if it ever came to that. I expect that my appetite will come back 10-fold in a couple of days like it usually does, but that’s the thing with this illness, you just never really know what’s around the corner.

Chronic Lyme does have a way of teaching you things that you never thought you needed to know however, and if there was ever a time for me to appreciate my body for holding a little extra weight, this would most definitely be it. It has been and continues to be an interesting and important lesson on body image and I am learning to love my body, with the extra weight, for all that it does for me.

For more information on my past fitness and mental health journey visit my old blog at www.strengthenbodynotexcuses.com

Man up and spread some love

Today’s society seems to have some sort of ideation that they cannot show love to another person before it is shown to them first. And furthermore that they don’t want to show more love to a person than they are receiving from said person. No one can communicate without ego or fear anymore and I think it’s absolutely pathetic.

I try to always ask myself, “if this person were to die before I spoke to them next, what would I want them to know?” And this helps me say the things that I feel need to be said. No one can read your mind, no one knows if or how much you care about them unless you share that with them somehow. This does not have to be in words of course but it does have to be in a form that the other person understands. My main understanding is through words and that’s why I use that example.

My very good lyme friend suffered a massive unexpected heart attack last week and if her husband hadn’t been there to do CPR she would not have survived. In an instant she would have been gone and would she have known how much I love and appreciate her?

My mom was in a car accident last weekend. Everyone was ok, but it could have been much worse. Would she have known how grateful I am for her or how lost I know I’d be without her?

Lyme can unexpectedly stop your heart in an instant, lyme carditis, and although I don’t expect that that will happen to me I suppose no one expects it until it happens… have you told me everything you want me to know?

Our society is so scared of vulnerability that saying a simple thing like I love you and I am grateful to have you in my life is paralyzing for some people. I have distanced from some friendships because they simply cannot say these things and I don’t understand how someone could let their fear and cowardliness get in the way of what could be a wonderful, loving, supportive friendship or relationship.

What is so scary about spreading love and making sure your loved ones know that they are loved and appreciated?

If someone in your life was in an unexpected accident and died tonight, what would you wish you had told them?

An Open Letter to my Support Group

It’s a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, probably one of our few left for the year. I should be out with whatever friends I have left, enjoying this beautiful day and instead I’m laying in a detox bath attempting to ease my aching body. Although I do try to keep my blog very authentic and truthful and real, exposing the behind-the-scenes of Late-Stage Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease and chronic illness in general, I typically don’t share when I’m feeling this vulnerable. Even my closest friends won’t usually know when I’m suffering this badly, only maybe my mom and my support group or good Lyme-friends who are all living it too. Today however, as I was writing to my support group I thought, this is something people need to understand. So here it is, in all it’s unedited vulnerability, my open letter to my support group…

 

Feeling the lowest I have in quite a while today. I’ve been treating for over a year, sick for almost 3 years but only really unwell for 2. Which I know is quite a bit shorter time than many of you.. today I’ve basically been in bed since Wednesday afternoon besides doctors appts and picking up prescriptions. I’ve had to take the most time off work in the last week and a half than I ever have before. I only had to move 5 clients but to me that feels like the end of the world. Thankfully most of my clients are so wonderful and understanding and kind, I’m so grateful for that.

Usually when I write I get fired up and excited, but today while writing I just feel sad and numb. I’m only 26 and I couldn’t go hiking once this year. Last night I really wanted to go for a walk and see a few friends at a little event and I required a cane to do it, it was less than a 10 minute walk away. I’ve never let any of these people see me with a cane as I’ve always kept my invisible illness invisible for them. But I really wanted to be able to say that I went and showed my face, so I did.

When I got there I could hear the whispers which I would not have thought were about me if it weren’t for all of the looks that accompanied them. They’re all lovely people so I can only assume that they were whispers of curiosity and concern rather than judgement but I’m not sure that that makes it any more comfortable – at least if they were mean I could be angry and tell them off, lol, but instead it just feels uncomfortable and sad. People who used to look at me with such respect and equality, now don’t even know how to approach me and I don’t know how to approach them.

As I was standing watching this, the happy-go-lucky, friendly guy beside me asks me, “what’s new and exciting?!”
I thought to myself, “I can’t possibly respond with the only new thing in my life is that im about to start a new treatment that absolutely terrifies me, so what the heck am I going to say?!” So I just brush it off and say, “oh nothing,” looking away continuing to watch the ladies whisper. He pushes further, “come on! There must be something new and exciting!” I don’t know why I didn’t think to just change the topic at this time but my brain wasn’t exactly on 100% and I responded with the only thing that was on my mind, “I start IV treatment in 2 weeks,” well what did I think an average, healthy guy would have to say to that? But in all honesty I still wasn’t expecting his response, something along the lines of, “come on you’ve just got to be positive!” And some other words that I zoned out, basically along the lines of I wasn’t acting positive and happy enough for him and suggested that next time I see him I respond with something like “I’ve been skydiving and mountain climbing!”.
“I’m sorry I usually am positive, just give me a break today.” I said defeatedly. And that’s when I realized just how exhausted I was. I go to work 4 days a week with a smile on my face even when every joint in my body is firing with pain. I run to the bathroom in between clients to vomit and then I wash my face, grab some gum and water and continue cutting hair until my shift is over. But last night I couldn’t even look excited for one conversation. I may complain to my mom or a close friend or a Lyme-friend or turn to my blog but overall I do my best to stay positive and, I think anyways, that in the grand scheme of things I do an okay job of it.

Today I’m so tired, and in so much pain, nauseous, sick of spending my days laying on the couch, lonely, bored, and so irritated that someone would talk to me that way and question my attitude. I’m also possibly herxing because those always seem to make me suddenly depressed out of nowhere. As I poured my detox bath and started typing this I just sat on the edge of the tub and sobbed. Only for a moment, but in that moment I felt completely broken and helpless.

P.s. last night I also thought, “omg there actually are people out there stupid enough to say these things. This is literally what people write about that I always think there is no one dumb enough to say things like that to someone.”
But the truth is, he didn’t mean any harm at all and I’m sure if he knew it upset me he wouldn’t like that, but people just don’t know what to say to me anymore.

Life-threatening disgrace of a hospital

I feel bad for the woman at Shoppers Drug Mart this week who’s job it was to ask me (and every other customer) if they’d like to donate to the hospital. My filter-less mouth immediately responded, “absolutely not!” with disgust, without processing what I was saying or who I was saying it to. Of course as soon as my brain caught up to my mouth I apologized for my reaction and explained that I have been involved in fundraising for the hospital in the past but that unfortunately the way that they’ve treated me there is absolutely disgusting and I can’t possibly donate to them at this time, but that of course that isn’t her fault and that I understand she had to ask me that for her job and that I was so sorry for my reaction. To which she was very kind and apologetic and said “as long as you’re healthy that’s all that matters!” to which I just smiled, said thank you, and walked away.

Before my mom left this week to play in the BC Senior Games, she came over to help me dose out my week of medications like she or someone else does with me each week. As she was leaving I started to cry and said “what if something happens this week and I need you,”. It’s not very often that I feel in advance that something is going to happen but this week I did and it turns out that I was right, but that story’s for another day. Her response to me, along with words of comfort, was something along the lines of, “you know if something happens you cannot go to the hospital unless you’re absolutely desperate, and even then, you can’t go to the hospital,”.

Can you imagine being very ill, and it being more dangerous for you to go to the hospital than to stay home in an emergency?

Can you imagine being part of an association for over 8 years that fund raises tens of thousands of dollars each year for our hospital, and then going in there in an emergency and being treated so poorly that it doesn’t feel safe for you to ever return? Last year I arrived at the ER after collapsing at work and losing my ability to speak, only for them to stop all testing and treatment the moment Lyme disease was mentioned. I then received a lecture from the doctor who had not even seen me yet, on how Lyme disease doesn’t exist in BC and then he sent me home to wait for a psych evaluation.

A hospital may be important for our town, especially with all of the seniors here, and they may even save lives – in fact they saved a very good friend of mine’s life which I am extremely grateful for. When it comes to Lyme disease however, for the many people living in our town who have it, myself included, they are an absolute disgusting disgrace of a hospital. Never in my life have I been treated less like a human being than I have been there, and I’ve heard countless similar stories. I’ve even heard countless stories of them ignoring the classic bullseye rash that is 100% difinitive for Lyme disease and the only difinitive early marker for initial diagnosis, treatment and curing this disease. They have sent countless people home, laughing at them for coming in with a bug bite, setting them up for a lifetime of illness that could have been cured if they were properly educated. Children included. One family was told that they “don’t treat children under 6,”.

I am far from saying that we don’t need a hospital in Ladner. I am however, saying that they need to be properly educated on Lyme disease and bedside manner, and they need to stop treating us like we are trash to be thrown away for a lifetime of suffering. I actually want to vomit just thinking about it.

My day; exhausted.

How can a day like today make me this exhausted? Under normal circumstances, the amount that I did today was nothing.

I woke up to the dog crying to be fed, but my lovely cousin who is visiting got up and fed her and let her out for me so that I could stay in bed a little longer (after also getting up with my dog in the middle of the night for me when she was strangely crying to go out around 2 am). Her and her fiance then went to pick up breakfast while I continued to rest. Sometime mid-morning I actually got up and ate with them, taking my time and eventually did my detox sauna. It sounds so nice to be able to start my day with a hot, infrared sauna; trust me, if ever in your life you have to spend 1-2 hours a day, 7 days a week, detoxing, it won’t feel so nice to you. Don’t get me wrong, I consider it to be a huge luxury to have access to an infrared sauna in my own home, and of course it’s amazing and lovely for your body, but detoxing from an illness is not always a pleasant experience. At times it can be similar to detoxing off of drugs – the sweats, the shakes, the weakness, and tons of other possible symptoms. The point of the daily sauna or detox bath is to assist our bodies in the detoxification of the dead bacteria which have turned to toxins and are floating around our bodies. If I don’t detox enough my symptoms will be higher, if I detox too much my symptoms will be higher. It’s a fine balance and takes a lot of time and energy each day. I remember when I struggled to find 30 minutes in my day to exercise and now I have to find 1-2 hours a day to detox.

After my sauna I took a few minutes to gain my strength before showering, choosing which clothes would not cause pain against my skin, and scrunching my hair to avoid expending the energy that it would require to blow-dry it, a process that would only take about 10 minutes. I skip the makeup, as usual nowadays, take out the garbage and I’m ready to go. It is now about 12:30 and all I’ve really done is eat, sauna and shower.

Thankfully two of my favorite family members were in town staying with me until today and they were able to take me to my last minute doctor’s appointment in Steveston, since my mom who usually takes me is out of town playing slow-pitch in the BC Senior Games. We arrived in Steveston 20 minutes early so we decided to walk around a bit, well it took me almost that long to walk just a block. In my doctor’s appointment he explained to me that because I’m not showing improvement on our recent oral antibiotic protocol, and am getting quite sick even on my time off of the antibiotics, he wants me to do 5 vitamin IV’s between now and just over two weeks from now to boost my system and then is switching me to IV antibiotics. When this happens the IV’s could take up to an hour for me to run, plus travel time from my house to Steveston and back, which means I could be looking at up to 4 hours a day taken up by healing-related necessities.

After my 15 minute doctor’s appointment we went to a sushi restaurant around the corner where I barely touched my food (lack of appetite), and by 3pm we were back on the road to Tsawwassen Mills to pick up my prescriptions, since I find their Shopper’s Pharmacy there to be the best service with access to compound medications. I also picked up epsom salts and hydrogen peroxide for my detox baths since a bag/bottle only usually lasts me a week or less. By 5pm I was home, seeing my family member’s off on the next part of their holiday, and by 5:30 I was laying in bed, heating pack migrating across all the painful spots throughout my body, cancelling the dinner plans that I’d been looking forward to for a week.

Before I got sick a day like today would have been considered extremely slow and relaxing and boring. Yet this evening, I feel like I climbed a mountain.

2.5 hours free from “The girl with Lyme”

I went on a date this afternoon with a guy who doesn’t know that I’m sick. Mental health came up, that’s no big deal, what I mean is, Lyme never came up once, at no point in our conversations did I feel like I had to talk about Lyme, or being unwell, or how I was feeling. Of course it popped into my head when I was having trouble walking as well as when other symptoms pulled at me, however, besides those, for 2.5 hours I felt like an average person again. There was no talk about doctors and treatments and how fucked up our medical system is. No pain discussions or explaining symptoms or why I’m still not better after a year of treatment. No wondering if someone offered to do something for me out of general kindness or feeling sorry for me. No wishing someone would offer to do something for me because they can see that I’m struggling. No discussing gluten or dairy or sugar tolerance or what diet is best for Lyme patients. No explaining that the reason I’m making and selling jewelery in my spare time is because I’m making any attempt at trying to cover the cost of treatment. No one telling me that long term antibiotics will kill my stomach or my liver or my kidneys. No explaining that the long term antibiotics may hurt me but they also are the most likely treatment to get some form of my life back. No talks of vaccines or why I can no longer get them or why I’m not necessarily 100% pro-vaccine. No sorting through pills or talk of IV’s. No discussion about why I’m not currently fitness coaching or why I’ve gained weight, why I sleep so much or why I can’t workout or why I only work 4 days a week.

No one looking at me with those sad eyes, or politely trying to find a way to ask how I am. No one telling me how sorry they feel for me.

For 2.5 hours I was Denise the hairstylist, the business owner, the mental health advocate, the French bulldog mom. For 2.5 hours I wasn’t Denise, the sick girl.

On Sunday I went to an event at our cabin and I had to use a cane. I could barely walk at all. I was stiff and in pain, embarrassed and exhausted. To all of the people around me who are used to seeing me put my happy face on and swallow back the pain, my invisible illness suddenly became very visible. The way that people look at you in that situation, some with understanding, some with confusion, others with judgement or compassion or simply surprise, is awful. And when they ask me how I am I swallow the giant lump in my throat and change the subject. I do believe that the majority of people mean well, but all of the stares and the pity is an unexplainable level of discomfort that made me want to live in a cave.

I have no idea how I will approach the subject of Lyme with this new guy, I have no idea if I’ll even see him again. For tonight though, I am just so grateful to have had 2.5 hours where I didn’t feel at all like Denise, the girl with Lyme.