Shhh...The Neighbors Might Hear

When I was a kid, anytime I said something “inappropriate”, gossiped, or basically just said something my mother felt we shouldn’t be talking about, she would always hush me and say with a whisper “Shh…the neighbors will hear..” or something to that effect. We could literally be in our living room with the doors and windows closed and she’d still say it. Unless our neighbors had bionic ears, pretty sure they couldn’t make out me asking my mom what the word “masturbation” meant. Nevertheless,  I listened to my mother and decided that if it’s something she thought neighbors would be appalled at, then it was best to keep my mouth shut. I carried that with me, subconsciously I think, for a long time.  When I came out, I was terrified. Not because I was struggling with being a lesbian (after my first experience with a girl, I was pretty comfortable with who I was internally), but because I was afraid of what people would say. What would my family say? After all, nice catholic Italian girls grew up to marry nice Catholic Italian men, right?

The same thing happened when I  first started with depression and self-injury. I needed help. I needed to tell people. But, that same little voice in the back of my head that told me I needed help also told me I needed to keep quiet because it wasn’t anyone’s business. No one should know. I had to keep up with the appearance I was fine. Guess how healthy that was?

Let me say this-- it’s not my mom’s fault—she was raised old school just like her mom was and she battled her own hidden chest full of fucked up secrets.  Eventually though, all of those secrets that were brewing boiled over and came to the surface, and even she had to come clean.  Now, that’s what I am doing. The PMDD diagnosis was the real eye opener for me. As I began doing research and reading other women’s stories in regards to mental health, women’s health issues, sexual assault—I also began to see how fucking resilient women are. How we are survivors, supporters, advocates, revolutionaries… We are making changes. Being heard. But change only comes when  we stop worrying , stop hiding, stop making excuses for other people  and most of all—stop apologizing.

I decided to make a #sorrynotsorrylist for all of the shit (especially as a woman)I  have always felt I wasn’t able to talk about…Leave a comment below—send me your list!!!

 

Sorry I’m Not Sorry For….

  1. Gaining, losing, gaining, and losing weight. It’s my body and only I know what it’s going through. I When I say I have a slow metabolism and people roll their eyes, I also know that I suffer from thyroid issues, a tumor on my pituitary gland, and bad genes. I also know that I make healthy choices- try to work out and do my damn best for MY body.Image result for gaining weight
  2. Talking about my period. Yup. I am a woman and I bleed. How DARE I! I’m sick of having this be a topic that is only appropriate to talk to women about. If I’m hunched over at work in pain and someone asks me what’s wrong, why do I have to lie and say “Oh just a tummy ache!” I know it probably isn’t lady like to scream in my best Linda Blair impression “MY FUCKING EGGS ARE DROPPING!!!!!” but can I just be honest? It’s my time of the month, dude. It sucks.anigif_sub-buzz-28243-1491563910-1
  3. Talking about my PMDD. I know now that PMDD is not PMS. It’s debilitating, it’s uncontrollable. Do you think I want to feel freaking insane for a week? Do you honestly think I was to sit at my desk and start sobbing like a lunatic? Nope. I want to do what I can, at least in my little inner circle, to raise awareness about PMDD.
  4. Talking about SEX. This is an area that for some reason, I’ve always felt like someone was judging me for. I don’t know how much of that is all in my head or not, but I do feel like there have got to be some women who feel or have felt the way I felt. I’ve always been interested in sex and sexuality. I’m curious about other people’s sex lives, fetishes, interests…I genuinely am fascinated by it and I want to talk about it. But, I’ve felt like when I talk about it or think about it or am vocal about my needs that it makes me a pig or that I “think like a man.” Well guess what? I don’t think like anyone else but ME. And ME likes sex. A lot.
  5. Standing up for what I believe in. I spend a long time having these incredibly strong urges to fight the good fight—to be an advocate for those who have felt alone, targeted, unheard…Probably because I’ve felt like this before. But, I never fought, just thought about it, because again—what would people think if I supported things that could potentially spark controversy? Who would listen to me? Again, change is only as good as the actions that follow…I want to talk about being gay, about being a woman, about being a mental health warrior so that others will feel inspired to do the same.

 

What are you #sorrynotsorry for?

 

 

 

Med Madness

pexels-photo-143654 For years I refused to take medication. Mostly, I think my apprehension stems from watching my mother's relationship with medication. She was diagnosed with bi-polar after a suicide attempt and has been on a cocktail of medication. What I think scared me the most was the fact that I can always tell when she doesn't take her medication. She's like a different person and to me, it's a terrifying notion that one tiny pill has such a significant control on your mood and behavior. Obviously, she's better on her medication and the results are positive--but the idea that she will need to be on this medication probably for the rest of her life was just a little hard for me to swallow (Get it? hehe cheesy pun definitely intended.) I also think that part of me is a hippie at heart. I've always been advocate for alternative medicine--herbs, meditation, acupuncture--whatever way we can heal our bodies in a natural way.  I still laugh a little bit when those medication commercials for antidepressants come on showing some lady on a boat staring off into the sunset, now able to live a happy life free from depression while a voice over is talking about the possible negative side effects of the meds.

This medication may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, stroke, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, internal bleeding, blindness and possible growth of a third eye or an extra nipple...(sorry, I may have stretched the truth there for emphasis.).

Point being, why pump your body full of chemicals and risk all of that shit when the medication may not even work?

I think it's because sometimes "the reward" (so to speak) is worth the risks. For the past two years I tried a variety of different medications desperate for something to make me feel better. I had tried all of the other alternatives which helped me manage the depression a little, but it was still to great a burden to bear alone. I started off with Pristiq, then Celexa, then Lexapro, then Prozac... They all worked for a little bit and definitely came with some side effects including weight gain. I'm not going to lie, it was fucking frustrating trying to find something that worked. I was going to a nurse practitioner, and in hindsight, I probably should have tried to find someone who specialized in women's mental health issues like I have now. I was honestly ready to give up on medication until I went into the day program and ultimately had my PMDD diagnosis in conjunction with clinical depression. The doc there was incredible and actually LISTENED to my concerns, especially my fear of trying any other medication that could cause more weight gain. The combo of Wellbutrin and Celexa I'm on now has made an INCREDIBLE difference.

Moral of the story here: with your mental health, sometimes you have to do things you don't want to if it means getting better. If I'm being 100% honest (which I think you know by now I don't hold anything back), having to depend on medication still isn't something I love--but I'm learning to live with it. All part of the soul mending journey, right?

 

Lots of love, my beautiful souls!

Jen

 

PMDD. WTF. SMH.

"It's like I get one person for two or three weeks, and then that last week, I get a completely different person. My notes for the past three months literally say 'hopeful' for two weeks, then hopeless and depressed for the last week or two of the month. I can't officially diagnose you, but I think you have PMDD" she said with confidence.

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