September Sickness

Hi everyone!

It’s been such a long time since I have written a blog post. I know our attention spans are like the size of a goldfish so I’m gonna make this a quick little post on my horrible journey.

It was the beginning of September, a month I usually get extremely excited for since Autumn is my favorite season. Unfortunately for me, I got a sore throat which lead to acute bronchitis and a middle ear infection, both of which I am still recovering from.


I don’t know what and how it happened but this sickness hit me so quickly that it literally is still taking me time to heal. On Thursday it’ll be a whole month since I was diagnosed and also since I’ve actually been able to hear correctly.

I haven’t been able to shoot any photos and therefore had to dip into my savings which really sucks and has hit me hard. It’s extremely expensive to be sick and I would wish this on no one. But I’m extremely grateful to Brian, my love and best friend for being by my side throughout this horrible ordeal.

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There were moments I caught myself wanting it all to end, not only to stop my pain but to stop being a burden on Brian and my family. I know that is the mental illness part of me speaking but I truly have felt like such a burden because of this sickness. It has not only taken away my ability to breathe properly, which we all take for granted but to hear my loved ones voices properly. It truly isolated me and made me angry at the world and at myself. Brian, somehow kicked my ass in the most caring way and kept me going. He cooked, cleaned, took care of the pups, made sure I had all of my medication and still worked. I don’t know how he did it but I’m truly so grateful to him and his ability to keep it all together. Without him, I don’t think I would have made it and I’m not saying that in an extreme way, but there were moments where I couldn’t breathe and I thought it was the end and he was there, helping me relax, find strength and get through.

Another wild part about this September Journey is my Lupus is back. Yes, if you didn’t know, a few years ago my doctor suspected I had lupus but it wasn’t one of the worse cases and as long as I took better care of myself, i.e the gym and better eating habits, I could probably live normally with it. Unfortunately, this sickness brought it out and my body was already so weak and the added ache, rash and firey skin, really didn’t add to my comfort. I felt defeated but I knew I needed to keep fighting.

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It’ll be a month this Thursday that I have been house bound and bed ridden, trying to breathe and make it through. I’m writing this to say thank you to all of you for sending me prayers and believing in my healing. I’m not fully 100% yet but I know I am finally in a safer place. Being sick is never easy and having a mental illness really makes it 100x worse but please listen to your body. I don’t care what society tells you, you are IMPORTANT, your HEALTH is IMPORTANT. Take care of you so you can be the beautiful change we need in the world and thank you, my love, for being by my side through every tear, every gasp for air, every ache in my body and every tantrum to want it all to end. You are more powerful than you know and you are totally loved by me.

Until then, xoxo

Jacklyn

Where I'm at.

I haven't written a blog post in over three months. Writing isn't my forte so I try to stay away from it as much as possible. But one thing that therapists throughout my life have told me, is to write. Write how I'm feeling or what I wish I was feeling. Write about my struggles or what my favorite book at the moment is ( pst. it's "Blackfish City" by Sam J. Miller). 

I guess I haven't blogged as much as I should have because my thoughts are always sporadic and I know people can be extremely cruel and judgmental. I also know that there are far more exciting bloggers than myself out there who I'm sure you'd rather be reading. That's okay, we can't be good at everything, so please my generation, stop trying. You're making those of us who want to focus on one passion, look bad, like we're lazy!

Back to the point of this, I suppose this blog post will let you guys know where I'm at, mentally and emotionally. 

Here it goes.

I've been feeling extremely "numb" (for a lack of a better term) lately and I think I know why but maybe I truly don't. You know that saying, "love isn't everything", well I've tried to believe in it as much as possible. Despite the older Jacklyn being a cranky person, angry at the world because of her mental illness, she still believed in love being the saving grace. 

And I think I'm at a point where I don't know if that's true anymore. It's not just romantic love, it's all types of love that I'm starting to question. Why is it that all of our lives we are fed this ideology that love conquers all? I'm sorry to burst your romantic hearts but it takes more than love to be happy. 

After the unfortunate news of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, people wanted to start taking about suicide. They wanted to show people the signs to "look" out for and let them know they are loved. I have done this as well and I know how important it is but it's also extremely surface level. LOVE isn't everything and if it were, don't you think celebrities like Chester Bennington or Robin Williams would still be here? These celebrities have "all" the love we "wish" to have, the fame, the money, the "support" and yet they are still hurting. They are still lost and afraid because they are HUMAN. 

Reading the reports and even hearing from friends and family, a lot of people consider those who die by suicide, selfish. I'm sure this has to do with certain people's religious beliefs and to each their own but you cannot understand why someone felt that life was so unbearable and dark, that they decided to leave, unless you actually ask them. Suicide is NOT the easy way out, it takes a level of pain that most do not understand because they see some glimmer in hope, even in their darkest moments. Those who die by suicide don't see any hope and they try but it isn't as simple as seeing a therapist or taking medication. You wouldn't tell someone who has cancer that they didn't try hard because their bodies failed. With people who usually die by suicide, their brains fail them; look up information on serotonin and the neurotransmitters that give us our moods and feelings. I'm not a doctor and I know doctor jargon can be difficult to understand but research for yourself. 

Anyhoo, I digress; I'm sure I'm "numb" because I'm starting to see that love isn't the saving grace that I thought it could be. You could be the most loved person in this world and still feel depressed, still feel lost and afraid. Love isn't that knight and shining amour we see in the movies that is usually depicted by a gorgeous man who comes into to your life and takes all of your worries away. What truly is the saving grace is taking care of yourself and I don't mean self care Sundays, though I do love a good bath with some Lush products and a book in my hand, I mean taking care of your thoughts, of your health. Being accountable for the human being that you are. Everything in this life is cause and effect and what you do will determine how you feel.

Take me for example, I used to have an extremely negative view on life, don't get me wrong I can still feel that way a lot but it took me falling into depression and having dangerous anxiety to see that something was wrong. I had to rewire my whole mind and how it felt about people, feelings and how it felt about myself. I'm not saying that all you need to do is look in the mirror and evaluate yourself and bam you're all better, I'm saying that you need to pay attention to all that you are and get to know yourself, even the "bad" parts. 

I can't talk for anyone else but myself and my own experiences but figuring out what works for you and what doesn't, is important. I don't think love is everything because I see the pain it takes to keep surviving with a mental illness. I see the dedication it takes to take care of ones body, even when you hate it. I see the anger of wishing to be neuro-typical and not have to work so hard at being here. 

I know a lot of people will consider that self love and I guess in a general sense it can be but to me, it's more and I think categorizing it as just self-love, is also dangerous. It takes away the power of waking up every morning and fighting the dark thoughts that lay within one's head. That's not love that's strength, that's POWER! 

It's not a bad thing to realize love isn't everything but it is a shock and one that is making me question everything. Like why don't people like pickles and when will Kingdom Hearts III come out. I kid but really, I'm "numb" because now I have to understand what this body truly needs, what she has to work hard for. It's not just love because I love my body and my mind and all that I am and I know I am loved too, but it's this quiet understanding of "this is who I am, I either keep fighting to try to fit societies standards and get lost in my depression again or I make my own damn path and do what I need to do to be happy." 

I wanted to end this by saying that you could have it all and not have anything. Or you could have nothing and have everything. When we die, we don't leave with our Mac books and Instagram accounts, unfortunately for me there will be no Starbucks for me wherever I go, so I need to focus on within. That can start with simple tasks as writing how you're feeling, taking photographs, even getting up in the morning and brushing your teeth. Everything should be celebrated because being alive is our gift. That beating of our heart is not a ticking time clock, it's a reminder of the change we can make. 

I love you all and not just love, love. I truly believe in you all and if you need a smack of hope and realization that life can suck but it can also be beautiful, well I'm here. 

Until then,

Xoxo Jacklyn

 

How acupuncture is helping me with my period.

Hey everyone!

Before I get started, I wanted to add a little disclaimer and warning. 

I am not a professional and what works for me will be different for everyone, consult with your doctor first if you're unsure of why your periods are bad. 

Secondly, this post is going to be about menstruation, if it makes you uncomfortable, please do not read on. It's also going to be a long read but I really hope you read all of it because it's imperative that we see that having extremely painful and heavy periods are NOT normal. 

 

Okay, now that I said all of that, let's get to the reason why I'm writing this post. The first time I got my period was probably the only time that it did not physically make me feel like I was being ripped from the inside out. I was around 11 or 12 give or take and I knew this must have been the infamous period that all my older cousins were talking about that made them officially a "young woman".

I didn't want to get my period and becoming a young woman was something that terrified me. I liked being one of the guys who enjoyed playing dodgeball and manhunt. But of course it is the way life works and my periods soon after would be hell on Earth.

I have this one memory of me laying on my living room floor, crying and punching my stomach because the pain was too much to handle. I don't think anyone in my family really cared because painful periods were deemed normal. Who knew that society considers this normal, that women and young girls are subjected to this pain and have to be okay with dealing with it because it comes with being a female. 

I'm twenty-six years old and throughout my journey with having a period, I have found ways to find as much relief as possible. 

Normally my first day is the worst, my cramps are unbearable to the point it makes me dizzy and at times I have fainted from the pain. I cannot move, I'm immobile and crying because nothing seems to work. I usually have to take 8-10 Midol (DON'T DO THIS) pills throughout the day to feel somewhat like a human being. Taking these many pills is NOT recommended whatsoever because I do get side effects from taking this amount, but I'd rather have the side effects of that than feel my horrible period pains.

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The next thing in my arsenal of period hacks is a huge heating pad that I put on my bed and lay on top of. Heat is "apparently" a great way to get rid of cramps and all that unfortunate shit that comes with periods, like bloat. To me, it doesn't work that much and only gives me some small relief for my lower back cramps but I'm always desperate for any type of relief. For my front cramps, I use my fiancé's Marc Pro, which is basically a machine that stimulates the muscles through electric stimulation. In the photo posted, you can see where I lay the sticky tabs on my lower abdomen to help alleviate the cramping. This also isn't a drastic pain reliever but it does help me feel like it's moving shit around in there.

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These little tips and tricks that I have acquired throughout the years have helped me get by and yet, for three days I am still immobile and unable to move.

As much as society wants to throw in my damn face that this is normal, I know this isn't. I decided in December to take a visit to my gynecologist to see what he thought. He checked me and said that having cramps is normal but not to the extent that it leaves me immobilized for two to three days. He put me on birth control (again!) because he said it helps many women with their bad period symptoms and I should be able to live a "normal" life. Unfortunately, it has not helped one bit except for making my periods shorter. He also diagnosed me with PMDD (Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder) but that will have to be another blog post itself because this new diagnosis has changed my life completely. 

For 13 years, my periods have been this way and looking back now, I'm not even sure how I've made it this far. I think because of how it was viewed in the past, I just accepted that this would be my life until I got older. 

In January, I went to a health and wellness event and saw a stand that caught my eye. It talked about acupuncture, your tongue and how to can determine a lot about your health (Chinese medical practice) and irregular periods. I've taken acupuncture before but never for my periods and I must admit, I was pretty skeptical that acupuncture could even do anything for that. Erin of Erin Kumpf Acupuncture & Herbs and I talked about my unfortunate periods and said that it isn't normal to be feeling so much pain that it keeps me immobile and unable to do everyday tasks. 

My first session was like any normal session of acupuncture, I did an intake sheet, listed all of my problems ( I have a lot LOL) and figured out what I wanted out of this journey. I knew that I was extremely desperate to find relief for my periods and PMDD wanted to find help that was not just me popping pills like a mad woman. Erin explained to me how a normal period should feel and how my lifestyle, body temperature and sleeping habits all play a huge part on my body's overall health, duh right?! But to me, it was like I was learning so much new information that so many young girls and even older women are not taught about our own biology. 

For example, every morning right when I get out of bed, I take my temperature. If it's high it can play a huge part in why I'm having problems sleeping at night because my body isn't cool downed enough to relax. I'm sure that's why I toss and turn a lot! 

Also the tongue can determine a lot about blood flow and temperature and if you're sick. I don't want to talk much about this because I don't really know a lot and don't want to throw out false information but please if you are interested and in the Jersey City/Hoboken/NYC area, you should check out Erin Kumpf Acupuncture & Herbs for yourself. Now back to my journey, Erin told me that I needed to see her twice a week for a few weeks until she saw progress. I won't lie, the price is extremely steep since she doesn't take insurance; I have to pay $97 a session and adding that up twice a week for a month is a huge chuck of money. (Now I see her only once a week!) But when you're desperate to feel like a normal human being, the money is worth it. 

It's like normal acupuncture except she gets spots that are connected with my uterus and other parts that will help make my blood flow easier in my body. Sometimes it hurts because I'm sensitive AF and bruise for EVERYTHING but I get to relax, talk to my body & God and count my blessings that I'm trying to heal. With acupuncture, I also take these root herb droplets that she sells, they taste like dirt and feet but I chug it to get it over with. If you get this, heat up warm water, don't put a lot because you will want to chug it and add the amount of drops stated and then bam, easy peasy.

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I have to say the first period I had after doing all of this was like a complete 180. I did still have cramps BUT they were so manageable that I was able to move around, work and do stuff like a normal human being! I basically had the same symptoms but on a scale of 0-10, it was a 4 rather than the usual 15. I was pretty skeptical but because I noticed that my extreme irritability was not as much as it normally was during that time,  I knew something had to be working.

I know this won't be the answer for every woman who has irregular periods but to know that there is something out there that can actually work and has nothing to do with popping pills that leave you zombie-like, is a huge win for me. I wanted to write this because Erin and her acupuncture has literally changed my life. As I write this, I'm on my second period after trying acupuncture and again it's extremely manageable. I wouldn't have written about this if I didn't think it was important.

THIS IS SO IMPORTANT BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY YOUNG GIRLS AND WOMEN LIVING WITH A PERIOD THAT TAKES OVER THEIR LIVES. Society has tried to implant in us that being a woman and having a painful period is a part of the experience but that's all a lie! Ladies, if you have daughters teach them the importance of their bodily health, if their periods are extremely painful, get them checked out by a gynecologist, don't wait till their 18. The taboo that they are too young to see a gynecologist is what is hurting our young girls, get them checked and if everything is ruled out like, endometriosis and PCOS, try acupuncture. 

I'm a new woman because I decided to take a chance on myself, I hope you do too.

Until then, xoxo

Jacklyn

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