I’m That Difficult Patient.

Something very commonly overlooked when living with Pulmonary Hypertension is the meaning of “progression.” Or at least when it came to me, my brain has a tendency to forget this huge “one up” this rare disease has on us: progressive…it could always get worse.

When I finally became somewhat comfortable with my shitty lungs, and started writing about them I also adapted a very invincible type of mindset. I had my disease, but I felt like I also had control, something that we don’t have very often with Pulmonary Hypertension festering in our lungs. I ultimately had control over how long I wanted to live, IF I wanted to take my meds, and where exactly this disease could take me. It was great to be feeling “healthy”, to be positive, and to ride out the illusion that I somehow was in control of two of the most important organs in my body that already had a reputation for throwing us all curve-balls.

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My newest specialist is someone who in my eyes is all about preventative care. Her biggest emphasis is something that I, and all my past doctors have repeatedly not watched; the fact that Pulmonary Hypertension is a progressive disease, and it could get worse. I, on the other hand am all about the “now”, and gettin’ it while you can as Janis would say. I’ve moved into a rougher environment (which I don’t, and will never regret!), blown off weeks worth of medications, done things that have negatively affected my body for a temporary high, and basically thought I could keep tucking my disease away for a later time. That’s what happens when you are technically still not accepting your disease – hint hint. After taking the guidwires out, shutting down the fluoroscopy machines, my new specialist informed me that it was a great thing we did a new cath after almost four years. My pressures have not changed after all this time, and my cardiac failure has gotten intensely worse. I may feel “alright” right now, but a year from now could be questionable. Which has now led us to three new medications that are going to feel very “intense” for a while until my body starts responding. Here I sit with my morning cup deciphering through my “now” type thinking versus a future that I’m not sure I want to even keep pushing for. Is it worth it? Or is it just doctors leading us on like a cat chasing a string; am I going to be paying a ridiculous amount of money, and living in pain to only be here another ten years?

Overall, it’s a shock once again to the system. It feels like we’ve re-winded back to when I was being told for the very first time that my heart, and lungs both were a problem. After years of writing about PH, I started running from it. I felt suffocated by what I was creating, and felt the need to tuck it away quietly. It has finally come back to find me, and it’s earth shattering, hopeless, and just unfair all over again.

Despite writing, contests, shirts, and everything else I have come to discover that never have I ever been fully okay with my disease, but will we ever really be?

New song of the week finallyyyyy.

-haley.

Textbook Breakdown Part 2: Diagnosis.

So, yesterday we covered what Pulmonary Hypertension is in itself. Now today we’re moving onto how we find PH, and who has it. If you missed yesterdays post, then click here to share or read it.

So, since Pulmonary Hypertension is happening in the lungs itself affecting the heart and internal organs, it’s not affecting much of what happens on the outside of this person. In fact, most Pulmonary Hypertension patients are young; kids, babies, teenagers, young adults, you name it. Anyone could be born with Pulmonary Hypertension. Basically, Pulmonary Hypertension hides behind a mask of youth, or “normal.”

Someone may be born with Pulmonary Hypertension, and take years to finally show it. They could be like me, attending public school, participating in physical activities, then one day feel a very unusual and horrid pain all over, and lose consciousness. Most people would either ignore it, or think they had an asthma attack. Even if this young patient was attended to by medical care in a hospital, or doctors office they would never do an EKG (checking heart rhythms) an oxygen test, or chest x-ray…why? Because why in the world would we check a very young person’s heart when they just got tired, and collapsed? When people ask why we collapsed, we tend to only be able to answer that we couldn’t breathe. People generalize those symptoms down into something like asthma. PH doesn’t have a disease appearance because it’s all internal therefore just about every person does not take the person’s symptoms seriously. A PH patient begins to think they might be crazy, are out of shape, and need to learn to keep up. Maybe they’re told that they have an anxiety disorder, or something. Basically, it is very very very rare for anyone to listen to someone suffering from PH because they can’t “see it.”

So what happens after being ignored for so long? The pressure in the heart, and lungs begins to mount and the patient begins to get worse. Not being able to walk, fainting with any physical exertion, and the downfall of their quality of life. Yes, this will even happen to kids. Pulmonary Hypertension patients can die at any time for a variety of things; blood clots, an arteries bursting, their heart rhythm becoming too chaotic, and finally their heart just stopping. If a PH patient is not taken seriously by medical professionals in time, their chances of dying increase every day.

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So what happens when a patient is actually taken seriously, and what does it take for a doctor to find PH? An EKG, and a simple oxygen saturation test should at least show some concern with a weird rhythm presenting a conduction delay, or showing the right side of the heart is working too hard. The oxygen levels should also be low. A chest x-ray, or echo should show that the heart is over sized which a normal physician would immediately want a heart catheterization done. A heart catheterization is where they insert a catheter in the femoral artery (or a vein in the neck) and move it all the way into the heart. From there using fluoroscopy (a moving xray) they can view the actual heart itself to make sure it was formed right. Then they can measure the pressures, and actually see how the heart is pumping so they get an idea of what is wrong. If the heart is formed normally, but is still working so hard to the point of failure then that tells the doctor that the pressure is coming from the lungs…Pulmonary Hypertension.

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At this point the doctor would finish the surgery, and would contact the closest Pulmonary Hypertension Specialist, or Pulmonologist to start treating the patient immediately. Depending on how high pressures are, and what shape the patient’s organs are in, the doctor would now notify the family of the terminal diagnosis, and then the patient with a very grim life expectancy.

What now? Tomorrow we will dive into treatment.

-haley.

Fifty Facts.

I hope everyone is enjoying their week so far. I had a terrible weekend, so I think I’m going to unload with a ton of emotional writing on the blog. So lets kick it off with something a little more light-hearted like a post of “Fifty Facts” on myself. Lets see how well this goes.

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1. I was named after Haley’s Comet.

2. I hate space.

3. Speaking of space, Tony Nelson is probably the only astronaut to ever have my heart, and I wish I could be Jeannie when I grow up. (If you didn’t get that…shame.)

4. My dream career is to teach, not to be a test-giver, or scorer.

5. The mountains are heaven on earth.

6. I am spiritual, not religious.

7. Studying Native beliefs in a way made sense of how I should be living my life.

8. Rain, and clouds are the most favorite of favorites. I’m not into sunshine.

9. I believe in equality; and yes I’m a feminist, not a man-hater.

10. I’m an old soul.

11. I want four kids, possibly five. Don’t tell me that’s too much, I’ll figure it out myself.

12. Rocco Ricardo is my love.

13. I don’t seek a relationship, or marriage. What will happen, will happen organically.

14. I believe in mother nature’s healing.

15. If you don’t like my music, it will be difficult to get a long with you.

16. You cannot understand the creators love for you if you do not understand how to love the people you can see. I believe in loving people.

17. Throw your beliefs onto me, and I will throw you out of my life.

18. Disrespect me once, and that’s the only chance you had to begin with.

19. I was a trouble maker in high school, not for usual reasons. I just believed in calling it how I saw it which made people mad.

20. Yes, I have severe anxiety.

21. I think I eat grits once a week. Its comfort food. Is that sad?

22. Eggnog latte’s are my favorite holiday drink.

23. Despite my opinions, I am a very open-minded person.

24. I like to adapt.

25. I don’t like labels, or titles, or status’.

26. I’m inconsistent because that’s just how I function, if you can even call that functioning. There is no time management skills in my life, and I own up to that.

27. I love a lot of qualities about my hometown, but I strongly dislike the values and people.

28. I don’t believe in watching the news.

29. I believe its important for your kid to be involved in a physical activity, but an art based one as well. Art is beyond important, and the ability to communicate those underlying talents and emotions. Art is a universal language to be able to sit, communicate, and understand more.

30. I can’t decide on a favorite anything hardly.

31. My mind works two ways; utterly obsessed or completely uninterested.

32. I’m not shy, or moody. I’m just socially selective.

33. I am weird, and I don’t care.

34. I own a record player, typewriter, and eight track table. Yes, they all are used regularly.

35. I have a heated mattress because who survives without one?!

36. I plan to be in New Mexico within five years.

37. Writing is a happy part of my life, and I do it for me.

38. Being a patient with Pulmonary Hypertension gave me a lot of direction, determination, and opportunities. I’m glad they were here, and now I’m ready to move forward.

39. I wrote a book. I don’t know if I can ever publish it because yea…

40. I collect wedding rings (obviously cz.)

41. This is the first Christmas where I’m actually getting into the spirit. I bought a tree for my back living room…

42. I don’t actually know how to correctly play any instrument. I pick them up, and I can play by ear. Its something that my brother, dad and I have in common.

43. I can’t stand people who cannot listen to others opinions. When you walk around believing only what you think is right, or what you know, you live a very close-minded life. How terrible.

44. I am an accessory NUT. I love jewelry, coats, shoes, bags…you name it. Clothes are another nightmare.

45. My favorite part of my job is holding screaming patients down. SO FUN. Sounds terrible, I know. I miss teaching my students, but I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be.

46. Anything mid-century, or sixties, and I would probably love to own it.

47. Dancing is my favorite. Any type of dancing.

48. I used to never watch anything scary. Now I’m almost through all seasons of American Horror Story.

49. I’m not a very private person. What ever happens, I will tell people; there are no secrets.

50. I’m attempting to enjoy my life, and love me. Its not working out so far.

Its the Kind of Tired Sleep Can’t Fix.

Well, Its November. I’m kind of in shock because yesterday it was July. Well that’s what it felt like. Anyways, November brings not only Native American Heritage month, but Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness month as well. I guess I will be speaking my mind quite a bit on these topics. 😉

Judgmental; having or displaying an excessively critical point of view.

Each time I’ve been a tad heated this week, I’ve realized it all falls back to this main source. Judgement; my biggest pet peeve. I hate being judged for obvious reasons. Its crude, insensible, it leads to bigger problems, and it really does show the most truest quality in that person. Most of the time people get to the point of blowing it off, but I’m Haley, and I want to make a fuss.

Eleven years ago, I stumbled around a middle school gym in the worst pain of my very short life. The girls, being middle school girls, glared at me along with the gym teacher who loved her “basketball” girls. She would glare across at me as if I was refusing to keep up out of laziness, but I was literally gasping. I felt it; those uncomfortable vibes itching down my back, and into my nerves. She, along with everyone else in that hour of school were judging me. I felt fat, out-of-place, stupid, and that was the first year I’ve ever encountered suicidal thoughts. I told myself right there that I, and my body were not enough. I was eleven years old.

In high school I would stumble up stairs, and again clutch my chest to endure the worst pain my body could evoke. Girls I was attempting to keep up with would stand there, roll their eyes and say, “hurry up.” They would mock that they had to wait on Haley, “Haley’s dying” and again I was not enough. I could not comprehend why the stairs tired me, and that they freely ran up them. People didn’t understand why my hair was long, why I didn’t wear makeup, why I didn’t listen to music of this era, and really they just didn’t know me at all. They didn’t bother to understand me, they just wanted to make remarks. You see, we all think this ends in high school, but it doesn’t. I was a seventeen year old, more dead than I had ever been alive. My mind, along with my body wanted to be dead.

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At eighteen when they told me I was on death’s doorstep, I literally felt nothing. For seven years people told me, “She’s fat, lazy, its exercise-induced asthma, she’s weird, it’s just asthma, you have a chest infection…” blah blah blah. It was judgement; the literal definition. People’s doubts, critical thinking, lack of compassion, and stupidity had me almost dead at eighteen. My heart was killing itself.

I, by a miracle have made it to four years. Through surgeries, painful rehabilitation, excruciating treatments, body changes I thought I would never have to endure along with medical bills. When I make it to eight years I’ll be considered a long-term survivor. I still get glares; I try to power through dancing, something I actually love and people think I’m exaggerating when I mention that I could die. No, I actually can. My oxygen drops extremely low, and I’m in tachycardia at least once a day. I’m required to wear tubes up my nose which I try not to do because I feel as though I look stupid. I see your glares, I feel your vibes as I voice my opinons, and try to find my way through incredibly difficult emotions and self hate. I know I’m being judged as some dramatic college student, but if you laid on the surgery table awake, saw your own beating heart glowing on a screen, and endured the pain of this vital organ shutting the rest of your body down, you would think twice.

I hate judgement. Its caused death, discomfort, suicidal thoughts, actions, and it’s just not love. It’s the opposite of the religion you probably preach, and its unpleasant. I don’t care about mistakes people have made or continue to make. But is it too much to ask that we progress into the future with only love for people? Trying to understand, and comprehend them? Is that too much to ask for these days? I guess so. Thats all I have to say about that, because I’m tired; so tired of this subject.

Support Awareness, support learning about people, and support loving them as well. Thats all.

-haley.

Restore the Old; Heal the Broken.

his·to·ry

the study of past events, particularly in human affairs.

Growing up, I was the child that spent hours at my grandparents asking to look at more photos, to try on dresses, and my questions were endless. Looking back, that’s probably one of the earliest signs of a personality trait that has never faded away, and it intensified into a passion of mine. I am not a huge history buff, and I can get sidetracked easily, but I do believe in the importance of studying our past. There is so much to learn, and something special about places, pictures, and objects that have captured yet withstood time. I cannot explain the magic of visiting something older than most people around you, and I do believe there is a certain spirit attached to places like so.

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My lovely little town is famous for tearing vintage places down. Seriously though, all I have are beautiful yet aged photos of what once was, what they turned into a parking lot, or what buildings have rotted away and become empty decaying shells of interesting stories that once filled the paint chipped rooms. My heart sinks into my stomach to see such photos, and while yes I’m happy to envision the history that once existed in my town, I possess such an overwhelming sense of sadness that we did not appreciate such beautiful, and what looked like entertaining places. We have lost a majority of personality and activities to superstores, fast food chains, and parking lots. Call me crazy, but one day if we were to continue on that path, every town would look the same. No thanks. There is of an utmost importance in showing youth how to appreciate such things, or to show them a history that started this town, not to mention envelope the word unique.

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Ever since my dad showed me Summit Elementary, a school that shut its doors in 1972 because of integration, I was beyond intrigued. I thought it was beautiful, and such a waste of an incredible architectural building to just be sitting there. Seriously? Another building that this town claims to just sit and rot? The answer was yes; for forty-two years. The paint peeled, windows were broken, cracks shuttered down the stucco, and empty desks were thrown into classrooms that were once prepared for the next coming years. Spray paint covers one end of a hall making it look like the set of American Horror Story, and here I stood in random rooms trying to figure out what outdated equipment was used for. My body was encompassed by a place that had so many stories, held so much human life, and was such a pivotal piece to local history. After years of taking pictures on the outside (one that this blog was used to seeing) I finally stood among the inside overwhelmed by the still, yet sadness that my town could do such a thing. When will we start pouring money into restoring the old rather than continuously bringing in new that we can hardly keep up with? Why not restore such amazing pieces of history rather than running right over them?

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Well this downward article actually has a happy ending. As stated before, Summit decayed for forty-two years, and endured a lot of local abuse. Finally, someone saw a spark of hope, acted on it and turned it into Summit Baptist Church. While I can say I’m not a church-type person, I jumped for joy that we were putting life back into history. Someone finally saw this building as special, not just a “ghost hunt.” I pulled up to open doors, and didn’t hold back for a second before rushing inside to an old school that has itched my mind for years. Greeted by a friend, we began our walk around the building. An old stage, chipped floors, tin covered windows, and smiling pastors that overlooked all the damage. Acknowledging the ridiculous amount of work, and money for the work that has to be done, I did not feel a bit disappointment anymore. I can’t put into words what its like to stand in the middle of what feels like a war-zone, yet to be completely uplifted. The personalities, and determination as well as the focus of what they are doing to give life to this building left me feeling at peace. My itch had finally been scratched.

No, I’m not a church person, but I have never felt a greater sense of my creator in this place. From the people I met that didn’t care about the ring hanging out of my nose that I forgot to take out (oops), inviting me to the lunch that they prepared there, and the amazing yet earth shattering conversations that took place within those walls, I was drawn there for a reason; the type of reasons that leave you with hairs standing on the back of your neck. I believe there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people, and I felt it radiating within the building. I just want to congratulate, and send loving yet home-warming wishes to the Pastors that have made this their project, congregation, and believe in restoring this history. It truly is a form of art. May the creator himself bless y’all in your future endeavors, and challenges.

-haley.

War, and Ebola, and Evil, Oh My!

Oh, this is a season known for such beauty, and in contrast, the fright. It’s not uncommon to be terrorized this time of year, and most people seek out those experiences. However, when the terror leaks into the light and confuses itself with reality, we reach a whole new level of terror that is almost unnerving.

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All I see on my Facebook, and hear around the office is somewhere along the lines of, “the teacher got arrested, this hurricane hit, blood moons, and ebola.” What about that is pleasing? What about that makes my heart happy? “It’s important to be involved in current events.” Except no, it’s really not, not anymore. I think its more important to track history, and be consistent with your learning and perception. But why sit in front of a screen that delivers the most awful things right into your mind? And people ask me why I don’t watch TV…

A few weeks ago, I got super worked up about the end of the world, the blood moons, ebola and just about everything else the news thought they needed to grace my news feed with. Thanks, Facebook peeps. You officially got into my head, and for a whole week I thought endlessly about how fucked up the world is. I barely slept (I was afraid the world might end in my sleep) and I couldn’t think straight. Some people call me a person affected with severe anxiety (which is true), but today when a parent called afraid her child might have ebola, who hasn’t been in contact with anyone, or any country of the sort, it seems I’m not the only one. We share articles on Facebook repeatedly over awful, negative things that are supposedly news and it’s really just self destructive. There is a difference in awareness raising (for example: Blackfish) versus ridiculous negativity. After hours, or days of reading, you evolve to a state of living in fear.

End it, and accept there is nothing you can do. Literally, there is nothing. That blood moon is going to happen whether you got a picture or not, and that group of terrorists is going to kill someone next. That disease will infect who comes in contact with it, and there is literally nothing you can do. Its horrible sounding I know, but its the most freeing thing you will hear despite what you keep reading on news channels, and Facebook. What is the point of bottling up every thought, and action you want to have simply because the world might bite you on the ass? Its scary, but there is no point in living in fear. I guess if I get ebola (which I refuse to capitalize because it’s so horrible) but until or if that ever happens, I’m doing what I can to protect myself and I’m living life without fear. I can’t walk around all day with a rock in my stomach. You should take precautions but fear is never, and should never be one of them, despite what the media wants you to think.

Seriously, stop sprinkling that shit everywhere, and instead spread happiness, kindness, positivity because the world needs a whole lot of it at this point. So, I hope you lovelies enjoy your Halloween week getting scared from awesome things like The Shining, or freaky costumes versus things you have no control over. Enjoy, and live your life.

-haley.

Exit Here.

I’ve had some people contacting me over a subject that seems to scare them in this scary time of year; I am no longer PH centered. I know, its shocking to you, but it’s not to me. I think no longer just focusing on PH has given me a breath of fresh air into other subjects that have consumed my heart.

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You see, I’ve been passionately writing since I was in the fourth grade. I remember the exact day that the lesson “clicked” and this writing thing became easy. I was scoring Fours (four being the highest in Texas) while everyone was struggling to make it halfway down their little notebook pages. My thoughts have flowed onto a paper naturally, and I’ve enjoyed it. I stopped writing around sixteen. I have no idea why, but really I had nothing interesting in my life, in fact I was sleeping most of the day. After I was diagnosed, Pulmonary Hypertension gave me an angry and emotional trigger, and just like a bullet, I fired. All of my thoughts from years of silence flowed out onto this blog. I can’t believe I gained an audience, and I am forever grateful for my PH family, the conference, the wonderful thank you letters, and my award sitting at the front of my room.

My PH writing itch has mostly been scratched. There will always be more to cover as new challenges approach, but I have other things on my mind. I am an activist at heart. I don’t want to be the ugly, screaming activist, but I do believe in justice and broadcasting the truth that people mostly miss. That simple statement has a lot of you upset. Some have contacted me asking why I’m not writing, some of y’all refuse to support and voice your opinions on such, and while I respect that I can’t understand that. I cannot live and breathe PH daily because PH is a disease that does not believe in giving “breaths.” I have nothing against my disease, or my PH lovelies, I just don’t feel a desire anymore. I am currently at peace with my disease, but not other subjects that come to mind. I want this page to be something you can come to reflect on for new articles, or search old PH issues that I might have covered in the past. But lets just get one thing across about Haley Ann; I am not a people pleaser. People pleasing is one of the weakest things others can succumb themselves to. You simply cannot please everyone, so what is the point of trying? Please yourself, and do what is right.

So I hope that with all this being said, you can support the blog after the PH years that hopefully it supported you in. There are stages in a disease process, and all are different just like the patients themselves. I am merely exiting one phase, and transforming into another. Thank you (hopefully) for your understanding.

-haley.

Song of the week is “You Sent me Flying/Cherry” by the lovely Amy Winehouse.

Human Hurricanes.

My life is so full of physical limitations, but I still become that person where if you tell me I cant do it, I will. But sometimes when I find myself breathing harder, or losing consciousness (oops), I realize that maybe working my physical body is not my calling. While looking at someone who is physically appealing (those fabulous abs, and arms) it shows this discipline and strength that radiates off of them. But what about when you choose to constantly work on or workout your soul, and heart? Yea…what? A renovation, or working on your soul is probably one of the hardest things a person can do. To change themselves internally, to change everything they think they’ve ever known, or to work on something that is not tangible. It sounds insane, and most of the time you feel insane when you realize that maybe something things in this area will be, um, hard to reconsider. Understatement.

You see, for a long time I really didn’t care about people. I floated through high school on a very unhappy cloud (I have no regrets) and didn’t give two damns. I’ve always cared to an extent, but not once did I exercise a bit of patience with anyone or myself. Working with young children was a turning point in my life. I was working with tiny, and happy souls, some more than others, and they felt everything so deeply. They were brand new, empty of judgement, and they hadn’t reached this adult stage yet; they were not broken. I saw the humanity in their eyes as I felt their tiny arms wrap around my knees. Everyone was here at one point. We are still human, and despite how much we choose to cover it, we are so worth loving. Extending past my Pre-K and first grade experiences, and onto fifth grade, these tiny humans were hormonal devils. They were going to show you how insane, mouthy, experimental and defiant they pretended to be before they were ever funny, or told you how much they cared about you. Despite the fact they were leaving me for middle school, I still saw them as a version of my pre-k kiddo’s with a few bumps, and scrapes society left upon them. But the days they buried their faces into my shoulders crying, screamed my name down the hall because they were excited to see me, or felt the need to deliver me Valentine presents were worth the awful human hurricanes from time to time. But, I believe there is a hidden beauty in each person, and I so deeply want to find it, and teach them how to radiate it. Seriously though, it’s there in everyone.

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Overall, that job worked me internally. I might not have abs, but my heart has been strengthened more than I thought possible. I felt things beyond deeply, my stomach fell into itself sometimes, and you never knew when you had to step into an empty classroom to cry for a second after handling a situation that blindsided you. That job made me see the humanity in this society (sometimes the inhumanity as well) and showed me that every person is so worth loving. It taught me a lot about my disease, my life, and how much I choose to love others. People will often say, “I just don’t like that person” , “They are so difficult to deal with” and I find myself loving that person the most. Why? As I’ve heard many times “the people who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways.” My response? Everyone is So Worth Loving.

Check out the beautiful company that I am beyond a fan of, So Worth Loving, and their blog post about my story. I hope they show you the worth that exists in you, and other people.

Dedicated to all my wonderful students. Even though I was the teacher, believe it or not, you taught me too.

-haley.

Instagram @haleyann92

Happy October!

Well hello loves, and Happy October if I haven’t already told you so! This is probably one of my favorite months not only because it’s an exciting change in the year, but sooooo many fantastic things happen in October. Not only can I pick up a whole bag of snickers (and use trick or treat as an excuse –psh, that’s my candy), Halloween is everywhere, Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated (previously known as Columbus Day), but most people have no idea that it is also Black Cat Awareness Month.

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I live my life as an advocate for things that need my love, support and attention. One of my best friends the other night told me that I am always in search for something deeper; a deeper meaning. Thats my life. Searching deeper, digging deeper, and getting more invested. Sometimes I get so invested that I have to stop because it becomes my life, and I truly don’t mind but my lungs do. Most people would laugh at the fact that I am supporting Black Cat Awareness Month, and writing about it, but why not? Even though this is two thousand and fourteen, I feel we are regressing in our actions. We force our beliefs onto others, women still aren’t paid the same wages, we criticize those who feel the need to abort a pregnancy they don’t want because of our beliefs being pushed onto them, and people still look at black cats as if this is Salem, Massachusetts, 1692. Really people?

I grew up with two black cats, Einstein Albert and Fantasia Monaloha, and after my diagnosis found my Rocco Ricardo. I still have all three, and never looked at just their fur. In fact, I thought they were so beautiful because every color of collar looked fantastic on them! But seriously though, since I was a small child I never understood the persecution of the black cat; they were just so beautiful in my eyes. Maybe you’ve joked about it before, but do you realize that black cats are the targets of hate crimes? Some shelters wont even allow them to be adopted in October for this reason. They are the most unlikely to be adopted because of these “bad luck” bullshit beliefs.

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Martin Luther King was once quoted saying, “Never be afraid to do whats right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is a stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

Stop living in the past. We are continuously moving into the future, and we should constantly be re-evaluating our outlook on life, on certain situations. A black cat is just another part of the creator’s beautiful gift to people. Love these animals, love other people, love you.

BLACK CAT AWARENESS MONTH.

Spread the word.

-haley.

Song of the week is, “Kick, Push” by Lupe Fiasco. Its what I need to get through this week! Enjoy!

Internal Explosives.

Life is full of so many demons. Some we encounter, and others live inside of us which sounds like an episode of American Horror Story. Its been really hard to stay focused lately, to slow down, or to do anything productive other than my full time job. Why? Because I am the literal demon in this situation.

Anxiety was never a thing I took seriously, in fact, I didn’t even know it was a diagnosis. But as I sat across from a Doctor, and described my daily routine and thoughts attached, he diagnosed me with severe long-term anxiety. What? But as a flip back through family memories and pictures, certain moments come to mind. The thought of even rain sent me into a crying fit, throwing up before performances, feeling sick whenever I had to leave my dad, and having to have someone at the house with me all the time. As we get older, its not just storms but people, certain songs, walking around the house a certain amount of times before I know I can leave it, and all of this just adds up to be little emotional triggers; triggers that launch a explosive anxiety bomb in my brain.

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Whats it like to have anxiety? Its like seeing something that bothers you, and replaying that situation over and over again in your mind, thinking about all the horrible outcomes and what could happen, and either acting on that stress and venting to someone only to annoy them, or choosing to live with that sickening feeling. Its like laying in bed awake at night because you know the rare disease you have causes blood clots, and your worst fear is to die in your sleep, and you just know that even right now one could pass through your heart or brain and kill you instantly. So, you decide to stay awake. Its like worrying about your family’s safety because they didn’t answer the phone, you think you left the coffee pot on, and you cant focus at work because you just know you will come home to a house that was burnt to the ground. Anxiety takes away my peace of mind, my will to do things, it wants to me stay at home where I’m comfortable and not have to deal with anything that could trigger anything else. Yes, thats how bad its escalated. Dealing with people that have anxiety, I could only imagine is not fun. But your actions unfortuntely play into theirs. We need you as support, and a calming ressurance, not someone who makes us feel crazy. You doing that could actually make us crazy. What exactly do we need from you?

Understanding. You may not get how our brain works, but its locked up in our body. We don’t appreciate how it works, and you definitely don’t, but we need you to be that relaxed force for just that moment.

Genuine Concern. When you tell me to calm down, you’ve just evoked the powers of an anxiety hurricane. You made me feel stupid, out of control, over-exaggerated, and you’ve just triggered every other emotion along with that too. I know you do want us to calm down, and we do too. Think that all you want, but talk to us. Why are you feeling this way? What can I do to help? Lets take a couple breaths, and talk about this. Now that makes all the difference.

Don’t make fun of it. Its a serious problem, and I wish my brain didn’t function this way, but it does. It has since day one, and making me feel stupid and crazy doesn’t help. In fact, it makes me distance myself from you, and it makes me hate me. I’d rather overdose on anxiety pills than deal with this feeling. You merely get to hear about how my brain works, you don’t actually feel the internal thoughts. Its exhausting.

So this loves, has been a huge hindering factor on my life right now. One that I’m trying to control, but as stated before, its exhausting. Its no surprise that anyone who might’ve been diagnosed with something would have anxiety. If you feel like you do, then please talk to your primary, and a therapist. We already live with a chronic fatigue, so why add to that? Free yourself.

-haley.