Monthly Archives: October 2015

What It Feels Like To Be Me

I have found the past two weeks of my life have been difficult. Why is that? I know why but I hate to admit the reason. Admitting it feels like I’m giving up, like I’m a failure, and that hurts.

When I was in sixth grade, my Memere was diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer. She underwent chemo-therapy and surgery to remove it and then she was fine. But it came back. By the time I was in high school, it had returned at least three times. The summer I finished my Junior year and was waiting to begin my Senior year in the fall, the cancer had been back and had spread to her brain. She had surgery again that August to take out what they could in her brain, but they couldn’t take it all. From that date on, I watched her deteriorate before my eyes.

My mother and I went to my Memere and Pepere’s house every day to help take care of her. These were my mother’s parents and my mom wanted to be there to help not only Memere, but to give Pepere time to himself, too. By the time I started school, she decided to stop with all of her chemo-therapy and radiation treatments. As I watched her get worse, I began to have panic attacks in school. Suddenly, while in classes, I would feel like I couldn’t breathe and I’d ask to go to the nurse’s office, and she would let me call my mom, begging her to come and get me so we couldn’t go and see Memere until she could talk to me enough to calm me down and finish out my school day. By Christmas she was in a wheelchair, weighed as much as I did at that time, and had trouble swallowing her medicine and food. One week later, she couldn’t even get out of bed, then she had trouble understanding, and by the second week of January, she was gone.

I remember so clearly, the Friday before she passed away. My high school was gearing up for our annual Relay for Life event and we had a meeting for the whole school in the auditorium. It was a sort of review meeting, to go over what we had done last year and to see videos, and to explain to the Freshmen and new students of that year what Relay for Life was and why we did it. I stood up when one of the teacher’s giving a speech asked who had family members and friends close to them with cancer and then sat back down and when that same teacher started to talk about her own experience, well, I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I was sitting in the very last row of the auditorium, in the very middle. With friends on either side, I suddenly felt so trapped. I knew I wasn’t going to make it if I tried to squeeze past all of them to get out to the aisle, so I got up on my seat and jumped over it to the floor behind me. I ran out the doors. In the foyer outside, one of the substitute teachers was waiting for the meeting to be over, I guess I must have looked terrible because she asked me what was wrong and the next thing I knew I was sobbing in her arms telling her all of the horrible things I’d been living through for six years and how it’d just gotten so much worse in the past six months and that I didn’t know what to do anymore. How I just wanted to go home and see my Memere. How she was dying and there was nothing I could do about it.

To be honest, I’m not sure where I would have run to if she hadn’t caught me and expressed her concern. I probably would have ended up crying alone in the bathroom, stuck in my own misery until someone found me.

And then, my worst fear came true. I told my substitute teacher on Friday that my Memere was dying and that Sunday she passed away. That was probably the worst day of my life so far. I cried so much. I still do. It’s hard, losing someone you love. I’m not sure that you ever really do get over it. You keep loving them even though their gone, and that is okay. But I felt so lost after that. I became so tired of forcing myself to smile and pretending to be alright. When we went on our Senior Trip to Walt Disney World in Florida five months later, that was the first time I actually smiled and laughed and it wasn’t forced. I meant it.

And life seemed to get better after that. I graduated and was sad about it, but it was okay. I started college and for my second semester I went to work at Walt Disney World in Florida as a part of their Disney College Program. I made a new friend and he became my best friend. But when I came home, I don’t know why, but my panic attacks came back. Slowly at first, so I just thought that the OCD habits I was picking up were normal. But when I went back to do a second DCP the following year and the habits became excessive and the panic attacks became so frequent that I was calling my mother and crying to her every day, begging her to come home even though I had a month of my program left to complete, I knew something was wrong.

But I finished my program and my dad and younger brother picked me up and brought me back home. And I was okay again. The panic attacks subsided and the OCD dwindled to being barely noticeable. And then it was back again, so much worse than before. This time the OCD controlled me. I couldn’t do anything without doing it as a habit of so many counted steps, so many taps of my fingers, so many buttoning of the same button, or zippering of the same zipper, over and over and over again until I felt as though I was insane. And I often did question my sanity during this time. I swore I was going mental, that I’d have to be handled with extreme medical treatment. I was terrified!

And the panic attacks became paralyzing. I couldn’t speak or move or even think when I had one. Just the same flash of fear that I was going to die consumed me until suddenly my mother or brother came to my rescue, pulling me out of my stuck state, forcing me to interact with them, to talk to them, to explain what was wrong and what I was feeling.

By Christmas, after roughly eight months of going through this uncontrollable torture, of jeopardizing my job and school attendance because I couldn’t get out of the house in time because I was doing habits, of not going at all because I was having a breakdown, I told my parents I wanted to see a doctor. I ended up with a psychologist. He met me every week and spoke with me, gave me things to do to try and control my anxiety and OCD. And he recommended medication. But I’m stubborn. Medication was my largest concern of the whole thing. It was my worst nightmare coming true. I needed medical help and that was the last thing I wanted. Because, accepting medication as the answer meant that I wasn’t normal. That I couldn’t cope like every other normal human being could. That I was different and was going to be different for a very long time. In my eyes, it meant defeat, that I had let these anxieties and OCD habits take over my life, and I had lost.

It took a year for my psychologist and parents to convince me to even try taking medication. I was prescribed an SSRI (or a Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor), which helps to regulate the serotonin levels in your brain. And when I did, I felt sick for weeks. I didn’t go to school and I failed all of my classes from lack of attendance alone. I literally spent days dragging myself out of bed only to curl up in a ball on the couch and watch things to keep me happy and not focused on myself. Mostly, it was the Disney Channel.

And then, suddenly, I began to feel “normal” again. After taking the medicine for an entire year, I actually felt like my old, “normal” self again. Two years after taking it and I felt completely alright and expressed to my doctor that I wanted to ween off of the medication to see how I did without it now that I felt cured. They agreed and the process began. Originally up to 20mg of the SSRI, I dropped to a 10mg for 30 days and then 5mg for the following 30 days.

And now we’re back at present time. Precisely two weeks ago, I stopped taking my SSRI. Since then I have had two panic attacks. Both have been cope-able. The first was more tolerable than the one I had today. And it was today I realized that without the medication, they’re just going to get worse again. I can’t be a normal person without the medication. I can’t feel like a normal person taking the medication.

I feel so defeated.

I see my counselor about all of this tomorrow. I will start taking my SSRI medication again so that I can be myself, but what frustrates me the most is that I wasn’t like this when I was younger. My panic attacks didn’t begin until my Senior year of high school. My OCD didn’t start showing up with the panic attacks until two years after that. So why can’t I just be normal like when I was younger? The answer: I can’t. I will most likely be on this medication for the rest of my life and that’s disappointing. But if that means I can feel like my old self again with the help of the medication, then I have to learn to live with it.

That’s my update. Sorry it’s so long and deep and boring.

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

Back to the Future Cosplay!

Well, the day of the future has come and passed: October 21st, 2015. Why is this date significant? It’s the day that the movie series “Back to the Future” went to from the 1980s. According to the movie, we’d have hover-boards, flying cars and air highways, controllable weather, clear ties, identity scans, sleep-inducing generators, self-adjusting clothes and shoes, holograms at movie theaters, TVs with multiple channel options, video calling. In reality, we have two of these things and it’s a bit disappointing. (That would be the TV with multiple channels at once and the video calling, by the way).

Anyway, in honor of the “day of the future” I dressed up as Marty McFly. However, I dressed up as past Marty, not future Marty. I did what I could with what I had on hand, haha!

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Anyway, a few people on campus recognized me as my cosplay of Marty McFly and even made the connection of why I was dressed like him that day. I appreciated that!

That’s it for now. Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

Updatey Update! =D

Hey!

I don’t know why, but for the past two weeks, my little bell notification at the upper righthand screen wasn’t working! I would click on the bell when it had an orange dot and it would just take forever to load and never show me anything. So, if any of you liked one of my posts, or commented, or started to follow me in this time frame, I had no idea and I am sorry! I never want you guys to feel like I’m ignoring you. I love you guys! You’re the bestest of the best! So, I just wanted to give you all a friendly heads up.

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In other news, school is going fantastically! Well…not really. I’ve had to drop to courses already due to some personal stuff that’s been going on and that leaves me with two left: Public Speaking and Astronomy. With the school semester almost half over (about 7 more weeks to go, everyone!) I’m really hoping I can at least keep these two. I really, really, want to graduate and get school done and over with!

Did I ever mention that I’m 25 and STILL in school? Ugh, I hate it. It’s such a bummer. I’m tired of being in school (but don’t get me wrong, I LOVE school and learning!), it’s just that I’m so tired of being the last of my friends to still have to be in school. Paying out of pocket so as to procure less university debt in the long wrong is such a pain when you’re the oldest person in almost all of your classes. Plus, being in school hinders me in a work sense, too, because I have to co-ordinate my work schedule around my school classes. That in itself is a pain, too.

Anyway, speaking of work, I’m about to start now, so I should get going. Let’s chat later!

Look for my words again soon!

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-Soleil

Helping the Homeless Again and a GoFundMe for Me

Good evening one and all!

I have been lectured by both of my (younger) brother’s for giving a homeless 20-year old boy a ride from the Taco Bell to the local diner down the street. I am a girl, I was alone (well, I had the dog with me), and I didn’t know the kid.

First, yes, I am a girl, but that is irrelevant. This kid needed a ride and that’s it. He didn’t look dangerous (and, yes, you can spout all of the “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” stuff, but I just had this vibe that he wasn’t going to be a bad guy, and you know what? He wasn’t). This poor kid is the same age as my youngest brother. Of course I’m going to give him a ride because it was freezing cold the other day thanks to all of the rain we’d been getting, and all he had was a tank-top and torn jeans. He even had the politeness of manners to introduce himself (his name was Ed) and ask if we could put the radio on because he missed listening to music (instead of just changing what I was listening to from my phone, which was movie soundtracks, by the way, haha!). Anyway, it was two miles down the road, and it was a cold and miserable day, so I gave him a ride to his destination and made it home alive.

I think it’s really sad that because of a lot of bad things that go on in the world, when people are confronted with something like this in their daily lives, they’d rather look the other way and pretend they don’t see these homeless people. That we make excuses that a majority of homeless people aren’t really homeless, but pretending. But what if that ONE kid or person that you turn away really IS HOMELESS? How would you feel then, if you really knew that and that when they asked for your help, you turned them away?

All I know is that if I was homeless, or if that kid had been my youngest brother, I would want help. If it was cold and all I wanted was a ride to somewhere I could go inside and sit to warm up for a bit, that’s all I’d like.

So, I helped the kid. I wasn’t murdered. I didn’t die. I dropped him off and gave him $3 so he could get a coffee or a soup from inside, and then I went on with the rest of my day. Heck, I even checked in the back of my car to see if I had a sweater I could give him! I didn’t and I wish I had. I went to the local Goodwill this week and bought two sweaters. If I see Ed again, I’m going to give them to him so he has something as the weather is getting colder, especially at night.

I have a feeling I’ll see him around town again. He’s the same person I gave those waters and granola bars to back in the summer. He was wearing the same clothes then as he was last week. I doubt he’s pretending. Even if he is, and you can call me gullible, at least my conscious feels satisfied that I helped another human being who asked for a favor and needed the assistance. I feel good about what I did and that is all I care about.

That is all…on that topic, anyway.

On to my second topic of the night!

As an art major, I find myself worrying more and more, as graduation from my university looms ever closer, that I will have great difficulty in finding work in my field of study. Despite this, I have no regret for choosing art, because it is what I love and I know that in time, I will get a job in this field, doing what I want to do.

However, after much discussion with my parents, I have decided that perhaps a “fall-back plan” would be essential, so that if I cannot find work immediately in my field, I can have something to do so I can pay back my college loans until I can get an art job. Because, let’s face it, I can’t keep doing odd-jobs for the rest of my life, and I certainly won’t be able to make enough money to pay off my college loans by doing said odd-jobs.

That being said, I have decided to become a Certified Massage Therapist because I have always been interested in natural medicine and remedies and I can help people with relieving their stress and sports/related injuries at the same time. The only problem is that the program to become certified is expensive. $5,500 expensive! So, I have set up a GoFundMe account. I’m not here to beg for you to give me money. All I want to say is that if you have a penny to spare, could you spare it to me? Benjamin Franklin said: “A penny saved is a penny earned” and I’d like to earn the use of this penny to stabilize myself after school.

I have a link below that will take you to my GoFundMe account page if you want to help:

http://www.gofundme.com/MassageTherapyFund

Thanks so much everyone!

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil/Tara

(Because P.S.: At this point, you should know that my real name is Tara, because that’s the name I have on my GoFundMe. I chose to use the name Soleil for my blogging life because it’s the name my parents almost gave me and I think it’s adorable.)

Cheers!

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Hello. I’m the Doctor.

Hello one and all! I hope that you have been doing well! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but I’ve been up to some fun stuff!

Two weeks ago, I spent the weekend at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. The theme for that weekend was “Time Traveler Weekend”. So, of course I went and cosplayed as (my personal favorite) the 11th Doctor! Ta-da!:

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They even had the TARDIS at the Faire! I was so happy to find it and take photos with it! Then, there were so many other Whovians there, too! I wasn’t the only one, but then I didn’t think I would be with a themed weekend like “Time Travelers”. There were Weeping Angels, Daleks, even Van Gogh! Oh, and quite a few of the Doctor’s regenerations! I seriously had a blast and can’t wait to go and cosplay as the 11th Doctor again! It was so much fun! =D

Then there was my favorite part of the day: I made a 12 year old girl swoon. She was so excited to see me as the 11th Doctor that she said she could now die happy and started freaking out with her friend. It was so adorable! =P

Look for my words again soon!

tumblr_mlb666Ivyz1snil4go7_250Cheers!

-Soleil