Tag Archives: Family

Cyber Connection

Do you play video games? What kind? RPGs? MMOs? FPS? Etc..

I do. I love video games. I’ve been playing them since…gosh, 1997 or so. My very first system? The handheld Nintendo Gameboy. Not the Gameboy Color, not the Gameboy Pocket, just the original classic Nintendo Gameboy. It was great. Standard gray case, digital green screen, and a square game cartridge. I loved the digital 8-bit music chips and the pixel sprite characters. The best part? Playing was a challenge, not just because of the challenges in the games but because of the challenges outside of the games. Did I have enough battery power left to finish the level? If I didn’t, did we have batteries on-hand that I could replace them before the final boss fight? Was there enough light to see the screen (yes, this was before backlit screens existed)?) It was so fun to try to play by holding up my Gameboy and using the headlights of the cars behind us on the road to play my game on trips.

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After the Gameboy, my next system was the N64 console which my younger brothers and I got for Christmas. Our first game for it was Donkey Kong 64. I still have both and they still work. Our Dad actually restarted his game the other month to play it again. I still love those graphics. The chunky, blockiness of the characters and world you explore and play in. There’s just classic, retro love all around for the whole thing.

From the Gameboy I upgraded to a Gameboy Color, then a Gameboy Micro, then a Gameboy Advanced. I skipped the square DS generation and went straight for the 3DS and now I have a 3DS XL Legend of Zelda gold case edition.

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Along the way, I picked up a PS2 (for DDR and Kingdom Hearts, what else?), a GameCube, Wii, Wii U, and now a Nintendo Switch, an Xbox 360 and now I have an Xbox One S. (PS – I still have all of these systems, ALL of them except my original Gameboy. Someday, I’d love to get a Gameboy again just because it’s not only a part of my childhood but it was what began my love for video games. It’s where it all started!)

Since I was a kid, video games have really progressed and evolved in the last 20 years alone. I can’t wait to see where they keep going (especially as things like VR start to emerge and become more realistically attainable for the common person). I want to continue to play and be engaged, not only by the games I play but with the people I play them with.

What are my top games right now? I’m so glad you asked! Currently it’s the following:

–  PokemonGo on my phone (I literally play this everyday!)]

Pokemon Core Series games (on my 3DS XL and hopefully soon my Nintendo Switch!)

Overwatch on my Xbox One S. (I literally play this game almost every night. Do you play, too? I’m all about Competitive games. If you have a gamertag, let’s play some time! Shoot me a message or comment below!)

ESO on both my computer (through Steam) and on my Xbox One S. Do you play this, too? Let me know and we can quest together!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, and Skyrim on my Nintendo Switch.

Those are my top games right now!

Game on, my friends!

– Soleil

Well, well, well…look who it is!

Hey guys…it’s been awhile. Do you remember who I am?

Life after graduation is so similar to life before graduation and yet so totally different. It’s hard to explain. I still live at home with my family and I’m still single. I don’t go to classes anymore, instead I go to a full-time job Monday – Friday. It’s a desk job. Yuck! I always did tell myself when I was growing up that I would NEVER work a desk job…and now look where I’ve ended up!

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I’m trying so desperately to hold on to my creativity but sometimes I feel like it’s slipping away, being drained out of me by this dull, everyday rut I feel so stuck in. To correct this, I have started an Art Adventure! You can follow me on my Adventure for Art blog to see my spectacularly blooming art adventure as I struggle to figure out my place in this world as an artist (I’ve only got 9 posts so far…maybe 10 by tonight, but I’m growing and I’m doing my best so let’s all support one another and be great together!)

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Look for me more frequently as I resume my blogging life. Hope to see you all around and thanks for your continued support (even in my hiatus!)

– Soleil

Getting To The Point….

Greetings one and all!

Firstly, I would like to openly state that I would love to blame my lack of absence on my university finals (which have passed and graded by now), my work schedule (which is only on weekend), and life in general. But, to be honest, it not for lack of time. Instead, I’d love to blame it on procrastination. Yes, the bunt of every daunting project. It is not that, either.

The reason I have not posted in so long is because, well…I wasn’t really sure what to write about. So, I’ve finally broken down and decided to PLUNGE back into my little “Sunny Place” because the time will never be “just right”, that inspiration I’m waiting for to hit may never come, and I’ve just plain missed writing here. My “Sunny Place” is a haven to me, where I can write how I honestly think and feel without worry of what my family and close friends might think, because (as far as I know) they just aren’t aware of my “Sunny Place” (no matter how many times I’ve told them to check it out). In that respect, I’m glad if they don’t look here, because I like to have this freedom of expression. I can just be me.

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So, hello again to one and all. Please welcome me back to the blog-o-sphere and let us be good friends once again!

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❤ Soleil

 

 

 

Vote for Profecy! (And a life update…I’m still ALIVE!)

Bonsoir and Hello to all of my friends and readers!

It has been some time since I last wrote a post and I have missed my little “Sunny Place”. School is going just as well as it can. Projects are wrapping up as the semester winds down to finality. With only four more weeks until Finals, I have very little time to actually work, so I will be very busy the closer my deadlines approach.

In the meantime, I have also acquired a new job! Success!

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While this will make my busy schedule even busier, I welcome the opportunity because I have been without a job for ten months. That’s almost a year!

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That’s ten months with no income (I mean, yes, yes, I’ve had the occasional side job and odd job, but not a real, actual job), no place to go except home and school, and so on. For these past ten months, I did not realize it until I started my job, but I was very bored. In all honesty, I really did miss working.

Oh! What is my job, you ask? I work at a local tavern now as a waitress/hostess/cashier. While I’ve been cross-trained in those three positions, my main job is a waitress. The best part is I got really good hours on Friday and Saturday evenings. Those are money-making tip hours! Yay!

I hope I do well…. (I really am a good, hard worker and a fast learner but I have a tendency to second-guess myself when I first start out because I really want to do a great job.)

On to another topic!

My youngest brother is part of an all-male A Cappella group, named Profecy, at University and recently they entered a music video contest hosted by Lady Gaga to promote awareness to end sexual assaults on college campuses with the “It’s On Us” campaign. Here is their music video:

It’s hauntingly beautiful. You can vote for them HERE!

I can’t make you vote for them, but please, if you can, please do. Vote for Rowan’s Profecy A Cappella!

– Soleil

You Are Vibrantly Pretty!

Recently, my brother and his girlfriend set up an on-line dating profile for me. While I was in the room and fully aware of what they were doing, I did find it amusing and fun to set one up.

Normally, though I’m not very into the whole on-line dating thing. Then again, I’m very bad at regular dating to begin with. Online dating, though, just seems a bit more overwhelming than normal dates. Firstly, I have no clue who the people messaging me are, despite what their profiles might say and what pictures they might have posted.

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I am especially bad at the private messaging aspect of the whole thing. For instance, I am not used to being called “hot” or “cute” or “adorable”. Sure, I hear it from my father all of the time: “You are a beautiful young woman and any guy would be lucky to have you”, but he has to say that, right? He’s my dad, after all. So, when other people tell me that:

“You are really cute.”

“You are beautiful.”

“You are the most gorgeous girl I’ve ever seen.”

“You are vibrantly pretty”,  and so on, I tend to become very nervous.

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To be honest, I don’t see myself as cute or beautiful or gorgeous or vibrantly pretty. When I look in the mirror or at photos of myself I see a goofy dork who looks averagely average. So, when other people say otherwise I become very bashful.

I think it would be safe to conclude now that on-line dating is not for me and I will continue to struggle on alone through the actual real-life dating world (although it is just as awkward and embarrassing when I hear these things in real life, too).

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Who am I?

Despite my last post and efforts, I have become addicted to Bollywood movies. Recently, I watched one called Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu and the opening song sort of struck on a chord. View the song here, courtesy of a YouTube upload.

The lyrics follow as:
As are the days, so are the nights, everything looks loose…
Even the sky looks a little less blue…
Life, sometimes,
Is a little full, is sometimes empty,
I know my name, but I don’t know who I am…
I know where my home is, but I don’t know who I am…
Who am I, who…
As are the days, so are the nights,
Everything looks loose…
Even the sky looks a little less blue…
Looks loose…

The lyrics I’ve made bold are the ones I found relatable. I’m not sure why but they really stuck to me, made me contemplate some things about myself.

I feel like, in today’s world, it is easy to get lost, swept up in the fast-pace of things and wrapped up in stuff that would otherwise be unnecessary.

Becoming lost is the easy part.

Finding who you are is the journey.

I do know my name and I do know where my home is, but if you asked me who I was, I would give you the generic response: “I am an art major trying to graduate and someday I’d like to be a Disney artist”, whereas the real, truthful answer is: “I don’t know who I am. I’m still looking.”

I know that I am studying art at university but I often wonder if it is the proper path. When I sit and muse over my life so far, the choices I have made, the studies I have engaged in, I begin to doubt that I have chosen correctly.

And that scares me.

Let’s go over facts: I am twenty-five and still live at home with my parents and siblings. I currently have no proper career that can give me the guarantee or safety of any kind of insurance and I’m studying for a degree that will give me access to a slim array of positions once I do graduate this upcoming Fall semester. The probability that I will land a successful and albeit decent art career are slim to none. Certainly, I will not get something that can offer me the insurance I so desperately need, nor the pay scale to even consider trying to live on my own, let alone survive.

That terrifies me.

It’s a big jump, from scared to terrified, you know, and when these dark and foreboding thoughts do worm their way back up from where I’ve tried to bury them away in the deepest corners of my mind, I feel even more lost than I normally do.

And that makes me stop and think and wonder: “What can I do?”, “What can I accomplish?”

But I have no answers.

It’s practically the same feeling as being stuck, of feeling stagnant and unmoving in my life (which I covered in a previous post here).

To be honest, my life is rather boring. I’m not an exceptionally exciting person. I live in an extremely rural area (as I have mentioned before) where the nearest shopping is at least a half hour drive, and even the options offered are minimal. The more you want, the farther away you have to drive.

I’d rather stay home than go out.

I have two friends within easy travel distance but our schedules keep us apart. My other friends live, spread across the wide world and we can only communicate through messages.

My biggest entertainment is my own wild imagination, where I can live the exciting life I am always dreaming about, and I make no efforts to turn my imagination into reality. That is my failing. And that is my triumph.

I am still learning, still discovering who I am and what makes me, what drives me, what limits me, what makes me soar.

But I am still lost and my journey is still ongoing.

So the big question is put simply, but the answer is seemingly impossible and limitless: “Who am I?”

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Recently, I read a post by a fellow blogger and their words resonated within my very soul, to the very core of my being. With this post, with those words, I was able to relate and feel and conclude and finally realize that it was the same way I felt. She wrote exactly what I’ve been trying to say myself for months now. Her name is Lindsey but she’s better known on WordPress as MomentMuser and the post I’m talking about is “Becoming”.

I want to quote a bit of it, the pieces that held the truest to me:

“I had thought I’d be further along by now.”

This much is true. To be honest, when I was small, I pictured myself happily married and with children of my own by now, just like my mother (married at 22) and grandmother (married at 20) when they were my age. Yet here I am, 25 turning 26 in March and I’m still not married, nor do I have any children. In fact, I’ve never even had a relationship last pass six months! This realization often makes me ask questions of myself like, “What’s wrong with me?”, “Is there something wrong with me?, “Is there really someone out there for me?”, “Am I going to be alone my whole life?”

But I didn’t want to just be married with a family by now. I also wanted my career by this point, but instead I am still a university student. I wanted to be this great artist, Disney Animator, working on amazing movies and creating characters and stories to be loved by all! Instead, I’m an unmotivated, uninspired slacker.

And this point resonates to the next quote of Lindsey’s post:

“I am not entitled. Surely the world does not owe me the Life I dream of living. I doubt that the world really cares what I do. In its indifference I will slip away.

I am lazy, lazy, lazy.

Today my alarm sounded at 9, at 9:30, at 10. Dozens of 8-minute intervals later, I rose at noon.”

Seriously, this is my life every day. I am actually quite the shackled-companion of those “dozens of 8-minute interval” snoozes. Frighteningly so.

I have absolutely nothing to live for it seems, no real reason to get out of bed in the morning except that it’s past noon and beyond reasonable to be in bed any longer. What kind of life is this really? A poor excuse for one, that is obvious. And I obviously want more, so what do I do about it? To change it? To go on? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I don’t try to change. To try new things. To find something to do. I don’t need to. I know what I want to do but I don’t do it. When I try, I am unsatisfied with the results and give up.

To be honest, I feel so STUCK. I have for a while now and I don’t know what to do about it. I am an artist, an author, but I feel so uninspired that I cannot draw or write. When I try to draw it’s nothing how I imagine it. So I give up. When I try to write, it never sounds quite right. It doesn’t flow the way I want it to. The story isn’t going anywhere. So, I stop.

I feel as though I’ve stagnated. That I’ve come to a point in my existence where I feel like I am not moving forward. There is this great uncertainty. I don’t know what to expect, everything is so unfamiliar, so elusive that it is terrifying.

And even though I don’t know what to expect, I know what I want:

“I know what I want. I know it so much that it hurts. My chest feels heavy with it. My mind fears it.”

I want to be a success. Not in the sense that I want to be some famous, well-known person, but I simply want to be able to support myself. To be stable and live. To be inspired and find the thing that I love most in the world and just by doing it I am filled with such joy, such imagination again that I feel as if I will burst from creativity if I do not get it down with paper and ink. I want to express to the world through my art, through my words all that I have learned on the journey called Life. I want to share everything with everyone. I want to learn and keep learning and never stop!

But that’s hard when your own mother tells you that you dream too big. That you can’t accomplish the aspirations you have concocted through years of daydreams no matter how hard you try. To pick something easier, simpler, so that you can’t fall short in the end.

I’m not blaming her. I understand where she’s coming from. She doesn’t want me to fall, to fail, to hit rock bottom and have nothing left to fall back on. I understand the reason but I am stubborn. I ignore her words. I want to dream, but it’s come to the point where I feel like all I have left are my dreams. And that that is all they will ever be: dreams, illusions created by a girl with no drive to actually go anywhere or do anything towards those goals. The day she told me my dreams were too big, was the day I began to doubt myself.

Now, I sit here and I stare at myself in the mirror and I want to cry because all I see is a girl who got lost somewhere along Life’s path and can’t figure out how to find her way again. A girl who is stuck, stagnant in the same place she’s always been and probably always will be. A girl who dreamed for the world from her home in a small rural farm town and began to doubt herself so much that now she is trapped by the very fear and anxiety that she created for herself.

I am lost. I am stuck. I feel like I cannot escape. And I am afraid.

I am afraid that this is all my life is going to be because I’ve dug myself into a hole and built the walls so high I cannot climb back up to see the light of day beyond me. Nothing but darkness and fear and anxiety to keep me company for all my days to come.

And that is daunting. Terrifying. PARALYZING.

Help me, please, because I am stuck and I need to be found again.

-Soleil

Fun at Home – HGTV

I am an AVID watcher of the television channel HGTV. Growing up in a family where construction was always a constant in my life (my father and his older brother are union electricians and my uncle and Pepere union construction workers), and being an art major, HGTV and all of the aspects of turning one thing into something else in shows like Property Brothers, Love It or List It, and Fixer Upper through not only construction but also through interior design is just SO interesting to me.

I also love to watch House Hunters and especially House Hunters International because of all the cool cultural and architectural features! But, what really makes me laugh with these two shows is when the people looking for a home only look at the negatives of the new houses they’re looking at. One common thing is a lot of people are like “This closet is too small. It won’t even fit all of my bathing suits/shoes/clothes, etc.” A closet can’t fit your bathing suits? You have too many bathing suits, then. I can understand having two or three to switch it up now and then, but how many do you need that they won’t all fit into a closet/take up all of the space in the closet so you don’t have room for your clothes? It’s just silly things like that which I enjoy, haha!

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

The “NaNoWriMo-Is-Beating-Me” Update

NaNoWriMo has been kicking my butt. While I was able to plow through for the first couple of days, I hit a serious road block early on: I don’t know where I want the story to go.

It should be stated the story I chose to work on for the month was one I had been previously working on but I decided to re-write it because I wasn’t entirely sold on the manuscript I had already written. Unfortunately, this change has caused me to realize that I’m not happy with how the story has gone. It used to be a lot more fun than this and somewhere through all of the words and descriptions, character development and world building, scene transitions and dialogue, I got lost. So, I feel like I’m writing aimlessly which, in turn, feels rather pointless.

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I understand that NaNoWriMo is all about having a complete novel at the “at least 50k” mark but I’m one of those writer’s who would rather spend the time figuring out what I want and how I want it instead of needless writing unnecessary things just to reach a word goal. This is because that means I’ll just have so many thousands of more words to go through and take out when it comes to the final editing process.

What I really need to do is sit down somewhere where I will have no distractions and figure out what I want for this story. How I want it to change from the previous manuscript, why I want it to change from that, and where to start it.

Also, I seriously miss having Microsoft Word. I finally made myself buy a new Macbook Pro because the one I was using was a 1st Generation MB Pro and it wasn’t letting me use programs properly for my homework/schoolwork. Seriously, this Apple Pages application is such a pain!

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That being said, I think that’s enough for tonight. I’m going to post this and continue to sit outside with my parents in front of the fire we have going. It’s funny, because it’s about 47F outside but the fire is keeping us so warm that it’s pretty pleasant. The Christmas music is a nice touch, too, haha!

Look for my words again soon (because NaNoWriMo is ending in 9 days!)

– Soleil

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