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What 13 Reasons Why Shows Us About Bullying

In case you’ve, somehow, missed the craze of Netflix newest series 13 Reasons Why, I’m going to insert the obligatory spoiler alert here.

13 Reasons Why is a 13 episode adaptation of Jay Asher’s novel about a girl who commits suicide & leaves behind 13 cases tapes explaining what led her to do so. If you received the tapes, you were one of her reasons why.

Not only was the series griping from the start, but it also illustrated how much damage bullying can do to someone. As someone who was bullied themselves, I felt this message was accurately depicted.

Much of what happened to Hannah Baker, the main character, appeared to be subtle bullying/harassment at first that viewers later saw grow into larger ramifications. What seemed small at first became dramatically larger over time because each awful incident did one very unfortunate thing. It made it okay to treat someone so poorly.

Which is exactly what happened in my own life thanks to the girl who thought it was okay to start bullying me. At first, she was on her own having fun with making my life miserable. Soon after, I picked up side bullies that followed in her footsteps. Why? Because it was somehow then okay to pick on me. I was the new girl in seventh grade & it became the thing to do for several girls in my class.

On top of dealing with the bullying every day, something else happened to me as a result. Apart from the cruel ones, there were actually a few nice people in my class but, after being so beaten down, I stopped trying. I stopped trying to form friendships of any kind with any of the kids in my class because (as Hannah says in the series),  “it was open season,” on me, I never knew if someone asked me to sit with them to be nice or because it would be funny/allow me to be a target for one of those girls.

13 Reasons Why had a lot of very important messages to be had & one of those messages I hope viewers take away from it is be kind to one another & realize just how much a seemingly small action from you can effect someone else’s life. We live in a world where we, still today, hear abut bullying all the time. I see the pleas from parents on Facebook asking what to do for their child who is slowly being torn apart by bullying. We see the school shootings & later learn that bullying was involved. But when are we finally going to stand up as a society & say bullying, in any form, is not okay?

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& So I Kept Living

Last week was World Suicide Prevention Week &, this year, TWLOHA’s slogan is, “& so I kept living.”

Shockingly, one of the facts I read this week was that suicide is at a 30 year high in America. That is devastating.

When I think about why the numbers are so high one thing comes to mind…and that is the pressing stigma surrounding mental illness. People don’t talk about it &, if you do, you are often shamed. I know I was. I started this blog & hit on a range of topics, one of which was rape and depression I endured from it. An, “anonymous,” person was trolling my blog at the time &, under a blog I wrote on what flashbacks & PTSD had done to my life, wrote: “Wow, you’re so screwed up. You’re so screwed up that you get anxious when men yell at your on the street?? You don’t need kids, no wonder you can’t have them (in reference to our infertility).”

Wow is the operative word…just not in the context that it was used. I say wow that people are so cruel. Wow that individuals love tearing others down & taking the lowest of blows. Wow that, after someone courageously speaks their shame in hopes of encouraging & helping others, someone would make that something so ugly. It also shows how victim blaming is so alive in our society to the point of blaming women for the suffering  they endure post rape but that’s another post entirely.

The point is, I was shamed for being vulnerable when I already had more than enough shame to hold. And so, for a while, I stopped talking about it. I focused on blogging about infertility, foster care, & lifestyle things in an effort to normalize my life. I tried to act as if the crumbing of my life hadn’t happened at all & I had been just fine all along. But you know what, friends? That isn’t true. I skipped over the worst days. The days that last week were all about. I stopped encouraging others in those very dark places I know all too well & that has been the biggest disservice of all.

This summer, I’ve fallen in love with a beautiful lady who speaks her truth. Unedited, uncensored truth. Her name is Glennon Doyle Melton & she blogs about courageous things over at http://www.momastery.com

This week she blogged about her own dark time & the moment she kept living. And she encouraged me to do so as well.

There was this time in my life that all hope was gone. It was very dark, both figuratively and literally as I was sitting in the dark. I was staring down at the dimly lit screen of my iphone writing something in the notes section. It was a letter to my sister explaining why. I was staring down at my exit door after one literal hell of a year. I’d been raped, several times, & lost some very important people in my family as a result. I was having several flashbacks a day & bad dreams every night. Some nights I woke up screaming &/or in a cold sweat. I kept messing things up, relationships, my life. I was failing at getting out of the darkness. In my mind I knew what I would do but I didn’t..instead, the next day, I called my therapist & we made a game plan.

& so I kept living.

I moved to another city that was 2.5 hours away, away from all my trauma reminders. I took some time off work to dive into working on me. I went to a lot of therapy. I saw a lot of my nutritionist. & I did a lot of work.

& so I kept living.

I got married to my best friend in 2015 & graduated with my masters degree in 2016.

& so I kept living.

I started going to walks about things that matter & talking about them, too.

I started being honest with my closest friends & members of a phenomenal group I’m in.

I kept blogging about infertility.

& I learned a lot of things. But I wouldn’t have learned them if I hadn’t kept living.

I learned that, most often, other people have had some difficult moment in their lives. They may have struggled/struggle with depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, etc, etc. So they get it. Or they want to try to. I’ve learned that none of us has had a perfect life &, even if our stories are very different, we can empathize and relate to other people. I’ve learned that talking about it matters, it really matters.

& so I kept living.

“Life is forever tries.” -Glennon Doyle Melton

 

 

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More Answers

I got a call from my doctor’s office today about the blood work I had done two weeks ago.

The nurse started off with (after the initial hello, I’m ___ from Dr.___ office), “Well, overall, everything came back normal.”

& my heart sank because I thought we hadn’t gone anywhere. I thought, after all of this time, we still had no answers.

But she continued.

“You do have a blood clotting factor. So she wants you to go ahead & start taking a baby Aspirin, about 87 mgs, daily before you even get pregnant. When you do get pregnant, call us back immediately & we’ll start you on a blood thinner injection called Levonox.”

Poor girl went on to try to assure me the shots weren’t he bad &, “we’ll show you how to do them,” until I chimed in with, “after all the shots i’ve had for IVF, I’m sure it’ll be nothing.”

I was probably the most ecstatic person a medical professional has ever informed they had a blood clotting issue that would require further treatment. I AM OVER THE MOON!!!!!

I’m sure if you are, or have ever been where I’ve been, you get it. After a miscarriage, two miserable/hellacious/insert all other synonyms for terrible here, rounds of failed IVF, on top of the 3 preceding IUIs, then the laprosocpic surgery, & then the oh, wait-miracle baby…just kidding, I am past ready to know why. 

&, after the worst summer of my life that has consisted of nothing but bad news, I was well over due for some good today. I needed some hope. I haven’t seen any in a while & it is much welcomed.

I’m hoping that this was the reason I’ve miscarried around the same time in both pregnancies & that, FINALLY, we will be able to stop it. Hopefully.

Be hopeful with me friends!!!

&, again, I’ll jump back on my soapbox for a minute to reiterate:

  • If you ever feel you aren’t getting the care &/or attention you need, GET A SECOND OPINION!!!!! I REPEAT, GET A SECOND OPINION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE!!!!!!! If you want something done, ASK FOR IT!!!!! Bring up your concerns & how you’d like them to be addressed!!! I.E. me asking for blood work
  • Lastly, as hard as it is with infertility & all its hell/absence of glory, don’t lose hope. After all, some Disney movie says miracles happen all the time……

 


My snapchat update of the day to all my friends (thanks, for limiting my words & forcing me to resort to drawing them like a 2 year old again Snapchat. Not cool).

Bless her heart, one friend responded, “oh, no!!” To which I quickly replied….


Don’t feel bad…I just said wow in my own head as well.

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Follow Up

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Today, was our followup appt with my gyno for the miscarriage.

Borrowing a line from Dickens, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

On one hand, it went really. She was very compassionate about what happened & happy that we were even able to get pregnant so soon after my laparoscopy at the end of April. Being my second miscarriage, she also did a full workup of blood testing. 13 vials worth to be exact!!! I did not pass out…though I came close. She also looked at my cervix & noted the bleeding had stopped so that was a good thing as well.

Surprisingly, she seemed shocked when I told her no after she asked if anyone had given me pain meds while I was miscarrying. NOPE. She also seemed surprised no one did a D&C. I quickly put the D&C concern at bay, I believe, after telling her I was pretty sure I passed anything and everything.

The bad: For one, gyno appointments have never been a high point for me. They’re hard, they’re just really freaking hard. Also, for this appointment, it was re-traumatizing in that I had to relive the whole experience. Being asked about it in detail and going back to that point in time where the rest of my world seemed to crumble away those two odd weeks ago.

We left things with a few high points. We told her we were concerned about waiting 8-9 weeks to come in for a prenatal appointment as I don’t make it to 8-9 weeks and the appointment is virtually useless to me at that point. In response to this, she agreed & said she would see me at 4 weeks next time around….if there’s a next time around. In addition, she feels the sooner we try again the better (echoing what I’d read on my own). The plan is to call when I start my first period post miscarriage & start Femera again at that point. It’s a good plan that we’re both happy with. The only other unfinished business for me is that, next time around, I’m requesting progesterone in oil shots instead of oral progesterone as that obviously did nothing for me this pregnancy.

 

 

 

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Stages Of Infertility

Infertility is a process. Not a linear process but a process nonetheless.

To me, it resembles the stages of grief. You don’t have to go through the process in any particular order & you may go back and forth between stages on occasion.

For instance, before my recent miscarriage, I was finally in a place that I could go to children’s Birthday parties & enjoy myself. A place where, on a good day, I may even be able to drop by a baby shower.

This past weekend, I was invited to two of my friend’s kiddo’s Birthday parties. One was a first Birthday & another was a third. Having found out I was miscarrying a little over a week beforehand, I knew going would be too much for me. Not because I didn’t want to celebrate the lives of their children I’ve grown to love. Not because I wasn’t happy they had precious children of their own. But because, in this moment, it would have reminded me of things not to come for my own children.

Things like Birthday parties. Baby showers. Cake smashes. Party games.

There aren’t any games or parties where my children are….well, I don’t know, maybe there are. Maybe they’re up with the person I’d trust most in the world with my children (mamaw) playing video games with her while she cusses at the screen when she loses & shows them the ropes of game play.

But I can’t see that.

All I can see is happy families loving their children. Children that I may not ever be able to have. I may never get Birthday parties or everything that comes with them. And, in the present moment, going to children’s parties is just something I have to accept is too much for me.

And I hope people get that. Thankfully, both friends I text over the weekend got it. They said what I needed. They understood. It was okay. Hugs & emoji hearts all around.

That is what I hope for all of you who find certain events too hard at times. Because, I assure you, there will be many times throughout this journey when you just can’t, despite how much a part of you may like to, participate in certain things. There may be times that you can, which is great, but that may change on a dime to a time that you can’t. And that’s okay.

You know where you are in your journey. Accept & honor that.

 

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2016

  As this year is rapidly coming to a close & a new one is quickly approaching, I’ve been eyeing resolutions for the year ahead. 

But, before we can move forward, it is also important to look back. During my last therapy session, my therapist told me to grab a note pad, tossed her pen to me, & had me write down things I’d improved upon/given myself this year alone. 

The list is below:

-Stable life

-Eating (opposed to giving into my eating disorder)

-the ability to devour a Gigi’s cupcake, or some pancakes  if the desire hit

-BLOGGING 🙂

-Learning to share my feelings with others more openly

-Telling people when they do something that hurts me

-Setting boundaries with my family & others

-Becoming more conscious of being mindful

-Happiness. Real, raw happiness. Despite the hardships I’ve encountered this past year, there has also been a lot of happiness to be had as well. 

-the ability to, as Jouce Meyer says, “Do it afraid.”

Once I finished scribbling my list & read it to her, she told something. Something that is, to me, very profound. Smiling, she told me, “Keep the list..that is the greatest gift you could give to yourself this year.”

All too often, I feel like people strive for the next best material thing & neglect themselves in the process. Therapy is seen as a weakness, or an oddity to many. Selfcare is seen as selfish. Yet, having the newest iPhone, vehicle, & the like is something that must constantly be achieved…while, a few months later, none of them will continue to be enough. 

There is ALWAYS a new product. There are always new vehicles, cell phones, etc, etc. but there is only one you. There’s only one life to be had. 

A practice I plan on embracing more fully in this new year, & for the rest of my life, is to spend money on things that matter & make memories as opposed to spending money on materialistic things. I want to spend money on things that will serve me long after a 6 month time. I want to continue going to therapy & grow as a person. I want to travel more & spend less money on objects that will constantly need replacing. 

In addition to those goals, I also hope to step more into vulnerability. I want the capacity to express my emotions without fear. 

Apart from that, another huge goal I have for 2016 is to become a mommy. Scott & I have talked about it & if this next IVF doesn’t pan out, we do want to purse fostering to adopt. 

After nearly a straight year of being on fertility drugs, we’ve both grown tired of the physical effects these medications have on me. I never feel good. I’m always tired. I’m bloated. My life revolves around a strict scheduling of appointments each month. Pills to take. Shots to give. Suppositories to push up myself 3 times daily. I want to get back to LIVING my life!!!!!!! 

Does that mean we are giving up the pursuit of having a biological child as well? Absolutely not. I would be willing to try ONE MORE IVF maybe a year or so later. & I’d be open to an FET (frozen embryo transfer) if we have at least 1 more embryo to go with the single snow baby we already have in the freezer. But the constant fertility drug craze & depletion of my happiness-and let’s not forget our bank account-is not something I will miss. & I definitely don’t want to-let me rephrase that, can’t-go another straight year of doing this to myself. I am tired. In all of the ways one can be tired.

But I’m still excited for a New Year. I’m hopeful it will be a year filled with happiness, miracles, travel, growth, & wholesome memories for whatever family God allows us to have.

God bless & HAPOY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!! 🎉🎉❤️

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“You Just Had To Learn It For Yourself…”

I’m a therapy pusher.

Hey, it’s better than a drug pusher, right??

I think it’s 1 of the best things we can do for ourselves & something I believe everyone should invest in.

As the New Year approaches, I’ve been reflecting on my hopes for that time & also on all I’ve accomplished in this chapter of the journey.

Here’s what I’ve come to accept in a year’s time:

  1. We cannot control other people, we can only control how we react to them. Some people aren’t going to respect your boundaries. They are not going to respect you. Respect yourself and take control of how you react to them & take your power back.
  2. If you want something to change, change it (when you can). Take ownership of your life.
  3. “You cannot save people, you can only love them &, sometimes, that’s enough.” -Perks Of Being A Wallflower
  4. Love is real & they really didn’t, “break the mold,” when they made papaw-despite what he told me when I’d say I wanted a man just like him..my husband has shown me that.
  5. You are the only one that is going to take care of you. Do it. Stop relying on someone else to do that because nobody else can.
  6. Take care of yourself. Did you hear me? Think about how you can take care of you & then actually do it. More of my self-care banter, thank social work.
  7. You cannot make anyone else see your value. See it for yourself.
  8. You also can’t make anyone else love you…..love yourself, babe.
  9. Material things are useless. Make memories instead.
  10. Hurting people hurt people. If someone has a problem with you for some unknown reason, chances are, they really have a problem with themselves. Try not to take their hate personally.
  11. Forgive for YOU, not for them. Hatred weighs more than you will know & isn’t hurting them at all.
  12. Some people will never be sorry & that’s okay…they are at a different place than you are along their journey. They may get there & they may not..this is no reflection of you.
  13. Be firm in the boundaries you set & know who you may need to be more guarded with in doing so.
  14. Appreciate the small things. Go outside. Be with nature & take time to breathe.

Here’s to 2016. May it be a year full of happiness & new memories….& hopefully babies 🙂 ❤

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