Are you a parent who has struggled with the decision to give your child medication for ADHD?

I am and it’s a hard decision to make. So much of the time, parenting feels like you’re just winging everything. You research. You listen. You ask for advice. You trust your gut, take a deep breath, and hope you’re making good decisions — that your child will be okay.

My daughter took medication for mild ADHD when she was in the fourth and fifth grade. I reached the decision to medicate after talking to doctors and educators, reading, and hoping I was making the right call. No matter how much information we arm ourselves with, when making these difficult decisions for our kids, we always wonder if we’re doing things right, while bracing ourselves for comments from those who tell us we’re doing it wrong.

The message is spreading like wildfire for one reason: ADHD impacts people. Regular people. Maybe you.

If you’re an adult who has ADHD (or if you think you might), then you need to read this, or watch this (or both). If you are a parent who has chosen to give your child medication for ADHD, you really need to read this, or watch this (or both). From one parent who has been there to another, this perspective from the other side might help you. At the very least, the message and comments will assure you that you’re not in this alone.

When we first read the words “to my mom who drugged me,” we imagine all kinds of terrible things. We simmer down when we see it’s an ADHD page, but then brace ourselves to read criticism from an adult who was medicated for ADHD as a child, expecting a “How could you do this to me!” rant.

What we get is not even close.

McCabe writes:

“What I want to say to my mom, who ‘drugged’ me:
Thank you. Thank you for listening when I told you I was struggling. Thank you for standing up for me when my dad tried to dismiss what I was dealing with as ‘normal.’ I now understand ADHD is highly genetic and it’s likely he felt that way because he had ADHD himself.”

McCabe thanks her mother for listening, understanding, getting help, and never letting her run out of medication. She acknowledges that her mother persisted in helping her get treatment in the face people who judged. That’s right. Judgy Judgerson tsk-tsking parents have been around a while.

This young woman publicly thanks her mother for persevering and making choices that set her up for success, saying:

“Thank you for understanding that while all children can be fidgety or impulsive or get distracted, I struggled way more than the other kids my age. I now understand it’s because ADHD brains develop differently. You didn’t know that, you hadn’t done the research I have, but you listened to me when I told you I needed help.”

If you’re a parent struggling with whether to medicate, or are wondering if your child needs to be treated for ADHD, please seek professional help.

McCabe’s message is reassurance for mamas in the trenches wondering if they’re doing it right. And while this message can’t tell you if you’re making the right decision for your child and for your family, it is reassurance all the same. There is another side. There is hope.

Continuing to medicate my daughter wasn’t the right decision for us – for her – and there’s a story behind that, but I’m glad I had options and experts. In the end, I’m glad I trusted myself to make the best decision for her.

Parenting is hard. It’s about making hard choices and receiving unsolicited advice and second-guessing yourself all the freaking time. That is common. But so is ADHD.

Get help. Trust yourself. Listen to your kids. If we don’t give up on our kids, they won’t give up on themselves – and that is a message worth paying attention to.


This is What it’s Like to Live with Borderline Personality Disorder

“You’re too much.”
“You’re Intense.”
“You go zero to 60 in .2 seconds.”
“Stop being sensitive!”
“You must like chaos.”

I consistently replay these quotes in my head. The people who spoke them have come in and out of my life.

I feel emotions far more than the average person. Although on the surface that may not sound entirely life-altering, it’s crippling.

I suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder.

I live every day on the surface. Every emotion is ready to be set off—no matter what. When I’m happy, I’m euphoric. When I’m angry, I’m a monster. When I’m sad, I’m depressed. I have no in between. I’m either green, or red. I have no yellow.

Putting my disorder into words is impossible. My mind is a maze, and it makes me sick to even think of it.

All I want is to be close to people. I want a relationship where I can share, love, be safe, but I become “too intense” and “too much” for anybody to handle. So, ultimately, I’m left with nobody. It’s a terrible cycle.

I suffer every day. I suffer with feeling overwhelmed all the time.

I find it difficult to communicate. What I feel in my heart and my head doesn’t translate. I can love you with my mind, body and soul while my words are the exact opposite.

I’m not trying to start drama and I’m not an attention seeker. When I “overact” it is not easy for me to recover.

I hurt. I hurt others. I’m depleted at the end of the day.

I am constantly afraid of the idea of being alone; abandonment is hell. I latch onto people and let go before they are able to let go of me.

Many believe that I am mean, narcissistic, a manipulator.

My moods change consistently and I have zero control over my emotions. I feel everything 24/7.

I was told there are two Monicas. The “Monica I love” and “the disorder.” The “real Monica” is nurturing, empathetic, passionate, enthusiastic, loving and happy.

Once that Monica is gone, you’re left with “the disorder,” which causes manipulative behavior, lying, distorting reality and pessimism.

How is it possible to have these contradicting traits locked into one human?

I’m going to open up my heart. I’m going to become vulnerable. I am going to be raw. There have been nights I didn’t want to be alive. There have been spirits of what I’d like to call “insanity.” I’ve had moments where I ran into the street while the one I love chased me—and I was hoping and praying a car would take me out of my misery.

Out of the pure pain of thinking the one I love would leave, I’d bang my head against a wall as hard as I could, hoping I’d be knocked out.

“I HATE YOU! I LOVE YOU! DON’T LEAVE ME!” Should be tattooed on my forehead.

I tried overdosing three times October, two years ago. I’d had enough. I was bullied out of college and couldn’t handle the pain. I couldn’t handle being abandoned again.

I wanted to die.

I wanted people to care about me. No matter what it took. I wanted people to hurt and realize their wrong-doings. I wanted to punish the ones who didn’t understand. I wanted them to hurt as much as I did every single day.

When I’m down, I’m at rock bottom.

When I hurt, everyone needs to hurt.

I’ve read articles upon articles on how to deal with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder. I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s nothing uplifting to be heard. I read constantly how people like me drain the ones around us. We drain the energy out of the ones we love. We leave them with nothing.

One article even stated, “Run as fast as you can.”

I’m here to tell you that although I’m difficult, I am worth it.

You may not understand me 100 percent of the time. (You may not even understand me five percent of the time, but I am still human.) I feel emotions to the extreme. I long to feel accepted and cherished.

Do not be afraid of me.

We as BPD sufferers are the “difficult ones,” but we aren’t impossible.





Here are my tips for calming an angry child, followed by some ways you can help your kids calm themselves down ANYWHERE.  These tactics will give them not only the skills, but also the confidence, to navigate their anger on their own.



What seems unimportant for you might be hugely important for them. When your toddler cries because she wanted blue socks and you gave her red, we think to ourselves, “what’s the big deal?”. It is important to always validate their emotions, not negate them. If they find value and importance in something, it won’t do any good to tell them that their understanding of importance is incorrect.


Children with an inclination toward anger will often have an inclination toward physical aggression. Providing outlets for this such as punching a pillow or squeezing a blanket will help relieve this tension. A calm down corner provides an appropriate outlet for this aggression. Your child might not like to feel isolated from the family or from you when upset, but a bit of space can be a good thing.


Emotions are a normal part of our development, and we experience a range of them every day. It is perfectly fine to get mad, to become angry. Any consequences that you provide for your child while they are upset should always be for behaviors, not for the emotion.


Model a calm voice and a calm demeanor. (Yes, easier said than done.) The calmer you are, the better chance you have of your child calming down. Conversely, any yelling or aggression will most likely be matched by your child.


Children need to feel heard, especially when upset. Eye contact dramatically helps them feel that way. Allowing them to talk about how they are feeling will help make leaps and bounds toward calming down.


Here are some tips for gently helping your angry child calm down, plus 8 ways they can calm down anywhere! Grab your free printable reminder!



“Fat Head” Pizza Crust Recipe (Finally a Low Carb Pizza I LOVE!)

Love pizza, but not the carbs?!

You’ve gotta try making pizza dough out of cheese and almond flour! It tastes great, is keto-friendly, low carb, gluten-free, and happens to be super simple method using just a few main ingredients. Plus, I like that the texture is chewy like normal pizza dough, and sturdy enough to pick up a piece to eat!

Fat Head Pizza is a very popular low-carb recipe idea online and also happens to be a favorite among several of my fellow  sidekicks, so I was excited to try it out!

“Fat Head” Low-Carb Pizza Crust


  • 3/4 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1 and 3/4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Desired pizza toppings (tomato paste or sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, bell peppers, etc.)


1.) Combine almond flour and mozzarella cheese in a microwave safe bowl. Add in cream cheese and cook for one minute.  Stir, and cook for additional 30 seconds in microwave.

2.) Mix in egg, salt, and Italian seasoning, and stir.

3.) Shape dough into a ball and place between two pieces of parchment paper.

4.) Use a rolling pin on top of parchment paper to roll dough in a circular shape. (Mine was more of an oval.)

5.) Remove the top parchment paper and slide dough onto a baking sheet or pizza stone. Bake at 425 degrees in the oven for 12-14 minutes until slightly browned.

6.) Add any desired pizza toppings and sauce you’d like to the top of the crust. (Keep in mind, if using raw meat you’d want to cook it first before putting on pizza.) Continue cooking in oven for 5 minutes until cheese melts.


  • I diced bell peppers, and mushrooms and sauteed them first on the stove before topping my pizza, but that’s just personal preference.
  • I’ve read that you can substitute 1/4 cup of coconut flour instead of almond flour, but haven’t tried it yet.
  • Next time I may try flipping pizza crust over half way through baking for a more evenly cooked crust.
  • You can divide pastry and make smaller personalized pizzas!
  • This pastry would make delicious “garlic bread”!

No joke ~ this pizza is YUMMY! We liked the taste and texture better than cauliflower pizza!



borderline-personality-disorder (1)

10 Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health disorder that generates significant emotional instability. This can lead to a variety of other stressful mental and behavioral problems.
With borderline personality disorder, a person may have a severely distorted self-image and feel worthless and fundamentally flawed. Anger, impulsiveness, and frequent mood swings may push others away, even though they may desire to have loving and lasting relationships.

If you or someone you know have borderline personality disorder, don’t get discouraged. Many people with this disorder get better with treatment and can live satisfying lives.

Borderline personality disorder affects how a person feels about themselves, how they relate to others, and their behavior.

Signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder may include:

  1. Impulsive and risky behavior, such as risky driving, unsafe love-making, gambling sprees, or illegal drug use
  2. Awareness of destructive behavior, including self-injury, while often feeling unable to change it
  3. Wide mood swings
  4. Short but intense episodes of anxiety or depression
  5. Inappropriate anger and antagonistic behavior, sometimes escalating into physical fights
  6. Difficulty controlling emotions or impulses
  7. Suicidal behavior
  8. Feeling misunderstood, neglected, alone, empty, or hopeless
  9. Fear of being alone
  10. Feelings of self-hate and/or self-loathing

As with other mental disorders, the causes of borderline personality disorder aren’t fully understood. Experts agree, though that the disorder results from a combination of factors. Factors that seem likely to play a role include:
* Genetics– Some studies of twins and families suggest that personality disorders may be inherited or strongly associated with other mental disorders among family members.
* Environmental factors– Many people with borderline personality disorder have a history of childhood abuse, neglect and separation from caregivers or loved ones.
* Brain abnormalities– Some research has shown changes in certain areas of the brain involved in emotion regulation, impulsivity and aggression. In addition, certain brain chemicals that help regulate mood, such as serotonin, may not function properly.

With borderline personality disorder, a person often has an insecure sense of who they are. Their self-image, self-identity, or sense of self often rapidly changes. They may view themselves as evil or bad, and sometimes may feel as though they don’t exist at all. An unstable self-image often leads to frequent changes in jobs, friendships, goals and values.

Their relationships are usually in turmoil. They may idealize someone one moment and then abruptly and dramatically shift to fury and hate over perceived slights or even minor misunderstandings. This is because people with borderline personality disorder often have difficulty accepting gray areas — things seem to be either black or white.

If you’re aware that you have any of the signs or symptoms above, talk to your doctor or a mental health provider. Proper treatment can help you feel better about yourself and help you live a more stable, rewarding life.

If you notice signs or symptoms in a family member or friend, talk to that person about seeing a doctor or mental health provider. Remember you can’t force someone to seek help. If the relationship causes you significant stress, you may find it helpful to see a therapist yourself.



Biscuits can be both delicious and healthy — like these easy homemade biscuits made with almond flour, cheddar cheese, and bacon. They’re great for any low carb or keto diet.
Can you really have biscuits while following a healthy diet? The answer is yes, and you can even have more than one. These low carb biscuits are made using almond flour, plenty of cheddar cheese, crispy bacon crumbles, eggs, cream, and butter. They are super savory, hearty, and filling, and you can eat them for breakfast, as a snack, or for dinner. Each biscuit is about 360 calories (but feels like a lot more) and only has 2 grams of net carbs. They taste and look like the comforting biscuits that we’re all familiar with, but without any of the ill effects of high carb foods.


Biscuits can be delicious and healthy -- like these easy homemade biscuits made with almond flour, cheddar cheese, and bacon. Keto + low carb.
Also, who knew that biscuits could be so easy to make? It only takes five to ten minutes of prep work, and by prep work I mean that you throw all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir for a few minutes. Then you divide the mixture into eight equal mounds on a baking tray and bake for about 25 minutes. Anyone can do this, including you. No special equipment or ingredients are needed for this easy bake job.

You can shape these wonderful little biscuits any way that you like. I like to make rough mounds — I use a spoon to ladle the mixture into eight equal piles on a baking tray, and then use the spoon to slightly smooth the edges. I like the “rough” look of it. You could try other shapes by forming a ball using your hands, or flattening them into patty shapes. I recommend using a nonstick baking surface like a baking mat so that the biscuits can slide right off after baking, but it’s not necessary.

Biscuits can be delicious and healthy -- like these easy homemade biscuits made with almond flour, cheddar cheese, and bacon. Keto + low carb.
This recipe originated because I was thinking of ways to get rid of all this extra cheese that I have. Mr. Savory Tooth has been experimenting with various cheese snacks, trying to figure out which ones he likes, so I’ve been buying various kinds for him to sample. Half of the time he doesn’t like a particular kind, so it’ll end up just sitting in our cheese drawer. Suffice to say, now we have quite the collection of various half-eaten cheese blocks.

We’ve been baking with almond flour lately, so I thought I’d try to mix almond flour with all of our leftover cheese to make these cheesy biscuits. When I mentioned that to Mr. Savory Tooth, he immediately requested that I also add bacon, which was a fantastic idea. That’s how I ended up with these bacon cheddar biscuits, which will probably be a regular in our household now. I also can’t wait to experiment with other flavor combos.

Biscuits can be delicious and healthy -- like these easy homemade biscuits made with almond flour, cheddar cheese, and bacon. Keto + low carb.
Make sure you get the right kind of almond flour. It should be labeled as “blanched almond flour” (don’t substitute with finely ground almonds); the “blanched” part comes from blanching almonds so that their skins peel off to reveal white insides, and the “flour” part comes from grinding almonds so fine that any more grinding and they would turn into almond butter. Also check their nutrition facts, as the number of carbs per serving can vary substantially between brands. I use Trader Joe’s almond flour, which has 2 grams of carbs per 1/4 cup serving. That’s also what my nutrition facts in the recipe below is based off of.

You can use any kind of cheddar cheese that you prefer, but check its carb count. I use a pre-shredded bag of mild cheddar cheese that has 0 grams of carbs. I prefer the milder cheddar as it has a more “cheddar” taste, compared to sharp cheddar which has a more “aged cheese” kind of taste. I recommend measuring out the cheese by weight and not volume, as it’ll be a much more accurate measurement. I did provide the approximate volume in the recipe, so if you go by volume, be warned that it could throw off the flour to cheese ratio.

The same goes with the heavy cream. Many brands have hidden carbs in them, so watch out. I use a small carton of heavy cream that has 0 g carbs per serving.

Quick note about leftovers: to store the biscuits, place them in a covered container and refrigerate up to a few days. To reheat, place the biscuits on a pan in a single layer over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes until warmed through. I don’t recommend microwaving because it makes the biscuits turn soggy. Here’s a comprehensive article on reheating biscuits in general.

Low carb biscuits with bacon and cheddar

Biscuits can be both delicious and healthy — like these easy homemade biscuits made with almond flour, cheddar cheese, and bacon. Great for keto and low carb diets.

 Prep Time 10 minutes
 Cook Time 30 minutes
 Servings 8 servings
 Calories 360 kcal


  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 5 ounces shredded mild cheddar cheese (about 1.5 cups)
  • 5 slices bacon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter diced into about 30 tiny pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Cook bacon slices on a pan over medium heat until crispy, 5 to 10 minutes, turning them over occasionally. Drain bacon on a paper towel. When cool, crumble into small pieces.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  3. Combine almond flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, stirring until well-mixed.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients except the bacon to the mixing bowl. Stir for a minute until the mixture is smooth, with the almond flour being completely incorporated.

  5. Add crumbled bacon to the mixing bowl, stirring it in.
  6. Evenly distribute the mixture into 8 mounds on a nonstick baking mat, spaced about 1-2 inches apart.
  7. Bake at 375 F until the biscuits are golden brown and crispy on the outside, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

This recipe yields 2 g net carbs per serving.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving
Calories 360
Total Fat 32g 49%
   Saturated Fat 11g 54%
   Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 101mg 34%
Sodium 520mg 22%
Potassium 180mg 5%
Total Carb 5g 2%
   Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
   Sugars 1g
Protein 13g
Vitamin A 11% · Vitamin C 0% · Calcium 19% · Iron 7%

as (1)

We Need to Make It OK for Black Men to Talk About Their Mental Health

Mental health in the black community is something that can easily go unchecked. When it comes to mental health, people tend to suffer in silence. I think this applies heavily to black men.

Years of racial oppression and the inability to react or speak on an emotional level left many black men conditioned to suppress their emotions. Not long ago, as a black person in America, every day was psychological torture. You were born into a world where you were considered “less than” and reminded of it constantly. I feel that generation had to form a tough exterior and put mental and emotional well-being on the back burner just to survive. That mentality, for the most part, has been passed down from generation to generation. We’re taught that we must be tough because the world is 10 times tougher. You grow up and are taught that there are people who don’t like you because you are you. It is tough to swallow, but you have to come to terms with it quickly

In my personal experience with mental illness, I’ve been very blessed. My parents were proactive after I first told them how I felt and did everything in their power to get me the help I needed for my depression and anxiety. However, for many in the black community, mental health is not spoken of and/or could be passed off as something minimal or nonexistent. Also, in the time we are in now, many people are losing healthcare, and it is becoming harder to get assistance for mental illness. Mental health should be thought of in the same way as a physical disease and treated with as much severity and monitoring.

An example of something I think goes unchecked for black men (myself for sure) is processing the senseless murders that occur by those who take an oath to protect and serve. I feel a wave of fear and anxiety wash over me when I see a police officer. I know there are good cops out there, but my heart stops when I’m driving and see the flashing red and blue lights out of the corner of my eye. Thankfully, so far I’ve only encountered cops who were professional and treated me with fairness. However, I know there are people in this world who harbor hate in their hearts. This fear and anxiety is not just reserved for the black man but extends to family. I know my mother was worried about me when I toured the country during the election. She’s not just worried about my general safety but filled with the same anxiety that washes over me. I know there are countless other family members who fear for the everyday safety of their loved ones. In the world we live in, they fear for their lives and safety when it comes to interaction with bad police and the domestic terrorists who now have decided to remove their hoods and claim the “values” of a country they do not understand. That is a lot of unrest and anxiety for a people to feel without release and relief.

I’m glad to see the topic of mental health and self-care pop up more and more in the black community and in general. I’m happy to see the big artists like Kid Cudi and Jay Z speak out on mental health and the importance of reaching out and not being afraid to ask for help. I respect every artist speaking out on this issue. The more we talk about these things as casually as we do a check up at the doctor, the easier it becomes for something like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or any mental illness to break out of the realm of taboo discussion and become more understood.

For me, self-care is by no means a new topic, but it is something I’ve only recently started putting into practice. I’ve seen a therapist for years and have even been hospitalized for my depression and anxiety. Both teach the importance of learning how to love yourself and take care of your mental health using different types of psychotherapy and/or medication. They also teach you to reach out to close ones (friends and family) when you need help and to find the time to do the things you love. For me, this means making music. It is something I can do to release my feelings and say how I feel. Music took me in at an extremely tough time in my life and was one of my coping mechanisms.

Putting the ideas of modern psychology into practice on a wide scale, however, will require more education. Education is really the first step in changing the perception of mental health in the black community. I urge more black artists, young and old, to speak out about it. We have lost a lot of black artists and individuals to suicide because of what I believe are remnants of the tough exterior and back burner mentality for mental health passed on by our ancestors. Today, racial tensions and unrest are high and so is anxiety in the black community. I don’t want mental health to be overlooked or brushed aside in conversation. I want to live in a world where we can all speak openly about the things we are dealing with.

Losing someone to mental illness is a pain too great and a cost too high to pay to avoid discussion. Recently, I found out what it feels like to lose someone close to mental illness. I also know what it is like to be on the other side. I’ve felt the weight of depression and have lived with the cyclical thoughts that come with the idea of suicide. Thankfully, I stuck around. However, when I was suffering, I saw no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel. People would always make remarks like, “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” and I gave statements like these no credence. I can say today, however, that these words are true. Of all the days you have in this world, they can’t all be terrible. If I’d left this world, I wouldn’t be living out my dreams right now: making music full time and seeing the world. I would have cut my life short. Remember that there is always more to your story. To those in pain, I want you to know there is hope. Start or continue to share your feelings. Find someone you can trust to confide in. To those who haven’t experienced mental health problems first-hand, listen to others. Learn more about what people go through and be that shoulder to lean on.

I’d really like to thank The Mighty for allowing me to voice my thoughts on this sensitive topic. I hope in doing so, someone can read this and find solace. Please, remember that you are not alone and that you are loved.



Brain Injury Survivor, Carole Starr, Writes Book About Her Recovery

Eighteen years ago Carole Starr was a teacher and amateur musician. On July 6, 1999 she was broadsided in a car accident—and she was completely unprepared for the way her life would change.

When she tried to go back to work 6-8 weeks later, it became apparent that more was wrong than just whiplash. It was only then that doctors told Carole she had suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

She couldn’t understand her extreme fatigue and heightened sensitivity to sound. She had to quit playing music because she couldn’t tolerate the sound, and would have to nap after teaching for just two hours. She was frustrated that she couldn’t just push through it.

About a year into her journey, she went to an in-patient rehab center. She states that this was the worst year of her life, because she kept failing at everything she attempted. She remembers that she would go to the grocery store and buy more ranch dressing, because she didn’t remember she already had a shelf full at home.

Once she began rehab, she started to understand more about TBI and why everything was so challenging for her. At the time she believed she would make a full recovery within five years.

It took Carole about eight years to come to accept her injury and that she wasn’t going to get her old life back. That’s when she turned her attention away from getting the old Carole back to the new Carole she wanted to become.

In a recent podcast interview, Carole talked about journaling her recovery. “I used to journal every single day. After my injury writing got really challenging. I wrote bits and pieces, sometimes I could write only a few sentences before the fatigue would take over. Writing for me was a way to process my experience.”

“I remember being real down on myself because I couldn’t write in the same way I had before.”

It was through her journaling that she came to write her book, To Root and To Rise. Her book is a workbook entwined with her memoir, and designed in such a way that readers can pick and choose which chapters to read, and they don’t have to read them in order. Carole’s teaching roots come out in this book that almost resembles a textbook with space for self-reflection after each chapter.



Grieving the Person I Was Before Chronic Illness – Rheumatoid Arthritis

Sitting at the end of my bed, it suddenly thumps me across the chest like a ton of bricks. My lip trembles, I can feel the lump in my throat and I have to stop myself before the tears flow. I’m struggling to put on my socks and quickly I’m reminded that my life is not and never will be what it used to be. It took me a while to grieve the loss of my former self, then even longer to realize that was what I was doing. Grieving.

And just like grief, no matter how much time helps you heal, you are never truly done grieving. I have lost loved ones over the years, people very special to me, and I think about them every day. Now that years have passed, it doesn’t hurt as much to remember them, to think about them and the beautiful memories I shared with them. Still, I am sometimes caught off-guard. I’ll see my nana’s favorite sweets in the shop and go to pick them up, and then it strikes me like a lightning bolt. My nana is not here anymore. That’s when it aches the most — when just for a tiny second you forget that loss.

It is a similar process with my condition. Now that I have dealt with it for nearly 10 years, it has become easier to accept my limitations, but every once in a while I long for what I had. I forget I have limitations and as soon as I remember the things I can’t do… That ‘s when the lump hits my throat and my eyes water because it’s that very real and raw pain all over again. It’s the first time hearing the news, it’s the hurt and the confusion all once more and it’s heartbreaking.

It is a different kind of grief. It almost feels like a selfish one but it is there and I think most people with chronic illness face it. We go through the stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance — but it tends to be a never-ending cycle, just as illness is.

All stages occur in quick succession: you deny your illness, pushing yourself to your absolute limit, and then you feel such anger when you struggle to keep up with the others or perform simple tasks. Next comes the bargaining: if I just got healthier, exercised more, ate less crap, meditated more…. But no matter what you do, your illnesses won’t be gone. The realization of that brings on the depression, not feeling good enough, feeling useless and helpless until finally and thankfully you make it full circle to acceptance again. Each time I go through the cycle, I make it to acceptance more quickly and it lasts longer. This is not to say I am happy with my illness, but I’m fine with it. It is part of me now and, for the most part, I accept that — the same way that while I miss my grandmother with all my heart, I have come to terms with her loss.

When I think of my grandmother and how much I miss her, I also think of how happy I was to know her in the first place, to have been loved by her and have wonderful memories no one can take away from me. When I think of my rheumatoid arthritis, I have to see the positives in it, too. I have more than I have lost. My illness has changed me, but it has not reduced me. It has made me more empathic to others, made me stronger, made me a fighter and most importantly, it has shown me just how much my family and friends love me.

Sometimes I will grieve my old body and grieve the normal, pain-free life I could have had. But for the most part, I will be out there making the most of what I have got — which, thinking about it, is more than enough.


not-to-say-ibd-2 (1)

7 Things Not to Say to People With Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are considered invisible illnesses, in that you are unlikely to know that someone is suffering from either disease just by looking at them. Telling a Crohn’s or colitis patient that they don’t look ill isn’t very helpful to a person who is trying to hold it all together. If someone tells you that they have an inflammatory bowel disease you may feel the urge to make a comment that you think is OK, when actually it could be quite hurtful to the person suffering.


Here are seven things you shouldn’t say to a person with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis according to CBS News:

1. “I have IBS, I know what you’re going through.”
While irritable bowel syndrome can be uncomfortable, it isn’t the same as inflammatory bowel disease and it’s unfair to compare the two. You may feel like you’re sympathizing, but you’re actually dumbing down their condition.

2. “You’ve lost weight!”
You may mean this as a compliment, but if you know that a person has an IBD then their weight is a sensitive subject. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can make a person lose a lot of weight very quickly, and often it’s difficult for sufferers to be able to get enough nutrition when they have flare-ups, which means that they are probably feeling at their lowest when they’re looking slimmer than usual.

3. “You’ve put on weight!”
While it’s generally inadvisable to say this to anyone, it’s particularly unhelpful to IBD patients. Often the medication they take to treat flares has side effects that can make them put on weight, especially in the face. In addition, they might actually have put on weight because their IBD is in remission and they are feeling good, so you are basically telling them they looked better when they were ill.


4. “You must be stressed.”
Stress may make the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases worse, but it’s not the cause of the disease. People are no more likely to suffer from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis if they lead stressful lives.

5. “Why are you eating that?”
Commenting on the foods an IBD patient eats is a no-no. No two people who suffer from IBD are the same and different foods will affect them differently. Many will be unable to eat fruit and vegetables when experiencing flares, so they’ll eat white bread and other lower fiber foods. While you may think this isn’t healthy, it may be the only food the person’s digestive system can tolerate at the time.

6. “You should try this diet…”
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease patients will have worked out what they can and can’t eat by trial and error and have probably thoroughly researched every diet around. Likewise, they probably already know what supplements or minerals they need. So unless you’re a medical professional or qualified nutritionist you probably aren’t telling them anything new.

7. “Why are you so tired all the time?”
Having a chronic illness is tiring, IBD patients will often not get enough sleep or have disturbed sleep because of pain, and they will feel fatigued because they aren’t getting enough nutrients from their diet. Cut them some slack!