Here’s to the friends, families and lovers

Here’s to the friends, families and lovers who try to understand what’s going on.

The ones that will head over to your place if you don’t feel you can leave.

The ones who handle you canceling plans with understanding and being okay with it.

The people who know what you can and can’t have and either don’t mind or actually enjoy helping you find things to eat.

The people who are okay with hanging out with you even if you just want their presence and don’t necessarily want to interact with them.

Here’s to those who remember what makes you feel better when you’re having an anxiety attack and are always ready to help.

Here’s to those who don’t get mad at you for something you can’t control, or even if they do (everyone’s human) they apologize and make sure you know they accept you.

Here’s to the friends, families and lovers who love you no matter what’s going on with you.

Don’t forget to thank those people in your life.

Guest Writer: Before the Help, Before the Medication

When I started college my body was the first thing to go. Mind you that doesn’t mean I gained weight, in fact I lost weight. I couldn’t eat anything without it making me sick and when you can’t eat anything and are constantly in the fear of getting sick it can make life a bit more miserable. So that didn’t help with the inevitable depression.
When I got to college I found someone who really helped me out on that front and we started dating but I also hadn’t gained any other friends so if I didn’t have him I’d be alone. I started dealing with sadness and stress by scratching myself. I preferred the dull pain instead of cutting and for a while it really helped me. I didn’t tell anyone and no one noticed so I figured I was in the clear.

Then my boyfriend broke up with me. I was all alone and I had no one to talk to, I was hurting a lot. When I tried to kill myself it wasn’t an “I’m going to take all these pills so I die” kind of thought but a “If I take all these pills I’ll eventually stop hurting” kind of thought. Thank goodness a bottle of ibuprophen and melatonin sleeping pills didn’t kill me and I just threw everything up.

Most people would think to themselves ‘alright, I just tried to kill myself, I should find help’ but I was not one of those people. I ended up dating that guy on and off and as much as it messed a mentally ill me up, I’m still glad that I had him in my life. I didn’t stop scratching myself for about a year. He broke up with me and it completely ruined me. I didn’t try to kill myself because I finally had some other friends. I couldn’t eat or sleep or function like a normal person could and at some point I mentioned that to a friend. She told me to go to a psychologist. She opened up to me and told me about her experiences that caused her to go to one and she told me what it was like going to one.

I finally got up the courage to get help thanks to her and I don’t even know if she knows that.

Guest Writer: On Chronic Illness

“It is painful to suffer illness, but the most painful thing of all is to feel abandoned by everyone, that no one cares about you. When the dark hole of despair pierces your heart, your life force drains away. That is why it is so important not to abandon or forget those who are sick or in trouble. We need to continuously and gently communicate to them that we sincerely want them to get better.” – Daisaku Ikeda

This quote speaks to me as a Buddhist who suffers from chronic illness. Throughout all of my life I have suffered with heart problems, asthma and other lung issues, digestive health problems, and most recently, increased frequency of migraines. I would shy away from talking about these problems with others as I felt I didn’t want to seem selfish or like I needed attention or pity. But people cannot physically see my health issues and so they often assume I am healthy.

Two important values I hold onto today are firstly that dialogue is important, and secondly, one can turn poison into medicine. When I started opening up about my issues and creating dialogue with others about them, I felt people slowly but surely pull away from me. Moreover, there was great stigma surrounding taking medicines for these “unseen” illnesses. Many told me that I should not resort to medicine. This abandonment and discouragement did not help my already existing depression. However, I still held hope. I found within myself to live to the fullest ability. Even if that meant just waking up and getting out of bed. Even if that meant simply making all of my classes. Some days it meant accomplishing everything in the world, including my thesis proposal. Each day I learned to congratulate myself by accomplishing what I did no matter how small.

For those who stood by me in these times, I am forever grateful for their friendship. Their compassion has enabled me to heal, little by little, day after day.

Today, I continue to live with my health problems. For some of them, I am able to take medicine to reduce the pain. I have become unashamed of that fact. By taking care of myself, I can take care of others… and it is in helping others that we are truly “healthy.”

The President of my Buddhist organization writes, “Don’t confuse good health with not being sick. A truly healthy life is one spent creating value—tackling the challenges thrown at us over a lifetime, striving to achieve something worthy and meaningful; constantly expanding the frontiers of our lives.”

~here’s their blog https://hopefullotus.wordpress.com/