Change.

So my whole life I have hated, no, despised change. But it feels like ever since I went to college that nothing in my life has really remained constant. And surprisingly, I have handled it pretty well, all things considered. Having a history of severe anxiety, I honestly need to cut myself a little slack sometimes and realize just how far I have come. So, to give myself a little much-needed self-confidence boost, I will list some of the hurdles I have overcome in the past few years alone:

  • I can stay away from home for longer than a few hours now. Heck, I have my own apartment now. (But I still and always will love visiting home & have a strong desire to be there <3)
  • I was strong enough to break up with my high school sweetheart of 4 years and move forward with my life & now have a wonderful, compassionate, and handsome boyfriend of a year and a half.
  • I have been strong enough to cut toxic people from my life and seek out those who surround me with positivity and support
  • I got a job on campus and was promoted to being a supervisor within a few short months
  • I joined a social sorority (something I never thought I would do), and immersed myself in that lifestyle
  • I dropped said social sorority to seek out something that would provide me with more fulfillment personally
  • I joined a community service sorority where I knew absolutely nobody (mingling amongst a room full of girls you don’t know can be scary, guys!)
  • I ran for two board positions in my pledge class, and got one of them! (that means TWO speeches in front of everyone :o)
  • I can drive on the highway now instead of taking side streets everywhere (highways used to give my panic attacks-no joke)
  • I have started weightlifting and seeking out a healthier lifestyle
  • I have learned more about my body and how to manage POTs symptoms effectively

These are all things I can think of off the top of my head, and these are all things that seemed small in the moment but make me feel so so proud reading over them. Just a little over a year ago it seemed like everywhere I turned there was a thousand hurdles for me to jump over. Whether it be missing class and getting behind because of my POTs, having anxiety attacks in what should be non-anxiety inducing situations, or just simply growing older and maturing, I have been able to tackle the struggles-one hurdle at a time.

When I was finishing up high school and entering college I was terrified that my college experience wouldn’t be normal because of my POTs or anxiety, but now I am just about halfway through my Junior year and I certainly don’t feel left behind in anything. If any of you have any anxiety about college because of mental illness or chronic illness or just general questions about what it is like, then feel free to message me! I promise I will reply and give you the best advice I can possibly give. If I could get through it, then so can you! All it takes is a little bit of change.

By no means am I done tackling change and hardships in life, this is only the beginning, but having this list written here really makes me realize just how much I have accomplished and how far I have truly come. I know I’ve posted a lot tonight, (hello third post in an hour), but I feel like we all have a lot of catching up to do! Feel free to message me/comment with some updates about your life.

Goodnight Everybody,

Jenna

With every day that passes, it all feels

With every day that passes, it all feels more and more real.  It wasn’t so long ago that I was sitting in my elementary school hallway with my best friend, having my father read “Clifford, The Big Red Dog” to us.  We would beg him to stay longer, even though we were supposed to head back to class, and he would find a nice spot around the corner to read one more book to us.  

And it feels like just yesterday that same girl and I were stuck in traffic exiting the Taylor Swift concert, talking about how in just a few months, we would be officially college students.  I remember we looked at each other in silence, and just shook our heads in disbelief.  

I have registered for classes, chosen my major, and have gone through every advising I could possibly go through.  I even have been assigned my dorm room and hall.  It’s all moving so rapidly; I don’t even have time to soak it in.  

A few months ago, I had decided that I wasn’t going to live on campus.  But after long discussions, tear fests, and late-night racking of my brain, I have come to the firm decision to at least try to live on campus.  I mean, I am provided with the best dorms on campus at Barrett.  I got registered with the Disability Resource Center and they have done and will continue to do incredible things to help me feel at ease throughout my college experience.  They even put me in my very own room so that I can relax and cool down when I’m not feeling all there.  And even better, I share a bathroom with my best friend, and she will always be willing to lend a hand on those days.  

Things seem to be falling in place, we went shopping for decor and had no issues deciding on a color scheme, we’re both the same major, and I actually think I’ve gotten some great professors.  

But my God… I’m nervous.  

I’ve never been good with being away from home, and more specifically, from my mother.

It has been something I’ve struggled with for my entire life, and probably will continue to for the rest of it.  There is no doubt that I improve with every single day that passes, but I hate change. Especially change that involves being away from her and home.  

This whole summer I have been working on being away from her and home, just to try and adjust for University.  (This is partially why I have been MIA lately).  I’ve been staying at my cousin’s condo while he is out of town frequently (where I am right now), and I have been staying at friends’ houses as well.  These, though seemingly simple-sounding, are HUGE hurdles for me to have overcome.  It wasn’t too long ago that I could barely spend a full day away, let alone upwards a week.

But last week I took the plunge.  I never thought it would be that hard.  My boyfriend and I decided to travel to San Diego for 4 days and 3 nights.  I was so excited and not nervous at all. After all, close to nobody calms my nerves like him.  

We drove there with no issues, and we hit mission beach and laughed and ate and simply had a blast.  But then as evening fell, and we hit those California Highways, tears started streaming down my face.  They wouldn’t stop.  Nothing I did worked, and it hasn’t felt that bad since I was younger.  Not even Zach could calm me.  We got to the wonderful hotel and I curled up in a ball and sobbed for hours.  I felt horrible for being such a downer, which only made me sob more.  I was panicking and hyperventilating.  I called my mom and we talked for a while until I calmed down.  In my mind I just kept thinking, “I wanna go home.  Please let me go home.  I can’t do this.  I’m not ready.  College isn’t right for me, I can’t move out.”  

I felt better for a little and then it started again.  This was the cycle for the entire night.  

But I got through it.

It was sadly one of the hardest things I ever had to do.  But it was also one of the only times I really forced myself to do something I didn’t want to go through with.  By the second day, I was fine.  I had a blast.  We created so many memories and had so many good laughs, and I feel so proud of myself.  I never, not in a million years, thought I could have done that.

But I did.

And I feel more ready then ever.  

Oh No, Another One of “Those” Posts

Warning: Rant Post Ahead! 😉 

Why don’t people understand?  I’m so frustrated with my peers, my friends, and just human beings in general.  I feel like there is no such thing as common sense to other people, or even just a bit of sensitivity.  I was told as I grew up to let unkind words simply roll off my back.  That they weren’t worth my time or energy, and that they are usually said out of ignorance or jealousy.  This concept always remains in the back of my mind while I endure the forceful strike of nescient words, yet somehow these muttered phrases continually breach my protective barrier.

Yes, I realize that I may be a teeny tiny bit sensitive, commonly letting upsetting situations replay in an infinite loop in my head every night.  I also realize that people don’t always have bad intentions behind their words.  With this being said, I still can not comprehend how some things get through people’s mental “filter”.

About a month ago I had a doctor’s appointment in which she decided to fill out some forms to help me apply for a handicap plaque.  (This is mainly to be used in the summer and at college next year where parking is horrendous and I would be forced to walk lengthy distances).  I went to the DMV and successfully obtained it.  It was a weird experience.  I walked past the mass amounts of grumpy people waiting for their number to be called, gripping my new handicap plaque close to my body, in an attempt to mask it.  It peeked through and I could feel the sharp stares of these strangers as they followed me with their eyes.  I could just imagine what they were thinking… “Why does she need that?  She looks perfectly healthy.”  “She can walk just fine, she doesn’t deserve that.”

I felt tremendous guilt and shame for obtaining something that is usually reserved for the elderly and people in wheel chairs.  For this reason, I vowed I would only use it when I absolutely HAD to, leaving the spaces for people worse off than I am.

This brings me to one day at school.  I wasn’t feeling well at all, and it has finally hit 100 degrees where I live.  I decided to park in the handicap at school for the first time, since no one ever parks there anyways.  I figured the extra steps saved by parking closer, would provide me some extra energy to perform well in school.

I pulled in and grabbed my backpack and started my trek to my classroom.  Next thing I know, I hear the sound of wheels blazing across the concrete toward me.  I hear a shout, “You wait right there!  Hey!  You!  Come back here!”  I turn around and see my school security guard speeding up to me in her golf cart (which I have yet to see her step foot out of).  “You parked in the handicap space.”, she informs me.  “Yes, I did.  I have a handicap plaque hanging in my window”, I reply.  She proceeds to curtly state that I was not handicapped and that she doubted me when I said I was and that I got it from my doctor. I’m horrible at handling situations where I am being confronted by authority, so I stuttered my way through an explanation of what POTs is, and why I need it on some days.  She gave me a smirk and sped off.  I stood there, hurt, and in awe at what just happened.  I slowly walked to my next class, (art, thankfully), and started to take my frustration out on my painting.  Next thing I knew, there were tears steaming down my face and falling on my paper, creating a tiny puddle that my classmates stared at.  I attempted to wipe my tears away discreetly and pass it off as allergies.  I had never felt so low, and I’m not exactly sure why this hit me so hard.

Just when I began to get over this, my friend asked me for a ride home.  I obliged, and she followed me out to my car.  This friend of mine has never been the most sensitive person, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when she expressed disapproval for my handicap parking.  “Why are you parked in the handicap spot?”  “My POTs, remember?”  “Oh.  But you’re not handicapped…  You don’t really need that.”  I again, tried to stutter my way through an explanation of my heat intolerance and how any energy saved is beneficial to me.  She blankly stared back at me, then looked down at her phone and texted in silence the whole way home.

I’m just sick of people jumping to conclusions and assuming that things come easily to me in life.  That I “cheat the system” and that I just take advantage of what I deal with to get special treatment.  Just this morning, I was talking to my friend  before school.  I told him I didn’t have a class until 4th period, and he asked why.  I told him about my POTs and his only response was, “Oh.  I wish I had something like that so I could sleep in and miss school.”

How I’ve felt lately…How do I get out of this slump?!

I guess that statement is what pushed me over the edge and “inspired” me, (for lack of a better word), to write this post.  I apologize from the bottom of my heart if this post sounds whiny or makes me come off as a “Negative Nancy”.  I just felt that I had to release my frustrations some how so I could carry on with my day as normal.  What better place to vent than to the people who understand what I’m going through better than anyone else?

Thank you so much, to each and every one of you.  You all really keep my going, your comments, your individual posts, your inspiring/motivational words; it really means more to me than any of you probably realize.  Love you, guys!  🙂 ❤

Inspiring Blogger Award! :)

A little while ago I experienced the honor of being nominated for the “Inspiring Blogger Award” by “belowtheradar002“.  I’m am so so grateful to even be considered amongst the list of great bloggers mentioned.  I can not express enough gratitude to Amanda and Katie for brightening my week!  Thanks girls!

The Official Rules of Acceptance are as follows:

  • Display the Award Certificate on your website.
  • Announce your win with a post and link to whoever presented you with the award.
  • Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers.
  • Drop them a comment to tip them off after you have linked them in the post.
  • Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

Image

 

7 Interesting Things about me:

1. I’m only 4’11”, (AND 3/4 for your information!), and I’m 100% done growing.  This used to get to me since all my friends are basically model height.  I think I’m coming to terms with being the tiny one in my group.  😉

2. I’m half Chinese. I don’t look like it, but I love the fact that I have it mixed into me.  I grew up with the culture around me, yummy food included!  

3. I have two birds.  One is a parrotlet, whom I’ve had since I was 14.  Her name is Lulu and she loves to spend every second on my shoulder, day and night.  She’s a feisty one and she hates males… all my guy friends are terrified of her.  She has shown some amazing talents, and as corny as it sounds, has helped me get through this journey of mine.  I recall one particular night where I was sad and curled up in bed with tears streaming down my face.  I heard a rattling around in Lulu’s cage and was amazed when I felt her fly towards me.  She had managed to open her cage, swing the door open using her body weight, and fly to my bed where she waddled up to me and snuggled against my neck.  I’m not sure if she sensed my sadness or if she just wanted to play.  I like to think the first option went through her little birdy brain.  😉  This is what parrotlets look like, just to convey to you guys how cute they are…

Image

My second bird, Tiki, is a sun conure.  She is a recent addition to my family.  I “adopted” her off of craigslist a few months ago with my Christmas money.  I don’t think her previous owners took the best care of her, as she is still a bit finicky and scared of everything.  Since I’ve owned her, she has quit plucking her feathers out in distress, and is starting to allow me to remove her from her cage.  She’s currently a baby, but when she’s grown her adult plumage, she’ll look like this: 

Image

 

My friends call me the “bird lady”…

4. I don’t know if this falls under the “interesting” category, but my favorite movie of all time is the original “Grease”.  I remember one summer where I watched it at least 5 times a day.  When I was younger, I had a huuuuuuuuuge crush on John Travolta because of this movie.

5. I love art, especially painting.  I’m currently working on a portfolio to send in at the end of the year to gain an AP Art credit.  It is definitely something that I am passionate about and wish to improve on throughout my life.  One day, I hope to sell my artwork on the side of my profession.

6. I’m an animal lover and I know for a fact I would be 100 percent content if I were to become some sort of exotic zoo keeper.  (Though I know I would never due to my allergies.)  I have spent hours upon hours researching all the different species and watching youtube videos regarding their behavior.  Might as well delve deeper into my love of animals while I’m at it…  My favorite animal, by far, is the Asian Elephant.  Elephants are beautiful, majestic, and so incredibly intelligent.  Whenever I visit the zoo, I stare in amazement at these creatures.  They possess several human-like emotions, which just blows me away.  I also really like Belugas.  Mostly because they always look like they’re smiling.  And that makes me happy.  On a different note, I’m TERRIFIED of the ocean.  I can only go ankle-deep, and if I feel like something brushed against me, I freak out.  I think this stems from my countless hours of innocent research on the deep seas.  Too many freaky beings out there for my liking…

7. As of recently, I’ve had this crazy obsession with making lists.  Lists of things I love, things I hate, my favorite this, and my favorite that, etc..  This new hobby of mine was inspired by a friend of mine who does something similar.  I now have a good half of my notebook filled with random, mostly pointless lists.  But somehow it makes me feel accomplished and happy.  I actually used this post to make more lists in my notebook ha!  Sometimes an addictive personality can be fun!

Anyway, enough about myself.  Now for the people that this post is really for.  The bloggers who continue to inspire me each and everyday no matter what battle or struggle they face.  These bloggers provide me with creative ideas, motivating words, and helpful advice.  Each and every one of them deserves this award fully.  I can’t thank every. single. one of you enough for creating your blogs for people like me to read, and for…well…for existing!  

1. Life Sucks, So What?!?

2. Bored Sick 

3. Do I Look Sick?

4. Lethargic Smiles

5. Decimawho

6. Musings of a Dysautonomiac

7. Ok, So Far

8. Strength & Saltines

9. The Pillower

10. A Twisted Fantasy

11. Miks Hidden Hearts Alliance 

12. irishdysautonomia 

13. Rocking This Illness

14. My Everlasting Companion

15. Photographing POTs

 

I have some things to tell you all so I will blog again tomorrow!  

Thanks for the love and support.  I truly appreciate you all.

-Jenna 

Those days.

I just wanted to take a moment to talk about a person in my life who has been there for me since day 1 of my POTs journey.

This is my best friend, Robyn. Since the day I met her, she has been a total sweetheart and the most caring and supportive person I know. She always is willing to sit with me and listen to me, and make me feel better when I have those days. There are few people out there like her, and all I know is that I’m blessed to even know her.

When someone is going through a chronic illness, they really need the support of the people around them. It makes a world of difference. When my spirits are high, I know I feel better physically as well. 🙂

I’m feeling rather lonely today. Robyn is in Dubai right now and has been gone for a couple of months. 😦
I miss her like crazy.

I guess today is just going to be one of those days…

Hope everyone is doing well.

Xoxo,
Jenna

20130120-091537.jpg

A Late Night Thought…

I’ve been thinking about how much I have gone through this year, and it really makes me wonder how much everyone else who has POTs has gone through.

This illness isn’t something that’s easy to diagnose, in fact, most doctors don’t even know about it.  It took me several months to get a diagnosis, but I have heard of people going on for years trying to find out what was wrong with them.

How many people are suffering from this out in the world, but can’t get the help they need because there isn’t enough awareness about POTs?

These people are probably desperately hopping from doctor to doctor seeking answers for what they’re feeling.  These people are probably being brushed off and called crazy, just like I was.  To the point where they actually begin to think that maybe they are crazy.

It’s understandable that the general public doesn’t know much about POTs…  but Doctors really need to be taught about it.  It’s debilitating, and it’s awful, and it’s just as real of a disease as any other illness out there.

It’s been ten years since POTs was really discovered.  Yet the vast majority of doctors still don’t know about it.

It’s rather unsettling isn’t it?

Goodnight my fellow POTsies.