Surviving or thriving?

Hey guys! I haven’t written here in a while. I’ve been so busy trying to get healthier and feel better that I haven’t had any extra time to sit and write.

Meanwhile, I’ve noticed lots of new things going on in the world of Social Media so I finally made myself pause and share my thoughts about a couple of them.

A week ago I saw that there is this new movement on Instagram. I finally found the source (@Collinkartchner) and although he is no longer using his page, his words have spread like wildfire.  I hope it continues to grow and raises more awareness.

If you haven’t heard of Collin Kartchner and what he started, he shared how social media really affects our lives. Tween – Teen suicide rates are extremely high. NINE year olds are trying to commit suicide. Social media is killing our children. Killing us. It’s not something to take lightly. Instagram started off as a way to show our lives and interact with each other through pictures.  Fun right?

Well, somewhere.. it took a left turn.

On Instagram today, people are sharing perfect images that make you feel less than. They are purposely making their lives seem better than yours, and are unknowingly making their lives seem flawless.

Yes, some are sharing things they love… sharing real- life. But, everything is still getting skewed. Our community is left feeling less than.

Collin said you should unfollow people who make you feel bad about yourself and I agree. It’s hard not to compare yourself to things that are in your face 24/7 but if you aren’t seeing these things all day everyday, maybe the comparison urge won’t be so bad. Or, just stop checking your feed!

I get it. I’ve been there. I’ve cried plenty of times this past year after looking through instagram because I wasn’t able to do these things other moms were doing. I became envious of the pretty lives I saw through social media. I wanted my marriage to look like theirs. I wanted my body to do what theirs could do. I wanted pretty pictures of me or my home. I wanted to juggle what they could juggle without the weekly recovery time that followed. I wanted to be a super mom, super wife, super home maker. I wanted to have a successful business, and kept changing it every time a new idea popped into my head.

But that’s not who God created us to be. He didn’t create us to compete with each other, especially in this vile way. I wanted my life to be all of these things that it wasn’t because I was being fed lies. Whether they started as lies in the beginning or not, I perceived them a certain way. The devil used that to make me envious.

During this whole health journey of mine, I have been all over the place. I have felt every emotion and I have had every up and down you can think of. My perception of reality was distorted. I didn’t really have family members encouraging me and I felt alone. I used social media to numb my feelings. But it made things worse.

How come _____’s husband says this to her? How come _____ went through health struggles and her whole family stepped in. I could refresh my feed hourly just to torture myself with these thoughts.

The truth is, my family helped in ways they knew how to. Some had no idea what was even going on or how bad it had really gotten. I don’t hold anything against them. They made sure I got help and I couldn’t be more thankful. Vocally I may not have gotten the encouragement I wanted, but I know that they care. I don’t know why the vocal thing gets to me.

When my body let reality slip away, I couldn’t process that something was actually wrong with me. Even now I get confused about it. I had heard that I was fine my whole life. Then to find out something really was off, was just so hard to wrap my head around. My husband kept reminding me, “Hey, this isn’t normal.”

With that, I became impatient. I want to be healthy now. I want to care for my kids the best way possible now. I want to fix things and make things right now. I want to have adventures like this person now. I want to be strong like that person now. I want a third baby like her, her, and her. RIGHT NOW. 

Goodness, the whole baby thing tortured me. But that’s another story for a different time.

Deep down, I was hurting. I needed Jesus. I needed someone to hold me. Someone to just tell me I was going to come out of it. People went through phases with their love. Sometimes I’d feel like I had support. Other times it felt like I was on my own. I remember crying one day just saying “Jesus, I wish you could hold me. Just hold me.”

I was still suffering. But it’s easy to hide that. It’s hard to share this stuff. I’d rather share things that make me seem less… pathetic. But for a few years now, I have felt like God wants us to share our stories. To help each other, to lead life to him. To the cross. Not to hide in silence. So I try to be an open book. I try not to hide (and I may over share ) but I just want to help.

With that comes something I have great difficulty with. Loving on people when they have closed doors.

It’s hard to help others when they are only sharing the good parts of their lives. With my own family I never know how to help. I feel like I’m never able to help. Because no one opens up to me.

I don’t know if it’s because people don’t want to seem weak. People don’t think anyone can help. People don’t want to accept their situation. People don’t want to think about their situation. Or they just don’t want to worry others about their situation. I don’t know what it is.

But I hope that more people would open up. I want to pray for you. I want to do what I can to share joy with you. See joy in you. Struggles aren’t as heavy when you have someone holding your hand. Family is so important to me and I go crazy when someone isn’t okay. But I have peace in being able to pray for them and talk to God about them. It gives me comfort having some type of control over the issue. Prayer is the biggest thing we can do!

In the movie “Before We Go” the character Harry says, “You can’t allow the ones you love to determine how you love.”

I think that’s a great thing to keep in mind. Love on others no matter what the circumstance is. Whether their door is swinging wide open or locked shut. Just love them.

I know right well that life is full of hard stuff and private stuff. You don’t have to share anything. But at least pray about these things. God may work in your heart and give you “urges” to do certain means. If you feel led to share them, share! You don’t have to post publicly. You don’t have to talk with a stranger. You can tell your spouse, best friend. Your dog even. Just get it out.

Through these trials, God, and my doctor, kept telling me to “BE PATIENT” and to have faith with everything. For a while, I didn’t have much faith. I didn’t believe it was going to get better any time soon. Overall I was hopeful, and I trusted God. But my faith was thin. I kept hearing bad news after bad news and I was upset. I was emotionally drained. I heard all of these success stories and it just wasn’t happening for me. I was getting impatient and frustrated. I let the enemy control my emotions.

Fear is the opposite of faith and I had been living in it. Entertaining it. But if you open your bible, you’ll see that God didn’t give us the spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”) and if you let that sink in, you’ll see how disgusting the enemy really is.

In December I reached a low point. I had read and listened to too many articles about parasites and I just about had it. Why weren’t mine dying? Why was I on a cleanse for four sessions in a row? Why wasn’t I getting better?

I text my doctor about how I was feeling and I expressed that I wanted to search elsewhere for a cleanse to kill these things. Some symptoms had returned and I couldn’t mentally and physically handle it anymore. She gave me several options and explained each one carefully. Then she explained that our goal is to heal my body. Which wasn’t at all what I was thinking. She gave me a few new things to try out and let me explore more into cleanses, though she wasn’t fully on board with the idea.

I was still getting migraines and she said it was because I wasn’t clearing toxins. I was to take a hot bath every night with Epsom salts and baking soda. I needed to sweat. Then I needed to take garlic to kill the bacteria and beets to thin bile and cause the gallbladder to release.

She also explained that we don’t need to sterilize my body but significantly reduce the amount of parasites in it. I needed to get my body working correctly instead of just attacking the parasitic problem because that wasn’t helping me heal.

When I was really sick, my body was shutting down. I wasn’t getting rid of parasites, toxins, bad stuff. I was dying. I had all of these thoughts of not being able to raise my girls. I felt like I wouldn’t make it past 35. There was no way my body could make it past that. I was physically at such a low point, I knew I couldnt keep going in that state.

Late November 2016 I had a strange episode. I had diarrhea and started vomiting around 3 am. When telling this story to my doctor, this rose a red flag. It is not normal to see these symptoms at this time. I was told that these are caused from a severe form of anxiety, something had happened that pushed me over the edge and my body shut down. I don’t remember the exact words or details she told me but, it wasn’t good. What is good, is that I survived. I almost died that weekend and my husband reminds me not to take it lightly.

THIS is why we need to listen to our bodies. Mental health is more important than you can imagine. It affects everything. Every part of your body, your life. Your body’s depletion can stem from your mental state.

These symptoms didn’t slow down until almost noon that day. That’s 9 hours of extreme vomiting and diarrhea. I literally couldn’t leave the bathroom and was in so much pain from everything. I couldn’t drink anything without it coming up within seconds. I felt every ounce of my being leave me. I can’t tell you how terrifying that was. I felt so weak as I crawled across the floor. I remember seeing my babies sleep as I crouched on the carpet next to our bed. I thought, “This is it. This is the last time I’m going to see them” and I had no energy left to do anything. My parents came to pick up the girls and all I remember is not being able to move. During all of this, my hands and feet started to cramp. They completely stopped working and formed a cone shape. I was in so much pain. Isaac had to carry me everywhere. By 2 or 3 the vomiting and diarrhea slowed down enough for me to lie down. I was crying the whole time.

I remember feeling so much love for Isaac that day. He took care of me to the best of his abilities. We had never gone through anything like this situation in our marriage and I felt peace with him even though I was absolutely terrified. By 8 pm I wasn’t getting any better. Isaac took me to my parents and I remember my mom looking at me, horrified. I laughed out of nervousness because I felt like a mess. I thought I had food poisoning. Yet, my girls or husband weren’t sick and we all ate the same thing.

I still couldn’t move and the next thing I remember is getting two bags of fluid, medication, and waking up in my moms bed to read the Bible. I knew God had pulled me through. The next thing I realized was that my hands and feet were better. So extremely sore but I was able to move. I got out of bed to dump my milk because I was still nursing at the time. I remember being so sick trying to express milk into the toilet so I could feed my baby. I was so nervous that she would scream the whole night and I definitely wasn’t thinking straight. My mom was rocking her and doing such a good job of taking care of her. Unfortunately Isaac had to work, we couldn’t afford time off. I’m thankful my parents and mother-in-law are always so willing to help at the drop of a hat. I was exhausted the next day and it took a while to get back to a better place.

I have this thought that maybe I wasn’t so bad off. Maybe I was actually okay. Maybe it was all made up in my mind. And When I got the guts to see a doctor in 2017, I legitimately thought I was normal. I thought I just couldn’t handle life the way other people could. I thought that episode in 2016 was a joke. I didn’t actually almost die. But when the doctor is telling you these things to your face, it’s heavy.

Social media helped me see that there are other people with struggles similar to mine. People who openly share and contribute their knowledge. So I dove in. I started to search for accounts that would help me. I found so many! These accounts were uplifting and gave me hope. I didn’t realize it until now but I  unfollowed people that I just didn’t have time for. Accounts that weren’t making me think, or accounts that used inappropriate language. Accounts that made me want to spend money, accounts that I just no longer cared about because I was literally trying to get my life back.

7 months after my first appointment. I finally accepted it. I accepted that I need to have patience. I accepted my health for what it was and I continued to pray. I remained hopeful and my hope grew. I started reading my Bible again. I started worshiping again. I prayed and tried to get out of this self pity funk I was in. Then, one week, everything fell into place. I started to feel progress. It was like a flip switched back on.

My next appointment came and I was hopeful. I had been feeling better than I have in a long time. Although, I’m still tired, still have pale hands and fingernails. Still have ear pain and some belly pain. I’m better! At the appointment we checked my blood. It looked, some-what normal! My red blood cells were round, clumped but round. Nothing was crawling through! My doctor smashed a cell, no spirochete! I still had some bacteria but no where near as bad as before. She asked me more about my ear pain then she decided to do some acupuncture. She checked some pressure points and felt where I was tender. Then she stated that all of these areas are linked to my gallbladder. Most of my symptoms (belly and ear pain) were also linked. It seems as though I cannot process oils, which is what the gallbladder does. I also have an excessive amount of fear! Which is also what the gallbladder is linked to. What?! Wow!

She wants me to add in sunflower lecithin to expel the oils and hopefully keep me from needed to remove my gallbladder. (Which my family has a history of )

God has answered my prayers and has been healing my body this whole time. He gave me patience when all I wanted to do was fight him. When I was angry, confused, and broken. He has always been in the back of my mind. Like an overall feeling of His presence.

I have felt over the moon these past couple of days because I’m genuinely happy and so so thankful. My doctor said my next goal is strength and endurance. Over the last several years I’ve lost a lot of muscle mass and being as petite as I am.. well, it’s not good. She asked me what I’d like to be able to do. I couldn’t find the words, and Isaac gently said them for me. “She wants to be able to pick up plates to put up in the cabinet.” I felt a wave of sadness. I wanted to hide. I wanted to correct him and tell the doctor something else. But he was right. He knew exactly what my mouth couldn’t say.

It’s amazing how we take these “little” things for granted.

I can’t hold a cup of tea with one hand. I can’t pick up dishes and lift them into cabinets. I can barely pour detergent into the dispenser. I can’t lift my kids to rinse their mouth after they’ve brushed their teeth. It’s these little things that I wish for so badly.

My 3 year old will often say to me “Mom, how come you can’t ______? Is it because you’re a girl?”

No sweetie, it’s not because I’m a girl.

I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. To feel better and to start strengthening my body. Thanks to a friend, I downloaded the SWEAT app. I want to be stronger and just be healthy. I want to thrive and not just survive. Mentally and physically. I don’t want to feel fragile and see bones. I want to give myself and my family the best version of me. Failures and all. I want to show my daughters that they can’t give up. That being a girl doesn’t define who they are or what they’re capable of. God can use them in amazing ways.

Over the last few weeks I have learned that everything I see on social media may not be the full story. That may have been obvious from the get go, but the enemy does tricky things. He is deceiving and wants you to to doubt your life. He’ll attack anyone. In any way.

I’m thankful for accounts like @kayla_itsines who empower women. I like pretty accounts like @studiomcGee with feeds of beautiful homes. But I don’t want to be these people. I don’t want these homes. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. My hardships have made my life what it is. It has shown me God’s love in ways I would have never known. I’ve learned to take images in with a grain of salt. To be free and accept pretty photos for what they are, pretty. Pretty people, pretty houses,pretty moments, pretty lighting, pretty memories, and so on. I’ve learned to exhale when I start to feel envious and I remember that my life has beauty too. I may not know how to portray it the same way as the “influencers” do, but that doesn’t take away the beauty of my life.

I like to post -real life- photos on my account because that’s what I’ll remember in years to come. I won’t remember the day my house was spotless and posed for a picture. I’ll remember the day my girls scattered their toys across the living room jumping from one game to the next. The giggles they’ll make hiding behind the curtains while staining them with chocolate. The excitement in their faces when the trash man drives by. The focused faces doing school work. Or, the hard days I had with my health. The crazy days we had with our puppy. The lonely days we had while my husband was gone for work.

Start engaging, encourage people. Message people. Make things social again. Life is hard as it is, share your story and be kind. Help others. Let others help you.

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2 thoughts on “Surviving or thriving?

  1. It’s funny, because your social media feed is one of the ones that makes me feel the most jealous, and the most like my life is not perfect or good enough…

    1. I apologize for making you feel that way, it’s not my intent at all! As most social media users, I have personal things that I don’t share. Things that are hard but too private to post. I try my best to share the “in-betweens” and not just the good times. But again, I also try to keep things private for several reasons. Life is not perfect for any of us though it may seem that way on social media. Don’t let Satan fool you with pretty pictures that you see. I, myself, struggle with this.

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