Wednesday, July 19, 2017

1 Year of No Drinking : Part 2

Well, on to Part 2. Say hello to my not so little friend, Anxiety.

I'm going to be real with you, I have proof-read this blogpost many times, this too dark? Is this too real? But I want to be 100% honest with you on how I got to where I am today. Like I mentioned in my previous post I want to not only share the glorious mountain top view, but also the sweaty climb it took to get there. So while this may be a debbie downer of an article to read, I hope it is able to give hope to someone in need. Plus there is a What About Bob? Youtube clip at the bottom, so I mean, you'd be silly not to read through.


After my visit to the Hospital, my ER doctor told me that I was as healthy as a 14 year old girl ready to take on the world. He told me it was more than likely a "little" anxiety, and I just needed to take it easy.

But that's the thing. I didn't feel healthy. I didn't feel ready to take on the world. So with some encouragement I went home, cracked open a beer and immediately started to relax thanks to the alcohol. Then the next day I woke up with that same feeling of impending doom. As if my body and mind couldn't keep up with what life was throwing at me. After days of being completely terrified, and not being able to take care of myself, I packed up my things and decided I needed to move in with my Mom and Stepdad. I couldn't take care of myself anymore. I was crippled with fear and soon lacked the mindspace to do the everyday things I used to be able to do. I couldn't drive, cook for myself or even shower as they all brought on a sense of panic and fear. Don't worry, I was eventually able to shower so I didn't stink too badly ;)

Now let me tell you, Summer is my absolute favorite time in Texas and I spent my entire Summer in bed. Crying, scared, feeling completely alone and just out of it. I felt as if this darkness consumed my body and mind and I couldn't remember who I was anymore. I was scared. What happened to happy go lucky Ceci? What had I become? I had no idea what to do or how to get out of this darkness.

During this time I completely lost touch with my friends. They had an inkling that something was going on with me but I never gave them a full explanation. Mainly because I didn't even know what  was going on with me and I was embarrassed to tell people what I was experiencing for fear of what they would think of me. I stopped answering my friend's phone calls all together and eventually their texts. I had completely disappeared from the world.

Now of course as I was going through this I had no idea it was JUST anxiety. After a year of Doctors diagnosing me with health issues, I thought I was legit dying. I had no idea anxiety could create such physical pain and discomfort.

It got to a point where I would just constantly sleep because that was better than waking up and living in the fear and pain I was in. Now don't get me wrong, I tried everything I could think of to get far away from this feeling. I tried reading a plethora of self-help books, I watched endless amounts of Ted Talks and Wanderlust Speak Easy videos. I journaled, journaled and journaled some more. I tried to white knuckle my way through it, but the anxiety seemed stronger than me.

Every night my Mom would come into my room, say a prayer and scratch my head until I fell asleep. Everyone did their absolute best to help me during this time. My sister would come over to simply lay in bed and watch TV with me. My friends would consistently text me, even though I never messaged them back. Everyone was rooting for me, yet I still couldn't manage to climb out of this dark hole I was in. 

Occasionally, I would have brief moments of peace where I realized I wanted outside help. I missed my independence, and I felt guilty because I couldn't take care of myself. I felt like a burden to my parents, although they showed no signs of becoming impatient. They just wanted me to feel better again.

Weeks went by and finally I agreed to go to therapy. Of course I was not a fan of it at the time, but now I have to admit it is my biggest and most useful tool towards healing. Big shout out to my sister, as she was the one who helped me find my very own Dr. Leo Marvin.
(What About Bob? Reference for those who don't know - Watch video at the bottom of this post for some much needed comic relief)

So in order to try and find my independence again, I went to therapy every single week. Sometimes even twice a week. Then thankfully after a few weeks of therapy I decided it was time for me to take my very own baby steps and try to move back home. Which thankfully moving back home meant living with my sister in her cute house.

My family did everything they could to help me succeed. They went grocery shopping for me so I wouldn't have to drive. They would come home early from work to check on me and my mental state. Things were okay, but I couldn't be left alone with my thoughts for too long. Not to mention, my family needed to start attending to other things in their life such as work obligations. So while my sister was on a work trip, my Mom would come sleep over. And not just sleep over, she would sleep in my bed because I couldn't even handle sleeping alone anymore. She did this for about two weeks or so until my sister had a steady enough schedule to keep tabs on me.

Talk of medication kept coming up in my therapy and I kept rejecting the idea of it due to shame and embarrassment. I kept thinking I can do this without medication. If only I just could read more self help books, and then I'll be able to cure myself. 

Weeks went by, and still I was rejecting my friend's phone calls and unable to leave the house. I felt physically weak, as if my legs would collapse from beneath me. Then one day I went into my therapy appointment and admitted to being exhausted. I couldn't do this anymore. This was bigger than me, and I needed help. I wanted my life back.


I remember during this time I always thought that I was responsible for getting myself into this dark hole of anxiety. I remember thinking, if only I did this instead of that I wouldn't be in this situation right now. But let me tell you, if you are currently struggling with depression or anxiety, this is not your fault. In no way shape or form did you choose this, it just simply happened. And guess what, there are many tools to help you pick yourself back up and lead the life you've always dreamed of. I  mean look at me! I still struggle with anxiety on a daily basis, but guess what...I recently bought a house on my own! Yes, me! The girl who less than a year ago was "dying in bed" is now on her own and living with her handsome boyfriend and his pup. Life can throw us some shitty changes, but guess what, we just need to baby step our way through our fears and soon enough all those little steps add up to a big jump.

So in the mean time, watch the What About Bob? clip below, and soon enough we will both be sailing through our fears, and on to my healing journey.


Alright you made it to the good stuff. The What About Bob? clip. Although anxiety and depression is a serious topic, I think it's important to intertwine some hilarity throughout the journey.

So stay tuned and get ready for part 3: Hi, my name is Ceci and I have anxiety.

Friday, July 7, 2017

1 Year of No Drinking: Part 1

This time last year, I decided drinking alcohol was no longer serving me. I spent July 4th of 2016 numbing myself with mixed drinks, and woke up on July 5th realizing I needed to make a change in my life. 

Now, this wasn't just a decision I made based off of one day and a bad hangover. It was a decision that had about a 2 year history leading up to it. This will be a multi-part blog series as there was a lot of background information that brought me to where I am today. 

As with sharing anything so raw and honest, I am extremely nervous. I have started writing this story many times, only to delete it or table it for many weeks at a time. And then I came across this story from Erin Outdoors, that inspired me. About how too many people talk about the highlight reel in life, and never about the struggles. They post pictures of the mountaintops but not the sweaty climb. The peaceful sailing trips, and not the violent puking off the side of the boat (her words, not mine). And then it hit me. I have an untold story, that needs to be told. In hopes of it helping others heal and move forward.

So here it 3 part story.


To be honest, 2015 and 2016 were ROUGH years for me.  2015 started with a bad breakup that absolutely destroyed me and rocked me to my core. I'm not going to touch too much on this subject as I don't think it's fair to disclose details about a personal relationship without both people's consent. However I can say, thankfully that breakup led me on a whole new journey in life, and even a once in a lifetime trip to Mongolia. Yep, you heard me...Mongolia.

I came back from that trip completely changed. I met so many great people and truly felt stronger mentally and emotionally. I felt as if I could conquer anything that came my way. And I did for a bit...until I started experiencing some weird symptoms. I was noticing I was gaining a lot of weight in a short amount of time. My hair started falling out, I was experiencing extreme stomach aches, and worst of all my monthly cycle disappeared all together. For months at a time.

After about 3 months of this I decided it was time to go to my OB/GYN to see what was up. After one visit, and a few tests later she diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. She followed up by telling me that I had about 15 cysts on my ovaries, and was more than likely not going to be able to have children in the future, unless it was with IVF treatments and even then it was unlikely. She then referred me to an Endocrinologist to get more blood work done as PCOS usually comes with a handful of other symptoms such as diabetes and high cholesterol. And that was that. She told me this horrifying news and then sent me on my way. I remember sitting in my car after the appointment just sobbing, thinking "I will never be able to have children". I got home that night and called my friends and family for some much needed love and support. 

A few weeks went by, and my sister drove me to get some blood work done for my next round of appointments. Little did I know they were collecting close to 14 viles of blood after I had done a 12 hour fast. Sure enough I fainted and came in and out of it while my nurse was telling me a story about her road rage in Austin and how she throws tennis balls at cars that get in her way. In all honesty I have no idea how we got on this topic, but she also told me she will throw a moldy orange at a car if she needs to. So if you live in Austin and someone throws a tennis ball at your windshield or some old know who the culprit is.

Once the test came back in I was called into the Endocrinologist's office to discuss my results. Sure enough as my OB/GYN thought, I was pre-diabetic, and had high cholesterol. Cool. Just keep the good news coming, right?

For the next 6 months I bounced around from Doctor to Doctor in hopes that someone would just help me. I wanted to find a doctor that would understand me as a person, and not just look at my symptoms. I wanted to approach PCOS in a way that was going to help eliminate my symptoms all together rather than just put a band-aid on it and temporarily fix everything. Needless to say, I was diagnosed and misdiagnosed many times. Whether it was Hypoglycemia, Insulin Resistance, Parasite Diagnosis, the list goes on and on. There was even one point where I was taking up to 45 pills a day.  I continued to take 45 pills a day for 3 months until I just couldn't handle it any longer. My body was tired. My mind was tired. I was tired. I spent the last year being diagnosed with one thing after another while my friends were out having fun and living life. 

I couldn't do it anymore. My body was deteriorating right in front of me, and I had no idea how to fix it. 

Then Father's Day rolled around, and I was in the Hospital with my family after experiencing a panic attack. If you have never had a panic attack, be thankful! This was my first one, hence ending up in the hospital, but it felt as if I was dying. I couldn't make sense of anything. I couldn't talk, I couldn't breathe. 

Thankfully my Sister was an absolute boss and calmly dealt with me in my crazed state. I remember looking around once I calmed down and seeing a sign in the hospital that said only 1 guest per room. You can bet your bottom dollar my entire family showed up to the hospital and bunched their way into my tiny room. They had my favorite snacks and drinks in tote, and went on with their day as if it was normal for me to be in the Hospital with EKG monitors all over my chest.


Now this is only the start of the journey, so don't worry things DO start to look up. I am not telling any of this story to ask for pity, I am simply sharing in hopes that it resonates with someone else in this position. And if I can tell you one thing, it's that your medical issues/anxiety/depression do not define you. You may be going through a tough time but as with all things "this too shall pass". So buckle up, and stay tuned for my Part 2 series. Say hello to my not so little friend...anxiety.