Bipolar Baggage

#BellLetsTalk Day is such an important cause and last year I decided to share how my IBD journey very quickly turned into a new monster called anxiety. This year, I think it’s important to share the story of a dear friend of mine. She offers a far more insightful and inspiring story as she struggles with Bipolar Disorder. I see Brittany daily and I will openly admit that I am ignorant when it comes to her mental health. On days where I find it difficult to comprehend her perspective, I have slowly begun to recognize my frustration is not with her, but with myself. I’ve said this directly to her, but there are days where I just don’t understand. And she’s reassured me that it’s okay. It’s okay because as I challenge myself to empathize with her, she challenges herself to open up.

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A Hard Pill To Swallow

In an effort to emphasize that we ALL come with a little extra baggage, I’ve encouraged friends and family to open up about their own stories. If I can talk about shitting my pants in a grocery store, I believe others can share what weight they carry and how their baggage impacts their daily lives. I don’t mean for this blog to be a platform for burden or heartache but rather adversity, perseverance and honesty. And in doing so, we may build further, stronger and broader connections with one another through empathy and kindness. Let’s be open to hearing others’ stories and also build each other up with encouragement to share those stories with confidence. Your baggage is what makes you who you are, and by sharing it we can develop a community of understanding and compassion.

So I’d like to introduce Sara: My best friend. My person. I’ve mentioned her several times throughout my own postings considering she’s been there for me throughout my UC journey. But now it’s time to share her story, as she struggles with an incredibly rare and debilitating disease of her own. I’ve witnessed first hand her tribulations and she too offers a story of hardship dealing with chronic illness. I’ve offered my site as an outlet for her to share what her baggage is, in hopes of helping her connect with others who may also face similar challenges, but also to remind my own readers that “baggage” does not always mean an ostomy pouch.

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First of all: Look. At. My. Hair!

It’s taken a whole year to grow out this fro and I treat every strand like a piece of hard earned property.

(See:  Losing My Hair )

As devastating as it was to loose it all, how many women get the opportunity to regrow their hair? To let those dead, fried and dyed hairs go and welcome healthy, thick and curly new ones? Not many. So I treat them as kindly as possible with minimal heat, product and strain. And they’re coming back with a vengeance full of volume, curl and life.

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Watch Me

I often write in practice of reflection from my past events. I examine my circumstances and try to analyze and decipher what the universe has thrown my way, and how it has shaped me. And I often get caught in this rut of how robbed I feel of the past two years. Of how my goals and ambition were stripped from me as I was forced to take a step back and solely focus on my health.

But as my next (and hopefully final) surgery draws closer, I feel excited! I feel that motivation creeping back into my life and that drive to make and meet goals is lingering inside of me. And not just goals, but celebrations, new beginnings and health all persistent in that light at the end of the tunnel. Career, independence, travel, education. It’s near.

I feel like the universe has kicked me down so many times and somehow I’ve gotten up thus far. And I’m about to kick its ass. Oh you’re going to give me infection, after surgery, after malnutrition, after blood loss, after inflammation? Oh you’re going to take my hair, my energy, my school, my confidence, my COLON? Well I’m coming back. Watch me.

#2017 (LOL)