I started my first consistent normal-ish job and am working from home now! I’m doing editing and publishing for a PR company. It’s been really fun, but has also kept me busy, and I still only have a certain amount of time I can spend on a computer without my elbows or neck beginning to hurt. I am making leaps and bounds of progress, though, and am so freaking happy about that! It’s sometimes funny to think about, but I honestly think I’m more thankful for my body now that still is not working the way it should be, than I ever was for my body pre-POTS. Before I got sick I played just about every sport, could run 6 miles no problem, and a half marathon with just a little bit of soreness after. I had a seemingly endless supply of energy and would wake up early, go to bed late, and made time for work and play almost every day. Looking back I don’t know how I didn’t realize how lucky I was. This is just how life works sometimes, though.
I never in a million years thought writing would ever be difficult. Mentally, yes, but physically I should have been able to write for decades before anything became remotely difficult. I have a hard time finding outlets for my feelings sometimes since running has been off the table, and even writing things down can be painful sometimes.
Anyway, I haven’t been able to write for fun very much lately, but there’s not a lot I’ve wanted to share. I’ve become much more private with my life in the past year or two; maybe I’ll explain why one day, but I’m not ready to right now. In the meantime, I am going to get back to my Trader Joe’s Tuesday posts because I have a very deep love for that grocery store. I’ve loved being a stay-at-home dog mom, and think I’ve become a very good cook this year. I figure I share my recipes with my closest friends each week; why not write about it a little too?!
I hope you all had a very nice fall. I’m not doing a very good job coming up with words right now, so I’ll save all of us some time and keep this post short. Have a great Thanksgiving if we don’t talk before then. ❤
I’m in so much freaking pain right now I don’t know if I want to throw up or cry. Preferably both would probably make me feel better. I don’t feel like this nearly as often as I used to, as my health is improving, but it still feels like it’s going to last forever. I can’t focus on anything else and just want the day to be over so I can have a clean start with refreshed muscles.
I always try to figure out why I’m in more pain than usual so it won’t happen again. Often, there isn’t a big cause — it’s just maybe the weather (I SWEAR I get bad headaches more often on rainy days) or the fact that I was standing too long in a day my POTS was acting up. There are other times, though, that I know I’ll feel bad the next day. Taking an airplane or sitting down for long periods of time, being much more active than usual, or staying out late are all things that can cause pain. Writing causes pain for me. I wrote a lot today. I didn’t focus on my ergonomics the way I should have. That might be a big reason I’m at an 8 and want to cry now.*
Some people might take this as a sign from God that writing may not be their thing. After all, my hands become stiff and my pain creeps up my arms and shoulders the longer I’m writing at a computer, so the writing does quite literally hurt me. It isn’t comfortable the way it used to be, and you’d think if it was my calling I wouldn’t have to take breaks to pace myself so much. Writers can sit down at a computer and churn out words for hours on end without taking so much as a bathroom break. This thought has crept into my mind before. Why can’t I do what I love and what my heart desires most as a full-time job? Why did my trajectory change so drastically? Is it because it isn’t my destiny to be a writer and I should look for something else to dig in deeply?
I am reading a book right now that talks a little about “signs” and Christianity. It talks about how sometimes things that happen are not as monumental as we want them to be — they’re just little blips in the grand scheme of things. Not everything in the world is a sign from God, even though He is always here with us. My pain that is linked to writing is not a sign from God that I need to stop. I know I am supposed to be here in this little space of the Internet, and it isn’t some big selfish desire my heart has. It’s just a deep-rooted yearning I have to connect with others, share my stories, and help each of us feel less alone in the world. The chronic pain I’ve dealt with might just be yet another way to connect with people, but it isn’t a sign that I need to stop writing. Sometimes people wait too much to try to listen to what God wants them to do, rather than just strapping on their boots and trying. I think we sometimes underestimate God and don’t realize that if we’re going in the totally wrong direction, He can find ways to pull us back on track. The most important thing is to get up, and go for what we think can change the world. If we’re wrong — which people often are — we can keep trying until we get things right. After all, that’s an enormous part of what it is to be human, right? Learning from our experiences and making ourselves better from them.
Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be feeling all better. Like I said, I was a little alarmed to feel this bad because I’ve had so many good days lately. I am grateful for that, and I hope to continue getting better and better.
*Those of you in the chronic illness community know we often rate our pain on a scale from 1-10, 1 being pain-free, to 10 being unbearable. It gives doctors a better way of seeing improvement and knowing how bad — or not — it really is.
Each period in my life has had something memorable that I can pinpoint and think back to. Except when I got sick with POTS. I remember very vividly how scary the first few days and nights were, but I don’t remember some kind of big details that were during that time period. Other than my family knowing what was going on from being there, I don’t remember telling anyone that I got sick overnight. I don’t recall even sending out one message saying I felt like I was dying and that I had gone into some sort of shock; I don’t think I did. I was so focused on how my body was completely giving up on me that I didn’t think to message anyone about it. Looking back, that was really strange and unlike me, but I think I was just too focused on the problem at hand to think straight. I’ve asked people who were close to me at the time what they remember about me getting sick, but I don’t think there was a monumental moment that anyone could recall. I don’t think the people who were really close to me understood how big of a deal this was until a few months later when I was still somehow sick.
I decided to do some digging and show you a little bit of my life pre-POTS, and then few things after getting diagnosed. So much of this time is so foggy to me because I was just in survival mode and trying to navigate life with a new collection of health problems. I don’t really remember living the first few months, with the exception of some pretty life-changing doctors appointments. Even those are a little bit foggy, though. I couldn’t stand very long when I went to my appointments, and often had to retake my blood pressure several times because I couldn’t stand very long without passing out.
One thing that is absolutely crazy to me is that my husband, Robert, never knew pre-POTS Krista. He’s heard about what I used to be like and the hobbies that I had before getting sick, but he didn’t experience going running with me or seeing my hilariously serious work ethic in school. He never held my hands before they were always hot or cold, and didn’t get to see how vicious I was in even a casual game of volleyball. This is something I wish was different, and that I feel sad about on occasion. It’s a big enough deal that my best friend Audrey included this tidbit in her maid of honor speech at our wedding — though she said the kindest things and that he didn’t need to know what I was like before I got sick to love me for my heart. It’s weird feeling like there are parts of me that are just gone completely now that I can’t be as active as I once was.
That was the Krista I felt proud of, and miss a lot of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I still think there are so many wonderful traits I have after getting sick, but work and sports are not a big part of my life anymore, and these were such a large part of my identity for so long that it’s been hard trying to recreate myself and figure out what I can do with my new restrictions. Since getting sick I lost so many things that brought me joy, and am still trying to find a balance between having experiences and continuing in my journey to getting better.
I got sick with POTS in August of 2013. Up until then, I loved working. In college I always had some sort of job in writing, and made money babysitting a few days a week after school. I worked for the school newspaper almost every semester as a columnist or editor, had several in the journalism field, and was involved in a few different clubs on campus. I loved being busy and whenever I had free time, I tried to find something new to occupy my time with.
2013 started off getting a phone call from my number one internship choice. After several interviews, I had snagged the editorial job at Seventeen magazine in New York City — my favorite place in the entire world. I was on top of the world, and although I wished a little bit that I had been able to enjoy the previous semester at college knowing it was going to be my last, I knew this was the step I wanted to take. I was ready to get out into the real world and start working. It had always been my dream to be a journalist, and I would finally get to do what I loved! Granted, I had a full course load I had to take online, but I knew it would all pay off when I could move to New York and continue working for a magazine with the Hearst corporation after completing my internship there. I was confident in my writing, and I knew someone would want to hire me full-time when I was done working for free. It turns out they would, but I wouldn’t be able to accept an offer to my dream job just two months after completing my time in the city.
Rewind to 2012, right before I got the phone call and moved to New York City. This was my last year without having POTS.
I celebrated my 22nd birthday at a Japanese steakhouse that had the most hilarious birthday ritual. They kicked the night off by bringing a balloon and a flaming shot. Then, all the lights in the restaurant went off and a disco ball came down from the ceiling. Five servers with different instruments began to play, and sing “happy birthday” at the top of their lungs. I cried I was laughing so hard. They spoiled me for the rest of the night and kept bringing little free dishes in between our stay there. I got sorbet, cheesecake, drinks, and little appetizers throughout the meal. Every time someone different came over and said, “happy birthday!” and delivered some sort of new surprise. They ended the night by putting a $3 charge on the bill titled, “Birthday Party.” It just made the night that much more funny, and this experience was what prompted me to take Robert to this exact restaurant after just a few dates with him to “celebrate his birthday” there too (Please read that link; to this day it’s one of my favorite posts on this blog. Thanks, babe!).
A few days after that, I ran my first half marathon. I had been training for it several months prior and was excited to set a new distance record for myself. Running had always been an activity that I loved and was a big part of my routine. I ran at least 4 days a week, usually more, for all of my adult life. I miss feeling my lungs burn from the cold, and running until all my thoughts just evaporated into the wind behind me. Running was one of my favorite stress-relievers, and I wish more than anything I could feel what it was like again.
I got the time I had hoped for and finished the race without having to stop. I was exhausted, but proud of myself. I wanted to run another one to see if I could beat my first time, but I was happy to be done for the day.
A couple of weeks later, I spent the new year out of town, and got an a call from one of the hiring managers at Seventeen saying that I got the internship I had interviewed for. It was a little bit of a shock having to pack my things, find someplace to live, and move to the Big Apple in the span of a week, but I always loved adventure and was so giddy with excitement that I didn’t really have enough time to think about anything else.
I packed up my life into a few suitcases and took the bus with my mom to move me into my new little 9X11 apartment and explore the city that was going to be my new home for the next several months. Lugging my bags up and down the stairs across town and learning how to use the subway is a memory I’ll never forget. It was so much fun moving to a place filled with so many of my dreams and endless possibilities.
The Hearst Building was the home of the Seventeen magazine office. We worked on the seventeenth floor, and I loved every day of work — so much that I often stayed late into the evening to keep working on projects because I enjoyed what I did and wanted to take on as much as my boss would allow. I was an editorial intern, but ended up being able to do some of my own writing for the magazine. My work involved a lot of research, interviewing, editing, and even helping pitch ideas to the executive editor. I got to go to business meetings all around the city, and had a few errands to run on occasion, but it felt a lot more like a real job than it did an internship. The better I did, the more they trusted me with real assignments, and I thrived in the high pressure, short-deadline world of journalism. I loved it so much that I knew I had picked a career where I wouldn’t hate going into work every day.
One of my favorite things about New York was that it truly is the city that never sleeps. Barnes and Noble became one of my favorite places to spend my free time because it was just the right amount of chaos to get work and studying done. My apartment was so tiny it felt like there wasn’t enough room to set up my books and laptop along with the rest of the things I had taken to the city. I took my textbooks and a snack to the store, and read and worked on papers for hours at a time. I enjoyed the classes I was taking, and only had 13 credits to complete that semester since I had packed my schedule the previous year.
New York offered the kind of life I loved. I was independent and worked hard at my job, and exercised regularly. In the past I hadn’t enjoyed being alone a lot, as I was an extreme extrovert, but I felt really comfortable being my own company in the city that felt so alive. I loved going on adventures, exploring, trying new things, and meeting new people. My favorite thing about New York was that every day was so drastically different, even if I began with the same route. I never knew what adventure would happen next, and I loved my life that way. It was exciting and fun learning how to constantly adapt to new things.
Going back and reading through my Tweets, Facebook posts, and journal entries from that time makes me so happy. Living in New York was truly one of the best times of my life, and I feel so thankful that I was able to experience it before I got sick. I used to often feel frustrated that I would never get the taste of working overtime in the big city again, but I am incredibly grateful for all the memories I have from that time. I have a million different things I could post on here, but will just share my favorites.
I found a Trader Joe’s across town and enjoyed “cooking” microwaveable food for lunch and dinner. I would walk if it was nice enough out, despite being almost 2 and a half miles from my apartment each way, and always stocked up on my favorite things. It’s actually kind of shocking looking at how much I could carry back then (and it wasn’t a difficult task for me either!).
Living in New York was so surreal. I always looked at the new world around me and would daydream about what it must be like to get to stay there forever. Valentine’s Day — my favorite holiday — was so much fun because I saw so much joy and happiness around me.
Some of the funniest moments happened in New York and I wish I had documented them better. Friends came to visit and we would go dancing on the weekend, our favorite place being “Turtle Bay,” a dive bar with an impromptu dance floor and crazy bartenders. I loved that I made new friends everywhere I went, and that they all seemed excited to see me too. I talked to anyone and everyone, and to this day I think New Yorkers get a really unfair bad rap.
I loved all the random people I met, but I also made some lifelong friends at my internship and in my apartment building. We still talk on a regular basis, and I feel so blessed to have those memories to share with such great people.
Fast-forward a few months after graduating in May and then leaving the city, this post was made two days before I got extremely ill overnight and began my journey with POTS. We were taking our last family vacation to the beach, and it was one of the final days there. I remember this night vividly, and the meteor shower is still one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
August 14, 2013 was the day I really started being terribly symptomatic. I’ve described that night in great detail before, but I don’t think I can put to words exactly how I felt. A few weeks later the doctors had an idea of what was going on, but it took several months to really get into a rhythm of realizing what my new life was like — and that it wasn’t just something I was going to get over quickly.
I’m someone who always minimizes things. I am not the best communicator sometimes because I hate inconveniencing others, and I don’t ever want anyone to pity me. When people feel bad for someone I feel like it makes them seem less of a human being, but I want people to understand. This is why I have always been very vocal about what’s going on in my life — even if I do make light of it all.
The tests I had to take since I got sick with POTS were awful because it took all week to recover afterward. I still have to prioritize things on my to-do list, and decide whether or not something is worth the energy and recovery time, but luckily I am able to do a lot more and a doctors appointment won’t keep me down for the rest of the week.
I’ve always loved writing, and blogging was a really nice way to get to express my frustration about the lack of knowledge people have about POTS — including doctors. I am so lucky to have a wonderful cardiologist who specializes in Dysautonmia close by, and have coping tools to enhance my quality of life. It’s amazing what a difference lifestyle changes make, but there is still so much for people to learn about this not-so-rare, but rarely diagnosed condition.
During the first couple years when my POTS was a lot worse, I consistently posted about my adventures on the recumbent bike, dogs, and television shows I enjoyed watching. Other than having friends come over, there was a time where I remember not being able to go anywhere I couldn’t elevate my feet. I went out to a movie night with a big group of my girl friends, and had to get driven home because I couldn’t sit upright without blacking out. I had to raise my feet above my head at the grocery store sometimes because standing upright to shop was often impossible for my autonomic nervous system to handle. Basically, it was really hard to even just get out of the house at one point.
Dogs were a huge part of world — and let’s be honest, they still are. Gracie and Macy were some of the most healing little creatures, and brought me joy every day, even when I felt my worst. I really do think dogs are little angels God sends to the world to bring us comfort, joy, and much more love than we even deserve.
I tried to make the most of everything I had to deal with. Some of the best advice I’ve been given is that even in my most trying times, I should write about my experiences. It gives me a more concrete reason of why something unpleasant might have happened, and more life experience. It also brings more of a purpose to this illness by helping spread awareness for other people suffering with Dysautonomia or invisible illnesses. My writing and ability to connect with others are the two things that keep me positive throughout all of this.
A lot of my writing about chronic illness is to educate people who maybe haven’t had to deal with anything like this before. It’s so weird looking like a completely normal, healthy twenty-something when your body isn’t working properly. I think there are a lot of people who mean well, but maybe just don’t understand that there is such a thing as invisible illness and you wouldn’t know someone was feeling terrible unless you talked to them.
It’s crazy thinking about all the time I’ve spent in the life of having a chronic illness. When I first got POTS I was terrified hearing that I would have it for the rest of my life. Then, I was optimistic that I would be better within 5 years because of some studies I had read about the condition. I reached the 5 year mark this August, and have felt frustrated at times that things still aren’t where I want them to be, but I am going to keep fighting to get a more normal life back, and I so appreciate how much I have improved since August 2013. It hasn’t been easy turning my everything upside down and learning to be positive though pain, but I have more faith that God has a plan for my life and will make something beautiful out of even unpleasant circumstances. After all, if I hadn’t gotten sick with POTS there is no way I would have met Robert, so I trust that God knows what He’s doing, even when it doesn’t always feel like it. I just might not know why everything is happening the way it is right now, but maybe one day I will.
Thanks for reading if you made it this far! I know this was a much longer and more informal blog post, but the old versus the new me is something that I think about often because it is just so freaking weird having this as my life. I still feel weird sometimes telling people I have a chronic illness, and it isn’t anything I ever imagined would happen to me — especially at such a young age. I just think it’s important to remind people that I have had a really normal life up until getting sick with POTS, and despite being different now, I still can relate to so much to normal people as well as the “new” community I’m a part of.
Today happens to be a very POTSie day. Luckily, dizzy spells are much fewer and further between, but I hate when they decide to come around with a vengeance. I have been doing a new exercise protocol lately that is supposed to make me feel worse before I feel better, but I am optimistic about how much it could help me in the long run.*
Anyway, I am currently working on a post about what my POTS timeline has looked like, and the improvements I’ve made, as well as the things that are still different in my life post getting sick. It’s been so interesting for me to look back at different things I wrote throughout the years, but is great to have something tangible to look at regarding my life.
Certain things are becoming more normal, and I am pulling off looking like a normal human being like a pro. I have looked pretty normal since getting sick with POTS, since it’s an invisible illness, but I used to have to ask for help much more often. Now I think people around me often forget completely that anything is wrong with me! I hope one day this will be true. Despite being sick for over five years now, I will never stop hoping to get back to complete normalcy. I have a million different things I’m working on for the blog, so today I wanted to just touch on a few things that have been different for me the past half-decade.
1. I can’t enjoy taking showers. Sometimes I hop in a hot shower just because I am in pain and want something to release the tension in my muscles, but for the most part they’re just exhausting. I usually choose between washing my hair or shaving if I’m going to stand the whole time, and have to alternate between the two or rest quite a bit longer after I’m done. Does anyone actually find showers enjoyable? I can’t remember anymore; now they’re just exhausting.
2. I’m not very extroverted anymore. Before I got POTS, I was super extroverted. I was always around people and had an enormous circle of friends. Mentally, I still want to be doing a million things, but my body isn’t up to that. I feel tired and drained from doing too much, so I don’t go out nearly as much as I used to. When I do, it’s usually dinner or dessert with just one or a few friends, rather than hanging out in a giant group. When I first got sick I really couldn’t do anything other than try to stay optimistic, rest, and work as hard as possible to take care of my body so I could hopefully get better one day. I think some of my friends who weren’t around might have felt like I was neglecting our friendship, but in reality I just couldn’t function. I have lost touch with people I sometimes still miss. Getting sick really does show you who is going to be around for the long haul, and makes you see who has unconditional love for your friendship.
3. I miss writing for hours on end. My favorite thing in the world has always been writing, even back in elementary school or high school when writing wasn’t supposed to be fun. I always said English was my favorite subject, even when other kids would say “lunch,” “recess,” or “gym.” I loved learning more about our language and how to write things that people would enjoy reading. It’s difficult for me to sit at a computer and type for hours without feeling it after, and then being in a lot of pain for days after. I am very slowly working on endurance, and hope to be writing more and more.
4. I miss being a helper. Before I got POTS I was independent and strong. I loved helping other people in any way I could, and was always there to do acts of service. There is nothing I hate more than having to swallow my pride and ask others for help. I’ve had to do that a lot the past few years, and it honestly doesn’t get much easier. I hate inconveniencing others, and I have a really hard time telling people I need something. I am still working on communicating better, but in the meantime I use my writing as an outlet.
5. I wish I could have my old dreams back. I dreamt of living in New York City as a magazine editor, and thought about how many lives I would change through my writing. I wanted to be able to support myself, pay my parents back for school, and afford my own life. I wanted to keep pushing myself and training for another half marathon, and I wanted to collect a million new skills from the new people I’d meet.
I have set new and more realistic goals, and am focusing on getting my body in shape so I can reach higher. Despite my life being much more complicated now, it’s also somehow become more simple. I realize how much I value the people who are in my life, and how important they are compared to everything else in the world. I’ve learned to appreciate the many blessings I do have, and how to live in the moment better. I still feel like I’m looking to find my purpose in the world, but I also trust God now more than ever to have better plans for me than I ever did for myself. I’m just trying to figure out what that is now.
*For any POTSies who are curious, I am doing the Levine protocol.
Today I would like to dissect what it means to be “strong.”
This has been a word used to describe me by so many people since I graduated college, got POTS, and went through a number of difficult trials, but it still feels kind of funny when I hear someone throw this adjective next to my name.
but it doesn’t offer any tips on how to be strong or what kind of trials make you strong.
I was made strong. I didn’t choose to be strong and I am in no way admirably resilient. Before getting sick I was used to a fairly comfortable life, and never in a million years thought of myself as tough or someone who would face trials well.
Almost 4 years later, though, and here I am. I had a choice to make when I got sick. I could take what the doctors said, admit defeat, and recognize that my life would never be the same, or I could fight for the best life I could possibly have. I quickly chose the latter. This involves keeping an open and optimistic mindset, being incredibly dilligent with my doctors appointments, physical therapy, and diet, and finally — learning how to rest.
When I first got my diagnoses I asked through tears whether I’d ever get better. The nurse laughed and told me I wouldn’t and my mind immediately went into a dark abyss, thinking about a long life of dizzy spells, fainting, and feeling miserable. I was incredibly lucky to have my incredibly encouraging mother with me, who followed me to the parking lot and said the nurse didn’t know what she was talking about. She said I needed to take each day as it came to me, and think positive thoughts. To this day I believe this is one reason I am slowly getting better and have been able to make peace with my new life.
I’ve had POTS for three-and-a-half years now and haven’t had a week off from going to visit some sort of doctor. I typically have 2 physical therapy appointments and either acupuncture or a massage to work on managing my chronic pain, as well as regular visits to my cardiologist, neurologist, and endocrinologist. I go to the gym 5 days a week — even when I am feeling awful — because the worst possible thing for a POTSie to do is get deconditioned. This involves a short 30 minute recumbent bike ride, as I could easily faint if I am in an upright position. I get B12 shots every other week since I am deficient in it and B12 seems to be a link to chronic pain. Then I have to take a lot of time to rest so that my body can settle down a bit. I get worn out incredibly easy, and a trip to the grocery store turns into a long ordeal because of the recovery time afterward.
Lots of POTS patient develop adult allergies, so I can’t eat many of my favorite foods anymore. I have given up nightshade vegetables (Potatoes are my favorite food and I miss French fries dearly!), gluten (Now I am the butt of so many jokes), and I really limit my dairy and sugar intake. I don’t drink coffee at all, partly because I can’t have caffeine, and partly because I just can’t have coffee, period, and I don’t drink alcohol at all anymore. The coffee is definitely a million times more difficult.
Lastly, I have had to learn to listen to my body and rest. This is such a hard thing for me to do, as my mind is incredibly active. Anyone who knew me before I got sick knows I love to work and play, so sleeping and rest were never really a big part of my vocabulary. I joke to my friends that I’m just catching up on all the time I missed in my life before, but it really is a difficult thing for me to wrap my mind around. I always have a million and one things I want to do and write about, however my body isn’t very kind to me. Writing hurts after ten minutes, and the dictation software I have used is grueling. I can’t sit at a desk chair very long without having a lot of pain in my shoulders, and some days I can’t stand without feeling dizzy. Sometimes all I can do is rest, and I’ve learned that it’s okay to spend time listening to podcasts and watching HGTV when I really can’t do anything else. Yes, I would much rather be working and making a living for myself. I wish I could live in New York and write for a magazine, I wish I could have a paycheck to save for a new car or fun wardrobe, but that’s just not in the cards for me right now. Right now it’s my job to focus on getting better, keep taking care of myself, and trust that God will make something beautiful out of my struggle.
The best advice I could possibly give anyone going through something tough is to take each day as it comes to you. Worrying about things in the future that you cannot control won’t help you change them, and looking back on the past won’t make your present any more satisfying. I know what it’s like to feel helpless and I know what it’s like to feel like life isn’t fair. The greatest feeling when your world is crumbling in on you is when you finally learn to give your problems to God and let Him take care of the things that are outside your control.
Today’s lesson: If I can be strong, you can too. I’ve always thought I am an incredibly average person in most regards, which should offer an incredible amount of encouragement to anyone reading this. If I can do, so can you.
I recently started a gluten-free diet to try and reduce some inflammation for one of my chronic illnesses. A catch-22, though, is that I also recently found out I am allergic to tomatoes and potatoes — foods that seem to be staples in a gluten-free diet — along with a small array of other fruits and veggies.
I did this as I do many things and just went cold turkey. I didn’t try to ease into it, and frankly didn’t do any sort of research whatsoever before making this big change in my diet. I’m all about carbs, and actually need a lot of them to function with POTS.
Anyway since I’m so clueless, I’ve basically been eating a diet solely consisting of Greek yogurt, eggs, and salads. Throw in a lot of dark chocolate and that’s my day.
I’m beginning to get really frustrated, as I have lost some weight that I would have liked to keep, and feel tired and dizzy without my pretzels and crackers.
The other day I realized how grumpy going gluten-free has made me after I ordered a salad at the Nordstrom cafe and moved toward the checkout. My mom casually said, “Do you want dessert? Those cupcakes are beautiful!”
To which I replied with a loud and flustered, “Mom, I can’t eat that; it’s not gluten-free!”
I immediately realized how bratty I had been and felt my face turn red from embarrassment. I mumbled an apology to my mom as the pastry chef glared at me from behind the counter.
Now that I’ve gotten through a few weeks of this I am realizing I need help. What kind of GF items do you like? What websites might help me find new meals to cook? I cannot keep living off of salads!
Whoo boy am I furious. I don’t actually remember the last time I have said something like that. When was the last time I was furious? I honestly don’t even know.
So let me set the scene.
There’s a guy in the area I’ve been going out with for awhile now.* I went over to play chess with him (Seriously, what is my life? I am beginning to accept the “nerd” label my dates have bestowed upon me) and we got to revisiting some about what our relationship looks like. After telling me things like he liked that I was a wholesome and sweet girl and that he wasn’t sure he could still just be friends, I reiterated I didn’t want to date, but would respect whatever he wanted to do from that point forward. He admitted that I have been very open about my intentions and that he appreciated the honesty, but that his feelings had changed.
We then started talking more about why we work better as friends anyway, his main reason being that we don’t have a lot in common when it comes to activities — fair enough — that, in my opinion, is a great reason to not want to date someone. You need to be able to enjoy going out with one another and bonding over activities.
What he said next, though, completely caught me off guard. This is the way the conversation went:
“Well, I don’t want to sound like a douche…”
“What is it?” I asked.
“Well, I don’t want to be a jerk…”
I sat silently waiting for an explanation, as I wasn’t sure what he could be thinking.
“But maybe we should just put everything on hold until you’re better…”
I was floored.
Was he talking about my POTS? My chronic illness that he has known about for months now? I sat on my armchair, looking at him as he casually reclined on the couch.
After processing everything he had just said, I realized that was exactly what he was talking about.
Oh. My. Gosh. You sure meant it when you said you would sound like a douche!
Honestly, I totally get it if someone doesn’t want to date me because of POTS. I do believe we all have our own flaws we bring to a relationship, but mine is more confusing than most, and I will never fault someone for wanting something simpler.
But here’s why I think this statement is unbelievably jerky.
He essentially thinks I should work my ass off and shed blood, sweat, and tears (All literally) until I am all better, and then when that day comes this guy — who left me — can have me in all of my fixed glory? Hell no.
I stared at him blankly until I could come up with the right response to what he just said. I chose my words carefully, as I knew at this point I just wanted to leave and we had absolutely nothing to figure out.
“Okay. That makes this decision really easy now,” I said. “We’re all done here, and I’m going to get going.”
I grabbed my shoes as he said, “I think you’re really mad right now. I think I made you mad.” No shit, Sherlock.
I gathered my things in silence as I marched to the door, knowing fully I would not be coming back.
I honestly didn’t know how to react in a situation like that, but I felt like Beyonce and Taylor were cheering me on as I grabbed my things and left. I can do better than a guy who is going to tell me I’m not good enough for him right now and have the nerve to ask me to come back again later once I’m all fixed. It felt really good standing up for myself and realizing just how much I have grown. It also didn’t hurt that I had smoked him in chess in the very last game we would ever play together. 😉
Do you agree or disagree with my opinion of what this gentleman said to me? Feel free to let me know in the comments!
*Please don’t make assumptions of who it is, as I am dating around right now.
One really hilarious thing about having POTS while navigating the dating world is just the way my body reacts to things.
POTS is an autonomic nervous system disorder, meaning it affects basically everything in my body that is supposed to be an “automatic response.” For example, my body temperature is really skewy. I’ve always been pretty cold-natured, but this is to a whole new level. I found out recently, though, that having POTS just makes dating even more interesting.
I had just told a date all about my condition and after he listened closely, he leaned over to kiss me. It was a really sweet first kiss, as I felt like I had just really opened up to him, but after it was over he pulled back and had a devilish grin on his face.
I cocked my head as I looked at him inquisitively.
“I really got you hot and bothered, huh?” He asked slyly.
It took me a few seconds, but then everything clicked and I began to giggle. POTS is such a dead giveaway in situations like this! My hands were sweaty and my heart was still racing. My heart always flutters when I stand up or sit down, but it also does when I feel any sort of emotional charge — apparently kissing included. He could totally feel my pulse going a million beats per minute as I leaned up against him to continue chatting.
So far I’ve found guys don’t mind holding my sweaty hands or that they’re always freezing cold. POTS showcases such obvious imperfections, but I kind of love that there are people who don’t even look at those as negative things and just accept me the way I am.
Today’s lesson: You can have the best poker face in the world, but if you have an autonomic nervous system disorder you don’t stand a chance keeping your cool in the game of love.
This post is from about a year ago, and I finally feel like I want to share it with you all. Depression isn’t something that you can see when you look at a person. I started carrying this weight towards the beginning of the end of my last relationship and as soon as my ex and I broke up I snapped out of it.
Depression can be a chemical imbalance in your brain, but it can also be related to crummy circumstances in your life. I feel like we don’t hear about that side as often, and I want anyone who is in a situation like mine was to know that life can and will get better.
Since the breakup I have felt like myself again. I have normal feelings, I have been happy, I have been content, and I can feel again.
I know not all of you can relate to this, but I always feel like I want to help the ones who can realize that they are absolutely not alone. I know it feels like you are, but I promise you are not alone. I will gladly be there for each and every one of you who needs someone to lean on and although I can’t get rid of the problem for you, I’m more than happy to fight with you to get your life back.
Without further ado, here is something I wrote in December 2014 right in the middle of everything:
I never thought I would hear this about myself, but I was just diagnosed with depression.
This is a very tough pill to swallow because I have always tried my best to remain positive even in the most trying situations. First, I would like to say that I realize this is NOT MY FAULT. So please, if you are suffering with this too, realize that nothing is wrong with you. You are not broken and you are not less of a person because of this. Depression does not define me and it does not decide who I am as a person.
I’ve had a lot to deal with the past two years. My life has been turned completely upside down and to be honest I am surprised that I didn’t have to battle this even sooner. It really just became a problem that escalated quickly in the last few months.
I’ve said to friends that although I have sometimes felt frustrated about things since getting POTS, I haven’t been depressed. I’ve told them that I feel lucky that I haven’t had to deal with that throughout my chronic illness, and that I was fairly certain that kind of thing wouldn’t happen to me. But here I am.
Depression can happen to absolutely anyone. It doesn’t mean you are weak, and it doesn’t mean that you are going to be depressing to be around. I will write more about that another day, though.
I’ve never felt as alone as I have the past couple months. Sometimes I feel like I am in a fog or just dreaming. Life feels like it is just going through the motions of daily activities that need to be done, and I don’t feel motivated to pursue my passions. I have moments of happiness, but it isn’t the way it used to be. I sometimes feel completely numb, and I sometimes just feel the most extreme kind of sad and helpless that a person can feel.
The lack of motivation might be the worst part. I can sit at home and watch TV, but I don’t really care about what’s on. I actually hate watching TV — it bores me — but I don’t want to do anything else. I have trouble feeling present.
It’s hard getting up and doing things, but I make myself because in the back of my mind I know that I want to live my life to it’s fullest. I know that deep down the normal Krista is cheering me on and pushing me to make a better life for myself, even though I don’t necessarily feel like it.
Depression is by far the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with in my life. I feel so broken, but I know that am going to come out of this even stronger than I was before. Deep down I am a fighter, and I won’t stop until I find myself again.
I just want you to know that if you are dealing with anything like this, you are not alone. I still consider myself one of the most joyful people that I know, and I will not give up until I find that girl again.
This is the first post I’ve truly felt uncomfortable sharing. I’ve gone back and forth for weeks on whether I wanted to share such an intimate and personal aspect of my life with, well, everyone.*
I think it was important to share, though. I know not everyone is as lucky as I am to have so many people supporting them through life, and I don’t ever want any of you to feel alone in dealing with something like this. If you ever want someone to talk to I would love to be that person. We are never truly alone, and I promise things can and will get better. I’m confident that this is just going to be another chapter in my life that I’ll be able to use to glorify God one day. I’m just not really sure how yet.
*I was going to share this on Facebook about a year ago, but never did. Then when I felt better about things, I didn’t want people getting the wrong idea about who I am today and whether or not I was still depressed. I can tell you that I am in a completely different place in my life now and although I still have my chronic illness to deal with, I feel like Krista again.
I have been surprised at how many new people are following my blog, so I thought I needed to introduce myself a little better so y’all can get to know the person behind these goofy stories.
I had a really normal and comfortable life all the way through college. I grew up in the suburbs outside of Washington DC and have a wonderful family and great friends.
August 2012 was a really weird year for me, though. I ended up getting diagnosed with something called POTS, and have collected a few new diagnoses since then (Because apparently once you get one weird thing several others must follow). A lot of my symptoms have significantly improved, but one that remains is chronic widespread pain. POTS is an invisible illness, so I look normal even if I feel terrible. Now that I’m not passing out or needing to lie down in the middle of the grocery store, you would never know that anything was wrong with me unless I told you.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have only had one serious relationship so far. I started dating my best friend my sophomore year of college, then did the long distance thing for two years after graduating. The distance wasn’t the reason we broke up; I don’t believe that can be the ultimate reason a couple ends things. I won’t give specifics to respect the privacy of all who are involved.
I am a Christian and my faith is important to me. I am definitely still growing, and my relationship with God has been all over the place since I got sick. I do strongly believe He is going to make my story into something that will ultimately glorify Him, though.
My sense of humor has always been something that helps me get through rough times in my life, and I really value that in all of my relationships. Not everyone gets me, but the people who do seem to appreciate it.
I’m maybe about 65% basic. I love Taylor Swift, own a North Face jacket, Instagram pictures of my Starbucks orders, and often wear leggings as pants. To counteract my basicness, I am a big fan of Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Seinfeld.
Writing this post was a lot like filling out a dating profile. I was definitely all over the place, but I feel like I’ve covered a decent amount about myself for now. You’ll learn a lot more about me through the stories I tell than these little bullets, but I just thought it would be a fun little post.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my posts and send me messages! I’ve had a lot of fun with this so far and look forward to seeing what 2016 has in store for us.