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 woke up this morning in a sweat. My heart was racing as I jolted awake from some sort of nightmare. I immediately started thinking about things that make me nervous about the future, and how the heck I’m going to get through it all. My stomach dropped deep down into my abdomen as my heart leapt straight through my chest. Apparently you sometimes can’t even escape anxiety in your dreams.
Anxiety is a cousin of depression. They’re close in the sense they both can be based on fear and uncertainty, but they give two very different feelings. Depression is hollow and dark. It feels like a rainy day in a swamp, with fog as far as the eye can see. You know it’s a wide open space, but you can’t muster up the energy to move around freely. You are curled up in a ball, only vaguely noticing that there is a world around you. I think often with depression, the person in the middle of the fog can really only see a few feet around them and can’t tell that there is light and beauty outside the dark swamp. In fact, there are still beautiful flowers and little glimmers of light while you are there, but they can be difficult to see if you give up and stay curled in your little ball. Rays of light come in the form of good friends, puppies, working out, and helping others. There is always a reason to keep fighting, but everyone understands if you need to take a break for awhile. It is exhausting when you feel like you’re alone and don’t know how to pull yourself up off the ground.
Anxiety paints a different picture. Instead of being a more introverted feeling, anxiety is the craziest extrovert you’ve ever seen. It is wild and red, and hot to the touch. Anxiety makes you feel claustrophobic in your own body, and creates a strong desire to run away from yourself. With depression, you would rather be able to get back in to your own body and figure out how to find yourself again. Anxiety makes you want to forget everything there is about you and run away to create a new life. You want to turn your brain off to stop thinking about anything and everything and find a way to sleep again, but you can’t take a vacation from your thoughts. Both depression and anxiety can create a pit in your stomach, but they’ve often settled there for entirely different reasons.
I have tiptoed along the line of depression sometimes, but I think having some down days is part of the human experience, so it’s very different than it was being in the darkness I have only been in once before. Anxiety is a much more familiar feeling I let sneak into my heart. It starts by catching the door with its foot, then shoves its way in guns blazing. “You’re not good enough,” “You won’t be able to handle the future,” and, “You can’t do the thing” are all lies anxiety screams as loudly as it can. It makes up elaborate and unlikely stories of what your future is going to look like, but speaks them with confidence and as truth. It’s a lot easier said than done to choose not to believe the lies, as a simple, “just don’t worry about it,” or, “calm down” won’t ease an anxious person’s heart. It is possible to find peace, but takes a lot of swallowing your own pride, accepting help from others, and being gentle with yourself.
Anxiety and depression are both so prevalent in today’s world. I don’t know if the age of social media has caused a rise in mental health issues or we’re just more open about them now, but I’d say more people than not have had a taste of these feelings, even if they haven’t been officially diagnosed with anything. I think we underestimate how not-alone we are in the world and how similar our feelings are to one another.
Talking about anxiety makes me anxious. I still think people are quick to judge, label, and make assumptions about people they don’t know. Despite genuinely believing most people have a good headspace about talking about mental health, I know there is still ignorance and confusion in this space of the world. I know that therapy is still stigmatized, and that people don’t always love and support things they don’t understand. So many people, though, who you would never guess are fighting difficult battles by themselves. Sometimes the most beautiful, smiley rays of sunshine have a darkness that is clouding their heart, and I am so thankful that celebrities and people in the limelight who have platforms are speaking up about their struggles more. Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Mindy Kaling, and Stephen Colbert are all people who live to make others laugh, but struggle with anxiety. Jim Carey, Owen Wilson, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sarah Silverman have all been very open about dealing with depression. It isn’t just comedians who struggle with mental health, though. There is an enormous list of people who range from athletes to astronauts who have been affected by depression or anxiety. Even Abraham Lincoln is thought to have had severe depression and anxiety; they just didn’t have a word for it then.
My purpose in writing this is because I think it’s so important that we realize we are never alone in our thoughts or feelings. People need to be taught from a young age that it’s okay for everything to not be okay sometimes. People should realize that we all have battles we’re fighting, that we can share our struggles with our loved ones, and most of all, to be kind to everyone we meet. I am not “Instafamous,” do not have a large group of followers, or a particularly captivating life to share about, but I want to open my heart to the people who do read this in hopes it makes someone feel less alone. I see you, and care about you. We need you here, and you are important. Please don’t ever forget that.
Man, I have a bad headache. I think it’s from my neck pain. Typically when it gets bad enough it goes straight up my vertebrae to the top of my head. Ugh!
I’m currently really in the mood to write, but not really equipped to sit at my computer that long right now. I also can’t think straight because of the aforementioned headache. I figured I’d tell y’all what I’ve been working on lately, though. I’ve been doing some more deep writing lately. I’m going to be posting about anxiety, social media, and how problematic I think Hollywood has become. Please hold me accountable to this. None of it is very fun to share, but I think it’s all important and there is a reason I’ve felt pushed to write about it.
I’m also working on creating a weekly email you guys can subscribe to — so I don’t have to do random little updates like this on here anymore. I am undecided between MailChimp and Constant Contact. Any thoughts on either?
Finally, I have a few recipes and shopping trips that are begging to be posted. Sadly, my local Trader Joe’s hasn’t gone crazy with pumpkin stuff this year and I’m just not feeling most of it. I got Jax some pumpkin biscuits the other day, but I haven’t gone crazy yet. There’s still plenty of time for that though, right?
I am very confused after watching The Bachelor finale.
First, did anyone else think it was weird how dressed up Cassie got last week just to break up with him? Like, we had lashes, extensions, and one of the prettiest dresses we’ve seen all season. They toasted and seemed happy and then she said she wasn’t going to stay. It only got weirder when Colton said he wanted her to be at the end of all of this, and Cassie said she needed to let him get engaged. He pushed it further and told her they didn’t have to get engaged; he was happy to just date her and go at her pace. She still left.
I’m sorry, but if I was falling for a guy and he says he wants to commit to me I would be stoked! I wouldn’t be worrying about whether or not I’d get to the point of engagement. That’s always done after dating awhile in the real world anyway. The beginning stages of the relationship are when you are giddy all the time and have butterflies just thinking about the other person. It is not supposed to be hard; I don’t understand why it was impossible for her to want to be with him. Oh, unless, of course, she just didn’t like him. Because honestly at that point you often know whether or not you’re interested in someone enough to just date them. Even if she just kind of liked Colton, it seems like giving dating a shot in the real world wouldn’t be very difficult. It’s freaking crazy if she liked him at all and decided to leave after all of that. If he’s saying he chooses her over both the other girls who are an almost sure thing, he must be genuine in his feelings, so go ahead and give it a shot. This made me wonder if she had someone waiting for her on the outside or something…
Cassie’s lack of emotion during the breakup really confused me, and I still wonder if Colton mainly chose her because he was just so excited by the chase. Before that I always felt like Hannah G was going to win the whole thing, and I think there’s a chance she might have if she had gotten a final date with him. I think Colton might have confused anxiety with butterflies, and been more afraid of losing Cassie because it felt like it was out of his control. If he could get her to wait and date him a little longer, maybe he could prove to her that they were supposed to be together.
Then when Colton showed up at her hotel room, she looked surprised and almost annoyed that he was barging in on her. She had said that she was excited to go home and see her family; Colton ruined everything when he came back and made her stay with him longer. Any other season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, we see people squeal or jump into each other’s arms because they’re the last one standing, or even just excited about a big date. We don’t see a lot of physical signs from Cassie that she likes Colton. Even when they kiss it’s just kind of awkward.
Despite the producers trying to edit things to make the storyline interesting and something people will enjoy watching, I think we saw enough raw footage and realness to get the idea that Cassie not only isn’t in love with Colton, but she also may just not really be that into him at all. She questions several times how “real” their connection could be, and her head seems to be spinning from confusion. Here’s what I know from experience: The beginning of a relationship should not be this difficult! The beginning is when you’re in the honeymoon stages and so excited about the possibilities, and just spending time with this new amazing person you met. It shouldn’t be filled with this much fear and borderline dread. She keeps saying she needs to be “sure of how she feels,” but in the beginning of a relationship you’re still just learning about each other and whether or not you’re compatible for the long haul. That’s what all of this is about, and what it would have been like for Colton and Hannah G, or Colton and Tayshia, had he picked either of them. It just makes no sense to be this confused, especially when you’ve made it all the way to top 3.
So, was this Cassie’s way of trying to be the next Bachelorette? I don’t have an answer to that, but it does seem kind of suspicious. People often know after a few dates whether or not they want to keep seeing someone and pursue them further. Colton offered this option to Cassie, and she walked away from it completely. She didn’t seem to want to be exclusive with Colton, even in a very casual relationship like what he offered when he told her that he broke up with the other girls on the show. It’s strange that she didn’t mention all of these reservations before traveling all the way to Portugal to be in the top 3. Right?
Later we see Colton and Cassie on their final date, and it is so cringeworthy hearing Colton gush so much about someone who might just not be into him. Cassie later discloses that she’s not sure if she’s ready for a relationship, let alone an engagement, and it makes you wonder why she even went on the show in the first place. Like, you know that the Bachelor is hopefully looking for a future wife, right? Shouldn’t you be at least ready for a relationship if you’re going to go on the show? I understand not wanting to get engaged at the end of it all, but if you don’t like him enough after a few dates, just leave. Several other girls had already, after all!
“It’s not being in a relationship with you, I’m not concerned about that. I think just being in one in general is like, a commitment, and that scares me…”
She goes on to talk about her past relationships and says that you “don’t have the freedom to be you anymore” when you’re in a relationship, which is why she’s been so distant from Colton. I’m sorry, but then why did you go on The Bachelor? I think therapy helps this kind of problem so much more than a television show that is created to be entertaining and sometimes completely messes with someone’s edit. I am not saying this to be mean, but none of it adds up!
Okay, so maybe Cassie just got a weird edit. You never know what the producers want the fans to see, and I do think we need to take this all with a grain of salt despite my obvious thoughts on the matter. In all honesty, I don’t dislike Cassie. I just don’t really feel like I know very much about her, and I really do not think she really likes Colton very much. If she does, I think it’s because he grew on her, not because she really cared deeply for him while she was on the show. My main argument is just that you do not let someone who you love deeply walk away from you so darn easily. I mean, we all saw what Colton did to be with someone he loved. He dumped two really great girls to the point where he had no one, and went all-in with someone who had already left him once. Cassie had it much easier in saying “yes” to the relationship and tried every which way to get out of it. I don’t think this will last, but prove me wrong, Cassie and Colton.
Do you agree or disagree with my take on the finale? I have seen mixed opinions on it, and was so surprised that I had so many after watching it. I think Chris Harrison was right this time — it was the most dramatic finale yet.
Apparently this is a new phrase that has been coined because of the dozens of tiny behaviors that some people turn to so that they can still feel loyal, but have fulfillment in one way or another outside their romantic relationship.
Cheating is wrong. Always.
I consider cheating an absolutely unforgivable offense, but I know certain couples can get past it. What about micro cheating, though?
Any kind of serious flirting outside a relationship, having a desire to be physically or emotionally connected with someone who isn’t your partner and forming a special place in your heart for someone else all constitute for micro cheating. Here is an example given from The Skimm,
With the rise of social media, there are a million small components that go into relationships. I speculate that one of the reasons divorce is becoming more prominent could be due to riffs with social media and being so connected to the rest of the world. I keep hearing that social media sites are often cited in divorce court, as it gives another place for infidelity and a place for indiscretions to occur. There are endless options of people you can meet online, as well as the perfectly crafted images that come along with them. Whether it’s an irresistibly funny personality or beautifully enhanced photos, there are so many options for wandering minds and eyes to go to when a marriage feels like it’s failing.
Sadly, I feel like this is only the beginning of using loopholes to seek attention outside a committed relationship. When you start going to outside sources for some sort of fulfillment, you are severely hurting the process to repair the broken pieces of your relationship. Every single couple in the world is going to have some sort of disagreement or problem at one time or another. In fact, the longer you are with someone, the bigger the chance is some sort of issue is going to come up. It’s just a fact of life that people are all unique and going to make different decisions and mistakes. Dealing with them openly and directly with your partner offer opportunities for growth and compromise in a relationship, and can ultimately actually strengthen it.
Relationships are interesting because there isn’t a lot that is completely black and white; a lot of topics are more of a grayscale. There are definitely things that one person may uncomfortable with that others find totally fine in a relationship, and vice versa. What’s most important is that your significant other cares enough to work through every little bump in the road together. If you feel like micro cheating is a part of your relationship, there is still hope to get back on track.
If you are the micro cheater, cut the person you cross the faint little lines with out of your social life. If this person is at work with you, keep things professional and don’t find little reasons to be alone with them. Reevaluate your relationship and ask yourself why you don’t feel fulfilled in the romantic department, and seek couples counseling if necessary. The other alternative is always breaking off the relationship if it isn’t the right one. I actually don’t believe every single person in the world is cut out for a monogamous relationship, and if you fit that category, don’t settle down or get in a relationship. There’s nothing wrong with being single, and you won’t hurt people who’s hearts are built for monogamy.
If your partner is the micro cheater, decide whether or not you are comfortable with the behaviors they exhibit that you thought of when you read this article and make sure you’ve communicated to your partner that you aren’t comfortable with the way they’re treating someone else. Once they’ve been made aware of the problem you should begin to feel more comfortable with the way things are being treated moving forward. They should always make your feelings valid and care about your heart, even if you perceive something wrong. It’s a big red flag if your significant other doesn’t take your concerns seriously. This doesn’t mean they’re cheating per se, but it does mean that they don’t feel like it’s their responsibility to help take care of your heart, and that’s not what a serious partnership is about.
Despite cheating — micro or otherwise — being a pretty prevalent part of today’s society, all hope is not lost. I know my own heart and that I can’t have any of the feelings that I do for Robert for anyone else, and that I would never consider straying from the wonderful partner in crime I’ve committed myself to. This gives me hope for anyone who feels stuck because I know there are other “Krista’s” out there who think the same way as I do. Robert is one of them, as are so many of my friends and family members. Don’t give up your dream of having someone who only has eyes for you just because of one crappy experience. There are people out there who would be so, so excited and lucky to get to love you, and only you, so please don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve.
One of the sadder parts of having a chronic illness is when you question your own self-worth. When you’re in your twenties and chronically ill it’s really hard seeing all of the people around you traveling the world, working towards their dream job, and having fun in whatever way they see fit — whether that is going out with friends late into the night, playing sports and working out, or taking a spontaneous road trip with a big group of friends.
Some days it’s hard for me to do anything other than rest, and sometimes I have to cancel plans at the last minute because my autonomic nervous system decides that I shouldn’t be comfortable enough to do an activity. This becomes especially heartbreaking when I feel like I’ve let my loved ones down by not being able to do something that they want to. It sometimes makes me wonder why they choose me to play the special role of “best friend” or “girlfriend,” instead of someone who can be carefree and fun all the time. My chronic illness is probably my biggest insecurity.
My cardiologist must literally be an angel, as he has been so kind and comforting since the beginning of my illness. Since we have gotten to know each other, anytime he looks at my heart on an echocardiogram he looks puzzled and then says, “Krista, your heart is too beautiful for this world” with the most genuine smile on his face. It makes me tear up because I know he’s talking about something different than my physical heart — as that often beats a little too fast for its own good. He is instead referring to the core of my being. This little comment serves as a reminder that just because I sometimes feel broken or like I don’t have an as important purpose in the world as others does not mean that it’s the truth.I know other people who are sick or have struggles that make them different, and they have become even more incredible because of what they’ve been through. During times of loss, we often gain a new sense of empathy, a new appreciation for life, and a great deal of strength we never knew we had. Hardship can make us bitter, or it can be something we use to connect with others and help make them feel less alone. This is the sole reason I write so openly about my own struggles.
God puts people on this earth and lets them have hardship sometimes, not because He doesn’t love us or has forgotten about us, but instead because He wants us to glorify Him in all we do — that includes using our own heartache to lift up others. Sometimes our purpose is greater than fulfilling our own dreams.
My heart was broken. Yes, now I have an awesome boyfriend, wonderful family, and friends I know care deeply about me, but at 22 years old I had to give up my dream to live in a big city and write for Seventeen magazine and begin the fight to get my life back. Since that day three-and-a-half years ago I have chosen to push forward, even when I don’t necessarily feel like it, and never give up hope. There are a lot of things I haven’t done that I would have loved to do. I wanted to live in New York City again and I wanted to have an incredibly fast-paced, spontaneous job because that’s what I have always enjoyed so much. I love interviewing people and learning more about their stories, I love keeping up with teen trends and offering my advice to young women, and I have always wanted to make a positive impact on the world starting with our youth.
But God has a different plan for me than the one I had for myself. I can’t handle the stress or physical pressure a job in journalism has, but I can handle being vulnerable and toss aside my pride to show people that they are absolutely not alone in the world. I can handle publishing my deepest thoughts on a platform like this, even though not everyone will understand everything that I write about. Perhaps most important, though, through my struggles I have learned to love others deeply — whether or not I am their cup of tea and whether or not we have similar beliefs or values.
I still have days where I feel insecure about the way my life is with POTS, and I wonder when it will be my turn to actually live like I’m in my twenties. When I start feeling like this, though, I try to take a look at the people around me and notice how many people choose to open up to me and choose to make me an important part of their life. It isn’t because we can go out and have a wild night together or because I am able to get them into exclusive VIP parties. The people I am important to love me because of the way I love, and because of who I am as a person. There are certain “Krista traits” that are unique and special to the world. My power is that I love in a way that is irreplaceable to those who receive it. I will do anything for the people who are closest to me, and I will never turn down an opportunity to show love to those who need it, even if it means sacrificing something on my end. I strongly believe each and every person on this earth has their own qualities that are absolutely irreplaceable too.
Somehow I think a lot of people will be able to relate to this post. I think we all have our own insecurities, especially in a world where it’s so easy to compare. If I have learned one thing from having a chronic illness, it’s that people love those who are genuine and themselves. We are all so different from one another, but that’s what makes the world such an amazing place. People don’t have to have a chronic illness to be able to understand some of the things I have dealt with, such as insecurity and loss. There have been so many times where someone very different than myself has reached out to me and been able to relate to something I have written in their own very different life. We are all humans with the same basic feelings and a desire to love and be loved. Just because you feel broken sometimes doesn’t mean you are not valuable to this world and loved by so many people — some of which you haven’t even met yet. Never doubt your self-worth just because you are different. The best way to make a lasting impact on the world is often because of the differences that you have to offer.
I stayed in a relationship that wasn’t meant to be far too long. Deep down I think I somehow knew it wasn’t going to end well — or rather, if we did end up together that we would have a long, rough road ahead of us.
After the smoke cleared I realized that although any relationship will have trials, every single decision doesn’t have to be difficult. Now I am with someone who thinks I’m worth making sacrifices for, and someone who is really excited about having a future with me. I have learned that there are people in this world who are beautifully selfless and know how to love someone with a chronic illness. There are people who are as fiercely loyal as I am, and who won’t give up on a relationship just because things get tough.
Here are a few behaviors that are major red flags in a relationship:
Your significant other puts you down for things you can’t control. In my case this was my illness and the fact that I couldn’t physically work. I was a recent college graduate when I first got sick and had dreams of being an entertainment journalist. I had always been incredibly hard-working, but although I wanted more than anything to work, I physically could not have a normal job with my new chronic health condition. I was constantly told about how it “wasn’t my fault,” but that POTS was the thing keeping us in a rut. If I hadn’t gotten sick, we would be in a much happier place because there wouldn’t have to work through such a new, heavy road block.
Your concerns are always your problem. When someone treats you like you’re crazy because of seemingly normal concerns, it is called “gaslighting.” It’s funny how I never knew what this term was until a few months ago, but if your significant other acts like you wanting some of his time every week is your problem and that you are being needy, this is not normal. Your puppet master will surely turn any conflict in the relationship back on your own insecurities until you really begin questioning whether what you are asking for really is too much (Take note: if what you want seems like a very basic need in a relationship, such as quality time together, it absolutely normal. You are not crazy, and you should get out as fast as you can so that you can find someone who understands the basic fundamentals of a healthy relationship).
Your well-being is completely your own responsibility. This is a tricky one. Although I do believe people need to be happy by themselves before they can add someone else into the picture, I also believe a significant other should want to take care of you, as you would do the same for them. I’ve always been very independent and balanced my boyfriend/friend time well, but my one of my exes thought that his actions shouldn’t affect the way I felt. He didn’t understand why drunk texting me then disappearing for the night made me upset, and said that the anxiety I felt was entirely on me.
He is not a man of his word. No, it is not okay to leave you hanging for hours on end, and it is not okay to constantly break plans you have together. Yes, things sometimes come up in life that you cannot control, but if you feel like you cannot get excited about future plans with someone because they are unreliable, it’s time to find a person who will remember what they tell you and follow through in their actions.
You no longer recognize yourself when you’re with him. My ex made me anxious, pessimistic, depressed, and short-tempered. None of these are typical “Krista qualities,” and I didn’t like the person I was when we were together. The first 75% of our relationship I was myself. When he decided to change the course of his life drastically,though, and leave our relationship in the background of his life, I became a complete mess. I hadn’t realized how dependent on him I had become and quickly fell apart.
Today’s lesson: Now I am with someone who is kind, patient, and wants to take care of my heart. My boyfriend wants to spend time with me, take me out, give me little gifts “just because,” and remind me that I’m special. If you let go of what is hurting you in life, you make room for new things that are better. It’s really, really scary to let go of something that is familiar and comfortable, but if you are brave enough to, you might just learn how strong you really are.