Sunday, March 9, 2014

All About Respect

Some of you reading this may know that the Paralympic Winter games are going on. But many of you probably do not. Let me explain.

Last night, my friends and I watched the games. For 3 hours, we watched sled hockey and sitting/standing biathlon. In the middle of these games, there were very brief results of a few other sports, including wheelchair curling and skiing, a sport in which I would have liked to see all of it.

In sled hockey, there were people who were missing a leg or both legs or paralyzed or other disabilities that confine the players to wheelchairs or the use of a prosthetic. But that does not matter and is beside the point. The game was USA vs. Italy and it was as action packed, if not more so, as the normal Olympic games.For the full hour of showing, my friends and I were on the edge of our seats, screaming at the TV, just like we did while watching the Olympics.

To tell you the truth, I have been excited for the Paralympic games for the past two weeks or so, since I finished watching the Olympic games. My friends and I agree that we prefer the Paralympic games.

I have to say I am thoroughly upset by the almost nonexistent coverage of the Paralympic games. There is barely anything about the games on national news. There is no coverage on the Today Show, as there was during the Olympics. There is no OlympicZone on NBC. No interviews with Paralympians, as I would love to see. The only thing shown on NBC, a main national channel, was a severely shortened version of the Opening Ceremony. I say "severely shortened" because they only showed an hour of the ceremony, missing most of it. It is almost like they are saying that disabled athletes are not important enough to be on national news. Granted, they are actually showing some of the Paralympics.

Now let me explain why this is so important to me.

Ever since I was a little child, I have known people with mental and physical disabilities. In fact, I have worked with hundreds of kids and adults with special needs. My first memory of working with someone was a blind boy who I taught how to hula hoop. I have volunteered at schools and a camp. At the camp, I helped campers do activities they never thought they could do, like mountain climbing. I have a passion for helping people with disabilities achieve their dreams.

I, myself, have an almost invisible disability. It is not as apparent as most. But that does not matter.

I believe disabled people can do anything they put their mind to, with modifications.

And disabled athletes are just as important as "normal athletes."

I also believe that this lack of national coverage is awful and discriminatory. It is like saying that people with disabilities are not as important as those without disabilities, "normal" athletes. And that is wrong.

No wonder we have so much discrimination. No wonder people with disabilities are not treated correctly. No wonder there are people who park in disabled parking spots who are not disabled. No wonder people with disabilities are stared at or laughed at.

The respect is not there.

And one other thing. Most of the people in the Paralympics are veterans. These people put their lives on the line for our country and most of them lost a limb or multiple limbs while fighting. Veterans and nonveterans alike have overcome incredible odds to be in the Paralympics. The least we can do is pay attention and watch the games.

It is all about respect.

The Paralymipcs are mainly covered on the NBCSN channel, so if you receive this channel, take some time and watch.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

To Share or Not to Share

"In a pioneering study, psychologist and University of Texas professor James Pennebaker and his colleagues studied what happened when trauma survivors- specifically rape and incest survivors- kept their experiences secret. The research team found that the act of not discussing a traumatic event or confiding it to another person could be more damaging than the actual event. Conversely, when people shared their stories and experiences, their physical health improved, their doctor's visits decreased and they showed significant decreases in their stress hormones."
-Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

Wow. Does any of this surprise you?

Many people wonder why I am so vocal about the abuse I survived as a child. Some say that I should not share what I've been through. But this research shows that people who have been abused should share what they've been through.

It is healthy to share...

Sometimes it's scary to share your story but it is a huge relief when others understand what you've been through or they can relate. It's a huge relief when people take the time to understand and listen. It helps a ton actually. Knowing that you're not alone in the fight makes the fight all the more worth it.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Nostalgia

"We are often comparing our lives, our marriages, our families, and our communities to unattainable, media-driven visions of perfection, or we're holding up our reality against our own fictional account of how great someone else has it. Nostalgia is also a dangerous form of comparison. Think about how often we compare ourselves and our lives to a memory that nostalgia has so completely edited that it never really existed: 'Remember when...? Those were the days...'"
-Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

Hey guys! It's been quite a few days since I posted a blog. I apologize. It's because I honestly ran out of things to say. I didn't want to repeat myself and I kind of hit what they call a writer's block.

I just started reading Brene's book and I can NOT put it down. She makes so many great points about vulnerability. It is a very well-written book.

I chose this quote because for me, lately, nostalgia is hitting me hard. I am dealing with severe weight gain because of my medications, one in particular, Zyprexa. It is known to make people always hungry. I often think of a year ago, when I was down to 105 pounds and I miss that time. I miss being light as a feather in some ways. I was able to run 6 minute miles. I was able to run up stairs. I never got out of breath. I could run 5 miles straight in 15 minutes. I miss the freedom. I miss the wind whipping in my face.

To be truthfully honest, I miss my mania at times. But not enough to go off my meds. I just miss the photographic memory. I miss the running. I miss feeling invincible. I miss feeling like nothing can stop me.

Now I feel so... ordinary...

Anyways, I went to my psychiatrist yesterday for the first time since 2010 and updated her on the past few years. Without even saying anything, she said we would be lowering my Zyprexa, because she said I am on a very high dose. I'm hoping this will help some with my weight gain. But at the same time I don't want it to affect my paranoia/psychosis. I am scared to go down a bit. But I am also scared about the health effects of being overweight.

It feels like there is no winning.

I guess the winning is that I've been out of the hospital for 10 and a half months. That's a big step forward. No matter how much I miss my mania, it is not enough to make me go off the meds and go back to the hospital. I just want stability without weight gain and my psychiatrist told me yesterday that there are other options.

Just keep moving forward...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Unbeatable

"In a tornado, you not only have to look out for the tremendous winds, but also whatever the winds pick up and hurl in your direction. Like a tornado, alcoholism often brings along additional problems, including verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, illness, debt, prison, infidelity and even death...When facing a difficult situation, let me remember that my Higher Power speaks through other people. I don't have to face it alone."
-Courage to Change (Alanon book), Feb. 16 Devotion

I really liked today's quote because it reminded me of something I watched last night, the Syracuse basketball game against NC State.

The game was way too close for comfort and Cuse was going for a record of unbeaten games, 25-0. They had a lot riding on the game and NC State definitely gave them a run for their money. The teams tied at least 12 times during the game.

Towards the end of the game, I felt my heart beat faster. The adrenaline rushed through my body. With twelve seconds in the game left, Cuse was down by 1. My friend, who I was texting back and forth throughout the game said they should go for a 3 pointer. I said no, they've been missing those too much. All they needed to win was 2 points.

And Tyler Ennis got those two points. But it wasn't over. With 6 seconds left, NC State rushed to their side of the court and tried to get a shot but missed. And the rest is history...

25-0. Unbeatable. Unreal. Amazing.

I'm kind of new to basketball. I only really started watching it lately because 1) my friend, Justin, got me into watching Cuse basketball games and 2) they are my alma mater and I am excited about how well they are doing.

The one thing that really stuck out to me is that there are some really difficult situations in basketball. Cuse was down by 5 points at one point in the game and I honestly got really nervous, but they worked together and kept their unbeatable record. This is just like how we have to work together in life to beat the seemingly impossible odds.

With Christ in our lives, we can overcome anything...We are not in this alone.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Attitude of Gratitude

"I will thank my Higher Power for whatever I experience today, even if I feel troubled or confused. I know that every experience can offer me a gift. All I have to do is be willing to look at my situation in the light of gratitude."
-Courage to Change (Alanon book), Feb. 14 Devotion

First off, Happy Valentine's Day!

Secondly, I am pretty much snowed in, with Northern NJ receiving over a foot of snow yesterday.

I don't really like being snowed in because I didn't get to see all of my friends yesterday. But regradless, I got to talk to most of them on Facebook.

The quote above reminded me of how far I have come. We may not always get to change our circumstances when we want to, but we can definitely control how we react to our situations. Attitude determines a lot. We have to get up and face each day regardless of what comes our way.

I love gratitude and being thankful for every good thing in life. Gratitude is so important in determining how we live our lives. It is so much better to be thankful for stuff than to be stuck in a pity party.

I am very thankful for where I am now. It's been over 10 months since I got out of the hospital,. Every day I am excited to wake up. I get to see my friends and I have been applying to many jobs. I have had time to relax and regroup after finishing my Masters and I am ready for whatever job comes my way.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Beautiful Friendships

"I know that I was pulled from despair by the love of strangers who quickly became friends."
-Courage to Change, Feb. 11 Devotion

I have made quite a few friends since I came home to NJ a few months ago. Every day, I go to my friend's store (she owns the store) and meet up with a few friends to eat lunch together. I run some errands for a friend. We laugh and tell stories together. Lately, I've been reading a Chicken Soup book to them. I am so grateful to them for the time we spend together. I couldn't imagine being alone now that I feel the love that they show towards me.

I also have friends who live nearby and I go to their house usually in the afternoon to watch the Olympics together. There are four of them who live in a house together. I love visiting them and watching together. We laugh together and just enjoy each other's company.

It is interesting that we used to be strangers but we definitely all quickly became friends. I even remember seeing one of my friends around the lake before I finally met them and now we are really good friends.

Needless to say, I am extremely fortunate to have the friends that I do. They make every day fun and full of joy. It is an absolute blessing to be their friend.

Monday, February 10, 2014

10 Months

Well, today marks 10 months since I left the hospital...

A lot has happened since then. I finished graduate school, I moved home, and I made some friends. I can't believe how far I've  come in a short time. I can't even believe I'm celebrating 10 months and I'm almost to a year. I feel like I am celebrating even more than my 10 month anniversary.

Thank you for your prayers, love and support through everything. I couldn't have made it this far without everyone in my life.

Every day is a new adventure and I really am excited at where I'm at right now. Almost on cloud nine. Things are going really well. I'm ecstatic to be able to watch the Olympics with my friends and we are planning to see The Lego Movie soon. I can honestly say I have the best friends in the world, including my brother.

I can say from experience that you can't let your situations define you or stop you from achieving your dreams. No matter what comes your way, keep moving forward and things will work out. God will take care of you and bless you beyond belief. No matter what, keep trusting God... He never fails.