2018: The Year I Became Me
This year was huge for me. I was finally diagnosed. I finally got help for my mental health. I started biologics. I found yoga. I learned what self-care truly was. I started my blog. I don’t even feel like the same human being that I was at this time last year, and although it’s been hard, I’m so grateful for that.
I started this year off still not knowing what was going on with my body. I feel like I was lost, a part of me wasn’t there. A huge part of me. In February I was diagnosed. It was a shock for me coming out of the doctor's office that day. I had a lot of researching to do. There were a lot of mixed emotions, which I’ll admit took a long time to settle. For the next month or so, my days were filled with lots of tears (which resulted in a perma-swollen face), lots of sleep, and lots of time googling my disease. After seeing my doctors and my psychiatrist, things were getting easier, and I was coming to terms with the fact that I now live with an invisible illness.
The road to recovery (or, I guess, feeling better), was and is bumpy, things change every day. But I’m so thankful for the support system I’ve had this year in my family and friends because they helped me work through what I needed to in order to be accepting of myself. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come in that aspect this year, and I was able to start up this blog to hopefully help people who are newly diagnosed or just feeling lost in their illness as well. We’re all warriors, sometimes we just need to lean on others while we discover that!
I started seeing a psychiatrist in February as well. Something I truly never thought I would do. I’ve lived with depression for over 6 years and anxiety for my whole life. Up until I got sick, I dealt with it all by myself, and I found it somewhat easy to do so. When I got sick, there was too much going on for me to try to be my own therapist as well. Since I don’t have insurance, I decided to go through CAMH which has free doctors to help you. I see her monthly and we go through what to do to keep myself busy, calm, and productive. We tried group therapy back in May but it didn’t go well, as I have social anxiety and being in groups isn’t the best thing for me. I’m currently looking into getting a therapist because I believe talk therapy would be beneficial for me too. Things are still very rocky, but my mental health is in good hands and I’m happy that I finally got the courage to ask for help. It’s not easy, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
In April, I started biologic treatment. My drug, Inflectra, is given through Intravenous (IV), every 8 weeks. Since I started, my pain and amount of flares have gone down significantly. This doesn’t mean that I feel like I used to, but I feel a lot better than I did without the drug. Although I hate needles, the treatment is something that helps me and helps prevent damage to my joints caused by the arthritis. I’d say it's a win.
Also in April, I started yoga. I found a channel on YouTube, Yoga With Adriene (she’s a godsend), and started with some beginner videos. I’ve always been into keeping fit and exercising, and getting sick upset me when it hurt me to do so. I found her 30-day yoga challenges and I fell in love. Yoga helps me stay fit, helps me stretch out my muscles and joints, and helps me mentally as well. It’s introduced me to a whole world I never knew about, and it also introduced me to self-love, something I’ve been trying to work on for years. I’ve come to peace with my body and with myself over the past 9 months, and come to accept who I am. I’m just now dipping my toes into meditation and mindfulness, something I intend to look more at in the new year to further my journey. I always tell people that yoga is my lifesaver because I truly believe that it is.
I was also lucky enough to go on 3 mini vacations this summer. I went camping in Cobourg, to NYC for 5 days, and another camping trip to Six Mile Lake in August. I haven’t been able to travel much due to the pain and fatigue, and I missed it so much. I feel so lucky to be able to travel even with everything going on, I don’t think I could give that up for anything. I’m taking a trip to Oklahoma and Los Angeles in January and I couldn’t be more excited for it!
2018 was the year that I can honestly say I truly feel like I know myself. I know who and what I aspire to be, and I have the motivation to become that. I’ve learned so much this year not only about myself, but about others too. I hope that 2019 can only be better, and I can move forward with everything I want.
Thank you so much for reading my 2018 blog post! I hope you’ve all had wonderful years as well, and Happy Holidays to everyone! I hope your holidays are filled with love, warmth and lots of snuggles! Here’s to 2019!