Body image, Chronic health condition, Uncategorized

Another thing I have to deal with

 

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I have psoriasis… Great! Just what I needed, another health condition because having anxiety (generalised and social), depression, gastroparesis, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic ingrown toenail problems and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome wasn’t enough now we have to add psoriasis to the list.

I’ve had an itchy head for the past 6 months so I went to the dermatologist and she told me I have dermatitis and I was like ok, that’s good, I can use the medications she prescribed and it will go away! But no, it didn’t go away. I still had the itching and flaking and so I went back for my 6 week follow-up and she then tells me I have psoriasis, like it was no big thing. ‘Oh you have psoriasis and will now have to put all these toxic and damaging shampoos and gels on your head, have a great day!’ Yeah thanks, whatever. She had no compassion and she knows nothing about me. She knows my name and date of birth, that’s it. I feel like she should have gotten my medical history so she knows how this is a big thing for me and not something she can just tell me and not even ask if I was ok, no? Psoriasis is an auto-immune disease so the only think I can do for it is manage it, I can’t get rid of it, It’s now a part of all my other medical problems. Yes I’m lucky that it’s mild and not as bad as some peoples but still, it’s just another thing to have to deal with. Oh and get this, stress is a big no-no! Ha ha ha ha! Stress is my middle name. 

Not to sound full of myself or anything but I have beautiful hair. It’s silky, smooth, thick, glossy, so soft and long. I’m a freaking walking Pantene ad! And out of my whole body it’s the one thing I actually liked about myself. I was happy with my hair and wasn’t ashamed by it, but now it’s full of flaking scalp, it’s itchy and very dry from the horrible shampoos and stuff I’ve had to use. Is this what I get for actually liking something about myself? Am I meant to hate every part of my body and just loathe myself for all of eternity until the day I die? Because to be honest with you that doesn’t sound like much fun.

I just can’t believe I have another thing to deal with. I feel so defeated by life, I was doing ok and then this happens! I’m so tired of everything, I’m emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted I need a break! I can’t keep having new problems arise, my body has enough to deal with and now it has another illness to fight. 

Back to the stress thing, it’s coming up to all of Chase’s anniversaries again so I don’t know how I’m meant to remain stress free through that! March the 8th is when he was diagnosed, April the 30th is his birthday, May the 31st is when he died and June the 5th is when his funeral was, that’s a couple of months of stress. 

I’m starting my treatment now and hopefully I’ll be able to get this psoriasis under control and I’ll learn to love my hair again. 

Oh I forgot to tell you before that today I have to go get my hair cut because it’s too long to handle with all these things I have to do to it. Bye bye hair! See you when you grow back in months and months. I sound a little bitter don’t I? 

Love to you all,
Maddy xoxo 

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Death, Depression, Grief, Uncategorized

A letter to my brother

Dear Chase,

I miss you, I miss you so much it hurts all of the time. I still can’t believe that you’re gone and that you’ve died and that you’re not here. That you will never experience what life has to offer; good and bad. You will always be five years a month and a day in my eyes, you will never grow up and have children or get married, you will never have your first drink or travel the world, and you will never be there growing old with me. You were my little brother and you meant so much to me. I loved you so much. You were my favourite sibling and you always will be, not because you’ve died but because you were meant to be my brother and because we come from the same soul group; I truly believe that. I also believe that one day I will see you again because the alternative is that I will never see you again and that’s just too hard. 

You were so brave and strong. You were the most amazing person, you and mum inspire me everyday to keep on going and not to give up, even though I want to many times a week. Sometimes its so hard to remember why I can’t kill myself and why I do have to keep on living and the two reasons I always go back to is that one: mum needs me and I can’t leave her, that’s just too horrible and two: I believe that if I kill myself before my time to die I will miss you and mum and have to reincarnate and I will never get to see you again. You and mum is what’s keeping me alive on this planet and you’re not even here with me! You’re dead, you died. You died and left me. You left me and you left mum and since then we’ve had to go through so much crap. I get so angry at you sometimes for leaving and dying but then I feel bad because what sister gets angry at their dead brother from dying from cancer? Am I a horrible sister for not going to the cemetery also?

I still can’t believe that you’ve died sometimes, my brain can’t comprehend that I will never get to see your beautiful face again and play superheroes and crocodile crocodile with you. But the truth and reality is is that you are dead and that I will never get to play superheroes and crocodile crocodile with you again. 

You got diagnosed on March 8th and died on May 31st and between those two months I watched you deteriorate to the point where you couldn’t walk, sit or crawl by your self, mum had to carry you every where and you mostly just stayed in bed while I had to go to school and not spend time with you. Your cancer was terminal, you were going to die and yet I had to go to school and waste seven hours a day learning stuff I still don’t remember now while you were at home getting killed by your brain tumour. 

The day you died I remember not seeing you in the morning and it was a Thursday, I went to school and had to re-take a maths test that I’d failed (gee I wonder why that was!) and then I got on the bus and came home and the palliative care doctor had come while I was at school and you had IV lines in you with medication and you never woke up. Your breathing became different around 5-6pm and mum rang the doctor and they said not much longer and then on the Friday at around 12:12 that morning you died. I literally watched you take your last breath. The feeling of hope I felt when I got to your room and saw you take that breath was a feeling like no other and is indescribable and I will always remember that feeling there is also no way I will ever forget how I felt in those five seconds thinking that you were still alive and then you didn’t take another one. It was official, you had literally just taken your last breath. 

The come down from that feeling of hope is also another feeling I will never forget. You were so still and pale, you looked like yourself but at the same time you didn’t. You could tell that you were dead and that there was no more life in your small body. You died in Mums arms and that’s how it should’ve been, I’m glad you had mum there with you. 

Why did you die Chase? Was it so mum would leave Michael and find a new life for herself? Why? Why did you die and leave us? Why did you get DIPG? Why couldn’t you get another cancer if you had to get cancer that could be cured? I don’t understand why you got the rarest one, is that because you’re a rare human? There’s so many ‘why’s’ and I just want an answer to one of them. And why did you have to leave mum? She’d been through so much already and then you have to go and die and make it worse. I wish you would’ve made mum leave Michael another way without dying.

I know you’re still around, I get signs and I heard you say the other day say ‘I love you Maddy’ and I saw that avengers symbol on my top, but that makes me feel worse sometimes because it just reminds me that you’re not hear and that you’ve died. I try so hard to lock and shut those feelings down because if I let them out like I have the past two weeks I become incredibly depressed again and have to remind my self the reasons to keep on living. 

You truly were a superhero and shining star little brother. You were the best sibling and brother anyone could ask for. You and mum make me feel love I didn’t even know was possible. I am so proud of you and who you were in those short five years. everyone who met you loved you and thought you were amazing. No body ever thought you were anything other than amazing. 

I don’t know how to describe how I feel about you dying most of the time. Most of the time it’s indescribable. How do you explain to people how you feel about watching your brother die and then have to live with everything that comes after that? You can’t, it’s impossible. 

Did you know that you were going to die since you were born? Did you know that we would only have you for five years? I wish so much that you could give me some bloody answers. No one has answers for me, no one knows why you died and why you died of such a horrible thing. 

I love you so much Chase and I hope you know that. I hope you know that while I was stuck at school I wish I was at home with you even though all you wanted to do was play superheroes with mum. 

I wish I could do what mum says about thinking of seeing your signs as a blessing and knowing that you’re still around but I just cant do that right now, maybe one day but not today. 

I’m scared that one day I’ll somehow forget about you, that I’ll forget that I had a brother like you and I know that sounds horrible but it is one of my fears, right up there with mum finding someone else she’ll love more than me and want to spend more time with.

It’s coming up to that time when you tell someone about you dying and they ask how long ago and you say 4, 5, 6, 7 years and it sounds like such a long time ago when in reality it feels like it happened last week, yesterday or never. I don’t want that to happen I don’t want people thinking any less of my grief because it happened 7 years ago. I don’t want people thinking any less of your death because it was 7 years ago. 

I don’t want to make peace with you dying because I don’t want to accept that I will never see you again and that you’re dead. In a way me still being in denial makes sure that i will always remember you and that your death will not mean nothing. You meant everything and I still want to believe with everything that I am that you will come home one day or that I’ll wake up and it was just a nightmare but I know that’s not true and yet I still can’t come to terms with it. 

I love you so much Chase and I will never forget you, ever. 

With all the love that I have, 
your sister Maddy.

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Body image, Depression, Emotional eating, Food addict, Guilt, Uncategorized

What it’s like being an emotional eater and addicted to food…

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Food. I love it and I hate it. It’s heaven and it’s hell. It’s good and it’s bad.

My relationship with food is a complicated one because as you can see in the title of this blog, I am an emotional eater and addicted to food.

“Hi, my name is Maddy and I’m a foodaholic.”
“Hi Maddy” (you all say in a bored monotone voice).

Food has always been a comfort to me, it’s always been there when I needed it and sometimes I hate food for always being there. I eat when I’m bored, sad, angry, anxious, tired and just about every other emotion you can feel. It’s a crutch for me to stand on; a very unhealthy and unhelpful one at that.

But what does it actually feel like being an emotional eater and addicted to food?
It feels like a viscous cycle that you know you need to get yourself out of but you just can’t. I’ll be sitting on the couch feeling bored and without me even realising what I’m doing I’ve gotten off the couch and eaten the rest of the chips, put some toast in the toaster and while that’s cooking heated up a muffin and because that wasn’t enough to eat i’ll go back and finish off the corn chips! All because I felt a little bored… Right now as I’m writing this blog post all I can think about is how nice a toasted bread roll would be, but then I remember how I feel after I’ve gone on that food binge and I start to hate my self and resent my self.  I start thinking about how fat I am and how no body likes a fat person. But then those thoughts make me feel sad and I want to go eat! So as you can see, it’s a horrible cycle.

EAT->FEEL BAD ABOUT SELF->EAT SOME MORE->FEEL EVEN WORSE ABOUT SELF->MAYBE EAT AGAIN->FEEL SO DOWN AND DEPRESSED THAT I CAN’T GET OFF THE COUCH TO EAT ANY MORE <—- Fabulous isn’t it?!

When I’m feeling really down food makes me happy, even if its just for those minutes that I’m eating it I feel ok and that’s where I get stuck in the cycle. I don’t think to go and distract myself I don’t even think at all! It’s like breathing I just dot it.

It’s such a messed up thing and I hate it. I hate that food is the one thing to make me happy and sad all in the space of 10 minutes.
I’m getting better though at not hating on my self too much I think. My mums a big help in that because she knows how I feel and what it’s like to eat your emotions away.

My psychologist says something to me every time I see her and that is to ‘Be kind to yourself’ and I always roll my eyes and say yeah ok, but she’s right. I do have to be kind to myself because if I hate on my self too much and end up being a depressed mess (Get it? ;)) I’ll feel the need to eat again and get stuck in that cycle that in no way helps me.

I need to start to remind myself that food doesn’t help, it makes everything worse. I need to stop myself when I’m in the kitchen looking for food and tell myself to go do something else if I’m bored.

Food shouldn’t be my crutch it should be my friend that I visit every day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and an afternoon pop in for tea if I’m feeling peckish.
I also need to learn to be ok with my feelings and to sit with them and not immediately go and put something in my mouth.

Love to you all,
Maddy xoxo

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Uncategorized

Who is Maddy?


Who am I really? What makes me me? What makes a person a person? What’s an identity? These are all questions I ask myself regularly when trying to find my way through this maze that is called life. I’ll start with what I do know.

I know I am 17, I am a leo, I was born in August, I am vegan, I have anxiety, I have depression, I have many health conditions, I am trying to finish year 10, I want to be a teacher when I’m older, I would like a puppy, I’m not very good at maths, I like to read, I like to bake, I like to eat, I love my mum very much, I like to watch TV, I like to sleep when I can, I’m a bit moody sometimes, I like to think of myself has an empathetic and nice person, I have long brown hair, I have dark brown eyes, I don’t like any sports except for tennis, I have a blog, I don’t have any friends, I don’t have a social life, cheesecake is one of my favourite things to eat on special occasions, I have a brother who died and another brother that I don’t get along with very well and an older sister who’s hard to have a relationship with, I can be a bit bitchy sometimes, I am spiritual, I have a good sense of humour I guess and I haven’t given up yet. But with all those things that I identify as myself who am I really? If we strip all that stuff away, what’s left?

Who am I?

A lot of people say it takes a long time to find your ‘true self’ and I wonder what that true self looks like.

I haven’t talked about my religious beliefs before but I think this post calls for it.
I respect everyone and their religious beliefs and I hope you can do the same with mine.
I am a spiritualist and I do believe that there is life after death but I don’t believe that there is a heaven and a hell that we may or may not go to. I believe that we all have a spirit/soul  and that when our physical body dies our spirit leaves and goes to the spirit world and I believe that there is such a thing as an ego and that most of the time our lives are just the lives of our egos and not the lives of our spirit/soul.  I also believe in reincarnation; I believe that your spirit/soul has lived many lives before as different people and that when that body your spirit is in dies it goes into another body, I believe this happens because you have life lessons to learn before you die and when you don’t complete those life lessons your reincarnate until you complete them. For example: My life lessons so far are forgiveness, acceptance and tolerance. I’m working on forgiveness and acceptance at the moment! And most important of all I think is that I belive in signs from my brother who has died and I believe that he is living his TRUE self as a spirit in the spirit world and that when I die, I will be able to be MY true self and be able to spend the rest of eternity with him. 

Keep safe,

Maddy xoxo 

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Chronic health condition, Depression, Grief, Guilt, Survivors guilt, Uncategorized

Guilt… I don’t like this emotion!

There are a couple of different types of guilt I feel on a day to day basis these include: survivors guilt, suicidal guilt and the guilt of being a bad daughter. I’m going to start with the survivors guilt I feel most days.

My brother died three and a half  years ago from brain cancer; the cancer killed him within twelve weeks of his diagnosis. The many thoughts running through my head when he died and still up to this day are ‘Why wasn’t it me?’, ‘Why did he have to die and not me?’, ‘I should’ve been the one to die instead of him’, ‘He was too young and I was older’ and ‘It would’ve been easier if I died instead of him’. These many dark and gloomy thoughts plague my mind constantly. I feel so guilty that I’m still living and he’s dead and that he will never experience becoming eighteen, moving out, friends, love, marriage, kids ect. He will forever be five years old and only a memory I have in my brain, but here I am wanting to kill myself! And that’s where my guilt for being suicidal comes in. I know all these things about my brother not getting older and experiencing life and yet I still can’t help but feel like I want to die sometimes and get this life over with. I also have guilt about wanting to kill myself because how could I do that to mum?! She is the only reason I’m still here and the fact that I might miss my chance to be with my brother and have to reincarnate (yes, I do believe in reincarnation if you haven’t completed all your life lessons before you die or if you kill yourself). The thought of dying and not seeing mum and my brother for god knows how many years or if ever really makes my stay on this earth. I love my mum more than anything and the thought of leaving her breaks my heart and makes me cry, so really there’s no chance of me killing myself if I think of all the reasons why I can’t. Mum has already lost her soulmate, why would I put her through having to bury another child? That would just be cruel and incredibly selfish of me. So don’t worry mum, you’ve got another forty years to put up with me! 😉 

Every birthday I have I can’t really enjoy anymore. I feel guilty if I get excited or happy because what kind of sister gets excited when her brother is dead and will never have another birthday? Every year I get older and every year it’s just another year of my brother being dead. I also haven’t been to the cemetery in such a long time and I feel guilty for that too; it’s just too hard for me to go there, but does that make me selfish for putting my feelings before my dead brothers grave? I don’t know, it’s just too confusing and complicated. 

Should we talk about my guilt of being a terrible daughter now? I think so! 
In my house it’s just mum and me, mum goes to work when she can (she has an auto-immune condition along with depression and anxiety) and I just stay at home all day trying to do some school work and chores when I can. I feel so guilty that she has to go to work to support both of us and I do nothing to contribute. I know I have health issues along with depression and anxiety but I just wish I could do more. Mum is always telling me not to worry and that she doesn’t think I’m a horrible daughter, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking and feeling like that. I wish I could get a part-time job and help out financially so all the pressure isn’t on her… I hate having my health conditions and not being able to get a job, it’s so frustrating! Will mum one day wake up and resent me or think of me as lazy because I don’t do much? I do the vacuuming once very week which is my job and I do the dishes and some washing but really, I’m not helping pay for the food or bills or anything. Mum gets so stressed about money and I feel so guilty and bad about myself because I can’t do anything to help. I’m hoping that when I let go of some more weight my health will improve and I can get a part-time nannying job to help out financially at home. Fingers crossed alllllll my health (physical and mental) problems go into remission and I can start to help out a bit more. 

That’s enough for today I think! I should probably listen to my own advice but, keep safe, keep going and things will get better. 

Maddy,
xoxo

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Body image, Chronic health condition, Depression, gluten free, Grief, Uncategorized, Vegan

A better me? No, just a vegan me.

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It’s 1:30 in the morning so you know what that means! Blog post time. Yay! I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this but all my posts are written in the wee hours of the morning when I can’t sleep because of my CFS. 

Now I’m not feeling very positive but I thought that I might write a positive post, who knows it might cheer me up? Yeah, I doubt that too.

My positive post today is about how I became vegan and gluten free and how it has affected me. I decided to become vegan and gluten free on the first of January this year as my mum has been vegan for about 2-3 years and has always been pushing me to give up everything that comes from an animal and I’ve got to say, it’s been a pretty good decision. 
I’m not gonna lie though, it wasn’t easy at first but now after watching many horrific videos of animals being tortured and slaughtered and going 10 months without animal products I am happy to say I am a fully committed vegan. 

I’m going to tell you the sad part of this blog post now and then get to the positive part.

After my brother died I gained a lot of weight and I mean a lot! Not all at once but gradually where it got to the point where I had put on at least 30kgs (yeah omg!!!) I truly believe that I put that weight on to protect myself from the trauma that came with watching my brother die and having my step-father be an a**hole. With the weight gain and the grief came the depression and with the depression came the over-eating and with the over-eating came a very fat and un-healthy Maddy. It got to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore so I tried Optislim for a couple of weeks and I did lose 5kgs but then I fell off the Optislim wagon and put double that back on. I was even unhappier than before and my health conditions even worse. So I pulled my crap together and went vegan and gluten free.  

Now comes the positive part! The first week of my new adventure I did a smoothie cleanse (god I was hungry!) after that I cut out all dairy and all gluten and started eating gluten free bread instead of that yummy, fluffy and  freshly baked Bakers Delight bread. I also started to walk as much as I could which wasn’t much considering I had ingrown toenails that needed to be surgically removed. I didn’t feel much different in the first few months health wise or so I thought, but looking back now I can definitely see that I’m much better than I was. I still have horrible flair ups like I do right now but things are different. I also started to loose weight, its been very slow because after 3 years of having no idea what was wrong with my digestive system I finally have a diagnosis of gastroparesis; this pretty much means that my stomach doesn’t empty as fast as it should and then makes the rest of my digestive system slow down. So as you can imagine, trying to lose weight with little to no metabolism ain’t easy!  I have lost 10kgs so far and I know its not that much considering I have so much to go but it’s a step in the right direction. Writing that is weird because I’m so harsh to myself all the time about not meeting my monthly weight goal so I never really stop and say, “You know what Maddy? You have a stomach that doesn’t empty, you’ve had two toe surgeries that are still messing up, you have chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety and you are pretty much in constant pain.” I’m definitely going to have to tell that to myself more often I think…

Since losing weight through vegansim and gluten freeism (<—made up words) and trying to walk as much as I can, my bloating has defiantly gone down which is such a relief. I no longer look 8 months pregnant, only 3-5 depending on how my bowel is feeling and how much I ate. 
I’m actually going soy free at the moment too to see if that can help at all since that’s the only thing I haven’t tried excluding. It’s been one week so far and I see no difference but we’ll see how I go after another week. 

I truly believe that becoming vegan and gluten free has helped me (it’s also helped all those animals which were being slaughtered so I could have some ice-cream). A lot of meat eaters think that all we eat is vegetables and salad, well that’s not true at all. We have so many delicious things to eat and sometimes it’s even tastier than what non-vegans eat! Trust me, I would know since I was a meat eater for 16 years. 

If any of you read this post and are over weight or battling and illness I strongly suggest becoming a vegan. What have you got to lose? 

Please feel free to comment any thoughts or questions you might have. 

Lots of love,
Maddy xoxo

 

 

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Body image, Chronic health condition, Depression

Living life in the slooooooow lane…

Chronic. This seems to be the word that is describing my whole life at the moment. I have a chronic medical condition, I have chronic depression, grief is chronic, my anxiety is chronic and the feeling that nothing is going to change is chronic.
We talk a lot about how teens suffer with mental illness and self-image problems and that’s great, but what about teens who suffer from chronic illnesses that can cause those mental health and self image problems? I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and a chronic gastrointestinal problem that we still don’t have many answers to (I’ll talk about that another time).

Before I talk about my experience with CFS, lets get down to the basics about it. CFS is the feeling of ALWAYS being fatigued, sore and the need to just keep laying down forever no matter how much sleep you get. There is a difference between feeling tired and feeling fatigued, just like there is a difference between feeling down once in a while and having depression. There is no cure for CFS, just many suggestions from doctors that can include eating healthily and trying to keep your body active (this is quite hard when you feel like every bone in your body is aching and every nerve in your body is on fire and you feel like you haven’t slept for 30 days straight) They say that CFS is most common among people in the age box 40-50 and most of them are women, but I don’t care about those statistics! I want to hear about all the young women who suffer from this ‘old persons disease’ (I’m not saying that 40 is old though! ;)) There are so many more symptoms than just feeling tired and having a sore body. These can include:

  • loss of memory or concentration
  • feeling unrefreshed after a night’s sleep
  • chronic insomnia (and other sleep disorders)
  • muscle pain
  • frequent headaches
  • multijoint pain without redness or swelling
  • frequent sore throat
  • tender lymph nodes in your neck and armpits

You may also experience illness or extreme fatigue after physical or mental activities. This can last for more than 24 hours after the activity.

People are sometimes affected by CFS in cycles, with periods of feeling worse and then better again. Symptoms may sometimes even disappear completely (remission). However, it’s still possible for them to come back again later (relapse). The cycle of remission and relapse can make it difficult to manage your symptoms.

Thank you to  http://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-fatigue-syndrome#Symptoms4  for this information. 

Now back to me. Every morning I get up and feel like I haven’t slept at all, my bones hurt, my toes feel like they’re being poked with hot pins and needles and I have to fight the feeling to fall back into my soft, warm and comfy bed and sleep forever.

The lack of motivation from feeling so fatigued all the time has negatively affected my life in a great way. I can’t concentrate on my school work, I can’t help around the house as much as I want to and it’s super hard to get the motivation to go somewhere nice with my mum when my anxiety is tolerable. And when I do pluck up that slither of motivation to do something, what ever I do with it uses it up in a heartbeat. It’s extremely annoying when you’re trying to sleep and your teacher from school rings asking you about your school work and you say “Well you know that when you have depression you get brain fog well, the same thing happens when you have CFS” and the she says “Yes I do, but if you keep pushing the fog clears”. That’s bulls**t! If you keep pushing the brain fog it comes back ten fold and then you just sleep because you’re exhausted from trying to push past the exhaustion and the brain fog!

Being a teenager is hard enough with out the added stress of having a chronic health condition or two and stressing about not passing school for the SECOND time round.
You know what is even harder than that though? No? Well let me give you a hint…
Try pushing yourself to go for a walk outside or go on the treadmill because you need to let go of all that extra weight that you put on because you’re so depressed and anxious and you have no metabolism so you don’t burn your food off, and how can you burn your food off when you’re so tired from a chronic fatigue problem? Yeah, that’s even harder!  I’m working on it though.

Dory off Finding Nemo had it right when she sang “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming” That’s what I’m trying to do every day, just keep swimming against the current that is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

My next post is going to be all about becoming vegan and gluten-free and if it’s helped or not. Stay tuned!

Keep safe and keep going, you’ll get there one day!

Maddy xoxo

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