Truthful Tuesday: Moving On

Welcome to my first Truthful Tuesday, where I dedicate my post to telling the truth. I hope some of these truths can bring better perspective to aspects of yourself.

The truth is…

Writing this weekend’s story shares was one of the most emotional experiences I have faced with this blog so far. For me the breakup with the 5-year was a story that needed to be told before I can go further in many of my postings. I feel as if readers need a better background to understand where my blog is going. But for me personally it was so emotionally draining that it took me multiple attempts to write it. Going through detail after detail wracked my brain so hard that after about 5 minutes of writing I had to take a break. The knot in my stomach was growing each time I went back, but in my mind this post needed to be put out there.

After I had completed them and posted them I went back to read them one more time. Those two blogs are two I am extremely proud of. I feel as if writing them was very therapeutic for me. I see myself as a strong individual, that forcefully gets over things quickly mostly by blocking them out, but these posts made me remember and with that came pain. But with the pain came further healing.

It has been a few years since this all happened and I have dealt with most of the grief but writing these posts brought up more than I was expecting. I see it all as a good thing though. I see it as progress.

The truth is….

2 days after he left he changed his Facebook status to in a relationship with her and started posting pictures of everything they were doing together. After he left I lost about 20lbs in 13 days. I didn’t eat. All I did was sleep. I only dragged myself to some of my classes, ending up with low grades that semester. I was falling apart day by day and nothing could help me. I ended up in the hospital multiple times with severe chest pains, which I now attribute to dehydration and mainly heart break. I had no one in my life to talk to other than my mother, and she was being stubborn with trying to wipe him out of my memory. I needed my own time to heal and gather my thoughts. Icouldn’t be forced to move forward by anyone.

The truth is…

Moving on is the hardest, most grueling process you will ever know or face. For some moving on isn’t an option, for others it is not needed. Some may need days, other years, or others yet who need lifetimes. Eventually though through own self perseverance and strength I believe everyone has it in them to move on.

The most important part to starting this process is realizing that you are somebody. That no matter what, that person didn’t take you. You always had you. You might have been with them, changed who you seem to be, but when they leave you are still you. You might be bruised and broken, and shattered into a thousand pieces, but piece by piece you can rebuild yourself.healing

It took almost 2 years for me to get to where I am now. I am over him and what he did to me. I have grown significantly in the time since he has left. I am finally able to say I am proud of myself for standing on my own, for figuring out who I really am as a person, not who I was with him.

It takes time, serious, hard, time. But one day you will come out the other side better than you ever expected.

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Story Share Sunday: The 5 Year Part 2

Read part one here.

I felt like I was losing him, that I needed to assert myself to make sure he remembered I was his girl. We had been together for almost 5 years, he had to remember that and all of our moments. I started down the lovey dovey path. I made him videos with all of our cute pictures. I stopped by his work as much as possible and dropped off his favorite food. I started to befriend any coworker I could, make sure they all knew who I was and that I was a good girl friend. I even went to the point of hanging out with her. Twice we hung out as a group, we didn’t really talk much but I was there. I made points to kiss my ex on cue. Hold his hand as much as I could. Just make sure she knew he was taken.

It didn’t make a difference.

We went fishing together one day, just the two of us and I asked to use his phone for a second. I knew what I was doing. Lately he had been making it a point to hide his phone and delete texts. This time I asked to use it to look up something online. We were having a fine day and he was not even thinking about what I was going to do. He handed it to me and he cast his line. I opened the messages.

Midnight the messages started. She said she was drinking wine. She said he should come over. She was all alone.

He replied he wanted to. He replied he should bring some beer.

She replied that she was cold.

He replied he wanted to warm her up.

I was done. My heart was crushed. I felt like I wanted to vomit. But I went on acting like nothing was wrong. Yet again my brain said there was no definitive evidence he was cheating. Was it inappropriate, yes, but was there much else, sadly no.

This was the beginning of the end. My fear turned me into this jealous beast that couldn’t let go of the fact something was going on. We had so many talks. So many talks. I don’t even remember how many late nights we had sitting around just talking about it.

In the start of summer he was asking me what type of engagement ring I wanted one day and moving in together. By the end we were hardly talking and he was acting so shady. Nights we were supposed to hang out he was gone. He didn’t answer his phone until the next day. I had learned that he had been going up to his friend’s apartment which was a party house. What he withheld from me was that every time he took her.

I found out through comments on facebook, which he shortly deleted. I confronted him again. He proceeded to write me a love letter, saying that he will always be mine, that she means nothing, she is out of the picture.

I believed it. My heart was his. For 5 years we had been together. He had been all that I had ever known and his word meant something to me. A life without him seemed impossible. My mind couldn’t even imagine it. It was him, and it was always going to be him.

He turned the talks into making me look crazy. That I was just the psychotic jealous girl friend. I started to believe it. I truly believed that I was turning into a monster and was pushing him away. Because of this I stopped bringing any of it up. I went on like normal. I tried to contain my feelings the best I could.

In the very beginning of the school year he came over after class. I had stopped by his car and dropped him off some food. I knew he would be hungry, and I didn’t want him to be hungry. I was trying. I was trying my hardest to act normal, to calm down my jealous ways, to move on like the summer had never happened.

part 2

He came over.

We went into my room.

He was quiet.

I looked at him.

He looked away.

He stood up and I went over to kiss him.

He pulled away.

I asked what was wrong.

He said he didn’t romantically love me anymore.

I pulled away. I said oh. I said let’s talk about it. We could fix this.

We went over to the park and just sat there talking for 4 hours. I said if he needed time to think that would be okay. I said that he could leave if he came back. I said if he needed time to figure out his mind it would be okay.

He said he loved me. He said he didn’t know what he wanted. He said he needed time. I gave him the weekend. I said lets talk on Sunday.

I didn’t realize he was literally not going to say a word to me until Sunday, 6 days away. And I promised him I wouldn’t say anything to him, not unless he messaged me first. Every day I stared at my phone, hoping, praying I would see a message from him. I waited and waited. Nothing.

My aunt came down that weekend just because, and Saturday night we went out to dinner. She asked about him. He was a part of the family by this point. I didn’t respond. My mother pulled her aside and told her what was going on. The entire time I went to my mother, leaving out some parts because I didn’t want her to judge me. She knew he was being unfaithful but didn’t have the strength to tell me. It was best for me to figure it out for myself. Plus I didn’t want to hear those words. I didn’t want to think of a future without him.

The restaurant was right next to his work. We walked in, my eyes stayed focus on the doors of his work. His car was there. Her car was parked right next to his. I knew she was there. I knew in those moments that when I was weak and crumbling he was having the time of his life.

I messaged him Sunday morning, since he never did. We decided to meet at the park again. I got dressed to the nines, making sure he knew what he was losing, and I left. I knew it was over. I drove to that park fueled with anger. The lack of response showed he knew it was over as well.

We walked up the hill and sat on the benches. He sat on one end and I on the other. He looked down the entire time. He never had the courage to say that he was breaking up with me. Instead he spewed lies and said that he was scared to be with me because I was so fragile. Because of my MEDICAL conditions he was leaving me. He was afraid to touch me anymore. That I was too sick and it was impairing his quality of life. That he couldn’t truly live with me in his life. That he wanted to have fun and not worry about what would happen to me.

I looked him dead in the eyes and said did you screw her yet?

He shuddered. He looked away and mumbled no.

I told him I’m not stupid. I told him I know what’s going on. I told him that I hope his decisions make him happy and that he can live with himself. I said after 5 years some girl that whored herself around work, who is also 2 years younger than you and underage is what you picked. That you chose her over me, and that you are no man. I didn’t spit what I wanted to at him. I just said I hope he was happy, and I picked myself up and walked away.

He stayed at the bench, and as I walked to my car I never looked back. I got in my car and drove away, knowing my entire life would come to a crashing halt.

Story Share Saturday: The 5 Year Part One

Starting this week I decided to start days where I write on a certain topic to my make my blog flow a little better. The current schedule will be:

  • Truthful Tuesdays
  • Wisdom Wednesdays
  • Therapy Thursdays
  • Story Share Saturday/Sunday

So welcome to my first Story Share Saturday!part one

When you are young and vulnerable it seems that sometimes only love could take you away. The premise of falling in love seems to make all the struggle disappear.

I was 15 and just entering the high school era that would be filled with all new experiences. Over that summer my remaining friends either betrayed me and left me behind, or were no longer going to public school. So starting out the year I had no one and it broke my heart. I was again a loner with no one to turn to. I fit into the group that no one else wanted, and even then wasn’t exactly wanted there either. When the opportunity came up to hang out with all my old friends I jumped, that would be the time to rekindle the close bonds we had lost over months of lack of communication.

I met my old best friend at the food court at the local mall, there we met up with some of my other friends but also new people who had taken my place for all of them. I was laughing and having a good time. It was just like the old days of running around being kids. Not a care in the world.

It’s there where I met him. My friend introduced me in of all places Hot Topic. He was goofy but seemed like a bad boy. His fro was out of this world and his smile was intoxicating. No one had looked at me like that ever. The entire night we chatted and hung close to each other. I was oblivious to the flirting, but he got my number and the rest was history.

We would text each other constantly. He was all I could think about. My 15 year old mind was overjoyed. Although he didn’t go to my school we still were able to hang out on weekends. A few weeks into knowing him I asked if he wanted to be my boyfriend. I was 15, headstrong, and naive. He said yes and the rest was history.

I was with him for 5 years. We grew up together in pivotal times in both of our lives. I was struggling at home with my medical problems and father drama, but he was my freedom. He was the one that kept me going. He was always there for me no matter what. He eventually turned into the only person I had. The friends at school left me, the home life was silent, and I was all alone. But in my mind I had him.

Eventually we both lost our v-cards together and became each others best friend. I was happy with only having him. It seemed right, and it seemed that my love story would have a happy ending. We talked about getting married, moving in together, maybe even one day starting a family. We vacationed together. We explored together. We did everything together. When I was diagnosed with POTS he was there. When I couldn’t talk because it hurt too much he would bear with me. When I was going to be put under for testing he would send me flowers and teddy bears. He genuinely seemed to care.

By the time my step-father had left he had been there through my court battles, medical struggles and continuing diagnosis, being home schooled, and being completely bedridden for 6 months. We started college together, sadly at different universities but still within driving distance. We had started the relationship seeing each other once a weekend, then maybe a few times a week once he drove, then almost every day when I drove. So with the different universities I saw no trouble.

By the time we both completed freshman year he was able to transfer to my school, which I thought would be the best thing ever. He also had gotten a new job over that Christmas, which meant he had new people at work that I didn’t know. Slowly I met everyone but was kept on the outskirts. They were much older anyways since it was an auto-parts store. By the time summer rolled around things were going to change. There was a new girl. She stayed away from me, but hung out with everyone else there. She knew I was his girl. She saw me there. I had ruled her out as nothing after discussing my fears with him. He understood and told me not to worry, they were just friends.

As the summer started I could see him pulling away. My fear was that he was with her, though I had no proof. I voiced my concerns as much as possible. Voiced my concerns over his work schedule that was increasing and increasing by his own choice. By midsummer he got so angry at me that he refused to talk to me for a week. He was struggling with his own family and the after effects of a nasty divorce. I let him have that time to cool down, I knew if I said any more it would just push him away. I thought he occupied himself with work, I was wrong.

Once the communication lines were reopened we were back to normal. I looked the other way as it it had never happened. Everything was fine. Everything was going to be okay again.

Then one day he left his phone out. I went to go take a selfie to make his new background, and there it was. The chain of messages. I knew I shouldn’t have looked, that it was his phone and his privacy, but it was also my heart and my feelings.

I read them. Every single message in the chain.

For the entire week he had confided in her. The chain included many many days where they were hanging out, doing who knows what. There were questionable messages but still again, no definitive evidence. My mind shut it out, my mind still told me it was okay. It broke my heart that he was talking to her and not me though and that couldn’t be ignored. I again voiced my fears with him. He again told me not to worry. She was just a friend.

Just a friend. Always just a friend. Nothing more, nothing less.

War Zones and Failed Ceasefires

It was another night of screaming. Another night of hiding behind my bed trying not to make a sound. They were going at it again, my mother and my step-dad, and I couldn’t help but listen. I heard the argument get more heated than ever, then the crash of something, then the footsteps upstairs. I quivered, I knew it was my mother. She came in and told me to stay in my room, that he had called the police on her.

I waited in my room while the police came in and questioned everyone. Apparently my mother had “scratched” him when he threatening to call the police with the phone in hand. He had already dialed 911 and by the time my mother whacked it out of his hand they were on their way.

The house was quiet after the police left. I went downstairs to stay with my mother and make sure she wasn’t going to do anything she would regret. He sat in the lazy boy chair my mother bought him. As my mother told me what happened in the kitchen he decided to make some sly comments from the living room, making it obvious for my mother to hear. He was egging her on just like he always did, and my mother still hadn’t calmed down from the incident right before. I stood in the doorway to the kitchen with my arms stretched out to block my mother from coming through. He made comment after comment, fueling my mother’s fire. As she was screaming at the top of her lungs I blocked her, I at least contained it to the kitchen. He sat in his chair, never leaving, just spitting fire. I screamed at my mother he isn’t worth it. I kept yelling it over and over and over again. Eventually I led my mother upstairs to her room and made sure she wasn’t coming out.

Fights like this were now happening on a regular.

The next week they were fighting yet again and I came downstairs to be a mediator. This was my role now, no matter how sick I was. Being the mediator came with the danger of failing, which I did many nights. This time though I screamed at him to leave, go to the movies or something. All he heard was leave and with this he was in my face spitting anger of how this was his house. Yet again a father figure inches from my face exploding. My mother quickly put herself in front of me and finished the fight without me. As time passed I started fighting back. I would spit fire right back at him. I would shake and cry and keep going until he shut up. I was done with him walking over everyone just because he was taking a different path.

The fights were over many things. Mostly over me, or the financial situation. In his head my medical condition was a joke, that I was faking it. After all the years of him being a support. He literally carried me out of the house to be taken to the hospital. He saw how sick I was. He saw everything that had happened to me. He might have no been an active player in my life but he was there to see it all happen. The financial situation was grim with my mother on unemployment dealing with her cancer treatment and he well, he saved. He refused to spend any money. He paid half the mortgage and that was it. My mother’s half, even though she was fighting cancer, was still up to her to pay.

This man said he was finding himself. When he came up short he took it out on my mother. Soon they just stopped talking all together. The house was a war zone with only a minute ceasefire put into place.

As the months passed of the two of them not talking I actually surprisingly bonded with him. I had no one else to talk to so on nights when he was home we would talk. We talked about his life and his journey. At one point I even was happy for him because he deserved to be happy. I thought if he could find himself then he could mend the relationship with my mother and all would be well again. Plus with neither of them talking the house was quiet and the tension faded.

I was wrong.

A few weeks before my prom I was sitting on the sofa, my mother in a horrible mood, and I decided to make a sly comment. I remember saying, “god, what is up your butt today”. The most teenage thing to say of course. Little did I know that exact day was when he decided he was leaving for good.

When prom arrived I still had no idea what was going on. My mother had composed herself and put on a happy face. My aunt came down to see me off to prom and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience. During pictures was when I realized he wasn’t present. I remember asking where he was, I wanted to take a picture with him. He had gone inside and eventually left for “yoga”.

A week later my mother came to me and told me what was going on. He was moving out, he had already found a place to stay and refused to tell my mother where he was going. She told me she asked one night that it would be nice to see more of him, and that she missed him, his response was that he was leaving and ready to go.

The day I made that sly comment was the day he told her.

She argued with him while in complete shock. His mind was made up. He was already gone anyways. It was a losing battle.

He told her during the week, and by the weekend he took only a handful of things and was gone. He took the drawers and emptied them into boxes, really only taking some clothes and some electronics. Then he was gone.

But it wasn’t over, the worst was yet to come.

dying

Husk of a Man

When on the journey of finding oneself does ripping up others matter? Does the cost of your happiness mean more to you than all the others around you? Are you yourself doing what is actually right, or doing what you perceive as right?

I thought these things as he sat in front of me, no remorse in his face, no hint of pain in his eyes. He said he was leaving to find himself and he couldn’t find himself here. He said this is what he needed to do, and with that he walked out the door and walked out on a family that was left torn in half.

My mother met my step-dad when she was with my father very early on and they all became great friends. Eventually my godfather was introduced and the final gang was formed. Everyone got married and had kids, and still stayed together as a pack. They vacationed together and hung out together, and when it was finally time for my mother to leave my abusive father they stayed with her instead of him.

One after the other they all got divorced, and as fate saw it my mother ended up in a relationship with my step-dad. When my mother was able to she bought her first house and a few years later my step-dad moved in. I couldn’t be happier. He had two kids of his own my age and I grew up with them by my side. Of course he didn’t have custody so it was only on occasion I saw them, but during my summers off I bonded with them every moment I got. And I truly bonded to my step-dad since he was more of a father figure than my own dad. Together we formed this nontraditional family that just seemed to fit.

In the early years the two of them seemed so happy together. It seemed like it was meant to be, that my mother after all of this time could be in a happy healthy relationship. But it was far from what it turned out to be. Year after year my medical condition got worse, and with that brought problems. Then when I finally took my father to court it was the last straw. The home life turned for the worst and the fighting started to spiral out of control. My teenage years I spent in my room, away from the nights where punches were practically thrown. My mother with her temper and my step-dad with his below the belt punches. There was no stopping them. The screaming would go on for hours and even when it was over he would go back for more. Neither of them were happy, but my mother insisted he was the love of her life. He was meant to be with her, and she was meant to be with him.

Around the same time as my POTS diagnosis came the shocking news of my mother having breast cancer. I remember being in my room and they both come in, both with half smiles on their face. He leaned up against the wall and my mother sat next to me. She told me they had found a mass in her breast and it came back cancerous. I was in shock. How could this have happened to my mother? She explained that it was only stage 1 and that it did not spread, but it was one of the most aggressive forms of cancer and she needed further treatment. My mother being who she is opted for just the radiation therapy and biweekly injections of a substance that would shut down the proteins of those cells. They pushed for chemo but opinion after opinion said that she didn’t really need to get it since it was only stage 1 and did not spread. They did want to give her a port though, which she said no to because then she would have to tell people since you could see the port. Without the port though her veins would be ruined. She accepted this fate if it meant she could hide this diagnosis from the world. She was fighting for her life and the only people she told was my step-dad and me. No one else in the family was told for her own sake, since then everyone would want to help her. My mother is the strongest woman I know and she didn’t want to be pitied. Telling people would just make them look at her weak, as someone who is now fighting for her life. She wanted nothing to do with that.

After a botched tube was placed for her pinpoint radiation therapy she had to go back in for more surgery. Each time she would come home and my step-dad was in charge of helping her clean the open wound and helping support her. She was sliced and diced, and came home often with blood soaking through the bandages. She couldn’t come to me in her weakened state because in her eyes that was not right to show me, she had to be the caregiver, not the other way around. She never cried in front of me. She never broke down in front of me. The entire time I saw her as a fighter, which gave me strength to go on in my own fight.

On top of everything else my mother was going through she was forced to resign from work because of the recovery period. In her mind it was the right thing to do, since battling cancer and holding a job in corporate America isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. Plus this gave her the time to watch after me since I was also extremely weak and vulnerable.

By the summer of my junior year of high school I saw less and less of my step-dad. I was told he was working late. He would roll in around 10pm and would be gone before I woke up in the morning. I always heard him come in since my window faces the driveway.

And for about a year he was sleeping in the spare, apparently due to snoring (which let me tell you he did. I heard him through the walls). Then it was because my mother didn’t want someone else in bed with her during the cancer treatment. Then it was just normal, they just didn’t sleep together. There was never any affection. It was a cold house of him just being there. It was either he was there and they fought or he wasn’t there and my mother would make excuses. That was now the norm.

As my senior year rolled around and I was homebound yet again he came to us with exciting news. He had started yoga classes and joined the local YMCA. I was a little shocked honestly. This man was 6’3, easily almost 300 lbs, not exactly the yoga type. But that is what he wanted to do, and to keep him happy my mother supported him. As months went on his training took a more serious tone and he turned into this man that none of us knew. This man we knew was turning crooked. He had branched out of what either of us knew. The status quo was being challenged and he broke away from what was expected of him. But this left uncovered a dead man who wanted nothing more to reblossom.

huskHis life was yoga. There was nothing else. He decided he wanted to be trained to be a yoga master and yet again my mother supported him. He would come home with all of this weird information, come home saying that yoga can cure anything, come home saying that yoga would cure my mother of cancer and cure me of all my illnesses. He was crazed with the idea of being reborn. He wanted to cleanse his body of all evil spirits and be new again.

He juiced like crazy, far more than recommended. He would fast for weeks in order to cleanse his body. Overall this large Italian man was turning into a husk of nothing. The light in his eyes was gone yet the smile on his face remained. The wrinkles grew along his thinning face. He was turning into a man that no one had ever seen before.

The longer he went on this now spiritual journey the farther away he drifted from both my mother and me, but the full abandonment was not far away and not either of us saw it coming.

Caged Bird

“I see at intervals the glance of a curious sort of bird through the close set bars of a cage: a vivid, restless, resolute captive is there; were it but free, it would soar cloud-high.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

It hacagedppened yesterday, another flare up out of the blue. I woke up early to head out for my Praxis II exams, which was then followed by my teaching assessment class midterm. I wasn’t worried about how much testing I was going to have to go through, it was more of just wanting the day to be over with. Once the exams were complete I headed home, finally able to rest. I had a nice lunch and took a relaxing shower, then decided to lay my head down for a few before heading out to my education based math class for yet another exam. And that’s when it hit me.

I was laying there and I could feel it, the creeping pain spreading from my neck to the front of my head. It wrapped around my left eye and started to pulse. My back started to tingle and the shooting pain exploded to every inch of my body. I told myself it was just a headache and to not worry. I took some Tylenol and hoped for the best. It wasn’t helping, and my status was deteriorating at an even faster rate. My legs ached and were ice cold. I was having rapid hot/cold flashes. I was in pain from head to toe.

But I pushed through, what choice do you have when it’s an hour away from exam time and at a university that could care less about your medical condition. I was forced to get out of bed, get dressed, and drive myself to my exam regardless of my pain.

By the time I was at school my mind was completely absent. I looked around and it felt like I wasn’t even there. By the time I sat down in my chair for the exam it felt like I was in a dream, those moments when you are dreaming something so real it feels real. Except mine was the exact opposite. I was there, and this wasn’t a dream.

As the exams were passed out I realized I was screwed. It was a packet of 10 pages with questions we hardly even covered. I went through each page and picked out what I automatically knew. When I hit the simple addition problems I stared at the page blankly. The question was to write a real world example for -5 – -5. The answer was 0, but my brain could not think of anything that made sense. I flipped to the next page. Find the error: 10 – -14 = 4. I looked at the problem, stared at it for a good five minutes. The error was obvious and could be applied to the rest of the problem, but my brain just stopped. I looked at the numbers and they seemed so foreign. I went to write my answer and explanation but my hand didn’t want to hold the pencil. Attempt after attempt I failed, I couldn’t hold the pencil and write properly. My handwriting on the test was so poorly written, the spaces between large font letters and sentences made it seem like I was in grade school. But no, just a senior in college having a horrible episode.

When the test was over we had class, 2 more grueling hours of mathematics. By this time I could no longer speak, or sit up straight, or even really look up. I sat in my chair hunched over with my hoodie bunched up around my neck. I was an icicle. At some moments it felt like my breath was even cold. The class passed and I wiggled and waddled out of my seat, having to pause while my blood pressure caught up with the rest of my body. Walking back to my car I was so dizzy and I could hardly breathe. The massive change in temperature blasted me as I went from a lukewarm classroom to a freezing windy outside. As I managed into the car I just wanted to cry.

I was so out of it that even the emotional process of crying was too much for my brain to handle. So I drove home with this heavy feeling in my chest. I felt like a failure, a down right absolute failure. I cursed all of this medical garbage I was dealt and thought of all my other classmates who could care less that I looked like I was dying in my seat. I thought of how wonderful it must be to not be sick all the time, how amazing life must be when your wings haven’t been clipped.

At moments like these I wonder what my life would have been like it I never would have gotten sick. How much different would things have turned out? If I was given the ability to fly from day one would I be someone completely different? If I was given the ability to fly forever would I be like everyone else around me?

Dark Depths and the Woman in White

My entire life I lived with symptoms, symptoms that seemingly didn’t fit together. All the doctors looked only at what they were trained for, sticking with what they knew best. But when more than a decade goes by and you are still struggling to live a normal life isn’t it time to wake up and realize that there might be a bigger picture.

After completing high school and entering into the world of college everything seemed to be going pretty steady. My symptoms were manageable enough to attend class, but after my classes ended I would travel home weary and tired. The brain fog consumed my thoughts. I slept when I could and never went out at night. My life consisted of going to and from the university just for educational purposes, the social life was still at a standstill.

Having been diagnosed with POTS my life consisted of maintaining the symptoms and hoping flare ups would be left at bay. My life was also very limited after seeing the cranial osteopath, I was told what I can and cannot do. The list of activities I couldn’t do grew practically every trip. It was hard to have fun when you knew that anything out of the ordinary could mess you up. Even sitting in a different chair could jam my tailbone, or lying on a pillow too high which would push my skull forward. I had to calculate my life down to a tee. Anything else would result in a flare up which would cause me to miss class, and even the disabilities office refused to work with me on my absences. I had to push myself through or face the thought of being forced on medical leave from the university and be pressed further behind on my degree progress.

Year after year went by and I could control most of my flare ups, I was far from perfect but it was still better than being bedridden. I was succeeding in school maintaining a high GPA even with my numerous absences and brain not being there half the time. In my junior year my cardiologist called me and told me he could no longer see me because his practice was refusing to see POTS patients. This happened once before when I was a minor still and the practice said no minors. He referred me to another doctor in the practice who would solely fill my prescriptions. When I finally had an appointment I was told he would only fill some of what I needed. The main problem was the sleep medication I was on, which he refused to refill. My entire life I have had sleep issues and after seeing the old cardiologist for a while he put me on Trazadone and after the Trazadone didn’t work he prescribed Ambien. The thing with Ambien is that doctors really don’t want you taking it every day for long periods of time. By this point I had been on the Ambien almost 3 years, prescribed to take up to 20mg a night every night. The next doctor refused to fill it, and I was left with my lingering supply to hopefully make it to the next doctor. Ambien has a nasty withdrawal and to flat out not prescribe it to someone who has been on it for years is wrong, especially when you know it does have a withdrawal process. And the real kicker was that not sleeping was a huge trigger for my flare ups.

I decided it was time to leave that practice all together since the doctor that would see me was not filling half of my medications and not caring about weaning me off of anything. Luckily I was able to make an appointment at a top heart center in the area and see a doctor who specifically treated POTS patients. The appointment was months away but I could wait, my hope was that she would recommend something else to help me feel like a human again. My life was so controlled by my diagnosis and I couldn’t break free no matter what I tried. I was starting to think I was a lost cause.

When the day of the appointment rolled around my mother came with because this was an incredibly important event to attend. The massive heart center must have spanned over 3 football fields with an extremely modern design. I was hopeful just walking through the door. I needed desperately a fresh take on my POTS diagnosis. When we were ushered into the backroom the doctor enters wearing the typical white doctors garb. She was beyond intense for having the thinnest frailest body imaginable. She talked fast and at some points I couldn’t even understand her. She asked me to tell my story, which I did.

“You don’t have POTS”

Excuse me? Wait what? What did she just say? I looked at my mother, as she looked back at me almost in a rage. What do you mean I don’t have POTS? She asked me to take away the POTS diagnosis and describe my symptoms.

“Because of my POTS…” She stops me and says no, take out POTS, and just describe the symptoms.

“I can’t exercise without my POTS symptoms…”

“Without the POTS…” she exclaimed.

I continue. Explaining my situation was very difficult without adding in the POTS symptoms. I was associating everything with that word. My brain fog, the blood pressure changes, the intolerance to hot and cold, the inability to exercise, the aches and pains I have all over, the chronic fatigue, all of my stomach problems, the cold sweats I would get, even my sleep issues. Everything I could think of I associated with the POTS diagnosis. Well after all I’ve been told this over and over again for years by my former doctor. Everything I had was POTS. All the symptoms were POTS. I couldn’t do this because of POTS. I couldn’t do that because of POTS. It was hard explaining it any other way.

But it was a misdiagnosis. Everything I was told was not true. After living with this diagnosis for 6 years I was told I do not have POTS. I was skeptical. So was my mother. In fact she started back talking the doctor who immediately talked over her. My mother is no wimpy woman and would never let me be pushed around by a doctor. She voiced her opinion while I sit there stunned, now rethinking practically my entire life.

The doctor told us that POTS is a regularly misdiagnosed syndrome since there is no official test to prove you have it. It is simply diagnosed by looking at your symptoms and labeling you with something so they can begin treatment. She also added that most people who truly have POTS are elderly people who can’t get up since they immediately pass out. Things like this did anger me since I knew it wasn’t true. I know in my case it might not have been POTS but by doing research it is most common in adolescents. Not once had I heard it be diagnosed to elderly patients only. She also questioned if my stomach problems actually existed which also frustrated me till no end. This woman sat there and decided to pick me apart piece by piece and tell me it was all a lie. I was questioning POTS but I was not questioning my stomach issues or migraines. Let’s just say this woman was a straight up bitch in white that had no problem exploding your brain with completely new information then stomping on you by insulting the support at home. To end the appointment she told my mother to be more accepting of this news and for me to keep a journal every day, then I would see her in 6 months. To see the look on darkmy mother’s face must have been priceless. But I signaled my mother to not say anything so we could get out of there and have a real discussion with just the two of us.

As we were walking out the door she also added that she would refer me to a rheumatologist because she thinks I might have nerve damage that might be causing some of the symptoms. We finish up the scheduling and head back to the car where I immediately start having a meltdown.

And there I was, back in the dark yet again.