I’ve been depressed since I was 12.

Lora Zombie
“Rainy” by Lora Zombie

 

The most common comment I get since moving to New York City a year ago is that I am too positive for this city and that it will change me. My response every time is that I have worked too hard for my joy, and it isn’t going anywhere.

But I realize that people probably don’t know what that really means. That, when people see me being positive, they assume it’s an inherent trait – one that exists just because it’s who I am.

They don’t realize that I actually have clinical depression – dysthymia, specifically. That the chemicals in my brain are not wired for me to feel okay and that when I say I’ve worked hard for my positivity, I mean it. Literally how I eat, my exercise, my daily habits, my alone time – not only are they built to support my physical health, but my mental health too.

My happiness, my positivity is a choice, but it’s one that I had to learn how to make over years upon years of work, not only personally but with the help of doctors, clinicians, counselors, nutritionists and, at times, medication. Because – just like how my body does not make insulin, it doesn’t create enough serotonin, the chemical that helps contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness. Everything can be going right but without serotonin, my brain does not have the ability to recognize it. Continue reading “I’ve been depressed since I was 12.”

What it’s like to watch people die from your disease.

My immune system attacked my body when I was 10, resulting in a loss of ability to make a crucial hormone called insulin, which turns the food you eat into fuel for your body. Without insulin, the sugar from your food compounds in your blood stream, quickly poisoning you from within.

Before 1921, this event was a death sentence. The only “treatment” was starvation. Even over the last few decades, being diagnosed with this autoimmune disease meant shorter lifespans and drastic changes in what life could look like. Outcomes weren’t great. Complications were inevitable.

Technological advancements have made it so that I, by being born at the right time and into privileged circumstances, can not only live, but can live the life healthy-me would’ve lived too.

But the reality is, people still die from complications of type 1 diabetes all the time. And whenever I hear stories of it, I break down. When people die from this disease, it’s rarely from their own negligence. It’s mostly from simple mistakes – not realizing that what felt like the flu was actually diabetic ketoacidosis. Not waking up from a low blood sugar and dying in your sleep. Miscalculating how much medicine or food you would need when you’re out and about. Or, also commonly, from not having the money or resources to afford what you need to survive. Continue reading “What it’s like to watch people die from your disease.”

Being chronically ill in the age of resistance.

I’m worn out. Mentally. Physically. Drained.

Not more than anyone else. I get the times we’re living through right now. None of this is normal. We’re all feeling depleted.

It’s in a different way. Beyond the emotional and mental burden of everything happening in the United States right now, my immune system has been firing at insane rates again, and my body is breaking down. Again.

This isn’t new. This happens in cycles, multiple times throughout the year. Continue reading “Being chronically ill in the age of resistance.”

Published author, day 3

Lala Angela 2I’ve spent the last three days at my publisher’s home, nicknamed The Author Castle, outside of Washington, D.C. On Thursday, my book launched. Within the first 24 hours, my book ended up in the top 1,000 in the Amazon Kindle store and hit #1 in pain management in the US (#2 in Australia in the same category), #1 in disorders and diseases in Japan, #1 in chronic pain in Canada, and #1 in pain therapy in Germany. It also seems to be holding pretty strong in the high ranks for Social Sciences in both Japan and the UK. So yes, I am officially an International Best Selling Author. Continue reading “Published author, day 3”

My book is here!

My first book Beyond Powerful published this morning (go get it! It’s free right now, but not for long!). I wanted to share a few things with you on this big day!
2

1) I didn’t curse in my book (publisher’s rules) but I do curse in real life. You’ve been warned.

2) I’m humbled that I got to write something so personal and that now I get to share it with you all. This book, at its core, is about having an innate need to do the things we want to do while living with chronic illness and figuring out exactly how, but I’ve gotten such amazing feedback from my advance reader crew that everyone found value in it, and that means so much to me. Continue reading “My book is here!”

Have no idea what I’m talking about when I say ‘spoonie’?

As I develop content for my book, publishing in September 2016, you’re going to keep hearing me refer to this thing called a “spoonie.” Nope, not a trekkie. Not some weird reference to cuddling. It’s a way people with chronic disease describe ourselves, and here’s why. Continue reading “Have no idea what I’m talking about when I say ‘spoonie’?”