Good Morning Conglomerates! Today we have another courageous Guest Inspiration here to share her story with us for LUPUS AWARENESS MONTH. Tiger is another fierce conglomerate who is using her experiences to remind you that regardless of the circumstances it is going to be ok! She shares with us the importance of self care, perseverance & finding your strength within your “weakness”. #Nickkie&CoWearsPurpleForTiger
Hi Ladies! Anyone who knows me calls me Tiger; if this is our first-time meeting, it’s truly an honor & thank you for reading.
I’m almost 25 years young but almost every day I feel as if I’m twice my age, trapped in someone else’s body. I feel robbed, I feel betrayed, & quite frankly; I used to be angry as hell.
I started this journey with my autoimmune disease right around my 21st birthday. I was in a draining relationship, working 3 jobs and putting myself through college when my whole world came crashing down. I had simply been feeling “off” for a while. I got random rashes that would come and go. I was always a woman that ran so my joints hurting wasn’t uncommon either. Even when my hair was falling out it seemed normal to me. I had become so out of tune with myself that I really didn’t notice anything at all. However, my various blood tests over the months is what made my doctors dig deeper. A few weeks after what should have been one of my biggest birthdays, turned into an everyday struggle to affirm “Your story doesn’t end here”.
I suffer from a disease called Systematic Lupus Erythematous. To simply put it, my body attacks itself at random and is unable to defend or maintain. My symptoms can vary but, most commonly I’m extremely fatigued, I may develop rashes on my body, I’ve lost a lot of my hair, my organ systems can shut down & it’s incredibly hard to move around without feeling extreme pain. Every single day is difficult for me.
When I was first diagnosed, I cried for hours. I locked myself in my room, laid back in bed & pretended the last few days were just a bad dream I needed to wake up from. I was overcome with the thought that I was dying. To hear that there wasn’t a cure & not a lot of research, was what really knocked the air out of my lungs. I couldn’t just live a normal life & once again, it seemed the devil was robbing me of my light. I HAD PLANS… I was going to practice medicine, I was going to open my sneaker store, I had to see my siblings graduate & I was going to be the rich auntie that sent money filled cards & traveled the world. I couldn’t die yet. I wasn’t done living! I spent more time in various doctor’s office than anywhere else. I had about 6 pills to take everyday and those pills changed every few months when they stopped working for me. It seemed like my rheumatologist (doctor who specializes in Lupus) would only have bad news. I had to cut my hair off, I dropped about 15 pounds & it looked like life was being sucked out of me.
I fell into a deep depression. I refused to let anyone help me, I didn’t want to talk about my feelings & I certainly didn’t want to go see any of my various doctors. I figured if I could ignore my pain long enough it would simply go away. I had no idea what self-care was nor, did I understand anything about mental health. I was raised to suck it up & keep moving because there was no time to feel & healing could happen along the way. The finish line was moving every single day & if I stopped even for a minute, I’d never make it to the end. So, exactly what do you do on the days when your body is telling you to rest but the world refuses to let up just for a moment? YOU TAKE CARE OF YOU FIRST!
You must understand that direction is much more important than speed. Don’t allow yourself to run blind & fast. I desperately wish someone would have told me this & stressed the importance. As women we naturally put ourselves aside in the name of business. But if you keep teaching yourself to put yourself last, how will anyone ever learn to put you first? Self-care is absolutely something everyone needs to learn. I still struggle with this but after learning that healing looked different for everyone, it became easier. For me, I listen to a lot of podcasts; specifically, Elevation Worship. I learned to listen to my body so, I’m a plant-based Vegan. I write music, I dance terribly, I love purely & intensely and seek God relentlessly. Living with lupus at such a young age isn’t easy but I don’t walk around defeated. Some days I don’t have the strength to lift my head, other days I’m putting on makeup to cover up my scars & on all those days I’m thankful to still be here. What I want to stress to anyone reading this is, it’s going to be okay. Whether you have lupus or another autoimmune disease, or any problem at all, you’re going to make it. We will all die someday so while you are here; don’t forget to enjoy the view. My world crashes in pieces everyday but I’ve learned to continuously build a new one out of the pieces I have left. What I’m trying to tell you is to simply breathe & find your footing. Even on the days that seem dark, make sure you keep at least one person around as your lighthouse to guide you back home. I promise you, you can endure more than you think.
If my story touched you in anyway please feel free to rock purple any day this month in solidarity for those who have Lupus. If purple isn’t your color, that’s fine too! However, I challenge you to make a list of three methods to self-care for Mental Health awareness month.
I’m rooting for you.