Women’s March 

Why did I march at the Women’s March? I had actually believed that the march was to unify women and empower us as a whole no matter our race, sexual preference, or anything else for that matter. I was hopeful and feeling inspired. Here was this women’s march being promoted everywhere we look. Talking about power, unity, and fighting the fight. I’m a woman who was raped, I’m a woman who has girlfriends from third world countries, and I am a woman who also believes that something’s need to change. I thought I was part of this group.

Then, the day before the march I read about the Pro-Life movement being denied a part in the march. Upon reading about this, I immediately felt alienated and confused. I thought this march was about supporting ALL women. I thought this was about being one and equal. I thought this was about women sticking together so we could be more powerful. To say that we will not be raped, belittled, and pushed to the back. I thought this march was to say that there are girls being trafficked in our backyard and we, women, can help them! I thought this march was to help oppressed women anywhere. I was left uneasy and unsure, if I would attend the next morning. 
The next morning I started to see pictures of the marches going on in other cities. I started to feel anxiety and some panic set in. I saw the signs bashing “my God”. I saw the signs bashing some of my views. I saw WOMEN alienating me. I was confused and immediately thought that wasn’t a place I belonged or was welcome. Even though I’m clearly a woman, I felt unwanted and like the enemy. I talked to a couple friends and my mom in hopes of some guidance. Ultimately I made the choice to attend the march. I tend to have anxiety problems so I thought I was looking for a way out. I wanted to be brave. I should’ve listened to that little voice inside. I should’ve stayed true to myself. I should’ve stayed home. 
I went to the march and at first I was moved. I saw waves and waves of people marching peacefully. They were united in that very moment and you could feel the power. As I started walking up to join the march, my excitement started to turn into anxiety. Little by little, as I read the signs and looked around, I started to feel lost. The march itself was fast. Then, they held the rally. That’s when it hit me hard. I am lost. I was jam packed here in masses of people. I kept looking behind me, to the side, in front, anywhere for me to get out with my stroller, giant husband, and two year old. What the hell am I doing here? They aren’t talking about changing anything. They aren’t giving ways that we can stick together and be stronger. They aren’t talking about accepting everyone. They’re aren’t talking about respecting each other and other women. Giving money to PP shouldn’t be the only way that women should be told to help. Is this all that women’s rights is about? We’ve managed to pack women’s rights into two categories now? Pro-life and pro-choice? That’s it? That outweighs girls being trafficked, girls be raped and married off worldwide, women being forced to be suicide bombers, while carrying their infants? 
I left. I saw hundreds of posts following. I saw pictures, read signs, people mocking the march, women bashing women for going or not going, people loving the march, etc. We all saw everything. It was everywhere. This huge nationwide Women’s March was taking place and I was a part of it. Why did I feel so bad inside? Why was I embarrassed that I went? Why did I feel even more alienated than before? 
Days have gone by and I really had to take the time to process everything. I had to take the time to get back to being true to myself. I had to ask myself hard questions about my beliefs and where I stand. The truth of the matter is that I have known and continue to know what I believe in and who I am. Sometimes I can get overwhelmed and still succumb to peer pressure whether it’s intentional or not. I too want to feel like I’m a part of something and belong. 
I am Pro-Life. I am a woman. I should not be alienated for my beliefs. I should not be excluded. I should not be made to feel less of a woman. I should not be guilted. I am NOT Pro-Choice. This one detail of my beliefs should not and does not dictate the type of person or woman I am or the type of life I live. It’s MY belief and just that. I’m not asking you to follow it, I’m not asking you to understand, I’m not asking you to educate me, I’m not asking you to question me, I’m not asking you to be a part of it, I’m asking to be respected. 
I’m not telling anyone that they’re wrong. I’m not telling anyone to change what they belief. I’m not telling anyone they aren’t welcomed. I’m not telling anyone that they need to be educated, because of their beliefs. This march was a slap in the face to so many woman and yet that’s ok, because they don’t think the same and “people are angry.” This march alienated and oppressed women just like women have and will continue to do so day in and day out.  
We want to hold women’s marches screaming that we are oppressed and demanding equal rights. How about we hold women’s marches screaming that we have the power to help thousands of oppressed women in the world and demand it be done whether your pro choice, pro life, gay, straight, white, black, democrat, republican, liberal, American, Middle eastern, Asian, etc.? 
Get your opinion and judgment out of other people’s beliefs. It’s none of your business. There isn’t one way to be a good person. There’s tons of ways. You don’t need to have a certain set of beliefs to be a good person. We can all be good people, even if we believe different things. Can you believe that? 


If I just make it to…

Another thing that sucks about mental illness is that once you hit adulthood, you’re basically on your own with that. What I mean by that, is that it’s your responsibility to get better and seek help. It’s up to you how you want to live with it. It’s up to you if you want to go see Drs, be on medicine, find support groups, etc. As an “adult” I have sought help more than once. I had been to doctors and told them I was depressed. That things were very intense for me. That my mind was fast and wouldn’t turn off. I’d had generic personality questionnaires, psyche questionnaires, etc. Which is all fine and dandy. I’m sure those tests have been helpful to them at some point in history, but when you have a mentally ill person in front of you, can’t they just talk to them? If a person is seeking mental health treatment, they’ve made steps to get themselves there already. And trust me, it’s not easy to get to that point. Thank you American government and insurance companies for that by the way. Now that you have a mentally ill person jump through hoops and wait months to be seen, the best we have is generic tests where you fill circles out with a pencil? And don’t worry, if you don’t want or can’t wait months, just admit yourself into a mental hospital or ER. Gosh, glad to know I have such good options. I just told you I’m depressed. I just told you I think about suicide. I just told you what I’m feeling. But yes, let me just make you a smiley face on your fill in the circle test now. I was a pro at those tests. Give me one right now. Let’s see what I can draw up.

See, I was a punk. By the time I made it in to seek help for my mental health, I had already been using drugs on and off to treat myself. I can’t tell you how many times in my life medication has just been thrown my way without anything else. Medications that have made me feel worse than I was prior to taking. Medications that have failed me time after time. Medications given to me after having me fill out circles for half an hour, after I just told you I can’t remember what I read after I read it. That I can’t focus. Medications that would throw me deeper into depression. When I tried to kill myself once, guess what I was taking? Medication prescribed to me. Even after I’ve told doctors that those medicines made it unbearable for me. I’m pretty sure I have a bag with at least 20 bottles of pills. All which have failed me. Come to find out recently that anti depressants will make mood disorders worse. So for a long long time I was anti meds. Not anti meds for everyone, but anti meds for me. I told you guys I had a lot of strikes against me. I thought my pain and suffering was for the most part self induced. I just needed to get my life together and then I’d feel better. I didn’t need medicine or want it.

The system and “help” had failed me before, but I had also failed them too. I was never fully honest with them. I never gave anything a full fair shot. I was young, manic, possibly on drugs, etc. I’m not sure I really wanted to stay alive then. I knew I felt bad and needed help, but I don’t think at that point I saw a way out. Even now that I have a team of people behind me (profesional and personal), somedays I still don’t see the way out. I’ve lived the majority of my life truly believing that I would forever be alone in my pain. That no one would ever really know my deep dark pain. I still believe that now, but that’s not my focus most days. I can’t let my mind run off with that, because who knows where that unstable beast will go.

This time I was so terrified that if I reached out for help again, the same things would happen to me. Except for this time, I was terrified because I have so much to lose now. I didn’t want my illness to kill me and I knew that medications and “help” had failed me so much before. What if they couldn’t help me again? What if these medications didn’t work again? What if they made it worse again? What if I tell them I’m dying and losing my mind, and they give me a questionnaire to fill circles in? I couldn’t handle impersonal care again. We were talking about my life and my family’s lives. At this point I needed to be able to trust a professional with my life and it couldn’t be done with impersonal care. I was at such a bad place and now with a family of my own, what was I goin to do, if this didn’t work? I was in great fear that it would throw me over the edge one way or another. To be honest with you guys, that’s still a great fear for me. I’m at the beginning of this recovery journey and sure I might feel better now, but that’s not saying much considering I was fighting suicide a couple weeks prior. I’m still in the early stages of my recovery. My medication is still being adjusted and changed as need be. I’m still working closely with a psychiatrist trying to pin point my type of crazy. Oh excuse me, in his words, “This isn’t about crazy. This is about a mood disorder.” I guess he’s right, I think the crazy part of my brain is actually just my personality. It’s just this mood disorder thing I’ve gotta fix.

My mind has lived with the mentality of, “just make it to….” for so long. It’s similar to a normal person’s, “if I just make it to Friday…”. Except mine just keeps goin. If I just make it to bedtime, if I just make it to tomorrow, if I just make it to wherever whenever, etc. That’s how I’ve lived. Tricking my mind to just make it through another day or week. Just to get where? Just make it till then for what? I’m exhausted of just making it to whenever. I don’t want to live like that anymore. I don’t know where I’m trying to make it to? Maybe to some relief? Salvation? My death? Even now that I’m receiving treatment, I’m still waiting. If I just make it through “balancing out.” If I just make it to the medications trials and tribulations. If I just make it… However, I know now things are different for me. This time I’m seeing things in a different light than I ever have. My view now is if I can just make it through finding me the right medicine, I will be unstoppable. If I can just make it through letting medication stack up in my brain and get it working right, I will be able to appreciate some of the hard ass work I’ve done to build myself an amazing life. This time my fight is different, because I am different. I want this to work. I need this to work. So I’m giving it all to the team behind me. Hiding nothing. Probably over sharing I’m sure. Everything I’ve learned about myself to this point and all the work I’ve done during my 7 years of recovery needs to come out now. This is where it was bringing me. I’m going to have to be strong as hell to fight my mental illness, because I’m fighting my own mind.

My Very Real Truth

I’m a liar. I’ve lied about being well. The truth is that I’ve had decades to perfect this lie. I learned from a very young age how and what people need to see or hear to make them think I was okay. I haven’t been okay. I know I have talked about myself not being normal before. I don’t mean that in a “I have a unique style” or “think outside the box” way. (Although I guess I fall into that “not normal” too though.) What I mean when I say that I am not “normal” like others, is that my brain is different than others. I don’t hear, see, smell, process, etc., like others. I remember as a young child (kindergarten) being very overwhelmed by the world around me. Almost as if I was being suffocated by my overly heightened senses. Not knowing what to do with feelings of panic or being able to communicate what was happening shut me down. I am just a few weeks shy of 34 years old now and just now being able to identify and communicate my minds funny tricks, but only after I recently lost my mind. My mind has had 30 years to settle into what I now know as my manic world.

Mental illness, the silent killer. When you don’t treat an illness, it has the potential to get worse or even kill you. Mental illness is not excluded from this. I can’t believe I lived through the last two weeks and I am here to tell you about it. I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to survive the day to see the next. Would you have had any idea? Here’s the other part. Me not making it would be at the hands of myself. I would’ve been the one to end my life. That’s what my illness will do to me. Kill me. I’ve left my mental illness untreated, and it’s almost costed me my life more than once. Struggling with depression and anxiety most of my life it was easy to chalk up things to that. Add in some trauma and PTSD and well how could I or anyone tell what was that and what was something else? Not to mention when you start doing drugs at a young age (as I had) that can also mess with the development of your brain affecting my mood, decision making, actions, etc. I had enough strikes against me that it was easy to blame things on any number of things.  Basically, I was fucked up.

I started to work on my recovery 7 years ago. Thinking I was suffering, because I didn’t have any coping skills. Thinking I was suffering, because I didn’t know how to communicate. Thinking I was suffering, because I hadn’t faced my trauma. Well that was true. I did have to work on all that,but little did I know that was just the tip of the iceberg. Slowly by slowly, I started to clear things up in my world and learned new skills to cope and live. I’ve continued to push myself in every aspect trying to get myself to a point where I can just feel better. I pushed myself psychically, mentally, emotionally, etc. I managed to build myself a beautiful life in my time of healing. I did feel better. The thing is when you’re manic, everything feels better. I compare it to being on meth. For those of you that can not relate, it feels like a super hero feeling. Euphoric, false sense of confidence, hundreds of ideas flowing, intense talking, little to no sleep, etc. Looking back I can see my mania revolved around my recovery. So I went hard. Only to turn around and feel more depressed than I’ve ever felt in my life. The good thing is that I was doing REAL work on myself. Learning actual coping and life skills, communicating, talking about my trauma, forgiving, meditating, exercising, counseling, learning, etc. I wonder if I had not been working so hard on building myself a healthy life, if  I would’ve been able to survive thus far. The reality of my situation is that I can do all the work on myself as I can and want, but I need help. Real professional medical help. I’m sick and I need help.

I’ve spent the last four years trying to get back to my only moderately crazy self that I was prior to fertility treatments and having a kid. However, I never could get back to that version of crazy. Things had changed for me. Yes, obviously I had a kid and that was huge, but I’m talking inside of me. Once again I started with the reasons why I felt the way I did: I have postpartum depression, I’ve struggled with depression all my life so of course it’s just worse for me, my hormones are off, I have endometriosis, I’m still healing, etc. However, this time things were very different. My episodes of mania and depression were on their way to getting worse and worse for me and I had no idea I even had episodes of mania. I was in for a very rude awakening. I made it through to around a month ago, where I just couldn’t. I felt BAD. I say bad, because I don’t think I can put into words just how bad I felt. There wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t wonder if my family would be better off with me killing myself now or later on. I started to not have any control of my brain (losing my mind).  I started to actually see that I was in a manic episode. I was out of control in every aspect. Absolutely terrifying. I was in fear of my life.

I spoke up. I said I needed help and reached out. Counselors would tell me I needed more care than they could provide, psychiatrists said they could take me.. in november, I could go through the system, but they said it would be months, before they’d get to me,  I considered just admitting myself into the ER and telling them to lock me away, etc. I just wanted help. I needed help. I was in a deep depressive state and wasn’t sure I could survive another episode in either direction. Out of desperation, I saw my primary and explained a little that was going on. She started me on medication and then I was thrown over the edge. Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly feel any worse. Boy, was I wrong. I couldn’t walk in a room without seeing all the ways I could off myself.  I needed my mom to come be with me ASAP, because like all other grown ups, when you’re sick you call mom still, right?

I have been fighting my illness alone for long enough. I have been hiding and lying saying I was well. Thinking I had this under control and I could handle this by myself. I spent decades getting really great at convincing others that I was okay, and I couldn’t and can’t anymore. I am not okay. I am sick. I am mentally ill and there is no cure for me. With a lot of desperation, tears, panic, hunt, money, and the help of a couple random people who saw the light going out in me, I am able to finally get some help. And I wonder about all the others that struggle and do not have the resources that I do. That are at their end and can’t chase help. What about the people that can’t afford private care? What about those that reached out and got an appointment months away, because it’s all their insurance would cover? WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR SYSTEM? PEOPLE ARE DYING!!!

I write this now at the beginning of my new journey. I now have a team of clinicians working with me. My life will forever be changed as I move forward. I’ll have a lot to process and work through as my diagnosis becomes more clear and I rebuild my life to better suit my brain. I can’t do it alone though and I can’t do it, if I’m not honest. Honest with myself and honest with others. It’s easy for me to tell you all what you want or need to hear, but I need to give myself a full chance at survival and it’s has to start with honesty. So here I am putting the embarrassment, fear of judgement,  and all that petty shit aside. This is me. You all know me when I’m manic, happy, funny, confident, etc., but this is me too. I hide this other huge side of me and this is ALL of me.

I’m Gabi. I’ve struggled with mental illness all my life. I’ve tried to kill myself two times in the past and I thought I was passed that. However, the last 2 weeks I didn’t think I was going to be alive to see today. Now in my 30’s I am in the process of being diagnosed with a mood disorder. I want to share my journey with you.

Homeward bound 

I’ve come a long way in terms of making decisions.  Not just in terms of making good choices, but also just making decisions period. Most of my life I made decisions based on what others wanted, thought, or said. I made decisions trying to please or get people away from me. So for me to be able to sit down, think, and make a decision based on what is best for me and my family is almost unbelievable for me. Most of the time I struggle with a lot of self doubt and question, after I make the choice and the ball has started rolling. I think as my confidence and  strength to keep true to myself build this has started to diminish. However, recently James and I decided to move our family back to Nevada and that had me going back and forth for months. 

I kept asking myself if we were going backwards. Wondering if I was just being weak. Wondering if I was running away from something. I would feel confident in our choice and then here and there I would go through a whirlwind of emotion pulling me the other way. I prayed. I talked to James. I talked to myself. I looked back over the last 6 years. I looked deep inside of myself and asked myself a million questions. James and I kept these thoughts, questions, and choices to ourselves. We made this decision for our family alone. I believe we are able to do this, because we’ve been on our own this whole time. We haven’t lived by family, friends, etc. It’s been him and I. We built our life on our own through our own choices without influence. We built our foundation on our own. Him and I. The foundation. 

I think we needed years to be alone. To figure stuff out. To get strong enough and learn more about ourselves. To grow and deal with our own crap. We grew as a couple, but we grew even more as individuals. We learned, healed, and became a unit. We survived the first few years of parenthood on our own and still like each other. Haha. Now our daughter is three years old and we have to ask ourselves how she will have the best life possible. The first thing that comes to my mind is family. I tried to go every direction with my answer. I tried to talk myself into and out of everything. I came right back to family. I know a lot of people move away from home or where ever their family resides and are not only happy, but thriving and content. I also know a lot of people that stay by home forever and are also happy, thriving, and content. I don’t think there is a wrong or right. For me, I learned I feel best, happiest, most complete, strongest, most at home, when I’m by my mom and brothers. That won’t ever change for me. While I know that I can survive and be happy anywhere, I know that I won’t be living my life to the fullest. I truly believe that it will be the same for my daughter. She could and would have a great beautiful life anywhere. I believe it will be better and fuller to be by our families. To have grandmas and grandpa, to have uncles and aunts, to have cousins, to have family. 

Texas will always be where I want to be. Texas will be where I try and end up forever, but it’s not home right now. So we are going home. Right back to where we started. We aren’t going backwards. We are going where we believe we belong. We are doing what we believe will not only improve our quality of life, but our daughter’s and family’s too. I finally feel like I’ve gotten to where I’m going. Feels really good to feel like you’re going home. I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to be able to share the best days of my life with my mom and the rest of our family. We’ve been through some hard and dark times together. We should go through beautiful moments together too. One of the most powerful relationships in my life has been with my grandparents. I have plenty of memories and lessons throughout my childhood from aunts, uncles, and cousins. We can only hope that our daughter has the same. We couldn’t find one reason to not be where we wanted to be. Home. So mama, I’m coming home!! And Texas, it’s not goodbye. It’s see you later. 

1 in 8 

Years ago I woke up in the middle of the night to excruciating pain. The pain continued to get worse and by morning time my brother had found me on the bathroom floor unable to move. Come to find out I had an ovarian cyst that had ruptured and messed me up like no other. I spent days in the hospital. The Dr. told me that the cyst had caused some damage inside and I may or may not struggle to pregnant, when that time came. Back then, I really didn’t mind and wasn’t saddened by the news. I never wanted children. 

Years passed and as you all know… I fell in love and wanted a baby. We knew that my husband shoots blanks (sorry to put your business on blast babe) and we knew that it may be difficult for me to get pregnant. My problems with my reproductive organs had continued up to this point. We knew it would be a process in every which way. Emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially. It was something that we decided was worth going for. We started to line stuff up and work on turning that dream into a reality. Which meant looking for a lot of money. 

We chose to move to move to Los Angeles for work. For a job that would require a lot out of both of us. James would be a slave to the job and I would be alone in a new city. A gigantic, packed, loud, city. We knew the sacrifices that were going to come, but we felt ready. We had our vision board, our plan, etc. We were on a mission. Thankfully this journey took us to Los Angeles. We were able to find one of the top fertility treatment centers.

Our first round of IVF was exciting, scary, and painful all at once. I had spent the years prior rehabilitating my mind and body. I was in great shape. I was in a good place mentally. Well that all went to shit. Hormones overtook me and I was ballooning up and crying and happy and mad and in pain. Not to mention alone in a new city. Yep, hot mess express. I figured since I was young and in decent shape that it would be smooth sailing. I thought the procedures would be uneventful and it would be an easy case. That wasn’t the case for me. When it came time to retrieve the eggs from my ovaries, we found that they weren’t great quality. After all the pain, blood work, procedures, etc., we only had one embryo survive. A boy. A boy that my body would reject. That was painful. 

James and I were crushed. When you’re going through infertility problems, it seems like everyone around you is pregnant. You also tend to focus on the 13 year old that could have a child, but you can’t.  You see fake pregnancy announcements and want to punt the laptop or the person that posted it. You try to not to take to heart the pregnant women complaining about it.  You think about the babies you read about that have been abused or abandoned, but you can’t have a child. You get asked about having babies or told its time to have a baby as if a baby just gets dropped on your door step. A lot of self loathing starts to kick in. It’s horrible to feel like you’re not in control of your body. It’s horrible to know that your body isn’t working the way it’s supposed to. However, we weren’t done with this dream. We knew we had to try again. We believed in this. We couldn’t just walk away. We did what we had to do and decided to try again. It was brutal. My body hated me. My Dr put a new plan together and it worked. My eggs looked better and thankfully we had four embryos survive this round. My Dr. decided to transfer two embryos and we froze the other two. During the waiting period (time after transfer, until you go back to see if you’re pregnant), time goes by incredibly slow. I think since we had the memories of the first round, it made everything go by in slow motion. I was paranoid about every pain, twitch,wipe,drop of blood, etc. During this time, I’m still pumping myself full of hormones. We learned during the first round that not only does my body reject pregnancy, but it also doesn’t make the hormones to carry the pregnancy. So I took hormones all day long in all forms. Pills, shots, suppositories (sorry tmi). (I would continue to do this, until the pregnancy was viable.) It was horribly painful and made me so sick physically. The first round I waited for the pregnancy test at the clinic. The second round was different. Before it was time to go get tested, I was feeling different. I was super sick and just felt something else.  So you know my impatient self tested at home. There was a power outage and there I was peeing on a stick in the dark. I shined my phone flash light and waited for that line to pop up. It sure as heck popped up. Super super light, but it was there. Pregnant. 

My pregnancy would be anything, but easy. It was traumatizing. I would eventually run out of skin that didn’t have hot welts and bruises and I still had to give myself multiple shots throughout the day. I was so sick I couldn’t stand up or ride in a car. Lifting my head would make me want to be sick. Eventually we found out Bells’ twin didn’t make it, but we still had one strong heart beat. As we entered the second trimester, I reluctantly put together my pregnancy announcements and had them ready to go out. Later that same night  I started bleeding profusely. We were terrified. I thought for sure this was it. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. Please, God. No. My little girl held on. When we heard her heart beat, I can’t even tell you what it felt like. Tears flowed. My cervix had torn. Leaving me to be on bed rest now. I didn’t care as long as my baby stayed put. Here was the ultrasound from that scare. She was like, “heyyyy, I’m still here!” 

I carried her for 41 weeks, before I made her get out. She’d probably still be in there, if I hadn’t made her come out. 

People constantly tell me I need to give her a sibling. People constantly tell me it’s time for another. People constantly ask when I’m having another. People tell me I’m waiting too long in between kids. Not knowing the amount of sacrifice, pain, and struggle that we have gone through to even have one. At first it would make me angry. Now I just realize that most people are completely oblivious to the fact that 1 in 8 people struggle with infertility. Not that it’s anyone’s business to comment on someone having children, but most people truly don’t think about infertility. 

My Dr isn’t too sure that my body could handle another pregnancy. I’m not sure my mental/emotional well being can handle it either. We are so beyond blessed to even have Bells. Truth of the matter is that I have more than I ever believed I could or would have. We have our miracle. My heart is so full. I can’t imagine taking from these moments or missing anything. 

Infertility is real and it’s common. I can promise that you know someone struggling with infertility. It’s shameful. It’s hurtful. It’s hard. It’s heart breaking. It’s not understandable. It’s not fair. It’s secretive. It’s judged. It’s not taken into consideration. It could be the person next to you at work, your brother or sister, your cousin, your best friend. You never know who. We are 1 in 8. 

I’m not alone 

The thing that comes with hiding everything is loneliness. No one ever knows the truth. No one knows anything. I’ve always been surrounded by people. I grew up in a big beautiful family. How did I manage to make myself feel so lonely? I did that by hiding everything. I did that by telling anyone what they wanted to hear or not saying anything. Then, I went back to hiding in my horrible dark world. Alone. That was my norm. Sometimes it still is my norm. It became a habit. A hard habit to break. 

It started out as fear. Sometimes it was embarrassment. Most of the time I didn’t want to take anyone down with me. I didn’t want to share the pain. It was bad enough I had to carry it. I remember actually thinking that as a child. Most of the times I would just shut down. I wouldn’t say a word. You could sit there and ask me questions or talk to me and I would be mute. I remember wanting so bad to talk. I remember telling myself in my head, “Open your mouth! Say something!” I just couldn’t get anything to come out. Sometimes it was probably out of stubbornness. Most times  it was deeper than that. To be honest, sometimes I still shut down like this. Not often, but it does happen.  Old habits… 

It seems as I grew older and older my secrets grew to be  bigger and bigger. From not liking oatmeal and having nightmares, to sexual and drug abuse.  I never stopped hiding. I kept it inside of myself where only I could be hurt by it. I alienated myself. I was surrounded by people and completely alone. It started off as unintentional and then became the only way I knew how to be. Alone in my misery.  I know, misery usually loves company, but I guess I must be a decent person. I only feel that way about dieting, exercise, sad movies, etc. Then, I believe everyone should suffer with me. 

I’ve had to work hard at being honest with myself and with others. I have to work hard to say things out loud and put them into other people’s worlds. I have to work hard at not wanting to be alone. Whether it’s alone in my misery, hopes, goals, fears,etc., I’ve had to learn how to let people know and see that. I still want to be alone most days. However, now I can’t shut up it seems. Perhaps I’m making up for lost time. As I heal and discover, I find myself being able to share more of my life and myself that I worked so hard to keep hidden. There’s also times where I’m still not ready to talk or share things. Some days I wonder if I’ll ever be able to lay it all out on the line. If I let my depression take the wheel, it would and has convinced me before that I’ll always be alone in this. It’s easy for me to run away and convince myself I won’t ever find peace. That I will forever be in pain by myself. That no one will ever know these things I carry inside of me. My head will turn on me with the quickness. I need my reality checks. I need my list of what my life is now. I need my husband asking me questions that annoy me. I need to keep sharing. I need to keep being honest and not just try to shut people up or shut myself down. It’s taking me time and I know more time than most, but that’s how I roll. I’m healing and learning. It’s great being able to tell people I don’t really care for Adele’s music, I can’t ride a bike, I tried to kill myself more than once, I still believe in  and pray to God, I suffer from anxiety attacks, Beyoncé doesn’t empower me, driving still scares me, I’m a woman whose body rejects pregnancy, I’m an addict, I’ve never seen Star Wars, I’ve been losing weight for 1.5 years and I’m still overweight,  I’m Pro-Life, I feel all alone in a room full of people, I met my husband in rehab, I believe America is the best country in the world, I once stole 9 barglasses from applebees, etc. I told you guys. I can’t seem to shut up now. I know, I’m not for everyone. I’m not even for myself most of the time, but I’m as real and honest as I know how to be. It’s really taken me a lot to be able to say anything honest about myself. I don’t think I’ve ever been more genuine or true to myself. I wish I wouldn’t have wasted so much time alienating myself. I wish I could go back and let people into my world. I can’t do that, but I can let them in now. I can come out from hiding and be honest with them now. I’m lucky that I’ve had this long to come clean and try to welcome my loved ones into my secret world. I can only hope I’m blessed with more time. I want my mom and loved ones to get to experience the real deal. I realize I’m trying to make up for lost time, but I feel like if I’m lucky enough to be alive, why wouldn’t I spend that time with those most important to me? Making amends and healing by action. Making the most of my time.  Sharing the “real Gabi” finally.  I’ve been alone for way too long.  What am I doing alone in Houston? I think I’m doing this all wrong…. 

Leading by example

Life as an overweight kid was pretty rough. You definitely notice that you’re not one of the pretty ones and that you don’t look like other kids. Where exactly does that leave you? Kids can be ruthless and downright mean, but so can adults. Probably even worse. The world doesn’t like overweight people. I know with social media now there’s a whole “body positive movement” that seems to be spreading, but the fact of the matter is that it’s crap. Don’t get me wrong. I love the movement. I may even feed and promote the movement. I’m all for the message, but I’ve also lived as an overweight child and adult. It’s not nice. Most people don’t care why you’re overweight or that you feel good about yourself anyways. Being overweight is seen as laziness, lack of control, poor choices, gross,etc. However, don’t lose weight either, because a lot of people will hate and criticize that too. I know this from personal experience. The first thing someone is going to attack is our looks. Most people aren’t going to attack my lack of book smarts or that I’m a scaredy pants. They’d call me a fat cow, before that would happen.  The first thing someone will judge is our looks. Sad, but true. Even with the spread of body positive bloggers and plus size models, it’s an uphill battle covered in insults and judgement. Children are not excluded from this. I remember adults calling me chubby or commenting on my body. Trust me, if a child is overweight, they know that they’re overweight. Kids at school have called them fat. They’ve discovered they don’t look like other kids. They probably can’t play and run like the other kids. They know their clothes is bigger than others their age. Being an overweight adult is hard. Being an overweight child might be even harder. How do you cope with that as a child? How do you learn what to do with that? How is an overweight child supposed to learn to stop it? It’s a child. I was a child. Children aren’t meant to cope with being fat. Heck, most adults don’t even cope with it. It’s horrible. It’s like a tunnel that people just get stuck in and can’t get out of. Children included. 

As a little kid, I didn’t understand or know why I was overweight. I only knew that people called me fat and that’s what I was. I can remember my own family members, classmates, and even random people calling me fat and various insults based on my weight.  As I child, I don’t believe that I had any control or power over my weight. I was a child. I didn’t know I had the option or ability to be a normal sized kid. I didn’t know how that was even possible. I didn’t know why I looked the way I did. I would get older and stayed overweight. I hear people say, “kids stretch out. They’ll outgrow it.” Yeah, I’m still waiting for that. Most children that are overweight, turn into overweight adults. It sucks let me tell you.  I started as a girl that would eat to the point of sickness, so that I wouldn’t go to sleep and have nightmares. I would get older and just learned unhealthier habits that settled in even harder. I never learned to be anything else. 

Of course, at some point we become responsible for our own actions, bodies, choices,etc. I stayed overweight. By then, I wasn’t just overweight. I had issues way bigger than my weight. I was dead on the inside. Do you think I cared what I looked like on the outside? No. All I wanted was to shut my mind off. To not feel anymore pain.  To erase everything from my mind. Oh hello drugs. Then, I found that if I use drugs like meth and opiates, it’ll make me lose weight too. I signed myself right up. For years and years. Guess what? I stayed overweight. Just my luck huh? 

I talked a big game about giving birth to my daughter and using her as a weight to exercise. (Give me a break.) I talked about having her and getting right back out to running and two hour gym sessions. Prior to the fertility treatments, I was probably in the best shape of my life (until now.) So I was hopeful that I’d have her and get right to it. Haha. That was cute. The only thing I used my kid for was a reason to eat like crap and not exercise. What happened to all the work I had done prior to having her? Physically, mentally, and emotionally!  I had promised myself I would show her better. That I would be better. I had retrained my head. Read books. Counseled myself.  I told myself I would lead by example. I had done so much work to just drop the ball. Ugh back to square one. I had to start over. This time fatter than I had ever been in my life. I started to change my lifestyle little by little. 

I worried about my daughter ending up in the terrible cycle of the overweight world. It used to scare me. Now it really fuels me. I truly believe in leading by example with children. I believe our children are the way they way are, because of us. They know what we teach them. Hence, children being mean to overweight people and kids. Following lead. 

My daughter is three years old and she wants to be just like me. She moves her hands like me, she talks like me, she wants to wear a shirt like mine, she wants to eat like me, she wants to sit like me, she wants to love her daddy like me, she wants to exercise like me, etc. I can’t tell you how terrifying, adorable, and motivating this is. I’m not scared my daughter is going to end up like me. I’m not scared she’s going to walk around being made fun of and not have any control over it. I’m not scared she’s going to have to deal with all the crap that comes with being an overweight child. These things used to scare me quite a bit. Except for the first time in my life, I finally have the education, habits, tools, and power to control my fears of my daughter growing up overweight. I finally know how to be healthy and what it means. I finally know what I’m eating. I no longer roll my eyes at moms who don’t give their children sugar or processed foods. I’m not trying to be a perfect mom or a hippie mom. I’m not trying to be better than anyone. I’m trying to raise a healthy child that learns healthy habits. I’m trying to break the cycle. I’m trying to give my child the best chance at this hard game of life. I’m trying to make it so that she doesn’t grow up addicted to sugar and food. I’m trying to make it so that food is not a coping mechanism for her, but fuel for her body. I’m doing that by example. Life is hard enough without having to worry about being overweight. My job is to protect my child and prepare her to become a healthy functionioning adult. I use that as fuel. Fuel to eat right. Fuel to exercise. Fuel to show compassion and forgiveness. Fuel to keep learning and advancing. Being the best version of myself. 

I’m no longer on a weightloss journey. That moment has passed. It turned into a lifestyle at some point. I won’t ever stop this. I make the choice everyday to make health and fitness an important part of our life. This is how my body and my mind feel best. Yes, I am losing weight, but it’s just what’s coming with living a healthy lifestyle. My daughter deserves a fighting chance. She deserves to feel good and be healthy and that’s my job.  This three year old carries so much power for me. She fuels me like no other. I started this journey for myself and now it’s for my family too. It’s not just me anymore. So when I don’t want to for myself, I do it for my girl. She’s watching. 

Half of me 

My parents split up when I was around 3 years old. There were 3 of us and my mom was pregnant with my brother, when we left our sperm donor. That was it. He never wrote, called, showed up to court, never gave my mom a cent, etc. Nothing. 4 children that were half his and he couldn’t mail a damn birthday card. Jerk. 

When I was 17 years old, I was on meth and a mess. I moved away to my aunt and uncles to get some help. I started to see a counselor. Her name was, “Judy.” She was lovely.  I remember our first session she asked me what my first memory was. I remembered being in a crib. I remembered playing and trying to get a tooth brush (I think) off the bed next to the crib. I remember my father yelling and smacking my hand. I remember him leaving and never seeing him again. I never knew how that one moment would define so much of who I am. I didn’t want people to leave me. I didn’t say no to anyone. I didn’t fight. I was  fearful. I was a pleaser. I would let someone take my soul and not say anything. The list could go on and on. 

It’s funny how our heads work. I have a wonderful mom. She’s been there from the begining. Loving, playful, and full of  fight for us. Why couldn’t my first memory be of playing with my mom? What was it about this one memory that made it stick and be first? Why?  I’ve often wondered why I was left with this memory instead of him just not existing to me. I’ll never know. Just like I’ll never know most answers to questions I have about him. 

I honestly don’t know if a child will ever get over being abandoned by a parent. I don’t know that there’s anything that will ever fill that void or answer so many questions that being abandoned brings. We had a good family that helped raised us and loved us. A power house mom that somehow not only survived, but thrived with all 4 of us. We were never without. I mean, we grew up with a lot less than most. We struggled to make ends meet, but we were never without. We always had clothes, shelter, food, etc. We could have everything, but we still didn’t have a father. Well we did have a father. We’ve always had a father. He may have been a horrible father, but he was ours. 

He ended up getting into a horrible car wreck and survived years later. He was paralyzed, and could barely talk, but he was alive. We received a letter some time after the accident. My mom told us there was a letter for us to read, when we felt ready. A little bit of time passed and I didn’t read it. One day I was high on God knows what and went looking for that damn letter. Big mistake. I read it and put it back like I had never seen it. Boy, I was livid. Before I was sad, hurt, confused, maybe even a little angry, but now? I was shaking in anger. I kept that a secret and just held on to it alone. Never told anyone I read it. He ended up dying. 

My mom asked us if we wanted to go to his funeral. She left the choice to us. My brothers and I decided to go. So we made the trip to Mexico with my mom. I remember my heart racing as we stood in front of the church. I remember being scared. I wasn’t scared of what I would see or the people. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to control myself. I was scared I would go kick the casket over. I was scared I would start screaming in anger and not be able to stop. I saw people crying and mourning this man that I had mourned my entire life. I was so confused. Could a man that abandons 4 children be lovable? Could that man be someone that made people happy? There across the aisle sat a girl with her mother. The girl was sobbing uncontrollably. The girl looked like me. That girl was his daughter. He was a dad? She knew him? Why? Why her? How could she love this man? I was so angry and so jealous. I knew he was a piece of crap, but I was still jealous. Why was she ok to love, but not me? We made it through the funeral. I didn’t kick the casket. I didn’t scream.  Instead, I walked up to his daughter and I told her I was sorry for her loss. I gave her a hug and told her I was so so sorry she lost her dad. 

I read that letter again eventually. Years later. I read the letter sober and as a mother. You know, I like to believe that I’ve done a lot of work on myself. I’ve worked hard to try and get over my shit. Reading the letter again, I still have anger and confusion. It no longer consumes me, but it’s there. In the letter he had said that we weren’t his kids. We were my mom’s kids. She raised and cared for us. The thing is that’s not how this works. When you have a child, that is your child. No matter what, he was my father. I was his child. He had that role whether he wanted it or not. I am a mother and I am responsible for the type of parent I am to my daughter. If I were to leave her, she suddenly wouldn’t stop being my daughter. He was a coward and in the letter I felt he was still trying to avoid responsibility. My aunt asked him what he wanted to say to us. He said, “I’m sorry.” My aunt had asked him if he loved us and she said, “He yelled at me as he was pounding his chest, “aquí los llevo!” (“I have them here”). Reading these things in the letter I felt as if I was being lied to. I wondered if a person that can abandon four children and never look back can even feel remorse. He was sorry? For what? Years and years and years and yearrrrss went by. Where he could’ve talked, written, etc. Now he was dying and he said, “I’m sorry.”  It just wasn’t enough for me, but it’s all I received and have. 

I never asked any questions I had. I never screamed and let it out. I never attacked him, while I sobbed as I had envisioned so many times. I realized I had everything I was going to get from him. Long lashes, issues, and my brothers. 

He had substance abuse issues (alcohol and drugs).  He was a liar. He was abusive. He was selfish. He hurt my mom. He hurt my brothers. He hurt me. He hurt everyone. It would be really easy for me to be just like him. I can’t tell you how terrifying that is. I have everything inside of me to follow lead. I have to fight like hell so that side of me doesn’t win. Today I write this as a 32 year old that is still angry and hurt. My father died and we never made peace. I was never given the chance to love my father.  I feel like that will probably be with me forever. Just like he’s always been with me forever. Whether he wanted it or not. He was there.  

Right beside me 

At 32 years old, I am working on not being scared of everything. We all have our fears. Some more rational than others. Most people are not controlled by these fears. However, as previously stated, my brain is not like other brains. This year I found out that I suffer from panic/anxiety attacks. Come to find out I’ve been suffering from them for years.  I always thought it was something else. I thought I would get motion sickness, fear of heights, my stomach was upset, etc. Then, I was flying alone with my daughter. I started to feel off and uneasy like I had felt so often before. She was sleeping in the seat next to me and I was just getting worse by the second. I looked over at her and remember asking myself what I was going to do. I was alone with my daughter and not well. It went from bad to worse instantly it seemed. No matter how I tried to control my brain, breathing, etc., I continued to spiral. I was dripping sweat like a faucet, my entire body was tingling, I couldn’t breathe, etc. I remember praying telling God to please let someone take care of my baby. I remember thinking about who was going to get her, when she woke up and I was dead next to her. I honestly believed this was it for me. This was how I would die and leave my daughter alone. It started from nothing. I’ve flown countless of times alone with my daughter. That’s how this goes. I’m aware of certain situations and things that will give me anxiety. I’m also aware that it can be nothing that gives me this anxiety. This isn’t anxiety that makes someone bite their nails and be hesistant. This is crippling anxiety that makes you feel physically ill. Have you ever had anxiety so bad that it makes you say a final prayer and black out? 32 years old and I’ve been suffering with anxiety as far back as I can remember. 32 years old and I just find out that I suffer from these anxiety/panic attacks? Wow, that was embarrassing. 

When I learned about panic/anxiety attacks, I tried to think back to the first time I could remember feeling this way. It took me a while. As mentioned previously, my memory is shot and takes some work to sort through. I traced it back to my grandparent’s house. I remember it was storming outside and my grandma had sent me upstairs to shower. I was afraid of storms, but I was even more afraid of my grandma. I went upstairs and let the shower run. I can feel it right now. My heart starting to race. My skin getting clammy. I sat still, because the floor squeaked and I didn’t want her to know I wasn’t in the shower. I remember being so scared that she would find out I didn’t shower. I made myself get in the shower. I cried as I told myself to just let the water wet my hair. As I tried to go back in time to find anxiety or fear, I remembered a lot of similar stories. I remembered every time I had a runny nose, I was so scared to sniff around my grandma that I would let it run into my mouth and down my face. I remembered gagging down food that I didn’t like. Literally gagging and convincing myself, “just one more bite.”  I was a little girl. How could I have been feeling like that? How could a little girl be so scared? How could I still be feeling like that now? 

I’ve always considered myself a pretty chill person. Turns out that I’ve been tightly wound this entire time.  I’ve been in knots for years. It was never “nothing” causing my attacks. I had been on edge my whole life. I never let that go. I knew that my grandma had messed me up. Sounds mean, but it’s the truth. I have a lot of scary and hurtful memories with my grandma. Years ago I chose to take all that and forgive her. She has been one of the biggest healing points for me in my life. She made me cry, fear, panic, and hide. She took the little self esteem I had then and threw it out. Little did I know that what she would give me in return would be invaluable and one of the greatest lessons of my life thus far. She taught me to truly accept people just the way they are. She taught me that I am capable of loving all, even if they have hurt or are different than me. She taught me to forgive. She was the first person I truly forgave. 

I like to believe that people do the best they can with what they have… most of the time. My grandma never left my side. To this day, she is right beside me. Through my mistakes and triumphs, she has stood beside me. As a baby and now as a 32 year old wife and mother, she has stood beside me. She has loved me. She has never turned her back on me. She has never stopped sending me cards on every holiday and birthday. She never stopped praying for me.  No matter how bad things got with me, she stood right beside me. I’m sure I’ve hurt her feelings too. I’m sure I’ve let her down too. She stood right beside me. She’s one of the most important people in my life. She plays such a huge role in the person that I am today.  I’m so lucky to still have her by my side. I’m happy to say that I haven’t had a anxiety attack, since the one I had on the airplane. 

Freak of nature 

I grew up with three brothers. I have two older brothers and a younger brother. Let me just tell you all, these guys are good at everything. I’m not just saying that, because they’re my brothers. Give them a couple tries at anything and I promise, they will be better than most. They’re fast learners and even more importantly they’re eager to learn. They’re incredibly smart and it just so happens that they’re also incredibly good looking. Ugh, I know. I hate them. You know what else they like to do? Be healthy and exercise. So annoying! Of course, we all have our flaws. My brothers and I all made our mistakes. Some bigger than others, but we all made them. Growing up we drove each other mad, but I always remember looking at them and being jealous. I was jealous of how easy it seemed to be for them. Jealous of how they could do everything. Jealous of their normalcy. I’m not talking about a spiteful jealousy. I was a chubby scared little girl watching my brothers be larger than life.  I’ve always admired so much about them. I wanted and heck, I still want to be like them. If there is anyone in this world that I want to be proud of me, it’s my mom and my brothers. Of course, I want to be proud of myself and I know my husband is proud of me. He married me, but to have my siblings and my mom be proud? That’s been my goal for years. 

I made bad decisions. I lied. I hid. I messed up. I hurt people. I didn’t have any regard for my life, much less for anything or anyone else. When I decided to come clean and get help, I knew I had a long road ahead of me. Not just with having to learn how to be sober and make good choices, but making amends with my family. I remember telling my family that I was sorry. I also told them that I knew it meant nothing. I didn’t want to say I was sorry anymore. I knew my words were cheap and abused.  I didn’t want to sit there and give them my reasons or excuses as to why I was a drug addict or did the things I did. I asked them to please watch me live my life. I wanted them to know my actions. All I could show them was that I was living an honest life and making good choices over and over. It was all I could ask for. It’s been years since I’ve told my family that and to this day, sometimes that’s what pushes me to be better. Them. 

I know people say not to compare yourself to others, but really what else do we do? I had three siblings. Of course I was going to compare myself to them.  I compared myself to my brothers, cousins, friends, randoms, etc., my whole life. Even now I feel like that’s what the adult life consists of for most. Keeping up with the Jones. Comparing what you have versus what your neighbor or that blogger has.  Comparing our body versus that body. Our child versus that child. We all do it. I do it daily, I’m sure. I just don’t do it to myself anymore. I know now, that I am a freak of nature. I will never be like anyone else. What works for everyone else, will probably not work for me. The way my brain works will never be the norm. I will never be part of the norm. That was a hard pill for me to swallow. Once I was able to accept that, I was able to stop comparing myself to others. Now I just compare my husband, my kid, etc. Oh wait, sounds like I’m pretty normal after all.  

This played such a big role on my journey to getting body and head right. I finally let go of everyone. I had to do this my way. I had to find my path. You know what I found out? I’m like my brothers. Those guys that I was jealous of? Yes, I’m like them. I can be with any of my brothers and feel like I am home. I wouldn’t say I like to exercise, but I like to be healthy. I wouldn’t say I’m smart, but I’m quick just like them. I’m not traditional, but neither are they. They’re larger than life to me and I’ll always see them that way. They’ve driven me in ways that they will never know. To go work out, to stay off dope, to be an honest person, to be myself. I’m forever grateful for the very best friends anyone could ever have. 

Success story 

I planned on continuing last week’s blog about my weight loss journey. Every time I started to write, I felt pulled towards another direction and fell flat. So I’m going to head another direction with this post and I’ll plan on sharing the rest of my weight loss journey next week. 

When I decided to start writing a blog, I knew that it was going to be raw. I knew it was going to be heavy and it was going to be about things not even those closest to me knew. I worried that I would be judged,misinterpreted, and dismissed. Most importantly, I worried that my family would be hurt and embarrassed. 

 Then, I thought about all the reasons I wanted to do this. I’ve treaded lightly in real life and on social media with talking about my drug abuse, infertility, post partum depression, etc. I put it out there in hopes of someone reading it and discovering that they are not alone and to  possibly give hope to someone. I made the decision to start sharing these  in depth pages in my book, because it doesn’t only have the potential to help someone else, but it helps me too. I’m sharing in hopes of inspiring compassion in others. I’m sharing in hopes of someone reading and maybe becoming more understanding of someone they would generally dismiss.  I’m sharing, because I am not alone. These are things and feelings that so many have to face and we are too ashamed to speak up. I’m sharing, because I haven’t shared in 32 years. 

I did think of the fact that the things I write would be hard for my loved ones to read. Especially my mom(hi mother) and brothers (not that they read, but still), but the thing is that I am writing this blog as a survivor. I have hit the filthy bottom and lived in horrible darkness, but I speak now as someone who has come out on the other side alive and strong. My blog is not meant to inspire sympathy or to hurt. I am sharing a page here and there of my story, but there’s a whole book of pages. Pages filled with good memories, smiling faces, hope, bravery, love, etc. 

6 years ago when I decided to start dealing with my shit, I dealt with the issues we could see. As time has gone by, new issues arise or old memories come up and I’m left to deal with those. I’ve had to go back and reread pages in my book.  I had to hurt, cry, deal, learn, etc., through all my shit that has continued to come up. The things I have and will write about are things I have already faced and learned from. I write my posts in past tense. My life is in a different place now and so am I.  Yes, I continue to struggle with depression and anxiety, but that is something that I  will continue to learn to live with and handle for the rest of my life I’m sure. 

I’ve received quite a few messages and calls about my posts. Family members and friends asking questions and expressing sadness. I love that people are asking questions and wheels are turning. I don’t love the sadness, but I know that comes with it. It is sad. I am sharing sad things. All I can ask if that we don’t get stuck in the sadness and we look at the big picture. All of this brought me to an incredible life. I’ve lived more in the last 6 years than I did the previous 26 years. It’s therapeutic for me to write about my suffering and my success. I truly hope that one person can read any of my blogs and feel that they have a fighting chance. I hope that one person can read and feel a sense of comfort or hope. I hope that one person can read and be kinder to someone. Most importantly I hope that I’m able to get across that this is indeed a successs story I’m sharing. I write to you all as a somewhat level headed adult. I write as a wife, mother, sister, daughter, cousin, niece, or friend. I can’t tell you the honor in being called these things. No matter the darkness I endured, I’m still able to be all these things to everyone. Most importantly I’m able to be myself.