Category Archives: Stress


We all have them. The question is, how much mental strength does one need to fight them and win?

This year has been filled with nothing but negative, dark, morbid, unpleasant events. Most of them, I’ve had not one bit of control over. I may have entered 2018 with a positive outlook, but as the months began to pass I began to develop a sour, hateful, and bitter attitude toward and against those around me.

Lately I’ve been surrounded by friends who struggle with depression. I’ve had my own personal experiences with this particular demon, but that was 9 years ago, and now I am in a much more healthy state-of-mind. I am not ashamed to admit that I used to self-harm, self-medicate, and self-loathe. Hell, I despised myself and the path that I put myself on. The floor wasn’t even beneath me, I was beneath it. Do you hear that? Me. Me. Me. Me. Me.

I didn’t and still don’t know how I pulled myself out of that hole of emptiness, rage, and destructive behaviors. I wanted out, but I was too chicken shit to really do anything about it. Recent events have me reflecting on how I healed my emotional wounds and I hope I can relay it in a way that speaks to others so that they can help themselves.

Through humor, laughter, and finding the positive in every single negative, over time, I have healed myself. With the cards I have been dealt, especially with my brothers, it’s true what they say. Things could always be worse.

To make my point, your mental health matters, but so does the mental health of others. Share a smile, be kind, talk yourself through the negative thoughts. Positive thinking does help, but only with persistence. It’s ok to think, “me, me, me, me, me,” as long as it bestows sunlight on your soul without disregarding the feelings of those around you.

Never be afraid to end relationships that no longer serve you and embrace the ones with whom you can have a deep conversation. Look for the meaning behind the words they speak. Also, never be afraid to ask for help on your journey to achieving true happiness.

You deserve it.


Jesus Take the Wheel

Please take a seat at the table of my life and listen, because not everyone gets invited.

These past four months have been, well, a shit storm and I’m just reeeeally hoping that on Jan 1, 2017 at midnight I can take a breath of fresh air and mentally mellow the fuck out. 

As much as my body has proven to me lately that it is oh so certainly stressed, I haven’t been feeling it mentally, oddly enough. That is until these past two months. I’ve hit a point in my life where I need to step back out of my comfort zone and be that bad ass adult that I am destined to be, without any excuses. It’s time to dust off this ladder of life and climb that son of a bitch. I know which direction I’m headed in and I have to admit that it’s kind of scary, but I’m excited to soon have a place of my own, marry my best friend, and settle into a job that I can enjoy for years to come. I just need to be willing to sacrifice and embrace change. 

I have been in complete #nofucksgiven mode for the past month and I’ve hit my breaking point. If I don’t like something, I get stuck in the notion of disliking it until I can change the outcome. If I don’t like someone, well that can go any way depending on the individual, but you will definitely hear about it. When I feel like my creativity is being sucked bone dry, I am going to take the straw out of that sucker’s mouth and return it dipped in glitter and gold. 

2017 will be the year of change in finances, freedom and fitness. Meanwhile, 2016, you can exit stage left you dirty disappointment.

Terrified Sister Moment

Saturday my family and I went to a festival in a nearby neighborhood. While feeding Sean, my littlest brother who you all can read about in earlier posts, ended up in the hospital. 

He is physically and mentally challenged, and was recently diagnosed in December of 2013 (with his older brother Jason). He can’t feed himself, and while my mother was feeding him a hotdog, he choked and vomited it up. It all came out, but then he began to puke up phlegm. He did that for 30 minutes straight, which turned into an hour. His mouth then began to foam, followed by heaving and labored breathing. On that note, we immediately rushed him to the hospital where he was incubated and put on a ventilator.

After that I lost it. Looking at him sedated and struggling broke my heart. I spent all the time I could with him in the ER with my mom and couldn’t stand leaving him alone. I did go home the night it happened around 4am to sleep, as she stayed with him at the hospital. 

Jason had to be at a special needs summer camp out in Grayslake, where he stays for a week with friends, so I relieved my mom at 2pm so that she and my dad could take him. Jason missed his brother. He kept pointing and questioned what was happening.

My Aunt and Uncle kept me company for a few hours and my parents relieved me around 8:45 with McDonald’s coffee. 

As of right now, he is breathing on his own and doing well. He’s fussy and putting up a fight with the nurses when he’s awake, but when he’s asleep it’s because he’s comfortable.

He aspirated, so there will be a video swallow done today to determine when he comes home.

I know he will soon. It’s just hard trying to sleep knowing that this happy little boy is not in his own bed.  


Stay Tuned…

An idea just popped in my head to possibly start a segment of this blog and call it “Dammit, Dana.” The range of discussions with myself will venture out into panic moments of “oh crap, I meant to do that and forgot,” as well as little pep talks like “Dammit Dana don’t get down on yourself.”

Exciting huh? It’s under construction…

Chapter 2

Emotional strength is as important as physical.
Emotional strength is as important as physical.

Le sigh.

I make no apologies for my last post being a low-spirited one, so hey, here’s a sliver of another.

I mentioned that I lost my grandfather on February 28, 2013. At that time I was also at my goal weight of 130lbs. I bought these $80 size 6 jeans from New York and Company and I was rocking them. Woo-hoo? No woo-hoo. Most people starve themselves when they’re depressed, but I’m the one who will rob the pizza delivery man for all the scraps in the backseat.

The result of that mentality…gaining 28lbs in the past year and a half. Totally not proud.

You can imagine how that has played into my “funk” this week. Especially after stepping on a scale for the first time in six months.

So today, I make a promise to myself in writing.

I will be 130 again. Hell, maybe 125 by this time next year.

I know what to do to lose. I’ve done it before. It’s just time to put that motivation mentality to work.

A year ago this month I started applying for jobs in my field. Obviously today, that goal has gotten me ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE…and although it’s disappointing, I haven’t given up on my search.

I may have no control over that last thing, but I control my happiness and the number one thing that needs to change is my ass…by getting it into shape.

A Speed Bump.

I hate when unhappy feelings come to surface. I’ve been holding them in for too damn long now. So here’s chapter number one.

I’ve always been a ball of emotions, I’m a Scorpio for God-sake and certain things that have happened in my past have taught me to shove them down my throat into a deep crevice to a place I’m unaware of. However, every now and then they want to arise…usually when I’m in bed early and have to be up at 7 A.M.

In March of 2012, I learned that my grandpa’s cancer came back for the seventh time. In December of 2012, he would end up in the hospital…for the very last time.

He was a second father to me. Saying he was always there would be an understatement. My mom would be on the phone with him in the kitchen telling him I was sick, I’d be in the next room and after they hung up my cellphone would ring and it would be him saying, “What’s the matter with you?” He was always concerned. Always trying to help and make things better for me. I lost him on February 28, 2013, giving myself no time to mourn, because I had to graduate in 3 months. I did, and my meltdown took place the day after I walked across that stage. One day I’m in the hospital telling him that he needs to be there to see me walk…then that day comes and he’s gone, his house is gone, and his car is gone, as if he vanished into thin air. I spent his last evening on Earth holding his hand…with no idea that it would be his last. There is forever a hole in my heart. I try not to think about him sometimes, because when I do, I sob so hard, I can’t breathe.

The same month I learned of his cancer coming back, my grandmother was told she had pancreatic cancer. She wanted to refrain from telling me because she didn’t want it affecting my work. Once she told me the news, I hugged her and cried and said, “I’m sick of hearing the word cancer.” She was optimistic from the beginning, when she told me that everything would be alright, until the end, when I cried that she wouldn’t see me get married and she assured me that she would.

For the next two years I would watch this headstrong, compassionate, wonderful woman who gave me my mother, suffer and wither away to skin and bones. A woman who once baked 5 different kinds of Christmas cookies have no appetite and needed painkillers to get through the day. A woman who took me shopping for my birthday and Christmas every year until I turned 21 turned into a shell of the physically strong woman she once was. The week of March 1, 2014, my family literally waited for her to die. In a hospice center where people were being carried out to a hearse one after another. On March 7, 2014, I lost another piece of my heart. Exactly one year, one week, and one day since I buried the last piece. I’ve been lost ever since.

I know this is a little off key, but I have a point. Robin Williams recently committed suicide. The actor/comedian who each fan saw as The upbeat Genie in Aladdin or the witty Mrs. Doubtfire, one of the biggest adult kids around, hung himself because he was so depressed. I can’t even begin to explain how sad I am for the loss of him. Here’s why.

My childhood was The Genie in Aladdin and it was Mrs. Doubtfire. I remember being a kid and quoting both movies with the same enthusiasm as Robin Williams did. I remember going to Blockbuster (when it existed) and renting “Jack,” a movie he made about a boy who had a disease that made him look like an adult when he was a child. I was a child myself, but that movie made me cry, because it reminded me how special people can be.

Lately I just feel like my childhood has died, and no one should ever feel that way. I know it’s silly to mourn a person you’ve never met. But you don’t realize how a person had so much impact on a part of your life until they pass away. Until some of the joyous parts of your childhood pass away.

I have struggled with more issues than growing up with two disabled brothers. Things I don’t care to speak of. But I want people to know that I sympathize with Robin Williams because I have been in a hole that deep. I just someone managed to crawl and burn my way out of it. How, sometimes I still have no idea, and I hate that his death has made me rehash on that time in my life.

I am thankful to still be here, I am thankful for everything I have and everything I don’t, but when it comes to dwelling on the people I’ve lost…it scares the living shit out of me for my future.

I just don’t want to lose another piece of my childhood. I don’t want to be a shell of a happy character I once was.

And the scariest part about life is that no one gets out alive.

As I Lay Me Down to Sleep…

My mind decides to write a blog. So instead of jumping up at 3:30 in the morning to write in my journal I saved my thoughts for this particular post.

Have you ever had such a busy or stressful day that the feeling doesn’t hit you until your head hits the pillow? Well that happened to me last night. As I sunk into my mattress and began to breathe my way into REM sleep, my chest ached with every breath. I recalled the events that occurred earlier in the day and they weren’t worth thinking twice about.

It was Memorial Day. In honor of those who fought for our country I put in my eight hours at work. After work I went to the grocery store and picked up some extra burgers, potato salad and some chips. Then I went home and did some arm lifts that involved lifting the beer to my face. I ate dinner, topped the evening off with some Oberweis ice cream, painted my nails and called it a night. Stressful right…? No.

Being the curious person I am I looked into what that sinking feeling means. The answer is as obvious as it seems. You’re releasing anxiety and tension that you held during the day that your body probably didn’t even realize was there. This doesn’t happen every night, but when it does, relax. Light a candle. Put on some music that soothes you, sniff some eucalyptus or do a downward dog in the middle of your bedroom.

I once read, “The greatest weapon against stress is the ability to choose one thought over another.”