What I’ve Been Clicking On – Part 5

  1. New York Times – Transport Yourself With a Literary Escape This Summer
  2. LA Times – How Hailee Steinfeld learned to open up by playing poet Emily Dickinson
  3. Vogue – Shawn Mendes on How Meditation Has Transformed His Relationship—And His Sense of Self
  4. YouTube – Olivia Rodrigo – A Short Film (Vevo LIFT)
  5. Instagram – The Cast of Friends on Zoom
  6. Netflix – The Center Will Not Hold, A Documentary on Joan Didion
  7. Calm App – a meditation on setting social media boundaries
  8. Twitter – where was her origin story
  9. Twitter – HAPPY PRIDE MONTH FROM ME AND MY CAT
  10. Twitter – from Lisel Mueller’s “Why We Tell Stories”

What I’ve Been Clicking On – Part 4

  1. “Alison, can you explain what Internet is?”
  2. This donkey is reunited with the girl who raised it.
  3. Kristen Radtke Considers Another American Epidemic: Loneliness
  4. This Bodega Cat
  5. This Is Us in Chronological Order
  6. A tweet that made me laugh.
  7. Ariana Grande’s Beautiful Wedding
  8. Your Friend Doesn’t Want the Vaccine. What Do You Say?
  9. Tidbits from The Friends Reunion
  10. Kendall Jenner Opens Up About Anticipatory Anxiety

Self-Love

Noun.

I’m no longer willing to sit in my past
watching everything I did wrong pass by me.
Instead of feeling shame, I'm choosing love.
It's a choice that has to be made often
but it gets easier the more I'm aware of
how I'm talking to myself.

I'm choosing to give myself love by
living in the present.
When I get caught up in an anxious
thought, I respond with forgiveness
instead of judgment.

I sit outside as often
as I can because I feel better.
When I sit outside, I'm present.
I feel the warm air on my skin,
I breathe in the alluring
smells of nearby flowers.
I can sit with a book and
be totally happy.

What I’ve Been Clicking On – Part 3

  1. Oliva Rodrigo’s Sour
  2. Oprah and Prince Harry’s Apple TV+ show about mental health.
  3. Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes’ Calm Series
  4. This incredible conversation with Brene Brown and Ashley C. Ford.
  5. This insightful conversation between Prince Harry on Armchair Expert.
  6. Demi Lovato coming out as non-binary
  7. This photo of Milo Ventimiglia directing an episode of This Is Us and Mandy Moore in old-age makeup.
  8. Kaia Gerber on the summer cover of Vogue.
  9. An article from the New York Times about fully-vaccinated people choosing to keep their masks on.
  10. Storms can looks beautiful.

Ten Years

5.21.11

I recently came across a photo I posted on Facebook ten years ago. I took the photo on Photo Booth ten days before getting jaw surgery. It’s clear in the photo how prominent my lower jaw was in front of my upper jaw. I had a mouth full of braces, that’s why I’m not smiling. I look at this photo and I can feel the anxiety and anticipation of what’s to come.

While I had talked to a few people about their experience with jaw surgery and the surgeons told me what to expect, I went in pretty unaware of the reality of getting jaw surgery. I got fluid in my lungs when they were pulling the ventilator out and I had to be on oxygen for a month (I have COPD from being born three months early so fluid in my lungs quite difficult). My jaw was numb for 2/3 months after my jaw surgery. I still don’t have feeling on one side of my chin. My mom had to blend up potatoes and chicken broth so I would come down for dinner. I survived on smoothies for a while.

After my jaw surgery, I wasn’t taught how to move my jaw. I spent the eight years with so much tension in my jaw because I was scared to move it and mess something up. Then I developed TMJ and had to go to physical therapy. The physical therapist taught me how to move my jaw and relax the muscles in my jaw and neck. He said everyone who has jaw surgery should be sent to PT after they’re healed to learn how to move their jaw properly so they’re not as stiff as I was.

5.21.21

Earlier this year, I had to get a root canal on a tooth that had died. The root of the tooth had become a sliver of its former self. My dentist told me this can happen 10-15 years after surgery. Another thing I didn’t know could happen because of jaw surgery. Luckily, the tooth wasn’t hurting at all. Although, I was warned I had to have this root canal because if I lost the tooth, it would mess up my jaw and all the work that was put into getting it the way it is. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

While there have been some unexpected detours after the fact, I’m grateful I had jaw surgery. I can speak cleary. I feel more comfortable. After learning how to move my jaw, I’m able to eat on both sides of my mouth. It was a very difficult summer of healing but it was so worth it.

Cycles

Cape Neddick, Maine. August 2019.
Noun.
This is how I experience
a cycle of anxiety.
It's when my body senses danger,
and my mind springs into action.
It happens in a split second,
even when there's no danger to be found.
I become distant from my thoughts.
It's like I'm watching a movie
that plays the same scene on repeat.
When I was younger, I felt comfort
when in this headspace.
This was my safe place to escape.
Now I'm just annoyed that the narrative
doesn't go anywhere.
I have become aware of when this happens,
how this happens, why this happens.
I'm learning how to breathe through it,
I'm reminded that I don't live here anymore.
A cycle of anxiety passes over me
like a wave, I get lost in the current
for a split second, only to come up
and see I'm in an empty movie theatre
with the lights up.
I'm not who I was when I was younger.
I no longer live in these cycles.
I say hi every once in a while
when I'm bored or triggered
by trauma.
But I always find my way
back to myself.
These cycles are waves that pass.
My anxiety calms with my awareness
to know I have grown from
the stories of my past.
I prefer to remain
on the beach instead.

What I’ve Been Clicking On – Part 2

  1. Girls5Eva on Peacock is a must-watch comedy show (and this performance they did at The Hollywood Bowl was very good).
  2. A reminder from Elizabeth Bishop.
  3. audio instalment two by Yara Daley-Ward
  4. This beautiful photo by Katrien Vermeire of fireflies in the woods
  5. Taylor Swift’s speech at the Brit Awards
  6. Everyone should strive for this cozy atmosphere
  7. This photo of Phoebe Bridgers lives in my head rent-free.
  8. Emma Chamberlain discussing how she deals with her mental health.
  9. The first two episodes of Kendall Jenner’s four part series with Vogue about anxiety.
  10. The first episode of Glennon Doyle’s podcast We Can Do Hard Things is all about anxiety. I felt less alone while listening to it because I could relate a lot to how Glennon described her anxiety.

New Perspective

Last week, I went to the eye doctor for the first time in almost two years. I received some incredible news. Not only are my eyes healthy after dealing with Thyroid Eye Disease for two and a half years but the keratoconus I deal with hasn’t changed since 2019. After going through hell with my eyes, I can proudly say I’ve come a long way and I’m in pretty good shape. Thyroid eye disease can impact the optic nerve because the swelling from TED squeezes the muscles around the eye causing damage. Both of my optic nerves are healthy and well.

Though, it wasn’t easy in the slightest. I look at photos from 2019 and I can feel how uncomfortable and swollen my eyes were. At the time, I dealt with it as best I could. I couldn’t relieve the uncomfortable swelling, I just had to get through it. It’s only when looking back do I realize how bad the thyroid eye disease really was. It sucked. It was one of the worst things I have ever endured in my life. I hated every second of it. Double vision, light sensitivity, upper, eyelid retractions on both eyes, depth perception issues, dry eyes, uncomfortable swelling, and migraines. It was all horrible.

I tried steroids but they ended up hurting me much more than they helped. So I just had to wait. Wait for my body to calm down and heal. It took a whole lot of time. Time was really the only thing I could count on. When I was experiencing it, I tried not to complain. Complaining wouldn’t help things. Sure, I’m human and there were moments where I felt depressed by it but it could have been so much worse.

I’m almost three years into this and I’m very happy to say I’m on the downward slope of this disease. I no longer have double vision and the swelling has gone down quite a bit. The migraines have improved as the swelling improves. I don’t have dry eyes and I’m no longer uncomfortable every day. The light sensitivity has lessened tremendously. My right eyelid is doing quite well and is no longer retracted. My left eyelid is a few months behind the right eyelid but is slowly catching up. I still have depth perception issues on occasion but being aware of it helps me not run into things (most of the time).

I wasn’t a glasses wearer before this. I had glasses but I didn’t wear them often. I now wear glasses all the time. I think that’s partly why my eyes are in good health now. I recognize how important it was to wear them when I had double vision and had to get a stick on prism to help me see one instead of two. Plus, glasses act as a barrier between my fingers in my eyes. I haven’t rubbed my eyes in over two years and I have no plans on rubbing them ever again.

One thing I learned through this experience that I think everyone should be aware of is that it’s so important to take care of your eyes. Whether it’s wearing blue light glasses when looking at screens or wearing your glasses more if you don’t wear contacts. Wearing sunglasses when in the sun. For people with cornea diseases, do not rub your eyes unless you want things to get worse.

There was nothing I did to cause TED. I had noticeable swelling over Labor Day in 2018. Then a month later, I woke up with double vision. It was scary and uncomfortable and difficult but I got through it. I went through hell and back with my eyes but the eye doctor did a normal eye exam with eyes and he was able to get 20/20 easily. When I was going through it with TED, the eye doctor was only able to get me to 20/40. Being treated as a normal eye patient is a success in my book.

About six months into TED, steroids caused my vision to plummet. It was awful. I had to get new temporary glasses to deal with the sudden changes. I got them when I still had moon face and swollen eyes. I wore those glasses for two years. Those glasses always reminded me of what I had been through. When I got my eyes checked, I was able to get some new glasses. New glasses for a new chapter of my life.