Do Not Judge Me Without Knowing My Story

Do Not Judge Me Without Knowing My Story

What makes you think it is okay to judge a person for something when you do not know the person?
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"Never judge a book by it's cover."

There has never been a more accurate quote to describe a person with a chronic illness.

Depending on the illness one has, you often cannot see the actual struggle going on. It is a silent killer more times than none. We do our best to live a normal life on the outside, but on the inside, we are dying for some relief.

I never thought I would see the day when my life would be centered around caring for my illness (Cystic Fibrosis) and wondering what each day would hold. I am very much a planner and control freak when referring to my own life. I hold a routine in my life the best I can, but I have had to learn to give up some control. Each day looks different and that is my new normal.

Most "normal" people have a typical routine in their daily lives...wake up, drink coffee, have breakfast, work 9-5, come home, spend time with family, have dinner, maybe watch the news or Netflix and then go to bed knowing you will wake up and do it all over again. Granted, I'm sure there are other factors in the day such as going to the gym, grocery shopping, etc. But for the most part, the day is predictable.

People with a chronic illness, chronic pain, or a mental illness could wake up one day, have a normal routine and a good day; then the next day wake up in pain, having difficulty breathing, unable to get out of bed and struggle to even take a shower.

For me, I am VERY much a go-getter.

Seriously, I do not like to stay home all day everyday. I like to get out and do things. I like to work and plan and grocery shop and spend time with family, friends and my awesome boyfriend. But more times than none (especially in the last two years), I have to really slow down my pace and watch how much I am going and doing. I have had to take time away from my amazing job, stay home and increase my treatment regimens, and increase the amount of medication I have. I have to make sure to have adequate resting time and plenty of sleep.

On the outside, I look like a healthy 23 year old. On the inside, my disease is progressing and my body suffers. Thankfully, I can get the healthcare I need and medication to treat my Cystic Fibrosis.

But often times, I feel judged for sitting at home...

...as do a lot of people with chronic illness' that I have encountered.

Those who do not have something this difficult to deal with just do not understand. And that is okay. But please, PLEASE do not make us feel less like a persons for not being able to go and do as much as those without a chronic illness. It just is not cool.

So before you go judging someone who stays home because of an illness you cannot see, be respectable and competent enough to think outside the box of possibilities you put us in. If a person you encounter is like me, they are MORE THAN WILLING to explain their situation to you.

We do not need your sympathy all the time, but we do need to not feel blamed for having a "kryptonite" that is out of our control. Remember that there is a human soul underneath the skin that you are conversing about and potentially judging. You should definitely never judge a book by it's cover.

Cover Image Credit: Amye Dykes

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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I Stopped Taking My ADHD Medication And It Made Me 10 Times Happier

Many people with ADHD choose to medicate to manage their symptoms, but that choice is not without any negative side effects.

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When I was 7 years old, I was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.

I was in the third grade and falling behind in nearly every subject and my teachers were losing hope. I endured several weeks of testing before being diagnosed, but even more weeks of medication testing after I was diagnosed. Once it had been determined that I responded positively to medication, I began taking Concerta.

I took Concerta every day from fourth grade on to my freshman year of college.

About every three years, I would start taking a stronger dosage and every time my dosage increased, I experienced more and more negative side effects of the drug.

Common side effects people experience when they take ADHD medications are altered personalities. The meds make you feel more reserved and uncomfortable. You are constantly on alert and this makes one feel very self-conscious. Another side effect of ADHD meds is suppression of identifying personality traits and strong emotions. Many people, including myself, report feeling robot or zombie-like. All of these side effects disappeared when I stopped taking Concerta.

Around the beginning of my first year of college, I considered stopping medicating.

College is a fresh start and I was beginning to wonder what not medicating would feel like. I had become so used to the way Concerta made me feel, I did not know what it felt like to truly be myself. So, after being medicated from 2008-2017, I stopped taking my ADHD pills.

At first, I didn't feel much of a difference, but as time went on I began feeling happier. I found myself to be more outgoing and social. I have always been considered a warm, approachable person, but this was different. People began commenting on how often I was smiling, my friend group was expanding, I began feeling more confident in myself and speaking in public.

During the fall semester of my sophomore year, I began experiencing the symptoms of my ADHD on a whole new level. I was having extreme difficulty paying attention in class, trouble completing all my assignments in a timely fashion, forgetting simple things, and more.

I felt like my grades were suffering and I was worried not medicating was compromising the quality of my education because I no longer had pills to help me manage my symptoms, so I started medicating once again.

At the start of my sophomore winter semester, I began taking Concerta again in hopes my educational experience would improve. While school was easier to manage, I could not stand the way the meds were making me feel. I experienced intense migraines, loss of interest in any/all activities I once enjoyed, I stopped eating, and my friends often commented on how dull I seemed. Due to all the negative side-effects of starting my medication again, I got rid of them for good.

Over a year has gone by since I first made the choice to give up my medication.

School is a lot harder and paying attention takes significantly more energy, but I would not trade any of my ADHD struggles for the feeling of finally being free from the methylphenidate based drug used to treat my disorder. For the first time since third grade, I feel like myself and I am proud of who I am and who I am becoming.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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