health · Lifestyle · poetry · Uncategorized

Medical update….October 29th 2018

What do I say about today…..words almost won’t display the feelings brewing inside my brain. When did we lose sight of what was in front of our face? How do we face what is hidden away? My feelings are written all over my face, not hidden away in shame. I speak in written word for my voice can not seem to be heard. My soul is in control for she seems to know the way, protecting my heart from what she can not comprehend. Self is who I am and all the beauty she beholds. Egos have no place within, they are hard enough to control. Does this look okay to you? Some just can not open their eyes, their hearts filled with toxins out of control. Amongst the chaos and denials, you find the angels sent to guide you as everything spins out of control. Words have saved me and will continue to do so, my hope is that we find each other and take back our control. ~Jennifer Steen

After getting repeatedly told to “just deal” and being blown off, I sought out a naturopathic doctor to help me find a better way to live and try to finally find out what the hell is wrong with me. After an eye opening and comfortable appointment, I felt optimistic that I could find a way to get answers and that one of my doctors here in Texas would help with labs.

I had that appointment today with my endocrinologist and it did not go well. He refused to order recommended tests (by amazing said doctor) and that he saw no evidence to warrant these tests….say that again? Oh and he did say it again along with verbally arguing with my husband about his credentials and the fact that he was the doctor. No shit sherlock, the plaques on your wall say so but your attitude and ego need a ton of work. I will absolutely not have someone like that in charge of my care, it has been made very clear to me the direction they are trying to go and that they are grasping at straws. I will save them the trouble, I have no problem admitting my mental health issues and am currently dealing with them appropriately. No one has yet to have the guts to say it to my face, because a serious medical issue is written all over my face. I get that answers have to be sought but as natural order goes, to find them you have to search EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE! I believe that is common knowledge that makes common sense, right?! My case is complex and requires out of the box thinking, just like me. Thankfully I found an amazing angel doctor who was sent to help me and now I am going to follow that path after so many different trails. I have already began the process of diet changes and supplements and it has helped. We are going to figure this out and the war will have made perfect sense.

“I walk through the fire in silent screams until I wake, then swim in the healing waters for some rest”.

I know I have not given a medical update in awhile, it has been a bit hard to share that part. So much unknown and fear, while I am better in some ways than before. There is something really wrong, I can feel it, I can see it and I just want to know how to possibly fix it. I do not believe that is to much to ask for. As I typed this my young son just looked over at me and said “mommy I am so sorry you are sick”. Be still my heart and then it breaks a bit more, this is all he has ever known. I want more for the both of us, for my family and friends. Thank you all for taking this journey with me, for the love and support. For the prayers, good vibes, and kind words. I love you all ✌🏼❤🕉

PS. I wrote this yesterday and felt like I needed to sleep on it and give my emotions a rest. No matter what happens I am blessed beyond measure! Thankful and appreciative! Loved and lost! I am a better for this journey, this struggle, and even on my knees I am grateful for the lessons it has taught me…..

music · Uncategorized

Music, new friends, and the power of words!

Ok so its high time for a feel good story and it is one that is very close to my heart! Anyone who know me well can tell you how much I love music and the stories they tell. There are a few bands who take the top spots in my book and I am going to share with you the amazing experience my family and I had with one of them, Breaking Benjamin!

In October 2015, my husband took me to my second Breaking Benjamin concert with VIP tickets. Our daughter at the time wanted to go so bad but was not able to do so. I promised her that one day I would take her to see them but until then she decided that she was going to record a message for Ben and begged me to show it to him. Alrighty then I said I would do my very best, if allowed. Lucky for me their band manager was kind enough to allow me to show it and Ben was great in answering her question. It was an amazing night and an emotional show. Ashes of Eden live for the first time, having not heard it before, was something I will never forget!

Five months later, I fulfilled my promise and took my daughter, Kaitlyn, to their show with VIP tickets. Wow what a night it turned out to be, one for the record books for sure. I finally learned the name of the man who allowed me to show her video all those months earlier, the bands tour manager, John Phillips. After our meet and greet with the band and a mini emotional meltdown, Kaitlyn was taken in by the crew and we were all treated to an experience of a lifetime!

Five months later, we got to go see them again in Houston, the day before our vacation began. Kaitlyn was so excited to see her bestie, John, and the band again!

John and Kaitlyn

Waiting for meet and greet

Then just a few short months later, we all meet up again in Tulsa for another amazing concert experience thanks to John! I was able to bring my nieces to their first ever rock concert and my mom came too! I would not have been able to give them that experience without his help and it is a memory I hold very dear to my heart!

So now in closing, I have two very important things to say…….

First to John, I can never thank you enough for what you have done for not only Kaitlyn, but for me!(I will explain that part shortly). For allowing us the opportunity to see these shows in a way not everyone gets to and for taking Kaitlyn under your wing and being her friend. She truly cares about you and the friendship you both have developed. It means a great deal to her and after the past year, she needs it more now than ever! You saw something that day in Amarillo, took action, and forever altered both our lives! We are both grateful for that!

And now I get to the hard part and share with you why it means so much to me. In 2009, two years after overcoming an addiction to meth, I began to experience chronic unexplained pain. Over the next seven years, I tried anything and everything to manage and I did well until August 2016. What was once just pain, turned into a health crisis I am still battling today. Here is a page from my journal……

I thought I knew what agony was, turns out I had only known pain. It was not until my pain became sickness that I truly got a taste of agony. Not until I read the burnt pages of my soul did I understand. The days I laid on the bathroom floor screaming into my hands and begging for relief. The nights I dreaded to sleep for fear I would not wake up. The people I lost because they could not handle my suffering for they did not understand. The hopelessness when you beg for help and no one listens or believes you. Living everyday as if it’s your last because you have been so close to death. Grateful for the people who decided you were worth sticking around for, and even more so for the stories that give hope.

I could go on for days explaining all the ways that Ben’s words and story helped me to keep going and still does to this day. How the songs gave me a voice when I was to tired to speak. I will admit, it is hard sometimes to listen too, the feelings are so raw and emotional. I ask myself often why I never said any of this face to face? Four chances and nothing. What do you say? How do you begin? I do not like to live with regret I can do something about but I have to believe that THIS is the way it was supposed to be. I was meant to write it down and share it in written words instead. My first poem was born from that inspiring night and my writings have grounded me as my life imploded around me. I am finally able to express my pain and thoughts and it was inspired by Ben, the band, a few other amazing people who encouraged me to break through fear and find the courage to share my story. So now I have no regrets when it comes to this amazing experience!

In closing I leave you with that poem and one last thank you before I sound like a broken record…..

Sorrow
Go away
Sorrow
Go ahead and stay
You won’t listen no matter what I say
Sorrow
Infects my soul
Sorrow
Drains my mind
Sorrow
Breaks my heart in all kinds of ways
Sorrow
Wash the day away
Tomorrow
I just hope for a better day ~ Jennifer Steen
❤🤘🏼🎶

health · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

Depression and the words better left unsaid…in my opinion.

Depression
You would think he comes like a thief in the night
But he creeps up on you in broad daylight

Hey everyone……so some of you know by reading my previous posts, that I have been sick for awhile now. This period of time in my life had been eye opening and haunting. On top of that, we had some really hard and painful things happen to the kids and everyone in our household at the time. These series of occurances left a silent mark on me, one I did not truly realize for some time. I admit, half of it is solely on my shoulders and am responsible for the mental state I find myself in. Trying to do to much, save people who do not want it, and deal with people who only want to see me fail and suffer. People pleasing and trying to be someone I am not. I also have been working on a series of writings that go back to the very beginning of my life in memories. It has brought up a ton of emotional baggage but also healed me in ways that have helped me move on, I will never be sorry for this! This story is meant to be told and it is the most important thing I have done and will NOT apologize for! Ok got it, I own it, and let’s move on.

The poem below was written when I decided to try medication to treat my depression……

The depression so deep
The chemicals will bring it to the surface
Where the spirit will contain it
And it will be washed away
Hopefully someday
The illness will remain however
Stuck in time
Ticking like a time bomb
Waiting for a sign from within
To destroy everything in its wake
I need more chemicals now
So I can survive the destruction
Shielding me from the jagged pieces of my broken body
My protective angel wraps his strong arms around me
Leading me out of the remains of my own tragedy~Jennifer Steen

I recognized my depression about six months ago, got medicine, and it sucked. I became an emotionless zombie and found that I preferred to cry instead of not. I wanted to feel, even if it brought me to my knees. Its closer to mother earth anyways, having my head in the clouds is not always the best place for me. I get lost and forget my place in this world, forget my purpose and responsibilities. I quickly weaned myself off these meds(my choice, you make your own based on needs amd beliefs) and knew if I took the proper approach and began to deal with what was going on, that I could find my way back to happiness. Well its not an overnight fix! It takes time, patience, and support…..did you get that last part? Support! From yourself and those who call you family and friends.

Now I am going to speak to potential family and friends of someone going through a mental issue such as depression and trauma. First, do not EVER tell them to “just get over it”. Please….for their sake and yours. I know you miss this person but you most likely brought upon yourself more time away from them. Second, you can not not just call or text once and then give up when things do not go your way. It is NOT ABOUT YOU, god forbid you find yourself in the same position someday and faced with self absorbed people who care not about your well being, only themselves. Third, you do not have to be ugly and say hateful things to get your point across. You just don’t, I promise! Not sure why “tough love” is the approach for somone who is actively seeking help. And last, if you find yourself unable to cope with said person and their “crap” do everyone a favor and WALK AWAY!

I have found myself in these situations with people over the last year and I will not lie, it hurts really bad. I am not mad, just sad. Feeling worthless and no good is not an easy feeling to cope with. I have not forgotten the precious ones who have held me up during this time and been my rock, you guys seriously saved my life! You all make the ugly side of this journey worth it! So thank you to those amazing people and a thank you to the ones who kicked me while I was down, you did not stay around to watch me get back up and I was able to leave you where you belong…..behind me!

Now, to all those dealing with depression and other mental illnesses….I love you guys! Even if I do not know you, I got love for you! Please seek help! It will not be easy, ok? Some of the best things in life never are, you have to fight for yourself and the life you want! You are amazing and you are important! Find what works for you, we all deal with things differently, and stay the course. Even if you get lost, its ok, you hold the map so use it!

For anyone that chooses to not to get help and be proactive, I can not say what will happen or who will stick around but I can say with certainty that things will not get better, simple as that. We are all here for a purpose and I hope you find yours, I hope for happiness and some sort of peace in your suffering. Because without suffering their would be no compassion!

Happy Saturday and happy vibes to all……

✌🏼💙Jennifer Steen

health · Lifestyle

Yes my brain is normal, at least according to medical science!

Hey everyone! Now that I got everyone caught up and we are in real time, I will share a bit of information about my continued journey through my illness, seeking answers and a plan to move forward.

So I have had an MRI and EEG, all normal! According to my neurologist, I have a beautiful brain……why thank you kind sir! So now I wait for an evaluation on my mental state, here is where things will get tricky I imagine. As I said before in my post about trauma, it is assumed that I suffer from feuge state, I can totally see this as an option based on what I have read. I completely am aware of my unique sense of self and that I can be a chameleon if need be. It has been that way all my life, a way to cope with my surroundings and situations I found myself in, and others I put myself in. Adaptability is a virtue I am happy to have. No shame in that! It is not fake, it is survival.

Being fake is pretending, in full knowledge of ones actions, to be someone you know you are not.

Be real, even in your mental illness! Own who you are and what has happened to you and give it the attention it deserves, then let it GO! Not forget, just put away, so it does not continue to ruin the true you! No one ever got help by being ignorant, so wake up and help yourself. Hopefully you have an amazing support system, like I do, and will not be alone in your journey. Even if it’s just one person standing by your side, it is more than some people receive.

I continue to be open to the findings and will deal with them in an adult way, fits are for babies! However, I am finding it increasingly hard to deal with educated individuals who see themselves as above me in knowing my own body. Exhausting I tell ya! I still have bad days, really bad ones! My mantra is always the same, this too shall pass! Love you guys!

Jennifer Steen

health · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

Trauma.

The pain of today
Remembered tomorrow
The sins of yesterday
Cleared away
How do we cope with the memories
I dare not say
For all of us are different
We handle in our own way ~ Jennifer Steen

It has taken me days to write this, I have written and then erased and cried until I am blue in the face.

This was originally going to be about my recent neurology appointment and where I possibly go from here but over the last few days, something else has taken over my mind and my soul is telling me to share it so here we go. Yes it does have something to do with said appointment. Here we go…..

Ok so we all know what trauma is correct?

trauma – a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury.

Regardless of its source, trauma contains three common elements:

• It was unexpected.

• The person was unprepared.

• There was nothing the person could do to stop it from
happening.

Simply put, traumatic events are beyond a person’s control.

It is not the event that determines whether something is traumatic to someone, but the individual’s experience of the event and the meaning they make of it. (Definition and explanation above was provided by a third party site, (MTIECI).

To be in such a dark place
Is scarier than anything I have ever faced
To feel the enemy but not able to see it
The weight of the grief
With no end in sight ~Jennifer Steen

Now did I know I had suffered traumas in my past? Yes, I have been working through them. I have talked to counselors, gone to therapy groups, and really worked to create a safe environment for myself. I began to write nearly two years ago and that has been an amazing therapeutic tool for me. So why am I here, writing about something I seem to have faced? Well it’s because I am not facing the current trauma that is my everyday life.

Please do not get things twisted, I have an amazing life and I cherish every damn day as if its my last. And there it is, the aha moment I could not see until it was pointed out to me. Can you imagine having the mindset that you might not have tomorrow because you are sick today? To have experienced medical emergencies so scary that you wondered if you would survive it? Your life flashes before you, all the things you have done and have yet to do, the things you left unsaid. How in the world could that not leave a mark, an imprint on someone’s psyche? It does, and each of us handle this in different ways! No one person is the same in their journey, even if we take it together.

Each of us is designed to deal with traumas, milestones, and life in general in a multitude of ways. The key is finding your own way. And know that it will take time and effort to work through, it is a marathon not a sprint!

I have been experiences some strange symptoms in the last year and my endocrinologist was so worried and by his own admission, stumped as to why, that he sent me to a neurologist for a second opinion. What an experience that was! Ok so my brain is quote “beautiful and healthy” docs own words. Yay! So what is the problem then? Why am I having significant memory lapses? Why can I not remember conversations or questions that were just asked? Why when I walk, do I just run into walls for no apparant reason? Why can I be in a conversation and go completely blank? Like I can not even answer basic questions. Why am I in a constant state of emotional upheaval? TRAUMA. Not long ago trauma but current trauma. He suspects I am suffering from fugue state or Dissociative fugue which has been linked to severe stress, which might be the result of traumatic events — such as war, abuse, accidents, disasters, or extreme violence — that the person has experienced or witnessed.

Wow ok, this one was out of left field lol my first thought was “yeah I am crazy, that is nothing new”. That is just me trying to lighten up a very serious issue. I am having an EEG done next wednesday to make certain that there are no underlying issues that have been missed. I am also being sent to see a psychotherapist, and I am ok with that. There is no shame in knowing that I can not do this by myself. Having spent the last six months with a diagnosis of a rare kidney disease and significant adrenal insufficiency after a year and a half of fearing the unknown, I have not had time to properly deal with that and all the other outside issues currently on my plate. I have depression and ptsd and I need more help. I spend a great deal of time alone and do not talk in person about what is going on outside my close friends and family, and sometimes not even then do I open up completely. I do not need to be an open book to the world, I need to be an open book to myself!

I am still at war from within. I am a mom trying to raise my kids with their own set of traumas. I am a wife trying to not put everything on my husbands shoulders, because he has enough on his plate. I am the friend trying to be there for my people and still feeling as if I am not enough. I tried to step away and give us all time but that was not recieved well. I was accused of being mean and uncaring of others issues. Let me tell you something, I have a tremendous amount of empathy and never want anyone to suffer. But if you continue to deny your problems and do not take appropriate actions to mend them, I can not help you! If you can not see how much I am struggling and need support, then stay away!

I will never compare my trauma to others, it is a slap in the face to those people. I continue to see others rate their trauma above others and you are wrong in doing so! So stop! We have all experienced levels of trauma and some continuous amounts of trauma and they manifest in a multitude of ways. I encourage those who are currently in this situation to seek help! Be open and honest with yourself and your doctors!

Please be gentle and understanding to yourself and those around you! Look hard within yourself, the answers are there! Same goes for the ones witnessing this first hand with someone they know. There will be some you have to walk away from because they refuse help, that is ok! Your decision likely is not based on how much you love them, everyone deserves love even when they are lost. When you see someone legit trying to get better, be there cheerleader! Encourage them!

Thanks for reading, feel free to share or comment! I would love to connect with you all!

Jennifer Steen

health · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

The sickness part 3

To be weak
Is to be strong
To dry your eyes
Is because you have no more to cry
To walk alone
Is to know your way
To be tired
Is because you have lived
To fall apart
Is because you where once whole
The pain
Is because you feel
The darkness
Is because of the light~ Jennifer Steen

August 2017
So while I had not had anymore major episodes or issues, I began to notice that my stomach would swell after I ate. I was rapidly losing weight and food was making me sick. Three months in, it was discovered that my gallbladder was dying. A few days before Thanksgiving, I had it taken out.
I recovered and tried to get back to normal but that was not to be.
On December 1, 2017, I woke up with a headache, dizzy, and nauseated. By the time I got up and made it into the kitchen, my world suddenly tilted on its axis. The pain exploded in my head and spread through every nerve in my body. I hit my knees as soon as I could and laid in a fetal position on the floor for roughly 30 minutes. All I could do was lay there and pray this was not what was to become of me. Praying for help, for answers, and for my family. This is not a burden I ever wanted for them. My 12 year old daughter was home from school that day and I will never forget the look on her face when she found me on the floor. She sat with me and held my hand until I could properly function again.

Over the next few months, I had smaller episodes like this but none as severe, mostly dizziness and lose of balance. On February 5th, 2018, I collapsed one morning on my bedroom floor. For the first time the numbness was replaced by almost indescribable pain. I was struggling to breath and could not even pick myself off the floor. I was rushed by ambulance to the local hospital, by this time, the pain had lessened but I was still in panic mode trying to calm myself down. The good old doc told me it was ONLY a panic attack and blew me off. I begged him to listen to me but he did not. I cried so much, it was like a part of my spirit died in that moment.
Why would no one help me?
Why was I being ignored?
Did they really think I was making this up?
Over exaggerating?
Well as you will come to find out in part 4, what was going on was very serious and very real. Thank you all for reading and taking this journey with me!

health · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

The sickness part 2

January 16, 2017

The feelings that are inside
Swirling
The pain is gone
But the scars still remain
Never far away
Let the peace wash over me
Into tranquility
The feelings that are inside
A renewal for the soul
Anguish is now gone
And hope remains~ Jennifer Steen

March 2017
For the previous three months things were better than they had been in a very long time. I was changing, planning for the future, while letting go of the past. I was writing like crazy and I felt truly free for the first time in years.
One phone call changed everything, I knew I should have stopped and paid more attention to my instincts. Stopped my business plans and just slowed down. Yet nothing could have prepared me for what I would face, it came so fast and I was not prepared. I had become content and did not continue my self care and I payed for it dearly. No ones fault but my own on that one. In a few short weeks, with the world crashing in from all sides. On March 22nd I went to the ER with severe chest pains and a panicky feeling I could not control. I felt sick and shaky, of course the doctor on call thought I was a drug addict and blew me off. A few days later, I woke up in the early hours of the morning, to the same attack that had happened 7 months prior. Only worse! It was so traumatic that I have a hard time remembering details but I will never forget the pain and the fear. Holding onto my daddy’s dog tags and begging for more time. I was hospitalized again, sedated, and test were run. Nothing. Nada. I was told to take my anxiety pills, one week of bed rest, and reduce my stress level Ha! As if!

For privacy purposes I will not talk about the specifics that were going on also at that time, but things were hard. I am not opposed to hardships but man this one tough. It was the most imperfect perfect storm that I never fully recovered from, turns out I was also experiencing what is known as adrenal crisis. I will not deny that my mind broke for awhile. I am still picking up the pieces today.
In May, one week after coming home from a cruise, I woke up in the middle of the night, passed out in the hallway. Anytime I drank alcohol I became violently sick. All these strange aches and pains were occurring more frequently. I would get dizzy often and disoriented. In July, I got up in the middle of the night to get a drink and take some meds because I had a slight headache. As I shut the fridge and turned around, my whole body went numb from head to toe, my vision went black, and the next thing I know I woke up slumped against the fridge. All I could hear were loud chirping sounds in my head, I did not even realize I had passed out. I crawled through the house, climbed in bed and went to sleep. Obviously I had a nasty concussion but still no answers as to why this was happening.

Thankfully the symptoms slowed down by August of 2017 and my stress level was more leveled out. I honestly knew in the back of my mind that something was seriously wrong but I just kept trucking on and doing my best to keep my family together and to recover from the trauma of the last few months. I had responsibilities and I was becoming tired of hearing doctors and peers tell me to get over it, like I was making this all up. Even as I relieve these memories, it still brings tears to my eyes but I am going to keep going. I will be back soon with part 3 of the story! Thank you for reading and ✌🏼❤