Post-Wedding Depression is Real

When I first became engaged to my husband, I ordered all the wedding books, researched, and meticulously planned until I ended up in the ER with nerve damage. I was also pulled in all sorts of directions by my in-laws and family, who paid for the event. My planning season was an emotional rollercoaster, but I loved the planning part. I designed so many things and perused so many websites I can now call myself a wedding connoiseur.

After my wedding, in the 12 hour timeslot before I left for my honeymoon, I felt despair. I didn’t get exactly what I wanted. I didn’t even have a real wedding dress, but a white prom dress, because of low funds due to my medical situation. During this time I had become obese, and I felt I was no longer beautiful. I dreamt of being beautiful on my wedding day. Instead, I had a pixie haircut, a round face, acne and pale skin. There was, also, well, my new walking stick. During my planning season I had gone from abled to disabled.

The honeymoon provided another high, but immediately after coming home things turned south. Why didn’t I get to be gorgeous on my wedding day? Why had my husband never told me he thought I was beautiful during the wedding? Where was the romance? And most importantly, why couldn’t I walk on my own?

Growing up I was the little girl who played wedding in diapers. I was the ultimate wedding dreamer. But the bubble popped and here I was, married, unemployed and disabled. I was going to grad school in the fall after having to drop out due to developing lupus three days before my wedding. I felt worthless as a housewife.

When COVID hit I had a giant brain worm: a wedding planner for disabled couples. I wrote about 100 pages of it in two weeks, then fleshed it out with interviews from the community.

In trying to cope with the post-wedding blues, I turned back to weddings (one of my favorite things) to try to help people. It works best when I’m coming hard at it on the weekends or discussing it with my professors, who have taken an interest in the book.

The beauty, purpose, and creativity involved in weddings lit my brain up like a live wire. To see it POOF out of thin air, after its most important culmination, drove me to writing more seriously. I wrote about fashion, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and my experiences as a newly disabled wife facing an unknown world.

If you found this because you’re feeling guilt about the post-wedding blues, you aren’t alone. You’ve definitely got a friend in me.

Back in the Grad School Saddle Again

On Monday, I will start grad school at a flagship university. This is a step up reputation-wise than my previous university for grad school last year. The program is entirely online so I will not have to worry about travelling, unlike my previous program.

I am very excited about this. Because I want to become a better writer, I loved my previous program. My classmates at my new school seem kind and helpful. Hopefully I will be better able to network.

The school is a technical university, so I hope I will learn more technical skills. I am very good at social justice theory, however, I am seeking a job in big tech.

I will work on grad school most of the time and supplement my free time with yoga school.

Wishing you all the best,

Meara

I Am Not My Illnesses

Sun shining through an up close enlarged pink lily flower in a green field with a blurred blue sky. Text overlay: "I am not my illnesses: how the concept of a soul helps me. Spoonielifestyle.com"

In yogic philosophy there is the concept of the known and the knower, or the field and the farmer. You observe your body, your mind, and your thoughts, but you know that is not who you are. The knower, your true self, is a soul with an inner, divine light who sees your body, mind and thoughts. Then, you cultivate and care for them.

The concept of a soul, or my true identity, was something I always struggled with. As a bipolar person, whenever I was going through a depressive episode, I was always told “that’s just part of your personality” or “that’s just who you are.” And that always hurt. I didn’t want I be the dark sides of “me,” whoever she was. If I was this monster I would certainly be doomed to my personal hell forever.

I discovered Speaking Bipolar and Bipolar Hope, then began sending articles that resonated with me to my friends and loved ones. After sending one article to my mother, she explained she did not know that what I was experiencing as a “negative personality trait” or a “negative personality” was actually a symptom of bipolar, or an illness. It was not something that I was, like having fibromyalgia.

None of my family would define me as a “fibromyalgian” or a fibro, but they would probably all say I’m bipolar and not a person with bipolar. Chronic pain may have a huge grip on my life, but it is not something others define me by, let alone experience with me. Bipolar has been more damaging due to its impact on my relationships and led to developing medically induced lupus. So, yeah. The body follows the mind.

But my body and mind are not who I am. Who I am is the unchanging essence who comes from the Divine God who created the universe. I am God’s child. This is who I always was and who I will always be. The concept of this gives me great peace. Now, I can tend to my field better.

Namaste: The Light In Me Recognizes and Admires the Light that Shines in You

A woman in a cross legged position with a relaxed face in a forest.
Image by feelgoodjunkie from Pixabay

I finished my first week of yoga school yesterday, and already it has been an enlightening experience. For one thing, it expanded on the idea of what the path to a higher consciousness is/heaven/God is — and that is love. Love for yourself, devotion to love, which leads to love for others. This is largely self-care, which doesn’t necessarily mean mani pedis and bubble baths. It’s getting to know yourself and learning to love what you find. You seek and find.

This also means that I can feel gratitude for my body as a vessel, which helps me to deal with my chronic pain better. Saying thank you to my body for however much it can move helps me to move even more. It is true I am in a pain flare, but I am still moving through it.

One thing I have found is that everyone is an embodiment of light, or love, and we all deserve to love ourselves and be shown love. This means I treat everyone the same, from my husband to my dog, and have love towards myself when I inevitably mess up. I should have been able to learn this from my upbringing alone, but sometimes looking at pretty much the same thing from another angle helps to absorb the message.

I have a few Christian followers, and I assure you what I have learned largely lines up with Christian philosophy. You cannot love God without feeling love yourself. There is a teaching of grace and works towards oneself and others in yoga philosphy.

I am writing this as a reflection of the history of yoga and yoga philosophy that I have learned on my first week of class. I found it to be extremely interesting and worthy to pass on.

Namaste,

Meara

I Started Yoga School: My Longtime Yoga Teacher Training Goal Realized as a Spoonie 200 YTT Yoga & Ayurveda Center

A woman on a pink mat with a white background extending her body into the cobra yoga position - shoulders back, head tilted upward, feet pointing downward, hips and legs hovering above the mat.
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Before I developed chronic pain, I had a host of mental health disorders. Two biggies were dissociation and anxiety. I would bump into people walking around in public, duck out of hallways to be met by a face too flustered to apologize (and not sure to apologize). Not to mention my health was poor in general. I lacked stamina and self-esteem (problems which came back later).

My university offered 200 level and 300 level kinesiology courses in yoga for a required fitness credit. I took three of these required 200 level courses because I loved it so much.

Gradually, through learning savasana and deep breathing through poses, I became more in tune with myself. I began to see the world around me and my place in it. It was easier to not bump into people in public and my posture improved — because I was now aware of how my physical body felt.

Outside of my kinesiology classes, I took yoga at the recreational center daily, and purchased a yoga mat (which has now been destroyed by cats, and I badly need a new one).

I fell out of yoga when I graduated college due to working the night shift, but journeyed back once I developed chronic pain. I found I still remembered many of the asanas and my yoga textbook from college. Surprisingly I was still limber — although the philosophy of yoga is so much more than that.

Right now 45 minutes a day of yoga is helping my pain flare, any more than that is damaging me. I am hoping I can pull out of this okay. Right now the Yoga Alliance is letting online students register with them upon completion of a Registered Yoga School’s program by December 30, and I intend to do just that.

I can throw myself really hard at things, and I’m trying not to do that. Pacing for me is very difficult. Currently I’m reading the Bhagavad Gita as an audiobook and copying my notes from the past two days.

Should you wish to become a registered yoga teacher, check out the Yoga Alliance’s Rating on the Yoga & Ayurveda Center, my school. I am taking the 200 level RYS and loving it so far!

My goal of becoming a yoga teacher is to help other chronically ill people with chronic pain like myself, and to also heal myself: body and mind.

The light in me recognizes and observes the light inside you,

Meara

If You Can Be Anything, Be Inclusive

I wrote an article for URevolution a while back and was paid in the form of a T-Shirt via a $30 gift card. As my weight fluctuates I always need new clothes, so I welcomed the opportunity to amp up my wardrobe. The designs URevolution has are also cute and minimalist.

The shirt I received was this:

White shirt with black text "if you can be anything be" with rainbow text "inclusive"

I ordered a 2XL, and it fits me like a T-shirt dress, which is what I wanted. I especially like this shirt due to pride month.

When I was in high school, in my tiny rural town, I had a gay friend, out of the two gay people in that entire village. His dad found out and he had to run away. He’s doing great now, but at the time I was really upset and full of righteous indignation.

If I write for URevolution again, I plan on getting this shirt:

Grey shirt with rainbow "inclusion" text

I really like URevolution’s disability focus and intentional inclusivity of all types of disabled people across races, genders, and sexual orientations.

They are new and a little disorganized, but they will communicate with you should you have a problem receiving your gift card like I did. I found them to be cordial and kind.

URevolution also ships fast. I had my shirt in 3 days.

If you’re interested in branching out and getting your first paid gig, I recommend writing for URevolution.

Product Review: Acupressure Mat & Pillow

Disclaimer: there are affiliate links in this post. If you click on them, some money may go to me, at no extra cost to you.

I love acupuncture, but with the current state of the world I unfortunately can’t receive it. My pain flares are ever changing and varying in experience – for some I will be crying in bed, others it’s sleeping all the time, and still others I will be functional but unable to move very well.

In the past I heard about acupressure mats, and recently saw a functional medicine doctor who recommended an acupressure pen. The pens are more expensive than the mats, and so to get out of my current pain flare I ordered the ProsourceFit Acupressure Mat & Pillow. It’s $15 if you follow the link.

It came in the mail today, and I was beyond excited to try it. Admittedly I was a bit worried about how it would work on my hard stone floors, but I had no problems. With the acupressure mat comes a manual, and I started out at beginner – 10 minutes. I could have gone longer, because it was so relaxing!

I focused on my back, neck, and shoulders. The manual that comes with the acupressure mat provides different positions for different kinds of relief. There is even a way to use the mat while working in a chair! My lower back is in pain all the time, so this provided needed relief.

This mat feels like a rollercoaster of soothing sensation, which is kind of how real acupuncture is. I could feel the tension relief sensation move around my body.

After the 10 minutes, I found I was very chilled out, like after getting a good massage. As someone who would get weekly massages, but can no longer due to budget and dystopian America, I highly recommend this for fellow fibromyalgia folks (or anyone with chronic pain, especially sciatica) for that nice “ahhh” pleasant sensation.

I highly recommend the ProsourceFit Acupressure Mat & Pillow for anyone needing relief on a budget.

This product will make you sleepy, so I recommend using it at night before bed, instead of starting your day with it!

My recommendation: The ProsourceFit Acupressure Mat & Pillow

Unlearning Internalized Ableism

Rainbow painting with broad strokes. Title: Unlearning Internalized Ableism. spoonielifestyle.com

While writing my book, Wedding Planning for Spoonies, I realized how ableist I was despite having a disability. Even the subtitle of the OG cover shows that.

I have had a debilitating mental health disorder for 17 years, and chronic pain for 1 followed by extreme GI issues for 4. Each night I would vomit. But the doctors all said that nothing was wrong.

Because I had experienced discrimination throughout my life, I assumed I wasn’t ableist. But I slowly recognized, especially in the past few months, how I had internalized that prejudice and let it define myself and others.

For example, the word “crazy.” I had always adopted this moniker to try to mask my severe mental health problems instead of addressing them. I very badly wanted to be a “normal” person. Later I realized that disabled people, mentally ill included, are normal. We are our own normal. Disabled people are human beings like everyone else.

Maybe I never stopped to question what a human being was. It isn’t someone who drives a car or has a career. I was so focused on achieving that I never stopped to think that all people get sad and angry sometimes. We all get hurt. Maybe we don’t all have identical experiences, but we all feel the same feelings. There isn’t a person on this planet who never felt anger or grief.

In this regard, perhaps I was lucky to end up disabled. I had to slow down and reevaluate myself and work hard on myself to change bad thought patterns that blinded me to fundamental truths. I’m not saying I don’t want things to change – I would love to be healthy again – but this season of growth was spurred by losing total control of my life.

Perhaps when we are forced to “let go and let God,” we find ourselves and others in the eye of the storm.

Persistence

Open book with overlay text: "Persistence it pays off spoonielifestyle.com"

You know those pain flares when you end up crying? Yeah, I just pulled through one of those. I think it was the Saharan dust storm. But I don’t want to just complain. It’s more of an explanation of why I’ve been gone for so long, in case anyone noticed.

I became a Super Contributor for The Mighty and had my resume forwarded to the CEO of Junebug Weddings. Both are paid positions, and I am extremely excited.

When I talked to The Mighty about being a Super Contributor, I explained I was elated but confused, as most of my articles hardly have any likes on them. They explained that it was more about my persistence and creativity that they wanted to make me a Super Contributor. I have somewhere around 12 articles written with them.

Persistence means a lot, friends. If you’re struggling, don’t give up, and maybe read a book. That’s where I’m at with my book writing – I’m reading other wedding books right now for inspiration, and it’s helping a ton.

If you read this I’m sending you love vibes from my part of the universe. Thanks for reading.

Green Tea Foot Soak to Reduce Swelling & Edema

As an experiment for my DIY home spa, I wanted to shake things up a bit for my foot soaks. A few of you know I have edema and swelling in my legs and feet. Green tea is anti-inflammatory, and I wondered that if I soaked my feet in a giant Tupperware of green tea, my swelling would go down.

Step 1: Giant Tupperware

Simply find a bucket or Tupperware, something easy to clean and big enough for both of your feet to comfortably rest in. I do not recommend anything that is glass.

Step 2: Kettle of boiling water

Boil 1 kettle of water. Just one.

Step 3: Steep 4 bags of green tea in the boiling water.

Steep the tea bags for 3 minutes. Set a timer and locate some peppermint essential oil or some peppermint leaves. Add the peppermint to the mixture to scent preference.

Step 4: Pour 2 cups of room temperature water to the mixture.

This will cool off the hot water so you don’t burn your feet.

Step 5: Soak your feet for 20 minutes.

Set a timer and enjoy yourself. Bring a towel so you can dry your feet off and some lotion. At the end of the 20 minutes, towel your feet off and lotion your feet up. I found after doing this, my feet were much smaller in size and were in much less pain.

For those of you suffering from swelling, I hope you find this useful. I will try a variant of this on my hands tonight as they also swell, and report back later.