About Me and Such

I spent the last several years sick and not knowing what was wrong with me. Doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me and often didn’t believe me. It broke my heart, tore me down, depressed me. I spent most of my time at home in pain. I knew I had occipital neuralgia and chronic migraines, but beyond that, I also had IBS, the rest of my body hurt, I was exhausted all the time, moody… I never knew the underlying reasons why all these things were happening. Most of the time I thought they were unrelated and I was targeted by the universe. I felt like my life was stalled in some ways, because I couldn’t go into work (had to work almost exclusively from home due to the variety of headaches), couldn’t make plans with family and friends… it was not good.

Finally I started walking long distances, thinking that if I got in better shape it would help me. This really helped bring the underlying health problems to a head, ironically! In the summer of 2015 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which explained why everything hurt me all the time (to put it mildly), and why I’m so damned sensitive, why I’m so tired, etc. But much more importantly for me given some of my other symptoms (that is not to diminish fibromyalgia, it is just that my case is less severe than others), in October 2015, I was diagnosed with rhematoid arthritis–it is a disease wherein your immune system attacks your body’s soft tissues (primarily, but not exclusively, those around your joints). This diagnosis along with fibro explained a LOT about the past few years of my life. I started getting treatment, and even those part of the treatment was quite literally taking chemotherapy drugs, I began to feel a LOT better.

I’m on a journey of “self discovery” ew ew ew blah blah blah, but seriously, now I’m learning how to enjoy life for the first time in years. I’m figuring myself out. Here’s what I’ve learned about myself so far:

  1. I love photography
  2. I love food
  3. I need to lose a pile of weight (get it off my frame, good for my aching joints; so far I’ve lost about 45 pounds! wheee I’m skinny now, but not too skinny, I promise I have HUGE boobies)
  4. I love NYC (good thing… I live here)
  5. Rheumatoid arthritis is a real pain in the everything
  6. Fibromyalgia sucks and I don’t know how people who have it worse than me deal with it, because it’s almost impossible to explain and there are doctors who are behind enough in the times to not yet “believe” it exists (are you kidding me???)
  7. I’m not a victim; I have a lot of power over my own environment

Here’s stuff I already knew about myself:

  1. I love my family
  2. I love my friends
  3. I love my amazing boyfriend
  4. Music makes the world go ’round
  5. I like hats



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19 responses

  1. Dear Tear Lines,
    You sound like an amazing person! I was diagnosed with migraines when I was in 5th grade (I’m now a junior in high school) but they gotten much better since, nothing like what you have! I was called a migraineuse because, well, I actually live in France. Anyway, check out my blog (http://themostlyconfusedteenager.wordpress.com/) and look at the follow by email button, it’s super similar to yours! πŸ™‚
    Yours sincerely,
    The Mostly Confused Teenager.

    • Dear Mostly Confused Teen,

      Thank you for your kind words, how sweet! I’m glad to hear your migraines have gotten so much better. Perhaps they were brought on by hormonal changes since they started in 5th grade. I am intrigued by your blog and am following it. Thank you for following mine. Oh, and I do LOVE your email button. πŸ˜‰ By the way, if you’re only “mostly confused” you’re way ahead of me when I was a teenager. It’s a completely insane time in life. I hope writing about the wiles of teenagerness help you through it! Enjoy yourself as much and as safely as possible.


  2. Totally agree that just about anything is funny.

    My sympathies at having to deal with both major mental health, and physical health problems, too. I have found bipolar combined with good physical health to be a struggle enough.

    • Isn’t it, though?! Sometimes I feel like shaking my fist at the sky and yelling, “What the fuck, man?!” But finding the humor in the ridiculousness of it all has been one of many things to keep me living my life and striving to better it. Or if I’m feeling really down I can always turn to bbc.co.uk and remind myself that I’m not exactly the only one dealing with some heavy shit. πŸ˜‰

  3. Hi, Rachael… I would really like to talk to you if possible. My boyfriend has bipolar II and it’s gotten really difficult to talk to him. I want to help him, and be there for him like how your boyfriend does for you…but he won’t let me in. And I just don’t know what to do anymore. I love him so much. I don’t know why I’m asking for your help but it’s worth a try…for him.

    • Hey Annie, I’m so sorry to hear about your boyfriend’s diagnosis and how difficult it has been for you to get through to him. It is HARD. My boyfriend has a tough time of it sometimes and we have to have some very painful discussions to make progress together, but it is worth it if you are with a good person who you love. I will send a message to your yahoo email account from my private email account so we can start a dialogue. Hopefully I can help, but if not, maybe I can steer you in the right direction! At this point I suppose I’m obligated to tell you that a) I’m not a doctor and b) your boyfriend should be seeing a psychiatrist, a therapist, and be medicated if at all possible. But I think the bipolar community can help each other a great deal in addition to those things, which may be useful but sometimes are not quite enough. Btw I will not be able to answer for several hours, because it is nearly 5am here and I have yet to go to bed, but when I awaken I will get back to you asap. -Rachael

  4. I just found your blog while googling “surviving ultradian bipolar 2 mixed”. Ive never met or spoken to anyone else with this type of bipolar, which leaves me feeling extremely alone, misunderstood, and in a great amount of pain. It would be awesome if we could connect somehow. It would really help me. Thanks

  5. Tear Lines, I came across your blog trying to use my google-fu to find some real life experience with botox injections for migraines I’ve had for about 10 years now since I will be talking with a neurologist here soon about possibly getting them (since Trokendi makes me even more forgetful than I already am and I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t enjoy soda) and your post seriously helped my mentality on it and I feel a hell of a lot better going into this. You freaking rock, and you sound like someone I would want to be friends with.

    • Hey Laurana! I’m Rachael. First of all, that’s incredibly sweet, thank you. I’m really glad that I helped relieve some fears you have had. I was really scared before I started doing it. Look let’s be honest: some people really love Botox for aesthetic purposes. But I’m just not one of those people, and god knows I don’t want to look like I’m wearing a mask (I’m pretty sure nobody actually wants that). Plus there’s the whole, “I’m about to get 31 injections into my head” thing. πŸ˜› That’s not generally on the top of anyone’s bucket list. If you have a good doctor, you have nothing to fear from these injections. My only advice is to not get discouraged if they don’t work right away, because mine didn’t start working very well until the second round. I’m now down to around 3 migraines a month, which is a humongous improvement for me. I really, really hope this helps you. The people I know who have had the best results have also been taking some medications (amitriptyline and tizanidine are the ones I take) and oftentimes magnesium and vitamin D as well. Migraines are a real bitch, aren’t they?

      • They really are. I was on amytriptyline when I was first diagnosed and it made me an emotional wreck, hence being on topirimate now. I did some research on the neruo doc I’m seeing for the injections and botox to relieve migraines is the main thing he does so I’m confident in his abilities. The whole 31 needles to the head thing was really the big thing for me, and wondering if I’m going to have lumps in my forehead from it cause at 23 I so do not need anything cosmetic xP I’m glad you mentioned the suggestion for the injections closer to the hairline too, I definitely don’t want to look like Jack Nicholson. this may seem like a weird a question, but do you have access to my email from the comments thing? I’m wondering if maybe we could email and I could pick your brain when the time comes to get it and all since you actually have experience with it. If not I totally get it, just a thought.

  6. Hi Rachael,

    I just want to say a huge “thank you”. Today was round one for me for botox injections – and your post on what to expect was a big help to wrap my mind around the process and what I was realistically getting myself into.
    This chronic migraine situation has been a dramatic lifestyle change for me [understatement of the year] and the candor, honesty and frustrations you express in your blog postings are so incredibly relatable. Thank you and please know you aren’t suffering alone.


    • Hey Jennifer-Anne, I sort of abandoned my blog for a long while but have come back to it, and I am really grateful for your note. πŸ™‚ Did your botox injections have any impact? It’s been a year now so perhaps you’ve seen some progress if they were to have any! -Rachael

  7. It’s always nice to find someone who knows what you really go through. I had been suffering for a really long time 15 years. I am determine to turn this thing around and help others do the same. I look forward to reading more on all your post

  8. Hi Rachael:

    I just read your post on the colonoscopy, you are too funny, not to top you but I have a ” special colon” meaning it’s lazy or something but after having 2 colonoscopy’s last year the Dr. suggested I do a 3 day cleanse and I finally got to the clear yellow with little things in it.

    The good news is now I am clear for 3 years! I must tell you that I used the prep pictured in your post and have to say I had to stand over the kitchen sink because my gag reflex is huge. OMG I can’t stand the taste and it has ruined my liking of Gatorade and anything like it LOL. Thanks for sharing Love your NY gumption. I too am from the bronx!

    Pat B in NJ

  9. I can’t imagine how hard everything must be for you. I applause your kind, positive spirit. I suffer from IBS and chronic pain as well (spina bifida and degenerative disc disease). Numerous years of being a Nurse and CNA mixed with genetics made it so hard for me to barely make it out of bed in the morning. 😦

    All that changed when my cousin shared Thrive with me. It changed my entire world! http://bit.ly/Srinnels Has anyone shared it with you? I would love to mail you a free sample. It may change your life like it did mine!

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