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The Absence

E56B05A0-4850-4E1F-9DB6-132F98FFF308It’s taking me a long time …
Blood, sweat, and tears … crawling with skinned knees in exhaustion – to get to this place.
A place where I have the RIGHT to decide who receives my light.
My glorious, magnificent light- that was God given – and often times – stolen from the dark hearted.
I do not need to BE there just because it is the seemingly right thing to do.
I no longer have to pretend with a fake smile when someone has hurt me and continues on as if they hadn’t.
I do not have to put myself in emotional self injurious situations because it makes other feel better.

I no longer care what they think.
I am the owner of ME.

The world will move on in my absence.
While those who deserve, hold dear, and love my presence wholly, will grow beside me in light.

Dear friends that still struggle with your power within for others …
You no longer need to be the bigger person.
You no longer need to take it.
You no longer need to worry what others think.
You no longer need to force who you are to survive.

You hold the power of NO.
Use it.

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Beautifully Made ME

94215036-F535-49D8-8FD0-874D46F75BFEThe outside world looked upon me with jealous eyes, as I had no need to jump on a scale, nor a worry when I ate a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for dinner. They assumed I enjoyed my size 0, and that I must have worked hard for it. They assumed I had no issues dating at my size, or finding clothes that fit me correctly. What they didn’t know is for the life of me I couldn’t hide, or dress, that giant sized demon of vulnerability.

To often I felt bare boned raw when walking out of my apartment in New York City. When you have been a victim of abuse in the past, particularly one that involves your body being the enemy, a size zero is the very last thing you want to be.

My number one coping skill as a young person was emotional eating. It seemed like a luxury of mine to many, as I ate everything and gained nothing. Little did I know this was also setting me up for a life long struggle of seeking comfort more in food then in people. Food seemed to love me to the depths and the lengths, that I always loved people. The difference being, food never let me down then.

When I got married and moved to the suburbs, I noticed quickly that I had actually exercised in the city without a gym membership. Walking miles everywhere in heels while dragging groceries was surprisingly an easy way to stay fit. Here I thought my body was betraying me for not gaining, when really I practically fast paced walked a marathon daily. Suddenly, my eating hadn’t changed, but my habits did. I was driving instead of walking, and then my body started to show it.

When I got pregnant soon after, I assumed it was a free for all since I was eating for two. I also assumed, I would leave the hospital my pre-baby weight without a struggle. It sounds pretty naive of me at age twenty nine, but I truly thought this. Well, my first baby gave me close to seventy pounds extra. Honestly, ten of it was probably him, and the other sixty my massive food tween (because lets be honest I can’t call that a baby).

I sat there one day thinking about the fact that in a matter of two years I went from a size  0 not able to gain weight, to a postpartum size 22 body that wouldn’t stop gaining weight. This was maddening. Now I suddenly was the girl that nobody paid any mind to. Secretly, I sorta of enjoyed this, and felt protected. However, as I ran into so many people from my past so many started to either give me passive aggressive diet tips, or bluntly say “finally you are the bigger one”. I had lived my entire life of people wishing this upon me, with little understanding that I felt unsafe in that body they had envied.

Size 22 didn’t feel like me either. I quickly found myself lost in motherhood, and wearing yoga pants everyday. OH… and eating. I never forgot my ultimate love of my life, food. I started to not want to be in pictures, and avoiding seeing people that may think less of me now that I was, at society’s standards, obese.

I tried weight watchers and failed. This bummed me out because I was such an Oprah lover, I was always convinced if she could, I could. I tried Zumba, and taking walks. Yet, each and every time I went to the doctor she smiled and said, “You are still obese. What are you doing about it?” What was once easy to obtain in weight, was now seemingly impossible.

So I decided to be radical in bringing back the Aimee everyone felt comfortable around and loved the most. The first time I went to hypnosis I lost eighty pounds. Skinny Aimee made others refer to me as the “old me” and “looking so much better”. I’ll admit I loved being able to wear a bikini top again and that I could easily pick up a size and it fit without worrying about the brand. I’ll admit that I loved the compliments, and people seeing me again. What I didn’t love was starving myself to be that person.

You see, I had horrendous body dysmorphia. The world could see me look one way, and I would look in the mirror and couldn’t see it. I trusted the size 10 clothes and people to tell me. Yet, I could only see fat. As a therapist, I knew this wasn’t a good sign, and often is a tipping point for a simple diet into a full blown eating disorder.

I went in and out of hypnosis for years. It worked, even with body dysmorphia. I would gladly go through cycles of famine of only meat and veggies for four to six months, into the ability to eat a potatoes for a few months with it, and then back to famine. This past time I heard myself self to a friend, “Oh I can eat that in two years”. This triggered me. TWO YEARS. Why on earth am I ok with not enjoying a cone of ice cream for two years, JUST to be skinny. Why am I not choosing my body to be enough as is? Why am I not choosing living my life loving food, not in an addictive or controlled way, but in a joyful one? Would I even be alive in two years to enjoy the damn ice cream cone I had been waiting for?

I sat in prayer next to a friend of mine in October and decided it was time to unravel. I had done four months of famine (which by the way why on earth would anyone wanting to live life fully and present sign onto anything resembling that), and had’t had a lick of chocolate. My friend turned to me and offered me a mint chocolate pretzel, and I decided to take a chance on me.

You know who has control over her body? Self. Can I just go out on a limb and decide I know when enough is enough with food? Can I dare to love my size 12/14, without wishing I was made any different at this age? For God sakes, I turn forty-three next week, and somehow I let society dictate to me that my worth is that I stay a certain look as I once did at twenty two. Can I work out for strength and resilience, and not for body image issues? Can I just trust that if God has made my heart perfect, He has also made the vessel in which it is carried, perfect too?

So I ate that mint chocolate pretzel. I prayed away the need for me to be anyone other than thy self. I quickly learned, the best parts of me have never, and will never be, at surface value. The people that think this, had never been my people to begin with.

I let it go. In just one moment, I renowned myself, and trusted her. She can be a size 0-22, I do not care, as long as she has lived life fully loved.

The beautiful thing at this age is I have learned to be loved by people over food. I have learned how to feel safe. I have learned to be vulnerable with those that love me deep and wide. I have learned that I am no longer an image, but uniquely, and beautifully made ME.

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The Hallway

I am sitting in an ER room with my 10 year old daughter and husband  asleep.
It’s almost 1 am, and I’m waiting for CATSCAN results to see if my daughters appendix is compromised.
Earlier in the evening, I was making dinner without a care in the world. Then I got a text from my husband saying the minute clinic said we needed to take her to the ER.
Suddenly, all I could think about was this could not be happening to my kid. I also immediately worried “what If I lost her and I didn’t spend the time I should have today”.

Although we are still waiting for test results, she no longer has a fever and feels better with fluids. And as they sleep, I think about the others in the rooms around this hallway that won’t be as lucky tonight. I start thinking about all the Mommas that ever sat in these walls without the luxury of ever leaving with their kid.

Suddenly the fact that it is 1 am, and it feels like this chair I’m sitting on is made of concrete, I am so grateful.
Instead of feeling sorry for myself that I’m not in my warm bed, I’m praying for the folks along this long hallway. I’m praying for the medical hands that will save lives, and the ones that need extra prayers that lose them.
I am praying the silent hum is because tonight nobody is urgent in the emergency room.
Tonight only healing happens in Gods light.
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Ashes To Rise

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Be Still. 
Live in the moment. 
What if that moment hurts? 
What if being still is far more painful then running to the noise of the world? 
When my heart aches – I want to be saturated in Times Square – honking taxis- big bright lights, crowds of excited tourists- 
Not sitting in it- silent and still.

A friend of mine had a baby just a few days ago- and has filled my soul with messaging me cute swaddled pictures.
Who can’t ohh and ahh over a sweet newborn baby?
My take of birth is a different one I have written about many times.
My take is – new life is a precious reminder that seasons change, and beauty comes, and is in our human favor.
The first cry of a newborn isn’t only the relief that they are alive – but a cry out that SO ARE WE.
What seems unfair and not in our favor as humans is the end of the life.
Why is that?
Why aren’t we crying out with joy that this soul once birthed into this world with gratitude and grace- gets delivered home with the same praise.
My soul wants to give that.
My flesh can not.
Our ability to love each other hinders us from releasing someone in our lives – to suddenly not be.
Our inability to not understand the universe or our purpose and just trust in the process is hard.

With every soul returned home, delivers a new life birthed.
We rejoice.
One foot in front of the other.
With our whole hearts.
We offer our ashes to grow as flowers.
We anew.

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Have you ever wondered how nature obeys Gods calling better the humanity?

I wondered this while sitting by the ocean in Plymouth, MA this week praying. I was immersed by the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks while enjoying the chirping of the cardinals in the tree beside me. The same ocean that delivered us our nation. And it got me thinking- as humans, do we make it more complicated then it has to be? Everyone wants to know their calling-yet when called they list all the reasons they can’t. Why not start with a yes for once?

When Jesus calls the wind to move, it never asks why, it just says yes Lord. When He calls upon the leaves to drop they just do. When He opens the sun to come out and calls upon the birds to chirp in praise they sing. When He needs the ocean to retrieve itself it pulls back, when he wants it surge it swells. He calls upon the seasons to change and they just do. All of His nature creations rejoices to His call.

Yet when we are in a season – do we move like the wind upon His calling? Do we surge and and recede like the ocean? Do we let go like the leaves? Maybe we rejoice in the sun, but do we with every sunny day?

Instead we ask why, we think our timing is better, and we take hold of our control. We do this to the Father who MADE US- the only one who knows how many hairs grace your head and the exact veins in your heart. Yet, we think we know better.

Humanity has got to learn how to loosen its grip. Our feeble minds are unable to see the vastness of what He has for us. Yet we are all “not now God I need this job” or “God I can’t say sorry because I will be embarrassed” or “if it only paid my bills God”.

Stop. This isn’t living. Your stagnancy isn’t what He has called you to do!!!!! He didn’t make you to hit thirty years old and stay the same until retirement. He made you to grow. He made you to meet new souls and experience life through them. He made you to experience and take note of the wind, the ocean, the birds in the sun, and the leaves dropping.

Just like nature, we are meant to go through to seasons too. Seasons that sometimes we praise Him for and others we loathe Him for. Sometimes we don’t take responsibly for the fact we have chosen that season. Quite often we get stuck into one. But, like the wind we are meant to move when He says to go.

Are you listening? Please listen. You must MOVE. 

Can we be as obedient as nature? Can we love Him the way we sing at church each Sunday, every minute of everyday? Can we NOT ask why and just move when He moves?

 I have been trying to practice like nature, on trusting His call. The freedom I have felt is undeniable. The pressure GONE because I am no longer in charge, He is! I am so drenched in His spirit that I need you all to know, you are seen and being called to.

Will you say YES?
Your next season is awaiting you.87b1019d-a5d5-4635-abd2-df8bd6182afc.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Doors: Choose Wisely

D4C90CAF-E023-4F5E-85E6-02246E49422E🤭Let me tell you a secret about life:
The doors will not appear or open until you are brave enough to close the ones that are no longer serving you.

Human existence is programmed to “play it safe”. You can not jam one foot into an existing door while leaping a leg forward to jam the door to next place. Your body is literally not capable … nor is your spirit.

You need to be ALL IN.
You need to say YES first – And THEN figure it out.

People thought I was crazy when I did this. It isn’t how our culture has raised us. But it IS how our God has called us and made us.

So what will you do?

Continue to complain about how you have black cloud over you? That luck isn’t on your side- that this is “just how it is”. Are you going to let yourself slowly die each day?

Or

Will you choose to wake up ALIVE knowing you make the script? Will you be brave enough to know it has nothing to do about luck and EVERYTHING to do about choice?

🚪 Will you choose to continue to walk through the same door you are dying through each day
Or
Will you walk through the door that you brings all the excitement of “what next” – and makes you feel brave and whole and seen?

We all have a next door. Most of us won’t be brave enough.

Will you?

My life isn’t based on luck my friends. As you have seen my journey – very transparent on my blog and on here – has been ROUGH. But when God calls me to the next – I always say YES first and figure out the rest after.
I no longer feel like I’m dying every day.
I finally feel ALIVE-BRAVE-STRONG-WHOLE.
The old me would have never allowed this.
Thankfully I choose to let her go.

Choose the right door.
The one you keep entering that no longer serves you- isn’t for you any more. 😉
My new door literally sits in my new office – as a reminder of bravery:

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Saving My PANS Son

B3108A95-6E6E-4133-9991-162F51AA26D9I remember the day I broke. I was laying on the ground restraining my son. It had followed by my day at school doing three restraints on other people’s children. I had become marked as everyone’s emotional regulation savior, but who would save me?

Years led up to this moment. Years of being let down by some of the best doctors and the smartest people I know. Years of not knowing my own son and watching him deteriorate to someone I couldn’t help.

As a social worker for two decades, I pride myself on knowing most of what there is to know about mental health. Usually, when a case is presented to me, I can figure out the diagnosis, the need, and make a treatment plan in no time.

I had already spent a decade prior to this fighting for this kid. He was high functioning autistic, yet nobody wanted to formally give him the diagnosis because he was “to social”.  Yet when things started to go differently, and he started to perplex us all, everyone wanted to sum it up to it being “just autism”.

A mother knows when something is different and missing the mark. As things got worse, I became more desperate. My school nurses at my job mentioned something they just had learned at a professional development called Pandas/pans. They said I should check it out.

I asked the Neurologist, the Pediatrician, the Psychiatrist, and any and all other doctors we came across for months. All of whom, although very kind and capable people, told me it wasn’t really a thing and is rare.

My son was finally, at age 11 diagnosed with Autism. This should have been a relief yet it was covered by this storm. He was progressively getting worse not better, even on psychotropic medications.

Lucky for me, my boss knew someone that had a child formally diagnosed with Pandas/pans. This amazing beautiful mother, came into my office one day and schooled me on what I was in for. It was no less then a grueling battle I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. She gave me the ONE doctor is the state Connecticut that she trusted.

When I found that Immunologist/Allergist doctor I felt instant relief. He took one look at my kid and said “this is not Autism  this is PANS caused from a co-infection from Lyme”. He listened to all of the history, he knew exactly what it was, and even better- how to treat it. However, it would be a long road until full recovery.

My sweet boy had become a kid that looked possessed. I had no idea until I met with this doctor that his brain was swelling. The infection he had in it called Bartonella, was the the worst of all the tic born infections to treat. It screws into the blood cells and can lay dormant. A typical CDC regulated Lyme treatment of thirty days of antibiotics wouldn’t even begin the die off phase for this, never mind kill it. In fact, thirty days of antibiotics for anything Lyme related usually doesn’t. Bartonella is the best imitator of psychosis  and can make anyone with it, look like the only answer is hospitalization.

My sweet boy was desperate to get better. In between his brain flares that often resulted in suicidal and homicidal behaviors, he would beg me to help him. He was taking eight pills in the morning, eight at night. Six of which are hard core antibiotics.

I couldn’t tell anyone when he was in crisis. Our kids can’t be treated in the ER or in psych-wards properly, because the CDC refuses to actually recognize it as the epidemic that is. Instead doctors are urged to treat it with psychotropic medications only. This often makes kids with PANS actually worse!!!! There was no safe place to treat my son in the medical community except for one doctors office. Which seems absurd seeing as I live in the state that Lyme disease was named after!

So when my child was at risk, people knowing could put our family at risk. It could’ve been assumed that it was medical neglect. I could not risk it. So we suffered alone. Most often it looked like a dose of Motrin (to stop swelling in his brain), erratic behaviors, screaming for hours, and ending in me laying across him for safety.

I am often sobbing. My other two kids often sobbing. My husband an emotional mess. We were all at a loss daily- not for a week but for years.

Two years of antibiotics and about 10k later, he was better. TWO YEARS !!!!! Before tests showed Bartonella undetected. My son was back to his “normal” personality. His minor melt downs were more related to Autism and less to brain flare.

Here is the thing that enrages me. I am in the mental health profession and I had a hard time navigating getting the right diagnosis and treatment. It took me almost three years! Two of which my child was unrecognizable. If I hadn’t gotten the right care he would’ve ended up institutionalized or dead. I – a seasoned social worker- could barely keep him alive!!!! What about all of those poor babies out there that don’t have the resources? What are happening to them?

I am so happy the governor of my state recognizes this day today as awareness. However, when the CDC refuses to recognize – 99.9% of the medical community refuse to go against them. This is keeping people sick, and not getting access to care they deserve. Insurance won’t pay, so God for bid you have no savings.

When you wonder why suicide rates are on the uptick, more restraining is happening in schools, psychotropic meds aren’t working quite right nor is talk therapy, and no behavior plan can help a a swelling brain on fire – remember this post.

PANDAS is induced by streptococcus. PANS by Lyme and co infections. BOTH can make kids look absolutely out of their mind crazy – from random tics – to psychotic behavior. THEY ARE SICK. It is not something that can be replaced by a reward or medicated to be numb. They literally have an infection raging in their body!

Spread the word. Just because someone is wearing a white coat and went to medical school doesn’t mean they have all the answers. Hell the government knows about this epidemic and refuses to do anything about it! If your gut knows there is more – there probably is. Find someone that is PANDAS/PANS knowledgeable. Get the help your child needs.

And above all, remember you aren’t alone. Ever. Not even on those worst days.

 

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