Shout Out

MIK's dysautonomia hidden heart alliance

Hey guys!

This is Teddy. I haven’t mentioned this in the past, but I follow a bunch of fellow bloggers on wordpress. Some of which are you, dear readers! Anyways, there’s a blog from a Texas family that does events to help POTS teens in their area! It’s really awesome. If I lived closer I would definitely participate. One of their events this week is a questionnaire about what it’s like and how you’ve grown through your POTS journey. It’s called “Be one of our featured bloggers”! This is a great opportunity if you don’t have a blog, but want to share your story. Or (if you’re like me) are inspired by the questions and want to support young men and women across the web who feel like they’re alone. I put the link directly underneath and I hope you guys fill it out!

http://mikshiddenheartsalliance.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/dysautonomia-teens-be-one-of-our-featured-bloggers/

Since I already have a blog, I’m guessing they probably won’t choose to feature me. So I decided to just post my answers on here, as well as sending them in.

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Guest Blogger for MIK’s Hidden Heart Alliance For Dysautonomia

We would love to hear from you!  Fill out the questions below, include picture(s) and email to:  info@mikshiddenhearts.org.  A big thank you to fellow blogger Dysautonomiac for the question inspiration : ) 

1. The illness I live with is:

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)

2. I was diagnosed with it:

I was seventeen and diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

3. I first noticed my symptoms when :

 16, I got out of the bathtub one day and the next thing I know I’m on the ground, naked and shivering, trying not to pass out. I didn’t know I was lightheaded or sick. It just felt like my mind was floating a good two inches above my heavy head.

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: 

 Hah, asking for help. I’m bullheaded to the extreme and there are some days I pretend to be strong and able to carry a heavy package or go down a flight of stairs. It doesn’t usually work, and my good friends have learned to intercept my stupidity.

5. Most people assume:

 That I have a phobia of stairs and love high, flamboyant socks.

6. The hardest part about “not so good” days are:

 Feeling like I am a burden on everyone. That I haven’t accomplished anything and the day was a waste.

7. Prior to me getting sick, I liked to:

Play tennis. I was the team captain and number one girl player in high school. Last time I tried to play I ended up in bed for two weeks it made me so ill.

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:

 My laptop. I named him Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He’s incredibly useful for the days I can’t move and need something to do.

9. The hardest parts about the nights are:

 Needing to go to bed at around 9:00. In college, no one goes to sleep until about 1 in the morning and I always feel like I’m missing something.

10. Each day I take approximately __ pills & vitamins. 

 15

11. Regarding alternative treatments I include:

 Massage, weird muscle building exercises my dad comes up with, anti-embolism stockings, and a high sodium diet with lots of water.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible illness I would choose:

It depends on the day. When I feel truly sick and someone walks by and tells me how great I look I tend to get a bit snarky and wish they could see what I was really dealing with. In some ways, I’m glad that it’s invisible. It means I can fly under the radar and can choose whom I tell. Then again, I’ve been lucky. When I’ve chosen to confide in people I trust, no one has ever doubted it’s a legitimate problem and I’m not just being lazy. Having an invisible illness is the best and worst thing about POTS.

13. Regarding school, I am homebound/homeschooled/attend at school and I find this:

 Frustrating. Being too sick to have a full class schedule makes me feel upset and anxious that my brain is going to mush. I’m taking two classes from the community college now and it’s getting a little better.

14. People would be surprised to know:

 I really hate cucumbers and watching on-screen kissing. It just grosses me out.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:

 Feeling out of control. I had to really look at myself and realize that just because I couldn’t do something it didn’t mean I had failed.

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:

 Blog. My sister and I have a blog called “The Misses POTS” (https://themissespots.wordpress.com/) I never anticipated the blessing that it turned out to be. Every single time someone liked, or commented on a post saying “I feel the same way” was this incredible validation that all our struggles and work meant something.

17. I feel that the general awareness about my condition is:

 Getting increasingly better. I’ve met people like nurse practitioners at my school who were completely aware what my condition entailed and were incredibly sympathetic. That, plus there’s been this huge surge of bloggers in the past few years that are really optimistic and informative. We started out being one of the only blogs that tried to explain our condition as well as embrace our lives. Now, there’s a ton. My blog roll gets longer by the day.

18. Something I really miss doing since I became ill is:

 Tennis. My whole family plays all the time and I really miss that competitive camaraderie.

19. It was really hard to have to give up:

 Cheese and chocolate. POTS gave me a stomach problem that meant I have to be really careful with my diet.

20. A new hobby / goal I have taken up since my diagnosis is:

 Cooking. It takes me a bit longer since I have to rest in the middle of recipes, but I love it. It gives this incredible sense of accomplishment.

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:

 Get up early to go to church, and then make an elaborate brunch with my family and friends. A huge game of Ultimate Frisbee with my friends from university would follow that would last for hours. Later that afternoon I would read a really great book. That night I’d play a great game of RISK/Settlers of Catan/other take over the world game with my brothers, sisters, and cousins. Then, I’d go and get a midnight burrito at the base of my university.

22. My illness has taught me:

 How little control we actually have over our lives. And how much of a blessing it is when we do get to succeed in a small aspect of it.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is:

 “You look great! Are you a lot better now?”

24. But I love it when people:

 A family friend said the other day “You have done a wonderful job of making yourself look well.” She gave me a hug and it was so flattering that she realized what an effort it is to look pretty.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is:

 “People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyways.

If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyways.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyways.

If you find security and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyways.

The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyways.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyways.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyways.”

-Mother Teresa

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them:

 The first year of being sick is not indicative how the rest of your life is going to be. I promise. The friends you will lose due to misunderstanding, you will gain back. All those things you have to give up, some of them you will eventually learn how to incorporate back into your life. Not all of them, but some. And you will realize things you love you would have never known about if you were as active as you once were. Make sure you realize we are not entitled to health or happiness. Every clear thought, every happy moment, every day you can do some exercises, is a blessing. Treat it as such. They’re small victories. And every time you are stuck in bed for days on end, or have to cancel a Skype date or meeting with a friend? They’re not failures. They’re not your fault. You are not to blame. Be open with the people around you. Shutting out the world will just make you hurt all the more inside.

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:

 You can’t just “get through it” or pretend like your body and feelings don’t matter. You have to tell people how you feel and respect your body.

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was:

 There have been so many, it’s impossible to pick one. When I got seriously ill this fall and had to go home for surgery, I had this outpouring of love. The kids I taught Sunday School made home made cards, my best friends at school helped my mom pack up my dorm room for me and made a poster with little notes, jokes, Bible verses, and conversations all over it. I definitely cried when I saw it. I’ve never felt so loved by people outside my family before.

29. The person(s) who has been there for me and I could not do without is:

 My mother. She can read my face like a book, and if I’m the least bit pale she rushes off and gets me something to drink like a Gatorade. Plus, she’s endlessly supportive and has sat in every waiting room with me. My family in general is incredible. My dad constantly has a new idea to add to my exercise regimen, my sister Pie never lets me drive when I feel a little sick, and my other brothers and sister are just really supportive and loving. I’m so grateful I’ve never had to try and prove I’m sick. They just believe me, without question. Also, I have a group of friends who text me every single day, and Skype me every week. I love them all so much.

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:

Hopeful that someone can remember we don’t stop being who we are just because we’re sick. We don’t stop being important or part of God’s plan.

BLOG

I also wanted to send a shout our to fellow bloggers (POTS or not) that I follow and enjoy reading, so I think I’ll start a blog roll (super behind the times on this one). Until that happens, these are some great blogs!

Stretchy Hannah A sincerely nice girl who lives in England with POTS and EDS. She’s awesome, and is really upbeat without avoiding the messy stuff of life.

Mik’s Hidden Hearts Alliance For Dysautonomia I don’t generally read this one as much, but if you’re considering starting some sort of POTS community you should take a leaf out of their book! It’s really great for inspiration.

The Brain Hamster This one is hard to explain. The author is a sci-fi writer who explores his Christian faith as well as a really funny and wry view on life.

Elegant Ellie’s Personal World Ok, this is a girl who I would definitely want to be friends with in real life. She’s witty and cynical and has fantastic taste in literature, music, and TV shows. Plus she collects medical problems like no one’s business so I think a lot of you guys would have aspects of her life in common. She posts a couple times a day it seems like, she’s definitely been getting me to write more.

Got No Milk Lots of recipes for those of us who have trouble with eating high fat food, or just dairy products in general. I actually followed this before I had belly problems so…. beware. It might cast a curse upon you.

Suzie Sweet Tooth To heck with eating things that don’t make me sick. To heck with health foods! This blog is AMAZING. Every bakers dream. Right here.

FISBI *cough* this one is a little awkward. I love Sim blogs. They write stories using screen shots from their sim accounts. This writer is my favorite. I could have included maybe five more like hers, but I thought she was a good representation.

Heatherhdoucet a sassy POTS mother who always makes me laugh with her posts.

Letters From Wiscalia An actual friend in real life. She’s just starting to blog so if you want to pop in and give her some tips or encouragement that would be great!

Dignitas Magazine A magazine for young Catholic women. The articles are actually amazing and the pictures beautiful. They haven’t published in awhile, but I’m holding out hope!

Well, that’s all I have for today. Adieu!

Be Well,

Teddy

cogito ergo blog

Inspiration

Day four of the Teddy times

How nice of Pie was is to take my third day? I was already tired of hearing myself write. I wanted to start off by saying how much I miss and love her, she makes me a far, far better person than I am on my own. If you haven’t noticed by now, she’s genuinely kind and her humor is off the charts. So you are all pretty blessed to get to read posts by her : )

I wanted to talk to you about something important. World changing important. The POTS online community and what POTS people are doing to expand awareness. I stumbled across an article a while ago that made me smile, how a horse helped a POTS girl be able to start on her road to recovery.

http://www.uticaod.com/topstories/x386662107/-Miracle-horse-allows-woman-to-give-back

This story made me happy because I love my horse so much, and he has definitely brightened my life considerable. I wouldn’t attribute my recovery to him, just because I tend to become overly athletic when we ride and exert myself. Roping does that, it makes me way too competitive.

This is Raider, I have better pictures but this is the best I could scrounge up on my latop. Isn’t he a handsome brute? He knows it too, so I make sure to braid his forelock in retaliation. He’s incredibly intelligent and likes to smash me into trees and the like whenever he gets the chance. Just wanted to show you a person (he totally is) that is responsible for another piece of my heart.

But back to business. Inspiration

Everyone has something that makes them feel like they have a purpose. Mine is writing and thinking, but each person’s is different. I wanted to show you how people are using their gifts and passions to bring awareness to our syndrome. People need to know about POTS. They need to know how to feel for people that are going through it, and how to help. Ignorance is not their fault, it’s ours. We have a responsibility to be more compassionate people after going through what we have and helping those that are going where we have already gone.

One thing that is really easy to do is become a member of the POTS community on the web. Most people have Facebook profiles, and liking POTS pages are a good way to connect with other people. Don’t worry, people aren’t going to think that you’re a pothead. They might even click on the page itself. Some good ones that I’m a part of are:

SuckItPots

Dysautonomia: Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)

Change In Life With Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

There’s also a kids one. They’re a great place to share how you are working to get better, and how to help other people. People often ask questions because they want to understand their diagnosis (or that of their child’s) better. This is a tangible way to help people.

I thought about being a research doctor at the Mayo clinic for awhile, but realized that my talents lay elsewhere. I still think that it’s an awesome way to participate in finding cures and diagnosing people (the first step to healing). So if any of you are thinking about becoming doctors when you’re older, you should think about it!

Oh, if anyone ever asks you what’s wrong with you, I wanted to give you some resources to direct them to.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-hannah-grufferman/postural-orthostatic-tachycardia-syndrome_b_1019879.html?ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#sb=2094337,b=facebook POTS was in the Huffington Post, how cool is that???

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/health/18brody.html?_r=1&emc=eta1 And the New York Times

http://butyoudontlooksick.com/navigation/BYDLS-TheSpoonTheory.pdf This is an awesome response to explain why you can’t always hang out with people even though you look “fine”. Plus, it’s sort of an intimate and tender piece. It makes you step outside of yourself and feel as someone who is ill does.

This is kind of embarrassing, but I actually wrote an essay about The Misses Pots, and what we’re trying to accomplish. There’s a contest for “Social Innovators” that Forbes and Harvard started. Gah I feel pretentious…. but I thought any opportunity to spread awareness is a good thing. If you would like to read it, I enclosed it below. I don’t expect to win, or even place. But maybe someone will read it and be touched by it. That’s what I hope for at any rate.

Social change begins when the ache of injustice is finally realized. My change is small and ignoble, but important nonetheless. It is ignoble because I have felt the need for it myself; it is not done for a friend or companion. I now work for those others because I understand what emptiness they dwell in. I was diagnosed with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) when I was 17. It is a serious illness that wrecks havoc upon your autonomic nervous system (which controls your heart, blood vessels, everything that you consciously do not). My diagnosis led to the diagnosis of my little sister who had been seriously ill and undiagnosed for five years. Nobody talks about this syndrome because it was unknown until about ten years ago. This makes little sense because it affects up to one out of ever hundred teenagers. How can it affect so many and simultaneously so few? The symptoms are misleading because it appears to impact a number of seemingly irrelevant body parts. To be dizzy, have a racing heart, and numb extremities, is completely mind boggling to the average teenager. But when this happens to you every day, combing with crippling fatigue, you begin to wonder if it is all in your head. This is an invisible disease because no one can see your heart or how your hands tremble. You are told that all teenagers are tired. On paper you are healthy because no blood test can properly show what your nervous system is trying to tell you. This syndrome affects mostly high achieving females. I was very fortunate because I had a supportive family that believed me when I told them something was wrong.

Not only did they believe me, I also had a little sister that was going through the same thing. We supported each other in our unconventional medicine and workout regimes. We teased each other when we had to drink noxious liquids to increase our sodium intake. Together, we made the best of it. As we began to recover last year (a 2-5 year process, sometime much longer), we started a blog. There are very few bloggers out there that talk about POTS. And when they do address the issue, they can only convey the crippling depression that the syndrome has reduced them to under an onslaught of symptoms. We decided to do something different. We write about the happiness we find in every day life. We blog about the popsicles we make out of pickle juice for the salt, and the rainbow socks we wear to cover our ugly anti-embolism stockings. Our name is The Misses POTS, whimsically named after the Disney character in Beauty and the Beast. Our goal is to bring awareness and foster a sense of community on the internet with others that are struggling through this. We know we are not the only teenage girls dealing with this problem. There are others searching for a sense that someone is going through the same thing. Our hope is that this will grow into a movement (not just our blog, but together with every other writer who discusses invisible illnesses), that together we can educate the public and support those going through this alone. This does not affect just us. It affects families. It affected my mother as she watched both her daughters wither away for no reason. It affects the siblings that are suddenly neglected because their parents are frantic with worry for their sister or brother. It affects all of those cursed with compassion because they know that chance alone separates the healthy from the sick. Change will not occur unless we support one another. My sister and I are going to be success stories. We are not our syndromes and neither is any other POTS kid. Maybe we are a little too tired to start a marathon for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia like the Susan G. Komen movement. But with our laptops, we can change the world sitting down.

If you find a typo, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know! And the picture above is the gelaskin I use for my ipod, kinda sorta love it. I was inspired to do something about this because the creator of “To Write Love On Her Arms” came to my university and gave a talk. I just suddenly realized that I could do something. That it wasn’t impossible, and that The Misses Pots was trying to accomplish something. Why do we hide our illness? Why do we lie and say it’s not that big of a deal? Why can people run marathons for cancer (which is awesome, don’t get me wrong), but we can’t be bothered to support ourselves? If you’re interested in the speech I heard, it was a lot like their Vision page on their website, except way more inspiring and charismatic

http://www.twloha.com/vision/

So today was kind of packed with information. But I think that’s ok once in awhile. I think it’s ok to think that we’re worthy of accomplishing something, and having dreams and ambitions. That we could help someone, even if it seems simple. How do you guys think we should help? I personally think we should band together and support all invisible illnesses, mental or physical. Because it’s important. Because you’re important. So that’s all I have to say. Thanks for reading! Tomorrow won’t be as heavy, I promise.

Be Well,

Teddy

Free-writes and Caffeinated Owls

 

Pie: Hello again 😀 It’s been a while! Thank-you saintly person for reading our blog. It’s really great to know we have people reading this (and hopefully getting some enjoyment out of it too!) The idea for this particular post came out of the blue, in my english class we have 5 minute freewrites (when you write about something for 5 minutes). Now normally I find these so called “freewrites” quite boring they make me yawn and my mind wander back to my warm bed. This freewrite was different. I started pouring out phrases that really made no sense while I was writing them. Like the  Beatles said,

“Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup,
They slither while they pass they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind,
Possessing and caressing me.”

I’m not trying to say my words hold a candle to theirs, but my words came out freely. When I wrote my freewrite I realized that the experiences that I was making up were actually my experiences in dealing with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. It was a bit odd to unknowingly write something meaningful without realizing it. This freewrite explains how my life has changed through being sick better than I think I could have attempted to explain through a different approach. Like Teddy explained in her last post about how great writing in a journal can be. Writing can help get bottled up feelings released. Same as reading can, or singing or dancing. Anything that you enjoy to help you not  concentrate on the hard days. The good days are what matters, whether they are often or far between. This freewrite means a lot to me…..It’s hard to post this actually, because it’s really personal. But that’s what this post is about! Being able to relate to one another through realistic experiences. So please enjoy!

I fell into a liquid vacuum. It sucked me up and rearranged my way of thinking. I forgot how to remember, I lost my way, I fell into the nothingness, I sunk into the sky, I dropped my heart and I ran forwards and was pushed back. Sinking into the cold eerie light underneath my leather footwear. No explanations, no destination. The only options, to keep moving, keep pushing, and to keep trusting in the nothing of the everything. I was left to exist, but I chose to defeat. Defeat the choices I was forced to make. Choices that are made for you are lies in disguise. Reasons masked up to look correct and right. Lies were fed to me by the hands of an imposter I call sickness. I’ve forgiven but I have yet to forget. It’s unlikely they did the same. In my heated anger I became unfamiliar to my own recognition. I lost what I knew and forgot what I wasn’t. Sickness views and watches what I have become. A child left to fight off an invisible force. Mechanical and robotic they attempt to destroy, while I fight to live. I beg you to do the same. Their masks will dissolve and reveal their vulnerability. No mask will be found upon my soul. They have ripped mine off to leave me raw and unprotected. I have a world to gain and nothing left to lose. What if I refuse, refuse to be their ideal victim? Will their galaxies fade and their motivation turn to dust like mine did? A ticking clock will be my answer. I am more powerful than these masked terrors. I will leave them like dust in a bloodthirsty desert. I will say to them, ‘How does it feel to be defeated by your prey? No longer will you control me! I have fought and I will win. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome I will defeat you. I will reclaim my wishing stars, dreams, loves, aspirations, hopes, beliefs, values, heart, mind, soul, body, independence, strength, being and life. I will never be fooled by your cruel ways again.’

So, thats what a freewrite is! Now if someone says do you know what a freewrite is? You can say PSH YES! This post is a tad too depressing for me. I am sorry if you were wanting to read something more entertaining. My point in this post is for you to keep the bigger picture in mind. Even though I am still struggling with this sickness I am not letting it take over. POTS will not win because I won’t let it. This is the same thing for anyone fighting a disease or sickness. Keep an open mind, and enjoy the life you are given. For better for or worse we are all unique. This is something that has changed me and helped sculpt me to the person that I am and will become.

I am going to totally copy Teddy and put in a funny video at the end of this (serious) post. Because our blog is about making the best of a hard situation! As you know, Teddy and I are HUGE animal lovers so when we came across this video it was an instant hit. Teddy and I quote movies, videos, books, and t.v. shows like it’s going out of style. This video holds some of our favorite lines to quote. My Mommy (yes I said Mommy ❤ ) even quotes it. She will say ALLAN ALLAN ALLAN around the house if she wants to get a laugh out of me 😀

Honestly who doesn’t love dentist monkeys, Michael Jackson birds, a good game of nighttime daytime, beat-boxing chipmunks, consciences, and caffeinated owls? They are a must in my household! Thank-you once again for reading my fellow blogger! Have a splendiferous day!!

Love,

Pie

 

Pirates’ Logs and Llamas

Hello!

This is Teddy, I’ve had a bloody lot of homework so I’ve run behind on posts. I made a promise to myself that I would write a post a week, that went well. Have you ever noticed that life comes at you in threes? My parents are visiting me at college, I have a Bio 221 midterm that is sucking out my soul, and an english paper due. But that is besides the point, dear reader, this is not my freaking diary. Speaking of which, I’d actually like to talk about that in this post. Diaries, Journals, Pirates log, what have you. They are something I would deem a necessity to every POTS kid. It’s odd, I often feel to0 tired to read (and since I’m a voracious reader that’s rather problematic) but I never feel too tired to journal.

I think it’s because I’ve made a friend out of mine. Now, before you say, “Well, this Teddy character is rather weak sauce, she’s so pathetic she meets her social needs by talking to an inanimate object.” That is not the case. Well, at least not half of it : ) I do have friends, very good ones in fact. Living in a dorm surrounded by girls practically ensures friendship of some kind. But, there are some things you can’t tell your friends, or family for that matter. Things that are simply to mundane to tell people who are well. I can tell Pie just about anything and she won’t be alarmed or bored. Like, being sick nearly every week for a few days. That would alarm a normal person. They want to know if you feel better, not if you feel worse. So, like a practical person, you swallow your honesty briefly and tell a good fib. You feel much better thank you, how is your cat Mr. Tiddlywinks?

But that, my dear reader, is not the way to go about it. It causes resentment, but I don’t have to tell you that. I spent an entire year doing that in high school. Actually, to be frank, I still do that upon occasion. But then you get all that emotional buildup that stems from fermenting lies and ill health. You ponder the fact that no one cares enough to notice you’re sick as dog, and momentarily forget that of course they don’t. You lied to them  and told them that life is grand.

I would like to introduce a character that is very dear to me. His name is Bleddyn, and he is my journal. Bleddyn is the Welsh word for wolf, I found it in a splendid book by Sharon Kay Penman. She is someone I would like to talk about in depth, her writing certainly merits it. But that will be for another post. Bleddyn is my friend of the heart so to speak. He is bound in thick green leather crafted with an image of a pine forest and celtic knots. There is a designer called Oberon Designs that makes the most beautiful journals, and they use inserts so you will never “use up” a journal. Pie just buys another journal once she’s filled it up. I just take out a book insert, and put a blank new book inside the binding, ready to be inked. But that’s just meaningless aesthetic detail. Bleddyn is much more than that, he comforts me and listens to all my drivel. I think of him as a great furry wolf running through the forests of my mind.

I love beautiful things, so I researched for awhile before buying my own. I saved up all summer, and bought Bleddyn with my own money. Yes, it seems a little frivolous to buy an expensive journal, but for me it was a good investment. My older brother writes in cheap Meade notebooks, my sister gets sparkly ones at Barnes and Nobles. I bought Bleddyn at http://www.oberondesign.com/ Even if you don’t want to buy a journal just yet, they’re still fun to look at.

There are a few good rules to starting a journal.

1. Name it. Trust me, nothing feels more foolish than writing to yourself. Make sure it’s a name of someone you don’t know, don’t bother writing to someone you do know. I’ve tried that, it’s frightfully romantic for about a month and then you realize how silly it all is.

2.  Make a pact with yourself to write in it every day.

3. Whoa there, before you throw up your hands in frustration, hear me out. The third rule is that there is no strict amount to how much you write a day. Some days merit gobs and gobs of words and some don’t. There has been many a day where I’ve written the following,

Dear Bleddyn, that was awful. I’m going to bed.  -Teddy

I kid you not. There are days like that for all of us. But there are also days where you want to bemoan the universe or chatter about that adorable person who looks precisely like Johnny Depp. Which leads me to my next point,

4. Write whatever you want. There have been weeks I have written nothing about real life, because I simply didn’t want to. I wrote about dreams, a book,  or a beautiful dress I saw. It’s calming to write about something other than the mundane hours you spent doing homework (or not doing homework, as the case may be). Or may be you need to talk about the day, that you felt sick, or had a new symptom, or are simply scared.

A journal is a comfort. I don’t use the word diary because of the negative connotations. We’re not children, or maybe some of you are. And whether you’re a child or not, you still have a right to think. You have a right to feel heard and not judged, and loved by someone kinder than you feel at that moment. So, don’t give up on humanity yet. We’re in a rough place, where we can’t tell people how we really feel all the time. Yet, we also need to, desperately so.

Sorry it was a bit of a bummer post, but I do have something rather splendiferous to share as well….

LLAMAS WITH HATS! Thats right dear readers, it is the most hilarious thing to hit the web since Charlie the Unicorn (and oddly enough, by the same people) It’s sadistic, hilarious, and the most quotable youtube video ever. Some of Pie and my favorite lines are as follows:

“Oh, that is a foot. I appear to have swallowed an entire person!”

“That’s the hotel bartender Carl.”

“That explains why my mojito is taking so long.”

That, and the infamous “Caaaaaaarrrl” lines that sporadically pop up should make anyone’s day better! So, grab a pal, a cat, a sister, anyone. And prepare to be amazed. Just click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZUPCB9533Y and laugh your head off.

So I hope that if you learned anything, writing helps. To quote a rather splendid fellow, “keep it secret, keep it safe” (your journal, not your feelings). Get all the acid out of your system and then watch Llamas with Hats. It’s a surefire path to success!

Be well,

Teddy