Back to School and Meet Wellie!

So a lot has happened in the last few weeks!

I moved back to Athens, Georgia.

I got a puppy (more on him in a minute).

I started my (super) Senior year of college at The University of Georgia.

I am working as an intern on a campaign this semester.

Basically it’s been a lot but I am thriving for the first time in a long time. It’s awesome! I am here and fully present (frankly more so than I have ever felt in college). I am grabbing life by the horns and putting myself out there.

It’s not without mishaps but it’s good.

So on to Wellie. He is my new puppy. His name is short for Wellington. He is 12 weeks old now and a fluffy little mess. It took a week or so but we are really bonding now. As I am writing this he is on his way to his first totally accident free day (It’s 11 PM).

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Meeting Wellie

I got him from a breeder outside Mobile, Alabama and picked him up on my way back to college! Then I moved into my apartment with him the next day and started school 2 days later! It was an insane couple of days but we made it through and we are starting to get in a real routine.

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He’s actually cuter than this but I am struggling to get good pictures!

As many of you know I have dealt with depression for the last few years. Wellie is an emotional support dog and so far he is helping a lot (even if it involves a lot of peeing on the floor right now). He is all puppy and all boy but I know he is going to be a great dog.

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Never not blinking in pictures
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Wellie’s first day home

Back at school I applied to an internship on a local campaign and got it! I am earning class credit that counts towards my major while I’m at it! So far I have really enjoyed being on the campaign trail. It has started to reignite my interest in politics. Hopefully my candidate will win in November!

Classes are going well so far. Spanish is going to be challenging but I am going to work really hard to do well in it.

I’ve been working to get involved on campus more too. I am currently attending info sessions for various clubs trying to narrow down what I want to do. I am excited about all the possibilities. It is a bit weird getting involved in new organizations as a super senior but I am trying to push past the awkwardness to claim the college experience I never really had because of my numerous health issues.

In that spirit I also got the opportunity to face a fear this week. UGA Hero’s (a philanthropy that deals with HIV/AIDs) brought various wildlife to campus this week in an effort to attract student’s attention. I got to meet a camel named Thor… and a snake named Mellow Yellow! If you know me you know I am terrified of snakes! It is seriously my biggest fear in life. But I saw an opportunity to face it so I went for it! Thank you UGA Hero’s!

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Mellow Yellow the Burmese Python
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Thor the three year old camel. Did you know they can live to be 40-50 years old!

Well that is about all for now. Sorry this post is so rambling but I wanted to get an update up now that I’m back at school (and crazy busy).

Lots of love,

Paige

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I Hate Victoria’s Secret

I hate Victoria’s Secret.

This hatred is quite new actually. Until just a few short weeks ago it was my sole destination for lingerie, and most of my workout clothes and swimsuits.

That is until I went to Nordstrom.

My sister needed to buy a slip for a dress so we went up to the lingerie department. Noticing all the beautiful bra’s and different brands I decided to look around. Eventually I asked a Nordstrom employee for help.

I had literally never bought a bra from anywhere but Victoria’s Secret/Pink since outgrowing training bras. 

The helpful Nordstrom worker directed me to the fitting room where she measured my size. When she brought back her picks for me I was shocked.

According to her I am a 30C!

Ya’ll I have literally been wearing the wrong bra size for years (if not my entire life).

At VS/Pink I was always told I was a 32A or to try a 32B if the bra wasn’t made in A cup. This made sense to me because I am so small. Naturally it seemed I would be the smallest cup and band size in their store.

Never mind that my bra straps were constantly falling down or that some of my bras had weird gaps or that 90% of my bras were uncomfortable. I believed this was just the way bras were. If you are part of the itty-bitty-titty-commitee then you just grab the smallest bra in VS, buy, and go.

Unfortunately I had a fundamental misunderstanding of how bra sizing works. To me (and most of society it seems) A cup bras are for tiny boobs and DD is for big boobs. Being petite A seemed right for me.

What I never realized was that cup size was in proportion to band size. It isn’t that A is small and D is big. It is about how big your boobs are relative to your body size. So for me even though I have “tiny boob” proportionate to my body they are C’s (maybe even D’s if I go down to a 28 which she told me was possible)

I’m not alone in this however. Some studies have put the number of women wearing the wrong bra size at as high as 80%. If you want to read more on this here is a link.

Honestly this information was life changing. As I was trying on bras in the fitting room I was shocked at how different they felt from my bras at home or even the bra I had worn into the store. I ended up buying a bra from the brand OnGossmer and ordering one from Natori.

(The Natori bra is on the Nordstrom Anniversary sale btw)

 

I have been wearing the bra from OnGossamer everyday since I got it. I am honestly in love with it. When I try to go back to my old Victoria’s Secret bras I am so uncomfortable I just can’t do it. I may just end up tossing them out (or donating them if you can donate bras). Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 11.28.26 PM

My biggest beef with Victoria’s Secret is not that they don’t carry my size actually. It is that in years of shopping there none of their employees ever told me that they don’t. They just continued to put me into poor fitting bras and sent me on my way. 

Like a lot of young girls I think I just believed that Victoria’s Secret is where you buy bras. It seems almost culturally conditioned in us. I will say L brands has amazing marketing. They make you feel like they are the only choice. 

But ladies that is not true!!!

There are so many amazing bra makers out there. Ones that carry more band sizes and cup sizes to fit women of ALL sizes! I am just now discovering them but I am so freaking excited!

I have seriously been telling all my friends about this new discovery. If it wasn’t totally inappropriate I would run around flashing everyone on the street to show them my new bra. 

Since it is inappropriate however I will refrain. Instead I will just shout to the world via the internet about how happy my boobs are and hope that I can help share the joy of a properly fitting bra with others.

Lots of love,

Paige (and her much happier boobs)

 

 

 

Life Update: July 2018

 

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In front of the Cloud Column Location: Houston, Texas

First off I would like to apologize for my long absence… I know it has been a while and for that I am sorry.

A lot has happened in the last few months and a lot has changed. It has been quite the rollercoaster (god that is a cliche metaphor, sorry guys).

Basically lets pick up where we left off. My last post here was in March so I have a lot of ground to cover.

First let me take you through the tough stuff which is where my radio silence (read: social media silence) began.

I’ve chosen to be open about my health struggles on this blog both mental and physical. Even though part of me feels embarrassed to talk about it, I think it is important to be honest in order to combat stigma. So with that said here goes.

Over the course of the last few years I have been battling depression. At various points it has been mild, moderate and severe. In March/April I would say the depression was making a quiet resurgence. Things got hard again, and they were about to go from bad to worse.

In April, a close friend and I had an extremely intense argument. I do not want to share details here to avoid violating the other persons privacy but things got very ugly. There was blame to be had on both sides and I was in no way a perfectly innocent party. Words were said though and I found myself spiraling.

Living with depression your mind often tells you things along the lines of “you are worthless, you can’t do anything right, the people you love don’t like you, you are a burden…” I could continue but even writing it out is painful. In the heat of the argument I heard some of the things my mind constantly told me coming from one of my closest friends, all my mind could do was continue to pile on leaving me in a sobbing heap for days.

When you live with depression you find yourself living with a crushing amount of guilt, sometimes guilt over mistakes, sometimes guilt for simply existing. All of it creates an enormous burden that for me and many people with depression (note not all, depression presents in many ways) can become paralyzing. That coupled with the loss of a best friend caused me to have a complete breakdown.

Luckily this is not where the story ends though.

In the midst of my meltdown I chose to tell my family and other trusted friends the truth about what was going on. My family is my rock, even when everyone else gives up on me they don’t. 

With their help I sought out resources to help me.

After researching we discovered a local Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). For those of you who don’t know what an IOP program is it is basically a group therapy program that you attend daily for a few weeks (in some cases longer). It is often covered by insurance.

After an initial consultation I decided to participate in the IOP program. Basically it was 3 hours of group therapy a day. Each day would start with a check in with each of the participants about how they are doing. Then during the second part of the session we would discuss a topic related to coping strategies or thought patterns.

One of the biggest reasons I think it is so helpful is because you are finally able to find people who know what you are going through. Unfortunately there is a serious lack of knowledge surrounding mental health and even well meaning friends can sometimes struggle to understand. In “group” everyone relates to each other even through circumstances vary greatly.

In the group I was in, ages ranged from 18-65 and spanned careers, race, socioeconomic status, education level and more. It was eye opening to see that mental health struggles can impact people at any stage of life. It made me feel less alone.

I also learned about incorrect thoughts (like the ones I mentioned above). It helped me to see that I can counter these thoughts with better ones. A striking thing in group would be listening to someone talk about extremely difficult circumstances but beat themselves up for not being perfect while handling them. Everyone in the group would encourage them and point out all that they’ve overcome. Eventually we realized that most of us were compassionate with everyone but ourselves. The concept was “if you wouldn’t say these things to someone else why do you say them to yourself?”

For me the time I spent in the IOP program was life changing. If you or someone you know is struggling I would highly recommend looking into an IOP program.

Okay enough about that because there is so much more to tell.

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My sister and I, seeing GEORGE STRAIT. Location: Austin, Texas

This summer my family and I moved houses. We stayed in the same town but moved to a new neighborhood. It only took me two months to get my new room organized but I am finally settled in, in large part due to the efforts of my persistent sister, Leah.

I am currently working at a clothing store in the mall. I started the job the same week as the argument with my friend. I believe it helped me too as it keeps me busy.

I won’t be working there much longer though because…

I am going back to school. 

Yes, really!

In August I will be packing up my stuff and moving back to Athens, Georgia to finish my last year at The University of Georgia.

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My beautiful graduate friend. Location: Athens, Georgia 

In May, I visited Athens to watch my best friend (not the friend mentioned earlier) graduate. I was so proud of her, and it made me realize just how much I wanted it for myself too. Graduating from Georgia has been my dream since I was a little girl and I am determined to make it happen.

I reapplied to UGA and was admitted again. This summer I took an online class through Georgia and excelled in it despite it being harder than I expected. It helped me feel confident that I am truly capable of being successful in college and finishing my degree.

Part of me is nervous to go back. I still feel the sting of the failure that my last semester at UGA was. I can’t help but be afraid of repeating the patterns of the past but I do think I have set things up so that things will be different this time. Despite my fear I am confident I can do this.

This time I also have a secret weapon. I want to save this info for a future post but I will not be going back to Athens alone this time… Stay tuned.

Also I promise I will be better about posting here, on my Youtube, and on my Instagram. I want to connect with y’all!

 

The dark night that made me face my depression

 

It was a Wednesday night around midnight when I left my friend’s house. It was about a 10-minute drive to my apartment. That night though I was in a really broken spot. It doesn’t make any sense but I started driving and driving fast. I as I drove tearing up the empty roads I realized I didn’t want to go home.

So I drove past the road my apartment was on and got on the loop around my city. The speed limit was 65 but under the night sky I was all alone and I decided to test the limits of my car and my driving skills. The road was empty as I accelerated. Faster and faster I drove until I hit 105. For the first time in weeks, I felt alive. I couldn’t really remember feeling anything but numb in a long time. The feeling of speed, freedom, and control. The type of control I hadn’t felt in a long time. It was amazing for just a moment.

As I neared the exit to my apartment I began to slow down. The short high I was riding made me feel like I could finally go home, face going back to my room, and sitting with my thoughts and feelings. That was before I saw the lights come on behind me.

I was already on the exit ramp so I continued to exit then pulled over to the shoulder after getting off the ramp. The numb feeling returned immediately. I couldn’t find it within me to say much of anything or even care. I had no idea how long the officer had been following me or what he had clocked me at. He approached the window and I handed over my license. I felt the heat in my cheeks reminding me that I was still there but beyond that, I felt nothing. I didn’t have it in me to cry, to beg, to lie. There was nothing there. The officer asked if I had a reason to be going 90. The question barely registered to me. I mumbled no as I felt that saying anything else would have him arrest me or involuntarily admit me. I knew I couldn’t sound reasonable in that moment. I couldn’t be charming, or witty, cunning or intelligent. I couldn’t be anything. Just numb. I took the ticket feeling nothing and drove myself home.

The next morning I decided to call my Dad. He has always been a bit of a speed demon himself so I figured out that maybe he would be more understanding. His response was “Ninety? Ninety???” I didn’t know what to say. He was mad but not overly furious. After my confession, he figured that was it but then I just let everything that I had bottled up and tried to fix on my own pour out at once. I finally said the words out loud. Words I suspected were true but had avoided acknowledging for over a year. “Dad, I think I have depression.” 

I had kept thinking it would get better. That I could fix it. That I could find the motivation to start living again. To get out of bed. To go to class. To be a person. That night on the road though I realized that I couldn’t fix this on my own. That speeding ticket was a hard blow to my bank account but in some ways, I think it may have saved my life. It finally made me admit I needed help and seek it out.

Sobbing to my dad on the phone that morning as he sat hundreds of miles away was the beginning of my journey to healing. He was shocked, but he responded better than I could have expected. With his help and the help of one of his coworkers, we set up my first therapy appointment for later that week. I was nervous but now I was finally committed to getting help and I had the accountability of family.

Going to therapy helped me learn that I wasn’t insane or lazy or stupid but that I had a real condition that millions of others deal with too. Finally having someone who believed me when I explained that sometimes I just couldn’t get out of bed, or that I just couldn’t go to class, or I just couldn’t do anything was such a relief. While I still had tremendous feelings of guilt and shame I could see how being listened to rather than judged as many of my friends had done was helping me. I could also see how his understanding, not approval but understanding regarding that night on the road helped me forgive myself a little bit for one of the darkest moments of my life. My therapist also gave me hope in the pit of my despair that recovery was possible. I couldn’t see that future from the hole I was in but it was a small bit of hope.

He also encouraged me to seek help from a psychiatrist. I am currently taking an anti-depressant. I also moved home with my family so that I could have a stronger support network. While I still have ups and downs I am finally able to be a person again and act like myself the majority of the time. I have managed to hold down jobs, Be present in the moment most of the time, and feel positive about the future.

I wish that I hadn’t endangered my own safety and the safety of the people who could have been on the road that night but I have managed to mostly forgive myself. My bank account is a little lighter but so is the weight of depression now that I have sought help.

If you are dealing with depression or another form of mental illness I hope my story encourages you to seek the help you need long before you are looking at red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror and being handed a  citation with a court date. Seek help before you hit rock bottom. The sooner you get help the sooner you can start the path to healing. Asking for help is brave. Never feel ashamed to need help. You don’t have to hide this or face it alone.

With love,

Paige