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Miss me? I miss me too.

I really hesitated to even write this post, much less publish it. It’s not exactly “on-theme.” This post is about battling health issues, both mental and physical. This is about ignoring your passions because your mind tells you they aren’t worth it. So, you know what? Maybe this is “on-theme” because this blog is about travel and life, and, really, whose life doesn’t involve some sort of mental battle? Whose life is free of sadness, anxiety, or internal struggles? Online personas rarely showcase that side of life, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

If you’d rather stick to my funnier, more adventurous travel stories, try A Ride in a San Francisco GoCar  or An Analysis & Rant of the song “Bailando” in English & Spanish  If you’d like to hear something painfully honest, keep reading.

Puerto Rico, the Fit Chubby Girl, and Other Such Things

 

A celebratory photo I shared on Instagram shortly after the xoJane article.

For those of you that don’t know, I spent about 2 ½ years living in Puerto Rico. It is no secret that, despite my desire to love it, I never truly enjoyed living there and I ended up moving back to the US in early 2017.

Some of you may also know that during my time there, I wrote an article for xoJane called, “I’m a Fit Chubby Girl and I’m Sick of People Telling Me I’m Unhealthy.” The post ended up going viral. The popularity and the overwhelmingly positive response to the article was both shocking and humbling. I loved not only the strength I felt while writing it, but also the inspiration I was able to provide for other women who had faced similar struggles. In the article, I alluded to some health issues, but I didn’t go into detail. For the sake of brevity, I’m still not going to, but I can tell you that since that article, more problems have arisen. More hormonal imbalances have been discovered. More weight has been gained. While I continued to eat well, work out regularly, and talk to doctors, my body seemed to fight me every step of the way. I fought back, but I felt the toll it was taking on me both mentally and emotionally. I lingered on the edge, telling myself that what I was really feeling was desperation to leave Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico was the scapegoat for my sadness and anxiety

I told myself it would be so much better once I left. I’d be happier, and my body would follow suit. I’d find better doctors. A specialist would finally crack the code. My body would be mine again.  But of course that didn’t happen. New doctors just found new issues. My body remained a medical mystery that no one could solve. Without Puerto Rico to blame for my anxiety and desperation, I fell apart.

I have never felt so overwhelmed by a dressing room. You don’t know how bad it is until one day you finish an intense workout and feel like you are the strongest and fittest you have ever been, but a mere hour later you are on the verge of tears, tossing your 17th pair of jeans to the floor and wondering “Do they even make jeans for girls like me? Is my body no longer a type that can be dressed?” When you buy something not because you like it, but because it hides you.

I withdrew from everything

Writing didn’t calm me anymore. My despondency stretched its tentacles into every facet of my life. Everything I did was at the minimum effort. Everything, that is,

anxiety

One of my final days in Puerto Rico.

other than working out and obsessively Googling my symptoms. My life became my mysterious hormonal imbalances and inability to sleep through the night. Which, in turn, only caused more anxiety. The further I pulled away from my passion projects, the less passion I felt. The less I felt, period. It was easier that way.

And there I was, the Fit Chubby Girl, messages still trickling in from girls around the world. Thanking me for my strength and honesty. Building themselves up, while, behind the screen, I was tearing myself down. I typed out these messages screaming “YAS GIRL be YOU! Own it! Love it!” And I meant every word, but only for those girls. Not for myself. I shied away from writing because I felt like a fraud. How could I pretend to be the strong, confident girl I once was while I battled myself every single day?

 

I never thought a physical issue could cause so much emotional turmoil

My physical appearance is not my entire identity, but when you can’t control what is happening to your body, it starts to affect so much more than your physical health. After several years, 4 doctors, and countless expensive tests, I somehow continued to get worse. It became impossible to tell if my anxiety and sleep issues were a symptom of whatever is physically wrong with me, all part of the unexplained hormonal imbalances, or if they were a symptom of the mental and emotional toll that comes along with being a medical mystery.

I wrote about all of this in the past tense, but these issues are still very much a part of my life. Although my medical tests show a healthy heart, excellent blood pressure, and a strong physique, I am still heavier and larger than I have ever been. I suppose I wrote it in the past tense in hopes that by writing it, I would be able to accept it and try to move on. After my last doctor tried to refer me out to yet another specialist, I decided to take a break from medical doctors. The stress, both financial and emotional, that stems from searching for answers hasn’t done me any favors.

I’m not back, but I am trying

Obviously, my blog is one of my passions and it has certainly fallen to the wayside during this time. I want to tell you all that I am better and you’ll be hearing from my more regularly, but that’s not something I can commit to just yet. I am not interested in publishing sub-par content, so until I can write something I feel confident about publishing, you can find me on Instagram and occasionally Snapchat, where I still post semi-regularly. I also always respond to messages, so don’t be afraid to reach out to me, especially if you have been through something similar. 

 

14 Responses to Miss me? I miss me too.

  • Rachel says:

    I know getting compliments is the exact opposite of what you intended in this post, but you know I’m going to do it anyway. In the 10+ years we’ve been friends, I’ve considered you the epitome of a driven, motivated, and inspiring woman. You’ve proven that and have me in awe yet again with this post. I freaking love you!

    • reasek says:

      I love YOU. Honestly I think what has kept me on the side of anxiety and not full-blown depression is that I have such incredible friends. I know this post will be a shock to some friends (and already has been) who feel like I might have been hiding all of this, but the truth is, I am happiest when I am with my friends, and that’s when I feel the least anxious. The problem is I have to force myself to GO OUT and make those fun times happen. The other thing that helps is traveling, which I haven’t been able to do much of this year, but our California Wine Trip helped me SO MUCH!

  • Oh, babe. I love you so much and TOTALLY can relate to not wanting to write and feeling depressed. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. Do what you need to do … we’ll still be here. <3

    • reasek says:

      So glad you read this and took the time to leave me a note 🙂 This post sat in my drafts for at least a month, but I kept reminding myself that when other female bloggers were super honest, it helped me, and I remembered YOUR post about your time working for that crazy company and your weight issues. So just know that some of your honesty helped me be honesty 🙂

  • Amanda (C-R) Broton says:

    It takes a lot to post something so vulnerable – I recently (as in yesterday) did the same and it was so anxiety provoking! Like you, I had written my post a long time ago and let it sit… and sit… and sit.

    But it was time to own up to a part of my life that I’d hidden for so long, time to let more than a trusted few in. So far, everyone who has responded has been so kind & loving and I hope you have the same experience.

    I am so sorry that you’ve been dealing with all of this – it can be very isolating. I hope by opening up about your struggles, you can get some support and feel comfortable reaching out. <3

    • reasek says:

      Thanks Amanda. I just hunted down your post and have to commend you on your bravery as well. I kept thinking “I don’t know that I need everyone knowing about all of the stuff going on with me” but then I also thought “I ALWAYS get upset about the stigma about mental health struggles, so shouldn’t I be more open?” Just like you! I wish you the best 🙂

  • Jenn says:

    Argh. I love you and I love that you’ve described this but I hate that it’s haunted you so bad. I hate that I couldn’t lead to fixing it, either. I just hate that it’s been hard. It’s awesome to see you getting back to what you love though, even just a little bit, and also sort of showing that it’s not all about just “thinking positive” or something. Sometimes life is really confusing and upsetting and by posting this it feels like you have given yourself permission to just be…upset. I know many of us are working on this sense of “permission” to just feel stuff, even and especially things we would prefer not to. It would be great to only share things when we have answers & feel like we’re on the other side of something but that’s really not most of life. This has been inspiring for me, thank you for your courage & your willingness to fight & learn & generally sharing yourself through our friendship <3
    Jenn recently posted..Weekly Shoutout Video – MotivationMy Profile

    • Rease Kirchner says:

      Honestly I love our talks, even if we generally just end up being like “health care is a disaster and no one knows wtf is going on ever.” Your frustration helps me with mine!

      I have to say that writing this felt good, publishing it felt scary, and it’s been really weird in the aftermath to get messages and comments from people because it’s like the vulnerability is just OUT THERE all the time, but so many people tell me that they feel something similar but feel scared to voice it. So, I may not have answers for me or anyone else, but maybe sharing my journey is helpful in itself.

  • I love that you wrote this post. I think it’s so important to share real life behind the screen that isn’t perfect and many times can be so hard. If we all were so raw I think everything would feel less lonely when things are rocky and confusing.
    Also please keep up instagram stories, some days your posts are so funny they remind me I need more laughter in the day.

  • Stephanie says:

    You are so brave, lady! Life is hard, and I believe a willingness to be vulnerable helps make it a little easier for yourself and everyone else who may read this (including me).

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