Tag: mental health

Identity Confusion

Identity Confusion

At present, my inability to do the job I love to do, has me feeling like someone robbed me of who I am at my core.   There’s a mental/emotional roller coaster to grief. To change. To face yourself everyday in the same situation, one […]

Stress: What It Does To You

Stress: What It Does To You

I thought I had it under control. I didn’t think I was letting it take over my body or my life. Turns out I was stifling and stuffing all along. Stress will kill you much faster than you’d choose to die. I see it in […]



I’m not normal. 

My Mom always told me, “Normal is just a setting on a washing machine.”

I’m not crazy, though at times I feel out of my mind.  

That doesn’t mean the experiences I’m having aren’t common in other people too.

I have spent the past year honing in on my mental health. I want to love myself whether or not I’m fully healed physically, and I know there’s a mental component.  I’m tired. Exhausted really, and overwhelmed every time I am told my autoimmune issues are psychosomatic. They really do cause havoc in my body and my life.

I’m admitting I’m depressed. 

I’m admitting I’m anxious. 

I’m admitting I’m afraid. 

The problem is, everything’s connected. One system isn’t responsible for an entire human experience. Each system needs to be working synergistic with every other system. 

We even share a symbiotic relationship with our individual microbiomes, the bugs that live within us and on our skin. Which means yes, my problem is in my head, but it’s also in the rest of me. I feel trapped in this dance of which came first, the complicated wiring in my head or the unraveling of my physical self.

Whether it’s in my head or body, I have to deal with both areas in order to truly heal. I’m working on my body and have been for several years, maybe you - reading this - have joined me along the journey. I’m finally making my head and mental state more of a priority. 

I believe and have discovered, in research, that each of us can rewire the circuitry in our brains. We choose how we are wired. If we let our thoughts control us, we pull ourselves deeper into a victim state. The more you think about a thought, ruminate in it and let it run rampant, the stronger the cognitive pattern within us becomes. 

The result of this insight? I actively engage more with my cognitive self. I don’t buy into what I think, but I question it’s validity. Would it be easier to believe the lies I spoon feed myself? Yes. Would I heal fully if I let my thoughts drive my beliefs? No.

This year, I finished “Rewire The Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry.” by Catherine Pittman PhD, and Elizabeth Karle MLIS, and I discovered new concepts into the how and why we trigger ourselves with anxiety. Though I don’t necessarily see changes in myself, I do feel I’ve opened a door into understanding, of  what I’m going through mentally. I also hear from close friends and family that I do seem less anxious, and though my own personal feelings don’t emit the same sensation, it is encouraging. 

I’m facing the shame, the trauma, the self loathing and all the other uncomfortable feelings and sensations inside me, head on. 

With the help of several books by Brene Brown, and others like Rachel Hollis, I find along the way, I’ll continue to understand the emotions I spend most of my life avoiding.  I'm learning to enjoy the journey as I seek healing. There's no destination - only the now and the steps I am taking to grow.

Find your own way apples, I believe in you. 

K. Sullivan


Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry Paperback 

by Pittman PhD, Catherine M  (Author), Karle MLIS, Elizabeth M  (Author)

I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I Am Enough"

by Brené Brown

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be (Girl, Wash Your Face Series Book 1)

by Rachel Hollis

Facing Fears Seeking Solutions

Facing Fears Seeking Solutions

I know that much to be true. The problem is, I’m afraid and stuck. Stagnant in my fear of what does this mean as I analyze each human body experience I am having and question what’s “normal” and what’s “healthy” and what’s “best for my […]

It’s OKAY to say NO!

It’s OKAY to say NO!

I used excuses because I couldn’t bare the truth of “I really needed a night to focus on me, my home, my goals and my health.” I knew I needed self care and a break – from people, from work, from endless to-do lists. I […]

Panic Spills Over The Brim

Panic Spills Over The Brim

I feel myself breathing...

The feeling is not satiating. I know I have tasks I must complete, but I’m drained of all ability to fully function. Dragging myself through my day is a must. I’m not positive what came first, the anxiety or the IC. Sheer panic engulfs me when I’m having a flare, but I choose to continue through my day with mantras in my head, mantras I hate.

It’s not forever; it’s just for right now.

It’s a moment in time; not the big picture.

You’re stronger than your disease.

Pass through the place of your greatest pain.

This moment is made up of neverending torment. The negativity that makes up my inner voice reminds me of my worthless ways. I don’t feel strong; I feel weak, breakable, broken. I feel like a burden. I feel like giving up.

I don’t. I won’t. Some part of me is stronger than the anxiety and the pain of a flare. I still breathe. My lungs continue to take in air even when I feel like there is none.

Maybe the anxiety started after the death of a loved one. My step father died when I was 13; The day of my 8th grade graduation. I don’t know if I ever stopped holding my breath as I sucked in air and a part of me died when a fireman told me they’d done everything they could. I grew up in an instant. My life has seemed, at times, one downward spiral after another. My mom went off the deep end for a while though she came back I felt fully abandoned; and there’s parts of my personal history that I have buried so deep, that when they surface I feel afraid I’ll loose myself in the trauma, I panic in my attempts to shut out what I’m not ready to cope with. The following poem, to me, represents a turning point. The pivot your mind takes from ‘I’m truly fine’, to lying when you say it. It feels as if I’m not okay more days than I am. I perceive air as not entering my lungs easily, like forcing my body to breathe is an internal war. My lungs would rather render themselves, and me, immobile. I know that if I can put my energy into breathing, and really take in each breath, I can keep pushing forward in my pursuit of mental and physical healing.

How She Survives, Having Lost a Young Husband


She manages with no oxygen. Like

she’s in a room built without breathable

air. As if she’s a tree, she refuses to let

only carbon dioxide be her lack of

breath. As long as she commands

her lungs to compress and expand

she’ll keep living. Never mind the burn

in her throat and fire-filled chest.

She’ll keep existing in a room with no air.


Apple out,

K. Sullivan

Going Unseen

Going Unseen

This week has been tough as an educator. It doesn’t matter if you teach public or private school, it’s been a tough start to 2018 for schools across the nation. Personally, after Wednesday’s school shooting, as I left school for the next day knowing I […]

Think Before You Speak

Think Before You Speak

A lesson we’ve heard since we were little: Think before you speak. It’s pretty common knowledge, but it is never really followed much these days. With the ability to hide behind social media, everyone seems to be saying what they want however unkind and untrue […]

Psychosomatic (A Poem)

Psychosomatic (A Poem)


Whenever I see my Physician for

Diagnostic maintenance I remind her,

Steadfast, I’m not interested in drugs.

I only want to feel differently, better

Than I presently do. Some nights I

Go to bed terrified, anxious I won’t

Rise for the next day. When I do

Wake, I cry for reasons I don’t

Fully recognize. Other than pain.

I know pain well. It’s unbearable,

Weird, awkwardly terrible. My

Pain’s embarrassing. I’m not

Embarrassed that I’m suffering

The wrath of Frank in my loans.

I’m embarrassed that other

People get uncomfortable

When I try to communicate

My agony. Frank’s this real

Monster living inside of me.

Frank the fire flaring IC man,

Starting fires and causing

Inflammation. I’m riddled with

Deceitful urgency dragging

Me out of sleep, meetings,

Social engagements. My

Intimate cavern expands then

Clenches in time with my heart

beat but a step ahead. I dare

Not breathe a deeper breath

As to not upset the balance.

Frank will not let me rest easy.

My Doctor seems uninterested in the

Journey I’m taking. Her phrasing

Leaves me hollow, plagued with inner

Doubt and inquisition. She’s said,

“Psychosomatic, psychologist, stress.

You’re anxiety’s getting the best of

You. You’ll do better with more rest.”

I have real visible symptoms. My suffering

Exists. Lesions line my bladder while

Hives my ribs. Psychosomatic. Like

I made the whole thing up? There’s

Nothing like being called crazy to make

You feel like you’re crazy.  I know my

Sufferings real. I physically see signs

Swelling irritation I feel the urgency,

Burning, stabbing pain all the time

I'm stressed, yes, but she won't tell me

What to do with the the anxiety or how

To manage she just gave me more -

In telling me my issues may be.


Yes I experience negative self talk,

But that doesn’t make me crazy. I may

Spend hours arguing with myself over

Why I'm stupid only I don't know who

To believe because both arguments

seem valid. Does that make me


Frank’s no longer just creating fires

In my loans, he’s  in my head. I believe

She believes I'm psychosomatic, my PCP

That is - how do you not have anxiety in

Today’s age where so much is asked of

Each individual. Everything I do makes

Me nervous. Everything I do makes me

Question everything I do. I can't breathe.

Ever. I never take a real breath. Air is never

Satisfying. I don’t always know what’s real.

Does my mind do this to my body or my

Body do this to my mind? I refuse to believe

This is all in my head. I’ll keep seeking answers

And fight the negative self talk telling me,

“I’m better off dead.”

Quitting Toxic Influences

Quitting Toxic Influences

As of late, my counselor and I have been speaking about friends and coworkers who seem to be causing me some anxiety when I think about interacting with them. I have to try and explain the anxiety they cause me and why I feel anxious […]