C.A.R.A.A.

Monday, September 29, 2014
(C.A.R.A.A. = Can't afford rent at all.)

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My dear, sweet blog friends -

Where to begin? First, I once again apologize for my silence. Even though I know you all understand and are so unbelievably gracious and loving, I still feel an obligation to my beautiful blog family. I also feel a slight embarrassment blogging today because I desperately need you, and I don't want y'all to feel like I'm using you - only blogging when I'm in need... but really, it's all I have the energy and emotional capacity to give to you right now. Every day is simply about surviving, and I'm barely even doing that very well.

Anyway - this is of course where you come in. The details are explained here, but a short summary if you don't feel like clicking till you have a better idea of where I'm sending you: I'm in desperate need of financial assistance. I know I asked for help back in January for an airplane ticket to fly back to Pennsylvania to visit with my parents before they headed back to China, but compared to now, that truly was so unimportant. I don't mean that in a rude way, I just mean - it seems so selfish compared to what I'm asking for today.

You see, my unemployment assistance was cut off after the alotted 26 weeks which was the end of July. Along with that, I am physically incapable of getting and keeping a job as my fibromyalgia has never been worse (the vicious cycle of stress --> more pain --> more stress --> more pain, etc.), I've been having weekly migraines since May, and nausea is always close at hand. Because of my recent diagnosis of manic depression (also in May), I'm going to therapy twice a week (which I absolutely LOVE and is the best thing to ever happen to me) but that of course costs money, and is about 20 miles north which incidentally takes gas, and in order to survive I need groceries = more money.

Because of my health, I have applied for disability, but my evaluation appointment isn't until next month, and I currently have less than $100 to my name. I have also recently qualified for California's welfare health insurance program, as well as food stamps, but have yet to actually receive the aid.

Anyway, I guess that's enough information for now. Any amount you can give will mean more than you could possibly ever truly imagine. Oh! I've completely exhausted any and all help I can receive from any other avenue, so please know I'm not using your money to supplement excess wants, etc. I have rent due this week, as well as my car insurance, utilities, and I need to refill my gas tank in order to get to my doctors appointments.
If you have any more questions or just want more details, please feel free to private message me, email me, or comment on this post and I'll email you back.

I can't wait till this awful, frustrating, painful season of survival and holding on by the skin of my teeth is over. I can't wait to wake up in the morning without the stress and anxiety so heavy in my chest. I can't wait to be able to breathe again.

Here's the link one more time, click here.
Thank you!

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Silence Interrupted

Thursday, September 11, 2014
I recently posted this status update on Facebook and thought I should share it here as well!
To everyone who has reached out to me or to my parents, who have prayed for me or thought about me as I'm in this season of pain and refinement, who have loved me but have been hurt by my lack of reciprocation and/or communication - please understand
that it's not YOU or anything you've done.

Besides going through the emotional stress and brokenness of a divorce - which has, by the way, created a friendship between Dan and I that is beautiful and healthy and can only exist because of the gracious love of our Father - I have also been learning to live and deal with the recent diagnosis of a mental disorder that I've had my entire life, but didn't know existed within me until this past April, along with getting used to new meds that cause me to be bedridden every other day due to migraines and nausea >> it's been a hellish, stressful, discouraging, and painful few months (to say the least), and I just want you to know that it's not YOU that I'm avoiding. It's just that I'm simply pushing through each day on survival mode; not living, not thriving, but simply surviving. And when the darkest parts of this hurricane-earthquake have passed, please know that I'll do my best to show you love.

Until then, please keep the prayers and good vibes coming. I can't even see the light at the end of the tunnel yet but I am hopeful. God has given me the verse, Exodus 14:14 // The Lord your God will fight for you, you need only be still. //

Thank you for your patience, grace, understanding, and love! If you have questions or encouragements, please comment below or send me a personal email at caraalynn @ gmail.com .
Thank you!

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Did you miss me?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
If you've been following me on any type of social media within the past 5-7 months or so, you'll know that I've been silent in a way that is not so common in the blogging world. The way that I've been an open book on my blog for so long was forced to take a back seat because I was too busy rummaging through brokenness, heartache, and confusion to find a spare second to think about staying in touch with this beautiful online community. But so many of you have reached out with encouragement, love, truth, and sweetness that I couldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams. Because of this, I need to say thank you.

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Thank you for sticking around even when my blog turned private and I barely responded to any of you until this blog post right here. Thank you for praying for me. Thank you to those of you who have given me money! Thank you for continuing to reach out even when I didn't/couldn't respond. And most of all, thank you for understanding that this has been and continues to be the most difficult and painful season I've ever gone through; I promise to respond when I have the energy and emotional capacity to do so.

A summarized timeline of the past months:
If you disagree with or have any desire to tear me down
for any of these things, please leave.


March - began receiving unemployment insurance (not enough of course)
April 1 - Dan and I separated
April 29 - admitted self to ER for mental health, diagnosed with mood disorder
May 9 - moved down to south OC county for the weekend
May - began going to therapy every week - such an amazing decision!
May 12 - moved in with a sweet older woman who let me stay till May 30
May 30 - moved in with the most amazing ladies who have since then, changed my life
June 19 - Dan and I filed and signed divorce papers together
June 19 - my parents came to visit on furlough from Beijing for a few days
Not sure the exact dates of the following events, but they're in chronological order:
+was sick in bed a bunch of the time either due to migraines or hardcore nausea
+went to the medicinal marijuana doctor to talk about use to help said migraines and nausea, as well as my depression, insomnia, and other fibromyalgia symptoms - was approved, it's helped like nothing ever has,
thank you Jesus for natural herbs
+ God led me to a new church with an amazing community of believers
+ God provided a beautiful life group full of some of the most beautiful women I've known
+ was subletting and lease was up July 26
+ moved in with another group of amazing Christian women - Dan helped me move in, showing God's beautiful heart for our broken marriage: giving us redemption and healing in our friendship in a way that brings Him so much glory, and brings Dan and I some healthy closure.
Got my fifth tattoo that I'm beyond obsessed with (view here).
Went on a 3 day impromptu road trip to Palm Springs last week!

I will probably begin blogging much more often now that I've taken the time to come back and summarize the past months for all you lovely people, which I'm quite excited about! And even though I've been quite silent on this blog, I've been much more active on my tumblr, as it takes much less time and emotional attachment.
You can view that here.

Love you ladies!

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The necessity of self-love,

Thursday, April 25, 2013
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Today I'm blogging over at the So Worth Loving blog on the necessity of self-love.
Read, feel, enjoy.

The photo reads: "Once you start living as someone who is worthy of love,
someone who even in loneliness or sadness can be lovable and highly valued,
you start making different decisions."


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Struggling in the dark abyss,

Tuesday, March 26, 2013
For too long I've allowed Satan to push me off the cliff I thought I was standing on, prepared to jump off in full trust in God - when really I was walking along in circumstance, waiting for God to show me His face even when Satan was using everything he had to cover my eyes. I could see nothing - still see nothing - but somehow feel stupidly encouraged, knowing that right now as I sit here - my low back aches worse than it has in months, that having a migraine at least twice a week is becoming the norm for me, and that on top of taking care of myself, my husband is suffering in pain as well - while we both dwell in an apartment covered in mold. It's embarrassing to say the least, but God has provided the strength needed to go through each day - days I didn't think would ever end - and even clean up and get rid of some of the mold. It's a slow process, and it beats my spirit down; feeling worn and tired and lonely is the worst mixture of painful feelings I've felt in a long time, but how do those women of God do it? How do I glorify my God in this awful dark abyss when to be honest, I don't trust what He's doing? Or no, that's not right - I do trust Him, with everything inside of me - He is the only thing I have to truly hold onto. But I'm just tired of it - I want it to end. The pain is debilitating, tiring, killing me, will I ever be able to give birth?

The questions come in waves, the pain comes in waves, and so I walk three blocks and stand on the beach to watch the waves. This is my life, living in breathing and walking distance of the most Beautiful Ocean, seeing the sunset over the water in March, so in love with my husband that I notice when we go just a little bit of time without cuddling - I feel more distant from him than ever. God is present, in all things, but my brain is so fatigued and lacking energy to realize that circumstances are not God. My healthy marriage, amazing job, gorgeous environment I live in - these aren't God. Happiness isn't God. I just am dying for Him to teach me how to see this trial as a blessing - to gain it as a prize, to be carried through this daily burning furnace with my face glowing from the bright flame of His perfect face.

He is my daily bread. My daily bread. The lamp before my feet, but only the next step. In order to want more of Him, to trust Him fully - which these two things I desire above all else - I must throw my face down at His feet in His throne room depending on Him and reminding myself that I am blind - that I am walking behind Him and all I can do is wrap my arms around His waist, trust, and follow. (Inspired by this awesome post.)

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Dan and I leave for Pennsylvania tomorrow, and I'm convinced Satan has been doing everything in his power to keep us from going (which gives me even more drive and determination to just be there already). But these things include: acupuncture making my back and neck worse, not better; my pain getting increasingly worse (being evened out by yoga and walking); Dan's pain getting worse; my period starting two weeks early; and my sciatica acting up for absoluetely no reason at all. Please pray for both Dan and I tomorrow that traveling will not make us worse and that we will have the energy and the strength to glorify God all day in our fatigue and pain. Thank you!!!

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My Fibro History

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
I've been doing a lot of browsing and research on some awesome fibromyalgia blogs lately and Sunday afternoon it hit me like a ton of bricks: I need to start documenting in detail the things I've done over the past four and a half years since I was diagnosed: not only so I can look back and see what worked and what didn't, but also so I can really start to help other people who suffer from this disease.

Four and a half years ago, the joint and muscle pain began (August 2008).
Around this same time, I had just moved to Michigan to go to Bible school in an old, moldy school building, and also got stung by a bee that let the doctors know I was deathly allergic. The sting, or something around that same time, left a red spot in the shape of a perfect circle on my left shin which is still there to this day. My digestion was getting worse by the minute and I finally thought to go off gluten, finding that to be the culprit: have been gluten free for five years now.
I went to see a rheumatologist over Christmas break (in 2008) and was checked for rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis, lupus, lyme's disease, osteoporosis, and everything else I'm forgetting at the moment: they were all negative so I was then diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The pain slowly but surely got worse once I went back to school, was home over the summer, and went back to MI for my third semester, being forced to make the toughest decision to drop out of school and move back home three months later. About seven months after that I was diagnosed with clinical depression, went on 150 mg of Zoloft for the very first time along with 20 mg of Elavil. I felt and saw a fairly immediate response to being on the anti-depressants which I was very thankful for, and it was helping to ease my pain a tiny bit as well.
Time passed and I got to begin attending college again, but this time while living at home, and was walking a lot every single day for exercise and it began to show in my weight, but didn't help too too much with my pain - especially with the cold weather western Pennsylvania likes to boast of. I was still on Zoloft and Elavil, and was getting a massage about every other week or so which helped with my pain, and drank a glass of wine every night before bed which helped me sleep better.
The symptoms that were showing their ugly heads around this time were:
awful joint and muscle pain
depression (obviously)
chronic fatigue
extremely low energy
mood swings
forgetfulness, but not very extreme
bad digestion issues
migraines
blurred vision
insomnia
muscle spasms
off and on nausea
very very low immune system (everything made me sick)
sensitivity to chemical odors
restless leg syndrome
like, 14 UTI's
and a few more that I can't quite remember at this time.
I then had my first panic attack of my life in the spring of 2011, two and a half years after being diagnosed, and 3 months before I packed up and moved from western PA to southern CA. This threw me into a deep depression covered in tons of anxiety, but things lightened up once I took my trip to Cali and met the man I would later marry. A few other things I tried before making this big change in my life were: physical therapy, water therapy, laser therapy, supplements by themselves, and chiropractic care along with stretches and exercises.
A few months after I moved to Cali, I got a job at the local newspaper and was hit with deep sciatica pain for the first time ever - which has still not gone away to this day - had bad allergies to some stuff in the building, was let go due to health, and got another job for a much better organization! I also saw an immunologist around this time who turned out to be a scam artist. He got my hopes up only to drop out of treatment after taking $1000 of our money, so that sucked and sort of jaded both Dan and I when it comes to doctors that insurance won't cover. // Now I'm in the process of finding an acupuncturist in the OC area who specializes in fibromyalgia relief, along with a massage therapist and hopefully a better primary care physician who actually believes in my disease. Next time I come back and share some of my fibro history, I'll be sure to go into detail about all of the anti-depressants I've tried so I can keep track of and hopefully help other fibro fighters know which ones might be great and which might be the devil. See you then!
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