Alex Skye

@alexskye | contributor
Hi, my name is Alex Skye. I am a 25-year-old, female native from California and a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison and I am currently an entrepreneur and am working to expand my business and figure out what I would like to pursue career-wise. I am a health nut, sushi lover, and avid runner. I love spoken word, crafts, walking, and coloring. I love The Mighty because I was diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder about six years ago and I feel that I can relate to other users and bloggers. I have known since I was 13 years old, but wasn't diagnosed until the age of 18. I love to write and I would like to share my story, thoughts, and perspectives so that others feel known and know that they are not alone.
Community Voices

Open Letter To My Younger Self

Dear Alex,

I am writing to you as the future version of yourself in an effort to help, but also because I love you. I know it’s hard right now because you are going through changes, family struggles, and school is kicking your butt. People keep downplaying everything you are going through, act like it isn’t a big deal, and top it off by telling you to “let it go”. This savvy advice is always followed up with a bad version of the song from the movie Frozen which is cute, but it doesn’t magically make things better and as your 25-year-old self, we are over that song right now. Alex, your struggles are valid because everyone feels pain at 100%. Your feelings are true, and they need to be felt. They are yours so own them, okay?

Embracing your struggles, while scary, is needed and I’m writing you this open letter to provide hope to you in this tough time. I want you to remember that the difference between stumbling blocks and steppingstones is how you use them. Right? For a point of perspective, I want to help guide you using some tips and tricks to aid you in what I see you struggling with.

I know that your head is running a million miles per minute, day and night, and that you toss and turn in bed and sometimes curl up in the fetal position and cry. But my darling, please know that is okay. Remember your dear friend? Your long-time best stuffed animal friend, Mr. Trunko? Your purple friend who was so poorly named because he isn’t even an elephant…remember him? Do this: cuddle your best stuffed animal. Love him. There is no shame in being 25 years old and using a furry companion for tough times. For your tears, let his worn-down cotton wipe them away. You aren’t alone.

I see that you are fixating on the negative. That makes sense! It makes sense because we are wired to see the facts, and there it is, a fact! Don’t judge yourself or feel shame around those thoughts. Alex, believe or not, they are normal. Ask not for a lighter load, but stronger faith, more courage, and broader shoulders to carry this weight, because in the end it will only make you stronger. With a few more years of life experience than you, I know to stick to things that gently coax me into positivity. Do this: Jump into books, silly comics, child-like movies, home funniest video clips, or search positive quotes on the internet that are made to inspire.

I also know that your #Trauma memories are catching up with you. They cycle through your body, leaving you rigid and tense. As your therapist hash through the feelings and let’s work with it. You can push through without white knuckling it, yes, it’s true. Do this: when your body tightens up, breathe belly breaths, think of elephants dancing, tap your knees back and forth slowly with your hands and plant your feet in the ground. Weird? I know, but it works. You will relax in time.

Awe, Alex! From all this stress you are being negatively physically affected too. Your stress is driving you to water and not food and causing you to lose weight too quickly. No need to count calories nor weigh yourself. Do this: Nourish yourself, with anything and everything. Find 3-components per meal for a meal plan. Add the sweets to comfort rather than binge. Everything in moderation, as no food is bad food. Just a word from the wise.

I believe in you. Problems are not stop signs they are guidelines and as Michael Jordan says, “obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it and go through it”. That’s why I’m writing to you. I’ve come out on the other side with hope and optimism, with strength and with bravery. I have seen the valleys and now I’m on top of the mountain, looking down on my struggles and seeing how far I’ve come. Young Alex, it’s possible. But you have to stick in there and see the baby steps of progress along the way. The climb might be tough, but Alex, the view is great!

Love you,

The older version of yourself, Alex

 

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Alex Skye
Alex Skye @alexskye
contributor

Working Towards Recovering From and Overcoming Shame

OK, breathe Alex, you got this…I do not want to talk about it, says my negative-Nancy inner voice. But I need to says the angel on my shoulder. But I do not want to repeats the mean one. Gosh, the mental insanity is here as the cursor just blinks on the page between rapid fingers on the keyboard. OK, whatever, I am going to cut to the chase by jumping into a topic that makes me cringe: shame. Additionally, when I say jump, I mean I am literally taking a leap of faith because writing about shame is difficult and it opens the doors for vulnerable stories. I have felt buckets of shame over the course of my 24 years of life. Thinking about it is overwhelming enough. Where do I even begin? How about the definition of shame? Of course, the dictionary makes it all complicated, but I’m just going to let you all know that shame is basically a feeling of humiliation and distress because the person experiencing the emotion knows that they did something wrong or foolish. Shame can be accompanied by regret and self-hate. It is for me, at least! The earliest memory I have of feeling shame was when I stole 13 quarters from my parents at the age of 5. I was caught red-handed with saggy pants filled with the largest coin that I thought made me rich. I was scolded and consequentially grounded. Shame feels like a weight in my heart. It feels like butterflies in my stomach and I feel hot in winter weather. My smile turns upside down and my eyes lids get droopy. My shoulders drop and my feet drag. The most recent memory I have of feeling shame is when I told my therapist that I was masturbating with sex toys because I thought it would help me overcome my fear of male sex-organs. My fear stemmed from familial abuse, and I thought I could take my fear into my own hands. Gosh, I cannot believe I just told you that. Why can’t I believe it? Because I feel shame around something that is common, normal and not bad. Please let me know that I’m not alone. So, how do I walk away from shame? How do I recover and feel better about myself? I follow these five tips: 1. I tell three people what I did and the emotions that are swelling inside. 2. I write the gory details that I do not necessarily need to voice. 3. I open my mind to suggestions and support from my therapist and the rest of my mental health support team. 4. I repeat a mantra — “I love myself even when I make mistakes,” because beating myself up is my dangerous and addicting habit. 5. I get the shame out of my body. For me, it is literally stuck inside. So, I release the endorphins with running, painting, poetry, journaling, relatable music and nourishing food For me, shame follows feelings of emptiness. To get to the root of the act that causes shame I need to take a step back and do some internal processing. When I was a 5-year-old, what did I want? Did I want to feel worthy by being the rich toddler in town? Did I not feel paid attention to, and I wanted the spotlight even if it resulted in consequences? Was I rebelling against parental rules that did not seem fair? What did I need? To this day, I will forever wonder and that is the beauty of internal processing. So, with masturbation, what do I need today? With therapy, good friends and a faithful journal, I am learning I need to understand that sex can be beautiful, fun and good for the soul. When being sexually abused as a young teen, I developed not only PTSD but also a hate for men and a fear of sex. So again, what do I need? I need intimacy with a partner that is safe, healthy and life-giving. I need to re-learn that men can be gentle, faithful and loving. So what steps am I taking today? Today, I have the amazing opportunity to be in a healthy relationshipwhere I can be vulnerable about how I feel. I can talk about sexual acts that make me feel shame and sexual acts I am comfortable with. I talk about the shame I feel because I fear intimacy. My partner reassures me that I am normal and a work in progress. He doesn’t blame me for my past and is patient, thank goodness. Because yes, I do still feel shame from time-to-time. It is a normal feeling, and I don’t need to beat myself up over it anymore. It also does not have to eat me alive anymore because today I have a choice! It can be a feeling that comes into my body and healthily exits my body. Take a deep breath, talk and let it go. You got this! Shame is not stronger than you, remember that! Stay Mighty!

Alex Skye
Alex Skye @alexskye
contributor

The Importance of the Emotional Release of Crying for My Mental Health

The water that sheds from our tear ducts, down our cheeks and onto our shirts… yeah, that doesn’t happen to me. When I was a kid, if my body went through that process, my parents usually took me to the emergency room. Crying was not and isn’t really “my thing.” Those who are “normal” don’t understand why I don’t cry. In some respect, I cannot control my inability to cry. My body has numbed out — I use other skills and escapes when it comes to feelings. Gross… that word, feelings, still makes me cringe. Let me give you perspective of my non-crying condition. My mom died when I was 15 years old, and I cried for one day and haven’t really cried much since and that was nine years ago. Trust me when I say I love my mom and I miss her dearly, but tears don’t solve the problem. Now wait, don’t be upset with me, I’m not bashing on the process of crying. It helps a lot of people, but not for me. Why? Well, you know how you follow in your parents’ footsteps when you are a kid? You eat what they eat, watch what they watch and believe what they believe? That’s not our fault. Our brains are still forming from mushy play dough to strong silly putty. Here are the three myths about crying ingrained in me as a child. 1. I was told that crying makes you weak and is a waste of bodily fluids. 2. I was told that crying is for kids, and it is just an attention-seeking behavior. 3. I was told it was a negative bodily function. I didn’t know the body had such a thing… Well, maybe farting, but that’s beside the point. * Spoiler alert!**  Crying is good for you. Hear me? I’m a big girl now; I’m 24 years old and can make decisions for myself. So why haven’t I decided to start crying in response to sad stimuli? Because I’m a work-in-process, and I still don’t know how! It doesn’t feel safe to me and as a result, I use art processing, journaling, talk therapy and deep talks with friends to work through the things that upset me. What are my negative coping skills from the results of not crying? Well, I have dabbled in drugs/alcohol, self-harm in the form of cutting and even some outward rage. That is embarrassing, but when the feels get intense, the emotions literally must leave my body. Crying sheds the guilt, shame and embarrassment, and I think that’s just a pure dose of incredible. Isn’t it? I want to cry. I do. Truly. I’m not lying. I do not think crying is bad. I’ve reconciled that and worked through many things in therapy. So, what do I do today to get to that place of internal processing and a healthy emotional release? I get in my onesie (yes, I know, I know…), brew some calming tea, turn on some sad music/or movie, and/or get some memorabilia or objects that relate to my sadness, close my eyes and connect with my chest. That combination usually does the trick. When I cry, man does the water flow. It’s good for me because I connect with emotions I have never processed. It feels different, but it also feels good. The process of crying is forever a work in progress for me. If you are like me and have a hard time crying, just know that it is OK to cry, it is safe and you are not weak. We are meant to cry, and today, I encourage you, shed a tear and feel the feels. I promise you that the moments after your tissues have dried, you will feel better. I believe in you! Stay strong and stay Mighty!  

Alex Skye
Alex Skye @alexskye
contributor

How to Overcome the Fear of Emotional Intimacy

Let’s get straight to the point: I fear intimacy. Sometimes, readers jump from the word “intimacy” to “sex,” but that’s not the case here. While it certainly includes sex, the intimacy I fear is simply closeness with another person. Why? At the core, I fear vulnerability and abandonment. At a more granular level, I fear opening up to someone and feeling emotionally connected because they may take what I told them and just leave me. Do you relate? Is that “normal?” My fear stems from two separate relationships : a friendship and a romantic relationship . First, I was best friends with a girl I will call Emily. We met when we wore diapers and had matching “Rugrats” lunch boxes. We were joined at the hip until she put me on the back-burner at 14; I wasn’t cool enough for her. I was always called to hang out second, or third, or fourth. Suddenly, we’d gone from being best friends to distant cousins. I was no longer important to her. She was leaving me, and eventually, I left myself. Then, in later years, my fear of intimacy developed from a sexual relationship I had with a man; we’ll call him Steve. I wrote in a previous post about how much I feared sex because of my experience with trauma . A few months after I wrote that, I eventually lost my virginity by having sex with a man I trusted. But just before I gave away a piece of myself, I told him about my fear of sex and how it was so special to me. I told him about my bipolar I disorder , my post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), my hearing loss , my trauma — all very important to me and personal in regards to sharing with others. He was receptive and loving and then, out of nowhere, he left. A longer story for another day, but here’s the point: I have felt seriously betrayed by many, many people — and these are just two examples. For me, the sense of betrayal is followed by shame and guilt. I feel that it’s my fault. That I’m broken. That I’m a bad person. None of this is true, of course, and the fear of intimacy can be overcome. How? I’ve been following the below tips and tricks, day in, day out. I am, of course, a work-in-progress, so I’ll likely add to this list as I move through it all: 1. Find a therapist to whom you can talk about anything and everything. Trust in them with your inner thoughts and feelings. I learned that identifying and being honest about the red flags I see in others helps foster healthy relationships , and ignoring the yellow ones are just as bad as lying about the red ones. 2. Get a journal that is for you and only you. Write about the deep things that are scarier than anything Halloween can conjure. Write about the thoughts that make you cringe. Write the things you would never want to say with words. 3. Take baby steps and find one person to tell one thing to. Then, maybe tell one more person. Then, maybe tell the first person two more things and the other person a few things. Go back and check-in with the therapist and journal, then repeat. If it sounds scary, that’s because it is — it requires vulnerability, and that’s one of the hardest things to achieve. For me, I will continue to plug away at developing healthy relationships one step at a time. Happy Halloween, everyone.

Alex Skye
Alex Skye @alexskye
contributor

What to Know About Buying a Weighted Blanket for Mental Health

I have made many useful purchases that benefit my mental health, trauma , post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and bipolar I disorder symptoms and complications. The best purchase I have made thus far is my weighted blanket. I should be a representative or spokesperson for a blanket company because truly, I tell everyone to buy one. As a result of my overenthusiastic method of persuasion, a majority of my friends have invested in a blanket and agreed on how amazing they are. Do you ever have a hard time sleeping? Can’t fall asleep or stay asleep? Do you move so much in your sleep that you wake yourself up? Do you have constant dreams that leave you exhausted when your alarm goes off? Do you talk in your sleep and disturb not only yourself, but your loved one? Do you grind your teeth, wet yourself or have night sweats? I do! For me, all of the freaking above. But, there is hope because my weighted blanket took away each and every problem I had associated with my sleep. I get the best night’s sleep now. I wake up refreshed, don’t have to wear a night guard anymore or women’s brief, wash my sheets every other day, or have chronic headaches. Warning: they are expensive. But trust me, you use it for every night and nap. You will be paying less than a cent per day because they last literally forever. My five tips when choosing your weighted blanket: 1. Pick a simple color. You don’t want it to pop over everything else. Or maybe you do… 2. Never put it directly on your skin. Put it on top of another blanket because you don’t want to have to wash it frequently. It’s not easy to do. Or maybe I’m lazy… 3. Get it heavier than the chart reads. It is distributed not only on you but on your bed. I personally find the weight graph really does not help. A blanket that is too light is a total disappointment and a costly item to ship back to the company. It is heavy, duh. 4. Make sure that your blanket is big enough My first blanket was too small and now I have two because well, yeah. 5. Do not get the one with beads in them. I say this because they make noise, and this can be irritating during the night. Let me know how cozy you become after this purchase. I cannot wait to hear your success stories and victories oversleep troubles!

Community Voices

The Female Athlete Triad and The End of a Relationship

Let me tell you a story about a mental health condition that ended a relationship between a couple that was meant to be…or so everything thought. This story is about me and a guy I will call Evan.

In high school, I was an Olympic hopeful and in college, I was a division I athlete heading towards professionalism. I am not trying to be cocky; I’m just trying to set the scene and help you understand that I had zero balance in my life. I lived and breathed my sport, was under an immense amount of pressure and my body had to be as close to perfect as possible. This led to an unhealthy lifestyle regarding how I fueled my body with sleep and nutrition.

I am a female, and as I’ve been told, we are supposed to have more fat on our body than that of a man. Why? Well, we were meant to bear children at some point. My body fat percentage was so low that my body dipped into a disastrous cycle of amenorrhea which stemmed from a fancy form of anorexia, called orthorexia. First, amenorrhea is when a female’s body no longer has the resources and fat reserve to produce a menstrual cycle. Second, orthorexia is when a person only eats foods that are categorized as “healthy”. I ate all the time, but never enough calories. The culmination of no period and limited calories over the course of a few years led to low bone density, broken bones and eventually the news that my body has been irreversibly damaged.

The combination of amenorrhea, orthorexia, and low bone density is now a coined condition called the Female Athlete Triad. I feel like no one knows what it is, but it is ungodly common in athletic women. For me, it has had other complications such as heart issues, blood-pressure abnormalities, and the inability to bear children. My body is constantly out of sync and I am fighting to put it back in the middle of the boat, if you get my drift.

Fast forward three years from my mental, emotional, and physical low point, or “bottom”, I am in finally in remission. In other words, I have gained 20 healthy pounds, am maintaining a period for 80 percent of the year and have increased my bone density. This doesn’t mean I am healed; it means that I am constantly improving. I use medication, talk therapy, and nutrition counseling to stay balanced. Balance for me, equals happiness.

The man I was dating at the time did not agree with the resources I used to help me stay on the straight and narrow. Terrible, right?! Evan wanted me to be medication-free, able to have multiple kids, and free of therapeutic services. So basically, this man was shallow and wanted a white picket fence with a picture-perfect wife. I will not get all in my feelings, but what he wanted wasn’t realistic or attainable. For once, I chose to do what was best for me and I ended things.

My Female Athlete Triad condition led to the conclusion of the relationship between Evan and I. Though it was sad in the moment, it was for the better. I made a choice that benefited my mental health. I prioritized self-care and for that I am proud of myself and grateful. I need a partner that supports my recovery process. I learned that this relationship wasn’t healthy and I learned that spotting red flags early and paying attention to them is key to staying stable and happy.

The Female Athlete Triad is thankfully very treatable and something to overcome despite lingering complications. It is something that you (and I) can recognize, own up to, and show it who is boss. It does not have to plague the rest of your life. Fight! Stay true to you! Find your values! And remember, you are beautiful just the way you are!

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Alex Skye
Alex Skye @alexskye
contributor

The Awful Comment a Psychiatrist Made About My Mental Health

I like to think of myself as a duck. Not a rubber duck — I mean, I do have 762 rubber ducks — but a real duck. I want to be a duck that lets the bad stuff roll off my back like beads of water. My whole life, people have said insensitive things to me about my mental health differences. For example: “ You take medicine? Well, that sucks to be you, doesn’t it?” “ You have bipolar I ? That’s really bad; people like that end up killing people and end up in jail. Did you know that?” “ Did you say that you have PTSD? That’s only for veterans. Are you sure you have that? Are you making it up?” “ Why do you always say, ‘what?’ after I talk to you. Are you not listening? Are you ‘stupid?’” Though I’m pissed by their reactions, I try not to be rude when I respond. It’s aggravating, but I tell myself they are naïve. I say things to shut the conversation down because no, I’m not interested in talking to someone who has nothing nice to say. Yes, I take medicine. And yes, it’s a great solution to the chemical imbalance in my brain because I’m happy and I can function at high levels. Yes, I have bipolar disorder type 1, but I’m 24 years old and don’t have a single run-in with the law or a felony to my name. And for your the record, your random statistic is out of context; don’t throw them around like that, please. Yes, I have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I bet you would, too, if your mom was murdered and you endured incestuous sexual abuse for 18 years. Yes, I ask “what?” after a mumbled remark. I have hearing loss ; I’m not “stupid.” I had a 4.0 GPA, two majors, four minors, honor roll for all four years in high school and college, 17 academic awards by the time I was 21, and a kick-ass GRE score. Do you understand? I’m not “crazy,” “dumb,” a liar or illegitimate. I am me, and I’m cool with it, regardless of whether you are. However, there is one comment I’ve never let go of. And it wasn’t a friend or acquaintance who said it; it was a professional I trusted and relied on, who sent an arrow through my heart — my psychiatrist. She said, “Oh, Alex. You’ve been dealt such a bad deck of cards in life. How unfortunate to be you.” Yes, she really said that. Word for word. And I’ll probably never forget it. I don’t show emotions well. (Relatable?) So how do you respond to a comment like that? I didn’t cry, but I did leave her office with no intent to return. I blared “Battle Scars” by Lupe Fiasco in my earbuds as I walked out. Everyone around me could feel the anger coming off of me in waves; I wanted people to understand the injustice I felt. I was not supported, heard, or understood. My psychiatrist did not relate or empathize; she spoke with no filter and proceeded to double my medication without consent. It was as if more pills were going to fix my trauma , my life experiences and my background. I have nothing against medication, but no supplement will fix the hand of cards I’ve been dealt. In poker, you deal with the cards you are dealt — regardless of the hand. You don’t throw the cards on the floor, lose your temper and ask for the whole game to start over. I mean, you can, but where’s the fun in that? What are the risks? What is the point? Regardless of the hand you’re dealt, it’s important to employ your poker face. It’s even more important, though, when that hand is a bad one. You do the next right thing and wait for a better hand. You can trade with others (trade feelings with your therapist), use strategies to get ahead (use coping skills for your mental health ) and win or lose the game (acceptance of the person, place or thing in your life). Poker is like life; it is a game you can never predict. But you play because it’s fun. You play because you want to learn and get better. You play because it’s a form of growth in matters of the heart. Life is a journey, a gift. There is no point in throwing the cards away or cheating the game. And there’s certainly no point in choosing not to play at all. I was dealt a certain hand in life, and it’s my decision to judge whether it’s good or bad. I’m playing the game to the best of my ability. If I could start the game again, I wouldn’t trade a single card. My cards don’t define me; they shape me into the person I am today. Life is like poker: It’s hard, but it’s fun. It’s tricky but intriguing. Today, I will manage my hand with intention and purpose. I’ll live my life to the fullest and never look back.

Alex Skye
Alex Skye @alexskye
contributor

Complex PTSD: Healing After Repetitive Childhood Trauma

You know, it is daunting when the cursor just blinks on a blank page. It blinks slower than my heartbeat and ticks away slower than the time passing on the clock sitting near my bed. The cursor is only aggravating because I have a lot of trauma to share and I want to explain what happened in order to help at least one other person. I didn’t know that I “had trauma” or that I was a “trauma survivor” until I was about 19 or 20 years old. I didn’t know such things because I was raised in an environment where everything was “hush-hush” and everything “was fine.” No one knew the real home-life of Alex in middle school and high school because I was a straight-A student, an elite athlete, on student council and volunteering 20 hours per week. I’m not bragging, I’m just pointing out that sometimes the kids who do the most, struggle the most. It was normal to wake up in a sweat because I knew it would only be hours or minutes until a family member would stand over my bed, undressed. It was normal to sleep in the closet because it gave me more time to react. It was normal to sleep with a baseball bat because the word “no” never meant “no.” As a defenseless 5-year-old, saying “no” never had any power. So, what did I go through? Can you relate? At the age of 3, I learned that my family couldn’t have me and I was put up for adoption. By the age of 5, a distant family member attempted kidnapping. By the age of 6, I was told that a family member who was Black was gunned down by a white male. By the age of 7, a family member gave me my first concussion. By the age of 8, I learned that brushing my teeth and taking showers were not safe. By the age of 9, I learned that I’d never sleep with both eyes closed and by the age of 10, I questioned my virginity. At the age of 13, my brother attempted suicide and by the age of 14, I had been touched by someone I thought was a friend. By the age of 15, my birth mom was murdered, and by the age of 16, I was locked in a trunk and I don’t remember what happened. By the age of 17, one of my good friends killed herself and between 17 and 18 years old, I was stalked by a classmate and needed a bodyguard. Shortly after, my celebrity role model whose music got me through everything was gunned down. At the age of 20, my roommate died in a car crash and at the age of 23, I was taken advantage of by someone I thought I would marry. When I was 24, my friend died over only a few months from cancer. And here I still stand. I made it. Remember, like other Mighty contributors, I don’t share this for sympathy, I share this to open the door for others who relate and to come forward and feel less alone. What was normal coping? What does coping look like now? Though I was a “high-functioning” traumatized kid who did well in school, I also engaged in risky behavior. I resorted to graffiti, skipping class, lying around the block, shop-lifting, speeding, self-harm, using alcohol, abusing prescription meds and trespassing after hours. What does it look like now? I go to therapy two times per week and have a very supportive health team. I am in multiple recovery programs and have some time sober. I’ve been to residential treatment to address disordered eating and trauma. I love to paint, run, learn languages, write and play with my cat. I’m learning to cook, how to play the guitar and to process the emotions. I have made life-long friends who loved me until I could love myself. Is it easy having severe Complex PTSD? No. Does it get better? Yes. No matter how difficult processing can be, I’ve learned to suit up and show up and not to leave before the miracle happens. I’m not through it, I’m still going through it. It’s one day at a time, and today, I’m here and that’s all that matters.

Alex Skye
Alex Skye @alexskye
contributor

How a Stranger's Moment of Kindness Helped Me During COVID-19

During the coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) pandemic, I thought it would take a lot for someone to make my day. But no; on a “normal” Thursday, someone bought my drink for $5.13 at the drive-thru. If only the driver knew how that impacted me. It had been one of those days. My dad was sick with COVID-19 and my cat had the stomach bug. I got laid off from one job and picked up another with awful hours. I was running on one hour of sleep and was beyond fatigued. I was seeing double in-between blinks while waiting in a ridiculous line at the drive-thru. I guess I was just as overwhelmed as the others. I was convinced that some caffeine would get through the next few hours. After 24 minutes in line, I rolled down my window and stuck my sweaty head out a few inches to order my drink. Money was tights I had a crumpled one-dollar bill, three dollars-worth of quarters, ten dimes, two nickels and three pennies. I was happy to have scrounged up enough change so that I wouldn’t have to pull out my worn-out debit card. I had been plagued by unforeseen bills during COVID-19 and I was back to food pantries and researching food stamps. Again, it had been a long night at work, so I just wanted 8 ounces of sweet energy so that the headache would subside and I could breathe again. Was buying this drink a bad idea? Should I have saved that money for something else? Oh well, too late. I pulled up, and the masked and gloved barista told me that the driver in front of me paid for my drink. The emotions were building — I didn’t know what to say. The barista could see my wrinkled uniform and the pain in my eyes. Though I couldn’t see his mouth due to the mask, I knew he was smiling by the slight squint in his eyes. He walked away to get my drink and came back with a beverage twice the size of what I ordered and three small scones. He told me to hang in there, smiled one more time and promptly shut the sliding window. I pulled off to the side, took one sip, one bite and I cried. It was a moment of kindness I will never forget. That $5.13 went a long way. Thank you, Ma’am or Sir. Stay healthy out there; I won’t forget you. For more on the coronavirus, check out the following stories from our community: How Is the New Coronavirus Treated? The Problem With Saying ‘Only’ the Elderly and Immunocompromised Will Be Affected by COVID-19 What You Should Know About Social Distancing During COVID-19 7 Things to Do If Social Distancing Is Triggering Your Depression 8 Soaps You Can Use to Help Prevent the Spread of Illness

Community Voices

I Feel Awful-Should I leave this group?

Today my reply to someone was marked as offensive and taken down but I have no idea what I wrote that was so offensive and it’s driving me crazy. I remember my comment was somewhere along the lines of “hang in there,” something supportive, which I think is fine right? It has left me feeling like I don’t want to even make comments bc I might say the wrong thing. I feel like whatever it was could have been like an autocorrect or my finger could have slipped (I have osteoarthritis). Should I just leave this site? Maybe I’m not a good person. I am so paranoid now and don’t feel free to be open and supportive, for fear that I may hurt someone unintentionally. What should I do? Sorry I’m all over the place. I haven’t posted a lot here and I don’t even know if I’ll get any replies but I just wanted to put it out there. #Anxiety#Depression#chronic Illness#CheckInWithMe#PTSD

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