Devyn Kerr

@devynkerr | contributor
I am currently a graduate student and a warrior pushing through many challenges that have threatened whether I will see the sun the next day. I am a fighter and believe that anyone can overcome their battles with the right support. One day at a time.
Devyn Kerr

Fighting Against Shame When You're On a Lot of Medication

One pill. That’s what it started with. It wasn’t for anything special. I was 9 years old when I began having migraines, probably associated with puberty. I was so against it. I did not want to take something every single day. I did not have a choice. It was either being debilitated by pain or getting through the day. I will be honest, there are times I skipped my medication or tossed it in the toilet. (Don’t do that… save our water.) I eventually sucked it up and that was it for five more years. I was bullied, experienced abuse and developed an eating disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). That’s the short laundry list. I was 14 when I first went down the hole into my depression severely enough my parents finally noticed. It took everyone time and I didn’t feel like anyone cared, so when I made my first attempt at taking my own life and ending the pain, I didn’t think anyone would care. I was wrong and my family has always loved me. After the hospitalization and being put on medication I never seemed to get better. It never seemed to work. SSRIs, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, benzos, tranquilizers, oh my. I lost track of how many medications I tried except that the list of medications I haven’t tried kept getting smaller to where eventually no good options or combinations were left. It took close to 10 years to achieve long-term stabilization. In those 10 years, I was in treatment or in the hospital constantly. I spent more holidays and birthdays locked away from my own self than I dare to remember. I do remember one thing that still hasn’t changed. The pills! I have not gotten rid of them and I hope I don’t ever have to go off my medication. You see, my house may be a pharmacy, but it is one for just me. In my early 20s, I started to also have medical problems that compounded on more pills. I still get the thoughts that come and go, to take them or not to take them. If I don’t take them I am playing Russian Roulette. It has taken me years to realize that the pills don’t define me they refine me. I can think. I can breathe. I can cuddle my daughter and not question what I mean to her and if she loves me. I can go to school and actually graduate on time and with honors (hopefully). I can accept that my body has limits and to honor my body. I can pre-treat when symptoms just begin. I can stay awake and focus. I am present with my wife and not drifting off into space. I am not curled up in a ball just wanting to stop crying. I love that I take medication because I am giving my body what it needs and what it deserves. I can’t control my genes and they don’t control me. It deserves love, symptom management and occasionally pain-free. It deserves to be calm in a storm. I deserve to be able to be as independent as I can and to take care of me. Will I lie that it is a pain to carry bottles, inhalers, rescue medication, saline flushes and caps, and a freezer pack with medication on me everywhere I go is easy? No! I don’t like that very much. I don’t like having to plan my day around how I feel and change it when unpredictable symptoms come up forcing me to cancel plans. However, I would not be here without the medical care. It is here for a reason. I use the services available and treat the dis-ease so I can be at ease. No guilt or shame here. Self-love all the way. Pills help me be the best me each and every day. My life I want to have each and every day is just one pill away.

Devyn Kerr

Fighting Against Shame When You're On a Lot of Medication

One pill. That’s what it started with. It wasn’t for anything special. I was 9 years old when I began having migraines, probably associated with puberty. I was so against it. I did not want to take something every single day. I did not have a choice. It was either being debilitated by pain or getting through the day. I will be honest, there are times I skipped my medication or tossed it in the toilet. (Don’t do that… save our water.) I eventually sucked it up and that was it for five more years. I was bullied, experienced abuse and developed an eating disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). That’s the short laundry list. I was 14 when I first went down the hole into my depression severely enough my parents finally noticed. It took everyone time and I didn’t feel like anyone cared, so when I made my first attempt at taking my own life and ending the pain, I didn’t think anyone would care. I was wrong and my family has always loved me. After the hospitalization and being put on medication I never seemed to get better. It never seemed to work. SSRIs, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, benzos, tranquilizers, oh my. I lost track of how many medications I tried except that the list of medications I haven’t tried kept getting smaller to where eventually no good options or combinations were left. It took close to 10 years to achieve long-term stabilization. In those 10 years, I was in treatment or in the hospital constantly. I spent more holidays and birthdays locked away from my own self than I dare to remember. I do remember one thing that still hasn’t changed. The pills! I have not gotten rid of them and I hope I don’t ever have to go off my medication. You see, my house may be a pharmacy, but it is one for just me. In my early 20s, I started to also have medical problems that compounded on more pills. I still get the thoughts that come and go, to take them or not to take them. If I don’t take them I am playing Russian Roulette. It has taken me years to realize that the pills don’t define me they refine me. I can think. I can breathe. I can cuddle my daughter and not question what I mean to her and if she loves me. I can go to school and actually graduate on time and with honors (hopefully). I can accept that my body has limits and to honor my body. I can pre-treat when symptoms just begin. I can stay awake and focus. I am present with my wife and not drifting off into space. I am not curled up in a ball just wanting to stop crying. I love that I take medication because I am giving my body what it needs and what it deserves. I can’t control my genes and they don’t control me. It deserves love, symptom management and occasionally pain-free. It deserves to be calm in a storm. I deserve to be able to be as independent as I can and to take care of me. Will I lie that it is a pain to carry bottles, inhalers, rescue medication, saline flushes and caps, and a freezer pack with medication on me everywhere I go is easy? No! I don’t like that very much. I don’t like having to plan my day around how I feel and change it when unpredictable symptoms come up forcing me to cancel plans. However, I would not be here without the medical care. It is here for a reason. I use the services available and treat the dis-ease so I can be at ease. No guilt or shame here. Self-love all the way. Pills help me be the best me each and every day. My life I want to have each and every day is just one pill away.

Devyn Kerr

Fighting Against Shame When You're On a Lot of Medication

One pill. That’s what it started with. It wasn’t for anything special. I was 9 years old when I began having migraines, probably associated with puberty. I was so against it. I did not want to take something every single day. I did not have a choice. It was either being debilitated by pain or getting through the day. I will be honest, there are times I skipped my medication or tossed it in the toilet. (Don’t do that… save our water.) I eventually sucked it up and that was it for five more years. I was bullied, experienced abuse and developed an eating disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). That’s the short laundry list. I was 14 when I first went down the hole into my depression severely enough my parents finally noticed. It took everyone time and I didn’t feel like anyone cared, so when I made my first attempt at taking my own life and ending the pain, I didn’t think anyone would care. I was wrong and my family has always loved me. After the hospitalization and being put on medication I never seemed to get better. It never seemed to work. SSRIs, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, benzos, tranquilizers, oh my. I lost track of how many medications I tried except that the list of medications I haven’t tried kept getting smaller to where eventually no good options or combinations were left. It took close to 10 years to achieve long-term stabilization. In those 10 years, I was in treatment or in the hospital constantly. I spent more holidays and birthdays locked away from my own self than I dare to remember. I do remember one thing that still hasn’t changed. The pills! I have not gotten rid of them and I hope I don’t ever have to go off my medication. You see, my house may be a pharmacy, but it is one for just me. In my early 20s, I started to also have medical problems that compounded on more pills. I still get the thoughts that come and go, to take them or not to take them. If I don’t take them I am playing Russian Roulette. It has taken me years to realize that the pills don’t define me they refine me. I can think. I can breathe. I can cuddle my daughter and not question what I mean to her and if she loves me. I can go to school and actually graduate on time and with honors (hopefully). I can accept that my body has limits and to honor my body. I can pre-treat when symptoms just begin. I can stay awake and focus. I am present with my wife and not drifting off into space. I am not curled up in a ball just wanting to stop crying. I love that I take medication because I am giving my body what it needs and what it deserves. I can’t control my genes and they don’t control me. It deserves love, symptom management and occasionally pain-free. It deserves to be calm in a storm. I deserve to be able to be as independent as I can and to take care of me. Will I lie that it is a pain to carry bottles, inhalers, rescue medication, saline flushes and caps, and a freezer pack with medication on me everywhere I go is easy? No! I don’t like that very much. I don’t like having to plan my day around how I feel and change it when unpredictable symptoms come up forcing me to cancel plans. However, I would not be here without the medical care. It is here for a reason. I use the services available and treat the dis-ease so I can be at ease. No guilt or shame here. Self-love all the way. Pills help me be the best me each and every day. My life I want to have each and every day is just one pill away.

Devyn Kerr

Healing After Suicide Attempts and Thoughts With a Rare Disease

There is not a day that I think that my life could be different. Sometimes, I wish I could leave my past behind. However, it is my past that makes me who I am. I may be tough on the outside, but on the inside, I often break with each breath. My shell cracked and it will never be put back together. I wish I felt as strong as others believe me to be. I have said enough, but I have not said anything at all. I was hurt as a young child. I cried myself to sleep each night and prayed I would not hurt again. I learned to shove it in a box, and placed it on the top shelf. You see, it is best to put my pain in a box. The laughs, the jokes, along with snickering hurt me more than physical pain. My body raged a war against me since I was young. Some of it was pain I caused, but most of it still eludes me this day. I must tell the truth. I often wish that I would not wake up. I am not suicidal; I just want the pain gone. I am hounded by fear that my box will fall, my body shattering in pieces. My body wages a war on itself daily. I have little to no control. I am fragile but not broken. I let the past flow down the river, just like a fallen leaf. I tried to take my life long ago since my body tried on its own. I attempted more times than I can count. I don’t want to focus on the hopelessness, but on the revival of love and value of my life. What matters is I lost those I loved. I did not feel, and I hurt others each time. I refuse to take that “out” anymore. My heart stopped once and it did not faze me. But for others, I chose to try and love me. I have been free from my mind for six years now. I listen to those I love. I listen to my heart. I occasionally forget why I choose life, it’s short-lived and I love why I want to lead change. I may only have scars on the outside, but my heart, my body, and the thoughts in my mind will never be the same. I live each day in fear, but also each moment is filled with joy. I want to be healthy. I want my “normal,” whatever that may be. I want to help others just like me. I want to give back for all who saved me. I will fight. I put the pain in a box, but I have opened it, slowly unpacking it piece by piece. Day by day. I am not a child anymore, but I am often ignored by doctors. I am not healed. I never will be. I am, however, strong and beautiful and will continue to endure the adversities that cross my path. I only cry once or twice a week. I can fall asleep most nights. I trust that those closest to me will not perpetuate the harm. I still am processing. I make strides in my health and well-being even if it is short-lived. I run up to challenges and face them head on. I speak my truth. I own my flaws and reactivity. My medical difficulties created a warrior who wants to lead her troops through the battlefield. I know and have learned so much. My knowledge can help others, if my body helps me. I am the creator of my present, and my future. I am in control of how I react. I have hope that one day my fears will dissipate. I have faith in God; I am not alone. I live for my family sometimes, but more often, I live for me. I am worth it. I may be wounded, but I am a survivor. I am a living miracle. I choose to take care of myself the best I can. I choose life even if in the end it does not choose me. I may not change the world, but I will rise even if my troops are just me. On April 3 rd of 2019, I gained hope after receiving a diagnosis for which I fought 18 years. A diagnosis that still does not explain my daily anaphylaxis. Yet again, we exhausted the doctors and treatments one year later. We may have found the last shell among the rocks. More than tuition for a year comes the price of 90 minutes with the top doctor in the world for my rare disease. To travel or not travel to the epicenter of New York where COVID-19 flourished is the dice. If I roll, it will choose life or gamble with death. To have COVID-19 once again may end my life, the end of my mission to change the medical advocacy world. I must continue forward off the beaten path. No one can feel what I feel, see what I see or have power over me. Day by day I continue to walk, sometimes crawl and others motionless. I have bruises from bumps along the way. I am alive. I grew from hatred to self-love. I accept this is my journey and until a higher power calls me home, nothing will stop me. My journey has taught me that anything is possible. I believe you can reach your dreams, accept where you are, and transform into an abundance of self-love. I never thought I would be where I am today. I believe in you and always know self-love is possible for you too.