the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

Uphill, both ways.

Bee ButlerComment

Small steps. Five-pound weights. Short sun salutations. Thirty minutes of simple, easy yoga.

I will fight my body every step of the way, not just to get fit, but to find the endorphins I'm missing because my serotonin production is failing me.

My thyroid is getting worse. Hashimoto's is a frustrating diagnosis. Every six weeks, I fill two vials with blood, and I get a phone call letting me know the "fate" of my medication levels. This week, the answer was "despite your increased dose, your T levels are too low, and we need to adjust". Too much levothyroxine makes me shaky, overheated; too little leaves me unable to get out of bed.

Monday, we check serotonin flow and decide if increasing medication will help, or if we need to move to something else. That "something else" might have terrible side effects, and an increase could cause 'serotonin syndrome', which has happened before. It causes grand mal seizures and a full-body shut down that could kill me.

The idea that my body hangs in the balance, stabilized by a handful of pills, is unnerving. Heart medication, something to lower the tachycardic-level beats per minute, blood pressure medication that raises the levels that fall to nothing when I stand up too fast; antidepressants, benzodiazepines (monitored carefully) to cull the panic attacks that cripple me from the inside out. A nerve pain reliever that helps with anxiety and steadies my day when Hashimoto's (and what may or may not be lupus) knocks me down, a mood stabilizer, a gastrointestinal medication that helps to keep my esophagus from deteriorating further, making it possible for me to eat without feeling like my insides are on fire... an anti-nausea med that would put any normal person to sleep, only taken in my worst moments, but still such a frequent dosage that it no longer makes me tired at all.

Vitamins that my doctors tell me will fill in the gaps. Natural remedies so that I'm not constantly popping NSAIDs for the pain... turmeric, ginger, coconut oil, bee pollen. Essential oils and a diffuser next to ten pill bottles... this is my every day.

It is so tiring. It is SO frustrating. I dread appointments, because no one has answers. I have become my own advocate, something that often infuriates my doctors, because I will no longer sit still and take pills when I know there are other options.

I fight this battle every second of every day. Sometimes it means I need to disappear. Sometimes I scroll through Facebook or Tumblr, posting and reading, but I don't have the emotional energy to reply to messages or texts. Sometimes my phone rings and I cannot summon the strength to answer it. I am too tired, too sad, too empty.

I love the people in my life. I appreciate the support and the help and the prayers and good vibes. I could not continue to fight without the help and the love.

Please, be patient with me as I struggle. I promise, I'm not ignoring you. I promise, I will call you back. I promise that I will not give up or give in if you promise to stick around, but I understand if you choose not to.

Depression and anxiety are no fun. Lupus, Hashimoto's, PTSD, OCD, GERD, and nausea are unbearable. I'm not dead, though, and I don't plan to be for another 60+ years. I just have to keep moving.

Calmbox (UNSPONSORED) Review!

Bee ButlerComment

I don't know if you guys have seen or heard about it, but joining the ranks of the 'curated subscription box' party is CALMBOX, which, according to their site, is a box "packed full of mindfully curated items like music, books, candles, personal care items, yummy snacks, motivational reminders, and so much more, to help you unwind and relax".

Check out more pictures of their products and projects over on their Instagram!

Check out more pictures of their products and projects over on their Instagram!

I saw the box in an ad and decided to subscribe for the month of January as a Christmas gift to myself. With the promo code they offered when I clicked 'subscribe', the month subscription only cost me $20 (I believe it normally retails for $35, but they offer a $5 off voucher and you can find discount codes online. They didn't pay me to review it or offer me a special deal, I just clicked YES on the voucher and used my Honey code plug-in on the Chrome browser to get a better deal!). It arrived earlier than I expected, and I was surprised to see nothing but full-sized products in the box!

1. First up was my new favorite room spray, the Calming Yoga Elixir Spray with Lavender & Cardamom by Cuccio Somatology

This stuff smells incredible and retails for $8.95, which is almost half of what I paid for the full box! I've been using it at night to help me get ready to wind down and go to bed, and it also sets the tone for yoga if you spritz a little on your mat. Cuccio also offers a mat cleaning spray, if you're in the market for that, but I was happy to just get a nice scent going before I started my practice.

2. Next up in the box was another Cuccio product, the Balancing Calming Chamomile Lotion! Like I said, I got the full size version of the product in the box, which retails for $8.95 as well. At this point I've almost recouped my full cost for the box, which is nuts, because I have four products left to talk about!

I loved this stuff. It not only smells amazing, it's incredibly moisturizing, and a little bit goes a long way! I'm using it at night to help me get into a calm and restful mood before I jump into bed. The smell of chamomile along with the lavender and cardamom from the room spray is perfect for cultivating a good bedtime routine. 

3. The next thing I saw was, of course, TEA! They were loosely scattered in the box, which was a cute idea! It gave off a confetti vibe, but infinitely better, because TEA OH MY GOD I LOVE TEA.

Yogi Calming Tea, to be precise! 

A box of this tea retails at $4.89, which officially put me over the line of what I paid vs. what I got! I was stoked about that, but even more stoked about putting the 'calming' tea to the test! This box seemed to be focused on relaxation, which I definitely need more of in my high-strung life. I brewed a cup, and I have to say, it definitely helps! I don't particularly like licorice, but when combined with lavender and lemongrass in this tea, I actually enjoyed it. I'm having a cup every night before bed, and it's going well with the new routine I'm creating.

4. The next edible item was a full-size bag of YumEarth Anti-Oxifruits Vitamin C Drops! I'm all for getting more vitamin C in my diet, because I have a pretty bleh immune system, and I opened these up expecting a semi-citrus-y lozenge... I was totally wrong.

Y'all... these are delicious. So delicious that I ate three upon opening the bag. They're pretty similar to those awesome Altoid Tangerine Sours, which I happen to be addicted to (and depressed about the cancellation of). These aren't your mama's gross healthy 'candy'. These things pack a punch, and at $3.50 per bag, they're a reasonable alternative to those overpriced gummies you end up shelling $20 for at CVS! Definitely plan on repurchasing these!

5. The thing that I ended up getting emotional over was the adorable String Of Wishes Buddha Card and Bracelet from A String of Wishes! 

This thing will run you about $10.00 with shipping if you live in the U.S., which stinks, but since I got it in the box and I'd already gotten more than what I paid for, it was essentially free for me! It struck a chord with me, because a dear friend of mine gave me one of these back in 2011, and I wore it till it literally fell off my arm. The wish came true, too, which I'm not banking on, but I'm hoping for anyway! The tiny charm is a Buddha head, which is cute, and I kept the card as well.

6. The last thing I got in my box was an awesome box of Yes, You cards from Compendium! 

Apart from awakening my inner designer with the precious packaging and font selection, this card collection, retailing at $9.95, was a real standout. The cards each have different messages, and the point of the tiny string-shut box is to carry them with you at all times and hand them out to friends or read one when you feel compelled to. I've already given a friend one, and I might just read one this morning since I'm feeling a little off my game. These were fun and interesting, and they provided a little pick-me-up that I wasn't expecting.

 

This first collection from Calmbox knocked it out of the park. As I said before, I WAS NOT PAID OR COMPENSATED IN ANY WAY FOR REVIEWING OR PURCHASING THIS PRODUCT. Like the only other thing I've reviewed here, this is just a really fantastic product that I was impressed by, and I think you should go check it out, and maybe subscribe for a month or two to see what you get!

 

Until I find something else awesome,