Wednesday, February 8, 2017

For this Child I Prayed...

Two pink lines. That's what started my journey. Two pink lines on a pregnancy test. When I found out I was pregnant, I was over the moon. I was finally going to be a mother. After years of dreaming and waiting to be married, my own little bundle of joy would join me in eight months. My husband was stunned, but very excited. We talked about baby names and laughed as pregnancy cravings started to make themselves known. One blissful week was all I had. One. Blissfull. Week. And then everything changed.

It's been two weeks. Two weeks today since I woke up, around 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning, to cramping and bleeding. Cramping and bleeding that wouldn't stop. Just a few days before, a dear friend had sent me a scripture. And I kept repeating that scripture over and over again in my head as I prayed for this nightmare to stop. 1st Samuel 1:27. "For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him." I can't tell you how many times I repeated that scripture in my head. I repeated it so much that it stopped sounding like real words and started sounding like gibberish. Soon, my husband had to leave for work, and two of my sisters-in-law showed up to be my support. I spent the morning curled up in my bed, in increasing pain, tears streaming down my face, praying constantly.

Hours later, it was all over. We got an emergency appointment at the OB/GYN's office and went in to get things checked out, hoping against all hope, clinging to my sister in law for support. But after an ultrasound and a visit with an OB/GYN, my worst fears were confirmed. I had a complete miscarriage. 

I cannot begin to describe the depths of my despair. I had cried, many times before in my life, but never before had I cried like this. It seemed like it would never stop. I couldn't breathe; my chest felt tight. I was in so much pain. Not just physically, but emotionally as well. I never imagined in my life that someone could hurt like this and still live to tell about it. 

I felt like I would break in two. I still feel like that, most days. I fight daily to overcome my still raging hormones, my still raging emotions. Most days, I still don't know what to do with myself. I try to distract myself by rearranging my closet or watching Netflix, taking walks, or even cooking. But inevitably, something will remind me of what I've lost and I am right back where I started from.

I struggled with whether or not to share my story, my experience. But in the end, I decided to share because even though this baby didn't live, it still deserves to be remembered, treasured, and cherished. My miscarriage is not something shameful; it has taken a lot for me to finally realize that I didn't cause this, that I didn't do anything wrong. Even though my baby didn't live, I still love them, with everything that I have inside of me. I share this story also, in the hopes that I bring strength and comfort to the women how have been through or are going through what I have gone through. You are NOT alone. I am here for you. We can get through this together. 

I am grateful for the fact that I was sealed for time and all eternity to my husband. This means, to me, that even though my baby didn't make it, someday, I will get to raise them and be with them forever. They are not lost to me; I will get to see them someday. 

I am taking each day, one day, at a time. So while it may take a while for me to be able to sit through church, surrounded by children and new mommies, without crying, I know that someday, I won't hurt as much. That someday, even though I will never forget my time as a mother, it won't occupy my every waking thought and I will be able to move forward. I know that I am loved and supported by my family, my friends, by God, and that is what is getting me through this heartbreaking and difficult time. 

My dear friends, if you have gone through this, or are going through this, please don't hesitate to talk to me. I have found, that even though it's painful, it helps to talk about what happened to me. We are stronger together.

Much love and support,

Stephanie Ann Rochette 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Self-Esteem Battle

*Sigh* Many of you know that due to my depression and eating disorder and chronic illnesses, I have terrible self esteem. And it's starting to rear it's ugly head again and I'm not sure what to do about it. Being mostly homebound during the day, it makes it hard. I feel useless because I'm not able to work. I don't feel of worth, even though I'm working very hard to be a good wife. I just feel like it's not enough. It's never enough.

I have a love/very strong hate relationship with my body. On one hand, I love it because I'm able to walk,and  talk, and see, hear, taste, touch, smell the world around me. I love that my arms can hold and comfort a child. That I can make good food with my hands, with my mind. I love that my body has given me the ability to sing and make myself and those around me feel well and feel blessed. BUT on the other hand, I hate that walking and talking, seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling, EVERYTHING, makes me tired. My whole body aches after holding a child and my arms feel like they're about to fall off. I hate that if I cook too much for a long period of time, it will send me head first down the rabbit hole of chronic illnesses and I won't be able to get out of bed for days. My body is hyper sensitive and everything sets me off. I hate that I have to be so careful. And I'm so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I just want to feel useful again. I hate that my body doesn't work the way it's supposed to. I hate that it just does what it wants and I'm being dragged along to the horse races, with no say in the matter.

I'm so sorry about the negativity in this post, but it's truly how I feel. And don't even get me started on the appearance of my body. I've recently become obsessed with how much I weigh, carefully watching the numbers as they go up and down. I don't see the beautiful potential my body could be, could have; I see what I don't have. I don't fit into a certain size of jeans. I am more round than I am straight. I feel as though I'm getting bigger and bigger and not able to stop. I feel as though nothing looks good on me anymore. Instead of wearing the fitted, form hugging shirts and vintage outfits I love so much, I'm opting for sweaters and baggy cardigans so I don't have to look at myself. I'm so hard on my body and I just push and push, trying to make it better, when in fact because of my illnesses, I usually make it worse. Though there is no way that I can become obese because of the strict diet I'm on, I still have that awful fear. That that's what I'm slowly becoming. I don't know how to get out of this rut and it terrifies me. It's starting to affect so much more than I want it to.

HELP.  What do you guys do when you're in a rut like this? How do you get out of it? How do you make yourself feel better? How do you make yourself like your body? How is it that you are not so hard on it? What do you DO?

"Cursed", A Book Excerpt

Hey, ya'll. This is from a book that I'm writing, it's just the prologue to kind of explain everything. It's rough, so be gentle in your judgements. Writing has proven to be an effective outlet for my creative energy, so here it is. (It's a Sleeping Beauty story, by the way.)

The Prophecy
            The Darkness will fall thick upon the land of Abrielle as it once did in the days of Rapunzel. And the terror and destruction will be great. But in the tenth year of the reign of the Handsome and Beautiful Graces will arise a second child, a daughter. The Conqueror. The Divine Gift who in her twenty-first year will at last be able to permanently bring down the Sorceress Morissa and bring peace to Abrielle. And with triumphant aplomb the Princess will return the light to the kingdom and free the people from destruction forevermore.

The Curse
            Princess Theodora Caroline Rose Grace, you will grow in the gifts that have been bestowed upon you, but when you reach your twenty-first year you will prick your finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a dark abyss from which you will never recover. But if fate is kind, there is a way to counter the curse. A love. A true love’s kiss will recover you from your deep sleep, but if this does not occur by midnight on your twenty-first birthday, then you will be lost forever and Abrielle will fall into despair for time and all eternity.

-Prologue-
            Sunday ran. She ran as fast as she could for as long as she could, trying not to jostle the bundle in her arms. She could feel her blood pounding in her ears, her bare feet slapping against the cobblestone streets as the distance between her and the castle grew farther and farther. It started to rain and Sunday’s curly red hair hung limply in her face. The rain started to pour even harder and Sunday stopped suddenly in her tracks as she heard explosions in the distance, looking around frantically. And there it was. Sunday hurried over to the wall that ran around the Royal City of Abrielle, took out her wand and tapped the wall three times, drawing a circle. A bright blue light washed over Sunday from the circle and she stepped into it, disappearing completely.
            Sunday reappeared in a dark alleyway, the stink of rot and urine reaching her nostrils. Cockroaches and other vermin scurried away from the blue light as Sunday tapped the wall behind her three times again, the light disappearing. The ground crunched beneath her as she walked to the mouth of the alley, turning left. Sunday walked for four blocks and then turned right, crossing the street and walking up the fire escape of a shoebox sized apartment. Holding the bundle with her left hand and searching with her right, Sunday pulled out a set of keys and unlocked the door, stepping inside. One of Sunday’s hands reached for a light pull and tugged it. Harsh yellow light flooded the room, revealing peeling paint, frayed, dirty carpet, and water stains on the ceiling. Sunday sighed and slid to the floor with her back up against the wall, her skirts and apron askew. Finally, she laid the bundle on her lap and peeled back the layers to reveal a pink, sleeping, newborn baby girl.
            A princess. THE princess. The most important princess to grace the realms since the Great Rapunzel a thousand years ago. Princess Theodora Caroline Rose Grace. The Conqueror. The Divine Gift. The person who would finally bring down the evil sorceress Morissa and bring peace to the realms that hadn’t been seen in hundreds of years. And here she was. On Sunday’s lap. In a dirty apartment. In Brooklyn, New York. Realms away from Abrielle, her significance and importance slowly dwindling into nonexistence as the setting sank in.

            “Well, Theodora, this is it. For the next twenty-one years, this is home.” And Sunday knew with piercing clarity that she would do whatever it took to protect Theodora from The Curse. She knew without a doubt that if The Prophecy was not allowed to be fulfilled, then the kingdom of Abrielle as she knew it, would be lost. 




Admittedly, The Curse needs some desperate work, so any suggestions on how to tweak it would be welcome. It just doesn't sound right to me yet! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Discovery

Dude...I'm married. Can you believe it?! After all the crazy crap I've been through, I finally have someone to be my partner, to be my equal; someone to help me through life's ups and downs. It's a bit of a strange feeling. I kinda actually feel like a grown up now.

Being a housewife for the past (almost) five weeks has caused me to have a lot of different thoughts on how to best spend my time and how to manage my illnesses at the same time. There's a delicate balance between being active and over-doing it. As a 26 year old married woman with a bachelor's degree, I have not yet mastered the art of that balance. Seems funny, right?

This is what I have discovered so far. Naps. Naps are my friend. When I'm really feeling my anxiety/depression or a migraine hits me like a pile of bricks, a nap is just the thing to help me manage. It helps me to cope and usually, helps me to kick whatever I'm struggling with in the keister.

Notebooks, cookbooks, and daily planners have been an absolute life saver. Not only do these things occupy me and help me to find ways to be frugal and save money for my new, little family, but they help me to feel useful which is something people with chronic illnesses struggle with on a daily basis. Being unable to work is one of the biggest struggles I've had to deal with. Parts of my self-worth link directly to being able to contribute to society and being able to use what I've studied and worked so hard for; being able to use my creativity and passions to better the space around me. SO,in short, meal planning and writing have helped me to be able to tap into that powerhouse of knowledge that exists within me. It feels amazing to be able to use it for something. It's not just existing within me anymore. It's living. 

Number three. Harry Potter. Yes, yes, I know this sounds a little bit silly and cliche, but it is totally and absolutely true. Re-reading the Harry Potter Series has helped me to have hope. It has helped me to remember that even in the darkest of times, when it seems that all hope is lost, all one has to do is turn on the light. It has helped me to treasure my friendships and relationships even more so than usual and has helped me to realize that if I need help, all I need to do is ask. Reading the illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has helped me to see the beauty and strength and hope even in the ugliest of situations. It has helped me tap into that truest part of me.

If you're having a hard time and things seem to be crashing down around your ears, I'm so sorry. I wish that there was something I could do to help you. I can only hope that what I've written here will give you the strength you need to keep on going today; to put one foot in front of the other.

Fear not, for God is with you in every step of your journey.

Much love and support,

Stephanie Ann Rochette

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Send My Love

I've been thinking for a while about what to write. I didn't want to write a post of just me rambling. I have felt the need for this next post to be important. Here we go, I suppose.

I have been struggling for a long time to feel that I am of worth, that I am loved and important. I got in a car accident almost a month ago that totaled my car and brought to halt all that I was doing to try and better myself. With my car totaled, I had to quit my job, and again come home to an empty house with my extroverted mind crawling up the walls. Having this accident happen to me has caused me to really dig deep and reflect on my life.

As the Holidays roll around, they have me thinking of all that has happened to me over this past year and with that, me struggling to remember all of the good things instead of the bad. Because there has been a lot of bad. But there has also been just as much good.

About a year and a half ago, I got diagnosed with all of my chronic illnesses, and honestly, my life changed for the better. Now, instead of being home-bound and bed ridden, I can walk! I can run (if I so choose), I can climb the stairs without passing out from the pain, I can hang out with friends, go to the bathroom without someone helping me, and can drive a car safely and carefully. I have come so far. I have pulled myself out of the very depths of hell to leave myself, shaking with exhaustion and effort, to crawl once more and be a part of my journey. I have come back from being engaged and jilted twice in 2014. I have overcome family issues, money issues, health issues; all within this past year. I have made progress! I have shown to myself, others, and God that I am willing to do whatever it takes to learn, grow, and move. 

So, knowing all of this, why does my brain forget all of these good, amazing things and focus on the bad? Why does it focus on the fact that I'm not working and therefore that means I'm useless? Why does it focus on the fact that I'm not anorexic anymore and that means that I'm fat and worthless? Why does it focus on the fact that I am chronically  ill and that means no one wants me? Why does my brain just spin with all of this toxic waste and pull me to a place that I struggle to get back from?

So, how do I get out of this deep-seated funk that I'm in? How does anyone do that? Sometimes, and I hate to say it, prayer is not enough. We, I, have got to find some sort of action that I can grab onto to haul myself out. Action goes hand in hand with prayer. You can't just pray, do nothing, and expect all of your problems to be solved. But knowing all of this, having done everything the right way, why am I still the way that I am?

How is it that I can send my love to everyone else and love them for who they are, when on the inside, on the other side of my mask, I'm a struggling mess?

How do you send love to yourself? How do you get out of your deep-seated funk without being too damaged when you come out the other side? What do you do to lift your spirit to a place where darkness has a hell of a time touching it?

Sending my love to all,

Stephanie

Friday, June 12, 2015

Waiting for Superman

Isn't that what every single girl, young or old, eventually dreams of? A Prince Charming or a dashing Superman to come and sweep her off her feet and carry her off into the sunset of her future dreams?

Well, I'm here to tell you that it usually doesn't turn out that way. Unfortunately, most of the time they come as an abuser, deadbeat, jerk, or heart-breaker in Prince Charming or Superman's clothing. And that's when the ugly work begins. Us poor things, we have all had those times where we were completely blindsided by these circumstances thinking that it was OUR fault that the relationship ended the way it did, even if we weren't the ones that ended it.

All through our adolescent and young adult lives, we have turned ourselves inside out searching for our Superman because of our own expectations or even more cruelly, because of the expectations of others. And I am here to tell you that it is time to STOP.

You are worth SO much more than being made to feel like are a stupid, uncaring, worthless failure because you aren't able to fulfill certain divinely appointed roles at this moment in time. It is OK to be single.It is OK to LOVE being single. It is OK to pursue more education. It is OK to travel, and to learn, and to better yourself just because you want to.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of this and you should tell whoever thinks otherwise to go stick it where the sun doesn't shine. Since when did they have any say in how you lived your life?! The answer? NEVER! It is absolutely none of their dang business.

So do you know what? You go take that trip to Ecuador to go help underprivileged children. You get that Masters degree in Political Science and International Studies. Move to New York City and break into Broadway.You go write the next great American novel. Go buy your own home. Go and be that foster mother to be a parent to children who don't have anyone in the world to call their own. Go and live your dreams. You do YOU. You do not need a man to make you feel like you are of worth and that your life is of value. You can be absolutely fabulous all on your very own and it is time that you start feeling like that is ok to do.

Now, I should be one to talk, because I don't feel like this yet, but I am working on it. I am working on being my own brand of fabulous and working on knowing deep down in the far recesses of my soul that I am and can be of worth without a man to make it so.

My final words to you are this: BE the Princess Charming or Superwoman that you KNOW deep down that you are. Whoever said that you couldn't? And then only if it strikes your fancy, you go rescue that poor idiot of a future husband who got himself stuck in a tree.

You don't need to wait for your Superman. You can be your own.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Struggle



Anorexia Nervosa 
nounPsychiatry.

1.
an eating disorder primarily affecting adolescent girls and young women, characterized by pathological fear of becoming fat, distorted body image, excessive dieting, and emaciation.

It's about to get real here, so if the thought of that scares you, you know the way out. 

When I was in junior high I was overweight and it continued into my high school and college years. In junior high I was the quiet, teacher's pet-bookworm who loved school and checked out books three at a time at the library and did countless numbers of service projects to keep myself busy and tried to be friends with everyone. That didn't always work out... Not only was I picked on and teased by my classmates, but I was picked on, teased, and abused mercilessly by my father about how I looked. I looked around at all of my tiny friends who loved to go shopping and share each other's clothes and eat whatever they wanted because they never seemed to gain any weight. After all of the teasing and the hurt, I looked in the mirror, and at over 185 pounds, I was ashamed and resolved that I would do something about so I could look like everyone else. To blend in. After dieting and walking and exercising with no success, I turned to something that changed my life. And not for the better. 

The first time I attempted my foray into anorexia I was caught by one of my best friends and she gave me a lecture/pep talk the likes of which no one has ever heard and it scared me into eating again. Even though I was afraid and ashamed every time food passed my lips. 

Throughout the years my weight fluctuated. I lost 20 pounds in high school my sophomore year and managed to keep most of it off. But then college came and the fear of being fat grew. In a heartbreaking twist, I noticed that the more weight I lost, the more men paid me "positive attention". Because of my father and other circumstances at school, I didn't have any idea of what positive attention from men *was*, but because I was so so desperate for approval from at least one man in my life, I kept at it. And I kept at it. And I kept at it. I was around 150 pounds-ish my last semester of my senior year of college. 

Fast forward to the summer of 2013, just after I finished my student teaching in Riverton, Utah. Just before I left Riverton, I made a plea to my Bishop to help me with my anorexia. I was beginning to get scared at how much weight I was losing. He dismissed it as only a coping mechanism for my stress as a flighty girl (he didn't actually say "flighty girl", but he might as well have) and I left his office and didn't give it another thought, though I was furious with my Bishop for how he treated me. 

 After I finished my student-teaching, I moved to Provo, Utah because it sounded like a good idea. And it was. There I made some of the best friends I'll ever have, but it was also there that my anorexia would again rear its ugly, emaciated head. Once I started working, I was eating around 700 calories a day. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less, but despite that I was ruthless and organized and careful about my calorie counting. Nobody could know. No one noticed because at parties and get-togethers they already knew I was intolerant to just about everything and they didn't give it a second thought as to why I wasn't eating. 

A mere three months later I was offered a teaching position in Phoenix, Arizona and I took it. It was one of the best and worst decisions I've ever made. In Arizona, my stress level sky-rocketed and most of my money went to rent; a perfect breeding ground for my anorexia. It all went down-hill fast when I went through a hideous break-up with my boyfriend who was still living in Provo; it was the straw that broke the camel's back and I became even more determined to stick to my twisted sense of nutrition. 

It was only when I was skyping with one of my best friends from college that I realized that something was hideously wrong. After chatting for a good long while, my friend paused and she said, "Stephanie...you're losing a lot of weight..." and I responded with, "I know!!! Isn't it great?!" I swooned over my teeny-tiny clothes as I showed them off to my friend and the light-bulb didn't flicker on until days later when I was looking at myself in the bathroom and I saw the deep, dark circles underneath my eyes and my prominent cheekbones. Something was wrong. A month or two later, I was on a plane home so I could convalesce in my mother's care with my, at the time, debilitating chronic migraines. I was around 130 pounds when I arrived home. 

Below is a picture of me at the end of my Freshman year of college:
And below here is a picture of me just before I came home from Arizona:

It's a big difference, isn't it? I gained back some much needed weight (Around 40lbs) during the end of 2013-2014, but now, the anorexia monster is rearing its ugly head again. It is something that I'm dealing with, but there are things that I am asking you not to do because it could, in fact, make me worse. http://eatingdisorders.about.com/od/family_and_friends/a/What-Not-To-Say-To-Someone-With-Anorexia-Or-Bulimia.htm

I'll keep this blog updated on my continuing journey, but just know that right now, the right people are aware and that this is being handled. It is a tumultuous time in my life while I try to handle my diseases and figure out just what exactly I'm supposed to do with my future and I'm often a stressed out crazy-mess of a person, but also know that I love you and I will do what I can to help you with whatever you need too. It helps to have people to serve. Love you. 

"Something has changed within me

Something is not the same

I'm through with playing by the rules

Of someone else's game

Too late for second-guessing

Too late to go back to sleep

It's time to trust my instincts

Close my eyes and leap!"

p.s. And please, for the love of Pete, don't mention the anorexia to me in person or force me to talk about it. That just makes everyone feel 
aca-awkward.