Just Between You And Me

Just Our Secret
Just Our Secret

I wasn’t feeling well today. (This after a very productive Monday and a fabulous Sunday, which I’ll tell you more about later.) As I was lying there in bed trying to get the energy to take a shower, I spotted an article on Facebook about a miner in China who was found alive after spending 17 years underground! Inspiring, right? I felt empowered by his story; I just knew I was going to get out of that bed and shower. But a minute later, I found out it was a hoax—there was no man who spent 17 years in a mine. Pure fiction. For another couple hours, I lay there watching All My Children videos on YouTube featuring Kelly Ripa and The Queen, Susan Lucci. Growing up, when something bad happened, watching Erica Kane made it better. Today, I especially got a kick out of Erica’s memorable Woman of the Year Speech where she tore into half of Pine Valley (speech starts at 0:27; watch parts 6 through 8)


And I did muster up enough energy to shower and do other things like writing this post.

Looking Forward to the Big Day

Last week, I recovered from a particularly painful polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) episode and the mosquito bites. My right foot became swollen because of bites I got at a friend’s party. But my body has not been responding well to heat lately, especially my skin, so I haven’t been leaving the house except to go to work. Why does my body hate the heat? It’s probably a combination of the Myasthenia Gravis (MG), PCOS, and psoriasis.

My Tita Baby and her husband were visiting from the Philippines; she is my maternal aunt who survived both colon and breast cancer in two years. She got diagnosed with colon cancer the same year I was diagnosed with MG. My mom has four siblings. Her brother from Arizona and his wife were also visiting. So my Uncle Jun, who has been the patriarch of the family since my grandfather’s death twenty years ago, wanted us all to be together as a family. He wanted us to worship together at church on Sunday and have lunch (an event that usually lasts five hours) at his house. We typically have twenty to forty relatives at our parties. Leading up to Sunday, I wasn’t sure if I would be well enough to go. Would it be too hot? What if I got bit by another mosquito or stung by a bee walking into church? What if there were coughing congregants? These are the questions that plague people with compromised immune systems. My prayer group was praying for my health.

A Sleepless Night

I have bipolar 2, and sleep is very important in regulating moods. Saturday night, I made sure I slept on time. Then, someone woke me up at 11 pm and I didn’t fall asleep again until 1:30 am. Needless to say, I was tired Sunday. But somehow I made it to church. It was so nice to see the family together. At one point, three congregants kept coughing in the pew behind me. But I discreetly moved to the back and didn’t get sick.

Just Between You and Me

At Uncle Jun’s house, there were thirty of us. There was lots of food, jokes, and catching up. Finally, it came time for the family photo, which we usually take in the yard. I knew this would be the only part of the day I would be in the yard. I couldn’t deal with another swollen foot. After the picture, the party continued with half the guests eating outside. I wanted to talk to everyone but I wasn’t going to ask people to come in on this beautiful summer day. (In the Midwest, winter lasts six months.) Thankfully, a bee came interrupting people’s plans. Everybody was forced to eat indoors. I got to spend time with everyone. Sunday was one of my best days ever. Don’t tell my family but I love that bumblebee.

It’s About Family

Over dinner, my six-year old nephew, Mikko, said Vocabulary is favorite subject. We asked him what his favorite word is. He said, “family.” People often say, “health is wealth.” I know I have five illnesses. But last weekend, I was reminded that I am rich.

–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno


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Hi there! I am a patient advocate, writer, and public speaker most well known for my TEDx Talk, “How to Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed.” As someone who is juggling 5 illnesses: bipolar 2, myasthenia gravis, endometriosis, psoriasis, and asthma, I’m passionate about helping people who navigate life with both chronic physical & emotional pain. If you’re interested in hiring me to speak at your event, check out the CONTACT tab.

3 thoughts on “Just Between You And Me

  • September 11, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    I want to say I’m in no way as severe as my brother being he having bipolar, schizophrenia, and adhd. Me being twin in my early 20s am just so just so fed up with life and people. This is not a cry for help, but rather a window into the constant emotional pain I’m in on a daily basis. I watch the news and hear about death and wish that were me. I wish I was the one beheaded, murdered, something to end this nightmare of 5 years of pain. Sometimes it goes away but then comes back and I feel weaker everytime it does. I want relief even if its for a week because im tired of feeling down and anxious. Im tired of being helpless. I wish I died in a car wreck or get the chance ease the pain. Im in darkness and want light. In a way Im scared of death, but at the same time comfortable with it. I even fantasize about it. Don’t know if this is normal but im lost

    • September 12, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      Dear Peter, Thank you for sharing. While I am glad that your situation is (as you say) not as bad as your brother’s, I am concerned about you. From what you’re describing, I think you may be experiencing anhedonia, which is the inability to feel pleasure. Anhedonia often comes with depression/bipolar. It is not healthy to fantasize about death. Before my bipolar was stabilized, I used to feel like death was a release. With proper treatment (seeing a psychiatrist, getting a diagnosis at 18–I’m 30 now, finding the right prescribed medications, and continuing with therapy), I no longer think like that. I feel “free,” and I have felt that way for years. I will pray for you. I encourage you to seek professional help. If you don’t like the doctors you see, which happens, keep looking until you find someone right for you. It took me a year to find the right meds and I did not like my first doctor. I often write about mental illness on this blog and other places–a few posts I made about this subject include:
      and http://www.mentalhealth.gov/blog/2014/07/three-words-everyone-mental-illness-should-learn.html

      Thank you again for being so brave. Regards, Jessica


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