Meet Brittney

Hey world, and welcome!

I’m the Brittney behind the blog. I am many things, but the two things I am most proud of being are a wife to my wonderful husband and mom of two amazing little ladies.

I am originally from a very small little town at the very tip top of Alabama. Between getting married, buying our first house, having babies, and everything else life has thrown at us, we bounced around a bit and finally ended up right outside of Nashville, TN- Our home sweet home.

So what is this blog about? Well, me! I am a bipolar- post-op AND pre-op bariatric butterfly with an auto immune disease, that’s just trying to make this crazy thing called life work with out drowning. I often take on too much, my anxiety makes me feel like I achieve too little, and constantly identify as a hot mess.

I get a lot of questions about being bipolar. There is a negative stigma on mental health. Many are not comfortable discussing it, primarily because they do not understand it. I hope to help change that. I never mind educating others about my disease. If my being open can help one single person that is in a dark place, then any and all scrutiny I receive is worth it. I wasn’t diagnosed until my mid-twenties. Looking back, from a healthy and medicated state, I now realize that my bipolar really began to peak as a teenager. I never had normal teenager mood swings. I wasn’t just hormonal. I was always extremely angry, happy, or sad, and everything was one extreme or the other. My “switch” would flip from happy to angry or sad over the smallest things. It never made any sense to me. I could feel my emotions in my arms, chest, hands, shoulders, and face- but I couldn’t control them. This lead to me having a very small, and forgiving, circle of friends. Honestly, I don’t know how they did it. After my first pregnancy I was diagnosed with post-partum depression. Cereal commercials made me cry and would put me in a funk for days. I had severe trouble bonding with my daughter and emotionally missed many of her important milestones. I was present, but not. My OBGYN labeled me with post-partum, slapped some anti-depressants in my hand, and sent me on my way.

Shortly after our youngest was born, we moved to Nashville. I slowly made some great friends, but my emotions still got the best of me. It felt as though pregnancy, motherhood, moving, leaving family, and general life stress amplified my “crashes” as I call them. I began to develop slight paranoia. I felt as though my “friends” weren’t really my friends and everyone was intentionally isolating me. In the midst of a day 3 of a “crash” I told my husband I wanted a divorce. This was the game changer. He looked at me, laughed with the most confused look and said, “wait, what?” I told him he didn’t love me. Our girls didn’t need me, and no one wanted me. Although I have never been to the true suicidal point in my life like many with bipolar disorder have, this was the closest I have ever came to considering it. I don’t want to use the word saint, because he most definitely has more than his fair share of flaws and is by no means close to perfect, But in that moment, that is exactly what he was to me. He held me, convinced me he loved me and that I was needed and talked me into getting help.

Very shortly after I was diagnosed with Bipolar2 (depressive bipolar) with mild cycling. This means I “crash” mostly, but every now and then I do have mild manic episodes. Manic episodes are best described as high on life in every way. You think you can take on anything and everything that is thrown at you. Many act out through recreational drug use, promiscuity, and my personal favorite- binge shopping. During some of my manic episodes I have tried to talk Charles into selling our house, tried to bring home multiple new animals, and spent way more than I should have on some of the stupidest things. Thankfully, I am balanced and medicated now, and can spot my manic choices and talk myself off of the ledge. I have also learned many coping mechanisms for my crashes and can pull through them more easily than I used to. Each day is a battle. But each day is worth the fight and always will be.

If you are ever struggling with depression or suicide know that you are not alone. The 24/7 suicide hotline is always available- 1.800.273.8255

In 2017, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease- Celiac. Celiac means that my small intestine is hypersensitive to gluten (wheat, barley, or rye). If I eat any form of gluten, including things that are cross contaminated with gluten, I get deathly ill and end up in the hospital for IV fluids and nausea medication to control the initial symptoms as it works its way out of my body. The only treatment for this disease is a completely gluten free diet. I have to be very careful where I eat, what I eat, and how my food was prepared. It’s a struggle, but not developing stomach cancer, my hair not always falling out in clumps, not being in constant stomach pain, and not feeling terrible in many ways is completely worth it.

What is a “Bariatric Butterfly” and how are you pre-op and post-op all at the same time? Well, a bariatric butterfly is what you are referred to while you are on your weightloss surgery journey.

Somewhere between the ages of 10 and 12 years old I hit 200 lbs for the first time. I’m a 90’s baby. When I was a kid we still had “ident-a-kid’s” They were kid ID’s with all of your information on them in case you were kidnapped or lost. In 5th grade I got my very first one. The lady marked my hair color, eye color, height, weighed me, and took my picture. When we got back to class everyone was showing each other our paper work. It was then that I realized just how much heavier I was then all of my classmates. As my friend’s questioned my weight, I quickly began to lie. I remember saying that there was a typo, and the lady must have had bad hand writing. I told them the 2 was supposed to be a 1 and the 0 must have been a smudged 8. Even lying my way down to 180 didn’t make me feel any better. I was obese and everyone knew it. I finally plateaued around 220 for my teenage years. Luckily, I attempted to be as active as possible with my friends, because as my bipolar worsened, so did my emotional eating. I eventually got to the point where I would get off work, swing by Mcdonalds for 2 double cheeseburgers, then eat dinner with my family 10 minutes later when I arrived home. I was spiraling out of control and didn’t know what to do. Charles and I met right after I graduated high school. We met, got married 3 months later, and found out I was pregnant with Carley TWO days later. At this point I was about 240lbs. I moved 5 hours to be with him, was struggling heavily with my unknown bipolar disorder, and emotionally eating more than I care to admit. Before I knew it, my weight had skyrocketed into the 300’s. I felt hopeless. I turned to weightloss surgery as an answer. I was only 21. I worked hard, jumped through every hoop insurance required, and was finally approved. I even lied my way through my 20 minute psych eval, convincing the therapist that I was fine, prepared for the change, and would succeed.

On January 3rd, 2012 I went in for my sleeve gastrectomy surgery with an official starting weight of 319. Within 6 months I had lost over 150lbs and was happy with my 170lbs weight. After having Mckenzie in May of 2013, I went right back to my pre-baby weight of 170 and held solid for a year and a half. During this time I was killing myself in the gym, getting my water in, and eating right. I was so proud of my skinny self. Then the first curve-ball hit. I was diagnosed with Adenomyiosis. Basically, my uterus was eating it’s way through it’s self. I needed a hysterectomy, but insurance required I go on birth control for 6 months before they would approve it. During those 6 months the birth control put 40 lbs on. Shortly after that, we found out I was bipolar. Between juggling new meds every 6 weeks trying to find the perfect balance for me, and all of my emotional eating, my 210 weight quickly rose to 250. Honestly, I gave up. I admitted to defeat, and accepted my failure. By mid-late 2017 I finally had my meds balanced. My weight had reached 260, but I was mentally stable and confident I could get the weight off. I tried b12 shots, phentermine, long hours in the gym, Atkins diet, keto diet, everything. I got down to 255, and as soon as my pills would run out, or I would go off course the slightest way, I would yo-yo back on all that I lost, plus some each time. 2 steps forward, 3 steps back.

I finally hit my breaking point in 2018. I went into a bounce house and it sank with me. I was mortified and knew I had to do something. This is when I learned that a second weight loss surgery may just be a possibility. After months of research, I contacted a bariatric center of excellence near me and scheduled a seminar. I have been jumping through the hoops, checking things off my to-do list, and working towards my second chance at life.

That’s where I am now…. working towards my second chance at life

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