So this post is coming one month after the start of the new year. As many of you have probably noticed this past year and specifically the past 5 months, my posts on social media and my blog have been pretty non existent. There was a reason for it and I’m happy to say, I’m finally able to fully take my life back and get back to doing one of my true passions in life…talking and sharing with you about my love for makeup, fitness and passion of helping others struggling from mental health issues and disorders. After wrapping up a two year battle in which I won’t go into details about, I really needed to take a few months off from everything and regroup. Luckily I was in a position to take a step back and find ME again. I was able to focus on my next move and also lay the foundation for how I’m going to push forward and turn a horrible tragedy in my life into something that will ultimately help others. There is so much I will share with you in the coming months and after such a long and empowering journey, I must say, I’m much stronger than I ever knew I was. They say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger…in my case, it also pushed me in a direction to be heard and be a game changer. There is a silver lining to every situation in life and I just found mine. Thanks for the love and support you have shown me through the years…now let’s get back to business!
I did my first blog post on suicide prevention back in 2015, exactly three years ago to this day. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, because I have personally lived this life. It is extremely hard for me to talk about because of the stigma that revolves around mental health in general, but it is also important for me to talk about it because it may save someone’s life and becoming an advocate and talking about it myself, has ultimately saved my own life. It has given me strength, a voice, purpose and also helps me find the silver lining to a situation/incident that nearly killed me. Many people will not understand this topic completely, but most people have either suffered themselves or know someone that has suffered from depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations, bipolar, schizophrenia, or some other form of mental impairment. There is NO shame in struggling, it’s what we do with it that ultimately determines how we move forward. We should never be made to feel less than adequate, less human or less than anyone else for having a mental condition WE can’t help. The number of suicides are alarmingly increasing. We need to start talking and we need to start fighting harder than ever to save one another.
With today being WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION day, I wanted to first and foremost highlight that you can NOT judge someone’s mental health by their looks. Let’s just get that fact straight! I am sick and tired of being told I don’t look like I could possibly be depressed. Well what the hell does depression look like? It’s also highly offensive for someone to tell me because I’m in shape or wear a bikini on social media, that I don’t suffer behind closed doors. Working out for me helps with my mental health, plain and simple. When you work out it releases endorphins that helps ease anxiety for me. There are so many things that I plan on revealing down the road, but I am unable to talk about at this moment. But I would like to reiterate, at times, life is a struggle. We have all gone through rough patches or endured devastating heartache. Whether it be a death, an illness, a breakup or a financial struggle. In the moment, these feelings can be a lot to handle. There is help available. Please don’t suffer in silence. Surround yourself with an amazing support system and work your hardest every day to pull through. I have seen firsthand what suicide does to the friends and family left behind. If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, don’t be afraid to talk about it. It’s amazing how when you start talking about things, you realize there are a lot of other people that have experienced or are experiencing your same feelings. Life can be hard. Life has obstacles and life can be a challenge. Remind yourself every day how amazing you are and how much you are loved. What we can control is waking up each day and trying our hardest to make each day count and seeing a happier tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even if it doesn’t seem like it today, believe me, you will get through this dark time. The world is a better place with you in it!
I have always been an animal lover. From the time I was an infant, I can’t remember my life without being surrounded by animals. Growing up, we had every pet imaginable. Fish, hamsters, rabbits, a turtle, a frog, more cats than I can count, dogs, parakeets and I think that about covers it?! We were also notorious for bringing home stray animals. My sister Kristi brought home a rabbit once that she rescued from the side of the road. The poor baby was being chased by a dog. It wasn’t until years later we found out it was actually a wild hare. I’m not even kidding!
Well, this past Summer, my sister had a stray cat that had kittens in her backyard. We quickly became obsessed with these little guys. We even took them to the vet numerous times when we suspected they were not doing as great as we would have liked. We had fully nursed them back to health and were waiting for the 8 week mark to adopt them out to their new homes. At about 7 weeks, the kittens all vanished one night. We were devastated. We looked at shelters, asked the neighbors if they had seen them, but they were nowhere to be found.
In the meantime, we had planned that we were going to try and trap the strays that were living in my sisters backyard. Yes, it’s easier said than done. In the meantime, there were two new litters of kittens born one day apart. Concerned about their safety, as we still had no idea what happened to the first batch of kittens, we became increasingly paranoid. To the point that we tried to trap the mom and her kittens and bring them inside. It was impossible. The mother was so scared and untamed, that we couldn’t keep her in the cage.
People will say I saved their lives, but the truth is, they saved mine.-Jen
Fast forward a few weeks. After losing track of the two litters of kittens multiple times because the Mom’s kept moving them, we thought we finally had a handle on the situation. We had called numerous shelters. etc and had been told the kittens needed to stay with their mothers as long as possible or they would not make it. So that was the plan.
Early one morning, everything changed. My sister went out in the backyard to feed the adult cats and found two coyotes in her backyard. One litter of kittens were gone and the adult cats were all hiding in the trees. We now knew the fate of the kittens. My sister was horrified. We knew immediately, that in order to save the remaining four kittens lives, I would have to take them in. We had tried trapping the Mom along with them, but she was too wild to bring along. We felt terrible at the thought of separating these babies form their mother, but It was the only chance these little guys had to live.
I took the kittens home, all of which happened to be boys. I started bottle feeding them every few hours, They were only around 3 weeks at the time. It was extremely hard, but also one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life. I honestly can’t even begin to describe the feeling. I also knew that I couldn’t keep them, but I had no idea how hard it would be to adopt them out when they were finally old enough to go to their forever homes. They were my four boys! Max, Oliver, Charlie and Scout. Well, time flew by quickly and it was time for them to be adopted. I was able to get my Mom and my Dad to each take one. The third home didn’t work out as planned so I ended up keeping both Max and Oliver.
My little guys are now 5 months old and have already changed my life. Soon enough, I will tell you my story of the past few years. When people tell me I saved these kitten’s lives, I always reply. “No, they saved mine.” It’s the truth. At what has been one of my darkest times, they came into my life and gave me hope. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be a foster mom and ultimately Max and Oliver’s forever Mom! I can’t imagine my life without them-
For those of you that know me personally, you know my family means more to me than anything. I have always been an open book with my readers and when I started this blog a year and half ago it was in the midst of a devastating breakup. What most of you don’t know, is a year earlier my identical twin Julie was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I often times find writing and posting pictures therapeutic and this blog has become so much more than just a hobby to me. In a world that is greatly consumed with painting a perfect picture via social media, life isn’t always what it seems. I will tell you that there are a handful of people in my life that have been my support system. It’s amazing how a few people can help you get through your darkest days.
This past month, my sister decided to come out and start talking about her MS. I will tell you, each person with MS has a different journey. My sister has good days and bad days, but she is one of the strongest people I know. I was in denial for the first year. I didn’t want to learn anything about the disease. I was afraid to read what MAY happen. I will tell you, with all of the facts and research going on I truly believe there will be a cure for MS in the next ten years. I think one of the hardest parts about this disease are the misconceptions and I will say, sometimes people just say dumb stuff! A lot of people automatically think of Annette Funicello when they hear the word MS. As many of you probably know, Jack Osbourne also has MS and he is doing great. I have friends with family members that have had MS for thirty plus years and they are healthy, walking and living normal lives. A close friend of mine has a friend with MS who runs marathons.
There are so many great charities around the world that are paving the way to find a cure for MS. As you all know, I’m a huge shoe fanatic. Brian Atwood has partnered with Donald Robertson for a brilliantly curated collection of heels with the proceeds going to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Race to Erase MS is another great charity that has been heavily involved in finding a cure and they have the support of many actors and celebrities as well. Their annual gala has brought in millions of dollars for research. My sister is starting her own charity and is also about to start filming a documentary on her journey with MS. We have been blessed to have been raised in the entertainment industry from a very young age, so the amount of support has been amazing. Sometimes in life, we have to take a misfortune and turn it into a blessing. MS has given my sister a voice and has also attached a face, one of the many faces of MS to this disease.
I think in life, we sometimes find ourselves in the midst of a wakeup call. I will tell you, life is short so make it count. Don’t sweat the small stuff and tell the people that matter the most in life how much you love them..every day. I try and check myself in those moments when I’m complaining about something trivial. I’m truly lucky to have my health, the best family and friends on the planet and I’m also living my dream… and to my support system (you know who you are!) I love you more than you will ever know. I’m one lucky girl! xx
With today being WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION day, I wanted to do a post on a subject close to my heart. At times, life is a struggle. We have all gone through rough patches or endured devastating heartache. Whether it be a death, an illness, a breakup or a financial struggle. In the moment, these feelings can be a lot to handle. There is help available. Please don’t suffer in silence. Surround yourself with an amazing support system and work your hardest every day to pull through. I have seen firsthand what suicide does to the friends and family left behind. If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, don’t be afraid to talk about it. It’s amazing how when you start talking about things, you realize there are a lot of other people that have experienced or are experiencing your same feelings. Life can be hard. Life has obstacles and life can be a challenge. Remind yourself every day how amazing you are and how much you are loved. What we can control is waking up each day and trying our hardest to make each day count and seeing a happier tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even if it doesn’t seem like it today, believe me, you will get through this dark time. The world is a better place with you in it!