Let me introduce myself I’m a M.E.S. when my parents gave me a name with the initials MES they didn't know how ironically accurate it would become to describe my 22 years on this earth. My life has been a bit messy but nevertheless beautiful in its own way. I am the youngest of two children from two supportive parents. I have been battling autoimmune diseases as well as accompanying anxiety and depressive disorders for more of my life than not. These types of mental health conditions are even more common for children with chronic illnesses to develop. In 2003, I was diagnosed with what was formerly known as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, currently known as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. ‘JIA’, as I will call it for short, changed my life in every way. As an 8 year old, I went from being an active cheerleader, dancer, and player of every recreational sport offered; to limping in with every step and not being able to hold a toothbrush or pencil because of my fingers swelling up to almost double their size. When I was 2 and 4, I experienced my first flares of Alopecia Areata, another autoimmune disease. I lost the hair about two inches above the nape of my neck, however it grew back by the time I ever noticed it was gone. Honesty, I never paid much attention when my mom spoke about this part of my childhood until I turned 13 and noticed my first bald spot. Within 6 months I was graduating from 8th grade about to embark on a new journey of highschool meanwhile about 95% of my hair had fallen out. This meant going into my freshman year of highschool with a little peach fuzz on the top of my head (which to this day, I still call ‘penguin hair’ because the new growth is so soft and reminds me of a baby penguins coat *lol*), and the back was still patchy and bare skin. These autoimmune conditions shaped my life and who I have become. Throughout the years dealing with this autoimmune disease I have faced a lot of challenges and other issues that forced me to grow up somewhat quickly. For all of the trials and tribulations life has thrown my way, I’ve also had some pretty fantastic moments and experiences that I never would have had without them.
Today, I am proud to be attending one of the biggest universities in the country, studying Psychology! I hope to one day help kids going through life changing medical situations learn healthy coping strategies. I spend my time off from studying practicing yoga, make-up, and expanding my knowledge on physical and mental wellness, spirituality, and holistic healing. I have intentions of working toward my yoga teaching certification. I have been in remission for my JIA for about 2 and a half years now and still constantly lose hair in patches, but overall have a full head of hair *knock on wood.* I still face my fair share of health problems and side effects from autoimmune conditions, but have learned a lot throughout the years on navigating life with a chronic illness and want to share what I’ve learned along the way. I’m on a journey of acceptance of this beautiful messy life and glad to be able to share it with you! Learning to navigate how to live with a chronic illness and cope with anxiety and depression is a challenge, I’m excited to share my personal experiences living with and managing these conditions. I commend all of you warriors living through such adversity. My hope is that you leave here feeling more accepted, loved, and optimistic that even though life can be messy at times, you can turn it into your own type of beautiful.