Telling the truth is sometimes the best medicine

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

The teacher’s face was blurry. “I really need to go to the nurse, I said. I don’t feel so…”

I slumped forward then fell to the ground. I regained consciousness while getting wheeled off to the nurse's office.

I fainted, I realized later, because I had a poorly understood medical condition called POTS. The condition meant that I felt light-headed and nauseous on a daily basis.

After diagnosis, I was immediately told not to tell anyone. This was perhaps my first memory of being told to hide any form of weakness. I was in middle school.

Even after I outgrew…

It’s bumpy and chaotic but everything works out in the end

Photo by Harley-Davidson on Unsplash

It’s Thanksgiving dinner and I feel as if I’m floating above my body. The pain is terrible. I sometimes forget what I’m saying mid-sentence.

I have yet another severe infection.

I get home, half-delirious, and try to write a Medium article. 4 hours of work produces a self-pitying, mawkish diary entry.

I give up at 6 AM. It’s the last time I write for about 2 months.

It takes over a week to find an antibiotic that eradicates the infection. I often can’t sleep due to pain, chills, and restlessness.

I can’t believe it. I’m about to stay with my…

Suffering can be transcendent

Photo by Jonathan Rados on Unsplash

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

— C.S. Lewis

Opiate withdrawal is like nothing else. I’ve heard doctors compare it to the flu. To them, I say: “I’ve never gotten the flu and wanted to tear my hair out strand by strand”.

After a long-term daily dose of hundreds of oxycodone a day, I found myself detoxing in the hospital. …

Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash

Don’t throw in the towel; you can still make something of today

I wake up at 9 AM but don’t get out of bed until 10:30. I’m sick, really sick. I’ve been this way for 3 days.

I shake my head in exasperation. Another miserable day. I’ve dealt with constant infections for months. I hardly remember what it feels like to wake up with energy.

But… I still have a productive day. I write almost 4000 words for my freelance clients, read for about 3 hours, and take multiple long phone calls. Am I a productivity guru’s wet dream? No, but I make things work.

I spent much of my adult life…

I have a long way to go, but I’ve learned a lot

Photo by William Daigneault on Unsplash

I’m at an interesting point in my life. My personality is solidifying, I’m more confident in my pursuits, and I understand my strengths and weaknesses.

Youth has faded to be replaced by maturity and the beginnings of wisdom.

I know less with each passing day, but what works, what knowledge has been accumulated, is increasingly sturdy. In this vein, I offer 24 lessons I’ve learned within my short existence:

1. Art seeps into your pores

Images from Eraserhead, one of my favorite movies, sometimes light up my brain without warning. …

The best writing habit in existence

Photo by Samara Doole on Unsplash

Raise your hand if you believe “writing is tough.”

Okay, you can put your hand down.

Look, writing is tough, but it doesn’t always have to be the slog we make it.

Yeah yeah, I’m all for suffering for our art and stuff, but I’m also for not making things any harder than they have to be.

What if I told you that one simple shift can make the writing process significantly easier?

If you’re willing to put in the effort required, this simple yet powerful writing habit can make all the difference in the world.

Or, at least, it’s…

Stop limiting yourself

Photo by George Huffman on Unsplash

What’s holding you back?

You know the answer. We all do.

Sure, you don’t have every last detail figured out, but, if you’re honest with yourself, listing out your bad habits limiting mindsets is easy.

What we need to do to improve our lives is often obvious; getting ourselves to do these things is another story.


We are our own worst enemy. We are held back by the part of our brain that chooses comfort and short-term gratification over what we know we should do.

If only you could drop that one vice or add a positive habit. Things…

Don’t let them limit your potential

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Boxes. Four-sides of nauseating claustrophobia designed to blot out the real you.

I hate those damn things.

“This is you,” they say. Here, you can work within these parameters — you can choose between A and B.

Last time I checked, there are more than 2 letters in the alphabet and even more distinct capacities within every human.

Humans like things simple

Anyone that doesn’t fit into pre-determined stereotypes is confusing, and people don’t like confusing. It’s human nature to make things easy and convenient — to take shortcuts.

But obtuse categorization creates nothing but problems. If people’s gifts are obscured or even obfuscated…

In case you needed another reminder

Photo by Elijah O'Donnell on Unsplash

In an episode of The Sopranos, Christopher (a made man in the mob) tells Tony (the mob boss) that he’s feeling off. He’s sleeping all the time and doesn’t enjoy day-to-day life.

“I’m thinking, you’re depressed,” says Tony.

“Me? I’m no mental midget,” says Christopher.

Christopher was right — he’s not a “mental midget” — but not, as he crudely implies, because he’s too “strong” for depression but because experiencing depression doesn’t make you weak.

Christopher can’t accept that he’s depressed because he’s “tough” and depression is “weak.” …

3 years, 3 valuable life lessons

Photo by henri meilhac on Unsplash

“So, am I your girlfriend?”

The question lingered in the air. Was I ready to make my first commitment?

The answer, as it turns out, was a resounding “yes.” Over 3 years, my partner and I have cultivated a strong bond that dramatically improved our lives. I wouldn’t change anything.

In addition to making me happier and more fulfilled, my first serious relationship also taught me valuable life lessons. Here are 3:

1. Sacrifice is transcendent

I used to think sacrifice was a sad reality of being human. We can’t “have our cake and eat it too” so things must be given up.


Jake O'Callaghan

I try to add color to the world. Full-time freelance writer/solopreneur. Have the autoimmune conditions IBD, RA, and IC. I win the battle against pain every day

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store