First of all I am very sorry I did not write a blog post last week, you will soon hear why so I hope you will forgive me. Big things can happen, but we can all cope with much more than we think we can and I have been fighting for contentment while going through something scary.
About a month ago I found a small lump in my armpit, I regularly check my breasts and armpits because you just never know. I was sure this was simply a cyst or something like an enlarged lymph node or something like that. I went to see my practice nurse who, after feeling it and checking my breasts herself, decided I should go to the breast clinic. So right then I went from sure it was just a cyst to worried it could be cancer or something to be worried about.
My anxiety went through the roof as you can probably imagine, thankfully my husband got the day off work to take me and we only had to wait a couple of weeks to be seen. The clinic was so well set up, I saw the consultant, had an ultrasound and both breasts checked by a mammogram in just a couple of hours! They even had beautiful lit up photography to look at while being scanned it was brilliant and I got a glimpse at how the NHS could work.
The problem of course, as most of us chronic illness warriors know, is that for the most part this is not how the NHS works! Most of the time you wait years to even be taken seriously, then you have to constantly explain and prove that you need tests or scans even when you are in so much daily pain and fatigue it is hard to even get out of bed!
I think if I went to see my rheumatologist and he saw me in a couple of weeks and everything you needed was done in one go and you got the answers right away then we would all have much more faith in our medical teams. I came home from my day being scanned, poked and prodded feeling overwhelmed with happiness that my lump was nothing sinister, and really annoyed that cancer gets this sort of treatment while every other illness is met with proving you are not faking…even when I needed my gallbladder removed it took three emergency room visits over a couple of months for me to even be referred to the right specialist!
So I am sat here feeling a little annoyed, not that cancer gets the treatment it does because it needs quick response, but that the rest of the illnesses get put to the back of the line. Since going to that clinic I have been struggling to keep my contentment and to not fall back into depression and frustration. It would be easier to give in, instead I have been turning to crystals, prayer and essential oils to try and keep my mind from being lost to the darkness.
I have struggled with depression for most of my life, but I refuse to let being shown how good medical care can be get me down. No matter what illness we are battling we deserve to be taken seriously from the start and to expect good pain relief and not to have to explain ourselves over and over again! You are just as important as the next person, and you as well as I deserve to find contentment even when we suffer with chronic illness.
I have been sent this infographic by Betterhelp, an online counselling service. I have worked with them before and as you all know from a recent post of mine I suffer with this myself. I think it is incredibly important that people know the signs and symptoms so they can better take care of the mental health of people around them as well as themselves.
So, if you suspect someone around you might have SAD, or you think this infographic describes how you feel please go and check out these articles sent to me by Betterhelp and never be afraid to seek help and the great thing about online counselling is that you can fit it around your schedule.
Just click the picture to be taken to the infographic
The defining factor of having a chronic illness is that it never leaves you. You may go through periods when it isn’t so bad, and also have periods where you suffer more than usual. Therefore, it is incredibly important to know what to do in the harder times as well as the good ones to preserve your energy and health. A topic that you can read more about below.
Do set yourself goals.
One thing that can be useful for those of us with chronic illness is to set goals to work to. Of course, it can help to do this in a slightly different way than others would.
What I mean is that you have goals for the good days where you push yourself a little more, and also targets for the bad days where you do things that are not so strenuous or demanding, and that have more restorative effects.
Don’t ignore the warning signs.
Next, when you suffer from a chronic condition, you get pretty good at recognizing the warning sign of a relapse. However, it’s vital that you always listen to these signs and use them as a message from your mind and body that needs extra care.
In fact, for some suffering from chronic conditions the severity of a relapse can be mitigated by recognizing the warning signs early and seeking out additional medical help.
A particular example of this being addiction, where the re-emergence of the use of the desire to use substances suggests that an additional stint in rehab is necessary to strengthen the patients’ resolve. Something that if caught early enough can prevent a relapse before it has even begun.
Do be compassionate.
Compassion is a vital to skill to have when you suffer from a chronic illness. In fact, I think that it is something that living with this type of condition can teach us to have both for ourselves, and for others.
Of course, it’s not always easy to direct compassion to yourself, especially if you are frustrated, tired, and in pain. Although one thing that can help is to write a statement that reminds you that you are suffering from a condition and that it affects your normal range of function, as this can help you to realize that it is not your fault.
Also, the Buddhist practice of Metta or loving-kindness is an excellent way of developing a more loving heart towards ourselves. You can even find a guided meditation to help you complete the practice here.
Don’t be unrealistic.
Lastly, when you suffer from a chronic condition, it’s important to be as realistic as possible with what you expect from yourself on a day to day basis. Don’t compare yourself to others whether they have your illnesses or not, but learn to be able to feel from the inside where your limits and boundaries are, and be OK with that.
After all, no one else is living your life or has the particular challenges that you have to face. Therefore, by learning to be realistic, you can help yourself live your life to the full, without putting any additional strain on your body and mind.
If you have been following my you tube channel, then you will know that I am currently studying to become a psychic. I have found as the course has progressed however that my chronic illnesses are holding me back and it is so frustrating!
My chronic illnesses are Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Spondylosis, depression and generalised anxiety disorder. They work together to make my life interesting by not only affecting how mobile I am, but also making my memory bad, giving me fatigue, shaking, numbness…the list goes on.
I have suffered with many of these my whole life but they started to change things mainly when it came to studying. So I could never get good grades in my schoolwork and I struggled in my nursing course because a bad memory means that retaining what I am being taught can be extremely difficult.
Over time when I gave up work and stopped needing to remember facts and figures it didn’t bother me as much. However, I am extremely interested in learning how to be a psychic, I am starting to get into crystals and I am even learning about the moon phases and I am finding that nothing is sticking and it is so frustrating! On top of that I have the bonus gift that studying makes my fatigue worse so I am so so tired all the time. The extra fatigue makes it hard to balance resting with studying and my housework that I try to do a little every day but it doesn’t always work out now.
I also have problems with grounding, this is a meditation practice that protects you and you are supposed to do it every morning and every night. However, on my left side my numbness is worse, so I cannot feel the ground below me and my pendulum will not work on that side. These might not seem like big problems but they are, right now I am looking into how crystals and essential oils can help but while I look into that I find I am frustrated and struggling.
I am hopeful that as I progress it will help my illnesses, but until then have you been a student? How do you cope with the side effects that come with studying and having illnesses that will not stop? Any tips or tricks gratefully accepted.
The summer is here and I am wearing a lovely skirt and a pretty vest top and I should be feeling happy but I am feeling self conscious. I suffered with eating disorders, I look in the mirror and I only see my flabby arms and my tummy that is thin but not at all toned and it makes me feel so deflated. I used to be extremely thin and toned and now my illnesses have worsened and I am struggling to feel any body positivity with my disability!
I see all the adverts with the models with perfect bodies, I watch the you tubers working out in Hollywood; and I feel that pressure on me to eat everything with avocados and to work out in the gym every day! However, I have new diagnoses that mean my neck needs to be protected more and my joined are more prone to dislocation so yoga the way I used to do it has been taken off the table.
Honestly, since I was told this I have found my fitness level has seriously worsened and my body is not as toned and really my pain and fatigue have worsened! To me doing daily yoga is important but I feel a little lost as to how to practice and how to increase my fitness without doing harm.
Now obviously people are probably going to chime in with ‘get a fitness trainer’ however the fact that I can rarely leave the house and the cost that is really not an option. I am kind of left with the option of you tube which is what I have been using but I feel like I am starting all over again and the motivation when my fatigue levels are where they are now and with my pain is so hard to find! I would love to just go for a simple walk, but the weather is hot here right now and I keep having dizzy spells so that is not much of an option for me to do I wouldn’t want to have a fall out on my own!
So am I left looking in the mirror feeling like my outside doesn’t match my inside? That I am doomed to not being able to feel healthy and sexy because I have chronic illnesses? Do you guys think this is what I should just accept or is there another way that I have yet to see or hear about? I would love some input so please leave me a comment, drop me an email, or hit me up on instagram honestly I need some help not feeling like Buddha every time I look at my tummy!
PS. I have been nominated in the WEGO Health Awards for my you tube channel and would love it if you would please click below and consider endorsing me thank you x
Here in England we are having a heatwave, social media is full of people spending time with friends, and almost every night I can hear the sounds of BBQs! Usually this is a time when people get together, and because of this I think my loneliness is making itself known.
As you all know, I am working on myself very hard at the moment, meditating like mad and I am currently reading the bhagavad gita. I am trying my hardest to grow and learn and to come to be content in the moment and with the life I have instead of wanting and yearning for what others have. To be honest, I am changing a lot and I can feel how meditation and mindfulness is really helping my depression and anxiety. I am really proud of myself, but I know I still have a lot to learn but regular readers will know I love to learn new things.
However, I am mainly housebound, and with the heat I cannot take the dog out because I keep having dizzy spells. Just a few days ago my husband took me out for a drive in the car and a short walk and that was the first time I had left the house in nine days! This realisation really showed me that I am so very isolated in a lot of ways by society and that really makes me sad.
Last week, on the blog, I talked about how we all need to be kinder to one another and look out for people around us who need us. I wanted to try and encourage everyone to make sure the neighbours and family members around us are OK, but that is lacking in my life. I see people around me who don’t live far having fun and I need to be honest and say it makes me feel really left out and alone.
I have the most wonderful husband who is home as much as he can be, but he is out of the house 12 hours a day to travel to his job and work an 8 hour shift. This means most of my time is spent alone just me and the dog, who strangely enough keeps me sane. Now I would love it if my husband could be home all the time, but right now that is not really an option. So most of my waking life is spent alone, and I am sure that I am not the only one in the chronic illness community.
Now while doing research on loneliness I found that The Red Cross is running a Get Help with Loneliness Campaign because they have seen how being alone too much can affect a person’s mental health. I checked but there is nothing available in my area, but maybe there is where you live? If you are able to you can also volunteer just a few hours a week to spend with people like me who face loneliness and isolation from society. Let me know below if it is something you would use or if you would like to volunteer with them all the information is on the page above.
So I have been thinking about this a lot, how can we improve our community and why it seems so fractured. This post was spurred on to be written though by Melissa at Mint Tea and Elephants, we were talking in a facebook group and I mentioned some of my thoughts and she said she would love to read it, so blame her haha!
I am not a news watcher, I stopped watching the news years ago because it always triggered my anxiety. I started to worry about the end of the world, what if zombies became real if we act like this now? Why do people get so lost that they commit crimes and turn to drugs and alcohol? Why is it that a few people seem to prosper while everyone else seems to think it is OK to just struggle alone and to turn down any help offered and not help others?
Just a few generations ago people did not travel far from where they were born, they grew up knowing everyone and helping one another when needed. We seem to have everything, with kids having mobile phones and iPad at young ages and yet children struggling with suicidal thoughts is on the rise! The more I think about it the more I wonder that it could be we are losing that community spirit we used to have. In the past people in a street would share the big ticket items like lawn mowers and TVs, Just think how many lawn mowers there are in just the street you live in and how often they are used!
Humans naturally are pack animals, we naturally long for approval and to fit in so that we will survive. It is a natural instinct, but it seems to have taken a turn, instead of trying to help the people in our street we are looking on Instagram, comparing ourselves to others and getting depressed when our lives don’t look like that! I often see people on social media saying they need to take a ‘mental health break’ from social media, it is as if living with comparing and jealousy is unhealthy for us.
I know I have fallen into this trap when it comes to this when it comes to my You Tube Channel and this blog, I see others making money at them, being shared and growing their subscribers and it can make me feel jealous. I think this mentality of numbers within the ‘influencer’ community is what can cause most of the problems. So I took a step back and realised that I was feeling upset that I share people’s blog posts and videos but they were not doing the same for me….
But should that be why I do it? Surely I should practice my beliefs and put them into my life in every way not just when it suits me! I try to practice the four types of yoga every day, and one of them Karma Yoga is what this is all about. Karma Yoga is the path of unselfish action, this means doing things to help others and to raise others up without expecting anything in return. I should do it because I want those around me to succeed, and not because I want them to do the same or I think because I shared that video my views and subscribers will rise!
Now just imagine if we all practice this, no matter your faith, what if we all did nice and kind things not expecting anything in return not even a thank you? Do you think if we all changed our hearts to try this that we would all get more success and be happier because I do! So I am challenging you to do these three things and let’s change the world and foster a little more community:
- Smile at a stranger
- Be kind expecting nothing in return
- Share blog posts you read, and you tube videos you watch
Below is my You Tube video where I discuss this and yeah I hope you will leave me a comment and let’s get talking
In truth, we all have anxious times in which we can’t see where we’re going in the future. Some of us experience these periods more seriously than others, some us of can let it slide. But when you’re sometimes seized by the fear of the future, it’s clear we need to make ourselves aware of the steps to take for contingency. These are smart and safe thoughts.
Maybe you’ve just gone through a particularly bad period, and now that you’re out the other side, you know you want to change some things. And there’s nothing better for doing that than putting some plans in place to make you feel better about facing tomorrow. So here’s a couple of ideas for you to use now to make the next flare up a little less serious.
It’s something we worry the most about: being able to support ourselves. When everything in your life (your body, your mind etc.) seem to be working against you, it can be hard to try to commit to a ‘proper’ job and make the money you need. But thankfully there’s plenty of ways to make money than ever before, and we can use that to our advantage.
You don’t even need a traditional job to tide you over whenever you actually can work a shift. As long as you’ve got an internet connection, you’ve got a good way to keep a flow of money coming your way: there’s so many sites out there that’ll pay you for reading, writing, taking surveys, watching videos, playing games etc. The list honestly goes on and on. And it’s something anyone of any skill level can take under their belt, as long as you’re confident enough to keep at it.
Making Sure We’ll Be Taken Care Of
Having someone around to take care of us when we can’t do it for ourselves; it’s something a lot of people can spend a few moments crying about when they properly let themselves think about it. But it doesn’t have to be such a bleak prospect, and you’re never going to be alone when you know the programs available to you. There’s always going to be someone out there who you can connect with, and in more ways than one.
And whilst you’re might not be looking into Nursing Home Comparison sites just quite yet, you’re still going to want to surround yourself with friends and family who love you. Humans have always been taking care of each other, so let yourself rely on your neighbor: keep their number on a sticky note and call them over when you need help.
Know How to Take Small Steps
If you want to work on your social skills, learn how to write an email with perfect form. If you want to be more creative, write a paragraph about a nonsensical idea day by day. If you’re productive like this, you’re going to feel a lot better in yourself. It’s all about the small steps.
Feeling guilt with summer fatigue is so hard, it seems to take all the motivation out of me! I am trying so hard to keep up with things but all I want to do is sleep and it is not good at all!
Here in the UK we are having something of a summer heatwave, and though I am sure a lot of people are really enjoying the sunshine and heat that we are having for a change it is very different for me. I have chronic illnesses that cause fatigue anyway, but when the sun comes out it can make my illnesses unstable and it very hard for me to keep up with the day to day tasks that I need to do.
Strong sunshine that pours through my kitchen is lovely, but if I am in there for longer than a few minutes I find myself fighting back a migraine. In fact, at the moment I have a halo of pain all around my head just threatening to hit me with a migraine at a minutes notice! I am having to use sunglasses just to get a glass of water at the moment and forget washing up where the sink overlooks the window!
Now I have been working hard recently on my mental health, on working with a therapist and with my faith to find ways of being kinder to myself. Things like mindfulness and chanting have made a huge difference to my negative thoughts and I am incredibly proud of myself. However, today I have basically slept most of it away and I feel like I have wasted a precious day I could have done some gentle yoga, maybe dusted the living room, but I have done nothing but watch Great British Bake Off like a Zombie!
Guilt is something everyone with chronic illnesses deal with, either it is pressure we put on ourselves or it is family or friends making comments. The pressure in society to be productive and to work, work, work is why most people now are coping with mental health issues I know this logically but when I am alone I still hear that voice in my head saying I should be doing more. I do hate it and I am trying so hard to be kind to myself and look after myself but I really need a little help!
I am determined to cope though because it looks like this hot weather is here to stay, and though I would love to stay inside like a hermit I have doctors and hospital appointments to get to. So I have been thinking about how best to stay cool and here are some of my ideas:
- Drink more water – might seem obvious but as it is hot I need to up my fluids intake and make sure I don’t get dehydrated
- Listen to my body – I need to slow down everything I do, I am not the fastest anyway, but I need to sit down more and make sure to listen when I need to rest
- Wear sunglasses – Yes even if I need them indoors it shouldn’t matter, I have to protect myself from migraines and keeping my eyes from being blasted by this bright sunshine is a great start
- Make sure to wear suncream if going outside – Many medications can make us more sensitive to the sun, but also I am mainly housebound so I need to remember I am not used to the sun and will burn easily
- Be patient – even people who are well are struggling in this heat so why do I think I won’t? I need to remember that and be patient with my body.
So wish me luck in working on the guilt that comes with not being able to help around the house, and if you have any tips and tricks for coping with this heat let me know down below?
Well we have had quite the eventful week and I really thought it would leave me with a lacking in spoons and increased pain and overall feeling dreadful…I am still waiting for the bump! I guess a change is as good as a rest?
Not that my fatigue and pain are not increased, of course they are I still have the same illnesses. However, it is my mood that is different and my outlook, I find myself quite happy to rest instead of feeling like a useless lump and to be honest it is so shocking to me I have to talk about it!
Earlier this week we had a decorator come for three days to wallpaper and pain our hallway, it is now pink with birds all over it and I love it! It has made the hallway so welcoming and warm and it is so cheerful I just love looking up to see it. I will be honest though, having someone in the house did make my anxiety really high, but I managed to make small talk and felt really proud of myself.
I took the week off the computer, I rested and I even went to a Hindu meditation class where they introduced us the the different forms of yoga and it was really inspiring. I loved hearing about the Bhagavad Gita and how to apply it to my life it really helped me to feel grounded with my spiritual journey.
I am enjoying the journey and I am trying so hard to use the things I am learning, like chanting, meditation etc to battle my anxiety as well as feeling God around me much more. I am also really finding myself feeling more in control of my thoughts for the first time in a long time, and I feel actually happy…a strange feeling that I am really not used to and not quite sure how to deal with, which is kind of sad! I mean surely feeling happy should be how we feel most days, but since I was a teenager I have struggled to feel actually deep down contentment, but I have always longed for it.
I have always heard the saying ‘a change is as good as a rest’ but I guess with my anxiety disorder I always shied away from change and in fact usually it makes me lose control. But right now, I feel so much love and support from Lee who is on this spiritual journey with me, and from God who I feel is actually there walking beside me in a way I never felt before. It has been a difficult week I cannot lie about that, it is hard to be open to new things when most of the time the thought of going outside alone gives me a panic attack.
However, here we are, it is Monday and I am sat writing this to my friends and I am smiling! I know it is crazy to imagine because my upper back and neck are very painful and I feel tired but yeah I am smiling. I am incredibly proud of myself for facing these changes with faith and being as open to them as was safe for me. My husband was right by my side every day that the decorator was here, though he did not sit with me and left me alone so I could talk if I wanted to. He also went to the meditation class which I was so thankful for and I felt so supported and loved.
I hope if you all have change to face you can push passed the things that hold you back and keep moving forward so that you can make your dreams and passions a reality. Ill health does make it hard to be happy especially mental health issues, but finding faith, in God, a medication or a person then you can conquer the world!