Isn’t it funny how sometimes you take a little break and it totally refreshes you? I have had a daily relationship with God all my life, I have always tried to understand Him and where I stand and for the most part that has been done through prayer. However, after discovering Buddhism a few years ago I have also been using meditation and mindfulness…hence the name of this blog!
However, recently I have been questioning my choices when it comes to my faith and how I communicate with God. I have always believed that there is one God and all the many religions are just human’s ways of trying to understand and to find a way to show our love for them. So to me it doesn’t matter how you worship its where your heart is when you do it that matters and how you live your life.
That is my own personal view on things and though I mainly lean towards the Christian and Buddhist religions I have often questioned things and this has been happening a lot recently. If you read my blog regularly you will know I have been trying to find better ways to treat my illnesses and some of them might be controversial but life is short and I want to try everything that I can.
Now questioning, looking at things like health and religion is in my opinion very normal and human things to do, especially as if you do a quick google search on either of these things you will find millions of websites claiming to have all the answers and they all contradict one another!
So I got a little lost and I decided to take a couple of days off from researching my health, meditating and praying just to be able to step back and see the whole picture. After those days I came back to my faith with renewed sense of being on the right path and that I am going to be heading towards happiness and contentment which is after all what we all long for right? I now have a good sense of the universe and of my place in it and I have come to understand the real meaning of mind, body, spirit and how the yoga I have been practising along with meditation and prayer, and looking at nutrition can really give me the answers.
So though I have been doing the same things for a long time, I have seen them as seperate entities but by focusing on God and taking real care of myself I think I might just start to find myself moving from depression to contentment. I understand talking about faith and the universe and God might make people want to run away screaming, but I started this blog wanting to tie faith and health together, hence the title, and I lost my way a little bit.
So I am here with renewed inspiration and I am excited for the future I hope you will enjoy the journey with me and that I can help inspire you or give you ideas that will help you on your journey!
Last month was pretty hard for me, I lost my grandmother and I turned 40…yeah I did not appreciate that!
I got a little lost in everything, grief kind of took over and I stopped doing a lot of the things that I love. I stopped practising yoga, I stopped eating three meals a day, I stopped looking after myself and I was miserable! I was feeling overwhelmed with grief and I kind of shut down because I couldn’t process everything that happened in such a short space of time.
I was starting to think that would never clear away and that I would be stuck with my depression at a new higher level. I was considering going back to my doctor to get my antidepressants raised, but I am very disillusioned with doctors right now. I have been depressed since I was 14years old, and I have had fibromyalgia and ME since I was in my early twenties and nothing has changed doctors still just throw tablets at me instead of trying to find out why I hurt and how to treat that…but I digress!
So I was thinking of making an appointment and then April came along…
This month felt different, I started reading again, and I got hold of a copy of Medical Medium, I also finished the Heal Chronic Fatigue course I have been doing since January 1st and you can see my videos about that here. The course really started my interest in alternatives to western medicine and I am enjoying the journey that I have started on. I honestly think looking into nutrition and natural remedies might be the way forward to getting some relief.
So now my depression flare has lifted I feel like I can get back to things again, updating this blog weekly, and my You Tube channel twice a week. I did yoga this morning and managed to dust the living room, and though I am sore and tired I feel accomplished. It feels good to do the things that make me happy again and though I know this new way of looking at my illnesses will take time and research and I need to be patient with myself, but I am excited!
So let me know in the comments any tips and tricks or books I should read? I am going to be documenting this journey as I go both here and over on my You Tube so make sure you are subscribed to both so you don’t miss out when I update.
Yeah so 16th March I turned 40 and I was not exactly happy about it, though with my poor health over the years and my struggles with depression I was determined to enjoy it. This was also my first birthday without my Nan and Grandad I was closest to so I wanted to make sure I made them proud and had fun, so I had to look at pacing for special occasions so I could survive my plans!
I knew I had to do two things so that I could celebrate with both my parents separately and so I decided to spend my birthday, which fell on a Friday, at my favourite museum. The Black Country museum is so cool they have recreated a small Black Country town and it is amazing I just love it and I have a vlog ready to put up on my You Tube channel so make sure you are subscribed!
On the next day I arranged something a little less out in the world and involving so much getting out of my wheelchair, so I decided to go for afternoon tea. I have been doing this for the last few years at Weston Hall and I invited one of my best friends Jess, my mom, her parents and two of her sisters as well as my lovely husband.
I knew that recently I had been working on my fatigue with the Heal Chronic Fatigue Course, so I was wary of letting all that hard work slide by doing too much. I also did not want to end up triggering a flare of my chronic illnesses and I was aware of the fact that my husband has epilepsy. This causes him to be very tired and suffer with headaches and extreme fatigue if he does too much which can trigger a seizure, I have to look after him too.
What I had not factored in was Lee wanting to get a new phone so we ended up going to a local shopping centre on the Thursday and he treated me to some presents because he is so kind. So I went from rarely leaving the house, to being out in the world in potentially loud and anxiety triggering situations for three days in a row. Honestly, I was not sure I would survive, but after resting all day yesterday (Sunday) today I was able to get out of bed and I have noticed I am tired and my pain is up, but it is manageable and yeah…I am pretty amazed so I thought I would share what I did to try and keep on top of everything:
- Utilise wheelchairs when possible – The museum I went to supply wheelchairs if needed which is so useful as I cannot walk far and I struggle with pain which means I need to be able to sit down regularly. However, as this is a living museum I did not want to take my own wheelchair as it would get filthy, so after checking their website I was thankful to be able to borrow one there. Checking this took no time and it saved me so much energy and pain because we could wheel me through all the coal and cobbled streets without worrying about it and I could just enjoy!
- Be prepared for change – Always make sure you are well rested before a group of events are together, no housework, no exercise just rest in the week or so before to save up spoons just in case your husband decides to take you shopping!
- Utilise alternatives – I suffer very badly with social anxiety, so I bought some CBD anxiety tea from my local health shop, when we got home each evening from these things I took a cup. It helped me to relax and rest and it also helped my pain. I also used my heating pad in the evening and massage oils to help my pain and fatigue. We all have different needs, but finding things that help other than tablets from the doctor will support you so much when you are trying to cope.
- Schedule rest – This is so important! On all three days I was in bed by 6pm with my heating pad and Netflix just resting and watching TV. Always make sure you have times when you can walk away and rest, whether it is a little nap while your husband keeps family company at Christmas, or just making sure you are in bed extra early, this is so important! If you have busy days make sure you allow time to rest and making sure family understand it is that or things do not happen is essential to cope with being social and chronic pain and fatigue.
- Dismissing guilt – It is so easy to feel guilty for having fun, I think society makes the disabled and chronically ill feel like they have to just sit on the sofa and do nothing. However, yes I did see friends and family, yes I ate too many calories and yes these things made me feel more in pain and more tired. But I am of the opinion that my life has value and I refuse to be forced to never see friends and to not have fun for fear of not meeting others expectations. I will not let anyone ruin my great memories and fun I had for my birthday which was so hard for me to cope with but it was lovely and yes I am still smiling!
- Be honest – I am lucky, my friends and family understand I have limitations, not everyone has that. So instead of pretending you are well, pushing through the pain and staying up too late so others are happy…be honest. Speak up about needing a wheelchair, or to take a break and grab some tea and extra meds, and do not let anyone make you feel less for needing these things.
- Give yourself a break afterwards – Planning fun activities is harder for us spoonies, but do not forget to look after yourself afterwards too. Yesterday I did not get out of bed until lunchtime and I was back in bed by 6pm, I made sure I got all the water I needed and I rested I made sure I had this scheduled and I did not guilt myself or expect anything. Yesterday was a difficult pain and fatigue day, but so worth it for those wonderful memories!
I hope these tips and tricks I utilised will help you to be more social and to celebrate things that need to be celebrated. So many of us stop being social because of our health, but hiding away is detrimental to our mental health and we will lose our ability to keep friends and lose valuable fun memories if we do not take the time to plan and be careful.
So if you have been following my blog and you tube channel you will know I am currently doing HEAL CHRONIC FATIGUE COURSE and though it is set up as a six week course I have taken a little longer over the middle weeks. This is because it deals with nutrition and how we often think we are being healthy when we actually are being lied to by companies who use far too much sugar and salt and far too many chemicals!
I have been trying to find a healthy diet to follow for years now, but getting reliable information is so difficult! Just a simple google search will show you just how much emphasis there is on low fat and being thin rather than being healthy!! I have tried so many times but now I am even more determined because after reading what Zoe, who runs the course, says I want to be feeling as well and able to do things as possible.
Since starting the course, I have found myself able to do gentle yin yoga, a little light housework and shower every day which was impossible before! I am working hard to make sure I am getting enough sunshine, breathing fresh air, not relying on electric lamps too much and taking time off the ipad/phone and I am feeling better for it.
Nutrition is the last part of the puzzle, but where do I start??? Budget is a big factor, so I want to start making my own cereal bars and snacks, baking, and making our own bread…but so much is still confusing and hard to navigate. I am working my way through the food I already have in my home as I hate food waste, but as I run out I am making it a mission to replace each thing with a healthy alternative.
This is the only way I have found to navigate this HUGE minefield and to try and actually get good food that is not full of chemicals and sugar! I feel like as a whole diet is hard to understand for me, brain fog makes it hard to understand and I have memory problems that mean it is hard to remember a lot of information.
So one at a time I am going to replace the rubbish with food that has totally readable ingredients or that I have made myself, it is a scary and slightly daunting task but I want to do it. I want to reduce my symptoms as much as possible so I can be the best person I can, so I can keep up with housework and be a partner to my husband instead of someone who depends on him.
What are you doing to eat healthier? Do you bake and cook everything from scratch? Is there a specific diet that you follow? Let me know down below any help is most certainly appreciated!
So right now I am struggling with the fact that my Nan is nearing the end of her life, she has been one of the biggest influences on my life. I have been lucky enough to have her in my life for so long and I am thankful for that, however grief is creeping in and I am aware that I do not want to fall into the same depression that I did when we lost my Grandad.
So this time I am concentrating on the good, I am thinking through every good memory I have of times with her and remembering how thankful I am that she was chosen to be a part of my life. She taught me about God and how to have faith, she was always there to listen and she never put me down or made fun of my struggles over the years like others did.
My Nan is amazing and I am determined to follow her example and to hold onto God as I go through this journey with her. She always taught me that if you have your faith you have everything you need, and that is so true. My prayer times have been so sacred to me and have helped me so much to get out my feelings as well as to send love and care to her.
I have also been holding onto the Heal Chronic Fatigue course teachings and remembering to turn each negative thought into something good. Buddhism teaches that we should not try to hold onto people or things because they are not going to always be there. I have been using positive affirmations, good memories and positive thoughts to make sure I stay as positive as possible right now.
However, self care is not just about staying postive and being happy, I let my tears fall when they need to but the difference is I do not wallow in it. I let my emotions flow now I do not judge them like I used to and I am being patient with myself as my mind is very scattered right now because I am trying to wrap my head around losing my beloved Nan. Grief can be overwhelming at times, but it is important to treat yourself well, make sure you eat well and often and give in to comfort food sometimes because it is called that for a reason!
Have you been through grief? How did you cope and what things did you learn from that time?
So this week has been pretty interesting and a little bit of an experiment that I am actually pretty excited about!
So on Wednesday I got to see a headache clinic for a chat and to find out if there was anything could be done for my daily headaches, and weekly migraines. He was the first specialist I have seen for a while who did not make assumptions because I had chronic illnesses but just wanted to help my pain. He listened to everything I said and seemed pretty shocked when I said I had been suffering since I was at university!
I have never been offered any specific medications or other options to treat them so we had a good chat and decided that some nerve blocks might help as well as a couple of medications to take if a migraine hit me.
A nerve block is when local anaesthetic is applied to a group of nerves to block pain, most people have heard of an epidural during labour and it is a type of this. I was nervous, but my best friend has this treatment for her Fibromyalgia pain in her upper back so I knew it could give excellent results.
I thought he would refer me to someone to do this treatment as we were in a doctors office, but he did it there and then! It was strange having injections into my head, I had one at the base of my skull on the right side and one above my left eye in my scalp, and I could hear the needle against my skull which was so weird! He also injected some steroids into my left jaw joint right by my ear which he said was swollen and not opening properly which explains a lot! I felt a bit bewildered as I left, a bit shaky, but overall and most importantly very thankful! I could not stop thanking him for listening and for helping me which seemed to puzzle the doctor but he understood I hope.
The next few days were hard, the pain from the injections was quite bad and I spent the next couple of days in bed resting and feeling quite fragile! Getting comfortable on my pillow was not easy and even now on day 5 I feel like if I move my head too fast it will be painful, I guess because the headache is still there but the signal cannot get through? Still it is so nice to not have a headache and to feel like my head is clearer so I can think a bit better.
I am going to be seeing a Rheumatologist soon so I am going to suggest it maybe for my neck and upper back pain and if it could be done together I might find myself pain free for a few weeks at a time? I know it is wise to be careful and not get my hopes up, but when you have been in pain for so long with nobody really listening it can be nice to have a little glimpse at something that could help!
Have any of you tried this pain therapy? Has it helped and would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments because this is something I am quietly excited about!
I really do hope that this cold snap is not affecting you all too much, I have been reading blog posts and watching You Tube videos by my fellow spoonies and it is not looking good! This year even in Florida there was snow, and I am definitely feeling the climate change that all the boffins have been warning us about.
For me personally it is making it harder to want to drink enough water, my pain is worse, my fatigue is hitting me and my depression is trying to push me around. Every joint seems to hurt and I even dislocated one of my knees just by turning round something that really shocked me!
So how am I keeping going and pushing through while this cold weather tries to push us to our limits? I mean we all have our tips and tricks and if we share them surely we will all feel a little better?
- Keep hydrated: It is not easy to keep hydrated, drinking 2 litres of cold water a day is not easy when you feel cold. I keep a glass beside me at all times and I know if I refill it four times a day then I have had my quota. It has mermaids on it and that helps very much!
- Hot drinks count: Keeping warm is as much about our intake as what we wear, however I struggled making hot drinks because of standing by the kettle and lifting it. But then someone on twitter said they bought this kettle by Breville that is more like a coffee machine, you don’t lift the kettle you put your cup under it! Also, it boils in seconds so no more standing for long periods of time which is incredible it saves me energy because of that and it is so much safer because you are not lifting and pouring boiling water…plus it is in the sale at ASDA which was a big help.
- Bundle up: Yes it might sound silly, but layer your clothes and there are lots of cute blankets for sale out there, like I got a very cute mermaid blanket from New Look before christmas which is so warm and cuddly! I am sat here in so many layers and blankets, and I even wear fingerless gloves in the house to help my hand pain!
- Turn up the heat: By this I do not only mean turning on the heating or the fire, but also things like heating pads, hot water bottles etc can all make the difference between being in pain and feeling good. I also often go to bed early this time of year, I have the electric blanket on and a fleece blanket as well as a thick quilt and it is so nice to lie there warm and safe to read or watch TV.
- Stay in: Most of the time I love to go out, it doesn’t happen often because my husband works, but if he offers even to get in the car and wait while he goes to the shops I am up for it. However, sometimes we have to think about the weather, if it is cold, or icy then going out can be a risk too big to tackle. If us spoonies get a chill, or fall then it can take a lot to recover so don’t be afraid to say no and stay in the warmth and be safe.
So these are some of the things I do, what do you do to keep warm and comfortable this time of year any tips and tricks gratefully received.
First of all, Happy New Year! Yes it is 2018 and there is so much to look forward to and be inspired by when it comes to the start of a new year!
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a woman called Zoe who has constructed an online six week course because she managed to cure herself of her chronic fatigue. She wanted to ask for a little advice about the website and we got to chatting. Now this post is not sponsored this is all my own wording until I hand it over to a few words she sent me, however she allowed me to take part in the course for free in exchange for me talking about my experience here on my blog and my You Tube Channel.
Now I am always sceptical when someone claims to be able to cure an illness, however I am also someone who would rather try and fail than to never try at all. So over six weeks of the course I will be doing weekly videos on my You Tube about how I am getting on, and then at the end I will post here how I am feeling, and just a general review of the course.
I am extremely hopeful and things worked out so that here January 1st 2018 I am going to be starting the online course. This is something I have been looking forward to and I am hopeful you will subscribe to be on You Tube and follow along as I try out Zoe’s course!
Heal Chronic Fatigue Course and Community
A message from course leader, Zoe:
“The Heal Chronic Fatigue Course came about once I had recovered from several years of severe ME/CFS. I wanted to let others know that it is possible to fully get better and to share my knowledge of healing techniques that have worked for me and for others. One of the hardest things about this illness is the sense of isolation and this is something else I really wanted to change.
The number one message I would like to share with people who have ME/CFS or any kind of fatigue-based illness right now is that it can get better. I know how hard it feels when there seems to be no sign of hope or improvement – but please know that, no matter how long it has been, things can still turn around. I also want you to know that you are not alone. All over the world, hundreds of thousands of people with ME/CFS are listening to the still, small voice inside which tells them that they deserve better health. It’s important to understand that there is no convenient external ‘cure’: healing is an internal process and it can be challenging, but that is why we are a community with such a strong focus on supporting one another.
In my experience, when people with fatigue-based illnesses gather together to learn and share the healing methods that have worked for them, an incredible shift in health consciousness occurs. This involves taking back power and responsibility for our own experience. I understand that this idea can be hard to come to terms with, especially if we have been ill for a very long time, but most people report that feelings of empowerment are a huge, huge catalyst for healing.
The course itself covers three main topics in detail: cognitive, nutritional, and emotional health. We discuss the lifestyle patterns that create and promote fatigue-based illnesses and the corresponding patterns which heal those illnesses. We’ve had extraordinary positive reviews so far from our members and from health professionals. It’s a new model for treating chronic illness – one that focuses on healing the cause, not just the symptoms.
I’m really looking forward to partnering with Beverley and following her journey on the course. I wish her all the best and I know that she will be able to provide some truly valuable insight as well. So, watch this space!
For more information on the Heal Chronic Fatigue Course, please visit: healfatigue.teachable.com/p/heal-chronic-fatigue. You’ll find details about what the course includes, our community, my background, frequently asked questions, and our inclusivity scheme. We know that everyone deserves and has the potential to get better. So, do join us and be part of the movement!”
- Zoe B. C. Emma is a certified Complementary Medicine Practitioner, with qualifications in Nutrition, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.
Wish me luck!!
Well it is that time of year again, I have cards to make, presents to wrap and right now I just want to fast forward to January and be done with it! Now do not get me wrong I am not a Christmas hater and I am not one to be compared to The Grinch at all! In fact, I always loved this time of year and looked forward to seeing my family and giving presents to people I love. I enjoyed the cheesy films and decorating the house….
Then my Grandad died, and my parents split, my Dad now has a new family he is spending Christmas with and my mom is spending it with her friends and my Nan is staying in the home she now lives in for her dementia. This will in fact be my first Christmas not eating dinner with either parent or my Nan, me and my husband are going to be eating Christmas dinner together with our dog in a local pub.
I have decorated our living room, but that was so tiring and the added time and effort it takes to clean now I have extra things to move makes me wonder why I even bothered! I have not yet recieved a single card, and no invitations or planned time with friends leaves me feeling extremely lonely. I feel very lost and nothing feels right and I have this unsettled feeling all the time which is triggering both my depression and anxiety and overall I am just lonely and miserable!
However, I am not the sort of person to give up and I am putting a few things in place to try and keep my mental health under control while I navigate this time:
- Meditation and prayer: I am someone who tries to keep myself centered and I do that by looking to God. I try to spend time every day meditating and talking to God, my faith is something I take very seriously and it really helps me. Now I am not trying to say everyone go find God, but I am saying we all have something that helps keep us grounded whether that is a best friend, favourite song or your faith. Concentrating on and holding onto this really helps in times of trouble so don’t knock it until you try it.
- Exercise: Depression wants us sitting around feeling useless and doing nothing, I find walking around my living room, doing Yin Yoga, or just dancing to a song I like are all things that can really help shake off depression even just for a little while.
- Keeping busy: It literally took me most of today to work up to being bothered to write this blog post, but that is the depression not me who loves writing my blog. It is best to keep busy in order to stop those negative thoughts clouding in and taking over. No matter whether it is learning a new hobby, reading or just planning what next year has to offer try to keep your mind from taking over!
- Mindfulness: Now this is simply taking a moment to concentrate on this moment without judgement. Just stop and take a breath, take in your surroundings and stop those thoughts it really can change everything to just step back and realise we live in this moment and not in the past or future where depression and anxiety live.
- Be thankful: I try every day as I get into bed, to list things I am thankful for over the day. Things like doggy cuddles, cups of tea, being warm, not needing to nap, etc. It really helps to stop looking at what we do not have and starting to appreciate what we do have. This time of year adverts are everywhere, people on social media bragging about buying so many presents, and movies that show the ‘perfect christmas’. In reality, nobody needs 500 presents, kids just want to be loved, and perfection does not exist. Be thankful for what you do have and can do and stop trying to keep up with the Jones’!
- Avoid adverts: This is related to the last one, but I turn off or mute all adverts on TV and you tube, I do not want those toxic 2 minutes in my life! They make me feel like I want so much and none of it is actually needed! Take the pressure off by turning away from adverts and instead take those moments to be mindful, or cuddle the dog!
I hope these small things are manageable for you, and I hope this holiday season is better than you imagined, and if you ever need to talk my emails are always open.
- Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
- PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
- Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
- Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
- Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
So I am on antibiotics at the moment and they are really making me feel awful! So I got up this morning and thought I would order Unrest on Amazon and give it a review.
Unrest centers around Jennifer Brea and her husband who are both intelligent and adventurous people who love travelling and as I put it ‘grabbing life by the balls’. Then Jen got sick with a virus and their lives changed drastically as she became sick with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Myalgic Encephalopathy. We follow her journey as she records her life, her struggles to cope with her husband becoming her carer, we see her interview other people with the illness all over the spectrum, and we see her husband caring for her.
This is a very raw documentary and I must have cried so many times while watching it because I saw myself and my relationship with my husband so clearly on the screen. This film shows Omar feeling lost and alone as he tries his best to support her, it shows him willing to try anything to help and it also shows that it is so hard to see someone you love suffer and not knowing how to help.
I was so moved by their stories, but it was when she spoke about the history of unknown viruses that cause chronic fatigue in the past that hit me hard. Hysteria especially was hard because it is clearly Chronic Fatigue when you see the old medical videos and photographs and yet these people were locked away in mental institutions and treated terribly because back then doctors thought it was all in our heads…
Then we hear about Karina, a girl whose parents cared for in their home in Denmark, then one day the police took her from her bed to be cared for by a doctor because they believe it is all in her head and her parents are making her sick! Yes these horror stories we like to think do not happen now really do and I know I am being treated like it is in my head by family and doctors!
Unrest is stunning to watch, moving in so many ways, it showed the good days and the bad, it showed the money we spend on made up cures because we get desperate and it shows that when family become carers it can make things so hard. I really found myself coming away from this film feeling thankful that I am not alone, that other people out there know how I feel and all of our stories are real and similar and if only doctors would watch maybe things could change for us all?
I really hope people get to see this powerful and important film, this illness and illnesses like it have been overlooked and hidden away for too long. So go watch the film online HERE is a list of where and how, share it and let’s stop hiding this illness and let’s get our stories out there so no more people go missing.