Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Lyme brain, 'pain scan'

As the saying goes, 'a picture is worth a thousand words' & this one didn't just make me think of that phrase; this picture felt like it jumped out of my screen: the perfect embodiment of the 'monster attacking my head'; its tangible horror captured in perfect detail. It was like staring at an image of my own, physical, pain.

For 12 years and 5 months now, I have suffered from almost constant headaches, something very common in Lyme disease, probably one of the most ubiquitous symptoms (many symptoms vary, especially with chronic Lyme disease - it adds to the difficulty in diagnosis when doctors are not familiar with it, and the patient doesn't recall a tick bite) - headaches are - I think I can say - universally experienced, and despised.  I have had good spells, where the headaches have dulled; but the worst, completely debilitating  headaches come when I feel the little spirichaetal buggers have rebuilt their army, regrouped, devised a new strategy, and start waging an aggressive full-on attack on my body again. When my headaches are at their worst, I have long describe them in these very words:


"It feels like giant hands are inside my skull, squeezing my brain, from the base of my skull, wrapping up and round."


So when I was scrolling through instagram this image, posted by a Lyme awareness group grabbed my attention:


(From 'inourshoesproject' instagram page)


Maybe it seems silly to feel so... connected, horrified, surprised... stunned?... at one image. But looking at this says so many things to me:

- That's my head!!
- I could have drawn that
- If you could photograph my pain, that captures every.single.detail.
- ... MY head!!!

...

But overwhelmingly, it says:
SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS... like really really 'gets it'.

I am incredibly sorry that someone does - and not just someone - I'm not sure where the image originated, it seems to have been shared on various Lyme sufferers' social media accounts.  If scans could show pain - that is a Lyme brain, in perfect detail.

 It is very common with Lyme, as with other 'invisible illnesses' that friends and family struggle to understand how ill a person is - often people 'don't look sick' and others have difficulty matching appearance with 'behaviour' (/symptoms) - to simplify.  We are taught to trust what we see, and we have difficulty when there is a disconnect there.

Images like this one, I hope, help people to understand a bit more, by providing a visual depiction of pain. We know that we cannot see every illness, but we understand the severity of some 'invisible' illnesses. There are still illnesses - and Lyme disease is one of many - where genuine awareness is still required, and increasing understanding can help with support, and be a positive factor in many ways.  


'Invisible' can be hard for me (& others) too. Nobody wants to 'look ill'; but everyone - healthy or ill; on a life high point, or facing major challenges - wants to be understood.... and it can be difficult when people rely on what they see over what a friend or family member may try to describe.

The best thing anyone can do for a friend - whatever they are dealing with -  is just to try to accept that only they feel it, and the best thing you can offer is your support. In some cases, it is appreciated more than you'd ever imagine. 


 May has been Lyme disease awareness month and my blog has been rather neglected - with good reasons. Cutting a very long story short, for now, in May I travelled back to the US, for treatment for a pretty major Lyme relapse; and also for critical treatment for my shoulder - treatment I still can't get at home due to the complexity of the injury, the new surgery, the lack of specific 'scapular physiotherapist(s)' & also the absolute impossibility of finding someone who knows about Lyme AND crazy shoulder injuries - and just as impossible, finding a team!

So April was spend getting stuff organised at home - hard right now, my health has really nosedived. May has been spent seeing all my doctors and therapists here, and making a plan.  Right now, it just feels so damn good to HAVE a plan!


Hopefully I'm 'launching'!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

It is always possible to be kind...

Invisible Illness: Be Kind!

I'm finding just now, through various channels, something is constantly coming to my attention. Two words really: 
INVISIBLE ILLNESS. It's something that we seem to accept, as a concept; as a definition - but WHY? - why are we 'invisible'? Because we're not really - we're everywhere.

Do you know someone with arthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis? With any kind of medical fatigue? With early stages of MS? With Fibromyalgia? ME? Someone elderly - perhaps not with a specific illness, but who has slowed a bit with age and is frustrated with their own slowness?  Or with heart issues - heart failure; angina, post heart attack? ... There are many examples connected with the heart that slow people down....

It may be a chronic pain or injury - pain in a knee, ankle, hip - a necessary slow walk; or something acute, but not requiring crutches.   Acute things tend to pass us by a lot - we are 'inconvenienced'; we temporarily may pass comment on how hard it is, to deal with; or how we "can't imagine how people can live like this"  - I've heard those words, many times, from countless people.  And, in that moment, people mean it; they have a glimpse into a world they do not usually inhabit.  But only a passing visit - and as with most pain, our mind forgets it easily and quickly.  The lesson seems to be fleeting too. By the time 'one' is in a hurry again, the acute injury, and all that came with it, is long forgotten.

There are also many people struggling with all kinds of mental health issues, permanently, who may take 'too long' to decide on something seemingly simple; struggling, for whatever reason, to reach a decision - perhaps thinking fast is not an option for them; perhaps we cannot possibly begin to imagine how a brain different from our own works - but we don't really need to imagine, we just need to accept.  It is very possible to encounter someone with an acute version of that, perhaps someone with a migraine; or someone who has had devastating news and is so overwhelmed with emotion, they cannot focus their mind on an inane decision such as what type of coffee to order; or something equally trivial.

Then there are people undergoing all kinds of treatment - chemo is obviously one that jumps to mind, sometimes visible, sometimes not - and there are many others too....... treatments, and even the stress associated with them, that slow people down, make it hard to walk, to think, to pull a heavy door, to pack shopping away quickly; even to make a decision.

 Obviously I am thinking about Lyme Disease especially - but having my shoulder injury and the associated chronic pain has shown me even more of a world that quite honestly is NOT invisible. I think we have to move away from the idea of INVISIBLE ILLNESS.  Opening our eyes, both physically and metaphorically, to the point of observation doesn't just teach us to look a bit deeper; it brings a kinder society - people giving the benefit of the doubt; people choosing to help instead of hurry. Surely, in this world we find ourselves in just now, aiming to be kind may be the best thing to do?



Agreed. So many people are disagreeing about faith, many ignore the gifts of the Spirit, and some misunderstand or refuse grace. Whatever denomination you are it's not about you it's about Jesus and what He did, let's never forget that kind of love.:
From Pinterest



I personally am moving away from the idea of 'invisible illnesses' -  I don't think there is such a thing.  I think there are (consciously) 'hidden' or ignored illnesses (I'm using 'illness'; thinking about Lyme - but my thoughts are applicable to an illness, a condition, a syndrome, anything really - to PEOPLE; not everything is, or has to be labelled).  I think, at our worst, we hide away from the world anyway, almost instinctively - not necessarily through choice, but in the way anyone will 'hide' in bed with the 'flu - several days un-showered, with ratty hair and 'moulded to your body' PJs is not a look anyone really wants to share with the world*!

*However, if you answer your door in PJs in the middle of the afternoon, there is a 'look' - usually a quick flash that may in some cases be inquisitive, but most often says, undeniably: it's 3pm, you have PYJAMAS on. I have learned that throwing a blanket over your shoulders changes this entirely - my own little experiment. People apologise, they "hope they didn't wake you/ get you out of bed/ etc." - just a blanket draped over your shoulders. It's so simple, yet so telling. (Yes, I've still got my geek on...... nonverbal communication, it's always there!)

But ultimately, I'm writing this because I'm beginning to truly hate the word INVISIBLE ILLNESS. It's not invisible. It's often hidden away, but it is also always out there, somewhere.
 
If you truly keep their eyes open - and sometimes your heart - up the empathy! You will see people all around us who may need that little bit more help, a few minutes more patience - people for whom that loud and exasperated *sigh* really says "we can all see that you're slow; we can all see that you are holding everyone up; you're annoying people everywhere you go."
People may not mean to convey such hurtful messages in a sigh - they are perhaps running late, desperate for coffee, on their way to a meeting.  Or in some cases, with a glare and a sigh, they may be first class arses who should pop their own bubble a bit, look outside their comfort zone, and realise kindness never killed anyone! 



always. - Click image to find more Quotes Pinterest pins:


Saturday, February 25, 2017

'An empty desk'

 Just something I was thinking about lately...


~ Einstein ~
From Google Images
                                ⬇ 

From Google Images



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

#TBT Happy Memories

A happy memory, something nice to write about. Something that brought genuine smiles to my face the other day. So I figured that definitely deserved a blog post. πŸ˜€

I have a lot going on again, health-wise - with my utterly f*kced -up shoulder; a worsening Lyme relapse; add a pinch of stress, a shake of trauma; mix together in the year from hell (not exaggerating) and simmer indefinitely at boiling point, and I feel that adequately describes my life right now - as briefly as possible. That's all for another day. 

I'm painting a picture of just how delighted I was to have something truly make me smile.  It's a stark contrast right now, and it was an important reminder that remembering the good stuff is truly important.

I do feel like I'm battling through each day, rarely emerging on top, and the longer that goes on, the more difficult it becomes to find positives.  Honestly, it's beyond frustrating - there is nothing I wouldn't do or try, right now, to make things better... and I have; I have tried everything you can imagine, and more. And worse than frustrating, is the soul-crushing feeling of admitting  (even to myself) this 'new thing'/ 'new person' / 'new whatever' - that initially held such optimistic promise and gave me a glimmer of hope, is not 'The Thing' I am looking for.  It's like treading water - kicking so hard all the time, but never actually getting anywhere.  Right now, the challenge is to keep kicking; to keep my chin above water long enough to  survive. And hopefully I can take control again soon and get back to seeing my wonderful doctors & physios in the US, who helped me make great progress before - I am sure I can work hard and make it happen again - and most importantly, get on with my life.

But, appreciating the small things just now;  I woke up a few days ago and my ex-gymnastics partner had posted a #tbt on social media that really made me smile....



Colette on base, me in the middle, Amy (always!) on top
*
Colette kicked it off by writing: #tbt to holding two humans up with my own two legs....

So, of course, i dug out out one of my own photos to post too.... and captioned it 'to when I could hold up two humans too... on my shoulders' - which probably won't be happening again. Definitely not any time soon. Although one day..... who knows?!  

Me on base, Colette in the middle & Amy on top.



It's a long time since I really really looked at those photos and took the time to think about what we did; how much I loved it. Comments on social media reminded me how funny I always found it when non-gymnasts learned what I did. It was just something I grew up with - it was normal,  in my world. I remember once, in training, the balance in the second photo came tumbling down and the full weight of a 10 year old landed on my head (think: approximately 1.5 times the weight of a checked bag for an international flight)... while I was in splits. There was the usual call to my parents - I'm ok, but please pick me up from A&E instead of the gym tonight - a soft neck collar from my physio for some damaged muscles/ tendons/bruised bones; and probably a couple of days off uni. None of that was a huge deal - you really couldn't learn new things without the odd fall.  But the thing I remember most about that was going into uni with a neck collar on ('normal' people react to those things way more than gymnasts - lesson 1); someone asked what happened, so I very briefly explained. The girl who asked stared back at me... "You can do the splits?!" she replied, sort of incredulously.  I remember staring back, feeling like I'd been dropped in an alternate universe. At the time, we were the only trio in Britain competing that base position with no hands (- my hands are not on the floor); all I could think was I can do the splits..... that's what you got from that?!... practically everyone I know can do the splits. .. But, of course I sort of smiled and nodded, and had umpteen similar conversations through that first year of university!

Growing up, friends knew me as a gymnast, it was so much a part of my identity. When I started uni, and conversations like that happened; I had to realise my little world was a little different sometimes. ( But doing the splits in a bar always ended with free drinks! πŸ‘πŸΈπŸ˜†)

 So I guess it was nice to slip into that world again, through those photos. It's so easy just to close my eyes and imagine I'm still there. 

 My old gym partner and I had a conversation about it, reflecting on that time and thinking about how in sync we were ALL the time - how we all took it for granted, but it really is quite incredible when you really think about it.... and there was always such a natural feeling to it - we didn't have to work hard at being in sync (we had to work damn hard at everything else!!); we were just in tune with each other. I think with all those years to reflect, it is a pretty amazing thing! (But really, being able to do the splits  STILL impresses people more! πŸ˜‚.... trying to maintain my core strength & leg strength is important... therefore exercise = stretching. I could do splits with a sling* on my arm! *Not the crazy, giant post-surgical one.... I could hardly move anything at that point - couldn't even put on socks! However, arm supported & I can (sort of*) still do the splits now! πŸ‘πŸ’ͺ*'sort of' - as in: if you're a gymnast, my hips are twisted, my back knee is twisted and I'm really not sitting up straight, or comfortably; if you're not a gymnast, I can totally still do the splits! πŸ˜‰ ) 

We trained together ALL the time, but we just loved it. We both talked about how much looking at the old photos really made us smile. They are absolutely fantastic memories to have - and to share.

 We worked together so many hours every week, completely trusting each other - really with our lives (the risk of serious injury is high!! See the photos?! ⬆ - and, like I said, they did come tumbling down occasionally! Everyone's  did!!), but in among all that, I don't have a single memory of fighting, or falling out - we just loved what we did.


Given my blog is generally medical, and this x-ray might be the coolest thing ever, this seems a good place for it! (From Pinterest)


Most of this blog documents my 'journey' 'out of the Lyme light'  -  (and in, out, in, out, slip downstairs, have surgeries, somersault in my car... turn it all about....)  that wasn't exactly my intention - obviously!  - my intention was to spread awareness of Lyme in the UK (again, uodates there require a whole load of other posts....); but it unintentionally became my personal blog as well as an awareness blog - about way more than Lyme Disease. It is very much about what's going on in my life right now... and I can't wait until I have something more exciting and interesting (in a GOOD way!) to write about. 

But for right now, in this moment, it's nice to have something else to think about and write about; and to remember what was genuinely one of the happiest moments in my life - I loved competing. We loved competing. I do feel lucky that I can look back on these photos and conjure up so many happy memories - they spark so many gymnastics-related memories, and they all make me smile. 



Not 25 years yet (!) But I'm sure we'll still feel the same in that far, far distant future :-)

And it DEFINITELY came into play, I guess...

Along with this - yes, gymnastics 100% taught me ALL of these things; it's also a good reminder that these are most definitely transferable skills.

And when my dad complains I am being stubborn (I get it from both sides, it really shouldn't surprise him), I tell him that's how I've SURVIVED!!

And honestly, now I really don't know if I'll ever be able to handstand again or not... I'm pretty sure I won't ever stop hoping & then hopefully trying - at some point, because being upside down always feels best! However, I definitely want one of these tops... because: once a gymnast, always a gymnast!






Sunday, February 5, 2017

Pain relief arsenal...

So far, I feel this year can be summed up by the fact that this photo is pretty much my current "what would you take to a desert island?" answer.  


v
Pain relief arsenal.
It's not magic, but it currently makes pain barely tolerable & it (accidentally!) matches...
#accessorize
#thespikythingshurtlikehell
#theyarenotsquishy
#theydofixdislocatedribsthough
#YAY


I had a few violent 'pain attacks' lately and - sticking with my personal resolution to be more honest - I really feel pain is winning right now. So, here are the weapons in my pain arsenal - most of them go everywhere I go right now.  Find your pain, pick your poison. I present....

My Pain Arsenal:

  1. Tablet organiser case (guess I'm missing the hot pink version!) with a mini 8-compartment tub in it for sorting daily pain meds (no Lyme meds or supplements - this is just the pain box :-/ ). Right now I have 40-50 tablets I take every day in that - types of painkillers; multiple muscle relaxants & anti-spasmodic meds; a couple of different anti-nauseas (I respond to severe pain with nausea..... sometimes I throw up. And that hurts like hell. So I have some serious anti-emetics in there); plus some 'extra-just-in-case' tablets for when Really Bad Things happen (I'll write a 'Really Bad Things' post... maybe a few... little snapshots of my whole 'honesty and pain' thing.... that will be something happy and cheerful to look forward to...)


    N.B. *
    I really should put emojis on my laptop!* Is it really bad I miss them when I type on here?! ( *facepalm*... *ha ha*... ;-) ...)


          From the photo: going anti-clockwise here...

  2. Radian B, my favourite version of deep heat/ icy-hot/ ralgex/ etc. because it also has the perfect amount of capsaicin in it: 0.01%. More than this will make you forget your pain entirely, because you feel like your body is covered in FIRE; 0.01% is just enough to beat all the other heat rubs out there. It puts heat into the muscles; also helps with pain by slightly scrambling the nerve signals sent to the brain. I really love the smell of muscle rubs.... they smell like my Dad used to smell when he came home from work when I was very young (when he'd see a physio after a game); they also smell like gymnastics - the scent of my childhood: muscle rubs for sports injuries!

                                                                                                                         
  3. TENS unit: 'transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation' (sounds like another torture device, right?!) Actually, at certain times, this thing really is like magic. There are some pains that it doesn't do great with - specific nerve pains can feel like they are just buzzing more; but for some otherwise-untouchable pain, the TENS unit works wonders. It sends little electrical impulses between the electrode pads that can be stuck on the skin, carefully positioned to target specific pain areas. It has different settings- buzzing, tapping, contracting, cycling through them (my 'surprise setting') - and can be set at different levels of intensity. Essentially it 'scrambles' the sensations sensory nerves send back to the brain, scrambling the pain signals by confusing' them with other sensations.

  4. Pink spiky physio ball of torture (not a dog toy). Rub painfully between your aching shoulder blade and a wall to improve circulation, blood flow, break up scar tissue, etc. For more 'fun', have someone else (who can actually reach your back better anyway) rub it to 'desensitise' high pain areas and super sensitive skin, and to break up tightness in muscles.  Generally - roll it anywhere it hurts to improve blood flow and use it to torture yourself in the hope i does some good!

  5. Pink spiky foam roller - this was deceptively packaged........ it is not in the slightest bit 'squishy' - I thought the bumps would be good for clicking the subluxating ribs back into my spine - and it is good for that. But bloody hell, a regular foam roller doesn't hurt! However, it's good for the crazy popping ribs, the assisted movement exercises & adds some unplanned desensitisation stuff just by lying on it!  Which, with increasing pain, I have to admit is a good thing - although sort of in the way broccoli is a good thing when you're 8 - you really don't like it, but 1. it's good for you, and 2. dessert's only an option if you eat it!



    v
    Pain relief arsenal.
    It's not magic, but it currently makes pain barely tolerable & it (accidentally!) matches...
    #accessorize
    #thespikythingshurtlikehell
    #theyarenotsquishy
    #theydofixdislocatedribsthough
    #YAY


  6. Prescription pain cream - a wonderful combo of topical local anaesthetic, muscle relaxant and anti-spasmodic medication.  Made better by mixing with Radian B (& missing from the photo is a genius find - a very soft-bristled, long-handled back brush that I can use to apply the creams and rub them in thoroughly - if the pain cream is properly rubbed in, it's supposed to penetrate up to 5mm into/ below the skin & be absorbed better.  It's pretty hard to do that, so if you're reading this and use a pain cream, a soft bristled brush may be your favourite new thing for a while!

  7.  ICE pack -  they are all resting on top of a giant ICE pack here, wrapped in the grey pillowcase. A perfect metaphor -  ICE is absolutely the foundation of it all.... still!  Sometimes ICE is absolutely still my favourite thing!  There was a time ICE brought; the only respite from the pain; and I do miss that damn ICE  machine, mainly because it's hard to ICE a shoulder - it's a funny, awkward shape and that shoulder pack hit all the right spots perfectly!  ICE  sometimes really is still the best pain relief, especially when my shoulder is irritated and inflamed and and numbing/ reducing swelling is the BEST thing that works - especially with frequently random irritation and swelling which can be pretty horrid if it presses on nerves (um, or more accurately just goes from its normal gentle press to a full blown, limb-numbing nerve squeeze).

  8. Hot water bottles (not pictured; but I have 3) - I'm probably holding one against my ribs in attempt to keep the muscles relaxed enough to breathe properly (because that's always good!)...... my right rib cage no longer expands properly, making breathing difficult at times. I think it should improve, but stretching right now causes further spasming; my attempts are pretty pathetic - I need the passive stretching from hands-on physiotherapy while my muscles can 'relax'.


    *I think the tight rib muscles got a lot worse after my car accident.... which I'm not sure I've mentioned on here....?  I guess that's another one to add to my list of 'Update how UNBELIEVABLE my last 18 months have been'.
    And I mean unbelievable in the sense that I am quite sure if I just sat down and rattled off everything that has happened to me in the past 18 months (/ 26 months / 6 and a half years / twelve years - really, take your pick! ) to someone who does not know me/ has never met me before, they 100% would NOT believe me.


Pinterest even had a perfect graph to represent exactly how every day feels
- and it matches too!
Seriously though, it really does get beyond frustrating.
So many things I wish I could do that just don't happen just now.







Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Rest, don't quit

And the best intentions always seem to be consumed by my body's utterly insatiable need for......... rest.  So January was not filled with blog posts/ positive inspirations/ etc. Honestly, what can I say except sometimes 'sleep happens' (and not always when I need it to happen; so when it comes in waves, I am taking advantage...... sleep heals? Right? - No. Honestly, I don't think so, if sleep healed I would be f***king superwoman by now; but everything else hurts less when I'm unconscious, so sleep still wins).

There was a time I would never have believed writing one thing a day could be too much.... but there's a lot I know now that I would never have believed 'before'. Erm, for example that I actually would learn to rest!

www.pinterest.com/gmun22



 When I am healthy, and fit, and energetic, and strong again (positive mantras); when my perseverance finally prevails -  I don't care that my body is probably going to try to remind me that 'we'* are not in our twenties anymore; I am going to remind it that ALL it did for the majority of my twenties, and so far much of my thirties, was battle with me when I needed to wake up and.... well, do stuff; do anything really - how hard every single physical and mental task is right now.  It* has to make up for lost time.

Therefore when it* is able, when I start bouncing places again, instead of trying to hide a limp and struggle to match the speed of a snail; I will remind my body about all that time we* have to make up for....  I will remind it about aerial yoga, acro-yoga, indoor trampoline parks with foam pits and parkour-trampolining walls..... actually, and parkour, slacklining, 'mainstream' breakdancing..... all of it - I will remind my body that it was just not an option when I first read about it/ watched it and longed to try every single thing -  that when I get my bounce back, I have over a decade to make up for!!  And sometimes, that thought is exactly what I need to keep me going - whether it's battling through one day, or accepting that - yes - 'resting enables healing'.


www.pinterest.com/gmun22


Yes, I have learned how important it is to rest.  I have learned that there are types of pure fatigue and exhaustion that nobody knows how much rest they really need.  That all the rest in the world can't fix 'tired' sometimes.   But because I have learned this; I have also learned I will never, ever take my energy or my health for granted when I get it back.  I have learned I need to rest.  I have also learned never to quit.  Because despite everything - every puzzle, every mystery, every obstacle that I have encountered, I have eventually learned enough to fight it (or sleep through it; cry through it - embracing honesty, remember! And it often feels far more like sleeping and crying dominate. Whatever way.... I have learned I can get through it; whatever that takes).  And one day, I want to look back over this and say I did enough to overcome it.  

And perhaps that is the greatest lesson having both a chronic illness and a chronic injury with severe chronic pain has taught me - never to quit.... and within that, never to give up hope.  One day, when I am back with the right people to help me and support me, I will win; we will win (there are more people than me invested in this journey - for them I am very grateful; but I need them.... and that's another post).  I will embrace my dreams, goals, and feel like I can take on the world again. One day.


.:

I feel this truly expresses how it feels to fight Lyme
  and a chronic injury (/chronic pain).
I look forward to the day where I look at a fresh challenge and can smile.
( pinterest.com/gmun22 )
(It easily covers each individually! So double fight = double reward?! Please universe....?!)


"The danger is not that we aim too high and we miss it, but that we aim too low and we reach it."
- Michelangelo -



*Geek Moment:
*'we' - so the linguistic geek inside me finds this pretty fascinating..... it is very normal for someone with a chronic illness or injury to see it as something that is not a part of them and to talk about it either in the third person (N.B. This is not the same as just generally referring to yourself in the third person.  In some cases, it's batshit crazy.) or as something belonging to them: 'my shoulder was not happy today'.  It sounds a bit crazy, and when I became aware I had been doing it quite a lot (slightly questioning my sanity); I stumbled across an article on chronic pain that talked about it a bit (and said it was totally normal, not a little bit crazy!) I think it would definitely make a cool topic for a thesis (I declared 'geek' as a heading here, therefore 'cool' and 'thesis' can totally be used in the same sentence).

I've noticed other people facing severe health issues do the same thing too.  I just thought I'd clear up the use of 'we' as I do it quite a lot and I don't want anyone to think I've developed a second personality along with everything else.....  Personally, although I haven't really researched it much, the idea of separating yourself from an injury or illness, by not seeing it as a part of you, makes a lot of sense to me.  It's not the person I want to be, or how I want to be defined, but it does feel like a massive part of me, something that is permanently attached right now, so I do have to acknowledge it.  I think it's probably even more common in 'short-term chronic illnesses' - i.e. I fully intend to recover.  I do know that I may not ever get to 100% again, but I know I will improve way beyond where I am now with the right medical support and treatment. So right now, it is a part of me, and right now, I feel it defines me in some ways....... or defines the life I live (or don't live) right now.  It is a part of me; but not quite.  It makes perfect sense to me that it is psychologically healthy to see it as something you are living with, yet also battling; something you have to figure out a way to coexist, while also planning its ultimate demise, and your ultimate victory!

(If this explanation  has just made something you hadn't even noticed even more complicated.... #sorrynotsorry - it's good to exercise the brain! ;-)


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Catch up: Dementors, resolutions & good wishes for 2017

OK, it's 10 days into January, so I might be pushing it a bit with Happy New Year wishes, but in my defence:

1.   I  ('we' really, but I'm writing) have had the winter cold/bug/virus/ that escaped from Azkaban & has held my family tightly in the icy grasp of a Dementor's kiss for about a month now..... a couple of us were better at conjuring up a Patronus  (aka immune system response) than others & given I already battle multiple Dementors on a daily basis, I couldn't even tell you what form my Patronus assumes (although I'm pretty sure there's no stag or doe πŸ˜”). 


I may have been wrongly sorted.
I might need a new notebook if I don't improve.


Or Google might have the answer....


I shouldn't really need to add to that. I think 'Dementor's kiss disease' should be the ultimate excuse; but I do genuinely have other reasons:


2.  Through the brain fog, the darkness, and the Dementors' kisses of horror, I did remember my 'personal resolution' (not so much a new year one, more of a personal aim ) is to blog more again. It can be cathartic, it often serves as a good way to sort of 'talk to myself positively' & search for positive quotes and images which do exactly as they are supposed to, and instill further positivity & motivation. It's a great habit to get into, but it's easy to get sucked out of it  (this metaphor totally works!) when things get tough.... which brings me to my true personal aim: to try to be more honest - both with myself and with other people, regarding my health, and capabilities (or lack of them, it often seems right now). 

Last year was an incredibly tough year, and I did withdraw from the world a bit. Not exactly on purpose, more in a subconscious act of self-preservation; but I'm going to try really hard to move on from that  (or spill it all out of my head, perhaps) and truly hope this year is a better one for my family,  many friends who seem to have had a really shitty year too.... and the world, which seems to have been just as badly affected. I am determined to put 2016 behind me & to hope for good things for the world this year too, as so much uncertainty looms ...

 ... So I have been writing. Honest!!  They're just all 'drafts' right now that need to be finished & edited before I can hit that orange 'Publish' button! So this post explains why my next few are going slightly backwards in time first - then I'll get on to that whole 'new year, new motivation' thing...


Not sure where my 'Dementor's cold' came from,
but this may evolve into a massive 'Lyme metaphor' - it's perfectly fitting.
I just need to
Expecto Patronus enough to find that borrelia-immune Bambi.


(Maybe it will work against political leaders too.... or free up the Dementors to get them...hmm.
I think I may need a wand more than nail polish πŸ˜‰!!) 


3. It's the 10th. That is 2.74% of the year (really, I just checked). I've been asleep for AT LEAST 50% of that time, maybe more (honesty!) 1% of the year hardly counts . ... SO....



 Happy New Year!

Paintings, my own (c)gfm

Or as it was yelled in our house,
 "F*€k off 2016... may 2017 be much better!"

(Actually wasn't me yelling,  I just thought it too!)


Lets's start with an old favourite:

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, 
it's about learning to dance in the rain."
~ Vivian Greene ~


And one that is perfectly fitting in every way: