A Day in the Life of Anxiety–In Which I Encourage You to Live More Fearlessly than Your Mother

Good Day Peers,
I follow this wonderful woman’s blog. I am choosing to reblog this post from her as it may touch some of you where you survive. Mental health is my profession and has touched my life these last two + years as well. I am dealing with anxiety, depression and PTSD from being rear ended two+ years ago while at a red light.
My peers often tell me that they suffer from true depression and anxiety (empirical research discuses these comorbid mental health issues with fibro as well). If you are one of my peers who do have these issues, I understand. I still choose to focus on my positive moments and call them gifts; my negative are also gifts, just ones I would never have chosen.
XX

dearlilyjune

Dear Lily June,

There is a blogger who wrote a description of anxiety recently that I feel encapsulates and encompasses so much of my reality sadly and beautifully. Your letter today is devoted, in part, to her, as she inspired me to give you (and my little corner of the blogosphere) a peek into the life I lead. Thank you, Bits, for giving me the courage to share these things with my daughter.

Without further ado, Lily, I present a Day in My Life [of Anxiety], brought to you also by the Beatles tune of similar title. I don’t have synesthesia, but the song’s instrumentation from 1:45 to 2:15 sounds like my anxiety feels. If that makes any sense.

***

When I sleep, Lily, I sleep fitfully. I often find my mind infested with “What If’s” and their crawling and scurrying keeps me awake at night. What if…

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Talking about the dreaded “Exercise” when Living Well with Fibromyalgia

Source: Talking about the dreaded “Exercise” when Living Well with Fibromyalgia

Update:

Well, water walking didn’t work so well for me. It is too much for me to drive there, change, get in the water, shower, change, and drive home. I tried. I have not purchased the DVD set either. My current health simply isn’t strong enough for these activities. I have begun walking my dog again. I spend an extra ten minutes a few times a week when I walk him around my neighborhood and I take him to the dog park about once a week. I pay for this with increased pain in my body, but my mind thanks me.

The current trend to exercise in order to feel better is great in theory. I completely agree that one should get everyday and spend time moving their bodies. However, the push to do this is not realistic for all of us. I do not want to feel like I am coping out when I can’t do what others are able to. So, I don’t. I do what I can and leave the rest.

When You Need to Take a Break; it’s Healthy

20 Quotes Inspiring Self-CareTaking Time For Yourself

This last month has been one of much needed self care and reflection for me. There have been other health items I needed to address, also my exhaustion, and reflecting on where I want to go in my life; along with how to go there. Living with Fibromyalgia, this can be an extremely tricky thing to do. My friends and loved ones have expectations of me. If I make plans and then cancel at the last minute, or that day, it tends to send me into a place of feeling less than. I feel guilt. Ashamed and embarrassed.  This is something that all people feel due to the pressures and expectations of our social world; it’s bad manners, right?

No, it’s not. It’s important to take time to refresh your being if your going to be able to effectively give back to them. While I feel those negative feelings after checking out of my expected social or other activities, I have also learned let them go. These emotions are toxic to my self healing. I accept that I have limited energy and just can not keep up the pace that I used to run at. Still, given the social expectations it is just as important t inform my dear and dear ones that I am currently taking time for myself. I need to inform them that it is not that I don’t care about our relationship, in fact, it is the opposite. I care enough not to spend time with them. I don’t wish to  dump my problems or lack of energy on their plates.

This is something that everyone, not just peers with chronic pain, forget to do; take care o our own needs first. I still struggle with this after living with Fibromyalgia for 16 years, being a professional care assistant, therapist, and a spiritual human being. I continue to learn to give to myself, and, I continue to fall back into overdrive. I have been very good at informing my relationships with loved ones and friends about my limitations. It is the negative feelings that keep creeping in. This last month, despite the unneccasary triggers of these unuseful emotions, I took time for myself. I abosuletly had to. I have goals. I have needs. I have limits. These are my self-care quotes for Feburaury. What are yours?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living with Chronic Pain is Like Traveling Down a Rolling, Unknown Road

Rolling Road

Being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Myofascial Syndrome, or any chronic pain condition is like suddenly finding yourself traveling along a unknown and bumpy road. Each new bump both hurts and frightens you. You stop seeing the beauty of your surroundings. Instead of reacting to the positive, enjoying the sunshine, your friends, family, and careers, you concentrate on the negative. You look for the branches in the middle of the road,  expecting each new bump with a new, predetermined fear, you turn inward in pain. No longer is there easy laughter, instead you groan and find distress in the journey. We survivors find, that without warning, we have lost ourselves.

We focus on how to get off the bumps. How to go backwards in time and remove the invader inside our bodies that caused the ride  of our lives to become out of our control. The mind moves through anger, denial, grief, and bargaining. It pleads with our doctors to “fix” the problem. Going over the bumps and more bumps becomes our focus as we drive to doctor after doctor. Every doctor suggests a new medication to pacify our inner beast that thrives on our now dysfunctional pain alert system. With each twist and turn we go deeper inward, pushing away those who only wish us well. After several months of traveling along this foreign road, we lose all hope, we finally succeed in pushing our dear ones away.

Fear controls us now. We sit, locked in our minds wondering how this all happened to us. Our brain has become programed to automatically react first to our pain, our expectation of the negatives, and  we feel that we are unwanted, unnecessary. We rage/ We cry. We pull the covers up, turn over and go back to sleep. We become mindlessly lost; the walking asleep.

Unfortunately, this is a very realistic portrait of the first years of living with chronic pain. There is no educated doctor who starts your journey out on a positive and supportive note; or very rarely. They should be at fault, shouldn’t they? Yes, they should. They have not been trained in methods that support us to begin our journey on a positive and proactive road. If we look a little deeper at the blame we have created,  haven’t we decided to blame ourselves. Yet, why are we programming our brains to first embrace the negative experience?  No one is immune from medical issues; be it a short or long lived one. Yes, ours is a hellish one, we can’t deny that. We wouldn’t blame ourselves for having a heart condition or for the repercussions of getting hit by another car while we were driving, but when it comes to Fibromyalgia we so often decide we have failed ourselves.

We can choose acceptance. We can return to that bumpy road. We can decide to take a breath in and then, a breath out. We know that the bump will cause us pain, but we can decide to enjoy the rest of the ride. We have forgotten, but now can let back in, how incredibly beautiful the scenery of life is. How fortunate we are to be able to witness the falling red leaves. The birth of our children. The family and friends we have around us. We can accept that we have a challenging journey in this life but, when we have those positive moments along life’s path, the fleeting sight of a butterfly on a rose, we have seen majesty. We are still here. We are happy to be alive today.

 

 

To Tell or Not to Tell Relationships about Your Pain Level?

Day to Day Pain

This is a huge issue, discussing your pain each day, or not discussing it. If you tell your relations that today is not a good day, isn’t it helping them, or just assisting you? Does it help both of you? If you do not mention your pain level at all, but instead put on a smile and act as if it all ok, is that better? For who? This is a very fine and incredibly difficult decision. I have always been on the side of telling my family, friends, and any other important persons in my life that I am hurting more than usual. Others, either find a way not do not do this, or make this a conscious choice.

The first two years of my fibromyalgia pain, I informed people of how I felt and what I was able to do, or not do. I believed then, and believe now, that it is better for them to know how I feel rather than pretending. If I pretend, I may fail at their expectations. I will be holding two bags; one, my pain, two, my fake smile of “everythings great”. This approach has had negative effects on those around me at times.

When it was, or is, a bad pain day, I felt that if those around me knew that then there would be a mutual understanding and not an upset later at what I said I would or could, but actually could not do. A problem with my approach has been brought to my attention lately, not in a very nice way either. My last two years, after doing better in keeping pain levels at a steady rate,  the intensity has returned (grown really) in my pain threshold and how many times a week it occurs. Stating it is a bad day, has gotten repetitive. My family and friends are not having it. They don’t want to hear it.

I hear them but I do not have a coherent response. If I stop informing them of my pain, how will they know if I need help around the house, help walking the dog, or am just going to lay in bed or on the couch all day? Is there a code word or look I could insert instead? Should I plaster a smile on my face and the dog doesn’t go out? I am lost and confused.

Putting on a grin and acting like all is fine doesn’t work. I need assistance on those days. Unfortunately, these days have become like the first two years of my diagnosis. I am not ok. If my friend expected me to show up and I did not, but also did not inform them in advance, isn’t that worse? If my family is about to leave for work and don’t know I need help, then what do I do?

No one wants to ask for assistance. No one wants to tell their anyone, that they hurt. No one wants to have this syndrome. On my good and bad days I thank and praise their very existence! I count my gift days. The fact remains that I am who I am. I can change certain things, but not my medical issues or the depression on those days. No, not depression, but depressed days when my pain rules my day. If I held the polar opposites of pretending but not hurting, then isn’t that making me worse from the physical and psychological tension?

I wish I had the answer to this dilemma. I know I need to find one pronto. I love my supporters. I need them. I don’t want to upset them, I want to have fascinating times with them. Sigh. I know there is a balance for them, is there one for me?