Second tript to the pain clinic

My second visit to the pain clinic has relieved some of my concerns. I mean I completely failed to achieve the set out goal of exercising one hour a day, right? So I assumed it was going to be some sort of push to achieve that.

It was not. I wonder if he had said that from the onset to see in fact what I could achieve without implying I could not in fact do it. Like suggesting I would not be able to achieve that goal anywhere near that right away would put me in that mindset and I would then achieve less? Perhaps so.

Fact remains I only was able to do ten minutes a day on the stationary bike trying my damndest. And I was not able to, in that month, get any more than that. So not advancement on top of that.

Epic fail I thought. Nowhere near the goal. I suck.

Also what the hell was up with that goal when I have fibromyalgia anyway? Seemed insanely impossible. Not productive to me at all.

You go through all this trouble to explain things and they say nothing left for you but to exercise. No treatment left I have not tried. And I am game for it. But set a goal like that? What a bastard, right?

Well the second meeting he tells me it was quite expected that all I got for all my effort was ten minutes. In fact that was rather good. A couple minutes would be fine. Ten was good. And that he would expect that it was going to take 5 to 6 MONTHS before I can work up to the hour he would like to see.

Thanks for telling me that. Now. Actually this is very good news. My body vastly appreciates this timeline. This is achievable. Or so I hope. I seem to lack some insane muscle endurance, which from what I have read is normal for the conditions I have. He said stamina will come with time and I hope he is right about that. I know I was able to slowly increase my walking and yoga times so I hope it is the same with aerobics like the bike, although it seems to take a hell of a lot more out of me.

He also wants me to decrease my Lyrica medication. He said while it is a good medication for fibromyalgia pain wise it can be a bad one for fatigue wise. So it inhibits activity. And I definitely know that. It is why I spread it through the day... it is so bad for that I cannot take it in one dose. I am fine for decreasing it because I have been on it for many years now and initially I had noticed some improvements but I do not see as much any more so it is hard to say it is doing anything now. I know the pain killer I am on is dramatically helping me exercise even though it is not that strong. But the lyrica not so much help at all. Plus the side effects long term should not be ignored. So I am fine for seeing what sort of changes happen if I decrease it. He said if it does affect my ability to exercise then to keep taking it, but if I notice no real difference in that regard then to go down by 75 mgs by the time I see him next.

I see the physio team he recommended on Friday and that will also help with the exercise. I am hoping they will recommend things to help with the hypermobility syndrome since part of the muscle fatigue comes from that and also some exercises are not recommended for that syndrome. I do not always choose the right ones unfortunately and it causes pain and accidents. Part of the problem with the stationary bike is that it is quite painful on the knees, which are double jointed, but I cannot think on any aerobics that would be easier on my joints to be honest. Except maybe water aerobics. I might have to consider adding that in instead to protect my joints.

Pain/Full - What a shrink thinks blog

"Pain can sever relatedness, but it can also blast open a portal to connection. It reminds us of our own vulnerability, our mortality, and our powerlessness as an inherent aspect of our humanity. Pain can teach us how to be tender to others, and can lay a foundation for empathy, and intimacy to flourish."

This is a great piece from a psychologist who gets chronic migraines. Worth the read. What a shrink thinks.

"I grew up in a haunted house with a parent disabled, possessed and ultimately devoured alive by chronic physical pain. One day, Pain, an occasional intrusive visitor, burst its way in, and never ever left. Pain sat with us at the dinner table, rode with us in the car, spent sleepless night in front of the television reclining in barca-lounger, or in a home hospital bed manipulated by magic buttons. Pain spent up all of our financial resources, taught us to walk on eggshells, pressured us to forgive all outbursts and unreason, and garnered the tongue-clicking pity of the neighbors. Eventually, Pain blocked all obvious pathways to warmth, comfort and connection, as cold and dark as a cloud blocking the sun. It took up more and more and more space each passing year – until there was no room for anyone to live with it at all, until there was barely room to move or breathe.
All of us were so used to Pain and the daily incantation of its horror-litany that we grew to hate its oppressive presence. We hardened our hearts, and had no empathy or patience left for it. We were sick of its specter, and sick of its name. We surrendered to its power as it disabled us all. Pain sucked everyone dry, and left nothing behind

Pain runs in families.
I had my first migraine at age 7. By adolescence it was typical for me to become blind-sick, with an invisible hot metal spike in my eye and throbbing skull, nauseated or vomiting before and after any high-stakes event: A big test, an audition for the school play, a nervous first date, or at the mall choosing matching his and her outfits for the high school dance.
Through young adulthood I was sick more often than not: 18-20 violent, nauseating migraines a month.
In Pain’s clutches there is no room for anything else, no comfort, no connection, no conversation. It hurts to talk, to open my eyes, to listen, to breathe. Clothes hurt, light hurts, sounds hurt, smells hurt, the throbbing of my heart beat hurts. There is nothing but Pain."

A poem: The Bright

The Bright

Will you talk to me about what goes on in the light?
Beyond my shimmering, shaking sight?

I will tell you of the moonbeams
Of colorful, iridescent silent streams
If you will just tell me what goes on in the bright
So far out of my sight.

I will tell you how I captured thunder in my skull
How lightning is contained within me without lull
If you will tell me the secrets outside my window
So far beyond my sorrow.

 A migraine poem I wrote for a page I admin (Migraineur Misfits). We often share articles and information about migraines. Anything to spread awareness. I only write poetry when I feel really inspired to really. And I was struck with inspiration last night about isolation, pain, auras and this idea of yearning for a communication of what is going on beyond the darkness of where I am confined in times of migraine.

This is the image I pieced together for it:

Women with #migraines experience more headaches during the #menopausal transition

I am not sure why they needed a study on this when it was already established but then again neuros love their studies... and often do not believe a damn thing without them. So a good thing then.

So here we go with the obvious:

“Our study is the first to actually show that migraines tend to worsen during the peri-menopause and early menopause years,” said Vincent T. Martin, MD,  co-director of the University of Cincinnati Headache and Facial Pain Program.

Generally, women hit the peri-menopause years in their 40s, when their menstrual periods become irregular or more frequent. When periods stop for 12 consecutive months, they’ve hit menopause.

“In fact, we found that headaches worsen by about 50 to 60 percent during those time periods,” Martin said.  WCPO

If you suffer from frequent migraines during peri-menopause, new treatments could be on the horizon.
Dr. Martin pinponts a few ideas to blunt the pain caused by those falling estrogen levels:
  • Oral contraceptives taken continuously
  • Wear an estrogen patch around the menstrual period for about 7-10 days
  • Consider hormone replacement therapy, with an estrogen or progesterone-like medication

You can read more about the study itself in Science Daily.
"Given that migraines tend to worsen during menstruation, it may seem paradoxical that when periods become irregular during the peri-menopause or absent during menopause that headache become more frequent," said Richard B. Lipton, M.D., professor of Neurology and director of the Montefiore Headache Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "We believe that both declining estrogen levels that occur at the time of menstruation as well as low estrogen levels that are encountered during the menopause are triggers of migraine in some women," he said.
"These results validate the belief by many women that their headaches worsen during the transition into menopause," Dr. Martin said. "We hope that our work spurs researchers to develop novel treatments for migraine during this time period given that many of the headaches encountered are thought to be hormonally triggered." ScienceDaily

It is important they establish these sorts of things with studies. Set it down so that a neuro can read that and understand when a patient comes into his office who is 45 or older with worsening migraines the cause of them. Because that is a significant increase in pain. Also we want to have established ways to help women with this increase in migraines related to the hormonal cycle.

Personally this freaks me out. I am trying to improve my migraines so that I can return to work in some fashion. And then, what? Bam peri-menopause will happen somewhere in about five or eight years and I will be back where I started from... or worse. And there can definitely be worse with hormonal migraines, since they are in fact my worst migraines as is and went completely nuts when I was working. So that is disturbing to think about for sure. That is a long stretch of time there.

Friendship and socializing

Today at the shrinks office he asked me if I have any close friends I talk to or hang out with. The answer being no. He asked me if I still talk to some of the people I worked with. The answer being no, but not because I don't want to but because I just have not been up to it.

I have in my life had some pretty awesome friends. I am however, very introverted. I do not mind me, myself and I.

This makes it really easy to become a hermit. For a couple of easy reasons. People move short or long distances away and I have a hard time keeping in contact with them when that happens. I have a hard time commuting Anywhere for Any reason. Other times people have life changes that make them busier such as having children and they have less time to do things and so when they do, I would have to be available, but I am not always available. I am often health compromised. So often I drift apart from people who are busy and neither of us notice it too much.

And then there is the simple fact that pain just gets in the way of the desire to do things. Until you do not do much. Because when you are working that is your main priority in life and there is never any energy or pain tolerance left after that. Weekends are for recuperation. So you become a hermit without meaning to. Often people drift away. You do not get invited places any more. Maybe a few work friends invite you out once in a while but that is about all the socialization you get... or can even handle.

So it comes about that you are not working and you look around and, no, you do not have peeps around you to do things with. Yes, it would be mentally healthy to do things. Things are good. Socializing is good. But all the peeps are gone.

In a way that does suck. But I am an introvert so in a way I also do not mind my own mental space and self. I would like to socialize more. And I have made it a priority to get out more. Meet more peeps. Get out and about in small doses. It is a good thing. But you cannot just do it... because of course no people around are there. All gone with the wind ages ago. So it is a slow process.

He also mentioned going out and choosing to do activities where I could then socialize with people. Like a writers group... there is not one here. An art class, not sure about that, but doubtful there is one. Tai chi maybe... there is a short class of that during a weird part of the year. Anyway, this is to compensate for the lack of working, to fill space, to fill the lack of socializing you would do at work, the space in routine... that sort of deal. A good idea. I like it. If I can find something that is cheap and interesting to do around here.

JD Schramm: Break the silence for suicide attempt survivors


That is a statistic we do not hear often. 19 of of 20 people survive the first suicide attempt. 37% who fail that first attempt will succeed a second time. A very high risk group.

Without question people are uncomfortable with suicide. So surviving it you will find a lot of people do not want to have a serious conversation with you about it. And it can lead to a sense of isolation and shame.

People with a chronic illness and/or chronic pain are at a higher risk for suicide or suicidal ideation. Just physical pain from chronic pain alone is a risk factor to suicide that is very much ignored.

No one thinks about the resources a person need after surviving a suicide attempt as we flounder to survive. We have to choose to survive first. I mean there was a reason we tried to commit suicide in the first place. So we have to find some reason to choose not to. Even if that reason is not ourselves at first. And the suicide attempt is a traumatic experience that we have to deal with and plagues us for a long time after. And seduces us for a long time after. For the most part this battle to overcome it all is done in silence. I know in my case my doctor thought it was almost expected... he said it was a strong reaction to pain. Yeah. That. And while that was very true it was also a lot more. And while I saw a therapist for a short duration she did not help at all. I was in a lot of physical pain which caused a lot of suffering. And I needed some help with that. Because it did not make a lot of reasonable sense to want to survive like that and to Also torment myself further by aggravating the pain with full time work, which I was doing at the time. She had said I simply should not work. Yes, well, that does not work well for the whole needing money thing and I cannot put myself on leave I need others to do that. As I said, she was of no real value for me. Not even in helping with methods to manage the pain.

So if someone does survive a suicide attempt and you know the reason for it, it seems logical to me that something should be done about that. A lot of something. Not saying in my case some things have not changed and the direction of my treatment has not improved slightly but that had nothing to do with that incident and a lot to do with my finding a new doctor.

I think there should be mandatory resources for that person. Instead there is just a lot of indifference which astonishes me to be honest. I think of all the lives lost to chronic pain due to suicide and perhaps those numbers make sense. Indifference to pain treatment, indifference to suicide attempts. Just indifference.

Not with family and friends of course. Loved ones are anything but indifferent. In my case it was seeing the impact of that event that has caused me not to have another attempt. Not everyone was comfortable talking about it but some were. And I was able to think a great deal about it and work it out as to what needed to be done to change the situation. But family has a difficult time coping as well and not everyone will know what to say. Or say anything. It can be a very difficult topic to discuss. Especially when you do not know all the details and the person themselves has no willingness to open up, but if they do all you can sometimes do is listen and be there for them.

peri-menopause and menopause and #migraines

I am not old enough for menopause but I do get hormonal related migraines so it is interesting to know what I will be in for. Pre-menopause and menopause can be extremely hard years of migraineurs. Depending on the woman the perimenopausal years can start in the 40's and menopause in the 50's. The increase "migraine frequency may occur because of an increase in trigeminal nerve sensitivity to falling estrogen levels." Seven portions

Research done in 2011, and I have had this confirmed by personal stories as well, suggests that hysterectomies do not help bypass this either. Going through it naturally seems to have a better likelihood of reducing the migraines after it is all said and done. But... "Both results are conditional though, depending greatly on whether or not a woman’s migraines earlier in life were closely related to her menstruation. If a woman experienced menstrual migraine or menstrually-related migraine as her most severe migraine each month, then the results of this study might apply. However, if her worst migraines occurred as a result of non-hormonal factors, the transition into menopause may have no effect." Seven portions

And you have to love this:

According to a June 2009 article published in Post Reproductive Health, the recommended treatment for management of menstrual migraines in perimenopause is HRT. Yet according to Dr. Ralph Evans in Handbook of Headache, the use of HRT has a 45% of reducing the number of attacks and almost an equal chance (46%) of making them worse. Seven portions
However, this is not unexpected. The treatment for menstrual migraines that is hormonal treatments can make it better... or make it worse. But this? Basically 50-50 shot there.

Alternatives are:

Taking NSAIDs for three days prior to the start of menses and continuing through the cycle can sometimes prevent menstrual migraines. Others have success with using long-lasting triptans daily for the same duration. Magnesium supplementation may also be effective. If non-hormonal treatments fail, HRT may still be considered. The best hormone replacement results (33% improvement) appear to be from more natural forms of estrogen such as a patch while conjugated estrogens (Premarin) tend to make migraines worse.  Seven portions
Now these are similar to menstrual migraines so all sounds the same here. A little warning on the NSAIDs though. I tried this for menstrual migraines and it gave me a bleeding ulcer. Cramps, pain and then bleeding ulcer. Doctors are quite comfortable prescribing NSAIDs but they also have their side effects and it is good to remember that. Also in my case my reaction to them, which was painful from the get go and got worse, caused a permanent drug sensitivity so I cannot even touch OTC NSAIDs any more. Which as you can imagine sucks because they are rather nice for menstrual migraines and symptoms. I had been given this option because I have bad triptan side effects so cannot take them continuously, which as stated is another option. I believe Amerge had been mentioned to me as a good one.

Since menstrual migraines are the most brutal and acute migraines of them all, and very difficult to treat I cannot image peri-menopause and menopause are going to be fun in the least.

Sources to check out

  1. Women with migraine experience more headaches during the menopausal transition: results from The American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Study
  2. Hysterectomy and Migraine: What can you expect?
  3. Migraine outcome in postmenopausal women: are there predictive factors? 
  4. Hormonal management of migraine at menopause
  5. Medical Oophorectomy With and Without Estrogen Add-Back Therapy in the Prevention of Migraine Headache
  6. Headaches Increase During Perimenopause

Morning #migraine strikes of lightning

I hate it when you are just sleeping and minding your own sleeping business... then suddenly...

Migraine lightning

Obviously the stage 1 and 2 of the migraine were occurring while you were blissfully in slumberland. So no way you could treat this the instant you became aware of it. You had no awareness at the time.

No your first awareness is the sizzle and throb of pain. Blink aware and there it is. Pain. Better than any damn alarm clock in existence although you don't want to get up or move. You think maybe if you lay there longer it will help. It doesn't. Laying there hurts more. Like your pillow is made out of rocks.

What a way to set off the day. To a full blown migraine that will not abort with a triptan because it is past the point of no return. Lovely.

Slow and steady with my exercise... not as planned

This is in fact what I believe about improvements when we have a chronic illness. If we want to exercise same goes I think. It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

And I had to be reminded of this today with my persistent leg pain after days of all this aerobic exercise on my stationary bike. Exercise that is only 10 minutes a day but feels like a freaking marathon to me. I think that pain clinic seriously overestimated my capacity in this regard and also I think the speed at which I could simply jump into this. I think it is a mistake on their part certainly, since the first pain clinic got it. It makes me feel rather like a loser to know that each day all I can do is this 10 minutes after pushing myself and even on my pain killer. When the pain clinic expects an hour. An hour? Not going to happen. I am not even sure half an hour is going to happen any time soon. And I am fine with that. Because I have found pacing myself makes a lot of sense in the past with these sorts of things. And even pacing myself comes with the price of accumulated pain, such as today breaking through the pain killer.

When I began my own exercise program and realized the extent of my pain and fatigue that came with it I knew that it would be a slow pace. I also knew that just the movement was important. I knew just a little bit would be beneficial. And they say a 20 minute walk is beneficial. I literally increased my pace at the time by minutes every couple of weeks. Slow and steady. Worked my way up to 20 minutes of yoga. And a 20 minute walk. Obviously I am behind that again but even so, I am considerably worse at aerobic exercise apparently.

I am reminded that when a neuro had told me that what I was doing was not sufficient, I had tried to up the pace. And injured my back. And then proceeded to not exercise at all for around six months. So a lot of good that did me. So I think we really have to listen to what our bodies are telling us about what we can do and about the pace we can do it in. And not the so called specialists who know nothing about fitness spouting off what some study said we need to do to help with one condition without taking into account our overall health.

In some sense it is always difficult when you are young with a chronic illness because part of you always believes you can do things. That you have this capacity in there somewhere. But when you try you fail. You just completely are incapable of doing it. You brain says there is nothing wrong with you so there should be no reason you can't do a reasonable amount of physical activity. But chronic illness is a complicated thing. It says otherwise and not just with pain. With immense fatigue.

It certainly does not help that when a doctor looks at you and thinks well she is young... she can do all these things. Like this recent pain clinic fellow who told me bluntly that I was young and could handle it and that he only suggests yoga for 'older people'. This perception of youth and vitality sort of screws you over. Invisible disabilities being all invisible and all even from those people that should know better.

Epic #pain day

What do you do for those Epic pain days? Those days that exceed your pain tolerance? How do you cope with that exceptional level of pain that defies all reason?

I generally call these 'lost days' because they are lost to all productive activities and all other activities as well. They are just lost to pain. We can do nothing but manage our pain as best we can and ride it out.

Yet it is not as easy as all that. The pain is intense and digs right into your very soul. It is at these times I am at the highest risk of depressive thoughts. Of even suicidal ideation. The pain just circles around the brain as it does and you lose your sense of past and future. Locked into this moment that seems stretched on to eternity. And you believe there is just no end to the pain. In general. To this pain, yes, eventually, to all pain... no, never. And that haunts you during these most intense moments. So I must find ways to distract my thoughts at all costs because this being consumed by the pain is a very bad state for me to be in. Either distraction of some sort, that I am capable of. Or sleep, if I am in fact capable of that. Those are often my only solutions.

How to distract your brain in intense moments of pain varies from person to person. What one person can do another just cannot. And other times what you can do during one episode becomes impossible during another. For example, often I like to read to distract myself. Even when I cannot handle doing on the internet or watching TV I can read. Even with poor vision in dim light, I can read. Prefer dim light to be honest. But a lot of people have problems with this. Some people prefer watching a movie for example, but often the light and sound aggravates me. So we have to pick and choose what we can when we can.

Sleep is often tricky at the best of times with pain. However when pain is very high sometimes sleep is literally the best solution. So if you can attain it I often aim for it.

I also like anything that soothes. I like menthol creams on my neck. I have a migraine balm I use on my temples, forehead, cheek and jaw. I like ice on the back of my head. It usually hurts more to lay down completely but resting upright against something works quite well for me. Some people like to take baths. I cannot due to blood pressure drops, but I would if I could. And we can do things like mindful meditation or relaxation breathing or listening to really soft mellow music. Absolutely none of this will stop the pain, it just helps with the mindset while in pain. Anything to keep distress down is what I aim for. Being calm and relaxed and in pain sort of seems like a contradiction, but I aim to be as calm as possible, and as relaxed as possible. Keep my mind off stressful thoughts. And away from its depressive negative spiral.

Some days... it all seems to work better than others. But no one likes lost days. They are lost no matter what you do to manage the pain and that is exceptionally frustrating. Yet we do have to take care of ourselves during these times of increased pain so that it does not, well, continue.

Hulk Smashing Loki - FM and Exercise

Literally how I feel after I exercise! lol

Migraine diary and exercise

The pain clinic has requested that I do a migraine diary to track my pain while doing the exercises they requested to see what sort of improvements there are.

There are lots of things I could say about exercising so far. Seriously is not fun. Makes migraines worse. Makes vertigo worse. I can't seem to physically get to the level the pain clinic wants due to the FM, because of muscle fatigue partly and the pain. That muscle fatigue starts fast and just gets worse and worse fast with aerobic exercise... I run out of oomph fast. Then run out of whatever is left over pushing through the fatigue. Then it is just pain.

Point being is that tracking migraines through a change is a good way to see if that change is doing anything to improve the situation. And so far no, no, it is not. And one thing I have always loathed about migraine diaries is that they are very depressing. It is a lot like this 8,8,8,9,9,8,9,7. And it just makes you very aware that you have no break. Ever. Also makes me aware of the days where I have all day long migraines opposed to starting in the afternoon migraines.

It really is beyond me how doing exercise which causes this much pain will 'poof' reduce my pain. It seems like such a contradiction. Although I know logically with FM it is good to exercise, to a degree within your limits. With migraines it is complicated of course. All doctors though, and I mean All of them, pay attention to that one study that claims 3 hours a week of aerobic exercise, 40 min a day, for a few months was equivalent in reducing migraine frequency as topamax. 

Results: Ninety-one patients were randomized and included in the intention-to-treat analysis. The primary efficacy variable showed a mean reduction of 0.93 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.31–1.54) attacks in the exercise group, 0.83 (95% CI 0.22–1.45) attacks in the relaxation group, and 0.97 (95% CI 0.36–1.58) attacks in the topiramate group. No significant difference was observed between the groups (p = 0.95).
Conclusion: Exercise may be an option for the prophylactic treatment of migraine in patients who do not benefit from or do not want to take daily medication. PMC
And that was not a large study by any means. Nor was it one chronic migraines I might add. Doctors seem to ignore the other aspect that of relaxation techniques. But they do Love their topamax and recommending exercise. I must say, it might be a tad easier to exercise if someone didn't have a migraine every fricken day and maybe, just maybe, not starting with aerobic exercise might be a good idea.

Either way, it is not a simple thing. It is not a fast solution. Nor apparently an easy one to accomplish. And it makes me damn cranky to have the increase in pain I will tell you that.

Russell Foster: Why do we #sleep?

Aerobic exercise fun

Aerobic exercise is the gig the pain clinic has suggested I attempt. And quite a bit of it as well.

As you might expect since I have been having trouble with just mild exercise that this has been painful so far. Also though I have been having trouble choosing what to do. First a gym is expensive so I thought why not try free first.

I had these old rollerblades and I thought why not give them a go? I used to love rollerblading. Ironically under the theory that exercise helps improve chronic migraines... well I exercised a lot when my migraines went chronic. I had no license so walked everywhere and rollerbladed a lot for fun, despite it being painful. So not even sure how this theory really even works. But whatever. So I drag these out and, well, they are a little worse for wear but before I buy new ones I definitely wanted to see if I was capable of using them. The answer is no, I am definitely not capable of using them. I have no sense of balance. Of where my body is. Of how to stabilize myself. And I have vertigo which makes it impossible to maintain balance. I should Not put wheels on my feet Ever. So that is definitely not a choice.

Second option is riding a bike. My mom has indoor and outdoor bike she was not using that I could borrow. I took the outdoor bike out for a little ride to test my muscles out. Turns out they do not like that very much. Also got a wicked migraine. And apparently that is not good on the vertigo either... feels like I am moving really fast and I kept getting really unstable. Much more unstable when I stopped and started again. I think I might get used to it. But it will not be pleasant.

So it seems like I might have to use the indoor bike more so really. For stability reasons alone it might be the best option to be honest.

So far though it seems to be very migraine inducing. Quickly and unpleasantly. Much worse than the walking regiment I was doing. I will have to see if it is a pattern. As they want me to track my migraines as I go along so they can see my 'progress'. So far it is just a crapload of pain everywhere in muscles I didn't even know I had to be honest and wicked migraines. Lovely.

The postive look on #stress

It is interesting to think that our belief about stress affects how it affects us. How you think and how you act changes the effects of stress. I have always believed that positive stress is not harmful but that negative stress could be. So this is pretty fascinating.

Daily Gratitude and Happier App

Tracking your daily gratitude and what you are thankful for has been proven to help with mood. I found this app to help you track it called Happier.  They also have a Blog. iTunes App store. 
Anyway, nice easy way to track your daily happy. I was not doing so well tracking it on paper, but I like doing it on the iPhone. Simple and easy to do.

Science of daily gratitude: "In one study on gratitude, conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., at the University of California at Davis and his colleague Mike McCullough at the University of Miami, randomly assigned participants were given one of three tasks. Each week, participants kept a short journal. One group briefly described five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another five recorded daily hassles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told whether to focus on the positive or on the negative. Ten weeks later, participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25 percent happier than the hassled group. They reported fewer health complaints, and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more.
In a later study by Emmons, people were asked to write every day about things for which they were grateful. Not surprisingly, this daily practice led to greater increases in gratitude than did the weekly journaling in the first study. But the results showed another benefit: Participants in the gratitude group also reported offering others more emotional support or help with a personal problem, indicating that the gratitude exercise increased their goodwill towards others, or more tehnically, their "pro-social" motivation.
Another study on gratitude was conducted with adults having congenital and adult-onset neuromuscular disorders (NMDs), with the majority having post-polio syndrome (PPS). Compared to those who were not jotting down their blessings nightly, participants in the gratitude group reported more hours of sleep each night, and feeling more refreshed upon awakening. The gratitude group also reported more satisfaction with their lives as a whole, felt more optimism about the upcoming week, and felt considerably more connected with others than did participants in the control group.
Perhaps most tellingly, the positive changes were markedly noticeable to others. According to the researchers, "Spouses of the participants in the gratitude (group) reported that the participants appeared to have higher subjective well-being than did the spouses of the participants in the control (group)."
There's an old saying that if you've forgotten the language of gratitude, you'll never be on speaking terms with happiness. It turns out this isn't just a fluffy idea. Several studies have shown depression to be inversely correlated to gratitude. It seems that the more grateful a person is, the less depressed they are. Philip Watkins, a clinical psychologist at Eastern Washington University, found that clinically depressed individuals showed significantly lower gratitude (nearly 50 percent less) than non-depressed controls.
Dr. John Gottman at the University of Washington has been researching marriages for two decades. The conclusion of all that research, he states, is that unless a couple is able to maintain a high ratio of positive to negative encounters (5:1 or greater), it is likely the marriage will end.
With 90 percent accuracy, Gottman says he can predict, often after only three minutes of observation, which marriages are likely to flourish and which are likely to flounder. The formula is that for every negative expression (a complaint, frown, put-down, expression of anger) there needs to be about five positive ones (smiles, compliments, laughter, expressions of appreciation and gratitude)." Daily Good

Mini vacation to Manitoba

Took a short vacation to visit my spouses family in Manitoba. They live on a reservation out that way. Turns out it is also a wifi and cell dead zone so I was completely out of touch and feeling rather disconnected.

It is about a 10 hour drive from where we live and I only drove for a couple hours of that there, and the same back. So my spouse did a hell of a lot of driving.

Both trips I got a lot of visual aura activity from the bright sunlight in my eyes on the road. Even with sunglasses on. Even with my hat on some of the time. Too much sun just makes the auras come out to play. Made the center of my vision pulse and warp like the closing and opening of the petals of a flower made out of white and black light. Vivid against the blue sky and bothersome over the road and cars. I also got vertigo from both trips. I suspect from just too long in a moving car but the little bit of driving likely did not help. On the way there the vertigo lasted all day. It is worse now though. So it might last longer. Even as I type this sitting down it I keep swaying and then get a lurching falling sensation.

We had a hard time finding a hotel down that way because there is just this wee little town by the reservation with a motel and this hotel over a bar. We could not get a hold of the motel. So we went to the hotel. Which was a mistake on our part. Now, on the website, which they have, it says newly renovated rooms with a TV, microwave, coffee pot and fridge. From that you might think it was a little old but fairly basic. And you would be wrong. They did renovate the bathroom clearly but could not see anything else done. There was a tiny TV about the size of my computer screen. No coffee pot, no fridge and no microwave. So that was some serious false advertising. The beds barely fit in there and looked like they might fall apart. I wondered if anyone very stayed in the place. When we arrived they said the rooms were not clean yet... we arrived in the evening. None of the rooms were clean yet. We really did not want to stay but we had no other option at the time since we did not have any way to get a hold of anyone yet. So we did. And sleeping was very difficult. I got a hell of a migraine. Being over a bar it was insanely loud all night long. And you could hear everyone trek up and down the stairs and even talk in the hallway. I got about four hours of restless sleep. Then the next day my spouse's mother insisted we stay at her place and would have the day before had we a way of contacting her... we did not know at that time how to get to her place and she does not have a phone.

The visit itself went very well. I have met only a few people from that side of his family. So lots of people to meet and visit. Although our visit was just short. We could not do much around there though because our timing was very bad. Apparently they were in the middle of a flood due to rainfall. When we had arrived it was during a horrible stormfront that just caused an onslaught of rain. And that lasted for a few days, and had been going on for a bit. Roads were closed. Lakes and rivers overflowing. Basements in the community flooding. Some of the roads in their community started to flood over and buildings surrounded. Had it rained longer we would have been stuck there as it was we had to take a detour out as the road we were supposed to take was closed, and even so road through some submerged areas. We were at the edge of the flood zone and it was quite a bit worse to the south of where we were where a lot of roads were closed.

As you can image the migraines didn't much like this so I did take more of my triptan than I usually would like to in order to manage them. But doing that did help a bit for sure. And then on our last day when the sun broke out That change caused another wicked migraine, so really no winning there.

Pictures of flooding:

 This is heading right into the reserve. There is a bridge with a tiny river you can step over that swelled up into this... actually quite a bit more than I could take a picture of and a foot below the bridge itself.

 On the way home this was by the detour we had to take. Our road was closed and then this massive flood lake was on both sides of the road when we had turned north to detour around.
 This road is submerged and we had to roll on through. I have a video of us plowing through it. It was actually quite the distance and a large lake there. They had a light system set up so cars on each side had a turn to go through.

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