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Showing posts from May, 2016

Our relationships and fibromyalgia

A 2013 study (Musculoskeletal Care, November 21, 2012) of 40 multiple choice questions was posted online with the objective to poll a large sample of adults with fibromyalgia about the impact on their significant other, friends and children. Questions included were regarding their symptoms, their demographics, any comorbid mood conditions, the relationship impact (with Relationship Assessment Scale). There were 6126 respondents to the survey who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. -50% of the responders stated that FM had mildly to moderately damaged their relationship(s) with their partner or contributed to the break-up with a partner.-50% of responders scored as not being satisfied with their current partner relationship with satisfaction negatively affected by the presence of mood disturbance symptoms and higher FM severity.-Relationships with children and close friends were also negatively impacted for a substantial minority of the responders.
We know that chronic pain is not ju…

Psychological and Emotional Self-Care: with Health Storylines

"This is a sponsored post for Self Care Catalysts. I have been compensated through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. All opinions remain my own and I was in now way influenced by the company."

Self-are is something I have been focusing a great deal on lately. Because I didn't in the past. Just ignored it and tried to push through the pain at the exclusion of my own well-being. And that didn't work. So I know I have to focus on my well-being. I have been doing several things for this.

I have been meditating- this may or may not help with pain but it definitely is helping me with stress. I find it very relaxing. Sort of feel all the tension ease from me. Writing a gratitude journal- This is said to help with mood and I have depression so I can use all the mood boosts I can get. I write down three things I am grateful a day, or minimal three times a week. Helps the mind look and reflect on positive aspects of the day rather than focusing on the negatives and the pain.…

6 Reasons I masked my depression for years

It is nearing the end of Mental Health Awareness Month and so I thought I would devote another post about it. This one about what caused me to hide my depression for so long. I had read posts about smiling depression and that was me. I hid behind my smiles, my goofy humor and jokes. No one would ever be able to tell I had suicidal ideation frequently. That I had severe mood issues along with the chronic pain. That I was Not coping well with the pain. 

Originally when I first had a bout of depression in my late teens I used humor when I was getting through it as a positive coping strategy to counter my negative thought patterns. And it worked very well. I cultivated my humor. I encouraged it. And it flourished. At that time the depression came about for a few factors; being away from home for the first time, stress of university and dealing with my, at that time, un-diagnosed fibromyalgia. I had to not only get though the depression but manage the fibromyalgia by passing and moderation …

Exercise is not evil: it is part of a treatment plan

There is said it. Exercise is not evil. Although you might give me this face… And in general it may feel like… It is likely the most common form of advice we get from doctors. I hear it from every neurologist I see. You see there was this study, and there always is a study, that states aerobic exercise of an hour three times a week is equivalent to the migraine preventative medication Topamax on migraines. I received the same advice from the pain clinic. You see, they had read that same study. The difference being they understood I had comorbid fibromyalgia and could not just jump on in and go at it without significant problems. For example, feeling like I was smashed by the Hulk repeatedly. 
So first I will say there are things not to do when exercising. We should never exceed our limits. Ever. Not even if some douchebag neurologist says to you, and I quote, ‘That is not sufficient to do anything. You will have to do more than that to get any effect.’ So you double what you are doin…

When I say I am good

When people ask me how I am feeling 99% of the time I am lying. I often say 'not bad', because I feel it is slightly more honest than 'good' or 'fine'. Got sick of fine. Anyway, I lie for many reasons. 

I'm having a good pain day: They happen and I'll say that I'm good, fine, not bad. I even feel like I can accomplish great things... in moderation. In which case, relatively speaking, for Me I am not actually lying. This is a Good pain day, it is Not Bad for me and I am Fine with it. I just don't want to explain: I just don't want to explain how crappy I feel and in which way I mean. Because I am tired of it. I just want to deal with it, without having to discuss it, mention it or have any sympathy expressed about it. Because it can be complicated. It may be a migraine with specific symptoms. Maybe it is a FM flare though. Or both. And then I have to explain what it is because most people think my migraines are the main issue but I could be FM…

Lost Days

Today was a lost day. A day where the pain is so high I was unable to function. I could not leave the house. I could not run errands or do chores. I was just unable.

There was a time in my life when lost days made me feel guilty. Guilty at the lack of productivity. That this time was stolen from me and I'd never get it back. All the things I could not accomplish in that time. Missed work days in particular are hash. Today, thankfully, was a day off. Which I appreciate a great deal because lost days of work are still hard to handle for me. When other people depend on me. When it isn't just me I am letting down. But the guilt has subsided over the years nevertheless because I realize on these days, I must take care of myself. I have to manage my pain and engage in self care. Guilt is fundamentally useless. It is not my fault the pain exceeds my capacity to cope with it at times. It is just part of what chronic pain is. I just have to take the down time.

Even now as I write this…

Hoarding pain memories and gratitude journals

For this poster I used an image that is a happy memory for me, to remind myself of happy memories. Because pain and negative memories are actually easier for our brain to remember. It is wired that way. It needs to remember anything that might help with survival and anything that might have traumatized us, caused us pain or suffering sticks in there. They have done studies on it. Negative connotations... we remember. Positive images, not so much.

It presents a problem when every day it is;
More pain
Butt-ton of pain
Also pain

What are we thinking about and focusing on? All that past pain. The present pain. All that future pain. The joys. The happiness. Gets subsumed by pain, suffering and negative moods.

This is why we have to maintain our moods. We are exposed to more negativity and stress than most people are. We have to actively do things that will maintain and life our moods. Which then helps us cope with future pain.

Another things we can do is a gratitude journal. So our b…

Fear factor

The only thing to fear is fear itself. Well, maybe. Fear and chronic illness can comingle and create what doctors refer to as 'sick behaviors'. The fear of doing things because of the pain it will potentially, or will, cause.

Here is the thing; there was a time in my life not too long ago when my pain was unmanaged and I was an excessive hermit. Still a moderate hermit. But I was quite reclusive. People would invite me out but the idea that the suffering would get worse, or just having to deal with that pain in a social situation made me cringe. Or worrying about getting a migraine when I went out. So I went out less and less and less. Friends faded away until most were just gone.

In trying to manage my pain I have gone to pain management classes and psychologists and they all say don't let the pain rule your life. Live your life. Fear of engaging in life because of the pain holds us back.

I wonder why though. Because a) the pain will be there regardless b) we are used to…

Depression, boredom and distraction.

Boredom Can Be Dangerous for Mental Illness

Believe me, I’ve been there, and I’m all too familiar with the fact that doing nothing can lead to feeling stir-crazy. While relaxation is essential, it’s also important to feel accomplished. Just don’t overload yourself when you finally get going. It takes a delicate balance to keep from being overwhelmed.
I was just reading something about how we should stuff our day full of things. Even when we lack motivation. That doing, helps get that motivation. Helps retrain our brain to feel pleasure from activities again.

I do know for a fact, at night just scrolling on the computer I am hit with the deepest, darkest of thoughts. My psychologist tells me to confront them on paper to confront how irrational they are. which I do. However, if I am writing all night... there is no space in my brain for these thoughts in the first place. If I am getting involved in the activities I enjoy again; writing, reading, blogging and so forth then I am keeping my…

Welcome to the storm

The thing about chronic illness is that it is the hardest damn thing in your life. Things will stress you out in your life. Major events will cause significant pain, grief, hardship and pain. But there will be great joys and happiness to compensate for that. Just like everyone else. What is different is this constant, everlasting stressor that you have to endlessly deal with.

Infinite care: Leading to long term maintenance. Moderation. Never exceeding your limits. Careful planning. Just essentially a life of infinite care. And to be honest less spontaneity. But there is some spontaneity because sometimes you feel moderately good and want to take advantage of that moment, that window of opportunity as it were. Which we cannot do when we plan because generally our illness simply doesn't like plans.

Medications: More medications. Changing medications. Alternative treatments. Other alternative treatments. And all the side effects that come with these. And sometimes you have to wonder…

The pain price

Opioid Addiction Is a Huge Problem, but Pain Prescriptions Are Not the Cause

What Anderson Cooper's Show About Prescription Addiction Got Wrong About Chronic Pain

In response to Anderson Cooper's show I sent in this response:

Here is what I sent to CNN:
People with relentless chronic pain take painkillers as a last resort. Not a first, second... fifth. A last resort. It does not get us high. It slightly dims the pain so we can be somewhat functional in our lives. With unmanaged pain I has suicidal ideation and intent. Because that is what pain does when it is relentless and unmanaged. It exceeds your capacity to cope with it and every day you push beyond your limits. Until you wish desperately for the pain to end. You don`t have a life, you have a horrific existence. No sane person would want to live like that. When finally you get referred to a pain clinic to get a treatment plan; including medications, a psychologist to help with coping strategies, an exercise plan and so forth…