in your arms i experience true peace
no place do i feel safer, not even in my own mind – which creates chaos and worry
my chest full of rapid beats – you wrap your strong arms around me
calms my heart
calms my thoughts
calms my soul……
…..and it is so darn frustrating and down right scary some days. There are times the brain fog is so thick is seems as if I am trying to think my way through oatmeal, and the old-fashioned rolled ones at that. I can’t remember peoples’ names, words, what I walked into a room for, or what I was going to say next. These symptoms scare me, big time, and I have to work hard to keep my emotions in check as anxiety can come on strong and put me on a train to nowhere.
So, to assist with my memory, here are a few things that I do:
- I make a lot of lists. I keep a running list of items needed at the grocery store and things to do …………….now if I can only keep track of all my lists!
- I keep a calendar on my phone plus one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom. I also keep separate calendars on the wall for each of my kiddos major projects, homework, and tests. I realize this is a lot of calendars, but it has taken me years to discover what works for me.
- I try not focus on my mental hiccups as it leads to anxiety which makes every single symptom in the entire world worse!
- I consume healthy fats for my brain.
- I do my best to stay properly hydrated.
- I try to keep my brain active by reading, listening to music, researching, meditating, and trying to learn something new. Who couldn’t be helped by memorizing some Shakespeare?…..shall I count the ways?!
- I take omega 3 fatty acid every day.
- I take magnesium every day.
- I eat a large salad every day.
- I try to move my body daily with some type of physical activity.
Memory issues, from my experience, seem to go along with many of chronic illnesses. I would LOVE to hear what helps you………..
i feel safe from the world
i feel safe from my fears
this safety allows me to stop my tears
i hate feeling scared of what might be
but i am thankful that you are here to calm me
to whisper to me that it will all be ok
that you will, through it all, with me, will stay
no one can truly understand the pain and discomfort of living
to understand the masks put on every day, to live within the confines of this society, not to be viewed as worthless, useless, in a culture that wants fast paced living, quick movements, immediate answers, a fountain of youth, boundless energy, radiating health………..
we struggle to even maneuver down this path……….it is twisting, turning sharply with multiple bumps in the road
it’s a lonely road we roam…………..the desperation, the clinging onto hope, the desire to feel normal……………it is astounding thoughts of healing we try to keep alive – pushed to the back of our minds so not to be overwhelmed with the thoughts of what might be.
the road is endless and uncharted. it is an intimidating place to ramble as the fog covers the path – your view is obscured…………you have no ability to see where you are going.
it’s like taking a trip, to an unknown place without any clue to where you are going or how you are going to get there…………..not a path I would have chosen to take, but one I am on nonetheless.
i can’t keep up with you……………
…………do you secretly want to leave me?
i anxiously worry about the future……………………what if i don’t heal
…………will you dream about leaving me?
what if i get worse………….and i can no longer leave the house?
………..will you pray about leaving me?
what if i require even more of your time and energy………………..
……….will you desire to leave me?
what if i can no longer walk by your side…………………
……………will you hope to live a life free of me?
what if you become bored and she can do more………….
………….will you plan to leave me?
i am so thankful you have stayed this long…………..is it selfish to ask for more?
who wants to be tied down when you are physically able and free to go………………….
……………do you want to leave me?
When I was much younger, traveling was something I looked forward to doing in my life. I dreamed that some day I/we would have enough money to visit a few places I have always dreamed of seeing in person……..Italy, India, Cuba, Belize and the Southwest U.S. Instead, extra money goes to pay medical bills and the thought of getting on a plane or sitting in a vehicle for a long road trip creates anxiety. I already feel ill, being in a moving anything makes me feel worse…………every, single, time. Period. It just sucks.
But there are times in our life when we need to go somewhere that requires being in a moving vehicle for more than a trip across town, and since teleportation isn’t a thing yet, I just have to suck it up and get through it.
So here are a few things that have made traveling more bearable for me:
- I stay hydrated. I always feel better when my body has adequate water. Bottled is a must as tap (chlorinated) water makes me instantly ill.
- I eat as healthy as possible. Junk food makes me feel like just like that, junk. I usually pack a cooler and bring cut up veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds, grain-free tortilla chips, and some health bars.
- I watch the world pass by. Unfortunately I can’t read, look at my phone or do much of anything other than look out the window while being in a moving object. Doing otherwise has had some bad results.
- I bring my pillows and blanket with me. I must have a wedge pillow to sleep as elevating my head at night allows me to function better the next day. Then my own blanket to cozy up with at the end of the day allows me to sleep better.
- I don’t push myself into that k(no)w zone. You know the place of no return, when you realize that if you do anymore you won’t be able to function the next day. I use to worry about letting others down but now, I realize that even if I am going to unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings, I won’t force my body to do things it just doesn’t want to do. I do what I can and know I have done my best.
- I do my best to take all supplements and/or medication on time. I keep these with me as I travel so I don’t have to waste precious energy frantically searching for them at the last minute.
- I bring earbuds with me so I can listen to relaxing music or a podcast when I need to focus on something other than how crappy I feel.
- I pack comfortable clothing and shoes. I know we all want to look nice but comfort is so much more important.
- If I am going to be busy on the day I arrive at my destination, I always ask for early check-in. That way I have time to relax before I need to be somewhere.
- I always bring my heating pad. That way I have something to help relieve sore muscles other than a hot shower.
Until next time…………..YOU are a superhero and superheros sometimes have to fly!
Living with illness day-in and day-out not only wears on your body, but takes a toll on your mental health. It is hard to keep picking yourself up when you are in constant pain, hear a trail of bad news from health care practitioners, and experience the isolation that CI can bring. Depression and anxiety start to take a grip on your brain and it can be a very hard grip to shake. Taking time, daily, to give yourself a mental pick-me-up is an important part of keeping as healthy as possible.
- Pray/Meditate for guidance, for new ways to deal with your illness, for healing paths that bring comfort, and for people into your life who truly care.
- Listen to music that makes you happy………from Mozart to The Beatles from Madonna to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, music has a way of making us happy and allowing our minds to escape from reality – as least for a little while.
- Get outside in nature. Who doesn’t love looking at pictures of the beach, a flower in a field or a beautiful tree in a forest? To experience it in person allows you to internalize the beauty and refresh the soul.
- Drink a glass of filtered water. It is so important that we stay properly hydrated. It seems like such an easy thing to do but when you are in pain and nauseous, it can be a chore to take in enough fluids. Water is known to improve mood, reduce headaches and flush out toxins. Plain water does get boring, so adding lemon, cucumber, lime, orange, strawberries, even some fresh herbs such as mint or basil can add flavor and bring added benefits. Be creative!
- Sit outside and soak in some rays for 15 minutes. Sun increases your vitamin D levels which can give your immune system and mood a boost.
- Laugh. Get on-line and read some jokes, get on Pinterest, search for some funny memes, or watch a feel good movie……..laughter decreases stress hormones and increases endorphins, which are the feel good chemicals.
- Breathe……….sometimes we are so stressed we are not really breathing. Take some deep breaths, not forced, just natural. Our body NEEDS oxygen to live and deep breathing has been proven to have a positive impact on your brain, heart, digestion and immune system. Check-in with yourself at least twice a day to make sure you are really breathing.
- Journal. Sometimes the chronic illness monster gets the best of us. We just need to say stuff, swear like a drunken sailor, scream at the top of our lungs, yell at our doctors for not believing/helping/healing, and who are we to tell? When we are alone it is imperative that we get those thoughts and feelings out so they are not internalized, creating a breeding ground for more illness. Write those feelings down as they come. Do not worry about what it is or how it is written, just let it out.
- Do some gentle exercise like take a walk, a few yoga poses, ti chi, or stretches. Whenever possible, move your body as much as possible as this also releases endorphins, possibly reducing depressive symptoms. Walking to and from the bathroom and/or kitchen is way better than nothing.
- Eat a healthy snack. It is important that we continue to eat clean, healthy food despite our illnesses. Eating food in its most natural state is best for providing our bodies the necessary vitamins and minerals needed to function as highly as possible. A smoothie, a piece of fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds or 1/2 an avocado are all healthy and simple.
Until next time……………….You are a superhero! (Yes, I mean YOU!)