Better days

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Yesterday was a rough day for me, emotionally, anyway. Today, however was much better :). I woke up in a good mood, and I stayed in a good mood. It was just a nice relaxing Sunday, about as close to a “normal” day as I ever get. Despite the heat/humidity, I made it out for my walk this afternoon. It took me a little bit longer than usual, 45 minutes instead of my usual 30, but it was nice. My pain levels are still way down, although the fog in my brain is as bad as ever. That’s ok, one step at a time…

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Writing my way through a rough day…

Dear World-

I’m writing today to inform you that I am done playing your games. I am going to play my own game, by my own rules.

I am tired. I am tired of being made to feel like I’m not good enough for you. I’m sick of feeling like I’m being measured by your standards and coming up short. I’m not happy enough, I’m not thin enough, I have a terrible temper, I have an invisible, incurable disease… my imperfections are many, and you’ve never let me forget a single one.

I feel like every time I try to pull myself up, to better myself, you are compelled to trample me. You hold the ideals of what I aspire to be against me to show me what I am not. You push every button, gouge every wound and grind away at me until I slip back into old habits, thus giving you “proof” that I have not changed.

Change is not easy. It does not happen overnight. It is a process, a slow, grueling climb up a slippery slope. Before you judge me on how slow my progress is, why don’t you try to make some changes in yourself and see how they go?

I have finally realized why you insist on putting me down. You’re afraid of what I might become. You’re afraid that I might actually become the phoenix and rise from my ashes as something more brilliant than even your so called “standards”. What then? What would you do if I surpassed everything that you’ve used to measure me with?

That being said, I’m done allowing things outside of my control to control me. I’m not going to allow you to make me feel worthless or miserable any longer.

I am not perfect and I admit it freely, but I know now that I am not the worthless creature you would have me believe I am. I know now that I am the only thing keeping myself from being happy. No one else can make me happy, and no one else can truly take my happiness away, unless I allow them to.

I may forget it occasionally, but deep down, I know that I am a truly amazing person. I have been brought down, kicked and trampled, yet I keep fighting. I keep getting back up. I may be down, but I’m not out.

I don’t need you to remind me of my imperfections, I keep the list handy so that I have clear goals to focus on. True, I may not be able to “fix” all of them, but perhaps I can at least find a way to make them less noticeable.

Take my temper, for instance: I will probably always have a “passionate” streak, but I don’t have to give in to it every time it rears its head. Perhaps I can even find a way to put it to some constructive use. The important thing is, I know it’s an issue, and I’m not letting it continue unchecked.

Feel free to hang on to your little list of my imperfections, I’m sure at some point, when you need a pick me up, you’ll be able to look at it and it will make you feel better about yourself. As for me, I’m going to continue to keep it nearby, but I think I’ll focus more on my better qualities:

I am:
– a fighter
– loyal
– caring/loving
– strong
– intelligent
– passionate
– creative
– an excellent cook
– compassionate
– honest
– courageous
– persistent

 
You may choose to overlook these qualities because you feel that they aren’t good enough to make up for my “lesser” traits, that’s your prerogative. I, on the other hand, am quite proud of these and plan to make the most of them.

Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”. You may judge me against whatever standards you wish, it makes no difference to me, as I know exactly what I am and what I am not.

It is human nature to want to feel accepted and appreciated, and I won’t deny that I do want your approval. However, I do not need it. It is not vital to my life, it would just be nice to have.

Sincerely,
Christina

Decisions

“Some choices you make with your heart, some with your head, but when in doubt choose head over heart—it will keep you alive.”

– Meredith Gentry, Laurell K. Hamilton

Exercise and Fibro

This article goes hand in hand with my own personal experience, I thought I would share it to show that I’m not entirely crazy. 🙂 I know some fellow fibro sufferers are quite rightly skeptical of my plan and even some of my family and friends think I might be overreaching on this one. I truly believe that with the right attitude along with the desire and the will to change will do more to help me live a normal life with disease than any drug or treatment ever will. Part of why I write this blog is because of the strength of my belief; I want to show people that this disease doesn’t have to destroy your life.

—UPDATE—

I just received a message in regard to this last post. It said “I keep hearing about how exercise can help, but it’s not a cure. It’s just another treatment, you can’t stop. If you stop, the disease just comes back, we need a cure, not another cover up for the symptoms.”

Well, it’s true. My plan is not a cure, it is just the way that I am choosing to deal with my invisible foe.  Yes, if I stop exercising, stop trying, the disease will come back, full force. The question I have to ask is: why would I stop? If it’s working, if I feel better, why in the world would I stop doing the very thing that’s helping me?

If it was a pill that was helping, would you stop taking it, (assuming it has no horrible side effects), just because it wasn’t a cure?

I wouldn’t. The only difference is, this isn’t a pill, it’s something that I am doing. A daunting task, yes, but I can not sit idly by waiting for some miracle cure that may never come.

This is my life we’re talking about. I won’t let it go to waste just because I’d rather wait for a cure than use a treatment that works.

Thank you for that e-mail. Responding to it brought my passion back to the surface and reminded me why I’m doing what I’m doing. You don’t have to give any credit to what I say, but I will do it, whether you believe me or not.

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Now you know

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The Plan in Action, Update

Item number 7 on my list of things to do today was to report back on how my day went, so here I am! I’m feeling much better than I was this morning; my pain levels are a considerably more manageable 4-5 at the moment and I’m still in a great mood. I am, however, utterly exhausted. I didn’t get a chance to take a nap, so I’ve decided to go to bed early instead.

As for the rest of my list, I have to admit that I didn’t stick to it very well. Obviously, I completed number one this morning and I did get to relax with a cup of tea and my book. After that, things didn’t go exactly as planned. Instead of lounging outside, I spent a good chunk of my morning following the stock market. My dad is trying to teach me a thing or two about day trading, so I figured the least I could do was put some effort into it. 🙂 No, it’s not the most exciting, (or relaxing), thing to do, but I did learn some new things and hopefully, someday I’ll be able to make some money doing it.

I did make it to item number four, I spent a very pleasant afternoon chatting with my mom and dad in law. It’s the first time since I started this project of mine that I’ve actually sat down and talked to them for more than a few minutes. Sadly, they were among the group of people who I previously pushed away from myself, today’s visit was my first step towards truly letting them be involved in my life.

You know what? It was awesome and I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect since I’ve never really spent much time with them when my husband wasn’t around. I know, that probably seems odd, but I really did spend entirely too much energy keeping people away from me.

Regardless, it was a great afternoon, for the first time ever, I opened up and actually talked to them. I told them about my plan to heal myself and invited them to follow my blog. I cried my eyes out while my second mom held my hand as I explained how truly miserable I had been and how ashamed I was of my behavior.

Not only had they already forgiven me, they understood why things had been the way they were and all this time had just been giving me space to do what I needed to do. Seriously, I could not ask for a better family than the one I have; I have four fabulous parents who, whether I was aware of it or not, have been behind me every step of the way and continue to support my efforts as I work towards putting my life back together.

Since I know they’re all reading this, I just want to say: thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I spent the entire afternoon and part of the early evening with my in laws, which is why I didn’t get around to that nap. After such an emotional, (but profoundly amazing), afternoon, I was too wiped out to take the walk I had planned either. Seriously, it’s just about bed time.

Even though my day started out utterly miserable, and didn’t go exactly as planned, I’m going to call this experiment a total success. I was able to get past the pain and fatigue without hiding in bed all day. I may have been short several spoons, but I was able to carry on with my plan to bring the people I love back into my life.

Today, I won.

Past or Future?

This is a lesson that I’m still trying to learn. It’s why I’ve spent two posts so far discussing the things that I have lost because of illness and still mourn. The future doesn’t deserve to be punished for the things that have already happened, I think we could all be happier if we could find it within ourselves to truly forgive.

watchful savvy

past and future Don´t let yesterday take up too much of today.  The past is over and has served it´s purpose.  Now and tomorrow is the place full of potential and like a blank canvas can be painted anyway you choose.  You decide what you spend your time thinking on so dwelling on things from the past that can´t be altered can often be a misuse of your mind´s potential.  Thinking about the way to make things work for now and the future can be more productive and a lot more rewarding.

You are what you think

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The Plan in Action…

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Why is it that the pain is always the worst at night? It can’t just be me who experiences this obnoxious phenomenon, right? I lie down, exhausted from a long and trying day; I am just about asleep when the little fibro gnomes in my body decide to declare war on me.

I think I must have laid there for about three hours trying to fall asleep while the evil gnomes pulled the muscles from my bones one fiber at a time… Sorry if that’s a bit too graphic this early in the morning, but to be honest, it amuses me to come up with new and disturbing ways to describe my pain to people who don’t have fibro. I’ve got to find the bright side somewhere! 🙂

Considering the multi-hued handful of pills that I have to take at night in order to get to sleep, it’s pretty scary that the gnomes are able to keep me awake. Just so we’re clear, I’m not up early to make this post, I just haven’t gone to sleep yet. Ugh, it’s going to be a long day.

However, there’s still a sort of bright side to it; this is a perfect day to test out my theory concerning changing how I react to my illness. Just as a quick recap, my plan is to change the way I react to the fibromyalgia in order to stop it running my life. That being said, I’m going to come up with a basic plan for how I’d like today to go, even though I’m in serious pain.  Here’s my plan for today:

  1. I’m not hiding my pain. Instead, here I sit, putting it out there for the world to see.
  2. Enjoy a nice, relaxing cup of tea, while I read a good book. I’m currently reading Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card.
  3. Once it warms up a bit, I’m going to, (get ready for this!), go outside. Granted, it’s not like I’m going to go out there to do yard work or anything, but I think soaking up some sunshine will be good for me.
  4. Shower. With any luck, that will help relieve some of my discomfort.
  5. Assuming that I’m not in too much pain, (or too tired), to take a short drive, I’m going to go visit my in-laws for a little while. Luckily, they’re not far, so it should be feasible.
  6. Honestly, I’m probably going to need a nap right about now.
  7. I’m going to try to get in a little bit of exercise. I’m not going to go crazy, but if I can get in a trip around the block, I’ll be happy.
  8. Report back on how the day actually went, and be totally honest about it. I know that to most of the population out there, that’s probably a pretty lame plan for an entire day, but remember, I’m running on zero sleep and right now, my pain level is bouncing between 7 and 10. I’m a bit short on spoons today, so I’ve got to be realistic about what I can actually do.

The truly amazing thing is that, even though my pain levels are through the roof right now, my mood is great. True, this could be due to lack of sleep, but I’m going to be optimistic and say that maybe, just maybe, my plan to change how I react to my pain is actually working.

Logic and reason are definitely telling me that this is impossible, but if I don’t at least try, I’ll never know.

I’ll check back in later tonight to record my results, in the meantime, I hope everyone has a fabulous day!

“Shades of Love”

Shades of Love WM

This is one of my favorite pieces, but it actually happened on accident. I was just playing with some watercolors, experimenting with the way they moved across the paper and I fell in love with the way the colors came together. I call it “Shades of Love” because I believe that love is made up of many different emotions. Affection, loyalty, passion, longing; I think it’s safe to say that most people can easily equate these emotions with love. Then I realized that there is another side to the story; the side no one really likes to think about. Jealousy, anger and even hatred are also facets of the complicated equation we call love.

Think about it: when you are truly in love with someone, they have the power to get under your skin like no one else. The strength of your love allows them to know exactly which buttons to push to make you angry or jealous. I’m not saying that you should be angry or that your partner should use their power to make you angry, I’m just saying that only someone who truly loves you has the power to draw out your strongest emotions, negative or positive. The next time you and your lover get into an argument, try and remember that the only reason that you (or they) are so angry is because you’re in love. Just see what happens 🙂

Of course, this theory also works on other things that you love, not just people. Think for a moment, about issues that you feel strongly about. Why, for instance, do I see red when I hear about the abuse of children or animals? Because those are both things that I love. I don’t just ” like” them, or even “like, like” them. If that were the case, I wouldn’t get so angry when I look at the news headlines.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this little theory of mine!

For those of you with an interest in the piece itself, it’s a watercolor and charcoal painting, entirely of my own design. If you would like to see more of my work, please visit me at DeviantArt!

Something to Remember

I’m having one of those days where everything seems pointless and it feels as though the cup that holds my strength to face the day has a giant hole in it. Really, all I want to do is go hide in bed until the day is gone.

Remember that black hole, that pit of despair I mentioned? I’ve been trying to escape it and I thought I’d managed to put some distance between it and myself… Sadly, over night, it seems to have crept back up on me and once again, I feel like I’m teetering on the edge of it.

The good thing is, this time, I know I’m not alone. I have people I can reach out to and I have people reaching out to me as well. I woke up this morning to find two lovely messages (from complete strangers) waiting for me on the “Fighting Fibro with Fire” Facebook page. At least I know that my words are reaching people and aren’t just getting lost in cyber space. It also reminds me that my fight and my pain are not pointless; I am actually helping people, even as I help myself.

I’d just like to say a great, big “thank you” to all of you who are following my blog, liking my Facebook page and posting comments; it means a lot to me. Seriously. You guys remind me that there is a bright side, even to days like today. Sometimes you have to dig a bit to find it, but sometimes it’s there waiting in your inbox :).

I hope you find as much hope and inspiration in this poem as I did!

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