Tips for living with pain…

Oh great.  Here is yet another blog article trying to tell me how to live with pain.  What does this writer know?  This writer lives with 6 invisible diseases…and all of them have caused pain.  Hereditary Hemochromatosis (iron overload), Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (sensitivity to light, skin blisters), Hashimoto’s Thyroid (autoimmune…caused extreme stomach issues), Epstein-Barr Virus (felt entire vertebral column flare-up), Depression from pain, and Fribromyalgia (when anyone touched my skin, it felt like a slap).

Over the last three years, the pain continued to get worse.  I opted not to be on the pharmaceutical drugs due to the fact that HH is a genetic condition and no doctor could tell me for sure if the drugs would make my liver worse.  So pain it was.  But I wasn’t going to stop there.  I continued my search for things to help me cope that were going to work with my body naturally.  What did I find?

  1. Turmeric milk.  Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory properties…due to the active compound curcumin.
  2. Relief.  Building on that, I take this product because it has ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin, but even more than that it also includes turmeric root extract, as well as yucca root, which has long been used for osteoarthritis as well as inflammation of the intestine.  Ah-ha.  Hmm.  Remember my stomach pain before?  Better within weeks of getting on this.
  3. Restorative yoga.  Yoga has been shown to decrease the stress hormone cortisol.  Do you think I might have been stressed when I moved if my whole body felt like it was on fire?  Yes.  Just a little.  The difference in restorative though, is that you get to use comfy bolsters, blocks and blankets.  So we made little nests, and sat in that pose for 5-15 minutes depending on what it was.  I had a hard time at first, but learned to let go of my expectations of what my body used to be able to do.  The poses became second nature.
  4. Vinyasa yoga for back pain.  I graduated to Vinyasa…honestly, only because a friend pulled me in the direction my mind was afraid to go.  When she suggested restorative, I gave it a try.  When she said that I could do Vinyasa and possibly teach one day, my mind shut her down due to the pain.  “She has no idea how much moving hurts.”  Said the mind…but the heart wanted to get better.  Thankfully, it’s pretty strong, and said “Let’s do this thing!!!”  And so I did.  Almost 200 hours later…the girl on fire.  Literally.
  5. Meditation-like thoughts.  When I felt myself go into the dark place of pain, I would literally stop and say things to myself like “I am breathing in.  I am breathing out.”  I didn’t come up with this on my own.  I read part of a Thich Nhat Hanh’s You are Here, except at the time, I didn’t want to be there.  ha.  So I never finished it.  But it did teach me to focus my breathing.
  6. Friends checking in on you.  This part became difficult.  Not many people were in this category.  When you are in pain, people slip away.  They do.  It’s not their fault, but it is in the human nature to be uncomfortable when you don’t know what to do.  Most don’t climb down in the hole with you.  Watch this short video to get the full meaning of “The Power of Empathy”.  Rarely can a response make something better, says Dr. Brown, what makes something better is a connection.

So my friends, I leave you with my connection to you.  I am in the hole with you.  I have climbed down there.  I will hug you.  I will give you that love and connection to your pain, but the next step is on you.

Read more

Advertisements

Being terribly real…

RealOn the journey to motherhood, I didn’t pause to consider what it was going to be like after I had my daughters.  I never thought for a second about play dates, getting out of the house with two babies, or how I would live in pajamas…for a long time.  The only things I thought of were the sweet baby smell, and the adorable girl clothes all ready to put on my first baby.  It was easy for a while.  I know that sounds crazy, but it was.  She was a good baby after I got over the initial “How the heck do you breast feed right?” phase.  I was constantly tired, but it was a good tired.  One I could live with.  Until the day I found out I was pregnant with baby number 2.  The first one was only 9 months old.  Wow.  Was not expecting that.  Ha.

So fast forward to having 2 baby girls.  The struggle was real as they say.  I came up with the idea of play dates to get out of the house.  With moms I had never met before in my life.  It was wonderful, and I could reflect on that bonding experience for a long time, but what I want to get across is this point.  When we finally got past the pleasantries and being “real” with each other, it was a much better experience.  If you look past the cleaning like a mad woman before anyone came over for a play date (dumb thinking).  Making sure I had the right snacks out, and everything was prepped and ready so it appeared things were effortless.  Again, how dumb was that?  Not being embarrassed when my girls wanted to just sit and eat snacks instead of playing.  Like you can control your kids.  Hahaha.  When they are toddlers (new mom thinking is warped).

So as I have gotten older, and I visit my friends with kids, guess what y’all??  We don’t clean before anyone comes over.  We don’t.  It’s liberating.  I might be in something nice-ish, or I might be in yoga pants.  We don’t pretend that our lives are perfect.  And that the snacks float out to the table magically.  Although that would be pretty cool.  Heck, we don’t even know what we’re having for dinner half the time.  Or if there really is food in the house.  Some nights, it’s every human for themselves.  But why did it take so long to learn this?

When you meet someone, I know it takes a long time to get “real”.  Unless you quickly peel back the layers and say, “Oh there you are.  I like this you.  The real you.”  So if you are hurting and in pain because you think no one understands you, I want to ask you this, have you given them a chance yet?  Are you still the clean house, perfect food, immaculate outfits, and everything is nice and shiny, because believe me sister, life isn’t always nice and shiny.  Find the friends who are going to be there with you in the trenches and scream “Go for cover!” when the next life crisis is thrown at you.  Those are the ones who matter the most.  The ones who lift you up when life gets real.

 

Motivational Monday…

Sometimes, you do the hard things first just to get them out-of-the-way.  Other times, you do them last…putting them off until you can wait no longer.  Many people have been broken by the “hard things” as they carry them around.  Yesterday in my yoga teacher training, we talked about a burden I still carry.  I have gone through a different sort of spiritual awakening and not everyone is going to be there when I am done.  I know this.  That being said, it doesn’t matter how much you know, how much you prepare yourself mentally for making the hard choices, it still hurts when people closest to you don’t understand, or worse, decide they know what’s best for you in your life and how you should handle a situation. 

Because let’s say that the roles were reversed.  Would you know how to handle their pain?  Their righteousness?  Their “programming” as it appears?  Chances are, you would not.  It never fails to amaze me how many ugly things I see out there on the internet or social media platforms.  One in particular happened just last week.  An old friend from high school posted something he found funny…in defense of being gay.  You know where this is going.  He is openly gay…some people from our old way of life were programmed to think differently.  It ended up being rather sad…for the hater.  Not my friend.  He handled it well.

No matter what you think about another person’s way of life or beliefs, I want you to stop for a moment and think about what they have to carry through life.  Then think about what you are carrying.  Are you helping carry this person’s burden and do you genuinely care about them or are you just trying to persuade them that your beliefs are better than theirs thus adding to their burden??  Getting into an argument on social media and trying to persuade the masses about your way of thinking and how it’s been handed down from the mouth of God Himself helps absolutely no one.  What it does instead is send your ego forward.  You are no longer thinking with your heart…because if you were, you would understand that this person is carrying their own stuff the best they can and you pointing out their faults is clearly trying to break them down.  And honestly, I don’t think God instructs this way.  It’s time we stop doing that to each other my friends.

Carry

Soul searching…

Choices.  Decisions.  The things that can change your life.  If you know in your soul what you have to do, just do it.  Don’t drag it out my friends as you are setting yourself up for failure…or worse.  Stress.  Stress is the stuff that blocks your path both figuratively and literally.  It makes your head ache, your neck tense and your back hurt.  If you had to stop and give a friend advice about your situation, what would you say?  I know it doesn’t seem that easy, but it can be.  Are you over-analyzing the situation just a wee bit?  Chances are…yes.  Yes you are.  So trust your gut.  That’s right.  That little thing called intuition…well it’s there for a reason.  Now go forth and do that thing you don’t want to do.  Be weightless.

 

weight

Help yourself…

I was going to call this Motivational Monday…but I want you to know exactly what I am writing about.  I don’t want to mislead you as I might sound a bit harsh for a minute.  You need this.  I need this.  We need this.  So ahem, put on your big girl or boy pants for a minute and take a seat.

Sometimes people ask me for advice…and likewise, I ask others for advice occasionally.  The problem is, we aren’t really asking them for help.  We are merely wanting to let them know how crappy our lives are at the moment.  How horrible X, Y, and that Z is.  We let whatever their situation is get into our heads sometimes.  We should definitely NOT do that, but as good friends, maybe even best friends, we do.  It sinks into our souls like an anchor and there it lies.  It has extra weight that we carry around for who knows how long.  It might even take up space in our very valuable brain…space we scarce have left for our own issues let alone others.

So this is what I propose we all do before we ask for advice.  We think long and hard about our situation and if the situation can be improved and/or fixed by actually doing something instead of talking about it.  If the answer is yes, then write out a plan.  If you don’t think you can fix it yourself, and you really do require advice or help, then by all means, ask away.  But be prepared to actually use the advice others dispense.  Now before anyone reads into this, this is always purely written for me.  I am giving myself advice today.  Right now.

My good friend Dr. Marion gave me three questions to ponder over when I get asked for health advice from others.  The first is “What do you expect from me?”…maybe to clear up goals the other person wants for themselves.  The next is “What is your ideal lifestyle?”  She used this one on me a while back when working on my mobility at her office.  I thought about that for a while.  It sounds easy, but I really want you to think about it as it relates to your health.  Lastly was “How do you expect to get there?”  Of course I said magic wand…then I added that’s where she comes in.  She gets my humor.  But it’s hard working with her sometimes so I avoid it occasionally as that’s what we all do if we don’t like pain.  Likewise, we avoid listening to or taking the advice of others because it might cause us pain or difficulty.  We want the easy way out.  We do.

The difference is I know this and I still have a block.  I told her that today.  The hard things are just HARD to do.  I’m so damn tired of hard.  I don’t see myself as some of my friends do because I know what’s in my head.  I know how close I have come to not trying anymore.  Not giving up…just not trying.  But my friend told me I was so motivated it’s scary today.  And Marion told me to just stop “leading” and let her help me.  Because that’s what I do.  I look for answers, I don’t stop and rest too long or I’ll stay there, and I keep leading.  I will succeed in my goal of coming back into my body at full capacity.  I will not let these labels, these ridiculous, stupid labels, stop me from living.  If you are tired of living with a label and you are asking for advice, please do yourself a favor and HELP YOURSELF.  You are the lead in your life.  You are.  But when you ask for advice, if you truly need help, then take it.  And that my friends is my lesson for today.

Help yourself

Author’s note:  Dr. Marion gave me this listing for everyone needing to find your own AK practitioner.

Motivational Monday…

I had a different blog post planned until I read several things on my social media page.  I am sad about most of what I see and my mom thinks I need to stay off of it…I do try, but it’s difficult when you run a few pages…so here is my post for today.

I have an amazing friend.  She is super smart, funny, talented and has a wonderful story to go along with it all.  I do so love a wonderful story, but it’s hers to tell.  She is inspiring in so many ways, mostly due to her public battle with cancer.  She is not afraid to put herself out there, and her help with homeless and recovering addicts inspires me as well.  If you have a moment to put her in your thoughts or prayers, please do so as this was part of her message today “about 10 or so my heart stopped for 11 minutes and 18 seconds”.  When I read that, I didn’t know what to say…except she was in a happy place during that time with her grandparents, and I understand that feeling of wanting to stay.  But she has work yet to do here, so God sent her back.

I want you to think about what you have left here on this earth to do.  I want you to think about all the people who inspire you and all the people you inspire without maybe even knowing it.  Seriously.  Journal about it if you would like.  Write down the qualities of these people and then turn it inward.  Are there things you can be doing to help others?  Are there ways you might like to be more like them?  Can you turn your negative thoughts into positives?  For example, I wish I had more money.  I think that in my head.  I know I do.  I am working on changing it to, I am glad I had enough money for that unexpected bill.  I will work on saving more.  Or how about this one, I need to lose weight and I don’t eat right.  Turn it into, I am losing weight by eating better.  I am doing great.  It takes time.

The thing about this friend is that if she has had a bad day or a bad experience, she always turns it into a positive one for her support team.  She knows we worry, are afraid, might be depressed, and suffer the same kind of negative thoughts as everyone else, but she self-talks us into feeling better.  And it works.  Self-talk is great.  At the end of her posts, if she has had a hard day, I still believe she is happy and knows she is loved.  That is the number one thing to turning your mood around.  Come from a place of love and seek your joy.  In all things, you can find your joy.  I love you friend if you are reading this.  I know you can do the hard things.

Joy

Awww shucks y’all…

Breathe in.  Focus on your breath.  Breathe out.  Whooosh.  What am I doing?  Oh hi there.  Nothing.  People are trying to make me cry and stuff…but like that man in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, I am holding it back.  Please tell me you clicked on that link.  It’s funny.  Shhh.  Kids movies are funny…plus I don’t see erm adult movies anymore.  Back to the point of this post.

I am counting the good days, the good things that happen, and the good people in my life.  I am ignoring the bad right now because it’s something I need to do for myself.  It is one of my coping mechanisms when I am having a hard time.  Somehow, God, the universe and good people know when I am having a hard time.  Ok, so I tell God things all the time, but it’s kind of like telling your teacher…maybe even tattling on yourself.  You can’t help but think God, are you listening to me?  Am I in time-out now?  Or maybe He’s like “Aimee, calm down.  I am trying to take of the other 1,000,000 people who need me right now.  Just chill.”  So here I am chilling.  Occasionally going God, pick me!  Pick me!  It’s my turn!!!  I am being patient.  Well, that’s when He sends in my friends.  My support system.  People who are there to help.

Knowing that I have a “life sentence” of dealing with the ups and downs of invisible diseases, well, I am not going to lie, I do have “woe is me” days and I hate those days.  So I work extra hard to focus on others on those days.  I built my fan page around picking up people like me.  So imagine my surprise when I woke up one morning, way after all you other nice people have gone to work, and found a note on my wall that I was one of 22 most inspirational pages for my friend Sheila.  Well, I was shocked.  Look for yourself…I am actually there.  Have a peek.  Really.  It’s still there.  I thought maybe it was going to go away like magic, but it’s still there!!  22 Most Inspiring Facebook Pages.   Ta-dahhhhhh.

A sense of “you must be doing something right” came over me.  Then this contest jumped up in my face here on Best Health Blogs 2014.  And I thought why not me too?  I got a later start than everyone else who knew about the contest, but it can’t hurt.  I technically need a mere 1000 votes to catch up, but it’s for $1,000 and I would definitely put that money to good use as I am paying off dachshund bills, backed up sink, and erm things that were ruined in my attic like my brand-new Christmas tree, but who’s counting?  I’m not.  Oh and that burning smell in my mini-van that I continue to pray to God will keep working…so we dump more oil in and keep on going (P.S.  it’s got some sort of oil leak…but it’s fine).  So these things I do not focus on.  I don’t.  I do that thing that children do when they can’t hear you…I cover my ears and go lalalalalala.   Ignore.  Can’t deal with you right now.

And guess what?  It works for me because I can focus on the good.  When I tell you the “bad” and you understand that someone out there gets it, not just kinda gets it, but really and truly could look you in the eye and say “I have been where you are, I might still be there, but it’s getting better day by day.”  And you realize that you are not always going to be wherever “there” is.  That it might be bad at this moment.  It might.  But stop, breathe in and out and find the good in your life.  It’s there.  Trust me sisters and brothers, it’s there.  Oh and note to self, God hasn’t stop listening.  He hears you.  He is making way right now for some amazing things to come into your life.  So put on your cape, and start focusing on the good.  You can do this.

empower cape time