Day 2: Of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most…

Of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most.

~Mark Twain

This quote says it all for me. I used to be so much smarter, more articulate… you know, way back when, when my memory was too good (those days when I used to wish I could forget things… man! I want to take those wishes back!) I was able to hold an adult conversation without stumbling over my words, without feeling like a complete idiot for my inability to figure out which word to say next.

I feel like a little bit of my brain goes dark each day never to surface again… I have a great day, but the memory of it doesn’t stick. The jokes and funny things, secrets amongst friends… yeah. That doesn’t work for me. I can’t remember shit and I don’t get jokes because by the time my brain catches up to what was said… the conversation has moved on.

Lord knows. I miss my mind. I miss feeling like a functioning adult. Holding a conversation at any level, with anyONE is stressful. I am afraid I’m going to say something stupid or something that just makes absolutely zero sense. I can fake it, you get good at that. I’m sure many of you would agree, you learn to fake a conversation… fake confidence… fake feeling good. My social anxiety, once manageable is now at an all time high. It’s all so exhausting.

What kills me is there are so many memories I wish I still had the ability to recall. Memories of my children, my husband, family, friends… “Don’t you remember when… ?” welllll, no, I don’t. I’m the best person to confess a secret to, I will not remember it. The problem is when you tell me a secret you want me to remember for future reference… hmmmmm, that is a challenge I don’t succeed at much.

So, what do I do about it? Well, I do my best to appreciate the here and now. I understand that this is my life and I do my best not to waste today worrying or wondering about yesterday. I give myself a break. I make light of it. I laugh at myself when I can’t remember how to use the washing machine, when I can’t figure out how to use a can opener. Life is too short. I appreciate that I can watch a movie more than once and still get surprised.

I have faith. I know that there is a bigger plan for me and I trust that I will follow the path that has been set forth for me. It’s not easy, but without faith, without believing… what’s left? I miss memories, the ability to articulate but each day presents a new opportunity to learn and become a better person. It’s up to me to take the challenge.

Fibromyalgia and the “Why Me??” Syndrome…

So I’m sure many of you have had those hours, days or even weeks where you have the “Why Me?” syndrome. You know what I’m talking about. You are in a flare, you are depressed, you are having major foggy brain… you are just doing what you can to function and get through the day. People around do not really get what this feels like, we look normal – yet we are suffering (God I hate that word, “suffering” – don’t feel sorry for me, I just can’t think of another word). You start to question what the hell did I do to deserve this f’d up thing called Fibromyalgia? For starters… you probably worked your body and mind for years to the point where everything finally just crashed and burned. I have to believe that’s what happened to me.  No, I don’t deserve it. Living with it is not fun… it’s never fun. It’s a struggle to keep my emotions in control. I challenge myself every day with staying positive, smiling and not falling down that deep dark hole of depression. Most days I win, some days I lose.

Working full-time is honestly about all I can do these days. It sucks. Every week I start working on Monday, I get to Thursday and I’m struggling by the afternoon… on Friday I’m struggling all day. Saturday I try to get up and out of the house and do something fun, sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t… Sunday ends up being a day of forced rest. It’s a cycle that I have come to know very well. I’m pretty sure I’ve written this in my blog once or twice (maybe even three times) before. I appreciate that I have a job that allows me to work from home. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to commute everyday. I am thankful for the job that I have, it’s not the job as much as it is working in general. I get resentful that it takes all my good energy. What’s left at the end of the day is like the warning message you get when your laptop/phone is about to die “Warning! 10% remaining…”. Lately I’ve had to just “shut it down” and go to bed and try again the next day. I am a professional TV viewer. Well, maybe not professional, if you ask me what I just watched I can probably tell you the name of the show, but not what happened IN the show. I’m too anxious to read, no energy to go out and a lot of the time I sit and think “what should I be doing right now?”, yet as many times as I ask myself this question, I hardly ever get an answer. It’s crazy. I should know what I want to do and how I want to spend my time, yet each day it’s the same thing.

How am I doing this week… The dreaded question… or better yet, “What’s wrong with you?”, “What’s going on with you?”, “Is something wrong?”, you get the drift. Hmmmmm, so many ways to answer that question. Yet, I can’t come up with any new material. I’ve used up all the standard answers… and yes, I’m in pain all the time… and yes, most days I am depressed and I totally get that I’m not always that responsive. I really am doing my best. My best isn’t always good enough, I get that. Thus, the “Why Me?” syndrome. I really don’t want to live like this, it’s not a choice. I’m well aware of my mental and physical state… all the time.

What does it mean to live with pain? Well, the obvious answer, to those of us living this dream life, is I need help (I apologize for the sarcasm, but this damn “Why Me?” syndrome really brings out the worst in me). I need a lot of help. I need help washing my hair, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, cooking the food, shopping, walking the dog, worst of all – driving… the list is endless. It’d be easier to answer what I don’t need help with. I need help thinking, processing information, remembering. When I’m feeling like this, I can’t remember my name sometimes. Don’t look at me like I’m crazy because I can’t remember something… I already feel crazy. It means, what takes a healthy person 30 seconds to do will sometimes take me ten times that… hell 50 times that on a really bad day.

This past week-end I decided I wanted to do some things around the house. I thought I’d surprise my husband, who was gone for the day, and do some laundry, wash the sheets and the duvet thingy. Well, I got up and did some cleaning, took all the sheets off the bed and the duvet thingy off the comforter. Did I mention I have the easiest bed to make? I did two loads of laundry and I started to make the bed when WHAM! My body was like “OHHHHH, HELL NO!! You are not going to do that!!” Awesome. The fitted sheet is on 1/2 the bed. I’m laying on top of the bed in excruciating pain. So! Now it just looks like I made a mess and I’m too lazy to make the bed (and the real topper is you can’t even tell the sheets were washed). The best intentions… I did manage to finish making the bed, but not before my husband came home. Surprise! What a fail. I was exhausted, in pain and frustrated that I couldn’t finish what I started (I did mention I have the easiest bed to make, right?). Ever had one of those days?

Annnnyyyyyhoooooo, as you can see, I’m having one of those weeks. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I just want to express what I’m going through. I want to know my normal is normal to others with Fibromyalgia and Depression. I want people who are in relationships with people like us to understand… you know, really get that we appreciate the help but most of all we need you to support us by understanding. Plain and simple. Understand life with FMS/Depression is what it is. We have to accept it, we want you to as well. There are no miracle cures. We may feel good today and not be able to get out of bed tomorrow. Don’t act surprised or wonder why… we have no answers. Trust me, we want answers. We want a cure. We want our independence and freedom back.

Please let me know how you are doing. Share your experiences with me. Most of all, relax.

Thanks for reading.

Stay cool!

Tamiko

What Would You Do? Stand Up For Your Pain!

The cameras are rolling…. All eyes on you…. You have probably seen the TV show, “What Would You Do?” I was going to blog about a situation I was in a couple of weeks ago. A truly, stupid situation that I needed some time to get through, mellow out and say to myself, GET THE HELL OVER IT! I wanted to vent and get that shit out of my system, but it would not have helped and it would not have helped any of you! I have to keep reminding myself every hour, every minute of the day to stay positive these days. It’s a challenge, but sometimes that’s what one has to do. Right now, that’s what it is. Prayer and giving my cares and worries over to God is what I’m doing.

My life has been seriously out of balance. Work has been crazy busy – way too many hours. Family and friends close to me are in need of God’s healing hands. The weather has been crazy, mostly rainy and cold. I’ve been in a constant flare for what seems like forever – it’s only been a few weeks. For the first time in a long time I have increased my dose on one of my meds. It sucks, I don’t know if any of you feel this way, but increasing meds makes me feel like a failure, like I’m not managing my pain like I’m supposed to. I agree to a certain extent that I shouldn’t feel that way, but at the same time, I also feel I should be in control of my body. FMS is a crazy place to live. Depression has stolen a lot of my mind the past few weeks and I really want it back. I have fought and fought and fought, I FINALLY feel like I may be starting to come back, it’s so damn hard. It’s like climbing up hill through quicksand (because I have done that before, right?). Trust me, my family really, REALLY prefer the not deeply depressed mother/ wife over the scary/ ugly mean lady that’s been living in the house lately. She scares me too.

Speaking of my family, well specifically my husband… I am not CO-dependent, I am SOUL-dependent (and yes I meant to spell it that way) on (on? of? to?) my husband. I have been blessed with a husband who takes wonderful care of me. He does everything for my children and me. He literally does all the cooking, cleaning, driving, care-taking… this man does my hair, when my daughter isn’t doing it! He also deals with all that comes with chronic pain and depression, oh yeah and let’s not forget – throw in a little bit of ADD. What an effed-up combination! After almost 25 years together he has to be wondering what the hell he signed up for!! There is no return policy here. He had 30 days, but those days have passed and he’s now stuck with me. Thank God!

So! I started out talking about a TV show that puts folks in really awkward situations. A show that ultimately pushes those same to people make uncomfortable decisions. Now I ask you, when you are in a situation where you need to stand up for your pain, do you? Do you stand up for your pain or do you end up suffering? I made a decision to stand up for my pain and I also ended up suffering because I stood up. I am happy I made that decision because I was able to really see some true colors come out.

At the end of the day, most of us can barely stand up for long periods of a time, so why suffer any more than you have to, right? I mean, c’mon! Please do yourself righteous and STAND UP FOR YOUR PAIN!

Thanks for reading! Please tell me what you think, leave your comments and, as always, stay cool!

Tamiko

Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Depression, ADHD…. None of this Defines You

New year, new theme for my blog… and I am saying good riddance to 2010!! It has been one hell of a year! I am happy to see this one go, I must say. 2010 was a tough year and I am ready to move forward and start strong with 2011.

What do you remember most about 2010? This was a painful year for me… both physical and emotional. I felt the pain of fibromyalgia and the pain of losing loved ones, the pain of walking away from my house after 10 years, the emotional upheaval of changing companies after 20+ years…

It was also a year of celebration… my son turned 18, he graduated from high school and started college. My daughter is in middle school and is excelling in her academics and in soccer. They are both maturing and growing up and I am realizing that they are so independent. I am also seeing what traits they have taken from my husband and myself and it’s awesome and difficult at the same time to see. You always want only the best traits to be passed on, right? You know that’s not the way it always goes… you just pray that your children will listen and learn from your experiences. If not, they will learn on their own as you did yourself. I honestly get this, it hurts my heart to see it happening though. Many of you out there know what I am talking about. You are going through the same thing with your children.

As we enter 2011, my family just completed our annual project.

  • What are your 10 most memorable moments of 2010?
  • What are your 10 goals for 2011?

We take those and write them down and scrapbook them on a piece of 12×12 paper, frame them and put them up on the wall for the year. I will share mine (truth be told, mine is the only one that is still “almost” complete”), as I was saying, I will share mine with all of you when I finish it.

I highly recommend you sit down with your family and do something like this. If anything, it’s a great conversation.

I wanted to make sure I ended the year by saying HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  to all of you… you have all been fantastic supporters in my life.

Most important, if you take anything from my blog, take this… Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, depression, ADHD…. none of this defines you. You are defined by the values and beliefs and all the inner beauty inside you. Your pain is real. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

You deserve an awesome 2011. I’m praying you have one!! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come back in 2011.

Stay cool.

Tamiko

This Too Shall Pass… I Am Blessed.

Wow… Where have I been? It’s been over two months since I have written something… and to be totally honest, it’s been over almost that long since I have even visited my blog page. Six months ago, if someone would have said I would let that let that much time pass without viewing my page, I would have just ignored them because I would have thought to myself “NO Flippin WAY!”. Well, it’s true. Now that I’m here, that old familiar feeling is back. It’s the middle of the night, I’m sitting in the dark, on the couch with just the dim light from my laptop…. except this time… same couch – different house.

Where do I start? My life, my life, my life… Lord, I know You do not shoulder more than one can bear… I. Just. Am. So. Very. Tired. I really do try not to complain, I know there are people so downtrodden and their lives really suck, I know I have no right to complain…

Here’s the deal… let me bottom line it for you… I feel like I am starring in a country song where you play it backwards to figure out everything that has been lost (I should win an award for this one!)… I am just not mending… I don’t even know how to mourn anymore. I know hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units up and down the west coast and unfortunately so do my children. What started out as a good learning situation for my children when they were young, has turned out to be a continuous cycle of “Whose Funeral Are We Going to This Month?” … Scarred for life.

Where the hell was I going with this? Oh yeah… I was bottom lining it… let me get back to it…

So! Important in a Chronic Pain Patient’s life… Truth. Honesty. Well in anyone’s life, but more so in a chronic pain person’s life because you spend your entire life explaining your pain to people who do not believe you!

Shortly after the passing of my very close friend Steve’s passing, I lost my Godfather which seemed “suddenly” to me (way too soon as I just really wanted more time!)… Very close after that… we had a traumatic experience with a dog that we were really hoping to adopt (all of my 4-legged blogger friends would totally relate to my experience but Lumpy is in a happy home now!) Well, my son entered college and turned 18 and then my husband and I found out we needed to move out of our house we had lived in for over 10 years. We had less than 2 weeks to vacate. So! I found us a house to rent and we packed up our memories and our furniture and moved to our new “home”. That was the 1st week of November… and did I tell you I was on disability and went back to work the second week of September?

For those of you that were around my blog last year… I was blessed to get out and help pick the tree this year and my husband and I trimmed it this year!

I have this horrible feeling there is a big ass dam inside my body somewhere secret stored up and it’s just going to open up one day… God help the folks that are around on that day. Poor souls… I have a huge smile on my face right now… because Lord knows, all you can do is smile when you think about the poor souls who will have to deal with my ass when I unload on them!

So, now that you are caught up with where I have been and what I have been up to since the last time I blogged….

After all I have been through…

my family still makes me laugh at least once or five or ten times a day.

My parents are still with me and I thank God every single day for this.

I am blessed.

I still have my brothers, sisters and their families and my friends and their families around me.

I am blessed.

I still have my five senses.

I am blessed.

(Ummm I did not say I HAVE sense, don’t get crazy here).

My husband still wakes up every morning and goes to sleep to me.

I am truly truly blessed.

I have fibromyalgia, ADHD and chronic depression and yes…

I am blessed.

For me, it is important to remind myself to remember what I have and to do my best to stay positive. Please be positive with me. There’s enough negativity out there…

Thanks for reading! Stay cool…. and God bless all of you and Happy Holidays!

Integral Tai Chi is My New Depression/ Fibromyalgia Pain Drug of Choice!

“My body is healthy… My body is healthy… My body is healthy… My body is healthy…” I am chanting this in my head while next to me a lady is not so quietly snoring… interestingly it does not bother me, although there are moments when I want to laugh (but cross my heart…. I don’t). While I chant this over and over in my head, I scan my body for pain and if I find any, I mentally push it out of my body. You are wondering what I am talking about… I get it, I would be wondering too.

This is the relaxation segment of my Integral Tai Chi class. It is the last 30 minutes of the 2-hour class I have been taking… my new favorite depression/ pain drug of choice. As I am laying in the dark on my mat in the “corpse” position and the instructor has directed us to relax every part of our body and told us when we awaken our bodies will be healthy. It becomes my chant while I lie there for the next ten minutes. I feel like this class has changed my life. Sounds pretty crazy, right? Well, take me seriously and find a class and give it a try. Here’s the class description:

Integral Tai Chi is a self-healing system that integrates tai chi, yoga, relaxation and meditation to heal the mind, body and spirit. This comprehensive approach involves a series of 10 body movement postures each designed to increase balance, awareness, endurance, flexibility, flow, concentration, energy and spiritual transformation. Integral Tai Chi can be easily learned and practiced by all ages and body types.

I have been able to do things that have caught me completely by surprise… okay, for example… remember in Karate Kid that crane move that all your friends growing up have done and said “I’m the Karate Kid!!”…. I CAN DO THAT!!! SHUT UP!! I CAN!!! Unbelievable… I can actually balance on one foot!! I almost fainted with surprise the first time I did it… I started to giggle. I really did. No one can even understand the gravity of the situation. balancing on one foot, WHILE lifting my arms UP IN THE AIR like that is just CRAZY!! LOL!! For all you modern folk that do not remember Karate Kid (the original… God forbid…) it’s the Crane pose in Kung Fu Panda!

I can’t explain it, I don’t get it myself, but the stretches that are done… although they definitely are challenging for me, feel soooooo good! I feel really good both mentally and physically when I finish this class. I have felt like a totally different person the last three weeks. My husband tells me he is afraid to break the spell… he wishes I could take this class every day. I think that might be a bit much. :) I mean, what is the message he is sending to me?? LOL!

For me personally, I think I said it in a prior posting, the mental effect that this has had on me is so significant… the healing of the mind and spirit and the pure focus on positivity and exiting frustration, stress, negativity from the body/ mind… this is just what I need. I sleep better on the nights that I go… although this time, my beautiful dog decided to wake me up at 4:00 in the morning to go outside and I decided to write this blog posting instead of going back to bed. I also have been able to relax enough to read an actual book… this is amazing. I haven’t read a book from beginning to end in so long I can’t remember when. I have finished three books in the last two weeks. I usually start a book and then after the first couple pages or chapters, put it down and never pick it up again.

I know a lot of you are in pain. If you are in the bay area (San Francisco to San Jose on both sides of the bay), these classes are FREE, take advantage and give it a try… “listen to you body” and do what you can, but stay for the last 30 minutes. If you are not in the bay area, find a local class and it is very possible that you may have free classes as well. I understand this ITC organization is in Southern California offering free classes (this is a non-profit organization). This particular group is AWESOME! I think you can tell, I am pretty jazzed about this… just a little bit… :) I’ve been in pain a very long time… This is the first time I have found something that is FREE and works and not a drug! nice… it’s a blessing.

http://www.css-sanjose.org/eng/itc.html

  • 30 minutes of warm up
  • 60 minutes of 10 body movements
  • 30 minutes of relaxation and meditation

I could barely walk when I went to the first class… I am walking significantly better… ask my dog! :)

Thanks for reading! Stay cool (literally! It’s been pretty hot out there!)

Hugs….

Tamiko

Who is Your Lighthouse? Every Fibromite Needs At Least One…

sometimes life is not what it seems. these days, every day feels that way to me. i am not working right now due to my medical situation, my blogger friends will know without a doubt why… but i feel guilty. i can’t quite work out my emotions. this is not a vacation, this is not time to work, this is time to heal. wow. time to heal. i say it out loud and i still can’t believe it. if i do things that i believe are healing for me, i still don’t feel right. this is crazy. i am a grown adult. i am lost.

i can remember the moment the words came out of my mouth. “my doctor has taken me off work.” from that moment on, there was no turning back. i was both scared shitless and relieved at the same time. so many questions going through my head, i couldn’t turn the volume down.

  • would i be able to heal?
  • would i have a job to come back to?
  • what does this mean?
  • how is this going to effect my friends at work?
  • what will my children think of me?
  • can i make this change?
  • how will my husband handle yet another burden on his already heavy load?

question after question just kept coming up and before i could answer another question would come up… and then all the forever questions… oh shit what will i do if something happens to my husband? i can’t take care of myself, much less my children… why the hell did this happen to me? why now? why did my friend just pass away without giving me the chance to talk to him just one more time to hear his crazy ass laughter? why can’t i pick and choose when i want to be in pain? why can’t it be obvious that i have a medical condition so people will know i am not okay? (i mean… seriously, i much prefer to look anti-social at parties… that is so much better! [btw, i just told my daughter that sarcasm is bad]  i always end up sitting in one place or better yet even… like today, having to take a nap because the pain was so bad… nice!) i know this is why many of my chronic pain friends do not go out, but that is not the solution. i want to go out and be with friends and family…

warning – i digress here….

i am watching my children, nieces, nephews, and their friends grow up and what a generation we have coming up around us! these. children. amaze. me. their determination, assertiveness, independence… they have it all. they have grown up with so much technology and knowledge compared to what we grew up with. they have access to so much more information at their fingertips… and they access it and use it with ease… we have raised some strong-minded youth. they know what they like, what they want and by the time they can vote … they will not hesitate to make their opinions known. it’s an interesting time. for me personally, sometimes i just want to scream, i get so frustrated trying to raise my children. they know what they want, have so much knowledge, i can’t battle them – don’t have the energy to fight them. most the time i just want to hold them so tight and not let go. i know they will leave me soon and i will only see them when they want to visit. my time with them will be  solely on their terms. their time with me so far has been on my terms. the rest of their life will definitely be on their terms…. how did i get to this topic? hmmmmm…. just typing and this is what came off the top of my head.

and now back to my original post…

as you can see, i am having a very difficult time focusing in one area. i am struggling to wade through this quicksand of emotions. i am trying to journal again. i thought that it would help me “find myself” so to speak. so far not a word on paper in my new pretty journal. zip. nada. nothing. the big zero. “How to Find the Inner You”, “How to Redefine Your Life”, “Where are You?”, “The Map to the Real You”, “The True You”, “This is Your Real Life”, “Your Life Begins Now”, “Life After Chronic Pain”, “Redefining the New You”… etc. all titles of books that would really help me now… if they existed (and they probably do, i just don’t want to pay the price for them, i mean,  after the title, what the hell do I want with them?) i have no patience to read a self-help book… i am just really trying to find a way to get myself to stop! write what i’m feeling down! and listen! and really… is this possible? i have journaled all my life, but for some reason, it really is asking a lot of me. you’ll just have to take my word on this one. (by the way, if you are thinking of writing a book and you were planning on using one of those titles above… ummmmm…. go for it. i’ll just take a one time cut. :) i know God has a path for me already written, i just need to stop! and listen! to Him. i never was very good at listening… my husband can definitely vouch for this. (oh man! did i really just put that in writing?)

so… why the lighthouse image for my blog this week? i’ll tell you why. two beautiful women celebrate their birthdays this week. i look to these women to provide safety in the dark for me and they have no idea how much they save me on a continual basis. one beautiful woman because she is and has been my best friend for the past 20+ years and has been there for me through thick and thin and even though i know i don’t call as much as i should… just knowing if i ever need anything i know she is there.  she gave me the very very best gift of all, my beautiful goddaughter. i would never have made it to this point in my life, if not for her love and strength… i would not be who i am without her in my life. she taught me how to be a professional, how to know and appreciate God, how to be a parent, how to be a girly-girl and without her in my life i would not have been so honored and blessed to know and love her Mother (and yes that is with a capital “M”!)… it would take a lifetime to just say how much she has blessed my life.

the second beautiful woman because through the friendship of our children, i have been blessed with the friendship of this woman. she has given of her heart over and over and over again and always ever so quietly. there is no way i would have survived the last six years without her friendship. she has a calming effect on me the moment i know she is around. her thoughtfulness, sense of humor, no bullshit attitude is so awesome! i look forward to strengthening our friendship with each birthday we celebrate.

they are my lighthouse in the storm that can be my life. dependable, steady… always there. i celebrate them. i hope that all of you have a lighthouse in your life. there are definitely a few other folks who are in this category who i will celebrate in a later blog…

thank you for reading! stay cool… please let me know how you are doing, leave a comment and let me know what’s on your mind.

take care and here’s a gentle hug for all my chronic pain readers.

tamiko

PS. Thank you so much to everyone!! I just passed 3000 hits to my blog this past week… that is too amazing… THANK YOU!!!