Words to Help You Get Through the Day

I had the privilege of guest posting on ProHealth this month. I hope you enjoy!

ProHealth: Words to Help You Get Through the Day

Also… I thought I’d include an old post from three years ago so the page wouldn’t be so empty… :)

Fight! Live YOUR Life!

February 16, 2013

How many posts do you start and stop before you get to the one that you feel is okay to publish? Having a blog is like writing in your diary… except I left my diary open on a table… in a restaurant… and people are walking by, picking it up and reading it. It’s scary and strange and cool all at the same time. It’s very cool to know that my feelings and experiences are interesting or helpful to others. It’s also difficult. Difficult because I always want to be real, true, honest… and it’s not always easy to be those things.

Like today, for instance… I started and stopped a separate post because, in all honesty, it was bringing me down just to write it. Lord only knows how someone would feel reading it! I don’t feel it’s fair to share stuff that is just depressing. I have depression… I don’t want to make it worse for anyone else. Then I wonder if I am doing a disservice to myself to set that post aside if that’s how I really feel. So here I am. I decided to take a different perspective on how I feel to see if that works better.

I have had a pretty up and down time for a while. Physically I still flare, I know this is not going to every go away completely. Life with Fibromyalgia. This Essential Tremor shit is uncool. I mean seriously, what the f*ck? Anxious? Nervous? Worried? Angry? Frustrated? Stressed? Basically ANYTHING that is not calm or relaxed and my head just nods and my hands shake… I have to use my muscles to make it stop. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable or even myself, for that matter. Sometimes I don’t notice it, but that’s pretty rare. I would just prefer noone else notice it… My anxiety? Well, through the roof these days. I keep telling myself… “Give it to God“, but my anxiety keeps telling me “ummmmm, NO!”. (I’d say “Hell NO!”, it just seems wrong in the same sentence as “Give it to God”. Oh wait, I said it anyway.) That battle between me and my anxiety goes on for at least an hour or two throughout every single day. ADD? Yes it’s there, but on average I seem to be managing this okay… and let’s not forget the ever-present black hole… the opening to enter is not big enough for me to fit in at the moment, so I won’t give it much real estate other than to say, fighting Depression is also a daily battle.

Oh! Did I tell you I started the big M? Menopause. No period? No complaints from me! I have discovered a miracle cream though. It seems to help with my mood, maybe a little with the migraines, feels like it’s helping my energy. It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that I started walking around the same time this cream and I became besties. I don’t like promoting products, but this one has really been one of the few things that I know really helps me. [Pro-Gest Natural Progesterone Cream Paraben Free 2 Oz From Emerita] I don’t want to debate the pros and cons of this specific product, just that if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of menopause, you may want to consider trying a progesterone cream.

I am not sure why I have been afflicted with all these illnesses. I still hope to wake up one day and not have any of this. Hope… Dream… Believe… it does keep me going. We all need to hope, dream, believe about something!

Here’s the main thing. We all wake up (well we certainly hope we will wake up), and some of us struggle to get out of bed, some of us struggle to walk, some of us struggle with the fog that encases our brain… unfortunately some of us struggle with all three of those things and more… but we all start the day with the option to have hope that today will be a good day, to dream that tomorrow will be better, to BELIEVE that we can manage our pain so we can live our lives. If we choose to start the day any other way, we make it so much harder for ourselves. We have to be our own cheerleaders in life. It’s so much better to live rather than just get through another day. It is not easy, but it’s soooo worth it!

Fight those demons, the anxiety monster, the black hole of depression, the little voice whispering in your ear that your pain is too much and you can’t do anything… you can always do something. Be proud of the fact you are able to get out of bed today, that you are able to get dressed … small successes are so much better than feeling like a failure. Kick the ass of this negative shit in your life and empower yourself to be strong.

Noone can take away how special you are or how damn strong you are to deal with this shit every day. Don’t let anyone take away your power.

I admit, I got a little riled up there for a minute, but sometimes we all need a little kick in the ass to remind us that we are special… God chose us to share with those who are suffering that people with pain can and do live a good life. Now go have a great day and live your life!

Thanks for stopping by!

Stay cool.

Tamiko

Guest Post: Storytelling will Save the World… Yes, Even Yours

Please join me in welcoming Josh Rivedal to myfoggybrain! I welcome his guest post on a serious topic that is very close to my heart… Thanks Josh for reaching out and sharing your story!!

Josh Rivedal, The impossible Project


Josh Rivedal (executive director of The i’Mpossible Project) is an author, actor, and international speaker on suicide prevention, mental health, and diversity. He curated the 50-story inspirational anthology The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life Creating a New You. He wrote the one-man play, Kicking My Blue Genes in The Butt (KMBB), which has toured extensively throughout the world. He writes for the Huffington Post. His memoir The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah, based on KMBB and published by Skookum Hill in 2013, is on The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s recommended reading list.


Captain’s log, Stardate January 2011. Where unfortunately many have gone before. I’m twenty-six years old and thinking about dying… actually I’m not being entirely truthful. I’m dangling halfway out the fourth floor window of my bedroom in New York City. I don’t really want to die. I just want the emotional pain to stop… and I don’t know how to do that. Hell, two guys in my life—my father and grandfather—each didn’t know how to make their own terrible personal pain stop and now both are…dead.

My grandfather, Haakon—a Norwegian guy who served in the Royal Air Force (35th Squadron as a tail gunner) in World War II—killed himself in 1966 because of the overwhelming post traumatic stress he suffered after the war.

My father, Douglas—an American guy who was a chronically unhappy and abusive man—killed himself in 2009, the catalysts being a divorce with my mother along with some long-term depression and other mental health issues.

How did I get to such a dismal place in my own life so quickly, just a month shy of my twenty-seventh birthday? Coming out of secondary school and high on optimism, I thought by the time I reached my mid-twenties I’d have it all together. I pictured myself singing on Broadway, scoring a few bit parts on Law & Order, and transitioning seamlessly to being cast with Will Smith in the summer’s biggest blockbuster – after which, my getaway home in the Hamptons would be featured in Better Homes & Gardens, and my face would grace the cover of National Enquirer as Bigfoot’s not-so-secret lover. Not to mention, I’d have my perfect wife and perfect family by my side to share in my success.

But instead, “perfect” was unattainable (it always is). I only managed to perform in some small professional theatre gigs and on one embarrassing reality television show; and over the course of the previous eighteen months my father killed himself, my mother betrayed me and sued me for my father’s inheritance, and my girlfriend of six years broke up with me.

This storm of calamity and crisis had ravaged my life… and I wasn’t talking about it to anyone. My silence led to crisis and poor decisions—to the extent that I was clinging to a fourth story window.

Both my grandfather Haakon and father Douglas suffered their pain in silence because of the stigma surrounding talking about mental illness and getting help. I too felt that same stigma—like I’d be seen as “crazy” or “less of a man” if I talked about what I was going through. But I didn’t want to die and so I had to take a chance.

I started talking. I pulled myself back inside and first called my mom. She helped me through that initial crisis and we became friends again. She never called me “crazy.” I then started reaching out to the positive friends I had in my life. They hugged me and helped me with open arms.They never told me I was “less than a man.” Soon I got more help by seeing a professional counselor, and by writing down what I was going through in a journal.

But this idea of keeping silent continued to bother me. I did some research while in my recovery and found out that each year, suicide kills over one million people worldwide… and that many of those one million never speak up about their emotional pain because of stigma.

I had to figure out a way to reach people like that. So, like any other actor, writer, or comedian living in New York City whose life dealt them a crappy hand, I created a one-man show… and it toured theatres and universities in the United States, Canada, England, and Australia—and people were getting help.

But I had to keep talking because this isn’t just my family’s problem or a United States problem… it’s a world problem.

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I had to get other people to tell their stories, so I started The i’Mpossible Project. Why? Because storytelling is one of ou
r oldest traditions. Stories can make us laugh or cry… or both at the same time. They can teach, inspire and even ignite an entire movement.

The stories of The i’Mpossible Project are about overcoming obstacles, reengaging with life, and creating new possibilities—a son’s homicide, a transgender man finding love, and even coming back from the brink of suicide (you can read a couple of the stories HERE)… because it’s okay to be struggling, it’s okay to need help; people have your back… there’s hope.

It’s been four years since my crisis and life is definitely looking up. The acting and writing thing is going well, I have a great girlfriend; but most important I’m able to give and receive help and love, and with hard work I’m able to stay mentally well—all because I took a risk and told my story.

No matter what society says, it’s COOL (as in “okay”) to talk about your feelings. Don’t ever forget that you are important, and your story needs to be heard so we, the human race, can learn how to live and love better. #iampossible #mentalhealth

Welcome 2016!! Hello Happiness!!

 

Stress takes a toll… relationships… health… sleep… diet… PAIN!! Stress takes a toll.

What do you do when you are stressed? Me? Some days I manage well… other days? Not so much…

2015 was full… I mean FULL of stress and challenging times on a personal level (honestly… what would it be if not personal)? I can take classes, read  books, gather tips and best practices for managing stress… but the problem is, as many of you well know… you actually have to PRACTICE those things that one learns. WTH? No magic pill? No snap of my fingers? No twitch of my nose? Damn! I actually have to work to make it WORK.

Every year I write down my goals… each year, kinda the same thing. I want this year to be different. I want this year to be better. I will do better. I will set and achieve my goals. No more, “I will lose 50 pounds in one month.” … maybe something like, “I will exercise once a week.“… (damn, even that sounds hard to me… Crazy!! Full confession… I don’t exercise at all right now, so exercising once a week is going to be very challenging). Maybe I will set goals to achieve each month. For examplgoalschangesm.jpge, in January I could… eat less sugar! Hmmmm I need specific achievable goals… so in January I will reduce my sugar intake by not eating sugar 1 day in week 1, 2 days in week 2, 3 days in week 3… that will be damn hard, but changing fro
m bad to good habits isn’t meant to be easy. Accountability! (I really need to figure out a better word to use as my mantra.) Most important…  I will do my best to be happy about small successes.

That’s a challenge in itself. Being happy. For those of you with depression, you know exactly what I mean. Happiness does not come naturally for me, it requires me to take meds and accept things and not be sad or down about shit, not get upset – I am super envious of people who are able to “take things in stride”. What the hell is that anyway? How does one do that? What’s the key to happiness? I’m quite sure it all goes back to exercise, eating right and acceptance. It’s everything. These three things solve stress, pain, depression, anxiety, self-confidence, self-esteem… the list is infinite! These three things. Exercise. Diet. Acceptance. Three words. How can there be so much behind three words?

Wouldn’t it be awesome if I had one of those believe it and you will do it minds? Well… I don’t. I have one of those… “Jussssssttttt one more See’s candy… I deserve it!” minds. “CALLING ALL SELF CONTROL TO THE FRONT OF MY MIND!! … PLEASE … COME TO THE FRONT OF MY MIND!!” Wait.. what? It’s gone in hiding? Can’t find it? Damn thing is never around when I need it. I really have to work on that. Self Control has to replace “I deserve it!” as my BFF… that’s going to be a hard one. My current “I deserve it!” BFF has a box of See’s candy in one hand with a Nordstrom bag on her shoulder and the remote control to the TV in the back pocket and of course, an “I will start tomorrow on… (you fill in the blank)” attitude! Replacing her is going to be tough… I mean I have to kick her to the curb HARD to make this work.

Well welcome Self Control to 2016 and g’bye “I deserve it!“!

I hope you are saying hello to all good things this year and g’bye to the bad.

A big gentle hug and I wish you all the happiness, good fortune and pain-free/ improved health in 2016!!

I leave you with one of my favorite pictures of 2015… Three generations! Happy new year!!

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Tamiko

Let Go and Let God… Be Blessed!

4:44am… this is the time i woke up this morning. Every time I sit down to write I feel like I start with the mindset of how crazy life is… or how much of a roller coaster I feel like I’m on with the pain and emotion. 4:44am… for the last few weeks I keep waking up between 3 and 5 in the morning. Most days I force myself to stay in bed. I read or just lay there and eventually I doze off for another hour. Today I decided I’d go downstairs and check my blog.

It’s such a blessing to me to see how many folks visit my blog and to those of you that take the time to share your thoughts, I say a ginormous (I love that word)… THANK YOU! I still can’t get over the fact that over 35,000 people have stopped by. This is definitely one of the life accomplishments I am most proud of. Quietly proud as I don’t really talk about my blog. I have been asked many times for interviews… I’m more than happy to contribute via email or writing up something for a specific purpose. The times that I am asked for interviews over the phone or video… I feel very honored, I just can’t bring myself to do it. This blog is so personal to me, it’s like my private diary… for many years I wrote anonymously. The thought of talking out loud about it completely freaks me out. For the most part I only share what I’m going through with all of you. I trust that you all know what I’m talking about, what I share is nothing surprising or new… it’s meant to be validation that we are are not alone in our pain.

IMG_0041These last few months have been … well, they’ve been painful in so many ways. We lost an amazing, AMAZING woman much too soon in life. She taught me so many things over the years. This loss has been so very painful. It’s not as if you can put a number to the pain one feels when losing family or friends. Without Jennifer and her daughter, my best friend, I would never have accepted God into my life. I would have never known what it means to be a gracious host or how to make a table look bountiful and beautiful. Jennifer gave me tips on everything from simply how to make my hair look shiny, how to cut vegetables, how to handle itchy skin (Sarna lotion does wonders) to the most complex things like how to raise children and how to read the bible and Believe. It was an honor to be by her side the last few weeks of her life. She died with dignity and she showed me yet another lesson… to the end she fought to be independent. She had a strength in her spirit that even in her last days she wanted everyone to know that God is the final answer, not doctors. Only God knows the path and timing. Let go and let God. A very strong message and one that so many of us forget. Thank you for that and so much more Jennifer. There are hundreds of lives that you touched, many of them children that you helped to raise and mold into the wonderful human beings that they are today. What a treasure.

Also, these painful times bring out the best and worst in people. Thankfully I have the most giving people in my life. When in need, I know I can count on these women to lend a helping hand. My way of healing is always to stay busy and give in some kind of way. Friends just doesn’t seem enough of a word… my family of friends have come together countless times now to put together memory boards. It is during these times I am able to quietly grieve and creatively pull together a lifetime of memories through pictures and scrapbook pages to share. Working alongside these beautiful souls makes my days so much easier. There is no way to ever thank these ladies enough for the help, the meals, the friendship. To know what I’m going through… and with very limited communication… these ladies just say “What can I do to help?” and then they show up at my door. It’s amazing. They are amazing.

There have been many sad and challenging events in the past weeks. Some I have handled well, others not so well. But I have done my best and that’s all I can hope for. I can see the world changing before me and I am really trying to move with the changes. I am not that small child who can lift my hand to my mom and dad for help. It’s my turn to help them… or at least I feel like it should be my time to help them… although let’s be honest, at my age I do still turn to them for guidance and support. And in their moment of need… like a grease fire in their kitchen. Instead of asking me for help, they are telling me to focus on grieving and helping my friend and not worry about them. I can only hope that my husband and I can be half the parents mine have been to us. If we are supposed to make our children better, my parents have definitely done an awesome job with teaching my husband and me… and our children… and those people that have taken advantage of their life experiences and wisdom. So when I lift my hand to my mom and dad, although I’m not that small child… I do still and will always look up to them.

IMG_1795There are days when I want to just curl up in the fetal position and get in bed, pull the covers over my head and close my eyes. But I have to face the challenges and accept that we are getting older, we are all getting older. Age brings the knowledge that life is precious, tomorrow is not promised so we need to try to live each day as if it is our last. Don’t have regrets, focus on what is most important. What is most important to you? For me, it is my family and friends. My goddaughter’s senior night, taking pictures of my daughter and her friends before the homecoming dance, spending those precious moments with my son just talking… spending the day with friends and family in the city. Going to quilt festivals and crafting. And yes, even taking time for myself to relax in front of the TV and catch up on my General Hospital (stuff is about to get real with Jake/Jason!).

It always comes back to this for me… count your blessings. Okay don’t count them, you don’t want to focus on numbers. BE blessed. Just be blessed. Let yourself enjoy life and focus on the good and not the bad. You will have pain of all sorts, but do your best to overcome it and spend your days feeling the best you possibly can. Laugh as much as you can, I hear it’s the best medicine. :)

Have an awesome day!

Tamiko

How has Fibromyalgia Affected You?

You know how one singular day can seem really long? Like you are sitting (or standing) at work and you can’t wait for the day to end? Every minute feels like an hour and every hour feels like a day… the struggle to get through the day is so hard that you wonder to yourself, “How many days like this can I possibly endure?”. My days have felt like that a lot since the beginning of the year. It’s crazy how long this stupid flare has gone on. It’s dumb, the word “flare” doesn’t even define what has been going. In the dictionary, the words used to define flare lead one to believe it’s sudden but quick… a bright light used to bring attention. Well, I’m sure all of you are well aware, the attention part is definitely correct. No way you could ignore this shit. Bright light? Not so much. Although I imagine inside my body there’s a bright light at the points where all the pain hits in my muscles and nerves. I must look like a Christmas tree inside… before Santa drops off all the wonderful gifts. Sudden but quick? Not in the least. My mom asked me the other day about being in remission. I never thought about that word, I’ve only associated that with cancer. Again, the words in the dictionary used to define that word are, “a period of time during a serious illness when the patient’s health improves“. It is fitting, but it would feel strange to use it. Although, right now I’d be ecstatic to apply that definition to myself!

Yesterday my husband and I shared our 21st wedding anniversary together… our 29th year together. A year ago, on our 20th wedding anniversary we celebrated it in the hospital. That was the day I had surgery. One I hope never to have again. But it makes me think. Time seems to go by so slow most days, while a year ago seems like only yesterday. Time is a funny thing, in one moment it can feel like it will never pass while only a moment later it feels like it’s going at warp speed. It reminds me that I need to do a much better job of living in the moment. Not worry about later today or tomorrow or ten years from now. Make the most of right now.
Our anniversary celebration didn’t go at all like we planned. We were going to go watch the sunset on the coast, enjoy some good food and maybe go for a walk along the beach. Sounds wonderful. Afternoons and evenings are the hardest for me so although I felt pretty good in the morning, by afternoon I could barely walk. So we ate in and watched TV. When I apologized to my husband later in the evening, he was not very happy with me. He constantly reminds me that what I am going through is not forever, it’s just a moment in time. We’ve had decades together and so many wonderful memories… he knows that this too shall pass and we will again be walking along the beach. I am so blessed to have this man in my life.

Which leads me to another topic. I was asked recently to contribute to a medical magazine (the kind you see while waiting at the doctor’s office) and one of the questions I was asked is how Fibromyalgia has affected me… as you can imagine, I am definitely most affected by my lack of independence. I rely on my husband for everything. He’s amazing. He takes care of everything… he cooks all the meals, keeps the house clean, makes sure the kids have everything they need and he makes sure I enjoy life. He makes me laugh every day and he supports all my trial and errors in the hopes something will ease the pain. He’s amazing. I have a lot of respect for those of you that are on your own or in a relationship where you don’t have the support you need. One of my biggest worries is what I would do if I were on my own… but right now… in this moment… I just don’t have the energy to figure that out and more important I just said two paragraphs ago I need to make the most of right now. Damn… bad habits are hard to break!

I woke up this morning feeling so blessed. I say this a lot, but I don’t think it’s possible to say it too much. Keep the folks around you that love and support you. Get rid of any negativity. It’s hard enough without having people bring you down or bring drama into your life. I believe what keeps me going is that I know, no matter what, I am loved. I have hit the lowest lows in the past few months, I have questioned my reason to live when it feels like every day is so hard… I have gone into that dark place. When I hit rock bottom I find so many reasons to end the pain… but I only need one reason to keep going. Love. That’s when I see the light shining through the darkness. Don’t let the pain and frustration take away all the moments of love and laughter you will have in your future. It’s there… it may seem out of reach at times but sometimes it’s right in front of you and all you need to do is look up.

I wish you a pain-free day and a day I hope is filled with love and laughter!

Tamiko

How Honest Are You?

… vent, vent vent… complain, complain, complain… this is how i feel. I feel like everyday I say the same damn thing. It goes something like this…

girl-150102_640“I am not feeling well”

I am exhausted

I am in a lot of pain

That food was so good!” … and an hour later… “That food made me really sick

I don’t have the energy for that

My legs aren’t working” … “My hands are killing me” … “I have a migraine” … ” …

I can go on and on and literally ON! I know a lot of you folks out there feel like every time you describe to your family or those closest to you how you are feeling … it’s like a broken record. Should we lie? If I don’t tell the truth people assume that I’m feeling perfectly fine and then expectations change. The truth of the matter is, just as quickly as I forget what pain feels like, others forget what me in pain looks like. And honestly… be super-duper honest… is there ever a moment in the day when you don’t feel any pain? For me, the answer is an adamant “NO!” (I’m really not shouting at you… just making a point). So if I go with my baseline pain level and call that “fine” and then just speak to my worse than baseline symptoms, is that better? And better for who? Me? My family?

What prompted all this? Well… I’m not sure. I think it’s because I have been in a flare for months now. I’m not sure how long because at the beginning of this calendar year I, for no rhyme or reason, stopped using my calendar. I had a calendar last year that I wrote all my health stuff in… this year I just haven’t had the energy. I’m not even sure it’s a lack of energy thing as much as it is I got tired of thinking about everything. I’ll be honest… I’m kind of a mess right now. But, as I was saying, I feel like I’ve been flaring for months. I don’t recall being in a flare for this long in years. It’s just not calming down.

So, is it a burden for my family and friends to carry if I am honest about how I am feeling or is it a burden for me to keep the truth to myself? What’s the balance and where do you draw the line? I’ll tell you what. I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling like shit. I’m tired of being depressed. I’m tired of never being able to say… “I feel GREAT!”. I’m just flippin’ tired.

And now that I have vented and complained what the hell am I going to do about it? Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm, can this be one of those days where I just vent and complain? Do we get those days? I think if you talked to my husband he’d tell you I definitely have those days… but that’s not what I want to do with you folks out there who have chosen to follow my blog. We all have these shitty days, but to just vent and complain brings everyone down including ourselves. How do you get out of the pit of pain and depression? I believe you have to be kind to yourself. Acknowledge that you will have bad days and today is one of them. Tomorrow is a new day. It’s a new opportunity to have a less painful day. A less down day… one that could be a happy day. It sounds strange, but in our world of chronic pain – pain and happy go together. You cannot let the pain take your happiness away. If you don’t allow yourself to be happy while in pain… the alternative is not a life worth living.

IMG_0379Yesterday was a pain and happy day. I was having some issues walking, but I was determined… I couldn’t let that ruin our family day. We started the morning out playing soccer with my exercise ball in our bedroom (don’t tell the kids) – I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a long time (let’s just say we were almost in the market for a new tv)… followed by an awesome breakfast the kids made for Father’s Day and then we all piled in the car and spent the day together. A day which included walking… which was extremely painful. In this instance I was not about to let the pain get in the way of everyone’s happiness and just as important mine. We had a beautiful day which I managed with pain meds, laughter, joy and a lot of positive self-talk. A pain and happy day.

So back to my question… how honest should we be? Maybe I will try another approach. Maybe I’ll use the baseline approach and if I’m feeling my normal pain, I’ll say, “I’m doing good!”… I might even try to start saying, “I’m doing great!”. If I’m feeling worse than normal, I can just say “It’s not a great day”.

Our lives are not predictable. The only thing we know for sure is that there is going to be pain, we are going to be uncomfortable. We are going to have days where we want to scream and shout, stomp our feet (although that would cause more pain), and cry… but after you realize your life could be a lot worse and that you are surrounded by the best family and friends anyone could ask for… you realize how blessed you are. Today may be hard… but there’s always tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by! I love hearing from you either by email or comments.

Stay cool and relax… Gentle hugz!

Tamiko

How do you Recover?

How do you recover? I never seem to ask myself this question. I know I should plan for pain. I know when I’m going to be in more pain than normal based on my upcoming activities. But for the most part I have an attitude of “I am going to enjoy myself and deal with the consequences after...” It may not be the smartest approach, but I tell my husband all the time… if I stop doing things because of my pain, I’ll never do anything! Pace yourself… we hear this all the time. Stay away from stress… another major tip we hear… but, honestly, pacing myself stress me out!

In the last few months I have created my own awesomely good days… I have sewed with friends, went on vacation with my mom and daughter, surprised my dad with a party for his 80th birthday and watched my daughter prepare for her prom. After each big event it takes me weeks to recover. I do my best to pace myself and stay away from stress, but as you know… life happens.

Recovering from any activity that takes energy has to be balanced by down time. Throughout all those great events, I have endured the longest flare I’ve had in years. I have no idea what is going on, but for one reason or another my body decided it didn’t want to manage the pain efficiently. It just wanted to be in pain … every… single… day. If it’s not the pain from Fibromyalgia, it’s the pain from IBS. Thankfully, my depression has been somewhat under control.

If you ask yourself, is it worth it? As I know many of us do… on a regular basis… especially when in the midst of an ongoing flare. When it’s all said and done, the answer has to be a resounding “YES!”. There are nights when the pain from my day’s activity is so great, laying in bed is painful. My legs are throbbing from the inside out and my neck and shoulders hurt so bad even my skin hurts. I have taken more pain meds in the last few months than I have in years. It’s been the only way I am able to sleep… and let’s be honest, in the middle of a flare, who really gets good sleep? I generally wake up around 2 or 3 and end up reading until I can fall asleep again… and then wake up a few hours later. This does not make for good sleep.

I work full-time and I thank God every day that I am able to work from home. But… working from home means it’s really hard to call in sick. I mean you have to be pretty bad off to call in sick. At least I do. I feel bad if I have to stop working early because I am in too much pain. There have been many days where I’ve felt like I could have done a better job or worked a little harder, but due to this ongoing flare, work has been tough. On the plus side, since I have such a hard time sleeping, there have been more than a few days where I’ve started working between 4:30 and 5. Not only am I thankful that I am able to work from home, the folks I work with are extremely supportive and understanding. I couldn’t ask for a better working situation. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like if I wasn’t blessed with the work situation I am in.

In preparing for my daughter’s prom night, I had to leave abruptly from her make up appointment because I all of a sudden felt really sick and could not endure standing (or sitting) any longer. My husband picked me up, and as he drove me home I felt like a loser mom for missing out on even one part of this big day. I went home and laid down for 45 minutes so I could recover. There was literally NO WAY I was going to miss seeing her all dressed up with her date and friends. I was not going to miss the opportunity to take pictures at the park. I knew when I got home I was going to collapse… and I did. But it was worth it. I also realized that missing out on a small part of the day so I could enjoy the main event was something that I needed to do. It was a blessing that my cousin was at the appointment so I could leave. Recovery…

We surprised my dad for his 80th birthday 10 days ago. All the preparation and work towards the event was so worth it when he walked in the room and I saw his expression. At the end of the night when I got home, I literally crawled up my stairs to my room, took a bunch of pain meds and went to sleep. The next day was my daughter’s 17th birthday and I had family visiting from out-of-town… we all got together for a big breakfast at my folks house. Although I could barely walk, the pain was not going to win. We ended up creating more memories of fun and laughter as we ate great food and visited with each other. That day ended with a trip over the hill to Santa Cruz with my daughter and her friend for dinner to celebrate her birthday and watch the sun set. A perfect week-end.

I am determined to enjoy my life. How do I deal with the non-stop pain? How do I recover? I think about how blessed I am. I think about how much joy is in my life. I think about the look on my dad’s face when he walked into that room full of people who have loved him for decades. I think about how much laughter there was on vacation with my mom and daughter. I think about how damn beautiful my daughter looked on her prom night. What could stop me from enjoying these moments? Nothing! I cannot imagine missing these moments. I say screw you pain!!! (I could use more harsh words… but… that would be rude)

On this May 12th, Fibromyalgia Awareness Day… I say let your joy, laughter and blessings be your recovery. Enjoy life, don’t kill yourself doing it, but definitely don’t go the other extreme and stop living. You deserve better!

Before I say good-bye, I have to say how thankful I am to be recognized for the fourth year in a row as one of the top bloggers in Healthline’s 2015 Best Fibromyalgia Blogs. I am so proud to have made the list, it means a lot… and Congratulations to the other winners!!

2015Healthline

Thanks for stopping by… I hope today was an awesome day for you!

Tamiko