Ways to cope when chronic illness wears you down

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Coping with chronic illness can be utterly exhausting. Not only do we have to struggle with unpleasant symptoms and deal with often unsympathetic doctors, but we also have to deal with all the normal challenges day to day life brings! Such a combination can leave a person feeling worn out and pessimistic. Here are some tips which I have found help me when things start to get too much!

 1) Have a good moan

We need to give ourselves the space to just recognise how we are feeling. Dealing with chronic illness is hard. It often feels like we have been given an unfair burden to carry and we wish that things didn’t have to be so hard. Find a way to let out your negative feelings: vent to a friend, write in your diary – anything to get the feelings out! It can be incredibly helpful to seek out a professional to talk to, or if you are in a crisis there are many helplines you can contact. Don’t be afraid to reach out, we all need a bit of extra support at times!

2) Re-evaluate your life

So things are difficult right now. Why are they difficult? Is everything completely out of your control, or can you identify some areas in your life you do have the power to change? Could you eat healthier, drink less alcohol or make other lifestyle changes that might improve your sense of physical and mental well-being? Do you need to remove a toxic person from your life? Is it time to look at changing jobs or even careers? Taking an objective look at your life might help you identify ways in which you can make positive changes. I find that even identifying small areas I can change change gives me back a sense of control over my life and hope that things can change for the better.

3) Make time for yourself

You deserve good things in your life. You deserve to be treated well, and you deserve to treat yourself well. Recognise that dealing with chronic illness requires a great deal of perseverance and inner strength, and you’ve got these things! Arrange some time out and do something nice for yourself. It can be something big or small – from going on holiday or booking tickets to a concert to painting your nails or just taking some time to enjoy the beauty of nature! Whatever your budget do something nice for yourself and help boost your mood!

4) Take time to be grateful

No matter how difficult things get there is always something we can be grateful for. Although we don’t want to deny how hard things can get, we don’t want to get stuck dwelling on them either! You can choose what you focus on. Will you think about all of the things you dislike in your life, or will you choose to try focus on the good? One of my favourite activities before bed is mentally listing all the things I am grateful for. On good days it’s an easy task, on bad days I have to work a bit harder, but I never find nothing to be grateful for. Try it! List out everything you can think of that you’re grateful for. Even small things, such as having fluffy socks on your feet, should make the list!

5) Go to bed!

My last tip, and one that has saved me countless times, is to just call it a day and go to bed. Often the negative thoughts are worse at night. You’ve had a long day, your brain is full of toxins and the body needs time to rest and recover. Instead of mulling over all your problems – hit the hay! A sleep may not fix all your problems, but you will be better equipped to handle life with a spell of rest under your belt!

I hope these tips have been helpful. Remember: you are a fighter and you can get through whatever life throws at you!

Peace and love. x

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Post-holiday malaise

Hi all,

I wasn’t able to update over the holiday period. It was all just too stressful and I had so much going on.

Since I last posted I have had my blood tested for Lyme disease. I tested positive to my surprise and the results suggest my immune system has been taking a beating!

Luckily I have a fantastic and supportive GP who is going to work with me and try help me feel better so hopefully I feel better soon.

Back to blogging! I’m planning a series of posts that draw on my experience of living with chronic illness so I hope people enjoy reading them.

Peace and love! x

I over did it

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This weekend I partied hard at a Christmas party. I should know better given my physical problems but I guess the chance to have fun was just too enticing.

It’s three days later and I am still paying for it and have a cold to boot. I am resolving to be more sensible from this point on! I can’t risk anything that slows me down and makes me any more tired than I already am. Health and well-being has to be my absolute unwavering focus!

Knowing your limits is so important in managing any chronic illness, and I do admit I have a tendency to push myself too hard sometimes. It’s just frustrating that my “too hard” is someone else’s easy peasy!

I have so many things I want to accomplish!!!

I chose to take a day of leave from work today for some rest and to get some chores done. Got to go now. Might listen to an old 1940s radio show in the evening and do some reading.

Peace and love. x

Monday Happy Vibes

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Good morning folks! Welcome to a brand new week! It’s a beautiful day here. The sun is shining and the weather is surprisingly mild. I had a nice walk to work past a lake where I got to watch the ducks swimming peacefully across one side of the lake, and on the other side a swarm of desperate seagulls were fighting over a sandwich someone had abandoned over the weekend. Arranged for pre-work cuddles with my love as I had not seen them in two days and I missed them dreadfully!

I have some happy music on (psychedelic rock) and I thought I would come and share an update here.

Most of my weekend was spent doing a whole lot of nothing which was fantastic and so sorely needed. I watched a couple of documentaries, listened to some old radio shows, read a little and took care of the weekly chores. Was doing the weekly food shop yesterday and was definitely getting the Christmas feeling but gah I’m so not prepared! Buying presents gets harder each year that passes. My chronic health issues make it so hard. I feel exhausted and get overwhelmed in large crowds – all  the noise and movement all around me makes me feel dizzy and sick, which is apparently a symptom of fibromyalgia!

So after many years of saying I would do it, I have decided to do most of my shopping online. I have probably left it a little late but I’m going to try not to stress about it!

I can’t wait for the Christmas holidays. I get a good long break with my love and that’s everything I could wish for. I am so grateful for my life right now.

 

x

Thank Goddess it’s Friday!

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Happy Friday all! It is finally here again! 🙂

Getting up this morning was difficult not gonna lie. I was so tired yesterday I got in from work and thought I might actually throw up from utter exhaustion. I made a pretty pathetic dinner of toast and hummus and crashed into bed at half 7.

I was hoping for a sound sleep but it was difficult, as it so often is when I am overtired. This morning the only thing to get me through was the thought of just one more day left in the working week…well, and what I must say was a particularly splendid cup of coffee!

I’ve had a very productive day thus far and am feeling very positive. I had a wonderful lunch with my love and we got to take in some nature too – including learning just how green swan poop can be! Ha!

The sun is shining and even though things are not perfect, and I feel my body slowing down as the day progresses, I am content.

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.

Marcus Aurelius

Working and my no-energy levels

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My eyes are heavy. My head feels like it’s full of sand and I have turned into a wibbly wobbling slurring mess with panda bear-esque dark circles under my eyes! Yes I am crashing. My energy levels have hit the floor and I am at my desk at work with a fatigue so crushing that even sitting feels overwhelming.

I stare at the computer screen and try to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing, and which buttons I need to be pressing and all the while I feel I could slither off my chair and onto the oddly coloured carpet of my office floor.

The above scenario represents a typical day for me now. I started in my current job just over a year ago, but for the past 6 months or so my health has continued to go downhill.

Everyday is such a battle now. I have a wannabe Type A personality in a body that wants to rest all day. I have so many ideas, so many plans that I want to get so excited about and throw myself into but I just can’t. I have to reign myself in, to give what little energy I have to the job I have to do, and it does basically get all my energy.

When I get home from work I am counting the minutes before I can go to bed. I make the quickest dinner possible and do any other bits that I have to so I can be ready for the next working day. After that I’m pretty much done and most days I’m in bed by half 8.

I’ve found very little to help the fatigue. Drinking more coffee, drinking less coffee, sleeping more, sleeping less, eating small regular meals, giving up snacking between meals, removing certain foods from my diet, taking various supplements, taking painkillers, drinking herbal teas, going for walks, drinking more water, switching between tasks, listening to different types of music – nothing helps!

But I do keep the hope that one day soon I might wake up with some energy! The loveliness of that thought helps to keep me going! I will not give up! 😊

Friday thoughts: relationships and the chronically ill me

 

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Hi all,

Today is Friday! At last we’ve reached the end of the working week and in just a few hours we shall be granted a slight reprieve from the daily grind. My body is definitely feeling the strain of the week so I am very excited! 🙂

Friday is supposed to be ruled by the planet Venus and associated with goddesses such as Aphrodite and Freyja so love is a strong theme for the day. Given this I’ve decided to share a few thoughts on illness and relationships.

Illness makes me selfish. When I am unwell I draw inwards. My mind becomes focused on my own experiences of pain and suffering and with thoughts of how I can feel better. Of course we can’t maintain a healthy relationship if we are continually focusing on ourselves! The difficulty then is how do I attend my own needs, not denying that chronic illness is bloody difficult at times, and yet not become so focused on myself that I can’t be there for those I am in relationship with?

I suppose one thing that strikes me is the importance of keeping a certain separateness between my illness and my relationships so that my illness is not requiring a constant stream of attention and energy from those around me. My illness is MY experience. I need to find the time and the means to work through what that experience means for me as an individual – to work through the difficult feelings it brings up, reflect on the lessons that I have learned through it, even just to sit with it myself.

Having time to myself is restorative and vitally important. Once I’ve given myself time to process what’s going on with me and myself, I can focus more clearly on what is actually happening to those around me! It also prevents the potential for my loved ones taking on more than they need to.

Of course the other key thing in managing any relationship – and probably especially important when dealing with chronic illness – is communication. It’s not always easy to do, but no successful relationship seems to manage long without it.

That’s all my brain can splurge for now.

Going in search of coffee. x