I am grateful for…

Hello, how are you? I am grateful for my ongoing recovery from my depression.

I am grateful to God. I feel stronger and more resilient every day.

I am grateful for my treatment package, which started on the 22nd November 2017.

I am grateful to my wonderful colleagues, who replied “No, you are not fine” when I said ” I am fine.”

I am grateful for my colleague who made me tea and Marmite toast that morning, when I couldn’t move from my seat.

I am grateful for answering the instinct to call my doctor that day.

I am grateful for the receptionist at the doctor’s surgery who scheduled me for an appointment that same day.

I am grateful for the opportunity to talk to my Line Manager and Business Manager that same day.

I am grateful for the unexpected contact free session and the strenghth I had that afternoon to finish important tasks at work.

I am grateful for the doctor who listened.

I am grateful for the recovery and support package that my doctor started that day.

I am grateful for care and empathy my doctor showed me since.

I am grateful for my employer who treated me with respect and dignity at a meeting.

I am grateful for my husband who has shown the utmost love and support in a practical way.

I am grateful for my daughter who has given me abundant love and hugs.

I am grateful for to my friends and family who allowed me to join in Christmas and New Year festivities , even though I didn’t cook and slept on the sofa whenever needed.

I am grateful for friends and family who have prayed, and who are still praying for me.

I am grateful for friends and family who shared their own depression with me.

I am grateful to my friends who have supported me via social media.

I am grateful for friends and family who checks in with me via social media, and understanding that it’s the best way for me communicate.

I am grateful for the invitations for coffee and a chat, and my friends and family who understand when I cancell at the last minute.

I am grateful for friends and family who listen and shower me with love.

I am grateful for time to grieve the loss of my parents.

I am grateful for my Fibromyalgia symptoms that are dissipating.

I am grateful for the lovely counsellor I have now.

I am grateful for more time to recover at home.

I am grateful….

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Depression

Hello, how are you?

I am not ok.

I am on sick leave.

For depression.

I want to tell you how I feel.

But I feel nothing.

I am tired.

I sleep a lot.

And watch Netflix.

But I remember nothing.

First week of the summer break..

Hello,how are you? I am well, thanks. So I have told you that I am a mum and a teacher, living with fibromyalgia. I am having a flare up at the moment.  But the worst is I also have Summer SAD ( Seasonal Affective Disorder). Let me explain.. In the summer break I break from my routine to get more rest. Read more in my post called Fibromyalgia.
A typical day…

Struggle to get up at 10am ish. Struggle to make breakfast for my family, courtesy of the symptom called brain fog. Do I fry the eggs first or make the coffee? Did I add sugar already? I also make a cup a tea at the same time,so that I don’t have to get up from the sofa. But I only drink herbal tea and my husband put the black tea next to the herbal tea container. Yes.. got it mixed up… start again. Did I put sugar in the tea… No!!! I don’t like sugar in the tea.. start again. My daughter wants fried eggs on buttered bread with ketchup, I want fried eggs on toast with salt and pepper. Its a struggle to remember not to mix it up. My daughter wants orange juice without bits… I bought the juice on offer…. It. Has. Bits. I have failed as a mother!!!!  😂 Now she wants tea. Redbush tea only. Remember to take the correct tea bag. Now take medicine. You have to take 4 tablets,Mouse! 4 tablets! Which four? Slow down… Stay in the moment.. count down your symptoms.. pain tablet ✔ depression tablet✔ fatigue buster tablet ✔ vitamin✔. Then I take the breakfast to the living room and sink into the sofa.

As soon as I finish my breakfast and coffee whilst watching TV, my daughter asks….

 “Where are we going today?”

 It’s summer break remember… Monday we went to the green, Tuesday we went to a trampoline park with two of her friends,and a picnic ,and an unexpected errand… Wednesday we went to the park.. It rained as soon as we got out of the car…on Thursday she was invited for a sleepover… I slept. On Friday I was invited for lunch…but I cancelled because I felt like death warmed up. I feel 😩😂for cancelling!!! 

After each activity I sleep for 4 hours( afternoon nap) and 10 hours at night. I struggle to wake up everyday.

And it is only the first week of the summer break…

Mouse is a fibromite

I am a mum, wife, teacher and a fibromite.  I live with a condition called fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by over 60 symptoms of which the most distinguishing is chronic pain and fatigue, depression, anxiety, ezcema, irritable bowel syndrome, SAD ( Seasonal Affective Disorder), restless leg syndrome, chemical sensitivity, loss if libido, mood swings, sciatica, non refreshing sleep, night sweats, brain fog, tender points, painful joints, lack of concentration, social anxiety, temperature irregulation… The list goes on.

Many doctors do not understand fibromyalgia. There is no definitive test to diagnose the disease. The worst part of fibromyalgia… It destroys your dreams and puts enormous pressure on your family and friends.

Let me explain… In the early stages, before diagnosis, you experience several of these debilitating symptoms. But it is intermittent. You go to the doctor who asks questions to establish your medical history. BUT you have brain fog… so you struggle to recall important relevant details. Due to resource constraints, the doctor does some tests like blood pressure, urine etc and every test comes up normal. He or she prescribes some medication that probably addresses one symptom only, and says that you will be feeling good in no time. You go home and feel awful and GUILTY that you wasted the doctor’s time or ANGRY that the doctor does not understand. 

In the days to come you feel rotten, exhausted, in excruciating pain. The  several symptoms come and go. But you are tired all the time. You go to the doctor again. And again. And again. Eventually the doctor refers you to various consultants and every test comes up normal. You take time off from work. Your line manager is getting impatient and annoyed that you are taking so much time off. Your line manager refers you to Occupational health. You worry about losing your job.

 You cancel plans with friends or family on the day and feel GUILTY. You stop making plans because you are too scared that you will cancel on the day and disappoint your friends or family. You can’t do things with your children, like kicking a ball in the park,  you struggle to explain your condition, you think you are going mad, you worry that social services will take your children, you worry that you will lose the house, you are disgusted at the state of your house, you are tired and in pain, you avoid asking friends around because the house is a mess but you are too tired  and  in too much pain to clean, you struggle to meet your friends for a coffee because you are too tired and in too much pain to leave the house. You lose friends.

Your family and friends offer advice.

” Have you tried a long hot bath?”

” You need to exercise more”

” Your body is just run down”

” Oh, you are such a hypochondriac, ha ha”

” Have you tried yoga?”

” But you don’t look sick”

” Just lose some weight” (The scientific word is mass, people! One of my pet hates.) 

“You must ..”

” Have you tried…?”

This goes on for years. Eventually you get a diagnosis but you find out that it’s is a chronic disease, covered by the Equality Act. But that information does not console you. You have to live with the pain, fatigue and other symptoms for the rest of your life. Your income potential is minimal, You may never afford your own house. You may never travel to the counties you dream about. You may never have the big family you hoped and prayed for. You may never reach your career goals (mine is to become a headteacher). You may never  be treated equally, without discrimination especially when you declare your disease on  a job application.

You may never fulfill your potential.

If you meet someone with chronic symptoms, consider if they might have undiagnosed fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia

Hello, how are you?

I am well thanks, Hold on…not really. As we wind down to the end of the academic year in the UK, everyone around me is getting excited about beach holidays,camping holidays and staycations.

I am not looking forward to it.You see,I live with fibromyalgia. It is a condition characterized by over 60 symptoms of which the most distinguishing is chronic pain and fatigue. Depression, Anxiety, Ezcema, Irritable bowel syndrome (Yes, that’s why I go to your toilet every time I visit) are amongst my other symptoms. 

But I also have  SAD ( Seasonal Affective Disorder) which affects most sufferers in the winter when the days are shorter and there is Christmas family stress to deal with and there is less sunlight. 

BUT… I have Summer SAD….

“Summer SAD?” I hear you ask.

Yes indeed. Summer SAD does exist. My GP says it’s because I am oversensitive to heat and light, the days are longer, barbeque and beach (mixed in with family) stress and there’s too much intense sunlight and you are supposed to be happy because you have long, hot , lazy summer days stretching ahead of you. 

 

On top of all of that, I struggle when I am out of my routine. I  love my teaching job. So I miss it a lot over the break. As I sleep a little bit more each day and get up later and later, the black dog (depression) starts to nip at my heels.

 “Stay as much as possible in a routine.. get up the same time…” I hear you reply.

Above all else, I have Fibromyalgia… chronic pain and fatigue. I am exhausted this time of the year. I sleep 10 hours and wake up tired. My batteries need recharging. But as I recharge, the black dog continues to nip.

Why I use a natural body moisturiser…

I am horrified by the number of chemicals in shop bought skincare products. Since discovering lots of amazing recipes on Pinterest, I have developed my own moisturiser, using a blend of various carrier and essential oils. Carrier oils are used to dilute essential oils, as essential oils are too concentrated to use directly on the skin.

 My favourite oils for the body moisturiser are Shea butter, Coconut oil, Almond oil, Avacado oil, Frankincense and Lavender (Amazing for the skin!) I do not recommend this moisturiser for your face. Coconut oil has a high comedogenic rating,which refers to the oil’s ability to clog pores.

I also make the following blends to add to the carrier oils:

  •  Patchouli and Grapefruit (Great for achy muscles)
  •  Lavender and Helichrysum ( The benefits are numerous)
  • Peppermint and Eucalyptus ( A must when you have a cold)
  • Custom made blend made to order

Wellbeing ( We don’t say stress anymore)

I am back at work after one month’s leave. Please see my blog”Two things that matter” to understand why.

I returned to teaching, paperwork, meetings and training sessions. Apparently, teachers are stressed because there was a lot of talk of staff wellbeing by management this week. We had emails and a training session on wellbeing. We discussed ways to relieve stress , learnt how to  give a  pizza 🍕 massage in a big group. We were given homework… Think of  something to do to relieve stress, list the pros and cons, etc.. I will let you know how I get on. Just the word homework makes me stressed..oops sorry, affects my wellbeing.

I must say, discovering the benefits of essential oils has changed my life. It definitely relieves stress, by inhaling it or by applying it to the skin after it’s been diluted in carrier oils. I also enjoy getting or giving a massage. There is something amazing about someone’ s hands touching your skin. It’s even more rewarding giving someone else a massage, especially a foot massage. It’s humbling and healing.

Looks like I have started my homework … 

Night night.

Val