I won!!! 700,000.00!

I received this letter from Yahoo, U.K. & Ireland division office in England. Along with a request for my personal information and banking information… for one second, I wanted to believe! But I went to online scammers.com and there they were.

IMG_4143 2

This was nothing more than a scam. I was randomly picked to be scammed. Possibly because of my “frail” nature; having a chronic illness. More likely they just hoped I was simply stupid. I am neither of those things they presumed. I wasn’t scammed, but I feel a sense of violation. That somehow I was inappropriately touched or exposed and left defenseless.

This brought up a few more issues. This morning one of my dogs had run through an open gate on our property and disappeared. Come to find out that there was a trespasser in our yard last night trying to steal our bikes. When the wannabe thief left the property sans any bike, s/he neglected to close the gate, so the dog escaped. It took us an hour to find her.

Stay out of my yard! If it is not yours, don’t touch it! If it is not your money to give, don’t give it! If you are trying to scam people out of their money, rot in hell!

I was angry. I felt taken advantage of and weak. I was losing my sense of control. (I already had one hell of a week and am just getting back on my feet, now this!) So I needed a plan to regain some control, a feeling of power over powerlessness, a sense of security; no means no!

In order to figure this out, I had to talk with some very important “me’s.” The one-year-old, the 16-year-old, and twenty-something year old and me, now. I know this sounds nuts! But it works. What do you need to feel safe? Secure? Protected?

A one-year-old needs something entirely different than a twenty-something-year-old. A 16-year-old needs something very different than a 50-year-old. So I made a list. I gathered my supplies, and I bought some stuff. (On Amazon, overnight delivery!) Every item I gathered or bought brought me a feeling of comfort. A sense of safety from bodily harm. Then, when I was done, a feeling of peace washed over my weariness. I had regained control.

The “stuff” I gathered and bought isn’t what is important.  The important thing is I was feeling powerless in my own home. I wanted my power back! So I made conscious choices to do that by taking care of my internal and external needs. Sometimes, when you are feeling overwhelmed and out of control, you need to just sit down and take an inventory. Gather the things you need until that peace washes over you and you are feeling back in control.

That is the only control you have, and that is your reaction.

Version 2~Kim

It Happened.

I am on my third day with a flare that is so quirky, one moment I am able to sit up and watch some TV and two minutes later, I feel as if I am approaching death’s door. I have had this disease for over 20 years, I have not experienced such a volatile flair with the intensity switching so swiftly! This is a new type of flare for me. I am clinging to the knowledge that I know this flare is temporary and will end.

I feel manic when the pain decreases. Almost as quickly, a sense of panic when the severity of the pain increases dramatically and comes at me.  I am cycling with these severe fluctuations, hourly. I definitely know I am not in control of this flare in any way. I am just trying to not let the anxiety of the fluctuating pain levels throw me into a full-blown panic attack. Pain is pain, but panic leads to increased painful symptoms. 

Do you remember having a flare that was odd, such as this one with swift and severe changing pain levels? Are your flares similar to the levels of increased pain and symptoms you experience? Do your pain levels vary vastly with each flare, leaving you questioning what additional symptoms you will experience?

How do you experience your flares?

IMG_0220~Kim

 

Meditation, Mindfullness, and Engagement?

Ohm, Ohm, Ohm… meditation is the key?

I don’t meditate.

I am mindful that the leaf that I picked up off the ground is [insert awareness statement], unique with enthusiasm?

I am not mindful.

How do I, who is in constant pain, who spent almost 20 years trying NOT TO FEEL my pain suppose to practice, instill, and be aware of every little mundane task completed during my day?

Hold on!

I’m not against the practice of these things! Maybe you can find the “at peace with oneself” lifestyle that works for you! Go for it! I just will not be joining you. I will be watching Netflix in my jammies to find my kind of peace.

I deal with chronic pain by dismissing it. I use cognitive therapy techniques, trained by a licensed therapist to get through the pain and anxiety that fibro brings! I also try to complete minor tasks to keep my ‘pain-firing’ brain focused on other things. I was trained to depend on thinking through the pain, literally, to deal with chronic pain. It does not mean my pain doesn’t exist. It does not mean I am always successful in dismissing my pain. Pain is there. Always.

I haven’t mastered this cognitive therapy technique. It doesn’t always work. But. It does work some of the time! This is not an example of pushing through the pain. Let’s be clear about that. NEVER attempt to just push through the pain! You will experience the mother of all fibro flares if and when you do. (I know who you are!)

I just do not involve myself in programs where I am to sit still and focus on any part of my body. When I am still and mindful of my body, I become incapacitated with pain. I’m just not wired for these kinds of practices.

I am working on becoming and staying engaged in the present. Ten years ago, that was so far out of the realm of possibilities for me. But on this day, I can say I am engaged in my surroundings; good, bad, or indifferent. I don’t know if I always enjoy being involved in my environment, or if I am any good at it? All I know is I try to be engaged, every day.

Live your best life!

IMG_0200~Kim

Hired Me an On-Line Therapist for Christmas!

Yep! There is an online program called Better Help. You just answer a few questions and BAM! You got yourself a therapist … available twenty-four hours, seven days a week. My poor counselor is learning that a person with fibro sleeps sporadically and gets real chatty around two in the morning. Poor thing. I must say though, she is a trooper and has kept pace with me! Step by step.

The price is right! No insurance required. $45. a month for three months then $25. per week after that. You can talk to your counselor in that one month period as many times as you want to! Unlimited! I am only in month one and I think I’ll be wrapping up my sessions within this month. You can request a 1:1 video chat if you prefer, so far I’ve just been emailing.

At Better Help, they do not medicate as far as I know. I have my anti-depressants that work for me, so I do not need medical advice for medicating my depression. I do think it is primarily overlooked that besides taking medication, part of the treatment for depression is seeing a therapist you can talk to. Just as this disease of depression changes, decreasing and increasing in intensity, so does our need to seek professional assistance when we are spiraling in uncertain times.

Depression. Mood issues? No, much more. Emotional and physical limitations legitimately factor into this disease. It isn’t just experiencing a little sadness … this disease messes with your ability to function! To be able to reach out to a professional over the internet when you need to talk? This is an amazing alternative to having to get your butt up, out of the house, and to an appointment! I mean, the last thing you want to do when you are depressed is face the outside world!

I really do not know if this is the answer for everyone, but for me, I need a mental health check-up every six months or so! Better Help ( https://www.betterhelp.com/ ) works for me.* I’m finding this to be a great alternative to traditional office visits. I want to caution you, I do not believe this is the appropriate help for a newly diagnosed individual with mental health issues. I believe the one to one therapy is needed.  I went to traditional therapy for seven years and it was a key factor in learning how to live my best life with a chronic illness.

Let’s live our best lives!

IMG_3343~Kim

*This is my personal experience. I use this service. I do not get a referral fee of any kind. I found this service helpful and simply wanted you to be aware of its existence.

 

 

Let’s Play Anthropologist!

Anyone else nervous about the holidays coming up?

I just had to take a ten-minute break to get my head together so I can write this post! Yes, I am nervous about the approaching holidays. It all seems so very overwhelming. I wish I could still get stupid drunk!

I do know that I can and will handle the holidays and all that it entails.

Seeing family members is not an issue, perse’. (Is that latin?) It is the amount of them all at once with a lot of food and noise! It is taking pictures and playing games, doing the dishes, eating more, then doing dishes again! It is exhausting just thinking about it. Now, let’s throw in not knowing how you’ll feel that day or each hour of that day! Then … will I have fibro fog?!?!? Hey, it’s a plus for me because I can’t remember a thing but a bummer for everyone else because I’m a bit of a moron.

So, I once talked to a therapist about this very issue. She said, {…please insert your credit card for a payment of $180…} “Pretend you are an anthropologist and you are going to observe a newly discovered tribe.” WHAT? A tribe? A newly discovered tribe? Really? Is that supposed to be a joke??? Well, she wasn’t kidding!

So I gave it a shot …

I walked through an open doorway into an entry that leads to a full and open rectangular room. The leader of the tribe greeted me with, “Kimmo, you’re here!” There were small people in the tribe that looked very much like the bigger ones. The little tribe people ran to me for hugs…

I’ll be… this is working!

This is how I do my holidays’ folks, I observe the tribe. I will participate in their customs only if invited to. I will converse with them only if conversed with first. Otherwise, I will observe … mentally noting the movement and conversation of the tribe. I am present, observant, not engaging … this is an anthropological discovery of a new tribe after all!

In all seriousness, this does work. I pretend to be an anthropologist. Tah-Da!

My husband and I spend very little of our holidays with the tribe, his or mine… a few hours for each side. We have started our own traditions. We drive through the rich neighborhoods around the lakes in Minneapolis and look at Christmas light decorations.  Then we like to be home, in front of the fire, watching old Christmas movies OR Despicable ME. Now that’s a holiday! Lights, leftovers, popcorn, and minions!

IMG_0250 ~The Anthropologist.

Chronic is Forever, Random Really is Enough!

It is hard having a chronic illness. It is difficult dealing with the daily pain, the numerous doctor appointments, the fatigue and endless doctor bills. The sheer number of symptoms that accompany your disease is mind-boggling at times. Having a chronic illness is emotionally and physically taxing. You know what the hardest part is? It’s admitting that you have a chronic illness!

Do you miss the old you? The energetic, athletic, healthy person you were. Do you miss your career, your friends, your family? Do you miss the joyful outings you use to attend and the close relationships you had? Me too.

You have to realize somethings will never go back to how they use to be, you have to grieve the loss of that life, of that person you use to be. As you grieve, you may find you feel such a sense of guilt, even shame. You missed that office party, your kid’s baseball game, your mom’s birthday party because you did not have the energy to go. Exhaustion is the only friend you really hang out with anymore.

Are you anxious? Afraid of what will happen if you leave the house? Will you have a physical or mental break? Get lost, break down crying? These things have happened to me. Have they happened to you? I was always almost in full panic mode every time I THOUGHT about leaving the house, it still happens, some days.

A disease that is chronic means forever. Admit it, accept it. You are allowed to grieve for a while, take the time you need. But then, get back into this game we call life and realize it doesn’t have to be all bad.

There will be days that feel normal enough. Days you look normal enough. Days that are good enough! Admitting to yourself, what you have is the hardest part. Forgive yourself for getting this disease because it is not-your-fault! Once you do, you will begin to learn the skills necessary to continually improve and manage your symptoms. I promise!

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Every single day is like getting on a Ferris wheel. You can never tell where the cart on the wheel will stop, it is random. How many times will you gloriously ride to the top? Random. Is the operator in a good mood or bad? Are there people waiting impatiently for their turn or is no one in line? Random, random! A day with a chronic illness is just simply random!

Here’s the deal, admit what you have and forgive yourself. Get on that Ferris wheel and strive for a good day. Prioritizing the things you want to do, let the rest be. If those things were important, they will be there when you have the strength to deal with them.

Live your best life!

Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 12.48.43 PM~Kim

Love and Anxiety

Psychology today defined anxiety as; “a normal reaction to stress.” For some of us, this is the case, for others, it goes much deeper than that.

What does anxiety really feel like? It is feeling that everything in your life is broken and needs immediate attention! Heart palpitations, sweat, panic, fear, finding it hard to breathe, and lightheadedness… anxiety can lead to panic attacks, where you may hyperventilate, you may feel claustrophobic, you may feel frightened with it turning to sheer terror that the worst has certainly happened. The tears will come, you will curl up in a ball and just try to get through it.

Over time you must learn what triggers your anxiety, learn the art of cognitively talking yourself out of an anxiety state before it reaches a full-fledged panic attack.  Positive self-talk.

  • What I am feeling is not my reality.
  • Nothing is going to hurt me.
  • No one is hurt.
  • I will not die from anxiety.
  • Just Breathe. Inhale, exhale.

If you love someone with anxiety, and they trust you enough to let them know that they have anxiety, consider yourself lucky. A person with anxiety feels deep emotions. They will never belittle you, never laugh at your insecurities, never pick you apart naming your faults. Why? Because this has been done to them.

Finally, anxiety is a real condition. The more severe it is may lead you to seek out some medical advice. There are medications and therapists that treat anxiety and panic attacks. Be aware of your triggers and choose best how you handle them. Find what works for you.

IMG_0172~Kim