All right, I have decided to admit it: fibromyalgia has made me a weather psychic.
I am being absolutely serious here. Having fibromyalgia has meant not needing to consult the weather report. I know what the weather will be like the next day based upon changes in my FMS symptoms the day before. It’s that simple.
Although there is no specific reason found, the fact is that people who suffer chronic pain are able to sense changes in the weather before these changes are perceptible to others. Some explanation by way of changes in air pressure. According to David Borenstein, MD, FACP, FACR, a rheumatologist and past president of the American College of Rheumatology, barometric pressure (weight of atmosphere that surrounds us) is likely what affects people the most, particularly people with chronic pain because “sometimes nerves can become more sensitized because of injury, inflammation, scarring or adhesions.”
Q: Okay, I can predict the weather. The symptoms still suck, so what can I do?
Well, according to the linked WebMD article above, there are measures that you can take to help you with dealing with the weather changes:
- Stay warm (to help ease pain in cold weather)
- Try to prevent swelling (if that is an issue for you)
- Keep moving (even if it’s the last thing you want to do)
- Improve your mood (while the changes can feel unpredictable and can make you nervous, you do have control over how you respond to these changes. Work on smiling. I do. Every day).
- Realize that the pain is temporary (of course, temporary may be a while, but it is still temporary, so keep smiling).
- Don’t give up (This is my added thing. Look for the positive in the moment).
Q: I was newly diagnosed/ I’m not sure if I get it–I don’t have arthritis or any old injuries.
If you have been recently diagnosed, then welcome. It’s good to know that it’s not you and you’re not crazy. If you don’t get it for whatever reason, then this may be why:
- You’ve not had the chance to track your symptom patterns on multiple levels.
What I mean is that when you are first dealing with FMS symptoms, they can be overwhelming and seem inexplicable. You may just want to end the pain or get sleep or stop feeling nauseous or be migraine-free, etc.
You may not think about all the factors that may be contributing to your symptoms being more or less aggravated, such as food, activity level, vitamin deficiencies, allergies, recurrent exposure to stress (work/relationships/news/travel), weather and other environmental factors, etc.
Fibromyalgia symptoms are unique to the individual, which is why I think it can take some time to understand just what is affecting you how, and then what to do about it.
Changes in the weather/season, however, is something that many people with FMS have recognized as a contributor to increased symptoms. These changes can mean:
- Change in Sleep Cycle
- Change in Circadian Rhythm
- Pro-inflammatory Cytokines
For more detailed information on these changes and the specific types of weather changes that can aggravate symptoms and lead to flares, read “Does the Weather Affect Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms” by Dr. Rodger Murphee at TheFibroDoctor.com
Believe it or not, predicting the weather is really just your body giving you a warning sign. It’s letting you know CLEARLY that you are potentially heading into a period of flares, so it is best to take preventative actions. That’s all there is to it, at least in my book.
Learn to enjoy your psychic ability, disturb your friends with your accuracy, bring it out as a conversation starter or a topic changer…Whatever you do, smile about it, laugh about it, be with it.
It’s your body, you must live in it. So, live happily as you walk your path.
Until Next Time,
P.S. ATR Challenge (Day 25): What is right is my taking the time that I need, my accepting the support I receive, and my smiling through both pain and joy.
So, I’ve made it to Day 3. 😉
Let’s begin with what was right about yesterday:
- I did my daily meditation/prayer
- I went school
- I wrote some and read some
- I spoke with my mother
- The weather was far better than expected
- I went to bed at a reasonable hour
- I received some good news
- I enjoyed being outside in nature
What about you? What was right in your life yesterday?
In case you’re wondering about the video above, it is what I’ve been listening to in the mornings for my daily meditation and stretches–perhaps you might enjoy it, too.
Words of wisdom from by Vishnu TinyBuddha.com on learning to love yourself.
Below is an excerpt from the article.
“Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi
We’re so busy waiting for someone to love us that we’ve forgotten about the one person we need to love first—ourselves.
Ironically, it was when my ten-year marriage fizzled that I began the innermost process of self-discovery about love.
While discouraged and saddened at the crumbling of our relationship, I began to explore love more. How had it fizzled? Why had we stopped loving each other, and what had happened to our love?
To My New Followers: Welcome to my blog! I am very happy and grateful that you decided to follow me on my journey and hope you will share yours with me as well. 🙂
This is just a brief post about a challenge that I have decided to begin tomorrow. First, however, I just wanted to note that I am one week away from completing my 30 Day Prayer/Meditation Challenge–I really struggle with sticktoitiveness and so I am really proud of myself for coming this far and also for my recent decision to continue the Challenge indefinitely.
I think sometimes we just come across something that works with who we are and are necessary for where we are on our path. I am glad that the daily practice of prayer/meditation has been helpful for me in clearing my psychological, spiritual and physical space and in paving the way for the new challenge I’ve decided to do.
So, what’s this new challenge?
It’s a challenge that I’m calling: Acknowledge the Right Of Your Life Challenge. Perhaps I should make a hashtag out of it for Twitter and spark others to share in the Challenge.
So, what’s the goal of this challenge?
Simple. Every day, for the next 30 days, I will write, at least, one thing that is right (positive/awesome/good) in my life.
Why do you want to do this challenge?
Because, from what I understand of myself and looking at the world around me, it is an easy thing to get caught up in what is wrong (negative/awful/bad) with our lives.
So, I’ve decided to challenge myself for the next 30 days to identify what is working in my life. It’s simply another step on my path toward self-acceptance and self-actualization. I hope you will join me. 🙂
If you do decide to join me on this challenge, send me a message or comment here and let me know!
And remember, there is always a path to be found…
Until Next Time,
First of all, if you are still keeping an eye out for my rather sporadic posts, then you have my deepest gratitude! If you have just joined me, I ask for your patience as I do not post regularly, but as something comes to mind.
So, what’s on my mind? A lot…apparently.
Beyond the physiological and psychological aspects of treating my fibromyalgia (and other issues), I spend time exploring spiritual aspects as well.
Of course, this is my own journey and not some dictate to others. (Re)Gaining a foothold on my spiritual path has been a challenging journey in itself, but one that has been rewarding and I am happy for where I am when it comes to spirituality.
About two weeks ago, I began a 30-day meditation/prayer challenge/or whatever you prefer to call it. The point is that I decided to focus inward and to quiet my mind, so that I could/can understand where and what steps I need to take to follow my path to self-actualization.
Since that time, a great deal of unexpected and positive things have occurred in my life. The most important of these have been the experiences of self-revelation. You know, it’s those moments where you think:
Gosh, it’s that simple or Is that what it is/was or Seriously?!
Anyway, the point is that today, just this moment, I made an observation (revelation) of my relationship with perfectionism and procrastination. I became aware of my reason for having procrastinated at various important points in my life. And remember, if nurtured properly
Awareness is the seed that grows into behavioural change.
Certainly, like many perfectionists, I am highly skilled in the art of procrastination…truly, it can be an art form all on its own (and I get quite a lot done when I am procrastinating, just not what I ought to get done). 😉
In various articles on the subject of perfectionism and procrastination, you will learn that the perfectionist will procrastinate if she or he does not believe that the task they are meant to complete can be done perfectly. I have no argument with that.
The above-linked Psychology Today article points out the following behavioral or ideological position of the perfectionist when engaging in procrastination:
“There are at least seven operations involved in this perfectionism-procrastination process.
- You hold to lofty standards.
- You have no guarantee you’ll do well enough.
- Less than the best is not an option.
- As you think of not doing well enough, you feel uncomfortable.
- You fear the feelings of discomfort.
- You hide your imperfections from yourself and dodge discomfort by doing something “safer,” such as playing computer games.
- You repeat this exasperating process until you get off this contingent-worth merry-go-round by working to do better while not demanding perfection from yourself.”
Fair enough. I can give a check mark on all of that plus more. Beyond all of that, however, is the simple revelation that came to my mind: I never learnt to ask for help.
Growing up in my household, I was simply expected to know and to do. There was never (that I can remember) any real explanation given for many things or even assistance with learning how to do many things. If you couldn’t do it, then you were simply an idiot or stupid–no joke.
What does asking for help have to do with perfectionism?
Well, I would wonder how many perfectionists know how to ask for help, or even can fathom the idea of asking for help…even if that is what they truly want.
When you cannot or do not know how to ask for help, then what can you do when faced with an overwhelming task/challenge?
Probably, not much.
As a result, you may procrastinate to buy time until you can figure out how to taken on and complete the challenge.
Of course, perfectionists want to do their best, because not doing so disturbs our self-concept. And likewise, the view of procrastination can be focused to reflect that truth. There is no doubt, in my mind, that the seven operations listed above are on the money.
However, I know for myself that since learning how to ask for help, I have procrastinated less and less with each passing day.
Yes, I am still a perfectionist. Yes, I still procrastinate.
I know now, however, that
- I am not alone in accomplishing my tasks, that
- I can give my all to achieving my goals,
- expect the best of myself,
- that I do not have to know, and
- that even if I fail, I will have the support I need to move on.
Also, did you know that you can use your perfectionism to your advantage?
Check out the article “Build Self-Confidence, Lower Anxiety, and Use Perfctionism to Your Advantage” by fellow blogger and counsellor Megan at One Shrink’s Perspective, and get a copy of Never Good Enough: How to UsePerfectionism to Your Advantage without Letting it Ruin Your Life by Monica Ramirez Basco.
So, that is the thought I wanted to share today. Here are some questions for you:
Are you perfectionist?
Have you mastered the art of procrastination?
Do you know how or think you can ask for help?
Share with someone the path you found in living with your perfectionism.
Until Next Time,
As a person living with fibromyalgia, I spend a great deal of time thinking. My thoughts go from the mundane (what can I eat today that won’t cause me to suffer?) to the extraordinary (what would it be like if I could fly alongside the birds outside my window?)…okay, maybe not so extraordinary.
The point is that when my body won’t act according to the demands of my brain, I spend my time reflecting on the present and then on the future. In so doing today, I came to realise that something within me had shifted.
For the firs time in a long while, I was thinking, whole-heartedly and fearlessly, about my future.
I was imagining myself travelling. No, not just around my neighbourhood, but to distant places like Japan and South Africa. I was seeing myself working again with young people, writing, teaching, meditating, advising, and generally being at peace and being happy (which I am now)…
It was amazing.
And then I realised that this, this freedom to imagine, to dream, was something that I had thought had been taken away from me by illness. I had preoccupied myself with thinking that I could do no more than I had already done with my life.
After all, I had overcome some major challenges with my illness, had given up my old ways of living, had moved to another country, immersed myself in a new culture and language, and begun studying again. I’ve even been able to work a bit.
Isn’t that more than enough to hope for?
No, it isn’t.
I still have my dreams and my goals AND I can still realise them. Even if I don’t exactly know the how of each step that it will take to achieve my dreams, I know that the first step is simply to acknowledge that I CAN achieve them, regardless of illness.
So, live whole-heartedly and fearlessly today, despite the challenges, despite your inner critique, despite the naysayers. Having fibromyalgia doesn’t mean that you have to stop living!
Live for You, live for Now, and live for Tomorrow!
“Initially EMDR was utilized and studied as a therapy for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) which was itself a relatively new diagnosis for an age-old human affliction. More than 20 controlled clinical trials of EMDR have now been completed and reported, attesting to its value and demonstrating its usefulness across all ages, genders, and cultures for post-traumatic stress disorders. Tens of thousands of clinicians have been trained in EMDR, and have applied the defining protocols of this psychotherapy to many other conditions, including: Personality disorders, eating disorders, panic attacks, performance anxiety, complicated grief, stress reduction, dissociative disorders, disturbing memories, addictions, phobias, pain disorders, sexual and/or physical abuse and body dismorphic disorders.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a cost-effective non-invasive evidence-based method of psychotherapy that facilitatesadaptive information processing developed by Francine Shapiro, PhD in the late 1980′s. EMDR is an eight-phase treatment which comprehensively identifies and addresses experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural resilience or coping capacity, and have thereby generated traumatic symptoms and/or harmful coping strategies. Through EMDR therapy, patients are able to reprocess traumatic information until it is no longer psychologically disruptive.”
“One of the biggest challenges facing many people with fibromyalgia is — wait — what was I going to say?
Short-term memory problems can be embarrassing, frightening, and even dangerous for people with fibromyalgia. One community member asks for help as she’s noticed her memory deteriorating. “I have had two experiences in the last week where I couldn’t remember what the inside of my house looks like!” she laments.
A chorus of replies quickly tells her that she’s not alone…”
“The Buddha said that we are never separated from enlightenment. Even at the times we feel most stuck, we are never alienated from the awakened state. This is a revolutionary assertion. Even ordinary people like us with hang-ups and confusion have this mind of enlightenment called bodhichitta. The openness and warmth of bodhichitta is in fact our true nature and condition. Even when our neurosis feels far more basic than our wisdom, even when we’re feeling most confused and hopeless, bodhichitta—like the open sky—is always here, undiminished by the clouds that temporarily cover it.” – Pema Chödrön, from The Pocket Pema Chödrön
This quote by Pema Chödrön resonated with me today and I hope it will do the same for you.
Also, I wanted to share with you links to the two books that are most dear to me and they are both by Pema Chödrön: When Things Fall Apart and The Places That Scare You. Both of these books remind me of my place in the universe and how to take each step forward even when my path is seemingly covered by impenetrable darkness.
There are, have been, and will be moments in our lives when it seems that nothing is going as we had hoped, when we feel our hands are bound by some unknown and unseen force, when we despair of our existence and our present feels profoundly heavier than both our past and imagined future. Even in these moments, we must maintain our faith in the concept of limitless possibilities and probabilities, in our ability to shift our thinking and thereby shift our emotional space.
In essence, we can change our reality…one step at a time. After all, no matter the duration of our winter, there will always be a spring.
So, let’s keep our chins up and eyes forward while trusting in our abilities to make it through every single day until we arrive to the places, in which we aspire to be.
Until Next Time,