ATR Challenge: Day 7 & Rilke’s “Live the Questions”

Where Has The Time Gone

My face today. ūüôā

Just a brief note to check-in about the Challenge. All is well.  The things for which I am grateful and consider right are the new relationships that I am developing and the new habits that I am forming.

For the most part, what is right is my simple state of being: in myself, in the moment, in connection with others.

Some Words of Encouragement

‚ÄúBe patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.‚ÄĚ – Rainer Maria Rilke

Until Next Time,

D.

FMS | ATR Challenge: Day 5 (Back to School/Back to Illness)

I was expecting it.  After all, it was bound to happen.  Three days into the first week of classes, it hits me hard: a cold.

Okay, for the average person, a cold is not such a big deal. If you live with fibromyalgia, however, a cold can turn your world upside down…at least, it can mine.

Already you have to deal with the usual symptoms (pain/nausea/fibro-fog/fatigue/etc.), now imagine adding on the stress of having a cold, which only exacerbates the symptoms you normally have while adding a couple more???! Seriously, it’s no fun.

The point is that yesterday I found myself feverish, anxious because I was feverish, nauseous because I am often nauseous but also because of being ill, alert because I was anxious because I was feverish and nauseous. ¬†It’s brutal.

So, what did I do to counter this situation?

I headed over to the Mayo Clinic’s website to look up information on the common cold and how to treat it. ¬†Of course, most of what was there was common sense:

  • Pain Relievers (have it, but don’t want to use it–I try to keep it natural)
  • Decongestant¬†Nasal Sprays (have it, but don’t want to use it–I try to keep it natural)
  • Cough Syrups (don’t have it and probably wouldn’t use it–I try to keep it natural)
  • Drink lots of fluids (I drink¬†about 2 litres of water every day)
  • Try chicken soup (I am vegetarian/vegan almost)
  • Get some rest (I suffer from insomnia a lot, so who knows)
  • Adjust your room’s temperature and humidity¬†(Rome in September–I turned off the fan)
  • Soothe your throat (I’ve got water and salt for gargling)
  • Use saline nasal drops (don’t have it and probably wouldn’t use it–I try to keep it natural)

So, this what I did: made some lemon/honey tea, drank water, had something hot to eat (rice with vegetables), ate some fruit, tried to rest, turned off my fan and gargled with salt water.

Did it work?  

Well, I am feeling a heck of a lot better this morning, except for the migraine concentrating itself over my right eye.

Either way, I feel good enough to head out to my class in the afternoon–and that’s the most important thing for today.

So, what was right yesterday?

Many things: ūüôā

  • I woke up and did my daily meditation/stretches
  • I worked, read, wrote, and knitted som
  • I went to class and participated fully
  • I recognised and fully acknowledged that I was getting a cold
  • I did my best to prevent the cold from persisting
  • I took it easy and reminded myself that I was trying my best.

Remember: Do You!

A while back, I posted about the following article on going to school and managing fibromyalgia symptoms as well as asking for accommodation by Kristen Stewart on EverydayHealth.com:¬†Succeeding at School with Fibromyalgia. ¬†It’s worth taking a look at again, if you have already, and if you haven’t, then take a look now.

——-

Each day I try to remind myself that my path is unique and cannot be walked by anyone else and cannot be compared to anyone else’s. ¬†

Walking it may not always be easy, but it is always worthwhile.

 Until Next Time,

D.

FMS | ATR Challenge: Day 4

Is it Day 4 already???!! 

Four days may not seem like much to celebrate, but given my goal of sticktoitiveness, I am super glad that I have stuck to it, i.e. both the meditation/prayer challenge (Day 26) and the Acknowledge the Right Challenge (Day 4).

The happiness is also because, as a person with fibromyalgia, I find myself often in a position where I have to give up the things that I want to do or am doing.  So, any progress made, however small, in showing myself that I can do/have it must be acknowledged.

As to what was right yesterday? Well, many things:

  • I got up (despite the weather, aches and pains, and general lack of sleep)
  • I did my daily meditation/prayer and stretches
  • I went to class and met new people, and feel very upbeat about the courses I am taking
  • I met a new friend and spent a good deal of time talking.
  • I got some reading/writing/work done
  • I spoke with my mother, which is always a good thing.

For today, I thought I would leave you with a link to a great Yoga International¬†article on the benefits of yoga for people with fibromyalgia: “The Art of Surrender: Yoga & Fibromyalgia.”

Happy Wednesday!!

&

Remember that making progress on any path

means putting one foot in front of the other!

Until Next Time,

D.

 

 

ATR Challenge: Day 3

So, I’ve made it to Day 3. ūüėČ

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.

 

Acknowledge the Right Of Your Life Challenge: Pre-Challenge Inspiration from TinyBuddha.com

Words of wisdom from by Vishnu TinyBuddha.com on learning to love yourself.

Who to Fall in Love with First: 6 Ways to Love Yourself

Below is an excerpt from the article.

imagesCAEI0N67

‚ÄúYour task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.‚ÄĚ ~Rumi

We‚Äôre so busy waiting for someone to love us that we‚Äôve forgotten about the one person we need to love first‚ÄĒourselves.

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?

 

Help The Two Ps: Perfectionism and Procrastination

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). ¬†ūüėČ

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.

  1. You hold to lofty standards.
  2. You have no guarantee you’ll do well enough.
  3. Less than the best is not an option.
  4. As you think of not doing well enough, you feel uncomfortable.
  5. You fear the feelings of discomfort.
  6. You hide your imperfections from yourself and dodge discomfort by doing something “safer,” such as playing computer games.
  7. 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

  1. I am not alone in accomplishing my tasks, that
  2. I can give my all to achieving my goals,
  3. expect the best of myself,
  4. that I do not have to know, and
  5. 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,

D.

FMS | Please, Tell Me What I Can Eat….

Seriously. ūüėČ

If you are like me and have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia as well as other comorbid illnesses, such as polycystic¬†ovarian syndrome (PCOS), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Reynaud’s syndrome, then your relationship with food might be a complex one–and that probably¬†is an understatement.

Eating the wrong foods or food combinations can mean more inflammation, pain, digestive issues, insomnia, fatigue, hair loss and gain (facial), decreased libido, mood swings, etc. And who wants more of that?

Especially, if you have comorbid diagnoses, you may find that the food recommended for one illness, may be discouraged for another illness. Sometimes it feels like a lose-lose battle.

Still, we must not despair. There is always a path to healthier and active living, if we choose to seek it.

For me, I live be a golden rule when it comes to living in my body.  I think of my body like any vehicle that I would drive. It is my personal vehicle, and so this rule applies:

Food is the Fuel

Exercise is the Engine

As long as the combination of those two factors is balanced, then I feel at peace with my choices. Whereas exercise may be limited to what my body can do at any given time and may not be a daily experience (although I try to make it so), food is something that I ought to consume daily for basic functioning and overall well-being.

However, food, the fuel that our bodies need to sustain us, is one aspect of self-care that can create havoc, for people with fibromyalgia, in our otherwise solid treatment plans.

Over the last six years, I have undertaken the task of discovering what foods my body can tolerate. ¬†Perhaps this task is a leftover from my days as a personal trainer/fitness instructor or maybe it’s just that I want to feel the best I can every day. Whatever the case, I have been experimenting with foods in order to find a FMS+ plan that is nutritionally sound and interesting.

Here is what I’ve discovered about my body:

Foods it Likes

(Tolerates…because I can’t really say that I, personally, enjoy all of these foods):

  • Leafy Greens –¬†Bring on the lettuce, cabbage, endive, etc. ¬†I cannot express to you how much I detest endive…but I live in Italy and am a bit lazy with food preparation, so endive is bound to be present in the bagged salads that I buy. ¬†Oh well.
  • Water –¬†Natural. Okay, this may seem a bit strange, but it is my reality. ¬†My body loves water in its most natural state, not effervescent (fizzy). There is little else beyond water that my body can handle as a liquid. It’s simply not on.
  • Fruits – The crunchy kinds. ¬†Any kind of fruit that has a crunch to it, my body seems to appreciate more than fruits that could be considered juicy (or very ripened). ¬†So, that leaves me with pears, nectarines, apples, etc.¬†HOWEVER, I have learned that I can only eat these in moderation or, at least, rotate them out. I can also eat bananas, mangoes, susine gialle (I don’t know the English name), and grapefruits, but even more infrequently.
  • Nuts & Dried Fruits – Don’t get too excited. ¬†I can eat two things from this category¬†fairly often, but still I understand that I need to keep them in moderate amounts: peanuts & dried cranberries. That’s it. Sometimes, I can have almonds, but not as often.
  • Eggs –¬† Although I am not a fan, I can eat them and do. ¬†I, however, rotate them in my diet, because I am not partial to the taste.
  • Seafood –¬†Yes, I can eat seafood¬†BUT not all. My body, for whatever reason, cannot handle frequent consumption of ¬†certain fish, such as salmon and tuna. ¬†Shellfish, however, gets a green light.
  • Yoghurt – Notice, I didn’t write milk. ¬†I can eat all yoghurt (as far as I know). ¬†I feel best, however, when I eat Greek yoghurt, which I eat frequently and often in combination with my nuts and dried fruits–it’s my little treat.
  • Gelato – Not often, but I can eat gelato. ¬†I don’t know about ice-cream. Also, I have to stick with plain flavours. Ideally, the gelato should be gluten-free¬†(gluten is sometimes used as a thickener). ¬†So, nothing with cereals or candies, etc.
  • Chocolate (dark or white) – Again, not often, but I can eat chocolate every now and again. ¬†Like gelato, should be ideally gluten-free and it cannot contain any kind of cereals and is best without dried fruits (which is often raisins, which I cannot eat).
  • Diet Soda¬†Ideally, caffeine-free.¬†Looking to spice things up liquid-wise? ¬†Well, I can have diet soda fairly regularly, BUT because of my IBS, I understand that I need to limit my consumption.
  • Other vegetables – Mushrooms, olives, cucumbers, zucchini, garlic, onion, leeks, chives, scallions. ¬†All of those get the green light.
  • Oils & other fats – I cook with olive oil. Period. ¬†I do have butter in my refrigerator, but use it infrequently.
  • Seasonings – Well, most, as far as I know. ¬†I tend not to season my foods, except with curry, black pepper, powdered/liquid garlic, rosemary, thyme or pimento. ¬†And even these are used sparingly.
  • Gluten-free Products – WAIT…Please, don’t get excited, I can eat gluten-free cookies/biscuits…but not all, and it’s sort of a game of roulette. ¬†I never know how my body will react to things. ¬†Also, even though I have been able to eat these things, doesn’t mean that I think that it is good for me. ¬†So, only when I am having a particular craving will I make the effort to purchase these. ¬†They can also be great for making the crust of a low-carb/gluten-free cheesecake.
  • Cheeses – Apparently, I can whatever cheeses are available, but in severe moderation. ūüôā I am partial to softer cheeses, such as brie or cream cheese (which I use to make my low-carb/gluten-free cheesecake).
  • Fake Sugars – Yes, I can use them and do to add flavour to my cooking or sometimes to my water. ¬†Fake sugars, however, are tricky and it is important to understand which ones work for you and which don’t. ¬†My body, for example, cannot tolerate sugar alcohols in any form, whether as a sweetener or in the presence of a food (including gum and mint).

Okay, so those are the major (if not complete list of) items that I can eat.

—–

What I Choose Not To Eat…

The list of items that I ought not to eat is very long.  Notice that I write ought not to eat.

This is because I can eat them, but there will be repercussions. ¬†As long as I am willing to accept the repercussions (major IBS symptoms, random/sudden weight gain, increased pain and fatigue, migraines, increased insomnia), then I’m good to go. ūüėČ

So, what I do I choose not to eat? ¬†Well, I’ll give you general categories:

I discovered how bad it was for me just the other day. ¬†Recently, I bought a bag of gluten-free flour, thinking that I would make myself some awesome Jamaican boiled dumplings. Well…the experience left me in misery. ¬†Sure the dumplings tasted good, but I felt almost as awful as I would have if I were to have used regular flour. ¬†Why?

Well, the foundation of most gluten-free flour is grounded rice, potato starch, sugar, and even some finely grounded nuts, such as almonds. ¬†Remember my list of foods that my body likes? ¬†Well, there you go. ¬†Of course, having spent close to 4 Euros on this bag of flour, I intend to use it all, but sparingly (it’s good until next year).

  • Nightshade vegetables & fruits¬†As much as I love them. ¬†I have said goodbye to tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, eggplant (mostly), peppers, and most berries (cranberry exception). ¬†They cause/increase inflammation¬†and possibly insomnia, so it’s just not on.
  • Citrus Fruits –¬†High sugar content, acidic, and too much vitamin C. ¬†Well, all of these things I can do without. I already take a daily supplement of vitamin C, so I can live without them. Of course, as mentioned above, every now and again, I can eat a grapefruit. ūüôā
  • Caffeine-heavy products – So, that basically wipes out tea, coffee, sodas, and even chocolate. ūüôā ¬†Of course, anything can be consumed in moderate amounts. ¬†Still, I do not drink coffee, and rarely tea or soda. Of course, I mentioned chocolate before.
  • Meats – Like grains. It’s simply not on.
  • Milk¬†– I always find it strange that I can eat yoghurt, but not drink milk. Well, that’s the reality. I can, however, use heavy cream for cooking.
  • Nuts & dried fruits – Too much sugar,¬†too challenging for the body to process.¬†
  • Alcohol – I’ve never been partial to drinking alcohol. That being stated, alcohol simply presents a challenge for many with FMS. Want to feel more tired? More nauseous? Less restful sleep? Then, drink alcohol. I’m good without it though.

—-

Other things of consumption to think about?

Well, if you smoke, STOP. Smoking increases pain severity.

Chewing gum? Pause. Check the sugar content. Your sugar intake may be having an adverse impact on your health.

Of course, the research on what foods actually help or hinder us is limited. ¬†Each person is different. So, each of us must take responsibility for what we put into our bodies. ¬†Don’t just read this blog or something else and say “Aha! Now I know what to eat!”

Don’t be lazy!

Instead, take this information and use it for your own research. As I mentioned before, it has taken me 6 years to sort this out for myself AND it is still an ongoing process, especially as my body grows older (as a woman, this presents certain nutritional and hormonal issues).

What I’ve come to understand is that, no matter what, I must love my body.

It’s become a mantra…

I must love my body, even when it isn’t doing what I want it to do, even when it isn’t looking the way I want it to look, even when it feels like a stranger to me. ¬†I must love and care for it the best way that I can.

I must shut out the emotional voice of my body that sometimes longs for foods that are unwise for me to eat, and listen carefully to the wise voice of my body that reveals to me the foods that will help me heal and maintain balance.

Food is fuel for our bodies, not a crutch for our self-esteems.

The Take-Away?  Well, I try to follow two basic rules when shopping, especially when I am thinking to buy something new:

  • If the food can live on a shelf longer than one to two weeks, then I don’t buy it.
  • If the food is in a can, bottle, plastic package, then I hestitate to buy it and refer to the first rule.

 

Well, I’m off to the grocery store! Happy Sunday!

P.S. If weight is an issue for you and you are looking for a place to begin,¬†or¬†you are needing inspiration on your journey, then check out fitness motivation speaker and certified women’s fitness, weightloss, and nutrition trainer Erika Nicole Kendall‘s blog: ¬†A Black Girl’s Guide To Weightloss. ¬†Kendall’s blog covers a variety of topics, including fitness, body image, sex, culture, food recipes, and beauty.

Relationships | Black, Female & Dating…Or Trying To? According to the Statistics, Why Bother?

Disclaimer: ¬†All images used in this post are from the “Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism” by Rebelle Magazine. The images are a part of the “I Am, Too, Harvard” campaign, revealing the experiences faced by Black students at Harvard.

Please, visit both Rebelle Magazine and the campaign sites by clicking on the highlighted links! By the way, almost all of the pictures relate to my experience while at Stanford–I hope the students there will do something like this as well.

Also, I use the word “we” often, not to say all Black women are in agreement with me, but to express my solidarity with those who do have shared similar views.

 

 Now, on to the post!

Image from Rebelle Mag: Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism

 

Today, I came across the 2011 article “Why black women are justifiably bitter: The bleak relationship picture for African-American females” today. ¬†While the article was far from shocking, it really laid out in a clear and undeniable manner the reality that many Black women face in trying to make gains in the¬†dating market. ¬†

Plus, the article was far more favourable than the now-withdrawn 2011 Psychology Today “Why Black Women Are Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women”¬†(links to a Psychology Today rebuttal of the argument).

The article follows on the 2009 blog post by OkCupid, “How Your Race Affects the Messages You Get,”¬†that indicates that Black women were, for the most part, shut out of the online dating world, being the users who sent the most messages while receiving the least replies. ¬†Black women were also the most likely to respond to messages. ¬†Black men as well as other races, OkCupid’s statics showed, do not consider Black women as relationship material.

Feeling depressed yet?

Image from Rebelle Mag: Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism

Well, it gets worse. ¬†It follows that if Black women are not considered relationship material, then surely marriage is out of the question. ¬†That is where the article comes in and eloquently explains why Black women have every right to be angry/bitter in general. ¬†Because although we are not considered for marriage, we are surely considered for sex. ¬†As the article points out that “7 in 10 black children are born to unmarried parents.”

Oh?  Really?

I am not surprised given the dating statistics. Of course, given the grim statistics on incarceration and African-American men, it makes sense that marriage would seem unlikely.  Nothing wrong with having had a bad moment in life and having had to go to jail/prison, but it does make getting married more problematic.

Image from Rebelle Magazine: Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism

So, why I am writing about this?

Well, because I am frankly tired of reading the negative online commentary about Black women, whether it is about our hair, our skin colour, or weight, or our strength of character and fearlessness (a.k.a. our masculinity).

Men who have a problem with strong women, ought to avoid dating Black women, in my opinion. ¬†Black women are not raised to¬†be cowed by¬†anyone. ¬†We understand clearly where the dominant society has decided to relegate us and how some (apparently a majority) of our male counterparts view us. ¬†(Let me not get into this statement: “black men who, according to social science data, are more likely than any other group of men to maintain relationships with multiple women.”)

 

Image from Rebelle Magazine: Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism

We understand clearly that a good portion of our male counterparts are eager to mobilize themselves by marrying up and thus marrying light. We get it.  We get it that the kinkier and nappier our hair, the broader our thighs, the bigger our lips, bottoms and hips, the louder our voices, the more likely others will to try to shut us down or shut us up.  We get it.

The thing is…

We don’t give two cents about it.

Image from Rebelle Magazine: Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism

Unworthy men and women (for our LGBTQ population), please continue to ignore us. ¬†Please, continue not to respond to messages. Trust me, it’s much better this way, because we won’t be wasting our time on you. ¬†And who would want to? ¬†I am beginning to feel really sorry for those who do.

You see, while some people may see Black women as available (sending so many messages) and desperate (responding to so many messages), the fact is some¬†Black women simply won’t do two things:

  1. Wait for permission to say what we want, and
  2. Be impolite to someone just because we don’t like them.

Have you ever thought about that?  Have you thought about the fact that some Black women simply own our sexuality and are polite?

Image from Rebelle Magazine: Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism

Can people get beyond the need to assign to us the roles of either

  1. the gold-digging concubine or
  2. the food stamp baby-making mammy?

Can we get beyond this already?  

What? No, we can’t? It’s far too important for maintaining the status quo?

Oh, well, forgive me.  I thought it was okay to be seen as human.

Image from Rebelle Magazine: Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism

Of course, this is all just my personal opinion.

 

FMS | The 3 Ds: Disappointments, Decisions, and Determination

‚ÄúWatch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.‚ÄĚ‚Äē¬†Lao Tzu

I’ve begun writing another chapter in my life. ¬†Perhaps this chapter ought to be called¬†Sticktoitiveness”. ¬†Why? Well, I like the sound of the word, it makes me smile, and…

Sticktoitiveness is defined as a “dogged perseverance; resolute tenacity“, which has reemerged as a theme/personal quality in my recent life.

It’s one of those many things that you may have had to cast aside, in one way or another, as you learned how to live with a chronic illness, such as fibromyalgia. ¬†¬†It’s also something that, in my opinion, you should¬†never cast aside when you are living with a chronic illness, such as fibromyalgia.

——-

The 3 Ds

Living with a chronic illness, means living with constant internal and external changes. ¬†The changes you undergo will create havoc in self-perception/self-image, in relationships, in goal-setting, in employment, in pacing achievements, and in even cooking pasta (I threw that in just to make sure that you were still paying attention). ūüėČ

In other words, having a chronic illness can mean taking life moment by moment and doing your best to prepare for whatever shifts occur–it’s not an easy task.

I’ve done my share of explaining and lamenting the challenges of having fibromyalgia, so that’s not what this post is about. ¬†If you’re interested in learning the depths of the difficulties, however, you can look in my archives.

This post is about why you, both people who are living with a chronic illness and those who are a part of their lives, must accept and live by the 3 Ds.

What are the 3 Ds? ¬†No, this isn’t about multiple third dimension. ¬†This is about accepting: disappointments, decisions, and determination.

—–

Disappointments, Decisions & Determination

The reality is that, when you are living with a chronic illness, you will face setbacks more often than not.  They are a part of the package.  They are also the first D, i.e., disappointments.

You will experience disappointments like never before… Seriously.

Especially, if you attained the status of ‘responsible adult’, then disappointments (particularly in yourself) will begin to take on a whole new meaning, because others may be dependent upon your well-being for their survival.

Decisions are an everyday part of life, and are the second D.

Decisions, when you have a chronic illness, can no longer be a straightforward and static process. Why? Because decisions can never really be wholly independent from your (unknowable) physical status.

This leaves the third D, and the most important, determination,

If nothing else, I have come to understand that you must remain determined in seeing your goals through to the end, whatever they are and regardless of your chronic illness.  

Yes, having a chronic illness can drag you down, cause you to despair, and generally make living feel less than worthwhile I am not denying that. Certainly, too, there are goals that may need to be altered or even utterly discarded.

Still, I am stating that if you focus on your goals with “dogged perseverance” or “resolute tenacity”, in other words¬†sticktoitiveness, then your goals can serve as a way out of the darker aspects of having a chronic illness.

No matter what, stick to accomplishing whatever goals make your life have meaning, make you happy, and make you feel sane when everything else about you feels less than so.

Until Next Time,

D.

 

[Relationships] To Rebound or Not To Rebound? Um…I don’t think we actually have a choice…

For a few days now, I have been thinking about that space in between relationships, oftentimes called the “rebound” period. ¬†Why? ¬†Well, because I am in it, but not just in it…

I am actually recognising and admitting to myself that I am in it.

Now, for some people, this may seem quite a strange concept.  The inevitable question is: how could you not know that you were on the rebound?

Image Found: SomeEcards.com

Well, the answer is easy enough.  I just never thought about it.  I simply lived with a kind of go with the flow mentality that led me easily from one relationship to another from the age of fifteen.

I am sure I am not alone in this.  More than likely, there are many, who just never seem to be out of a relationship or out of the dating experience.

Of course, there are some people who might say, “Hold up, D! I know you were single from years XXXX to YYYY! I was there listening to you complain!”

And while that may be technically true, i.e. that I was not in an established relationship, I was most definitely casually or seriously dating on a regular basis in between and complaining about those dating experiences…and not my last relationship. ūüėČ

The other day, I was talking with my friend, V. about being single. ¬†V. is about eleven years younger than I am and told me that since he had started his dating life, he had spent more time being legitimately single than not. ¬†His words gave me a serious pause for thought…especially as I was just about to head out the door to what could be seen as a–oh, I don’t know–date.

Image Found: Fremdeng.ning.com

His words acted like a very loud warning bell, stating oh so clearly, that I needed to back up and think about what I was about to get myself into! (Thanks, V.!)

Seriously, if I were to add up all the times when I was not in a relationship and not dating in any fashion between the ages of fifteen to thirty-five, I think I would come up with less than five years (and that figure is really generous on my part).

Five years of being single out of twenty years is really not a great deal of time.  Not only was I operating on a permanent rebound status, I was also not being fair to the people who dated me, either casually or seriously.

Even more importantly, I wasn’t being fair to myself. ¬†I wasn’t allowing myself to heal and to learn lessons from my experiences, so that I could make better choices moving forward–not that I am not grateful for everyone and all the experiences I have had.

Image Found: Examiner.com

Still, it would have been far better for me and for those who had been involved with me had I waited and sorted through the feelings that can emerge when a relationship ends, such as sadness, fear, anger, jealousy, envy, guilt, shame, and that general sense of abbandonment (even if I had been the one to end the relationship).

Instead, I found myself in many emotional tug of wars.  However, I was the one working both sides of the rope,  attempting to pull people closer to me when they seemed too far away from me at one moment, only to pull them far away from me when they seemed too close to me in the next moment.

After my conversation with V. and subsequently my therapist (yes, I have started therapy again ), I began asking myself why was it that I hadn’t chosen to remain single for long periods of time.

Certainly, some might imagine that it would be an issue of fearing being alone…but anyone who knows me would easily refute that. ¬†I love being alone, even in a relationship. Furthermore, I rarely experience loneliness.

Seriously, I really enjoy solitude. ūüôā

Julie Andrews, Sound of Music. Image Found: TheAge.com

Perhaps I thought that that was what ought to be doing, i.e. dating and “moving on with my life.”¬† You know, gallivanting in meadow with the magical spring weather that forces you to embrace the warmth of new love…or something like that.

I am of the mindset that it is more than likely this.

Perhaps it was an effort to “reset” my last experience, which oftentimes enough had provoked some kind of painful emotional response. ¬†Thus, being with someone new was a lesson that intimacy wasn’t something to be feared–remember, I really like my own company and so it is easy for me to isolate.

Well, the point is that I am embarking on a journey to understand this experience of being on the rebound and also working through it.  Thus, when the time comes for me to actually have another relationship, I will be better able to understand what I want from it and what I can give it.

If you are like me or the contrary to me (actively staying away from dating and relationships), then taking a moment to pause for thought on this subject might not be such a terrible idea. ūüėČ

Until Next Time,

D.