Chronic illness and fatigue

If you suffer with chronic illness , you’ll know that owning an alarm clock is a waste of money . You’ll hear it going off , but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll wake up . 

You’ll also be very familiar with the snide remarks / “jokes” people make .

“I wish I had time to take a nap” .

“Everyone gets tired , you just have to push through it” .

Having chronic illnesses almost always means you don’t have a good , if any , sleep pattern . 

The usual 8 hours sleep everyone gets seems like heaven and you always hope that one day , you will get that glorious , golden 8 hours , of uninterrupted sleep for yourself . 

The thing is , no one truly understands it until they go through it themselves . I didn’t .  I’m 28 and 11 years ago I was your ‘normal’ , every day person who could get up and go . Party all night and work all day . Get a few hours sleep and I was raring to go again ! I never understood how people could be so slow or always sleeping or never go out . I loved life and nothing could hold me back . 

Then , I had my accident and life spiralled . I then started to understand why people couldn’t do things .

Normal everyday life is a chore . 

For me , I suffer with broken discs in my lower spine , hip and knee problems . (Along with so much more) . So from the minute I get up , I’m struggling . 

Getting dressed used to take minutes , now it’s 30 minutes or more . 

Bending , hurts . 

Getting up , hurts . 

Sitting down , hurts . 

I feel like I’m stuck in a 90 year olds body . 

The struggle is real – as they say . 

By the time I get downstairs I’m ready to go back to bed .

Making coffee is a chore but it’s so needed . Caffeine is about the only thing my body runs on these days . 

My normal routine …. I say routine , it’s more than likely that I …. Get up around 11am . Dressed and downstairs by 12pm . I have coffee by 12:15pm and then I sit down . I’ll try and get stuff done but every 15 minutes I need to sit . 

Come 5:30pm I . Am . Dropping . I normally go for a nap for a minimum of an hour and a half . It takes me between 30 and 45 minutes to settle and drop off . Then I’ll be waking up every 20 – 30 minutes . It takes around 10 minutes for me to drop back off to sleep . So I never get a full rest . This is why I can’t ‘power nap’ .

Then after my nap I’m normally awake until 4/5 am . I’ll sleep until 8am , waking every 20 – 30 minutes . Then I’ll be awake for an hour (8-9am) Then I usually nod off again until 11am . Always waking every 20-30 minutes . This is if I’m lucky to get sleep . Some nights , I’m awake all night . It all depends on the pain and if I can lie down etc . 

And I know I’m not the only one who suffers like this . My father is exactly the same as me . So I know I’m not alone when I say , it really is tough . 

So to have the usual sly remarks made , it’s no surprise when people get short with you .  

When you are basically called lazy . Oh how I wish it was true . Physical and mental exhaustion is no joke . 

Or when you’re told it’s just a bad day . Or you’ll get over it …. Please , show us how ? Teach us how chronic pain can be cured with a flick of a switch . 

And when people make fun of you . Now this is where people can get really petty . When they see you struggling and just think it’s hilarious and that you’re doing it for attention . I would absolutely love to watch you walk in our shoes for just one day . 

So please , be kind people . It takes zero effort to just be nice to someone . To try and understand it . I mean , you wouldn’t like someone to make a joke about your bad day would you ? So why would you do it to others ? 

Think before you judge . 

Chronic illness is tough . I have tried a lot of medication to help me , none of which have . It can take years to find the right thing , so far for me it’s taken 10 years , and I’m still trying . 

I’m now looking into natural pain relief and foods that help . 

Know your limits .

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No matter what you’re doing .
House work , shopping , hobbies or work . It is very important to know your limits .

Having anxiety and depression is very tiring on a daily basis and pushing your limits can exhaust you even more .
They can also set you back a few steps .

So instead of pleasing everyone or getting all of those chours done today , limit yourself to what you can do comfortably .

Personally, I always found myself trying to please others .  To get the work done faster etc .
I always push myself . The problem is , I have found myself going backwards and having more bad days than good .
So I’m now limiting myself and forgetting everyone else .
It’s not selfish , it’s common sense .
No one else would push themselves to the point of exhaustion just to get tasks done , so why should you ?
It’s no different just because we have a label on our heads .
We don’t need to feel guilty about it either or explain ourselves .

I find I ask myself questions a lot now :

– Do I really need to do this today or can it wait until tomorrow ?

– Is it important ?

– Does it effect anyone if I don’t do it ?

Most of the time , I can leave what I am doing .

Anxiety always makes you feel guilty over the silly little things , but you really shouldn’t worry about it .

You should be focussing on getting your life back , “getting better” . You shouldn’t be exhausting yourself if there is no need to πŸ™‚

So yes , put down that hoover / leave that until tomorrow , stick the kettle on , sit down , relax , and do it tomorrow when you have more energy .
Listen to what your body is telling you . Look after yourself πŸ™‚
It’s very important !!

Clean Food & Depression .

I know you’ve probably heard it all before .

“Eat healthy , fresh , lots of Veggies , it helps” .

Well I’ve tested this .
I used to eat a lot of frozen/ packaged meals . Easy meals . Not so much microwave but just quick cooking meals . So I thought I would change my diet a little to see if it’s true about food and depression .
I’ve cut out A LOT of high sugary foods .
I eat a lot more fresh , although I do love my Quorn frozen foods . So I haven’t completely cut them out .
For example , today’s meal is stew . Fresh Veggies, carrots , potatoes , onions etc and I’ve added Quorn chicken pieces to it .

I do have treats . I will have a bar of chocolate here and there . I haven’t gone completely insane …. Yet haha .

But I feel a lot better for this .
I’ve lost over a stone in 6 weeks .
Granted, walking the dogs has helped , but I have more energy to do this .
I feel less tired throughout the days . I don’t need to nap !!
I used to always go back to bed for a few hours and I didn’t have much of a sleeping pattern . Since eating better I now have one . I get up at 10:30am to see to the dogs and I don’t feel drained through it .

I’m not completely 100% healed or anything . I still get panic attacks in my sleep , which cause a broken sleep . But I’m able to get up and do things . Even if I am slow at doing things throughout the day , I’m not as bad as I used to be .
I used to get up at 12pm EARLIEST. I’d be back in bed by 4pm . Sleep until 7/8pm and then be up until 3am and it’ll all start all over again .
Now I feel better about myself.  My depression is still there but I can control it better .
I still stay up late but only until about 12am then I force myself into bed .
I may not sleep straight away but I am relaxed .

I find eating less sugar has helped stop some panic attacks throughout the day too .
I’m also not breaking out in spots as often .
And I’m actually tired at a normal time.
Strangely , my hair is healthier .
I have no idea if food does that to you, but it feels and looks great πŸ™‚

I’m not a chef . I don’t cook amazing meals . I can’t be trusted around a cooker as I walk off . So I use a slow cooker . I can leave the food to cook and not worry about it boiling over or burning .
It’s a life saver !!

Stew is my favourite meal to make as it’s so easy . It’s fresh and colourful and full of goodness .
It picks my spirits up on those cold , wet nights and it gives me the energy that I need .

I don’t know why I didn’t listen to people sooner .
I suppose it was just easier not to ?
But I’m glad I have now .
I’m still looking at ways to eat better . I’d love to shop at places which sell better foods . It would have to be online as I can’t go shopping yet due to my anxieties . But I’m trying πŸ™‚

I highly recommend trying this .
It doesn’t have to be boring . Stew doesn’t take long .
All Veggies don’t take long to cook .
Also, remember , dieting doesn’t have to mean cutting all the nice stuff out . It just means to have it in moderation . I love my chocolate and there’s no way I will give that up . But instead of having a bar a day , I look forward to my weekly treat . I work hard for it and it feels amazing !

A side note about food as well . Veggies can be bought frozen and it’s not cheating when they’re precut.  All the goodness stays in them πŸ™‚
However , it is always better to grow them yourself …. I will be looking into growing my own fruit and veg soon.

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What speaking out has done for me.

Many people are terrified to speak out about suffering from mental illness .
I was one of these.

For many years my life was tough and 90% of it was down to me.
I wasn’t willing to accept my illness.

I hid it the best that I could when I was out of the house.
People just saw me as a timid child, but my home life was hell.
Constant arguing and fighting over stupid things. I couldn’t control my anger.
I wasn’t angry at my family, I was angry at myself, but I would blame them as it was easier.

Hiding anxiety is tough and when you lash out, you normally lash out at those closest to you.
My parents just thought I was a naughty child, but there was so much more to it, I just couldn’t tell them.

Eventually, I went to see a doctor when I was 16. I was diagnosed with depression at aged 6 but they put it down to school and being a “school phobic”.
I was a phobic of most things, anything that included people and strangers.
I spoke to the doctor and they advised me that I should take medication. They gave me leaflets and told me to speak about how I was feeling and to keep diaries to help me speak about it.
I did the diary part, but I never spoke out about it.
I refused medication for as long as I could. I did speak to my parents about my anxieties but very vaguely.

I went through a lot in my short life, counselling being a main thing in my life. I hated it. Strangers wanting to know everything about me and asking me why I was feeling this way etc etc. It’s not my cup of tea.

I gave in to medications at the age of 24. It made me spiral backwards and I was at an all time low. The doctors kept changing them often. I was getting worse and worse.
I managed, after a year and a half, to pull myself off them .

Eventually, when I was 25. I started CBT.
CBT changed my life.
I spoke to my family and loved ones about my illness. I opened up completely.
It lifted a massive weight.

CBT only lasts 8 weeks. One session , one hour a week, but it made a HUGE difference to me.
Alun helped me focus on the here and now. He made me realise I wasn’t weird or an outcast. I accepted my illness and I managed to help others accept meΒ to.
He helped me make this blog page which in turn has helped a few other people cope with their mental illness. I have also made new friends through this and I don’t feel lost anymore.

Speaking out has helped me:

  • Stopped the arguments.
  • Made others understand that I’m not cutting them out, my anxieties restrict me.
  • Made new friends.
  • Helped others speak out.
  • See my friends more now.
  • Made a blog.
  • Taken a lot of weight off my shoulders.
  • Got people off my back about working again.
  • I’ve spoken about all of my physical illnesses, as speaking out about my mental illness has given me the confidence to be open.
  • Made me feel more “normal”.
  • I have accepted myself and the hand I have been dealt.

As terrifying as it is to think about, it really isn’t anything like that. Thinking about it is the worst part.
Once you know you’re ready to accept yourself, speaking is part of the healing process.
I’m no where near “cured”, but I am getting there. I am slowly taking steps in the right direction, and as long as this road may be, I know I can get through it.
Day by day, little by little.

I highly recommend speaking out to everyone.
The best people to start with are the ones closest to you. Eg. Mother, Father, Brother, Sister, etc.

You’ll be surprised by how many people understand.

TSΕͺ

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Sorry I’ve been a little slack lately .
I’ve discovered a new social networking site and am currently getting my profile up and running to help me with my blogs .

It is fantastic and has amazing rewards !!

If you’re interested in joining,  my invite is above so you can.
Just enter ‘ThatLolaGirl’ when signing up and you are away .
I will help you and your business / blog / whatever you choose to add to it , get up and running . Just give me a shout and I will point you in the right direction. 
I highly recommend this for bloggers, it has helped me out more than any other site .

The community are amazing and I have had so much help through this πŸ™‚
It’s super fun and so easy to use.

Definitely worth a look

Being selfish.

This year I decided to do what I wanted to do .
Last year , as you know,  I went through hell and back with family and loved ones . We lost a lot and we’re left a mess .
I totally gave up .
But this year I’ve decided to be selfish .
I never put myself first and have always felt guilty for when I used to treat myself and not my friends or family .
Why should I ?
I deserve to be happy too !!
Last year proved that life is way too short to just sit back and hope and wish .
So this year , I have decided :

🌹 To eat clean and healthy .

Myself and my partner want to lose weight .
So far , so good .
All our food is clean and fresh πŸ™‚
Low fat and barely any carbs .
No sweets but we do have fruit and hot chocolate to help with the cravings .

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🌹 Get my eyebrows tattooed .

I have shaved / plucked my eyebrows since age 18 . So I have zero as I hate my natural brows .
So I decided to get them tattooed on . Semi permanent make up .
They last up to 5 years if you keep topping them up every so often πŸ™‚
Best decision I ever made !!

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🌹 Get more of my tattoo finished.

I started my sleeve tattoo last year . But as I had a lot going on , I ended up spending all of my savings on trying to save my dogs life (I regret nothing) .
So this year I have booked in for more work .
I have been put on the list for if a slot comes up . As William (tattooist) is fully booked for the year πŸ™‚

🌹 Seeing friends more .

I rarely ever get out .
I go to Rob’s gigs but I’m always on my own , out the way somewhere  (I can’t do crowds)
So this year I am making time for those important people πŸ™‚
This Saturday I have a few friends coming over for tea and some naughty cake (Home made – I’ll have a small piece)
Then in May I will be in London for The Damned and the day after I will be going to visit 2 amazing friends . We plan to go for food somewhere nice before heading home πŸ™‚
Then in the summer they’re  coming to visit us πŸ˜€
Exciting times ahead !!

Simple little things ,  but they’re making all the difference . I feel more confident and happy about myself !!

I wish I had done this sooner πŸ™‚
I know it sounds silly , but sometimes , being selfish really is ok πŸ™‚