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 . 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚
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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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 :

๐ŸŒน To eat clean and healthy .

Myself and my partner want to lose weight .
So far , so good .
All our food is clean and fresh ๐Ÿ™‚
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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๐ŸŒน 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 ๐Ÿ™‚
Best decision I ever made !!

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๐ŸŒน 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

๐ŸŒน 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 ๐Ÿ™‚
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 ๐Ÿ™‚
Then in the summer they’re  coming to visit us ๐Ÿ˜€
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 ๐Ÿ™‚
I know it sounds silly , but sometimes , being selfish really is ok ๐Ÿ™‚

My second side

I realise through my blogs I have taken everyone through my mental illness with me but yet haven’t let any of you into my life .
There is more to me than just illness .

Where do I start ?

I’m 27 years young and I live in a small town in South West Wales, UK. 

My parents are happily married with over 40 years together .

I have 2 older brothers .

I have had 2 labradors over the past 20 years . Tess was my first , a golden lab. And Ellie my second, a black lab.
I have had 2 rabbits, Sooty and Flopsey.
A hamster , Yoda (Yoda was a girl haha)
And a budgie named Ben .

I adore animals !!

I used to work , from the age of 16 until I was 22 .

I studied Performing Arts for a year. 
Then went on to study Theatre Lighting for 3 years .
I also went to University and studied Theatre Design & Production but I didn’t finish my first year . (Illness)

Films are a passion of mine .

My hobbies are :

๐Ÿ“š Reading
๐Ÿ“’ Writing books
โœ Art – Sketching & Painting
๐ŸŽฎ Gaming – Pc , PS4 , Xbox & Nintendo
๐ŸŽ€ Collect models / figures
๐Ÿƒ Collect Pokรฉmon cards

As I don’t work , I stay at home a lot . I very very rarely leave the house . So I have a lot of hobbies , along side blogging , to keep me entertained .
Although, I don’t get to do these daily .

I have 2 wonderful Nieces who I love spending time with, and my little cousin who lives with them . 

I basically live a very simple life .
I have a wonderful Fiancรฉ who has supported me for over 6 years and honestly , I don’t know where I would be without him .

That’s basically me .
I don’t talk a lot about myself because I’m not that interesting haha .
But I thought I would give you a little info about me ๐Ÿ™‚
I am more than my illnesses and I just wanted to point that out .
My whole point to blogging is to help end the stigma against Mental health . To do this people also need to know there are 2 sides to everyone.  The person & the illness .
We don’t choose this life,  Mental health is not a choice .
I wish it was .

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Slowly breaking ….

Recently I’ve felt really lost.
I’m at that point where I don’t know which way my life is going to go .

I suffer with so many problems;
๐ŸŽ€ Ulcerative Colitis
๐ŸŽ€ Anxiety
๐ŸŽ€ Depression
๐ŸŽ€Panic Attacks
๐ŸŽ€ Broken Disc
๐ŸŽ€ Migraines
๐ŸŽ€ Food Allergies
๐ŸŽ€ Anemia

Just to name a few .
The chronic pain really gets me down on top of it all.
It makes it impossible for me to get through a day.

A lot of people don’t understand this . I don’t speak about my problems enough .
I get told I should get back to work, which I would love to, but they don’t get what my life is like .

Since I was 6 years old I have suffered with depression . This made me a school phobic .
I have social anxiety too .
I hate new circumstances. 
Meeting new people genuinely terrifies me.

Then, when I was 7 I was diagnosed with Osteomyelitis
— “Inflammation of bone or bone marrow, usually due to infection.”

I needed an operation but when I went for it they couldn’t find where it had gone .
The bone was hollow though so it had been there …. 
I have always been told I need to be extra careful as it’s still somewhere in my body , but they don’t know where. 
This has made my bones very weak.
And I bruise very easily.

Then came the panic attacks around age 9 .
I would get fits of anger too through these .
I had counselling for my whole school life . I had 5 different counsellors all in all .
They did nothing for me .

I went to work at age 16 .
I worked hard but my depression and anxiety got the best of me .
I went from job to job .
I got sacked from a few because I was always ill. 
I was known to collapse / faint .
People would say it was sugar levels but it was my blood / anemia . Which we found out only a year ago .
My iron levels were so low , I could have died at any point . And that’s no exaggeration!!

Between jobs I also went to college .
I studied Performing Arts for a year and passed with the highest grade .

During this time I thought I had broken my coccyx bone . I fell in the dance studio on the wooden floor .
The doctors told me I couldn’t have broken it and blamed my anxiety for years.
Recently, found out I have broken my disc in my back .

I then went on to theatre lighting and design for 3 years which I also passed with the highest grade .
I wouldn’t have passed it if it wasn’t for my tutor though . He is an incredible man and became like my best friend .

I was off for a few months due to illness .
I thought I had bowel cancer .
I was extremely ill.
I was able to work from home thanks to my tutor , while I was having tests and biopsies .
It turned out to be Ulcerative Colitis. 
I still don’t have it under control nearly 7 years on .
Not a day goes by without a flare up . Some are super bad and others are bareable .
This doesn’t help my anemia as I’m losing blood on a daily basis ( not nice I know but this is my life ) .

So whilst a lot of people are judging me because all they see is me smiling and very very rarely see me going out …. I’m going through hell .

When someone says I need a job . I can’t just brush it off .
More than anything I want to work .

I trained for a job that I have been dreaming about for as long as I can remember. 

But it is impossible for me to hold one down .

I have tried and tried and either end up having to leave or being sacked because I have too many sick days .

I don’t just sit around every day playing games or having a laugh .

Most days I can barely walk because of the chronic pain I am in .

The disc in my spine is leaning on the major nerve, causing pain in my spine , hips and knees .
My life is pretty difficult .

I am lost .
I want a future where I can work. 
But I can’t find a path to take ?

I have zero motivation because I barely sleep .
I’m exhausted . (It’s 5am now) .
I barely eat because of the pain .
I don’t leave the house because of it and the fact I have social anxiety. 

So what can I do? 

Even going to the doctors is terrifying for me . Let alone heading out to a job .

I’m currently attempting to write a book again .
I’m also painting as and when I can .
But it takes me about 3-6 months to finish one painting .
So it’s not like I’m not trying ….

My point to this blog, is that people really need to stop judging. 

I smile a lot, I do my best and I help people as and when I can .

I don’t talk to a lot of people about my problems because I know you have your own .

I don’t like being a burden .

But when people think I’m A ok and just lazy . It really annoys me .

I have fought a battle since age 6 .
It’s not something a child should do . 21 years on , I’m still fighting .
I don’t need judgemental people on my case on top of it all .
Life’s hard enough !!

There is one bit of credit I can give myself though , and others like me .
We are bloody strong .
Because , no matter how exhausted we are , we still keep fighting ๐Ÿ™‚

A surprise attack

Whilst I sat in the comfort of my own home . With a glass of water and a plate with some food on . Unwinding from a long , busy day of sorting . Putting my feet up and watching Grim .

A loud, droaning noise came from outside.

I turned the volume down on the laptop and listened for a minute or two .
The noise I could hear appeared to be voices, male voices . Aged 17/18 . At a guess .

I then heard the front door being tried .
I knew Rob was coming back from band practice, so I thought maybe it was him . But who would be with him ?
His band mates weren’t that loud and no one else would be with him.
I couldn’t hear Rob’s voice either.

After a few more minutes (and checking the door was locked) I decided to carry on watching Grim .

No sooner had I hit the play button , there was an almighty **BANG**

Someone had hit the window. 
It frightened me . So much so , I had to call my father. 
After he checked to make sure the coast was clear , I went back into the living room and …. broke down .
My whole body began to tremble and I couldn’t stop it .
I looked at myself in the mirror and asked myself ;

“What’s wrong with me ?”

I never react this way . I am very rarely ever frightened .
But something had made me turn into this panicky mess .
I couldn’t believe it .

Through someone’s stupidity and probably thinking it was a funny idea to play ‘knock knock run’ . I had become a blubbering mess .

I managed to calm myself down by swilling my face with cold water , having a drink and a cigarette .
Once I had done this , Rob was back .
I felt safe now and managed to control my panic .
I spoke to Rob about how I felt .
It really did help .

The panic attack really had caught me off guard .
It’s never happened before .

I managed to get an early night (for the first time in over a year) and that has really helped.
I feel a lot more positive today .
It sounds stupid , but apart from that panic attack , I had a really good day yesterday .
To let that little down point take that away from me , well , that would be idiotic .

I’m not starting 2016 the way I did 2015 .
I’m starting to look for the positives rather than letting them find me ๐Ÿ™‚

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Cutting ties & moving forward.

Happy New Year everyone ๐Ÿ™‚
I hope 2016 treats you well .

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I wanted to write this blog as it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while .
I went through a lot in 2015 . The ups and the major downs.  It was a long roller coaster ride of emotions .
But one thing that has taken a while to click with me, is the loss of friends .

We all go through life meeting new people. We all lose someone in some way shape or form , but I’m not on about the ‘normal’ loss of friends through losing contact or just life getting in the way.  I’m on about losing someone who you considered to be a friend .
The fake friend.
Someone who you put your life on hold for , to meet up with.
Someone who you threw your problems aside for and tried to help them when they were at breaking point .
(But who wouldn’t do this for you .)

And then when their life starts to pick back up, they kick you to the curb .

It feels awful .
The feeling of being used .
No one deserves that .
I don’t understand how people can put someone through it .

Oh my life is hell , they’ll understand

– When you become good enough for them. –

Now my life is back on track, I don’t need that ‘negative’ friend who has helped me through it all, I’ll just kick them to the curb and move on with my life” .

– The part where they become too good for you and you become the negative one . Because they are on the slight “up” that life has given them . –

I’ve been thinking about it a lot . As I do over think things, that’s the whole thing about anxiety .
As much as it magnifies every emotion , it can , every once in a while , make you see things clearly .

I gave my time .
I gave up hours of my days .
I would drop everything for this friend .
I would push my problems aside and I would listen to them go on and on about theirs .
They would cry,  get angry and really vent .
They needed someone and I was willing to be that someone .
To be the shoulder .
I truly believed that they wanted to be friends .
That they were a nice person .
When really , they just saw me for the soft person that I am .
For the person who will do anything to see others happy .

As soon as I had done my work . They got their life back on track , for now. They have a job again , and I feel like they now think they’re better than me. 

I had tried to make contact with this person . But there was always some excuse .
I asked them if everything was ok between us .

They lied .

I then saw them when out and about and they ignored me but acknowledged my friend .

Then in passing conversation between said friends , they dropped the news in about a job .

And it all clicked .

Whilst they think they’re being clever . They’re actually showing their true self .

I was good enough when no one else would listen to them , but the minute they get a part of their life back , boom . I’m not good enough .

They only got their idea of said job , from me . Which is what I find amusing .

I’m better than her now , because I have the job she said would be perfect for me and pointed me in the right direction

But instead of a thank you , I just get tossed aside .

The best part to it all ?

They don’t realise that with depression , it’ll always come back .

The paranoir , the sleepless nights , Panic attacks , feeling ill , feeling unwanted , unloved . Etc .
It isn’t a once in a life time thing that just goes over night . Depression is always there . It just hides until you let your guard down , and then it jumps right back on .

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2015 taught me a lot of hard lessons . The main one is having to let go .

So this blog , is me letting go .
It’s the final goodbye to a toxic relationship .
I may be unfit to work because of health issues , but that doesn’t give anyone the right to treat me like an underdog .
It doesn’t make you a better person because you can get up pain free every day . It doesn’t change who you are .
And nothing gives you the right to treat someone this way .

I know I’m not the only one who has gone through this .
So my advice to you is , cut them off .
Don’t let them get to you. 
They used you and yes it sucks .
They took your nice nature and used it to their advantage .
But that doesn’t make you a bad person , it makes them the bad person .
So instead of just dwelling on it , say your final goodbye , in what ever way you feel appropriate,  and cut all ties .

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I feel good after venting all of this ๐Ÿ™‚
Now I can move on to the next chapter of my life .
I hope you can too ๐Ÿ™‚