When I say “I’m fine” & some evening thoughts

Many of us that live with Chronic pain will often answer the same way when asked how we’re doing “We’re fine”. Most of us don’t do it to lie or to hide the truth from those we love and care about, rather many people assume that when you look OK then you must be doing OK. We also hide our pain well and we do this mostly for our  own comfort as much as for yours I imagine. For myself personally, I’ve simply come to move beyond and just putter along my day to day focusing on the tasks needing to be done versus where my physical self is at.

I’ve lost a lot of weight due to my medication (to the tune of 40 + pounds). I am forever complimented at how great I look and how much I’ve changed. The other day I was asked if I have been working out lots. Most people would be thrilled about this, I am not though, I feel drained quite often. On top of the constant and various forms and levels of pain that I deal with on a daily basis, I am often tired and I don’t feel healthy like I used to before all this. I am no longer able to be bouncy and all over the place as I used to be. So when I’m asked how I’m doing instead of giving the constant explanations, I rather answer “I’m fine”. Most of us have our own reasons for doing this, I do it to protect myself emotionally mostly, and also to spare others at the same time. I don’t want people feeling badly for me because each time I tend to be honest they do feel bad, so I’ve simply come to keep the answer short.

Some days I feel better than others and there is nothing I can do about this. All I can do is take it as it is and move forward.

I’ve been doing much better than I was even 5 months ago and I’m so very grateful for that. The medication I am currently taking has stabilized me and given me a little more freedom again, to where my life is mostly back to normal versus where I was basically locked to my couch and unable to do a lot of things without help because I had too many bad days. And yes, I smile through chronic pain. Yes, I laugh through chronic pain. So yes do please ask me how I’m doing, but also know that I may not always be up front with the answer or give you a different one than you may expect.

19961379_1425208140899644_7837327881646711673_nAll of this said though, my VM has made me a happier person as a whole. I am more creative than I was before because I simply am pushed to sit and stay sitting for longer periods. I don’t have much control over my pain but I do have control over how I react to it and how I choose to deal with it as it comes. I can be miserable and moody, or I can take care of myself in those situations and hours as I need to as best as I can. (<—-I’m still learning this.)

The only person that will be able to control or is ever responsible for my happiness will be me, so when I am in pain and as I live with my chronic VM – I will take this one day at a time, one anxiety attack at a time and one VM-attack at a time, because that’s the only way to make it day to day with smiles and giggles. This is my life and it’s perfect as it is. There is no need for things to be different, this too has lessons to be learned. The thing is though….

Not all of them have yet been revealed……

Love,

Pixie (Beatrice)

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Dizzy Mommy Morning Thoughts

I have been dizzy every day since March 2016. Some days are more tolerable then others. 20884875_1448663911887400_684975444_nI have VM, there is no cure for it nor is there a real treatment. I’ve gotten to the point to where I have accepted and managed dizzy into my daily routine, but every once in awhile I think how nice it would be to wake up normal. I then start to realize how blessed I am that I do not have a life threatening illness and how many doors my Vestibular disability has opened for me that I never assumed would be there otherwise (I was on a long road of Bartending which I loved). That is when I go back to embracing my world as it is and as I’ve grown to love it.

I learned during the course of the last year and a half that embracing our current situations is the best way to handle life’s curve-balls. These situations, life’s moments and circumstances, will happen whether we dig our heels in and struggle against them or simply breathe and work with the situation. I struggled. When I initially left work and had to come home I struggled a lot, and then I started embracing my situation and let the doors that the Universe laid out for me open up. My art was in front of me to be painted , created and embraced. Now I have amazing people that are letting me share my art with them. I get to tutor art to young children and hopefully soon also to some adults. And I have a job I enjoy when all the while it looked like I truly wouldn’t be working again outside the house and I know many with this conditions similar to this that do not work.

There are days I wish I could sleep properly (like you know those normal 7-8 hours we are told about, it’s like a mythical Unicorn it seems) but then I remember that at least I do get some sleep. I refuse to allow my VM to take over so I suck it up and do what I have to. Some days I am extra quiet and the people around me ask if I am okay. I nod and say yes, but often I am staring at random objects to allow my eyes to focus again when I’ve over-extended and moved too quick (I still do this, even though I know that I have to move certain ways) . Or trying to contain the nausea feeling I have at that moment, which seems to be a constant by product that you do get used to.

The point of this story is that sometimes we are the only ones who can truly understand what we are going through and we either allow our misery to take over and blame the world for our problems or we take charge and make our lives amazing… Our lives are in our hands. Not your spouse, not your friends … your life is yours. So even with an illness there is small ways that you can make your life better. There was months were I couldn’t get too far from my couch. In that time I learned to embrace my Art & myself again.

So don’t fault others for not understanding your situation or circumstances. Their unkind words at your invisible illness or them not reaching out is not always because they don’t care but most often because life is busy for them too or maybe they simply don’t know what to say or how to help.

For those of you that don’t suffer from chronic illnesses though, if you have a loved one that does, when they are struggling, sometimes all we want is just to be hugged and then there is other days where being left alone so we can rest is the best medicine. Simply asking what we need also may help depending on the person.

This is a great article to read but here is an excerpt

The five caregiver commandments:

1. Accept your powerlessness.

Watching a loved one in pain is one of the hardest things in the world. It can feel like being trapped in a nightmare. You want to make them to feel better, but you just can’t.

There are many ways to support your loved one, but you need to understand that you are powerless to make them better. It’s not your job to take away their pain. You need to acknowledge this, and truly accept it, before you will ever be able to make difference for them.

Your love and understanding is the medicine they need.

2. Take time to learn about their illness.

The first step towards understanding is taking the time to learn about their illness. At the very least, learn the basics. What are the symptoms? What are the treatments? It can be helpful to read the experiences of others. 

You won’t be able to make them better, but it’s an empowering step. Having an intellectual understanding goes a long way towards providing effective care. It opens the door to empathy.

Talk to your loved one. Ask them about their experience. Ask them questions if you don’t understand, don’t just guess. It may be hard for them to articulate the answers, but be patient. Really try to understand. Try to put yourself in their shoes.

What might your life look like if the same limitations were suddenly placed on you?

The better you can understand their illness, the better off you’ll be. The love and support you give will be authentic in their eyes.

I also recommend reading “The Spoon Theory” by Christine Miserandino at butyoudontlooksick.com. It’s a fantastic article and the most elegant description of what it’s like to live with a chronic illness I have ever come across.

3. Be with them, but give them space when they need it.1

One of the best ways to support someone with a chronic illness is to just simply be with them.

Living with a chronic illness can be incredibly lonely. It’s easy to feel disconnected from the world when you are so severely limited. It can be hard to relate to everyone else.

One of the things your loved one needs from you the most is companionship. Never underestimate the power of spending quality time with someone you care about when they are in pain.

Sometimes, just knowing we are not alone in our moment of pain is enough to carry us through.

But the reverse is also true. There will be times when the best thing you can do is to give your loved one space. Getting enough sleep and rest is a critical part of managing a chronic illness. There will be times when your loved one needs you, but there will also be times when they need to be alone.

If they don’t have the energy to spend time with you, never hold it against them. It’s not a reflection of some hidden resentment they harbor. In fact, it’s not personal at all. No one would rather stay home in bed. But when you have a chronic illness, you’re forced to make hard choices, and it’s so much harder when you feel like you’ve let someone down that you care about.

By giving them space, and not taking it personally, you are supporting them more than you can possibly know.

4. Validate their pain.

At the end of the day, what most people with a chronic illness so desperately seek is to be heard, to be understood, to be accepted, but above all else, to be validated.

Your loved one lives in a reality where almost no one truly understands what they’re going through. When they’re in pain, most people won’t believe them or even care enough to try. But you can be the one who understands. You can be the one who believes. You can’t make them feel better, but you can make them feel heard. Show them you know their pain is real.

By far, this is the most powerful way you can give your love and support. When they feel neglected by the world, a compassionate validation can give them the strength they need to persevere. In that moment, it can change everything for them.

5. Don’t get frustrated.

The worst part of a chronic illness is usually not the illness. Everyone gets sick from time to time. It’s the never ending repetitive nature that makes it so hard. We get sick. Then we get sick again.

At times, it will get frustrating, but it’s so important to remain calm. When your loved one is in pain, they will be at the mercy of forces outside of their control. They may be emotionally needy, distant, angry or sad.

Regardless, it’s safe to say that the interaction may not be as rational as you would expect under normal circumstances. And it’s easy to lose your cool when your good intentions are met with a reaction you didn’t expect. Pain can bring out our worst qualities.

But if you can stay calm and keep a cool head, the tension will always pass. You will be supporting them in a way that will make their pain easier to endure. At the very least, it will give them one less thing to worry about.

It can be difficult to support your loved one in this way, but it’s worth the effort.

Remember Happiness is something we choose. We don’t have to choose to be miserable. So even in the toughest situations, we can choose to be peaceful and happy, it allows us to find solutions and the doors available to us because sometimes life’s doors do close.

Love,

Pixie ~ Beatrice

 

Two weeks and counting

It’s been two weeks and counting that this has let up . I track my Vestibular Migraine so I learn it’s patterns, it’s routines. My neurologist had told me I had quite a severe case. This may seem so, as this has not let up in a year now, at all. It is instead getting worse.

I am always in some form of pain. There is no days off, just like Motherhood! I’ve been in a state of Migraine now though for a solid two weeks & yet I’m still asked to function, because I can’t be under a blanket or hiding in a dark room for 2 weeks. So I have found the things that work for me, and I use the heck out of them and make them work for me so I can at least semi-function.

The thing is, with my migraines, I’m not always just in pain, that’s not all, there is also incessant dizziness, because the constant pain wasn’t enough, we have to add  constant spinning and vertigo. Yes, this morning I may be sounding a little frustrated , bitter maybe?! I’ll talk  you through this, just hang in with me. As I’m typing this, those of you that get migraines are probably thinking, how is she even typing without tipping off her chair, well one, my screen is very dim (YAYY for having a savvy crew that taught me!) and two, I’m leaned close to the wall beside me, so no tipping off my chair !!!

This neurological condition, has been something to say the least. It had thrown me into a bout of depression for a few months, it had taken so many things from my including a job I loved and activities I loved, and now most likely will not be doing again, but I gained so much during this last year. So much. This realization didn’t even dawn on me until a few days ago, but I gained a ton with this as well. I lost an awful lot, and grieved so much over that loss but the amount of beauty and lovely insights I have gained and found is tremendous. The lessons that have come out of this whole mess once I started slowing down and seeing the bigger picture. I am in constant pain with my VM. There is no real off days. Even on my good days I have a, what I call, a nagging headache.  I have returned to my roots. It took me a little while to find this place of my own truth again.

The realization and the loss that I’d felt had made me allow the ego to set up camp in my head, and rule for a few months, and I allowed her rock the boat and let her do her thing there. It is so difficult to be mindful when you’re in a constant state of pain. I assume it was time to up my level of learning and now go to this level, from wherever I was before, so now I am here, practicing mindfulness even as I’m working on this post for you.  Mindfulness brings you back to the present. You observe what’s going on now. This means both inside and outside of you. The waves are still there but you are more calmly riding them. Being in the moment gives you a deeper sense of balance.

As Buddhist teachers like to say: the suffering is in the stories. An effective way to bring your attention out of your stories and into the present moment is to take three conscious in- and out-breaths while turning your attention to the present moment. As you do this, notice what’s available to your senses right now: a sight, a sound, the sensation of your clothes on your skin. Even if it’s not a particularly pleasant moment, at least you’re present for it instead of being lost in regrets about the past or worst-case-scenarios about a future you can’t predict. And, more often than not, being mindful of your present moment experience reveals that there’s something pleasant going on right around you that you just hadn’t noticed. This can be soothing and healing.

If you are struggling today – practice mindfulness, take the time to just focus on each task at hand feel each task, feel the street beneath your feet as you walk to your car, feel the air in your face, the rain in your hair, the wind on your face, the air in your lungs.

Most importantly….

Enjoy today & know you’re not alone

Love,

Pixie xo

Adult Coloring books

7_reasons_why_adults_low_versionI love art. I love drawing and creating things out of mere supplies. It makes my heart sing and makes me peaceful. Also… it’s always reigned in my anxiety. Who would’ve thought that my love for coloring would eventually become a thing?! In and around 2013 a whole wide range of adult coloring books started coming to the surface. The reason for that is that as it had already proven on a personal level. Coloring is healing. Ha! Who would’ve thought?!?!?!

Adult coloring books are great for your mental, emotional and also intellectual health.  Did you have any idea that the “prescription” of adult coloring stems all the way back to the late and great psychologist Carl Jung? Well it did. He was always ahead of his time. Jung used it thinking it would help his patient’s access their subconscious and new self-knowledge. We now know that many psychologists suggest this to patients as an alternative to meditation, as a means of relaxation, and as a calming tool. It can help the individual focus on the act of coloring intricate pictures for hours on end, vs. focusing on intrusive and troubling thoughts. An activity that can invoke the easier and happier times of childhood. A time when we did not have as many responsibilities, and could just do something because we wanted too, for the pure joy of it. To be able to tap into this time and these emotions is very cathartic and enjoyable. It can take you out of your present stresses and worries for even a few hours at a time, which can have an exceptionally recuperative effect.

pattern_play_coloring_book_065A great thing about coloring is that, unlike some hobbies, it’s easy to get into. You can do it anywhere and all you need is a design and some colored pencils. I have a couple of coloring books personally, one small one that fits easily into my purse (thanks to a great friend of mine) and a bigger one with more intricate designs that I keep by my desk.

If, at the end of the day, you really feel the need to relax and get away from it all-simply bring out your crayons and coloring book or download some coloring pages. This will surely help you get out and away from it all and help you relax and unwind. I’m grateful there’s now studies to prove that art does indeed have health benefits and am happy to see that these studies are increasingly helping people simmer down and reign in their anxieties, just like they have for me!

 

Happy coloring – With love,

Pixie xo

 

 

REFERENCES:

Finding that Inner Strength

20e1c06e840e1df8ff2c993fe44ad6abWe’ve had a tougher go of it these last few months. With my health being wonky and not knowing what’s going on and all it’s been one uncertainty after another. But something I have learned in the last few months is, that our loved ones ARE there to support us and help us. And if I am having a bad day, I can message and whine to them and they’ll tolerantly and most lovingly listen and let me lean on them. (Thank you to those amazing souls in my life that keep holding me when I need the hand!!! I love you!)

I’ve found strength in myself I didn’t know I possessed through this process. I’ve learned that our human bodies are quite fragile and that pushing them through overworking and always doing will eventually somehow catch up with us. As yet, I don’t know what my health issues exactly are, I do know that when I sit still (in meditation or other quiet activities) I feel relatively okay.

So today, for today, let’s focus on one thing at a time, let’s learn how to lean on that inner strength in times of trouble, because as we know, those storm clouds do gather in our lives, and life isn’t always sunshine. It is though our job to learn how to dance when it pours and how to embrace all seasons and all the weathers of life! There will be days when it doesn’t feel like you’re ever going to be strong enough to weather these storms, but I promise you, as I’m in the midst of my own storms that we’re never given more in life than we can handle, even when we have to dig deep into our most inner selves to find this strength. Every hour of every day, people are pushed to question if they’ll ever feel normal again. This and wanting to help people with this is why I hold on to being an Empath and not let the world make me hard but also this is why I share my personal self with you, that even though I’m a very spiritual, loving person, one who always sees the silver lining, I too have terrible tough days. Here are some things though that have helped me through those tough days.

When you’re having a hard time, remind yourself of all the days before that you’ve survived. Your survival record is 100% for crazy hard days! Congratulations on that!!! You’re doing amazing!!!!! Practice seeing yourself rise above the pain, looking back and peering forward at the values, experiences and goals of your whole life. Remind yourself that you are bigger than this, and that you will get back to you again. You can always rely on your support system, those closest to you. Even when they live further away, with technology being amazing, you can message them and ask for some encouragement. I promise, even when you feel like you’re intruding, they will help you stand back up.  Ask them to remind you of your strengths and listen to them. That is why these blessed relationships are in your life, and one day, you might do the same for them.

I’ve also found that when I’m extremely overwhelmed it helps tremendously to just find time for myself. Whether I have a bubble bath, or read for a while or just simply sit in meditation, carving time to ground yourself back to your roots is tremendously helpful in this. Carving out time to do the things you’re really good at is vital right now. It will help you remember that you have great talents beyond your personal crisis. That there is great positive things in your life. For myself, I’ve picked up drawing and crocheting again during this time alongside my writing and music. I haven’t been able to sing as it is too much for my head to handle but that doesn’t stop me from humming or quietly singing along.

And finally, lean on your inner guide. They are your strongest supporter and they will always be there to help ground and guide you. Ask for spiritual guidance, comfort and grounding in your journey. Stay open to receiving divine gifts in the most wonderful, surprising ways, and believe that you deserve them when they show up. Meditate. Pray. Be mindful. Trust that you are going to move past this thing and that the universe wants that for you as well.

Lots of Love,

Pixie xo

 

The day after the U.S. Election

I am going to refuse to write anything about the election. There is much to be considered and each person has their own opinions. Just remember to love a little more, pray and meditate a little more, and be kind and mindful in all your daily adventures.

My goal today is to write for my Novel Manuscript and also I’ve got to whip up some crochet dice bags for friends of mine that play DnD and kindly asked if I could make some. Browsing patterns online for these I thought I’d share them with you.

This is a beautiful pattern for a Dragon Scale Dice Bag by Alyssa Lou blogger-image-49444706

Really she did a most stunning job on this little bag and it’s precisely what I was imagining for these boys.

mindfulnessCrocheting, drawing and writing has meditative effects for me. They are calming, and soothing to me. I simply focus on those activities at the time and allow my mind to be still except for the tasks at hand.

Meditation doesn’t have to mean you just sit and do nothing. Controlling your breath, calming your body and soul can be done during regular day to day activities as well. Being mindful throughout your days will bring you into the present moment. I have made most of my daily activities into ways to be mindful. Simply living in the now for a period greatly reduces anxiety and “what if’s” that will most likely never happen.

For the next few days, simply start by being mindful during your daily activities.

mind·ful·ness
ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/
noun
  1. 1.
    the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
    “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
  2. 2.
    a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

When sitting at your desk, if you notice you’re slouching, sit up straight, relax your face, neck and shoulder muscles and simply take 5 deep breaths.

Cooking offers a variety of ways to be mindful. You can hone your attention in on your own movements, the sounds in the kitchen, the taste of the food you are preparing, or the aromas of the different spices as they cook.

Using your phone alarm throughout the day at random intervals can help remind you to bring your focus back to breath. We get so caught up with our daily lives that breathing often becomes something we hardly focus on. Taking a minute when your alarm chirps to simply do a few deep breaths is a great way to be mindful of your current surroundings.

As you start seeing utilizing more techniques on mindfulness (I consider them active meditations as you still are just keeping your mind clear and only in the now.), you’ll feel more focused, you’ll breathe easier and you can move on to longer focused meditation sessions.

Love,

Pixie

 

Finding your Inner Guide among all the other Voices

I speak in much more detail about this in my upcoming book “The Nook-Book” though I love sharing a few tidbits as we approach the release of my book in a few months.

I have a few things I do to get through my days and weeks with relative ease. Finding time for me and my personal space otherwise gets forgotten about. So here are some of the things I do to get through my weeks without any real struggle and extra added peace.

 

  1. I mediate every single night. Sometimes I take several minutes several times a day to breathe, find my center and also then in turn find my loving space again. That space where my ~Ing is close to me and my heart is open to receive and give love again

 

  1. I journal. I have for several years and I’m very diligent about this practice. My journals have become my best friends, my companions, my know-it-alls. They have my planners, notes, book notes, blog post thoughts and plans, business plans and life schedule in them.

 

  1. I work out my weekly plan at the very end of the last week. normally I aim for Sundays but sometimes Saturdays is the day I land up doing this as well. I work out my work schedule for my job first as that’s not decided by me, then I fill in the kids’ and hubby’s plans in different colors (yes, I love colors) and then last I fill in my writing and sketching hours for that week. I aim to achieve 10-20 each week. It’s a good goal for me and works well for my family at this point. After all I have tons of goals to achieve if one day this is all I want to be doing.

 

  1. Cuddle. I seriously cuddle. My husband, my kids, my pets, my friends. I love cuddles. It’s really not a secret that cuddling makes a person feel good. Right!?! It makes us feel safe, cozy, warm, and like someone else has the reigns for just a bit. Cuddling also releases Oxytocin. Ocytocin does everything from help you feel good to helping you feel more connected to others. Cuddling also boosts your immune system. Honestly, aside from my snuggles and hugging habits I believe this may be why I almost never actually get sick. Cuddling reduces stress as well so if you’re having a rough day, snuggle up and feel the tension ease bringing you yet again closer to love and your Inner Guide.

 

Our Inner Guides, also known as the “True mind” is the part of us that sees the world as whole. Sees all as one. But as you’re getting to know her. How do you know if you’ve heard correctly (or even at all?!). My personal guidance often comes in several forms, sometimes it’s just a gut feeling, others it’s blurbs of images. For some it’s an “AHA moment”. Even though it was a feeling, I recognized it as my inner guide speaking to me because of the rightness of it. That is, when I thought of doing what it was telling me I needed to do, I knew it was the correct thing even though it seemed pretty crazy at the time.

Sometimes I can “hear” her. In my mind of course. Through meditation I came to learn that my Inner Guide can have a real voice. The trouble is recognizing her from all the others. Recognizing she’s the right one to listen to. Truly, it’s only when you start paying attention that you realize how much unneeded and useless chatter goes on in our heads.

I started meditating after a bit of a rough patch a number of years back. I’d started as simple as just finding several minutes where I’d attempt to shut down the chatter and just be. The hard part was finding my Inner Guide in all the chatter. I recognized my main voice (myself) right away as those were my conscious thoughts. What should I make for dinner? What else do I need to do today? Who do I need to call?” the list went on and on. My main voice had no idea how to quiet the rest of them. She was quite lost on that count to be truthful with you. I’d drift and allow all those chatter boxes to keep chattering until eventually I would realize my mind(s) had drifted and my main voice would rise up in frustration and scream “SHUT THE HECK UP ALREADY”! (Which by the way, doesn’t help!)

And this is exactly what makes mediation so difficult, is to quiet the mind and only allow your Inner Guide to speak up. The whole idea is to quiet your mind. Yet just as you get one voice to shut up, the others laugh and keep going, which makes you feel completely powerless.

Eventually, one day though, those voices just stopped. I am not certain how, I believe now in the aftermath it was simply practice. Letting them chatter but not wallowing on any of what was said. Just letting the thoughts drift by without judgement or investigating further. Once I was able to stop the voices, I started practicing at keeping it that way. I was able to hear Her. Her, being my Inner Guide. She comes through as an authorative voice. I can ask questions and she’ll answer. Sometimes just a word or two other times it’s a bit longer. Still, hearing Her makes me realize I’m on the right path. So how can you know you’re hearing your Inner Guide and aren’t imagining things at random? I can only speak for myself, but the voice of my Inner Guide seems to speak much slower than any other voice that is in my head. When my conscious mind is free from the clutter of the egoic mind, I can very clearly hear and sense the distinction between the me who’s asking the question and the I who is providing the answers. The answerer is very no nonsense and it always provides the one true answer that I know is exactly right. Therefore I can only explain it to you in somewhat of a riddle:  You’ll know for sure if you’re hearing your inner guide only when you actually know for sure that you’re hearing your inner guide! In other words, if you’re not sure, then it’s probably not your inner guide speaking.

It’s also important to note that the inner guide doesn’t always answer right away. In fact, I don’t typically expect answers at all at the time I ask my questions. I generally believe they’ll come to me later either as a sign (such as hearing about a certain book from multiple sources) or through allowing my inner guide to literally lead me through my day. I’ve also found that the more I allow for that to happen, the fewer questions I feel the need to ask in my meditations.

Love, Pixie xo