Coping with suicidal thoughts


If you are thinking about suicide, you are not alone. Many people have thoughts of suicide, for a number of reasons. Thoughts of suicide can be very scary. You probably feel hurt, confused, overwhelmed and hopeless about your future. You may feel sadness, grief, anger, guilt, shame, or emptiness. You may think that nothing can be done to change your situation. Your feelings may seem like they are just too much to handle right now. It is important to know that thinking about suicide does not mean that you will lose control or act on these thoughts. Having thoughts of suicide does not mean you are weak, or ‘crazy’. Many people think about suicide because they are looking for a way to escape the pain they are feeling.

What should you do if you are seriously thinking about suicide?

Even though your situation seems hopeless and you wonder if you can stand another minute of feeling this bad, there are ways to get through this and feel better. You don’t have to face this situation alone. Help is
available. Here are a few ideas that you can use right now.

Connect with others.
If you are worried that you may lose control or do something to hurt yourself, tell someone. Make sure you are around someone you trust. If you live alone, ask a friend or family member to stay with you. If you don’t know anyone or can’t reach friends or family members, call your local crisis line.

Keep your home safe by getting rid of ways to hurt yourself.
It is important to get rid of things that could be used to hurt or kill yourself, such as pills or razor blades If you are unable to do so, go to a place you can feel safe.

Develop a safety plan.
It is very helpful to have a written safety plan when you have thoughts of hurting yourself. Have a trusted family member, friend, or professional help you to complete this safety plan. Keep this plan somewhere you can see or find easily. Write down the steps you will take to keep yourself safe (see the following example). Follow the steps. If you follow these steps and still do not feel safe, call a crisis line, get yourself to a hospital A&E or call 999

Safety Plan.
If you have thoughts of hurting yourself, start at Step 1. Go through each step until you are safe.

Remember: Suicidal thoughts can be very strong. It may seem they will last forever. With support and time, these thoughts will usually pass. When they pass, you can put energy into sorting out problems that have contributed to you feeling so badly. The hopelessness you may feel now will not last forever. It is important to reach out for help and support. You can get through this difficult time. Since it can be hard to focus and think clearly when you feel suicidal, please copy this and put in places where you can easily use it, such as your purse, wallet or by the phone.

1. Do the following activities to calm/comfort myself: e.g. listening to music, reading, watching TV, chat to friends online, mindfulness meditation.

2. Remind myself of my reasons for living: See List of reasons to live (below)

3. Call a friend or family member:
Name: Phone:

4. Call a backup person if person above is not available:
Name: Phone:

5. Call your GP or mental health provider:
Name: Phone:

6. Call my local crisis line:
Phone:

7. Go somewhere I am safe:

8. Go to the A&E at the nearest hospital.

List of reasons to live.
When we are suicidal we often don’t think clearly. By focusing on the reasons we have to stay alive we can break the cycle of negative thoughts. At a time when I felt emotionally stronger, I compiled a list of reasons to live. I wrote them in a pretty notebook along with photos of loved ones and images to stimulate happier thoughts. I look at this notebook whenever I’m depressed and have suicidal thoughts.

Take further steps to decrease thoughts of suicide

Problem solve.
It is always helpful to think of ways other than suicide that you can solve your problems. Focus on what you can change and try not to stress about what you have no control over.

Make a list of all the problems you are dealing with in your life. Then make a list of all the solutions you can think of to those problems. Dealing with 1 or 2 small problems can help to put an end to immediate feelings of suicide. Once you are thinking more clearly, you can tackle other bigger problems.

Remember things that have helped in the past.
Many people have had thoughts of suicide before. Think of some of the things that helped you feel better when you faced the same types of problems in the past. Some examples are:

Reaching out to family and friends.
*Seeing a professional
*Going to a support group
*Following a safety plan
*Doing something you enjoy
*Not being alone
*Keeping a diary.

Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or professional.
It is important to speak to someone you trust about how you feel. Sometimes just talking about how you feel can help. It is important to be open about all of your thoughts. People often say they are relieved that they shared how they felt with someone. Talking can help you feel less alone.

Get treatment for mental health problems.
Seek professional help, depression and suicidal thoughts are a burden you cannot carry alone.

Take steps to decrease the chance that you will feel suicidal in the future

Get professional support.

Identify high risk triggers or situations.
Think about the situations or factors that increase your feelings of despair and thoughts of suicide. Work to avoid those situations.

Self-care.
Taking good care of yourself is important
to feel better. It is important to do the following:
• eat a healthy diet
• get some exercise every day
• get a good night’s sleep
• decrease or stop using alcohol or drugs, as these can make feelings of depression and suicide worse.

Follow through with prescribed medications.
If you take prescription medications, it is important to make sure you take them as your doctor directed. Speak to your doctor if you don’t feel like your medication is working.

Structure and routine.
Keep a regular routine as much as possible, even when your feelings seem out of control.

Do things you enjoy.
When you are feeling very low, do an activity you enjoy. You may find that very
few things bring you pleasure. Think of things you used to enjoy doing at times you didn’t feel so depressed or suicidal. Do these things, even if they don’t bring you enjoyment right now. Giving yourself
a break from suicide thoughts can help, even if it’s for a short time.

Think of personal goals.
Think of personal goals you have for yourself, or that you’ve had in the past. Giving yourself something to focus on distracts you from your negative thoughts but also gives you a sense of achievement and a reason to wake up in the morning.

If you are feeling suicidal or know someone that is, there are organisations that can help:

https://www.mind.org.uk/…/types-of-ment…/suicidal-feelings/…

https://www.samaritans.org/

https://www.papyrus-uk.org/#

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#suicidalthoughts
#depression
#mentalhealthawareness #suicide #suicideprevention

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Digital tools to help you manage and improve your health

I recently came across this list of apps and online courses which are designed to help you manage and improve your health, so I thought I would share it.

I personally use an app called FibroMapp. It’s a great app that helps you monitor your symptoms and activity levels, and keep track of your medication. There is a diary function and you can compile graphs and reports, which visually show the fluctuation of your symptoms. By using this app I have been able to identify a number of pain triggers which I was previously unaware of.

Do you use any health and wellbeing apps that you would recommend to others? It could be a meditation app or a symptom, sleep or exercise tracker, or maybe a motivational app.

*I am thinking of compiling a list of the best health Apps so your comments may be used in a future post*

https://apps.beta.nhs.uk/…

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Practical Solutions to Everyday Spoonie Problems


Having a chronic illness like ME/CFS or Fibromyalgia means everyday tasks can be challenging, exhausting and painful. But there are steps we can take to make life easier, to limit the stress caused and to conserve our energy for more enjoyable activities. Here are some practical solutions to everyday problems.

I’m too weak to lift everyday objects.

Some everyday objects like kettles, crockery and food containers can be too heavy to lift but you can replace them with lighter alternatives.

  • Kettle. Try using a ‘One Cup’ kettle. It only dispenses one cup of boiling water at a time. You don’t have to lift it, as the water is dispensed straight into the cup of your choice. It doesn’t take long to boil (about 90 secs) so you don’t have to stand for long.
  • Crockery. Try replacing traditional crockery and glassware with plastic alternatives. You can buy heat resistant plastic bowls, cups, plates and glasses. Picnic sets are a good option.
  • Heavy jars and food containers. Decant the contents into lighter and smaller plastic containers.

If you also struggle turning taps on and off, place a few plastic glasses in your bedroom and kitchen, which are prefilled with tap water by your carer or partner. Keeping hydrated is important for your health.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

I’m hypersensitive to everything.

A very challenging symptom of ME/CFS is hypersensitivity. Common sensitivities include noise, light, smells, chemicals, medication and certain foods. The following can help reduce the impact and pain caused by hypersensitivity.

  • Blackout blinds
  • Ear plugs
  • Sunglasses
  • Use Chemical free products
  • Use Unfragranced skincare and washing products.
  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • Remote controlled/dimmer light switch. This me I can control the brightness of the light in my room from my bed.
  • Different coloured bulbs/lighting.

    Everything is painful against my skin

When you have a painful condition like Fibromyalgia everything that touches your skin can cause pain. A few solutions I’ve found for this are:

  • Wear your clothes inside out because the seams cause pain. You can also buy seam free clothing.
  • Wear Strapless tops.
  • Avoid underwire bras
  • Choose your fabric carefully both for clothing and bedding.
  • Buy baggy clothing.
  • Avoid clothing with hoods e.g. hooded dressing gowns or hoodies.
  • Avoid heavy fabrics or clothing.
  • Cut your hair short. My long hair on the back of my neck and shoulders was causing me a lot of pain, so I cut it short. It may seem drastic but it made a big positive impact on my health and it will grow back. Scarves, hats and wigs are always an option when you have visitors, if you feel self conscious.

 Conversations are exhausting.

Holding conversations can be particularly challenging and exhausting, so why not try the following;

  • Limit time talking on the phone. Most things can be done online these days and it means you can do things in your own time.
  • Speak to friends about not calling. Instead you can converse online.
  • Code words for everyday tasks. When my ME/CFS is at its worst I struggle to speak at all. My husband and I have developed code words for simple tasks that need doing, so I only have to say one word rather than a sentence or two. It’s like our own private language.
  • Record instructions to carers or visitors in advance on a voice recorder. I frequently have new carers so I have recorded a list of instructions on my voice recorder so I don’t have to keep repeating myself, it also helps combat brain fog.
  • Compile a handbook with a list of tasks and instructions.

 

Brain fog

Even remembering the simplest tasks can seem impossible when you suffer from brain fog. Here are a few practical ways to combat this:

  • Calendar reminders. Use the calendar function on your mobile to set reminders.
  • Voice recorder. I record my thoughts, to do lists, emails I need to type, ideas for new blog posts, instructions to carers and much more on my voice recorder. I would be lost without it.
  • Pen and paper or post-it notes. If you don’t have a voice recorder these will do.
  • Routine. I find sticking to a strict routine is essential for combating brain fog.
  • Everything has its place. I always know where to go to find what I need e.g. medication. It’s important to stay organised.

 

Showering/bathing is exhausting.

People that suffer from ME/CFS are often too weak to get in and out of the bath, and showering can be very painful and exhausting. Try these tips to reduce the stress caused:

  • Only shower once a week. I know some people may find this disgusting but it takes me days to recover from a shower, so I don’t have an alternative. Wet wipes, panty liners and dry shampoo are a spoonies best friend.
  • Shower stool. Aids like shower stools and grab rails can make showering less exhausting.
  • Routine. Find a quick routine that works for you and stick to it.
  • Ask for help. Ask someone to run water for you. Ask someone to lay out your clothes and towel ready for when you get out.
  • Wall mounted shampoo and soap dispenser. You may not be able to lift heavy shampoo and shower gel bottles. A wall mounted dispenser is a good alternative.
  • Cut your hair short. It used to take me ages to wash and dry my very long, thick hair. It was exhausting and painful. I now have very short hair which times a minute to wash and I can leave it to air dry.
  • Keep wet wipes by your bed so your can freshen up when you need to.

 

I can’t prepare food or drinks myself.

One of the most frustrating obstacles I have to overcome is, I can’t prepare food or drinks for myself. I am lucky enough to have care workers that prepare my food for me, but I have to be able to feed myself when they are not about.

  • Snacks. Have a selection of snacks at easy reach of your bed or bedroom.
  • Cool bag. If you struggle walking to the fridge or opening the door because it’s too heavy, why not try using a cool bag. You can place it in your bedroom and access fresh food when you need it. My care workers prepare my lunch in the morning and put it in the cool bag along with an ice block.
  • Batch prepare food. Ask your partner, friend or family member to help you prepare food for the week.
  • Water cups. I have a few plastic glasses in my bedroom and kitchen which are filled with tap water by my care worker or husband because I struggle using the taps.
  • Coffee or tea and sugar already in cups.Thanks to the One Cup kettle I can prepare my own hot drinks when I’m alone but I struggle standing long enough to place the coffee granules and sugar in the cup. So my husband does this for me in advance and places a few cups by the kettle.

 

I have limited mobility.

There are many mobility aids you can use and adaptations that can be made to your surroundings. Don’t be too proud to use aids that will make your life easier.

    • Walking stick
    • Wheelchair
    • Walker
    • Neck and back brace
    • Perching Stools
    • Hospital/adjustable bed
    • Convert bathroom to a wet room
    • Grab rails
    • Riser recliner chairs
    • Reaching aids like Grabbers
    • Raised furniture

Please note: If you live in the UK and you’re disabled or have a long-term illness, you shouldn’t be charged VAT on products designed or adapted for your own personal or domestic use. For more information please follow this link:
https://www.gov.uk/financial-help-disabled/vat-relief

  • Anything I use regularly, I keep in easy reach of my bed e.g. medication, wet wipes or bottle of water.
  • Keep your mobile phone at easy reach. It can be used to text or call someone in an emergency or just to communicate with other people in your home e.g. if they are upstairs and you need assistance.
  • Plug appliances you use regularly into a remote controlled socket. That way you can turn them off from your bed.
  • Remote controlled light switch. I have one of these in my bedroom and it means I can dim and turn off my main light from my bed.

 

I’m always too hot or too cold.

I find it impossible to regulate my body temperature. Depending on how I feel on alternate between the following products:

  • Heated Throw
  • Rechargeable hand warmer
  • Ice packs
  • Electric fan
  • Cold wet flannels
  • Hot water bottles

 

I can’t answer the front door.

Sometimes we are not strong enough to walk to the front door to answer it. Here are a few solutions:

  • Install a Key safe for care workers, medical professionals, friends and family. The added bonus of a key safe is, if you have a bad fall and have to call on the emergency services they can enter your house without having to force the lock.
  • Install an Intercom system.
  • You can get basic Intercom systems where you can speak to visitors or more advanced ones which also include a camera. These are great for communicating with visitors without having to walk to the front door. You can turn unwanted visitors away without leaving your bed or direct wanted visitors to your key safe so they can let themselves in.
  • Keep your mobile phone at easy reach so you can call someone in an emergency.
  • Arrange parcels to be delivered to friends, family or neighbours or have a safe place where parcels can be left.
  • Arrange deliveries for when your partner, friends or family will be at home.

 

I’m bored. I have too much time to think.

When you are too exhausted to socialise or even watch TV, boredom can set in. Boredom can lead to an overactive or anxious mind. Why not try:

  • Reading
  • Audio books. For the times when even physically reading is too exhausting, audiobooks are a great alternative.
  • E-readers like Kindle are a great, lighter option to physical books. You can also adjust the text size if you have trouble focusing due to fatigue.
  • Listening to Music or the Radio.
  • Download free Podcasts
  • Mindfulness Meditation. Calms anxiety and is great for general well being. There are many apps you can download for free.
  • Social media. Interact with friends online. There are plenty of distractions on social media and there is always someone about 24/7 for the nights you are unable to sleep.
  • Colouring books. A good distraction and a way to practise your creativity.

Do you have any tips you would like to add?

#ajourneythroughthefog #chronicillness #ME #fibromyalgia #blog#invisibleillness

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Is it time to take the plunge?

Three months ago today I took the plunge and started my own blog. It’s something I had been considering for a long time but I let my anxiety and lack of confidence get in the way of taking that scary first step. I’ve always been fearful of starting anything new. I’m a perfectionist and my fear of failure often stops me from even trying. But I will let you into a secret; most people aren’t good at something on the first attempt. It takes practice, experience and time to gain knowledge, but that’s the fun part. Don’t deny yourself something you may end up loving just because you might not be good at it. You don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it.

I’m not a writer. I lack the vocabulary skills to express myself eloquently. My brain fog causes an extra challenge and my good old anxiety does the predictable and rears its ugly head at every opportunity, but I’m learning so much. Up until 3 months ago I hadn’t written anything that could be considered an ‘article’ but I had a lot I wanted to say. I have a lot of experience and after years of frustration I finally have a voice, but I still doubt myself.

Here are some of the anxious thoughts and doubts that run through my mind on a regular basis:

  • Why would anyone want to hear about your life?
  • What makes you so special?
  • What makes you think you are qualified to advise others?
  • You will only f*ck it up!
  • You will make a fool of yourself!
  • You’re not a writer!
  • You haven’t got a clue what you are doing and everyone knows you’re a fraud!

Do these thoughts sound familiar?

So my urge to anyone considering starting a blog, who hasn’t mustered the courage yet is; Go for it! What have you got to lose? If I can do it, anyone can. The anxious doubts you have are completely natural but don’t let them stop you from pursuing your dreams. And if you are not quite ready to start your own blog, why not write a piece for mine? I welcome contributions from my followers. I know you have a lot to offer and I look forward to learning from your experiences.

PS. It doesn’t have to be just about writing. Is there a new hobby you have been wanting to try but are afraid you won’t be any good? Or maybe a new language you would like to learn, or have you been thinking about returning to college? Maybe your passion is travelling but you’ve lost your confidence. Fear of failure stops us from doing so much, please don’t be afraid to start something new.

What new hobby would you love to try? Have you started something new recently?

#ajourneythroughthefog
#blog
#anxiety
#mentalhealthawareness
#mentalhealthmatters

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Coping with Insomnia

It’s hard to describe to someone who doesn’t experience insomnia, quite how debilitating it can be. At my worst I went 6 weeks without sleeping. I felt completely detached from reality, I started to hallucinate, I was so exhausted my resting heart rate was 150 bpm, I couldn’t think clearly. I had numerous panic attacks a day, it caused a complete breakdown. This was, of course, a very severe form of insomnia but the frustration and fear you feel when you can’t sleep can be overwhelming. 24 hours is a long time when you don’t get a break from your own thoughts or chance to recharge your batteries.

*What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning. It’s a common problem thought to regularly affect around one in every three people in the UK. I’ve suffered with insomnia for all my adult life so I am very familiar with the symptoms.

If you have insomnia, you may:

  • Find it difficult to fall asleep
  • Lie awake for long periods at night
  • Wake up several times during the night
  • Wake up early in the morning and not be able to get back to sleep
  • Not feel refreshed when you get up
  • Find it hard to nap during the day, despite feeling tired
  • Feel tired and irritable during the day and have difficulty concentrating

Insomnia can be caused by many things including: pain, stress and anxiety, muscle spasms, overactive brain, environmental condition like noise, heat, cold or light, certain medication, lifestyle factors like shift work, alcohol or caffeine consumption, being over tired and wired, or just plain anger and frustration. Some of these we have control over, some we don’t. Firstly, make positive changes to the factors you can control.

Good sleep habits for beating insomnia.

Good sleep habits, also called sleep hygiene, can help you get a good night’s sleep and beat insomnia. Here are some tips:

  • Try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. *Try not to take naps during the day because naps may make you less sleepy at night.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol late in the day. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can keep you from falling asleep. Alcohol can cause waking in the night and interferes with sleep quality.
  • Take regular exercise. Try not to exercise close to bedtime because it may stimulate you and make it hard to fall asleep. Experts suggest not exercising within four hours of going to bed.
  • Do not eat a heavy meal late in the day. A light snack before bedtime, however, may help you sleep.
  • Make your bedroom comfortable. Be sure that it is dark, quiet and not too warm or too cold. If light is a problem, try a sleeping mask. If noise is a problem, try earplugs, a fan or a “white noise” machine to cover up the sounds.
  • Follow a routine to help you relax before sleep. Read a book, listen to music or have a bath.
  • Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep or sex.
  • If you cannot fall asleep and do not feel drowsy, get up and read or do something that is not overly stimulating until you feel sleepy.
  • If you find yourself lying awake worrying about things, try making a to-do list before you go to bed. This may help you to not focus on those worries overnight.

I’m sure if you have suffered from insomnia for a long period of time you have already tried all of the above. These tips helped me but definitely haven’t cured my insomnia.

I find, although some of my insomnia is caused by pain and being over tired, the biggest aggravating factors are: anxiety, my over active brain, and the anger and frustration of not being able to sleep. Mindfulness meditation definitely helps calm my anxiety, but to be able to sleep you need to let you mind wander. If you want to learn more about Mindfulness meditation please read this post https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1518681691583918&id=1506608209457933

Often when my mind wanders it finds itself at a painful memory or a regret, or it remembers a whole list of things I should have done or need to do. Given the opportunity, my brain will run through everything I’ve said that day that could have upset someone, or everything I wish I had done differently. My brain will start to ask me stupid, irrelevant questions like ‘Can you cry underwater?’, ‘If I wanted to read every book ever written, how long would it take?’,‘Why do we dream?’ or ‘What is consciousness?’ and I find myself reaching for Google at 2am.

Sleep Exercise. How I calm my over active and anxious mind.

I find by focusing my mind on something that is very familiar but not threatening, and then letting my mind wander and explore that ‘something’, I have the best chance of falling asleep. Let me try to explain..

Focus on a film you have watched so many times that you know all the words, something friendly, so not a horror film. My favourite is Dirty Dancing but I also use Juno and Breakfast Club. Start by focusing on one line from the film… “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” Think about the scene around the line, take in the colours, the music, the characters. Now move onto another line….”Quite a little joiner aren’t we?” and another…. “Spaghetti arms” Again think about the scene, the emotions, the clothes, the colours… “I’m doing all this to save your ass, and all I wanna do is drop you on it”…. What happens next in the film? And another line….”I carried a watermelon?” By now my brain has started to wander and is remembering scenes and lines without trying. I’m relaxed and instead of worrying about not sleeping, I’m remembering and walking around the scenes in a film that are so familiar, they are like an old friend. As my mind continues to wander, I’m in a safe place rather than memories from my own past, which could be painful, and I start to drift off to sleep.

When I haven’t fallen asleep within an hour of going to bed, the doubts start creeping in, will this be another long, sleepless night? And with these doubts come anger at the thought of another night of torment. By focusing on a film (as above) rather than entertaining these negative thoughts you will have a better chance at falling asleep.

How I combat the negative thoughts.

My biggest problems occur when I have one sleepless night. One sleepless night often leads to many sleepless nights. It’s like I lose confidence in my ability to sleep. I couldn’t sleep last night, so why should tonight be any different? Once these negative thoughts occur it’s hard to shake them. This is how I deal with them, this is my thought process. A few hours calm rest is almost as good as a few hours sleep, and it’s a lot better than a few hours getting frustrated, angry and anxious about not be able to sleep. So I tell myself ‘if all you manage tonight is a few hours calm rest, then that is ok’ By taking the pressure off myself to sleep I often find I drift off within a few minutes, or at the very least I stay calm. I also keep a voice recorder by my bed and record anything that is troubling me or keeping me from switching off. By recording my thoughts I find I am able to let them go and concentrate on relaxing.

Sleep aids. What I’ve found effective.

No matter how much meditation or distraction I practice, I am still unable to sleep without something to relax and sedate me. For years that was sleeping tablets but thankfully I’ve managed to wean myself off them with the help of CBD. I now take CBD oil, CBG isolate (another cannabinoid like CBD) and drink hemp tea. All of these I find relaxing and mildly sedating. This mild sedation is enough for me to sleep. For more information about the CBD products I find effective please read this post.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1594800033972083&id=1506608209457933

Do you suffer with Insomnia? What helps you sleep?

#ajourneythroughthefog
#Insomnia
#CBD

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Taking back control of your life and health.

When you suffer from a chronic illness or have mental health issues, it can feel like you have no control. I have always found this to be the most frustrating and challenging part about being ill. My deteriorating health spiralled out of control so rapidly I felt overwhelmed. Each day I felt like my body and mind were betraying me and conspiring to make my life a misery. Each day I would tell myself ‘just get through today, tomorrow will be a better day’ but there are only so many times you can tell yourself this when in reality the ‘better days’ were nowhere to be seen.

The reason I started this blog was because, I wish I knew then what I know now. When I’m writing I pretend I am talking to the broken and suicidal woman I was 4-5 years ago. I hope by sharing my experiences and knowledge I can help others and give people hope. With small steps you can gain back some control over your life and health.

*Steps to taking back control*
(Words of encouragement to the ‘broken’ me)

1. Take small steps. Tackle one symptom at a time.
When you have a complex list of medical conditions it’s unlikely that you will find one remedy for them all. If you try to find a remedy for all your symptoms at once you will be disappointed and feel overwhelmed.
Therefore, you need to decide which symptom is having the biggest detrimental effect on your health, and tackle that first. For me, that was anxiety. Anxiety affects my ability to cope with everything in life including pain, fatigue and stress.

I started taking CBD oil and practicing mindfulness meditation in an attempt to reduce my anxiety levels but along the way I also noticed improvements in many of my other symptoms.

2. Try not to give into frustration.
Try not to get frustrated if you health deteriorates. The severity of symptoms for conditions like ME and fibromyalgia can fluctuate quite dramatically day to day. It’s not a step backwards, just part of the journey.

3. Don’t isolate yourself.
When even speaking is exhausting and painful, it’s easy to feel isolated. Reach out to family and friends. If you don’t have a solid support system, take steps to build one. I withdrew from all social contact for many months because I feared the negative impact it had on my physical health. For days after speaking to friends I would be exhausted. But my mental health suffered from this isolation. Sometimes it’s worth the pain and exhaustion for a few minutes of interaction with friends and family. Laughter often causes me pain but I still enjoy a good guffaw.

4. Educate yourself.
Learn as much as you can about your condition. Knowledge is power when it comes to getting the best treatment available and keeping your sense of independence and control.

5. Do what makes you happy.
As much as is possible, keep doing the things you like to do. You’ll stay connected as well as boost your self-confidence and sense of community.

6. Take one day at a time.
I know it’s a cliche but it’s important to take one day at a time. Some days, just to survive, I could only think about the next 5 mins. Worrying about tomorrow can be depressing and can also increase anxiety.

7. Stop fighting yourself. Don’t beat yourself up.
When I do too much, or I let stress affect my health, I often beat myself up. My favourite phrase, that I repeatedly told myself when my health was at its worst was, ‘you f**ked up!’ I blamed myself for my crash or deteriorating health. But it’s not my fault I’m ill, just the same as it’s not your fault. Be kind to yourself.

8. Take time to remember how bad you were and congratulate yourself for how far you have come.
During the bad days, when my physical health deteriorates and depression hits, I make a conscious effort to remember how bad my health was 4-5 years ago. By focusing on that, I can see how far I’ve come. It often lifts my mood and makes the bad days easier to manage.

9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Admitting you are not coping and that you need help does not mean you are a failure, quite the opposite. Asking for help shows strength and means you are taking positive steps to gaining back control over your life and health.

10. Try not to worry about what other people think.
Only you know what it feels like to be in your body. No one else will truly understand, even if they want to. They cannot feel your pain, exhaustion, anxiety, fears. They do not know the battles you face everyday and the strength it takes just to survive. They may think you are exaggerating or just lazy, but that doesn’t matter. It’s your journey not theirs.

11. Rest and Pace yourself.
Resting does not mean you are lazy. You are giving your body what it needs to recover. You don’t have to do everything at once. Pace yourself and enjoy the little moments in life.

12. Have realistic expectations and celebrate each little achievement.
It’s taken my body years to get this weak and exhausted so it’s likely to take years for it to repair itself. Rest, look after yourself and celebrate even the smallest achievements. By just surviving you are winning!

13. Finding a balance (Acceptance with a fighting spirit).
The push/crash part of a lot of chronic illnesses can be very frustrating. When you feel well enough, especially after a long period of being incapacitated, you want to do everything. But this only leads to a hard crash. I find when I’m active, my physical health deteriorates but my mental health improves. When I rest, my physical health improves but my mental health deteriorates.
So I often experience long periods of activity followed by long periods of exhaustion and depression. Try to find a balance

14. Remember you are not defined by your illness.
Living with a chronic illness can be all consuming. It takes over your life and it’s often hard to differentiate between your illness and the real you. You are still the same person you were before you became ill, you just have a few additional challenges to deal with.

15. You do have a future. Things can and will get better.
No matter how desperate life seems right now, there will be a time when you can laugh again, when your life will be worth living again. I remember the first day in years when I could finally see a future for myself, it was such an inspiring day and the memory keeps me going when I have bad days.

Living with chronic illness can be stressful, but you can take steps to manage your condition and maintain a good quality of life. Learn as much as you can about your illness and treatment needs. Make time for activities and relationships that leave you feeling happier and supported, while avoiding people and things that stress you out. By adjusting your expectations and practicing self-care, you can make your health and wellbeing a priority and take back some control. Take Care x

#ajourneythroughthefog
#invisibleillness
#chronicillness
#mentalhealthawareness

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What can CBD treat? Success Stories


While conducting my survey I came across some positive and inspiring CBD success stories, which I would like to share with you. If you would like to read more about the survey, please click on this link: https://m.facebook.com/story.php…

The following are comments taken from the survey:

“(I have) Osteoarthritis, low mood, poor sleep. The inflammation, stiffness & pain gone. Sleep brilliantly and much more chilled & happy. 12 year old dog with arthritis now like a pup. Both of us take no pharma meds now”

“(CBD has helped) Low mood, depression, less anxious, pain in joints from menopause, deeper sleep. Knee pain. Got my sense of humour back!”

“I have chronic migraine (constant migraine with about 2 acute attacks a week) and Constant daily headache. CBD has eliminated the constant nausea, reduced the amount of constant head pain and I’ve only had one acute attack in about 5 weeks and that was triggered by an occipital nerve block injection which also caused stiff neck and the CBD balm got rid of the stiff neck”

“Our 15 yr. old very large dog, with severe arthritis in his back legs is now actually running! stiff legged but still running and a much happier chappy”

“I have a rare autoimmune that causes inflammation to blood vessels. CBDA has controlled the IBS and gut inflammation, reduced the number of bursting blood vessels I get, soft tissue ulcers, joint pain. I’m less tired and sleep better with the CBD element”

“I have anxiety and insomnia. I can now function with the help of CBD for my anxiety and have not have an attack since starting taking 1 drop 2 times a day (with no intention of upping the dose). I have found that I can manage to live my life ‘normally’ and leave the house on my own when it is not for work. My insomnia has not been helped at all”

“arthritis from 6 yrs old, 2 failed operation on hips and shoulders, subluxations due to eds, rheumatoid arthritis coming in hands, acid reflux, restless legs, pain and insomnia…. terrible side effects to meds that didn’t work so turned to alcohol as well….. of all meds, no longer suffer restless legs, insomnia 80% better now just have a bad night now and then, quality of life improved, less pain, more mobility”

“I have fibromyalgia, bpd (borderline personality disorder) AD (adjustment disorder) DD (dissociative disorder) cbd gives me a new life it’s still difficult as I take no other medication but I highly recommend it for pain but especially for mental health it helps calm any ‘bad’ thoughts, still can’t communicate face to face but that’s socially awkward 😂 or just don’t like people lmao”

“Taking it for chronic vestibular migraine. It has helped but as a bonus, it has also helped with psoriasis, arthritis and menopausal hot flushes”

“ME: Chronic pain and spasm / inflammation in my neck / shoulders (caused by bulging discs and nerve impingements). I’m now virtually pain free. Also helps with my ADD and with anxiety.
MUM: Osteoarthritis in her knees. She is seeing a big reduction in pain over time.”

“My dog has epilepsy, and CBD 100% controls his fits. I also know a human who is using it for the same reason, and with success.”

“Diabetes-A1C is now normal. Inflammation in my knee causing much pain is gone. All around aches are gone. Not as stiff or sore. Anxiety is so much better! And an all around better feeling of wellness. What it did not help is stomach issues like reflux or heartburn (though they are better than before just not much difference) And my gray hair? Ya, it’s STILL gray!!! ;)”

“Our 15 year old son has Aspergers, PDA and severe anxiety. The effect of CBD on him was immediate. The first time he used it was when we traveled to the east coast last summer and normally a trip like that would cause him anxiety such that he would need to stop and urinate every 20-30 minutes along the journey. On that occasion, we didn’t stop once and he was able to go to the beach immediately on arrival, where he normally would take a day or 2 to recover after the journey before venturing out. We try and get him to use it everyday (but aren’t always successful) and it has made life a lot less stressful for him and us as a consequence.”

“My 13 yr old daughter using CBD to treat bad joint pain from EDS. She has brain fog, fatigue also. Her joint pain is 90% decreased.”

“Chronic lumbar/lower half pain & arthritis . Cbd takes the edge of the pains & lifts mood. Never 100% pain free, but most days the cbd knocks it down a few levels to a manageable degree”

“I suffer from PTSD, bad anxiety and depression. I use cbd 500 oil. One drop twice daily. Life changing ! 😊
My 11yr dog cried and yelled getting in the car. He is running around like he was 5 🐕.”

“I have Fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. My husband has degeneration of shoulder joints due a new replacement right shoulder very soon. We both have benefited and no longer take opiate pain killers. Not a cure but life is so much better😁

“I’ve recently started using CBD oil as I’ve got Parkinsons and it’s been absolutely amazing it’s helping my anxiety my cramps my sleep relaxation and my movements/mobility and I’ve only been taking it a week!! So happy I started using it I’m sure it has many more benefits yet to come…! I also use the CBD balm for aching/painful joints…”

“I have severe CFS/ME, Fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, IBS, anxiety and panic attacks, migraines, depression and insomnia. CBD has successfully lowered my pain and anxiety levels, helped my insomnia, fatigue and reduced my IBS symptoms. CBD allows me to manage my symptoms more effectively than any prescription medication I’ve tried. I can finally see a future for myself.”

Thank you to everyone that contributed and for giving me permission to publish your comments. It was so uplifting hearing all of your success stories.

Has this inspired you to try CBD?

#ajourneythroughthefog
#CBD

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What can CBD treat?

I have been taking CBD for over a year now and have found it effective for a lot of my health conditions and symptoms. However, it’s not a miracle cure and there are some symptoms it hasn’t helped. I was interested to find out if other people had had similar experiences, so I conducted a survey. If you are new to CBD you might benefit from reading this post first: https://m.facebook.com/story.php…

In the survey, I asked what conditions the participants suffered from, what symptoms were improved by CBD and what symptoms had no improvement.

Results

The following is a list of the results. (I’ve listed them in order of prevalence rather than alphabetically)

Effective:

Anxiety (16)
Chronic pain (15)
Fatigue (9)
Fibromyalgia pain (9)
Insomnia (8)
Joint pain (8)
Depression (6)
Arthritis (5)
Brain fog (4)
Low mood (4)
Osteoarthritis (4)
Epilepsy (3)
IBS (3)
ME/CFS (3)
Muscle pain (3)
Headaches (2)
Nausea (2)
Migraines (2)
Muscle Spasms (2)
Restless legs syndrome (2)
Sciatica (2)
ADD
Asperger’s
Balance issues/vertigo
Borderline personality disorder
COPD
Diabetes
Dystonia
EDS
FND
Hip Dysplasia (pain)
Menopausal hot flushes
MS
Nasal tumours
Nerve inflammation/compression in spine
Pancreatitis
Parkinson’s
PDA
Polymyalgia
Psoriasis
PTSD
Reduced mood swings
Stiffness
Ulcers

Slight improvement:

Fibromyalgia Flare pain (2)
Migraines (2)
Dysautonomia
Nausea
Nerve pain

No Improvement:

Insomnia (3)
Tinnitus (3)
Migraines (2)
Nerve Pain (2)
Social anxiety (2)
Acid Reflux
Anxiety
Depression
Intrusive thoughts
Kidney stone pain
Phobias
PMT
Vertigo

Conclusion

It’s encouraging to see how many conditions can be effectively treated with CBD. As you can see, there are some conditions on more than one list, which just goes to show how individual we are. However, there are a few that appear more often in the ‘no improvement’ or ‘slight improvement’ list, which may suggest CBD is not as effective for these conditions (Tinnitus, migraines, nerve pain, Fibromyalgia Flare pain and social anxiety) This could also be explained by saying the participant hasn’t yet found a CBD product with the right levels of cannabinoids and terpenes, or the right dose to be effective.

There are a handful of conditions which appear numerous times on the ‘effective’ list. (Anxiety, Chronic pain, Fibromyalgia pain, Fatigue, Joint pain, Insomnia) It could just be because these conditions are more common, but it’s encouraging to see how effective CBD can be for treating conditions that many of us suffer from, and for which conventional medicine can sometimes be ineffective.

Please note this is not a complete list of all the conditions CBD can treat, just the ones reported by the participants of my survey.

While conducting my survey I came across some positive and inspiring success stories, which I would like to share with you. Please click on the link to read these inspiring stories:https://m.facebook.com/story.php…

What are your experiences with CBD? What are you successfully treating and what symptoms has CBD not been as effective for?

#ajourneythroughthefog
#CBD

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Mental health vs Physical health

You may have noticed that I’ve been discussing mental health more than physical health. Although this wasn’t planned, as I’m just talking about what I feel like on the day, it made me think about my own health and my attitude towards it.

I firstly need to say that I don’t think it’s possible, or beneficial to separate physical and mental health when looking at possible treatments, the two are intertwined. When we are in pain it doesn’t just affect us physically but also affects our mental ability to cope with life. Mental stress can also cause physical pain. I think about the deterioration in my physical health when I suffered from Anorexia and the mental toll physical pain has on my body daily, or the physical symptoms I experience when having a panic attack.

I believe that an holistic approach is vital when discussing health. Having said that, I believe the stronger your mental health is, the more prepared and equipped you are to deal with physical symptoms like pain.

When you have a complex list of medical conditions it’s unlikely that you will find one remedy for them all. Therefore, you need to decide which symptom is having the biggest detrimental affect on your health, and tackle that first. For me, that was anxiety. Anxiety affects my ability to cope with everything in life including pain, fatigue and stress. I started taking CBD oil and practicing mindfulness meditation in an attempt to reduce my anxiety levels but along the way I also noticed improvements in many of my other symptoms too.

I guess what I am saying is, when you suffer from a multitude of symptoms, it’s easy to feel like there is no way out. You feel like you have no control and often want to give up. But rather than feeling overwhelmed at the impossible task of relieving all your symptoms, pick the one you feel most able to change and tackle that first.

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You don’t need to spend a fortune to feel the benefits of CBD


I recently conducted a survey asking regular CBD users, ‘How many mg of CBD do you take a day?’

The results are in and they may surprise some people.

Results:

0-10mg       16        32%
11-20mg     20        40%
21-30mg       8        16%
31-40mg       1          2%
41-50mg       1         2%
51-60mg       2        4%
61-80mg       0        0%
81mg+             2        4%

Conclusion:

Almost a third (32%) of people who responded, take 10mg or less a day, and nearly three quarters (72%) take 20mg or less a day. This shows, you don’t always have to spend a lot of money, taking large doses, to feel the benefits from CBD.

It’s also why a ‘low and slow’ approach to introducing CBD is often recommended. By starting with a low dose, and slowly increasing it until you reach an optimum level, you minimizes any unwanted side effects but you could also save yourself money. And stronger isn’t necessarily better. I’ve spoken to many people taking high doses of CBD who found that, after experimenting with their dose, they experienced the same level of relief from a much lower dose.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with taking high doses of CBD. What I am saying is, don’t assume you need to take a high dose, experiment, why pay more than you need to?

**Please note: there are some conditions, like epilepsy, that require higher doses**

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