What can I eat?

I have always been somewhat of a fussy eater. My nana would work around it in sneaky ways. For example, I do not like onions. She would chop onion up so small and thin that I wouldn’t see it in mince or the stew she made. She would tell me that she made mince/stew especially for me, without any onions. As I grew older, I realised what she was doing, but I still ate the food that was “made with no onions”. To this day I can only have onions if they are so finely cut and hidden in my food.

I was always really fussy with meat. I would only eat it cooked in a certain way but did not like it if it was different. Looking back, I must have annoyed anybody who had to prepare food for me. About three years ago, I went to a festival and did not want to eat any of the meat options. I was worried that it would not be cooked properly and I would be ill. The idea of being ill in a tent, in the middle of a field with no toilet facilities other that portaloos (portable toilets) really scared me. It would be a horrible experience. In fact, since then, a friend has told me of an experience at a festival where they got food poisoning from eating pizza at a festival. They can confirm it is a horrible experience! So while I was at the festival I ate a vegetarian diet. This continued to a degree once I got home. I cut out all red meat and poultry. I did not see this as an issue, I didn’t miss the meat and I had been fussy with it anyway. However, I do like tuna and I like mackerel so I decided I would continue to eat fish. I did decide to eat it less often though. There’s a running joke amongst some of my friends that I am technically pescatarian (as I eat fish) but really I am just a bad vegetarian as I only eat tuna and occasionally mackerel.

As you can tell from above my diet is largely plant based. I do still eat tuna and mackerel. I think this is important as they will provide me with omega 3, which is good for the brain and joints. I still do not miss red meat or poultry. My family still continue to eat meat. I was content with my own diet choices.

When my back pain started (which was what started the investigation as to what was ‘wrong’ with me), I started to notice some irregularities with my digestive system. As time has went on, I’m noticing more. The pain and cramping that I get in my stomach, the bloating. I am often full of gas. It hurts. A doctor has told me that it is “just a bit of stress”. To be fair it could be due to stress, it could be down to my medication and the medication changes that are happening through the process of finding what works for me, it could be as a result of my anxiety or fibromyalgia or it could be something totally unrelated.

I have been keeping an eye on things lately, and I’m trying to see if there is any kind of pattern to the problems. This is difficult as I keep forgetting to write down some of the information. I have been thinking about different things – Should I be eating or avoiding certain foods and drinks as I have fibromyalgia? Could I be allergic to, or have an intolerance to, particular foods or drinks? Am I eating all the wrong things for my illness? Is there anything I can do through food and drink that could help my pain, my anxiety, my fatigue?

In my search for answers I have thought of a few things.

  1. The anti inflammatory diet. There is a lot of information online about certain foods and nutrients that are good for inflammation. The current understanding of fibromyalgia is that it does not cause inflammation to the joints. However, I had recurring blood tests that showed unmarked markers showing inflammation. Now that is not to say that it is my joints that are inflamed, it just means that there is some inflammation present in my body. It worries me sometimes that I don’t know why I have markers indicating inflammation but it could be down to so many reasons. Could eating an anti inflammatory diet help this? I guess it could.
  2. An elimination diet. An elimination diet takes a long time. It is when you take something out of your diet and later reintroduce it and note any reactions that you and your body has. I like this idea in theory. I do not think it will work for me at this point in time. I feel it will require more willpower and concentration than I can give to it.
  3. Go to a nutritionist. Another thing that could help is possibly going to a nutritionist. They will have the expertise and knowledge to hopefully make suggestions or a plan for me highlighting important nutrients and vitamins and the best food to eat to get them.
  4. Get a intolerance/allergy test. This one links to going to a nutritionist, although there are ways to get tested without having to go to a nutritionist. There are home tests that can be purchased and you send it to a lab for testing. I believe it is samples of your hair that you send away to the labs.
  5. Other testing. This scares me but it is another possibility. There might not be anything, or very little, that can be done differently regarding my diet. I may need to get further testing to get things ruled out or found.

I am going to do some more research into all the options above. I may even come up with more options to look into. I am definitely going to discuss it with my doctor too. Doing research and finding out options is good to do, but it is important to discuss them with doctors and get medical advice first! I do not know why I seem to be having more digestive problems than what I did but it is something I would like to try and help my body with. I have zero answers to any of the questions that I am constantly fretting over. However, I am on a journey. I am on a journey of getting to know my body better. Getting to know my symptoms better. Learning triggers and trigger points. Learning to listen to my body and find when it is OK to push it a wee bit and when to stop and rest. On top of that, learning more about fibromyalgia and anxiety and finding things that help. There are going to be a lot of times I’m sure I am going to be very frustrated when things don’t work but I still need to try. I need to try and find things that will help me have a good quality of life and to have, at least some, control over my symptoms.

Tough Week…

This week has been a tough week. I don’t even mind calling it a tough week, it has been difficult! I don’t think any particular thing has made it hard, it just has been. The pain has been close to unmanageable at times. I have been physically sick. My digestive system is clearly having some issues, and my stomach feels like it is constantly churning. I have been overly anxious. The fatigue has been horrible, and yet it is difficult to sleep. On top of all that I have been unable to do anything without ending up in tears. Just one of these ‘sensations’ can be difficult to cope with but put them all together and it just feels like too much.

This week I have been feeling like a failure. I have failed to get out of beds. I have failed in being a family member. I have failed in being a friend. I have found it difficult to cope.

In saying all that I have tried my best. I have tried to help my sister, by trying to run a few errands for her while she was at work to help her get ready for her holiday. I have tried to go to a yoga/pilates class to see if that would help. I tried by making sure I went to my appointment with the pain relief nurse. I tried to have a family day out with my nan and uncle. I tried to go over to my friends house. It all just ended in tears.

I don’t know why I am having a particular hard time of it this week but I am ready for this new week. A new week is coming and I am hoping for it to be better. I am hoping to be able to see my friends. I am hoping to be able to spend more time with my family. I am hoping to be able to continue to try working on myself both physically and mentally. I want my body and well-being to feel better, and to be better. As ridiculous as it sounds, I want to cry less this week. I don’t know what this week will bring but I am optimistic that it will be better.

Ambivist and We Band of Others Behind The Scene Photo Shoot and Band Practice

So I’ve been wanting to write about both We Band of Others and Ambivist for some time… Then something exciting happened and I got invited to a local recording studio where the Ambivist guys played and modelled We Band of Others clothing. It was a great day!

 

We Band of Others

We Band of Others is an independent clothing brand that is based in Glasgow. They get inspiration for their designs from music. They have “..created this brand for the “Oddballs of Society”, for anyone who feels like they don’t fit in or feel cast out from society for not following the norms and daring to be different.” They strive to empower people to be themselves, embrace their differences, believe in themselves and reach for their dreams.

I cannot stress enough how important something like this is! People are ‘cast out’ of society for the slightest difference all the time. Bullying occurs in schools as people’s differences are pointed out. Labels are often given to people for being different – geek, freak, weirdo and there are loads more. In a world full of peer pressure and ‘following’ people, somehow standing out has became a bad thing. Empowering people, saying it is ok to be yourself, saying that you matter – these are all important values. Monday is ‘Motivation Monday.’ Who doesn’t need a bit of motivation, especially on a Monday? On top of that, they are reminding people that they are not alone and have created a wee community. Scrolling through their instagram feed you come across many pictures of people showing off their purchases, saying why it’s important to them, saying “yes I am an Oddball of Society, and I am proud to be one!” In fact, if you scroll through their instagram you come across the picture above of me doing just that!

When I went onto the We Band of Others’ website I fell in love with their tee shirts, and I could not decide which one to buy, so I purchased two. I wear these tees a lot! They are soft and so comfortable. I mean, a comfy tee with an inspiring or empowering message, can you go wrong wearing that? I think not! Also, you get free badges and stickers with every order! How fun is that? Plus, they’re free. Everybody loves a wee freebie! Details on how to check out this amazing brand are below! You never know, you could make a purchase and take your own selfie standing proud to be an Oddball of Society and be featured on their site.

Website: https://www.webandofothers.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/webandofothers/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/webandofothers/

Ambivist

Ambivist are a progressive rock band from the Ayrshire in Scotland. The band consists of four band members – Sean (guitarist/vocalist), Michael (drums), Paul (bass) and Ross (guitarist).

I managed to get myself to a gig one night that I knew Ambivist were playing despite being in a lot of pain, and boy was I glad I managed to catch them! Unfortunately I was not able to stay the whole gig that night but I saw the whole Ambivist set. They were brilliant! The four guys sync to produce the most wonderful sound. Sean, has a great voice. It has a really nice tone, which is quite deep and has a touch of that fantastic quality that I like to call a ‘gravelly voice’. On top of that he produces sounds that are smooth, and can evoke emotions. I felt their performance! The music, the lyrics, their performance just spoke to me. It made me feel, a lot. It made a girl who had been crying about the amount of pain she was in and was finding moving at all very difficult forget the pain for a short while and just feel the power of the music. That kind of experience is priceless.

I have included the social media details of this amazing band below so that you can check them out!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ambivist/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ambivistband/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ambivistband

 

The Photo Shoot and Band Practice

So as I said at the start, something very exciting happened, I was invited to shadow the team at We Band of Others and attended a band practice of Ambivist, turn photography shoot. The whole experience was great!

We Band of Others attended a gig in their local area that Ambivist were performing at. We Band of Others enjoyed the band and their performance and took to their Instagram account and shared a picture of the band performing. This started a dialogue between the musicians and the clothing brand.

Speaking to the photographer, I found out that the vision behind the shoot was to have the band model the tees, including their new summer merchandise which included a snap back hat, while the guys performed/practice. The photographer explained that she felt that if she asked the band members to pose with their instruments then the pictures would develop looking forced. The very essence of We Band of Others is for people to embrace their differences and their quirks and believe in themselves and just to be yourself. The idea was that if the band were just doing their thing, doing what they love, just being themselves then the pictures would look natural.

We all met at a local recording studio and I got to meet all the band members. After some chat everybody went to set up. The photographer set up her camera and the band set up the equipment, plugging everything in and doing sound checks. I also got a pedal board explained to me. I am not going to even pretend I know what each setting did but Sean explained some of the pedals to us. Listening to him talk and do wee demonstrations to show what he meant was fascinating. I have always loved music. I have even performed music, many times when I was younger. I have never before had an insight to a pedal board and what each pedal did. This has given me a new appreciation for musicians. They get up on that stage, in front of however many people, they have those burning lights on them, they might even have effects such as dry ice about, they have lots of wires surrounding them and still manage to perform. Even while having songs needing certain switches set to on or off. It is just astounding.

Another insight I got to see was the photographer setting up her camera. Again, like the pedal board I am not going to even attempt knowing anything that she was doing. My photography skills go as far as turning the camera on, trying to get my body to hold still, press the capture button and hope for the best. Never have I changed brightness levels and focuses and all sorts of different settings. It was interesting to see and it is a skill that I wish I possessed, however it is not my forte.

I was made to feel very welcome in that room, I felt like I was just one of the gang. The band and the clothing brand team gave me permission to take photos too, which was exciting. It was so cool seeing the band all wearing We Band of Others tees and have buttons and stickers on their guitars, guitar straps and even on the drummer’s cymbal!

The band asked the photographer what she would like them to do, she told them that they could play and she would take pictures through it. This was such a funny moment, that will stick with me for a long time. The photographer said “play whatever you want” and the Ross started playing Mary Had A Little Lamb. After that everything went really smoothly. The band did their job and the photographer did hers. What was really great, was you could tell that each person in that room loved doing what they were doing. The band were having a “jam session” and rehearsed songs, parts of songs or just had a bit of fun. This was a great experience, it was an intimate insight to a rehearsal. I ended up treating it a bit like a private performance though.The photographer snapped all of this. She had sent me a few photos as a sneak peaks and they look great. I have no doubt that the rest of the pictures will look just as great. Some pictures are now live and featured on the We Band of Others website.

In all of the goodness, of course I had my struggles. I was meeting people I didn’t really know which is something that causes my anxiety to rise. The flashing of the camera and the loudness of the playing through the amps and microphones, and the drum set did send me into a sort of sensory overload daze for a bit. Symptoms of Fibromyalgia and anxiety can be triggered or made worse by situations and the environment that you are in. That being said, I really enjoyed the experience and for some amount of time, I was able to stay in control of my body. I was able to feel the buzz of being honoured in being present at a band practice and wee photo shoot. I have so much admiration and respect for everybody who was in that room and they were all super talented individuals.

 

All photos included were taken by myself and as I said, it’s not my forte, I just love taking pictures. This sure was an awesome experience and I would like to thank We Band of Others, and the guys of Ambivist for inviting me to come along!

Celebrations

So far this month there has been quite a few celebratory events occurring in my life. Just like everybody else I look forward to events worth celebrating. There is nothing better than gathering with loved ones to celebrate milestones, achievements, birthdays, anniversaries, anything really. Celebrating creates memories, which more often than not become life’s most precious moments. Although I look forward to celebrations there is a part of me that dreads them. I worry about how my body will react at occasions. Will my pain levels stay at a level that I can cope with? What are people going to think/say about me if I have to leave early, if I cry, if I get overly anxious? The stress from this alone can bring about some not very nice symptoms. It’s a difficult cycle of stress. Even with this feeling of dread, spending the time celebrating with my family and friends create precious memories to be treasured throughout life.

My Birthday

This year I wasn’t in a celebrating mood. It was my first birthday without my nana here, I am in the middle of a flare up and I was in constant pain. I am not one to usually freak out about age but I felt so exhausted and my pain was really bad that I felt old, add that to the phrase “turning a quarter of a century” I really was not in a celebrating mood.

My best friend, Claire, told me that I had to do something for my birthday. She said I deserved to celebrate. I’m so glad she insisted I do something to mark my birthday, as I ended up having a really nice few days. Yes, days! Plural!

On the night of my birthday Claire, my sister Kaitlyn and her boyfriend Connall and myself went out for dinner. Afterwards we came back home where Kaitlyn surprised me with a birthday cake. We all had a good laugh as she started singing ‘Happy Birthday’ and she accidentally blew the candles out. She just stopped, turned around and went and lit the candles again and started over while pretending that this was not a second attempt. Kaitlyn’s reaction is what made the moment so funny. Afterwards we all watched Moana and had a laugh and cry together. I was very sore and had to move about a lot whilst trying to get myself into a position that I had the least amount of pain. My movements were not helping in the slightest, however I was in the house and I was with my loved ones so it was ok not to be fully ok!

The next day I was treated out to lunch by my big cousin. I was only out a short time but I had a lovely time catching up. She seemed to know when I could not take much more and took me home. I had to go and lie down, as I was exhausted and in quite a bit of pain, for a while but I was glad that yet again, I had such a nice time with a loved one.

The day after that myself, Claire and my good friends Hazel and Cat met up and had dinner together. It was so good spending some quality time with them. It is not very often that we all get together. That day was difficult, after the last two days I was very tired. It felt like lightning bolts were being shot down my back. The girls were amazing, they understood that I was sore and they also took into consideration that I hadn’t been wanting to celebrate my birthday. The plan was dinner and cinema but the plans were flexible. They told me that the plan was all depending on how I was feeling. If I was too sore to go and sit through the cinema then we were not going to go to the cinema. It meant so much to me! Especially when earlier on that day I was messaging them that I couldn’t make it. I’m glad I went. I’m glad the girls were flexible and went with the flow, just feeling our way through the occasion with no set in stone plans.

The next night I went a walk with my other big cousin. He gave me my birthday gift and we had a good time walking and talking. He let me set the pace for the walk and nearing the end of the walk I was struggling and he linked arms with me and supported me right to my door.

All the gifts I got for my birthday were perfect. They were all about self care and activities that I enjoy, that I find calming. I really am lucky that I have the most considerate people in my life. They walk at my pace (no matter how slow that they find it), they seem to understand that I maybe cannot spend very long out with them before I have to leave, they understand that I may need some extra help while out or I may get emotional and still they stick by me!

Kaitlyn’s Graduation

This year has not been the easiest year for Kaitlyn. It was her honours year at uni so she already knew it was going to be quite tough. During this time, life seemed to just throw so much at her – hardships at work, getting a new job, going through a breakup, starting a new relationship, helping care for my nana, helping to care for me, the death of my nana. All of that is difficult in themselves without adding in being a fourth year student. However, she has managed to overcome everything and passed her course. This week she graduated. I could not have been any more proud of her. She looked absolutely beautiful! She picked an off the shoulder shirt and a classic straight skirt which was a fabulous combination. During the run up to her graduation day, she asked me if I was going to be ok at the graduation, she did not want me getting too sore. How amazing is my sister? I replied to her that I did not care how much pain I was in, I was going to be at her graduation no matter what. The graduation ceremony took place in a church. To get into the church there is a lot of stairs, and the pews are not exactly comfy. I was also rather ‘foggy’ that day. I accused my dad of moving my booklet with the graduation order when it was in fact me who had placed it where it was just minutes before. I was one very proud big sister hearing Kaitlyn’s name being called and watching her cross the platform to be capped and to get her hood and degree. A tear may have been shed…. Any pain I experienced that day was worth it! No way was my conditions taking away such an important event for my sister away!

After the graduation ceremony and reception we came home and all of us changed straight out of our formal clothes and into comfy clothes. Formal clothing was not designed for people in chronic pain. It’s heavy, and thick and it was such a relief to get it off (I was wearing a tailored dress). We all then went out to dinner together in comfort and then Kaitlyn and Connall went off as they had their own plans.

A work mate’s birthday

A girl I work with will be turning 21 in a few days. For the past month or so there has been a lot of secret chats discussing ideas of gifts and a night out was planned. I knew that the way my condition is at the moment that I would not survive a whole night, and I did not want to put a damper on any of the celebrations. So I said from the offset that I would only attend the dinner and not the ‘few drinks’ that would follow. The plan was that she would know that she was going out for dinner with a few people. Everybody else, myself included, had told her that we were unable to join her on a night out for one reason or another. Then when she came into the restaurant there would be a big bunch of us sitting there to surprise her. Somehow, the secret was kept and she was indeed surprised when she arrived at the restaurant. I was so glad to be part of celebrations for her birthday.

My tummy had not been very good that day. It had been making a lot of dangerous noises and doing flips all day. I was exhausted, showering took so much energy from me that I had to lie down a large chunk of the day until I really had to get ready. Despite this and the pain that I was in, I managed to get my hair to a fairly presentable state, put on a dress and I even managed to put my make-up on. I felt somewhat presentable when I left the house. I did not look so presentable when I came home. After the dinner I managed to walk, with some support from my team leader, from the restaurant to the first pub in their plan for the evening where Kaitlyn came to pick me up to take me home. When I got home I took a wee selfie, as you do, and it is shocking the amount I changed in not even being out the house for two whole hours. My make-up was a mess and smudged, I had massive bags under my eyes from being so fatigued (clearly not helped by the smudged eyeliner and mascara!). I thought I looked like I had been out all night drinking… All I did was go out for dinner! It was enough to take it out of me!

Fibromyalgia sucks! People see a young person, and they do not see anything “wrong” with me. People think you are being dramatic if you say you’re tired, or sore at my age. They don’t see the chronic pain and don’t understand the fatigue.

All this celebrating has taken its toll on me. I am so exhausted, I am walking funny, the pain I am has increased and I have had to spend a lot of time resting. However, through these celebrations, even if I was only able to go out and join in for a short while, I have had such a laugh and felt so much warmth from the people that I spent time with. Yes, it all made me anxious. Yes, it all gave me a lot of pain. Yes, it sucked a lot of energy from me and took a lot of effort. Yes, I was nearly cut short when needing the toilet. Yes, I had to leave celebrations early. Yes, I have had to spend a lot more time resting and I have had to spend time not being able to move. But do you know what? It has been worth it! I managed to help celebrate with my friends and family and that has been great!

If you have a ‘condition’ any kind of condition, visible or not, when occasions arise that should be celebrated, if you are able to get out to join in, GO! Attend that dinner, attend that pub, go and join in. Even if you can only go for a short while and have to leave early. Even if it looks like you will just be there fidgeting, when really you’re trying to find a position that your body is not screaming at you. Go and make those precious memories. However, if you cannot go, try and be kind to yourself! Do not beat yourself up about it. Send that message or make that call letting that loved one know that you love them but unfortunately can’t make it out but you hope that they enjoy their time. Hopefully they will understand, it is ok, not to be ok! After all, there is always time to celebrate some other way, some other time. Plus, you never know, the celebration might just end up spreading itself out over time just like my birthday did over various days!

 

Friendship and Fibromyalgia

ftlfriendFriendship. As social beings, friendship is important to us. It’s the relationship you have with another person. It is likely that you have things in common with this person, or you have genuine affection for them. It is a thing that can bring joy and love, help you through things. Real friendship is such a beautiful thing. The picture above is a birthday present I received from my best friend. The third definition listed, probably won’t make much sense to people but it means so much to me. I guess it is a small insight into the relationship we have. It is all those small things, the memories made and that are treasured, that makes friendship so beautiful.

Friendship is important, it is such a valuable experience. However, if you have fibromyalgia it is so easy to lose friendships. Now don’t get me wrong I know sometimes friendships just fade naturally over time. Fibromyalgia tends to just speed up this process. Every time you get invited to something but you have to cancel, usually last minute, because your anxiety is so high that you can’t seem to get yourself over the threshold and out the house. Every single scenario running through your head of trouble looming, accidents happening, your outfit not being right, you’re too fat, the fear that people won’t like you, the fear that the place will be busy, having to talk to strangers. The list goes on and on. Having to cancel as your belly has just started doing flips and you know you are going to have to spend the night on the toilet instead. Having to cancel as you’re in so much pain that it feels like your limbs are being ripped off your body, it feels like a knife is stuck in your back or you legs have turned to lead and you can’t get one foot in front of another. Having to cancel as you are so exhausted that your eyes are stinging from being open. Or your head feels too heavy, your arms and legs are tingling. All of these ‘excuses’ can wedge itself between friends. Chronic pain can be so isolating, and sometimes sharing it with friends can be worse than keeping it to yourself. Fibromyalgia is difficult to understand, and with it being an invisible illness, you “don’t look sick” or you “look normal” and it is easy for a person to think you are “just putting it on/ faking it/ being dramatic” (really you can insert so many negative comments here, I have heard quite a few). It tends to be that when you cancel one outing, meet up, event then it is generally accepted. Having to cancel multiple times (which can happen) then the invites tend to stop coming, text messages/ emails/ phone calls decrease and the space and silence grows. It is so frustrating! I sometimes wish that my life could be recorded, that people could see the effort put into going out. That people can see how much I try to get out. How much I want to spend time with that/those people. How upset I am when I have to message or call to cancel. How disheartening it is that you cannot get out and do that thing that you wanted to do, and how debilitating symptoms can be. How can you explain that everyday life for me can feel like the flu – I am achy all over, I have no energy, I am so tired, my balance is all over the place. I don’t say this to people for them to feel sorry for me, I tell people in hope that they might understand. Sometimes people do try and understand, sometimes people just do not believe you.

I do not have very many friends, however those that I do have are golden. I am so blessed to say that I have important people in my life. I have those people who have a listening ear to hear my troubles, frustrations, hopes, fears, or thoughts (no matter how ridiculous some of them seem to be). They are there for me to vent at (and I rant alot) and sometimes they just listen, other times they offer advice depending on the situation. They offer a shoulder to cry on – both figuratively and often physically (again, this is something I tend to do a lot). They are there when I need a hug, when I am vulnerable, to celebrate and gentle hugs for bad pain days. They are there with words of encouragement and believe in you. In fact, I often call my best friend my personal cheerleader. She believes in me so much, and can pick me up when I’m down. She defends me (like by pushing drunk men who have fallen on me off of me at gigs, or telling random drunk men to get lost with a capital F and a capital O when they put their arms around me and sing in my face. When ex’s text the most horrible things and make you cry and she takes the phone off you and wipes away your tears and lets you enjoy the rest of your day instead of being bombarded with very negative messages), even if the person she is defending me against is myself (she says I am too hard on myself, she’s probably right). I am lucky that I have a friend who believes, and tells me that I deserve the world. I deserve good things and I deserve to be happy. I just hope that she knows that I hope and believe the same for her!

It is important to find people who support you and can understand you. They maybe do not completely “get it”, but they care and want to help. You want people that you don’t need to pretend to be “fine” with. When I went on holiday with my friend, she knew that I was going to find some parts challenging and be in pain. She also knew that I can be stubborn sometimes, and tend to try and keep going until I just can’t any longer. She asked me to let her know when I was in pain or anxious. She told me that if I tell her it means we can do something to try and help, such as go to a less busy part of the city, find a place to sit and rest, we can go find some painkillers. One of the days I forgot to bring painkillers with me in my bag and we had to go find a pharmacy which felt a bit like trying to work our way through a treasure hunt in places. She wanted me to enjoy my holiday too and not over exert myself to the point I stop enjoying myself or physically can’t do anything the rest of our time away. This is friendship! It meant so much to me that took so much time and consideration to make the holiday a great experience for both of us.

The people who you know you can share a rant, celebrate with, share some sort of ‘milestone’ or you can call or message at any time day or night are the people you want in your life. The people who will take the good and the bad together. The people who see you for who you are and not just your condition. In saying that, it means so much to me that I have the type of friends who say things like “I found this site and it said …. about fibromyalgia”, “I read that this might help, have you tried/ thought about it?” Although it saddens me that I have lost friends along the way, I am so glad that I have the friends that I have. If friendship and love was a currency, then I can honestly say I am very rich. I am so glad that I have people who are willing to try and feel through life with me.

New to Blogging…

I have been sitting staring at this screen for about an hour or so and it has remained blank that whole duration. I have decided to start a blog. I have been thinking about it for months now. Months!! I have had so many ideas going through my head that, if truth be told, I couldn’t keep up with them all! I had to find out how to start a blog which naturally brought about a whole new storm of thoughts, worries, insecurities and confusion into my already chaotic thought process. For months I have been saying to my sister and friends that I wanted to start a blog. Thus far all I was able to decide upon is, ‘I want to do a blog’. Any thoughts on specific themes or ideas I want to focus on? Nope. Any ideas on what site or platform that I wanted to use? Nope. Any ideas on how to actually get started? Nope, not a clue. Any idea on what to call my blog? I’m pretty sure you have probably guessed the answer already – no. After a few months of trying to figure out what to call my blog, while simultaneously looking into different sites to use, I finally came up with a name that I liked – Feeling Through Life. Of course now that I have decided a name and started a blog the new problem is writing my first post. How does this happen? Do I dive straight in and start writing about something serious? Politics maybe? Current affairs? No, No, No. My busy brain wants to stay clear of that for the time being. Do I start with writing about something personal? Maybe something about my family? My friends? My favourite colour, even? No, this doesn’t feel right either. Then it occurred to me, just make an introduction – give a rough idea who I am, give a rough idea on why I want to blog and see where that takes me. As you can see, my page did not stay blank after that.

 

Why Blogging?

The short answer here is, I want some sort of outlet. I tend to feel too much and that has a knock on effect on my health. I have fibromyalgia and G.A.D. (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and my emotions and thoughts can exasperate symptoms of my conditions. A while ago, somebody suggested blogging to me and at the time I didn’t give it much thought. However, I have now been thinking about it, a lot. Why not try it out? It could provide me with an outlet, a way to empty my emotional bucket. It could maybe be a way for me to sort out my thoughts, to make them meaningful or to make sense of them. Maybe in doing so my journey, my thoughts or experiences will help somebody else. It could provide someone with an answer, an insight or even just let somebody know that they are not alone. I have hope that blogging, for me, will be a positive experience.   

 

Why Feeling Through Life?

Well, this is because, as I said above I tend to feel too much. I am quite an emotional person and my anxiety only amplifies this. I also tend to ‘feel’ too much in an environment. My senses pick up on something and it can cause my mind to go spiralling out of control or make me feel ill. Also, the most common symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread pain and boy do I feel that! These moments can seem like the whole world is upside down, back to front and inside out. My conditions are a large part of my life. They are helping sculpt out who I am, and the person I am going to be. That being said, I do not want to be defined by my conditions. I am not my fibromyalgia or my anxiety! I am Sarah, and I just so happen to have these conditions. Like everybody else I am just trying to live, and be the best person that I can be. When I was young, I thought that adults have got everything worked out, and know what they are doing. They know exactly what they want and know exactly how to do it. I have since learned that is not the case. People are just try their best to find what works for them and what doesn’t. They may plan their lives, but things change and life does not always go the desired route. Everybody is taking things as they come and then trying to make the best of it. This is exactly what I am doing. I am trying to feel my way through this life, through these muddled thoughts and just live it the best way I can.