#RescueMe

This morning, my sister sent me a link to the new Thirty Seconds to Mars song, Rescue Me.

Go check it out at: https://youtu.be/yEWb6bsd5lo

I always enjoy it when my sister sends me a wee link from YouTube. She’ll send me a link because it’s about something I like, it might be something she likes, it’s something she thinks is funny or strange. Either way, it is always something she wants to share with me! In this case, it is something we both like! We both love Thirty seconds to Mars and have been to see them live on numerous occasions.

So the official video for Rescue Me was released on YouTube today, so naturally Kaitlyn sent me the link.

The video is beautiful! It is simple in design, which I feel gives it a strong impact. The song itself hit me hard the first time I heard it. Thirty seconds to Mars has very many powerful lyrics. So many of their lyrics stand out to me and have personal meaning to me and my own life. Like so many of their songs throughout the years, this song has become important to me. It sticks with me. The lyrics and the music resonates with me. I mean, “Rescue me from the demons in my mind,” as a person with chronic health issues, these words resonate strongly. I can’t tell you the amount of times that I have wanted saving from myself. People fight their inner demons everyday.

As well as the massive impact the lyrics and music themselves have had, I really liked what was written in the description box!

“Rescue Me is a song about pain, a song about empowerment, a song about faith, and a song about freedom.

Freedom from the wreckage of your past. Freedom from the bondage of self. And freedom to embrace all the promises that life has to offer.

It’s also a song about the brutal war so many of us wage against fear, depression and anxiety in the hope that we might, one day, live a life filled with happiness and dreams.

Pain does not discriminate. It can affect us all. In our bodies. Our hearts. Our minds. And often, when that pain is emotional or mental, we are afraid to speak up.

None of us are “OK” all the time. And there shouldn’t be a stigma when we aren’t…..

…. If you think someone in your life needs help, ask them if they’re OK and make sure they know you’re there for them. And keep showing up. Help however you can.

If you are hurting, you can get through this. Tell someone you trust. And make sure you ask for help. “

Regardless of if you like the band and their music, this is such an important message. It is a message that everybody should hear. It should be spread far and wide. Pain does not discriminate, whether that be physical, emotional or mental pain. The stigma surrounding chronic pain, and mental health is awful! It can make you feel isolated. Isolated and dealing with so much pain, so much emotion, so much fear and so much worry and often confusion. It can feel like you are trapped, that everything is enclosing you, and you’re stuck! Stuck in a constant loop of pain and it can often feel like there is no escape.

It is important for people to know they are not alone, especially those with chronic health, and/or mental health issues.

Music can be truly inspirational and can be a powerful tool in a person’s journey. It can be a powerful tool for a person’s healing.

Personally, I love music. I love live music. I especially like songs that speak to me, whether that be the lyrics, the melody, harmonies used, anything! This song is one of those songs that is resonating with me! But on top of that, it’s message is great! It’s message is inspiring. It’s message is one of love and understanding. It’s about pain and the daily fight we have. It is about hope. Hope for more good days. Hope for our futures. And hope that one day, there might not be such a stigma attached! It’s a message to support one another. To ask for help when needed, to give help when needed. It is a reminder that people are feeling their way through life. They are facing their demons and struggles, on a daily basis. It is a powerful message to advocate!

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Vivid Foliage

Recently I have been trying to be more creative in my quest to self manage my health.

I took part in a group called Threadlines set up by the Paisley Townscape Heritage and Conservation Regeneration Scheme. Threadlines is a group of artists who take part in activities that explore my home town’s printed textile industry.

Check out what the amazing ladies do on instagram at @threadlines_

Through attending the group, I met a group of amazing ladies. The group became more than exploring creativity and the towns heritage. It was about building self esteem and self belief. It was about being social, being able to talk to other people.

In the group we drew inspiration from local nature and foliage and print from old weaver journals. This weekend, as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, the pieces of work that was produced was exhibited and there was a DIY printing station set up, along with the launch of the collaborative newspaper that we put together.

Remember to treat each other kindly because you don’t know the struggle that they may be facing. People are all just trying to feel their way through life.

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day 2018

Today is fibromyalgia awareness day. I’m posting a lot later than what I wanted to do today but I have had a busy day. I went to see an amazing wee play called Invisible today with my dad. It is written by Charlie Marx. It pretty much hits the nail on the head on what life with fibromyalgia is like. I felt quite emotional after watching it, it was so relatable. This story is so close to my own. It was educational, inspiring and hopeful. It made me feel hope. A feeling that I have been lacking a lot recently. I left the hall feeling valid, I felt that I was not a lone. I felt that I although I do not know what my future holds, it is worth finding out what it holds. I was reminded of the joy that life can bring and felt hope for my future. That changes could happen… For the better!

Fibromyalgia is common, and yet it is surprising how many people have never heard of it. I knew very little about it before I was diagnosed. When I say I knew very little about it, what I really mean is I knew a person who had it and I knew it caused pain. That was it! That was all I knew.

As you can see, fibromyalgia is a lot more than just pain. This is something that causes me a lot of health related anxiety. There are so many symptoms and effects. My fear is that I could have something else wrong with me and a health professional could just attribute it to the fact that I have fibromyalgia and not receive, or be able to manage it properly. I think that I have finally found a GP who listens to me and takes my condition seriously, but even he sometimes listens to what I’m saying and relates it to me having fibromyalgia instantly. I try to keep track of any new symptom, or any changes of symptoms. If you have new symptoms, you should tell a medical profession and get it checked!

Fibromyalgia symptoms can be anything from a mere irritation to debilitating. The severity of symptoms can vary from person to person. They can vary from day to day, hour to hour.

I think it is particularly important to remember that fibromyalgia does not discriminate by age! I am only 25, I have been having symptoms for years. I was a teenager when I started showing symptoms. In fact, there are times in childhood, that I remember having multiple appointments due to having ‘unexplained’ pain. I often wonder if this was the start of my troubles.

Despite fibromyalgia awareness day now coming to a close, it is important to continue to spread awareness.

Be kind to yourself, and other people. You don’t know what struggles people are going through. People are all just trying to feel their way through life!

Sister, Sister

Earlier today I read an article entitled “Sibling Relationships Are Cradle To Grave” and it got me thinking about the relationship that I have with my own sister.

People who know me either personally know my sister or at least know of her. She is a huge part of my life. She is a lot more than a sister to me.

Kaitlyn and I have been close from a young age. Due to problems within the family setting, we stuck together young. It was, and still is, my wish to shield and protect Kaitlyn from everything that was being said and done around us. I remember just looking at what was going on between the adults and thinking that through it all I was going to be making sure that she was as safe as possible. That she knew she was not alone and had someone to help her, she had someone to talk to and could trust in all the crazy going on around us. This feeling has never left me. I would do anything for this little one!

As a result, if I was going out with friends, I would often bring Kaitlyn with me. Even in school, each of us could talk to the others friends at break time/lunch. I never thought this was strange. However, what I did find strange, was when people asked me about how I could spend so much time with my sister when all they did with their siblings was fight. I am glad to say that we have never had a period of time when all we have done was argue. We are human, and we can annoy the other but we have never had any proper arguments with negative outcomes or anything. I am very glad of this, I know that I am not the easiest of people to live with, especially on bad days.

Today, my friends are Kaitlyn’s friends too. If I am invited somewhere, there is an automatic invitation to Kaitlyn too. Which I love!

Kaitlyn is my sister. She is my protector. She is the person I go to in tears. She is the person I go to because I am happy. She is my friend, my best friend. My primary caregiver at times. She’s my rock. She has kept me going. She has been my carer… quite literally. She has helped me dress when I’ve been unable to myself. She has reached out to people and got me help and support that I needed. She has come with me to appointments, made sure I’ve taken my medication. She has been by my side through love, loss, heartache, good times, bad times.

Kaitlyn is one of the key people in my life, a key player in this journey. I am lucky to have such an amazing relationship with my sister, I cannot imagine it any other way. I hope and pray that we continue to be as close throughout life. I hope she knows just how much she means to me. There are no words strong enough to describe just how much love, respect and trust I have for her. I am so proud of her and the person that she is. She is so caring and resilient. She amazes me.

Relationships are tricky things, especially amongst family at times. I am blessed that to have such a good relationship with my sister. I know that not everybody is as lucky to have such an amazing relationship with a sibling. Treat each other with kindness and remember that everybody is just feeling their way through life.

It’s been a while…… ( and that’s ok)

My last blog post feels like it was a hundred years ago! Slight exaggeration… but it was quite a while ago.

I have said before, in a previous post, that I have been finding things difficult. That still stands!

In January this year, I began to attend counselling again. This was only a 6 session intervention. Around the same time I attended appointments (the initial assessment ended up being 3 appointments!) with a pain psychologist (which has led to further appointments). In these appointments I have been looking at my own behaviour, my past, trying relaxation and breathing exercises and been trying to find triggers for my anxiety as well as my pain amongst other things. At the moment, things feel muddled and my mood and pain levels are not good! I have been having more panic attacks and I felt like I have lost any form of being able to cope that I had managed to grasp onto. So I stopped blogging, I didn’t know what to write. I did not think that I had anything of meaning to share. I slipped into believing I was worthless, and could contribute nothing. Truthfully I stopped pretty much everything I was doing. I had no motivation. No energy. No interest in doing anything really.

That being said, I have continued to go to my appointments and I still am working on finding something that works for me. Finding a remedy to manage, or at least help manage, my condition.

I began to blog to try and work my way through my own journey with my mental health, through my fibromyalgia and through life struggles. I want my own story, my own experiences to be out there in the hope that it could potentially help somebody else. Even just to remind a person struggling that they are not alone. That they do not need to suffer alone. To know that it is ok to not be ok. It is ok to feel lost and not know what everything with themselves makes sense. To be a reminder that it is ok to reach out and ask for help. I really needed to remind myself of all this. I had to remind myself this multiple times and it has taken until now for me to put words down.

I needed these few months to try and focus on myself. To work through issues and try and practice some self care. The ironic thing is, me making this step to create a post again, is also a bit of self care. I think it is clear that I may need to take time out from blogging from time to time just to continue my journey and try and grow. As of now though, I am back! Back to put my experiences into the mix of what life with a chronic condition is like. Back to say that it is ok to take some ‘me’ time. It is ok to take time out when needed to recharge. I am going to continue to remind myself that I am enough. I have something to contribute, something of meaning. I am not worthless.

Be kind to people. You don’t know what struggles other people are going through. They will be just trying to feel their way through life the same as you are!

Lest We Forget

Today is Remembrance Sunday.

Remembrance Sunday is a day to come together and offers an opportunity to reflect and show respect for the sacrifices made by the armed forces in past, and current, conflicts. Especially those who lost their lives.

In recent times there has been ‘controversy’ about wearing a poppy. I don’t understand this, personally. The significance of the poppy is like feminism – has lost its meaning somewhere along the line. People argue that the poppy is now a political symbol. It is used to glorify war, a symbol to support war. That is not the case. The poppy is associated with remembrance as it is a flower that grows naturally in conditions where the earth has been disturbed, which is the case for war and battles. It is said that poppies grew in fields after the Napoleonic wars, and then again was the only flower to grow in otherwise barren fields after the First World War. The poppy appeal was started by the Royal British Legion to raise funds for veterans and their families after the effects of war. I believe the poppy is a symbol, not only of remembrance but of hope! Hope for those veterans, and those serving in the armed forces, that aid and services will be available to them and their families. The Poppy is traditionally worn on the left-hand side of a jacket as it is meant to represent those that we are remembering are close to our hearts.

“Dulce et decorum est” by Wilfred Owen paints a horrendous picture of what life was like for a soldier during World War One. I think poems such as this one, is particularly powerful since it shows just how different this war was to others before it. You can see the atrocities that these men, many of them just young boys, faced. The poem end,

“My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.”

The Latin “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” translates to “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”

This weekend I have been listening to “Greater love hath no man” by John Ireland. When I was younger I used to sing in a church choir. ‘Greater love hath no man’ was sung at Remembrance Sunday Evensong. It has always stuck with me. I remember singing it fighting back the tears in the cloisters during the service. I don’t know if it’s the words or the music that touches me so much, but I think it is a beautiful piece of music. “Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friend.” This is exactly what every armed forces member is effectively doing. They are ‘fighting for their country’, they are fighting to ‘benefit’ those back at home – their families and friends. If you have never heard it, I recommend looking it up and having a listen.

The effects of the two World Wars and other conflicts have impacted people in countries all over the world. My great papa Peter was in the merchant navy and later a royal marine. He used to tell us a lot about the time, that he was 14/15 and was nearly arrested during the Spanish civil war in 1936. He was also one of the crews stationed on the HMS Belfast during the Battle of North Cape. My nan and my great Auntie have stories about experiences through the blitz. I cannot even begin to imagine the horrors that people have witnessed. Remembrance day and remembrance Sunday are days for people to gather together and remember. It is important to remember! Men and women sacrifice so much in the armed forces. It is important to reflect and remember the lives lost through war! Especially in today’s world! You turn on the news, and there is some horrifying story about conflict and war. The way the world’s politics are going, we very well could be approaching another world war. I hope that is not the case. Days like today are important for this. People need to remember the destruction and the unnecessary loss of life in war. My papa survived the war but so many people did not. The picture above is of wooden crosses with poppies on them that are available that can be put at graves for remembrance. We have written my papa’s name on one, the other one is for my uncle. We have placed the crosses on the respective graves. It is important to remember, to reflect, to learn. It is important to honour and respect those who have died for us, and who put their lives in danger for us. It is important to acknowledge the great sacrifices that our armed forces make for us.

Here is a link if you would like to read Dulce est decorum est in its entirety, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46560/dulce-et-decorum-est

 

 

Lady Gaga announced she has fibromyalgia…

Lady Gaga has a documentary coming out on Netflix this month which features her battle with chronic illness. This week she announced that she has fibromyalgia.

When I hear of anybody with fibromyalgia, I feel for them. As somebody who experiences the pain and hardships on a daily basis I can empathise how bad their battles may be. Fibromyalgia can affect everybody differently, and can affect your life differently from a day to day basis. This makes it hard to treat, hard to manage.

I am interested in watching the documentary being released later this month. I think it will be interesting to see how fibromyalgia is portrayed on the film. I recently watched a television programme that had fibromyalgia featured and I do not think it was featured well. It started off well but did not show the multiple battles, or different treatment types that may work. It made treatment seem like a “one size fits all” idea, and that is definitely not the case. It would be great if there was a treatment out there that would definitely work for everybody however that is not the case.

Lady Gaga works hard for her performances. She does a lot of singing and dancing. I worry that people will see that she has fibromyalgia and still performs so could potentially alienate people who suffer from it. I know for a fact that there is no way that I could put on a show like Lady Gaga! I can’t even go shopping for twenty minutes without crying. I can’t even shower without having a lie down afterwards. Already, I get told things like ‘[insert name here] has fibromyalgia and they can [insert activity here].’ I can already hear Lady Gaga being used as a potential example – “Lady Gaga has fibromyalgia and she can still work/perform.” It can be hard for people to see how debilitating fibromyalgia can be, especially when it is an invisible illness. Also, Lady Gaga will have access to different, and potentially more, treatments to try.

That being said, a famous person speaking out about fibromyalgia will definitely spread awareness. Her announcement has started so many conversations and that is very important. It has put fibromyalgia in the spotlight and shared information about it to people who may not have heard of it. For some people, it has brought about hope. It is a reminder that they are not alone in their battles.

Fibromyalgia does not discriminate, it affects people from all walks of life.