What it is like Living with a Chronic Illness

I can’t speak for everyone because we are all different. But living with a chronic illness is often misunderstood.

Imagine that the next time you get one of those horrid colds that knock you off your feet, disturb your sleep and make you feel like crap for a few days.

Then you get better and go back to normal, glad that it’s over, you survived intact.

Now imagine you don’t get better and it just carries on like that for weeks on end. Or maybe it gets better for a while but you know it will be back again in a week or two. That’s what living with a chronic illness is like.

The Spoon Theory

six silver spoons

A lot of people refer to the Spoon theory. When you are not well you can imagine a day where you wake up with a number of spoons. Then after every activity you take away a spoon until there are none left. Sometimes they can last all day and you may even have an extra one for the next day. But you can also have days where the spoons get spent very quickly and you are left unable to do anything else for the rest of the day. You can even overdo things one day, leaving you with fewer spoons for the next day.

A lot of chronically ill people refer to themselves as spoonies, I am a spoonie.

My Story

Three years ago I was taken ill quite suddenly. I don’t know what caused it but I’ve learnt since that shocks can trigger your body into attacking itself. And I’d had a shock when my Father-in-Law had suddenly dropped dead in front of me with a heart attack,while I was taking him for a hospital appointment.

Two days later I was back in the same hospital myself, virtually paralysed. Totally numb. I was originally diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis and told I would recover within a couple of months. A year later I was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome plus PERM and told that recovery was unlikely.

Things I have Learned Since I Have Had a Chronic Illness

Life with a chronic illness is hard, harder than you can imagine.

Life is also difficult for loved ones, they have to watch you suffer and see someone they depended on become someone they have to look after instead.

It’s difficult to carry on with a normal lifestyle, even if you are well enough to continue working you will need to take lots of time off sick.

It’s hard being a Mum, especially when your child needs you and you can’t be there for them.

You’re mental health deteriorates, you may start out feeling positive that you can beat the illness, but as time goes by you feel like it’s just not worth living any more.

People don’t like to be around sick people.

You find that people just don’t understand how you can be ill so often.

People stop asking how you are.

You stop being invited to events because people just assume you won’t be well enough to go.

It’s difficult to plan for anything because you don’t know if you will be well enough.

A lot of partners cannot cope with life with a chronically ill person and decide to leave them.

Staying Positive

It’s amazing what a difference having a positive attitude can have. I am not always positive, but when I pull myself out of my self-pity and hold my head up I feel so much better.

Life is not always easy, not for anyone whether you have a chronic illness or not. But, it’s up to you how you approach life, how you deal with it, that makes things better. I may not find any relief from my pain, but it certainly makes me feel better when I can laugh and have fun with friends and family.

I’ve just had an awful weekend, I’m not sure if it was side effects from my infusions, or related to something else but I really was ill. I could barely do anything but watch television. My family just left me to it. But there is only so much I can take, I will push myself to do things, not give in to the pain, probably even make myself feel worse in the end. But, in my mind I want to be the winner, not the giver upper!

There has to be a balance though. Sometimes when you are rock bottom it’s okay to admit it and give in, so long as you are willing to fight for it when you are ready. I gave in, I watched 3 hours of Friends and 4 hours of Doctor Who over the weekend. I’d had enough by then, enough lying around and giving in. But I’d also allowed myself to wallow and rest. It was time to fight.

One day I know the fight will be gone, but until then I’m going to polish my spoons and keep on keeping on.

courage is not having the strength to go on, i'ts going on when you don't have the strength
Debs Random Writings
Twin Mummy and Daddy

Mental Health Awareness Day

The prompt for Blogtober18 today is, Just Be Yourself #Mental Health Awareness Day.

World mental health day logo

My daughter saw on the television this morning that it was Mental Health Awareness Day and said that they would probably talk about mental health at school today. I replied that it was good to talk about it as everyone’s mental health was important. She looked confused for a while and then asked, “does everyone have mental health then?”

Then it was my turn to look a little confused but I soon cottoned on. She was taking the term mental health as meaning that something was wrong. It’s true that  a lot of us don’t think about our mental health until something goes wrong with it.

I explained to her that everyone has mental health just like they have physical health and that they both need taking care of because they can both get sick sometimes. If you get sick physically you seek help from a  doctor or the pharmacy, or maybe you just take extra care of yourself until you feel better. It’s the same with mental health, if things don’t feel right then you should seek help and possibly treatment just like with your physical health.

Keeping Well Mentally

We all try to take care of our physical health but do we take as much care over our mental health. Sadly, a lot of us don’t, but it’s not so difficult to do. Self care is really important, especially when professional care when something goes wrong is so difficult to get. 

So how do you take care of your mental health?

  • The first thing you should do is talk about your feelings. Find someone who is prepared to listen and connect. 
  • Look after yourself physically, get some more exercise or just fresh air occasionally
  • Eat well and moderate your alcohol intake.
  • Be more mindful, take time just to be in the moment, not thinking about the past or the future.
  • Find something new to learn, or even do some puzzles or crosswords. Give your mind something else to concentrate on.
  • Reach out and care for someone else, it can boost your self esteem and create a closer connection.

If you do feel your mental health is suffering then seek help. If you were physically ill you’d ask for help, it’s just the same, it’s your health.

Don’t Judge

No one walks in anyone else’s shoes. Judging when you don’t know the full story is the worst you can do.

It’s not only the ones with mental health issues but their families that suffer. People tend to hide mental health issues, find them difficult to talk to, particularly if they are the carer. Life can be difficult and awkward but they may feel less inclined to talk or explain why. 

Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness, no one should be judged

If you feel you have a poorly mental health then please find some help, even if it’s just someone to talk to. 

Linking up to A Blogging Good Time

Mummy in a Tutu

Mix It Up Linky
Lucy At Home UK gentle parenting blogger

Control My Pain Project

a woman in bed, black and white photo

The control my pain project is an online course which helps those with chronic pain restore their health, comfort and happiness.

The six week holistic pain management program leads you week by week into understanding your pain and how it affects you both mentally, physically and socially. It provides you with resources that you can use to thelp you reduce your pain and improve your attitude towards it.

The Program

The program is split into six weeks, but takes around an hour and a half maximum to work through the videos and quizzes. You are then required to put what you have learned into practice for the rest of the week. The aim is that by the end of the program you will have practised each weekly tasks so that they become natural to you.

There is nothing too difficult to digest or to do, the program is pretty easy. It explains everything really clearly and the tasks and quizzes are not difficult to complete.

The program begins by explaining the way our body, mind and what we can physically do are all connected. You are introduced to the biopsychosocial approach to pain management. For this you will learn about how your thoughts and feelings affect both your pain and your social life.

You will learn how things like mindfullness and communication skills can improve your mental and physical health. You will also learn how to practice these alongside relaxation and thought processing techniques.

Each week has video presentations by Pam and Jackie. Jackie is your guide and Pam is a professional  in pain management and rehabilitation and has over thirty years experience.

My Thoughts

The program is a detailed weekly plan which teaches you why an holistic approach can work, what techniques work and how to put them into use.

Personally, I already use a lot of the techniques described but I did identify some problematic areas that I still have and I am putting what I have learned into practice.

Of the techniques that are offered that I already use I can sincerely recommend them. A lot of people with my condition spend a lot of time in the Accident and Emergency Department. I am convinced that the reason my visits have been more limited is because I know of these techniques. During an attack I am able to control my body’s responses with my mind and relaxation techniques. I truly believe that everything is connected and a calm and relaxed approach can improve your physical condition.

I am sure that if you do not know these techniques you will be able to relate to the opposite effect. Just think to a time when your emotional distress has left you feeling physically drained or in pain. Excessive crying can leave you exhausted and may even give you a headache. 

Support and Information

Signing up to the program gives you access to a closed Facebook group and support by e-mail. There is also lots of extra information which supports the program available on the website in the form of a blog and a load of downloadable resources.

If you want to know more you can sign up to a free masterclass in the form of three videos sent by e-mail, this gives you a real feel for the program. 

Joining the program gives you the full course and all  the resources along with a support group. Full access costs $59, around £45 at the time of posting this.

If you do sign up for the free class or the course, be sure to let me know how you get on and what you think.

Disclosure: I was able to try the course for free in return for my honest review.

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Cuddle Fairy
Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

6 Ways to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

photo of a woman smiling

photo credit Christina Rivers on Unsplash

In February I told you about Star’s latest on the list of health conditions, TMJ. It’s a jaw disorder and can be caused or aggravated by teeth grinding.

Today I wish to share with you six ways to help with teeth grinding.


Bruxism refers to clenching or grinding your teeth. Many people do it without even realising, and many do so in their sleep. It’s important to understand that bruxism can impact your dental health. While there is no real cure, there are several ways to treat bruxism.

Usually, you will work with along with your holistic dentist in Brisbane or in your local area to craft a care plan designed to help you reduce the symptoms as well as tooth damage that is often associated with the condition. An individualised plan may include some of the below treatments.

  1. Mouth Guard

A mouth guard is the most common treatment. Your dentist will order a custom-made mouth guard or splint, designed to keep the teeth separated and prevent further damage. While some people do find the mouth guard awkward and uncomfortable, it is an excellent way to protect your teeth.

  1. Correcting Alignment

If your bruxism is due to improper alignment of your teeth, it is important to correct the alignment before any more damage is done and this is an excellent long-term option. An orthodontist or dentist might recommend oral surgery, crowns, braces or reshaping your teeth’s chewing surface to get your teeth to properly align.

  1. Prescription Medication

If your bruxism is the result of anxiety, depression or stress, doctors may prescribe muscle relaxants. While the medication may be effective, it’s important to understand the potential side effects since some commonly prescribe medications may have a negative affect on your thyroid or live, while others could be addictive. Always listen to your doctor’s advice and avoid self-medication.

  1. Botox

If you don’t respond to the most convention treatments for bruxism, some dentists may suggest Botox injections. Researchers have stated that there is very little research on the efficacy and safety of Botox for bruxism sufferers, but it does seem that Botox could be useful when it comes to reducing myofascial pain associated with the teeth grinding condition.

  1. Managing Stress

Many of us grind our teeth when we are anxious and stressed, which means we need to learn how to manage and then release the stress. People can benefit from popular relaxation techniques such as meditation, physical exercise, essential oils and yoga. A healthy diet is also important, as is avoiding foods that could trigger allergic reactions.

  1. Vitamins and Minerals

As a complement to your stress management techniques, boosting vitamin C levels is another good way to stop bruxism. Vitamin C is used by the adrenal glands, which affect our response to anxiety and stress. Besides vitamin C supplements, you should aim to eat foods that are rich in vitamin C such as oranges, guava, broccoli, red peppers, black currents, kiwi, strawberries, green peppers, papaya and kale.

As for minerals, if you have a magnesium deficiency, you may experience restlessness, anxiety, hyperactivity, insomnia and irritability. It’s a good idea to take a high-quality magnesium supplement daily, just before bed to help improve the quality of your sleep.

Use these 6 treatments to help stop grinding your teeth today and get a better night’s sleep as well as to help you release stress and anxiety.


Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I’ve also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me…is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I’ve loved. If I don’t love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It’s always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I’ll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.