Power on

It takes an amazing amount of energy and work to get through the day. Speaking for myself, I know that it takes a lot to get out of bed, shower, work, clean, spend time with my girls, and then try not to collapse into bed too soon. Somewhere in there I have to find time to eat and write. It takes a lot to be me.

And I do it with a chronic illness.

Having a chronic illness makes everything you do seem like you are doing it with a large animal strapped to your back, holding you down on a good day and on a bad day, it is trying to drag you the opposite direction. You walk through what feels like jello, it takes an hour or two to wake up with your body hurting so much, and you fight to hold thoughts in your head through the brain fog. If you take medicine for this you are also judged, weighed, and told how it is just a crutch to make you feel better.

All this for me is made harder in that I am socially awkward. Being an introvert makes it socially draining on me to be around other people. Just talking and interacting with people takes a toll. I take my issue a step further by helping others and providing advise to those who ask. I stop and listen to see what is needed and just to let others talk. I take extra time to ask people about their day and to see what I can do for them.

Why do I do this despite the fact I deal with so much from my illness?

Because we have to be better and overcome our issues. Everyone has them. We all have things holding us back. Be it physical, mental, emotional, or otherwise, we have issues that cause us to not be the best we can be. Our problems are not the issue. It is our attitude. Sitting down and throwing a pity party will not fix things. Getting up, giving it a 100% even in the times we know that we might not win. Just because we don’t like it doesn’t change the fact that we have the power to change our viewpoint on it.

I know what I have been through in both this last year personally and over the past five years with my illness. I have seen the hardships it has caused and the problems to come. I have seen where it has gotten the best of me. However, I do see where I did not let it hold me back. I have seen the problems I have overcome by continuing on my path even when it got hard. I made the decisions that needed to be made and followed through on them. Just because life has gotten tougher does not mean you give up.

I have learned in the hardest ways that I am not perfect. It has not stopped me from trying. Some days are going to be rough and get the better of you. It will happen. You have to decide what to do with the days that does not happen.

What do you do when you have a good day?

Keep powering on and #hugaplushie my friends

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Depression vs One good day

Depression is a constant thing. It wraps around you like a cloak. It is an unwanted house guest that you cant get to leave. You are made constantly aware of it when you wake up in the morning and you never forget it when you lay down for the evening. It is not something that is gotten rid of because of a mood change.

Most people are surprised at finding out people that we thought were the happiest are actually depressed. Seeing people who are smiling the most or acting the happiest who suddenly have an episode shocks and scares people. One of the many problems facing people who are suffering from depression is the lack of recognition of the signs. Having someone who has to help everyone else through the hardest times because they know how hard it is to be going through.

Being depressed is not mood or attitude, it is a condition. Telling someone to be happy or to do something fun will not help the person in the long run. “Living life for you!” or any of the thousand pick me ups that can be said will not change the underlying issue that could be causing this bout of depression.

However, people who have depression can have good moments, days and even longer periods of time. It is odd or hard to see someone who goes through awful times and then manages to find happiness in a book they haven’t read in years. They can go to beach and have a wonderful day with many pleasant memories. They are allowed good days.

The ridicule from those good days often makes things worse.

In being told that we are not really depressed if we can have a good day illegitimatizes what is being experienced. This false narrative that we do not know what is happening in our own bodies and mind, teaches us that we do not know what we should feel and furthermore makes us fulled with guilt from being allowed a good day. Only imagine, after having found the energy to go and experience something happy and fun to be told we should never have felt bad in the first place and if we really were depressed, we should feel guilty about making others feel bad.

We wonder why we have a mental health crisis in today’s world.

You can be depressed and go to Disney world. You can have depression and enjoy food or movies. That doesn’t cure it but we are allowed to be happy. Helping people understand that instant cures do not exist and that just because we are smiling doesn’t mean we are not still hurting. Having a happy moment doesn’t stop the chemical imbalance that is present in our bodies and minds. Laughing with a puppy does not cure the years of mental and physical abuse that has been done to someone. Please stop judging people on one good day.

Sleep for the Sleepless

Sleeping shouldn’t be hard. In this age of bed technology and scented oils, sleep should come easier and be more restful than ever. Seeing commercials from C-PAP machines to sleep aids to pure cotton, hand spun bed sheets, we are constantly being shown how much we should be getting rest and sleeping. With someone with a chronic illness, it is completely different.

As someone who struggles with getting rest at night, it can be difficult to describe how hard it is to sleep well. I like to compare it to someone who went to the beach for a day, stayed in the sun, played in the water and sand, stayed up late drinking a bit but than being woken up at 7 am with only a few hours of sleep, none of it restful and having to work a normal day tired, worn thin, and in a fog of almost being hungover. Now add in the aches and pains of swimming and playing too hard, and the medicine you are taking isn’t working but making you feel sick to your stomach. You go back and forth with hot flashes and cold shivers like you have menopause and a sunburn all in one. Then at the end of the day, after you managed to get as much done as you feel well enough to do, you drag yourself to that luscious bed that should feel like a cloud that came down from heaven and you lay down to sleep the sleep of the dead.

Except it doesn’t help.

Instead you wake up the next day even worse. It feels like when you have the flu and the aches and pains of having that illness still lingers and holds you down. You tossed and turned trying to sleep but you are still having hot flashes like a rushed fever only to throw off the blanket and realize its ice cold in the room. You experience this every single day. For a week. For a month. For a year. Maybe the rest of your life. No rest, or break. The most you feel is on your best days, you almost feel like you haven’t been run over by a car. You only got grazed and you have a few bumps and bruises instead. That is the best you can hope for in your life now.

I was speaking to a dear friend of mine this week and we were talking about rest. She said, “…some of the health people I have been following have said that we need to stop pushing through and just rest but when you have needs and you have people depending on you you don’t have that luxury. So it’s harder to heal.” My only response was, ” I think that people do not realize the luxury it is to do things, anything. And resting doesn’t help when you never get rest. It’s the same advise of “you’re depressed? Just stop being depressed and doing something happy.” Her gentle response back was “You understand.”

Telling someone with a chronic illness to take it easy or to just to take an extra break won’t help that person. Just taking a sick day to “get better” won’t change our lifestyle. People fail to see the chronic part of a chronic illness. We don’t just get rest. We can’t just get better.

We can’t just sleep.

#hugaplushie my friends.

There is no winning or losing.

I have been struggling with my mind as of recently. With all the negatives that I have faced these past few years, between illnesses and personal and mental issues, I have had a difficult time knowing how to respond. I find myself at some time during each day just wondering what I did to deserve this.

It is quite easy to say that I am just being bitter or focusing on the negative. Dwelling on the negative thoughts make they grow, this has been proven. I see trouble however when you have a mental illness that causes these negative thoughts and wrecks your emotional state. Fighting tooth and nail each day to remain positive or to be better is exhausting. When you add in me fighting my physical illness and a lot of judgement from other people who can’t see my sickness and you make for one depressing day.

In the midst of this hole that we end up in, it is no wonder we have the thoughts of “How have I messed up to end up here?” What mistakes are the ones that lead me to this day. How can I change? How can I be better? Why am I not better?

Why have I failed?

I am reminded of the attached quote from Star Trek. We see a hard truth. It is possible to make no mistakes and still lose. This is not fair and it hurts. This however is life. Finding ourselves caught in a hopeless situation happens. We can be, at times but not all the time, perfect in what we do. We can still lose. It can still turn out wrong for us. I see us in these situations and it is in these moments that we are defined as a person. Are we emboldened and push forward? Do we collapse and weep at how we were wronged? It shows us who we are to the world.

I am still here. I am still fighting. I still stand. I hope you agree as well.

#hugaplushie my friends.

A new hope.

Even during the hardest of times, times of trials and hardships, I have been blindsided by how blessed I am. I have had my fair share of struggles and in doing so I have see so much good in the world. I have the ablility to do it. Even if it pains me.

Egg sellers for Easter on the side of the road have reminded me that I am doing well enough in my life. I have not been brought down to the point I have to sell thing s on the side of the road. I am able to support myself and I have found ways to get though almost anything that I am facing. On the days I am unable to do so, I have built a network of people to help me get through it.

I encourage you all, keep going. I believe in you and hope I can help share my strength to each and every one of you. Through the darkest, bleakest time of my life I am still pressing on. So many times I have almost quit and I didn’t. Let this post be a rallying cry for you.

Strength in numbers.

I share my stories and my life with you all and try to show that even in the worst of times, I have found ways to keep going. Share your story. Encourage someone as well. Comment where you see this. Share it with me or your friends. Do not hide yourself from the world. You deserve to be heard, loved, and respected.

Dear readers. I hope you see this post and feel uplifted. I hope you take 5 deep breaths and reset and center yourself. I hope you put on some of your favorite music and listen to a full song, uninterrupted, with your eyes close and sense peace. I pray that each one of you feel some comfort. It is what I can do from where I am.

#hugaplushie my friends

Short post in April

Being spring and having weather and pollen come through where I live makes for a unique challenge on a daily basis. The constant changing temperatures and pressure reek havoc on my body making it difficult to process all the new pain. I keep it short this post with a photo from the mighy.com on fibromyalgia. Keep chronic pain people in your mind with April being here.

#hugaplushie my friends

Trial by pain.

I will be at Texas Furry Fiesta on March 30th 2019 at 4:30 in the Bryan-Beeman Room. I will be giving my Stuffed Therapy panel. I look forward to meeting everyone there!

Pain is an incredible teacher. We learn so much from pain. We learn not to touch a hot pot when we burn our hand when we are young. When we skin our knees while skating, we learn the need for knee pads. We learn to be careful and cautious with other people when our heart is shattered by broken promises. But what do people with chronic pain learn, people who spend each day living and breathing pain of some sort? What about those with mental health issues who have the mental pain and anguish that plagues them day in and day out? This has been a struggle of mine to comprehend for the past several years. While I do not have an affirmative answer, I believe I at least have a few insights from my own personal experience and those around me.

I see those with a chronic illness and I see how their lives either are changed or how they stand out of the crowd. I see them to be the first ones to help those who have fallen physically or mentally. They are the first ones to offer a surgical mask they have in their purse to someone so they don’t get sick. They are the first to offer up a seat on a bus to someone who is struggling. They seem to be constantly aware of those around them who need help and are the first in line to offer it. Having been that person and spoken to others, this common theme arises. We understand that we have been in that situation and no one helped us. Instead of perpetuating the problem by ignoring it, we try our best to stand and make a difference. Some of the most kind and caring people are those who suffer the most.

It astounds me that more people do not do this. I struggle with not being able to help more people. I speak personally, but it is hard for me not to want to hold the door open for someone. I realize that not everyone thinks the same way I do. However, I see chronic illness sufferers be hyper sensitive about their surroundings. I believe it is part of our survival techniques in a way to keep going.

We can see this theme in metal health as well. We can look at suicides and celebrities and often Robin Williams will come up and there is still a feeling of shock. This man who suffered from some of the worse depression worked so hard to make other people feel better and to help them laugh. There are countless stories of him going above and beyond with the troops stationed around the world to bring them joy in the darkest places. Why is it that people who are suffering the most seem to be the happiest? How and why do they make others believe it so much?

From the research I have done, and from personal experience, people who suffer are trying to bring normalcy and happiness in others to improve their own environment. Sometimes when I am having a hard day, I start doing smaller acts of kindness to improve the everyday people in my life. I find myself and others giving more and more in an effort to show others how the world can be better. More often then not it falls on deaf ears, but we attempt to instill the change on the world we wish to see. We try and reap the rewards of doing a good deed and showing, mostly to ourselves, that the world is a good place.

While sometimes it is rewarding, it is always draining. Here lies a trap that I would caution those who do this. Energy can be taken or given. It cannot be destroyed, only changed (according to the first law of thermodynamics and Einstein). By giving our mental energy to others in an effort to improve our own moods, we losing what little we have left to sustain ourselves. We take our time to inject positivity in the world to show others that it can be a better place and show that people need help. We need to realize that we are using up what energy, mental and physical, that we have. We burn out faster and that leads to a terrible end result. This pitfall is one that can be avoided. A lesson that we need to take care of yourself before helping others.

I have learned this lesson in many hard ways. The pain that has come in my own life has been indescribable, both mentally and physically. I have learned and relearned this lesson many times. By fighting for those around me, I am not maintaining what my own body needs. After so much pain, I feel that I can use this lesson to help others. I know this can be seen as ironic as I am doing the same action I am advising against. While that can be true, I believe I am in a better place to share this lesson. Learn from my own and many other’s mistakes, do not force a change in other people in an attempt to improve your surroundings. You need to save some energy for yourself, taking time for yourself to heal and improve is needed.

Start with taking care of yourself and let that change and joy make the difference in the world.

#hugaplushie my friends

 

Running scared.

I have spoken on opioid use before and how it is getting harder and harder to receive a prescribed prescription. The opioid crisis seems to be in the news in a lot of places from talk radio, to the nightly news, to even Congress. I personally have written how doctors have become more and more adverse in regards to allowing the prescriptions to continue even if the person has been on said opioid for 5+ years with no ill effects. I have also written on how pharmacists have the ability to deny a medication based on a visual diagnosis and can refuse to give you the required medicine that has been authorized to you.
In all of this information, or misinformation, that is flying around, we encounter yet another advisory in this “crisis”. The public eye. Friends, family, and even strangers who find out what medications we are taking and the judgment is immediate. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has story they heard. The response is overwhelming.
I heard a news story recently that told of a pro American football player who was removed due to violations to the NFL’s drug policy by smoking marijuana. He responded with a video of him, while smoking, that it helps with his pain and mental health. He then spoke on how it is better for him to smoke that instead of being addicted to opioids like he has seen.
My chronic illness is not your scapegoat.
On a more personal note, I have had people come forward with threats that I cannot be taken seriously because of my prescription. The use of opioids in my past, it has been over 2 years, has now given people a reason to judge me further and to disregard my opinion, my judgment, and almost anything because “We just don’t know or cannot see the effects of those evil drugs on you yet.”
This is madness. I, like so many chronic illness sufferers, have daily struggles to get to work, take care of ourselves, fight an illness, fight doctors and pharmacists, and the public image of what medications we take. In all of this, we then get told we do not matter because of the drugs we are supposed to take to live have affected us too much.
Where is our voice? Who will speak for the trees?
I experience the “common knowledge” from people who know all about how bad the opioid crisis is and how they know what is better for me than my doctor. It is now said with such surety that everyone knows the horrors and effects of how it devastates lives. How dare anyone speak up in defense of this terrible drug use!
I am. Someone has to say something. I am tired of being judged. I am tired of being put in a box and quantified. I am tired of being labeled and categorized because of my medication. Is this how we deserve to be treated? With judgment and scorn about our illness and our help? How should we then live? We have to stand up and speak out.
#standwithaplushie my friends

Special Announcement post 2019!

It is with the greatest pleasure that I get to announce not just one but TWO amazing things transpiring soon.
1. I have been selected to be published for a record breaking (for me) 14th time! The Mighty.com has picked up my Special Abilities post! Once it is live, I will do a special post here to let all of you wonderful supporters know. In addition to that, I will be collecting all 13 (soon to be 14) posts on this blog for easy access. Make sure to check out the Published page tab to see them there!
2. I will be attending Texas Furry Fiesta in Dallas, TX and will have my “My Stuffed Therapy” panel on Saturday March 30th at 4:30 in the Bryan-Beeman Room (subject to change). It has been almost 2 years since my last panel and I am excited to be able to speak to all the wonderful people there! I enjoy talking and sharing what stuffed therapy means to me and seeing the faces of people I have helped. I hope to see you there.
With these two announcements, I bid you all a wonderful March as I go and prepare for an exciting month. As always, thank you all for your love and support and hey…
#hugaplushie my friends

Coming soon, to a blog near you.

Warning!!! Big Changes Incoming!!!

This is an update post as I have a few cool announcements to make.

1. I have now been published a 14th time on TheMighty.com. My Special People post was accepted and once it is published, I will post a link here. I will also be updating all my published works on the appropriate page so you may see and share them easily.

2. I will be back on the road with my live Panel on Stuffed Therapy! I will be at a show in March, details to come soon, and I will be looking at adding a second panel that will be added to the rotation. If you have never been to one, it is an amazing experience where I share personal experience with proven techniques to help everyone. We laugh, we cry, and we care for one another. I will be adding a page with more info soon.

3. Updated contact information page! I have a separate email address now for Stuffed Therapy! The email is mystuffedtherapy@gmail.com! Shoot me a message there to say hey or get in contact with me to look at me coming out to do an event!

4. Last, but certainly not the least, the My Stuffed Little Therapy video blogs are coming back!! I know a few of you have been asking me about them and after careful thought, I will be bring them back! It will be ever other week from my normal posts here. I will once again partnering with 1upds.com and their incredible studio to be able to be live once again!

I hope you are all as excited as I am with these updates! Please leave a message here, email me, or just share the message!

Thank you and love you all!

#hugapony everyone!