-Sleeping-

Hide hide, eyes behind, the lids of ever night

Drifting in the sea of peace, away from any fright

Sleep sleep, so tenderly, away from all my tears

Sleep sleep, so sweetly here, beyond man’s petty fears

Away away, to peaceful land of joy evermore

Joyous just to stay right here, resting to my core

Hide hide from the night, in blankets warm and snug

Away away from the day, and this hole I have dug

Safe safe from troubles here, beyond the devil’s reach

Rest Rest for you and me, protected from any breach

Mellow Mellow my soul, so dear, against life’s horrid quake

Stay stay against the chance, that you might ever wake

No no, you slowly slip, from this gentle grace

Goodbye goodbye, you fall away, to the world now you face

“The building was on fire and it wasn’t my fault,” (Harry Dresden – Blood Rites, by Jim Butcher). It is a fitting view of the world today. Seeing horrific news and the spread of a virus can feel quite overwhelming. Seeing the stock market crash, then rebound, the to be told we are headed for a deep recession/depression coupled with the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs makes for a hard time to live in your own head. And living in your own head has become the normal with current stay-at-home orders limiting your social interaction. It is quite overwhelming for anyone and my hearts go out to you all.

As we slowly open up businesses in the current state of affairs that plague our planet, I find myself seeing more and more people reacting harshly to one another. We have people being shot over not wearing a mask. We have businesses being threatened to open so they may serve others. I read about the shops that do open and have new standards in place to protect their employees and customers  only to be told by customers that the rules are not wanted and berate employees into quitting. I am saddened that the time in our own homes has lead to rash actions and violence.

When this pandemic started, we saw a world take care of each for a small moment. We wept and helped our neighbors. We reached out to encourage one another. Has this time inside lead to a more difficult time? With people going outside, have we so quickly forgotten that everyone else is in the same place? Will this be how the pandemic be remembered by, not the neighbor helping neighbor, but by the actions after the fact showing people’s truer nature?

I worry what this means to everyone.

I am reminded of the times I spent in retail. Peoples actions screams volumes. How people respond to hard times shows us more than we care to admit. I saw a Tumblr post that I had not seen in a while and I think it sums up the aftermath of the quarantine.

When people suffer, how do they respond? Do they grow and get better? Will they try and keep the peace? Or will they lash out and yell because they have been miserable. Will they show anger? Will they yell at others who are trying to remain safe because seeing a mask reminds them they are not? How callous can you be to scream at others for trying to protect themselves (and you) because you don’t like to see something that not only helps you and others, but you berate them into submitting to your will.

Watch peoples reactions coming out of this pandemic. It is very telling of the person you are dealing with at this moment. May you all be safe, Thank you to front line workers, doctors and nurses, and all others taking steps to keep everyone safe.

#hugaplushie my friends

I have been away from writing for a while and I just want to say I missed you all. I am trying my best to continue in the personal changes in my life and I have had to step away from writing in the interim to focus on myself. I hope this post finds you well, dear reader, and that you have a wonderful day. 

Post Apocalypse Meltdown

The Dangers of Easy & Cheap Self-care.

I have come across an article that talks about self care that is cheap and easy. In the article, Clean your room, go for a walk, breathe. Self-care is cheap and easy. it shows how a little bit of self care can go a long way to improve your mood and well-being. It reads as a, get in touch with yourself, ground yourself in the moment and get in line with your feelings. Look at nature and take a walk. Savor the moments. Eat a good meal. Exercise. So light and breezy anyone can do it.

I heartily disagree.

The author talks about self-care and the things she picked up on during a rough patch. She talked about small mental exercises. I want to look at these points separately.

Cleaning your house is not self-care. That is being an adult. Maintaining your living space and washing your body are not self-care for a normal person. When you have someone who has a chronic illness, especially when you have dizzy spells or energy issues, then bathing would be a form of self-care because it would a task that requires a lot of effort. The author feels like she is trying to convince herself and the article seems to shift topics often. Real self-care, to quote a friend of mine with Lyme Disease, is:

Self-care for me is saving my money so that I can spend $250 on one hour of Skype with a natural doctor in Canada so that I could help my body recover from Lyme disease and lupus.
Self care for me is spending $100 a month to have someone come in and clean my bathrooms because I literally cannot physically clean my own bathrooms.
Self-care for me is actually going out and working that part-time job in that dress boutique so that I can be happier by encouraging other women to feel good. And in turn, I make a little bit of money so that I can save up to see the doctor and to have my bathrooms cleaned.
Self care for me is also the hard part of asking people to help me do things, because I can’t do them alone by myself. Or because I get overwhelmed in trying to do them by myself.

I believe that when you perpetuate the notion of self-care in a flippant, valley girl almost, way of “its so easy!” it hurts those who cannot do those basic things. I understand that this article is not directed to the people who suffer chronic/mental health issues, but it is dangerous to paint everyone with a broad brush. Making a stereotype of self-care is cheap and easy results in either people who these efforts don’t work and it becomes a bigger issue, or, if you just “did these 5 easy steps” you would have a better life. What happens when these steps fail and the judgment comes? I fear that path.

As to the second part of changing mental habits, I agree with the Psychologist in the article that when we don’t have good habits that they are replaced with bad ones. It is very easy to fall into bad habits with chronic illness. Trying to feel mentally positive when you are fighting each day to do basic things is difficult to an extreme. These changes can improve your outlook but do not changes the facts of what your body is going through.
This can also lead to a sense of looking healthy on the outside (“You are so positive and happy on the outside, you must be better”) but still be going through an immensely difficult time on the inside. People become less inclined to believe that you are actually sick. You are trying so hard to put on a face and not be the person that no one wants to be around due to your illness that it turns into a real issue when symptoms manifest themselves in a terrible way. This results in “I thought you were getting better?” or “You must be exaggerating/faking.”
I feel the dangers are real when self-care is perpetuated in such a simple fashion. Can small changes in outlooks help relieve some stress? Yes. Can everyone do such actions. No, they cannot. It is not cheap and easy to do self-care.
#hugaplushie my friends
-Dedicated to R.A.

Ring in the Holidays

I am sorry for the lapse in posts. I have had a few life events that have made it difficult to post and I hope to explain a few of those here. I hope everyone is well and I look forward to bringing you more posts with this new year. Stay Mighty and Hug a plushie everyone.

It has been an active, interesting few months for me. I have had a little time to reflect on this past year and it has been quite overwhelming. I have been faced with a brand new life as a single dad. I have found a new job, career, car, and people. Change can be good but it is difficult for someone with an invisible illness.

Change is difficult for many reasons. One of the mainstays of a routine is that you are able to plan accordingly. With an illness, you do not know when the next fibromyalgia flare up will be, if the day with lupus will give you enough energy, or if yours Crohn’s disease will give you time away from the bathroom. Having a routine allows you to be able to plan around those when you build in time or because you expect things to go poorly.

Holidays seem to complicate those times.

Last minute parties, rushing to get a gift, cleaning the house for guests all seem to through those routines off schedule and it makes it difficult to find time. It always is hard to tell someone who invited you to a last minute event “No” but we really are running on empty and we are just trying to get back in a grove. We face so many issues in the day that when something does come up, our bodies scream, “Please no more.”

I have gone and seen a new doctor in the past 2 months. My PCP had gotten a Rheumatologist recommendation and I was eager to see what help I could get. The doctor was kind and receptive and confirmed every diagnosis that I had been given. She also started me on a new medication and did quite a few tests. My routine was soon uprooted by the new medication.

Introducing a new medicine is hard on a person. The side effects, which can be many, take hold and throw your body off. You have (yet another) pill to remember to take, make sure it is taken with food or not, and what clashes with the other 6 medications you already take (at least for me). Your routine gets thrown out the window. Add in the fact that we are knee deep in the holiday season and it is a recipe for disaster.

I am however, still going strong. I have been able to make a trip with my girls across states to visit family. I have held steady at my job. I have continued on with my life. Even with this “Playing life on hard mode”, I have tried my best to keep myself leveled up to be able to continue. I encourage you all with invisible illness to not give up, the routine will come back, and it will get better. I am proud of each and every warrior that is fighting their own battles. To those who help champion us with illness, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You truly are great people.

For those who interact with the invisible illness community, take a moment and see if someone you know is doing OK this holiday season. Reach out and call or text some encouragement. Give a little leniency to someone who cannot make it out to your party or event. Remember to give the gift of grace to those who need it.

Happy Holidays and #hugaplushie my friends

 

Killing with Kindness

In recent news, there was a story that came out that I was drawn to read. It was a story about Former President Bush and Ellen DeGeneres. They were both seen sitting next to each other at a Dallas Cowboy football game. They were seen laughing and talking.

Scandalous.

The news and social media picked up on the story about how this unlikely pair could be seen in a social situation and further seen to be enjoying each other’s company. It drew so much attention that Ellen herself did a segment on her show about it. She calmly and rationally explained how she made it to the game and furthermore talked about how nice her seatmates were.

She was then condemned for speaking positively about another human.

There came an outpouring of hate for the former president and for Ellen herself. In an attempt to be kind, she was told that her being kind was wrong. She was called out and told she should not even be kind to another person because of who they are and what they have done.

Have we reached a place in society that we cannot be nice to people? I have tried hard myself not to hate or spread hate on anyone. I have gone out of my way to show kindness regardless of who was on the receiving end of said kindness. How are we supposed to make a change in people if we ourselves do not make a change? Are we a society so filled with hate, we are now barred and called out for speaking nicely about someone. How else are we supposed to change the dialogue in today’s culture and make real differences?

It makes me sad to see someone get called out for being kind. It breaks my heart to think we are now in a world that it is OK to hate someone that is guilty of being kind. I, for one, will be doing what I can to continue to be kind and when people call me out, I will be kind to them as well.

Killing with Kindness, it is the difference I can make.

#hugapony my friends

Anniversary of Stuffed Therapy.

I wanted to share a quick post. This is the 6th anniversary of this blog. I am proud to say that it has reached 35 countries and over 10,000 unique visitors. In celebration I hope to have a quick video for you all soon. Thank you all for the amazing time. I invite you to comment or share your favorite post or something that I have been able to help you with. Thank you dear readers so much. I love you all.

#hugapony everyone

Special feelings and feeling special.

Sometimes the journey is hard and life takes you in very unexpected places. The past 15 10 and even 5 years have had so many drastic changes, I can barely keep up. I look at my life and see all the people in it. I see the love and the hate. I see the joys and the sorrows. I see the ones who were born and the ones who have left us.

Life has changed so much.

The one thing that hasnt changed change is my love for you, all of you. If you are on my time life or if someone shares this and we barely know each other, I love you. I try my best to love all the people. It keeps me going, knowing I can do that and I want to do that. I do it with small acts of kindness and in the little things. Saying hello, asking a cashier how their day is, thanking people who respond in turn. What a difference it can make in someone’s day.

You have this power to change others attitudes and outlooks.

I believe in you all and you are all very special to me. And some of my favorite words from one of my favorite people, “you are special, just the way you are.” -Mr Rogers.

Take some time to be nice and kind to someone today. Do it again tomorrow. Then add a 2nd person. And another and another. You and I cannot change the world. We can only change ourselves. But by doing that, maybe, just maybe, we can make a difference.

Hug a pony my friends.

Crying for help.

In the wake of the national tragedies that have been sweeping the nation these past days, the subject of mental health has come back to the surface. These terrible acts are committed by cowards, as we are told about how they cried out for help but were denied. They were shown the door too many times and the mental health professionals were unable to treat them. We collectively are at fault for not understanding.

I am tired of it.

Why is it the debate only comes up in a tragedy? Why is it that we are unable to show the care and affection that is needed in the moment and not after the fact? How can there be this much failure from so many people? Is it because we are not listening in the moments that matter? Are we not judging so many people that try and get help? I have seen too many people bullied for seeking the help that they need and it is not even second guessed. We have failed as a society twice.

First, we deny or attack those who need our help. Would you slap a child’s hand away from the railing as it struggled to stand up? Would you deny a diabetic who needs their insulin? Would you attack the person missing the leg that they don’t need the crutch and just need to suck it up and learn how to walk like the rest of us? How terrible it is that we do this to those who need help in their darkest times. When we tell the mom who needs an antidepressant, because she can’t understand why she can’t be happy with 2 kids, that she is failing as a mom. We look at the teen who cannot concentrate, because the neurons in the brain are firing too much, that he just is a lazy child who will be worthless. When someone needs therapy, the whole room gasps in shock and horror. Everyone whispers to themselves in secret at how horrible that person must be. The is the social normalcy we have created. We do not accept our failure as a society that has created this innate fear of speaking up that you need help.

Second, we blindly deny judgment that we could have done something to help them. We blame anything else, objects, movies, video games, technology, generational gaps, lack of family structure.  Has perfectionism reach this highest level that if you don’t get the perfect SAT score, ace that university exam, get the best paying job, it is just not worth living this life, or even I need to bring everything else down because that is all I have left. Anything less than perfection is not accepted. We blame politics and groups of people and everything else. The first part about fixing a problem is admitting we have a problem. However, everyone needs to admit that we are all at fault. Instead we are stuck shifting the blames from one another in an attempt to make ourselves not feel guilty.

Too much hurt has been caused in this environment that we live in. Accountability is at an all time low. Yours, mine, everyone. We need to make a change. Sometimes it can be a small act of kindness. Maybe you turn the other cheek and not say that snarky comeback. What are you doing to break the chain?

#hugapony my friends

Tumbling through the Fog

There has been an amazing amount of activities going in in my brain lately.  Few things fascinate me as much as the human brain does. It regulates the body and all the functions. It makes sure to self protect from danger. It creates entire worlds in an imagination. It runs 24 hours a day, everyday for our entire lives. The brain is truly an incredible thing. But, as much as we don’t want to believe as a society, it can be sick.

Its easy to spot the sick brain when it has cancer, the skull is cracked, or if there is a hemorrhage. These are readily identified and show the causes as such. Treatments are fairly known and while it is terrible when these things happen, it is clear what is the problem When it comes to mental health, it becomes much more murky.

The few tests done are for chemical imbalances. It shows the nutrients and lacking minerals in the body, blood sugars, and toxin screenings. The next one goes through the history of your mental health, changes shown, what is being down to help. We are listed as a Risk/Non-risk to ourselves and we are shuffled on to the next set of testing.

This endless cycle of not knowing, being criticized by friends, family, and even the doctors themselves. It becomes almost unbearable. Going day in and day out fighting your own brain and having to argue with yourself that you do matter, and that there is something wrong with you. You have to convince yourself that, Yes you are sick and you need help. This constant wear strains the already weary brain.

Now we add in a physical illness. Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, or Crohn’s decease. Illnesses that are not an immediate threat but cause all kinds of havoc in the daily lives of sufferers. Lack of sleep, fighting pain and nerve medications, and the conditions themselves slowing and sometimes stopping us in our tracks. I have used over half my vacation time for sick time this last year. It wears through you at a steady rate and shows the problems that are evident in your body.

All these things make up for a depressive episode. Times when reason and rational go out the window and show that even when you are intelligent and even aware of all the answers and conditions, you still stumble and cannot make your brain see that it is wrong. You spiral down the drain and you argue with yourself 10 times over more than you usually do in an attempt to find peace. It is this peace that you seek. A peace that is the calm center in this hurricane.

It takes every bit of effort and help to find it.

And, like a hurricane, when you find this peace in the eye of the storm, you brace for the back half of the storm. You see the storm clouds, you feel the winds and you cringe as you know how much it is going to hurt. This is were I am at today. I have been through the wringer and am just trying to catch my breath. I feel the second half about to hit.

I am extremely grateful for those kind people who have helped me through this time. My life has been in pure turmoil for the last year. I have struggled and fought for each and every inch I have gained in my life. I have been finding my way through this fog and have done well from the outside. Inside, I am not sure if I have done enough to recover/

I will continue to fight and write and tell my store of how I feel and what it is like for you to read. I will continue to fight my brain and try to find the peace in my head to be able to relax. I hope, pray, and beg that I will be taken seriously. I will continue to buy and give away stuffed animals and plushies to help others and myself.

#hugaplushie my friends

Milestone and misses

I was not able to keep my promise of posting on the 15th. I want to apologize to my readers as i usually have posts in reserve to cover the times of the month on the 1st and the 15th when I post. However, I have had my wonderful family in town and between that and the next paragraph, I missed it.

On the milestone side of things, I have now been published for the 15th time on The Mighty.com. This article is still young but is going strong with over 5k likes! It has also been featured multiple times on the Mighty Facebook. I have done my best to answer and respond to everyone’s comments. Thank you all for reading. A link to the article is below. I hope to see you there.

I Am Tired of Being Judged for Using Opioids to Manage My Pain

I love you all and thank you all for your support!

#hugaplushie my friends!