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!

Special Abilities of Special People

Having a chronic illness is almost like having a few cool super powers. I have mentioned this before with past writings that our illness has made us almost hyper aware and sensitive to many sights, sounds, and smells. These abilities come at a cost of our illness but they are something that I hold on to as something that makes me special.

1. Hyper hearing – I have noticed that those of us with a chronic or mental illnesses can hear so much better than our healthy counterparts. We can walk around in the dark and hear our foot falls and know where we are in the room. We can pick up a pill bottle, shake, and know our medications by the sounds it makes. We can hear the pain in peoples voices that they are trying to hid. We can hear the stress, anxiety, and even sometimes someone lying to us. This comes at a cost of being hurt by loud noises, yelling, and other panic inducing sounds.

2. Super sight/awareness – We pick up on the little details. The person fidgeting in pain in the corner of the room. When someone being uncomfortable around so many people. The look in someone’s eyes as they fail to meet anyone’s gaze. We can feel the room and know the mood immediately. We pick up on the smallest changes in someone’s routine and are extremely observant to those we care about. The weakness to this is we often focus so much on other people we do not focus on ourselves as much. We also can be sensitive to light and awkward situations can cause physical pain.

3. Intelligence/wisdom – This one is a bit different. I know that brain fog can be our weakness but when we have a good day, our brains fire off like a super computer. We know we have to take advantage in those precious few hours of being able to think so we tend to work through all of the different areas of our lives. On the other side, when we cannot think or even move from the bed, we tend to stay quiet. This gives us time to think and mull over what is going on. By taking, or some cases forcing, time to slow down, we are able to thoroughly think through each situation. Besides the brain fog as being a weakness, you are also sometimes observed as “Not being sick” because you are too smart or have your life together. What they don’t realize is that we know we will forget things and we have a million reminders, post it notes, and other various systems in place to help us not forget things.

If you noticed, I put a weakness with each super ability. Just like all super heroes, we have our unique weaknesses. Those kryptonite are areas we should be aware of and knowing is half the battle.

These are just three different areas where we are super! I know there are others and please feel free to share those with me, I would love to read about them. I believe more knowledge is power in this regard and we need all the encouragement in world some days to make it through.

Now go and be super and remember, you are special just the way you are.

#hugaplushie everyone

Resolute Resolution

As we come to the midpoint of the first month of the year, we come into the time period where most of us abandon our “New Year’s Resolutions”. The first 15 days are difficult and making a habit to keep takes from 21-30 days according to most studies. So I have one question for you, dear reader.

How well are you doing?

I will be the first to admit I am not perfect. I have messed up a day or two. It has been extremely difficult to keep going with depression and my physical condition. I also tried a new thing where I started my “resolution” the day after Christmas. This way by the time New Year’s rolled around I was already a week into my workout and diet.

Now I would say again I have missed a day or two. I also weighed myself and I am 5 pounds (2.2 Kilos) HEAVIER then I was when I started the diet. It can be extremely discouraging to put time and effort in and not see the returns just yet. I understand the pain of not seeing the fruits of your labor.

Now is not the time to quit. Now is the time to push through. Now is the time to say I will continue instead of giving up. Given up? Time to start back. The key to it all isn’t failing. The key is to continue going even after falling. You pick yourself back up and you start again. Fell again?

Keep going.

Life isn’t going to stop because you fell. As much as wish we could get a break, or we make a break, life gives us no chance to catch our breath. Then, when we take a breather, we end up living in a “break“. In the moments where we are finding ourselves, take the day off, all activates that we need to recharge ourselves, we stay there.

Are you living in a break?

Find the motivation. Listen to the music that boosts you. Find that small reward at the end of the day that gives you the focus to make it through. Now is not the time to live in a break.

Now is the time to live for yourself.

#hugaplushie my friends

The Year of Hell – 2018

As this year closes, I find myself with quite a few people who have not had a very fond year. Memories of 2018 seem to be cutting deep for all of us with personal and private losses. I know for myself that it was a record year for what I have been through.

In the past year I have lost several family members. Deaths of my grandmother, uncle, and grandfather-in-law hit hard at several points over the year. They were spread out so it was not all at once but baring those loses still bore down on me.

This year, my wife and I separated and were divorced. I cannot begin to describe the amount of pain, anguish, and hurt that I have been through in this process. Dealing with the courts, being there for my kids, and being single all have been overwhelming in all cases. I will say that my Ex-wife has done a tremendous job of trying her best and we are very civil. Pain, however, is part of the process and it does not stop.

As with the above mentioned divorce, I have had to: Find a new job, Find a place to live, Get a car, and rebuild a life. Much in the same way as getting a chronic illness diagnosis, in a divorce you have to find a new you. Rediscovering everything about yourself is quick daunting and can crush you. Having now been through both of these has added a whole new level of understanding. Learning to live and work and even play (when you even can find the energy) is completely different and is amazingly difficult. You find strength you never knew you had. Some days, it just doesn’t happen and you have to learn to accept that.

I have lost around a third of my friends in my life this past year. Be it time, distance, personal beliefs, or something else entirely, I have lost much more then I have gained in terms of numbers. Such losses take quite a toll on someone who doesn’t have many friends. Chronic illness tends to get in the way of making new ones or keeping the ones you have at the moment. I will say that I have seen a few friendships grow deeper and the ones who have stayed have been amongst the best of people. Thank you.

In all this madness of this year, it has been a bad year for chronic illness sufferers. The Opioid Crisis has been one of the focuses of the year. My medical insurance has skyrocketed along with my medication cost. I have written more published articles than all my years past combined and most have dealt with these issues. Depression and anxiety with the growing social issues and personal issues have taken a huge chunk of my spirit and I find it hard to find the faith I once did before.

However, in all of this, I have survived. I use survived as it has been one hell of a battle to make it through this year. I come to the close of this calendar and I live. By reading this, you as well have made it. I am so proud of you and us in general. I want to congratulate all of us for making it. I still plan on being here, encouraging everyone, staying the course on being positive in this valley. I hope by sharing my story of this year has brought you hope that if I can make it, so can you.

#hugaplushie my friends

PS – Props to those who get the title reference.