A Vacation, Part 2

Vacations are fun for a multitude of reasons. Being away from home, feeling special in public, and not having too many responsibilities. For someone with a chronic illness it has an unexpected side effect.

A vacation from yourself.

When you are at home surrounded by people who know you, there is a certain expectation. Those close to you know what you are going through and help out in the areas you are lacking. The flip side of this is they know how you used to be. They remember how you were able to do so many things. This can make things awkward when you are faced with an activity that used to be so simple but now is a task and a chore.

When in a new setting and with new people, there comes an easier understanding. You explain your condition and there is a moment of understanding (for the most part). You are able to be yourself a bit more than usual. You don’t have to hide behind the mask you put up when in pain.

Two main things came out of my vacation in this regard. First, you are able to truly look at yourself and see your condition in a new light. You get to be honest with yourself, in being honest with those around you. You get to see the amount of pain you are truly experiencing instead of trying to mask cover, or make excuses to yourself and those around you. This can be a harsh reality to face.

The second thing I realized was the effect of my condition of those close to me. I know I can get wrapped up in the misery of my condition and not see the reaction of those around me. Those around you are suffering from the loss of an able friend. A spouse who now has to pick up the slack. The brother who is not the superman he once was.

It is very easy to forget that our condition effects more then just yourself and your body. It touched the lives of all those who know you. The suffering reaches beyond your own body. The ones closest to you suffer with you. It is true we have to fight the guilt that is sometimes associated with not being able to do activities with love ones. I feel we tend to forget that those same loved ones are suffering as well.

Take a moment, all you chronic illness warriors, and reach out to those close to you and thank them. Tell them you love them and appreciate all the ways they help you. Remember, a vacation from yourself is not a vacation from those who love you.

#hugapony everyone.

 

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Support day.

This year has turned into quite a roller-coaster for quite a few people, myself included. I , I feel as if we have had nine months of news stories in the span of only 60 days. I know I have had to look for the positive stories more than anything to remain hopeful. I have also worked hard to bring the fight for others like me who are suffering in the opioid crisis. During this time I have been dealing with a long run of fibromyalgia flare ups.

I am hurting, tired, and worn out.

This is a unique time of year. The darker, colder months of the year for the US and this leads to more depression. The break from holidays and the excitement of the new year has worn off for most people. It becomes harder to stay focused and to be able to focus on the positives.

It also happens to be my birthday time.

My birthday is in the beginning of March (actual date redacted). Birthdays were always an old day for me. I have been very blessed with a wife who goes and plans a wonderful day for me. She is quite a amazing at it. I quite grateful for all that she does. There can be one thing that holds me back.

My condition.

I have to take time every month and access my pain levels, what I can and cannot do physically, and more. It is difficult to look over the past month or two and see where I have declined, what I have done better, and general self care. In doing so, I have found myself in a rougher spot this time of year than most birthdays.

It is difficult to be in a happy time and be brought down by your illness. You struggle and fight to be happy and appreciative. Inside, you are trying your hardest, and want to shout out that it is all amazing. What can escape your lips is far less than what you want to say.

But still I fight. I know many who fight with me. I know many who fight for us.

I want to give a shout out to those who fight to be happy in the bad times. I am proud of you and I believe the world is a better place with you still in it. I want to give a huge shout out to those who help take care of us. You all go above and beyond with trying to show us how much we are loved and do amazing things. You make life worth living for so many of us. You are amazing and strong.

As always, a big shout out to all those who read and support me. I am humbled and honored that you choose to read what I write. You guys rock and make me feel like a rock star.

I ask all of you to give some love and gratitude to those who support you. Sometimes the best way to help yourself out of a hole is to help others. Showing love and compassion will return it back to you.

Thank you and I love you all.

#hugapony everyone.

3 Year anniversary

3 years ago I decided on a journey to help others fight anxiety and depression with plushies and ponies. This was a journey of self discovery and meant really just to channel my feelings and emotions. There was such a draw and almost demand for more that overtook and surprised me. It was a welcome joy to have a platform to help others.

Over the last 3 years, I have gotten to meet a few of you in person. It is always an amazing experience to see how you have personally effected someone’s life in a positive way. In all honesty, it is what keeps me going some days. I have my bad days and there is always someone who brightens my day. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

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Looking ahead, I hope to be more active in have panels and have more of an online presence. I have a few articles with The Might.com in the works and a writing project that I have shared with a very select few of you that I hope to bring to light one day.

If I have effected you in some way over the last 3 years with my blog, Please post a comment somewhere here or on social media. I promise to respond.

Once again thank you all!

#hugapony my friends.

Return to Madness

Hello my dear readers. I am glad to give you an update on life, the universe and everything. It has been a crazy couple of months and I owe it to you dear reader, to give a quick account of recent events. I do plan on having posts for most of these events, but I do have my largest convention I work (A-kon 28 in Ft Worth, Texas) this week and I will have to descend into that madness filled rabbit hole. But here is a quick list to expect:

  1. Bedbugs and Apartment roles. Let me tell you that this was a nightmarish 2 months that I will try my hardest to forget.
  2. Packing and moving. With bedbugs it was a “joy”. Under pressure and a time crunch was even worse. Add in fibromyalgia and it was hell.
  3. Buying a house. Now this was an amazing, wonderful, terrifying experience only to be made worse at times with incompetent people. We did get the house in the end.
  4. Having my third daughter. She is a wonderful joy. It was fun doing all of the above and below with either a pregnant wife (who was absolutely amazing) or a new baby. just an added layer of stress.
  5. Wedding. A family member got married and it was great to have family together for it. Babies met baby, grandmothers met babies, babies were EVERYWHERE. Seriously there is something in the water.
  6. A-Kon 28. We end this past 2 month roller coaster ride with the second largest convention of its kind in the USA. Unfortunately, I will not have my personal panel there but I will be with friends at this panel:

“Two Men Walk Into A Bar”

Sheraton Hotel – Thursday 8PM-9:30PM Magnolia rooms III & IV

So there is life updates. I am still here and still being your best pony pal and sharing life with all of you. I hope to see some of you at A-kon this year (click link for more info) May your day be great and,

#hugapony my friends

Self care day 24:Culture

Bacteria is something found in on almost everything in life. We have millions of them in bodies, they are used in science each and every day, and are some the most basic life to study. Growing bacteria is such a simple basic science experiment that we have kits sold to grow these Petri dishes of culture at home.

Though, for this next post you will have to leave home for some culture. *

Finding out about different cultures has been fascinating to me. Seeing the simple differences in thing such as buying milk in a gallon jug or milk in a bag to even more advance thing as another’s language or the fact you never put chopsticks straight up in your fried rice. There is so much to learn about our fellow humans.

Who needs aliens when you have us?

I was homeschooled all my life until college. My mother did a fantastic job teaching us all the basics that myself and my siblings excelled. When it came to history, she let us decide what to study and prepared unit studies to help us along with them. Medieval times? We built castles out of Lego and what was the meaning of why castle stairs are spiraled in a certain way (it is so a defender would be able to swing a sword with their right hand and the center column would not be in their way, and conversely be in the way of an attacker). We did native American studies and learned more about some of my family history and the tribes we had ties. I learned to use chopsticks at a young age of 6 because we learned of China’s great history. So much culture and history to be learned.

So how does this help us.

I look around and see so many flyers and posts about local heritage festivals that go on in our community. I see so much life and passion in them. People celebrating their family ties. Enjoyment and enrichment to be had at every turn. I, myself, attended Oktoberfest with some of my German ancestry coming out. I was out learning more about myself.

Who I was.

Where I came from.

Knowledge is power they say.

Power to help yourself.

Power to take better care of yourself.

#hugapony my friends.

It is always a pleasure bring you more day to day posts. I will continue to do so until the end of February. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

*This terrible pun/segue is one I could not pass up. The science geek in me is giggling like mad.

Self care day 23:Bubble bath

I remember bath time as a child. It was fun getting soapy water and making towers of bubbles that represented mountains or icebergs as my toys would have grand adventures throwing rings into fiery mountains or crashing ships into icebergs. It was a fantastic time of fun and enjoyment. Now, with my own kids, I get to provide them with the same fun and enjoyment. Barbies are in a gigantic size hair salon or ponies get to dash through mountains of snow on grand adventures throwing rings into fiery mountains (these are MY kids for sure).

There was revels to be had in bath time.

As a guy, baths are not something we often take. Showers, yes but baths are not that common place for us in American society. In this day and age, a full sized bathtub is hard to come by for either sex and is not in your average apartment. Showers remain supreme in the space as the quicker, easier option for getting ourselves clean. While we may enjoy the hot water steaming up the bathroom, I feel that we as a society are missing out on some very important self care.

I was in a lot of body pain a couple months ago and while shopping I saw a sale on Epson Salt. I had remembered that it could be used not only to clean you out internally, but also as a wonderful bath for tired feet or as a full body remedy. I picked some up and commented to my wife that it was something I wanted to try. She eyed me asking, “You? Take a bath?” I replied the affirmative and she eyed me some more but didn’t say out loud the loud judgment call of “girly” at me.

I got home and poured myself a bath in a bathtub half the size of what is necessary for a man my size and measured out the number of cups and I plunged in (so to speak). I was greeted by warm water that soothed aching muscles and sore joints.

Heaven was a bit closer to me in that time.

I implore you, if you have not tried a nice soothing bath since childhood, you should revisit this common luxury that is passed over. Time of peace and quiet would help the mind, the water help the body.

And with both of those together, they could help the soul.

Full body self care.

#hugapony my friends.

It is always a pleasure bring you more day to day posts. I will continue to do so until the end of February. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

Self care day 20:Cleansing

One of the things I have learned in traveling a bit is to clean the house before you leave. Coming home to a clean house, where everything is put away and you have a place to relax is amazing after a trip. My mother used to have us clean any time we left so we could come home, sit down and relax. It is some of the best travel advice I have gotten.

That and finding the proper amount to tip the TSA agent for groping me.

I am not a very tidy person. I have been known to be a bit messy. My desk at the moment is covered end to end with books, bills, papers, medications, and toy ponies. My bedside table has several books on it, some I have not read in over 2 weeks. I drive my wife nuts as I am still trying to attempt to take my clothes to the hamper.

I am not proud of it.

Now, There are times when I get in a fit and can’t stand it anymore. I see the clutter and the mess and I have to clean. Everything. Pick things up, straighten up, whatever it takes to bring discord into order.

I have felt it help my mental state so much.

Some days are harder than others at getting around the house. The weather at the moment is turning stormy and I can feel it in my body aches. However, I know that if I take some time and do a deep cleaning of the house, dusting vacuuming, scrubbing my desk down, I know that it will improve my mental state vastly. My wife likes to clean when she is stressed out because it helps her focus. Seeing the mess is a constant reminder of the fact it needs to be picked up and put away. Getting it done is a fantastic way to ease some burdens off the mind.

I have found that after a good house cleaning that taking a long hot shower helps relax you further. Sometimes it isn’t just mental clutter that needs to be picked up. It is a real mess that needs it.

And that is something you can control and fix.

You can control and fix something.

And it can effect you, mentally.

#hugapony my friends.

It is always a pleasure bring you more day to day posts. I will continue to do so until the end of February. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

Self care day 9:Writing people

Thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

I remember being at Disney World as a child and I had just met a kid from England. We had run into his family in the parks all day and everyone ended up leaving at the same time. Right before we left, he and I exchanged addresses and became pen pals. It was so cool for a much younger me to receive a letter from “across the pond”.

Physical mail can be joyous.

There was a time when I was ecstatic to get mail. My mom would send me to our mailbox at the end of the driveway (1/4 mile driveway one way) and I would walk, bike, or even drive to go get the mail. Seeing a letter addressed to me was like Christmas.

Now days, I look at the mail and see bill after bill. Occasionally I will see a birthday card but most of what I receive is negative. What can we do to change that?

As someone once said, “You have to write them to get them.”

When was the last time you wrote a letter (not an email)? When was the last time you used a stamp? Letters have a physical property that digital does not. We see movies like Harry Potter and we all want a quill and an owl to send to others. Why don’t we do it more?

Is all it takes is to get a calligraphy pen or quill?

Imparting yourself on a page is freeing and scary. As someone who writes online and shares my life with many others, it can be terrifying putting yourself out there. It can be difficult. Topics and subjects can be difficult to come up with, it takes time and effort.

But the results can be astounding.

Being able to free up brain space by putting it down on a page is a release. Sharing with others your story is reaffirming. Inspiring others to do the same can make you feel ecstatic.

And if it goes great, they write back.

And then you have a positive reason to check the mail.

Sometimes helping yourself comes from helping others and sometimes you don’t even have to leave your room to do so. It can all come from a letter.

#hugapony my friends.

Self care day 4: Finding your towel.

Thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

Taking care of yourself involves so much. Mental and physical well-being should be considered crucial in keeping you healthy as a person. Sometimes, in my opinion, it can all come down to something as simple as one thing.

Do you know were your towel is at?

Towels are amazing. They provide warmth and comfort. They can be associated with going to the beach or swimming. They also make a great reference to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

One Christmas, my dad decided to do a present to each member of the family. He did not tell anyone, even my mom much to her annoyance, what they were. These large light boxes were stuck under the tree, shaken daily as we tried and tried to guess what they were. Christmas morning arrived and we all dashed to see what these mystery gifts were.

They were very large, soft towels.

We sat around confused at such a gift when my father explained how we have had ragged old towels for awhile now and being something that we use (or should use) daily, why do we keep using them? Why not have a bit of luxury in having nice, big, soft towels.

With this simple message in mind, I bring it to everyone else.

Part of self-care for everyone is cleanliness. I know with some mental and physical disabilities, it can be very hard to get the energy to clean yourself. I wrote a post a few weeks back on a picture on Facebook that I got angry at for the tone of it. One of the items them mentioned was bathing. While I did not agree at all with the tone, I understood the message that cleanliness is an issue.

Why not motivate yourself with a new towel?

Here is an item that is used so often but how often do we think of buying a new one? When the old one rips? When it is so thread bare it takes another towel to finish the job? Do you have that nice towel the whole family fights over because it is so nice? Why not take a time and find a nice luxurious towel for you.

Knowing that you bought yourself a new, soft, warm, beautiful towel can be the thing to motivate you to take care of yourself.

It can all come down to just a towel.

#hugapony my friends

After the Black.

Another Black Friday has come and gone. I was fortunate not to have to work this one. I was able to spend time with my family and enjoy time off. I saw several other friends online who were able to be off for the first time, for some, in 25 years. It was heartening to see people having a good holiday.

For every person that had the day off, I saw two more who had to work. As it stands, I saw a reasonably good day on Friday and it seemed that people mostly behaved themselves. While tired, overworked employees abound, everyone survived. 

I look at this last month of the year with hesitation. I see many hard days coming soon and different problems to face. I look over this past year and the difficulties me and mine have handled. I look at my year in review post for new year’s and I see so much that had happened. I honestly can’t remember a year that has flown by this quickly. 

I have an up and coming doctors appointment at which I have to confront my doctor about my medical condition. I am at the point at which my depression is under control for the most part. My anxiety is managed when I have an attack. However, I see my muscle and nerve pain has increased and my body fatigue and insomnia are through the roof and I know more is going on with me. I need more than just pills. I need some answers. 

I need to be diagnosed. Correctly.

I look at family. I want to do so much more for them and I feel I am being held back by so many things. My body can’t keep up. Job opportunities are not there, much less my current job. I just want to be there more for my family. 

I look at my blog. This diary of good times and bad. I see the people I have helped and the trials that I faced. I look at the joy I have spread and the sorrow I helped people through. I see it all and know in my heart that I could do more. 

I can always do more. 

I can always do more to make the world a better place. 

I just don’t have the energy to keep going sometimes. I feel trapped in this shell of a body. The pain and exhaustion overwhelms me. All I can think of is to press on. 

I do it for my family

I do it for you. 

I do it for me.

H

#hugapony my friends