Life on standby

I am on standby on life. With everything going on, I am struggling to just hang on. I have had so much life happen that it is overwhelming. Dealing with life while having a chronic illness takes an amazing amount of effort. I takes twice as much work and twice the effort and we bare this with the constant remarks of “Other people have it worse” or “Its not as bad as you think”.

It is as bad as we feel.

So I close this short post with the fact that I have life stuff. I am continuing to fight, both my illness and my problems. I hope I have the energy to keep going.

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Focusing Life

Life has been rough for many friends and family. I have seen illness, heartbreak, money issues, and personal problems effect almost everyone in my life. It has been a rough and hard year for me and mine. I have had to keep my chin up, keep going and try to find ways of not only keeping myself going, but also the rest of my readers. In my life, I have found a very important philosophy. What you will seek, you will find.

When you are looking for reasons to be angry, they appear like magic. The little annoyances seem to come out of everything. The office chair wheel squeaking, the car that always seems to cut you off in the morning, and the sound of a sigh that just hits your last nerve like a marksman, all of these just seem to multiply. It can be so easy to see and even seek reasons to be angry if we are not careful.

Conversely, seeing someone who seeks out happiness and the joy that comes with it is awe-inspiring. That person who makes lemonade out of lemons, sees the rain as a way to make flowers bloom, or even their car breaking down as a way to meet a new person and brighten someone else’s day just seems magical. I believe we all have met someone in our lives that just seem to do that. These are people who are looking, seeking, grasping at the happiness, joy and peace that comes with it. These are the people who we strive to be at times but we always seem to fail.

Why is that?

I believe our focus is wrong. We are seeking he happiness, joy, good in life but have our eyes on the dark, terrible things that try and grab our attention. It is very easy to dismiss these happy, bright people as oblivious or even not paying attention to the issues. I argue that they see these issues and seek to find the good in life. Why spread the hate, anger, and depression? How does this help those who need help? I am guilty of not focusing on the good. I am seeking to change that. My first step is to look at some positives.

There are some amazing things that have come out in the disabled community lately. I was watching an infomercial on an Up walker or Upright walker. This is one of those medical devices that allow people who would be hurt by being hunched over in a walker, stand upright and keep moving without stress on their back. People with Parkinson’s disease who would not be able to hold themselves up now have a way to be mobile. Amazing. There is an Xbox gaming pad for disabled gamers. This is a customizable gamepad for people who have lost limbs, have limited mobility, or even people who can’t even hold a controller still be able to play video games and enjoy life. Microsoft poured tons of hours of development and research in making a fully customizable device that is able to allow people to still do what they enjoy.

What you will seek, you will find. Try to look for the positives. Start with a week. Set an alarm on your phone to go off each morning to remind you. See if you can find the good in the world. Let others know your success.

Opioid-Ed

I am angry. I have been watching the opioid crisis “epidemic” for quite a while now. Congress just passed legislation to reform everything on opioids. I have read the plan and I see so many issues with what happened. I am deeply concerned at how it is going to affect chronic illness patients and I believes it shows exactly how the country views mental health and chronic illness as a whole.

 

The money spent is a stopgap. The call was for $20 billion dollars and the bill didn’t even get half that. Quoting the Washington Post, “Yet many public health advocates and experts say it doesn’t offer the one thing truly needed: The massive amount of funding needed to fully combat a crisis that deeply affects rural and urban communities across America.” It goes on to say how little prepared we are for mental health in the medical system. This is not the overhaul we need to fix the broken mental care that so many desperately need. This bill will only help people in the form of a grant which may or may not be available to everyone. Grants are competitive and once used up, there is no more help until more money comes.

 

Congress also had to deal with a little known rule known as Institutions for Mental Diseases exclusion rule. It had prohibited Medicaid from reimbursing substance abuse centers with a certain number of beds (16 or more) for patients with mental illness. Why this obscure rule that is decades old shows exactly how broken and old the system has become. An even bigger concern of mine is who is the oversight on this money now to be released? Are we watching were this money is going? Is it even being used properly? I know close friends who get run through mental health “mills” that don’t treat patients and are more concerned with getting money for the number of patients they process. This is going to feed into this broken system and we are going to see a rise in the number of claims in an effort to get a piece of this pie.

 

In the same thought, the number of opioid addictions are declining, however heroin overdose is rising. The CDC says that in 2017, out of 72,000 overdose deaths, 30,000 were caused by synthetic opioids. This is not prescribed medications. This is not for the chronic pain users. This is a synthetic compound that is in laced heroin and is an illegal drug. Almost all the chronic illness patients I know are responsible people and do not abuse their medication. These are the statistics that are being used against the people that actually need help.

 

I look at these actions and I know it is an important election year. I feel this is mainly a political grandstand and we are showing that we are not serious about reform. Chronic illness patients are once again overlooked and not even considered in the bill. It focuses on how opioids are a gateway to addiction. Congress and the general public view us now as heroin users and we need to be treated for our addiction and not looking for ways to help us except with small mental health improvements. That also shows they believe that chronic pain and other similar afflictions are viewed as mental health issues and not a disease. We can view addiction as a disease but not something like Fibromyalgia, that is all in your head.

 

Please senators, congress, anyone in government, come live in my head or body for a day. I have never wanted to do this before but I wish you could feel the pain me and so many others are in daily so you could understand.

A Perspective on Life

I have come to realize that every person, every being on this earth has a unique perspective. Everyone’s view point will never perfectly match another’s. Looking in the world of politics this is very evident. We see huge clashes of personalities and perspectives that make it all appear that we are all so different. We see each other with rose coloured glasses, each with a special prescription all our own.

We can see the cashier at the grocery store. This lazy bum who looks like they are just here until they get off. They have such an attitude and just seem to want to go home. They hate being here and never want to help me. I pulled out a coupon and I think they rolled their eyes at me. They are probably just waiting to get off to go smoke drugs. Better double check and make sure they didn’t steal my money.

Or.

They seem to be working the steady hours dealing horrid people and still manage to find a smile. I say “Thank You” and I see their faces light up at someone looking at them like they are human and not a robot. I see a mom of 2 working this and 2 other jobs to make ends meet. I see the college student who is just trying to pass finals. I see the older lady trying to supplement retirement.

Perspective.

We have the gas station attendee who smells weird. He gives me a creepy vibe every time he looks at me. God, why can’t he just learn English like the rest of us? I bet he is here illegally. Why is he here? I just want to fill my car up in peace.

Or.

He gives me a smile every time I walk in the door. He works hard, all year round, even on holidays when everyone else is closed and I forgot I needed milk. He calls me by my first name which he has remembered since the first time I met him. He got here by chance and is making the most of the American dream.

Perspective.

You hear the screams of why you am not making America great again. Still others block because we don’t agree. How can you not vote for or against people? How dare you not vote because you don’t agree with either side!  How can you not see the breaking of tradition? Why are you mad at this group and not mine? Have you not seen what the other side is doing? How dare you have an opinion that differs from mine? You must be a fascist. You must be a Republican. You must be a Democrat. What, you are neither? Then you not agreeing lost us this vote.

Or.

You see the over politicized. You see the people who are making money making rules for other people to follow. You see the grandstanding for the image. You see people who differ from your own views and want to know why. Not to change their mind, but to open yours. You stop looking at the labels and start looking at the people. You see real people with real opinions about real lives. Everyone has a viewpoint and voice, regardless of background. You see people agreeing to disagree and still able to hug each other afterward. You see compromise.

Perspective.

I feel that if we could start viewing the world through each other’s eyes it would change a few opinions. Elders remembering what it was like to be young and stupid. Teens remembering that the elders were teens once also. People standing in each other’s shoes just for a minute and seeing what life is like through my rose coloured glasses, knowing they would never fully understand but at least trying. Would we see  a difference?

Would you try?

Perspective. It’s the damnedest thing.

#hugapony my friends

Labor Day quicky.

I apologize for missing the date yesterday. I had something planned but it did not get done in time. I would like to wish everyone a wonderful labor day.

In light of all this day brings, I would ask each one of you to treat everyone with an extra special respect. Thank each cashier you see today. If you are shopping the sales, thank each person you interact with. Hold the door open for the person behind you. Be kind. Be calm. Be curious. Some of us do not get labor day off.

Be the joy you want to find in the world and the joy will find you back.

#hugapony everyone

Where Has the Happiness Gone?

I have been writing in this blog for 4 years now. I have shared thoughts and opinions and feelings. I have seen people grow and learn. I see people fail and break. I have seen a world of change and a changed world. I have also seen a change that scares me.

Where has all the happiness gone?

I see people, more often than not, getting nasty on social media. I see folks attack and fight bitterly over social and economic systems. I have seen a great number of people break off friendships and cut off loved ones because of who they voted for in the last election.

I ask you again, where has all the happiness gone?

Where is the brotherly love we used to feel for one another? Where is the rebuilding of America after 9/11? Where is the gathering of help for tsunami victims? Where is the love of Pokemon Go that had everyone, young and old working together towards a common goal? What has changed?

What are you doing to keep the happiness here?

How have you acted in a kind fashion lately? What acts of kindness have you performed? Did you hold the door open for that person running behind you? Did you let that car get over a lane in heavy traffic? Did someone need that quarter you have in your pocket? What smiles have you brought to others faces?

What have I done to change the world for the better?

Did I do enough today to make a difference? Have I smiled at enough people to show that I care? Did I say hello enough times in the elevator to make someone feel welcome? Have I fed the dogs for my friends? Have I encouraged my daughter enough about school?

Happiness is not gone from the world. We just have forgotten to spread it around. The we spread it, the more it comes back to use. I ask you all, dear readers, to consider who you interact with today, tomorrow, next week. See who’s lives you can change for the better.

Don’t let the happiness disappear.

#hugapony my friends

SPECIAL POST!

I am so excited to share with you all a new milestone. It is the most views in a single day ever in the history of the blog!! Over 200!! I am so excited about this and I have to say thank you to all the people in Germany who made this possible. You all are fantastic and wonderful people (PS send me food!) As a thank you I making this post in German as well in celebration! Also, be sure to check out the Patreon button on the right side and if you can help support me that would be amazing! Writing is not a full-time gig for me and any support would go a long way!

Thank you and I love you all!

Ich bin so aufgeregt, mit euch allen einen neuen Meilenstein zu teilen. Es sind die meisten Aufrufe an einem einzigen Tag in der Geschichte des Blogs !! Über 200!! Ich bin so aufgeregt und danke an alle Menschen in Deutschland, die das möglich gemacht haben. Ihr alle seid fantastische und wundervolle Leute (PS schickt mir Essen!) Als Dankeschön mache ich diesen Blog auch auf Deutsch in Feier! Schaut euch auch den Patreon-Button auf der rechten Seite an und wenn ihr mir helfen könnt, wäre das großartig! Schreiben ist kein Vollzeitjob für mich und jegliche Unterstützung würde einen langen Weg zurücklegen!

Danke und ich liebe euch alle!

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Take me home, Country roads.

Music is such a powerful healer. The sounds and vibrations can help break up stress and tension. Feeling the the beat can raise or lower your heart rate. It provides positive feelings and an escape. For someone with chronic illness, this can be such a welcome escape.

When I am going through a fibromyalgia flare or when anxiety starts to pump adrenaline through my body, I have a method of calming down. I use a sensory deprivation where I go to a dark room, put a nice heavy blanket on, hug a plushie, and I listen to music.

My personal favorite is the Lord of the Rings soundtrack (Fellowship of the Ring, Track 17 The Breaking of the Fellowship). I hear the notes and get lost in the music. It gives the soul something to attach on to and it pulls the body with it. By closing off the rest of your senses, with darkness and being alone, you get swept up in the sounds. It is amazingly peaceful.

In difficult times, music has a way of helping us find a way through. I have known quite a few people going through a bad break-up and listening to their couple’s song over and over. I distinctly remember living in a 22-foot pop-up camper with my family (6 people and a dog for 6 months) in a trailer park. The trailer site next to us had a husband and wife who fought like cats and dogs. Being a trailer park, and VERY thin walls, everyone in a 5 mile radius heard everything, much to our regret. The husband who leave each night slamming the door and the wife would play I Will Always Love You by Dolly Parton, sung by Whitney Houston while drinking wine.

Every night.

As a teenager, this was not a fun event each night. However, I realized that this was a coping method and was a way for her to calm down. The next morning they would come out of the trailer, smiles and hugs until the next evening. Now this is a very unhealthy situation and was horrible for them (and all of us around them). It has shown me that music can help in a very difficult situations and lead you through them.

I am currently facing a huge hurdle in my health. I am having my Tramadol removed from my medication. My doctor is no longer allowed to prescribe it to me. He was very chagrin while telling me. He was upset. Due to the “Opioid Crisis” I am found to be no longer fit to take it. After almost 6 years of being on it with little/to no side effects, a much higher quality of life, and one of the backbones of my pain management, I am being told there is no reason to have it. My chronic pain and illness disagrees.

Strenuously.

I have have to agree with it. I am having to go through a new cycle of pain management. I am having to adapt to life with severe pain once again on a daily basis. So in order to do this, I have been bringing out music once again. My new favorite is Country Roads by John Denver. I have listen to the track 20 hours in the last month alone, though not all at once. Most times it is only about ten minutes. And finding ten minutes to allow my body to relax and get a break from feeling is sometimes all I can get.

I will take it.

#hugaplushie my friends.

PS 

I have seen my readers in Germany SKYROCKET! I wanted to call upon all you out there and thank you with all that I have. Hugs and love to you all! I will being doing a special post for you all! PROST! ZUM WOLH!

The little things.

One of the hardest issues facing someone with a chronic illness is facing what you cannot do anymore. There is a mourning and grieving process that so many of us face. You go through the Five Stages of Grief.  Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance all rush through you as you mourn the lose of some dear to you. Yourself.

It has taken away my ability to be Jason Bourne. All the action/super hero movies that I watch, I no longer look at and say to myself “I could do that.” I look at trampoline parks that my daughters want to go to for a party and cringe. I feel my body ache prematurely as my wife wants to do a marathon. You dread looking at yard work because you know you will be down for days and not be able to do anything.

Denial sets in when you see life starting to pass you by. You tell yourself to suck it up and do things. You believe what others tell you that you don’t look sick. You listen to what people say when they shout “Why can’t you just be normal.” You push and push to be normal and this makes your condition worse.

Anger sets in because you cannot keep up. You lash out at others who are frustrated with you at not being the person they remember. You scream in your mind that you should be normal and why is this happening to you. The anger rolls off of you in waves, pushing those who try to help you away.

Bargaining comes when you see people walking away who used to be close to you. You start to plead with people to stay. You cling to those last few people so hard it crushes them. You try to keep up and make deals. You try every supplement, exercise, and diet known to man in an effort to make things better. You bargain with yourself that it can’t get worse, but it does.

Depression sets in hard. You see no way out. In the deep hole you have dug, you see what you believe to be your only options. You find yourself trapped and weighed down by your illness. Loneliness, regret, and suffering. You see the bottle, pills or worse as your only way out. You thought at the beginning of all this it would never be this bad. In the general population, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15-24.

If you are at this stage, please reach out.

Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours everyday

Acceptance is the hardest to achieve. You have to fight your body, your mind, doubters, and all the other stages to get here. You have to accept that you cannot do what you could before. You have to grieve the loss of your old self. It can feel a very hollow victory when you still have a life chronic illness ahead of you. I look at these stages and milestones at how far I have personally fought to get over. You have to accept what you are now and that is OK. It is OK that you are sick.

I may never be Jason Bourne, but he is not real. I am. And I am still here.

#hugapony my friends

Gathering happiness

A HUGE shoutout to two of my Patreons for helping support me, Charles and Ed! Thank you for supporting me and making this possible! You two are truly amazing people! If you had not checked it out, Check out my Patreon page for early blog posts and more!  Patreon-My Stuffed Little Therapy

I had a recent social media post that was quite touching. I has been a rough time with pain lately and I was needing a boost. I posted a simple question.31281389_10215970592927716_4009656226335121420_n.jpg

This sparked a wonderfully long post with friends and family commenting from all over. I was flooded with memories from childhood, college, present day, all warm fuzzy feelings.

It was fantastic.

As some who has suffered from depression in the past and who continues to struggle with anxiety even now, it was an amazing feeling. The self worth went through the roof. Seeing people post, some I had not talked to in years, was amazing. The love and care that was shared was immeasurable. This got me thinking of what this could do for people who are struggling? I know I pull up the post and have read it a few times since. Seeing the kind, wonderful words brings back the same self-worth growth and warms me inside.

I have seen a lot of suicides in the news lately. A lot of people who are depressed and decide that ending the pain and personal suffering is the best choice. Having been at that end twice now, I know what runs through someones mind. You don’t look upon yourself as a person. You are a burden. You don’t see what other actually think about you. You see a drag on all your friends and family. Your brain tells you that you are not and will not be good enough for anyone.

We need to break that cycle of self doubt.

I challenge you to post this to your social media. Make the post and see what happens. Save the answers you get. Use it as another weapon to fight back the hard times. See what others took the time out of their day to say to you. Smile in the memories shared but not only you but others. Have a written document were people see the value in you. Have yet another tool, like stuffed therapy, to fight back. Even if it is against your own mind.

I will do my best to comment my memory as well.

#hugapony everyone.