Spring forward? Stop Stealing My Sleep!

Twice a year I wake up more tired, dazed and confused than usual. (Trust me, they are strong words to be uttered by a fibromite) Can we just stop messing with Daylight Saving time?

image

The beginning of British Summer Time is marked by robbing us of an hour of our well-deserved sleep and no more. I completely respect the need for this tactic to confuse the enemy in the World Wars, completely understand, but for all that is by crikey can it not just stop now? #grumpy

Granted, it is only one hour, but in my lifetime, that is 40 hours, the average UK working week I saw a fantastic image which asks the question;

imageHey, it’s a valid point!

I must however concede to being a complete hypocrite because I adore the extra hour in bed that changing the clocks bestows on us to mark the beginning of British Winter Time.

This does however raise the question; How can we as humans proclaim that two days in the year mark the beginning of a season and further to this, why not do it in increments of 30 minutes to mark all four seasons instead? #genius This would be so much easier to deal with, although in the UK, weather is not usually as predictable as time

Case and point, it does not begin to feel like Summer until July and Winter seemingly begins mid-September

So I shall spend the rest of my Sunday trying to wake up and get moving, but with a flare from the seventh level of Hades, it doesn’t look like this Easter Sunday will be a productive day after all.

Mindfulness and Betrayal

image

This week I had an experience whereby I was betrayed not just by a single person, but a group of people. It cut deeply, especially due to the circumstances.

No it was not fair, it wasn’t right and it was certainly inappropriate. The saddest part about it, was the trigger. You know, that one person who is always the one to create drama in order to ingratiate themselves with others? The rage I experienced was so intense that it made me shake, it sickened me to my core.

I am not going to try and say I dealt with it correctly on the day, in fact, I didn’t face it at all due to the circumstances. However, I did project it on to another individual who should not have tolerated that type of behaviour. It manifested into something else  entirely because I just could not correctly enunciate what I wanted to say. The difficulty I faced was exactly that of a school playground. The politics, the pack mentality, the juvenile behaviour (the fact it was the behaviour of grown adults is really quite laughable)

The irony of the things that were said could make for an infomercial on the subject of hypocrisy, but I choose not to indulge it further. Why? Because I want to let it go and focussing on the details will not enable me to do that.

image

I have been reading up on “Mindfulness” a lot recently because I find that it is the most effective form of managing the all encompassing, suffocating depression that engulfs me. (The depression cloud has returned recently due to a very difficult period of fm flares and innumerate other problems) In short, mindfulness is right for me.

So, how do I deal with this sickening, hurtful situation in a mindful way? (Clearly it is a work in progress)

1. Understand that the group was reacting to a trigger with the added fuel of boredom and frustration

2. Accept that they would not have said these things if they were aware that I was present. This indicates that either they did not intend to be hurtful or on the other hand, it betrays their weakness because they did not have the fortitude to say anything to my face

3. Let it go. Don’t keep replaying the situation (In truth, easier said than done). Replaying the situation has the same effect as the game of Chinese Whispers.

4. Focus on what really matters. This situation is beyond irrelevant in my world. I have much bigger challenges to deal with. They have no right to infringe on my happiness and health

Yes, we all want to set the record straight, yes, if wronged, we want to put it right (usually very publicly) but in some situations, it is better to not sweat the small stuff. Retaliation just means you are as bad as they are

So yes, it hurt, yes, I felt betrayed, but it wasn’t me that behaved badly so I will not punish and hurt myself by being angry and upset. I will focus on being mindful and hopefully I will be able to shrug it off

My world on my terms WILL be a happier place

Quote

Four Years….

Wow…four years since I last posted. I have changed, my world has changed, inevitably THE world has changed. New marriage, home, herd…same old fm. In summary, I have lost, found, loved, hated, learned and nearly died, not necessarily in that order

2016-03-25-07.42.00.jpg.jpegI am developing new skills every day as well as expanding on existing ones. I have a greater need to write than ever, not just for pleasure, but as a form of personal therapy and creative expression. I find myself seeking intellectual stimulation in a world saturated with brandspeak, textspeak, abbreviation and an excepional lack of grammar only to be confronted with the fact that this is the ‘way forward’ a requirement for success. This makes the bile rise in my throat and it is getting harder and harder to gulp it back and smile.

Perhaps turning forty is the impetus for this increase in introspection, retrospection…exospection, vexospection. Yes, I am fully aware that the last two words are not real, but creating nonsensical text to enhance flow seems to be de rigeur these days.

2016-03-25-07.39.57.png.pngMisogyny and sexism is still sickeningly rife yet the pc crowd stampede against standards which Generation X grew up with and made the majority of us well adjusted adults

Our world is a terrifying place that is spiralling out of control and I wonder if the next generation can harness the wild stallion of chaos or if they will be trampled by flailing hooves. However, I am sure the previous generations considered this and it is clear that the primary need is for perspective and seeing the whole picture, not just events in isolation?

image

Travelling when you have Fibromyalgia

Hola,

I moved about 5 and a half years ago, and whilst it was one of the best things I have ever done, the downside is that I am 300 miles away from some of my dearest friends. So, when I was invited to a wedding, there was no way that I was going to miss it.

Now, I have not travelled back down south since March 2006. In one aspect, the worry of being able to make the journey, the worry of not being able to go out drinking and the recovery time on my return all seemed just too much to deal with and as such, I allowed my illness to dictate my life. This is something I vowed would not happen and yet, there it is. (The cessation of my monthly adventures is a whole other story)

So, back to the wedding. I HAD to go, no two ways. My brother by proxy was getting married to an amazing girl and I could not miss it, not under any circumstances. So what to do?? As with anything to do with FM, plan plan PLAN

First off, I planned the outfits and luggage. Now this doesn’t sound a big deal, but the transport of luggage is uber important when you are travelling by train, especially when you have to make a change. I have a wheeled suitcase and agreed with the Wookie that we would share the one case with a shoulder bag for what we needed during the journey. We were going to be away from the Friday morning and back on the Sunday lunchtime so I packed just 2 outfits pluss the formal dress (all very tightly folded as all hotels will give you an iron and an ironing board. If you are not sure, ring ahead and ask prior to your trip) Usual packing rules applied, all toiletries in one carrier bag, makeup in it’s own bag and of course, tuck all underwear in your formal shoes!! LOL

So, the travelling outfit. This can be used both ways as all pride needs to be thrown out the window. Whilst being clean and tidy is an essential part of life, do NOT be a slave to fashion if you are not going to be comfortable!! Of course, check the weather too as you do not want to be too hot as you hit the London Underground. People do not realise just how hot it get’s down there and in addition, you may have to exert a lot of energy just to make your connection…and that is another story to be told later…So wear something light and comfortable (loose fitting if needs be) and you can always put on a mac or a jacket that can be easily carried on top of the case.

Depending on the length of your journey, you need to prepare. Disaster struck on the Tuesday prior to the journey when I was struck down with the flare from hell. It was so bad, I even had to call in sick to work, which is something I avoid doing at all costs. I had to be realistic, I just didn’t have any strength. Upon trying to go back on the Thursday, a colleague gave me a great piece of advice. “You have had this booked for ages, just think f the money you will waste by not letting yourself get well and then not being able to go at all”. Also, think on this, if you only charge a phone up to 50% of the battery, and keep doing this, after a while, the battery will not charge up fully at all and that is exactly what dealing with FM is like.

Ok. So you need to seriously consider the cost of your journey and the time of day you travel. I decided to invest in an advance first class ticket. No, not to be snobby, but to ensure that I had a seat, and a comfortable one at that. The added bonus of first class, is that there is more room, free coffee/ tea (although not great coffee to be honest) and the carriages are air-conditioned. With East Coast, you can also choose where you sit at the time of booking and even opt for a quiet coach (although smaller, they sometimes accomodate the buffet area so there may be a bit of traffic) As we booked waaaaaaaaaay in advance, for what would normally be £480 for a single journey, we got 2 first class returns for a total of £340! WIN!

Despite having all complementary food etc, we packed a lunch and some drinks. There is no point paying out rail prices when you can save some money with a little bit of forethought. And if you are foodfussy like me, if you make it yourself, you know you are going to enjoy it.

I mentioned times and I will admit to falling down on this slightly. No bother getting down South, and I took note of the Underground engineering works..HOWEVER..when you book a full journey, the companies do not take disability into account with regard to making the transfer from Waterloo to Kings Cross. In addition, the engineering works had MOVED location by the Sunday so we had to plan an entire new underground route which meant that we got to Kings Cross with only 8 minutes to spare (I am army-raised..if you are not half an hour early, it is too stressful) “Cutting it fine” is not my preferred process when it comes to travelling. I digress, if you can, get the earliest train available, you want to get one that avoids the London rush hour (for example, our train landed at Kings Cross at 9.30 and our train out of Waterloo wasn’t until 11 so we had plenty of time to make the transfer and didn’t have to battle the workforce)

Also, the earlier you travel, the less people are on the train and therefore, it is a lot quieter. (This is exemplified by our journey back, as we should have left Andover much earlier. We left at 7, and this meant hat we got the 10am train out of Kings Cross which was HEAVING) The earlier train you get out of main stations (I am talking 6/7am) the better. Also, if you can, make sure that you check out all routes for engineering works and alternative routes.

Another important thing to consider, is to be realistic about what you CAN do on your excursion. I attended the ceremony, but wsa going downhill rapidly and I knew we had the journey again the next day, so I made my apologies and left the wedding. I had made the effort for the most important part and my friends understood why I had to leave. Don’t push yourself more than you normally would if you have big journeys, drop it down by about 10-20%

So, in short, plan. Plan for any eventuality, and you will be fine.

Moving home when you have fibromyalgia…

Right, I have been meaning to do this post for a month now and as I have a glorious four days off in a row (BLISS) I am going to make good the VERY rare opportunity and just ramble on about moving when you have fibromyalgia.

PREPARATION AND PACING

Preparation and pacing is absolutely ESSENTIAL!!!!!! I made sure I had everything that I needed; boxes, packing tape, marker pens, bubble wrap.

Before I even started to pack, I had a massive chuckout of everything I did not use or need. This included clothes, books, nick nacks. The aim was to reduce what I was taking to what was essential (however, I will admit that there were a significant number of books that I could not let go of and I will be getting rid of them very soon)

WHEN THINGS DON’T GO TO PLAN…DON’T PANIC!

Disaster struck me despite being prepared. I had set aside 3.5 weeks throughout March with a break in the middle to recover from an operation to remove a lipoma from my back…so I thought I had LOADS of time however…

1 March – Car Crash – Whiplash, back injuries = HUGE flareup

8 March Gastric Flu (off work for 4 days and it crucified me)

14 March Operation day

As the Lipoma was the size of an egg, you can imagine how deep the wound was and it required internal and external stitches.

So, I was stuck,my plans were put back for 2 weeks…I was panicking, would I have it all ready by the 25th?? The fact is, as I had already done so much preparation, I had a lot of wiggle room..so..

I knew I couldn’t do any lifting while the wound was healing, and working full time (March is a peak month at work) with a 3 hour commute is hard enough, let alone moving on top. So what was I to do?? I planned to do a section of packing and only pack for a maximum of two hours each night. No it wasn’t easy, but it worked. The clothes were easy as I had big boxes whereby I could keep clothes on their hangers and I already had my “storage” clothes in vacuum bags. ACE! I had already decided what boxes would be used for each section/ item types and this planing goes a long way

THIS IS NO TIME FOR PRIDE – ASK FOR HELP

I was worried about where all my kitchen kit was which had been hidden in the cellar by the father, so I did ask for help from my mam. Mam packed up all of this kit and the father brought the washing machine and dryer up from the cellar (succeeding in not only shearing off the insulation of the power cable, but puncturing the water inlet pipe…which I discovered when doing my first wash in the new house and walking into a pool in the kitchen…nice one…) Anyway, I am very grateful for all the hard work my mam put in, it was a HUGE help. The key point, is that I realised that I could not do it all on my own and knew that I would have to accept some help

WHAT HAVE YOU PACKED AND WHERE????

A valuable tip when packing, is to take a picture of what you are packing up and save it on to your computer with a number as the file name, say, “bedroom 1” and mark the box with the corresponding number. (e.g if you have your computer desk and gadgets all in one place, pack them in the same box and take a picture of the computer desk with everything on it before you pack it) This saves you so much time when it comes to unpacking it is untrue!

PACK AND STACK!

When you pack, pack the boxes so that they are full (obviously not exceeding weight limits). Make sure to tape the bottoms in a sort of lattice, like a noughts and crosses graph, the more lines of tape in opposite directins, the stronger the bottom of the box and the easier to get the tape off. By packing boxes full, they are easier to stack, thus retaining as much working space as possible. (always keep your bed clear as if your body needs you to stop and take a break, you must)

ROUTINE

Unfortunately taking time off work was not an option for me as I had already been off with the gastric flu (we don’t get paid sick so have to use our holiday days..we get 20 a year so you can imagine just how ill I was to actually use some of this tiny allowance) I made sure that I still went to bed at my usual time every night and kept to my usual routine. It was very hard and I was struggling, but I new as soon as I had everything packed, I could rest.

SUITCASE

Such a small thing, but again, essential. Pack 2 days of clothes, your toiletries, toilet roll and perhaps your kettle, dried milk, sugar (if you drink tea) and a mug and spoon in your suitcase (unless you have marked up the box of essential kitchen kit). Also pack, a towel, alan key or screwdriver set (for re-assembly of furniture eg) and a pair of scissors. Make sure that you also pack your meds in a secure container in the suitcase, you do NOT want to be without pain relief during the move.

The suitcase is easily and quickly identified and there is nothing worse than needing to go to the toilet and having no toilet roll!!! And what is the point of paying out for drinks and whatnot when you can save money by having your tea to hand to fuel you through unpacking.

Remarkably, I had everything packed up over just 5 evenings and this left me 4 days to recover and refuel ready for the move…this, I will talk about in my next post.

xxxx

Sooooooooo…this is why I am doing this

Oki. This blog is not going to be about me whining on about my life, or various challenges.


What it will be, is my way of finding solutions, overcoming any hurdles and making the most of every day.


So many of us get completely absorbed in our working life, family, home and we lose sight of what it is to truly live. I am not able to go out and start skydiving, and I do have to go to work every day to pay the bills, but there is so much more to life than the repetitive, monotony that is being a grownup.


I have had eighteen months of what can only be described as “challenges”. It all started when I prolapsed 2 discs in my back (still kept going to work), then 6 months later my hands started to seize up, the joints swelling and excrutiating pain. This moved on to pain in all of my joints and bones and a year later, I have a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, further tests being done on my joints, tendons and ligaments, an arrhythmia for which I am going to have to have a portable heart monitor for 24 hours (already had the bloods done) and as of today, the routine op to remove a lump in my back has had to be referred to be done under a general anaesthetic as it is too big to remove under a local.


I always used to be so healthy, but in the past 18 months, it has all gone pear-shaped and if it has taught me anything, it is that life cannot be wasted. We take our health and well-being so much for granted that we work hard every day and focus on our day to day lives and worries whilst missing the main point. To “live”


I am really lucky though, as an army child, I was lucky enough to travel the world and see so many things. As a teenager, I moved out of home young and lived life to it’s fullest. Even through my twenties, I was surrounded by long-term friends that made the difficulties of that decade bearable and stuck by me even when I moved 300 miles to get away from the town in which I lived. I look back on all of that time and the wonderful times I had, and indeed, the serious adversities I overcame and I am grateful that I had the chance to really live. The last 5 years since I moved have passed by in a blur with some wonderful adventures, and yes, my friends are still there with a few more added for good measure.


However, the last 18 months have battered my health and as I said, I have had a wak up call in that I need to stop and re-assess how I live my life. I don’t want to stop working, and I sure as hell do not want to stop having adventures. I haven’t been out on adventures since May and this may be the result of a touch of cabin fever, but I see it as a way to re-focus and to re-build my life.


So, maybe you will read this and be interested, maybe not, but I am grateful if you have read it at all xx