Check Out My 100th Follower

Yippee!

I hit 100 follows on on June 24, 2018.  I wanted to give a shout out to my 100th follow Phoebe Chi (Puppydoc)-Musings of a Puppy Doc.  

The Puppy Doc shares poetry about being a caregiver as a medical professional and helpful health related articles.

The depth of her caring is evident in her writing.  I hope you will go check her blog out.

Thank you PuppyDoc for helping me reach 100 follows!

Do You Feel Stuck in Your Situation?

This morning I was thinking about my thoughts and beliefs that kept me “stuck” for so many years with deep and dark depression and anxiety from chronic pain.

I felt stuck because…

I did not have belief in myself.

I allowed others to do everything for me.

I always thought my body had to be completely healed to have a better life again.

I thought I must be weak because I can’t push through the pain, and that made me feel shame.

I became angry when doctors told me I must learn to live with it so I “dug in my heels in” that a cure must be found.

I didn’t take responsibility for my treatment. I trusted in doctors to have complete control over my treatment without question.

I believed that going to a psychologist meant the pain was only in my head.

I had untreated severe depression and anxiety due to pain.

I relied only on medication and not lifestyle changes to get through my pain.

I was grieving my “old” life and who I was before chronic pain.

I kept myself isolated at home.

I compared my life to everyone else’s “perfect” life on Facebook.

It is in my personality to resist change and to be inflexible mentally.

This is just a few reasons I could not move forward with my life.

So, how am I turning things around?I realized over time that I was the only one that can change my situation. It is a long slow process. I had given away my power a long time ago, so I had to find the strength to make the changes. I struggle so hard with making changes. I just cling to whatever I am doing, even if it isn’t the best thing for me. Change is scary.

In fighting to change for the better, I felt like I was in a cocoon pushing out an arm and a leg, occasionally punching through only to have it close back up quickly. There are days I still struggle with breaking through the difficult stuff and being consistent.

When I hit 250 lbs from being sedentary, I woke up and realized my weight issue was completely out of control. I sought out a surgeon for weight loss surgery. Part of the process is seeing a nutritionist and psychologist. Both have helped me change my life.

This was the first step in lasting change although I didn’t know it at the time.

I had to take a very long multiple choice quiz about my behaviors and beliefs. The results are used to determine if you are a good candidate for the surgery mentally and if you will commit to making the lasting changes. Needless to say, my results showed I “got issues.”

That was the beginning of my journey to healing. It was not the cure I was hoping for. I was looking for that miracle that would make my life go back to normal.

I would love to tell you I have it all figured out but I am moving very slow with the changes. We are talking tiny baby steps. Creeping ever so slowly over the past two years.

With every a-ha moment of understanding how my brain processes thoughts, I began making small changes in how I thought about myself through therapy.

For me, going over the old me and keeping what works but throwing out the no longer usable tools in my mental health toolbox has been helpful.

Has it been easy? No. It has been excruciatingly painful emotionally at times, but I have learned so much about myself and the people around me.

Becoming aware of who I really am and accepting that person even though I am different than the beliefs I was given as a child has been key to making changes.

It is just the starting point sitting across from a mental health professional. You have to get over the hump of using your brain to control your thoughts.

Most everyone has heard the buzz word “mindful.” It is having control of your immediate thoughts and changing your negative belief pattern while living in the moment, not in the past or future but right in the present.

Feeling stuck, lonely, and depressed is no way to go through life. Some people do not win the battle, and that makes me very sad.  I hope I reach someone today that feels defeated and they seek out professional help.

You can choose to take control of your thoughts. There is no shame in seeking out help. The medical doctors are not taught how to handle emotions and mental health issues that chronic pain causes.

Medical doctors have very little training in treating a patient’s emotional pain from chronic pain. Mental health services should be offered when you are diagnosed with chronic pain and not at the end when they do not know what to do with you anymore. They leave you emotionally damaged by chasing miracles and expensive alternative treatments they offer when they cannot do anything else for you.

A psychologist or other mental health professional should be a part of the chronic pain treatment plan in the beginning, and it should be covered entirely by insurance.

Don’t stay stuck.You really can feel happiness in the midst of chronic pain.

I promise it is worth the hard work. The first step is believing in yourself and that you are worth the work. I believe in you.

Join me in taking my own advice today. Stop the negative thoughts by challenging each one. People say “get out of your head,” but I think we need to “get in our head” to have a happy life no matter the situation or surroundings.

One thing no one can take away from you is your attitude.

Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

Help Support My Mission

Inside My Head Tag

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My dear friend SimpliWendi over at Simply Chronically Ill, I am finally completing your reward tag!  Thank you for the nomination. SimpliWendi lives with multiple chronic illness and faces them bravely.  She encourages others with chronic illnesses to live simply for a better life. Please go check out her blog where you will find honesty, vulnerability, and encouragement.

Rules:

° Thank & tag the person that has tagged you

° Attach the tag photo

° Answer the ‘This or That’ questions

° Tag 10-20 friends

 

Here we go:  a little about me……………..

° How do you feel at the moment?

Very excited.  I have a few hours that I can write without interruption.

 

° What do you need more in my life?

I need more self-confidence.

 

° What would make you happy right now?

To see my three grown sons.  They live over 600 miles away from me.  I miss them so much. They come every Christmas, but the time in between passes so slowly.

 

° What is going on in your life right now?

Very beginning of creating a chronic pain support group locally and online and doing chronic pain advocacy.

 

° What am I most grateful for? List 10 things.

  1. God.
  2. My hubby and sons
  3. The gift of writing and expression.
  4. My life situations because looking back, I am one strong woman because of them.
  5. Laughter.
  6. Medicine that helps my physical pain.
  7. The opportunities that this blog has given me.
  8. People that believe in me.
  9. My fan beside my lazy boy because hot flashes are killer.
  10. Pepsi and coffee

 

° When did you experience joy this week? 

Today, sharing laughter with my hubby.

 

° List a small victory/success?

When I started spiraling down into depression, I pulled myself back up in the same day.  I think the tools I’ve learned are beginning to work for me.  All I know is that it is challenging work to be consistent.

 

° What is bothering me & Why?

Family issues because I always believed that “blood was thicker than water,” but through my struggles, I have found that is not true. It’s a death of the dream of what family meant.

 

° What are my priorities at the moment?

I am learning to take self-care for my chronic pain seriously.  When I am consistent with that, I feel so much better.  It helps me to be able to participate more fully in my life and live in the moment.

 

° What do I love about myself?

I can make people laugh.  I love my excitement. I love my new attitude.

 

° Who means the world to me & why?

There are 4 people that mean the world to me and if they read this, they will know I am talking about them.  One reason: unconditional love.

 

° If I could share one message with the world, what would it be?

(SimpliWendi: I stole your answers!!  They were perfect!)

Be nice………..you have NO IDEA what other people are going through.

Be generous……….there are SO many needs in this world.

 

° What advice would I give my younger self? 

Be smarter with my love and respect myself.

 

° What lesson did I learn this week? 

I have to relearn this every week.  I have to learn to be emotionally flexible.

 

° If I had all the time in the world, what would I do first?

I would have to have qualifiers to answer this question.  I would need to know if I would have my chronic pain or not.
With chronic pain, I would be helping people in some way like I am trying to do with the blog and through writing. I don’t want what I go through every day to be in vain, and I don’t want anyone to stay stuck thinking that their life is over because of chronic pain or chronic illness.
Without chronic pain, I would go back to college and get my psychology degree while working to pay for it. (I miss working and interacting with people in person.) Then, I would do the same thing but with even more knowledge to help others.

 

° What’s draining my energy?

Chronic pain constantly drains every ounce of energy.  It really sucks some days when there is very little energy to do basic tasks.

 

° What does my ideal morning look like?

To wake up without an alarm clock.  The noise is a shock to the body and brain.

 

What makes me come alive?

Spring time in the South makes me come alive.  The suns starts warming the earth and everything comes alive.

 

° What/Who inspires me the most?

All of the people with pain in this world that get up one more day and do it all over again.

 

° Where does my pain originate?

This would have to be a series.

 

° What are my strengths?

I am an intuitive thinking and encourager.

 

° What is something I’ve always wanted but too scared to get?

One of the new Ford Mustangs.  I would probably kill myself in it.

 

° What is something I would love to learn?

Calligraphy.

 

° Where would I want to live my ideal life?

Somewhere with many, many more sunny days than rainy days.

 

Where would you like to travel in the next 5 years?

I would love to have a motor home and travel everywhere it can go.

 

° What can I do to take better care of myself?

Say no without guilt or shame.

 

° What hobbies would I like to try?

Pinterest DIYs

 

° When have I done something that I thought I couldn’t do?

I didn’t think I would ever travel again but in the past year I have been to Denver and Chicago.

 

° At the end of my life, what do I want my legacy to be?

She was a Mary in a Martha world. Luke 10:38-42

 

My nominees not in any particular order: 

Discovering Your Happiness

My Loud Bipolar Whispers

LETITGOCOACH

Pointless Overthinking

FightMSDaily

Can’t wait to hear everyone’s answers but if it is not your thing, that’s ok too.

Much Love and Many Prayers

Cindy

 

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Anti-Inflammatory Diets: Fact or Fad?

I cannot add very much to this post by the Puppy Doc. Great information about a special diet for chronic inflammation. Research on chronic pain and how different food affects the inflammation needs to be a healthcare research priority.

Phoebe, MD: Poetry & Medicine

By Phoebe Chi, MD

Inflammation. Foods that fight inflammation. Anti-inflammatory diets. It has no doubt become a buzzword in the world of nutrition and health these days. But while there’s little question that the food we eat is an important part of staying healthy, some of these diets are being promoted with very big health claims, among them the assertion that they can cure serious diseases. But does the actual science match up to these claims? And should you follow these dietary guidelines? And what exactly do these diets consist of? These are the questions that will be addressed in this post. 

View original post 1,492 more words

Chronic Pain Support Group Training

Whew!  I am starting to catch my breath from the trip to Chicago for the chronic pain support group training last weekend.  I am experiencing more pain than I expected, and it has slowed me down tremendously.

But let me tell you about the training instead!  Pain Connection (a program of US Pain Foundation www.painconnection.org. www.uspainfoundation.org) held the training. Every one attending and the leaders were awesome. We all connected almost immediately.  Many different personalities in the room and different belief systems, but we all came together as one to learn how to help the chronic pain community by starting support groups in our local areas. We also learned things that we can apply to ourselves for self-care like guided imagery and meditation.

We went through so many aspects of chronic pain/chronic illnesses and how to have an effective treatment plan so you can have a good life. I will have plenty of topics to write about and use in a support group setting; too many to name it all here today but I cannot wait to share it all.

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My biggest take away is the Treatment Tree. The Treatment Tree idea and planning can help you to find tools and skills for every aspect of your life: physical, emotional, spiritual, social, career, hobbies, and organization. It recognizes that we have many different ways that chronic pain affects our lives and helps us to find solutions that work every day.

I have never had a doctor that considered all these aspects at one time when deciding different medical treatments for me.  We must be our own advocates. I intend to give the information I have learned to you so we both can take it to our doctors so they can see the big picture. We need more than just a prescription!

I also learned more about our pain being so much more than just in the physical area of an injury. There are so many aspects of our lives that affect our pain, and the brain plays a very large role in ways that I never knew before. As I learn more, I will pass it on.

Chicago was nothing like I have heard about it. I pictured dirty and unfriendly.  We seemed to be in a more industrial area in the north west of Chicago.  It was very clean and everyone we came in contact with was very kind and helpful.  I couldn’t have asked for a better trip.

I love meeting new people and hearing their life stories and this was no different.  It exceeded my expectations and I am so thankful that my hubby and I we both were able to complete the training. 

At the end, we had to pick a stone with a word on it and tell why we chose it.  I chose happiness because I have always chased happiness.  I didn’t say anything profound because being put on the spot like that shuts down my brain.  😁  But I always thought happiness was living without any troubles or sorrows and when I got to that point, I’d be happy. But I have found out that happiness can live amongst the troubles and sorrows. With this knowledge, I became unstuck.

JOY IS BUT THE SIGN THAT CREATIVE EMOTION IS FULFILLING ITS PURPOSE.
– CHARLES DU BOS

That’s what this blog is all about: changing perceptions. Changing the perceptions other people have of people with pain and changing our perceptions of ourselves and our chronic pain journey. 

Knowledge is power.  Go out and get you some!

I am excited!! I am 6 followers from 100.  Help me out!  Follow my blog!

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

Cloud Nine

My head is still in the clouds from the plane ride. I feel completely peaceful tonight. I am exhausted and in major pain but it is worth every wince and groan.

Being validated, knowing someone else “gets it” is empowering. We know we can leave our guard down which makes us more relaxed. And that helps us deal with the pain in our bodies in a more loving way.

I believe support groups or seeing a mental health professional can really help chronic pain patients deal with the constant unrelenting pain and improve their quality of life. It’s all about taking back control, reducing isolation, and keeping your independence.

These past few years you have probably felt like a runaway train recklessly going through the motions to get through the day.  So many people with chronic pain do not have a person that can help support their physical and emotional needs.  A support group can do that.

When you attend a support group you will find others with different pain issues but with almost the exact emotional journeys.

Knowing that others are just like you in that way is validating. Tonight I feel very understood, and I am grateful.

I took a couple of pics with my phone coming in to the airport in Chicago. I am not a professional photographer. It’s just cell phone shots. 😎

This is me. Just happy to be alive and fully partipating in my life!

I hope this helps someone tonight. Maybe you might start a support group of your own. If you would like more information, please contact me directly at validatingchronicpain@gmail.com or through my contact page with the button above in the header.

Please forgive any errors. I am doing this on the fly on my telephone.

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

Dream a Little Dream For Me

I thought I would let every one know how the trip is going and let you inside my neurotic world.

I tried to just sit down and relax at the house after I was finished with packing but to no avail.

Thoughts rolling through my head like fish in a rolling river. They are going too fast to catch. I am trying to slow them down and think with reason.

But the anxiety won and hubby sweetly gave in because he knows I won’t stop obsessing about missing the fight.

So we will be sitting in the airport for about 2 1/2 hours before we board. I really hate anxiety.

Chronic pain with anxiety creates a nightmare of constant planning for what-ifs! If I get focused on something, I cannot let it go.

Anyway, we are patiently waiting for our plane: catching up on emails and reading blogs.

I must give a shout out for American Airlines out of ILM for going out of their way to help disabled passengers.

I witnessed this with other disabled passengers and experienced it myself. Impressed so far.

So, with extra planning I can still fly even being disabled. They will use a wheelchair to get me from gate to gate.

I never dreamed that my life trials would lead me to the places I have gone. I was sure I would ever travel again!

If I can do these things, so can you.

There are many opportunities for advocacy with US Pain Foundation and the people I have worked with have been wonderful.

Don’t give up your dreams!

Your dreams may need to be modified but you can still live an awesome life!!

I’m supposed to be in Chicago around 2pm. Hopefully, enough time to venture out tonight and check the city out.

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

If you can help with travel expenses for the chronic pain support group leader training I am going to this weekend I would be forever grateful.

Help my mission of starting a chronic pain support group.

The Mystery Blogger Award

The-Mystery-Blogger-Award-2A big thank you to Tasha over at Pain Warrior Code for the nomination. Her message is full of hope, especially for our hard days with chronic pain, but her message is universal. Her Pain Warrior Code can be applied to any type of pain whether emotional or physical. She has a passion for encouraging other chronic pain warriors to keep their eye on the prize.

What is Mystery Blogger Award?
“This is an award for amazing bloggers with indigenous posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma

Rules

  • Thank whoever nominated you and include link to their blog
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate 10-20 bloggers you feel deserve the award
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice with one weird or funny one
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

3 Things About Me:

  1. I love to write with pen and paper instead of typing on a keyboard.  There is just something about the flow of ink on the paper. My thoughts are fluid when I write that way.
  2. I know all the words to each song on the orginal Grease soundtrack.
  3. I always have Charms suckers in my pocketbook.  I love them because they have chewing gum in the middle.

I nominate:

Nan – The Depression Free Garden

Positively Alyssa – Fight MS Daily

Simply Wendi – Simply Chronically Ill

and anyone else that wants to participate.

My Answers:

1) What made you want to start blogging?

Honestly, finding out that many chronic pain patients are commiting suicide because their pain is not being treated properly. I needed something I could do from home and blogging made sense to me.

I prayed for years for God to give me a passion for something, something I couldn’t live without doing.  I did not know that he would bring it to fruition through my own struggles with living with chronic pain.    

2) As this award is about blogs that inspire and motivates – do you as a nominee have a mantra, proverb or saying that you live by? 

I have the words “Still I rise.”  tattooed on my inner wrist to remind me I am strong.  I have survived. People think it is from Maya Angelo’s poem but it is inspired from Micah 7:8. The other part of the tattoo is “I am God’s beloved.”  It is a reminder to myself to live loved.

3) If you had to choose one meal that you had to eat everyday for a month (without any health consequences), what would it be?

Hands down, provolone cheeseburger on fresh baked bun with lettuce, mayo & mustard and deep fried french fries. Since you said MEAL, and I consider dessert part of dinner, I would end it with blueberry cheesecake.  

4) What is your favourite hobby/pass time?

Anybody that knows me would probably say talking, so I’ll go with that one.  

5) What’s the best / worst practical joke that you’ve played on someone or that was played on you?

I usually give myself away very quickly when I have played a practical joke. I am not very good at them because of that, so I do not have any vivid memories of any jokes I played on anyone.  

My Questions for Nominees:

  1. What’s the most surprising self-realization you’ve had?
  2. How do you hope you will change as a person in the future?
  3. What is the most annoying question that people ask you (if you have a chronic illness/pain, what is the most annoying question that people ask you about your illness/pain)?
  4. What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of and why?
  5. What’s the best thing that happened to you last week?

This was fun!  I can’t wait to hear everyone’s answers. Tasha, sorry this took me so long!

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

 

Good Medicine

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I wanted to check in with everyone. I was missing in action most of May, but it wasn’t on purpose. Mostly, physical issues prevented me from doing all the things I wanted to get accomplished. My migraines are always worse in the Spring and the Fall times of the year. We’ve also had a lot of rain on the east coast of North Carolina. That has contributed to more pain from my back and legs.

But today I feel fantastic. All my meds are working well, and there is sweet sunshine today to encourage me further!

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I did my stretches outside this morning in my backyard. We have a neighborhood pond close to us, and I am very thankful for the view. It is very relaxing early in the morning or late in the evening. Here in the south we already have crazy heat indexes. It’s no fun to be in the miserable heat in the middle of the day.

But I have something else that has been keeping me busy. I am trying to start a support group in my area and online. I am flying to Chicago for a chronic pain support group training. I am so excited and scared! Hubby is going with me to help so I know I will be okay with his help.

I will be learning about how to start a support group specifically for chronic pain warriors to help each of us to not just muddle through life but to continue to get up each morning and find hope and a purpose.

That is coming up in the next couple of weeks so preparing for that and then recovering when I get home will take some time. I plan to blog some repeats for those that are just jumping on board.

Chronic pain has created some very rough times in my life, but it has created opportunities for me to grow stronger as a person in ways that I never dreamed I would be doing.

I am only taking my unplanned life circumstances and turning them into opportunities to help other people. And I think that is the best medicine in the world!

What’s your perspective on these thoughts?

Much love and many prayers,
Cindy

Photo Credit: Cindy @ChronicPainWithAHigherPerspective

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