I’m number 44!

award

I received a message from Feedbot, that they named Picnic with Ants one of the top 100 chronic illness blogs.

You can see all of the blogs and websites who are honored to be listed in the top 100 here. 

This is the introduction from Feedbot explaining their ranking criteria:

“Chronic Illness Blogs List

chronic illness is a human health condition or disease that is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects or a disease that comes with time. The term chronicis often applied when the course of the disease lasts for more than three months.

These are the Best Chronic Illness blogs from thousands of top Chronic Illness blogs in our index using search and social metrics. Data will be refreshed once a week.

These blogs are ranked based on following criteria

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts.
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review”

 

There are some great blogs listed, so be sure to check the 100 Best Chronic Illness Blogs according to Feedbot.

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Panxiety

Today I’d like to introduce Lorraine of My Frilly Freudian Slip.  Lorraine is a good friend of mine and the author of beautiful poetry and prose.  You will find her writings at myfrillyfreudianslip.wordpress.com.

Lorraine is fighting Bipolar I and severe anxiety.  They can’t find medications that work for her.  Following you will read a first hand account of what it is like to live with “Panxiety”.

IMG_20160912_145828115 - Copy

photo by Lorraine of My Frilly Freudian Slip

“Pounding heart. Constricted throat. Knotted stomach. Dread washes over me. A panxiety attack.

Coming, unbidden, from some where inside my mind; spilling into my consciousness and flooding my body with anxiousness.

Breathe in through nose to count of ten, fill lungs, feel belly lift. Hold. Breath out slowly to ten.

Drift – visualize place of calm. Walking on beach, tide tickling toes. Finding beach treasures: sea glass, sand dollar. Smell sea tang. Feel breeze against skin.

But the panxiety is stronger – can’t focus; can’t concentrate. Pace. Half finished tasks lay scattered around the house – stopped in mid-flow. Forgotten. Pace.

Distract. Words on page, coloured pencil on paper. But, hands and mind shake.”

Daily, I deal with panxiety – a panicky anxiety attack – lasting minutes or hours. Sometimes the dread follows, flows all day. Few solutions to the foreboding; apprehension. Becomes so hard to concentrate that writing, my usual distraction from mental and physical pain, is almost impossible. I lose words; sentences fly off into the ether.

There are times I can force myself to lay still. To tell myself one of my “head stories.” Perhaps to drift off to sleep for awhile. This doesn’t mean I stay under long, nor that I wake calm. But when I can “nap,” my emotional and physical self gets a break from the relentless panxiety.

I have to confess turning to medication more than meditation when the attacks are furious and frequent. Always haunted by anxiety, these spells have increased in number and severity. Linked to a series of traumas, mental collapse and going untreated for several years afterwards.

I am on the bipolar 2 spectrum with chronic depression, rapid cycling, and bouts of hypo-mania manifesting in over indulgence and obsession. My bipolar isn’t responding well to medication; I am mostly teetering on the edge of instability, often falling all the way in.

Depression is my background music. Even when the volume is turned up, I can become agitated and anxious. As my depression can not be treated with anti-depressants (they don’t work), it is hard to level my mood. These swings are often accompanied by panxiety.

My anxiety has never been fully addressed. The medication I am given is not in a sufficient dose to stop the attack completely. And, I take nothing that addresses it on a daily, 24 hours basis. I seek to gain control of these attacks by other means than Ativan or Klonopin. However, often panxiety, like depression, wins. Doesn’t mean I stop fighting – I just have to do battle harder and stronger the next time.

Seeing a therapist has given me an outlet; a safe space to talk about how I feel. A person who helps me explore my mental health issues including honouring and acknowledging the traumas underlying the escalation in my panxiety attacks. Therapy can be the life-line that grounds me while I do battle. A reprieve to polish my armour.

Lorraine  myfrillyfreudianslip.wordpress.com

#HAWMC Day 15 – Favorite Health Advocate

Today is Day 15 of #HAWMC (WEGO’s Health Activist Writers Monthly Challenge).  The prompt today is:

Time to spread the love.
Shout out all your favorite Health Advocates!
Make sure to share a few sentences explaining just how grateful you are for them.

your-voice

image source click here

Listing all of my favorite Health Advocates would take up a book.  There is no way I can give a shout out to all of them in this tiny amount of space.  When I first read this prompt I thought it read that I was to give a shout out to my favorite health advocate, and I thought that was impossible, but I thought of a way to do it, kind of.  Listing all, really is impossible.  Please see my post from Friday, Friday Follow, for a list of many of my favorites; there are still more, but that will give you a good start.  Today I’ll just list a three blogs I’ve been following the longest that I feel are still doing an exceptional job.

Denise is an advocate for Meniere’s Disease, hearing loss and service dogs.  She tells her story with wit and flare in a weekly post on her blog Hearing Elmo.  There you will hear about her life with Meniere’s Disease, working and studying in academia, her family, life with a service dog, and her Faith. I’m proud to call her friend.

Madelyn writes at ADD…and so much more, as you can tell by the title she is an advocate for ADD…and so much more!  Madelyn’s blog is a place for her to “let you know about new ADD opportunities and to post all kinds of seemingly disconnected content.” This blog is intended to help: anyone with an Executive Functioning Disorder.  I don’t have ADD and I get so much from her blog.  She is an ADD coach, has won a number of awards, and I think she’s just the bomb.

Kara from Polishing Dookie does an exceptional job making people feel comfortable with her illnesses with a sense of humor and intelligence that keeps you reading.  Her tag line “Making the most of the sh*t I’ve got left” shows her sense of humor about her IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease).  Kara takes you on a ride that is her life, and you will be happy to join her.

If you’d like to read more posts from today please search for #HAWMC and check out WEGO’s Facebook page.  Don’t forget to Like Picnic With Ant’s Facebook Page too.  🙂

If you would like to share your story on Picnic with Ants, contact me through the contact form on my About Me – Contact Me Page.

#HAWMC Day 11 – Friday Follow!

Today is Day 11 of #HAWMC (WEGO’s Health Activist Writers Monthly Challenge).  The prompt today is:

Friday follow! Create a must follow list for your
community:
• Top 10 Tweeters
• Top 10 blogs
• Top 10 Facebook pages

follow-friday

image source click here

There are so many amazing people, it is hard for me to pick just a few to pass on to you, but I’ll give it a try.  If I don’t mention someone it doesn’t mean that I don’t think you are great!!  It just means I ran out of room.

Tweeters worth reading their tweets on Twitter.

  1. @HearingHealthM (Timely information and lively insights for everyone who cares about hearing loss)
  2. @HurtBlogger (#Rheum advocate, #ChronicLife Founder…great chronic illness advocate)
  3. @dizzysupport (a community to inform and support people who suffer from dizziness, imbalance, vertigo, & vestibular health problems…)
  4. @911well (Mindfulness Wellness – Start your day with something positive…)
  5. @HeadacheHeroine (Spoonie: All types of headaches, narcolepsy. food allergies, (oh my!)
  6. @myselfandhealth (REAL TALK about HAPPINESS & MENTAL HEALTH).
  7. @MySpinningHead (Meniere’s Sucks Raising awareness of Meniere’s Disease by ranting about how much it sucks)
  8. @MenieresTeam (Bringing hope, inspiration and information to Meniere’s patients.)
  9. @sharieberts(Hearing Health Advocate)
  10. @justagoodlife (Patient Empowerer +…)

Blogs I just can’t get enough of…

  1. Hearing Elmo (hearigelmo.com) “Living with Hearing Loss and Invisible Disability”
  2. ADD…and so much more. (addandsomuchmore.com) “You can’t let what you can’t do determmine what you CAN!”
  3. Bipolar Barbie-Q (bipolarbarbieq.wordpress.com) “I was just getting seasick from seeing too much”
  4. Polishing Dookie (polishingdookie.wordpress.com) “Making the best of the sh*t I’ve got.”
  5. Behind the White Coat (doctorly.wordpress.com/) “Beats a real human heart”
  6. The Manic Years (themanicyears.com) “The world through the eyes of a bipolar mind…”
  7. My Frilly Freudian Slip (myfrillyfreudianslip.wordpress.com) “CREATIVE : ) : BIPOLAR ESCAPADES : ][: “
  8. Life of MON (lifeofmon.wordpress.com) “I Life Hard”
  9. The Mesh Warrior (themeshwarrior.wordpress.com) “The pen is mightier than the scalpel”
  10. All Things Chronic (painkills2.wordpress.com)

Facebook Pages worth a Look and a Like

  1. Transform Your Chronic Life
  2. Chronic Illness Cat
  3. Mental Health and Invisible Illness Resources
  4. Patients Like Me
  5. VEDA Vestibular Disorders Association
  6. Meniere’s Resources
  7. Chronic Illness Bloggers
  8. Putting Our Heads Together
  9. Migraine and Chronic Pain Art
  10. Living with Invisible Illness

I hope you enjoy these links.  If you have a link you’d like to share please leave it in the comments.  I enjoy finding new sources of information.

If you’d like to read more posts from today please search for #HAWMC and check out WEGO’s Facebook page.  Don’t forget to Like Picnic With Ant’s Facebook Page too.  🙂

If you would like to share your story on Picnic with Ants, contact me through the contact form on my About Me – Contact Me Page.

#HAWMC Day 7 – Starting Advocacy

Today is Day 7 of #HAWMC (WEGO’s Health Activist Writers Monthly Challenge).  The prompt today is:

Was starting your advocacy journey a hard decision? Were you anxious and hesitant or were you excited and ready to share your story? Tell us how you chose to start advocating for your condition.

caring-hands

The start of my advocacy journey for Meniere’s Disease and other chronic illnesses is kind of a long story.  First I found out I am allergic to wheat and suspected to have celiac disease.  Here, let me ‘splain….I had been generally sick for a long time when I found out I’m allergic to wheat, so I stopped eating wheat.  I started to feel a whole lot better, but I was still getting sick sporadically, so I decided to stop eating gluten.  My doctor then suspected that I may have celiac disease.  I was given the blood test but tested negative, I was given it again and tested positive.  This provided no definitive results, so I would need a biopsy from my small intestines.  However, the only way for this test to work was for me to start eating gluten again for a month or two.  I asked what the treatment was if I was found to have celiac disease and it was a gluten free diet.  Well I was already eating that way, so I decided to just keep on a gluten free diet instead of having the test.  Maybe I’ll have it one day, but probably not.  The doctors are pretty sure I have it due to the last blood test, I don’t really care, I know I can’t eat gluten.

This was before there was a lot of knowledge about a gluten free life style and celiac disease, so I became an advocate.  I started a blog and worked hard to bring awareness.  I worked with local groups.  I was a taste tester for Whole Foods Gluten Free Bake House.  It was an exciting time for me, I felt like I was making a difference.  Then my Meniere’s Disease got so much worse.

When the Meniere’s Disease went bilateral, meaning I suddenly had it in both ears instead of one, I had to rethink my life.  (if you don’t know about Meniere’s Disease, and you’d like to, please see Meniere’s Disease-My Story at the top of the page.)  Once I saw my new doctor at Duke Medical Center I had renewed hope (more than I should have really).  I was going to focus on getting healthier.  I wanted to increase my exercise and start eating even healthier.  I decided to stop writing my gluten free blog and start a blog all about me getting as healthy as possible with Meniere’s Disease and (suspected) celiac disease.  This blog was called 365 Days to a Healthier Me.

I soon discovered I was not going to be able to focus as much on getting healthier as I was on simply getting through the day.  The vertigo was happening almost daily and I was losing my hearing rapidly.  I decided to start writing about my experiences with Meniere’s Disease (I stopped writing about a gluten free lifestyle by then) and this naturally morphed into advocacy.  I found others were out there who were struggling as I was and needed some support.  Soon I started talking about other illnesses I struggle with on a daily basis, such as chronic migraines and bipolar disorder.  I have found that people with chronic illnesses need a voice.   I hope I can add a little voice to a lot of other voices.

After the loss of my hearing and with continued struggles with vertigo I haven’t been able to advocate in person, but I continue to try to keep up the good fight via the internet.  Sometimes I’m not able to do as much as I’d like due to my illnesses, but I’ll keep trying.  That’s all we can do.  Keep trying.

If you’d like to read more posts from today please search for #HAWMC and check out WEGO’s Facebook page.  and don’t forget to check out Picnic With Ant’s Facebook Page too.  🙂

If you would like to share your story on Picnic with Ants, contact me through the contact form on my About Me – Contact Me Page.

*All images on this site and the creation of Wendy Holcombe unless otherwise noted.

#HAWMC Day 5 – What’s your favorite platform to get your voice heard?

Today is Day 5 of #HAWMC (WEGO’s Health Activist Writers Monthly Challenge).  The prompt today is:

Are you all about 180 characters or less? Do you enjoy shooting the perfect photo? Or perhaps love sharing posts on Facebook.What’s your favorite platform to get your voice heard and why?

Okay, I’m going to admit this is going to be a very short post for me.  My favorite platform to get my voice heard is my blog.  Here I can write it in 180 characters, but I don’t have to.  I can use as many characters as I like.  I can add a photo if I want, but I don’t have to.  I’m free to share my opinions along with facts.  Of course, I always tell if it is my opinion and not a fact.  (that doesn’t mean my opinions aren’t fact, often they are…so there.)  My blog is my preferred method to reach people.

I do have a Facebook Page that is relatively new.  I post a few more things on my Facebook Page than I do on my blog, but they aren’t detailed.  I’m starting to learn more about Twitter, but I admit I get a little lost on there.  I do attend some patient advocate chats on Twitter, they are very informative and supportive.  So you may see me on Twitter more often.  🙂

I don’t think I’ll ever be on Instagram or any place where I’m supposed to post photos, I’m simply not comfortable snapping photos all the time, especially of me.  And I must admit…. hubby would make fun of me.

It’s not all about what I post on my blog or Facebook Page and Twitter accounts, it’s also about the places I visit.  The blogs I support,  the Facebook Pages I Like, the Facebook Groups I Follow, the Twitter accounts I follow…these are the places I show my support.  These are some of the places that hear my voice.  Look in your comment section, you just might see me there.

If you’d like to read more posts from today please check out WEGO’s Facebook page.  and don’t forget to check out Picnic With Ant’s Facebook Page too.  🙂  and you can find me on Twitter too.

*I accidentally hit publish on this post on November 4th, however, I should only have hit Save.  I hope everyone saw the completed post.

 

#HAWMC Day 2 – Blogging Process

Today is day 2 in the #HAWMC.  (Health Activist Writers Month Challenge)  If you’d like to read more blog posts about this please check out WEGO’s Facebook Page.  And don’t forget to Like my Facebook Page – Picnic With Ants.

wego-day-2

My blogging process is a bit different as I change it up a bit.  For some posts I just shoot from the hip; I write what comes to mind and hit Publish before I change my mind.  🙂  Other posts I do a lot of research so it takes time to develop those post, they can take days to write.  Still others I write in advance.  I know I am going to post them so I get them ready ahead of time and schedule them to come out.

I do try to edit my posts, unless I do a stream of conscious post, even though it may not seem like it sometimes.  Isn’t it funny how you can read the same thing over and over and it looks just right until after you hit Publish then you notice it has a lot of errors?  Really, I did read it over for errors, really I did!

Trying to decide what to blog about is the hardest thing for me.  I will sometimes come up with some great ideas and I get very excited to write.  Other times I’m stuck.  I have no idea what to write about.  I don’t want to always write about me and the newest things that may be going on with me and my illnesses, especially if nothing has changed in a while.  Having a chronic illness can mean that things just stay, well, chronic.  They may not progress at all.  Things are just the same.  It can be a challenge to come up with new topics to write about when you feel things are just the same.

I read a lot of blogs and I feel a lot are either all down in the dumps, or they are all sunshine and rainbows.  I want my blog to be somewhere in the middle.  I want people to come here and know that having an illness doesn’t mean you have to be sad about it all the time, but you also don’t have to be positive all the time.  Here is someplace in the middle.

Don’t get me wrong, here you will find the down and dirtiness of being ill, and you will also find good days and thoughts that may help you along the way.

Oh, I’m moving away from my process.  Well sometimes my process is to just sit back and talk to my readers, like I am right now.  You are, after all, who I write this blog for.  Well you and me.  🙂

It seems my blogging process is rather eclectic.