Am I getting worse?


For the past year  I have been much less symptomatic than I have in years (not counting my trials with my medication side effects).  I was certain that I was prepared if this came to an end.  I’m not.  Right now, I’m scared.  I don’t want to end up like I was a couple of years ago, or what I was like from 2008 – 2016.  I’m trying hard to be okay with my life no matter what.  I got to the point that I was okay when I was sicker, but it’s so much easier when I’m not.

Before you think that all of this is because of the stress of us possibly moving to Tucson and worrying about our family, my increased symptoms started before my mother-in-law’s accident; I’m not saying stress doesn’t make my symptoms worse, but it didn’t cause it.  Although, it may be contributing now.

About 3 or 4 months ago I started having some new gastrointestinal symptoms.  I’m having excessive and extreme belching, the feeling that there is something stuck in my chest, and alternating constipation and diarrhea. Oh, and we can’t forget the excessive smelly flatulence, I really wish we could forget that, and I’m very sure Stuart wishes he wasn’t subjected to it.  I’ve been put on acid reflux medication, something I was finally able to get off of early last year.  I tried 3 different kinds of reflux medication and I’m still having symptoms, they are reduced, but they aren’t gone by a long shot.  I had an endoscopy on Tuesday, and it showed…..nothing.  A little redness, but that’s it.  She did take some biopsies but it’s not expected to show anything.  I’m kinda hoping it does.  Nothing serious, but something that can be treated and I can get off this medicine, that isn’t taking care of things anyway.  A few years ago, I was very sick with gastrointestinal issues and after over a year of testing it was found that I have fructose malabsorption.  (I already knew that I was allergic to wheat and I won’t even get into my experience with gluten)  All I could think yesterday when I heard they found nothing, was oh no, another year of testing, and possibly finding nothing.  Since I’m not throwing up, losing weight unexpectedly, or passing blood; this really isn’t a high priority to doctors.  I’m already on a low FODMAP diet and I don’t really want to make another major change to my diet, but I’m guessing that may be what’s going to happen.  Damnit!

With the crazy weather we’ve had this winter my migraines have gone out of control!  They were a bit better, but recently I’m having migraines every day.  It’s driving me crazy.  The pain goes from a 5 to a 9, sometimes all in the same day.  I’m only supposed to take medication 10 days a month, as of the 12th I’d already taken medication 8 days this month.  Crap, crap, crap!  They say to take migraine meds at the first sign of a migraine, if I did that, I’d be out of meds in 10 days, instead I wait until it either gets to a 7, or it’s been non-stop for a few days.  That really sucks.  I will be taking meds a few more days this month.  I’m going to start a DHE regimen to see if I can break this cycle.  That’s means getting a shot 3 times a day for 3 days.  My butt is going to be so sore, and these shots hurt, but hopefully I’ll feel better next week.  DHE is not a preventative, but it does a good job at stopping a migraine, and it often works on cluster headaches too.  Doing the 3 day regimen is to break the cycle, not to prevent new attacks.

I do start Botox next month.  I tried it a few years ago and it helped for a while, but it stopped working.  We are hoping I have a better response to it now.  My doctor is willing to prescribe the new GammaCore, but insurance won’t cover it and it’s really, really expensive!  Hopefully they’ll cover it in the future.  It’s shown to help with both cluster headaches and acute migraines.  It doesn’t prevent migraines, but it can stop them, and since it’s not a medication I wouldn’t be limited to the 10 – 15 uses a month.  There is also 2 new medications coming out later this year for migraine prevention.  I hope insurance companies will cover them as soon as they come out, a new migraine prevention medication is desperately needed.

I’ve also been much more dizzy.  My balance is worse recently, and the world often spins when I move my head too fast.  Last night I kept having vertigo every time I looked up.  Just moving my eyes to look up made me spin.  That was new, and I hope it never happens again.  I think this increased vertigo is migraine related, but I can’t be sure.

Today I had a confrontation with someone and I didn’t handle it as well as I’d have liked.  It left me shaky and full of anxiety.  When I tried to explain it all to Stuart I got so upset I started to seize.  I haven’t had a seizure in a very long time, luckily this was very minor, but it scared me.  I am happy to say that I calmed myself during this by deep breathing and chanting with Stuart.  Sometimes this mindfulness thing really works.  🙂

Now if I can just take each day as it comes and not worry so much.  My worrying isn’t going to make it better.  I think it’s time to get serious about my meditation practice.


Anyone out there go from feeling better to feeling worse again?  How did you handle it?

How do you deal with it when you know something is wrong, but the tests come back normal?

Anyone trying or planning on trying the GammaCore?

How are you guys doing?  Any news?  I haven’t been able to read many blogs lately, or be on social media at all, so many things going on.  But I want to keep up with all of you, so please, how are you?




Life, it changes in an instant


My husband’s stepmother (M) was on her way to a basketball game when she tripped and fell face first on cement.  In that instant, our lives changed forever, we just didn’t know it yet.

After the accident the only real damage evident was the loss of all her front teeth.  She was recovering and was going to be fitted with a bridge, but during her follow-up with her physician to discuss other symptoms she was having, they found that she had dangerously low sodium.   Low sodium can cause swelling, for the most part that’s not dangerous, but “when the cells of the brain swell, it’s much more detrimental.  Because the brain cells are so tightly confined by the skull bones, even a small amount of swelling can be dangerous.  This is particularly dangerous when sodium levels drop rapidly, causing brain cells to swell rapidly, Without immediate medical treatment, this rapid swelling could lead to coma and death.” (1)   M was quickly admitted to the hospital, however, she was nearly comatose before they could lower her sodium levels.

The severe drop in sodium caused havoc with her body, we knew she would require physical rehabilitation.  However, when her sodium levels returned to normal, it was obvious there was something still wrong.

M was having severe issues with her memory.  She could read, but she couldn’t comprehend what she was reading.  There was further testing, and it was found that she had a tiny subdural hematoma.  (later is was determined that the hematoma was worse than initially thought)  There was also talk of Alzheimer’s, as this runs in her family.  (from what I understand she was having minor memory issues before the accident)

Soon it became apparent that M would need long term care.  She is not expected to make a full recovery.  She will be entering a long term care facility in less then 6 weeks, and her children plan to sell her house in 6 months.  I’m not sure if they are selling it because the may need funds, because she is not expected to ever come home, or because it would not be a safe place if she ever did come home because as it is a split level and she has to be very careful not to fall, or a combination of the 3.  She also has osteoporosis and they’ve warned if she breaks a hip or something, they can’t do anything for it and most people often die from it.  (no, her children are not kicking dad out, this was decided by all involved)

M is one of the most logical people I know.  She was a computer programmer for years.  That’s pretty amazing since she is in her late 70’s and computers have come a long way in the last few decades.  She took out a long-term care policy years ago, knowing that Alzheimer’s runs in her family; she wanted to make sure things were taken care of if she also got it later, I wish Stuart had been able to get a policy like that, the insurance will cover all of the cost of the facility, and it’s expensive.  I never dreamed that a good assisted living facility would cost $6000 a month.  From what I understand, this place is just wonderful.  They even have dog and horse therapy.

Stuart’s father (Dad) and M got married about 7 years ago, about 7 years after Stuart’s mother passed away.  (I’m really not sure about the exact time in there)  He moved in with her and they have been living in her house.  This is a major life change not only for M, but also for “dad”.  “Dad” does own 3 houses of his own, but someone is living in 1 with the option to buy, 1 is too far out of town for him to travel to the facility M will be in, and the last one needs some repair.  He plans to sell the last one within the next year.  So “dad” has to find a new place to live.

We’ve been discussing quite a bit recently, before the accident, about where we’d like to make our forever home, where we’d like to eventually retire.  (well, when Stuart retires, I haven’t been able to work in years)  After hearing this news about M, we’ve decided to actively pursue moving to Tucson, AZ.  We have family and friends there, it’s warm there year round, and housing is less expensive.  We’ve discussed this briefly with dad and it sounds as if he would really like us closer.  We plan look for a house that has some kind of room for a guest to live-in; a guest house or little apartment would be ideal; that way dad can live with use without feeling like he is intruding on our marriage.  I’ve looked up doctors and I’m please with the possibilites.  I even found a group that supports adults with hearing loss.  Now, Stuart just has to find a job.

This is a major life change for everyone in our family.

It’s a lot to process.


In a moment, everything can change….drastically.

A Weekend Getaway

Tuesday was my husband’s 50th birthday, and as I write this he is sitting on the floor putting together a Lego helicopter, he is so cool.


Kiki thought she would help.

Early last week I realized that this was his 50th birthday!  Oh my goodness!  I hadn’t planned anything really.  Yes, I got him the Legos, and I planned to make him dinner, but that wasn’t enough for this milestone.  I was determined to do something special.  I was on a mission.

This mission was impeded by the fact that I can’t talk on the phone or drive.  Hmm, so what could I do?   What did I do?

First I decided I wanted to take him away, not far, just away from our house.  I wanted to spoil him, so I started looking for a hotel that also provided massages.  First I did a lot of looking on line and I even did a live chat with one representative, but the chat suddenly stopped, the hotel had to be called.  What to do?  At this point I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to follow through on my desire to spoil my husband.  Ah, but I have a friend who I chat with via Messenger almost every day, I asked if by chance she had the time to call the hotel for me, and she did!  She called and stayed on Messenger with me so she could ask me questions.  It worked out great!  It was obvious from the start that the staff at this hotel were incredible, not only was the girl at the front desk helpful, she actually went out of her way and went to the restaurant kitchen to see if they could accommodate my food requirements.  She was not asked to do this, my friend only asked if there was a gluten free menu available, she took it upon herself to try to make sure we would enjoy our stay.  She helped us book a Spa Indulgence weekend.  The girl at the spa was also amazing.  She helped us set up massages for both me and Stuart at the same time.  I wanted a special type of massage, Lomi Lomi, and she made sure I could get it.  (there is only one massage therapist who does this type of massage)  Again, my friend was amazed by how helpful these women were.  It was a very good experience.


from inside our hotel

I also wanted to take us a little picnic, that way if we had the munchies during the night,  we didn’t have to go forage for food (or spend outrageous amounts on room-service).  Really, I just thought it would be romantic.  Again, an obstacle was in the way, I can’t drive.  How would I get the food for the picnic without Stuart’s help?  I didn’t feel comfortable asking my neighbor to take me to the grocery store, so I decided to look into having some groceries delivered.  I had a little difficulty because the first place I tried to order from had to call to get payment information.  I couldn’t give them my credit card information over the phone, since I can’t talk on the phone.  Bummer.  Of course, I didn’t find this out until AFTER I had done all my shopping.  pfft.  So I found another store that offered delivery and was able to place my order and have it delivered while Stuart was at work.  I did have to tell him we were going away for the weekend, but the picnic was a surprise.

I also got our pet sitter set up.  That was another issue I had to sort out.  Our normal pet sitter was going out of town, but she offered to take Kiki with her.  I know that my dog hates to ride in the car, she gets car sick…poor puppy.  So I called Kiki’s trainer (he helped her feel better about people coming in our house, it still bothers her, but she is much better about it)  He said he could take her for the weekend and I thought that would be the answer, until I found out how far it is to his place.  Kiki’s normal sitter’s trip would mean an hour or so in the car, if she stayed at her trainer’s it would have been a 45 min ride.  Hmmm.  Kiki went on a little trip with her normal sitter.  It all worked out, but it was an ordeal.  And I handled it all through texts, without help from Stuart.

Getting ready for this getaway took a lot out of me, but I’m proud that I was able to do all of these things without Stuart’s help.  He does so much for me, doing this for him meant the world to me.  He was pretty happy with it too.  I’m not even sure if he was happier about the trip, or the fact that I spread my wings and found ways to be a little more independent.

While planning this trip I was so worried that we’d get there and I’d start to feel bad and would ruin everything.  Of course, Stuart wouldn’t have thought it was ruined, but I would have.  It would have broken my heart.  As it turned out, I didn’t sleep well on Friday night and Saturday was a bit of a challenge for me.  I was very dizzy all day and simply felt, bad.  Truthfully, I wanted to stay in bed and sleep all day, instead I got up, had a good breakfast with my husband, and went to the fitness center and did all of my PT exercises.  I was hoping exercising would make me feel better, it didn’t.  We had talked about doing something on Saturday, either before or after our massages, which were scheduled for 2pm, that didn’t happen.  We just vegged and spent time together.  Then we had our Spa Experience.  oh my goodness….


all ready for my massage

When we arrived at the spa we were taken to the dressing rooms and were given plush robes and slippers to wear.  We were given fruit scented water to drink as we waited.  It was so relaxing, I’m relaxing right now just thinking about it.  We were then taken to a darkened room and were given most delectable massages.  It was a dream.  Afterward, we were again given water in wine glasses and settled in to rest a bit before leaving.  There were also snacks and tea available if we desired.  There were these fabulous lotions there and I actually found one that I like.  Most things have way too much of a scent for me, almost everything I have is either unscented or has a lemon scent, this lotion smells like Fresh Melon.  Stuart loves it, and it doesn’t make me wheeze or give me a migraine…score!


On both nights we had dinner at the restaurant in the hotel.  The first night we had steaks, they were delicious.  I felt that the vegetables had too much oil on them, but they were still tasty.  The second night we both had fish, it wasn’t as good as the steaks, and again I felt like the vegetables had too much oil.  They were both good meals, they just didn’t seem to be on the same caliber as the rest of the hotel.  Except for desert, I had chocolate crème brûlée, it was divine.  I saved some and had it on both nights.  Stuart had a salted caramel cheese cake, it was go good.  A bit too sweet for me, but very good.  Really the crème brûlée was a bit too sweet for me too, but it was oh so good.

There’s more to tell about this trip….but I might keep that to myself.  😉

This week I’ve paid the price for my excursion, but it was worth the pain and the dizzies.  Stuart is worth it.  It was nice to take care of my caregiver.

Sometimes, it’s just worth it.


Have you accomplished something that you didn’t think you could?

Do you sometimes think “it’s worth it”, when you know you are doing something that may deplete all your reserves and have you flaring for days?




yeah, I didn’t get that done…

You may recall my post back in December where I talked about my fear of gaining weight.  I felt like I was handling that better, and things were going well.  I was trying to focus on nutrition and not on weight.  I have been trying to eat more mindfully, more intentionally (appreciating the food, accepting it’s nourishment, paying attention to my hunger cues….)

I say try on all of these because I haven’t been doing a very good job recently.

I promised I’d write a post about mindful eating last week, and well….. yeah, I didn’t get that done.  I started getting very obsessed with food this week.

The fight with food is strong in this one (ha, I sound like Obi Wan..or Yoda).

I was doing well when the scale was staying the same, and even went down a little.  Yes I still want to lose that last 10 pounds.  I think I’m more anxious about my weight because  I still have not gotten to the weight I want to be at, if I can get there I think I can keep it off, but why will these last few pounds not go away?  yeah, I know there’s more to it than that, but it’s very hard to voice what I’m feeling.

I know it’s not healthy to be so obsessed with my weight, but I also feel like if I’m not very diligent I will end up back where I was.  I really don’t want that.  I feel better about myself now (no, really I do!!).  I’m more confident when I meet people.  I have more stamina…..  I know how bad I feel when I’m bigger, both physically and mentally, and this is better.  Even though I’m obsessing about weight gain, it’s better than beating myself up over being fat all the time.  Hiding my body, not wanting to wear clothes that show skin, not wanting to be intimate, avoiding looking at myself in the mirror, cringing when I’d catch sight of myself in a store window…these are not healthy things.  My fear of gaining weight is part of that.  I don’t want to feel so out of control any more.

I am seeing a therapist about this.  After a friend shared that she had been seeing a therapist through an online counseling site, and she had a very positive experience.  With all the barriers I have trying to go to see a therapist face to face, I decided to give it a try.  I’m so glad I did.

I’ve been “seeing” my new therapist for a couple of weeks now, and by golly this woman has earned her money!  I was not in a good frame of mind this past week.  Food issues, anger, racing thoughts, insomnia…..mania.  Yep, I had a manic swing.  It wasn’t as strong as it has been, and I’m pretty proud of how I handled things, but it I was not my normal self.  I’m sure my new therapist didn’t think I was handling things very well when I bombarded her with emails for 2 days, but I just had a live chat session with her and it’s all good.   (by bombarding her, I mean that I wrote her 5 emails within about 3 hours, all of which were looooong.  If she weren’t my therapist I’d be embarrassed.  Okay, I’m still embarrassed)

I’m going to close for now.  I just wanted you all to know that, I’m not dead, I will eventually write a post about eating mindfully, and I am seeing someone about these issues of mine.


Have you ever thought about online counseling?

Would you try it, or not?  why?

I’ll share more of my experience soon…, really, I promise I will.



Some things are hard to talk about. Pocrescophobia

I’ve been struggling with something for a while and I’m not actually sure I feel comfortable talking about it, but there may be someone else out there struggling with the same thing who needs to know they aren’t alone.   I have an intense fear of gaining weight.

*****this post talks about eating disorders, this may be a trigger for some of you, please take care of yourself and read (or not) accordingly*********

As many of you may know, I lost 45 pounds in 2017.  This is something I have been trying to do for a long time.  I gained a lot of weight when I first got sick, on top of losing my independence, suddenly my body no longer felt like mine.  I weighed 225 pounds at my heaviest, and I didn’t recognize myself.  (I’m barely 5’5″ tall)  A few years ago I found out that I have Fructose Malabsorption and went on the appropriate diet to help with that, and at that time I lost 45 pounds, and kept it off.  However, I was not happy with my weight.  I was still overweight and it ate at my self esteem.  I tried and tried to lose weight over the last few years, but it just didn’t come off.  I had my yearly physical last year on December 30th, and at that time I weighed 182 pounds.  I was determined to lose weight, but I really wasn’t sure I could do it, and I was ashamed that I hadn’t been able to do it before.  Then I was put on a medication for my migraines that reduced my appetite.  Suddenly I was able eat much less and not feel hungry.  (Normally I feel hungry often.)  I lost weight, it came off slowly, but it steadily came off.  By the time I had my yearly physical last month I weighed 140 pounds.  (140 lbs at the doctor’s office, at home I weighed 135lbs)  The medication stopped curbing my appetite, now I’m fighting hard not to gain all that weight back.  I was able to bake for the holidays this year for the first time in many years, but I didn’t just bake, I ate, and I have been terrified that I’m going to gain….and gain…and gain, yet I can’t seem to stop eating.  I’ve gained about 5 pounds.  I know how quickly those 5 pounds could turn into 80+ pounds, and I’m desperate to not let that happen.  So many people will say that 5 pounds is nothing when you gain weight, they tell you not to worry about it, it’s really not that much, but those same people will tell you how great it is when you lose 5 pounds, how that’s a lot of weight to loose….  How can both of these be true?

When I lost the weight this year I found myself in love with my body for the first time since I can remember, if I ever felt that way at all.  I accepted that this body was not as I wished it would be.  Let’s face it, a 54 year old’s skin doesn’t really shrink back when you lose weight, but I was happy with what I saw, I loved all of me, saggy skin, cellulite, and all.  However, even though I felt that way, I was still terrified of gaining the weight back.  At one point, I went to the grocery store and started to buy some gluten free flat bread to make a pizza with, when I saw the amount of calories it had per serving I broke down in tears.  I was paralyzed with fear.  I simply stood there and cried.

Now, I see myself as fat.  I can see that I’ve lost weight, but I also see where I’ve gained some, and how much more I need to lose.  (10 pounds seems to be as hard to lose as 50)  I see photos of me and I think I look pretty good, then I look in the mirror and know that isn’t true; it takes a lot of effort to look good for the photos, on a day to day basis, I don’t look like that.  I look down at my body when I’m sitting in the living room and I’m appalled by the rolls of fat on my stomach, the bulges I feel under my arms, (back fat is not attractive), and the drooping of my breast.

I feel better since I’ve lost the weight.  I can get up from the floor easily.  I can walk further than before.  I go out with more confidence (most days).  I love wearing smaller sizes.  I think I look good…..sometimes.  Other times…well I covered that haven’t I?

I’m scared.  I’m terrified of gaining weight.  This is an intense fear, yet I can’t seem to stop eating.  I’m hungry all the time.  I’ve had a love/hate relationship with food for a very long time, my whole life really, I don’t want to go into detail about my past, but I need to let you know this isn’t the first time I’ve struggled.  Now it is even more confusing.  My weight seems to always be in a state of flux.  Since I was able to keep most of the 45 pounds I lost, I was encouraged that I would be able to this time, I’m afraid that isn’t the case.  I’m afraid I will need to track every thing I eat to make sure I don’t over eat or under eat.  I’m afraid I’ll need to exercise as much as possible in order to keep the weight off, but that is physically impossible because of my health, and I hate myself because of it.  I’m afraid I’ll fail and the weight will come back.

I’ve been trying hard to not eat as much, and to eat nutritionally dense foods; this hasn’t happened, instead I’ve been going overboard on sweets and cereal, and I beat myself up over it.  The guilt and fear is so great that I have tried many times to make myself throw up. (I can put my finger all the way down my throat and not throw up.)  If I could just get it out when I eat too much, I know I would feel better, I would be back in control.  No, it wouldn’t take away the guilt (I’m sure it would cause more guilt), but the fear is stronger than the guilt.  I’ve exercised to the point of absolute exhaustion (not regularly).  I have taken laxatives when I feel I’ve over eaten (not often, but I have).  I suffer from chronic constipation and get obsessed with how much that makes me weigh (how much extra weight is in me), laxatives help.  I try hard not to have them in the house, so I won’t abuse them.  I’ve actually been happy when I’ve had intestinal distress, because it’s a sure way to lose weight.  I’ve wanted surgery to make me look better.  These actions and thoughts scare me.

I will work on these things.  I may go back into therapy, but first I am going to try to deal with it on my own.  As many of you know I can’t drive because of the sudden attacks of vertigo I have, this makes it very difficult to get to therapy sessions.  Stuart has to juggle his work schedule to drive me places so we try to keep my appointments to one a week, two at the most; if I have therapy every week how can I go to any other appointments?  I just want to handle this by myself if possible.

I don’t think I have a full fledged eating disorder, yet.  I do not avoid meals.  I eat when I’m hungry, even if I feel I shouldn’t be hungry.  I have not been tracking every calorie I put in my mouth. However, I do plan to, to make sure I’m not over or under eating, and I will admit, to loose a few pounds.  I’m not avoiding foods, I do plan to cut sugar out of my diet for a while, but that’s not a bad thing, right?).  I normally do not eat so much that others would find it unusual. (however, I feel it is)  I do not purge, but I do admit, sometimes I would if I could.  I have a lot of fears and I can see that my actions have been changing because of these fears.

I have Pocrescophobia (the fear of gaining weight); I know this fear could lead to serious health issues, I know it is causing extreme anxiety for me, and I know it is hurting the people who care about me.  I will get a handle on it, if I can’t do it alone, I will start seeing a therapist and talk to my doctor.  (I promise)  Right now, I’m simply trying to be open and honest about this.  I’m asking you to not judge, or worry about me, I simply ask you to be witness to my fear and support me while I deal with this.

I do wonder how many people who have a chronic illness struggle with these feelings.

For further information, or help, I’ve listed a few organizations that deal with eating disorders:



3 Inspirational Christmas Quotes on Mindfulness Monday

christmas-tree color


“My idea of Christmas,
whether old-fashioned or modern,
is very simple:
loving others.
Come to think of it,
why do we have to wait for
Christmas to do that?”

~ Bob Hope


“Christmas is not a time or season,
but a state of mind.
To cherish peace and goodwill,
to be plenteous in mercy,
is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

~ Calvin Coolidge


“What if Christmas,
he thought,
doesnt’ come from a store.
What if Christmas,
means a little bit more!”

~ The Grinch (Dr. Seuss)


*artwork by W. Holcombe.  Please do not use without permission.

Merry Happy Joy to you all.


Mudita – Finding Joy in the Joy of others. (repost)

I’ve been thinking a lot about Mudita recently and thought it was worth a look back at this post I wrote last December.  I realized that practicing mudita has freed me from the heartache that often came when I couldn’t do what others could (that’s not to say that I don’t still feel that heartache sometimes, I do, but not like I used to).  A friend of mine is planning a trip to Italy, a place I always wanted to go, I was a little surprised that I was not the slightest bit envious of her, I’m genuinely happy that she gets to experience this, and I can’t wait to hear every detail.  I can feel her joy, and it fills my heart.

I hope you enjoy this post from the past.


“Mudita is a word from Sanskrit and Pali that has no counterpart in English. It means sympathetic or unselfish joy, or joy in the good fortune of others.” (1)

I bring up Mudita now because those of us who are sick often find it very hard not being able to participate in celebrations this time of year.  We feel we are stuck on the outside just looking in, and as we look in we are envious.  We can’t feel joy.  Mudita is the opposite of envy.  When we feel mudita we feel joy in the joy of others.  We are genuinely happy that others are having a good time, even though we can’t join them.

This feeling doesn’t happen over night.  It’s hard to overcome those feelings of envy.  We don’t want to feel this way, but we have to admit, that’s the way we often feel when things come up and we can’t join in the fun.  We don’t feel joy in the fun the others are having, we feel sadness and anger that we can’t join them.

I first read about mudita when I read How To Be Sick by Toni Bernhard.  At the time my husband was playing games with a group of friends and I used to be envious that he had this group and I didn’t have anything like it.  He’d call me from there and I’d get this knot in my stomach and feel horrible because of this envy.  Then one day I realized how much he needed this time, how much he loved this activity and how much my envy hurt him.  (even though I thought I hid it well)  I remembered what I learned from reading Toni’s book.  I remembered mudita.  It didn’t happen overnight, but in time I started feeling joy when hubby would call from his game and sound excited about how things were going.  At first I faked it.  I knew I should feel joy for him so when I talked to him I put on a smile and told myself how happy I was for him and how much joy this made me feel.  Did I feel this at first.  No.  But after a while when he called I was truly happy.  I felt joy hearing how the night was going.  I was no longer faking it.

When trying to practice mudita start small.  Start with someone you don’t know.  When you see someone win a competition feel joy in their joy.  Then when you give a gift, feel the joy the receiver feels (that’s an easy one, I think).  Take it one step at a time and you will be surprised at how much joy you can feel when others feel joy.

It may not happen this holiday season, but perhaps when you can’t participate in the next celebration you might be able to find mudita, and feel joy in the joy of others.

I recommend all of Toni Bernhard’s books:  How to be Sick, How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness, How to Wake Up.  If you are chronically ill and haven’t read it yet, be sure to read How to be Sick.  I’ve read it over and over and keep going back to it.  It helps me live the day.  It makes me feel like I can get through this and thrive.

For further reading on Mudita, of course you can check out Toni’s books, but also check out.


*drawing by Wendy Holcombe. Please do not use without permission.