#HAWMC Day 14 – Last Week/This Week

Today is Day 14 of #HAWMC (WEGO’s Health Activist Writers Monthly Challenge).  The prompt today is:

keep-calm-it-s-only-monday-93

Case of the Mondays.
Write about something that gets you down, burns you out, or makes you sad.
Purge it in a blog post. Turn it around at the end and tell Tuesday why you’re ready for it.

I don’t want to get all caught up in the self pitting part of Blue Monday.  I had a pretty rough week last week, this week I’m determined to turn it around.  Let me tell you about it.

Last week I had severe migraines almost every day.  This week I plan to take medication as soon as the headaches start.  I will not worry so much about running out of meds, or rebound headaches.  I will work to stop this cycle of severe headaches before it gets too strong of a grip.  (hopefully)

Last week I was very off balance and was having mini attacks of vertigo.  Last week I was not prepared for this.  I’m too used to having my husband here to help me.  This week I will be prepared to help myself as much as possible.

Last week I couldn’t walk without holding on tight to my walker.  This week I will bring my good walker in the house from out of the car, I have a seat on it and a better way to carry things.

Last week I had a hard time getting myself food because of my balance, this week I will be prepared and will have food ready that I can just grab and go.  Food that I can balance on my walker.

Last week my anxiety was very high.  This week I will get back to meditating and taking breaks for deep breathing exercises.

Last week I beat myself up because I felt so needy and dependent.  This week I will practice self compassion.

Last week I cried a lot.  This week I will focus on the positive.

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 9 – Ideal Place

Today is Day 9 of #HAWMC (WEGO’s Health Activist Writers Monthly Challenge).  The prompt today is:

Happy Hump Day! No denying life can get hectic, but let’s take a mid-week break to fantasize our ideal day! Would you go somewhere? Who would you spend it with? Have you had this day? If not – how could you make it happen?

 

There would be a lot of steps to creating my 100% ideal day.  Any one part alone would be a pretty darn good day, but put them all together and I’d have the day to end all days.

Wait!  There are 2 different kind of days that I dream about. Both require the same beginning requirements:

First I’d wake up with no pain, then I’d notice that my head did not feel the slightest bit off balance.  After I got over the initial shock of this, I’d dance around the room a bit, doing a pirouette for the first time in years.   Suddenly I could hear better with my cochlear implants.  I could understand a group of people if I wanted.  I could talk on the phone.  Speaking of which, on my ideal day, I’d call my best friend and talk for an hour or so.  (I’d sneak in a visit, but I only have one day, sorry love.)

Okay right now I’m just marveling at the fact that my head doesn’t hurt.  My head has hurt every day since I was 11 years old.  My neck doesn’t hurt, the degenerative discs have made just holding my head up a challenge some days.  All my aches and pains, gone!  What a day!

Turning my head I don’t have to brace myself because I don’t feel dizzy.  I don’t remember not feeling dizzy.  Suddenly I’m not afraid.  I know I have this day.

This is where my 2 days diverge.

beachwendy
photo by jenn dorff

One day is spent on a beach with my husband, just relaxing, building sand castles, riding bikes, walking, swimming, riding the waves, and drinking tropical drinks.  Heck, just lying there drinking tropical drinks would be a dream.  I’d love to end that day in my husband’s arms making love, without pain.  That would be my ideal day.

cleaning-clip-art-pi5xggeib
click here for source

My other ideal day would be spent cleaning my house and cooking.  On my ideal day I would not get tired I’d be able to really clean my house and cook a fantastic meal.  I really miss being able to do these things.  I know it sounds silly.  Why would I want to spend my ideal day scrubbing my house?   It’s something I can’t do now that I really want to do, that’s why.  But I’d end the day the same way I ended the first day.  Making love with my husband, without pain.  Something I haven’t ever done.

Either of those would be ideal days for me.

What would be your ideal day?  Would it be anything like mine?

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.

Me and my blog…..it just is.

hearts gray scale
w. holcombe’s heART

After more thought, and feeling much love, I realized hearing the “criticisms” about my blog, and/or me, hit home because I was feeling critical about myself.  I don’t think of myself as a negative person, but I was feeling it, and didn’t even realize it.  My life has changed drastically over the last 4 or 5 years, and the one thing I felt I held on to was my ability to see the best of the situation.  I never asked “Why me?”  I said, “Why not me?”  This is very important to me.  This is a part of my very essence.   I was afraid I was losing me.

Let’s face it, the past couple of years have been very challenging for this household.  Yes, we’ve met these challenges head on, but they just kept coming…..and coming…and coming……..often the solutions have not been as easily forthcoming.

It has been wearing me down.  Much more than I realized.  Not one to dwell on things, I normally allow myself to feel the emotions that go along with a challenge then I make a plan, and deal with it.  “How do I handle this?”  “What can I do?”  “What’s the best way….????”   Unfortunately, many of the challenges I’ve had to face recently have been completely out of my control, or the resolution is not easily obtained.

  • My husband lost his job…..what can I do?  I asked myself that often.  I felt guilty that I couldn’t work.  I tried to get disability and was denied.  (yes I’m appealing, but it’s taking a long time.) Totally, out of my control.  No easy fix.
  • Sandy died.  My best friend.  My constant companion.  I felt lost.  In many ways I still do. I felt guilty.  I felt I let her down.  I know that’s not the case.  The grief has taken a lot out of me.  Out of my control.  No easy fix.
  • I’ve had added health issues.  Out of my control.  No easy fix.
  • My health issues have gotten worse.  Out of my control.  No easy fix.
  • My father was diagnosed with cancer.  Out of my control.
  • ect…ect…ect…….

Yep, I was having a hard time being me.  I’d look in the mirror and think, where are you?  I know you are in there somewhere….come out!   I was ready to hide.  After everything, I felt broken.  And I could not admit that, not even to myself.

I talked on here about my fears, my pain, everything.  I’ve been honest.  However, inside I could not wrap my head around the fact that I was really and truly scared that things would never get better.  No matter how many times I might have said it, and wanted to believe things would get better, the fact that they may not was driving me crazy.  The thought that things would not get any better…..that was just not acceptable.

Then I realized, I’m looking at this all wrong!  I’m thinking too much in the future.  I don’t know what the future may hold.  I have been freaking out over what has been happening, and I have been building up these stories in my mind about how my future might unfold.  These stories have not been great.  This is not a healthy way of thinking!   I cannot live in the future, no more than I can live in the past.  The only place I can live is in the present.  Yes, that sounds very Zen.  Yes, I’ve been reading a lot about this, but it makes sense.  If I’m constantly thinking about what tomorrow might bring, good or bad, I’m going to miss out on today.  That doesn’t mean I can’t make plans, but it does mean I’m not a slave to them and I’m not going to get all bent out of shape if something happens to change them.  It also means I’m not constantly looking back thinking, “I just want my old life back.”  that’s not going to happen, I’ve known that for a long time.  Focusing on the present gives me the opportunity to enjoy my life as it is, without disappointment about dreams that didn’t happen, or romanticizing about a past that I can’t have anymore.

In short, my outlook is changing.   Luckily, so are things around me.  Would my outlook be changing if things were continuing to be spiraling downward?  Yes, I think it would.  I think it has been, I just haven’t been writing about it here as much as I probably should have been.  It’s a work in progress, or to put it more correctly, I’m a work in progress.  I always will be.  So will this blog.

I want to share with my readers, my friends, this side of me.  It is time to share more of the side that is brave, positive, compassionate, and thankful!

Yes, I will continue to come here and speak open and honestly about everything – all of it!  I can’t help it, it’s who I am.  If you would have suggested that I close the blog, I would have turned it private and continued to write, just for me.  This stuff has to come out somewhere!  However, I want you to see how I am handling the rough patches,  how grateful I am for all the little things in my life, and how much I really do enjoy my life….”ants” and all.   But there will be times when I don’t handle things well, and you will continue to hear about that too.  It’s all part of living with chronic illnesses!

I’ve decided to challenge myself a bit.  Each week I plan to write a post called Attitude of Gratitude.  These posts will include things I’m grateful for that week.  These posts may include pictures, drawings, stories, words…..or some times it may just be one word….who knows.   I want to make sure I never let a week go by that I don’t think about things for which I’m grateful.  I try to do this every day, but we all know some days we just get a bit overwhelmed.

You are welcome to join me in this challenge.  We can make it an official challenge if people are interested.   I’m going to do it, for me, and hopefully to inspire others with chronic illnesses to look around and notice the little things that they can still be grateful for.

Thank you all for taking my Poll!  It was an overwhelming landslide that I should continue to write as I do.   I promise I will continue to write as open and honest as always.  I will continue to show the bad and the ugly sides of my illnesses, but I want to even it out and show the more positive sides too.  Yes, there really are some!

I’m so very grateful to have such wonderful friends!  (many who I have never met in person)

The comments and emails I received after my last post amazed me!  Thank you all so very much!

Sending the wrong message??

Illustration New England Boating
Illustration New England Boating

I started this blog because I needed it.

I needed to put a voice to my illnesses.  To help me get through.

I continued this blog because I felt it helped others.  It helped them to know they were not alone.  It helped to know that just because you have a chronic illness it doesn’t mean your life is over.   I thought I was sending a message that said, yes, this is all a part of me and I’m alright with that.  I have multiple chronic illnesses, some are invisible, some are not so invisible.   I work very hard not to dwell how my life has had to change because of my illnesses, I strive to focus on how happy my life is now.

I wanted to help others realize that their lives can be pretty darn great too.

Recently, it has been pointed out to me that I have failed.

Not only have I not succeeded in showing people I am satisfied with my life, I have failed in helping others realize they can be happy with their life after chronic illness hits.

This blog has never been all about the sunshine and roses part of the chronic illness world.  I do talk about every part of my life.  The good, the bad, and the very ugly parts.  I don’t hide.  I don’t want people who are ill to think they have to hide.   I’m beginning to think I may be wrong about that.  I hope not.

The past year….plus….has been extremely difficult for me.  I have had a lot of physical and mental challenges on both the home front and with my health issues.   Of course, these challenges have come across in my blog.  Every time I’ve written about a challenge, anything from my husband losing his job, to my increased vertigo attacks, I have tried to write each entry not just with pure emotion but with simple facts.  This is what is happening, this is how we are dealing with it…ect.   And I always try to end on a positive note.  After all, I really do not feel negative about everything that has happened.   Things happen to people, why should I be so different?   This is my life, illnesses and all.  Life is a gift, I’ll take mine the way it was given and I’ll make the most of it…..I’m learning how as I go.

Someone recently told me that my blog is a place I go to vent.  I agree, I do vent on here, sometimes.  I never thought that was all that I did.  I just went through ALL of my post from January 2013 until now, and I have to admit, if you just look at the surface, most of them do seem like they are simply me venting about what is going on.  Ironically, the past few months many of my posts have not been that kind of post.  I’ve had plenty to vent about, and have posted about some things that I feel were very important…things that should be “vented” about.  However, I’ve also written some pretty light-hearted posts.

I was also told recently that I can be a bit negative.  Well, not in those exact words, it was more like….people don’t want to hear negative things all the time…  I agree.   I didn’t think I was a negative person.  At least not all the time.  Recently, I have had some things to post about that needed to be talked about in a negative manner, for example, when a doctor treats you improperly.  Over all, I believe I have a more positive outlook about my life than negative.   It saddens me if that does not come across.

Today, I wrote someone in my family an email.  I hadn’t written in a while and apologized upfront, explaining that I had been having a rough month physically, but wasn’t going to talk about that and it was no excuse for not writing….then proceeded to write the email informing her of some positive things that were going on.  I soon got a reply telling me how UPBEAT I sounded, and how she hoped I felt as good as I sounded…..ect.   I was confused.  I did mention in the first sentence that my health had been bad this past month, but all she heard was the UPBEAT tone.   hmmmm.  Do I normally sound like a sourpuss?

All of this, combined with a lot of soul-searching lately has made me wonder, am I doing any good here?

Yes, I started this blog just to help me….it was a private blog in the beginning, just a journal.

However, as I learned to accept living with my illnesses I felt my blog blossom into something much more.  I felt it was touching others.  I wanted to help other people know they aren’t alone, and you can have a great life.   (Even if you have a lot of bad days.)

Let’s face it, it is easier to write when I’m having a hard time.  When I’m feeling great, I’m too busy trying to live every day the best I can!  On the bad days, I know my friends are here.

 

So I have a poll for you