Thursday Tips & Tricks: Writing Therapy For Chronic Illness

It’s no secret that I enjoy writing. It’s therapeutic for me in so many ways. Writing is a coping mechanism for me–an outlet for my frustrations and thoughts.

It’s also no secret that I love to talk. I have a lot to say most of the time. However, every once in a while, I seem to lose my grasp on how to verbalize the thoughts rolling around in my head. Most often, this phenomenon occurs when I’m having a very high pain day. Sometimes though, it happens when my head is no worse than normal, but I’ve just become so fed up with living such a limited, chronic illness filled life. However in both situations, I find myself in a clouded, distant world away from the real world around me. I fall into weird funks and want to store myself away like a bear hibernating for winter. Usually those funks are spelled with constant “why me’s” and a good deal of blubbering. Instead of talking these funks out, I used to pout about them, but now I write about them. It’s been, what they like to call, “life changing.”

Ever since I can remember, I’ve turned to pen and paper when I need to get out my actual, genuine, and sometimes not so glamorous, thoughts out. My worries, frustrations, questions, and sour words have all come through more clearly through writing. So have my loving, praising, graceful and brighter words.

I know that there have been many instances of me writing to my loved ones about why I’m feeling the way I am, how long I will (most likely) be feeling that way, and what I am able/not able to do because of how my chronic daily headaches are making me feel. It’s not easy for the people around us to understand what’s going on inside our bodies, physically or mentally, because they aren’t feeling it themselves. Chronic illness is such a hard thing for someone who doesn’t have one to comprehend. There’s nothing wrong with that either. It’s just up to us to explain the best that we can, what it is we’re feeling. And for me, it’s easier for me to tell someone exactly what I am thinking and feeling when I write it out, even if the person I am telling is myself.

So the next time you find yourself at an impasse with friends, family or even your own cranium, try taking out a pen or (pulling out your laptop or cell phone, because let’s be real, it’s 2016) and just start writing/typing away. So often I find that my fingers just won’t quit tapping away at the keys in front of me, because there’s so many more thoughts and words pouring out of my mind than I ever even thought I had the room for up there. For those of you who aren’t writers, give it a try. If it’s not for you, that’s OK. But you may end up pleasantly surprising yourself.

writing-maya-angelou

Thursday’s Tips & Tricks: Podcasts & How to Create Our Own Positive Reality

While I’m a huge advocate of music being able to heal the soul and effectively pull at our heart strings, I’ve recently become a huge fan of podcasts (I know, I’m behind, but no one arrives to the party on time, right?)

So here’s my tip&trick for this week:
Listen to podcasts, and start with this one!

I’ve started listening to podcasts to and from work in the car and today I listened to this one on the way home “What Reality Are You Creating For Yourself?” by Isaac Lidsky. It’s about how we let our fears and anxieties create realities for ourselves, and how to avoid that. So often, we let our unexpected and unfortunate circumstances decide our fate. By doing that, we are creating a doomed reality for ourselves. But the fact is–that reality that we create does not have to be our reality. In this Ted Talk, Isaac “challenges us to let go of excuses, assumptions and fears, and accept the awesome responsibility of being the creators of our own reality.”

Isaac explains this way better than I do. Give it a listen!

After you give this one a listen, browse around and find a different podcast that helps lift your spirits, inspire you, and teach you new things!

 

 

Thursday Tips & Tricks: Food Allergies At Home 🍓🍞

Food allergies are a pain 🙅🏼. They’re often hard to manage & can be difficult to live with. It’s especially hard when you live with other people. 🏡

Here’s an easy trick to help make yours and your roommates/family members loves easier: label all the food with small colored dots🔴. For example, foods or ingredients with seafood in it can have a green dot, foods/ingredients with gluten in it can be labeled with a yellow dot, etc.

It just helps everyone be more aware and helps everyone in the house live a little more stress free😌

(P.S. I saw this idea on buzzfeed! Aka the best place ever) 

Thursday Tips & Tricks: Theracane 

This is the Theracane.

I bought it at the PT office I was going to for therapy appointments for my head/neck. Basically, this theracane mimics the massage techniques done by the physical therapists in order to restore muscle function; relieve tension, stiffness soreness, etc; and basically just help your body feel better!

For headaches: I use it on my neck, upper back and the spot right where the back of my head meets my neck. I apply pressure and try to relieve tension in those areas, because that kind of tension can worsen headaches and even cause headaches for some.
I’d definitely recommend buying one, especially because you can use it on so many areas of your body! 

Thursday’s Tips & Tricks! 📢 Give Yourself A Pep Talk! 


I’ve been pretty quiet on my blog lately, and I’d like to make an excuse for myself if that’s ok 🙈 last week was interesting with a migraine day and another day completed with a spontaneous ER trip. And then to top it off, the beginning of this week I had a fever. Needless to say, I was under my covers ignoring the world a good chunk of the past week and a half or so.
BUT I digress. Today I’m throwin a little somethin your way again! Back on the grind 💪🏼✍🏼

Sometimes no matter how hard we try, it can feel impossible to motivate ourselves to keep pushing onward in whatever situation we’ve found ourselves in. The road gets bumpy and we sometimes just pull over and stop the car. 

So, maybe we let someone else do the motivating for us every once in a while! Right? 

Maybe we watch/read one of these motivational commencement speeches, or we have a friend rally us, or we write down our goals so we can visually picture them. Whatever it is that gets us back on the road! 


Sometimes we find motivation within ourselves, but sometimes we get by with a little help from our friends (see what I did there? 😏) 
P.S. I took these pictures of pages out of the book “You Are Doing A Freaking Great Job.” I totally recommend you buy it because it puts a smile on my face every time I open it! 

Thursday’s Tips & Tricks: Simple Is Good 🌷

Keep it simple, spoonies. 

We push ourselves endlessly to do so many things we want to, we feel obligated to, or we wish we could do. We’re constantly moving during the day between work, doctor appointments, social outings, and somehow managing alone time. 

We can’t do everything in a day. I’ve accepted the fact that complicated is harmful to my health and profess, and that simple is good. 

Thursday’s Tips & Tricks: Consider Physical Therapy

Thursdays Tips & Tricks 😍⚙ think about giving physical therapy a try! 

I started physical therapy a couple of months ago (I think? My sense of time is awful 🙈). My PA wrote me a prescription for it, to have the PT work on my neck, posture and whatever they could think of to help my daily headaches. 

I can’t say that it has solved my problem (because if that were the case there would be some newly very wealthy people), but it has definitely helped decrease the intensity of my every day headaches 😁💪🏼 

I have multiple headache disorders. So what the physical therapist is treating is my diagnosis of a cervicogenic headache—again, just one of my multiple types of headaches. They work on my posture (which was so bad before) as well as getting more motion and working out tension in my occipital nerves, muscles and bones (which all impact headaches). 

Bad posture causes tension in upper back and neck muscles. That along with having occipital nerve and muscles out of whack, can definitely make headaches worse.

It was a gradual positive change that I noticed. And it took a lot of trial and error and experimenting with different methods on my PT specialists side. We found that some methods didn’t do anything while some (more intense looking) methods helped dramatically.

And you know that saying no pain no gain? That can be very relevant to some PT sessions. They work on your back, neck, muscles, bones and nerves. Some things aren’t going to feel pleasant. But let’s face it–it’s nothing compared to the pain I (and all chronic illness sufferers) battle every single day. 

I’ve had some headache setbacks during the time period I’ve been doing PT, but they have been related to other outside causes (because that’s how life of a spoonie works, right?) But I can safely say that my physical therapy team has tried really hard to help me feel better, even if it’s just a small change.

People with chronic illness can atest, even a tiny positive change is considered great progress! 

Therefore, I definitely recommend PT to someone who is in a rut like I was–where they aren’t or weren’t seeing any progress in their headaches. 

Give it a try, because Ryan gosling might massage you after (offer not guaranteed) 


Thursday’s Tips & Tricks: Don’t Be Afraid of Taking The Leap

Thursday’s Tips & Tricks 💠
Don’t let an opportunity scare you! If something excites or interests you, take a chance on it. Maybe you don’t have all the aspects figured out–but just say yes and everything else will fall into place after. Change can be scary but change can also be awesome. 

  
Don’t hold yourself back from something just because you’re worried it won’t work out or because you don’t have all the parts figured out. ☝🏼️