The Head Bobbing Game

fatigue

I’ve been trying my hardest to write a post on fatigue, given that it is one of my most debilitating symptoms, but, alas, I have been too fatigued.  So I sit in my chair, laptop on my lap, fingertips on the keyboard, head bobbing as I fight desperately to keep my eyelids open.  Fatigue of this caliber is hard to describe especially to someone who has never experienced it before.

Well, after several days of playing the Head Bobbing Game, I opened my laptop and began reading through several of the blogs I follow.  I stumbled upon a blog post by Scaroidosis Soldier that said exactly what I had been trying to say.  The post appropriately named, A Nap Won’t Fix It and I’m Not Depressed, was written so honestly and expressed what I have felt millions of times and I realized that there was no way that I would be able to say it any better. So, rather than write a lengthy post that tried to explain the feeling of having 1000 lb weights on my body, or eyelids, I invite you to visit her blog, and the post I mentioned above.

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Limitations

Every person with chronic illness knows what it is to have limitations.  Whether it be physical, mental, emotional, or all three.  Sometimes those limitations become unbearable and it’s easy to fall into depression.

Many MS patients know what it is to begin to lose hope.  Many have fought for years for a diagnosis, many times being told that it is all in their heads.  Having a chronic illness is hard enough without the added stress put on by not having answers, by dealing with insurance companies that refuse to pay, and family, friends and others who believe that you’re just lazy or not trying hard enough. The costs of managing a chronic illness makes it hard to make ends meet. It’s hard to get through the day to day struggles of life when you’re whole; let alone, to do so when you have other things, like chronic illness, working against you as well.

It is easy to become overwhelmed, to lose faith, to think that it’s not worth the day to day battle, but if you think of all the positive things that can come out of those struggles, you’ll realize that it’s not only worth the struggle, but that the struggles are actually blessings.  Every struggle that we endure and conquer, makes us a stronger person, a better role model, a better teacher, and a greater asset to our family, community, and the world.  Think of those who you have looked up to in your lifetime.  Did their successes come without struggles or failure? Would their stories have had as big of an impact if they had been handed their victories? The answer is an overwhelming “no.”  All of the greatest stories are those of overcoming adversity, of struggle & victory, of hardship and prosperity.  Having a chronic illness is no different.

Your story has all the makings of the greatest in history, now is the time to take charge of your own destiny.  The sooner you decide to take charge of your own life, your own health, to embrace your limitations and to overcome the obstacles that are standing in your way, the better your life will be.  Now, I know that there are certain obstacles that come with chronic illness that cannot be overcome, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot learn to minimize the negative effect that they have on your life.

For instance, chronic fatigue is a obstacle that I face on a daily basis. Not only is fatigue debilitating for me, it is, at times, life-threatening because I fall asleep while eating, driving, ect.  I have tried every prescription medication known to man to manage it and have had no results.  After years of doctor’s appointments focusing on managing fatigue, my doctor had finally lost hope, conceding that the only thing left for me to do was to sleep when tired, even if that meant sleeping my life away, 14-18 hrs a day.  I wept, for days, thinking that my life was over.  How could I, a wife and mother of three, sleep 14-18 hours a day?  What would my husband think? What would my children think?

I gathered my witts, so to say, and started investigating alternative ways to manage fatigue.  There were many: diet, exercise, alternative medicine, acupuncture, ect.  I began to make a list of my viable options and committed to trying each of them.  I started with diet, focusing on eating a balanced diet and on foods which are said to minimize fatigue.  Although I had some success, the results were not what I was looking for. I added in exercise, daily yoga and walking. I slowly added and subtracted the different things until I found a combination that worked for me.  While it is still an obstacle that I must deal with, it is at least manageable most days, which, to me, is a victory.

This is what each of us must do.  We must refuse to give up.  We must fight for our own health and our own futures.  Refuse to submit to the outcomes that others have determined.  We must commit ourselves to finding the information that we need to better ourselves, our health, and our lives. If you won’t fight for your future, who will?  Remember that doing something, even something small, is better than doing nothing at all.

Association & Positive Thinking

the little engine that could

I have always believed in the power of positive thinking.  The basic belief that if you think you can, then you will be able to.  Everyone has heard the story of The Little Engine That Could, right?  It’s something we have all been taught, to some degree, since we were small children.  However, somewhere along the way, most adults forget about positive thinking. What was it that you wanted to be when you grew up? A fire fighter, a police officer, a ballerina, a lion tamer? What is it that you do today? Why was it that you gave up on that dream?

Earlier this week, my husband and I were invited to a Leadership & Personal Development Seminar by some friends of ours.  They had told us that there was a couple that was speaking that they thought we would be able to relate to and that they thought it would be a great idea if we attended with them.  I was a bit skeptical of the whole thing, but we agreed to attend.

Saturday was the day, so my husband and I donned some of our best clothes, a suit and tie for my husband and a cute, little black dress for me.  We never have the chance to dress up anymore, so we figured why not? We took our kids to the babysitter and met our friends to carpool to the seminar.  When we got into our friends’ car, they were so excited that we had agreed to go and talked the whole trip about how this seminar would be life changing for us and how we would leave the seminar with a completely different outlook on life.  While my husband and I were still skeptical, having heard of many “life-changing opportunities,”  all which turned out to be some hair-brained, get rich quick scheme, we had agreed that we were going to have an open mind and open heart.

When we entered the arena, we were surprised to see that any of the couples could have easily been us:  a couple in their thirties/forties looking for a way to make their lives and themselves better.  As our friends introduced us to other couples, we realized that there was a difference between us and them, positive thinking.  Every one of the couples had an incredible outlook on life.  They were not afraid to dream, to believe, to know in their hearts that things were going to get better and the most amazing thing was, for most, it had.  Each one of these couples, at some point, were exactly where my husband & I are right now, living paycheck to paycheck, trying to keep the stress of everyday finances & lack of time,  from wreaking havoc on their health, relationship, and family.

We settled into our seats and began listening to the speakers.  They spoke about their lives and how they used to be.  My husband and I related to what they were saying.  It could have been our lives they were talking about.  Then, the turning point. They spoke about having a dream, not a dream that you fantasize about, but a dream that is so real that you can see, feel, taste and hear it.  A dream that you say “when we….,” instead of “what if we….”  They spoke of knowing that things would get better and surrounding themselves with people who had achieved what they dreamed of achieving.

overcoming obstables

It all made such sense to my husband and I.  We kept thinking, why is this so hard to do?  Why is it so hard for us to just believe in our dream and in ourselves? Why is it so hard for us to think positive?  And then it hit us.  We had spent years surrounding ourselves with people who never dared to dream, who seemed to always be negative, who thought so far inside the box that they couldn’t even remember what the word “dream” meant.  We had gotten so caught up in the idea that you go to school, get a job, work, hopefully retire, and die.  What else was there to believe?  It is what we had been taught since we were young.  We both came from blue collar families. Frankly, my parents never even mentioned college to my siblings and I.  It was graduate from high school and then you find a job.

On the way home, our friends and us spoke about the seminar and what we had thought about it.  To put it simply, we were inspired.  We wanted to make changes to our lives, we wanted to see our situation get better, to have the things we always wanted.  Granted, we were not talking about things like mansions or expensive cars, we wanted to not live paycheck to paycheck and still wanted to have time with each other and our children.  Time or money is one decision that too many of us are forced to make.  We want both.  It is too easy to give up on your dreams, too easy to make excuses, especially when you have a disability or other limitation.  Yet, there are many examples of people who have overcame disabilities and limitations to become not only successful, but amazing role models for others.

After spending the last several days listening, reading, and watching several different seminars, I am really impressed with the products, mission and community of Life Leadership. We were so ready to change our lives for the better, to start thinking positively, to start believing and investing in ourselves, and achieving the things that we had always thought to be impossible.  Healthcare costs have become a major burden for our family, so starting anew means our first step is getting control of our finances by returning to basics with the Financial Fitness Pack.

If you, like us, are tired of your situation and believe that your purpose in life is greater than what you are currently achieving, please remember that the best investment you can make is the investment in yourself.  Don’t be afraid to get the information, change your attitude & surround yourself with the people needed to make a positive change in your life.  Tell yourself that you’re worth it, because you are.  Tell yourself that you can do it, because you can.  You are capable of amazing things, but nobody will believe it until you believe.

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