Tag Archives: inspiration

5 Morning Affirmations To Guarantee A Successful Day!

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5 Morning Affirmations To Guarantee A Successful Day

Hey there, are you someone who needs a bit of a boost in your day?

Maybe you’re feeling like you’re missing the mark at work, that your relationship’s doomed, that you’re useless because you’re chronically ill or that you’re just having disastrous days.

job12-280-chim-00918If you’re a negative thinker or a self-sabotager and the life you want seems a long way off, then this post’s for you! I’ve got tips for making positive changes by just spending a few minutes a day on affirmations. There’s even science to back that up! So now with your morning coffee you can start your day the positive way!

 

What are Affirmations?

Maybe you’ve heard of Affirmations but think they sound sappy or too out there. Maybe you don’t think they’d help as you’re ok, just not as successful as you’d hoped. Stick with me and I’ll show you how affirmations help you build a positive mindset.

Before I start you off on your journey to a successful day, you need to know what the deal is. I first heard of Affirmations about 15 months ago and now spend a few minutes each day on them. I think much more positively now and want everybody to realise they can find positive in every day. Here are a few simple tips to help you!

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Set Positive Intentions

 

Affirmations help you set an intention for that day (or however long you need it for), starting with ‘I am’ for example. They’re a great tool for helping you think more positively and if used regularly, each day will be more positive! OK, so your thoughts won’t change overnight, but I can assure you that they’ll work if you stick with it.

 

 

You use something you want to feel, do or happen and write it as though it’s already happening. So instead of ‘I want to feel loved and happy’. Your affirmation says ‘I choose love and happiness’.

You may have to do a little bit of work to crack the code at first, but you’ll soon be starting your day the positive way. So if you’re feeling low or a bit meh; then this is such a simple way to structure your thoughts and create a positive loop:

positive thought = positive actions = self-worth = positive thought and so on.

How Affirmations Work

For an affirmation to work fully, you need to trick your brain. A bit like changing the TV remote’s batteries, you need to put negative and positive in the right place. Instead of matching them to a symbol, you need to rewire your thinking, especially if you’re a Negative Nelly!

To rewire your brain, you have to make Positive Polly drown out Negative Nelly. To do that, you need to say the affirmation out loud, more than once! Just like exercise to improve our physical health is repetitive, any exercise to improve our mental health needs to be repetitive. Practise makes Positive!

To Create this positive repetition, you could write them in your journal/diary, put them on a memo board/fridge or record them using a voice memo app and listen to them wherever you are. I use all 3 of these for maximum impact!

Each time you create these positive responses from affirmations, your brain kicks in the reward mechanism. I won’t get too sciencey, but if you use affirmations about your most important values, your brain will soon begin to have positive reactions.

These positive reactions create a reward, such as increasing your self-worth. Once your brain gets a reward it will want more. You’ll start thinking and acting more positively. You’ll value yourself and feel a sense of purpose. You’ll want to look after yourself more and start creating more positive than negative in your life.

I want to start you on this journey, so read on and see how much it helped me and get yourself set the 5 affirmations to start your successful day.

**Disclaimer – this won’t happen overnight! You’ll have to put the work in!

My Journey with affirmations

One of my favourite affirmations is ‘I replace anger with compassion and understanding’. When I first picked it from my set of cards, I wasn’t having the best day. I was angry with myself about something (I’ve no idea what) and almost put it back in the pack!

When I say I was angry with myself, I really mean that I felt guilty about something I probably should have done. It’s always been a habit of mine, but when I was still  processing my chronic illness I felt like this a lot!

Anyway, I left it on display for a couple of days and as suggested, I read it often and would say it too myself in my head every so often, as I wasn’t cool with saying it out loud at first. I started to feel calmer soon after making that choice to keep that card.

I started to feel less frustration and guilt and began to feel more positive. As I stuck with it, I found those Negative Nelly feelings were getting drowned out by Positivity Polly.

The more positive I felt the more positive action I took with my self care, which led to more positive thinking. And so the cycle continued and I was hooked!

5 Morning Affirmations to Guarantee a Successful Day

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5 Morning Affirmations to Guarantee a Successful Day

So this is what you’re here for. If you’ve skimmed to get here then do make sure you know what you’re doing, you cheeky thing! I’ve made one for you and a blank one to put personalised affirmations in.

You can download these here: Morning Affirmations

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I am full of gratitude and inspiration affirmation
  1. I am full of gratitude and inspiration
  2. Today is a wonderful new day, full of success
  3. I am open to positive change
  4. Today I will share my knowledge with others
  5. My ideas are worthy of being shared
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Blank Affirmation design for personalised affirmations

These are simple affirmations for success and to use each morning to set you up for a great day. Why not have a go tomorrow morning and come back and tell me about it!

If you’d like access to more free affirmations, then just sign up for my news and exclusives emails, using the pop up form or the link below. 

Sign up today for your free printable Affirmations cards

References

https://www.louisehay.com/affirmations/

If you’re really into Science then this explains why affirmations work and what effects they have on the brain. How Self Affirmation affects the brain

 

Chronic Illness Bloggers

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The Impact of Positive Mindset on Taking the Old into the New #NYE2018 #positivemindset #poetry

Here’s my take on using positive mindset strategies to let go of the old in anticipation of the wonderful opportunities ahead. More importantly, I talk about the importance of spending time in the now!

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I hope you can make 2019 the year that you learn to be present and mindful of taking each day at a time. Please enjoy my poem and then spend a little time reading it again to recognise where you could take on 1 New way of looking at a part of your life next year!

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Follow me @Strength Of Tears on Instagram

Or @Strength Of Tears on Facebook

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Chronic Illness Bloggers

My Not So Secret Poetry Diary – A Date with Anxiety #copingwithanxiety #poeminspiration #mentalhealthblogs #chronicblogger

My Date with Anxiety

It’s been a tough ten days in my chronic illness warrior body, so I wanted to share with you some of the things I’ve been feeling – eek, it’s time to get real peeps!

I’m going to reflect briefly on what’s been happening to my body and mind each day. But hey, remember this is me writing so, even though I’ll be totally honest, I’ll make sure there’s a positive to everything! This is the story of my Date with Anxiety.

I keep a diary (not a journal) and use it to pace my daily activities. Randomly through the year I write little notes of my strengths and personalised affirmations. Then in the evening I write 3 positives from that day.

Friday 7th December

I couldn’t sleep last night, it’s been disrupted all week, but this was next level. The pain was intense and relentless and I couldn’t understand why. A friend visited me yesterday, which had made my day. She never stays too long and spotted when I was flagging. I hadn’t napped either so I expected knock on effects, but why was it SO bad?

At 3:30am my heart started racing and I was breathless and dizzy – losing control. This panic attack came out of nowhere!. I got up to use the en-suite and collapsed, but my amazing husband Joel woke immediately and rushed to my side. Then he hugged me tight, that hug that let’s me know I’m not alone!

I ended up taking a strong dose of diazepam, but I still didn’t get much sleep and when my carer arrived at lunchtime I was stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted. She took such good care of me and was extra gentle, seeing me so poorly. I recognised at the end of the day that I’m a very lucky lady to have such wonderful souls looking after me!

Saturday 8th December

Hardly any sleep again last night! The meditation and breathing techniques I normally use didn’t help and the day was littered with panic attacks, feeling like I couldn’t breathe. I was on full anxiety alert. Thankfully Joel was amazing with me through it all again and encouraged me to go downstairs for a change of scene.

Before going down I had a shower which was an accomplishment in itself. I still had panic rush up on me again and I just wanted to run away! But Joel guided me through it all, holding my hand I calmed down. Eventually, drained and emotional, I managed a 10 minute nap watching TV, on Saturday evening and finally got some relief.

I’ve not had a flare like this in years!

Sunday 9th December

I’ve managed to sleep much better at last, but I feel battered and bruised from the state of alert my body’s been in the last few days. I know my brain has had the acute stress response or fight or flight. This is exhausting as despite having a large toolkit for dealing with stress, I’ve struggled to access these strategies whilst in a state!

I’m being kind to myself today and have prioritised getting downstairs to be around my boys, so that they can make me laugh and help me heal. The mental bruises take just as long, if not longer than physical to heal, but I’m slowly building myself back up.

This link explains what might happen during a panic attack.

Monday 10th December

I’m still feeling fragile today, but at last my body has decided to catch up on some of the lost sleep. I’ve cat-napped all day, with a little break at lunchtime when my carer arrived. I have no idea what we were talking about but we were cackling away! Joel was working downstairs (a little cushion for me – knowing he’s around even if he’s busy) and commented on the cackling as soon as he did pop upstairs!

Now that I’m trying to process my feelings, I was brave and decided to write a poem about the feelings I experienced. It’s important to reflect on any kind of anxiety attack however you do it, but sweeping it under the carpet won’t help you in the future!

Tuesday 11th December

I finished the poem this morning when I woke up early. Most of my poems are at least started when I’m either not getting to sleep or waking early. This was an early morning finish! I love creating the poem on a lovely background, using stock photography, which is perfect for sharing on social media. I loved the reaction this poem received!

I also chose to explain a little about what I’d been exploring when I wrote this poem. However, I’m not yet used to being so open about my own mental health whilst I’m still fragile. But I’m committed to raising awareness and always think about the fact that what I write might help just one person!

I talk about my anxiety levels rising as the lack of sleep and increased pain added up. But although I’m drained, I do have a strong mental health toolkit – full of strategies that I practice regularly. I know how to use these help build myself back up. Knowing that I’m my only priority in this instance is key to bouncing back!

Well, I thought that I’d got my groove back as the week went on but I’ve struggled again the last few nights, especially last night when I managed about 90 minutes all night. Thankfully I dozed all morning, catching up a bit on all that lost sleep from pain. However, I’ve managed to keep the anxiety in a box by using my toolkit. See below…

No mental health blog is complete without a few top tips.

If you or someone you know suffers a panic attack, try these tips!

  • Exercise

Exercise is one of the quickest way to deal with the raised stress levels that come with a panic attack. My physical illness stops me from going for a run (think flight…), but I can do some bed yoga, even though I take it even more carefully than normal! Some good stretches and shoulder rolls are a great way to shake it off!

  • Talking through the experience

A panic attack is our body’s way of telling us we’re in danger. It’s unlikely you’re in any danger, but tight chests and trouble breathing are all primal reactions to danger. This can trick the mind, almost like a tripwire. So rationalise and talk your physical feelings through with someone. The more you practice, the sooner you’ll interrupt the signals between the brain and the body and if you do this when you’re not in the acute stage, the quicker your training will kick in when you do feel anxious or panicky.

  • Laugh, Smile and spend time with your loved ones!

What can make the stress disappear more than having fun with your friends and family. Make time for each other, put down your phones and other technology and talk. You’ll notice how often I talk about being with Joel and my boys. They make me laugh out loud every day and the feeling is mutual. It’s one of the strongest things we have as a team and we are definitely the reason for all of us usually coping so well!

  • Relaxation and Mindfulness

I talk about meditation and mindfulness in most of my blogs because they are the easiest ways to relax. You can train your brain to take it slowly and/or meditate daily so it calms and controls your breathing. Then you automatically have these skills to help you relax during an anxiety attack. Body Scan Guided Meditations are ideal (search YouTube) and I are some of the easiest meditations to start with. You may find that something else relaxes you, such as taking time to be present or sitting in nature.

I hope that this sneak peek into my world has helped give you an insight into panic attacks and how they can come about. I have let you in to these thoughts because I believe that mental health is as debilitating as physical health can be. They are also often intertwined and life can be tough and lonely if you keep it all inside. I feel very strongly that sharing my experiences is vital to ending the stigma that surrounds mental health. I only discuss this to raise awareness, I’m not seeking sympathy!

If there’s one thing you have learnt from my Date with Anxiety or one thing that you can take away to help yourself or your loved ones, then please let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

**AND if you’re not affected directly, then please remember that you never know what someone is going through, so please take the time to listen and talk to each other!

I’ve referenced these websites and blogs whilst writing this post:

Anxiety and Panic Attacks- Mind.org

6 ways to switch off the fight or flight response

Understanding the stress response

How the flight or fight response works

Chronic Illness Bloggers

How to stay sane when stuck in bed with chronic illness or recovering from surgery. An insider’s guide

Staying level headed with debilitating pain. 

Those of you that already follow my story know I’m no stranger to surgery. I’ve  had my 3rd brain stent surgery for IIH (Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension ) on 15th November. I was aiming to get downstairs on Saturday and I made it. It’s so important to have goals to keep you motivated. I had a family day yesterday too!

But I’m going to be spending this week in bed again recovering, as expected. My pain levels are high today and I had a bad night’s sleep, but I don’t regret it. Days with family are what keep you going . My condition is extremely debilitating but I’m not seeking sympathy; I share my experiences to raise awareness!

Please note: if you have questions about IIH, any chronic illness or mental health concerns; please speak to a trained health professional. These tips are about self care and any advice I share is based on my own experiences.

I shared this selfie on social media, 10 days after surgery. It was youngest’s 13th birthday and I was in bed, fed up that I couldn’t celebrate. The response to this post has been amazing. I received lots of supportive messages and my husband, Joel, was asked at work how I stay sane and positive when I’m stuck in bed for weeks – struggling to get to my en-suite bathroom at times.

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So here’s my guide to staying sane as a chronic and invisible illness warrior! 

  • Don’t fight the pain! I used to be determined not to give in to the pain and I’d push myself to do too much too soon, making my recovery take longer. Now, I try to listen to my body and have retrained my brain to know that it’s okay to rest, This has taken years of making mistakes, until being taught to recognise and change patterns in my behaviour by my coach, Josie (details below).
  • Ask friends and family to tell you when you’re looking tired. It’s easy to miss signs that you’re flagging, but don’t shy away from asking those close to you to say if you look like you need to rest. If someone tells me I look rough I’m not offended, I just realise that I do hurt a lot and may need that pain relief!

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  • Remember your condition doesn’t only affect you. A delicate ecosystem occurs for most familes when someone has a chronic illlness. This means any change has an effect on family life. If you’re the one in constant pain, then your contribution to family life is probably limited. For example, I usually do online grocery shopping and am usually the mediator. Plan for those times when you can’t make your usual contribution. Try asking a friend to pop to the shops or do some jobs around the house, so your partner doesn’t have to do everything!
  • Give yourself time to recover. I always seem to forget how tough living with daily high level pain is or how hard recovery from surgery is. So I tend to think I’ll cope better than I actually can. Now I set myself goals and break these down into smaller steps. E.g restarting your physio or getting dressed before venturing downstairs. Whatever goals/steps you take need to be all about you! This is the time to practice self care! Maybe keep a pain diary or notes after surgery, so you can look back at what has worked for you in the past,

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  • Be honest about having visitors. Let’s be honest, the novelty of surgery soon wears off and friends might get bored with your chronic illness. You’ll probably stop getting as many flowers and cards, but hopefully your friends will still support you as much as ever. For me, receiving a text cheers me up, but having visitors (when you can) is vital! You’ll get a mental boost and it breaks up the bedroom boredom. But, if you’re in too much pain; be brave and postpone. True friends will understand and if they don’t, then you don’t need them!
  • Keep a gratitude journal. I spend time every day reflecting on what I’m thankful for. I write 3 positive things in my diary every night or the following morning, This can be anything and it’s the little things that count when you’re recovering from surgery or a bad flare. Washing my hair, managing to eat a proper meal, having a snuggle with Joel or a giggle with my boys mean so much to me in that acute pain phase. I’d suggest starting getting into this routine before surgery. It’s also really nice to share these with friends or family!
  • Meditate. I can’t explain how much meditation helps keeps me calm in hospital and in the following weeks. I download my favourite meditations (in case there’s no WiFi) on my phone and take my headphones to block out the horrible noises on a ward. They also help me sleep between hourly obs through the night! I also use techniques I’ve learnt to visualise my happy place to lie still during a procedure or anaesthetic. You can read my tips for meditation here.
  • Use affirmations to visualise positivity. Ok, so I know the word meditation may have scared you off, but stay with me! Using affirmations has been the key to staying sane through 3 brain and spine surgeries this year! I also use affirmations cards from TheYesMum  (@theyesmummum on Instagram) daily.

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My coach Josie, from Worry Freedom created personalised affirmations to help manage my worries, which are mainly about how surgery impacts my family. She turned each concern into a positive affirmation, such as ‘I am proud that my boys have built resilience’. I record these as voice memos on my phone and listen to them before, during and after my stay in hospital. They’ve helped me to stop worrying about everyone else and concentrate on my one job – healing.

  • Ask family to spend time with you in your bedroom. When you’re always in bed, it can get very lonely. So, whether it’s snuggling with Joel watching TV, having a chat about the day or watching a film with everyone on the bed; having my family come to me is so important. For example, we ate youngest’s birthday meal in my bedroom, so that I could still be a part of his special day.
  • Entertainment. I’ve always been against TVs in bedrooms (personal choice), but after my first surgery Joel set one up in my bedroom so I could watch my favourite comfort movies. It’s stayed! I rely on my iPad so when we realised this was going to be our new normal, Joel set up Apple TV so I have lots of choice. I’ve also have audible and Spotify so I can listen to gentle music or spoken word on the days when I can’t open my eyes.
  • Bonus Tip – When you’re doing better, but still stuck in bed or the house I think you need a hobby. Many chronic illness warriors craft and this helped me not to feel so lost when I’d been diagnosed. I’d taken silversmithing classes before falling ill, so I began making beaded and up-cycled creations. Now I run my own online business with an Etsy shop. I’m closed whilst I recover, but I’ll be posting more about this as I prepare for reopening. You can see what I make on my social media pages too. ⬇️

Paprika Jewellery & Accessories

Paprika on Facebook

Paprika on Instagram

Paprika on Pinterestl

Paprika on Twitter

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So these are my top 10 tips for managing to stay positive, or at least rational when can’t do anything. But hey, we’re all different and these are just what works for me, If you’ve got the money to invest in working with a coach, do it! It’s all about finding solutions and a good coach can change your outlook! I had counselling after diagnosis, when I was still grieving for the life I’d had. If you’re struggling please talk to your GP/Doctor straight away!

Are you recovering from major surgery? Do you have a chronic illnesses? I’d love to hear about what you’ve tried if you’re housebound or bed-bound. What tips do you have to keep rational and level-headed? 

Chronic Illness Bloggers

A poem for all chronic illness warriors ‘It’s okay to rest!’ #chronicillness #chronicblogs

Are you a chronic illness warrior?

Do you fight the pain everyday? Do you even get cross with your body for not doing what you want to! I do, but I’m working hard to remember that it’s okay to rest!

I hope this helps you if you feel guilty for doing nothing. Just listen to your body!

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It’s okay to rest!

My body fights the constant pain
And drains all my energy spares.
My body ransoms my attempts to move
Yet soothes the grief for what was.
My body tricks my brain into a spin
Though wins with time to calm my mind.
My body taunts with glimmers of light
When nights are long and sleep is gone.
My body is learning it’s okay to rest
But tests the deal that I’ve made to heal.
My body and mind still fight the pain,
But gains most when I concede to rest.
Now I believe that it’s okay to rest!

Copyright Laura McKee 2018

Chronic Illness Bloggers 

Self care: Are chronic illness warriors good at looking after themselves?

Are you a chronic illness warrior?

By that, I mean, are you the kind of person who:

  • Is an advocate for or is a fundraiser for a charity supporting your illness
  • Works or runs a business, even if it makes your symptoms worse
  • Has lists of things to do or achieve because you want everything done now
  • Is there for your friends who need support even on your worst days
  • Struggles to accept help-even not taking a medicine that helps your symptoms
  • Says ‘I’m fine’ when friends/family ask how you are, even when you feel awful
  • Has to be busy doing things that aren’t important; rather than prioritising
  • Doesn’t plan in any time to rest or even just sit still; let alone meditate

If you answered yes to some of these then read on:

We certainly need advocates for all chronic illnesses and doing most of these things likely makes you an inspiration to others. However, where do you come in your list of priorities? Your choice to raise awareness for others with chronic illnesses is awesome, but if you don’t make yourself a priority; you’re no good to anyone else.

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The bullet points above are the opposite behaviours to those in this diagram. I could have added many more examples, but I based it mostly on my own behaviours. In this blog post I’ll discuss my experiences, my understanding of ‘self care’ and the steps I’ve taken to try and put myself first.

Until last year I don’t think I’d really heard the term ‘self care’, now it’s fairly prevalent. I didn’t practice self care and I admit that I still revert to old behaviours occasionally. When I fell ill, my self worth plummeted and when I had to leave my teaching career; I fully lost any sense of purpose. I love helping others and raising awareness. Once I even raised money for 2 charities in the same month!

After 3 years of everyone saying that I was putting too much pressure on myself; I began to realise my self care was pretty nonexistent. Considering the severity of my symptoms; I knew this wasnt good. I was making my symptoms worse and my mental health was suffering too. You can read about a day in my life here.

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About a year ago, I joined a closed Facebook group at the recommendation of a friend. This was for women who ran their own businesses; started by an amazing lady who is a coach and hypnotherapist. This is Josie’s website. She sets a theme most weeks and then does a live session discussing aspects of that theme, such as; what we do to have fun or about asking for support.

She ran a course for us to choose one thing we wanted to achieve in 2017. I started, thinking this would be about my jewellery business. However, I soon realised that everything seemed to be pointing towards choosing ‘being kind to myself’. This was the first time I truly contemplated the cost of my actions. I suddenly saw that by being kind to others, pushing myself with my business and trying to prove I was still independent; was not only bad for my health, but was affecting my self worth.

So, I set my 2017 goal as ‘being kind to myself’, which you can read about here. I underpinned this with the steps I needed to take to reach this goal and even thought about who I needed to help me achieve this. I set up a Pinterest board with related quotes and some feedback from customers. I don’t set New Year’s resolutions, but having this structured goal, was much easier for me to follow. I wrote my goals out and kept the image in my favourites on my iPhone, so I could refer to it often.

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  • I started a diary and only wrote 2 activities a day, so that if a friend was visiting, I only wrote one activity for my business/blog/supporting others.
  • It took a while to add rest times as standard, as I already meditated. I lost my way a few months ago though, so now I write in time for meditation every day.
  • I let my friends support me and a rota of lovelies now put up the positives post in our Conscious Crafties (CC) support group. It’s one thing less on my to do list, but I still write my positives on it, so keep the positive interaction with others,
  • I’ve continued to build on my Pinterest board throughout the year although I needed a bit of a boost about a month ago, but am now back on track.
  • The step I’ve found most difficult is resting on bad days, let alone making this the time to focus on my achievements and ways to continue my self care,

About a month ago, I realised I needed a boost to get me back on track for my goal. I still benefit massively from Josie’s group but I joined in with a group I’d been added to; run by the Anne-Louise. You can find out more about her here. She’d just started a 26 day challenge about improving self worth. This was exactly what I needed, at exactly the right time. I even received a free support call a few weeks ago. This call and the 26 day challenge has kickstarted me back into thinking about self care.

I have now added these elements to my self care regime:

  • setting aside regular time to engage in positive interactions with my husband Joel, my boys and my friends.
  • starting a journal to record the gems of knowledge from the amazing ladies who run these groups, who are generous enough to share their message.
  • writing a ‘self care’ to do list as I process what has been said.
  • writing at least 3 positives each day in my journal, so that I can reflect on my day and revisit my achievements and good feelings on those bad health days.
  • using affirmations to increase my self worth. These are short, positive, statements that you repeat out loud to yourself or write down repeatedly. For example: ‘I’ve got this’ or ‘I am beautiful’. This is still quite new to me and at first I could only say them in my head. The aim is to say them in the mirror.
  • doing my physio exercises every day that I can. I’m adding in gentle yoga and Pilates techniques I already know, to improve my core and help me lose weight.

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I haven’t updated you since my last operation, but it has given me some relief from most of my symptoms. I’ve managed to do more and have reduced my oramorph. Sadly, It’s been harder than I hoped to get over the school holidays  (I knew I was doing a lot, but accepted there would be consequences). Frustratingly, I’m now a week in to a chest infection, but instead of waiting it out, I spoke to my GP when I first experienced symptoms; so this work I’ve been doing is sinking in, finally!

The results from my operation give me hope and I’m starting to plan for a future of less pain. I’m considering carefully how to merge Paprika Jewellery & Accessories  and my passion for helping others. I have lots of ideas depending on how my health improves. I still have lots to learn about self care, but I know my priority must be looking after myself, so that I can give the best of myself to those I want to help.

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Are you a chronic illness warrior? If so I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.

Are you able to ask for support?  Can you prioritise self care above all the amazing things you do?  Do you engage in positive interactions with others?

What could you do to address the balance between being a chronic illness warrior and practicing self care?

 
Chronic Illness Bloggers

Day 20 #MHAMBC #MHAM Who inspires you by never giving up despite their headache disorder?

I have been pondering this question for 2 hours now and I can’t pinpoint it to one person so I’m going to write a list of people of give me strength in both the migraine and the iih world. They are people that I have connected with initially through Mission Migraine and then another closed migraine support group and the IIH UK support group on Facebook and I speak to them online daily, sometimes on the phone and some I have been lucky enough to have met or will meet soon. I will give a brief reason as to why they inspire me. 

  

  • Kate Bestwick-founder of Mission Migraine; this lovely lady saved my life one day by writing one small entry in a post in another group (where I was not very happy or supported) about her new group that she’d started. She suggested that I started to meditate and I now do so every day. She went through tough times last year but with CBT, perseverance and determination (and a hint of stubbornness) she remains our fearless leader and speaker of many wise words. Not to be stopped by daily headache she goes to the gym, works part-time, looks after her young children and still manages to stay beautiful even sticking her tongue out! 
  • Michelle McGowan-admin of Mission Migraine; this crazy chick doesn’t let the migraines beat her down: she sticks two fingers up, takes her bitch mints (painkillers) and gets on with her day; unless it’s a killer one! She is always there to check up on you and remembers so many members birthdays it’s unreal. She posts often about her symptoms to raise awareness of all the different symptoms that come with migraine and to ensure that everyone knows: it’s not ‘just a headache!’
  • Janey G IIH- this caring and wonderful lady found me through the support group. She has been through tough times lately with dizziness and eye problems (part of the deal with IIH and the meds that come with it). She’s brave and strong and tries to carry on regardless. She shares my blog and shows me constant support. We haven’t met yet, despite living relatively close but we will as soon as I’m well enough to travel. She seems to know everyone in the group (?) and is great at campaigning for rare disease campaigns.
  • Suzy Hesketh-this lovely lady runs a closed support group that helps me and many others vent when things get too much. I have been so lucky to have met her before my symptoms got too bad for me to travel. She makes me laugh despite battling many conditions and her strength and courage are admirable. She has been on the other end of the phone when I have had days when I can’t stop crying and she understands life with chronic illness in all it’s entirety but still manages to never give up! Apparently she is coming to stay with me in October! 😜
  • Kim Sklinar- a Mission Migraine member; Kim contacted me when my symptoms took a huge turn for the worse in September 2014. She lived about an hour away from me and wanted to visit with her fiancé. We all got on so well, it felt like we’d known each other for years! Mark, her fiancé really helped my husband by sharing his feelings on living with someone with a chronic illness. Kim is inspirational in the way she drives her own business and strives to be a migraine advocate too, being an advocate for one of the British  migraine charities. She regularly contacts me to see how I’m doing and I’m hoping to attend her wedding reception in a few weeks, where she has provided a migraine room! 
  • Katie Mercer- I found Katie in the early days of joining the IIH forum and, although she only lives a short drive away from me, we still haven’t met. She has supported me through every step of my journey of being diagnosed with IIH and understands having migraines too! She supports me by sharing my blog nearly every time I post and she always has a supportive comment to drive me through my tough days. She has recently inspired me by walking from London to Brighton (60 miles) in aid of MIND charity despite still suffering regular headache and migraine symptoms. 
  • Kath Conway- Kath has supported me through every moment of my journey since I’ve met her. Initially with advice about work and pensions and then more significantly, helping me deal with my loss of mobility and having to learn to use a wheelchair and a stick. Kath suffers from Hemiplegic Migraines that leave one side of her body paralysed and can often leave her in bed for days unable to even talk properly, let alone do anything. Yet, she remains mostly positive, funny and encouraging and has got me through many bad days. 

There are so many more names to mention such as Emma Nugent, Julie Donogue, Norma Ann-Dann, Diane Williams etc etc….. This blog is my way to say thank you for all the support, advice, encouragement, care, understanding and friendship you give me. Without you, this blog would not be possible and would never have been started. You inspire me to inspire others. Xxx

  

Day 20 #MHAMBC #MHAM Who inspires you by never giving up despite their headache disorder?

I have been pondering this question for 2 hours now and I can’t pinpoint it to one person so I’m going to write a list of people of give me strength in both the migraine and the iih world. They are people that I have connected with initially through Mission Migraine and then another closed migraine support group and the IIH UK support group on Facebook and I speak to them online daily, sometimes on the phone and some I have been lucky enough to have met or will meet soon. I will give a brief reason as to why they inspire me. 

  

  • Kate Bestwick-founder of Mission Migraine; this lovely lady saved my life one day by writing one small entry in a post in another group (where I was not very happy or supported) about her new group that she’d started. She suggested that I started to meditate and I now do so every day. She went through tough times last year but with CBT, perseverance and determination (and a hint of stubbornness) she remains our fearless leader and speaker of many wise words. Not to be stopped by daily headache she goes to the gym, works part-time, looks after her young children and still manages to stay beautiful even sticking her tongue out! 
  • Michelle McGowan-admin of Mission Migraine; this crazy chick doesn’t let the migraines beat her down: she sticks two fingers up, takes her bitch mints (painkillers) and gets on with her day; unless it’s a killer one! She is always there to check up on you and remembers so many members birthdays it’s unreal. She posts often about her symptoms to raise awareness of all the different symptoms that come with migraine and to ensure that everyone knows: it’s not ‘just a headache!’
  • Janey G IIH- this caring and wonderful lady found me through the support group. She has been through tough times lately with dizziness and eye problems (part of the deal with IIH and the meds that come with it). She’s brave and strong and tries to carry on regardless. She shares my blog and shows me constant support. We haven’t met yet, despite living relatively close but we will as soon as I’m well enough to travel. She seems to know everyone in the group (?) and is great at campaigning for rare disease campaigns.
  • Suzy Hesketh-this lovely lady runs a closed support group that helps me and many others vent when things get too much. I have been so lucky to have met her before my symptoms got too bad for me to travel. She makes me laugh despite battling many conditions and her strength and courage are admirable. She has been on the other end of the phone when I have had days when I can’t stop crying and she understands life with chronic illness in all it’s entirety but still manages to never give up! Apparently she is coming to stay with me in October! 😜
  • Kim Sklinar- a Mission Migraine member; Kim contacted me when my symptoms took a huge turn for the worse in September 2014. She lived about an hour away from me and wanted to visit with her fiancé. We all got on so well, it felt like we’d known each other for years! Mark, her fiancé really helped my husband by sharing his feelings on living with someone with a chronic illness. Kim is inspirational in the way she drives her own business and strives to be a migraine advocate too, being an advocate for one of the British  migraine charities. She regularly contacts me to see how I’m doing and I’m hoping to attend her wedding reception in a few weeks, where she has provided a migraine room! 
  • Katie Mercer- I found Katie in the early days of joining the IIH forum and, although she only lives a short drive away from me, we still haven’t met. She has supported me through every step of my journey of being diagnosed with IIH and understands having migraines too! She supports me by sharing my blog nearly every time I post and she always has a supportive comment to drive me through my tough days. She has recently inspired me by walking from London to Brighton (60 miles) in aid of MIND charity despite still suffering regular headache and migraine symptoms. 
  • Kath Conway- Kath has supported me through every moment of my journey since I’ve met her. Initially with advice about work and pensions and then more significantly, helping me deal with my loss of mobility and having to learn to use a wheelchair and a stick. Kath suffers from Hemiplegic Migraines that leave one side of her body paralysed and can often leave her in bed for days unable to even talk properly, let alone do anything. Yet, she remains mostly positive, funny and encouraging and has got me through many bad days. 

There are so many more names to mention such as Emma Nugent, Julie Donogue, Norma Ann-Dann, Diane Williams etc etc….. This blog is my way to say thank you for all the support, advice, encouragement, care, understanding and friendship you give me. Without you, this blog would not be possible and would never have been started. You inspire me to inspire others. Xxx

  

Day 11 #MHAMBC #MHAM How do I help others have hope? I don’t need a reason; It just happens!

This question is one I know the answer to immediately but is probably going to be the hardest blog post to write yet. I’m just going to say and get it out there and then I will explain it a little more. It’s hard to say because I’m not the kind of person who likes to talk about myself in this way. I’ve had to learn how to do it in interviews in the past, but other than that I don’t really do it.

The way I help others have hope is by being me!  There I’ve said it. I’m so full of positivity through such a bitch of a situation (and I am only that positive because of my husband and children and close friends that keep me there by the way) and I decided to write about it. I only ever chose to write about it because I wanted to raise awareness and find myself something that I could do when all the things that I loved doing were slowly being taken away from me because of my illness making it impossible to do them. I never write or share posts for sympathy!


My blog is read by a range of people and I have had a whole load of feedback from them about how I have inspired them with my positivity and so I guess that is what this blog is about.

  • My friends- these were the first people to read it. They are generally talking to me about my blog in terms of how I cope so amazingly with such a tough situation and write with brutal honesty but still keep a sense of humour that it gives them hope for me and my family and our future. I have even had suggestions that I should write a book when I’m well because my writing is so powerful. Some friends, some that I don’t even know so well in some cases, have since begun sharing their own stories about different things they were going through and how our positivity gave them inspiration whilst coping with their own situations.
  • My fellow sufferers-next I shared my blog with migraine sufferers through our MIssion MIgraine Facebook page and my IIH support group. Fellow sufferers saw similarities between their life and mine. Some couldn’t believe how unwell I was and how little treatment I was getting whilst I wait and wait for my specialists to come up with the right treatment plan; yet still I remained positive. Friends I had already made gave me hope in the comments they wrote to encourage me to keep writing and that ricocheted into hope spreading to other sufferers who could see that if ‘I could do it, they could’!
  • My peers-other blog writers have given me amazing feedback about how my positivity shines through in what must be a very difficult situation. I have even been able to share ideas and ways to tackle depression and lack of hope to others in chronic pain and I hope as my followers grow that I will be able to continue to do this where I can.
  • Most recently-my husband’s peers and colleagues. He spoke about our story as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. You can read the transcript of this talk and my observations around it here https://laughingwhileyourecrying.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/why-does-sharing-our-story-matter-should-we-just-tell-friends-and-family-or-should-we-share-with-peers-colleagues-and-other-sufferers-too/ he has had many people speak to him about how his positivity has given them hope and I have had a few new followers and even a couple of messages.

My role as Tweeter for Mission Migraine has allowed me to reach out to even more people and now joining in the blogging challenge has extended that even further. I am gaining hope by reading posts from so many experienced advocates and great bloggers and I hope that my blog is inspiring other participants too. Even though I’m from the UK; Mission Migraine is an open group and has many members from the US and that is why I decided to join the blogging challenge. It has opened many new doors labelled ‘hope’ for me and so I just hope that my blogs can return the favour.


The Migraine and a Headache Awareness Month Blogging Challenge is organised by The American Headache and Migraine Association