If you were to put yourself into a tumble dryer

Or how anxiety and my chronic illnesses like to make pals and render me temporarily useless. 

@KarinaLawrence on twitter @karina_lawrence on insta

I just spent the better part of 3 days in agony, not being able to eat and having nightmares when I managed to fall asleep. Finally being on the other side of this feels like absolute heaven, even though the chronic illnesses that caused it are never going anywhere. I also know from personal experience that there are people that are way worse off than me, and they're my absolute heroes and keep me fighting for a better quality of life.

Eight weeks ago I decided to stop letting my illness dictate what I could and couldn't do. Now, my illness is just as stubborn as I am, so it's more a case of balancing the scales in my favour. My two goals are to get stronger and be healthier.

The difference between this latest case of my body attacking itself and the numerous others I've had over the years? I knew the causes, from hormonal changes to anxiety triggers. My body is also eight weeks in to working out daily, so it has a bit more fight in it, yay muscles! It's tough in times like this to remember that my body doesn't hate me, it's just ill and it's actually doing a lot of the fighting for me. Loving my body and taking care of it is probably what has helped me bounce back after 3 days, instead of a week or two.

I think everyone knows what it feels like to have a headache. I no longer know what it feels like not to have a headache. I'm 12 years deep into a chronic headache that will not go, having been tested and diagnosed at age 19 when the pain was so bad I was constantly throwing up and couldn't get out of bed. Holding hands with this headache are also stress headaches and migraines, which if left untreated are also constant. Yup, it's a three for one scenario. Going to get tests and results has always been fun, my diagnosis always being in the "most annoying case scenario" category. But don't get me wrong, I know it can be worse. I just went through a few of those worse days and prayed for the days where it just feels like my head is in a vice, not like my whole body has been through a tumble dryer.

When they diagnose you with chronic headaches it's not so easy to explain. Some people ask me if I get headaches often. I now usually just say yes, because technically "always" is very often. I used to get angry when people tried to tell me that I just didn't understand how bad their headache was that day, I still remember the rage rising in me as if to say "try me". I don't think it helps that I have a stomach injury that means I can't take painkillers, just the most basic over the counter stuff which whispers at my pain like it's the Joker offering Batman some help. But over the years I've reached a point where the pain is just part of me now, for better or worse, and I just notice that on the worse days they make me a little grouchier. Do I love that it's changed my personality? Not at all, and working on my happiness is a personal goal I didn't even realise was a possibility until I joined my first bootcamp. My head still hurts, but the amount of times I snap at people because of them has decreased. (Sorry about Saturday morning mum!)

When they diagnose you with chronic IBS, however, it's the kind of illness people then feel embarrassed to be associated with at all. It doesn't help that no one actually knows what it really is, what it does to your body or how serious it can be. It's basically the medical term for 'my body doesn't work like it should but no one can figure out why'. My personal triggers are numerous and change every day, they include a whole bunch of foods, stress, infections, anxiety and hormonal changes. Anxiety is a big trigger, certain events and even people can trigger a crippling episode. 

It's recently been suggested I may have fibromyalgia, which could have caused all of the above. It's not something I'm thrilled about, because much like IBS they basically test you for everything else to rule those out and then settle for the diagnosis. But I'm learning to take everything life throws at me in my stride. I'm also learning how much I can actually do for myself with fitness, nutrition and personal development to feel better. 

Eight weeks ago you wouldn't have a smiling girl getting back on track with yoga and healthy food. You'd have a girl feeling sorry for herself eating cookies and wondering why she wasn't feeling better. Change, it can be the best thing you'll ever try out! When living with crappy illnesses you often think you have either no choices or at least limited choices. I really want to prove to myself that that's not true. Working on my inner and outer strength are helping me feel happier and helping my body fight against what life is throwing my way, even when it feels like there's no part of me that doesn't hurt.





Comments

  1. Hello, Karina: Sorry to hear about your chronic pain, it must be really hard to live with that, and while I don't suffer from that, I do have problems with my thyroid. Six years ago I had a surgery, my thyroid was removed, so i don't have it anymore and it's awful, because my body doesn't produce calcium, and even with pills I feel constantly tired, I have tremors, vertigo, I get cold, sometimes I don't sleep well (like last night), my bones are different now, less stronger, and the hormonal changes are awful, I know what you mean about the anxiety, because i'm always anxious, and irritated, and depressed, I know it's not me, it's this illness, but sometimes it feels like I don't have control over it. Ever since the surgery I feel like i'm
    a different person (and not in a good way), and sometimes it's really hard to deal with these emotions and negative thoughts, but I try to focus on good things like my writing, my reading, my dog (animals are great teachers when it comes about love, peace and living in the moment), my friends, nature (this universe is really beautiful), and I meditate and work on affirmations as much as I can, because that helps me a lot. Right now i'm reading "You are a badass", and when you mentioned the word "Change" I was reading a line that goes like this: "Life is an illusion created by your perception" and yes we have to live and deal with our illnesses, but it's up to us if we do nothing about it or do anything to get better and to see the bright side of it. It seems to me that you are one of those persons, so keep fighting and inspiring others. Hope you are having a great Sunday. Xo!

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