News Flash, Not: I Am a Mess
By Meshea Crysup, Founder fibroLIFE© & LIVING a fibroLIFE Blog©
Recently I put a good bit of energy into helping someone who was truly struggling. I do not regret having done so. In fact, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I truly care about this person—it was the right thing for me to do.
Now you all know how I operate: I am REAL with people, sharing openly and honestly about my own LIFE so others will see “they are not the only ones”. I handled this situation in exactly that manner. To my surprise--NOT, once this person was doing better, they felt the need to inform me that I am “a mess”.
Ten years ago, this would have devastated me. Especially coming from someone I truly care about. Thankfully, I am past that point in my LIFE. In fact, I fully expected it and was amused by it. The “News Flash, NOT” was delivered electronically and I responded with a smiley face while assuring this person that I remained there for them, they were not alone, they had a friend, etc. and ended with another smiley face. But, I am very sure this person believes I am upset with them, and all the smiley faces in the world will not change that opinion. I am good with that too. WHY?
A LIFE well-LIVED will have been a messy one. ~Meshea Crysup
I really believe that. In fact, it is a quote from one of my blog posts. I had actually shared this post with the person I mentioned above. Obviously, it was not read! Had it been, the person would have known that their News Flash was a “News Flash-Not”. Furthermore, I am not only good with that, but I embrace it! It sums up my online presence in the Fibro-world for the past 20+ years! Being REAL about my struggles, not pretending to have all the answers, and LIVING in spite of that IS what MesheaCrysup.com, fibroLIFE©, and LIVING a fibroLIFE© are all about! If I expressed any frustration with this person at all in my response, it was that they seemingly totally missed that point.
Will I ever hear from this person again?
Probably. After all, I was kind in my response, and I even used some humor. (If you know me, that cannot be a surprise!) If I do not hear from them in the future, someone like me most likely will.
Why do I think this?
When that person’s life is messy again—and it will be—my guess is they will realize that one of the best places to get support is from those who are honest with themselves and open to sharing their struggles, as well as what has helped or has not helped with those struggles. I am very proud to have made a conscience decision to be one of those people.
Am I mess?
You bettcha! I have yet to meet a single person who is passionate about LIVING who, in one way or another, or several others, is not a mess.
A LIFE well-LIVED will have been a messy one. ~Meshea Crysup
Below you will find the post containing the quote above and links to other LIVING a fibroLIFE© posts that are similar in nature.
The Balance of Reflection, Projection, and LIVING
Meshea Crysup, MesheaCrysup.com, Founder fibroLIFE, & LIVING a fibroLIFE Blog©
Whatever business you are in, every few years a “new” way of doing things comes out, makes the rounds, everyone hires the “experts”, goes to the training, and it fits into one of the following categories:
Rehash or Nothing really new: Just a rehash of the last four you spent a fortune to attend.
Radical: Essentially exactly the opposite of what you have been told in the past.
Full-circle: Apparently “Radical” was wrong because now things have come full-circle, and what you were doing ten years ago turns out to have been right all along—with new terminology of course.
It is a brilliant business model! People are truly getting rich off of re-hashing the same ideas, processes, techniques, etc. over and over and over….
Seriously! I have seen it in healthcare, fitness, dieting, education, manufacturing, governmental agencies, parenting, marriage counseling, self-improvement plans, church—it truly permeates every part of our society.
Guess what: We all know it!
I hear people talk about this all the time, yet, we, or our companies, bosses, leaders, etc. sign us all up, pay the fees and various related expenses, and we all attend. Those who have done it all before see it as a chance to get-away, and maybe they come back with a good idea or two to try—or not.
But wait! Let us not forget the Newbies! First-time-moms, college-grads at their first job, middle-agers changing careers, retirees going to follow their passions, etc. These are the ones who are fresh-faced, wide-eyed, and eager to learn it all—age is irrelevant. It is new to them. They return to where-ever all fired up, ready to move mountains like no one before them, and they are going to do it all now—no time to waste!
We are a people of extremes.
I know I am. (I watch others, talk to others, etc. I am not alone…)
We all talk about wanting to be successful, drama-free, content, at peace, healthy—we all say we want to be HAPPY.
Well, there you go! Everybody wants THIS! You guessed it! It is a booming business! Telling people new ways to FINALLY BE HAPPY.
Same categories. “Rehashes”, “Radical Ideas”, “Full-circle”.
The target audience is EVERYONE! Young people, old people, and middle-aged people looking for how to be young again or accept that they will never be young again.
Some people attend just because everyone else is. They socialize, learn a thing or two they might try—or not.
Others go out of desperation, hanging on the speaker’s every word, desperate to hear that ONE THING they are missing—to find that ONE THING they just cannot figure out. After all, if they have not been able to “find happiness” yet, there must be something they are missing—something they are doing wrong or just not doing at all.
We spend a fortune on this stuff. We wallow in it. We agonize over it. We go from “Gung-ho/All-in” to “Zen” to “Gung-ho/All In” to Zen—again and again. We keep looking for this “magic” or “secret code”. They must exist! After all, we all know others who “have it all together” and are “happy”. So we can get there too—once we figure out what we are doing wrong or what is missing.
Life. Is. Messy.
LIVING. Is. Even. Messier.
Existing is messy, but it is someone else’s mess or a “mess by default”.
A LIFE well-LIVED will have been a messy one.
That is why I am so REAL with my readers.
My. Whole. Life. Has. Been. Messy.
It still is and it will be until the end.
LIFE is complicated folks, yet it is really very simple.
We are born into “whatever”. We have no control over that.
We have certain gifts and talents, certain faults and weaknesses—we do control what we do with those.
Then we live, learn, do—or exist, letting life just “happen to us” not realizing that “not choosing” is a choice too.
We get so caught up in “getting LIFE right”. We look at others and think they are “getting LIFE right”.
There is no such beast as a “right LIFE”.
I am not saying we cannot screw things up badly or that some people do not do awful things. Of course those things are true. You can live your life doing very bad things or in a bad way. Almost always this is the result of extreme choices. Unfortunately we are prone to those. Those not prone to them, they tend to be the ones who just “exist” (choose by not choosing, living by default) and let life “happen to them”, which is another form of extremism.
Certainly some of us have chemical imbalances or other issues that need professional, medical intervention. If you are truly struggling—not “running right”—go in for “diagnostics and a tune-up”. Do not wait until you are broken down and stranded. Do not ignore your internal “check engine” light. What I am saying is, GO TO THE DOCTOR and if you NEED medication for a time—short or long—that is ok. You can have a car looking like it came off of the showroom floor but if you did not keep it serviced it might not be capable of taking you anywhere. You can do everything “right”, but if your body is not making the chemicals you need, you are not going to be consistent, stable, reliable, dependable, etc. You may well “yo-yo”, vacillating from everything being great to everything being in disarray. Extremes—without balance. So, if you need a doctor’s help, GO. If you do not know if you need to go, you have your answer: GO.
Certainly some of us need therapy. Maybe all of us! Seek out a form of it that works for you, do it, then apply it. I have been “in therapy” now for going on twenty years! I do not go as often as I once did, but—and this is a great place to sneak this fact in—LIFE IS DYNAMIC, not static. It is always changing! I benefit from talking to someone “outside” of the situation, not emotionally attached or involved in it. If you need to talk to someone, figure some things out, or suspect you might benefit from it, GO!
Medications and therapy, while often necessary, will NOT fix everything however.
As I try to explain to those with Fibromyalgia, you cannot expect to LIVE pain free! NO ONE DOES!
This applies to LIFE in general! No one has a PERFECT LIFE. No one is “getting it all right”. No one has some magic or secret!
So, you want to be happy? We all do. It is not a destination. It is a mode of transportation. (I do not know if that is original or not, but I like it!)
How do you start?
Start by STOPPING (for a bit) right where you are.
Take stock of what you have, what your LIFE is. Look back on how you got where you are. Learn from you mistakes, but do not dwell on them—it is over and done. LEARN but do not DWELL there. You cannot go forward DWELLING in what is behind you. It is easy to get lost in this—more on that later.
Look ahead and determine what it is you really want your LIFE to be. What do you want it to look like? What do you want in it or not in it? Do not limit yourself here—really be honest with yourself and, even if it is unrealistic, if you really WANT it, acknowledge that. (If you do not, it will haunt you, eat you, dog you…) Put this LIFE that you want on a piece of paper—write it out. (Some can just do mental images, others will go digital, but you get my meaning.)
Now, what is it going to take to get there? What are you WILLING to actually DO to LIVE that LIFE? This is the hard part because:
Most do not have unlimited resources.
We can save more, maybe even make more, but whatever our situation is regarding resources, the LIFE we LIVE will be affected by this inevitably so it has to be considered objectively.
None of us control the world or those around us.
We will want things that are not within our sphere of influence. None of us can make the world exactly the way we want it. Nor can we make other people do, think, feel, etc. the way we want them to. To try is to manipulate—and that is simply not ok. (Communicate what you want, would like, etc. If you do NOT do this, you will always wonder, be haunted or dogged by it, etc. But also, be prepared to accept their decisions. It is THEIR choice so do not plan YOUR LIFE around a choice THEY do NOT want to make.)
Determine what you are willing to do.
WOW. Now this one is especially difficult because what YOU are willing to do will most likely affect others! While you are not responsible for their lives, you are responsible not to “mess people over”. As much as we would like to believe this is a black and white situation, I am afraid it is actually mostly shades of gray. Keep in mind, whatever YOU decide, it will not please someone. In the end, you have to do what is best for YOU. Sometimes that will perhaps be hurtful to others, but YOU are just not able to LIVE otherwise. Sometimes you may actually CHOOSE to NOT to do certain things, even though you want to. There is no formula to plug these factors into. Think it through. Weigh your pros and cons. Make a decision. Just do it. Learn from whatever the outcome is.
All must accept REALITY.
We do have to LIVE within the REALITIES of the results of our past choices. Yes, we can work to better ourselves, overcome things, etc. but some things are just “what they are”—and THAT IS REALITY.
We all have made choices in our past that may well hinder or even prevent us from doing some things or achieving some things. You cannot change these facts so FACE THEM and ACCEPT THEM.
Once you have evaluated what you want your LIFE to BECOME via the above filters, what is left is your LIFE PLAN: LIVE IT!
That is it? That is my “magic”? My “secret code”?
Yes, no, and no.
It is not a secret or magic! But, yes, that is it: LIVE IT!
Sounds simple? Too simple?
Yes and no.
The thought process behind it is SIMPLE. It is basic evaluation (Reflection), planning (Projection), and implementation (LIVING). You do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure this part out. We over-complicate things! We get lost in the past, spend all our time planning for the future, and fail to LIVE in the meantime! THEY KEY IS BALANCE.
Reflection should not become your life’s work! You cannot change it. Learn from your past and move on. You may well not control what comes to mind, but you, and only you, can control what you LET stay on your mind. No, it is not simple or easy. It takes self-discipline, energy, and self-awareness.
Projection—planning your future LIFE—should be a priority as far as your time, talents and treasures are concerned, HOWEVER the future should NOT get “all of you” or “all you have”. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. LIVE today. Enjoy NOW.
LIVING: LIVE on purpose most of the time
Talk about a dichotomy! Whether you live or LIVE, if you are alive, you are going to do one or the other!
Whether you live (by default—not PURPOSEFULLY CHOOSING but EXISITNG) or whether you LIVE (PURPOSEFULLY—by “the plan” discussed above) you are going to be alive until you are not.
I am going to surprise you here. You all know one of my favorite soapboxes is about CHOICE. Hold on to your hats! Sometimes just “letting LIFE happen” might just be the right thing to do!
Do not push yourself so hard to LIVE PURPOSFULLY that you are actually “swimming upstream”. This, in part, goes back to facing reality, acknowledging that you do not control the world or others, etc. LIVE PURPOSFULLY but understand that, even then, sometimes the situation calls for “just letting it happen”—it really is all you can do.
Arriving at “Happy”
Disappointed? Expecting to have read this and have found the “magic” or “secret code”? I am truly sorry, but what you have found is far, far better. You have found an honest explanation of what we all are going through, even if we do not realize it and or acknowledge it. I am here to tell you folks, NO ONE has their act TOTALLY together! ALL OF US are going through this process ALL THE TIME. Some make it look easier than others. Some do it more gracefully, privately, etc. Some are bulls-in-china-shops. Most of us are a mixture of grace, privacy, and bull! But THAT is LIVING!
Once you have done Reflection and Projection and get to the LIVING part, then you will be at HAPPY?
Happy is not a destination, it is the MODE OF TRASPORTATION.
This is the KEY truth that may matter more than anything else. Life is not static. It is dynamic. It is always changing, whether we want it to or not. It is a journey, and we are always traveling. If Happy were a place, then you could only experience it when you were physically right in that spot! Thankfully, it is NOT a place.
Happy is the state of mind you choose to traverse the journey of LIFE.
You create this state of mind over and over, constantly. Yes, it is a LOT of work! Yes, it takes a LOT of energy, determination, maturity, personal responsibility--yes, with those weighty traits being key, you are going to fall short some days!
Happy is different for everyone!
No one can tell you what your “Happy” looks like. It as uniquely individualized as you are! Although different, we can all recognize Happy when we see it! In fact, I am sure some of you know some people who seem to be Happy most of the time. These are probably the folks you think have some “magic” or “secret code”. They do not—they do have a process or checklist, of sorts, however.
When negative thoughts START, they turn them around into something positive.
We may not be able to control what we think, but we can control how long we dwell on it! (Sound familiar?)
If it is a negative thought, focus on the flip side of it! That would be a positive! If the thought is actually irrelevant to your LIFE but still dogging you, REPLACE IT! DISTRACT! DISTRACT! DISTRACT! Get busy doing something! Purposefully focus your mind on something-anything-else! It can be difficult, but it is actually a “skill” you can develop. Practice it, often! Make it second-nature to you!
People constantly ask me what meds I am on or what I am drinking! Now, I know that could be a bad thing—but it is because I am almost always perky, upbeat, joking, “on”, etc. It is actually sort of a self-perpetuating situation. Our bodies produce Endorphins (“feel-good chemicals”) when we are laughing, enjoying something, exercising, eating certain foods, etc. The more endorphins you have, the more “positive energy” you have, thus you do more of the activity or activities which produced the endorphins, and thus you produce more… You get the picture! I milk this technique for all it is worth folks!
Not only do I “do” things I know will up my endorphin production, but I also make sure “NOT to do” things that will inhibit them! If you know depression, anxiety, negative thoughts and feelings, etc. are an issue for you, DO NOT FEED THE BEASTS! I have had people call me in tears, so depressed—they had been watching Lifetime TV for three days! Really? I am serious. What you put in will come out! Do not make a habit of watching things that are sad or that will make you cry. Avoid subject matter that is negative to you, specifically. Do not go looking for more negativity to fight off!
There Brady Bunch is Not Real
Stop looking at other people’s lives and thinking they “have it all together”. We have covered this once, but one cannot cover it enough. Our society is gushing with propaganda of “the perfect life”. People see this. People think they should be like that. They are not, so they feel badly, think something is wrong with them, etc. Rich people have problems too! Skinny, pretty girls have problems too! The “Perfect Couple” really is not perfect… Do not let yourself think that others have it all together and you do not! That is a LIE! That is a negative thought pattern you must fight back, turn around, reverse, etc. We are all prone to this—we all must diligently fight this mental battle. Expect it! Recognize it! Correct it!
Accept the Cyclic Nature of it All
Folks, no one is “up” all the time. I do not care how perfect their life looks or how perky they are, everyone has times that they are “neutral” or even fall into a bit of negativity. Expect this! Recognize it! Correct it!
The battle is never over.
Whatever you conquer once, I assure you will circle back around, and you will face it again. This time, however, you will come at it stronger and beat it back further. Essentially, it is like fighting waves of attacking forces. You fight off the first ones, rest, then fight off the second, then rest, etc. Our minds do this with our “issues”. We attack them on the level we are capable of. When we are “ready”, they return. Expect this! Recognize it! Correct it!
Not only do we have to re-fight some battles, but new ones will come—probably daily! People who “travel Happy” are mentally prepared for this reality. They know—literally know—they WILL have things go wrong, problems come up, heartbreaks, etc. This applies to all of us! Expect this! Recognize it! Do it!
To build the LIFE you want to LIVE:
Go to the doctor, therapists, etc. as needed! Skipping this could be dangerous. Many treatable conditions exist and the information and options is improving daily.
STOP the negative thoughts as soon as you recognize them.
Replace them with POSTIVE thoughts. Ideally, thoughts on what you WANT your LIFE to look like.
Balance your thoughts.
Reflection should be to learn, not for dwelling.
Projection should get more of your energies.
LIVING TODAY MUST GET YOUR ENERGY TOO. Somedays it should get most, if not all, of our energies. After all, TODAY is the ONLY day we can be sure we have!
Manage your Projections/Future Expectations
Dream big! Then decide what you are willing to do to make that dream LIFE a reality. Consider resources, what you control and what you cannot, and remember that you do not get to decide for others and that your choices will impact others. Expect “shades of gray” as you balance what you want/need and be prepared to make some hard decisions…then LIVE with them. Most of the time it will be ok to mess up, to change courses, or to go back—but not always.
Build the LIFE you planned out.
Be focused but recognize that you will alter the plan many times.
LIVE while you are building the LIFE you want. It is necessary to embrace, enjoy, and “be present” in NOW. NOW is all we can be sure of. Do not miss it by using all your energy looking ahead.
Learn to—Choose to--MAKE Happy your mode of transportation on this journey that is YOUR LIFE.
Do not forget to take/make your Endorphins! Pop those babies like candy!
Learn the art of distraction!
Make POSITIVE choices for how you spend your time.
Do not go seeking negativity disguised as entertainment! (Junk in, junk out! Sad, negative energies breed even more sad and negative energies!)
Accept that you will be involved in this process your whole life. EMBRACE it!
Expect it! Recognize it! Correct it/Do it!
THIS IS LIVING.
Everyone does it…and it is BIG business!
Am I against Seminars, Self-help talks, etc.? NO! I am always FOR learning! They are expensive and time consuming however. The same with buying books, audio books, etc. Certainly, you can glean useful information from most products like this. I just want you to go to them with realistic expectations!
Life. Is. Messy.
LIVING. Is. Even. Messier.
Existing is messy, but it is someone else’s mess or a “mess by default”.
A LIFE well-LIVED will have been a messy one. ~Meshea Crysup
Tips For Managing Your Chronic Pain by Jackie Waters, Guest Blogger
Chronic pain is an ailment that affects nearly 100 million people worldwide. Defined as pain that that lasts longer than 6 months, many people battling this condition find themselves depressed because of their quality of life. While living with chronic pain will need some adjustments on your end, you can still manage to live a happy and active lifestyle. Here are some changes to consider to help manage your chronic pain!
Eat a healthy diet
The saying “you are what you eat” rings true for those battling with chronic pain. In most cases, chronic pain is a result of chronic inflammation, and there are certain foods that trigger flare-ups. While acute inflammation is the body’s natural defense system that is needed to assist with healing process, chronic inflammation occurs when the initial injury fails to heal properly, resulting in long term bouts of pain. To minimize your chronic pain, try to avoid processed foods (think most boxed foods in the middle of the grocery store) and do the majority of your grocery shopping on the perimeter of the store. This is where the whole foods like fruits, roots and vegetables reside. Processed foods are packed with additives and preservatives that are guaranteed to cause you more pain and flare-ups. You will also need to lessen (or eliminate altogether) your sugar intake, including artificial sweeteners. When you consume too much sugar (baked goods, soda, candy) your body can’t process the excess glucose fast enough, which increases levels of pro-inflammatory messengers. Your diet needs to be rich in leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale and collards. You may eat fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, and fruits such as strawberries, blueberries and cherries.
Develop an exercise routine
When you are in pain, it may seem as if moving your body will make it worse. Actually, it is just the opposite and one of the most recommended ways to minimize chronic pain is to exercise frequently! When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called endorphins that improve your mood and block pain signals. As your body grows accustomed to being in motion, your tolerance for pain will actually increase!
Another pain-reducing effect of exercise is that it strengthens your muscles, which helps prevent re-injury and more pain. Exercise also keeps your joints moving well --a great benefit for those living with any form of arthritis --and it keeps your weight at a healthy size, which is great because extra weight will only add to your pain.
As stated earlier, many people who have chronic pain tend to suffer with depression because they feel like they can no longer live the same productive, fun life they are used to. Being active is beneficial for your mental health because it boosts your self esteem and allows you to do something positive for your overall wellbeing. To know what type of exercise is best for you, consult with your doctor or physical therapist, but chances are, you can get a gym membership or put together a little home gym of your own, and significantly help your situation.
Avoid long-term use of prescription medications
To combat chronic pain, prescription drugs such as opioids and antidepressants are prescribed. While those who have had substance abuse issues in the past are more likely to develop an addiction to painkillers, those who have never had this problem before are at risk as well. In a desperate effort to ward off pain, it is easy to ingest more pills than the prescribed amount, which can lead to a long-term dependency on the drug. To avoid abusing your prescription, be sure to only take the correct dosage as needed and participate in other pain-reducing activities such as meditation, exercising or hot yoga.
At times you may feel resentment toward your body because of the pain you are experiencing. While this is normal, the best way to get back to living life on your terms is to maintain a positive attitude, reduce stress, and treat your body well. Chronic pain does not have to stand between you and the life you want to live!
Jackie Waters is a mother of four boys, and lives on a farm in Oregon. She is passionate about providing a healthy and happy home for her family, and aims to provide advice for others on how to do the same with her site Hyper-Tidy.com.
fibroSecret© (Part 5): I Was Afraid to Have a “Good Day” Re-visited!
This is essentially “Part 2” of fibroSecret©(Part 5)! I am including the link to the first part below. Take a quick glance back if you have forgotten what it said, then continue below!
Thank you for using your valuable time and energy to read what I have to say. I am humbled and honored.
Meshea Crysup, Founder fibroLIFE©
Well, now that you have reviewed the first part of this blog post, you know the “backstory”, so I am going to just start with this picture from last evening.
Why do I show so many pictures of myself?
This a pictures of me yesterday evening. With me is my friend, Katie. We were at our usual Wednesday night “Pizza & Beer” place. (Shout out to Billy’s Italian Restaurant here in Vicksburg, MS!) I will tell you straight up, it is not flattering to me in the least. I am not proud of how I look—I hate being so overweight (Something you who follow me know I am constantly battling!)
If I am so displeased with pictures of myself why do I take them so often and post them? A picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures put a name to the face. Pictures personify what I am saying—the familiarity of the face leads to my being your “friend”, not just a blogger. Pictures actually give you access to—literally let you INTO—my fibroLIFE©. PICTURES SHOW YOU I REALLY AM LIVING MY fibroLIFE©!
I am far from perfect at doing so, but I endeavor always to practice what I preach—not just “talk the talk” but actually “walk the walk”. I am constantly telling each of you to get out of the house, daily even if you can. I am constantly telling you it is worth the energy to fix yourself up—which for this girly-girl means hair, make-up, jewelry…the works! I am constantly telling you to LAUGH! I tell you to take vacations! I tell you to go to parties! I am constantly harping about LIVING your fibroLIFE© to the fullest and not worrying about what other people think about you being out, “gussied up”, laughing, and having a good time. I take and share the pictures to SHOW you that I mean every word I say and that IT IS DOABLE!
There was a time, however, when I would not have shared this picture, pictures from my vacations, or any other for that matter. There was a time when I was afraid to let anyone see that there were times I actually still LIVED, in spite of having Fibromyalgia (FMS). As I explained in the first part of this post, we are already so misunderstood—so many people think we are faking it or it is all in our head. I did not want people to think that about me. What I found was, however, people will always think whatever they want to think. Haters gonna hate!
What I now do is just the opposite of what I once did. Now, I LIVE my fibroLIFE© in full view of everyone—keeping very little of it actually private. Not because, “I’m all that and a bag of chips!” I am not special in any way except that I am willing to put the time and energy into sharing my fibroLIFE© to improve Fibromyalgia (FMS) awareness and understanding. I am not exceptional in any way except that I am willing to LIVE my fibroLIFE© so publically in a sincere attempt to inspire, encourage, and literally SHOW others it is acceptable and doable to LIVE a fibroLIFE© to the fullest—happily and unashamed!
The story behind the picture:
Instead of being afraid of what people think, now I educate people. How? If someone had said to me last night, or if someone who sees this picture says, “You look like you are feeling great!” this is how I respond:
Thank you! In order to be here tonight and look this way, I had to rest four hours this afternoon. I am very glad it worked though!
The full story behind that particular picture is this:
10 PM Hands hurting so badly I literally wanted to just scream
2 AM Could not go back to sleep after waking from increased pain
3 AM Finally just got up rather than disturb Hubby
3 AM to 11 AM
I did some stretches and “in-home-walking” while listening to uplifting music.
I spent some time with Cally—our furry daughter, canine.
I prioritized and EDITED my day according to how I was feeling.
I fixed Hubby’s breakfast and backed his lunch for work.
I put a load of laundry in and ran the dishwasher.
I gussied up a bit and went to the coffee shop.
I enjoyed the comradery of “the regulars”, felt less “alone”—more “normal”.
Answered some emails, corrected some facebook advertising I had messed up.
Had Coffee Klatch with RHV partner, Morgan, for updates and planning.
Went home. Put laundry in dryer.
11 AM Pain escalating again and fibro fog getting worse/went to bed
3 PM Sleep had been broken/restless, but I was better.
I took my shower, got gussied up, folded the laundry and put it up.
Then I rested more while waiting on Hubby to pick me up for dinner.
6 PM PICTURE GOES HERE
9 PM Had not accomplished a fraction of what I wanted to for the day
Pain escalating, tried to play Words With Friends for distraction
Could not focus nor stand to hold my phone due to pain in hands
10 PM Trying to be still, not disturb Hubby. Finally slept off and on
2 AM Pain woke me up. Had to just get up. Wrote an inspirational/informational message to SOMEONE ELSE to REMIND MYSELF not to feel sorry for “poor me”—other people have problems too. I felt too badly for it to be “publishing quality”, but the person it went to would be able to follow it.
4 AM Accepted the fact that today was going to be very limited, again…
7 AM Wrote this post.
The rest of the day: REST
The story behind the pictures you do not see:
Some will read that and feel like I accomplished a lot. In a way, I did. However, in order to LIVE a fibroLIFE that FULL, I have to limit my physical and emotional stress. For example, I have recently had to dial back, considerably, the SIMPLE facebook promoting I was doing for our B&B Association. I cannot think through it, I get behind which stresses me, so I get foggier, get more behind, get more stressed, then the pain increases… I have not been able to edit Morgan’s latest book due to the fibro fog. I did not feel I was safe to drive to a luncheon earlier in the week, so a friend picked me up. There are many things around home that need to be done that I do not have the energy or stamina to do, AND IF I DID DO THEM, I would end up in horrible pain. (FMS pain is not like being a little sore from doing too much. It is varied, complex, and extreme! “If I were a horse…” pain is what I call it. It is so bad that if I were a horse, I would be put out of my misery.) There are many things Hubby would like for me to do—business calls, errands, etc. I cannot. Things that others “just do” and take for granted, I have to edit out of my fibroLIFE© or I end up needing help getting to the bathroom in the middle of the night because the pain is so bad and my mobility so limited. If I take on more, I am actually able to do less, and less, and less…
Yes, I had fun last night. The laughter released endorphins which help decrease the pain naturally. That is a very healthy thing for me! The socialization helps keep my anxiety down and helps me not feel isolated from the rest of the world. No, you cannot look at the pictures I post and see any of the pain, mental fogginess, or severe “editing” of my life. There are many other things the picture does not show, however. It does not show all the times I have had to NOT go to dinner, lunch, the coffee shop because I could NOT go. I do not take pictures of those times. I am not brave enough to share them—I am not sure I ever will be. I can and do talk and write about those times freely, but I am afraid to let the world see me at my worst.
I am no longer afraid to let the world see that I LIVE my fibroLIFE© to the fullest. In fact, when people say I look like I am feeling great, I am glad. That means what I am doing is working. That means by sharing my experiences—what has worked for me what has not, the ways I have learned to deal with limiting my activity, etc.—I am possibly helping others. What better way is there to LIVE one’s LIFE? Not just a fibroLIFE©, but any LIFE?
Still not convinced to let others see you are having a good day?
I understand your fear—and I know it will take time and baby steps to overcome it, as well as encouragement from others.
I really do understand how scary it is to let those you know are talking about you behind your back see you actually LIVING. I assure you, they are going to talk regardless.
Furthermore, I really do understand the energy it takes to “gussy up”, go out for dinner, and laugh. More importantly, I understand the benefits of it as well.
LIFE is short. Please, LIVE your fibroLIFE© to the fullest, every single day, happily and unashamed.
“Relearning a Lesson” is Not Always a Bad Thing
By Meshea Crysup, fibroLIFE© Founder, Author, FMS Patient-Expert
We all know the quote, which debatably may or may not be attributed to Albert Einstein, “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I will be the first to admit that I actually use this quote a good bit. It is, on the surface, very logical. I would go so far as to say that, for the most part, it is correct. I do believe, however, there is a legitimate exception to this concept. I will explain by starting with yet another favorite quote: “The path isn't a straight line; it's a spiral. You continually come back to things you thought you understood and see deeper truths.” ~Bill H. Gillespie
What does this mean?
Contrary to my nature, I will endeavor to be concise.
· We each have certain issues.
· We can only deal with them at whatever stage of life we are in at a given point in time.
· As we mature, change, experience more, etc., we develop our skillset, and are thus able to deal with our issues more deeply, completely, etc.
· Once our inner being senses we are ready, we go back or revisit it—but not to just make the same old mistake again.
· We “return to the scene of the crime”—or maybe more aptly, the “scene of the time”—to learn from it on a deeper level—process it more thoroughly.
· We recognize what is happening and process it a little more quickly each time—thank goodness!
· This is not the same as making the same mistake over and over and over…
· Still, the hurt can be just as “fresh”, the wound just as “raw”, as the very first time.
· Yet, it truly is a good thing—it is personal growth and we do emerge wiser, stronger, better…
One quote I found put it this way:
“The healing process is best described as a spiral. Survivors go through the stages once, sometimes many times; sometimes in one order, sometimes in another. Each time they hit a stage again, they move up the spiral: they can integrate new information and a broader range of feelings, utilize more resources, take better care of themselves, and make deeper changes.” Allies in Healing by Laura Davis”
― Laura Hough, Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Is a Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse
As usual, while I am talking about LIVING a fibroLIFE©, I am not just talking about LIVING a fibroLIFE©. Again, reality is, a fibroLIFE© is not so unique. Yes, our illness is misunderstood, invisible, frustrating, limiting, even debilitating, yet, everyone faces something. Some face things less severe, but there are those who face things far worse. Severity of an issue is not the issue. The issue is, we all have issues, and we all re-visit them as a natural course of overcoming them.
Do not get frustrated with yourself when you are in this position.
Remind yourself that it is a normal, healthy thing.
Endure it—embrace it—move through it—and move on—again.
Do no harm to others or self.
Apologize, if you need to, to others, and yourself.
Each time, come out the other side LIVING a happier, better LIFE than the time before!
fibroSecrets (Part 5): I Was Afraid to Have a “Good Day”
by Meshea Crysup
Founder of fibroLIFE© & LIVING a fibroLIFE Blog©
This is the fifth blog in an ongoing series in which I confess my fibroSecrets©. I have found that many others with Fibromyalgia (FMS) are keeping the same fears in, dealing with them—or worse yet, not dealing with them—alone. My goal is to help each of us find the courage to LIVE a fibroLIFE© without fear or secrets and to help those who share a fibroLIFE© to better understand.
fibroSecret© five: I was afraid to have a “good day”.
Actually, I am hedging there a bit—afraid to admit what I am about to admit apparently--I was afraid to admit I was having a “good day”.
How sad is that? Seriously, how sad is that?
If someone with a heart problem has a “good day”, they do not have to worry about people thinking they have been “faking” their heart problem! Their friends are happy for them!
If a person has cancer, no one assumes they are “cured” when they have a “good day”. Everyone considers it a blessing they should embrace!
If someone with arthritis is having a “good day”, most people realize that tomorrow, or the next day, they may be worse again. Most do not expect them to function at this “higher level” all the time.
But if you have FMS, or some other Invisible Illness, the perceptions are entirely different! I heard it growing up, as relatively healthy adults in my life talked about other adults who were not as healthy. I saw it as a nurse, as other nurses, doctors, therapists, etc., assumed they could “just tell” who was faking and who was not. I learned, first hand, that family and friends could not be trusted to understand and that healthcare “professionals” were often anything but professional, if they could not “see” an illness or condition to their personal satisfaction.
This life lesson greatly impacted how I LIVED—or rather did not LIVE—my fibroLIFE© for far too long. I missed out on far too many things out of fear of what others would think, say, and/or do if they saw me or heard about me having a “good day”. The truth is, sometimes I still have to fight this battle. Actually, I am fighting this battle this very day!
I have been pushing the envelope for a good while now. I took on more than I should have. I over-extended myself. I committed to things that I knew would cause me increased anxiety and stress. No one “made me”. It is “who I am”. I take responsibility for that, and I do work on not being that way, but sometimes I fail. I hate having FMS. I hate not accomplishing all the things I can conceive of. I resent not being able to do all the things I see that need to be done and that I know how to do.
So, here I am, in a major flare, having to re-commit to the much less stressful, demanding fibroLIFE-style© I must live to LIVE optimally, and re-tackling the fear again of “outing myself” on “good days”. I told everyone involved that I could go into a flare and have to do less. I tried to manage expectations, explain how FMS works—ironically keeping those with FMS from working—and I believe those I have gotten close to do understand.
So, this morning, I had to make another right decision for me, and just not worry about what others think. I needed to get out of the house. I needed to try to write something—accomplish something. I needed to be alone, but not alone. (I do not feel up to talking, being entertaining, etc. but I needed to get out and interact some—another whole series of blogs would be required to fully explain FMS and the truths behind that one sentence!)
So, I am at my favorite coffee shop. It is less than five minutes from my house, therefore I felt I was “safe enough” to drive there and it was “close enough” if I started feeling very badly. I “look” fine—maybe a little tired—but of course my hair and makeup are done, I have my jewelry on, etc. (No one sees me NOT at least looking like I feel ok!)
I am struggling to “find words”, but as long as I am not talking—yes I am capable of “not talking”—no one knows that.
I am writing, so it “looks like” I am being productive again.
The truth is, I feel awful. My pain is up. A much better blog post is in my head but, frankly, I do not have the energy to fight the fog that keeps causing it to disappear from my mind’s eye. That same fog, along with a headache that just will not go away, keeps it from flowing from my mind, through my fingers, onto the keyboard, and out to all of you as the quality piece of work, full of much more valuable insights and information, that I know is “in there”.
What to do now?
I am going to leave the title of this blog as is, and, hopefully, write the blog post it is supposed to be another day. (Why? Because I feel that strongly about being REAL with all of you!) But in truth, today, my most relevant fibroSecret© eluded even me until just now.
The truth is, I am afraid…
But not that people will see me out and think I am “cured” or have been “faking it”. Right now I am not concerned that someone might think I will be doing as well tomorrow as I appear to be doing at this moment.
Today’s fibroSecret©--apparently fibroSecret Six-- is this fear:
What if I do not “get better enough” again to pull that “much better blog post” out?
What if, this time, I pushed too hard, and I cannot return to my former “optimal state” which was already sub-par, to me?
What if this is going to be my “new norm”?
This fibroSecret© Six is not unwarranted either. As I have gotten older, “optimal” has become less and less. I have had FMS from as far back as I can remember. I was able to work very high-stressed positions when I was younger. I was very high-functioning and I have witnessed that decrease incrementally over the years. What if this time is one of those times?
Maybe this will be fibroSecret© Seven: If this is my “new optimal”, I will make the best of it too! I will LIVE my fibroLIFE© to the fullest extent possible!
But if you know me, you know, that is really not a secret at all!
Stay tuned. I will write fibroSecret© (Part 5): I Was Afraid to Have a “Good Day” Re-visited! It will be that “much better blog post” that I cannot pull out of my foggy, tired, aching fibroMind today! I cannot tell you when, but I will do it!
fibroSecrets (Part 4):
My Dysfunctional Childhood Greatly Contributed to My Fibromyalgia
(Part 4 of On-going Series)
by Meshea Crysup
I do not talk about this for sympathy or to belittle anyone involved. I discuss it because secrets hurt—especially fibroSecrets©
Daddy is still alive. I visit him, we talk on the phone, etc. We never discuss the past. In his mind, it never really happened. He always blocked it out as soon as it was over. What purpose would it serve to make him face the truth at this point? He is 80+ years old. I forgave him long ago, for both our sakes—but mostly for mine.
Founder of fibroLIFE© & LIVING a fibroLIFE©
Fibromyalgia Patient-Expert, Blogger, Author, & Speaker
One of the major problems those with Fibromyalgia (FMS) have is non-restorative sleep. For some, going to sleep is the issue. For others, it is staying asleep. Sadly, for many, it is both! Regardless, when one has FMS, one does not reach the level of sleep necessary to actually be, let alone feel, truly rested, restored, and rejuvenated. As a result, the body does not heal nor or replenish all the chemicals needed. This contributes to fibro fog, mental health issues (anxiety, depression, bi-polar, etc.), damaged/non-repaired muscles, and debilitating fatigue just to name a few of what is actually a very extensive list!
As I have previously shared about my pain and other FMS symptoms, my non-restorative sleep issues also are a part of my earliest memories. I cannot remember a time when I was not afraid. I grew up at knife point, gun point, and on the other end of a fist. There is much more to the story, but you get the picture. Terrified each night, I literally replayed entire episodes of Gilligan’s Island in my mind, inserting myself into the storyline, for mental distraction and emotional escape. I would eventually sleep, but I often felt as if I had not.
Perhaps I was predisposed and this was the trigger, but I cannot--and I do not—say this was the cause of my FMS. I am positive, however, that it contributed to a “perfect storm situation” in which Fibromyalgia could, and did, thrive. I am not alone in this—I am not the only one with this fibroSecret©.
How Does This Connect to Fibromyalgia?
Researchers have found that the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for short and long-term memory, is altered in abused patients. “Re-remembering” of pain and perceiving pain more intensely—two things connected to FMS—are possibly related to this change or even other, unidentified changes.
Is This a Slippery Slope for FMS Advocates?
Some fibroVOICES© I greatly respect have expressed their discomfort with articles on this link between childhood abuse and FMS. I understand the concerns of contributing to the notion still held by far too many that “FMS is all in the head”. This link however, in my opinion, actually further validates FMS as a legitimate illness. The fact is, without a “psych diagnosis”, the government (Social Security Administration) does not acknowledge the diagnosis of FMS. Non-restorative sleep’s integral part in FMS and its subsequent effects, provide a legitimate explanation for this.
I believe we have far more to fear in keeping this fibroSecret© than we do in encouraging speaking up and getting the help needed. In fact, for me, making the connection between my life-long depression and anxiety, my dysfunctional childhood, and FMS gave me a greater understanding of the complexities of my illness. It was the first step in my accepting that I did need to take antidepressants and ant-anxiety meds. This is an important part of my personal FMS treatment plan. In fact, it is the very aspect of it that has physiologically enabled and psychologically empowered me to more fully LIVE my fibroLIFE©.
by Meshea Crysup, Founder fibroLIFE
LIVING a fibroLIFE Blog
I have always been introspective. Even as a very young child--three or four--I agonized over what I had “done” with my day, everyday. Uncharacteristically for a young child, I understood that, like money, I only had so much “time to spend”. I had this innate sense that LIFE was short. I just knew that LIVING my LIFE was not the same as existing. In truth, one of my earliest fears was that I would merely exist...
Heavy stuff for a child. Heavy stuff as a teen in a very dysfunctional situation. Heavy stuff for a new wife, new mother, divorcee, second-time wife, second-time divorcee... Heavy stuff, and ironic, for someone with Fibromyalgia (FMS). After all, it is notorious for stealing its victims lives. Not via death, but rather through the limitations imposed upon them by the pain, fatigue, mental fogginess, mood disorders, and a seemingly endless list of “other symptoms”.
I am not sure I believe in irony however--a post for another time, probably even another place. What I do believe however is that as surly as I need air to LIVE, I have to find ways to encourage others to LIVE. Regardless of having FMS, another chronic condition, sharing the LIFE of one who does, or all the other endless variables possible in LIFE, each of us only has so much LIFE to LIVE. We only have so much TIME to SPEND. It is not up to me how you spend it, nor am I trying to make it so. I just want to be sure you realize this truth and are keeping an account of how you are spending your limited time. I just want to be sure you are not merely existing, but rather, CHOOSING how to LIVE your LIFE!
Time...Life...both are short. Please, choose how you spend them!
Meshea Crysup, Founder fibroLIFE , LIVING a fibroLIFE Blog, Fibromyalgia Patient-expert
How to Cope with Chronic Pain
By Jackie Waters
Living with chronic pain can be quite the adjustment for someone who has previously lived a very active lifestyle. When bouts of pain arise, it can be very frustrating and make you feel like your quality of life has diminished. Although the pain in your body causes you to not want to be mobile, there are several things you can do to give you some much needed relief. With effort and a positive attitude you can turn this once debilitating situation around for the better!
Make changes to your diet
Most chronic pain stems from chronic inflammation in the body. Acute inflammation is the body’s attempt to self protect and remove harmful stimuli in order to start the healing process, which is needed for the body to function properly. Chronic inflammation is where the problem lies, because your immune cells start to overreact and fail to eliminate what was causing acute inflammation. One of the best ways to combat chronic inflammation and reduce pain is to make sure you are eating a diet rich in green vegetables and fatty oils such as olive oil. You will also need to eat lots of foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as flax meal, beans and walnuts. Eat coldwater fish such as salmon, trout and mackerel at least 3 times a week. For snacks, eat a serving of fruit or unsweetened greek yogurt. Avoid the consumption of processed foods and refined sugars because they trigger inflammation and pain in the body. This type of diet will not only help you find relief from your pain, it will also give you more energy, which is a necessity to get through your days!
Do not become dependent on prescription painkillers
One of the easiest ways to cope with pain is to be prescribed medication for it. While medication such as opioids and antidepressants provide temporary relief, many people find themselves addicted to the pills later down the line. While those who have had previous issues with substance abuse are more likely to become addicted to painkillers, those who have not had such issues are still at risk because they tend to overuse the prescribed amount in search of relief. While this fact may alarm you, do not try to avoid the use of pain pills until you are in extreme discomfort, because waiting may actually cause you to break down and use more pills than you should. The best way to avoid a dependency is to only use the recommended dose of medicine for your pain. If you still find yourself hurting, find alternative ways to minimize your pain such as meditating or practicing yoga.
When you are in pain, the last thing on your mind is exercising. However, the natural endorphins that are released from exercising can boost your mood and change your brain’s overall response to pain. When you exercise you strengthen your muscles, which helps prevent re-injury and more pain. As you begin exercising frequently, you begin to overcome limited functioning because you are challenging your joints and muscles. Whichever method of exercise you choose does not have to be strenuous in order to be beneficial. You can start by going on brisk walks around your neighborhood for 30 minutes a day or participating in a beginners yoga class. Ask your doctor or physical therapist for advice on what exercises will help you the most.
Chronic pain does not have to be a battle that takes your life away from you. There are going to be good days and bad days, but as long as you commit yourself to staying active and positive, you can still manage to live a happy and healthy life!
By Meshea Crysup, Founder fibroLIFE© & MesheaCrysup.com: LIVING a fibroLIFE©
We are all aware—and probably guilty of taking—those silly “tests” on facebook. Every once in a while, however, they seem to “nail it”. In fact, one I took yesterday did just that!
Those who know me, know this to be true about me. It is not an “act” I put on for fibroLIFE© or MesheaCrysup.com: LIVING a fibroLIFE©. I really am upbeat, perky, positive…
I am the one laughing, making sure others laugh…
That “morning person” that everyone hopes to avoid (Remember Donna? Remember Kris?), or perhaps, really hopes to find and have in their life (Like the guy at my fav coffee shop who always thanks me for bringing the whole place “UP” when I come in!)!
The glass is always more than half-full. Someone always has it worse-off than I do.
Something good comes from everything.
There is always something to be happy about.
And, of course, my favorite soapbox: HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE!
All of that said, if you will recall, I recently wrote about how my no longer singing in public (or at all basically) was not really so much because of my Fibromyalgia (FMS) as I had told myself that it was. (Fibromyalgia Has Gotten a "Bad Rap" on this One") As I wrote, I was determined to and have been facing the truth about why I developed stage-freight and I started reclaiming that part of myself—my LIFE. I actually found some songs I wrote in 2004-05, and sent them to some friends to hear. Some of these friends have known me forever and were not surprised at the music—only that I was sharing it again, finally! More recent friends were shocked. They had no idea this had ever been a part of my LIFE, or if I had mentioned it, they had not really believed that I was “not half-bad” at one time.
One of these more recent friends is someone I really only know from facebook. We are both members of a few of the same fb groups. I actually began talking to him because he lives in India and I am constantly seeking to understand other cultures and religious beliefs, in this case, Hinduism. (Fascinating, ANCIENT belief…!)
Well, as per usual with FMS, I was up in the wee-hours this morning. I was trying to distract myself from the pain by doing some “mindless” (Meaning it was easy, not taking a lot of ability to focus.) promoting of Rediscovering Historic Vicksburg, as well as posting some inspiring and motivational Memes, along with “my two cents”, on my personal page and fibroLIFE©, and MesheaCrysup.com: LIVING a fibroLIFE©, when a fb message popped up instructing me to check my email. What I found there left me in tears—happy tears. But, typical girly-girl that I TOTALLY AM, I was also smiling. Not just any-old-smile: A Spontaneous Smile!
My fb friend from India had put together a movie to go with one of my songs! He even mixed in pictures of my family, friends, and me…smiling! Ironically, he only knew that I had written the song. He asked who “the voice” was. I really smiled—and cried some more—when I told him it was all me. The voice, music, lyrics—all me. He replied, “Mmm…that’s why you’re so popular!”
I simply replied, “I don’t know about that, lol!” I was thinking, however, “No, I am not popular—I just LIVE, laughing and smiling as much as possible.”
I never give up and I LIVE that philosophy—my fibroLIFE©--openly for all the world to see. I try to LIVE as an example for all those with chronic pain, anxiety, depression—for all of those who are “Eeyore’s” and hide behind, “That’s just the way I am…”—for anyone and everyone who needs someone always a “bit-too-perky-to-be-real-but is” in their LIFE…” Believe me, that does NOT always make me popular, but I have found that those who are bothered by my approach to LIFE seem to need me—or someone like me—around the most.
I told my fb friend I could not thank him enough and asked why he did such a thoughtful thing. He replied, “The future depends on what we do in the present? Ahaaaaa!”
He was quoting something I had “mindlessly” posted, and in true-Meshea-fashion, had elaborated on, about two hours earlier. This is it:
Yes, of course I cried—but happy tears—along with a Spontaneous Smile! Thank you Ribi NK!
Fibromyalgia Has Gotten a “Bad Rap” on This One
By Meshea Crysup, fibroLIFE© Founder
…the possibility of “fogging” also has caused me to experience extreme stage fright, which, anyone who knows me can tell you, is NOT me.
Recently, I have missed listening to and playing music, performing, learning new material, etc. I really do not like to learn new songs, or even practice old material, if I do not then perform them. However, having Fibromyalgia (FMS), it is hard, if not impossible, to commit to performances. Making things even more complicated is the fact that the possibility of “fogging” also has caused me to experience extreme stage fright, which, anyone who knows me can tell you, is NOT me. (Is it really just the fibro fog that has led to my fear? Sorry, I am getting ahead of myself…)
It just so happens I saw two of my doctors this week and the prescription was, (drumroll please) “You have to start playing music again for your own wellbeing.” Apparently playing, singing, performing, and writing since you were a very young child, then totally giving it up, is not mentally healthy. Something about, “…shutting down, discarding, and burying a huge part…” of who I am. (Of all people, you would think I would have figured this one out on my own! Maybe I knew…?)
So, after seeing the docs, I actually dug up files of songs I wrote in 2004 and 2005, files of Alix—one of my former students and dearest friends—and I practicing and singing, and some other “old stuff”. I have been listening to them, sharing some of them with both new and old friends, and have even had my guitar out to play a bit. There have been some tears, I will not deny, but most of them happy ones. In fact, the entire experience has been a positive one, except for the whole “old computer files are difficult” part. Admittedly, I have not figured out how in the world I am going to perform in spite of—as a part of—LIVING a fibroLIFE©. I am sure I cannot do so on a regular basis. However, I am going to sing and play for people again. I am going to write again as well.
My main take-away from this, however, has been a fact that I knew, but did not want to admit: Fibromyalgia—my fibroLIFE©--has gotten a “bad rap” on this one. While it is true that it makes embracing the singer/songwriter/musician part of myself difficult, the real reason I have totally suppressed that important part of myself really has nothing to do with FMS. It has just been easier to “blame” FMS than to face the real issue. It is time.
Naturally, having discovered this truth in my own fibroLIFE©, I felt compelled to share it with all of you. LIVING a fibroLIFE© is remarkably hard. No doubt, FMS effects many aspects of LIFE so completely that we have to greatly modify how we LIVE. However, for your own wellbeing, take a bit and ask yourself: Is there something I am blaming Fibromyalgia for in my LIFE because it is easier than facing the real issue?
An excerpt from a poem I wrote years ago.
…I wanted to take a picture of this moment
For all my friends to see.
So many who know me now did not know me then.
I wanted them to meet the real me…
I Caught a Glimpse of Me Today!
By Meshea Crysup, fibroLIFE© Founder
I am not going to spend a long time on this post, because time—clear thinking, productive time—is a luxury I cannot afford to waste. I did feel, however, that I had to share this with all of my friends and followers, LIVING a fibroLIFE©.
This morning, we had a bit of crisis at the home we still own, four-hundred-plus-miles-away, in Paducah. No one was hurt, but still there was “business to be done”.
On top of that:
· I had Coffee Klatch, which is my weekly meeting with “Partner-in-Time”, Morgan Gates, and Realtor Extraordinaire, Kim Steen, to discuss the status and plan steps of Rediscovering Historic Vicksburg©.
· I am struggling horribly getting the formatting correct on Rediscovering Historic Vicksburg Book Series© first book, of course written by Morgan Gates.
· I needed to get a new ad out for a part-time tour guide for Haunted Vicksburg Ghost Walk, opening for its seventh season this very weekend.
· I needed to find out the times for Ash Wednesday Service at the various Catholic churches in town, then go pick up, Hubby and his colleague for the service, and take them back to work.
· Plus, I had just the usual “every-day-LIVING” we all must do!
Those of you with FMS (Fibromyalgia) know that can be three month’s work, let alone a few hours in one morning! Today, however, I rose to the occasion--I caught a glimpse of me.
· I made phone calls, managed multiple texts, found files and other older information needed, and was not inarticulate when discussing the damage and management of the situation in Paducah.
· Coffee Klatch was “Click, click, click…” for me, mentally. No fog, in spite of the Paducah crisis going on.
· I had an epiphany regarding the formatting issues with Morgan’s book.
· Morgan and I whipped up the ad during out meeting—bam!
· I called around—yes I used the phone, for talking, multiple times today—identified the best Mass to attend, rounded up Hubby, plus one, went to Mass, and got them both back to work.
· I wrote, in my head, nearly in their entirety, at least three blog posts I want to do regarding my Catholic Lenten experience.
· I wrote down the title to no less than five songs I heard that I really want to work out and actually perform in front of people!
· I called my former, fibroLIFE© co-Director and Dear-Friend-Extraordinaire, Kathy Keeney to discuss the tree that blew down (That’s a whole other blog post.) and a possible visit soon.
Then, immediately after that phone call, I went to the end of the driveway to collect the garbage can after trash pick-up. I felt the wind in my hair and on my face—always a feeling that moves and inspires me—and I broke down in tears.
I cried, and cried, and cried…
I am still crying.
My mind is literally screaming, repeatedly, “I miss me!”
In spite of the tears, I am still not foggy, the pain is not overwhelming, and I am not yet too fatigued to continue, and continue, damn it, I will!
I got my computer back up after having it with me for Coffee Klatch, found the poem I wrote many years ago, and, in spite of all the things I still need to do, I whipped this out. (Yes, I LIVE with Fibromyalgia and TODAY I was able to say I say I “whipped something out!”)
WHY did I take the time to do so?
Some who read what I write about LIVING a fibroLIFE© think—and have told me in no-uncertain-terms—that I must not struggle as much as they do because I insist we all can, and must, choose to LIVE in spite of FMS. I wanted to share this very real moment, especially for them.
If I allowed myself to think thusly, I would see a stranger looking back at me in the mirror, a good deal of the time. I would give up. I would be defeated. I would not be doing my darnedest to remain “relevant” in the real world. I do not allow myself to think that way, however.
True, I am not this me nearly as often as I long to be. But always, I am me! There is no shame in being the “me” I usually am now. I refuse to stop LIVING. Even on the days I cannot do so at “Meshea-Speed”, I stay positive, I stay engaged, and, most importantly, I keep trying.
It is not easy. I love the days—the precious, few days—like today, when it is easy, but no one has an easy life. We all have a LIFE struggle of some sort. Fibromyalgia, frankly, is but one of mine—but it is just that: mine. I am not unique. I have not been singled out, punished, etc. No matter how much it may seem so, during my many long hours of pain, fog, and fatigue, I do not have it worse than most of those around me. I have it differently than most, but not worse.
Yes, I am so very glad to be the more capable me at this moment, but I must choose to LIVE when she is drowned out by FMS.
…Reality set in and I knew in a day, hour, or moment
Fibromyalgia could again take it all away.
I prayed, “Dear God, help me remember.
Dear God, help me remember…”
I caught a glimpse of me today!
Yes, I want to remember, but I am through crying—this time. Yes, I said it: this time. I mourn too—just like you—even after twenty-plus years of no longer being able to be that me. I really do understand the struggle of LIVING a fibroLIFE©. I am not super-human. I do not think I am better at this “LIVING a fibroLIFE©-thing” than any of you. In fact, I am probably not as strong as many of you are. That is why I know, beyond a shadow-of-a-doubt, you really can choose to LIVE your fibroLIFE© too.
It is time to stop crying—stop “missing me”. I am right here: Stubborn, obstinate, determined, and always, always, LIVING my fibroLIFE©.
Below is the poem, in its entirety. I wrote it over fifteen years ago. Some days, it still applies. Some days, I still grieve…but I move on…every time. Every. Single. Time. ~Meshea Crysup
I Caught A Glimpse of Me Today
Though ever-present pain greeted me
When I opened my eyes,
My mind was not foggy.
I praised God as I realized…
I caught a glimpse of me today!
I could think clearly
And concentration did not make my head ache.
I could be my old creative self.
I was elated at the possibilities of what I might make…
I caught a glimpse of me today!
I felt like my former witty self;
Ideas flowed quickly as before.
I prayed that it would last.
I hungered for more…
I caught a glimpse of me today!
A song was on my lips,
Unable to remain in a heart so eager;
I sang out loud to God and myself.
No one else was around to hear, but it didn’t matter…
I caught a glimpse of me today!
The reflection in the mirror
Was not merely the shadow of a memory;
There she was, just like before.
She was real…
She. Was. Me.
Though my body was racked with pain
There was joy on my face.
At that moment I was secure,
Confident of God’s grace…
I caught a glimpse of me today!
I felt confident of my gifts and talents.
I was sure of my abilities.
I wanted to play and sing, write, teach, organize, lead, encourage, cook, sew…
The hardest part was choosing just one of these…
I caught a glimpse of me today!
Happiness flooded my soul
And brought the twinkle back to my eyes.
Optimism was again truth,
Pessimism again lies…
I caught a glimpse of me today!
I wanted to take a picture of this moment
For all my friends to see.
So many who know me now did not know me then.
I wanted them to meet the real me…
I caught a glimpse of me today!
Reality set in and I knew in a day, hour, or moment
Fibromyalgia could again take it all away.
I prayed, “Dear God, help me remember.
Dear God, help me remember…”
I caught a glimpse of me today!
All Rights Reserved
Do YOU Really Make a Difference?
by Meshea Crysup, fibroLIFE Founder
I imagine those of you who spend a lot of time online trying to help others with Fibromyalgia (FMS) have heard that question many times. I know I have. Even worse, it is usually those closest to me—family and friends—that just have to ask. I will admit, sometimes I even wonder myself. After all, there are so many of us now on facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Is there really that much to say about FMS? Is there really a need for so many of us talking about the same thing?
I have been in a flare after being sick and having to take antibiotics. Because of that, I have not blogged on FMS or posted and shared much about it for about two weeks now. However, during that time, I have been contacted several times regarding FMS. I would like to share just a couple of them with you.
A friend from Paducah was having new symptoms. She wanted my advice. Of course, any new symptoms must not be assumed to be “just FMS.” She has followed me online for years and attended many of my talks, so she knew this, but she needed me to tell her that I really meant it for even her! It turned out to not be fibro-related as well as pretty serious. She let me know the outcome and thanked me for still being here for her all these years.
I received a text. It simply said, “My name is______ (I am not revealing her name) and I am having __________. (I am not revealing her symptoms.) Could this be from my FMS?” After our text discussion, she simply said, “Thank you!” I still do not know her last name, where she lives, etc. I do not need to. I have put my name and number online via blogging, facebook, websites, etc. for years and have told people consistently, “If you have questions, TEXT ME anytime. When I am able to, I will reply.” I was so moved that she took me at my word! It also got Hubby's attention which is great, because he is not always so sure I am really making a difference. Actually, I was feeling very useless because of my flare and her text may have helped me more than my reply helped her!
I have a few more incidences, similar in nature, but you get the gist of it.
YES, my being online blogging, sharing, opening up, reaching out, encouraging, educating, etc. really does make a difference! It not only helps others, but it helps me as well!
I am just as convinced that, Yes, YOU—all of you, each of you— no matter how big or small, YOUR online presence really makes a difference as well!
How to LIVE a fibroLIFE©: Fibromyalgia Symtom Tracking
fibroLIFE Basics©: Tracking your symptoms is worth the time and effort!
You do not have to understand Fibromyalgia (FMS) at the healthcare professional’s level to LIVE a fibroLIFE©. What you must do, however, is figure out what causes your symptoms to increase and decrease. In fact, this is not something anyone else can do for you nor can any healthcare professional accurately answer for you. Yes, it is true that there are predictable changes, activities, stressors, etc. that will cause FMS to be worse, but the degree of effect of each of these is different for everyone. You have to determine your own “cause and effect” perimeters. The only way to do that is to track your symptoms.
There are tools available online and in books to help with this. You can create your own if you prefer even. What really matters is that you actually have a system that you are using!
Because my focus is in keeping Fibromyalgia as simple as possible for you, I advocate tracking the “Big Four”: Pain, Fatigue, Fog, and Mood. fibroLIFE© actually has a symptom tracker that utilizes pictures as visual aids to make it easier to identify what it is or how it is that you that you are feeling. I do not use “…on a scale of one-to-ten...” Frankly, who remembers what “six” felt like three days ago?
I do make little notes related to the “Big Four” pictures that I circle or mark to document information that will help me later understand the “cause and effect” aspects. For example, if I document that my pain was worse than usual, I will also note if it was storming, had turned cold, if I had overdone it the day before, if I was taking a cold, if I had experienced a very emotional incident such as a fight or a death, etc. I also tend to note how much pain medication I have to take. For me, this is a very consistent indicator as to how badly I am hurting.
Of course we have many other symptoms with FMS, but often they can be indicated with a brief note as well. If not, fibroLIFE© does have more detailed symptom trackers. I do not recommend them for long-term use, however. After over a year of testing various symptom-tracking systems with several FMS sufferers, we found the more basic the tracker, the more apt they were to use it. Tracking symptoms in depth for a few days is not as important as tracking “the big 4” an entire month at a time.
Doctors also got to see these trackers in use during the same time period and found the information very helpful in quickly understanding what their patients day-to-day fibroLIFE© looked like. In fact, the tracker is designed to show an entire month’s worth of symptoms at a glance. This type of information tends to promote communication between doctors and patients, improve doctor/patient relationships, and lead to improved and more effective FMS treatment plans.
Whether you are trying to determine what is wrong with you, have already been diagnosed with FMS, or have been dealing with FMS for years, symptom tracking is an essential part of minimizing fibro and MAXIMIZING LIFE—an essential part of LIVING your fibroLIFE©!
If You Knew You Would Not Be Judged…
One of the people I follow on facebook had this question posted today: If you knew you would not be judged, what one thing would you do differently? Surprisingly, everyone was declining to answer! Not surprisingly, I did not hesitate to answer. After all, the parameters of the question clearly stated, “If you knew you would not be judged…” What was there to fear? Apparently, no one else believed that they could trust that they would not be judged.
To be honest, I did not believe it either. I suppose since I knew I would be judged, I must not have cared. Why else would I have answered?
Another person I follow on facebook had a bit of a twist to a common quote. Instead of saying, “I’d rather regret something I did than something I did not do,” the comment made was, “I find what I regret most are all things that I did.” I could not relate at all. Of course, I regret things I have done, but at least I “did”—I LIVED.
I have faced challenges in life—big ones—as far back as I can remember. I had severe pain and was not well, but not actually sick either, as far back as I can remember. I lived in fear in my home—the one place every child should feel safe—as far back as I can remember. People did not believe I was in pain or sick. People did not believe that home was not safe. They did not always come right out and say so, but, even as a child, I could tell.
Maybe the fact that I have dealt with knowing I was being judged—and wrongly—from such an early age is why I was the one today who answered the question of what I would do differently without hesitation.
Add to that, staying safe and feeling well were never “givens” in my life—again, as far back as I can remember. So, yes, many of the things I regret are things I have done rather than things I did not do, but I am more than good with that. I want my mistakes in life to mean something—to be because I was trying to do something rather than not trying. Doing nothing is existing. Trying is LIVING.
What did I say I would do differently?
I said I would have studied Ancient History and Civilizations, become an Egyptologist, and have spent my life traveling—probably while remaining single.
Logically, the next question has to be: Since I feel so strongly at this point in my life that I wish I had done these things, what am I doing about it now?
I have read about Ancient History and Civilizations my whole life, and continue to do so today. The same with Egyptology. I travel as much as I can. Granted, I have not been able to travel to the places I read about, I am looking for ways to do so in the future. In the meantime, I am part of several online groups that have the same interests.
Also, because I love Ancient History, loving history in general was a natural progression. I have studied World History and American History for years. I have traveled to many of the places I have studied, including St. Petersburg, Russia. I plan to travel to even more of them. Also, I now LIVE in one of the places I studied: Vicksburg, MS. I am also, as my followers know, now DOING what I can to support “Rediscovering Historic Vicksburg”.
I am not worried about being judged by others. I am not worried about mistakes I might make because of what I am trying to do. I am too busy LIVING my fibroLIFE© to the fullest, in spite of Fibromyalgia (FMS).
I want to end with a few questions for you:
Yes, someone will judge you, but what would you have done differently?
Yes, you will make mistakes, but what are you going to do about it now?
It is a brand new year; what better time to start?
I heard a quote today I am going to borrow and modify a bit: I want to be at the scene of the TIME!
I am very excited about what all of us are going to do in 2017, each LIVING our fibroLIFE©!
Vicksburg Bed and Breakfast Association
Whether it is because it is holiday time, a birthday celebration, or just a chance meeting, unfortunately we all have those family members and friends who just do not get Fibromyalgia (FMS). Even worse, most of the time they think they know more about it than you do. There are several ways to handle the situation.
You can try to educate them.
Not everyone is teachable, for whatever reason. Perhaps they are not capable of learning, do not want to understand, are just convinced, for some reason, they have gotten better information from another source even though it is wrong, etc. Sometimes the situation or location is not conducive to making it a teachable moment.
You can get angry with them.
Anger is a legitimate emotion and one we are all entitled to. There are times when enough-is-enough and it is time to let someone know it. There is a fine line however between assertively informing someone that they are out-of-line and aggressively addressing the issue, ending up out-of-line yourself.
You can ignore them.
Sometimes it is best for you, the other person, for others, or perhaps for everyone, to just be the bigger person and let it go.
The question is, “Does it really matter if they understand?”
I am not going to pretend for a moment that I know the answer to all the possible hypothetical scenarios. I am not even going to say I would know the correct answer if I knew the details of an actual situation. In fact, the only one who can answer that is you.
Only you know the dynamics of the relationships involved, the personalities of the people involved, etc. Only you know if you want to use your limited energy trying to set the record straight. Only you know if you will be helping more than hurting or hurting more than helping by taking a stand. I do know, however, that whatever the topic, rarely will everyone you know agree with you or understand your situation.
In my own LIFE, there have been situations when keeping the peace, preserving relationships, not spoiling a special occasion, or just being the bigger person or more understanding person was the best thing for everyone involved, including, and maybe even most especially, myself.
Honestly, ask yourself this question:
Do you act the way you feel or do you feel the way you act?
When you get up in the morning, do you choose to think positively or, do you wake up and wait to see what thoughts just come to mind? Choosing to think positively immediately upon waking will set the tone for your entire day! No, it certainly cannot make Fibromyalgia (FMS) or any other chronic illness go away. Of course it will not change the facts of whatever problems you are dealing with such as finances, the loss of a job, etc. But choosing to think positively in spite of such things will make a difference in how well you hold up to, manage, and LIVE with and through such things.
I often hear people say, “I’ve got to wait and see how I feel when I wake up in the morning.” I am not denying the legitimacy of such statements. Certainly there are aspects of our health we have to accept, learn to work around, and just LIVE with. However, “waiting to see” how you feel also translates into letting LIFE “happen to you”. You have essentially handed over the power to the only things you really have control of—your thoughts and actions!
I do not say such statements lightly. As with all things I tell you, I do my best to practice what I preach. Yes, it is true that I cannot know for sure what I am going to be able to do each day. FMS varies in its severity and effect on me from moment to moment. Of course, if I wake up in a horrible flare, with increased pain, experiencing severe fibro fog, etc. it dictates what I am able to do. It does not have to dictate my attitude however. I control that!
It is my choice as to whether or not I let actually, legitimately, and physically feeling badly effect my mood. I choose whether or not I am a grouch to others or treat others with respect. I choose whether or not I am bitter about not being able to do whatever I want. I can just as easily choose to evaluate what I am able to do and embrace that! Even if all I am able to do that day is rest, I can choose to be thankful for all the good aspects of my LIFE and gear my thoughts toward how great it will be when I do feel better and can do at least some of what I would like to be doing!
This simple change will make a huge difference in your LIFE, but you have to choose to do it, consistently: When you awaken each morning, no matter what your physical condition and/or no matter what problems still exist, choose to be positive, optimistic, hopeful, and grateful! You may not notice a big change the first day, the eighth day, or even longer, however, eventually you will find that, while your situation may not have improved, how you feel about it, your LIFE in general, those you share your LIFE with, and yourself will have changed for the better! As simplistic as it sounds, it is true: Positivity attracts possitivity and leads to positive outcomes. Negativity attracts negativity and leads to negative outcomes. Why not choose to be positive?
So, again, while it is true that you cannot “positive-think-away” an illness or troubling event or situation, you certainly can “positive-think-yourself” into a calmer, happier, more stable place mentally and emotionally and it will make a difference in all other aspects of your LIFE. The choice really is yours and only yours—mine and only mine. No one else can make this choice for us.
Daddy and Aunt Ada are like oil and water. (Actually, I am pretty sure they do not get
along because they are so much alike, but they would prefer the oil and water
analogy so we will just go with that!) One day, Daddy got a heads up from his
sister, Aunt Shirley, that she was picking up his other sister, Aunt Ada, and they were going to visit him. Regardless of what was socially acceptable, polite, expected, etc., (Not that Daddy had ever cared about those things...) Daddy just did not want to see her. This was his solution:
I knew I had to think of something, quick! So I dialed Ada’s number. She must have seen her caller ID
because she didn’t bother with saying hello. Instead, she said, “I’m about to come see you. Shirley will be here to pick me up any minute.”
I said, “Don’t come! It’s a trap!”
She yelled back, “What?”
I said, “Hell yes, it’s a trap! When you get here, they are going to sign you in and leave you. Whatever
you do, don’t come here. If you do, you’ll never go back home! It’s a trap!”
He was so proud, he could hardly contain himself! He laughed so hard he had tears in his eyes. Once
he composed himself a bit he, “Well, it worked! That was about four months ago
and she has not trusted any of them enough to come visit me yet!”
It was a cute little story, but what is my point?
You do not always have to do what is socially acceptable, polite, or expected. Sometimes, you have to just do what is best for YOU.
I am not saying you should use Daddy’s tactics. (Although I must admit I laughed as hard as he did! If you knew the two of them, you would be laughing right now too!) What I am saying is, whether you are physically not up to it, emotionally not up to it, or you just know it is going to be a negative experience for you, it is perfectly acceptable, perhaps even necessary, for you to decline invitations.
YES, even Christmas family events.
Of course we should make an effort to be socially active, a part of the family, not to let our health rob us of moments we cannot ever get back, etc. Still, the simple truth is not every family gathering is harmonious. Only you know your family dynamic well enough to decide, but if you really feel like it will drain you more than edify you, politely declining does not make you a bad or weak person. It is not selfish or cowardly. Actually, it is rather brave. (Perhaps not the way Daddy went about it...)
Again, politely declining is probably best and definitely more mature. However, do not allow your own holiday season to be spoiled by putting the expectations of others, even family, ahead of your own wellbeing. Whatever it takes—you know I do not mean something crazy, but within reason, right? Just checking!
Whatever it takes—have YOURSELF a Merry Christmas!
Once we stopped laughing, I asked Daddy if he really felt he had done the right thing. After all, she would not have stayed long, she is his sister, and he does like to have visitors. He said, “All we do is fuss when she visits. I have not had to fight with her in four months. Are you kidding? I’m already working on my next plan in case this one stops working!”
"You Can’t Always Get What You Want…”
A LIVING a fibroLIFE© Blog
by Meshea Crysup,
Founder of fibroLIFE©
I never dreamed when I reached my fifties, I would share true words of wisdom by quoting the Rolling Stones. It is truly a gas, gas, gas!
I understand many hate, even fear, change. Thankfully I have always embraced it. True to my nature, I embraced moving to Vicksburg. I have new friends, new favorite places, etc. I did not, however, find them by trying to replace or recreate what I had left behind in Paducah, KY. When it came to continuing fibroLIFE© however, that is not the approach I took. I truly felt I had to find non-fibro people dedicated to the cause, just like I had in Paducah.
Over the past two years I evaluated everyone I have met, decided which ones were approachable on the subject, and explained my ambitious vision to them. Most were impressed, or kind enough to pretend so, and some even wanted to be a part of it. Consistently, however, it would turn out that none of them had the time to spare. After all, fibroLIFE© has never made money; it has always been entirely volunteer. Interested, good people, just could not give up thier "day jobs", no matter how much they believed in what I was saying.
While I was unhappy about not finding anyone to help rebuild fibroLIFE©, my approach to the rest of my LIFE was working out pretty well! I did find people who liked to eat breakfast or lunch out, and had the time to do so. I met people with similar interest, such as history. Eventually, I even found a newly forming group to become a part of: Vicksburg Civil War Roundtable. In on the "ground floor" and true to my nature, when a chance for a leadership role presented itself, I took it! Ready, willing, and able, because I would have partners! It was volunteer work, not a job. No one would live or die, nor would I be fired, etc. if I went into a flare! Nothing would fall apart if I fell apart for awhile! Perfect!
I was excited from the get-go! I was involved in the meetings, planning how we wanted to “grow the group”, promoting what we were doing on facebook, through networking with history-based businesses and organizations locally, etc. I could not do it every day and I surly was not doing it all according to my own very high expectations. Regardless, I was meeting new people, taking part in very interesting discussions, excited about upcoming events, developing new ideas--all things I thrive on when I am well enough to do them.
Wait a minute…
That sounds an awful lot like LIVING!
Duh! Talking about not seeing the forest for the trees!
I had been locked into thinking I had to recreate the former dynamic of fibroLIFE©. If I were ever going to have any degree of success again with fibroLIFE©, I truly felt I had to find non-fibro people dedicated to the cause, just like I had in Paducah.
Maybe the successful rejuvenation of fibroLIFE© would not happen or look like what I was expecting?
Maybe what I needed was to recognize, be thankful for, and embrace the fibroLIFE© I was building here?
After all, fibroLIFE© in Paducah got people out of the house, got them involved in activities, encouraged creating partnerships between fibro and non-fibro people so the fibro person could be a part of something that would not falter or fail when they had a flare.
As far as "the big picture", I always resisted re-inventing the wheel. I never wanted to duplicate what someone else was doing very well already. fibroLIFE© promoted and shared the great work done by others and focused on what we identified as lacking. Our vision and methods were always different. fibroLIFE© has always been basically me, LIVING my LIFE openly and sharing my successes and failures in the hope of inspiring, motivating, and encouraging others to LIVE their own fibroLIFE© to the fullest! fibroLIFE’s credibility was based firmly upon my never telling anyone they could do anything I had not already done myself! I insisted that we owed it to ourselves to examine our LIVES--what we were passionate about-- and look at the opportunities around us, and then embrace every opportunity available, right where we were, whereever that may be. I do not recall quoting them exactly, but in my own way I was always LIVING, and encouraging others with FMS to LIVE, according to one of my favorite Rolling Stone's song:
You can’t always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes, you just might find—in fact I am positive most of the time—that you get what you need!
Without even realizing it—by just being myself, doing things that interested me, determined to be a productive person in a meaningful way in spite of FMS—I found the non-fibro partners I needed. True, they are not doing any of the things I thought I needed them to do. No one is blogging about FMS, planning fibroLIFE© events, working on the next tool or book, etc. In fact, not a single one of my new partners are doing anything that would cause them to ever say, “Oh and I have been helping out with this organization called fibroLIFE©”.
My newest “partners-in-time” are people with extraordinary enthusiasm for and talents in other areas of LIFE that interest me. I have always loved history! When I moved here, I was shocked at how Vicksburg did not embrace its very important role in history. I have been on a soapbox from day one wanting to help change that. My new, non-fibro “partners-in-time” have enabled me to do just that!
I am not planning any fibroLIFE© events. I have halted all the fibroLIFE© projects I still believe in but cannot do on my own. I am not pursuing any of "the usual stuff". Intead I am LIVING by becoming involved in something in the non-fibro world. I tapped into something I have always LOVED, and I am sharing it with you, to SHOW you in stead of just telling you, that YOU CAN TOO!
Afterall, that has always been the fibroLIFE© way!
I am LIVING, minimizing the fibro, maximizing the LIFE!
I am LIVING in spite of FMS.
I am LIVING my fibroLIFE©
It is not remotely the way I had hoped for or thought it had to be.
Just between you and me, and anyone else who will listen, I believe this way is going to be even better!
No you can’t always get what you want.
No you can’t always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes
You just might find
You’ll get what you need!
~The Rolling Stones
The blog posts have slowed down. All three facebook pages have become home to “Civil War” this and “Historic Vicksburg” that. You have been shaking your head, wondering, “What is Meshea Crysup up to now?”
After nearly two years, I have finally met a group of people who, like me, believe that Vicksburg needs to embrace its History as industry! As exciting as that is, how would any of this help me with LIVING my fibroLIFE©?
Re-discovering LIVING my fibroLIFE©
Those of you who know me or have followed me very long at all are not totally surprised. In fact, you expect me to “shake things up a bit” and, frankly, you would worry about me when I do not. To be honest, I worry about myself at those times. If I am not cranking out blog posts, writing or editing a project, and/or posting away on facebook, either new information, inspiration, or laughs or freely sharing I feel too badly to be doing any of the above, I had better be on vacation, have company in town, or some other exciting reason! If not, yes, it is time to worry!
For those of you who are not as familiar with me, I will explain: LIVING and LIFE are emphasized in fibroLIFE© and LIVING a fibroLIFE© because I am determined to maximize LIFE and minimize fibromyalgia (FMS)! I am also committed to encouraging, inspiring, educating—dragging if necessary—others into doing exactly the same thing! If I am not maximizing LIFE, something is not right in my LIFE.
I have been mourning the loss of my beloved friend and co-director, Kathy Keeney, for several years now. I understand that seasons change and it was time for her to do something else, and I am behind her 100% in whatever she does in LIFE. Her presence as my non-fibro counterpart however was essential to the work we were doing. My vision for fibroLIFE© is no less valid than it was during that season we shared, but it has been impossible to find anyone else who shares in it—and has the time to devote to it—that Kathy had.
I have written about this many times. I have re-booted, re-configured, and re-worked my processes more times than either my readers or I care to count! Regardless of how confident I have been in my ideas, the essential ingredients for follow-through have just not been there. I cannot focus, plan, and produce consistently without a non-fibro counterpart due to all the many aspects of having a fibroLIFE©. If I could, I would still be working in the Real World. While I still have much to give to the World of All Things Fibro, I have failed to re-create the magic of our partnership. For me, failure is not an option!
Maybe the key is rather than re-creating, I need to focus on re-discovering?
When Hubby and I moved to Vicksburg, MS, because of his work, I was so excited! I love history and have had a special interest in the American Civil War for as long as I can remember. To my surprise—and disappointment—Vicksburg has not embraced its place of importance in history as I had expected. One of my first statements to our realtor was about how someone needed to do something about it. In fact, I even told her that if I did not have Fibromyalgia (FMS), I would lead the charge, pun intended! To do so, however, I would again need the help of a non-fibro counterpart or counterparts.
After nearly two years, I have finally met a group of people who, like me, believe that Vicksburg needs to embrace its History as industry! As exciting as that is, how would any of this help me with LIVING my fibroLIFE©?
The answer is so simple and obvious that I nearly missed it myself!
I have pontificated for nearly two decades on finding ways to remain active, connected, involved, passionate, productive, etc. in spite of LIVING with fibro.
I have told everyone that the key, for me, because of the type of things I am drawn to—educating about, developing processes, and motivating and inspiring change—is having a non-fibro counterpart.
I have stumbled-by-design into a cause I am passionate about that has a readymade pool of non-fibro counterparts!
I say “stumbled-by-design” because I have been actively seeking the answer to my situation. I have been not just hoping something or someone would come along! I have not been waiting passively for LIFE to happen to me. I have been engaging in what has been available to me and embracing the opportunities I have found!
NOT just hoping…
All are proactive…
All are choosing my life rather than life just happening to me!
I have Re-Discovered LIVING my fibroLIFE©!
I certainly could not start and sustain the organizations that I am now a part of because I LIVE a fibroLIFE©. But, with other members—counterparts—present to keep things focused and progressing when fibro is temporarily winning our never-ending-tug-of-war over my LIFE, I am LIVING my fibroLIFE© to the fullest again!
You are seeing posts related to the above lists on fibroLIFE©, MesheaCrysup.com, LIVING MY fibroLIFE©, and my personal fb page because, as I have always done, I am not just telling you how to LIVE a fibroLIFE©, I am showing you how I LIVE my fibroLIFE©!
I am leading by example. I am practicing what I am preaching. I am not saying one thing but doing another. I am educating those with and without Fibromyalgia (FMS) about the difficulties of LIVING in spite of fibro by sharing all I am involved with AND sharing just how much I rely upon, need, and respect my non-fibro counterparts! I cannot make a living like this, but I am LIVING my fibroLIFE© to the fullest!
I am so proud—blessed, happy, re-vitalized, renewed, etc.—to be an active participant in the groups that are moving Vicksburg forward by helping Vicksburg embrace its past—we are Re-Discovering Historic Vicksburg!
I am perhaps even more proud, if that is possible, to be an active participant in the World of All Things Fibro, sharing the journey, no matter what it involves, with all of you, as I move forward, finally, Rediscovering LIVING My fibroLIFE©!
Just a few I have to thank:
Part 3 of this ongoing series is about a very non-pleasant but all-too-real issue for many people, not just those of us with FMS:
This is actually a topic that is discussed a lot.
Whether or not the body is retaining and reabsorbing toxins when we are constipated is a highly debated topic in the world of All-Things-Medical. As with most things, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Certainly, the colon is designed to hold fecal material, therefore it is unlikely to fail at this unless it ruptures. On the other hand, if the colon has too hold hardened stool too long, in large amounts, or both, it seems reasonable to believe it can become overloaded—pun really not intended that time—and possibly fail at keeping bacteria or toxins from being reabsorbed back into the body. For this reason, I do think we cannot dismiss that such reabsorption of harmful substances back into the body could certainly cause a fibro flare.
Strain and Discomfort
No need to see what the experts have to say on this one! We all know what it is like to have to strain to have a bowl movement. It can cause healthy people to be sore or feel exhausted, not to mention that this particular type of strain can lead to issues with heart! (I will not get into the physiology of this here, but the term if you are interested is Vagal Nerve Stimulation and it causes the heart to slow down, leads to heart attacks while on the toilet….)
The Actual Causes of the Constipation Themselves
Ironically—or perhaps just tellingly—some of the causes of constipation are things that can cause fibro flares in and of themselves!
We all know that many of our medications causes constipation as well. When we are in a flare, we tend to take more of some meds, therefore being in a flare can increase the likelihood of becoming constipated, thus forming a vicious cycle…
Many of the keys to this are actually covered above already, but some have not.
Was this “Not-so-Obvious-Cause…” a surprise to you or had you already identified it for yourself?
What suggestions or tips do you have to help avoid constipation?
I look forward to hearing from each of you! Everyone else is talking about it, so we might as well too! Do not be shy! ;-)
Meshea Crysup, fibroLIFE
While it is certainly true that I live with pain, fibro fog, fatigue, and mood/anxiety issues because of FMS, it is also true that in many ways my fibroLIFE© looks very much like the life of someone without Fibromyalgia (FMS). It is not that having a fibroLIFE© makes us overly exceptional. In fact, some people do actually have it worse than us and I readily acknowledge that. However, because of the “invisible nature” of FMS, every once in a while, I like to take the time to discuss what is going on in my fibroLIFE©. I do not do this for attention, sympathy, or any other personal benefit. I do it because I really believe the best thing we can do to increase awareness and understanding regarding FMS is to be open and honest about LIVING with and in spite of it. My goal is to help my followers not feel so alone, and hopefully pick up an idea or two. If those without FMS learn a thing or two along the way, that is, as we say in the South, “just all gravy”!
I have not been blogging much of late. As much as I love to write to help and stay connected to all of you, it takes energy and focus that I have not frequently had after attending to the priorities in my fibroLIFE©. Like you—like everyone-- I have to put taking care of myself first, then focus on my husband, family, home, etc. Not much has been left over of late!
Daddy has been very sick so I went home for a few days. That is a very long trip. While there, other than spending time with Daddy, I spent time with my son, other family members and friends. The stress of the travel, whirl-wind of visiting, and seeing Daddy so ill of course caused an increase in my FMS symptoms, but I did what I know works best for me: I rested as much as possible while there and once I got back home!
Speaking of home…
Everyone knows how it is when banks and insurance companies are not on the same page with a mortgage escrow account! If you do not know, I pray you do not find out! Hubby and I spent literally six weeks getting a mess resolved. Yes, that increases stress, which increases FMS symptoms.
It has been allergy season here in Mississippi, plus the end of summer/beginning of fall for us means hot and humid! We have been in the 90’s most of the time. We also had a string of thunderstorms for a few weeks. Yes, allergies, heat, humidity, and weather changes such as storms increase FMS symptoms.
We have now been in Mississippi nearly two years so I am working on actually finding doctors here rather than seeing the doctors I have had for many years back in Kentucky. Not only is it difficult to find doctors who understand FMS and work well with those who have FMS, but it is also emotionally stressful to start over with such important doctor-patient relationships. It has involved research, phone calls, obtaining referrals, making sure the doctors are in my insurance networks, etc. On top of that, there is a ton of paperwork to fill out once you finally get an appointment! Talk about increasing FMS symptoms! If I was not in a flare before I started the process, it will be a miracle if I do not go into one before it is all over!
Things have not been all bad, however.
First of all, I have become involved with the Vicksburg Civil War Roundtable group and the Historic Vicksburg Advisory Council. I am passionate about history as well as growing the ways we use “history as industry” to improve our local economy while bringing educational and cultural enrichment to others. Hubby is even going with me to our Confederate Christmas Ball! (Note to self: do all you can to avoid a flare and pray you are able to go to the ball!)
Secondly, I have met with a three locals with FMS who have asked for my help. It takes only a few minutes of listening to them for me to again know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am supposed to help others with FMS. That is indeed a huge calling in my fibroLIFE©! That resurgence of inner-knowing brings such a peace—such comfort—which helps make LIVING with fibro more bearable.
That is what my fibroLIFE© has been like of late! Certainly I left out a lot of things like the mix-up with Hubby’s prescriptions I had to get fixed, the time I have spent at book club, the evenings out with our friends and Hubby’s “young engineers” that we have taken under our wings, the trouble it was to get the right parts to get our kitchen trash bind back as good-as-new, plus there was laundry to keep done, floors to keep clean…
You get the picture! My fibroLIFE© is actually a very normal life, mostly. Good things happening, bad things happening, complicated things happening, exciting things happening, everyday things happen, etc. And I have been managing it, in spite of having FMS. How? Mostly commonsense things, but that does not mean they are necessarily easy things. They take time, dedication, motivation, encouragement, etc. Most importantly, they take personal responsibility on my part, as well as a hefty does of "self-love" which in turn leads to adequate "self-care".
No, I have not been blogging as much of late, but I have been LIVING my fibroLIFE©! And, as always I want to assure you that if I can do it, I know YOU can do it too! I am going to keep right on LIVING my fibroLIFE© openly for all of you—showing you sometimes rather than just telling you that it can be done—always in an attempt to inspire, motivate, and educate to help YOU minimize your fibro and your maximize LIFE!
In Part Two of this series I am going to just get this one out of the way: Social Media!
Yes, I know, I am a blogger and I just shot myself in the foot, as well as all of my fellow bloggers because we all depend greatly on Social Media, but the truth is the truth: Spending too much time online can lead to a flare. Some people are online for other reasons, so Social Media is not the only culprit, however, it is a huge one, especially it seems for those of us LIVING a fibroLIFE©.
Granted, Social Media is a huge help to us and can play a positive role in our fibroLIVES©.
We could add to this list of positive aspects of Social Media fairly easily I am sure, so I am not saying it is bad for us at all. However, like all things in life, especially a fibroLIFE©, balance is absolutely necessary!
I am by no means trying to discourage anyone from using Social Media. I do want you to practice good habits however to avoid possible flares as a result.
Move Around Often
It is easy to get caught up in reading posts, chatting, playing a game, etc. and not realize how much time has passed. We even find ourselves ignoring that sensation nagging at us saying, “Ok we need to move some now.” Well, do NOT ignore that little voice! Instead, pay special attention to it. If you find that does not work, then set a timer to remind you. We all have them on our cell phones or you can even use a kitchen timer if you must. Determine how long you can sit—for most of us 15 to 30 minutes tops—and then be sure to STOP what you are doing, stretch, move around, and hydrate! Staying adequately hydrated will not only help avoid an increase in pain or headaches, but it will also help see to it that you are move more often because you will need to use the restroom.
Break up Repetitive Motion Activities
Moving around often will help this unless you are clever like I am and pick up your mobile device to multi-task while you are moving around! When you take a break from what you are doing online, truly take a break. Your hands, fingers, arms, and neck do not actually rest unless you use them differently. Standing up and walking while still online only helps the lower body—not the actual parts of the body suffering from repetitive motion activities.
Chew up the Meat and Spit out the Bones
I get really tired of reading posts, memes, and entire articles demonizing social media. Like all things, it is what you make of it. I am often amazed by the number of people who think every post is about them in some way. Also, some people cannot just allow someone else to have a different opinion—they just have to “set them straight”. Then there are those who do not just share for support, but they share every detail of everything, all the time. Do not get caught up in any of this! Take the good, leave the bad. Read what you can benefit from, ignore the rest. If this is difficult for you, set your social media filters to help you. Go ahead and unfollow, hide notifications, or even unfriend someone or unfollow a page or group if you find that content from them is truly upsetting you. “Chew up the meat”—the good stuff, and “spit out the bones”—the bad stuff, on social media. You should be controlling it, not the other way around! Keep proper perspective of things.
I am the world’s worst at wanting to finish something I am working on without stopping. Because of fibro fog and fatigue, going back to something I have started is like starting over for me. This, in turn, increases my anxiety to the point that I have increased symptoms just thinking about trying to return to something I did not complete. For this reason, I have to find creative ways to pace myself—to trick myself into not seeing things are unfinished. By using outlines for each of the things I write, I can stop after a heading is finished and not feel like I stopped in the middle of an article.
I am not a big gamer, but I do play Words with Friends. I have to keep a limit on the number of games I have going because I am so competitive plus I hate to leave my friends waiting for me to play.
I love to read, learn new things, and stay up on current events, plus I stay up on all the FMS info. When I go to Facebook, I always find things I want to or feel I need to read. Plus, I get many emails each day with content I want to or feel I need to read. I have had anxiety attacks over how many things are waiting for me to read! Rather than reading everything as it comes, I save the articles and read them when it is convenient and when I feel up to it. I only read while it still feels “good”, “productive”, or “relaxing” to me. Once it becomes the least bit stressful, tiring, or negative in some other sense, I simply stop. It is after all my choice as to what I read or do not read. Again, it is about you being in control of social media, not the other way around.
Another way to avoid being overwhelmed is to not participate in all social media. I simply cannot. I use Facebook regularly and twitter when I can. I try to keep a presence on LinkedIn as well. I left the others long ago. Social Media mediums count on, "If we build it, they will come." I have limited energy, as do most of you, so I cannot be one of those who joins every new option out there. Just because it is there, it does not mean I have to be a part of it. I choose to use what I am most comfortable with to cause less stress, thus be less likely to lead to fibro flares.
Do not let Social Media replace the Real World
This one is the toughest in my opinion. Often, we really feel the only people who understand us are our social media contacts. Plus, it is there for us anytime, day or night. We do not have to leave the house, dress up, look presentable, etc. The thing is, we need to dress up, look presentable, and leave the house sometimes! Also, we need to focus on repairing and/or strengthening our real-world relationships or creating new ones.
Another pit we fall into with social media is the feeling that it is the only place we are accomplishing anything or making a difference. How many of us have at one time or still do spend most of our time online reaching out to others through our funny, inspirational, or educational and informative posts? I used to be online as much as I could every day for just this purpose and felt like a horrible failure whenever I could not. The stress from that kind of pressure caused me to have flares! It also took time away from other things that I really needed to be doing. We have to take care of ourselves, we have family and friends we are responsible to and for, and we have business and social responsibilities as well. Doing good things for others online should not become so important to us that we neglect these other areas. I personally still suffer from this one a great deal. Knowing I am not writing every day stresses me so badly, but I am also a wife, daughter, mother, friend, etc. I have to work everyday at keeping the negative aspect of the stress I put upon myself from taking away from how well I care for myself or how well I LIVE up to my other responsibilities in my fibroLIFE.
Relying totally on social media for our socialization just increases our literal, real-world isolation. It is up to each of us not to let that happen. While you may not have connected the two before, I assure you that maintaining balance--controlling social media rather than social media controlling us--is necessary to keep social media from actually contributing to your fibro flares.
Recently I had been dealing with a fibro flare. I was doing all the usual things to get a handle on it: resting, stretching, not over-doing things, staying hydrated, etc., but the flare just would not give way. I was even waking up In the middle of the night in horrible pain, stressed, chest hurting, etc.
Finally I realized that each night I awoke, I had an upcoming event on my mind. I had been dreading the event for weeks. In some ways, my dread was the same as most people would have, however, I had some unique and legitimate reasons for dreading it as well.
Now, I have been at this a long time, so saying, “No!” is something I have learned how to do. This, as you will find out later in this series, was not the usual “just say no” type situation. It is actually something I will reschedule in the future. Regardless, it was stressing me out just the same, so I made the decision then and there that I was just not going to do it. I immediately felt better.
The flare is not completely over, but I have no doubt that just making my decision will go a long way toward getting past it. Today, no doubt because I am feeling better, it hit me that there is a good blog topic here: Some Not-so-Obvious Causes of Fibro Flares!
Because I do not want the blog post to be too long, I am going to break it up into a series of blogs. It will cover a broad range of topics including physical issues, emotional issues, social issues, interpersonal relationship issues, and spiritual issues. I will try not to get into too much “story telling” but I will briefly identify how I determined that each was indeed contributing to a flare, what I found that helped get me past it, and what I have done to try to avoid repeating the same thing in the future.
Some may be thinking this will be a waste of time but I assure you fibro flares are not as straight forward as many think. We can probably all agree that family, friends, employers, children, spouses, parents, and even health care providers are often very unaware of things that can bring on a flare. However, I have found that often I have been as oblivious to the obvious as those around me were. Sometimes, even more so.
It is my hope that you will get some insight into your own flares during this series. Also, I hope some of you will comment or contact me to share your own discoveries of and solutions for Some Not-so-Obvious Causes of Fibro Flares!
Meshea Crysup, fibroLIFE©
When the Optimistic Motivator Feels Pessimistic and Unmotivated
As much as I love going on vacation with my husband, I am always anxious to return to my own little world. My Hubby and Cally to care for. My home to keep organized, clean, and comfy. My books and articles to read. My blog to write. My ideas to make tangible.
On top of all that--after all those things are not that big--I am going to finally get thin and stay thin. I am going to create the photo books I have collected pics for. I am going to get the clothing I have to give away organized neatly and placed in my car. I am going to file the seven months of bills that are in the very deep desk drawer. I may start sewing again--if my sewing machine miraculously started working again without being taken to the shop, which I meant to do. I may actually work out a song or two on my guitar from the list of songs I have been compiling from every road trip Hubby and I have taken in the last five years or so. Why, I might even sing them in front of people, somewhere, sometime…
Well, I am back from vacation. We got back three days ago in fact. Today, I am finally finishing up the laundry from our trip.
I need to go to the store, but I am very tired. It can wait; after all, it is just me and Cally the next few days and we can get by.
I really should start the re-write of my symptom tracker and coordinate it with my fibroBASICS©, volume one. My head hurts so badly though.
I really do need to read all the articles I have saved first anyway. My head is pounding though. I cannot hear the words as I say them silently in my mind.
Maybe if I read aloud? No, even my face hurts; my jaws, the muscles of my face, and even behind my eyes.
My arms hurt, my fingers hurt, my neck hurts, and my legs have decided to join the party. I am tired. I am always tired. I wake up tired. I sleep and sleep, but I am always tired.
Other than the last load of laundry, I have also run the dishwasher and made the bed. Now the tears. I am not going to accomplish anything of value today—again.
I will rest, get my shower, and make it to my book club. I have a little more than five hours to make that happen.
Laundry, bed made, dishwasher ran, and a shower plus book club! It is more than it sounds like, really! I never let people see me without my make up on and my hair done. Really, my accomplishments today will be more than they sound like…
Damn pain, fog, fatigue…
Damn constant battle with depression.
Laundry, bed, dishes, shower, hair, make up, book club—a very busy, successful, rewarding day. Normal, but I am saving the big, “WOW” stuff for tomorrow, or maybe even the next day…or the next…
Depends on the pain, fog, and fatigue. They are beyond my control. I refuse to succumb to the depression that comes with them.
My value as a person is not contingent on what I can or cannot do.
I am a human “being” not a human “doing”.
Whew, that is good news because today, again, I think I am done “doing”.
Tomorrow will be better! Heck, I might even feel better and break into being a whirlwind this evening after book club! The day is not over yet!
The day is not over yet!
That is more like it...
The day is not over yet...