Sunday, 29 December 2013

A realisation - becoming middle aged

I don't really like making new year's resolutions but I do have a guilty secret and that's compiling a list of things to do before I'm 40. I was thinking that I have a fair bit to go before that happens but then the other day I realised that I actually turn 35 in the summer. Eeek! I find that extremely hard to get my head around. Turning 30 was actually ok for me; I was pregnant, married, a house-owner, my health was stable and I had a job. So for me I felt I had achieved a lot of things I had wanted to do. It's entering the territory of 'middle aged' that scares me. It's stereotyping I know but the image I have in my head of someone middle aged is dowdy, dull and sensible. Far from what I believe I am and most of my friends the same age are (and in fairness most people who could be termed middle aged!). And I don't like labels and refuse to be boxed in by them, probably as much as I like to push against the label of ME/CFS! So I'm going to carry on as if I'm still 27 (this is the age in my head that I am stuck at). And although I haven't made resolutions for 2014, my main goal is to continue to be healthy, listen to my body and keep going with my meditation and yoga, as well as the practical - finding a new house!

I have a board on Pinterest that I'm using to collect all my ideas of what I would like to achieve before 40 (please check it out and follow me if you are on there):

  • Write a short story
  • Learn Spanish fluently - I did some night classes a few years ago but didn't keep it up
  • Learn Guitar - I'm fairly musical anyway and did some chords in my teenage years but would like to brush up
  • Go travelling - South America, The States - too many to name individually!
  • Learn to dance to Northern Soul
  • Have a vintage style makeover and photo shoot
  • Go skinny dipping - I've done wild swimming while camping but never naked! 

I'm sure I will add to that list but for now its all about not putting too much pressure on myself, keeping my health stable and trying to be the best mum I can be. Next year my little boy starts school which is also going to be very traumatic for me! 

Do you have goals, dreams, aspirations? Even with a chronic illness that fluctuates I still feel I need to keep positive and aim high! 

Monday, 16 December 2013

The Festive Season

I'm not going to go into too much detail about coping with Christmas as there are already some great blogs and articles already out there; the lovely Hayley's guide to surviving Christmas and this from Cort Johnson at Health Rising, which discusses expectations that we have of ourselves and that others have of us. There is also an article on the  Action for ME website which is worth a read.  Finally A Thrifty Mrs and Miss Thrifty's blogs have given me quite a few tips on cutting costs this year.

I have to admit that despite pacing the Christmas shopping and having a husband who is on a par with Jamie Oliver most days, I still feel anxious about the big day. I think sites like Pinterest (jeez I have such a love/hate relationship with it) make you feel like everyone else is having a wonderful 'Martha Stewart' time of homemade christmas cards, freshly baked mince pies and beautifully presented, well behaved children. When in reality, my tree looks pretty wonky from my little boy knocking it over and half of my nice decorations are chipped or broken.(Why is it never the crappy ikeas ones that take a knock? It's always the nice Gisela Graham or John Lewis baubles grrr... ) Also due to my perfectionist personality, I have taken over the responsibility of buying most of my family and my other half's family gifts. Just to put you in the picture, its likely they would have nothing to open on Christmas day if it was left to him.... This comparison definitely applies to me!

Anyway we've decided to have Christmas at ours this year. My parents are coming and have offered to make a Clootie Dumpling; a Scottish steamed pudding, which is a lot nicer than Christmas pudding in my books. Luckily my folks are pretty low maintenance and will be quite happy to just chill out and accept whatever (I think...). My other half is a keen cook so will rustle up a very edible turkey dinner (I hope...) and I can be hostess/look pretty in my Christmas outfit and r̶e̶l̶a̶x̶ be forced to play Star Wars with my little boy.

This year will be a much happier time for me though. Last year, I had a horrendous relapse and could barely even stand long enough to decorate the tree or sit and eat a meal without retreating back to bed, so I'm extremely grateful that my health has improved and my symptoms are back to being mild and more manageable.

I have my first ME/CFS clinic appointment in January which I'm hoping will help to equip me with some more skills for managing my illness and hopefully improving my strength a bit more.
Let's hope that 2014 brings continued better health :)

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


I had been doing pretty well on the sugar and caffeine front until the last few days...


Every month, there is a week that causes me so much emotional and physical pain. Yes it's hormones! For me, there is a definite link between ME/CFS and hormones.

Prior to getting ill, I did suffer from PMS and also believe I was generally mildly dysthymic (although I could control this most of the time with CBT) but since becoming unwell it has increased tenfold. I get really irritable, negative in my outlook, feel anxious, get acne prone skin, oily hair, and am bloated, fatigued and notice an increase in my ME symptoms. Although I'm lucky enough not to experience pain generally with my ME, my muscles become very tender. My little boy loves rough play and so when he jumps on me or even grabs me, without much force, it can be excruciating! I also had Shiatsu on Saturday for the first time and wow that hurt! The bloating also causes a bit of pain.

The anxiety I experience is tough to deal with but I feel if I can recognise what the cause is and distract myself, then I can control it (rather than it controlling me). I follow this blog which is great for giving tips on how to handle anxiety in various situations.

During this time of the month, I try not to take too much on (which often means avoiding social situations or big things at work), get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water (which helps with the bloating), try and eat as healthily as I can (although i crave sugar like mad!) and use mindfulness and CBT to challenge any negative thoughts. It's a time I really dread every month and I envy those who seem to breeze through those days.

Do you find your ME/CFS symptoms change at certain times of the month? What have you found that helps PMS?