What an amazingly inspiring and informative week this #MentalHealthAwareness week is!
I thought I would share how I handle the crushing depression, general anxiety and crippling brain fog that I get (or used to get) with my Lyme Disease and Fibromyalgia.
Watch this video for a much more detailed description of what it feels like and how I handle it, but here is a quick summary ….
Crushing depression – is Vitamin B – get your Dr to check your vitamin and minerals if yours feels like the one I describe.
Anxiety – get moving – my local beginners dance class is key to handling this
Brain fog – Omega 3, 6 & 9 oils and Circulation are key to improving this. Plus tap dancing or playing the piano to improve the synapses in my brain.
But most of all it’s about accepting who I am and working with it, instead of against myself – I am who I am, and that is someone who will always need to look after myself, even once I am symptom free.
I have created my own system to deal with the ups and downs of life called ‘Heal your life’ which incorporates journalling, affirmations and meditation – very simple, but deeply powerful and empowering. I incorporate it in my 6 month membership program ‘Be healthy, fit and slim’ because I believe that health is the priority and self-care and emotional health are key to that. Remember, if you support your body, it can then support you in the ups and downs of life.
Any questions, please feel free to to pop into my facebook group #MUMMYWHISPERER Tips – I’m always happy to help.
So in April I reviewed the Far Infrared Professional Sol Cocoon and Earth Mat (chair mat) from Get Fitt. I had amazing results, and thought I should update you how things are going since then. Plus I’ve had over 50 people try the Cocoon and Chair mat, so I”ll let you know what I’ve found out from those trials.
Things I have learnt:
The Cocoon is much stronger than the Chair mat; if you have a chronic illness you are going to need the Cocoon, if you want to get better. But the Chair mat will help you keep going.
Using the Cocoon 2-3 times a week at my Salon & Spa is not the same as using it twice a day; doh!
I’m lucky to be able to use it twice a day; some people are so sick they can only use it once every couple of days at first. I’m not sure why, but potentially as I had my supplementation, nutrition, exercise, meditation and pacing in place.
Circulation is King in recovery from every illness; I really hadn’t understood how important it is, so I’ll write more about this with more tips.
I’ve been focussing on being able to work and be with the kids, not healing; this is a big shift in thought process for me, that I’m still working on it.
Pro’s of the Earth/Chair mat:
I use this for about 30mins at night and 5 mins in the morning.
It’s much prettier than the Cocoon
It helps me stave off a flare, or hold it off until I can get in the Cocoon.
It helps me to relax ready for sleep each night
Both kids love it before bed during reading time (it’s on a rocking chair).
It’s great for bad backs (no it doesn’t fix them forever, you need to keep using it and go to Pilates).
It can give a boost of energy, just not as much as the cocoon – I don’t think it would last more than a couple of days in someone like myself.
It’s easy to use because you can sit on it while you work
The kids also like to lie on it watching films etc when they are tired.
You can lie it on your stomach or knees for pain relief
Everyone who has tried it has found it’s great to reduce the pain and grumpiness of PMT (like magic!)
It means I can take it with me when I go away and still enjoy my holidays
So I’m really glad I bought one for myself personally and for my clients and I would really recommend it either as:
A cheaper option that you supplement with a Cocoon at a salon/therapist
Or for pain relief/PMT/energy boost if you are not chronically sick
Pro’s of the Cocoon
Massively reduces POTs symptoms and stops a flare up (heart palpitations, feeling as though my arms are tightly bandaged, pain across back & shoulders, fainting sensation on standing up).
Almost meditative in nature; it seems to put everyone into a state of peace and calm that creates a really deep sense of rest.
It helps me with the sense of overwhelm that being a mum of 2 young kids + a new business + Lyme disease brings on. Honestly, there are times when I think it is the only thing that keeps me going.
The Cocoon shape definitely has a psychosomatic reaction and relaxes people; it must be a bit womb like.
Using it 2-3 times per week is keeping me going. But I’m not making the degree of progress in improvement that I was making before. There is some improvement, but not noticeable day by day as I was getting before, and life isn’t helping me maintain the improvements at the moment.
It’s great before or after a massage of for people who are too stiff or don’t like the intimacy of a massage as a replacement.
Here is a list of the types of problems that people have come to try the Cocoon for. I would like to try a few of them in more depth.
Relaxation, stress relief, exhaustion: This is the prime use of the Cocoon at the salon and it always works for this. If they go racing out into the world, the energy will last 1-2days. But if they pace, it will last 4-5 days.
Children: All react really well to it and it seems to be very calming and relaxing. For mine, I get a lot less tantrums kicking off and their health seemed stronger. It’s good with the Chair mat (better than before), but not as strong. I’d love to try more with hyperactive or sensitive children.
Recovery from hard core physical exertion: I was really excited to have a Polar Explorer tried it out on his return from the pole. So I can be sure it helps and that it fits very, very, very tall people! A mum tried it after doing a moon walk and it helped, but I should have popped her on it again for her to get no fall out from all that walking.
Preparation for exercise: a couple of OCR enthusiasts (Obstacle course racing) have found it really helpful. I’d like to try out a few more to see if it helps with their results and preparation for races. Now personally I think these people are C.R.A.Z.Y and doomed to hurt themselves, but heh ho, who am I to judge, and at least this will help protect and/or heal them 😉
Recovery from viruses: Loads of people tried if for recovery of bugs/illnesses that they couldn’t shake off and it either worked immediately or by the next morning.
Cancer: It definitely helps with the exhaustion, stress and pain relief. I would consider it a supportive therapy, but I wouldn’t want to claim or promise anything else.
Chronic illnesses: (E.g. Fibromyalgia, M.E., CFS. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Lyme Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis). It’s not a replacement or short cut for lifestyle changes. It’s great for the exhaustion that often goes hand in hand with them. The detox can be brutal, so care needs to be taken to not over do it initially; it even detoxes emotions (see my post on the sudden burst of grief about my parents death). For some people it helps with pain relief straight away and for others it takes time; it’s going to take a few more clients before I can set people’s expectations clearly. I definitely to keep going with more long term case studies on this.
What I’m going to keep investigating:
As you can see dogs like Far Infrared too 😉
I’m really interested in how it helps with PMT/Menopause and Depression, so I’m going to do some 2 month case studies in the coming months. I’m pretty convinced it will help with these two really ‘normal’ problems, which would be amazing.
What’s not clear is which chronic illness is can not help or how many sessions my clients will need to make an improvement. So we need to do more repeat treatments.
I reckon it will be good for weight loss, because of it’s motivational and detoxing abilities, but I haven’t focussed on this yet. I can’t wait until it helps me, but the guys at Get Fitt reckon it will take another 4 months before my system normalises; argh! (Yes, I know this shouldn’t be a priority, and I know I would tell you it’s not important!).
I’ll probably start all those case studies in a month or two, and just focus on continuing treatments with the people who have tried it so far.
In the meantime I’ve made a big decision; I’m going to take the Cocoon home for another month and see if I make as much improvement again as I did the first time. this might seem really sensible to some people (and selfish to others), but it’s massive for me, as it’s a sign that I’m really prioritising myself ahead of other people and is a big step forward.
If I improve again, then I know that for the chronically sick I can only offer slow improvement/keep going treatments at Espiritu and that they’ll need their own cocoon to really improve (not knocking ‘keeping going’ as an option, as it’s better than ‘spiralling downwards’). Also I’ll know whether I need to buy a Cocoon for my home usage.
But don’t worry, anyone who really needs it can still use it; I’ll bring it in once a week to Espiritu, or you can use it at my home or use the chair mat at Espiritu.
Want to try it?
Pop me a message on Facebook and we can have a chat. If you are close, I really recommend you come and try my Cocoon. I offer the first consultation (with a little coaching guidance) and first Cocoon treatment for free; that way if it doesn’t help there is no pressure on either of us. My case studies are either free or on a large therapeutic discount.
If you aren’t close, Get Fitt do a ‘try before you buy’ option where you rent it for a month and then if you buy it, that rental comes off the price. Do you mind mentioning to them that you read my blog posts, if you do take this option please? They’ll give me a little reward and I’m putting any I get towards more products; there is no doubt that I’m going to need more support to recover completely from my Lyme disease.
At Espiritu I’ve created 10min, 20min, and 30min Far Infrared Cocoon services, a 15min coaching session for afterwards and packages of 6 for the price of 5 and 25% off 10 treatments. Really popular is the Chair mat upgrade to pedicures/manicures/blow dries and the Cocoon upgrade to the Spa services (but remember, it will only be available 1 day per week for the next 2 months).
Remember to subscribe to this blog if you want to make sure you don’t miss the next instalment of what happens when I take the Cocoon home again and start using it on a daily basis again.
I’d love to hear from anyone else using the Get Fitt products and how it has helped.
Not fixed. But dramatically and unbelievably better!
It’s like someone switched the lights back on in my body!
And now I look back I can see that I was degenerating badly. It’s actually quite scary now I feel better, to see how I was on an inexorable spiral downhill. It was obvious if you had a little look at my house or Espiritu, which had become untidy and clogged up; I’m a lover of systems and organisation and the mess was a sign of my overwhelm.
Now I’m not underestimating the general stuff I was doing, CBD oil (since Sept and crucial for getting me out of bed), and more recently a naturopath (great for support, knowledge of Lyme and starting the healing process). But this change was sudden, has continued, and is continuing and is all down to the Far Infrared mats from Get Fitt.
Here’s a list of the majority of the current improvements:
Physical stamina and strength improved dramatically (I can walk the dog on the same day as Pilates and am at last up to my old weights on my legs on the Stott Reformer machines).
Pain reduced, even during period (normally chronic).
Brain fog, depression and overwhelm blown away (Business decisions are about 50times faster and life is generally much sunnier).
POTs symptoms: Heart palpitations and pain from lack of circulation in top half of my body from POTs improved (scary shit – I didn’t like that)
So how did this happen?
A few weeks ago I got a message from Lisa from Get Fitt. I’d heard of Far Infrared and even tried a sauna, but I was feeling so ill it took 2 weeks before I felt I had enough stamina to ‘waste’ talking to someone for 30mins.
On Friday 18th March she turned up with Mark the founder (a very passionate guy with that endearing ‘mad professor’ way to him). They sat me on one of their chair mats for 10 mins (I was too sick for more apparently) and explained the science behind it.
Helps improving the immune system, thus with battling the bugs in funky illnesses like mine
Gives energy, a bit like that ‘summer holiday’ feeling
Has a detox effect without the sweat of a sauna
Speeds up recovery from exercise
Helps regain energy from over doing life.
Who can’t go on it? Pregnant women and haemophiliacs, that’s all.
Off they went, and I was left with the feeling that they were really lovely people. Then the magic started to happen. Myself and one of my stylists reorganised the whole of the colour area at work, which required puzzle solving skills I’d been completely lacking for weeks and physical graft. I should have been dead that night, but I was ok. I was fine on Saturday too.
Sunday morning and it went PFFT (technical term!). OMG it was gone and suddenly I felt like I did before – it was a shock to remember how bad I had accepted feeling. So I cheekily messaged them saying I needed another demo; after all it could have been coincidence.
This time they popped me in their Professional Sol Cocoon. Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday were amazing – I spent time with the kids, solved business problems in 5 mins that had been troubling me for a week and started to sort through the mess at home and the salon. There was NO way I was going without it anymore – it was definitely my new addiction.
By Thursday, less than a week after first trying the mats, I had booked another ‘meeting’ and built my business case to buy 2 mats:
A beautiful Amethyst Chair mat (the earth pad) as a lovely upgrade to blow drys, manicures & pedicures and help clients with back pain, tiredness and PMT.
The Professional Cocoon Sol for those needing it therapeutically like me, pain relief and clients who had pushed themselves too far; basically more of a relaxing and healing experience, all on it’s own or following a Spa treatment.
BUT I took the cocoon home and the continued improvement was so good, that I decided to keep it home during the Easter holidays. I’d at last learnt the lesson to put myself first. When faced with a week in a caravan and no mat I realised it was never going to be enough for me to just use the mats at work, so I bought myself a chair mat (the Super 7 body mat with 7 different crystals and minerals) for home.
So what have I achieved that is so extraordinary?
I ran a 3hr training course, standing up the whole time, that I’d prepared for late into the evening for 4 nights running as it was the Easter holidays. With no fall out the next day in pain levels or exhaustion.
I went to Ikea with 2 children; a 4hr round trip, including lugging boxes and an amount of walking that would normally have killed me.
I went to a wedding; normally a nightmare for noise and people overload. I didn’t rest the day before, and just had a quiet day afterwards. I had FUN! And I DANCED for an hour!
I’ve reorganised the whole of the downstairs kitchen, utility and playroom, and my bedroom, which required a lot of physical graft and organisation skills, I’d been lacking for months.
I took the kids on holiday for 5 days ALONE to Park Resorts at Camber Sands, and although I was tired (what parent wouldn’t be), I had a wonderful time, as I was able to actually BE present with the kids properly. We played on the beach (so I didn’t just sit and watch them play like normal), went swimming in the pool every day, and I just needed a couple of gentle days on our return to recuperate.
Within a couple of weeks I was back up to my original pre-June 2015 leg weights/strings on the Stott Reformer machines at Applied Pilates. My upper body, is still weak, but the constant feeling of constriction, like my arms were in bandages has gone.
I’m not having to constantly ‘count spoons’ as us Fibro/Lyme people do, worrying that I’ve taken too many steps in a day.
Work wise, I’ve been back ‘on the ball’. It’s actually really scary to think how much I’d degenerated, I was really scared that the Lyme had gone to my brain, but it looks like it was just lack of oxygen.
And it’s not just me!
So far my kids go on it once-twice a day especially little dimples; it helps when they are tired and reduces tantrums. The big hairy northerner has used it to recover from migraines and exercise, and his Dad was a big fan (he’s not the type to be easily persuaded about anything). It’s helped several friends with their backpain, but I want to investigate further to see how long the improvement lasts for. It definitely dramatically reduces the pain and grumpiness of PMT in a couple of my girls at Espiritu. The Amethyst Chair mat (or earth pad) has been in regular use, as much by my girls as clients over the last couple of weeks, so I’m really excited to catch up with everyone to see what happened during my holiday.
So tomorrow the Cocoon goes to the salon (boohoo!) and I’m very excited to see what magic it can create for my clients on it’s own as an experience, or as an upgrade to Facials. I hope to see just as dramatic differences as it seems able to help a massive list of problems. I’ll be offering it out for free for the first week and contacting as many friends and clients as possible. Then it will be at a reduced price for the second week for those who couldn’t make it. But I’m also thinking of permanently having a day where it’s heavily discounted, to help those who need regular treatments.
I’ll write more soon, but I want to let you know that I’m better, and it’s been a month, so it’s definitely lasting and continuing to improve even more.
So let’s say the combo of naturopath, CBD oil and Far Infrared mats (my newest investigation) didn’t just help me manage my Lyme/Fibro but actually returned me to full health.
What would I change? What would I go back to doing? What lessons have I learnt?
I think that it’s an important question to answer. I’m NOT saying I want to be ill, or that anyone wants to be ill. But I think that the possibility of health can seem so unlikely that we don’t aim for it or plan for it.
Would I put a pair of jeans back on? Probably not as they never suited my short legs and Wildbangarang leggings add some fun to my life.
Jewelry? I’d be sparkly and jingly again in a heart beat!
Running? Nah walking the dogs is more fun, but I’d go back to Zumba or take up dance classes for sure.
Sugar – I love a bit of cake, but I’m alright without biscuits. I’m not that restricted diet wise. Although diet may be coming up as a potential target at some point – I wonder what I’m willing to give up for full health? It might sounds weird, but ‘we’ often do struggle with giving up food that makes our problems worse.
Work – would I make the most of it and start working 60hr weeks, like they say you should when running your own business? It would be a huge relief to be back up to speed. It would be wonderful to be cognitively fast again. But I don’t plan on regretting missing another summer with my kids or dropping the ball at school because I never do drop off or pick up. I would like to be able to do more and quicker, but not work every hour that god sends.
My cleaner? I know some people think this is a huge luxury, but it is not one I’m willing to give up. Even if I’m better, it’s still a juggle with work and kids
My kids – wow it would be wonderful to be able to play physically more, not worry how much energy is left for the chores & to do’s and eek it out. I love all the creative stuff I do with them, but I deserve more memories than that. Starting to go back to Festivals with them would be a good start. Heh, when we can afford it again we could take the kids snowboarding, I’d love that. Oh and when you are tired, patience is soooo difficult!
Friends – they’ve been very patient, I’d have a long list of catching up to do and I owe a lot of relatives Christmas cards. But obviously my list shortened over time – not everyone was as patient. I’d definitely like to go out. Not lots, as I prefer the way we spend our money. But just to have some girly fun every now and again at a birthday party or to go to wedding receptions.
Planning my energy? – At the moment I plan my energy usage. A visit to London requires a rest the next day. A busy week finishes with a couple of hours on the sofa as the big hairy northern one takes the kids to tap class. I’d love to have the freedom to go to any conferences or events I want to. But not overloading our calendar or over stimulating the kids is definitely a good plan. I wonder if I can trust myself to keep that lesson?
Sleep– I’ll stick to my early bed time, but not spend so long trying to get to sleep would be fabulous. Having a more of a life in the evenings would be great.
Financial – if I was really truly better I’d save a fortune on supplements, but I reckon I’d keep seeing my naturopath every now and again. I’m so not going to just put what I’d saved in the bank though – this girl needs to be a bit more frivolous and high maintenance 😉
Hobbies – wow would I have energy for something other than chores, kids & work? Probably not until Espiritu was a little older, but the prospect would be good.
There’s not lots I’d change. I would just live life to the fullest possible and enjoy my energy. I must remember to spend that energy on the kids first before work/chores and leave some downtime for me.
It would be lovely not to be scared and overwhelmed.
So I’ve decided I’m going to aim for total health recovery. Hey, if I fail, I’ll probably still have improved. But if I don’t hold it as a possibility, then it’s very unlikely. So I’m going to make a plan for how life will change when I succeed. Just in case 😉
I’m sorry, it has all been a little bit about sickness recently hasn’t it? Bit boring really, so I’m going to make this post succinct, and then move onto more interesting subjects for a while 😉
Some background: since June last year, I got really sick. I’m better, but I can’t work full time, find it difficult standing up and haven’t regained my stamina or my cognitive ability. I am managing to juggle the mum-kids thing better and the CBD oil is a big help. But I am very up and down, and the only solution seems to be lying flat. The girls at Espiritu are getting stronger and stronger, and taking more and more work off me; I’m very lucky.
I felt there was more to it than ‘stress’, I felt ‘wrong’ inside, and eventually shouted enough to get referred to a Rheumatologist. I was really excited – someone who would actually know about Fibro etc and be able to help! Hmmmm. Not so much. I saw her in November after waiting 5 months. She was really grumpy that a Dr had dared to diagnose me without a specialists help, told me I didn’t have Fibromyalgia, did some auto-immune tests, and said if they came back clear then she didn’t want to see me again.
I don’t agree with her – my initial symptoms for the 4yrs previously were very Fibro, and I’m grateful I had a Dr who was aware of what they meant.
I do agree with her that the new symptoms weren’t – and actually I’d made the mistake of seeing a different Dr (you know how difficult it is to get appointments), who wouldn’t listen to me about that. The good news was she referred me to a neurologist (I’m still waiting) and a physio (I’m still waiting).
I was very upset and down about it. Why do we hope for help from the medical system so much, when we know how limited they can be as well?
I had been googling my new symptoms over and over. Over and over one thing came up: Lyme Disease. I was hoping that I was just jumping on the bandwagon – you know how we see an advert on the TV about stomach pains and immediately worry that we have cancer? That’s what I was hoping.
Eventually I pulled myself together and went back to see my ‘right’ Dr rather than the first appointment available. I felt silly. But went through my symptoms with him again and asked if he thought that I might have something different. Much to my surprise he agreed and said he wanted to do some research and would call me. The call came with a recommendation to read Dr Horowitz’s book ‘Why can’t I get better’ (Warning: it’s a LONG, complicated book).
I filled out the questionnaire and was worried to find that I came out strongly as Lyme. Then when I had a flare next I went back to the Dr, who was unusually down. He confirmed that I have a ‘clinical diagnosis’ of Lyme – i.e. from my symptoms. I’ve had the blood tests – they don’t point to any other weird illnesses. They also don’t show positive for Lyme, but that’s a whole other story and political mess as ‘google says’ that they only work 20-50% of the time.
Bless him, I felt sorry for him – there isn’t anything he can do. The NHS doesn’t officially recognise chronic Lyme, even though people die from it. The official treatment is 2 weeks of antibiotics (I had 4 before Christmas and felt amazing, but the bleugh returned as soon as I came off). The ‘Dr risks getting struck off’ treatment is 2yrs of double antibiotics, some intravenously. I can’t afford the german blood tests that would prove I have Lyme (which the NHS would still ignore), or the £60k to be treated in Texas. I didn’t have any ideas on what to do because the alternative options are so overwhelming, confusing and complicated.
But there is some good news. It looks like Mr Taxman owes me some money, yay! So I saw a Naturopath this week, who does know what to do. I’m going to spend my money on her, rather than blood tests, as I’m more interested in getting better than proving to people who still think I’m stressed or need to ‘just get up and keep on going’ like they do.
I’m crossing fingers that you’ll see a much more positive post in about 6 months time. When I get my head around understanding Lyme, I’ll write up about it too.
But for now, I think we’ll move onto more interesting subjects shall we?
I apologise, I’ve been promising this post for months, and really it’s pretty easy to write, I just didn’t get round to it.
If you have a weird funky illness that gives you pain and sleep problems, the I really recommend CBD oil made from Cannabis oil.
There is no ‘hit’. Just pain relief and a good 6hrs sleep, sometimes more. Potentially a slight anxiety reduction as well.
I buy mine from CBD Brothers (The white label cheaper version). Now I’ve been told that lots of CBD oil sold online is from Hemp oil. I can’t be sure, but the results are great and they assure everyone that it’s from Cannabis oil.
I’m not fixed. But I’m functioning, and I’m sure it’s the oil that’s doing it. I’ve been taking it since September and I get through a bottle about once every 5 weeks.
I have better sleep than I’ve had in years, without any other supplements/herbs (I used to have a huge selection). I take it 1-2hrs before sleep (it can have a stimulating effect if taken too close to bed time). (I drop under my tongue, held there for about 3 mins).
Then I take it in the morning and I can feel the pain relief within about 10mins. The couple of times that I’ve forgotten to take it, have really proved how much it reduces my pain levels.
I also have the balm, which I can apply straight to any shooting pains or chronic pain that I get – this is amazing, because those sorts of pains would normally cause me problems for days (shooting pains in my head or arms in particular). I’ve only bought one lot of the balm and it still has loads left.
How does it work? Put very simply the theory goes that the CBD oil helps the existing Cannaboid cells in our body that are struggling to get rid of all the nasty stuff (technical term!), as they are already overloaded with Pollution and rubbish diets. So it’s helping the body to help itself.
What can it work for? I think anything that is brain or stomach based (where there happen to be lots of these Cannaboid cells. It’s is suggested that it can therefore help Fibromyalgia, M.E. CFS, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Cancer etc. Although I have a friend who is a nurse, who has found that some epileptic children who tried it had fevers and sickness (I don’t know where that CBD oil came from) – so as with all things it may not work for everyone.
I don’t know if it can help you, but I think it’s worth trying if you are struggling. Please let me know in the comments how it goes.
“Right then, we have a target, all hands on deck we have a target”
“We estimate that this project will take <xyz> amount of energy over <abc> number of days: initiate gradual send out of energy per day”
“Oh shit, we estimated wrong”
“Initiate borrow of energy from ‘Bank of Energy’ to reach end of target”
“Yay target reached!”
“Warning, warning, insufficient energy creation ability to pay back energy debt, the bank is pulling the plug”
“Warning, warning, the plug is being pulled, the plug is being pulled”
Cue my body literally feeling like someone let the energy plug out, differing degrees of pain and numerous other symptoms slumped on sofa for <efg> no of days. And no, I couldn’t just keep going anyway.
Targets so far were – a 2 month project working until midnight every night to work out the necessary price changes at Espiritu. It was the right choice, and I felt confident and sure that I’d been as fair as possible to everyone – clients, staff and the business. I was so amazed how my body did, and really thought I’d stopped in time. However 5 days later at the end of June I was hit by the worst pay back I’ve ever experienced and those 2 months cost me nearly 4 months (read my post about silent illness here).
I started to feel human again 3 weeks ago. There was a project (a client Christmas party and some new recruits). I worked hard (until 11pm this time, not midnight). It was really successful and the new girls are wonderful. I crashed for 4 days.
So I took it easy this week. But I spent too long at the salon yesterday, and suddenly the plug was pulled.
Do I get a warning?
Not really, and sometimes I’m too committed to the project with little option (yes I delegate and make sure we do as few projects as possible, but it’s a new business and there are always unexpected eventualities). But the pain during the Christmas party was a pretty good hint there was going to be payback. Yesterday I think that it was the over riding urge to get home, which I listened to – but I still felt guilty when leaving work.
The problem is that my estimations are all wrong. Then once committed to a project, the determination inside of me will always get me to the end.
This must be why people get sick on holiday – so they get sick once they are done.
I need to learn how to leave enough space for ‘new business type unexpected crap‘ to show up, whilst fitting in projects and not using my [determination of an ox] button to ensure successful completion. Oh and don’t forget the ‘has 2 young children‘ factor.
If I find the answer, I’ll let you know.
In the meantime, do as I say, don’t do as I do, because I’m really not a good example! Take care of yourselves, give yourself time to fill up your energy savings.
p.s. I have found something that has been helpful with the pain & fibro sleep issues. I’ll blog in a week or so.
p.p.s The rheumatologist doesn’t think I have Fibro – hmmmm – I’m awaiting blood tests and a referral to the neurologist.
p.p.p.s Why did I write a blog post if I’m tired – tbh I type quick and it feels good to do something very ‘me’ – I love writing.
Honestly I don’t mind. If I looked like I felt, it would be pretty catastrophic, and at least I don’t have that to worry about. I don’t need lots of sympathy all the time either. Although, I suppose it might be a helpful reminder to people that I’m not up to scratch.
I also have a big habit of ‘putting a good face on’ – one of my weaknesses/strengths who knows!
To those who know me well, there are dark rings under my eyes, a slight tightness to them due to the pain, I look a bit drawn, and my skin on my hands and feet is a mess – no sores or injuries are healing. (Good news though, the hair on my legs isn’t growing either, so no need to shave – result!).
So what’s the matter? Some form of Fibromyalgia flare up, brought on by a shock at work last summer, a years worth of stress, a lot of changes at Espiritu, a significant shock and concern over one of my children, and over work. Apparently I then got an ear infection at the end of June and my whole body went haywire. It’s the worst ‘flare’ I’ve ever had, with totally different symptoms from what I’m used to.
I knew I’d worked too hard. So as soon as the project was finished, I took some time out and had a pamper at work. But it was too late. It started with feeling really tired for a couple of days – the kind of tired when there is nothing left in the tank. Then I had some pain in my upper back. Then it went into my head, down my arms and 111 had me rushing off to hospital with a suspected heart attack/stroke (I was shitting myself). I was bedridden for 3 weeks, half of that pretty comatose. The rest of the time I was in so much pain I couldn’t lift my head off the mattress.
I haven’t been able to wear Jeans all summer – that would hurt too much on my skin. It’s either maxi-skirts, or leggings; thank goodness for the Big Hairy Northern one’s new business Wildbangarang – at least the leggings weren’t boring! I can’t wear a watch or my normal heavy, sparkly jewellery because it would hurt too much (not a big deal I know, but it’s like a part of me has gone). There are days when a bra is a big no no. Glasses can be really heavy too – so for the first couple of months I was very limited as to how long I could wear mine. I couldn’t even hold a phone to use Facebook – tragedy!
It’s amazing the difference between lying flat, lying leaning on a pillow, sitting with your legs up, sitting, standing and walking – I never understood that there was such a difference in how much energy it takes to do these things. I love the ‘Spoon Theory‘ as a description of how forward thinking us Fibro-Peeps have to be – but seriously, to have to consider how long I can sit/stand is bizarre!
Did you know it’s tiring to watch TV or a film? Although less tiring than Facebook, which I had a good break from. And reading – wow it was a big day when I was well enough to read a book!
The Dr’s have been pretty pants tbh. Eventually I was persuaded to go back on some pills (a light Nortriptyline dose, as I hated Amytriptyline last time) to give me a deeper level of sleep. But when I went back for help, they just want me to wait to see the specialist. In November. Thanks for that – I couldn’t work, play with my kids or do anything.
The best help I had was from Teejay and Susan at Applied Pilates. Teejay did some Osteolates on me and explained that I had some form of physical post-traumatic stress reaction. Basically my body had shut down, there was no circulation in it, and the cells just had no energy whatsoever. The remedy – no stress (slightly tricky as a new business owner!), lots of rest, and gentle sessions with himself or my girls at work to try to get the circulation and lymph system going. It was a big relief to talk to someone who had so much experience of these sorts of weird physical reactions. I think that what we always need is a plan – some form of hope is the first step to getting better. Susan has been a constant source of support every week in the Pilates classes (using Stott Pilates machines, not mat work). I’m not really ‘doing Pilates’, I’m just going through the motions to keep my body moving – it’s been more being there that has helped.
Most of the summer holidays was a massive juggle – rather than the normal holiday juggle of mine and the hairy one’s work, we also had to fit in my resting, or find things I could do with the kids whilst horizontal. I am getting better. But it is slow. Oh so bloody slow – I’m not the most patient person in the world 😉
But it’s not all bad news:
It’s was a very busy 6 months at Espiritu, but we achieved a mammoth load of change, and it is definitely on the right track now. It wasn’t a bad thing for us to have a quiet 3 months with little change. It’s definitely taught me how to slow down and plan ahead to make the changes more manageable in future.
The girls have been incredible. To be able to be sick for this period of time and only manage a couple of hours a week is amazing. I can’t thank them enough. If it had been last year, we just wouldn’t have survived. I know that I’m really, really lucky to have a team like them behind me.
Every now and again I do something a bit daft, that I know I’m not really up to, but feel that if I can’t then what’s the point. So we had a couple of trips into London to see some shows. I pay for these moments of madness, but do love the memories they give.
We had a lovely week in Cornwall thanks to my brothers cabin, which was wonderful – can’t beat a British beach – and I’m sure that all the sea air through the sinuses and freezing cold sea (it’s good for pain) really helped. I can’t wait to go back there next year!
Curly Headed Boy initially reacted pretty badly – it had been a tough 6 months with me working loads, and he was there when 111 told me to go to hospital. He got scared. He got angry. He wasn’t really pleasant. But over time he has calmed, and we have spent much more time together. He has learnt to not be quite as scared of weakness, and we have had some much needed chats and cuddles. Although there are some things coming up this year that he is worried about, I feel that we are on a much even keel; cross fingers.
Little Dimples is still a little spooked by it all and clingy at times. Also angry at times. And being only 5, she isn’t managing to process it as easily as CHB. So she is my next focus. But she has learnt to cycle without her stabilisers, yay!
I don’t have the excruciating pain any more. I can manage a couple of hours at work, and am OK in meetings now, as they are sitting down. I’m not good at standing up – I still get pressure in my head, neck, shoulders and arms, and I feel generally ‘wrong’. I’ve got constant heart palpitations, but apparently it’s not dangerous. My brain isn’t working quite right, but my sleep has improved. And I get tired real fast. There are not a lot of spoons left in my drawer!
And I have a plan …… I’ll tell you more about it over the next couple of weeks.
I’ll try to keep my blog posts short and sweet, so that they don’t overload me. But writing is an important ‘coming back to me’ thing and if the ideas I’m trying work, then it’s important I share them. Sadly I’ve had to step down from my Radio Verulam gig though – it’s just not possible at the moment. It kept me posting through these last 2 years, and I loved every minute of it.
Pampering – it’s one of the best presents you can give YOURSELF or your loved ones!
It might sound a bit ridiculous for the owner of a Hair & Beauty Salon and Spa to say this: But I hadn’t understand HOW important it is until recently.
Now Danny Smith at Radio Verulam is a big fan of a pamper, so I thought I’d chat with him about it, about how under-estimated it is. People think of it as a treat – whereas, I’m beginning to understand that it’s essential.
Normally associated with something relaxing or revitalising.
Misconstrued as expensive and something that only happens sometimes unless you are really rich.
Many people only think of a pamper as a beauty treatment or Spa service, however, I think of it as anything that makes you feel special and wonderful. It’s something that brings joy to your life; but you need to be fully present with it and fully ‘in the moment’ if you are going to get all the benefits.
It’s more like a special moment, that can be anything from 5 mins to a whole day.
Why is it important?
I know we have busy lives, so you might have a pamper one day, but still have to go back to reality and the stresses of every day. I used to think that therefore it wasn’t that important. Especially when I was focussed on the therapies I used that clear out old hurts and traumas; I often forgot about daily life.
But I’m convinced that if I’d spent more time thinking about myself on a daily basis I wouldn’t have got Fibromyalgia and now be faced with all the struggles physically, emotionally and mentally that limit me. (I might have got my head around them, but still, I could have missed that whole learning and gone straight to the winning line!).
A pamper will reduce your stress and cortisol levels.
Why bother you might think? Because stress increases your cortisol levels, which affects your sleep, your quality of living and attacks your immune system.
A strong healthy body means that you can make the most of the good days and sail through the bad days.
So to me, that is a great investment – we never know how long we have here on this earth, so every day is important.
So many people I know think that having a yearly pamper is enough. Or maybe a quarterly one. Some go as far as making it monthly.
But with some recent huge stresses in my life, I realised that I need it DAILY.
Do you think that is really greedy?
Maybe it is.
But being faced with panic attacks, heart palpitations and constant sugary feelings, I realised that I didn’t have much choice.
So over the past 6 weeks, I’ve been coming up with different options for pampering.
Remember that it’s about bringing a moment to your life, with some joy, and a feeling of happiness or calm.
Often it’s about adding something to make the moment more special.
What works for me is:
A 15 min walk in nature.
Popping to a coffee shop with Little Dimples.
A bath with a lovely bath oil, candles and calming music for 30mins.
Going to Pilates
A massage/manicure – I know it’s a bit obvious, but it can’t be beaten.
Watching a rubbish catchup TV program in bed (I don’t get to watch TV very often, so it’s a treat for me)
A catchup with a friend without kids 😉
Reading a book, snuggled up, with a smelly candle and lovely music
Doing a meditation
Pampers you give
I think that our houses are pretty full of STUFF! So if you can give a ‘pamper’ or something that your loved one can use to self-pamper, then you are not just giving them a short moment of relaxation. You are also giving them the opportunity to have a healthier, happier life for a period of time.
So they make a great Birthday or Christmas present. Or maybe a spontaneous present to show how much your appreciate them!
Here are some ideas:
Candles: but be careful to get them ones that will keep them healthy – I prefer beeswax candles, because Paraffin wax candles are the ones that make all that black smoke. Think about the black marks they leave on a wall, and then think about your lungs. We sell Aroma-works candles at Espiritu, and because they are beeswax, they smell all the way to the bottom of the jar.
Gift vouchers: most beauty salons or Spas will let you choose a gift voucher for something specific, but let the person in question swap them if needed. I recommend that you choose a specific one; if you are unsure the girls at the salon will be able to guide you as to what is ideal.
Pamper parcels: I was sent THE MOST AMAZING box a couple of months ago from this lovely new company. It had every thing you need for a pamper: a bath oil, candle, body moisturiser and of course chocolate! The great thing about a ready made box like this is that there is no way that you could put it together yourself for the price. Plus, if you aren’t artistically skilled, they have put it together with such cute little touches, that it adds to the whole experience. So I can really recommend them!
Make a gift box yourself: However if you are artistically skilled, then hows about putting together your own box? Rachel’s Organics sent me a lovely treat about 2 months ago. It had a pair of warm wooly socks, 3 of their gorgeous mousses, tea lights to put in the glass jars when I’d eaten the yummy desserts, a lovely silver spoon engraved with my blog name, and the cutest little Prossecco bottle.
Maybe the biggest gift we can give or receive is time and a moment?
I’d love to know what your favourite pampers are?
Have I convinced you to pamper yourself some more?
Disclosure: Although I’m not doing any reviews this year, I couldn’t resist when Pamper Parcels offered me a lovely pamper box in September, as they’d seen from Twitter that I was a little stressed. A huge thank you to them, along with Rachels Organics who sent me a lovely box full of gorgeous chocolate & vanilla desserts and some really cute goodies in October. I think that a little part of me was beginning to understand the POWER OF A PAMPER, but their thoughtfulness was really kind and helped me REALLY understand how much I needed it. Thank you guys – you were like a subtle message from the ether – way more subtle than the panic attacks I had, but I put your boxes to good use then!
I’m so sorry, it’s been sooooo long since I wrote about my Fibromyalgia. I feel especially guilty having been selected as one of the Top 16 Fibromyalgia Blogs worldwide. I totally meant to blog as I went, but it just didn’t happen.
But I have GREAT NEWS, so maybe it’s been more important that I focussed on myself for a while.
I hope that the information below really encourages people with Fibromyalgia or other similar syndromes, to keep on. For the first 6 months of trying things, it really felt like I didn’t make any progress at all. But then it was like a domino effect and suddenly I could feel a difference and got feedback from my body.
Now a days if I look after myself I get immediate feedback from my body. If I don’t, I get immediate feedback. It’s simple.
I can move in the morning without a shower – I still always shower first thing as it’s become a habit, but it’s great to not have to have cold showers for the pain.
I have a small flare once a month. I hardly have any other flares now, as I’m much better at pacing. The depression does come on during those days, but only lasts about 2 days and I can shake it off. It’s pretty all consuming when it arrives, but I don’t fear it now as I know it will go.
I have no chronic pain (the kind you don’t want to get up in the morning with, which is apparently worse than arthritis).
I no longer have the weird itching pain in my back near my adrenals.
I haven’t had my hips burn or a big blood bruise in a long time, and if I ever get an ache in my hips I use one of our salon products by Arbonne called ‘Body Gelee’ and it disappears really quickly.
The last big pain that was in my left shoulder and neck went last week – woohoo!
I still have aches and pains, but that is much more bearable, and I’m pretty sure that I will be able to clear those within the next year. Sometimes I get pain in my head, especially at the back (which is where all this started from in the beginning), so that is the priority to focus on next.
I don’t get a full nights sleep yet, but I get a lot more and I’m not chronically tired.
I still get Fibro fog, which is frustrating, and I get hurt when people don’t understand and think that I’m making excuses. After all they say ‘everyone forgets things’. The only way around it is to not overload myself, and be very clear each week on my priority of To Do’s. I also don’t work on reception at the salon too much, as it’s tricky for me to manage the diary.
I’m back on the probiotics for my stomach since going on holiday, but part from a rather nasty flare up for 3 weeks just before Christmas, I’ve been IBS/stomach pain free. I have found peppermint tea and ginger tea really helpful though, so it’s possible that I’ve been managing things with those. Sometimes it’s so subtle you don’t notice that you still have a problem.
I didn’t manage to drop all the weight that I was hoping too, but I am now a ‘healthy weight’ and there is plenty of time to do more next year.
I can now go to Pilates AND walk the dog or go shopping on the SAME day. This degree of normality means that I can pretty much get away with looking like a ‘normal’ person – people don’t notice me carefully managing what I attempt to do over a couple of days.
I can stay up past the kids bedtime, although not every night and not past 10pm too often. I do get tired; it’s not a normal tired, it’s a ‘please let me drop from exhaustion’ tired. And I try not to work or carry on through it. Sometimes there is no choice obviously, as the kids need feeding, the house needs sorting, but we’ve got some good support now, and I’m much better at asking for help.
I still struggle with the fact that I ‘don’t look ill’ and people often forget. When they forget they don’t give you much leeway if you are down, tired, or in pain.
I gave up sugar in my tea and replaced it with xylitol. Then I gave up biscuits. Obviously I still eat cake! If I have a couple of bad days back on the biscuits I will get pain in my bones straight away. It took a long time to get round to it.
Around this time last year we had our first meeting about creating Espiritu Salon And Spa. I must admit I thought that it was crazy to be doing that with two young children and Fibro and there have been times where it felt like it had done for me. But it’s such a relaxing place, that it seems to be just as good for me as for our customers. Plus I think that having a passion for something is really good for me.
Since January I’ve had 1 day a week with Little Dimples as well, which has made me much happier, and since Easter I’m beginning to reduce the working until midnight to only once a week, and make more of the school runs. To save time with work I focus on listening to my intuition and it never sees me wrong – hmm that is a blog post in itself isn’t it – I’ll write that one soon (ish!).
Surprisingly our house is now busier than it every used to be. A lovely friend of mine moved in (on and off) in October as she is in a ‘Nomadic’ stage of her life, and then in January we got an Au pair. It is busy, but the kids love it that way, and frankly we need the help and support with life being so busy starting up a new business.
I ended up publishing my 2nd edition of my book myself, and putting the paperback version and my 2nd and 3rd book aside for a while. After all there is only so much one person can do. Sadly I have waved goodbye to a large number of my stats and readership as well, which was a hard pill to take, but again a necessity.
Because of being so busy I no longer have time to go to the woman’s groups or meditation days, but I meditate 3-4 times a week, and always have a relaxing bath for an hour on a sunday morning. I can definitely tell the weeks when I don’t get to do this. (I personally use a Shamanic form of meditation, but any kind will help).
I’ve pretty much given up TV too. OMG she’s a freak you say – I know, that’s what I used to think about people who didn’t watch TV! But I don’t have time – I play with my kids, keep up with friends (not enough), look after myself and work. Watching TV doesn’t give me the results I need for the length of time it takes. I’m quite liking silence now too!
I also have a lovely soft super king bed (not an expensive one), and good pillows to support my neck and always turn off my phone at night to stop myself from playing on social media too long. To get to sleep I normally play solitaire on my iPhone (in airplane mode), but sometimes I use an app by Hemi-synch that uses binaural beats to help us get a deeper level of sleep.
I’ve actually cut back on the supplements I was taking. I think that in a way they became too much for my system as well. I still take:
Valerian/Kalms sleep, 5 Htp and Magensium/Calcium at night
Vit D3 if it’s not sunny
Cherry Active if I’ve done Pilates and walked in the same day
Instead I’ve bought a juicer, and have found it to be great to give me energy. I don’t just add fruit, I make sure that there is lots of green stuff in there too.
I’ve also reduced the stress on my body from the products that I use on my skin and switched to using Arbonne from top to toe (we use and sell these at the salon) – they are very pure, botanical and free of parabens and cancer causing chemicals.
I’ve been doing Pilates once a week since the beginning, but a few months ago I increased to twice a week to make sure that I never missed a lesson due to ‘circumstances’. This has made a big difference, so I will post about it separately.
I don’t ever wear tight clothes, it’s either very soft jeans, leggings, or dresses. Same goes for boots. I suspect I’d have pain again if I wore uncomfortable clothes, but it’s just become a part of who I am.
We went on holiday again, this time at Easter rather than February – the sunshine makes an INCREDIBLE difference to me.
I stopped looking at all the support forums as I frankly found they scared the shit out of me, and that I really needed to stop worrying about it so much.
I became really grateful to the Fibromyalgia as I realised that it had improved the quality of my life massively, even if it felt restrictive. It was like a guidance system to how I actually wanted to be – I didn’t actually want to run, or eat crap, or over work, or ‘keep on keeping on’.
I did some healing/therapy work on myself to ‘let go’ of the story of having Fibromyalgia. Does that make sense? I’m nearly at the stage where I don’t think that I need it any more in order to guide me to living a happy, healthy life.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I over did it, and will never again be able to ‘push on through’. I can now be stressed by not just the world, but too much sound, light, people, mess, junk food or chemicals on my skin – pretty much anything. I’ve tackled my stress junkie habit and I look after my body – it’s not such an awful punishment.
I haven’t had as much pampering up at the salon as you might think (this sooooo needs to change!). But I have had a few big treats like facials, massages or reflexology, and lots of little ones like having my hair washed or a manicure/pedicure. I honestly believe that if I had done this all along I would never have become sick with the Fibro. I can see now that it’s all very well doing big ‘healing’ of past traumas etc, but it’s also important to take care of ourselves day to day.
I’m getting much clearer on who I am, what I do or don’t want to do, and what my boundaries are (by the way, my blog has just been selected as one of the Top100 on dealing with Bullying). I had a bad habit of people pleasing, and wanting to avoid conflict. This is probably the toughest bit, but it’s step by step. Having the Salon/Spa is wonderful, as it’s made it clear to me what I’m really good at (and what brings out the worst in me).
People say I’m looking really well. I do feel well and I feel hopeful.
Will It Work For You?
If you have Fibromyalgia or something similar and this is the first post of mine that you have read, make sure that you read this summary here.
The key to tackling this illness is to listen to yourself and your intuition.
You will have to tackle everything I have tackled. BUT. Take it one step at a time. And bear in mind they might be slightly different steps.
Keep going for a while, even if you don’t get much improvement. Remember the domino effect I described – sometimes it takes a while for your body to react.
So you will need to look at your nutrition, but might need a different diet to myself. You might have a different primary cause of the Fibro (Fibro is always secondary to something else), so you might need different drugs/supplements to give you the initial relief. You’ll definitely need to do exercise and I really recommend taking the Cherry Active; but maybe you need a different one, although I personally don’t think that anything extreme like running will ever work – you will just make things worse. Sleep is a priority, but you might just stick to the Hemi-synch app. You’ll definitely need to reduce your stress levels, but different people like different methods for doing this; for example CBT and Shamanic meditation have been great for me, others use the ‘spoon’ method of pacing (you have so many spoons to use up a day), others have deeper therapy work, there are all sorts of options. Don’t forget your hormones as well – this is a much bigger effect on some people than others.
Be gentle on yourself – chronic pain is exhausting, depressing and frankly life often doesn’t seem worth it. I feel lucky that I had 2 kids that gave me a reason to get up in the morning, otherwise frankly I wouldn’t have bothered. If you don’t have kids, find a REASON, find something to motivate yourself. There will be something.
If you are reading this for a friend, remember to be gentle with them – there will be big changes to be made in their lives and it can take a while to get their heads around it.
Decide that this is going to guide you to a healthier happier life. And I’m sure it will.