Our Norwegian forest kittens

It’s not Spring, it’s Winter – Why ‘New Years Resolutions’ are doomed

dark days

Happy New Year 2013 Everyone!

It’s January and the crazy dieting and resolution thing is going on everywhere.  I don’t want to be the voice of doom, but your New Years Resolutions are pretty much doomed …. ooh that should be said with an echo doooooomed, doomed!

A few of you lucky people will have hit upon exactly the right goal and objective for you, and you’ll do great (just focus on being one of the few if you have a resolution you want to keep!).  But the rest of you will undoubtedly fail.

 

exhausted dad with toddlerThis is because it’s WINTER.  Not SPRING.  We are essentially evolved, but we evolved so quickly there is still a lot of our animal nature in us.  So the cycles of nature do affect us.  It’s not just because the shops change the colour of their clothes in spring and summer that makes us suddenly pop on the cheerful shades; it’s because it’s a different time of year.  Every year I decide to save money and just keep wearing cheerful summer stuff with vests/tights, but I still end up in the dark colours within a month because it feels ‘wrong’ somehow.

 

So when it comes to what to be doing right now, it’s a time for cosying up with the family, sorting out the big box/folder of photos and hibernating under blankets with cups of hot chocolate.

This is the time for wondering about who you are and who you would love to be.  It’s for ruminating with a glass of wine or cup of tea and philosophical chats.

The earth is doing the same thing; resting up, preparing for the busy period of spring/summer/autumn.

Last year I talked about thinking about your Life Priorities instead of making goals or resolutions, and that’s what I’d really recommend you do.  Take your time, this isn’t a rush, it’s about getting to know you after all the changes of last year or maybe even the bigger changes of becoming a Mum.

Think about what you would like to create/change in your life for you health, friendships, family, relationships, work, finances, creativity/hobbies or what you’d love to learn?

 

My mums china tea cupsCollection of water bottlesThat’s what I’ve been doing over the past couple of months.  I’ve been going through all my cupboards thinking ‘is this stuff really me?’.

I found 5 boxes of stuff in the loft some of which I felt a big greeting from my heart.  So the crockery from my mum is now in the kitchen, some stuff has gone to charity and a bit has gone back up.

 

To make space for the crockery I’ve been through all the cupboards in the kitchen; did we really need all those water bottles?  (If you fancy a declutter check out my top tips here, and post about decluttering play rooms here).

 

 

 

Our Norwegian forest kittensI’ve really missed having cats over the past few years, and luckily for me a trip to a crazy friend of mine with a camel sanctuary in the October half term convinced hubby of the same.

So last week we also became the owner of 2 gorgeous 17 week old Norwegian Forest Kittens.  Suddenly, the house feels a lot more ‘right’ to me and surprisingly the dog is really chuffed about his new mates.

Obviously, I will have to tackle my nutrition and exercise because of my recent diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.  But even that has aspects of ‘who I decide to be’, rather than a New Years Resolution.

I’m also reading lots recently.  I pretty much winged it with Curly Headed Boy, being able to rely on a Mums natural intuition.  But this 7yo malarkey is a lot more tricky.  So I’ve reading a pile of books to try and give me some hints; I’m going to review them here just incase any of them are useful to you too.

 

So good luck to you guys to have started New Years Resolutions.  But if you fail, then don’t panic.  Just sit down and think about your life and come back to the resolutions in a couple of months time.

Oh and by the way, just incase you didn’t know it already; DIETS ARE CRAP FOR YOU!

 

 

 

Back Pain

A Hidden Pain and Silent Fog: Fibromyalgia

Dangers of positive thinking
Good news, Bad news

 

I have some news.

It has good bits and not so good bits, but that’s life heh!

It explains why I’ve been a little quiet (but you may not have noticed).

It explains why I’ve been a bit flakey and unreliable (I hope you haven’t noticed).

It’s also about the next 6 months

 

 

 

 

What’s been going on?

I’ve been struggling with ‘back pain’ since January, which just seemed to get worse and worse.  I’ve tried a very experienced Osteopath and her Physiotherapist, then an Acupuncturist.

I also started looking at potential emotional stressors, as my opinion is that there is always an emotional/mental aspect to an illness, as well as a nutritional/environmental/genetic/physical reason (I’m going to someone who does a form of behavioural kinesiology that I used to be a practitioner of).

Back Pain
Photo from NHS website

But it got worse and worse, and then I realised that I had gone from just a general tired lethargy to being properly depressed, isolated, feeling hopeless and miserable, as the pain was excruciating.

So I went to the doctor.  It took me a while because of the receptionists and ridiculous booking policy.  But I got some anti-inflammatories, that helped to turn the pain levels down.

I was so frustrated with myself.  13 years ago when I had a lovely little Reiki practice, I used to be able to turn a bad back (one that needed surgery) around in under 3 months.  I couldn’t believe that I couldn’t fix myself.  Of course this didn’t help!

I was also beginning to worry that I didn’t have a bad back, because my Dad died after 6 months of a bad back from cancer.

Then I decided to try a Pilates studio who did a mixture of Pilates and Osteopathy called Osteolates, which at last seemed to make a dent in the pain.  After I had to go back to the doctor for more pills, the Pilates guy had a talk with me and told me to go back and get more help.

The doctor listened and then said ‘have you heard of Fibromyalgia?’.

And so it is a few weeks later after some tests that I now understand, not just why my back hurts, but also why my tummy has been worse and I needed the probiotics and why I’ve gone from being quite organised, to being so flakey that I can look at my diary and STILL double book something.

 

What’s Fibromalgia?

Fibro fog
Picture from Craig Martin Illustrations

It’s the nerves basically being over sensitive and feeling more pain.  They aren’t sure what causes it.

For me it is pains down both arms, hips, legs, across my shoulders, right hand side of my back, left hand side of my neck, sometimes head, right hand side of my jaw, and a feeling of something trapped behind my left hand shoulder.

It’s really bad in the morning, and I HAVE to have a warm shower to get moving.  It will ease off by mid-afternoon, but is awful in bed at night, so has disturbed my already disturbed sleep.

Others have it a loss less, and it’s more of a tingling or lack of sensation in hands and feet, which is scarily reminiscent of MS.

Some have it a lot more and can hardly work or move with it; I’m very lucky this is not me and I’m focussed on improving my symptoms, so that I don’t end up debilitated by it.  (It’s not however a degenerative or terminal illness luckily).

I also have had a return of my old IBS symptoms and worse sleep (they don’t know if sleep is the cause or bad sleep happens because of Fibromalgia).

Worst of all is the fibre-fog which had me forgetting 2 appointments with a health visitor, and Curly Headed Boy one day telling me off for being so disorganised.

At first I was a bit shell shocked as it seems a much more complicated thing to tackle than just a bad back.  I’m also not very keen on ‘labels’.  But now I’m getting my head around it, I think that Im much better off knowing, as I can now make some changes.  I’m really lucky my doctor was aware of it and open to it, because many aren’t.

 

So my plan?

Time to stop for a whileI’m backing off work big time for the next 6 months:

  • Paid blog posts are too much effort if you do them properly, they also add to the list of ‘To dos’.
  • I’m still on facebook and twitter; but I’ll be around a lot less
  • I have an existing client who I will continue to support as she doesn’t need weekly help, but I wont take any more on.
  • I won’t be publishing the second edition of my book or the paperback.
  • I won’t be finishing my new book ‘Lose Weight the healthy way without diets or bootcamps‘.
  • This also takes the pressure off finding a nursery for Little Dimples (which has been disastrous).

I’m going to play more with the kids and have tea with mates more.

I’ll keep blogging once or twice a week because I love it and doing my monthly Lifestyle feature for Radio Verulam.

The doctor has just started me on some pills to give me better sleep and help with the pain.  They are actually a mild-antidepressant when taken in bigger quantities, so I don’t think I want to stay on for too long.  But a break and a chance for my body to recover seems like a good idea.  Apparently it also confirms the diagnosis, if they work (which after one night I’m pretty sure they do).

The dentist has referred me to the hospital to see if they can help me with the jaw pain.  Apparently my teeth are wonderful, which must be down to the little water-spray gadget I got from Britmums live, as I’ve always been rubbish at flossing!

I’ve improved enough to start going to the Pilates classes at the studio (rather than 1to1’s), so I’ll stick with that to keep my spine moving and get my core stronger.  Non-pounding exercise is meant to help a lot, so I need to gradually add 3 more things per week.

I’m going to start ‘meditating‘ once a week, which is meant to be great for stress (which escalates the pain dramatically); but I’ve found a fun way, which I’ll tell you all about (it’s slightly wacky!).

I’m going to meet with a few other people who also have it to swap stories and ideas on how to tackle it.

I might look at hypnotherapy to improve my sleep as I had it once at 26 and it lasted brilliantly for 10yrs.  I know loads about sleep improvement, because I’ve had so little for so long, but it would be easier to just sleep!  We’ve also moved the beds around in the house and bought me a new bed to make it easier.

The doctor is going to put me down for some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) which is meant to help loads with dealing with the pain.

I have a huge belief in the power of nutrition, so at some point I’m going to have to face a big change in the way I eat; probably once some of the other bits and pieces are in place.  I have been a big fan of the Food hospital on channel 4 and they definitely had both eating plans for improving neurological issues and also inflammation (which are the main symptoms).

I’ll keep up with the kinesiology to dig up any emotional/mental aspects, which I suspect are from a long time ago.

 

Sooooo …

I’m sorry if I’ve not always been very ‘present’ recently; it’s been because of the pain that I got bored of mentioning and the fog that has clouded me from the world.

If you need me I’m always here at the end of my blog/facebook/twitter and I love to help, so it will ‘help me to help you’ (hows about coming over for a cuppa instead?).  So never feel bad about asking.  However, I’m not going to look for people to help.

If I don’t get involved with your event, charity, project or other thingy, it’s not because I don’t love you, it’s just that I’m taking some time out for me.

I was a bit embarrassed that I’ve gotten myself into such a state, but it’s daft to worry about that right?  At least some of you Mums out there will see what can happen when you keep trying to juggle all the balls, just because you’ve been able to in the past.

Luckily I never pretended I was perfect, and hopefully my blog posts about my improvement (the power of positive thinking and all that), will help other people.

If you know anyone with one of ‘those’ illnesses which are difficult to diagnose like Fibromalgia,  M.E. or CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), then you might want to point them in this direction for a while.  I’d also love to hear of any blogs that you know.

Hopefully at the end of all this I’ll be a lot stronger and ready to take over the world with my books again!

 

Update: I’ve set up a page to record all the useful information and people that I find in my fibromyalgia journey.  I’d love to hear more from fellow sufferers either here or on that page.