arthritis, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, wellness, yoga

What are We Going to do About Getting up Those Steps?

my arthritis

Arthritis is a terribly painful condition. It is basically an inflammation of the joints. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage, that is supposed to protect the bones from grinding together, to break down.

I have osteoarthritis and I feel like the bones just grind together in my knees and my hips. Going up the steps feels like something is stabbing into my right hip and both of my knees. It is so painful to walk up and down the steps that I lean against the wall and stop every couple of steps to allow the pain to stop for a few seconds.

“Osteoarthritis the cartilage in a joint to become stiff and lose its elasticity, making it more susceptible to damage. Over time, the cartilage may wear away in some areas, greatly decreasing its ability to act as a shock absorber. As the cartilage deteriorates, tendons and ligaments stretch, causing pain. If the condition worsens, the bones could rub against each other.”  Web MD

You can read more about Osteoarthritis here

My arthritis is about 20 years beyond my age, according to the doctors. The reasons for this are something we could speculate about , but some of it is because of the overuse injuries, I constantly sustained at the nursing I worked at, a few years ago.

They forced us to do heavy lifting by ourselves and even violated the law, and the OSHA regulations about lifting. This is typical for nursing homes and many people I know were injured. I saw many back and shoulder injuries.

I also had shoulder injuries and constant microtears to the muscles. I have a herniated disc in my neck which I do not think was cause by the job, but was probably exasperated by the lifting of heavy patients on a regular basis.

There are two huge flights of steps to get up to the top floor where I live, in the house I am renting the space from. It is a huge undertaking for me, everytime I have to take down the trash, take down and bring up the laundry and take up the grocery bags.

Each step is pain and I feel like I cannot survive living with these steps any longer. The next place I live must have a main entrance that I can bring groceries into and do laundry all on that floor.

The other main type of arthritis is Rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis has the same pain and stiffness as Osteoarthritis. In Rheumatoid, there is an inflammation of  the synovial membrane that protects and lubricates joints. You can see pictures of these two main types of arthritis  here

“Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic (long-term) disease. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can come and go, and each person with RA is affected differently. Some people have long periods of remission.” Web MD

You can read more about Rheumatoid Arthritis here

Both main types of arthritis are equally painful. Osteoarthritis eventually begins to wear down the bones, which is where I am at now, with certain joints.

There can also be bending of the bones, basically deforming the shape, like I have in my right foot. It is beginning to bend inwards at the top, which causes balance problems in addition to the PTTD (posterior tibial tendon dysfunction – flat foot and ankle collapse) that is continuing to get worse in my right foot. It is very hard to balance, especially on uneven ground.

There are other types of arthritis but they are not as common as the two main types I discussed here. Arthritis is painful and the best treatment I have found is putting heat on the area.

You can use a heating pad or a rice bag, warmed in the microwave.  Here are some pinterest links for making your own rice bag . Links here

You can use ice to reduce inflammation. Limit heavy lifting, which is easier said than done at the job I work at now. I am working on making a change to having my own business, so I will have to lift and cause more injury to the joints.

I also have degenerative disc disease, which can begin with arthritis and mine probably did. They do not really know what comes first. I asked the spine doctor if I had arthritis in the cervical spine first that caused the degenerating discs or if the degenerative disc disease caused the arthritis . He said they often are seen together and there is no way to know which occurred first.

Herniated discs are a typical result of degenerating discs in combination with heavy lifting, which was unfortunately exactly my situation when I was doing the heavy lifting at the nursing home.

The best thing to do is to take care of your spine. If you do yoga and spinal stretches every day, you will reduce your risk for spinal stiffness. You need to keep your spine flexible, the way it was meant to be. It is harder to get mobility back, than it is to maintain it.

You cannot be fully well , unless your spine is in good shape.

Here are some yoga postures that you can do, to help keep your spine supple. If you are already having spinal problems, these exercises can help. Always do yoga postures slowly and carefully. Make sure you are practicing yoga at your level. If unsure , please consult a doctor.  Yoga Postures

Good bones are for happy bodies 🙂

abnormal psychology, addiction, alcoholic, alcoholism, mental disorders, mental health, mental illness, psychology, self-esteem, self-help, working mom, yoga

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference Reinhold Niebuhr

The serenity prayer was written by theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, sometime during the 1930’s. It was quoted by others a few times during the 1930’s. Niebuhr sometimes used it in his sermons.

The original wording was printed as follows:
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

This prayer is widely used in alcoholics anonymous meetings and other 12 step programs. Some people think that it was written for alcoholics anonymous but it was not. They adopted it because it is a helpful tool to give recovering alcoholics a frame of reference for what to work to improve in their lives.

I love the first phrase “…accept…the things that cannot be changed” This is a very important concept for healing. It is an idea in Buddhism which is a practice that has a lot of healing benefit to it.

We cannot change everything. We cannot change other people. Peace comes through acceptance of letting go of the things we cannot change.

If we were to make a list of things that are causing us to feel anxiety right now, we might be surprised that there are things on the list that we cannot change. Especially in regards to other adult people.

We can guide and encourage. We can support and comfort. But in the end, we cannot cause other adults to change anything.

Even when someone is in a dangerous situation, like drug addiction, you can only be as supportive as you are able to be without incurring damage to yourself.

There is a point at which you have to protect yourself and draw a line as to how much help is reasonable to give to another adult.

I find the original wording interesting to compare to the updated version.  There is  a difference in the meaning of the second phrase. “courage to change the things that “should” be changed.”

I personally like this version better.

There are times we want to force our desires on other people as far as their choices go. But should we make another adult’s choices for them?  People get self-esteem and confidence from making their own decisions.  

The wisdom to know the difference...”  This may be the ultimate trick. How can we tell the difference between things we can change and things we cannot change. Well, basically we really only have the power to change ourselves. We can improve our mental and physical  health. We can make choices and decisions that will create changes in our lives.

We have some power over the environment around us. We can clean and organize. We can move to a different place or to a different job. We can choose to make changes in behavior, relationship patterns, and habits. We can educate ourselves, learn new talents and create things.

If we can let go of the anxiety of trying to change things we can’t. we have more energy for working on the things we have some control over.


anxiety, depression, empowerment, inspirational, mental health, mental illness, psychology, self-help, spirituality, yoga

Morning Anxiety / Coping Skills for Anxiety Attacks

I get anxiety as soon as I wake up in the morning. This is from the moment I open my eyes. It is like an attack of fear upon consciousness.

I have come up with some tools that help me to decrease the level of anxiety, when I remember to use them.

I have tried to find something to do before I get out of the bed that will help. For a while, I was getting on Pinterest from my cell phone. I would look up pictures of bunny rabbits. I found that those sweet silly creatures are healing to me.

I also like to look up artwork like paintings and drawings of fairies and mermaids. The fantasy world helped take my mind out of the stress of the upcoming day.

I also tried facebook, but personally that did not help me because it brought me into the real world that I was not ready to get into yet.

I have begun to do some slow yoga postures in my bed. it helps the pain and stiffness I have from arthritis. Part of my anxiety of dealing with the day is the thought of pain from moving around the house.

What I have done the last week or so , is to get onto wordpress and read blogs. I find topics that are calming to me.

If you can find something that is calming to you , that you are able to do first thing upon waking up, maybe it will help ward off that early morning panic attack. It may take a little more time for you to get out of bed. It seems like this will slow you down and cut into your day. But the truth is that severe anxiety cuts into your day and decreases productivity.

Let me know what you come up with. It can be before you leave the bed or maybe some yoga stretches on the floor right next to the bed. Maybe a meditation sitting on the bedroom floor.

I am still working on my morning wake-up stress. Some days these tools really do help. I wish you all a more peaceful morning tomorrow.


addiction, addictive personality, anxiety, buddhism, depression, domestic abuse, domestic violence, emotional healing, empowerment, free form poetry, free writing, healing poetry, health, holistic, meditation, mental disorders, philosophy, psychology, spirituality, yoga

Accepting Yourself Thich Nhat Hanh Quote

There is a great healing that comes along with accepting ourselves just as we are.

Others say things about us. They label us, describe us, talk about us. They tell us what we can do, what we can’t do, what we should do.

They advise us on our careers, families, religious beliefs. They limit us…
They limit our potential.
They limit our possibilities.

If we allow them to keep us in the little box they have assigned to us then they will destroy what we could have become.

We are each of us on our own path. We are on a path of discovery. Discovery of knowledge, beauty and spirituality. Discovery of our own potential and possibilities.

anxiety, buddhism, empowerment, free writing, health, holistic, meditation, mental health, philosophy, spirituality, yoga

Doing Nothing

We all feel that we have to be doing something every second of the day. This is one of the main causes of anxiety, frustration, depression, high blood pressure, digestive disorders, relationship stress and the list goes on.

By “something” I mean something measurable, something tangible, something that produces something, something that others acknowledge as “something”.

But who has the right to be the judge of what is a productive use of our time? Why do we constantly allow others to be the judge and jury for us? Do any of these people actually understand who we are inside?

How many people actually understand who you are, how you feel and what you really think? After so many years of listening to other people tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your time, do you really know yourself anymore? Do you really know what you feel anymore?

It seems like the pace of life has gotten so fast that we don’t feel like there is time to just stop and do nothing. Sometimes doing “nothing” by other people’s definition is actually a productive use of our time.

Could it be that just stopping for a half an hour and doing nothing could make us more productive during the rest of our day?

Could it be that doing “nothing” is doing “something?”

I propose that each of us take one half hour each day for a week to do absolutely nothing. No internet, no cell phone, no people, no thoughts about work.

No planning for or worrying about the future. No thinking about problems with family or friends. No thoughts about money or health issues. No thoughts about world problems, community issues or neighbors.

Just let go of the past and the future. Sit very still and very quietly with only the sound of your own breath to focus on.

The past will not be injured if we leave it alone for 30 minutes. The future will not be doomed if we stop worrying about it for 30 minutes.

Just let yourself be in the present moment. Not even the whole day, just the very tiny moment that you are in.

For a half an hour let the thoughts come into your mind and just ignore them, do not attach to them, just let them float away because we are not doing “something” right now. We are just doing “nothing”.

Set a timer if you need to to alert you at the end of 30 minutes. And for a glorious, precious half an hour just take a vacation from everything. Imagine there is absolutely nothing to do.
You are on vacation so there are no dishes to do, no bills to pay, no people to please or apologize to. There are no health problems, no finances.

No relationships whatsoever. For 30 minutes, you are not married, you are not single. You are not obligated to anyone but yourself and to the present moment.

Just you and you alone being in touch with the spiritual side of yourself. Focus on life and the gentle flow of your breath.

I challenge each one of us, including myself to give this experiment a try. I have written this out of a feeling and a vision that this half hour will save all of us. It will open New Ideas, New Pathways, New Opportunities and New Solutions for all of us.

As we do this, we will have a connection with each other in a spiritual way and our connectedness will create extra positive energy for all of us and for each of us.

I believe in each and every one of you.

Take a step outside the box.
Take a walk outside the lines.

You and I did not write the lines or make the boxes that society expects us to stay in. Why do we have to stay within them for 24 hours a day? Even when no one is watching?

I challenge us to erase the lines for a half an hour and allow ourselves to let everything go for a time.

Decide that it is okay to take a break. Decide that it is okay to take a half hour vacation. Give yourself permission.

You do not need anyone else’s approval to take a half an hour to stop worrying about what others expect. You do not need anyone else’s approval to think your own thoughts, unaffected by the rules, for a half an hour.

My prayers are with you.

Save yourselves.

Save yourselves from the stress that society tells you is part of being a responsible adult. It is a lie. Being under anxiety and attempting to please those that do not understand you is not the way to be a responsible adult.

I challenge you to be responsible to yourself for a change. Be accountable to yourself.

In the end we are all alone in a way. We were all born alone and will all die alone. No one could share the feelings and thoughts of those life experiences with us. So to take time alone, is natural and more normal than what society tells you “normal” is.

In the end all we have is ourselves. Should we not have a relationship with that person who was with us in birth and will be with us in death?

I have said we are each of us alone, but it is also true that we are all connected with each other. We are all connected through life energy.

When any one of us is injured. it effects all of the rest of us. When any one of us are uplifted, it uplifts all of us even if we are on the other side of the world and consciously unaware of that person.

So as we are alone in many ways , we are intrinsically connected in life.

So as you all take your half an hour vacation each day, I will take mine. We will each have 30 minutes to connect with ourselves and find peace. And at the same time, we will all be connected as we agree together to take care of ourselves and find the truth that is inside of each of us.