adult children of abuse, adult children of alcoholics, aftermath of narcissistic abuse, anxiety, chronic fatigue, chronic illness, chronic pain, Chronic pain and depression, Chronic pain and mental illness, Degenerative bone disease, depression, emotional abuse, emotional healing, emotional wounds, Healing after abuse, mental illness

Chronic Pain and Spiritual Health

Living with chronic pain is difficult emotionally and mentally.

Every aspect of your life is affected and you have to adapt each and every day based on the level of pain. It is difficult for other people to understand. 

Sometimes you have to cancel plans or leave places early. You may need help doing things or walking up the stairs. Fatigue haunts you like a malicious ghost that no one can see but you. It is an invisible illness that can be cruel and make you feel lonely. 

You know that other people have chronic pain also, but you still feel like you are the only one much of the time.

Days spent struggling to do the simplest tasks drain you physically and emotionally. No one can see your pain and it is hard to find any validation for what you are going through. 

Your social circle may have dwindled down to the last few who are willing to be understanding. Some of you are completely isolated from friends and even family has moved on without you. People get tired of hearing someone complain about their invisible illness. 

Some people think you are just trying to get attention.

This is backwards because chronic pain tends to have to opposite effect of getting attention. Many people do not realize this. 

Isolation has its own negative effects on your psychological state. Depression falls down over you like a dark cloud. There are days when you just stay in bed because the pain is too great….both emotionally and physically.

Chronic pain can be caused by all kinds of things.

Arthritis, fibromyalgia, spinal problems, diseases, and chronic illnesses. Pain can be mostly localized to certain parts of the body, or change locations from day to day. The mental pain is always a part of living with chronic pain….possible the worst part. 

Finding connection with other people can be difficult, but it is important for you not to feel alone. Feeling isolated and alienated for a continues period of time will wear on you and drain you. Your soul needs to heal and you need to feel special. 

Old emotional wounds can be triggered by depression and anxiety.

Feeling alone with pain can bring up emotional flashbacks from your past. Many people with chronic pain have some kind of ghosts from their past that haunt them. The feeling of being invalidated may be something you also felt in your childhood. 

The inner child that was not heard is now left alone and invalidated again.

Being alone with the emotional wounds feels like torment. Since you feel that people are already tired of hearing you express your feeling about your physical pain, you may be hesitant to talk about old emotional wounds with anyone. 

You struggle to survive each day, and you may push those emotional wounds deep down inside you. The pain will get worse from doing this, but it is hard to find any other way to survive.

Pain gets worse with depression, and depression gets worse with pain. 

You are more than your chronic pain condition.

You are not your body and you are not your thoughts. You are so much more than those things. The world has a way of confusing us about who we really are. 

You may not feel like it, because your life feels like it revolves around it. You had other plans for your life than living this way.

The unfairness of this can make you feel hopeless and question your purpose for living. You feel limited in the amount of things you can do for others. 

But you are worth as much as everyone else. It is the soul and spirit of you that has innate value.

Your value is not based of what you can or cannot do. The uniqueness of your mind, heart are limitless.

We can be broken and bruised, but we are resilient. Your resilience comes from your higher self… the self that does not live in the body and is not limited to the physical self.

Love is an unstoppable force of energy that exists all around you. You are surrounded by invisible energies that are yours to draw from Self love is an important step to emotional and mental healing. 

arthritis, chronic pain, fibromyagia, life, pain

Osteoarthritis in the Morning , Chronic Pain , Fibromyalgia, Arthritis and Yoga

Osteoarthritis in the morning.

I saw this search term in my stats page. I decided to write a post about this, because there are other people seeking some validation that they are not the only ones who go through this.

Osteoarthritis is a disease that attacks the joints in the body. It creates inflammation,  which is extremely painful. From my personal experience, the pain is most disabling in the morning. 

When i wake up in the morning, I am afraid to  move.   There is extreme pain upon starting to move my body in the morning. Pain screams from my cervical spine, my lower back, and my shoulders. 

Slowly, I turn myself to the side. I very slowly draw my legs out of the bed and over the edge. Sitting up is difficult, due to the severe stiffness in the body that does not want to  move.

I have to sit for a minute first and I try to do some very slow movements with my neck. I slowly lower my chin towards my chest. I very  very slowly roll my head to the right side and then back to the front again. Then to the left side and back to the front again.

The neck has to move in order to reduce the stiffness and the searing pain coming from my herniated discs. After a few of these, I do complete neck rolls, very slowly all the way around. One way and then the other.

By this time, my bladder is calling to me, so I have to find a way to stand up, in spite of the pain. I have to reach for furniture to hold onto

 I recently got a cane and that was a very good idea. It helps for me to make it ti the bathroom in the morning, without falling.

There have been many times, when I stood onto my feet in the morning, that I actually collapsed into the wall or other furniture, because it was so painful to stand and put pressure on the joints. 

All of the muscles are stiff and reacting to the inflammation in the bones. The bones make creaking noises as they move, The knees sound like rice crispies when you straighten and bend them.

The pain sears in  my foot, with has arthritis and PTTD, which is a kind of tendonitis that deforms and alters the way the foot can stand and hole weight.

I grab my cane for dear life as I make my way to the bathroom. My bathroom is in a dangerous place for me, as far as mornings go. It is right at the top of a huge flight of stairs. As I approach the stairs, from the hallway that leads to them, I feel the fear of falling down them.

It would be easy to lose my balance and fall. I lean into the wall as far as it goes, until there is no more wall there to lean on.

Then I balance myself on my cane and get  to the door of the bathroom. I grab the door knob for balance and open the door. Every morning I make it to the bathroom, I am thankful for not falling down the stairs today.

Then I have to make my way back, with pain searing through my back, my knees , my hips and the balance being very difficult with my bad foot.

 I make my way back to the bedroom. I struggle to get pain med bottles out of the cabinet and open one. I consider what combination might work today

 I take two or three different types of pills, One for inflammation,  Maybe a half of one of the nerve pain meds.  Sometimes a muscle relaxer, but I like to  wait to take that one, because it can make me sleepy.

I lay in the bed and wait for the meds to kick in. After an hour , I asses if they are working well enough and whether or not I need to take another anti-inflammatory pill or if I need the muscle relaxer.

I try to take the minimum that will work, because I need to be able to function to take care of my kids.

I cannot go anywhere for hours, as far as leaving the house. The times that I had to leave within the first hour, were stories of extreme difficulty and probably unsafe driving, due to the pain level.

After the meds kick in a little, I have to walk around slowly and try to do some yoga stretches. I will tell you that yoga stretches can do wonders, once you can move at all.

Here are the Yoga Stretches I Do

1. Mountain pose – standing upright

2. Slowly reach down towards my toes – I repeat this several times. Each time I can get down a little farther

3. squat with feet between hands

4. Cobra – lay flat on stomach on the floor. Press hands to the floor and push with your hands to stretch up the head and upper back, while leaving the hip bones on the floor

5. repeat the cobra as many times as i can, very slowly

6. Twists  of the  hips –  lay on back, Bring knees up to chest. Take the knees to the right and your head and chest to the left. The bring the knees up to the chest and bring the knees to the left while the head and neck go to the right. This twist helps a lot for the lower back and the hips, where i have a lot of pain.

7. Warrior poses –  warrior pose 1 and warrior pose 2. I used to be able to do warrior pose 3, but it is too difficult for the morning. I cannot balance it.

These stretches help. You must do the slowly and with attention being paid to your body, in order to respect any limitation, which can vary from one day to the next.

Once i do the yoga, I sit in the bed and blog for a while, hoping for the pain meds to kick in more. On bad days I have to take more gabapentin (neurontin for nerve pain) or I have to take extra aleve, which I try to keep to a reasonable amount because it can cause other problems. 

Sometimes I have to take the muscle relaxer but I try the yoga first because the tizanidine can make me sleepy or sluggish.

I may make a video of my routine, although I am no expert on yoga. But I do know what helps me.

You can try ice on very painful areas. Ice helps to numb pain and reduce inflammation.

You can try heat, like a heating pad, or a rice bag in the microwave for 2 minutes. You can out regular dry rice into a sock. No more that 2 minutes in the microwave and better to do 1 minute and then 30 second increments.

Wishing you less pain,

Annie

* please note that I have a Go Fund me account. If you are able to donate a small amount, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you. You can connect to the Go Fund me account  HERE.

If you cannot donate, you can help by reposting THIS blog post. Thank you 🙂 ❤

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 🙂

health, life, mental health, mental illness

Insomnia – Mental Illness – Chronic pain Cycle

Mental Illness is a mind / body connected condition. It can start as pain in the body and then turn into mental torture. Or it can start in the mind and refer pain into the body.

Most people with mental illness have pain in their bodies as well as in their minds and hearts. The chemistry in the brain is altered by disturbed thought patterns. There are abnormal levels of hormones and other chemicals released into the body. Too much cortisol from anxiety causes physical pain and illness. Lack of enough oxycodone / dopamine is also a cause for pain because dopamine is a natural pain reducer.

Most people with chronic pain conditions like Fibromyalgia and  Arthritis (and many more) also have mental illness, like depression and severe  anxiety. The constant stress of the pain takes a toll on a person. Their quality of life is reduced and there is a loss of many things.

People with chronic pain lose their ability to do the things they once loved to do. They lost their relationships because people do not understand the severity of the condition. Chronic pain steals away the parts of your life , one by one. The number of things you can do keeps going down. Things take a tremendous effort and more time.

The sadness and / or anger about the losses, can result in sever depression and other types of mental illness.

Insomnia often goes along with mental illness. Insomnia also goes along with chronic pain. Sleep deprivation can cause both mental problems and physical problems.

Disruption of the sleep cycles, keeps the day to day micro tears and injuries from healing properly. The micro injuries accumulate rather than being repaired.

Insomnia and sleep deprivation also cause spatial memory loss , confusion and depression.

All of these mind / body issues are connected. And they are also connected with sleep.

In order to be mentally healthy,you need proper sleep with non-disrupted sleep cycles. You need a healthy body without chronic pain. No matter which problem starts the cycle, it continues one into the next.

Chronic pain causes trouble sleeping. The lack of sleep causes more pain due to inability to heal. The pain causes more sleep deprivation. The sleep deprivation causes spatial memory loss and confusion. This disorganization of the brain function leads to depression and severe anxiety.

You may have started with depression but now also have chronic pain and insomnia. You may have had chronic pain to begin with and now have insomnia and depression.

You may have started with insomnia for some reason and ended up with anxiety and depression. Now you have migraine headaches, joint pain and disorientation.

The mind and body are forever connected.. It is impossible to have a problem with one , without it affecting the other.

I will explore these topics in future posts. I am searching for solutions and to validate anyone with these conditions.

I am so tired that I cannot edit this blog. I want to post it anyway because I feel called to post this. Please excuse any errors.

Namaste,

Annie

health, life, poem, poetry

Ode to Chronic Pain / Physical Pain Becomes Mental Torture

Pain is a terrorist

That deafens you will its blast

It strikes 

When you least expect it

And disables your

Ability to defend

Pain is an enemy

That no one ever sees

It stalks you every minute

It never sets you free

There are times 

Of sweet remission

That make you think it’s gone

It hides itself in plain sight

It strangles your last breath

No one can see your abuser

No one can know it’s real

You can’t expect understanding

From those who do not see

As far as anyone knows

It’s in your head

So then you drown

In efforts to keep going

The monster keeps attacking 

Relentless in its quest

To drive away your hopefulness

To make you glorify death

Till your drained 

completely dry

Exhausted from the fight

It torments your waking mind

Until there’s nothing left

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.

Namaste,
Annie