I Need a Nap

It’s a measly 7 am here and while I really should be in bed asleep, I’ve already been awake for 4 long hours. Usually I am pretty lucky and fall back asleep after an hour or two when I wake up in the middle of the night but that wasn’t happening for me this time.

I tried the normal tactics that usually get me back to where I want to be like use the bathroom, get a drink, readjust my pillows, none of them worked this time though.

I just couldn’t get comfortable. There were people coming and going on the street outside right below my window. The hallway light was turned up a bit too brightly and despite the glare giving me a terrible headache, I didn’t have the energy to get up again to shut it off.

For what felt like an hour, all I could think about was how horrible Huz was to us last year and then I became scared of how hard and fast my heartbeats were. I tried breathing and meditation to slow my heart rate down and clear my mind but neither worked, so in fear of having a full-blown anxiety attack, I made my way back downstairs at 6.

Thinking that eating something might work in putting me back to sleep I put 2 pieces of pizza in the toaster oven and then I noticed the half-empty bottle of wine on the counter.

Alcohol and sleep don’t mix well. I rarely do drink anymore for this reason and a few others but yesterday I decided I wanted a glass of wine and then got on the phone and gabbed with my friend for a few hours. I suppose all the gabbing was making my mouth dry because I sure had more than one glass of wine.

At the time I wasn’t thinking about how much I was drinking, but when I noticed what was left in the bottle on the counter this morning, I became quite irritated with myself. I suppose we all have our moments and mine are becoming fewer and far between but I do feel badly about myself when I drink more than I should.

My therapist told me I am self medicating when I do this, and even though it’s counter-productive now, it has served me well at least once before, otherwise I’d not ever do it. I guess that makes sence. She says that about a lot of the behaviors I am working on. They’ve all been helpful at one time or another, they just aren’t helpful anymore.

Learning how to replace old coping mechanisms and behaviors with new ones is hard work but I know it will get easier the more I practice and become more aware of myself.

Social Media Overload, Anyone?

I am not sure about all of you but I am in the midst of social media overload.

I have a WordPress.

I have a Tumblr.

I have a Twitter.

I have a Facebook.

I have a Facebook Page.

I have a Youtube.

I have a Blogspot.

I have a Pinterest.

I have a Polyvore.

And now I have a Posterous.

Am I insane? Well, yes, but for other reasons.

My real question is, does signing up for yet another social media account make me even crazier? Am I the only one with an overflowing amount of creative outlets? I can’t be!

I signed up with Posterous in the hopes that I will be able tie all (or most) of my accounts into one neat and tidy spot. I’ve read a lot of great reviews and I’m putting my faith into words from strangers.

Fingers crossed and please bear with me while I try to figure yet another program out.

ps If you have any tips or advice on how to easily pull this all together, let a girl know 🙂

The Price of Hibernation

Still being a newbie Fibromite, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the winter season that just passed. I read all of the horror stories about the cold weather and how it might drive me to the brink of insanity, so long before the temperatures dropped, I was fearing the worst.

Mother Nature was kind to everyone this year though and broke me into this new way of life gently. The air wasn’t the normal cold and bitterness of winters past and we only got a chuckle of snow, which was surprising after the blizzards that were thrown at us for the previous two years. All in all, the season wasn’t as terrible as I anticipated, and the aches and pains were nothing in comparison with what I went through the past summer.

My biggest drawback was fatigue.

Major flipping fatigue.

My body ached and burned and tingled and gnawed but it was the exhaustion that really got the worst of me. Not being able to do much about it but drag myself around, I surrendered to the Fibro and pretty much hibernated for 3 months.

Now that I’ve been regained a good amount of energy I need to clean up the neglected areas of my life. I’ve maintained the most important things like basic cleaning, cooking, self-care and survival necessities, but now that the fog lifted, all I can see are the things I have left by the wayside.

The House

With each week that’s passed over the season, our home has grown more and more disorganized. Isaac has been on a “project” kick for the past few months which has led him to rip apart my utility room, scattering tools everywhere in his path. He’s also rummaged through every drawer in the house while looking for “parts”  leaving the (once organized) drawers now barely closable. In his wake, he has left random bits and pieces of broken things, papers and junk. Natalie has reverted to her “hide-everything-in-my-closet-under-my-bed-and-in-every-drawer-so-my-room-just-looks-clean” mentality. I am just as guilty in the clutter as I have flat out neglected in keeping on top of them about picking up after themselves, let alone done any organizing or de-cluttering of my own.

In other words, a tornado of junk has ripped through my house and it is all that I can see now that I’ve awakened from my three months of hibernation.

If I were my old self, I’d just take a weekend to purge organize and be merry, easy peasey. I have always found it therapeutic to throw everything away and I always did just that. I am not the old me though, so I’ve got to figure out a plan to get things back to normal and not wear myself out in the process.

I suppose I will have to take this in baby steps, one thing at a time. I’m feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Maybe with a trash bag. Or a dumpster.

Unfinished Projects

Towards the end of last summer I took on a lot of projects that I just couldn’t handle. I over did it by a mile and threw myself into a wicked flare and had to surrender. I kept telling myself I’d get to finishing everything when the fall rolled around but life was chaotic here then, and the projects were put on the back burner. By the time winter came, my projects were the last thing I was able to think about.

Now that I’m feeling substantially better, I’d really love to refocus on the forgotten projects and complete them before summer humidity sets in and I find myself back in miserable pain.

You might remember that last year I had the wood floors and stairway refinished, but I didn’t have them paint the risers on the steps. The chipped and yellowed paint is a terrible eyesore, and it really takes away from how beautiful the wood looks, so getting them painted is a must.

I also ripped apart the front of my fireplace, with the intention to put up tile, but now it is just another unfinished and very ugly eyesore.

Also, when the upstairs carpet was moved and installed in the basement, I left some areas unfinished. It will really look nice down there once it is complete, so I need to work on that as well.

Aside from the carpet in the basement, I need to clean out the utility room because today it would be more accurately described as a junk room.

The last project I have to get done is setting up my narrow closet so it can be put to use. Currently, my 2 dressers are jam-packed with clothes and another large amount of clothes are still hanging in the basement. My closet might be the biggest challenge because of the odd dimensions, but I know something can be done with a little planning.

My Neglected Appearance

I haven’t spent any time on what I look like and it is obvious. I haven’t had much of a need to look pretty since I’ve spent a majority of the past few months on the couch and I accurately reflect that this is just what I’ve done. The world shouldn’t know I’ve hibernated though and my appearance isn’t doing my self-esteem any favors when I do need to go somewhere.

I haven’t colored or cut my hair in almost six months so my roots are horrendous and the style has grown out. My eyebrows are a wreck and my skin has turned into a mess. I even made a joke with my girlfriend, “Does this pimple make me look younger?”

Funny, I am.

I have probably put on a good 10 pounds, which everyone says is good for me, but fitting well in my baggy pants really doesn’t feel good. Not being able to exercise and eating a ton of carbs for a whole season doesn’t make anyone feel good; I imagine this is the reason for my skin being a wreck, too.

Besides my physical appearance, I also feel like a mess style-wise and this has always been important to me. Not getting dressed to go out into the world for a few months has really thrown me off. Now when I do need to get dressed or want to go somewhere, I have a very hard time deciding on something to wear, my radar for what pieces work well together has been in snooze mode… Just like me!

I feel like a wreck, not a hottie now, but all of this is easily solvable and will be fun to fix.

My Finances

I have kept up with this area but only to minimum standards and it’s starting to become very stressful. I’ve paid my bills fine, but that usually means waiting and then scrambling right before they are due. I have piles of papers on my desk that I avoid until it’s time to rummage through them when the 15th rolls around. It’s all very stressful and completely unnecessary.

I really do need to take a few hours to get my paperwork in order, balance my bank accounts, make a calendar, set up some automatic payments and hammer down a budget.

I also need to pull a rĂ©sumĂ© together ASAP because I found a few legit jobs I am qualified for which will allow me to work remotely from home. I’m living off of savings and child support and I’d like to keep a nest egg, so this is something I really can’t drag my feet on for much longer.

As you can see, I’ve got a bit ahead of me to do.

I believe that if I pace myself and stay determined, I can get this house and myself back in order and feel on top life again. If I am really focused and lucky, I will be able to get these things done before summer rolls around and I recognize writing this and addressing my prioroties is the first step. Getting rid of all of my mental clutter has definitely lifted a huge load off of my mind! Seeing what I need to do, as opposed to just thinking about it all, puts a positive perspective on my tasks ahead, also.

I’m going to start working on what I can today, maybe an hour or two spread out over each day will get me where I need to be quicker than the summer. Then I might be able to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine before the pain from the future heat and humidity sets in!

My Friend Fibro

Fibromyalgia isn’t normally a word that I would associate with friendship; in fact, on most days I’d more accurately compare the disease with the devil. Having Fibromyalgia means a lot of things for the way I live my life; it mostly brings me crushing pain, awkward movement, sloth-like energy, severe depression and major bouts of anxiety.

It’s easy to wallow in the negative when you have a chronic disease that doesn’t offer any hope for the days ahead. I often find myself doing just that: pining for better days, remembering who I was before, dreading the 40 years that taunt me from the future. Fibromyalgia can easily become an epic sized pity party if I am so inclined; no planning, organizing or guests involved.

What I am coming to realize about Fibromyalgia though is that it has forced me to take a long, hard, and honest look at my life and reinvent the aspects that weren’t satisfactory.

I no longer live with a man who made his family feel terrible and worthless about themselves. I no longer drive 2 hours a day, to and from a job I felt no passion for. I no longer pretend that my kids will eventually just be alright or that all the aggravation in life would suddenly disappear. My days aren’t filled with overwhelming stress and my nights are no longer spent in fear.

Fibromyalgia has forced me the opportunity to slow down and appreciate all in life that really matters. For all that Fibro has taken away from me, it has in return provided me with a unmeasurable amount of insight and strength. Fibro has thrown in my face all of what was wrong in my world and gifted me with the courage to make it right.

The knowledge I have of myself is now incredible and there is an undeniable joy felt in discovering who I am as an individual. My growing confidence as a parent has a wonderful effect on my kids and the home environment, our relationships have flourished and I no longer carry around a deep guilt that I might be failing them. I am now able to pursue my life long dream of becoming a writer and for the first time in my life I am in love with what I do. I have a fresh perspective on the world and enjoy the beautiful things that money can’t buy like the sunshine, the feeling of comfort and the sounds of genuine laughter.

Living with Fibromyalgia means wearing the heaviest of armor in an exhausting uphill battle. I am thankful for the ability to look back on all the excessive weapons I’ve already left behind. This renews my strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue climbing to the top. I feel certain that if I hadn’t acquired this disease I’d still be collecting and carrying weapons, just chugging along, and blindly losing the more defeating and terribly damaging battle that once was my way of life.

How Do You Write?

This question has flowed in and out of my mind often during the past few weeks.When it comes to bringing my thoughts together and getting them into the screen, instead of typing, I feel lost in a thick fog. In my mind, when I am not at my desk the words flow freely, rapidly, naturally, and elegantly, but when I sit down to write every brilliant word I previously thought up seems to leak right out of my head.

It isn’t that I haven’t been trying, in fact, I have done more writing than I ever have before, unfortunately, I can’t seem to follow through. I’ve started 6 posts, only to abandon them; I’ve typed an outline for almost 8 chapters of my book but haven’t revisited it since; I’ve started 3 new blogs but never made them public. Nothing feels quite right.

Most of my time, while sitting at this desk, I find my thoughts are traveling off to what I might need to create a better writing environment. A lap top? An actual office? A better chair and bigger desk? I also focus on my discomfort, my lack of printing supplies, how thirsty I am and if I should put on some music.

I find that some of my best work is jotted down in notebooks when I am sitting on the couch or laying in bed. I find it easier for me to edit with a pen, than to edit on the screen but is that how the real writers of the world write?

I feel the need to find out if there is a formula to effective writing. realistically speaking though, shouldn’t I just use techniques that work for me? Are there any techniques that will work for me? Maybe the real problem isn’t that I haven’t found something that truly works, perhaps I just don’t belive in myself. It is easier after all to create the distracting pressures that tell me I am doing it all wrong.

So my question to you is this… How do you write?

Daylight Savings and the PSSA’s

Good morning! I hope waking up and getting out of the house on time wasn’t too difficult because of the time change! Did you run into any problems?

Things ran shockingly smooth here in our home. I credit this to being proactive last night. Knowing it was going to be a challenge getting the sleepy heads out of bed on time, I made sure they took their showers last night and got to bed early. I also prepared my mind for chaos and knew that I would need to stay calm. It seemed to work! No drama! No missed buses! Can I get a high-five?

This week all the students here in Pennsylvania are taking the PSSA‘s. You know, the state-wide testing that determines how well the kids are learning the materials they have been taught.

What fun! {crickets chirping}

I will say that my kids don’t dread these intense and dreadfully boring tests the way that I used to, and if I didn’t know any better, I’d even guess they enjoy a week of being told to relax after school and not do any homework.

It does puzzle me as to why the state schedules these heavily weighted tests during the first week of the spring forward! daylight savings time change. This seems an unfair disadvantage;  Waking up a whole hour earlier than their bodies are used to only to sit in dead silence and try to successfully focus on a bazillion questions for hours.

Kinda wacky planning if you ask me. I questioned one of their teachers last year why they scheduled it like this and her reply to me was “Oh, that explains it! It is strange they schedule the testing this week.” Hello? Really woman? You didn’t think about this independently, not even once during the week? Hmm.

Anyhoo, it is what it is and that’s all that there is, right?

All that I can do as a parent is make sure my babes are fully rested, well fed, and not feeling stressed out.

Last night I successfully manipulated our evening by making dinner early, closing the blinds way before the sun was even close to going down, and then plopped down on the couch with them to watch some movies, all the while acting as if the time change didn’t happen.  This form of trickery worked like a peach and it hopefully will for the next day or two until they adjust.

Do any of you have kids taking statewide tests this week? If so, how do you feel about them being scheduled immediately after the time change?

What techniques are you using to adjust to the time change this week?


Please Take a Minute to Recognize a Lovely Blogger

As you probably have figured out by now, I LOVE my blogging buddies.

Love, LOve, LOVe, LOVE them!

Without our blogging friends, where would we be in this virtual world, anyway?

Any time I think about my blogging pals one in particular is always at the top of my list.

Sawsan over at Chef in disguise just happens to be an absolutely AMAZING chef and as sweet as they come in terms of personality. Not only is Sawsan dedicated to her delicious blog, Chef in disguise, (that she updates daily!!) she is also a busy dentist and 24/7 mom. What a busy woman she is! How she keeps up with her blog I will never know! I admire her so very much!

Here is how you can help the sweetest blogger in the world…

Have you have heard of The Homies 2012 blogging award Apartment Therapy/The Kitchn is hosting? It’s one of the biggest awards out there for bloggers and blog readers! If you aren’t familiar with the sites, make sure you check them out, they are a personal favorite for all things home 🙂

There are more than a few categories and when I saw the one for “Best Food Photography on a Blog” I absolutely HAD to nominate Sawsan! She was not a professional photographer when she started her blog, but today, if you take a look at her pictures you might not believe me. Just see for yourself! These are just a few of the many beautiful photos Sawsan has taken of her wonderful creations!

click photo for recipe
click photo for recipe
click photo for recipe

Please help me give Sawsan the recognition she truly deserves for all of her hard work and loving dedication, please take a small moment to vote for her!

If you are already a member to Apartment Therapy you only need to sign in to vote. If you aren’t a member, all you need to do is give your email and make a password or log in using Facebook. They won’t spam you with daily emails or ask for your first-born, it’s really that super-duper simple!

I’ve even made it easy for you:

To login/sign up: Click Here Please!
To vote for Sawsan: Next Click Here and Scroll down to Chef in Disguise (around #33 when I posted this)

Yay! Good luck Sawsan!!  Thanks to all of my lovely friends who take a quick minute to help a wonderful chef and photographer out!

Is this a Flare or Everyday Life?

It’s become my realization that I’ve been out of commission for the past 3 months or so, only doing the necessities to get by and the bare minimum while eagerly awaiting for this wretched flare to pass.

Since making the decision to stop taking Savella for my Fibromyalgia I’m in the process of learning to manage the pain and fatigue in a different way but it’s left me in a slump a majority of the time. My pain is sometimes absolutely unbearable and my energy level is constantly in the negative.

Is this how my life is going to be forever? If so, seriously, end it now. Is this just a flare?  If so, how much longer is it going to last?

Some day’s are worse than others but overall every day has been really bad. If the pain is tolerable I don’t have an ounce of energy and honestly, every day I feel like I am constantly on the brink of collapsing, therefore maiking even the simplest things, like going upstairs to the bathroom, a big deal.

Despite not having the strength or energy to get things done I have at least made myself do one thing each day. Whether it is cleaning something, cooking a meal, or making it to an appointment on time. It makes me feel better at the end of the day knowing that I did more than just rest. And even though I haven’t done anything above and beyond the requirements of living I am feeling pretty okay with myself because of getting that one thing done. In previous months all I could focus on was what I wasn’t getting done and to think like that did a lot more harm than good.

I wish I could say that today I feel good and that I have energy to really give the house a good cleaning or to go to the market or cook a few meals. I wish I had the energy to give myself a manicure or that the thought of getting a manicure didn’t sound so painful, but still, again, today, I can’t say that. I don’t know if it’s the weather, stress, or the missing meds keeping me in this flare, but I’m beginning to believe that I need to accept this is how it’s going to be.

I should stop waiting for a good day to live life.

I know there are terrible consequences from pushing yourself too hard when you have fibro, or any other similar disease, but I have to wonder, am I pushing myself enough?

I do know that I can’t function like this forever, I’ll never get anything accomplished. I want to live and feel alive again. How can anyone live like this? How hard can you push yourself until it’s not worth it?  There has to be a way to get more done.

If any of you have tips on how to accomplish more when your feeling awful, please, please, please share! Any tips or tricks you have about getting a flare into a calm state would be great too.

In the meantime, I’ll be brainstorming… From the couch.