Let Me Tell You About True Friendship……and connection 🙏🏻

Would it surprise you if I told you that the majority of people whom I count as my true friends in life are people I’ve never actually met?
Of course I do have healthy actual friends. People who have known me for a long while, and I know they will always be in my life one way or an other. Plus, there’s my husband, who’s my best friend. But, other than that, the people who I connect with are thousands, maybe even millions of miles away.
How can this be? Well, when living with chronic illness, it’s hard to find people who understand. I’m very lucky because those, that have stuck by me, in my life always try their best. They treat me with kindness and a lot of patience, and bring humor into my non humour life regularly. But it’s hard. It’s hard for them and it’s hard for me. Hard for them, because no matter what they will never know what it truly feels like to live in my skin and that’s something I’m very  happy about and I would never wish this on them.  Hard for me because I constantly wish I could help them more and do all the things I want when I want to do them. 
I am not even sure if you can imagine the life that I live. It can and is so very lonely and frustrating. Being and feeling so alone is one of the most challenging feelings that comes with living with  chronic and invisible illness. Because of those feelings, I began to look for support groups – some of my illnesses I did find groups, others practically nothing. A lot of the time, I am not well enough to go out and physically attend group get togethers so online and Facebook became my support mechanism .
I soon found several groups, and joined them all. I began, to find people like me! And early in my journey with chronic illness, these groups helped me to understand what my newly diagnosed health conditions were and why I was like I was. As I kept connecting I soon found some beautiful people that are true friends for life and although I may not be in those groups anymore for many different reasons, I’ve kept those friends and we have all helped each other wander our similar but oh so different journeys of life. Through this modern day world, I have also added to what I call my true friendship group a gathering of mostly women found again through predominantly Facebook . We have connected because of likeminded goals and visions but they all inspire me greatly to push through my illness struggles to be my truest self for the story, message , mission and purpose I have to share with the world!                                                             I am in fact been lucky enough to have been able to meet some of these most beautiful friends and just as I had I found online, they are just as beautiful in reality too which allows me to be further inspired and motivated everyday.  When, I had such a major fall with mental and physical health last year none of them disappeared where people I had lived and loved in the reality of everyday dropped me like hot cakes . That was hard to deal with and probably even contributed to worsening health complexities .                                                 Come forward, I am still struggling to come to terms with the complex list of health conditions that I have to live with things like – brain tumours, autoimmune conditions, anxiety, depression (that I never wanted to accept) but it was the latest of diagnosis’ that really dealt me my biggest blow – Functional Neurological Disorder – WTF is that ! It’s taken a number of months and a whole heap of hospital stays and appointments to really become familiar with this illness that disables my every being! Paralysis down my right side of my body, insomnia caused by what I can only refer to as jumping jack legs as soon as I lay down and many more symptoms that I’ve told you about in previous blogs. I fell so ill that my beloved wellness centre where I was a trained life coach and yoga and meditation teacher was waved goodbye! I had too, I couldn’t look after myself so!!                                                            I must say it was the most beautiful group of soul sista’s, that kept me going through the darkest of moments. This has brought me to right now, with rebuilding of me, my health and my life. I want to be an angel, a soul sista for other FND women, to show them that they are not alone. I began with this blog, which through each post is something of my wanderings looking for wellness. I then created other channels across the social media network, but then I remembered how my journey began finding true heartfelt friends it was from the Facebook group. I looked everywhere, for FND connections but nothing I could see. So I created my group, http://www.facebook.com/TheLongWalkWithFunctionalDisorder  for people like me, to come and connect and support each other on the good, bad, hard and everything else days. I want to create a caring space for each one of us to come when we need a friends ear of support. Isn’t this a space creation for where true friends are made and as we all join and connect, we may just become even more fierce in the world recognising our chronically invisible and debilitating illnesses so that we can all manage a better quality of life. This group, is my creation of wanting to let my other members (newest friends) know that someone is in their corner, no matter what?                                                  My group is only young, but it has begun and while I’ve never met these amazingly brave new friends, but I want them to know like all of my other soul sista’s and brothers,that they literally save me on my most darkest days. On really bad days and their are those , I feel I am in prison from my home but through chat and inspiring banter, I am pushed to step outside of my pain barrier to build more awareness through my story. Having a support network like this, allows life to be moved forward with energy for my vision and purpose. Through finding true connections where I can talk about my frustrations with those who understand makes the weary journey worth it.

If you are living with chronic illness and particularly FND, I urge you, to please find friends that understand you and your journey. Come and find me across on social media because I do not judge your journey, I only want to be there on those days and nights where you need to find someone to laugh with you because of the dire straits you find yourself in, and it’s OK because I am in them, too. In this modern day, nobody has to feel alone. Your friends are out there. They might just be in another state or country.

Come an connect and let’s wander towards mind and body wellness together;

http://www.facebook.com/IAmFNDAware

http://www.twitter.com/FND_Goddess

http://www.instagram/fnd_goddess

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

My Brain & Body Are Affected By Chronic Stress and Illness….So Much More Than I Knew.

After meeting with my neurologist yesterday afternoon and having discussions about my chronic health conditions, she began to talk about chronic stress and what it does to both body and brain. As a woman living everyday with “Functional Neurological Disorder “and other invisible illnesses, knowing that battling various obstacles from both brain and body not working, this subject has really left me, wanting to learn so much more . As my neurologist spoke, I could feel that my knowledge regarding chronic stress was about to go to new levels.  I new that chronic stress increased the stress hormone cortisol but I really didn’t have any ideas that the affects on our brain functions was so extreme, putting us at risk from many mental and physical illnesses.

BUT, STOP RIGHT THERE – STRESS IS VERY MUCH A PART OF MODERN LIFE!

What, I’ve discovered is that there are two kinds of main stress . These are acute stress and chronic stress and not all stress is bad for you. Acute stress is the cause to an immediate threat or action and is more commonly known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. When you are in a pattern of acute stress once the threat has passed, your levels of stress hormones return to normal with no permanent effects. It is actually thought that some level of acute stress is even thought to be good as it assists your brain reach peak performance. However chronic stress, which is the kind of stress that most of us face on any given day is the stress that can cause severe health concerns. Having a ever rising level of stress hormones not only makes our bodies sick and it negatively impacts the brain too. This is what struck the fear chord within me, as when stress becomes chronic, it changes the brain’s function and even its structure down to the level of our DNA. 

So what is so dangerous about the stress hormone, cortisol. So I needed to find out about these stress hormones that we have within our bodies. Firstly we have adrenalin which is the stress hormone we make in moments of excitement and is what makes us work or perform even better than we would normally have. Adrenalin assists us and it also does not stay in the body, disappearing as quickly as it was produced . Cortisol, as spoken about earlier and on the other hand, moves through our bodies all day long, making it so very dangerous. Cortisol is the number one enemy for everyone and can lead to many adverse health conditions such as digestive problems, autoimmune illnesses and cancer, just to name a few.

CHRONIC STRESS TAKES A MAJOR TOLL ON ADRENAL GLANDS.

Chronic stress can leave you feeling exhausted, it can cause weight gain, mood swings, poor sleep, short attention span, and memory issues just to name a few of the common signs of a elevated cortisol level . So this demonstrates just how stress and cortisol can take a toll on our bodies but these symptoms can and do also take an equally high toll on our brains. Some of the brain related stress symptoms are obvious when pointed out , these can include memory problems, anxiety, and worry. The horrible thing is though that most of these symptoms of stress on our brains are not noticeable until they get much worse, affecting parts of our bodies. Making diagnoses very difficult. Here are some key issues that causes stress to impact both brain mental health and physical well being. I’ve learnt that chronic stress creates free radicals that destroy our brain cells. Free radicals attack brain cells causing them damage and death as they basically break our brain cell walls causing them to rupture. Losing sleep, eating junk food, drinking too much alcohol, or smoking cigarettes all add to our free radical overload. Chronic stress can make us extremely forgetful. The sign of memory problems can often be one of the first signs of stress you will notice as you misplace commonly used items or forget usual appointments. Chronic stress can create a most vicious circle of fear and anxiety. You see stress builds up in an area of our brain referred to the fear centre. This makes us more scared, causing even more fear and stress and again stops the production of new brain cells. Chronic stress can lower critical brain chemical levels causing depression. The reduced levels of  serotonin and dopamine can leave you depressed and more prone to multiple health complexities. Serotonin is namely the “happy chemical . It plays a major role in mood, learning and sleep. Women low in serotonin are prone to anxiety and depression, while men are more prone to alcoholism and ADHD. Dopamine on the other hand is named as the “motivation chemical”and is in charge of your pleasure system. Low levels of dopamine can leave you not focused, lethargic, and again depressed. People low in dopamine may often use caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and illicit drugs to boost dopamine levels. Looking at STRESS so much more closely it is so visible that it puts us all at greater risk of various mental health conditions. The cause of most mental health illnesses is not yet understood and personally I wonder if the true answers will ever be found because the causes are a complex variety of factors. A lot more research is needed, but it has been discovered that physical differences in the brains of people with stress disorders.

From looking at stress this way, I can see why it makes me personally feel chronically stupid at times. In my particular journey with stress, my brain appears to seize up randomly and with no rhyme or reason. Stress impairs memory and at times impacts making decisions very difficult. I had heard, that chronic stress can shrink the brain. Well, yes STRESS can measurably shrink your brain and my neurologist did explain this very clearly. It was described to me that the dangerous levels of cortisol can destroy and shrink, the part of your brain that stores memories. This sector of our brain is critical for learning, memory and emotional responses and when we are chronically stressed, toxins enter our brain, however the brain is highly sensitive to toxins of every kind. When stressed our brains safety barrier becomes thinner, thus letting such things as heavy metals, chemicals, and other harsh toxins. All of this putting us more at risk of a multitude of worrying illnesses and diseases and it also contributes to brain inflammation and depression. I was amazed to learn that our brains have their own individual immune systems. This internal immune system protects our brain and spinal cord from infections and toxins. All of this new and thorough understanding of what chronic stress does, has given me more insight to why happiness and peace of mind is destroyed so very deeply. It wears us down mentally, emotionally and saps the joy from life physically and it is any wonder, finding a way out of such darkness takes enormous strength when such symptoms of stress include;

  • excessive worry and fear
  • anger and frustration
  • impatience with self and othersmood swings, crying spells and / or suicidal thoughts
  • insomnia
  • trouble with concentration 
  • forgetfulness, mental confusion
  • difficulty in making decisions
  • feeling overwhelmed

I now know why when I walked out of the neurologists room, I felt a inner request for further information of what is gurgling away within my own chronic illness journey. I sat and cried, I have to admit because, I know now why it is so difficult for the modern world in which we live to understand stress and the illnesses that are caused by it. But, having a more subtle insight to how chronic stress becomes allows me to better understand my own healing journey towards reducing my stress levels and repairing and rebuilding both body and brain to my desired lifestyle. 

I have wandered far and wide, looking for tips and tricks over the years to overcome stress throughout my wandering steps. Going forward, I will be definitely going to be more proactive in using these particular steps to help my own body overcome the harmful effects that have had on my brain. I will be going back to my vegan diet, eating foods high in antioxidants such as fruit, vegetables and green tea. This will assist in stopping further free radical damage.

Increasing mindfulness back into my daily practice will become so very important to boost levels of food energy into the brain. My journey with debilitating illnesses has left me disabled mentally and physically, so rebuilding can’t be strenuous. I am undertaking NeuroPhysio sessions based on pilates and I now know this is particularly important. As I gain more confidence and strength again, I  will be able to walk more steadily.  I also now have the belief to again use yoga and meditation exercises to heal my mind and body. Using a daily meditation practice reduces stress. Yoga and meditation are alternative tools for being able to master and strengthen our thoughts because as we know stress does not just come from our  life events, it also comes from our inner most thoughts and  negative reactions with regard to these events.

I know, learning more about, how chronic stress effects body and brain has helped me and I also hope that has given you better information of how it is an unavoidable part of our lives. But I certainly have learnt that proactive and positive steps, can definitely reduce the wear and tear on bodies and brain. I will be definitely incorporating a more mind/body selfcare program again to ensure I can manage all aspects of my life so much better because my brain health is just as important or more as my physical health.

Please let me know your thoughts by leaving feedback here or on one of my social media channels;

http://www.facebook.com/IAmFNDAware

http://www.twitter.com/FND_Goddess

http://www.instagram.com/fnd_goddess

Snapchat 👻 – simply_lisaraie 

“Wandering Towards A Life Of Wellness”

Living On The Edge With Chronic Illness – A Step Into The Darkness Means Asking For Help…….

So today, my thoughts are going back to when everything was oh so dark and in despair and I felt like I could not keep going.  WHY – Because I want you reading this to know that you are not alone in your journey with chronic pain and debilitating invisible illnesses.

​​
You see, when you are chronically ill, apart from the everyday pain and illness you most probably will suffer from forms of depression, loss, loneliness and perhaps even  thoughts of suicide,  but you will rarely discuss these because you think you will be judged as weak. I want to speak to you, openly about the fact that these topics are ones that you don’t want to dismiss or ignore and I am speaking from personal experience. 
By speaking of my own journey, honestly and vulnerably , I hope that I may help you feel more comfortable about talking about your struggles with living with chronic illness everyday. I want to show you that by choosing to ignore these dark moments, only can make the problems that you are dealing with even bigger, scarier AND lonelier. Being honest opens up doors to your inner most private struggles and lets other people in to help.  

So let me explain a little bit of my experience. Obviously my physical health was caused by multiple chronic illnesses of autoimmune & neurological breakdowns but I also started to notice a  mental deterioration clearly by middle of 2015. I put it down to extra tiredness due to opening up my own business as a life coach and yoga teacher with my own studio. I know that my chronic illnesses are part of me and this business was my way of opening the journey up to the greater world. I wanted this so much, so I just told myself to keep pushing through the daily processes of life. 

Let me stop right here, now and explain that my living in silence with my pain and illness is an oh so clear example of how this modern world makes surviving chronic illness and is without a doubt, one of the hardest hurdles to overcome. 

Going back to the beginning……my health began to decline and initially , I approached it as though I had a bad flu. But that flu, never went away so off to the doctors, I wen to find the problem, so again I could be well. Right – oh no, not so! As months went on and one year turned into multiple years my pain and suffering weren’t getting better , in fact, they were worsening. I tried all the mainstream medical philosophies, I stepped into alternative therapies , which may I say allowed me to find a path through for a while but as life was seemingly moving, my thought process began to divert from those who surrounded me. I kept going to the doctor, many doctors actually and many times, over and over but that is where my original plan failed. The pain was from nerve damage, but that was where the understanding of my situation stopped. My body kept adding more and more  symptoms and the doctors seemed to have less understanding and compassion of my daily life . Particular autoimmune illnesses were diagnosed but confusion regarding what was impacting my health increased as did my pain and with each failed attempt at managing the pain or finding a diagnosis, my life  was falling through and into deeper levels of darkness .

I can tell you that as this journey of mine wandered further, I felt a thick disconnect from everything. Everyday became a blur and what was once important no longer seemed real.  I knew I was a part of the living world and I knew I had this passion and purpose but  from 2015 it felt more like I was watching it from a million years away than from reality. This life – my life it seemed so, so far away. I began to wonder if I would ever live that life that was so vividly clear in my visions and dreams. I had once planned to make world wide impact but my days consisted of lying in bed using  my electric blanket and medication or anything and everything I could think of to lessen the pain.  There would be days where I would sit up but I would still be taking high doses of pain medication and my trusty heated throw rug or sitting outside in 40 degree days just to feel well. That is NOT life. The thoughts of being well and free of these debilitating chronic illnesses were not even near being real and in that state, I just wanted  to decrease my breath into a life of living – YES, I wanted to die! I wanted relief, I wanted wellness , even just a minute. That obviously wasn’t to be, so thoughts of dying came more readily like we breathe our most magical visions and dreams had for so long. The only thing was  I thought was to go to sleep permanently- you see being in chronic pain and illness makes you so tired , so you sleep but then you wake up.  Even the short bursts of  sleep I was getting, only gave me short term relief, but my body’s pain  and suffering continued. So fast track to late 2015, early 2016 and I was done with this pain and these illnesses- some known about , others even doctors were left flabbergasted! SUICIDE was going to be my release from this world that became all too hard. I was angry, I was hurting and no one could help me.  I was in a very dark place that I could not get out of ! So I entered hospital early 2016 with pneumonia, which I believe spiralled me further into despair. I soon was discharged, with the doctors giving me the same scripted announcement- “you will need to rest , so that you can best recover because of all your other health complexities”. I was stuck in self destruct mode with such thoughts as “they’ll be sorry,” or “I’ll show them.” My pain and illness were my permanent and realistic nightmare everyday.  My  physical and mental health could not survive another spectrum of life with this level of suffering, death would be a relief, it would be an end to this awful pain and it would take me as the burden away from those closest to me. The only problem was my loved ones, as much as I wanted to leave the reality of death I didn’t want to leave them. I tried  making my husband and children realise that by killing myself it would be kindness .  I so much wanted them to understand this agony, that I was living, so that I could find relief. At this point, I was  only alive because of the people I loved, but then they left me the internal distress was at breaking point.

Come to March 2016, I was taking massive amounts of strong pain medication but just couldn’t get relief, so I went back to  hospital.  I was in a bad state, confused , in pain, in anguish , constantly falling over and even, hospital where I thought that these people would understand me  and help me were not!  I resented myself, everybody and everything – Noone really had any clue how much pain I was suffering . In that instance , I did something – I tried to kill myself. I tried to escape the hospital ward and take myself to the busy road outside and be hit by a truck. Obviously, it failed – I fell outside of the lift – but it brought me to the NOW to finding help that was there, being open to accept it. 

Being alive and living are two different things which I had forgotten after falling victim to my own health complexities, I got lost in the mist of extreme darkness and depression because, I was afraid to accept help. I thought if I accepted help, that I would be showing an even greater sign of weakness. How incorrect the thoughts (my thoughts) are when mental health disintegrates. Accepting help and building a team of health and personal support is the biggest mental and physical gain that I have given to myself. I now, know that all life needs when in these most anxious moments of life, is honest conversations regarding an understanding and  compassion. I am grateful, for my new doctor whilst in hospital as it was, he who made me realise that coming to hospital and accepting admission was the best and only option for me. It was probably my most loneliest hospital stay but also the most important 3 weeks of my life. It gave me new set of medications, treatments and a resilience to get me through the days living with chronic illness because we walk inseparable through life.

To conclude my experience, I have learnt that at this time in the modern day world, depression and suicide are as much a part of chronic illness as all the other invisible symptoms. The problem is that this world, ignores or perhaps more correctly chooses to avoid the subject. This then leaves the chronically ill like myselff, alone to cope with  the demons and darkness that nobody should have too live with. I believe if, i  had of found that new doctor months and possibly years earlier, who sat with me  and had the full non judgemental conversation,  my journey may not have  been so heavy and dark leaving me to progress like I am now. 

As I am writing this , this conversation still terrifies me but I also know talking about it helps ideas and perspectives make more space within the brain for new opportunities that life may not yet have offered. Always  remember to show kindness, compassion and understanding;to yourself  because our inner most  thoughts aren’t because of us, it’s because of the external journeys that we are living. I am now reteaching myself using mindfulness, journaling and talking about how to no longer hold on to my fear, my pain or my illnesses. For the remainder of my journey of life with chronic illness or not I want to feel alive . So by me being able to write and talk my experiences, I hope that this may help some of you and together we can begin to walk together and tear down the stigma of being vulnerable and out of reach of a life to be wandered towards wellness and wonderful experiences.

​​

Lisa-Raie

(AKA – The Barefoot Goddess) 💋

If this resonates anyway please let me know either here or on my other social media channels;

http://www.facebook.com/IAmFNDaware

http://www.twitter.com/FND_Goddess

http://www.instagram.com/fnd_goddess

Snapchat 👻- simply_lisaraie

Chronic Pain & Illness Deserve Respect and Research Too…….

CHRONIC PAIN & ILLNESS DESERVE THE SAME AMOUNT OF RESPECT and RESEARCH AS CANCERS……please read & share doing so you support your friends wandering a lonely path towards finding wellness……..

I WANT THESE WORDS, SHARED ACROSS OUR GLOBE, SO THAT CONVERSATIONS CAN BE BEGUN TO HELP AND SUPPORT CHRONIC PAIN & ILLNESS PATIENTS . It starts with one and if just one other person then shares this, then another, then another-before long we will have a global conversation and greater awareness of the importance for better healthcare for chronic and invisible illness.
THIS IS MY FIRST AWARENESS CHALLENGE-PLEASE HELP ME SHARE MY MESSAGE GLOBALLY……and this is why;

More work needs to be done for chronic pain and illness. The numbers of people globally feeling that they have no way out of their chronic pain and illness is growing at scary rates. 
Our Governments need to wake up and give this the same attention it gives to cancer. One day of the year, for “RUOK” day, that spotlights mental illness and depression doesn’t cut it and the effects that these invisible illnesses have on the individuals, families and friends is devastating.

I can say this, because I breathe, walk and talk the journey everyday. It’s my mission to open up more discussion and conversation for myself and many others. WHY, because we all deserve a life that we love. 

I WANT THESE WORDS, SHARED ACROSS OUR GLOBE, SO THAT CONVERSATIONS CAN BE BEGUN TO HELP AND SUPPORT CHRONIC PAIN & ILLNESS PATIENTS .
Let’s send this viral and start walking, talking and wandering towards a life of wellness.

Loving Life, Living Life….

To be loving life and living life is the greatest magic of all. But what does this mean? Well to be honest my journey of life has been a full of ups and downs, highs and lows, leading me to the now where my journey of life looks something like this;

When you’ve wandered so many paths looking for that tranquil river to sit quietly beside, BUT all you find is a messy and unkept pile of rocks – you are forced to stop! That forced stop, allows you to actually restart the journey of life, as I have found. You see, being swallowed whole and then spat out, has taught me that being on the journey of life, is the ability to completely surrender into myself. It’s about accepting that i am IMPERFECTLY perfect. Living passionately with all the raw edges glowing gives me sass to be able to wander in just the right vibe and energy. There is no one but me,  who is capable of actioning every step as required, within and through challenges to take me to my preferred destination.

Thinking about living life afflicted by multiple chronic illnesses left me oh so dark and changed, every aspect of my being, but finally getting the assistance I need has awakened me, it’s allowed me to see and feel fully in love totally with the awareness that being happy gives. Living life, on that messy bed of rocks doesn’t give me life. That path walked allowed me, two seconds of joy and then everything soon became dark and twisted. I was left feeling like my star had lost its sparkle or in fact had shattered into pieces. Being forced to take different action and direction, I also ensure that nobody or anything can stop my love of living life. So from NOW, everyday I need to give myself permission to stop and breathe allowing my sun and stars to shine brightly because I can then wander chasing the rainbows of life that are so clearly visioned inside of my heart and soul. Being on this journey, then allows others to see me and then wander alongside me creating the same vibe and energy.

 So living and loving life means being able to wander with all of your raw edges showing, stepping forward with all the sass of a star shining brightly, but yet knowing that you can step behind a cloud when it’s time to rest. It means loving every step and wiping out the misery of any health and subsequent challenges that you may have found on past paths wandered and let’s you join so many on a bright and magical walk of life! Let’s all begin to wander together by telling our stories and showing each other who we really are, so that the world can then breathe togetherness – that’s what loving and living life is!

I’d love to know what loving and living life to you is? Please feel free to let me know here in this space or in one of my social media channels;

http://www.facebook.com/IAmFNDaware

http://www.twitter.com/FND_Goddess

http://www.instagram.com/fnd_goddess

Snapchat 👻👻👻 simply_lisaraie

Much Love

Lisa-Raie (The Barefoot Goddess) 👣

What’s The Worst Thing About My Journey With Chronic Illness???

“What’s the worst thing about my journey with chronic illness ?” I would have to say without a doubt that is the hardest question to answer. But, let me wander this journey with you here and explain why.

The struggles with chronic illness are all too real and present with every breath and step in life that I can’t just pick one thing that depicts my worst. But allowing myself to stop and reflect, I’ve realised that so many times I’ve doubted myself and my life choices. 

WHY – well with my illnesses and disorders there are so many challenges that have bombarded my body for so many years now that unfortunately my mind has become a victim too. I now see life and the world through different eyes because I’ve seen everyday  feeling the worst pain, having the most horrible symptoms, unable to experience and enjoy my favourite activities and no matter how calm and positive I tried to feel, there is such a negative anxiety filling me up. It was at that point and it’s only been recently let me tell you that I realised I had a further problem and that was depression. Life, was slowly spiralling out of control and it wasn’t until I was hospitalised that I became all too aware of what it was doing to me, so I think that’s probably the worst thing within in my chronic illness journey. 

Depression is not some imaginative little scene dancing within my head – it’s full of the most raw and real emotion that creates so many negative and hopeless thoughts than anybody could ever fathom. When in the deepest and darkest moments of despair even the most positive of people could not even bring the good energy out of me and this left me feeling more hopeless, alone and definitely lead me to doubting myself and making choices that I would not normally make. Depression has this power over the mind like the chronic symptoms impacting my body. Because of the impact of physical impairment, through my physical illnesses I learned that my brain functions had slipped a few levels on the ‘normality’ scale with my mental illness. Alas, all the inner walls cave in.

Here, I was just thinking that my new physical symptoms like limb paralysis and weakness, speech problems, etc were part of my longer walked journey illnesses and would be flares that would fade over certain time just as the other physical flares do. But this I learned was about what my health conditions, had developed into. When I and so many have had to live with physical ailments for a long period, the brain also then becomes ill. Working with a number of specialists i realised it is going to take even more work and medication to bring myself back to a level of mindful existence and allowing a quality of life that I desire. With, this new knowledge, I could of sunk further into depression and regressed further into myself and a land of unknown BUT I knew that’s not what my life was meant for. 

Looking at life with different eyes, I was excited to step in and take action to begin a journey of regaining mental health so that I could continue tackling the physical challenges on health firstly and importantly for ME but also so I could show others what is possible. Life lead me to having to overcome fears of being seen a certain way , it was accepting that my vulnerable state had been compromised. In accepting and stepping into these challenges I could accept help. 
So bring me forward to, today I am wandering a path back to the light of day with ME back on the agenda for what has always been my vision, purpose and message of living a life to love. I have accepted that I need assistance with a 4 wheeler walker to reclaim balance and strength to walk again. I know that I need to stop and take time to breathe and rest. Best of all I know that I need teams of people around me, because when i surround myself with a range of different people and experiences, I will have all the power and strength that I need to stay well and live well. My medical team are of a neurologist, rheumatologist, psychologist, neuro-physio and a list that goes on will give me mental and physical health. Family & friends will give me my passion to shine and walk my dreams. Then there are the new team of soul sista’s that I am connecting with globally that inspires and motivates me to walk and talk my story building awareness for all that are walking a journey with chronic illnesses looking for a life to love.

So the worst part about my chronic illness is, definitely depression and the inability to see and feel that my mind was my own worst enemy and causing me so much further despair. Now, sitting happier on my sofa i’m beginning to again enjoy bliss of being comfortable in my own life so that I can step into your lives. 

Life is a ever changing collection of movements and I know that I need to be slow and steady to wander my goddess journey. I accept all of my illnesses and yes there will still be days of utter frustration that will take me to that cliff edge, BUT I now understand that those days are just a inner message from my mind and body that I am going to fast. Wander slowly, breathe deeply and believe and live every dream because it is possible. Me landing in depression with a damaged mental health, was my trigger that my journey had got off track , and yes it’s the worst thing but it was probably also the saviour in a crazy kind of way.

Please if you’ve resonated with this in anyway, I would love to hear your feedback and if you too are walking a life with chronic illness- what is the worst thing you’ve found along your journey.

Much Love 

💋

** Special Mention; To my new connected soul sista’s, you all light me up everyday and allow me to rebuild dreams that had been lost in darkness.

** To my husband-you’ve been so strong and with me through everything and even when I lost faith-you still had it! That is why, now I’m stepping with a new breath more powerful than before. I often, tell you I love you BUT seriously you will never realise how blessed I am to have you. 

** To My youngest child – you are a guardian angel, however your journey has been so very difficult and not even I can understand the path that you’ve had to endure, with ASD, genetic mutations and other intellectual differences to direct you through life. You are the most loving now young adult that inspires me to keep walking tall for my dream of a health and life to live. 

Please if you would like to connect further, find me on social media at;

http://www.facebook.com/IAmFNDaware

http://www.twitter.com/FND_Goddess

http://www.instagram.com/fnd_goddess

“Let’s Walk Together And Not Tear Each Other Down”

Breathing Through Chronic Illness With Meditation 🙏🏻

If you are like me, I don’t have to tell you that living with chronic illness can be at times unbearable. I know I do everything I can to get through days and nights – I try moving but that hurts, I rest but that hurts, so I do nothing but that hurts more! So by the end of each day, I’ve taken the maximum dose of painkillers that I could but the ache is overwhelming and consuming every breath. It’s a vicious circle that rotates endlessly.
But, as I’m having to deal with the chronic pain and endless number of physical symptoms that hurt – it’s also my mind that is also hurting . Questions, questions, many questions consistently overload my brain with such things of being unable to deal and cope with the ongoing pain and illness and all I’m asking is that I just want it to stop – I JUST WANT IT TO ALL GO AWAY – but it doesn’t!
This has been my constant thoughts and feelings over many years but I find of recent weeks it’s back with a vengeance! Pain insomnia wreaks havoc on living, so the only thing that I can do is to fight back against these moments of excessive chronic pain and illness so that I don’t fall back into a spiralling doom of despair.
Last night, I switched off from social media and connected back into a mindful space with meditation. A number of years ago, I found yoga and meditation and I found that it reduced my chronic pain and illness immensely and I was able to learn the principles and I began actually teaching it. However, as I stepped up the energy levels, my chronic illnesses stopped me in my tracks again. I could no longer do or teach yoga because of paralysis and weakness and so meditation fell by the wayside too. Being in a zone with insomnia for over a fortnight, has lead me to think about ways of not falling backwards-the breath of mindfulness has come back. I know very well that this mindful action soothes my mental and physical angst. I have no idea if I can bring myself back to being able to no longer feel pain with the intensity that I am, but if I bring back my focus to the breath just possibly I can help untangle the thick fog that insomnia lands me in.

So back to meditation i go. What meditation does is focus on different parts of my body simply using my breath.  It allows me to see my mind and body in action and to feel the pain sensations as they rise within my body and then let go of them using calming deep breaths. I did not think I would have success straight away, but I was amazed by the difference. Last night, has been my best night for about a fortnight. You see, just by bringing my calming breath back into play my chronic pain insomnia and intolerable nerve pain and twitches began to melt and I was able to rest and was able to sleep – YES SLEEP.

I know my pain arises from my multiple chronic illnesses and the damage to my bodies nervous system and what is like a speaker in my brain leading the intensity of mind and body suffering. From studying different forms of mindfulness and from my personal health experiences, I’ve learnt that my mind does not simply feel pain, it also processes all the information that it holds. Its like my mind, zooms in on my pain looking for away to take it away but instead what my mind is doing is causing my pain and or hurting to be louder. Before long I’m in periods of excessive pain and illness and insomnia is causing me more hurting. I know, if I don’t do something I will end up being consumed again by my excessive anxieties, stresses and worries as well as my physical pain.  As I spoke earlier about in an instant the vicious circle of downward spiralling is with me again, which hurts and  impairs my healing process and leads to even more hurting.

So it is time to again, step into handling my pain and hurting differently to how I currently am. I need to lay my hands open to the powerful effect of mindfulness so that I can better control my pain. I know personally when focused, that mindfulness does turn my volume control down on pain. It also lessens my anxiety, stress and the depression that it has brought me. Using mindfulness, my mind and body can again truly relax and perhaps in conjunction with my medication and other problems which include my memory loss may improve as well as my mental and physical energy. As I’m writing this I’m wondering – WHY THE HELL, DID I GIVE UP MY MEDITATION!

So come forward – I’ve found a wonderful app called “InsightTimer” – you may want to have a look at http://www.insighttimer.com . This app, has over 2000 different meditations- I regularly search the different rest, relaxation and sleep meditations and I’ve again found that stepping into following the guided sessions I can use mindful activity as a powerful painkiller in conjunction with my other medications to assist my steps walking forward.
If you would like to give meditation a go, I would suggest looking for the app I spoke of but also practising getting your mind and body to relax. This is an activity I use and its best practiced in a quiet area. Don’t worry if your mind wanders. Mine does, so don’t get mad with yourself. When it happens, just bring the awareness back to your breath and concentrate on the part of the body  where your mind wandered. As you focus on each part of the body, listen to how your body is feeling.

So let’s begin the practise;

I will generally Lie on the floor, my bed or my sofa, letting my legs lay relaxed and slightly apart. I place my hands on my tummy (presently I have a paralysed right arm so I place that hand under my left, so it stays in place. I will close my eyes and sink myself into the floor. Next I focus on my breath – listening and feeling as it flows in and out of my body. I will just lay still noticing how my breath is, feeling the rhythm of each breath in and out with as much detail as i can – doing this allows me to really connect inward. I will start at my toes and work up – spending a few minutes with each area of my body feeling how it feels in temperature and with pain. As you breathe in, hold your breath and then slowly exhale in each breath, I use the count of 4 and then again to the count of 4, I exhale. I will often spend more time on particular areas of my body that are feeling worse pain. Once I’ve listened I will move my awareness to the next area of my body. I will stop and observe what i find for a minute. So basically it’s about breathing deeply in, holding your breath and then exhaling observing from your toes up all the way to the top of my head. Once I’ve reached my head I will spend a couple of minutes observing my whole body breathing as one. Slowly I will open my eyes and bring myself back to my surroundings. What I find, is that there is a calmness across my body, I may still have pain but my body is in a state of awareness that allows me to either continue with my day or settle into a restful space for night.

I hope that this post has been of help for you, if you’ve been thinking of trying to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your life and chronic illness journey. If it resonates with you or perhaps you want to know more about my journey, please don’t hesitate to connect with me here or across on my social media channels.

http://www.facebook.com/IAmFNDAware

http://www.twitter.com/FND_Goddess

http://www.instagram.com/fnd_goddess

Much love

LR – The Barefoot Goddess 💋