Dis-Courage-Ment.

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It’s ok to not be ok…But not for long.

I am convinced, now more than ever, that my childhood prepared me for this battle of illnesses that, simply put, is trying to kill me physically as well as mentally. I have struggled with so many illnesses in the last three years, every time I go to the doctor it seems there is just more diagnosed illnesses on top of what I already have. It should be overwhelming for me and perhaps I should be sitting in a corner sucking my thumb, rocking back and forth, but I am actually at peace. I want to share how I am able to handle and process these things that have been happening to me. 

We all have feelings and that’s a really good thing because that enables us to love others and respect each other but our feelings can also be a very damaging thing as well.  For me my feelings either control my situation or I control my feelings and overcome my circumstances.
It is ok to feel worried or scared, but I have found that in order to control my feelings about bad news I have to consciously tell myself how long I am going to have negative feelings. 
I literally have to stop and think about how I feel about each situation. I cannot group all of my issues together as one big problem, that would be too much, I have to look at things in a smaller scale. I choose not to worry. I choose to keep in mind the some of my situations are overwhelming, but I also search for the best outcome. I try and stay in control of my feelings. 
 I have had to face many circumstances that have been out of my control. I have had to accept that’s it is ok to feel down and confused at times but only for a short period. I have to be responsible to bring myself back out of negativity and control my feelings about the circumstance that come my way. It’s ok to not be ok, as long as I don’t stay there for long. 

How to sharpen your listening skills.

Listening is an important skill to have but a lot of people do not really know how to listen effectively. I have learned over the years that the most valuable thing that I can offer to anybody is to simply be a good listener. If you think about it, a truly best friend is a great listener. Most of the time people are looking for friends who will listen without judging.
When talking about my illness to people I have find that I have run across people that simply do not listen. Although it comes from the right intentions, people will try to relate to my illness with something that they have had before and often will hand out unwanted and bad advice when all I really need is for them to listen. We all have our own story, no one really knows how you and I feel, they can relate, but they do not know how we feel. We all handle our trials, troubles and illnesses differently, we are all unique, our internal make up is different, our feelings are our feelings. Try to never say, “I know how you feel.”
Here are some great ways to begin sharpening your skills on listening to others. 
1. Allow others to say what they are going to say. Let them tell their story, an opportunity will come at some time in the relationship for you to tell your story in relation to their story.
2. Stay silent!
3. Bank information.
4. Be open and receptive.  nod, smile, make occasional eye contact, act like you care.
5. Only give advice if the person asks for it and keep the advice short and to the point.
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Thanksgiving.

 

It’s Thanksgiving and it’s a time to pause and give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. The end of the year should be filled with family, celebration and gratefulness. I believe it’s time to realize that every day we should be giving thanks! 
For me every day is a day to be thankful because I am simply alive. Although there have been days lately that have been less than favorable for me, I can still say that the fact that I wake up every single day and take a breath is a true blessing.
For most of my life I was blinded to the simple blessings that God had given me. I grew up in a less than a stellar home and family life. I did not have a good family connection and I kept the rest of the world at bay.  If God didn’t move in an earth shattering miracle, I could not see Him move at all. My perception was skewed waiting on the big wow moments.
If there is one thing I have learned is that God doesn’t always give me wow moments. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some big, “only God could have done that”, moments but now I’m thankful for the blessings of everyday life that get overlooked and that I have, for so long, taken for granted.
I am most thankful for the simplest, and the most overlooked blessings; being alive today. It may not be pain free, I have struggles with so much because of my illnesses, but God still has given me love, peace, mercy and my life. 
 

Monday Morning Pick-me-up. (Thank You Lord!)

Thank You Lord!
Psalms 103: 2-5
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
What I’m I thankful for? I’m thankful that God has forgiven us, He heals our diseases and who picks us up when we are down and who lavishes us with love and mercy. Love and mercy are gifts we do not deserve, they are gifts freely given. If we have ever been at a place in our life where we felt like we were all alone and helpless, He was there to provide love and mercy. God is the one that makes us feel young and alive again. Thank God, He is always there to love us and forgive us and to sustain us.

“The Not So Invisible Illness.”

They call Lupus the “invisible illness,” but to me it’s definitely not invisible. It’s a constant fight to keep normalcy in my family’s life, my husband, kids and I know this illness has stolen more than we ever imagined. I haven’t been able to drive since August. My freedom and independence has been taken, with the risk of fainting because of constant arrhythmias. I have nuerocardiogentic syncopede, and Postural orthostatic tachardia syndrome. My heart rate is constantly above 100 and it takes all of my energy to keep up.  I sweat constantly as if I have run a marathon even though my body is cold to the touch. I have struggled with constant migraines for the last week. My body hurts everywhere and it is more than just an ache, it’s pain that keeps me from sleeping through the night and no amount of pain medication can take it away. Although my diagnosis is SLE Lupus, I also have mixed connective tissue disorder. Mixed connective tissue disorder can manifest itself in many different autoimmune diseases. My entire body is under attack from the inside out. To look at me you would never guess the battle that I fight every day.  I put my happy face on and say that I am ok even though I am screaming on the inside, wishing I could feel better for just one moment, just like so many of us do. I take the tiny moments when I get a small amount of energy and try to fit in as much as I can in those moments only to ultimately pay for days, for doing too much.
Although this is the fight of my life, I still hold on to hope for a cure one day for autoimmune diseases in general. I still hope that God will heal me physically. Even if I don’t get my healing right now, I know that one day there is a place where I will be where the pain, the struggles, the fight for life will be gone. There is a place of peace, hope, and happiness waiting.

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Daily Devotion. (Spiritual Exercise.)

via Daily Devotion. (Spiritual Exercise.)

Attitude of Gratitude.

Attitude of Gratitude

Adopting an attitude of gratitude and recognizing the things that we are most grateful for isn’t just something that sounds nice at Thanksgiving — it’s a lifestyle and mindset that can change our lives.
 

For changes to happen in our life, we have to decide to change. If we wait for something to shift and change on its own we might find ourselves disappointed when nothing changes. In order to make a switch we must make a decision for change. If we practice being proactive to change, we switch our mindsets. When our mindsets change we change our circumstances.

 Gratitude is stress reliever.
Adopting an attitude of gratitude takes us out of the negativity that surrounds us on a day to day basis and puts us in a correct frame of mind. When we have a different mind-set, we find solutions to day to day problems. When a problem is in front of you try to find the silver lining in every situation; What can I learn from this?
 
Gratitude and a good attitude is contagious.
 
I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t like being around unpleasant, negative, or sarcastic people. I find many times that my mood can set the scene in a room whether it be good or bad. If I am grateful and happy it tends to be contagious to others around me and create a positive energy. Of course, the opposite is true as well, if we have a downcast face or a bad attitude that tends to set the mood in a room. Watch your words. What you say is usually how you act, so be aware of complaining and replace whines with positive words. Be aware of your body language and smile even if you don’t feel like it. You can change your attitude and the people around you by simple body language and excitement in your voice. Let’s start with ourselves, we must be the change and watch the world change around us.
 
 

Sometimes I feel like giving up.

Sometimes I feel like giving up.

Sometimes I just want to jump in a hole and cover myself up! Satan has a way to make me feel worthless.  It’s not always easy to fight 24/7. Sometimes I feel like giving up.

The only way I can verbally explain most of my life is, it has been a balancing act. I had to stay in survival mode growing up and now as an adult I struggle with Lupus surviving.

Satan knows all of those negative things that I have fought against, and he knows how to use the past to put doubt in my mind.

Lupus may be the biggest fight in my life. Lupus carries a fear in itself, and I can’t get away from it.

We all have our own personal struggles, and we all have our own past situations that we struggle with. So, what do we do?

I literally have to run back and forth to Jesus daily, sometimes every hour. That’s my only relief. He is all I have.

 

Stuck in Brain Fog.

  • Living with brain fog.

     

    Brain fog is something that a lot of people with Lupus struggle with and we have to do the best we can to work through it. People that we deal with on a day to day basis don’t quite understand what this feels like. They mean well, when they complete our sentences, but that only rushes us to think what we are trying to say. We see the impatient look on their faces waiting for us to get the words out and it further complicates our thinking process. It kind of makes us not want to communicate at all sometimes. Because of the brain fog, putting a sentence together can be difficult. We frantically try to search for the one word that we have used a million times but we can’t think of it in mid-sentence. It’s like trying to reach something in the dark. For me personally, I have lost a lot of control over many things in my life because of Lupus, this brain fog is just another stumbling block. In many cases I can’t control my cognitive thinking.

    I have an impeccable long-term memory but my short-term memory has become severally hampered because of Lupus. I ask the same questions over and over again, not knowing I had already asked the same questions several times before. I can’t remember small things any more. Sometimes, I cannot even remember what day of the week it is, much less the year.

     Although I wouldn’t wish a chronic illness on anyone, I think my illness has given me a different perspective on some things in life. It’s made me appreciate the little things that I used to take for granted like getting up and going to work,driving and walking around the grocery store or even to the gym. I used to have the ability to work with my hands,the ability to get up and go whenever I pleased. However, because of Lupus, freedom to do as I please has been drastically reduced. I know that giving up is not an option for me, I have to continue to try and think things through regardless of the someone else’s lack of patience with me. I need to push through to remember things even if it takes me a little longer. I am an over-comer and I will fight this with all I have.