Journaling Your Way

female journaling-865110_1280I’ve never been consistent with journaling. Sometimes I’ve journaled for a couple of years straight; other times I’ve not journaled because I’ve been too busy or my life didn’t seem especially problematic. Lately I’ve seen a couple of journaling ideas that have me determined to start a new, daily writing habit.

Past times. . .

In the past, I journaled during times of particular stress, for example: when my marriage was troubled and when I had a very ill newborn. I continued to journal for a while after the divorce, but life took over and it went by the wayside. When my son, Andrew, was so ill, he and I had been sent over 2,000 miles from home for medical care. I was away from my husband and other three children for five months. While writing certainly helped pass the long hours at the hospital I also wanted to document our time spent apart. I filled two thick journals.

Gratitude 

For several years I’ve read about writing down at least one thing you’re grateful for each night before bed. As I consider myself a thankful person I never felt the need to journal my gratitude. I now wonder why I felt I had too much gratitude to bother. I’ve recently felt that I do need to connect with all that I am blessed with. On my worst days I especially need to write down some of what I am grateful for. Otherwise I would feel hopelessness.

New Ventures

I was recently gifted a free three-month gym membership. I’ll be working with a trainer who has a lot of experience working with people who have Fibromyalgia. Journaling will keep me accountable for going to the gym as well as giving me a way to keep track of my achievements and my difficulties.

I have also reduced the amount of Lyrica I take from three capsules per day(450 mg) to one capsule per day(150 mg). I need to document how the pain and brain injury are affected by this  reduction. Just so you know- today is a toss-up. I feel ever so crappy, but it is cold, rainy and windy. Could be the weather. Could be the reduction in medication.

Stress Journaling

Last week I read an article about “stress journaling.”  The idea is to write down what you are fearful of or what is stressing you out. According to the article, studies have shown that when people write down their fears and/or stressors  the fears don’t look so big and bad.

While I’m excited to start exercising, I am also fearful. Yet when I write down, “I am going to go to the gym to work with a trainer who has lots of experience working with Fibromyalgia” it doesn’t feel so scary.  My mind settles down and I think, “The trainer knows a lot about Fibro, he’s not going to push me too much, he’ll understand when I can’t do something and he’ll understand why I sometimes must stay home.” I’m still a bit nervous, but my mind is no longer a swirl of fretfulness. As the brain injury causes me to have anxiety, this could be a very useful tool for me.

Give It a Try

I do not feel that a journal should be a taskmaster. You can write at the same time each day or you can just jot a few things down when they come to you. You could use it for documenting symptoms, writing down your blessings or saving you sanity. Whatever you want. Don’t feel you have to go out and buy a fancy journal either. I have journaled on notebook paper and spiral binders as much as in books designated as “journals.” I’ve even made my own books(fun!). For that matter, you can journal on your computer.

I’ve decided to use one book to keep track of everything-my health, exercise, gratitude, etc. I’m not sure which type of book I’ll get, but I hear there are some cool new journals that include pictures to color. Sounds good to me! (Refer to Have You Discovered. . ?)

Deb

 

So Far. . .

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This quote is from actor/director Leah Remini.

I love this quote! It is so encouraging. It allows us to turn our truth around and look at it from a new direction.

Excuses, Excuses

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After a month of being MIA, I’m back! I’m sorry to have abandoned you all, but I have some good excuses!

First, I started to do some research on how to improve Peering Through the Fog. I was just starting to read and study this research when my cat, Gracie, became very ill.She was vomiting A LOT and I went around behind her cleaning up vomit A LOT.

I took Gracie to the vet and he thought she had kidney disease, especially since she is 15 years old. He put her on Pepcid(Yes, people Pepcid!) and did some lab work. She absolutely got better on the Pepcid and her lab-work came back really good. I have been so relieved that Gracie is well and equally relieved not to be stooped over cleaning up barf anymore!

Meanwhile all the bending and scrubbing and worrying caused both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue to flare something fierce. I’ve had crippling pain; it even hurts to move my eyes.Sometimes I just want to sit and cry.

However, I’ve still tried to occupy my mind as that is the only way I get a little relief from the pain and fatigue. I’ve been coloring, went back to reading and studying my blog research and even took  an online class.

As you can see, I’ve also updated Peering Through the Fog with a new design that I know will allow you to move around the site and easily find what you’re looking for. I will soon be on Pinterest so will be letting you know when that is up and running.

Even in the midst of one of my worst flares, I’m so excited to be stretching my mind and starting new ventures. I wish you all a little excitement in your lives; excitement somehow keeps me in charge of my life and wins a couple of battles in the war against chronic illness and pain.

Deb

Brain Fog Ahoy!

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This week I let myself get too tired and too anxious and now I am a blob of brain fog sitting in a chair.

One night I went with a friend to have dinner and shopping for another friend’s birthday. I got home at 11 pm and by the time I got wound down it was a midnight bedtime. The next night I got carried away and colored until 1 am.

Next came the birthday party and it was 11:30 pm before I got home. However, at the party we briefly discussed the bedbug problem we have here at out apartment complex. I got so wound up about the bedbugs that I never went to bed that night. I spent hours on my computer looking up ways to avoid getting bedbugs and then ways to get rid of them. All night I had that anxious feeling at the base of my throat and in my stomach.

Now I’ve got the worst case of brain fog I’ve had since immediately after I suffered the brain injury. The night before last I slept 10 hours after being up for 36 hours straight. Last night I slept 12 1/2 hours. A half hour after I got up this afternoon a friend came by for coffee and laughed about my not knowing what time it was. I had no idea that the clocks were supposed to be moved forward for daylight savings. So while I am a bit rested I am feeling very, very foggy.

Getting to go out to eat and shopping was definitely worth it. Coloring until 1 am was probably not a good thing. Of course my friend’s birthday party was worth it. But getting so worked up over bedbugs was ridiculous!  Even though the woman who lives directly above me has had problems with them since shortly after I moved in eight months ago, I haven’t gotten them. I take recommended precautions and that’s all I can do. Worrying and getting major anxiety will not prevent bedbugs.

I messed up but must move on. Usually when I am confronted by something that could cause me worry, I try to think about what I could do to solve the “problem.” I then take appropriate action or, if there is no action to be taken, I try to let it go. I’ve gotten better and better at letting things go, but obviously I’m not perfect at it. I’m now paying the price with brain fog that will not go away until it’s ready to.

We all deal with worries and we all have different ways of dealing with those worries. The point of this post is to acknowledge how important it is that we don’t allow these concerns to affect our health. Facing them head-on reduces brain fog, fatigue and even pain. It takes a lot of practice and we’ll never be perfect at it, but we can reduce the stress that adversely affects out health.

How do you handle “worries?” I’d love to have feedback from all of you!

Deb

P.S. There is an epidemic of bedbugs across the US and Europe. They are not caused by dirty homes. In my case, I live in a large, clean apartment building. One tenant got bedbugs and then they spread. People who travel are also at risk of getting them, but there are precautions they can take to lower that risk.