#EDSBlogChallenge (Part 2)

Chronic Illnesses, Invisible illnesses, Uncategorized

Hi Guys,

If you are just tuning in and missed my initial post or want to get involved in the challenge you can still find the questions on my first  #EDSBlogChallenge post.


  1. What are your top 5 coping tips?
  • Stay hydrated with water
  • Eat small but frequent meals
  • Take naps or rest when possible
  • Be honest with other people about your limits
  • Use natural remedies like lavender and mint to help with physical pain

  1. What are your top 5 goals you want to accomplish despite your chronic illness(es)?
  • Complete my placement year in Marketing
  • Finish my degree with a 2:1 minimum
  • Travel to two countries in the next two years
  • Keep blogging as a hobby
  • Spend more time with my friends and boyfriend making special memories

  1. How do you stay motivated in your daily life?
  • I try to keep my mind occupied on University work
  • Reading books when I can focus
  • Writing whilst watching films or listening to music
  • Giving my pet rabbit and my boyfriend’s dog cuddles
  • Talking to friends and using Facebook support groups for Ehlers-Danlos
  • Asking support from people when I am having bad flares

  1. What do you want people to know the most about your life with EDS?
  • It isn’t just a joint problem that makes me look young, it is a joint problem that affects my daily life in most things I do.
  • The chronic fatigue part of it is insane and pain in one area may be different and a different severity to another part another day.

  1. When did you first start thing that the dislocations/subluxation extreme flexibility etc. could be related to a real problem?
  • Around 22-23 years old when I stopped working as a Waitress I noticed the pain heightened considerably and I became very weak.

  1. Did your related diagnoses come before or after your EDS diagnosis?
  • Photosensitivity, IBS, nut, gluten and lactose allergies, oral food syndrome and a vitamin D insufficiency came before and chronic bladder syndrome, an increase in mast cells came after.
  • My pots test came back inconclusive and I am waiting to be tested for MCAD, Chrones and celiac disease

  1. What is your biggest pet peeve about trying to explain EDS?
  • Many people think I am lucky when I explain that I am hyper-mobile and switch off when I try to explain it is much more than that.

  1. How has being sick impacted your relationships?
  • Some relationships have become stronger and some weaker. I am shyer to make new friends and talk to new people as I am worried I won’t be able to sustain new friendships.
  • I have found a boyfriend who accepts me for who I am and understands I can’t do everything and I have become closer with my family.

  1. What was your initial thoughts about being diagnosed?
  • I was such a mix bag of emotions!
  • I was happy to find out I had EDS but I thought that was the end of it. I realised it was just the start of a long journey to find out what else was lurking behind the wood works having very big digestive and bladder problems.
  • However, I am happy the doctors are more willing to find out what is wrong and try to make me feel better

  1. What healthy habits have you adopted since being diagnosed?
  • To be honest this is still a massive work in progress. I still smoke and drink alcohol but I have cut down considerably (more on the alcohol part).
  • Any form of exercise hurts and tires me out massively but I am going to try and start a full-time job for a placement in July
  • I am eating healthier eating more fruit and vegetables and making sure get lots of rest.

  1. How do you feel about your current treatment plan?
  • My current treatment plan isn’t very good as I am back taking Tramadol and a few other tablets and strong vitamins.
  • I was meant to do the 3 week intensive therapy course at RNOH but I currently am struggling to stay up 9-5 to do this.
  • I am also waiting for planning instillations and I am having an Endoscopy soon. I feel once I see a mast cell specialist the EDS will get better if I can block out some flares.

  1. What do you think is the most misunderstood aspect of EDS?
  • That it is even an illness(to those who don’t know what EDS initially is)
  • for those who do I find they think all the types are the same and even people with the same types have the same issues

  1. What are your top things to pass time when you’re stuck in bed?
  • Eat and sleep!
  • Watch Netflix
  • Text or speak to friends on the phone
  • Blog or do Uni work
  • Smother (I mean cuddle) my boyfriend

  1. What is your favourite motivational quote and why?
  • It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t not stop.
  • I love this quote because it shows that resistance is key and no matter how long something takes if your determined you will get there in the end

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Have your Say 

Do you have EDS or know anyone with it with similar or different experiences – then why not comment below?


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Lots of Love,

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5 Ways to have a Productive Day with a Chronic Illness

Chronic Illnesses, Invisble Illnesses, Mental Illnesses, Physical Illnesses, University life

“Having a productive day is very subjective; what is productive for one person is not for another”.

Some days, I find waking up, washing and eating productive. Others assess,  I am being productive when I  do University work.  What I have noticed though – is we all have tasks that need to be completed and this can send us into panic mode. The vicious cycle, of where to start and where to finish has a ripple effect – like a child who got denied candy at the fun fair.

 If you are someone sat there reading this with a chronic illness, I am sure you have an inkling of the cycle I am talking about. If you don’t well… I sit here, in envy.   What I am going to call the ‘ torrential storm cycle’ makes you question which direction to go in first.   Anxiety and stress are no strangers, crawling around your body, taking its toll , physically and mentally.  This post is designed to stop you in your tracks, so you aren’t continuously interrogating yourself about ability and self-worth.

“I spend 90% of my time in bed, but a chronic illness does not mean accomplishing your goals are not possible”.

Achieving those goals may just take comprise, planning and longer than you anticipated.


5 Ways to have a Productive Day with a Chronic Illness

1. Evaluate tasks ft. the spoon theory

If you haven’t heard of Christine Miserandino’s Spoon theory , it is a great place to start to help you have a productive day.  The theory in a nutshell, is that anyone who is chronically ill has 12 spoons each day (each one resembling energy) and spoons are exchanged for tasks.  The amount of spoons exchanged will depend on factors such as the length of the task and how strenuous. The point here, is spoon must be used wisely so you don’t burn out. By ordering tasks by importance you can identify what needs to be done on what day and start to put a plan in motion.

spoon-theory-e1510325926400.jpg

 In reality, you may find executing a plan is not always possible. However, the spoon theory gives you a general consensus of how much you can get done in a day.

You may find – once you start having a productive day you are at the opposite end of the spectrum. At Uni, I get told a theory is just that a theory. I am taught to challenge theorists view. So it may not be a surprise to hear I wasn’t a firm believer of the Spoon theory at first.  I was so productive one day I felt on top of the world. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had completed an exam, handed in an assignment, found a job, booked a flight, travelled home from Uni and packed for a holiday and cuddled my little bunny.

Shortly, after this semester came to a close – I realised I used the reserve of spoons for months. I had to fly home 3 weeks early from working abroad, quit the job I found and was  behind in every subject at Uni. Barely, attending lectures and hospital appointments.  What I am trying to emphasise, is pushing yourself one day really can have a detrimental effect on your health.

“You need to work out what is realistic to get done in a day for YOU”.

 Which takes me to by next point…


 2. Break down tasks

 Breaking down tasks makes things more manageable.  Something,  I am training myself in like a disobedient dog. I am one of those people who seeks to think holistically to even do a task.  However, breaking down tasks can relieve stress, because you know you are achieving something – which has got to be better than nothing, right?

goal

I have found people have been more understanding about my illness when they can see that I am trying rather than wallowing in self-pity.  The amount you need to break-down a task will depend on its complexity. It may be a case of trial and error, but you know your body better than anyone in time you will have this down to a tee.

 If it’s something academic, you could try and break things down with titles and research areas and tie the ideas together later.  You may not get the best grades you are used to due to time constraints.  However, at least you will pass and can try and work harder when you are feeling a bit brighter on future work. If the task is practical, like cooking, you could do prep at a certain time and then cook later in the day.  Or if you’re a little bit cheeky – ask someone to help you to make the task manageable.


3. Follow your Body Clock

Most people would say, sort out your body clock first and foremost. It may work, but it is something I have been trying to do for over 10 years. My body just likes to be up during the night. The fatigue and pain is more manageable after I have digested by one meal per day.

“To have a productive day you must follow your natural body clock”.

You don’t want to set yourself up for failure by taking a U-turn and trying to achieve tasks when your energy levels and pain threshold is low.

body clock

“Remember you can always move tasks to another day as long as you’re motivated to accomplish them”.


4. Relax… just not too much

Whether you have a chronic illness or not, everyone should take time to wind down.  If you’re fortunate enough TAKE a bath, or go and visit someone who does! Watch a comedy, listen to music or sit in silence, do what works for YOU. I am not saying you are not going to wake up still feeling fatigued because you probably will BUT subconsciously your body and mind is still getting a valuable break and you get a hint of happiness.  I find relaxing whilst doing a task slowly usually gives me the right balance. However, this may not work for everyone.

“Just remember, don’t relax too much or you won’t get anything done”.

bath.jpg


5. Relieve stress with a pet

Patting pets are proven to having a calming effect on humans (Rodriguez, 2012), which may help you to think more clearly and be more productive! It is ideal if you own a pet and go and give them love when you are stressed and they are in a good mood. If your pet is moody, trust me try hugging your friends’ pet or the other four tips AND come back to this one later.  When my pets are hungry they treats me like food and it makes me feel rejected and has the opposite effect.  If you cannot keep an animal, I suggest you look out for the nearest dog on your walks or go visit an animal shelter. That way you can have your rare day out, killing two birds with one stone.

 


Thanks for visiting Brains & Bodies. I hope I have shed some positive vibes on how to have a productive day.


Sharing is Caring 

I would love if you shared this post to help others with chronic illnesses have a productive day – everyone deserves one! For some reason all my shares reset back 27 from 84 , but please keep sharing. 🙂


Have your Say

Do you have any tips how to have a productive day? – I would love to hear them below.


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Over and out,

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References 

Rodriguez, T. (2017). Pets Help Us Achieve Goals and Reduce Stress.

Spoon theory (2017). The Spoon Theory written by and spoken by Christine Miserandino. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn5IBsm49Rk [Accessed 10 Nov. 2017].