Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Good Versus the Bad: Make Sure YOU Win (Part 1)

Every day when I get up, my body likes to give a lot of reasons not to. So many reasons to slip back into those covers and hide.

It's more than the crippling abdominal pain that feels like a ninja star got lodged in my gut and is too tangled to be removed. I'm tired. I'm sore. My legs feel heavy. My head hurts from lack of sleep. The sleep I could not get because I hurt. The nausea, the dizziness, the paaaaaiiiiiin. And aside from physical issues, I am stressed because I feel overwhelmed by my challenges. I agonize over every day things because I have an overtaxed tolerance for anxiety. I am sad every time I want to do something that 'former me' could do but 'current me' struggles with. I am frustrated that every day I have to look at my calendar and see if my body will let me accomplish what I want to.

With these 'negative' things hurled at me from the moment I open my eyes, it could be easy for me to wonder what the point to getting up is and just curl under those blankets. Which is why, everyday, I appoint myself as a 'personal cheerleader' and cheer the holy melted cheesy gravy out of myself (is this a good enough expression?). When life isn't going your way, there is more than enough negativity filling it. It makes sense to throw in as much positivity into it as possible. No matter how cheesy or fake it might feel at times.

I know we hear this all the time. "The Power of Self-Affirmations!", "Fake it Till You Make it", and "Don't Worry, Be Happy". Maybe we hear it so much that it sounds too silly or easy to be true. Like some bizarre rumor you hear in middle school; like how folding paper can somehow tell you who you are meant to marry (who else remembers the paper fortune tellers?). But this is different.

You don't have to tell yourself something fake. You just remind yourself of everything good in your life. Every day. Because when you are sick, every day you are reminded about the negative. So fight back.

When I get up, I tell myself that I have a great job. I tell myself that I am lucky to have a mind that lets me study and pursue what I want. I tell myself I'm pretty. I strip down in front of the mirror and try to find anything about myself I can complement (even if sometimes it's only half true!). I do any exercise I can and then tell myself how great a job I did. When I learn something new, I let myself feel clever about it. Anything and everything I can find with a silver lining, I magnify it and give it the attention it needs and deserves.

No one wants to stay curled up in bed. Or trapped in a head full of negative thoughts. Or trapped in a negative life. They do not choose to feel bad or frustrated or defeated. The little and large negative things pile up and bury you without you even realizing it. I've found that the way to keep from drowning and keeping the pile at bay is to build up my wall of good things. Little by little.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Question Everything

I've always been one to advise people to question and challenge what they get from doctors or any other professionals. Not because they're more qualified than their doctors, but simply because it is part of taking charge of your life and taking responsibility for what happens in it. After all, regardless of how caring and empathetic of a doctor you have, you ultimately have more invested in your life and well being than he/she ever will.

So I cannot really excuse or explain what happened to me recently.

I thought I researched and explored all the positives/negatives of my medications I am on. I thought I had challenged, I thought I had taken control, when really, I was on something I never should have been. I found myself suffering and I felt like I had failed myself and my mantra.

To summarize the situation, I was diagnosed with neurological damage in my abdomen and I had been trying various medications to control the pain caused by misfiring neurons. A lot of these medications made me very sleepy and dopey and I personally hated them. Every time I tried one, I was focused on researching what the possible 'uncomfortable' outcomes could be. Maybe because I was distracted, I missed a much more significant complication. The complication of a chemically induced depression.

Here I was, merely trying to stop my confused gut from telling me it was in constant pain, and suddenly I found myself severely depressed and not sure why. Yes, honestly, my life is not what I imagined it would be at 24 (no one wishes for chronic pain and illness when they 'grow up'), but I had been dealing with it fairly well. Why would I suddenly feel so awful about everything? It took some digging, but I figured out that it was caused by the pills and set about my process of ditching them.

When I stepped back and looked at the situation, it hit me how really terrifying medications can be. They change your body. Your chemistry. Your thoughts. Yet so many people pop them in with less consideration than what they will eat for breakfast that morning. And, even if they do inspect the possible outcomes for such powerful pills, they can still be surprised by unexpected and uncommon damages.

I have successfully removed the nerve blockers that affected me so poorly, but the problem with mood disorders is that once the chemical imbalance is created, it is difficult to reverse it. While I am not crushed under the weight of the dulling effects those medications created, I feel a bit better but not normal. I am going to have to word hard on myself before I can return to the same balanced self I was before. Like a building after a hurricane, the winds are gone but I still have damage to repair.

Repairs are ongoing and difficult, but I am optimistic I will return to my former balance again. I have the motivation and means and I refuse to let medications determine who and how I want to be. My only grudge is that I wish it was easier! Though I suppose the lesson would not stick so strongly if it were.

Please learn from my mistake. Investigate advice and prescriptions given to you with a high degree of skepticism. Do not fall into traps of certain biases; do not let your expectations shape your searches. Be strong, independent, and intelligent when you look at a treatment and think, "Is this really right for *me*?" Whether it is a doctor, lawyer, friend, family, or your dog (okay, not your dog), let yourself and your investigations determine what advice you follow. Because it is for you. 

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About The BedRiddenHead

I want to be happy. And this site is about that chance. How to strive to thrive in the body I've got and maybe turn my experiences into something worthwhile.

This site aims to help educate and reach out to people all over that struggle with pain or illness. To try and make something helpful. I work as a medical research writer, my background is in neuropsychology and biology, and I want to share what I learn in a way that is easy to understand. I am not a doctor. I'm definitely not your doctor. I am just some lady who wants to make someone's (anyone's) life a little bit better. Whether you have endometriosis, a chronic injury, a struggling friend, or just want to learn something new, I hope to make a place that has what you are looking for.

Thank you for stopping by, I wish you strength in your health, struggles, and happiness.