Monday, 6 January 2014

Here's to a happy 2014

So here we are in 2014. The last week of 2013 was an enjoyable one, despite the post exertion malaise from the increase in activity and being more social. Christmas Eve was wonderful and I managed to do exactly what I had planned. Then later in the week my cousins came round for dinner and we had a lovely evening chatting and laughing. I was even properly dressed, and my leggings weren't feelng like they were squashing my legs, so bonus. Then during the day on New Year's Eve some old friends visited, which was lovely. Although our biscuit rations were being monitored by a cheeky 3 year old. It was partly through this blog that we got more in touch actually, so there's yet another thing that this blog has brought about. Having increased my activity though I was inevitably much more tired and very achey. We watched Avengers Assemble the other night and I joked that I could be Iron Man, as I tried to get up the stairs with stiff muscles and joints.

And there lies my New Year's resolution of sorts. I spoke a bit about it in my post Goodbye 2013. I'm not usually one to make resolutions, but this year and for many years to come I want to try and be as positive as I can. I know that my situation brings about so many complications and stresses. From the simplest tasks like bathing and dressing to not being able to work or drive. Things that used to help me feel positive. However I intend to do what I can, when I can and to find moments of brightness everyday. I want to laugh everyday. Having a sense of humour, even in the face of all this pain is a great sign. I see it as an indication that I am coping. Even if I use myself as the butt of my own jokes, such as the Iron Man joke or when I have a wheelchair full of books and pretend I'm a mobile library. When you have suffered from severe depression I think that you can become hyper aware of not getting into that state again. So if I'm laughing often, despite how much pain I might be in, it's precious.

I think that with chronic illness you can also get too bogged down in the misery of it all, let's face it, it is afterall a scary and sometimes lonely place but somewhere in amongst that is that same person you were before everything was forced to change. The determined go-getters. The people that go out of their way to help others. The people that wanted to make fantastic memories. They're still there. I am still me. In actual fact I'm stronger for all that I've been through, all that I'm still going through. Yet I still strive to find the good in each day. To create new memories and to love the people around me that keep me strong.

One way that I'm recording all my happiest memories is by doing a memory jar. I know quite a few other spoonies that are doing the same too. A memory jar is a jar in which you place pieces of paper that you have written a good memory on. Be it something big like making a new friend or going somewhere, to smaller moments that have touched you. A record of a joke that someone told you or funny things your children say. Even tickets to films or shows you've been to see or a receipt from a nice restaurant. Anything that made you feel happy. Then on New Year's Eve or on a more regular basis if you prefer, look through all the memories and reflect on all the good things that have hppened. Chances are there will be more than you thought. Like what happened to me when I did my year in review. It's so easy to only remember the bad things. I think that this is such a perfect way to be reminded of all the things that you are grateful for, despite all the rubish you are experiencing. And a lovely way to end the year or month by reflecting on the joy that the year/ months has brought. Here is a link to an example memory jar

I've also seen a post on Twitter called #100happydays, where you can use Twitter, Facebook or instagram to post photos of something that made you happy each day. The challenge is to find something about each day that raises a smile, without faking it to show off (we all know the type) or cheating and seeing if you can do this for 100 consequitive days. Again, it's all about appreciating the smaller things in life. Their website 100happydays claims that " 71% of people tried to complete this challenge but failed quoting lack of time as the main reason. These people simply did not have time to be happy." I've mentioned a few times the impact that todays jam packed, fast paced society has on our health, but having no time to be happy, to be appreciative or just enjoy the moment, that's actually really sad. Even if you don't want to post a photo every day I still think it's a good challenge to set yourself.

When I was at M.E clinic they talked a lot about the benefits of trying to live in the moment. To only focus on what is happening there and then. I know it's easy to start thinking about the future, sometimes we need to, but it's easy to start catostrophizing. Especially when you have a chronic illness, you can get yourself worked up by thinking that you might be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life, or that you might not meet someone, or about not getting back into employment with it being such a competitive market. That's just a few of mine and I'm sure many others share the same worries. But I've learnt, and been told, that by making myself scared of these things is wasteful, because I can't know what will happen. Afterall a few years ago I would never have predicted I'd be needing a wheelchair to get around, unless I had an accident with a power tool or shifting steel deck. However by worrying about the future I'm just robbing that moment of some potential joy. Don't get me wrong, sometimes you will feel lousy and hopeless and scared, because having to put up with your body feeling like it's failing you day in, day out is one of the hardest things to face. So cry if you need to, get it out, don't let thoughts fester and take up more head space. The point is we can't control exactly how our future's will pan out. Neither can we travel backwards and change our pasts, so it's fruitless saying " if only I'd done this, then this wouldn't have happened." The only thing that we can control is the present, the moment, and if you can be happy in that moment then that's perfect. The only time that it's good to be in the 'elsewhen,' as it's known, is when you're daydreaming or using mindfullness. Imagining yourself on a desert island, or secret garden or bobbing along on a boat. Imagine it in detail and enjoy. Obviously choose your timing to do so carefully though.

Wow this post has been a bit like a Nicholas Sparks book/film. Hope it's not been to cheesey. So there you have my resolutions and affirmations and a relaxed (spa day helped) Sian, that's looking forward to filling my memory jar, and spending time with friends and family that want to see me happy and who still see me and not ME the illness. Okay, my body is in agony but it would be if I was happy or sad, so I choose happy.

Below I've included some inspirational quotes, for more visit the blof Facebook page

1 comment:

  1. I hope 2014 is a good year for you, I hope you can find some relief and even better improvements health wise. I remember seeing the memory jar thing last year but decided not to do one, but this year I will. All the best to you for this year and I look forward to another year of reading your blog!
    xxx Hayley