Wednesday, 29 December 2010

New Year, New Start

So, Christmas is over for another year and now we head full on into a new year. I have been reflecting on what I have achieved, despite the odds, this year. It may not seem like much, but I never imagined that I would accomplish some of the things I have in the last twelve months. I wish for you to reflect on your year. You may feel at this point in time you haven’t achieved anything but when you look closely you may find you have done a lot more than you thought.
This year started off miserably for me. Adjusting to life back at home with my family and feeling I had lost my independence, coming to terms with a relationship breakdown, feeling lost and isolated and most of all in complete and utter pain all the time. I spent the first six months trying to build my strength up, receiving knocks and getting back up again. But I fought hard and finally realised I needed to beat this disease. My family and friends have given me the upmost support and I couldn’t have possibly got through those dark times without them.
My admission to hospital in June gave me a new lease of life. I was determined that after things were so bad for so long, they could only get better. And they did. I went on to regain my confidence, resolve the problems in my relationship and settle in at home with my family being a massive help with my condition. I am still battling, but I am pleased at what I have achieved in my campaign to create awareness. With a TV appearance, several press interviews and a magazine article written about me under my belt I couldn’t be happier that I have reached so many people with a story of hope.
The New Year is welcomed with open arms. There are so many things that I know I can achieve now, with a little help. I intend to go back into work this year, even if it’s just part time. I intend to raise lots of money for charity with my fundraiser in February and I intend to be happy and healthy for the duration of 2011... Just try and stop me.
Even though Christmas has taken its toll on me and I am suffering with aches and pains right now (and exhausted from all the festivities!) I had a wonderful time and look forward to what the next year will bring. I am in a good place right now, full of hope and determination (which isn’t a bad place to be). I never thought I’d feel like myself again, but now I feel like a better version of me. I am so thankful for everyone’s support its hard not to feel a bit teary and overwhelmed as a tough year comes to an end.
The New Year brings promises of resolutions, I have a few myself. The main one for me is completely giving up my disgusting habit of smoking. I have tried and failed before but realise its importance to my health now and I don’t want to risk doing anything that isn’t beneficial. I know it’s an utterly stupid thing to be doing even for a person of good health but in the past I have felt hard done by. I mean, I can’t drink (much anyway), I can’t stay out all night and dance till dawn (id give it a go though) so I’ve often thought why should I give up the one thing I enjoy? But it doesn’t make me feel good so cigarettes will no longer be part of my life as of January 1st. I also aim to do more exercise (our new wii fit will come in handy for this) and eat healthily (blah, blah)... I am sure everyone’s resolutions are pretty much the same but for me, living a healthier lifestyle is more important than ever to stay well. I do not want to spend any more days than I need to in agony because of poor diet and lack of exercise.
So this is me, signing off for the year (I'll be back very soon) and wishing you a very, very happy new year. I hope you can hope to achieve everything you want in 2011. Cheers!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

With Christmas Day fast approaching it’s easy to forget those who are suffering at this time of year. Through the dark days of pain and sickness it’s hard to get into the spirit in a world where pretty much everyone is joyful. I dread feeling ill on Christmas Day but intend to make the most of the time with my family and friends over the Christmas period. The thing is, many of us focus so much on our own pain that we fail to remember there are always people worse off.
The majority of us RA sufferers have a roof over our heads, food to eat and family to look after us. Many people don’t have those luxuries and at this time of year if you are feeling down, it is magnified. Just remember it is only one day. A day that is like any other with the addition of presents and food. What is important is that you spend it with people you love and who love you. If you can’t look forward to feeling well on the day, focus on how happy your family and friends are. Focus on your children’s faces as they open presents. Focus on the cosy comfort of your home. Focus on being allowed to consume ridiculous amounts of food. Other people’s happiness brings me happiness.
I watched as total strangers helped each other dig cars out of the snow yesterday and it made me feel good. You see, there are always people that can help. If you are feeling alone, call someone, even if it is a stranger on a helpline. Sharing your discomfort will only give you a sense of release which may change your perspective.
If like me your treatment has not yet got your condition fully under control maybe it’s better to focus on the fact that this time next year things may be a hell of a lot better. That should bring you some hope. Let’s face it; almost all of us have had at least one crappy Christmas that we would like to forget (for whatever reason).
My family awakes incredibly early on Christmas Day, which suits me fine as I am always up at the crack of dawn. We prepare the living room by putting on the tree lights, sticking on the Christmas CD and make tea and coffee for the grand opening of the presents. Little traditions like this make me smile and each family has their own. What is making Christmas extra special this year is that the whole family are coming to our house. This means there will be odd chairs round the table, none of the plates will match and we will squeeze into a rather small dining room but that is what makes the day so special, because it doesn’t matter as long as you are all together and you have someone to share it with.
I hope that this Christmas brings you happiness and you have at least one day without suffering. I hope you are able to share it with those closest to you. I hope that you will ask for help if you need it.
A very merry Christmas to all my readers. May you have the pain free day we all hope for.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

So Very Restless

I am feeling horribly frustrated today. I am not even sure why, I just have that horrible restless feeling where you need to do something but you can’t think of what to do. The thing is, I am in pain and extremely tired so I can’t even do anything anyway. I guess I am just bored, waiting for something to happen. The snow has fallen in its bucket loads over the past two days leaving my car stuck in a white tomb. It requires far too much effort to dig it out and the roads are too dangerous to drive on anyway. The temperature is freezing so it means walking is out of the question too.
So far, I have had a pretty good weekend. I shared a night in with the boy, ate some good food, did some Christmas shopping in the snow (all very festive) and now I have come to a grinding halt. I guess I am not used to doing too much so when I get to do things I get myself on a roll and want to do as much as possible. What is there to do really when you have exhausted all of your tasks?
I have been concentrating on looking forward to the Christmas festivities; I have even devised a quiz for the family on Christmas Day to keep me entertained. I suppose if you are a working person you don’t have much free time to squeeze everything into. However, when you can’t work (like me), all your time is free and you have to space things out so you don’t get horribly bored. I simply cannot wait until I am able to return to some form of work. Keeping busy keeps my mind off things. It makes me feel valued and satisfied. I think I have pestered charities enough for volunteer work this week.
The good news to report is that I have had some very positive feedback from a publisher regarding the book I have written, so if they do decide to publish it (fingers and toes awkwardly crossed) I will have something else to do with all this free time. I do enjoy the odd ‘sitting around’ hour or two but after nearly a year and a half, I have come to the end of my tether. I think I will go find some loose buttons to sew on or some family and friends to annoy with my moaning. Oh and by the way (in case you had forgotten) it’s Christmas in six days! (Id very much like to use my free time to open presents...)

Monday, 13 December 2010

In The Bleak Mid Winter

This time last year I had a very bleak outlook on the future. It seemed like Christmas was happening to everyone else but me. The trees and lights went up, presents wrapped and mince pies gobbled down but in my own little world, it was just a cold, lonely winter. For the sake of my family I tried to snap out of the misery I was being gripped by, but it’s hard to keep up appearances when all you wish to do is curl up and cry. The pain was horrendous and as a consequence I was under a fog of tablets to try and stop the suffering.
I watched on as my family gathered around the table for their turkey and Christmas pudding and it all seemed like a blur, like I wasn’t a part of the festivities or even in the room. It’s such a shame that I couldn’t enjoy that time; if I could go back I would make more of an effort. Christmas is such a happy time in my family and my misery must have been hanging over them like a dark cloud. Everything just seemed so insignificant to my suffering that I didn’t consider how unhappy it made my family to see such a spiral of depression in me. The truth is if I had actually tried to enjoy myself then I probably would have felt better. There were a lot of things on my mind at the time to compliment the suffering I was in physically, my relationship had broken down, I had no job and recently left the world where I worked and lived independently to return to my parents care. I honestly thought things would never get better.
I write this in hope that those of you who are in that state of suffering this year will find some comfort in knowing how much has changed for the better for me in the last twelve months. Back then I wouldn’t have dreamed of accomplishing the things I have this year. I thought my life was my bed, where I spent all of my time dwelling on all the things I was missing out on. I didn’t attempt to do any of the things I may have enjoyed. I have learnt that doing something you enjoy is worth a few days of pain or discomfort if it gets you out of that spiralling self pity. No one can tell you what to do; you have to decide this for yourself. Friends and relatives tried to snap me out of my despair many times last Christmas but I only emerged from the grip of sadness when I was ready to move on.
You never know what may come your way by next Christmas so enjoy this one right here, right now, to the best of your ability. This year, I will be doing all the things I should have done last year; being sociable with friends, enjoying dinner with my wonderful family, sharing a kiss under the mistletoe with the boy, but most of all, I will be smiling.