Fibronaut At Home

The Happiness Project

I have finally started reading “The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun” by Gretchen Rubin.  Julie Ryan of Counting My Spoons, suggested the book to me months ago and I’m so glad that she did.  I’m only half-way through, but I already love the book and I’m heading back towards the totally awesome me that I found in April.  I’ve been in a slump lately, which is the main reason why I haven’t posted here.  I didn’t want anyone to know that I was struggling, though my hubby and my Mom knew.  I’m ecstatic and relieved that I’m back.

The main goal that is sticking with me now and that could be life-altering for anyone, but especially for others like me with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is, “Act the way you want to feel.”  I was already trying to do this and seeing that it worked for someone else, really helped me.  I think I went into a slump because I was starting to wonder if what I was doing was really working.  Rubin had a similar experience.  Reading that made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my doubts and gave me tools for combating the negative thoughts causing those doubts.

Even though I was doing all the right things, doubts crept in and the old conflict of to-work-or-not-to-work started playing havoc with my mind.  If I don’t work, there isn’t any money for extras and if I do work, there isn’t any time for extras.  I want a part-time job so I can still pick up the kids from school and spend my evenings and weekends with them, but most places only have full-time available, or I just can’t imagine working there.  I talk myself out of jobs before I even apply for them.  I have finally come to the conclusion that, when it’s right, it’ll happen.  When I find my mind going to that black hole of never-ending worry and what-ifs, I sing to myself, “Que sera, sera.  Whatever will be will be.”  A little silly, but it works.

We’ve also had extra stress dealing with some school issues.  I’m not going to go into it.  I think we’re almost through it and I can look back and see that despite all the stress, some good things have come out of going through this.

I’ve gone back to keeping track of all I accomplish each day.  Even if no one else notices, it makes me happy to see all these tasks completed.  I have a spreadsheet I found in Microsoft Excel that’s meant for a chores list, but works perfectly for me.  Each week, I’ll start a new spreadsheet, so I can look back and see how much progress I’ve made.  There are some tasks that I do daily, some I do twice a week or more and some I only do once a week or once a month.  I don’t have to look to my hubby or my kids for validation that I’m reaching goals.  I’ve also added several items since I started.

I’m learning to find the positive in every situation, no matter how bleak.  I’m learning to be grateful for where I am, who I’m with and everything that I once took for granted in life.  Those are some pretty big statements, but I’m confident in them.

I’ll probably post again about this book because there is so much helpful advice in it.  I would recommend this book to anyone, whether you feel like you are happy and especially if you don’t.

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It’s Early

6:00 am early. This is the second day in a row my brain has woken to birds chirping and the sun lightening the sky and been unable to shut off the blog post in my head. I might as well go with it.

Hmmm….

I’m having trouble remembering what I was so fired up about. It had to do with mornings and staying positive and wanting to have a better quality of life. How about a pic of the baby birds while I think about it? They are really loud when they’re hungry, but otherwise, we don’t notice them.

 

Image

 

 

It worked!  I remembered one of the things I wanted to post about.  It was going to be it’s own post, though.  I guess I’ll have to hope my brilliance comes back to me so I can impress you all some other time.

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Staying in the Zone

I haven’t posted as much as I’ve wanted to over the last month.  I’ve been guilt tripping myself whenever I think about my blog, and that was not the purpose of my blog.  I’ve had to revisit why I decided to start a blog about my fibro and chronic fatigue.  As a result, I feel less stressed about whether I’m posting “enough” or not.  I’ve also made a goal to post more on my sewing blog, which is more a “Look what I can do” blog, than anything else.  I get so much happiness and fulfillment in cataloging my creative side.  For a while, I was considering dumping on or the other of my blogs, but I’ve since decided to create a balance between the two.  It’s kind of like feeling guilty for spending more time with one of my children.  If I give them equal time, everyone will be happy.

I’ve really been focusing on my posture and my breathing lately.  When I go to pick up my kids, I put my seat closer to the wheel and in a more upright position.  This helps my arms because I’m stretching them less and it makes me feel more alert and less like I’m so comfortable I just might nod off while driving.  If I find myself zoning out, I turn up the radio and force myself to check my mirrors.  I  check my posture and if I’m clenching the steering wheel or my teeth, I loosen my body and take some deep breaths.  If one of my legs or arms is hurting, I try to give that limb a break.  I keep them in position, in case I need to use them, but I relax them as much as possible.  A lot of my pain comes from clenching my muscles in response to my environment.

We have a new computer, which has it’s advantages over my old laptop.  My old laptop has charging problems and that created another level of stress.  It makes this horrible noise when the battery is running low, then we have to go through this ritual of unplugging the charging cord and manipulating it so that the laptop charges.  The new computer is set up at the kitchen table, which forces me to get off the couch and sit in a normal chair.  There is a lot of light in our kitchen and I get my daily dose of sunshine, which is so important.  I also practice good posture while browsing the internet and focus on keeping my shoulders lowered and my breathing even.  If I’m clenching my teeth, I open my mouth and wiggle my neck to relax those muscles.

I killed my third heating pad.  I’ve decided to give up on that.  A hot washcloth in a plastic bag, with a towel around it works just as well and there is no fire hazard there.  I’ve found a simple pattern for making a rice filled heating pad that you microwave for 10-15 seconds and I’ve decided I’m going to make a couple of those.

My Social Security hearing is next month.  STRESS!  I have done everything I can do to prepare for this event, so I’m doing my best to just let it go.  Helping my doctor fill out the questionnaire made me feel hopeful.  My attorney told me that the judge I have relies heavily on what my doctor says, and I’m confident that my doctor understands my condition and abilities and is able to convey the difficulties I face on a daily basis.  That is all that I wanted in a doctor.  Understanding.

I’ve really been working on being kinder to myself.  Today, for instance, has been challenging.  There is a storm front blowing through and I didn’t sleep well last night.  I’m on my second cup of coffee, which usually stresses me out.  I feel like, if I have to drink a second travel mug of coffee, I’ve somehow failed for the day.  I have acknowledged those feelings and then told myself, “who cares”.  And then I breathe and I’m good.  Accept it and move on.  I know from experience that on days like today, a shower and picking the kids up from school may be all I accomplish.  That is okay.  Actually, if you count sitting upright and typing this, I’ve accomplished more that I normally would on a bad day.

Off to the shower, then gentle thoughts, maybe a nap, and then picking up kids.  I can do this.

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Heart to Heart

At my doctor appointment today he asked me to keep a journal.  I told him how much I sucked at journal writing.  He said to focus on the painful things that have happened in my past that still affect me.  I have always hated writing in a journal because I feel like I am never honest with myself.  I will write something, read it and then edit it, worrying about someone else reading it.  I think I imagine that someday, after I’m dead, someone will find what I’ve written and judge me badly.  If I’m worm-food at that point, why do I care?  I usually end up destroying any of my writing I come across.  In middle school I got my first diary, had it broken into and read aloud by a sibling.  I destroyed it immediately after.  In high school I wrote notebooks full of poetry that I destroyed in college.  Surprisingly, this blog is as honest and open as I’ve ever been and it is on the internet forever.

I just had a heart to heart with someone who I care about and it made me realize something.  It is unfair of me to constantly edit myself, especially with those people I love and care about.  I expect honesty from my loved ones, but I hide part of myself from them, worried that they would judge me negatively.  My new mantra is “What other people think about me is none of my business” but I’m not really practicing that if I’m constantly smiling and nodding like some drone, afraid to show the real me.  If one person I love is speaking negatively about another person I love, why shouldn’t I be brave enough to stick my neck out there?  Were the situation involving someone I didn’t like speaking negatively about someone I love, I would have no qualms about sticking up for my loved one.

The epiphany I had today: There is nothing therapeutic about keeping a journal in which I am dishonest with myself.

What that means for my blog is that it is time to get serious.  I’ll still post goofy, fun, TMI-stuff from time to time too, but life can’t all be unicorns farting rainbows and butterflies belching glitter.  If this blog is going to be my journal and if I want to get anything worthwhile out of it, I’m going to have to go to some pretty uncomfortable places.  Good thing I have the internet, so no matter where I go, I’m never alone.

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