Mindful Self Care & Kicking Ass

IMG_1049I’ll start with the personal side of this hopefully helpful article. The past week has been filled with me coming to terms with the fact that I am officially disabled. Not by new symptoms, but of the old which I was gritting my teeth through. It was a team decision that I could not continue the way I had been. I vote for and against this decision to stay on disability every other minute. The depression, anxiety, and the guilt are overwhelming to say the least.

It got more and more difficult to make the important phone calls. I’d become a slug on doing all the stuff to defend me and have good care. It was time for me to give myself a mindful kick in the ass. My key ways of getting out of the hole:

I had a mindful pity party

Pity parties tend to get dismissed as inappropriate and unncessary whining. However, done right they can really help with getting to the bottom of things. My mindfulness and being in the moment clearly was not enough, nor appropriate, anymore. I had to let the deluge of darkness in and make decisions about it. This really sucked.

Though I continued to practice Mindfulness in a way that allowed me to fully experience these terrible moments. If I know them in totality I can gain from them. Rather than letting them turn into self loathing. I had to give myself permission to cry, but also use my pity party to process. While I was wallowing I was also learning a lot about me. It was not all pleasant stuff, and there was a lot of conflict within me.

I let myself feel and experience all of it, which was difficult. It was a painful and searing form of mindfulness. Identifying my health limitations, being in touch with my symptoms, recognizing my current situation, and identifying where I fall short as a human being.

The core of Mindfulness is experiencing the moment, allowing it to breathe, and accept it. Sometimes the moment downright sucks, though maintaining awareness allows us to learn from it. I allowed my wallowing to sit and become a source of insight.

Self care before battles

I had the mental list of all the calls that needed to be made, between doctors offices, and the insurance . . . it was well over a dozen. I prioritized them and set a goal of the next few days.

I then made myself a nice cup of coffee, took a nice shower, chilled out with a good Netflix documentary. I wanted to be in a good place with all these calls and appointments.

I spent quality time with my partner, discussed my ongoing dissonance that I should have been back to work yesterday. I was forced to give some honesty about how I was actually feeling. Physically I’ve been feeling like poop. Saying so was hard, knowing I’d been living this way and knew I could plough ahead but shouldn’t was much harder.

I wore my comfiest clothes, got out my nicest smelling lotion, that amazing cake batter lip balm, sought out hugs and good food. I also stayed on top of my meds for symptom management. Being comfortable and centered goes a long way towards sanely taking care of business.

All the while I was bringing myself back into the moment, and assessing what I needed to be more comfortable there.

Kicking Ass

I always prioritize the things I need to do. Today number one was to call the Rheumatologist. It is easier to focus on one call than a dozen, one call can fit into a moment. I was still anxious and admittedly put it off for an hour. Though once the call was made I felt good, and I was on a roll. I had 10-12 calls to make in the next few days, and set a goal of making half of them or less.

By the early afternoon I hit that goal initially feeling good, though then needed a much needed break to recenter. That’s when I had the good food, and good hugs. Then the tea.

I figured I’d try one more, a few hours later I had them all done.

When needed to attend to the administrative side of chronic illness it is pretty much the mantra of Mindfulness: so much of what leads to feeling overwhelmed is fear of what has happened in the past and what may happen in the future.

However, if any of those things occur in the moment we are more equipped to handle them than if we’re focused on everything else. The moment before dialing the number is always worse than when someone is actually on the line.

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