Fibro Fantastic is one of the UK's leading resources for Fibromyalgia sufferers; offering support, advice and information, all compiled by a qualified Health & Wellness Coach who has been living with Fibromyalgia for almost 30 years.
Fate whispers to the warrior, “you cannot withstand the storm.” And the warrior whispers back “I am the storm.” ~ unknown
I love this “warrior” quote and have referred back to it many times throughout my battles with chronic pain. It is the defiance of answering fate back that most appeals to me. The thought that OK, I have my lot in life but I don’t have to like it or accept it.
So often now, we see titles such as Chronic Pain warrior, Fibromyalgia warrior, Chronic Illness warrior, Spoonie warrior. They are everywhere, often preceded by the # on social media. But what does it really mean to be tagged warrior? Do you have what it takes to even be a warrior?
The definition of warrior is “one who is engaged in or experienced in battle.” Other meanings include “one who is engaged in conflict or struggle.”
“A person who has shown great vigour, courage or aggressiveness.”
For me personally, I often shy away from using the word suffer when referring to my chronic pain journey. I prefer the word battle. My head tells me that this word sends out the message to the universe that I am fighting. Suffering I might be but battling is how I want to be perceived. There are many times when I don’t feel much like a warrior but no matter what life throws at me, I somehow tell myself the fight must go on. The alternatives are too hard to contemplate, so resolutely I “soldier” on determined not to let pain and fatigue get the better of me.
Now, I absolutely know that I am not unique, nor am I some kind of hero. I am just another warrior who has no alternatives than to fight on. I know that for you reading this, you too are a warrior and committed to the battle. How do I know? Because if you were not a warrior, you definitely would not be on a website that looks to support a healthy, positive life with chronic pain. You certainly wouldn’t be looking to empower yourself and search for answers if you were not determined and unwavering in your quest for better health.
We fight for our health everyday in ways that most people don’t understand.
For those of us battling chronic pain, its the little things that most people take for granted that makes us strong. The effort to get moving. To get out of bed in the morning, even when it would be easier to stay there. Our determination to keep going when our whole body is crying out enough. The smiles we paint onto our faces which mask the tears of pain and frustration.
Our abilities to resist the temptation to punch the doctor. You know the one, who tells us that we need to pull ourselves together and snap out of it. It’s the way that we hide our disappointment and sadness when friends and loved ones give us a wide berth for saying “no” one too many times. The relentless march to look normal when we are feeling anything but. It’s the keeping, keeping on when we are so exhausted we just want it all to stop.
The days when the last thing we want to do is be the victim, but our pain and fatigue overwhelms us anyway.
For all of these reasons and for many more, we ARE warriors. It is not some tag or label, it is truly our reality. Every day we go to war, engage in battle just to get through the day. We fight with everything we have, just for some normality. We stand strong in our unwavering support and acknowledgment of our fellow warriors. Knowing that nobody understands and lifts them up like another warrior. We are constantly on a quest for the smallest victories – holding down a job, attending a family wedding, a walk in the park or just getting dressed.
To every warrior out there battling their chronic pain and fatigue, I salute you. I stand alongside of you in your battle for health, wellness and some sense of normality. Check out how I can support you by clicking this link.
For my birthday earlier this year, my husband bought me the CD from the Greatest Showman. He wanted me to hear the words from the song “This is me.” Today, I dedicate those words to you.
I opted to share this emotionally charged clip as opposed to the one from the actual show. She is scared but she did it anyway!! Enjoy her triumph and if you love the video as much as I do, drop a comment in the box below and let me know.
“We are Warriors, yeah, that’s what we’ll become.”
The Greatest Showman | "This Is Me" with Keala Settle | 20th Century FOX - YouTube
If I had to pick a favourite season, I think that Autumn would win hands down. The beautiful colours of the changing scenery and the gathering of the harvest has the power to take my breath away. Who can resist those lovely walks? Kicking through the fallen leaves as the weather brings a little chill to the air. The ultimate for me has to be utilising all those autumnal vegetables into a hearty stew.
As the days shorten and the summer comes to a close, the beginning of Autumn according to the astronomical calendar takes place today, Sunday 23rd September. This 2nd equinox of the year. Also known as Mabon, it happens when the north and south poles are aligned with the sun. This essentially means we get the same amount of daylight hours to those of darkness. Equinox is a Latin word meaning “Equal Night.” After this date, the nights draw in significantly and we can look forward to cosy nights by the fire.
Both the Spring and Autumn equinox along with the Summer and Winter solstices are steeped in tradition and customs.
Many cultures herald the start of this new season and is it widely seen as a time of thanksgiving and harvest. One of the more interesting rituals of Mabon, is the acknowledgement of “The God of the Vine.” This deity takes many names including “The Green Man” and also the “God of Harvest.” As Fall is the time for grapes, he is celebrated with….Yes, you have guessed it – wine!
Why not open a bottle of your favourite vino and toast the equinox?
You can embrace this tradition by throwing a dinner party for your family and friends. Create a menu using some of the yummy fruits and veggies from the harvest. Use squash, pumpkins, cabbages, cauliflower berries, nuts, apples and pears.
This season is the time of thanksgiving and balance, so here are some great tips to help you make the most those longer hours of darkness.
• A Personal Harvest – use this time to take stock and evaluate your year so far. Are you on track to reach your year-end goals? What do you have to be grateful for this year?
• Find Balance – Summer is normally a busy time with holidays and lots of outdoor entertaining. As equinox approaches, take some quiet time for yourself with activities such as Tai Chi, leisurely walks or bike rides to soak up the beauty of the season. Allow yourself to rest, recuperate and regroup before the hectic festive season descends.
• Get Creative – capture the season using your camera or your paints. How about getting busy in the kitchen and bottling up those autumn fruits by making preserves, pickles and sauces?
• Detox – Fall is a fab time to focus on your health and what better time to start a detox programme. Not too many BBQ’s to tip you off your wellness wagon. Restore balance to your body before the season of indulgence heads in. If you want suggestions for a great but gentle detox programme, follow this link.
• Yoga – Embrace the season through the power of Yoga. Include plenty of balancing postures into your practice. Tree pose (vrksasana) is a great one for grounding and reminding us that the falling leaves of a tree signify transition to the next season and that nothing stays the same.
• Sowing the seeds – Plant some bulbs in a planter and as you bury them beneath the soil, set an intention. What do you want to have achieved by the time the first sprouts appear? It may be that you want to let something go, so set that intention. As the time arrives for your bulbs to appear they will act as a lovely reminder of what you wanted to achieve at the time of the Autumn equinox 2018.
Whether you choose to mark the Autumn Equinox or not, it is a beautiful season.
Grab that scarf, put on your woolly hat and make the most of what this time has to offer. Take the time to balance your family and work time and make sure that you set aside plenty of “you” time in there too – enjoy!
Hard to believe that our pain actually could have a purpose? But, hold that thought…
This time 2 years ago, I was just days away from a car accident which would have a dramatic effect on my life in terms of both physical and emotional pain. Thankfully, I was not seriously injured in the sense that I walked away from the crash. Nobody else was hurt. I honestly thought with a day or two of rest that things would be back to normal. I could never have imagined what the actual outcome would be.
As the anniversary approaches, my pain is still as intense as it was in the early days after the accident. However, what I believed to be a physical pain, now looks to be more of a psychological injury. Long and short of it, my brain and body are holding on tight to the trauma of the accident.
Me and my pain have had a lot of time to think over these months.
So, typical of me, I explored what I could do to get my head back into a safe space. For my body to ultimately let go of the trauma and for things to hopefully go back to “normal.”
I have had some uncomfortable treatments and consultations with a host of experts. I was getting desperate for answers and getting nowhere fast. Then, one day whilst meditating the word “trust” came up several times.
Giving it lots of thought, I was intuitively guided to read various books and articles and the answer came.
“Trust that the universe has your back.”
I decided that if I was going to save my sanity, I had to deal with the “what is” as opposed to focusing on the “what if’s.” All the other stuff was going to happen in it’s own time and all the stressing in the world from me wouldn’t make a scrap of difference.
It was on the day of the Summer Solstice, that I kind of woke up to myself. Realising that this pain and the resulting struggle was teaching me a lesson. I HAD to put myself as the priority and work on ME. My focus had to shift to what could I learn from this as opposed to “why is the world out to get me?”
My first decision was to make a commitment to step back onto my yoga mat and move everyday, no excuses. I opened my journal for the first time since April and started to log my thoughts. I purposely chose guided meditations that invoked my warrior goddess quality and I started the fight back.
My warrior spirit is slowly emerging again…
….but in a tentative, scared, nervous kind of way. A bit like setting off to climb a huge mountain. You know you will feel great once you are up there, but its an uncomfortable journey to see the amazing view. I made a pact with the universe to be more trusting of my life’s journey. To listen to my intuition more and just generally be more authentic and embrace who I am as opposed to who people expect me to be.
My pain has taught me lessons in patience, tolerance, submission and respect for my body. My enforced sabbatical has given me lots of time for reflection. It has revealed to me what I want from life but also what I don’t want. Nobody wants to be in endless pain but I do truly believe now that this is one lesson I needed to learn. Self Love!
Our mental health can positively impact our physical state…
We often hear the statement, mind over matter. And whilst I don’t think having a positive mind-set is a cure all, I definitely believe that it can shift our capacity to deal with the physical pain. Recommitting to my daily practice of meditation and yoga has given me the ability to be more mindful throughout my day. Living in the present is much more preferable than the worrying about what may or may not happen.
This has been a huge period of transformation for me. It has allowed me time to just be, to appreciate what and who is around me. Probably for the first time ever, I have had the time to be truly who I am. To appreciate who I am.
Hours and hours home alone gives plenty of time for thinking and questioning. For looking back but also forward. It has shown me that I have been trapped by the constraints of others expectations, always the people pleaser but never honestly pleasing myself.
Albert Einstein said “adversity introduces a man to himself.”
Truth be told, that man knew some shit!!
Through my toughest trials and tribulations it is the time I learn most about me. I have learnt that I am stronger than I ever thought, that my body can withstand vast amounts of physical and emotional pain. That I am tolerant and patient beyond belief. I am incredibly vulnerable but also tough when I need to be. My belief in justice and what is right has been severely dented but still have hope it will all come right in the end.
I have been massively let down by some, but also lifted up so high by others, I get dizzy. What I am trying to say is that no matter how bad things get….and believe me when I say, right now things are bad. There is always a silver lining and a blessing somewhere in the mix…there is!!
To quote Mary Tyler Moore:
“You can’t be brave if you have only had wonderful things happen to you.”
Life isn’t easy, it’s not always fun but it changes. It brings challenges but also great joy. We have to be prepared to recognise a lesson when it is being sent to us. So many things in life are sent to test us, teach us and help us grow as people.
This relentless pain is teaching me lessons I never thought I would need to learn 2 years ago. However, it is teaching me that when things seem impossible, with a little trust and belief in the universe and myself….I’m possible.