Diary Entry ~ April 2020

April 27, 2020 5:48 pm

It’s been a month since I last checked in here and around five weeks since the Corona Virus lockdown began in the UK. I thought it would be nice to begin a monthly diary here, in addition to the usual kind of articles I post.

It will be a lovely opportunity to share some of my current experiences and thoughts with you, as well as exploring some of the lessons that are unfolding as we move through these times.

I hope you are all doing as well as possible. I know for many of us, emotions are up and down, with some days being better than others. For any of you living with a chronic health condition I’m sure that, like me, you’ll be seeing the parallels that this unpredictable time has with our existing daily lives. I have found it strange having the rest of society step into elements of our world.

Many people, perhaps for the first time, are getting a taste of how it feels to spend day after day at home, with a sudden onset of numerous restrictions being placed on their lives. Alongside a deep sense of missing contact with others, social pursuits and hobbies being put on hold. The unsettling uncertainty around people’s careers is also commonplace and almost everyone I have spoken to is feeling the effects of having lack of daily structure. There has been an enforced global slowing down. Potentially a real time of fundamental change.

Many of us living with a Chronic Illness such as ME/CFS, have lived with these challenges for many years. However, the major difference for us is that in addition to the above, we also experience physical suffering and discomfort along with a sense of the world carrying on without us. There are comparisons and parallels to our world and the current effects of the Covid19 Pandemic, but also vast differences too.

I’ve found this recent time of change strange. In a way there has almost been a level of relief to feel that others are finally experiencing some aspects of our everyday reality.

This time of lockdown and change may shift society’s perspective on what spending endless time at home, separated from the outside world, is actually like in reality. I hope that we see an increase in compassion for people living with endless restrictions due to Chronic Illnesses such as ME/CFS.

 

My Personal Diary.

April began with me having glimpses of feeling so much better than I have in such a long time. Symptom and fatigue felt more in the background as opposed to being at that suffocating, all consuming level. It was such a lovely feeling. I was waking earlier in the mornings (a good sign for me) and having moments during the day able to fully enjoy doing tasks around the home, having beautiful springtime walks, writing and just generally making the most of feeling a little more energy in my body.

During these times of improved health I always feel such passion for life. Ambition fires up inside me and ideas for creative projects swirl. I make plans and get a bit carried away sometimes, convincing myself that no matter what I do I won’t slip back health wise. This (as yet) is never the case and then I roll my eyes at my previous overly confident self when my body flares up again!

It’s always at this stage of feeling a bit better, that I find it a real challenge not to over do it. I have become so acclimatised to a level of symptoms and fatigue always being a part of reality, that it is easy to ignore symptoms as they slowly intensify and as a result I can end up pushing beyond my current physical capacity. With ME/CFS if we do this too many times, it inevitably leads to a crash, by which time we have no option other than to rest completely.

I am making a conscious effort  to retrain my way of relating to my body. Tuning into it’s needs a little more. Listening. Opening. Hearing the smaller signs and signals before they turn to louder ones.

It was around the middle of April, two days before my Birthday, that I awoke one morning to find my symptoms had really intensifed again. It was instant upon waking and like I had been run over by a bus. The smallest tasks felt impossible, sitting up was so hard. My heart rate would increase every time I moved or tried to stand. The fatigue was crushing and overwhelming. It was clear that this plummet in health was directly related to my menstrual cycle.

I do notice a definite increase in debilitating fatigue and a flare up of of general ME/CFS symptoms around this time of the month. It is frustrating because I am often just getting back on my feet and beginning to reintroduce  a gentle daily structure, then hormonal shifts trigger a total collapse of everything. This constant fluctuation and having to adjust to different levels of health can be so challenging and anxiety provoking. I know so many of you who also experience fluctuating levels feel the same.

I have no choice during these times than to surrender. I write a lot about surrender. I think thats because learning to open to what is, and finding a way to let go of that fierce resistance so many of us can feel, has been truly life changing for me. I don’t always master it. I still have days where I find myself frustrated and in a state of just desperately wanting to feel well!  But, once Ive had my cry, my tears, my moment of anguish, I generally find my way back to a softer place.

This is how I have navigated the most recent crash. Meditations. Gentle Podcasts. Time in the garden with my eyes closed for as long as they needed to be closed. Feeling the sun on my skin. Enjoying the tiniest of things. Sending my body love. Reminding myself that ‘this too shall pass’. That things will ease up again.

My Birthday was spent mainly horizontal, feeling really unwell. There were tears, but there were also smiles. It reminded me of how far I have come in terms of how I handle things. I allowed the sadness to be there. The emotion. But I also made space for moments of beauty too. Enjoying long hugs with my lovely man, soaking up warm sunshine on my skin whilst resting in my garden and feeling the love that surrounded me on this day, shown through cards and messages from those close to me.

This week, I am feeling a little better again. I have regained some strength and can begin once again having a bit of gentle structure to my days which I always miss so much on those more poorly weeks that seem to go by in a blur. I’m back to a daily walk. Some Yoga. A little bit of Writing. Pottering at home. Enjoying a Netflix programme or two!

It feels nice to be able to relax into my body a bit more easily again without things feeling quite as challenging, although Fatigue is still present and I don’t feel quite back to where I was at the beginning of April just yet.

 

 

The Next Steps for Healing.

Each day, I do my best to be present. To allow life to unfold. To take each moment as it comes. It feels a fundamental way of life, in order to keep me grounded, happy and appreciative of the blessings I have. But, alongside this I think its important for us to also check in with ourselves and where we are at frequently, especially if we are on a healing journey.

I am always on a quest to improve my health. I know so many people who have fully recovered from ME/CFS, and because of this knowledge, that is my ultimate aim. For full health and wellness. Freedom. Comfort in my body. Energy. An ability to live the life I would love to, without restrictions.

I tweak my healing protocols each month or so. Tuning in to what I might need to do next. Not in a ‘frantically searching for answers’ kind of way (although believe me I have been in that place many times over the years!) But more of a ‘gentle nudging forward’ kind of way. Acknowledging that trying new things when the time is right, can really help us make progress on our healing path.

This month, it has become more apparent than ever to me that my hormones need some more attention. I have been aware from sometime that my Endocrine System is problematic and halting my progress in terms of regaining balanced energy. I have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Hypothyroidism, Advanced Adrenal Fatigue as well as various other imbalances. The way my body struggles to handle menstruation gives me the clue there is more work to be done.

I am already taking tailor made Herbal Tinture’s prescribed by my trusted Herbalist, along with various supplements known to support hormonal functioning. I know that eating Organic where possible and using Natural Skincare and Non Toxic Household Products is also important for optimal hormone functioning. This is something I can actually improve upon, as I have let it slip a little over the last year. Eating Non-Organic Dairy products for example, means that we are ingesting artificial growth hormones and using chemical laden household products, results in our body absorbing Xenoestrogens. These are a synthetic chemical compound that our body mistakes for a kind of estrogen, which of course, disrupts our body’s delicate hormonal balance. Natural cleaning products and skincare products really take the toxic load off our body.

I am going to research a little more about what else could help heal my hormones this month and shall of course share with you what I discover.

I am also going to continue enjoying my Meditation Practise, which I have found so powerfully healing over the last few weeks. Meditating twice or sometimes three times a day, compared to my previous once a day, has made a big difference to how I feel. I am also going to explore some new Breathing Techniques such as the Wim Hof Method.

 

This Months Key Lessons.

  • Allow space for Emotion. Tears. Frustration. Anxiety. Whatever needs to come up and be felt/expressed. Don’t be hard on yourself when you have days that are wobbly. Show yourself even more love during these times. Remind yourself the intensity will pass and you will return to a place of peace once again.
  • Meditation is such a powerful tool. An anchor we can turn to whenever we feel unsettled or ungrounded. A practise that helps our entire system to settle and also connects us back to source energy and our higher truth.
  • Life doesn’t always go to plan. My Birthday wasn’t what I hoped in terms of physical health, but it has beautiful moments regardless of that. Let go of how you think things are ‘supposed to be’ and make space for what is unfolding.
  • When Anxiety feelings arise, be mindful of trying to ‘push the feeling away’. During moments of anxiety this month I found myself, at times, trying to use all sorts of different tools and techniques to try and get rid of the anxiety. It did the opposite and actually locked it in to place. Leading to me feeling stuck. Once I realised what I was doing and found a way to soften towards the anxiety, allowing it to be there and accepting it for the here and now, it then began to settle down.
  • Be even more Gentle with yourself. Self Compassion is one of our most powerful healing tools.

 

Springtime this year has been more beautiful than I have ever remembered, everywhere is so vibrantly green and abundant with flowers. I have been so Thankful for Nature this month. I shall leave you with a selection of photos taken on some of my gentle walks I have enjoyed this month.

Love, Emma x

 

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