Praying for Healing Isn’t Enough

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Praying for our health isn’t enough. I’ve learned that we have to pray to God to be shown what we need to change –  how our thinking and behaviour need to alter, no matter how painful the execution of those things may be.  We need to meet God halfway and take responsibility for our own part. But sometimes we need God to show us what those steps are.  

Just vaguely praying for healing for ourselves and our friends, for example, in Life Group, which is what we do a lot of, isn’t enough. We need to get specific. 

 

Kindness of Friends Brings Startling Revelation

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Had a wonderful time with friends this weekend.  One of them, P, I have known for 31 years and his partner, J, I’ve known 25 years! We went to a very posh hotel and they treated me to dinner!

They treated me brilliantly, with such care and attention,  making sure I was comfortable etc. It certainly made me realise how little my former husband valued me but, more importantly, shone a light on how poorly I valued myself. I must hold myself with little regard to have put up with much that I did. (I was no saint either, I may add.)

I have been overwhelmed with how kind people have been since I moved house. Many  of them have given me presents, for example, totally unexpectedly. S, for example, cooks for me! I don’t ask her to – she just occasionally hands me something for the freezer. 

It has to be said that old friends really do make me feel happy and secure.  There is something very powerful about having a shared history.  Also, the fact that P knew me before I became ill is very healing because his memories of me are not just of “the sick, fragile one” nut as the energetic one who was leading a fairly normal life.

 

Dr Sarno Makes Me Realise I’m a Bitter Hag!

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I am doing a lot of mind-body therapy at the moment, following the teachings of Dr Sarno, author of The Divided Mind and inventor of the term Tension Myositis Syndrome.  It’s fascinating stuff.  Basically, the idea is that many chronic conditions are the result of holding in, or rather repressing, difficult emotions, especially rage/anger.  The process is unconscious.

You have to list all the things in your life, past and present, that make you angry or cause other negative emotions such as sadness, fear, etc.  My list is very long –and I haven’t even finished!

I have realised I am criminally envious of and bitter towards two Christians I know.  These two seem to live the perfect life and it really gets to me.  It pains me to admit it but I really do not like one of them.  It is hard to say it out loud but I think this person is spoilt and they have made me feel like some people in the past have made me feel: lesser, lowly and a bit grubby.  I appreciate that that might be more MY problem than theirs.

I am seething with vitriol right now!  It’s not a nice feeling but at least I’m being honest with myself.  This person, of course, has no idea I feel this way and, as it happens, I have not seen them in real life for months and months.  But, boy, do they like to flaunt their lives on social media! And hopefully they will never know of my dislike. These feelings may pass now I’ve acknowledged them.

Well, that’s my vitriolic posting for the evening. I think I feel better for it!

Facebook Envy Destroys the Soul

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I had a quick scoot around Facebook yesterday, looking at posts by people I don’t normally see in my newsfeed. Came away feeling depressed and envious. That’s just not right even though I know that  Facebook pics often show just the ‘Kodak moments’. It’s a lie!

I hope there is a Facebook backlash in a way. I’ve been trying not to spend as much time there – but it is not always easy. I’m spending more time with Jon Kabat-Zinn, on CD, I hasten to add, and in print. He’s a lifeline at the moment. And a much healthier companion than 400 virtual friends.

Selfies, self and social media

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Pertinent post about social media and selfies. A very good friend thought my horrendous muscle relapse was over ‘cos I posted up pics of my lovely friend, H and me on the beach. This is just a snapshot of a few moments! Yes, I was relaxed and happy here but it’s not the whole story. As we know, Facebook pics often show just the ‘Kodak moments’. It’s messed up! I long to write the truth… cried last night due to pain and frustration; bored out of my brains today as couldn’t get out… Felt very fearful about the day my mum won’t be around any more… but it’s just not done!

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We live in a self obsessed and over exposed culture. Social media has created a framework to support our current insatiable desire for showing off. How did the previous generations use photographs before and how we do nowadays? I always thought that they immortalised precious memories to be shared with a very close circle of intimate relatives.

Now we parade and are under an avalanche of too many pictures that are either painfully trivial or almost inappropriately public. I wonder why? Insecurity? Comparison? Thoughtlessness? I guess most people are just carried by the popular wave….

The incessant social media addiction (and the secret of the owners’ financial success) that most users struggle with, is fuelled by pride dressed as either curiosity or attention seeking insecurity. You can only tell how bad you suffer as a social media user if you try to break free. This is a very revealing battle…

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Lower Muscle Strength and the Postmenopausal Woman

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Build up your muscle strength

Gosh, I just found this on The Finchley Clinic Blog. Very pertinent to me as I have lost a lot of muscle strength since my major surgery in 2013. Below is an extract from the article: 

Only a fool would suggest that the menopause isn’t a complicated and often difficult time in a woman’s life. And, with all the hormonal changes going on in the female body at this point, bone health can become an issue. Many may not be aware, though, that muscle strength – or lack of it – can also be a concern thanks to ‘the change’. Both during and after menopause, oestrogen levels decrease and this can result in sarcopenia – a gradual, ongoing drop in muscle mass.

Is this enormously serious? Well, inside muscles, Vitamin D acts on special receptors, helping to drive up the mass and strength of the muscle as well as becoming involved in protein synthesis, which enables muscle contractions; thus, it plays a critical role in healthy muscle function. All this means that, due to Vitamin D deficiency, post-menopausal women can be at risk of potential frailty (and so reduced mobility) as well as frequent falls. And it can also help drive that particularly unpopular side-effect of menopause, weight gain – because it leads to a lower metabolism.

Inevitably then, help can come from boosting Vitamin D. A recent nine-month study, conducted at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil, found that post-menopausal women who had received Vitamin D3 supplementation enjoyed a 25% increase in muscle strength, while conversely, a similar group of volunteers receiving a placebo instead actually lost muscle mass – and experienced twice as many falls as those taking Vitamin D3.

Optimisation through supplementation

The results of these studies, as well as the fact IBS and muscle softness among post-menopausal women is common, is sadly not surprising (at least in this country) when one considers that four in every 10 (39%) of UK adults experience low vitamin D levels when the sun’s at its weakest in the winter. Indeed, ageing adults (the most likely to spend a good deal of time indoors) are most vulnerable to this nutrient deficiency4.

It’s pretty clear then that most people could probably do with optimising their Vitamin D levels. The trouble is, of course, this is easier said than done, as for half the year in many parts of the world (and, again, certainly in the UK), there isn’t much in the way of sunlight from which to gain it. So the answer? Supplementation.

http://www.thefinchleyclinic.com/blog/ibs-and-muscle-strengthening-what-vitamin-d-supplements-can-do-for-you/

Letter to My Illness

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ax1h5dLast night of I wrote a letter to my illness.  It was full of expletives.

Among my sentiments were the words: “You are not here to teach me a lesson or humility.  You are not my friend.  You are a ridiculous ragbag of pathetic symptoms.  Go **** yourself, you miserable, mitochondria-disrupting loser.  You think you have won.  But the person I was before you stuck your poxy neb [nose] in is still within me.”

I continued: “Yes, that child who could run like the wind, the one who could dance all night, the girl who could run from the nightclub in the dark to her home in minutes, the one who called walk miles and miles, up mountains, across moors, around London.  How dare you disrupt all of that!  You robbed me of my life with of my husband, of children, of experiences, of opportunity, of peace.”

Sometimes I just don’t know what God is playing at!

(There was more but this gives you a flavour. I found the writing therapeutic.)

I then listened to the hate-filled but cathartic ‘Sorry’ by nu-Guns n Roses on my headphones and scribbled down some pertinent lyrics. The whole song suited my mood and situation but here are the first lines:

“You like to hurt me
You know that you do
You like to think
In some way
That it’s me
And not you”

 

 

Getting to Know ‘Joy’ Again

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I am still pacing well as I continue to plough through the longest muscle relapse I’ve never had in my chronic illness.  It is quite hard but it is a relief to get off the hamster wheel that I seem to have been on for the last few years.  Surprisingly, I have had quite a lot of visitors one way or the other.  This has been a huge help.

I went for a massage at a luxurious hotel yesterday and that was amazing. When we are bereaved or divorced it is quite important, I think, to receive caring and supportive touch.  I think it is something I’m going to do again.

I am also using a meditation and mindfulness CDs of Jon Kabat-Zinn, developed for the University of Massachusetts.  They are wonderful.  Each session lasts around 40 minutes and his voice is incredibly soothing and unpretentious.

Recommended.

Happy Divorce Day!

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One of my church friends is celebrating his first anniversary of remarriage today. This couple seem to live the perfect life!

I am happy for him but his announcement on Facebook and loving words to his wife reminded me that today is the second anniversary of my divorce! Cruel irony.

Yesterday, though, ex and I went to the beach. He had come from neighbouring country for work and our shared care duties. It was lovely. We got on well and it harked back to other times. I was sad that I can’t walk much (still undergoing the muscle relapse from hell) and sad that his new wife is very sporty and active.

I say to God, “Why have you abandoned me?” It’s just not fair!

Ex has changed a lot. I am sure he smiles and laughs sometimes but I never see that abundant laughter and joy on his face now. Maybe he saves it for others or other times. I don’t know. Maybe too much has happened to him for that.

 

Not Celebrating Recovery

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DSCF2594As the relapse in my health – long-term condition –  from hell continues I have dropped all regular commitments, including Celebrate Recovery at church in nearby city.

Not even sure I am going to go back to it. Not making any plans at all like that. Researching how to recover from this relapse a lot and thinking I may just stick to following my church’s sermons online while I recover.

CR is great but there are a lot of platitudes uttered from the manual. It is also a very tiring evening, especially if there are only two of you in the small sharing group. I will carry on doing my moral and spiritual inventory though. That’s useful.

Midsomer Murders and the ITV3 Generation

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eeb0e564c51ba8370576f5761e2081efI confess: I have a soft spot for ITV3, the ‘resting’ place of the elderly viewer. I love Endeavour, Foyle’s War, Inspector Morse and Lewis. Big fan of PD James’ and Ruth Rendell’s work in print and on screen. Not a fan of Midsomer Murders.

Living (temporarily) with an octogenarian makes me think a lot about the elderly. Not all old people fit into a stereotype, of course. Many are offbeat, fiery, questioning, and open-minded. But the Brexit vote has also made me think about other older people, especially the Daily Express reading contingent.  I am brought into contact daily with this filthy rag

Why is it that older people love detective dramas of the type I have listed? My thoughts:

  1. They are very British. English countryside, British actors. English towns and villages. English cars, mostly. Suits. Hats even!
  2. Easily identified characters. Idiosyncratic but not too weird, e.g., Morse.
  3. Old people seem to love characters who come in pairs (Lewis and Hathaway). The ‘buddy’ element.
  4. Often set in the past – or a present that doesn’t really exist (Midsomer Murders) caters to nostalgia factor plus sense that ‘things were better back then’.
  5. Crime dramas – very black and white in that there are good people and bad ones.
  6. Resolution. The bad guys are always caught, I think. Order is restored. All’s right with the world.

When age, infirmity and looming death/meeting one’s maker are on the cards, ironically, these murderous dramas offer a sense of safety and familiarity plus a chance to be indignant at the ‘goings-on’ (moral judgements) and behaviour of the ‘bad’ characters. It’s my belief that old people (some, not all, I must stress) do not like ambiguity and these reruns on ITV3 serve as a comforter.

 

Spiritual and Practical Approaches to Adrenal Fatigue

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Shannon TaggartFrom an article by Dr Christine Northrup

Spiritual and Holistic Options

A far better option for healing adrenal fatigue over the long run is to restore adrenal health and function so your adrenals can eventually produce the hormones you need on their own. That will require making changes in the lifestyle that caused the adrenal insufficiency. Here are some suggestions:

  • Focus more on loving thoughts. Thoughts that bring you pleasure (like thinking about people you love, favorite pets, a delicious meal, or even a sweet memory) short-circuit the harm done by the body’s physiological reaction to stress. This learning to “think with your heart” may be challenging at first, but it’s definitely worth it. If you faithfully learn this and regularly pay attention to areas of your life that bring you joy and fulfillment, you will evoke biochemical changes in your body over time that will recharge your adrenal batteries. (For assistance, I recommend the training programs and books from The Institute of HeartMath.)
  • In addition, do more things that bring you pleasure and make you laugh and fewer activities that feel like obligations. Spend more time with people who make you feel good and less time with people who are draining.
  • Dwell more on what you like about yourself and less on what you see as your limitations. In short, have more fun! Make pleasure a priority instead of a luxury.
  • Allow yourself to accept nurturing and affection. If you didn’t learn how to do this as a child, you may need to practice it. Every morning before you get up, spend a minute or two reveling in a memory of a time you felt loved. Do the same at night. Imagine your heart being filled with this love. Use affirmations that help you feel deserving of this nurturing and love.
  • Follow a healthy, whole foods diet with minimal sugar and adequate protein. (Every meal or snack should contain some protein.) Avoid caffeine because it whips your adrenals into a frenzy. Also avoid fasting or cleansing regimens because they can weaken you further.
  • Take a comprehensive multivitamin/mineral supplement.
  • Try herbal support, including:
    – Licorice root: This herb contains plant hormones that mimic the effects of cortisol. Start with a small amount and gradually work up to one-quarter teaspoon solid licorice root extract three times per day. Baschetti2 Make sure to monitor blood pressure, as licorice may increase blood pressure in susceptible individuals.
    – Siberian ginseng: One of the components of Siberian ginseng is related to a precursor for DHEA and cortisol. Try one 100 mg capsule two times a day. It can have a stimulating effect, though, so if it interferes with your sleep, take it before three p.m.
  • Get plenty of sleep: Sleep is the most effective approach to high adrenaline levels. Many women require eight to ten hours of sleep to function optimally. Try to go to bed by ten P.M. Getting to sleep on the earlier side of midnight is much more restorative to your adrenals than sleep that begins later in the night, even if you sleep late the next morning to get in your full amount of sleep.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular light-to-moderate exercise is helpful, but not so much that you feel depleted afterward. Pushing yourself beyond your limits weakens your adrenals even further, so start slowly—even if it’s only walking down your street and back. Then build up slowly.
  • Get more exposure to natural sunlight. This is not only good for your adrenal glands, but it boosts vitamin D, as well. Sunbathe only in the early morning or later afternoon, however, never in midday; and never get enough exposure to burn or even redden your skin. Work up to ten to fifteen minutes of exposure three to four times per week.
  • Prioritize. Make a list of your most important activities and commitments, and then let everything else go. Don’t agree to a new task or commitment unless it’s something that will recharge your batteries.

– See more at: http://www.drnorthrup.com/adrenal-exhaustion/#sthash.xNcKaxvS.dpuf

Lexit, Not Brexit. How My Ex Made Me Think Again

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My ex, who’s very, very left wing, was here earlier – explaining why he voted to leave the EU. Really made me think and threw open new doors in my mind. He might be my ex but he always did make me think a lot! He was talking for over an hour on this. It was absolutely fascinating.

He pointed me in the direction of the Left Leave movement. See link above. Such a shame that we couldn’t make it as a couple cos he is still, on occasion, one of the most stimulating people I’ve ever met. I think that’s partly why I find it hard to move on. Although, to be fair, I seek peaceful man rather than stimulating man now.

http://www.leftleave.org/lexit-statement-on-the-vote-to-leave-the-european-union/

Elderly Brexiters Have Sold Us Down the River

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Utterly fed up with the crowing Brexiters. What a mess. Hate crime up, the pound down, businesses in turmoil, and virtually no government going on here in the UK.

What’s worse is that my mum is here looking after me ‘cos I am having the relapse from h**l and she is making a huge difference and I am really, really grateful – BUT she voted for Britain to leave the European Union. I think she feels guilty though. She admitted that she and her generation are hankering after the Britain of the 1950s, but she knows deep down that this will never happen and that the world has changed too much for that.

Old people, Daily Express readers like my mum, have totally sold younger generations down the river -and they won’t even be around to see the mess they have landed us in! I feel sorry for the young, educated, passionate people. They are understandably bitter.

And even worse, nearly all the people I know at church, barr Pastor 3 and another leading light in the church town, were I gather, on the Brexit side. .

This, along with the fact that most of them are Tories plus some of their beliefs is making me seriously consider leaving this church. As it happens I am confined to quarters and will be for some long time. I will sped the time thinking about what to do and where to go if I ever get out of this relapse. old-people-funny-t-shirts-18__605

Heartbreak Hotel, Still.

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ijust had to go and meet my ex as i am having a relapse, nasty, and needed to hand our shared care duty over to him. He came down from Scotland specially.

I am wobbly physically and emotionally and I didn’t realise that letting go of the former marital home would knock me out. Another level of loss.

I can hardly look at my ex. Not through hatred but through love lost.

It’s been years now but the losses continue. Never, never would I have chosen to separate , even with all the rubbish we doled out to each other. And there was a lot of crap. But I would never have walked away. I am incredibly sad. He’s remarried and seemingly happy. Me, I am left dealing with the aftermath even now. Sometimes feel I will never get over this. It’s like a boulder I carry around with me.

Hopefully, celebrate recovery will help me move on. He doesn’t know any of this and I can’t tell him. It wouldn’t be fair. I don’t love him. I just miss him all the time. I can’t talk to my friends about this cos they just want you to move on. Understandable.