O’ Woe is Me and my Rule of Halves (parenthetically speaking)

My dear Curious to the Max followers,

I imagine there are millions of you (I have a big imagination) who wait with bated breath and quickening heart beats for my posts – I shall call you Group Numero UNO.  You are keenly aware (due to your breath and heart rhythm) I’ve been bloggingly absent.  The rest of you (group 2, small “g”) are scratching your heads (or other parts) and wondering what I’m talking about because your lives, breath and hearts have gone on nicely without my posting.

For Numero UNO:  I just have lost my mojo, my energy, my focus – not interested in writing, reading, gardening, e-mailing, blog posts started and abandoned . . .  I’m giving credit to a fibromyalgia flare-up because fibromyalgia should be good for something.

For the second group: I am LOST, DEPLETED, SUFFERING and you probably don’t care . . .

On a serious note (not that I wasn’t serious before) fibromyalgia along with many other chronic conditions has a mind of it’s own and takes over at unexpected and unpropitious times.  After over 20 years of living with this condition I’ve still not got the hang of it.  When I feel decent I go, do, get overly involved and then crash for days, sometimes weeks (or months, but who’s counting).

The BACK half

The BACK half

To better manage what energy I have I’ve decided to do half of the ten things I currently need or want to do:

  1. Complete half the alphabet for the on-line daily blogging alphabet posting challenge. (I’ve half a mind not to even do the challenge this year and repost what I wrote LAST year).
  2. Brush half my teeth each day (I’ll alternate halves – half in the morning and half before bed)
  3. Clean and dust the half of the house I can’t reach.
  4. Stop watching the Super Bowl at half-time.
  5. Eat half the pan of brownies I’m making (half today and half tomorrow).

That’s half of my plans so I’m not going to write the other five.  

My New Motto (you can borrow it):

Live half my life with gusto, let the other half rest.

"This woman is half-baked as ever . . . "

“This woman is half-baked”




Post-Traumatic GROWTH?

Skimming my surface

tell-tale signs of suffering

The pain buried deep

My haiku was inspired by Carolyn Thomas’ Post-Traumatic Growth: how a crisis makes life better – or not.  Carolyn had a myocardial infarction – the “widowmaker” heart attack.  Since that life altering experience she has been overwhelmingly affected by the ongoing pain of coronary microvascular disease.

Mask by moi

Mask by moi

Until I read Carolyn’s excellent post I had never heard of Post Traumatic GROWTH:

“Post-Traumatic Growth is the experience of positive change that occurs as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life crises.

“Although the term is new, the idea that great good can come from great suffering is ancient.”

“Reports of Post-Traumatic Growth have been found in people who have experienced bereavement, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV infection, cancer, bone marrow transplantation, heart attacks, coping with the medical problems of children, transportation accidents, house fires, sexual assault and sexual abuse, combat, refugee experiences, and being taken hostage.” 

Read this informative and thought-provoking post and Carolyn’s concern for patients & people regarding this concept.  Click HERE

EXCELLENT presentation on Brain research & Chronic Pain conditions – Stanford University

If you have a brain in your head WATCH this!   Important information for everyone, whether or not you or anyone you know has a chronic pain condition (including – MCS, irritable Bowell, TMJ, Interstitial Cystitis, Back pain etc.).  It’s well worth your time.

Although the focus is fibromyalgia Sean Mackey, M.D., Ph.D explains how the emotions, the workings of the brain impact our physical well-being.

His presentation is 51 minutes long and then takes questions and answers.

Rosemary Lee, Seeking Equilibrium posted this on her excellent blog Seeking Equilibrium.  Rosemary keeps up with the latest research and I highly recommend her blog

How to Turn a Professional into a Person

Totally caught off-guard, I was tearfully surprised!

Delicious cookies were mixed on the table with paint and glue and paintings of chronic conditions-love and healing.

Sitting around the table were 6 incredible women, all with their own fear, pain and hope.  It was the last of 8 meetings of the Purposely Positive Support Group/Workshop for people with life-altering medical conditions.

And the sneaky little group  surprised me with love.  A HUGE 22 x 16 framed Thank you picture with messages from each that were so warm and touching I couldn’t hold back the tears.

Hey, I tried.  After all I’m a Professional (note the capital “P”).  I’m a psychotherapist (note the small “p”)  Everyone else is supposed to have feelings.  I am TRAINED to remain calm but curious, engaging but not engaged and humane but not human.

I blew it.  My well-trained psyche collapsed under the weight of love.  Theirs and Mine.

In alphabetical order:

Cindi, Cory, Fariba, Lori, Nancy, Theresa –  back at you.

What’s Dr Phil Got to Do with IT?

Had the very first, out of 8,meetings with a fantastic group of women.  All have life altering conditions that seriously have redirected their lives.  I call this a SupportShop.  It’s a combination of support group and Therapeutic Imagery/Journaling workshop

We started off with introductions. Each participant, without looking, was to pull out a picture from a big box of cut-out magazine images.  Then use the randomly picked image to describe how their condition has impacted them*.

Everyone stared at me. (glared at me?)  I offered to go first to model how to use the picture.

The stares turned to grins as I glared at the picture of Dr. Phil I picked out of the box. How in the world does Dr. Phil relate to my Fibromyalgia?   After briefly being speechless, ( for those who know me I am RARELY without something to say) I used Dr. Phil in a way he probably has never been used.  Here’s how Dr Phil and I have more in common than I thought (or he knows).

I have to be suited up to go to the office,  put on an appearance that all is well and I’m OK.  I can’t moan and groan and complain about how much pain or discomfort I’m in or how my energy is flagging, my feet burning.  I’m there for my clients, not the other way around.

Until several years ago when I gave a keynote talk for National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day I did not share with clients that I had fibromyalgia. When I gave the talk, using the Therapeutic Creative Expression I had used for my own “healing” I felt bald, no protective covering anymore.  My experience, thoughts, feelings were exposed to the world.

I’m now ok without any protective head covering and my exposing my life altering condition has proved to be a blessing for myself and help for the people I see. “It” was right under my nose the whole time.

Everyone stopped grinning. It was their turn to figure out how a cowboy with a clown nose, a femme fatale, a Harley woman biker related to life altering medical conditions.  They all did a good job! I think Dr Phil would approve.

*(This is a projection technique that I teach people how to do in the Therapeutic Creative Journaling workshops.  You can read more examples in other blog posts and on the Workshop page on this blog).