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Posts Tagged ‘Friendship’

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!

HAPPY BIIIIRRRRTTHHHDDDAAAYYY

GRACEFUL AGONY!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!

CAN YOU BELIEVE GRACEFUL AGONY IS ONE YEAR OLD TODAY??

365 days ago, I made the commitment to myself, and to whomever wanted to take this journey with me that I would share my life openly, honestly, and completely, in hopes that I could somehow make my ‘Chronic’ life purposeful.

I nervously wrote my first post, and published it… and waited… I didn’t know if my words would be heard by ANYONE…

I wrote my second post… and my third… and the craziest thing happened!  PEOPLE FOUND MY BLOG!!  People were actually reading my words!!!

I very quickly realized I wasn’t the only one sitting ‘alone’ with my pain… There were so MANY people feeling the things I felt, experiencing the things I did, and crying the same frustrated tears I cried.

I FINALLY found a place where I was completely understood.  And it was the most overwhelming feeling I have ever had.  I cry at this moment as I look back upon this past year and reflect on how quickly my ‘heart’ changed, how my perception of my pain has gone through a metamorphosis,  and how the courage of others inspired me to find my own strength….

Shortly after starting this blog, I also started a facebook-based support group… and I don’t honestly know HOW, but people started to join… 15 members… 20 members… 30 members… People started to open up and share openly about their OWN lives with Chronic Illness and pain… And I made heart-to-heart connections with strangers from across the world who were suffering the same way I had been for years.  Who KNEW that these ‘strangers’ would end up being my dearest friends, and an integral part of my every day life. You all know who you are, and my heartfelt appreciation, and my utmost respect goes out to all of you… Thank you for making our family what it has become this past year… it is ALL because of you!!

Much “LIFE” happened in between writing posts, making friends, and sharing experiences this past year….

Some of us experienced great loss and began personal journey’s of grief…

Some of us found love…

Some of us lost it…

Some of us found hope,

and others needed the hope and strength that only OUR friendship could bring…

But through all of it, the one thing I know for sure is that we all got to ‘know’ ourselves in a way we hadn’t, all of us played a ‘role’ in our own as well as some one else’s healing.. and we all made a difference in the lives of the people we love.  WE BECAME SISTERS… united in something much stronger than illness and pain.

365 days ago I started writing as a way to reach out to others, and the most miraculous thing happened…. I ended up reaching out to myself…. I started a journey of my own healing, found strength I never knew I had, and found happiness in a way I never knew was possible while living in agony.

Because, in sharing my life with others, I found love, hope, forgiveness, patience, and tolerance for so many other people, and those people mirrored myself… By seeing my reflection in all of you, I found me….

It has been one crazy ride, hasn’t it?

290 posts

21,600+ hits

210 support group members

Invaluable lessons,

and forever friends….

THAT is how I measure this past year…..

Take a minute to reflect on the last year for YOU… and all the blessings, wonders, lessons, and love it has brought into your life… THAT my friends, is THE REASON…

Thank you so very much for following my journey this past year…

Thank you for reaching out and becoming a part of my life…

Thank you for your friendship,

Your support,

Your encouragement,

Your tears,

And your love.

AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALL OF YOU!!!

THIS IS YOUR CELEBRATION!!!!!!!

I hope the year ahead brings peace, healing, hope, and above all, a lot more love and friendship across the web, and in our homes and hearts.

NOW…….

LET’S PARTY!!!!!!

 

DOES ANYONE WANT CAKE??

QUICK, MAKE A WISH AS I BLOW OUT THE CANDLES!!!

XOXOXOXOXO

 

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Christmas tree in Bad Kissingen (2008)

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The Christmas tree is trimmed…. Snow is on the ground…. The presents are wrapped (well most of them anyhow)… The Champagne and OJ are in the fridge…

And the Spirit of Christmas is beginning to fill my home…

My little dude is losing sleep over what EXACTLY is under the tree this year.  He keeps asking for clues, trying to get me to slip up and tell him “just one thing”.  He is wanting to open the Christmas crackers, and he wants to know if he is REALLY GOOD, can he open just ONE present on Christmas Eve…

His frenetic energy is tangible, I feel it in my gut, and I get goose bumps just thinking about watching him on Christmas Morn. THAT is my gift each and every year – Being able to experience the wonderment of the season through his eyes is the biggest present I could receive, wrapped up in love with a bow on the top.

My usual Christmas wish is for my son, and my family to have a holiday filled with joy, love, yummy food, and smiles… and each year I am never disappointed… each year my wish is granted.  What more could I ask for?

THIS YEAR my Christmas wish is a little different…. It is my wish for ALL of you, family included….

I wish for you to have ‘enough’… not excess, not too little, but just ‘enough’.

Enough hope to get you through the hard days…

Enough love to fill your heart…

Enough wisdom to help others…

Enough clarity to understand the difference you make in the lives of others…

Enough healing to restore quality of life…

Enough friendship to never feel alone…

Enough understanding to never judge…

Enough silence to reflect on blessings…

Enough patience to be gentle with yourself…

This holiday season I wish for all of you to have ‘Enough’.

 

Merry Christmas to all of my Graceful Agony family.  I will be carrying you all in my heart over this holiday season.

And thank you for the gifts you give to me each and every day.

 

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!  Explore #118, Nove...

Image by Puzzler4879 via Flickr

First of all I REALLY want to apologize for taking such a long sabbatical since the Second Round of the Graceful Agony Blog Carnival went live…  It has been for a few reasons, and I am very sorry.  I hope y’all forgive me!  I have been working through a great deal in my head as of late, and I just completely lost my muse, hit the wall, suffered from a nasty case of writers block…  Thank you to EVERYONE who checked up on me… I appreciate all of you so very much, and I am grateful to have wonderful friends in this community….

Well that is a good segue into my Thanksgiving post isn’t it?  Gratitude….  This weekend (in Canada) is a time for stopping to reflect on the previous year, and to be thankful….. NOW, no eye-ball rolling or sighs allowed here…. for a lot of you reading, YOU have had to deal with pain and illness every day for the past year, years, some decades even.  I know how hard it is to stop and be grateful for ANYTHING let alone to celebrate and have a party!  Oh, trust me, I know how that feels…. If today was Christmas you would be saying ‘BAH HUMBUG and calling me Scrooge today.  I am NOT in a very thankful mood….

I have been in a 3 1/2 month flare,  my nerve pain is more intense than it usually is, I walked out of my last Doctor’s appointment not EVER wanting to go back, I am feeling isolated as of late (oh the joys of this illness), and rather poopy all around…. and that is BEFORE I even get to the migraine that has ensued this past week…. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!  Um… can you say sarcasm?  Me too…..

But that is not how I want to go into the holiday weekend…. I want to be able to enjoy this weekend, and spend good time with my family, enjoy a nice meal, and blow the dust of this closed off heart I have been carrying around as of late and try to figure out how I am going to change my perspective a little…..

I am trying to find room for gratitude…..

So let’s start at the beginning… the basics…. I am um, er, thankful for my unhealth.  No, I mean it – I honestly do.  I NEED to be thankful for my health because if I think I have it bad, all I have to do is take a look around… with open eyes… and then I realize that my illnesses are chronic, not terminal.  I might wake up with horrible pain every single day… but the fact is, I wake up.  And with each day comes an opportunity for change.

I am also thankful for my family…. oh lordy am I ever grateful for my family….  Maybe THAT should have been the first on my list.  I have a gorgeous son who loves me like no other…. I have my supportive and honorable man…. I have BOTH my Mom and Dad, and they are not just my parents, but my best friends… I have my sister, my niece, my furry babies…. I am blessed…

I also have my Graceful Agony family… that is one blessing that I didn’t have last year!  Can you believe that I started this blog just this past January?  I have only been at this for 10 months!!  I also have my family over on our facebook support group… 200 PEOPLE TO BE EXACT!!!  And I feel like I have made some life-long relationships here.  You all keep me going through rough spells…. You encourage and support me each and every day… You cry with me, share my load when it gets too heavy to carry on my own… YOU are more than just my friends, I consider you all my family as well.  I am forever grateful…

Sure, there are a lot of things I am NOT grateful for at the moment, I am not going to lie.  But as I write this I am finding more and more room for gratitude…

I have a roof over my head,

Food on my table,

Love in my heart,

a scooter to ride 😉

I have had the ability to enter your lives,

and you have not only come into mine,

but you have changed me… and I am grateful….

So for today, I am purposefully making room for all those blessings in my life… and I hope you will too…

What are you making room for today?

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“I am so cold” I remember saying, as I followed my Mom into her bedroom….. My teeth were chattering in the middle of July.  I was chilled to the bone and uncomfortably so, yet I needed to strip the navy blue suit off me.  The gold piping along my pockets seemed too garish for such an occasion.  “Take it off” my Mom said “I will give you something to put on”.  She handed me an old sweatshirt and sweatpants and I put them on and climbed onto my parent’s bed, covering up with a blanket… I didn’t think that icy feeling would ever go away…..

We had just come from my Brother’s funeral.

And I was empty.

My brother was gone.

And so was I, or at least it felt that way.

Dave passed away two weeks after my 25th birthday, and I was ill-prepared for such an all-encompassing sadness.  I remember running on auto-pilot the first few days after his death, but as the funeral came to an end, and life around me just went on… I lost my place in this world.  Life indeed went on without me.  My friends still went to work, and still went for drinks on a Friday night…. My Boss still expected that I come into work each day…. There were still bills to pay, food to cook, toilets to clean…. and I still had a wedding to attend… MY WEDDING… but I couldn’t do any of it.  I couldn’t even form a solid thought in my head… all I felt was EMPTY.

That day turned into 3, and I hadn’t yet taken off those sweatpants….  I cried all night long, and my days were filled with anything that would numb me out – I started watching soap operas… LOTS of soap operas…. and I began to knit LONG swatches of fabric, only to rip them out violently and start all over again.  Food meant nothing to me, having my hair done meant nothing to me…. time meant nothing to me….  I initially crawled into the rabbit’s hole to protect myself, but I kept creeping further into darkness until I couldn’t find my way out.

I pulled myself together long enough to walk down the aisle… I looked very put together that day – smiling, hugging, playing the quintessential hostess, but inside was a different matter entirely.

I pulled myself together long enough to go on my honeymoon, and come home with stories to tell…. and then I promptly fell apart.

I never went back to work.

My thoughts were no longer my own.

The darkness went from old friend to evil foe….

I admitted that I was on a runaway train headed for nowhere…

I admitted that I was powerless to my depression

I spent the next 8 months getting help.

I always looked back on that time as the most life-changing period of my life.  As time went on, and both medication and therapy helped me grieve over the loss of my brother, I began to find myself again.  It was hard for me to accept that the ME I was had been forever changed, but I learned to like the new ‘me’.  I eventually climbed out of that  hole, and into the land of the living again…  but part of me lived in fear that the darkness would eventually come back…

and it did…. 6 years later,

When I became ill.

Once you have been depressed, you never forget the feeling.  But it has a way of slowly sneaking up on you and ever so lightly putting its arm around you like a long-lost friend.  The isolation can be inviting when you are overwhelmed with life – the empty room lures you in, and then LOCKS you in…. It makes you thinks that the choice is yours, that you can come and go as you please…. and then it binds and gags you and renders you helpless. IT decides how long it will stay…

When depression first hit, I let it control my every breath… when it hit the second time I wasn’t that willing to hand over my life… I fought hard….

and it was ugly,

and it was vicious,

and it was all I could do to keep waking up each morning and fighting all over again…. but I did it.

And I keep doing it…just  because chronic pain and depression are friends with one another doesn’t mean they are friends of mine.

My pain would like me to end the fight.  My pain would like me to surrender.  My pain would like me to jump back into the rabbit’s hole…. but I won’t give it that kind of satisfaction.

Although I cannot control those feelings from entering my life, I DO have a say in how long they stay.

Pain has taken away a lot…. but I won’t let it take away my happiness.

You know what they say….

Living well is the best revenge…

and it is the way I choose to attack the darkness.

I am human, and still get depressed from time to time, but I know now that I don’t have to let it control my life.

Depression is a chronic illness, but it doesn’t have to be a terminal illness.

There will always be darkness, but it is up to me to let in the light.

I have been house-bound for the last 10 years, but I no longer watch soap operas… I have more useful things to do with my life…

And just so you know, I have thrown away those sweatpants my Mom gave me years ago…

I don’t need them anymore.

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This week (September 5th – 11th) is National Suicide Prevention Week.

The World Suicide Prevention Day is this coming Friday, September 10th.

This is a cause very close to my heart for many reasons.  In the Chronic Pain world it is common knowledge that more often than not  depressions goes hand in hand with chronic pain. Statistics would lead us to believe that those who suffer from chronic pain and/or chronic illness have a higher risk of attempting and completing one’s desire to end their life.  It is sad…. and I believe it is needless.  If those who suffer chronically were to be treated properly and with respect – both medically and personally, I believe that this risk would lessen.

WASHINGTON (Oct. 27, 2009) A photo illustratio...

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When I first became ill and my life fell to pieces, I suffered from severe depression.  It wasn’t the first time in my life that I had to fight the demons in my head – but it was the most all-encompassing and debilitating depression I have ever experienced.  I completely lost myself… literally.  I became a stranger to myself, and couldn’t find any resemblance of who I used to be.  Every inch of my body became foreign to me… I doubted every reaction, every thought… And with a life-long diagnosis I lost all hope of ever finding myself again.

I can admit now that I was far more depressed than I ever let on… I was more depressed than I could admit to myself.  The only way I could describe it is that it felt quite a bit similar to me as when my brother died.  I don’t know if anyone one could understand that at the time, I don’t know if I truly understood it either.  Looking back I now know that I was grieving – grieving over the loss of the ‘old’ me combined with an overwhelming anger that I shouldn’t have to.  I didn’t want to let go of the ‘healthy’ me.  I was scared to let go.

Although a lot of that time is now a blur to me – a foggy whirlwind…. a darkness that numbed my senses…. I do remember many internal conversations with myself that I truly thought my family would be better off without me.  I remember feeling like the perpetrator, my family being the victim of my pain.  I remember trying to convince myself that I could never be the mother I wanted to be… I felt all alone… I felt misunderstood… I felt overwhelmed… and I didn’t know if I could face life anymore… and that is when the thoughts of suicide came creeping in….

The thought of this now is so disturbing to me, it fills me with that feeling all over again.  It makes me want to cry for the woman I used to be.  Nobody should ever have to feel that way.  Nobody should ever feel like suicide is a valid option or good solution to any problem.  Our lives are worth so much more than that….

Our lives are worth so much more than we ever realize…..

YOUR life is worth more than YOU will ever realize….

72.365 purpose for the pain & world suicide pr...
I am one of the lucky ones who had family that were constantly reaching out to help me, listen to me, and to love me unconditionally.  When I couldn’t stand on my own two feet I had my parents to lift me up.  I wasn’t judged for who I was or how I felt and I knew that, so it made it much easier to be truthful with how I was feeling.  Between that and the guidance of some earthly angels who crossed my path at the time I was able to admit that I needed help.  I spoke to my Doctor at the time, and got some help.
I won’t say it was as easy as just making the decision to get help – because it wasn’t.  But that was the hardest part for me – admitting to myself and to others than I just couldn’t carry this weight on my own any longer.  I had always found pride conquering life on my own, but as ‘they’ say – No man is an island… me included.
I spent close to two years on an anti-depressant medication while working closely with a Psychologist who specializes in Chronic Pain.  Slowly I began to let go of the fear that was controlling my life at the time.  I let myself grieve over the ‘body’ I once had, and learned to separate THAT from the ME I am inside… The real ME.  Through the process I not only learned to accept who I am – I learned to love myself, something I don’t think I ever did before.
There is a National Movement advertised on Facebook today that I wanted to share.  It is asking that you use your forearm to send a message.  the part of your body that is associated with ‘a way out’ in terms of suicide can become a canvas today to spread a message of hope…. simply…. LOVE.
It symbolizes not only the compassion you have for others, but the compassion we all need to have for ourselves.  LOVE – a simple 4-letter word that has a definition greater than the sum of its parts.
It symbolizes hope….
Hope that tomorrow won’t be as dark as today,
Hope that the pain you feel, both physically and emotionally has a cure,
Hope that one day guns, razor blades, ropes and pills will be used for
what they were intended, and not instruments to bring the end to some,
and to others a lifetime of excruciating pain.

Today please take the time to spread a little LOVE in your life.  No matter how you do it, it is so much more powerful that you think.

And if you are someone who is suffering from depression, or you know someone who is –

Please know that Depression is a very valid and debilitating illness, an INVISIBLE ILLNESS…

And like Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Diabetes, or Cancer…

The first step is getting a proper diagnosis.

The second step…. is treatment.

Please know that you are not alone.

Pick up the phone, call a suicide hotline, your doctor, or a friend or family member you love and trust and ask for help.

Believe me, it will be the best decision you ever make for yourself.

There is hope.  I know there is.

I am still here.  And I am so thankful for second chances.

Millions of people suffer from Chronic Pain – some is housed in our bodies, but some is housed in our hearts.

And Suicide is NOT treatment for this pain,

LIFE is.

**If you are reading this anywhere other than www.gracefulagony.wordpress.com it is because this post has been stolen.  Please click on the link provided to return to the site of origin

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