This is an example of the kind of thing I eat every morning. Its a beetroot, rockmelon, watercress, ginger, mint, magnesium powder, super green powder, protein powder smoothie with some kind of super grains mix, tahini and blueberries. (This is rather tame compared to when I was making bone broth porridge...)
And this is a post declaring something publicly that until now I have just mentioned to people privately.
I have a chronic health condition. A few months ago I got a Fibromyalgia diagnosis, which so far has made more sense than the arm long list of other things, myself or my doctors thought I might have. Now, I study and practice holistic health and so my perspective on health and wellbeing perhaps differs to that of the mainstream. ('OMG Bianca. You have beliefs that differ from the mainstream!?')
In the end, it doesn't matter all that much what my diagnosis is. Practitioners from different traditions would see it through their own lens and that doesn't change what's going on in me, it's just a different way of looking at it.
I'd like to tell you a little bit about what it's like to be me, with the health picture that I have. This is similar to many people I know with Fibro and it's also completely different. We are all different so don't assume your friend down the street who also has Fibro is going through what I go through, or give them advice based on what works for me. Or vice versa for that matter. I know that taking zinc upside down in the shower is all your aunt Beryl needed to fix her Fibro, but trust me... there's few things people with chronic health issues find more tedious than being told the same piece of advice which, chances are (if you've been living with chronic illness for over a decade like I have) you probably already tried a while ago. Now don't get me wrong. If you know something you think I might not, please go ahead and share that with me. But don't be one of those jerks that has never had more than the flu, has never studied health, shares something they heard and then, instead of listening to what I (or the person with the health issue) has to say, tries to convince me/them that it is actually THE thing that will fix it all.
Ahem. Now that's out of the way...
What's it like? Well, the biggest reason I don't always talk about it is because that's a really tough question to answer. It's sort of like asking 'What is it like to live in Australia?' Well...I can tell you what my days in Australia look like but I've been living here for so long and there's SO many other factors going on that aren't there because they are typically Australian, that I just wouldn't know where to draw the line. I guess the Hills Hoist of the Fibro world is chronic pain. The Vegemite is brain fuzz or 'Fibro Fog' and maybe the Victor lawn mower is anxiety or hypoglycemia or fatigue or sensitivity to smells or touch or sound or light. I don't know. I'm already getting anxious about how none of that even makes sense!
I look after myself well. Apart from eating like a health nut cliche I've also been going to the gym fairly religiously for the past year. I don't drink alcohol or take drugs, I see a counsellor on and off and go to appointments with doctors and alternative health practitioners. I always feel like I could do more, but I'm letting go of the idea that if I'm just 'perfect' everything will be fixed. I'm also, conversely, totally grateful to have been given this issue to deal with in life. It's taken me down roads and given me gifts I probably would not have otherwise. I can put my hands on or near someone and see/sense what's going on in their bodies (emotional, physical, spiritual, mental..) and I have incredible empathic power and sensitivity with the strong desire to create positive change, possibly stemming from my own understanding of suffering. Some of that may have been there regardless, but I think it's added something too.
Now, the point of this post has really been to hone in on what it means to be telling you all this. All 5 people who are actually reading this. I want you to know this is something going on in my life, because to some of you it's really hard to imagine that the girl who eats really well and exercises could be feeling 'unwell' today. A lot of you know this about me already, but some don't and explaining this thing over and over is exhausting in itself and I kind of just wish that maybe the illness wasn't so invisible. So that people who I haven't given the whole spiel to, would just know. Explaining is fine, but it feels tedious, a lot of folk find it boring to even listen to and don't understand or remember. I get into awkward positions where I can't do a task like help someone carry something or stick to a scheduled time or activity. Then I feel guilty about that or worry that the person will think I'm lazy, not generous or don't care about them and just can't be f@cked. Some people even believe I'm making it all up. (I have no time for those people.)
So please, DON'T assume those things and for the love of GOD/ESS don't take it personally. I don't want to start feeling guilty that my need to rest or inability talk to you for a while is making you think I don't like you or whatever else. I might not be able to help you carry something. Chances are my strength would allow me to but the effect it would have on my pain, joints etc wouldn't. I may need to adjust our plans at the last minute or not want to confirm plans until the last minute, so I don't have to change them on you and seem flaky. I may get up and sit or lay down randomly during your talk or workshop. I may adjust my breathing or start stretching and massaging random parts of my body while you're talking to me. I may not be able to stop and chat in the hallway while I'm holding my shopping. I may complain or I may pretend I'm fine when that's not totally true.
I don't know if this has been useful to anyone. I hope it has. Ultimately it's useful to me because feeling like more people know, feels like a relief to me. Maybe I can feel a little less guilty next time someone wants me to do something I say no to, or I take other self care measures. Maybe I've helped someone understand someone else they know who suffers from a chronic health issue, better. Maybe you have questions and that's fine. If you want me to answer anything, please contact me. This is an open forum for that. I much prefer doing this stuff in advance than having to do it in the middle of you moving house or while I can barely string 2 words together.
Take care and enjoy the berry season!!