Onward I Go

I am blessed. . . a middle ground has emerged. I am beginning to feel better with a lot of help from a couple of different sources. I had a massage, and thought I was going to die the following day as my body was filled with toxins and poison. But I didn’t. And then I went to see a wonderful chiropractor yesterday and again today. I am experiencing more range of motion and less pain overall!

The most exciting part for me is that I am now able to continue forward with my plans to go to Chicago and participate as fully as I can in The Overnight! During the time when I felt that I might not be able to go, I was greatly discouraged. I was concerned about the people who had so kindly supported me and have been there with me through each peak and valley of my fundraising and awareness efforts. I did not want to disappoint them, and I still do not. Feeling that kind of discouragement and frustration is something that most with a chronic illness such as Fibromyalgia can relate to. As a friend of mine said to me today, “we must continue to make plans though, because if we don’t make plans then we have given up hope” and I agree completely. But it is so disappointing when we have to cancel or change those plans.

Often my friends or family experience a lot of frustration when I have to change plans because my body has decided to go on strike. Quite frequently what they don’t realize is that I am just as upset about the change. It is certainly inconvenient for others when I am not able to hold up my end and when I have to switch plans at last minute, it is inconvenient for all . . .

But I am just thankful that this time, it is working out for me to go, to hold up my end, although it may be a bit modified. I most likely will not be walking the entire length of the walk (18-20 miles!) . . . in fact I will probably have to go to the hotel and rest in the middle of the night in order to be a part of the ceremonies on each end of the walk, but this is part of the deal. If I am going to go forward, I can’t send my body backwards and remove all of the progress I have made in the last few days by over-doing. I have to respect my limits, even if it is hard to do so, even if it is uncomfortable and awkward. But onward I go . . . and I am truly blessed to be able to.

Each person that has offered help, support, donations, prayers and guidance through these past few weeks has a very special place in my heart and they are going to be with me for every part of this event. I can imagine the people that are far away, those not able to be there but would like to, hand in hand with me and so many others, as we move out of the darkness together.

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If you would like to follow my adventure in Chicago and as I participate in the events surrounding and during The Out of the Darkness Overnight please follow me on twitter, my name on twitter is Abeeliever. I will be tweeting from the event and giving lots of updates! You can read more about why I am participating at http://tinyurl.com/nomoredark.

Choose Wisely

This is the great conundrum facing most who live with illness such as Fibromyalgia . . .” What do I give up so that I can be well or feel well? and What do I take on despite the ill effects it will have on me?”

Every single day of life living with Fibromyalgia I find I must weigh these questions, I must ask myself this and I must choose, often between things that are quite important to myself and others. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic, but it can feel worthy of drama from time to time. This is one of those times.

For weeks, I have been working towards and setting my eyes on the prize of going to Chicago for The Out of the Darkness Overnight walk this coming weekend. It is a huge event to me and carries great symbolic and practical meaning for me. As I began my fundraising efforts for the walk and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I quickly found that fundraising can be challenging and a unique experience. I found that it was not an easy task, and every single donation mattered greatly to me. With each donation comes a person’s belief in me and what I am doing, working to prevent suicide and promote awareness. With each donation came a personal boost, a feel good moment, knowing that I am working for good and helping a great cause. As the donations have come in and as they have added up recently to meeting the goal I wasn’t sure that I would meet, my health has been declining.

In the last two weeks I have faced pain like none I have experienced before in my journey with Fibromyalgia. I believe it started after a time of great stress and a night out dancing (I only danced to two songs, but apparently my body felt like it was much more). A couple days of feeling sore and extra fatigue was something I could handle and thought would disappear in a short amount of time. But next I made a change in my medication, as prescribed, and then came the real pain. Apparently decreasing this medication sent my body into a serious “flare” or irritated state, bringing with it muscle spasms and kinks and knots in quite possibly every section of muscle that works in my neck, shoulders, upper and mid-back sections of my body. It has been grueling to say the least. It is constant, sometimes moving around from one place to another, and often causing further pain in my head and other parts of my body due to the tension. I will refrain from further complaint, but let’s just say it’s been bad.

I woke this morning to some relief in my head from the horrendous headache I had all day yesterday and I was very thankful. I made my way to the computer and found myself greeted by a wonderful gift. A donation had been made that brought be to my fundraising goal! Whoa, I had not expected that and I was ecstatic to discover it.  But quickly, my happiness and delight was dampened by the realization that the likelihood of being able to travel this weekend to Chicago is growing quite slim. I am certainly not able to fully participate in the walking part of the walk at this stage. And the choice I had previously made to accept whatever hardship came from walking in the walk is now not as easy to take as my health is in a much different place than anticipated. I am faced with yet another big and important choice.

I am unable to make this decision today, for I believe that good things may come in the next couple of days. I believe that healing can take place and that a possibility remains for me to travel. I believe in the body’s miraculous ability to heal and also that God is working in my life in so many obvious ways. I must wait a while to decide what to do. . .

The prospect of not going leaves me feeling nothing short of despair and grief. That may sound or be dramatic, but true. The thought of letting so many down who have placed their belief in me and in what I have decided to stand for, pains me to the point of feeling nauseous. Making these kinds of choices never gets easier. It seems no matter how many times I have to practice this or make some kind of choice like this, when I end up having to choose rest rather than participation, I always feel sadness and a sense of failure. It seems inevitable. I would like to say that choosing rest is honoring ones self and that it is necessary, and that in no way am I a “loser” or failure if I have to do so, but the truth is, it feels just the opposite.

I know the truth is that we must make smart and healthy decisions for ourselves, and like I said, I have not yet made a final decision about this trip. I would like anyone reading to know that I do believe in taking care of your body and not overdoing it so that one can feel well and fully participate in life. I believe that making choices like this seems unfair, but as the saying goes “Life is not fair.” And, I still must make a choice.

Good Born from Bad

It seems to be a rule more than the exception, although it is often hard to see. Good things are so often born from bad. We receive devastating news of a death or illness and we can’t imagine how life could ever feel normal again. We might be in an accident and it seems our life will never be okay as we suffer pain and new limitations. We make poor choices that lead to tough consequences and we feel hopeless for the future.

But often, around the bend, maybe it is weeks or months or sometimes even years, something beautiful comes about in our life as an obvious and direct result of the “bad”.

I’m sure you have experienced this before. But it seems when we are in the midst of the challenge or facing the tough circumstances in our life, it is very hard to see the potential for good or even care for that matter, as we are suffering at that time. I often find myself wondering “how” and “why” when things are feeling insurmountable or overwhelming. But when a truly good thing comes about, and I can link it to the “bad thing”, it is like a symbol of rebirth. It reminds me that God is all about bringing the beauty out of the dark. And it is important for me to recognize it, for these things, these symbols, can go all too easily unrecognized.

As a person who has attempted to take my own life in the past, it would be obvious that the despair and darkness surrounding an incident like that would be negative, but there is one beautiful thing in my life today, and in fact there are many, that has come from surviving and is quite evident that it is directly linked to it. That beautiful thing is a new friendship.

This friendship is with a friend I have met on twitter and her name is Nora. She and I met because of our participation in the upcoming Out of the Darkness Overnight walk. Our paths have crossed and somehow we have connected and begun a special friendship. We share two different sides of the same coin. Nora has lost a very close and best friend to suicide and I have been one who has attempted suicide. We share a shift in perspective and a passion for a cause, we share pain and we share a love for others, as we both want the pain to stop for our loved ones, for ourselves,  and for all whose lives are affected by the devastation that the issue of suicide brings with it. It is an amazing gift, in the midst of something “bad”.

Nora has done an amazing work in her fundraising efforts (largely through support of others on twitter) and I encourage you to visit her fundraising page and read about why she is walking in The Overnight. And by all means, support her efforts financially if you are led to or able! You can also visit my fundraising page and read more about why I choose to walk in this event and there is also the option to support my fundraising efforts there as well. (I have a $1000 goal to meet with a handful of days left, any and all support is greatly appreciated!)

We have a common goal, Nora and I, and it is to raise awareness and prevent suicide. We are joined by our desire to heal and to share healing with others. We are joined by grief, loss and tragedy, but we are also joined now by laughter, shared moments, and memories in the making!

I am in awe, again, of how true, pure, and real good, often comes from those things that feel so bad.

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A Bird for You!

I have been inspired to take my efforts and desire to be a part of The Overnight to a new level!

As you may already know, the concept of suicide prevention is very near and dear to me. I have  a tender heart towards the mental health community and just about all aspects of it. And yes, it is widely because it affects me personally.

I have contended with the “black dog” of depression and it’s continuous bite since a very young age. I fight daily to make healthier choices and to live a more beautiful life despite the mental health issues of depression, anxiety, ptsd, etc. I don’t always doing well, but I am still doing it. Having suffered from depression for so many years, it has led me down an often dark and dreary path. That path has led me to a place where I have attempted to take my own life on a couple of different occasions. The pain and despair that I have visited there, I wish for no one. The loss of a loved one to suicide, I wish for no one. (I also, have lost a family member to suicide)

I believe that it is possible to reduce the staggering statistics, a person dies by suicide once every 16 minutes in the United States (www.afsp.org), by spreading awareness and talking about this issue. This is why I care and I why I want to be a part of The Overnight at the end of this month. I want to help this cause, and help to save others from pain.

If you follow the link provided for The Overnight you will find out just how cool and powerful this event is. Also, it is a special challenge to me because I will be walking with the chronic pain of Fibromyalgia with me as well. This walk will not be easy and getting there is proving to be no easy task as well! I need to raise $1000 in order to fulfill my commitment to the walk and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (so far I have raised $281). I also need to purchase a plane ticket and make arrangements for hotel accommodations. These are not difficult arrangements to make, but the logistics are challenging financially and for my family. The walk is quickly approaching (June 27th) and I am praying for God’s hand and yours to help me to be a part of this event and the amazing efforts that are taking place to bring dignity to those who suffer as a result of this issue, as well as helping to save the lives of those who might attempt to take their life in the future.

In my effort to show my enthusiasm, and as symbol of gratitude to the friends and “family” I have on twitter, I have decided that I will get a permanent tattoo in the likeness of the twitter bird, if I reach my goal due to the help and participation of you, those who “follow” me or know me as a result of twitter. IF, one particular individual has the means and desire to fund the entire last portion of what is needed to meet my goal (approx $720 as of now), I will gladly allow that individual to pick the placement of the tattoo, all within reason, of coarse (no tattoos on my forehead, face, or places otherwise known as “private”).

I will be the one to decide the size of the tattoo and the exact design of the tattoo itself. I will post pictures and possibly some video as I get the tattoo, so that all will have an opportunity to see! I will also be “twittering” from The Overnight and bringing the experience to you in as many ways as I can. I feel that this goal is most certainly attainable, but I do need your help. I can’t do this without you!

To help me and to visit my fundraising page just go to this link: http://www.tinyurl.com/nomoredark.

What fun it would be to do this together, as a community in support of such a great cause!

(I have to say, that I have already received several generous and kind donations from friends on twitter, I am inspired and in awe of the kindness and generosity I see there daily. I have also been the recipient of “airtime” via @scooprandell and @perthtones to promote the walk. Thank You so much for your support!)

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