Listening to the Right Voice

So often we hear a voice that is all our own, but is not speaking truth. Thoughts that seep into our life and minds, thoughts of our weakness, unworthiness or inadequacy can be so sneaky. They can become a part our day to day thinking, more than a random thought now and then.

When these thoughts become all we know, it can seem impossible to believe anything different, and that is why we must identify these thoughts and the fact that they are lies. Any voice that creates self-doubt or loathing is simply not true, but accepting that and recognizing it can be difficult. We have lived with the lies for so long, that seeing their fallacy is harder than believing the real truth.

I want to propose that there is an inherent truth within you, in each of us, that we can tap into. Sometimes it can take a process, or even many processes to discover our truths. I credit BreakThrough (see Heart Connexion Ministries for more info on that and please do not hesitate to ask me questions) as a major source of discovery for me, in learning some of the most important truths that reside within me.

I participated in this process (BreakThrough) almost 2 years ago, and I am still learning how to claim my truths in daily living. I am spending a lot of energy these days thinking about my truths, what they are and proclaiming them. I am finding it essential to my well-being to call the truths out and repeat them to myself regularly. I am not being shy about it either, you may see me on Twitter or Facebook randomly affirming myself.

I recommend that once you hear these lies and notice that they are present, that’s exactly when you must squash them. You may not know exactly what to do with them, but you can fill yourself with good thoughts and replace the negative voice with the voice of truth. For some that voice can be found in Scriptures, for some that voice may be found in simple positive affirmations. For some, it is a combination. The voice of truth for me comes from the knowledge that God loves me whole and completely, no matter what, and it also comes from the knowledge that I have obtained, through self-discovery about who I am at the very core of me, and who I want to be.

So who am I?

I am brave.

I am adventurous.

I am joyful.

I am a woman worth loving.

I am strong.

I am loving and kind.

I am compassionate.

I am enough.

I am intelligent.

I am capable.

I am a source of positive energy.

I am passionate.

I am inquisitive.

I am an explorer.

I am beautiful. (that one is really still hard to type, to be honest)

I am valuable.

I am worth it.

I am creative.

I am artistic.

I am okay.

Who are  you? Who are you telling yourself you are? Are you listening to the right voice?

I have often and still battle with listening to the wrong voice, but by proclaiming and claiming the truth, I come to believe it. Chronic illness and mental health issues, they can rob us of our identity, and then we forget who we truly are. Trauma, life challenges, rejection, they can all diminish the clarity with which we hear the right voice or worse, replace all the truth with lies. I encourage you, while I practice this myself, to listen hard for the truth and even if you don’t hear it, seek it out and proclaim it for yourself.

A dear friend of mine reminded me of this song today, even if you are not a Christian, I think you will find it powerful as we all search for the Voice of Truth.

Searching Spaces

Looking for my space

A comfortable nook, a cozy spot

Where dreams are clear and true.

 

I sit here and imagine

My place of passion and of peace

Coming together with painless beauty.

 

A niche for me

Where I belong and I am free

Where I know that I am needed.

 

I float along on coatails

Looking for my space

Waiting to create what is just mine

 

So that I can share it with you.

 

 

 

Funky Fibromyalgia Sensory Symptoms

Most of us fibromyalgia folk, and the people acquainted with us, understand that we have pain and fatigue. While really truly understanding the pain and fatigue might still be elusive, generally speaking it is a given. But are people aware of all of the other fun symptoms that seem to go hand in hand with fibro?

Even those of us diagnosed with the syndrome may not really know what to attribute some of our symptoms to. It’s especially difficult when you had certain symptoms prior to developing fibromyalgia or to receiving a diagnosis. Some of us have had other diagnosis, too, that seem to explain the symptoms. But who knows… could the fibromyalgia be causing it now?

My 5 year journey (approaching 6) with this ugly illness has given me a wide variety of experience with ailments. A strange burning sensation that runs down my arms at times, (it’s like someone is drawing a line down my arm with a hot poker!), intolerance of loud noise and very little tolerance of chaos of any kind, forgetfulness, the “fog”, headaches, hot sensations on my face, burning sensations on my ears, all of these funky things can happen (and the list can go on) but some can be explained by an assortment of ailments. From imbalanced hormones to pinched nerves to lumping it all together as fibro, there is no telling where it is all coming from. Add in other issues like PTSD, depression, anxiety and…seriously, who can make sense of this human puzzle?

Well, thank goodness there are people who are trying to figure it all out. I just read an article from the Fibromyalgia Network titled, “Is Sensory Overload Part of Your Fibro?” (I suppose it would simplify things to know that it was.) The article discusses the possibility that in addition to an extra sensitivity to pain, fibromyalgia patients might also have a heightened sensitivity to sensory experiences, which really, makes sense to me. If one part of our neurological system has become extra-sensitive, why wouldn’t all of it?

I am not sure if it is more of a correlative effect versus causative, but there definitely seems to be a relationship. Sensory symptoms listed in the article include: numbness and tingling sensations in extremities, swelling sensations, burning skin, sensitivity to loud sounds, sensitivity to odors, sensitivity to bright lights, and burning eyes. Researchers at the University of Michigan have demonstrated that the pain levels of fibromyalgia are directly tied to these other sensory symptoms. They found that those with more of these kinds of sensory type symptoms experience higher levels of pain.

The article concludes that treatments aimed at buffering these sensory experiences may be beneficial in reducing pain levels. So the research continues…

Whatever the cause of these funky and seemingly unrelated symptoms, I believe every little thing that we as fibromyalgia sufferers can eliminate from our repertoire of pain is one step closer to a more beautiful life. I am interested in learning more about how to lessen the nuisances and dull the pain, how about you? Turns out that my friend Felicia (aka Felicia Fibro) has a blog post that touches on how she deals with a lot of these symptoms herself: Sensitivities. I found it to be a resourceful post and her site is wonderful, go check it out!

What do you think? Do you experience a lot of sensory disturbances and symptoms? Do you think it is directly linked to fibromyalgia or to a completely separate condition?

I Just Want to Be Okay

I feel shattered. I feel broken all apart and as if my pieces are scattered around. Perhaps the pieces are scattered in mysterious places all over the world and it is going to be one torturous scavenger hunt to find them all and put me back together.

Like so many who battle mental health issues and living with chronic illness like fibromyalgia, I have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks. It feels like I may share frequently that things are tough, because they are… the last 5 + years of living with this diagnosis of fibromyalgia have been trying, at times horrific. Yet, I have had countless moments of joy and beauty in the midst of it all. If nothing else, I pray that my times of sharing the struggle only illuminate more brightly the beautiful moments I am able to share.

The image I have chosen for my new blog header is much like the image I started with when I first began blogging. It was another image of shattered glass. It was broken but still beautiful.  It reminded me of the broken beauty that I behold, that life holds within it’s palm even during the most difficult of times. This new header image is much like the first except this one is illuminated, it glows with a soft and tender light. I hope that I too will glow with that kind of light as the cracks, my broken pieces, are visible, yet lovely in their own right.

So here I am tonight, feeling emotionally smashed. While I am unsure of how I will put the pieces together, I am holding on to the knowledge that I will regain my composure. I just don’t know when. Please don’t misunderstand me… I look alright on the outside. I am still functioning, although not at optimum. Only my closest friends and those who really know me well are likely aware that I have come into this dark place. Those who know my circumstances, the challenges, and are able to understand life with chronic illness truly get it, and those numbers are few. (Additionally, know that I am seeking the help and support that I need to be healthy and safe.)

But I have to share with you… you need to be made aware when I reach my lows so that you can see me rise up again and know that you can do it too. When I stumble and scrape my knees, it’s okay for me to show you my bumps and bruises, my bloodied knees … because in time I will heal.

Today I heard this song for the first time (“Be OK”) and it speaks volumes to how I feel right now, but it also gives me hope and relief. Perhaps you will feel some of the same as you watch and listen.

Waiting for My Spring

Flowers in the Park
Image by john faherty photography via Flickr

Looking into the gray sky and out into my yard, I see barren trees and snow still covering the majority of the lawn’s dormant grass. I see a depletion of life. I see emptiness.

What I can’t see is the force of nature, the pure power of something divine at work, the behind the scenes goings on of the part of the world that man does not control. I can’t see that life is waiting for the right time to burst forth from the ground, from the twigs and vines that currently appear all but dead. I can’t see the colors of the foliage, the flowers and the grasses that will in a matter of weeks paint our days in the Midwest.

I wonder if what we cannot see in nature during this season is comparable to what I cannot see within myself right now.

What lies dormant within me as I work to get through this very stressful season of life? What is quietly waiting for just the right moment to burst forth? While my body and mind are covered by the cold of Winter, what might be in store when the warmth comes? What will thaw and be released as a result?

People often cover their hearts in a protective, icy shield as a result of hurt or pain. Perhaps there is a way to thaw that shield and release some of the beauty underneath? My mom reminded me of a quote she heard on Oprah yesterday, “Hurt people, hurt people.” That reminds me of how very much we all need each other’s warmth and tenderness.  In an effort to help thaw any iciness that may have developed or to help keep the cold away.

I know that underneath the surface of my being there are beautiful things brewing, waiting to spring forth. I believe I was created to come into a new season of living, to experience and demonstrate a beautiful life.  Not just on occasion, but all of the time.

I wonder what colors I will see as I bloom? What new patterns of living will burst through the soil of my pain? Can you imagine your life as a Spring garden? What stage or state is it in? Does it needing tending, does the soil need to be prepared? Is the earth hard from a very cold season?

As we deal with physical and/or emotional pain I wonder if  we can look at that as a time of mending our soil? The pain is often overwhelming, but when we see the hope of a Spring to come it can become more bearable.