You’re still sick?

During my CBT session this week we talked for a little while about the fact that it’s almost three years since I got sick and flew home from Dubai. It’s funny because leading up to the 1 year/2 year milestone I was very hung up on dates and times whereas this past year I have focussed very much on the here and now, taking each day as it comes. But it just naturally cropped up with something we were talking about and it really felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.

Isn’t it funny how such a small thought can up root so many feelings and emotions? I mean, nothing is going to change just because it’s coming up to three years, it was just saying it out loud felt like it was a really long time. And it is. However, this time, I had a little tear over it but was able to chalk it down to, yep, it sucks but you know what, it is what it is and time passes whether you feel sad about it or not.

The thing that I am struggling with at the moment however, is feeling like I have to justify myself a lot more. In my CBT session we talked about how someone had asked me recently if I felt like I was getting better. People, see me out or posting online, see me smiling and happy and coping slightly better with things that perhaps I wouldn’t have a few months back. But, I honestly didn’t know what to say. Yes, I feel like I am taking steps forward but am I feeling ‘better?’ No, not really. And that’s why I love my CBT sessions because my therapist was able to explain something in a way I hadn’t thought about it before.

She totally understands my life living with ME. She doesn’t think it’s in my head, she doesn’t think I’m a weak female and she’s always honest with me. She’s never ignored the fact that it is a chronic illness, one that has no known cure or treatment and one which I will live with, most probably, for the rest of my life. However, when we started talking about me ‘getting better,’ she explained it like this: She has asthma. She can live her life because she’s put things in place that help her to do this i.e. medication, exercise and a healthy diet. If she were to take these things away, her asthma would become worse and she wouldn’t be able to manage her symptoms and wouldn’t be able to continue with her daily life. This is the same for most chronic illnessess. I am able to manage my symptoms better now. I am kinder to myself and follow my set targets to the letter because I know that if I push those boundaries, I am going to suffer and I am going to suffer badly.

If I were to take away all the strategies, medications and methods I have in place, I would be back at square one. Well, maybe not square one but pretty close. My life has changed forever, I will always have to be aware of stressful situations, not pushing myself too much and keeping a very close eye on what my body tells me. That doesn’t not mean I am lazy. That does not mean I don’t want to work. That doesn’t not mean I don’t want to be independent. That doesn’t not mean I want to miss social events. It means that I am managing my chronic illness on a daily basis in order to live an improved version of the life ME took from me. But, as always, don’t always be fooled by my smile and the words, “I’m fine.” I push myself and I show up because I refuse to let this illness beat me,that doesn’t mean I’m better.

It’s funny, some of you may know that my eyelashes are growing back and, even if I do say so myself, they are pretty damn gorgeous! But to some people it has indicated that I am on the road to full recovery. Nope. My alopecia is unrelated to ME. Yes, it is an auto immune disease but just because my body is producing hair again does not equal me recovering from ME. Indeed, it most certainly makes me feel better in myself and has grown my confidence but it hasn’t stopped my constant fatigue, joint and muscular pain, light and noise sensitivity, pins and needles, insomnia… do I need to go on?

I’m not complaining here, I think I am more at peace now with my situation than I’ve ever been. It doesn’t stop me from having hours, days or weeks where I feel utterly devastated by what’s happening to me but this is my life. I only get one chance so therefore I need to appreciate it, smile and ignore the people who question if I’m still ill or not. I posted a quote on my Instagram the other day which struck a chord with me: It doesn’t matter if your glass is half full or half empty…be grateful that you have a glass and that there’s something in it.

Have a fab weekend.

#hairlesshannah

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One Second a Day

So here we are, 2018…how’s it going so far?! It’s been pretty drizzly, grey and windy here which always makes these dark January days harder to cope with.

One of the things I struggled with at several points last year was keeping positive. It’s hard to maintain that sunny disposition day in day out. I have learnt that this is okay but I do still struggle to strike up a conversation with friends and family when I’m having these days, there’s always the element of not wanting to sound negative or bring their days down as well. Through CBT and medication, I feel slightly more balanced now and use my newly found skills to try and turn things on their heads to find good points and happy things. Changing the way we think about things, for me anyway, really has been enlightening. You don’t realise how much baggage a negative/worrying thought can bring until you channel that energy in a different way.

As well as implementing these new skills, I searched for activities I could do to put positivity and happiness into action. Since I was twelve I have kept a daily diary and I find that very cathartic, there’s something about writing, getting things out in a pen to paper way that really helps me. However, what with keeping a diary and writing a blog I felt like I was at my limit with writing. So, what else was there? I love photography and memory making and one day I was watching a vlog and they mentioned an app called one second everyday and that was it – I was hooked!

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I think I mentioned it as one of my favourites last year, but honestly, I love 1SE. It’s such a simple idea and so easy to do. Yes, you’ll irritate your friends and family to begin with because they won’t be used to being filmed during the happy times but even my most reluctant friends were happy to participate by the end of the year!

To start with I used it as a video diary depicting something, anything that had happened in my day. I was learning how and why I wanted to use the app and during January there are some days when I documented tough days, sleepy days and even turned the camera around to say something! I also shot all the videos with my phone in portrait. However, as the days went on, I figured out that I wanted to use the app to find the happiness or positives in every day, no matter how small they may be – the weather, a good meal, a favourite TV programme. I also found out that if I shot the videos landscape, it filled up the screen and was easier to watch back.

You don’t have to be precise in shooting a one second video, you can take videos and then within the app, edit them down to the singular second you want to keep. That part is quite fun because sometimes snapshotting the perfect second is tough. The app has recently been updated so you can include 2 seconds a day if you want to. Most days I won’t do this but it was something I’d wanted for a while because there will be some days you do something in the day and the evening that you want to capture…and now you can!

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It doesn’t have to be a video second, you can also use photos which I know some of my friends have down and it works equally as well. If you do use photos, you can insert music over the top to make it more watchable.

If you’re feeling adventurous you can have several projects going at once. For example, I have a 2018 project started for now, but if I wanted to start a project on all the bakes I make, I could create a separate file. I also recently saw someone using the app to document their weight loss and once it’s all put together you can see the progress made. The options are endless. You don’t have to use it every day either, you could just use it when you’re on holiday to document your travels!

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I love using this app because it helps me focus on the good even when my day has not been. It’s so important to turn things around and find the positives because more often than not it’s easier to think about the bad things you’ve experienced in the day and that doesn’t help anyone in the long run.

I haven’t been able to upload the video on this post but I will on my Facebook so if you want to, head over the see my 2017 one second a day Hannah Green.

If you do use the app, let me know, I’d love to see your projects when they’re done.

Happy Thursday.

#hairlesshannah