Last year was a tough one for many of us, but looking back I realised that I have learned many important lessons which make me stronger and better equipped for the year ahead.
So although 2018 was a year of very high highs and very low lows, there were many lessons scattered among both the trials and the triumphs. This is the way life goes - it is never linear and it's always changing - but we can always look back and learn something from what we have been through.
Through the course of each year we will grow wiser, we will heal old wounds, we will get up and try again, but each time we will also be a little stronger.
Have you ever experienced that moment of intense pain in your eyes and head when you've opened the curtains on a bright and sunny day? Anybody who has experienced a migraine or even a hangover would likely understand what I'm talking about too. Although photophobia or light sensitivity might seem quite common among the general population, it can be quite debilitating when combined with a chronic illness like ME.
Most people struggle with glare and direct sunlight in their eyes, but what you might not realise is that some people with chronic illness actually cannot tolerate any light at all and might have to spend hours, days, weeks or even months in the dark - and it's not just pain in the eyes that they're avoiding!
This summer was a season of great change for our family. After little more than a year in our flat, my dad had found us a lovely big house with a garden and we were packing again. Moving house can be quite stressful for the healthiest of people, so it can really be a nightmare for somebody with a severe chronic illness like ME.
We actually loved our flat, it was enough for my sister and I, it ticked most of the boxes when we were house hunting a year ago, but there wasn't room for the parents when they came over, and it was starting to get crowded.
Most people with chronic illness have experienced anxiety or panic at some point. It's not always a condition on it's own, but commonly is a symptom of other illnesses that affect the autonomic nervous system. There are many ways to reduce anxiety and stress, but today I will be sharing a fun and creative craft project that will help you restore calm to your world - the Twiddle Muff!
If you've ever met somebody with mental health or even chronic pain conditions, you have likely noticed that they tend to have habits like fidgeting or making repetitive movements or sounds. These actions are called stimming, they are an automatic response to stress or pain and they have a specific purpose. A Twiddle Muff can be a great tool in helping with this need.
I came across this fantastic list of guidelines for how to live successfully with ME and just had to share it. So here they are, the 11 Rules For Having ME Successfully:
* Do not consider having M.E. unless you have a downstairs toilet.
* In order to have M.E. successfully you should acquire a cleaner, gardener, cook and a general handyman. If this is impossible, you should find a rich, devoted, non-talkative partner with few outside interests.