Tag Archives: Sleep

Clawing my way back up;Ten things of Thankful #10thankful

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I don’t even know where to start. I haven’t written all week not because I didn’t have anything to say or to get out. I did. I just couldn’t make any of  it make sense. It wasn’t even that I couldn’t focus long enough to put it in order, it just plain didn’t make sense. It all seemed so pointless. The sneaky thing about battling depression is it starts rising so quietly some times. I was taking my meds, I was taking time for self care. I was doing the right things. It was rising though and I didn’t see it. That is the other tricky part about depression. It is not always about being sad. I still don’t even know how to describe it, but probably best would be a total lack of motivation. A general feeling of not wanting to do anything at all. It didn’t help that it had started before I went off melatonin for a week. I do this so that I don’t build up a tolerance. I know its going to be a crappy week of sleep but it does honestly help. Add on top of that a building infection, still unsure if it was teeth or sinus. Once I realized that it was all kind of attacking at once, I started attacking back. That is the thing though, you have to realize it is rising. I couldn’t organize my thoughts but my thoughts were enough to make me realize what was going on. I can only be THANKFUL for Cognitive Behavior Therapy that I have done in the past that helped me realize what was going on. The frustration of my lack of motivation is what spurred me to really stop and do some CBT. I know others may be frustrated with my lack of desire to do anything but it pales in comparrison to the frustration I have for myself. I am working on that. I am a work in progress.

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First, I tackled the infection. I juiced some fresh turmeric, garlic, ginger, lemon, basil and cucumber and red onion. Just imagine swallowing fire and brimstone and you won’t be far off. It was painful to get 2.5 oz of it down three times a day but I did it. I started feeling the difference. The fatigue was lifting. The body aches subsiding back to their normal dull roar. I prefer to do things this way. It doesn’t interrupt my birth control like an antibiotic can and honestly I think it works a lot faster. Plus I don’t have to re-battle my candida issue.  THANKFUL for all I have learned about juicing and its benefits.

After eight days of no melatonin and one day of no benedryl either, I started having dreams I was in a boat. The boat was great, I was enjoying being out on the water. Then suddenly the boat was sinking. I could never find a hole. I could never find a reason. I found myself in this dream over and over. I would inspect the boat carefully, still it would sink. I even got down to a Johnny boat where I could inspect it out of the water. It still sank. I woke so congested that I think some of that sinking was signifying that I couldn’t breathe , not just the depression. Last night I took both and slept so so so so very good. Thankful!

Thankful that I had two interviews this week and several more respsonse to my applications. It seems most people have their summer nanny and are now looking for mid to late august. Not ideal but I will take it.

THankful I have friends who can and do help watch my daughter so that I can go on these interviews and even take some time for myself afterwards.

Thankful that Harp camp starts next week. We have definetely reached the part of the summer where we are both sick of each other, the kid and me.

Thankful for instagram. Yes I know it seems trite but it is true. I truly enjoy the photos and especially cherrish the #bereal ones. The ones that let me know that I am not the only one battling theses issues. I am not the only mother whith a kid who thinks she ruins everything one second and thinks she is the best mom ever the next. Lately I have also found some very helpful and inspirational quotes as well.

Thankful for my husband. He works tirelessly for our family and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. Not only does it allow me to be here for our daughter who won’t always need me quite so much but it has also allowed me to work on my own health and recover from the damage medicating to work did to my body.

Thankful for my readers. I didn’t write this week. I honestly didn’t think anyone would notice. I so appreciate the people who took the time to email me or message me and ask if they missed a post.  Just know that I am completely dedicated to Ten Things of Thankful so even if I hit another rough patch, I will always do a Ten Things of Thankful post. even if it is just to post one thing and use the SGV (seven guard virgins)dance to get out of the others or the SBOR(secret book of rules).

The precarious state of my sanity, aka week five summer break

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One month down, I am over it. Already. I just want to sleep. I am over the running here and there. I am over the heat. So so so over the heat. I enjoy spending time with my daughter. Really I do. I also enjoy just having Mommy time. Summertime does not equal enough Mommy time. I am again finding myself in need of remembering to keep it balanced. She does not have to be entertained every second.

I have dealt with more flares than I expected. We had more roadblocks than I expected. I always feel like I did something to cause the flare. I let my guard down somehow. I spend so much time reviewing what I have and have not been doing to keep myself at the same level. Have I been resting enough? What about my diet? Have I been active enough? On one hand I know its more of a balance thing and its not possible to keep it in balance always.  Flares are gonna happen no matter what.  I also know I have a tendency to push when I know I am starting a flare. It works for me sometimes, when the kid is in school. It is not working for me with her here. I even added back in almost nightly baths in Epsom salt with menthol and lavender.

I am trying to remember I need to be patient with myself as much as I do with the kid. I knew I would flare. I guess I just forgot how badly I could flare. If that makes any sense at all.So here is what we did accomplish:

Sunday June 29th

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A very mentally stimulating sermon on Sunday. We are lucky to have the talented Barbara G Walker in our congregation. I love when I am intellectually stimulated to learn more on the subject! All in all a very relaxing and enjoyable day.

Monday June 30th

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Monday we walked to my cleaning job. Well I walked she rode her bike. She is getting really good at it. She lost TV and computer privileges so she had to read the whole hour and half of my cleaning. As you can see it was tough.  Neeka loves it though.

We also found this chair for the kid. No we did not buy it. It was some ridiculous price and space is at a premium here. We did however take a picture. It lasts longer that way.

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Spritzers were my thing when I was pregnant with her. She thinks she has a soda.  Little bit tricky mom right there.

Tuesday July 1st

We spent the morning doing Math and reading and we skipped writing in favor of sewing her purse. A light lunch and we were off to a library class.  We car pooled with Princess P and family as the one we went to is ….a bit creepy. There is a large homeless population that congregates around the library. We used to go to this one a lot. It is kinda far away though and there are several nicer ones closer. The wonderful world of invertebrates, so interesting! Starfish are now called Sea stars because they are not really fish. Whatever, Patrick will always be a starfish to me.  There was even a hermit crab……race.  The marine biologist was great and stressed the importance of conservation. He gathers all his specimens from the sea and returns them after the class.  So even he didn’t know how the races would go.

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Princess P was more interested in exploring so I took her out to read and explore. It was a real hardship to spend some quality quiet time with her, let me tell you. The lap sitting, the little hands, the kisses, and yes even the sassy.

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Wednesday July 2nd

The same marine biologist had a class at a different library. He said it would be the same content but that each class is customized to what the kids were interested in. The kid was a bit more willing to touch things at this class , there were a few new preserved animals and live animals. This one we also heard a story about tides and there was a discussion about tides, how they work, how far apart they are, why they are good.

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Another hermit crab race with new hermit crabs. This time they raced across the US….however the oceans were a big draw! lol.

Thursday July 3rd

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Math tutor lesson .. Daddy sat in on this one for the beginning while Mommy snuck out for breakfast with a friend. We did our hour of reading , an a writing prompt. Then we just took the rest of the day off. The  storm passing through is really messing with me. I know I am on the outskirts of this flare and I really want to rest but I also suspect the amount I have been resting is also messing with my sleep at night as I have not slept well the past two nights.  This is a chronic illness rock and a hard place.

Friday July 4th

This year we were really popular and got three invitations to fourth BBQ’s. We were going to go to Princess P’s house however without a car, transportation is an issue. Instead we went to a friend’s house who is much closer.Much more exciting though was that we found our new car! That will probably have it’s own blog post though because I am that excited about it. Here is a sneak peak though

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We had a great dinner…..

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We went downtown and parked the car , we then walked to get Gelatto and then down to the beach.

It was nothing short of gorgeous.

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It took three weeks or better but I finally got to the beach again! Hopefully now that we have a car we can go more often as originally planned.

Saturday July 5th

Today is all about recovering. I have not even gotten out of my pj’s. I have not had coffee. I don’t want to wake up. I have not had the tv on.  I am paying the price for not only being so active yesterday but also my diet choices yesterday. The bathroom and I have spent  a lot of quality time together. I doubt I will even get dressed today let alone get out of bed for more than a few minutes. Medication , possibly a bath and lots of water are on the menu today.  My stress level and even my conscientiousness level will go down dramatically as the kid will be off to a sleep over.

Start

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That is the key. First you have to start.
Many people assume because I go on walks, I am feeling better. It looks impressive that I walked two miles.It is impressive but it did not happen overnight. I has been over a year though since I started walking and it has been slow and steady increase.

When I first started half a mile completely fried me for the day. It was all I could do to make it back to the house.

I didn’t give up though. I kept doing it. First it was one walk every three days.. Then every other day.. then every day.

This allowed me to ease  my Fibromyalgia and arthritis ridden body  to walking. Giving myself time to deal with flares when they happen.

It wasn’t about stopping when I hurt. If I did that I would never get anywhere. You will find that there is a period of time that the walking makes you feel better. It is typically ten minutes into the walk for me. Then I can go for a bit a feel pretty decent. Then the pain returns. That’s when it is time to turn around or be heading back.

Be gentle with yourself. Fibromyalgia does not like it when we try to minimize its impact on us. Remember that you need rest after these walks. Typically there is not a lot left for me to do for the day when I take my walks. If I take them too early in the morning I am completely fried for the day.

Track your walks with a pedometer. I use an app on my phone. It helps to keep you on schedule with walking. It is also an added bonus of something to show your doctor to show you are trying.  It is also fun to see the patterns you walk on the GPS mapping part of it, at least for me it is.

It is also important to remember to hydrate yourself. If you don’t like the taste of water. I recommend chugging at least eight oz of water prior and after the walks. Remember to keep hydrating through out the day.  I have found that people with Fibromyalgia need more hydration that normal.  It helps your muscles in so many ways.

Something else that helps is having someone else go on the walks with you. When I first started out I went with my husband or my best friend, neither of them have chronic illnesses but, they know when I am pushing myself too much. Now I tend to walk with another friend who has chronic illnesses. We keep each other accountable for walking. Now we tend to walk twice a week and we are averaging two and half miles. Sometimes it is too much for me, sometimes it is too much for her. We get each other through it.

Keep playing around with it and find what works for you. It maybe that it works better for you to walk in the morning. It maybe something you do by yourself,for yourself. I promise you will find it helps in so many ways than just exhausting you.

Walking can help improve your mental state, ease anxiety, it boosts your energy levels, it increases your Vitamin D intake(since most people walk outside in the sun). It strengthens your heart and other muscles, it aids weight loss. It can also help prevent dementia and lower the risk for other disease. I also find that when I am dedicated to walking, I sleep better at night too.

It is to your benefit to get out there and walk. So get out there and just START!

 

#Depressedbutdressed an on going battle

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Even when the depression is at its least intrusive it is there.

It is always there.

When I am smiling.

When I am doubled over in laughter.

It is there.

No matter what I am doing, anyone with depression is doing, it is the dark cloud that is always there.

Depression is very tricky. It lets you think that you are not depressed. It reels you into feeling safe.

I am not depressed anymore so I don’t need my medications.

I am not depressed anymore so I can lower my medications.

Sometimes it even lets you stop your medication.

That was when it was the easiest for it to strike again for me.

I don’t even second guess anymore that I need an anti-depressant.

It is just a fact that I do.

I also need an anti-anxiety medication.

Not everyone with depression is the same.

Depression is rarely exactly alike in two people.

I have a friend who when hers flares she sleeps and sleeps and sleeps.

When mine is bad, I can’t sleep.

There are areas that people who have depression can relate to.

It makes you feel helpless.

It makes you feel alone.

It makes you feel broken.

Depression is not just sadness. It is so much more than that.

Just like there are different types of people, there are different types of depression.

I was so easily deceived by depression. I was diagnosed with clinical depression. It was not explained properly to me so it got a good hold on me before I realized it. Clinical depression does not just mean a chemical imbalance. So much of what I was feeling is also common in OCD, which is my primary diagnosis.  That constant feeling of impending doom, you don’t know why its there but it is. There is no reason for it to be there. Some people get a feeling of despair. For me it has always been that waiting for the other shoe to drop feeling.

This is why I absolutely loved the hashtag depressedbutdressed. It’s creation was my friend Jen’s brain child. Go check her out (http://www.itsnotmyworkout.com/) Depression has many faces and this hashtag is a way of making people realize that.

I don’t remember to use it everyday. It does not have to be something you hashtag you use everyday. Actually I think if you do it looses its effect.

We need more people showing they did the hardest thing that day. They got up , they got dressed even with depression. They may be depressed but they are dressed and that is the hardest thing for someone with depression.

********** feelings of suicide or suicidal thoughts are a very real aspect of depression. If you are having such thoughts there is hope, There is help. There is a national number that can help you get the help you need. YOU DESERVE THE HELP. Don’t think these thoughts will go away and you will be okay. Pick up the phone and call. CALL NOW! 1-800-273-8255 ************************************

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I want my dreams back

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I know, I know, I know you are probably tired of hearing about medication changes.  It’s like top on my mind right now though.

I know I have mentioned it before but a good gage for me on my mental health is when my dreams are very science fiction. The stranger more alien the better. It is how I have always been. It took about three years in therapy before I discovered the link. A lot can be said for Cognitive Behavior Therapy in that respect.

Coming off cymbalta ,I knew my dreams would get weird and a lot of my anxiety would creep in. Knowing that on an intellectual level is completely different than knowing that on an emotional level. Completely and totally different. For some reason it’s something I still struggle with, remembering the difference.  Things I thought I had completely worked through pop back up in my dreams, making it even harder than normal to get out of bed. In the clear light of day when I am fully awake, I am okay with the choices I have made. Would someone please convey that to my dreams? Please!

The first hurdle seems to be conquered. My dreams are starting to get a little more science fiction a little more frequently. You see when you only sleep two to three hours at a time , at night you tend to have a lot of dreams. A lot. Less and less I am waking up in full anxiety attack. I even got a little paranoia creeping in. I always love when I get paranoid like that. NOT! I try to soothe myself with at least I recognize it. Sometimes it helps.

I can only hope that when I start the prozac next week that my dreams will continue to become more and  more normal, for me. I am really ready for some wormhole travel and meeting some new aliens, maybe even some time travel in the T.A.R.D.I.S. I would also take some supernatural dreams, you know some vampires and werewolves, maybe a few zombies.

Prepare prepare prepare

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The thing to do when you have chronic illness is pace yourself. There is something to do before that though. First you need to prepare. If you know in advance that is, if not its all about recovery.

We have a huge big group hike that we have been planning happening tomorrow. Well if it is Thursday it is happening today but, I am writing this Wednesday.So we kept activities very minimum and flexible as well. I even came home and took a nap. I really did not have much of a choice actually. I came home from a rather short activity for me and laid down. Tried to get into the computer with my tv on like I normally do. I knew  shortly after that I needed sleep. It was a good way to start preparing for tomorrow.

Tonight I will take an epsom bath and when I wake in the middle of the night, as I inevitably will, I will re-medicate without hesitation. I normally wait. I don’t like to take anything if I can get back on my own. Tonight however, sleep will be imperative. I will also stagger my melatonin and other night meds, for whatever reason they work better if I take them about an hour apart. The only thing I can think of is it is like stepping your body down from the day. I will probably take the magnesium first with half dose of melatonin. My heart meds the next hour and then the last one will be benedryl so I can breathe.  (I know there are other things to take, Benedryl was what my ENT and I settled on).

In the morning it will still be about preparing. Coffee of course will happen. A good breakfast will be vital today especially. A good bowl of quality oatmeal, some chopped almonds tossed in.  About an hour after breakfast I will drink some green juice mixed with some soy protein.  Lunch will be light. Probably Cheese and crackers and apple. A pocket full of almonds and cashews, a bottle of water and we will be off. It sounds like a lot. Especially when you think that is just to get me ready and not the kid. At eight though she pretty much takes care of herself. We go on hikes enough she knows to drink lots of water and she will probably have the same lunch as me.

The last thing I will do is take my multivitamin right before we go. Its kinda like a little pep before we go.Just one more way to give my body a little oomph.

This is what works for me. It has taken me literally years to know how to prepare and not just recover. There was a lot of trial and error. There was a lot of thinking or over thinking or under thinking going on. There were even a few I found by accident, like stacking my medications. Only stack your medications like that if they are not scripts. If they are scripts talk to your Doctor first. I can not stress enough the importance of water. When you think you are hydrated, drink some more. I would encourage only water but whatever it takes for you to be hydrated. Often we get the Mio electrolyte additive drops for flavor and a maintaining hydration. The key to finding what works for you is to journal it. Jot down notes when you can about what you did , how it worked. I kept mine in just a microsoft word file for the longest time. There are also a lot of good pain journal apps that will help as well. I still use one off and on.

The last bit of advice is remember to this will NOT stop you from hurting after a big activity. It is to reduce the impact. It is still important to pace and to recover. Do not consider this pampering yourself. This is self care and it is vital.

Also…if you have followed me for even a little bit….you know there is a hike post coming as well!

Shoving off the negativity

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This last week of 2013 I have dedicated to sloughing off stuff that I have stubbornly held on to. A good portion of that stuff is negative.

One of my favorite guided meditations says let go of the things that do not help me. Let go. Sometimes I just repeat that over and over in my head. Sometimes I visualize letting go of the word negativity. Sometimes I think of specific things that have been bothering me. It is either a feeling of too much negativity, or it is something specific that I need to analyze and let go.It could be a feeling or a way I react to a situation.

I like visualizing golden light or white healing light the best though. I visualize it burning out the negativity and replacing it with warm happy thoughts. This one is normally the most effective for me. If I am really struggling I go outside earbuds in, and sit on the ground. Rest my hands on the ground.Even in the dark. Often these are just five minutes or so. It is truthfully the longest I can sit on the ground like that without hurting. Plus the longer I sit there, the harder it is to get back up.

I found meditation to be the best way for me to leave negativity behind. It helps me in so many ways. I found the more I practice the more I can take advantage of little snippets during the day.

It took me many attempts to get into meditation. It took many times of starting one and trying it out, only to be frustrated and give up. It took reading about meditation. It took analyzing exactly what I was looking for in meditation. Still even after that it took more trying out different meditations. Finding what voice , what music worked for me. It was a process.

Still sometimes the best meditations are ones I do without even trying, like when I am out taking a walk.Not focusing on anything in particular. Taking every second as it comes. Enjoying the beauty around me. Getting lost in the wonder of the Forrest.

My natural first reaction to anything is to complain. I hate that. I really do. However I have learned that if I try to squash it I feel worse. Instead I embrace it and then say okay now lets find something good in this. I have also started changing the wording I use when I am complaining. You would think that would not be a big thing but it is. It not only makes a difference to me but , also the people around me who hear it. Instead of grumpily saying ” I wanted it to be like this this and this.”  I can say ” It would be nice if it had this but, this is a different approach and maybe I will like it better.”

As it is at least twice a month minimum my meditations are on cleansing the negativity from me.  I don’t plan them out. I go with how I am feeling. When I need to clean the negativity I know. I know without a doubt.  Make it part of your bedtime routine. Whether you are asleep at the end of it or not doesn’t matter. However you would be surprised how many times you will fall asleep during it.

The world likes to shove negative things at us. Over and over and over. Shoving it off of you is therefore something you have to also do over and over.  Taking small steps each day towards the goal of wrapping positive things around you. It is not easy. It is however yet another thing that is deemed worth it.

Here are some of my favorite meditations remember, they may not work for you. They may all work for you, or only some. Find what resonates with you. If you find yourself getting frustrated with this process, try chants.

This site gave me some of the best meditation advice, When I am struggling to find the right one I go back here… :    http://www.fragrantheart.com/cms/free-audio-meditations

1.  Mind Silence-remove negative blocks –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1RdEVXWXbU

2.  All chakras- meditation balancing and tuning http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4GtPb3Y3vQ

3. Vital Energy: Meditation Music for Depression, Anxiety and Chakra

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POR-U76g7Lg

 

4. Full Chakra Healing Meditation ★ Binaural Beats

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DsjaXRbrMc

 

5. Extremely Powerful Pure Clean Positive Energy – Raise Vibration – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l1Oy9T7-S8

Rest when you need rest

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Rest! I can’t rest I have a house to run! I have stuff to do! I have cleaning to get done! Oh and I got to get time in for me and get everyone where they gotta go and think about dinner and I CAN’T POSSIBLY REST!

This is the one area that I am constantly struggling with when it comes to managing chronic pain and illness. I am absolutely horrible at it. Then when I do rest, I feel guilty about resting!

I know I have been doing too much. I know it. I have felt it. I did it anyway. I had a lot to get through. December always brings so much running and doing. I can’t tell you how many times already that we have been double triple or quadruple booked this month.  Of course on some of them we made decisions not to go or not to do it.

I get caught up in wanting to see my daughters reaction to things. To seeing Santa to seeing the Christmas lights. To experiencing it all through her again.

So when I crash. I really really crash. I rarely sleep during the day as I already have soooo much trouble sleeping at night. Today though it wasn’t a choice. It was a demand. My body demanded I nap.  For once when I woke up I felt better. That doesn’t always happen. It tends to happen more when I crash though. This is the second time in five days I have crashed like this. I need to get better at truly resting. Laying down in bed watching tv. Sitting down to write is not resting. I need to just lay down and read or lay down and watch tv. Not try to always engage my brain.  If I need to grab a cat and snuggle and just pay attention to petting the cat, then that is what I need to do.

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It doesn’t do any good to beat myself up more for resting. It doesn’t I know that. This morning though I was feeling guilty about not getting any cleaning done. Not moving the laundry along, not finishing the few dishes , not getting the floors done.  Then I realized I was not getting anything done until I at least attempted to sleep. Sleep I did. I now feel that maybe when I come back home I can get some cleaning done at least do the few dishes and make dinner.

So today I have a renewed motivation to be better at resting. To pace myself better. So that I can better enjoy the season. That even when I make sure to schedule in self care in a walk for myself I need to also schedule in time to rest. To actually rest and to not feel guilty about resting. It is a form of self care and my body needs it more than most. To rest and say, its okay to rest.

The insomniac waltz

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Fibromyalgia brings many joys. Like learning how to do the insomniac waltz. A mixture of sleep deprivation and pain.

 

Get comfy in bed. Got to go pee. Get up to pee. Get comfy in bed.

Five minutes later flip to your left side. Close your eyes again. Deep breathes.

Sleep for maybe thirty minutes. Wake up.

flip to your right side.

Sleep for maybe an hour. Wake up

lay on your back.

Nope lay on your stomach.

Nope lay on your back. Listen to deep sleep meditation. Listen to another one.

Get up have a bowl of cereal.

Count how long its been since last medications. Take some more.

Lay back down. Play Facebook games until can’t keep eyes open.

Go through relaxation techniques. Fall asleep somewhere in the midst.

Sleep for two hours. Not a second more!

Wake up stiff and sore.

Change positions. Scroll Facebook.

Fall asleep.

Thirty minutes later……

alarm goes off for the day.

Sleep clean sleep

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Last night I was suddenly overwhelmed with exhaustion. It wasn’t even a choice. It was you are sleeping now.

I slept for about an hour around six pm. I vaguely had an idea that it was after five. That was about it.

I was able to get back to sleep and sleep until 10:30. By eleven thirty I accepted the fact that I was now awake.

Instead of trying to force sleep I got up. Did a little laundry. Did some dishes. Wiped down counters. Swept the floors. I didn’t think I just did it. Well I did think a little bit. I wanted to vacuum as well but by this time it was almost one am. Probably not the best idea.

By two am I was back in bed.

Sometime around three am I fell back to sleep.

Sometimes you just got to go with what Fibromyalgia and its symptoms gives you.

Sure I would rather have been sleeping. However that wasn’t happening. Tossing and turning is exhausting all on its own.

I am fairly certain that the few hours I did sleep. I slept better than if I had tried to stay in bed and force sleep.

Of course, this only comes from trial and error. Meaning there have indeed been nights that I tried to force sleep.

Life with a chronic illness, add or two or three, requires some trial and error learning.  It is an ebb and flow that takes some practice to finesse.

Sometimes it just throws you lemons and you don’t get what it is trying to tell you. Frankly sometimes I don’t think it really knows what it is doing. Fibromyalgia is a fickle fickle illness.