Slippery Slopes ……… or not?!

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From the thrill of booking the ski trip I never thought would happen again (see my blog B+ isn’t just my blood group …), I went through silent tortures of wondering if I had done the right thing.  Would it be a return to a sport I had loved or would I spend days watching others? And if I had to watch, would I be able to keep to my promise that I would smile even if all I could do was watch the others?  Even worse, was I going to end up hurt and really going backwards…?  So for 8 months I fought my inner demons to keep positive, stick to exercise routines, maintain my energy levels with diet and supplements and above all remind myself the most important factor would be to stay mindful and listen to my body and be honest about my capabilities.  So for anyone who read “B+ ” and awaited the follow up, here it is …..

I am euphoric, amazed and yes, proud of myself!   Not because I hurtled down steep slopes at speed (no, not this time!) but I did ski for 3 hours every day.  I kept control of my speed and direction, didn’t harm myself or others, but most importantly, I listened to myself, mind and body and ignored the little demon that wanted me to get on that chair lift one more time, or come down faster, or take the steeper option.  I skied when I felt good and stopped when I knew I had used up my energy, happy to sit in the winter sunshine of the piste restaurant watching other skiers and enjoy a hot chocolate with a dash of Cointreau thrown in – bliss!

Anyone who doesn’t understand invisible, energy draining illnesses, that can flare up and then almost disappear, can probably not understand how good I feel.  Many who don’t and can’t understand the nature of this condition, look at me and say, “You, how did YOU go skiing?!” it’s back to the disbelief factor, I can feel the unsaid words they think I must be lying, I can’t really feel that bad.  But I have never given in to that and can’t afford to have people like that in my life.  No one should feel they shouldn’t do their hair and make-up in case some (well-meaning?!) person says, “Well, you LOOK well” – hmmm am I not allowed to?  It actually helps me to feel better if I can make myself look better.  Do I have to spiral into deeper depression just so someone else believes me when I don’t feel good?  No, I mean more to me than that.

I may have been out on that glorious mountain, enjoying the thrill of being on the slopes, but there is always the unseen that I do try and hide.  I had an amazing memory making holiday with loved ones, that I feel so incredibly grateful for.  No-one but those loved ones, saw me hobble into our apartment, depleted of all my energy for the day, and crawl into an exhausted sleep, hopeful I would get another great day, but never to expect it.  I live not just day to day, but more hour to hour.  I start each day with my sands of energy time, and some days it is gone in a flash.  But instead of hating my illness (like I did in the beginning and confess it still creeps in when I am down) I try and appreciate all the times I do have.  Maybe I am more appreciative of what I have now, my good hours are a true blessing.

Hidden, invisible, disabilities have difficulties that others cannot comprehend.  You lose friends.  You withdraw from social life when you feel bad, only wanting to be out when you can show your good side.  This increases the view from others that you always seem OK, so why do you cancel, how can you do something one day and not another?  I don’t understand myself and can’t explain, there are no answers, I wish there were.  But I have stopped beating myself up about what I can’t do.  I have to accept my limitations and truly make the most of those lovely energy bursts with pain reduced to bearable.  In those times I am more than happy, I am deliriously happy.  Those who love and care for me share my good times with me. When I can’t do something, I hate letting anyone else down, but I let myself down even more if I push beyond my capabilities as then I will suffer longer.  Those who love and care, they let me do that.  They let me choose how to spend my energy without criticism or reprimand.  Those people who are still in my life, I love them more than ever for believing me.

Maybe that’s why going skiing with those very special people is what made it so wonderful.  I know the temptation for them is to help me, ask if I am OK, am I sure I can do that ….but they didn’t, and I thank them.  I said I would be honest and would not do anything that was too much, would not push too far, and in return they had to treat me as normal.  We didn’t mention my illness the whole holiday.  The fact that I would get up of a morning and take two maybe three hours until I was ready to go out, was never a problem.  Gentle warm up stretches based on my yoga workout, lots of water, healthy breakfast and an energy conserving walk.  Time on the slopes and then creep back to rest.  Never once did I feel a spoil sport for needing an early supper, alcohol free or at altitude it would drain me further.  Then to bed early, but with a smile of my face and happy dreams.  Dreams really can come true if we don’t ask for them to be unrealistic.

I guess healthy avid skiers would see my week as horrendous, but for me it was more than I hoped for.  So much so, that the deposit is paid for next year, and I will continue to be positive.  Disabilities don’t mean we have to give up, we adjust, and getting the balance right is an accomplishment that brings depression busting success.  Not every day can be a good day, is it for anyone?  But when your hard work pays off and you get to enjoy experiences that seemed out of reach, the result is truly euphoric.  Unfortunately that feeling doesn’t last, so I just keep working at being true to me, and I know the next great day is on its way ……

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever the weather ….

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It makes me smile. In the UK we are renowned for our capability to strike up a conversation about the weather with anyone and everyone who’s willing (and admittedly unwilling or unsuspectingly caught at times).

In truth it’s not a “real” conversation as we are just stating facts and agreeing with each other. With our tongue in cheek humour, we laugh at ourselves – if you visit our country and you can join in this talk, welcome to our way.

To the untrained ear, it may sound like we are always moaning; I believe the Aussies refer to us as ‘Whinging Poms’ (smile).

Yes, our recent hot weather has been amazing – we love the sun (Let’s face it to be guaranteed hot weather most of us who can will travel abroad.) We express to all and sundry how lovely it is but ‘just a little too hot’…

The sea breeze near the coast freshen the air – we love the breeze, but it prevents us from putting up our sun umbrellas as they get blown away. So we say how lovely it is but ‘just a little too strong’…

The warm summer nights arrive, we love socialising outdoors with friends and family, no need for a jumper, our idea of holiday weather, how lovely it is but ‘a little too warm indoors’…

The rain we have been waiting for comes. (A little aside note here, my husband has just returned from shopping as I am typing, his first words to me on this, our first rain since the heatwave is, “it’s not coming down quite as heavy but still coming down” – he doesn’t know the topic of my blog and rather bemused by my laughter – I have had to take a minute out to explain!). We are so lucky not have to worry about drought, a welcome drenching for our scorched earth, it’s lovely but ‘does it have to rain ALL day’…

In the winter, before Christmas time, we as adults get our kids all excited at the thought of fun in the snow. After a few days, unequipped to cope with snow, we want it to melt, it’s lovely but “it’s too slippery now, can’t go out’…

Do you get the gist? We really are so fortunate to experience such varied weather. It is the very extremes that make it such a talking point.

Our standard homes are not fitted with air-conditioning, but for such a short time do we really need it? Our heating is, in truth, far more necessary. Our carpeted floors are appreciated in the winter, but tiles are so wonderfully cool in the heat. Opting for summer time flooring and adding rugs in winter is maybe the option!

I feel that our ever changing seasons are like our every changing life. We enjoy the good, deal with difficulties and look ahead to repeats of the things we love. How wonderful to not have the chance to get bored. How appreciative we are of what makes us feel good when we can balance it against what isn’t so good.

So, next time someone ‘passes the time of day’ with you by making a comment on the weather, try and see it as complement, you obviously are being seen as person deserving of their time. We Brits are being friendly when we talk about the weather, you will invariably see us smile on parting.

I see it as a metaphor for life, if I say “what a lovely day” I am feeling good and want to share that with you and, if we are darting for cover as the storm arrives, we share the discomfort but know it will be over before tomorrow.

If you have read this far, thank you for giving me your time to read about the weather, and I haven’t been moaning, honest,  – have a great day …

 

Positive magnetism …..

balance beautiful close up girl
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In physics, opposites attract and like repel.  Does this apply in biology?

I am no scientist, but I remember during my childhood loving to play with magnets and the more powerful the attraction, the more thrilled I was.  The “positively” charged ion would draw the “negative” charged ion forcefully, whereas a like “positive” would be pushed powerfully away.

In relationships it is commonly heard; opposites attract.  I know I am drawn to those who are different to me.  I am intrigued, fascinated, interested to learn more.  However, I am comfortable, relaxed, complete when sharing like ideas and conversations with others of a similar nature to myself.

Then there are the opposites in nature that I consider to be cruel or unkind, and I certainly have no attraction to this!  In nature, I am positively drawn to what I consider to be positive attributes, leading me to believe we are drawn to positive (another commonly stated fact).

I try and stay positive; the charge is not always at full strength but when I feel the negativity I boost my effort.

I don’t want to repel others by being negative.  Thinking on my depressed and low phases however, I seem to have drawn other depressed people to me; but I didn’t want to attract that I needed positivity.  However, the positive seemed drained by me and pulled away!  I lost friends.

I can now experience such feel good times, they amaze even me!  I believe improvement is possible, positive thoughts work.  When a friend is down, I want to inspire and share with them a little of my euphoria to say, if I can get over my obstacles so can they.  I won’t be the friend that turns away.  But this is where sometimes my positivity seems to work against me.  I perceive they feel their pain (emotional or physical) must be worse than mine, or I couldn’t possibly be as I am.  I back off (a little), at this moment they do feel worse than me, I got through it.  They don’t want to hear it, not yet.  So can we be too positive for others?  Can we seem unreal? Do we make ourselves something enviable instead of inspirational?

So, my final thought is, do we need to acquire an understanding of balance?  To be mindful of timing?  We need to experience sadness to appreciate happiness.  We are an amalgamation of positive and negative emotions and traits.  Learning to allow ourselves to be both, have empathy for others in their negative and take pleasure in their positive.  Acknowledge we can be attracted to negative, positive and indeed neutral for our own individual reasons.

We, as humans, are not an exact science – we are an “oxymoron” (I love that word)!  Enjoy a balanced day …..

 

 

 

 

tight rope, don’t look down